27 March 2007

How Anonymous and Faceless Can You Be In Blogosphere?

I have been mulling about this issue for some time. This topic was thrust into prominence by the recent Mr Philip Yeo - Chen Jiahao spat. Mr Yeo was reported to have said on Mr Chen's blogsite that "he dislikes blogger anonymity". He said some comments were from "a rude young generation who hides behind blog anonymity spewing vitriolic words without real knowledge or depth of thinking. Sad for the future of the next generation".

Having blogged faceless for almost two years now, I encountered no problems doing so whatsoever. After all, I believe people visit my blog to read what I have to say. Why on earth should they be interested in how I look like? Does looking good give credibility to what one has to say? I really doubt so. How about looking wise (and old, not that I consider myself that)? Mind you, looks can be deceiving. You'd probably think that I am 10 years younger than my age, haha. Having said that, I think it's true that many male readers are attracted to blogs written by SYTs (sweet young things) especially if photos (not necessarily scantily-clad ones) of the SYTs are posted on their blog.

If operating faceless is blogospherically acceptable, then how about blogging with a nick (nickname)/moniker, otherwise known as a pseudonym in the older days of the print media? Of course, you can use a Christian name like Chris or Victor. There are probably more than 10,000 Chrises and 100,000 Victors in the tiny red dot here. So using names like those is as good as being anonymous. However if our real surnames are included in the nick, the numbers become smaller - there could be just 1,000 Chris Sims and maybe less than 100 Victor Koos - because my surname is much rarer than Chris'. Well okay, there are probably no more than a few dozen Chun See's here but you should get the drift.

Victor is in fact not my real name. By that, I mean that the name is not in my birth certificate nor my identity card. (In that sense, I think Chris is not Chris' real name either.) The name Victor was given to me by a Pre-U classmate (Mr Han C J) in the early 70s. I have been using it for informal situations ever since. I do not use it often, that is until I started blogging.

I guess the short answer to my poser is - to each his own - or as Chris puts it more eloquently (as he always does), different strokes for different folks. A blog is a personal space in a public domain. It's your canvas. You write what you want. If readers like your articles they will read them and they will be back for more. They should not be dictating what you say on your blog, as long as you observe some basic blog etiquette.

You operate your blog in whichever way you feel comfortable with - the topics your write, how frequently, the tone and language, the photos you upload, how much to reveal of yourself, etc. Some people just love the anonymity which blogging seems to offer. They probably can write with less inhibitions and express their views more freely without fear. That explains why some people prefer to comment anonymously on a blog post. On the other hand, some people just can't wait to show their faces on their blog. Not just recent photos get uploaded but everything from their baby photos to their recent ones.

For blog owners and readers who love anonymity, do not be so naive to think that you are truly anonymous even if you do not upload your photos or use your true name. If need be, you can always be tracked by your IP address. There are software that track IP addresses. Such information is also available at the ISPs who are obliged to give the data to law enforcement agencies if an alleged computer crime has taken place. How else do you think that people who sent bomb hoax emails or made racial remarks got caught recently?

I would have gladly continued to operate faceless (though not nameless) if Chris didn't recently up the ante by posting his photo on his blog. All of a sudden, there could be only one Chris in this whole wide world of blogging. Chris even went as far as to upload his Slim Lady's photo too, probably without her blessing. Wise men like Chun See seemed to think that it was not too good an idea and I can understand why. The Slim Lady may not read Chris' blog but don't forget that she may have dozens of colleagues and friends who do and could easily recognise her in the photo if they happen to visit Chris' blog by chance. I just can't wait to see the puncture marks in Chris' knees caused by kneeling on durian shells. ROTFLVVL.

Chris has even started to apply not-so-subtle pressure on me to upload my photo into my blog. Why, he even just emailed me a very nice shot of me standing besides a huge golf ball. The photo was proudly taken by Chris with his new toy (a camera phone). Of course, a photogenic subject helps in making that shot a nice one besides Chris' photo-taking skills, hehe.)

Okay, okay. To get Chris off my back, here's the photo. I hope Zen doesn't mistake me for a golf flag and can tell the "prince from the greens". Oh by the way, that ball did not drop out from my pants, okay? I think it is a marker of sorts. Will some kind golfer please enlighten?

Finally, can anyone convince me why I should give in fully to that pesky Chris by uploading my clear mugshot as my avatar?

23 March 2007

And The Winners Are

*Drum roll*

It's time to announce the winners for the "Chingrish - Guess The Product" competition! First let us recap the guesses. There are a total of 12 guesses:

1. Chris - Viagra (I don't need it. You can save it for yourself.) Deodorant spray for armpit - I've no wish to turn off my "natural turn-on mechanism".

2. Kenneth - Laxative - I've no problem shitting.

3. Chun See - Wash basin filter - You only have 5S. This thing has 5x5S plus 400S.

4. Shilpa - Herbal Tea Mix - Nice try Shilpa, but I am not a health freak.

5. Frannxis - Thing for toilet bowl - Disinfectant/deodorant/cleaner lah, what "thing"?)

6. Meow - Refrigerator odour remover - I got no cat food in my fridge wor.

7. Zephyr - Fertilizer - Don't need this either, I am fertile enough.

8. Dawn - Medicated sponge - Got such thing meh? Heard of medicated soap and medicated shampoo before. But medicated sponge? Is it the sponge with medicated soap that you forgot to wash off?

9. Tigerfish - Odour remover - Partly right. But it not only removes tigerfishy smells.

10. Stanley Foo - Antiseptic mouthwash - Aiyah, why is everyone suspecting that some part of me smells? Yes, I smell... but like a rose, okay?

11. Firehorse - Toilet bowl cleaner - Nope, even my toilet smells... good.

12. Alphabet soup - Room deodorizer - My room smells good too.

Thanks to all of you fun and sporting people for your guesses. Please pardon me for my tongue-in-cheek comments - they are all for fun. The verdict is that none of your guesses was 100% correct. Half of you (6 out of 12) are half correct - those who mentioned cleaner, filter or deodorant/deodorizer. So for Chun See, Frannxis, Meow, Tigerfish, Firehorse and Alphabet soup, you win the Veteran Award:

For Kenneth, Shilpa, Zephyr, Dawn and Stanley Foo, you win the Novice Award:

Now come the special award winner, Chris. Because he broke the rule by guessing twice, he wins the Booby Award:

The product is "Super Porous Bio-Ceramic Rings". It absorbs and promotes beneficial bacteria growth for biological removal of ammonia and nitrates for my aquarium:

Go on, print out your decoration and decorate your wall with it. Muahahaha.

20 March 2007


Last Sunday, I bought something from a shop in my neighbourhood. It cost $1.20 and came in a box. I did a double take when I looked at the words printed on the box. At first, it didn't look like English:

On closer inspection, I realised it was indeed English. Some people call it Engrish while I prefer to call it Chingrish since it is "English from a China perspective".

I have blogged about Chingrish before here and there but never before has it been this atrocious. For the previous cases, at least you knew what the product was. For this case, I bet you can't even identify it just by reading the box alone.

Before Chris again accuses this proud monkey of thinking that he's always right, I would like to prove it this time. So I would like to play a little guessing game with you. You make a guess as to what product this might be. I will not respond until this weekend when I will reveal the answer. Unlike Chun See who usually disqualifies people aged above 40 from participating in his guessing games, I open mine to anyone aged from 9 to 90. My only request to those who have bought this product before and already know the answer - please refrain from letting the cat out of the bag and spoiling the fun for others.

Since this is a virtual game, you will be rewarded with virtual mystery prizes if your guess is right or quite close. (Quit thinking you'll get rich by doing this, will you? Go buy 4D and Toto instead.) Check back for results this weekend. Happy guessing and have fun.

18 March 2007

Junk Mails

One of the consequences of living in an HDB flat is that you are bound to receive junk mails. Lots of them - flyers advertising property developers/agents, renovation contractors, handyman services, locksmiths, warehouse sales, plumbers, electricians, installers for windows/grilles, fast food, etc.

Today when I opened my letter box, I found 3 notes inside which were handwritten by different people. They all either wanted to buy or rent my flat. They usually had a sob story to tell, e.g. "I am looking for a flat in this block so that I can stay near my parents who will take care of my children."

And more often than not, they "just sold off their flats or private apartments for $xxxK and willing to pay high $$$." (They always don't know how to spell "price".) To add authenticity to their plea, they usually add, "No agts please."

Usually, I just throw them straight into the dustbin next to the letter box. But today, I brought them up to scan them into a photo for this post.

To rub salt into the wound, there was another piece of junk mail:

Normally I wouldn't consider birthday cards as junk mail. I do receive cards regularly from my insurance agents for my birthdays and festive occasions. However this one arrived more than 10 days late. It is no excuse, especially if they consider me a Priority Banking customer:

You guessed it, the card was from CB. Oh come on, just because I complained against your less-than-satisfactory service and your cocky staff recently, does it mean that you have to treat me this way? And don't give me that crap that the card is 354 days early because it is meant for my next year's birthday, okay? Jisuz...

Confirmed liao. CB really would rather lose a customer like me. Damn CB. I will surely grant you your wish on 16 Jan 2008 when I don't have to pay any penalty for fully redeeming my housing loan.

Finally, this is a "link-love-list" (whatever it means) from Walter. I guess I have been tagged by him for a meme (whatever that means too):

My Add Ons:
Cool Insights
Simply Etel
Chris' Life-As-I-See-It

What it came with:
Good Morning Yesterday
Little Cozy Corner

A Journey Called Life
Dead Boredom Seeking Freedom
Ah Pek
Blank Canvas
Home Office Women
PabloPabla’s Whatever
Make$ Money$
Owen of Ugh
Jules is Utterly Geek
Internet. Serious Business
The Sabahan
Critical Thoughts
Carols Vault
Blog About Your Blog
Monetize Your Blog
Cosmin PTR
Make Money On The Net
Successful Online Money Making
Turn One Pound Into One Million$
Work at Home Blog
Blogging For Beginners
How to earn money online?
Dosh Dosh
Money Money Money
Money Making Quest
Connected Internet
Mike’s Money Making Mission
Time to Budget
Can I Make Big Money Online
Flee the Cube
Blogging Secret
Blogging to Fame
Million Dollar Experiment heads Down
Quest to make money on the internet
Kumiko’s Cash Quest
Calico Monkey
Internet Bazaar
Shotgun Marketing
Customers Rock!
Being Peter Kim
Pow! Right Between The Eyes!
Billions With Zero Knowledge
Working at Home on the Internet
MapleLeaf 2.0
Two Hat Marketing
The Emerging Brand
The Branding Blog
Drew’s Marketing Minute
Golden Practices
Tell Ten Friends
Flooring the Consumer
Kinetic Ideas
Unconventional Thinking
The Copywriting Maven
Hee-Haw Marketing
Scott Burkett’s Pothole on the Infobahn
Multi-Cult Classics
Logic + Emotion
Branding & Marketing
Popcorn n Roses
On Influence & Automation
Servant of Chaos
Presentation Zen
Dmitry Linkov
John Wagner
Nick Rice
CKs Blog
Design Sojourn
Frozen Puck
The Sartorialist
Small Surfaces
Africa Unchained
Marketing Nirvana
Bob Sutton¡
Shut Up and Drink the Kool-Aid!
Women, Art, Life: Weaving It All Together
Community Guy
Social Media on the fly

17 March 2007

5 Bloggers I'd Rather Be Stranded With

I was tagged by Jayne to do this post. Her tag was "If you had to live on a deserted island for a year, which 5 bloggers would you bring with you and why?"

Here are the 5 bloggers whom I'd rather be stranded with:

1. Chris

It is obvious why Chris is first on the list. He is my good friend and colleague. Besides being good at cooking and housekeeping, Chris can also compose very nice poems. I presume that he will not have the luxury of his newly bought laptop with him on the island so blogging the poems would be a real problem for him. In any case, the laptop battery would last at most 3 hours on the island and I don't think the deserted island will have hotspots. Yes, hot spots there would be plenty on a tropical island, but not hotspots. Still it should be okay because Chris can write his poems in the sand on the beach. And if he uses a stick to do this, he may not even need to bend down very much, even though the stick may not be very long.

2. Elaine

Elaine is my blogo-god-daughter. What kind of godfather am I if I do not bring her along to live with me on the deserted island? I know it is cruel to do this to her and her sweetheart (another Victor) because it means that they would be separated from each other for one whole year. But hey, they say that absence makes the heart grows fonder. Besides, there is another stand-in Victor to take his place, hehe. Think about it - if a relationship can't last one year's separation, how can it last more than 5 decades in marriage together? Elaine can bake for us during her free time (which means all daylight hours on the deserted island). Talking about that, I better go hunt for a solar-powered oven for Elaine because the island is not expected to have electricity supply.

3. Chun See

You must be surprised why I choose Chun See. Most of the time, he is dead serious. But actually, he can joke if he wants to, although he rarely does it. Best of all, when he does, you won't even know whether he's joking or not. I guess that's why his children say his jokes are lame. Chun See is best loved for his grandfather yesterday's stories. He can tell his stories all day. The best part is that we would have all day to listen to him. In fact, he is so good at telling old-time stories that it feels as if you are experiencing it for yourself. You could almost smell the stench from the Sei Gai Hor (Dead Chicken Canal), as he so vividly describes it. Lastly, Chun See is badly wanted because he has to go catch that wild rabbit to be cooked as lunch in Elaine's solar-powered oven. Because it's his turn to buy lunch... oops. The next meal after the rabbit will be fruits. With Chun See's Jungle Survival Training as an SAF Officer, he can tell us which fruits are poisonous and which are safe to eat.

4. Walter

Walter is an "experienced marketer and publicist", or so he says in his blog. Good, his skills will come in handy on the deserted island. He can hypothesize all he wants on how to bring more visitors to the deserted island so that we won't be so lonely. He can suggest ways to skin and cook the rabbit, making it more appealing and appetizing. And if we have trouble sleeping during cold and windy nights, we can read his many theses on marketing.

5. Jayne

How can I not bring Jayne along to suffer along with us? Being the woman that she is, she can roar all she wants on the deserted island. We just need to plug our ears with some dried leaves or mud because like her, we also like to hear pleasant things. If we are bored, she can entertain us with a circus act using fruits. If we need more, she can teach us how to turn the fruits into toys which would please us to no end. In fact, we might even feel that one year is too short.

As for me, I will just lie under a coconut tree all day long, wondering why the fruits are so small.


Disclaimer: All of the above are tongue-in-cheek and not knife-in-back comments. Take them with a pinch of salt or not at all. If you feel sore, go apply some ointment. Or go to a deserted island to destress.

10 March 2007

Why PC Shows Are Big Crowd Pullers

This post is prompted by Walter's similar post here.

I was on leave yesterday (Friday) and I took the opportunity to visit the IT Show from 3 - 5.30 pm. It was very crowded. Like me, those who drove had to brave massive traffic jams on roads leading to the exhibition site at Suntec City. Then they had to circle the car park many times looking for an empty parking lot in vain. That is, if they managed to get past the 'Car Park Full' signs blocking several entrances in the first place.

With so much trouble getting there and the fact that I ended up buying nothing (I only got a free anti-virus trial software), I just have to explain why visiting such shows has become almost compulsory for me. I feel that what helps to draw me big crowds to such shows are:

1. Such PC shows are held only 4 times a year and they are strategically timed to coincide with the school holidays. (The other 3 shows of the year are the PC Show, Comex and Sitex, I think - not necessary in that order.)

2. Prices are genuinely more attractive at such shows. Forever falling prices of IT products makes people keep coming back to each subsequent show.

3. One gets to compare very quickly the prices and designs (and sometimes even try out the features) of various products at a one-stop location before making the final decision on which product to buy or not.

4. The free gifts, lucky dips and grand lucky draws are irresistable lures.

5. It may be politically incorrect to say this but the pretty, young and scantily-clad sales promoters do help to draw in the men, who are not only more IT-savvy but are generally humsup. That's why I never bring my wife to such shows. I assure you that the gadgets on display are not the only assets which men gawk at.

Being a gregarious monkey (as Chris alleged), I prefer to shop with others rather than alone. I am not crowd-averse and can survive such crowded shows very well. Sometimes, I have something in mind that I wanted to buy, like in Sitex 2005. I would always check out a booth if it has many people crowding around it. Unlike Chris, being tall helps.

Grateful if you could pen your thoughts here on what draws you to such PC shows.

04 March 2007

A Fitting End To CNY

The Chinese celebrates CNY for 15 days. During this period, we are supposed to treat everyone well, saying gong xi, gong xi (恭喜,恭喜) to everyone we meet. Today is the last day of CNY i.e. yuan xiao (元宵) and we can stop being nice to people.

Today, we dined at another of our favourite restaurants which was located in Upper Thomson Road because we would have starved to death if we depend on other people to invite us for meals:

It serves cheap and good Peranakan food. The 4 small dishes in the photo below, plus hee pio (fish maw) soup cost us me only $26.20. There is no service charge but 5% GST applies till end June 2007 after which it goes up to 7%. Don't forget to ask for their hot-and-yummy sambal belacan chilli to go with your food:

On the way to the restaurant, our family again ran into an auspicious event. It was a dragon dance at a shophouse in Upper Thomson Road:

The dragon taking a breather after the hectic movements.

The dragon dance is seldom seen in Singapore nowadays. Having run into a lion dance on the second day of CNY while on our way to the National Museum and then a dragon dance on the last day of CNY, I hope that this year augurs well for my family and I. (However, when I got home tonight, I had another brush with the dragon. More about this later.)

After the very satisfying dinner, we went for a nice walk at the Upper Seletar Reservoir:

We watched the very mesmerizing sunset there:

When I got home in the evening and accessed Chris's blog, I saw the dragon in him breathing fire at the monkey in me.

It reminded me that earlier today, I also visited a toy sale at B1 Parkway Parade. There I saw something which Chris would like:

That must be the other woman in Chris' life besides Barbie. Notice the words in the bottom left of the box say, "HANDSOME APPEARANCE" and not "BEAUTIFUL APPEARANCE". Ah, just the right type for Chris.

Next to the toy sale was a health food sale. A bottle on the shelf must be what Chris takes daily as a supplement:

At first, when Chris claimed that he was a SNAG and not effeminate, I thought that he meant he was a dead tree that was still standing (not only when he is p***ing). Later, I found out that SNAG could also mean 'sensitive new age guy'. Then even later, I found that SNAG for Chris probably meant 'Sensitive and NAGs'.

Oh I nearly forgot. At the toy sale, I saw a versatile mechanical hand:

Squeeze the handle at the other end and the hand closes:

It could even be used to send a not-so-subtle message to Chris:

Is this your turn to ask for war, Chris? As you can see, I am very well-prepared. Hng.

03 March 2007

When You Have No Shoes

I have blogged about a Chinese national working in our office canteen before (here). This article is about another very large group of foreign workers in Singapore - domestic workers.

The some 140,000 foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in Singapore are mainly from Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. Others are from Malaysia, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. In August 2003, Indonesia's Tempo Weekly Magazine interviewed Dr Ng Eng Hen, then Acting Minister for Manpower (currently Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Defence). The subject of the interview was mainly about FDWs in Singapore, steps taken to protect their rights and the prevention of maid abuse. However, the interview did not mention anything about how to protect employers from their errant maids. (New measures were introduced in October 2006 to assist FDWs and their employers.)

We can all sympathize with the plight of FDWs in Singapore. Most of them come from really poor families in not-so-rich countries. Some of them are quite highly educated. Don't be surprised if you find that some of them are even university graduates. One thing in common about them is that they are all here to work and earn a better salary than they could ever have achieved back home. In doing so, they leave behind their loved ones in their home countries for a long time. They come to a faraway and unfamiliar land called Singapore. We can understand why some of them can't really help feeling homesick, depressed and even suicidal sometimes. More so if they are not treated humanely by their employers. Even worse when they are physically or emotionally abused.

Yes, we are familiar with horror stories on how some maids were beaten, scalded with boiling water, burnt with hot irons, made to eat dog shit and even kicked to death. Yet equally often, we also hear frightening stories on how some maids stole, prostituted themselves and not only robbed and killed their employers but also their own kind time and again.

I don't have to tell you why I don't have a maid at home. Besides wanting to avoid all the possible problems that I mentioned above, I treasure my privacy. Not that I like walking around my house naked but it just wouldn't feel the same when there is a non-family member within the house. However, I do see a few families in my block who employ maids. They are employed to look after the elderly and the young as well as to do household chores. Sometimes, I also see them washing the family car in the open air car park.

One Sunday afternoon several weeks ago, I was waiting at the ground floor lift lobby to return to my 9th-storey humble HDB abode. When the lift arrived, an Indonesian-looking girl in her early 20s went into the lift with me. I noticed that the girl had no shoes on. Half curious and half friendly, I started the following conversation with her:

Me: Are you used to walking around like that?

Girl (blushing): No, my shoes spoilt.

Me: Oh, then why didn't you buy a pair at the market. You can get a pair of slippers for about $2 only.

Girl (blushing even more): No bring money.

Me: Oh I see. Are you from Indonesia?

Girl: Yes.

Me: Which part?


Me: Is that in Sumatra?

Girl: No, Java Tengah (= Central Java).

Me (blushing at my ignorance of Indonesia's geography): Oh I see. So you work for a family here?

Girl: Ya, a Malay family on the 11th floor.

Me: Ah, that's good. They can understand what you say.

At that point, we both reached the 10th floor where the lift stopped.

Me: See you again.

Girl: Bye.

For a moment there, I thought I discovered yet another case of maid abuse.