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29 June 2007

EU Bans Indonesian Airlines

This just in on the news (EU to ban all Indonesian airlines - 28 Jun 2007). The European Union will ban all 51 Indonesian airlines from flying into the EU from next week as all of them are deem to be unsafe.

I have been covering the sad state of Indonesian travel safety for quite some time already and I guess the various countries are finally going to do something about it if the Indonesian gahmen aren't.

International air routes will be the only one where another country can do something about it since one of the two points (orgin & destination) will involve another country. So if either destination or orgin is banned, then the flight cannot take place.

Archives:
Anyway, the announcement of the ban was just a day after this news article on ChannelNewsAsia.com (Indonesia Grounds Nine Airlines Over Safety Failures - 28 Jun 2007) of which the article mentioned that Garuda has returned to the top tier of air safety standards (according to Indonesian gahmen yardstick).

Obviously their so-called Top Tier of Air Safety is not good enough as the article on EU announcement to ban came just a day later. Coincidence of bad timing? I think not!

Again, another mallet to the face as opposed to the milder slap to the face.

In the meanwhile, the saga continues. Pace yourselves with the popcorn, this is going to be around for quite some time.

Other related news:
  
- Voxeros

1. carbimazole left...
Friday, 29 June 2007 12:37 pm
Terrible these indonesians. No safety standard at all. I remember many years ago, when I flew (as passenger) en-route to Bali on Garuda, I was in the toilet when the aircraft landed! How come the cabin crew never stopped me from going to the toilet??? I don't understand. Then, I was not a cabin crew yet so of course, I didn't know when I should go to the toilet and when not to. The cabin crew were like doing their own things and heck care you type. The whole atmosphere inside was very chin chai like that. - Hiao Auntie


2. carbimazole left...
Friday, 29 June 2007 12:41 pm
Oops, I mean to say.... terrible these indonesian AIRLINES.... not terrible indonesians.... - hiao auntie


3. JayWalk left...
Friday, 29 June 2007 5:20 pm :: 
hiaoauntie: Here's the thing. Once the top heck care about safety issues, this type of nonchalant attitude will trickle down to all levels below.

27 June 2007

Relak One Corner II


This is Gabe and his favourite nook. For some strange reason, he always like to squeeze himself in between the cabinet and the aquarium.

Like his old man, also like to relak one corner one! LOL!

- Voxeros

1. Chocolate gal left...
Thursday, 28 June 2007 1:40 pm
Hahaha... he looked so serious...
*pinch pinch*


2. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 28 June 2007 6:08 pm :: 
Chocolate Gal: Not serious lah. Probably just captivated by the fishes.


3. akk left...
Thursday, 28 June 2007 10:35 pm
you're a Pop, ur son's a pop-in-between and your pop-ups are still present leh...


4. JayWalk left...
Friday, 29 June 2007 8:54 am :: 
Akk: What a mind-popping statement. I was reading it until my eyes popped!


5. aloe left...
Friday, 29 June 2007 9:36 am
what's that, that he is standing on? Maybe he wanna hide fr his Pop... LOL! or maybe he just finds a sense of security. :)


6. JayWalk left...
Friday, 29 June 2007 10:40 am :: 
aloe: That is the kids' play-mat that we roll up and keep when not in used.

I think he likes that corner for the feeling of cosy security.


7. yanzzz left...
Saturday, 30 June 2007 10:04 pm
strange ! why would u like to have a gap btw the cabinet n aquarium ? why ?


8. JayWalk left...
Sunday, 1 July 2007 11:11 am :: 
Yanzzz: So that I won't have a gap between the other side of the aquarium and the wall.

26 June 2007

Wikipedia

It all happened over lunch one day at the Grand Noble Hotel (they have the best pasta in the town of HuMen; unfortunately, they are the only place with decent pasta; fortunately, their pasta is very good; unfortunately, their service is very bad) where I was having a robust debate on the origins of chocolate or the cacao bean to be specific.

I insisted that it originated from Ethiopia while my opponent claimed Mexico. As it turned out, upon whipping out my phone's browser to get onto Wikipedia via GPRS, I realised I confused coffee bean with cacao bean, of which the former was indeed from Ethiopia.

When I got home later that evening, I fired up Wikipedia and started reading about cacao beans in greater depth. As anyone who has used Wikipedia would know, it transformed into a "one article after another" type of situation before one realised that it was already dead in the night as the clock above me had turned many rounds.

Akk: Do you know my favourite Bombay Sapphire gin and your favourite Grey Goose vodka are both under the house of Bacardi?

Next, I ventured into European history as I was currently watching all 9 seasons of 'Allo 'Allo!. I started reading about Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, the Sturmabteilung (SA), the Schutzstaffel (SS), the Gestapo, the Beer Hall Putsch and the Third Reich, just to name a few.

Having covered that, I moved onto Ch1nese history, starting from The 3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors (三皇五帝 2852 to 2205 BC) and currently at Spring and Autumn Period (春秋时代 722 to 481 BC).

Anyway, there has been concerns about over-reliance on Wikipedia as a source of facts as many article remained unverified. However, this is not really a concern to me as I find most of them to be fairly accurate.

Perhaps the key to the success of Wikipedia is that of its convenient to obtain instant access.

Go give it a try if you haven't already done so.

Image Credit: http://digital-lifestyles.info

- Voxeros

1. aloe left...
Tuesday, 26 June 2007 9:13 am
Wah... quite dry topics (to me). Unless, of course, you are interested in history. =) It was actually written in the unit outlines that you CANNOT use wiki as a source of reference. Sad sia. But really, I find it quite informative and very useful.


2. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 26 June 2007 9:35 am :: 
Aloe: I have always been interested in history as it will lead to explaining our own exisitence.

Anyway, it is getting fairly common for schools to ban Wikipedia as a credible reference. Quite rightly so given that, some of the topics are still ongoing, unverified work-in-progress.

Still, it is good enough for a recreational reader like me.


3. okiedokie left...
Wednesday, 27 June 2007 4:35 pm
i like history too but i can't remember the facts very well; might mix them up when asked upon...
i keep thinking you spell 'cocoa' wrongly...not until i clicked the wiki link then i know the tree where cocoa comes from is called cacao tree, not cocoa tree...that's one new thing i learned today =)


4. JayWalk left...
Wednesday, 27 June 2007 6:13 pm :: 
Okiedokie: Me reading history is just for leisure only, one of those good-to-know though not need-to-know basis. Besides, it will give me more topics to talk about.


Cocoa or cacao? It is very confusing! I think cocoa is the seed in the pod of the cacao tree. Then again, I believe they are synonymous on the basis that perhaps one is the scientific latin name while the other is the common commercial name.


5. Gary left...
Wednesday, 27 June 2007 6:49 pm
can you imagine to my horror when my tutor ask us to check on the Great Depression on wiki.. even economics have to study history also.. pengz!!


6. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 28 June 2007 5:48 pm :: 
Gary: The lessons from the past, applies to the present will guarantee a future. The Great Depression was a very important time during our economic history as a civilisation. Definitely worth a read.


7. akk left...
Thursday, 28 June 2007 10:33 pm
heh....bacardi wha? *hic* incidentally, we are running out of lemons....heheheh...


8. JayWalk left...
Friday, 29 June 2007 8:53 am :: 
Akk: Then I guess you will have to add more Bacardi to replace the lemon shortfall. :P

Back From Retirement


24 Jun 2008 (Tuesday) was the day I stepped out of retirement from the competition circuit. However, before anybody thinks that this is some big-shot tournament, it is not. This is just a business/social circle tournament organised amongst ourselves. Granted we have scratch golfers amongst our rank but a scorecard in the 70s should be good enough to clinch the Gross Score Champion and a low 80s scorecard will get you the Nett Score Champion trophy easily.

Due to hectic work schedule, I missed 6 of 12 legs of the competition last season and so I thought if I am going to be so busy with work, why bother signing up and wasted the RMB 3500 entry fee? Also, I get hassled by the organisers each time I miss a leg. Yeah, these are very enthusiastic folks.

So anyway, here I am back out of retirement again as I kena pressured by my friend who is this season's Captain and so if I don't sign up, it means I don't give him face. Yeah, face is a very important thing to us Chinese folks. Sigh...

Anyway, there I was arriving on the dot to check-in at the register.

Bad omen #1. My name is not on the register. It's seems like they have struck me off and forgotten about me already.

When I got to the starter's office.

Bad omen #2. My main caddy was on leave and so I arranged for my back up caddy to carry my bags for that day only to find out that she didn't turn up for work that fateful day. Of all the days to go AWOL, why today??!!! God dammit!! You're fired!

I started off pretty strongly with a display of new flawless golf in the front 9 that put me easily in the Top10. Granted that we didn't have scoreboards to show real-time standings but experience told me that I am somewhere near the top.

Come the turnaround and everything starts to fall apart. Granted that I was able to recover from a few mistakes like a 190-yard green-in-regulation recovery shot after a dismal tee off, followed by a simple 2-putt to save par. That and an almost identical save from 180 yards for a fortunate bogey.

Look at the picture above and you won't believe me if I told you that it was taken on the day Typhoon FengShen came.

I was on the 15th hole when the sky suddenly turned dark and boy was it quick. The winds started howling from out of the blue and a look up into the sky and we could see a mass of dark clouds rushing in our direction like a speeding truck. It was a mad rush to whip out the rain cover to pull over our clubs and a mad speeding down the cart part towards the halfway house. The rain came in so fast, we were drenched before we even goto the shelter.

The rain drops came falling down fast and furious and it would have hurt like hell if you were to just stand there in the rain. That's how bad the rain was.

Then it was announced that the tournament was abandoned due to the bad weather while we waited for the rain to pass.

15 minutes later, the rain stopped and the organisers did a check on the grounds before making a u-turn decision to resume play. Apparently, that wasn't the typhoon but a mere preview of what's to come.

I finished the rest of the holes with 2 pars and 2 bogeys to finished with a so so 87. That puts me in 16th place out of a unusually small turnout of 56 participants.

Oh well, it doesn't really matter. I never took it seriously anyway, just an excuse for me to get out of the office to get some sun.

p.s. By the way, this season's trophy is unusually FUGLY. I think I'll give it a miss.

- Voxeros

1. spiller left...
Thursday, 26 June 2008 3:18 pm
look ma! it's Malaysian flag. (co-hosted by Malaysian?)
your backup caddy is a she? sui bo?


2. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 26 June 2008 3:23 pm :: 
spinner: The club was developed by the same people who are running the Pulai Springs Golf & Country Club. Can see Agung's name on the board of honorary members.

Primary caddy is guy. Backup caddy is girl. Not swee. Pui pui one.

25 June 2007

Zodiac

Zodiac was supposedly released in Singapore on 31 May 2007 but somehow I haven't heard anyone talk about it since.

I supposed given the flooding influx of Hollywood fare during the summer, the movies are all starting to look alike and perhaps it is no surprise if peope were to overlook this one.


However, one name caught my attention. No. It wasn't the obvious Robert Downey Jr. (Ally McBeal). Neither is it Mark Ruffalo (Just Like Heaven) nor Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain) nor Anthony Edwards (E.R.).

It's David Fincher. The director of my all-time favourite film, Se7en. Other films under his direction that you may be familiar with are Alien3, Fight Club and Panic Room.

Fincher is also known to be very involved in music videoes, having worked with famous names like Paula Abdul, George Michael, Sting, Aerosmith and Madonna.

Anyway, I have not seen the movie myself and as such unable to comment on it yet.

For what I have heard, this is going to be a very very fast-paced movie buckling you down to your seat all the way until the end of the movie.

Don't be surprised to find your feet asleep as you got so captivated by the plot that you have forgotten the rest of your body functions. Ok ok. Just kiddingly exaggerating there.

I should be catching the movie later this week. Will leave an after-note of what I thought of the movie here when I have seen it.

After Note: I managed to *cough* download *cough cough* a copy of the movie and has so far watched 15 minutes of it before I stopped. Thoughts thus far? Not as dramatic and violent as Se7en and certainly more subtle. I stopped due to the fact that the quality was quite bad and the 15 minutes was enough to convince me to stop not because it is not good but because this movie deserved to be watched proper. I shall get the DVD when it is released in the US on 24 Jul 2007. Perfect timing as I would be in the US during that time.

Overall, I think it is still good but I have a feeling that the good guys would win this time. Dang.

Image Credit: http://www.movieposter.com
- Voxeros

1. winter left...
Monday, 25 June 2007 1:08 am
i watched it and i think it was not as nice as i have expected it. there were certain parts which i felt the excitement factor was not enough. and the plot could have been more captivating. overall, i thought it was ok. but failed in my expectations of the movie before i watched it


2. JayWalk left...
Monday, 25 June 2007 7:13 am :: 
Winter: I agree that this film is not Fincher's best but despite that, it is still pretty good. I recommend that you catch Se7en and use it to compare with this one.

I believe Fincher to be a excellent director and this current Zodiac does not do him enough justice.


3. okiedokie left...
Wednesday, 27 June 2007 4:39 pm
se7en is a great show! twist-s till the very end! (if i remember the ending correctly...)


4. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 28 June 2007 5:59 pm :: 
Okiedokie: Indeed! Even right up to the ending (you know it's coming to an end already) but you still don't know how it is going to end. Classic!
 

22 June 2007

The Sentence of TT Durai

The fate of TT Durai has finally been sentenced on 21 Jun 2007 and Gary was right to assume that I would definitely have something to say about this. It has been slightly more than 18 months since KPMG released their investigative report and finally TT Durai now faces a sentence of 3 months on top of an S$4 million out-of-court settlement with the new NKF board.

My question: Is 3 months enough to fit the severity of the wrong doing?

Christopher Lee was sentenced to 6 weeks jail for a hit-and-run drunk driving case that resulted in serious injury of one pillion rider. The pillion rider has to have one of his toes amputated as a result.

TT Durai's misdeeds would surely have affected more than just 1 person, if not thousands of people. Charging patients a premium over drugs rather than passing on the savings, disbursing only 10 cents for every donor dollar to the patients, misappropriating of donor funds for personal benefits are just some of the wrongs that TT Durai has committed.

While there are no official data to support the number of deaths as a result, I won't be surprised if many lives were indirectly lost as a result of these wrong doings. I am sure if donor dollar goes to where it is supposed to go, savings passed on to the patients and more sensible use of the funds i.e. regular taps against gold plated ones, more lives would have been saved.

Yet, the sentence meted out was a mere 3 months? WTF? Where is the rotan?

The reason I brought up Christopher Lee's drink driving case was to serve as a comparison. Lee's 6 weeks vs Durai's 12. That hardly seems fair.

At first glance, one may say that either Lee's sentence is too heavy or Durai's sentence is too light. I chose the latter as I think 6 weeks in jail for drink driving and causing serious injury in a hit-and-run case is fair.

If it were up to me, I would have gunned for a 24-month prison sentence and 3 strokes of the cane, provided there is provision of this option (caning) until this category of the offense.

One may question if I were a tad too harsh but my response is to ask you to think of all the people who were affected and denied the money for treatment. As if, the patients' own medical condition is not a hardship in itself, this sort of corruption further enhances the suffering. Mind you, this would not only affect the patients individually but also their families, friends and loved ones.

To top it off, this is just the NKF charity. His actions not only crippled NKF's credibility but also that of the other charities. What we have now is the people of the land questioning every charity if their donations would indeed be use for the purpose that they were originally set out to do? This is a domino-effect. Directly affected are the kidney patients that are relying on NKF for support. Now other charities are affected which means even more people are going to suffer, now that funds raising performance would plummet in indirect proportion to the surge in the donor public's skepticism.

Now ask me again, if I were a tad too harsh?

However, where credit is deal, kudos to TT Durai for staying behind and face the music like a man, instead of doing a Richard Yong. Kudos to TT Durai for stepping forward and work towards a settlement with the new NKF board to return the money.

For that perhaps a discount to take off 2 strokes and 6 months?

p.s. Some people are still harping on his S$600,000.00 per annum "peanut" salary as being too excessive for a charity organisation. Personally, I do not see this amount as excessive. I think it is a fair amount for a position of a CEO managing a reserve of over S$250,000,000.00.

Still like the recent minister's pay hike saga, it would have been a much appreciated gesture if TT Durai had donated the excess portion of his salary back to charity, say NKF?


- Voxeros

1. lee hsien tau left...
Friday, 22 June 2007 2:22 pm :: http://chiam-see-tong.blogspot.com
You think 3 months not enough? How about this?

ST February 3, 2007 By Elena Chong

A former police officer was charged in court yesterday with 10 counts of corruption and two counts of cheating involving a total of about $12,000.

Ex-senior station inspector Ko Poh Koon, 48, whose services had been terminated in January 2005, allegedly accepted free dinner and entertainment from businessmen Joseph Teo Kee Lip and Albert Teo Teck Hee when he was with the Secret Societies Branch, Criminal Investigation Department.

This was allegedly in exchange for providing 'protection' to a Nigerian associate of the two Teos, and for help on police matters.

In September 2004, he allegedly lent Mr Albert Teo $20,000, but said it came from a friend. He told Mr Teo, 38, that the friend wanted $10,000 in interest and convinced him to hand over $5,000 as part payment. The following month, Ko is said to have lent Mr Albert Teo $5,000, but wanted $2,000 as interest.

Ko has applied for time to make representations to the Attorney-General's Chambers. He faces a fine of $100,000 or five years in jail or both for corruption. The penalty for cheating is up to seven years in jail and a fine.

Some people have connections. These people work within another law. They are privy to invisible dealings with the AG's.

TodayOnLine 14 April 2007 Leong Wee Keat weekeat@mediacorp.com.sg
 
A FORMER senior station inspector was fined $1,500 on Friday after he pleaded guilty to conducting himself in ways prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the police force.

Ko Poh Koon, a 27-year veteran of the force, accepted $2,000 worth of free dinner and entertainment from businessmen Albert Teo and Joseph Teo while he was attached to the Secret Societies Branch of the Criminal Investigation Department.

He was treated to dinner and nightclub entertainment between May and June 2004 for the "police protection" of the Teos' Nigerian business associates, and for help and information on police matters.

Originally charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Ko, 49, was given a reprieve when the charges were reduced, falling within the Police Force Act.

Under the latter, the maximum penalty he faced for each charge was a fine not exceeding $500 or three months' jail or both.

In Ko's mitigation plea on Friday, lawyer Shashi Nathan argued that Ko "never corruptly accepted any gratification" and never benefited financially. Ko also did not compromise his duties or position as a police officer, nor caused any harm or detriment to police investigators.

Ko had joined the police force in 1976 before he retired in 2003. He was later re-employed by the force, and his services were terminated in January 2005.


2. JayWalk left...
Friday, 22 June 2007 4:11 pm :: 
hsien tau: Welcome to the blog. I'm aware of this Ko Poh Koon case too but the way I see it, the damage done as a result of the corruption has a small locus. It affects only a handful of people. I am likely to be less lenient against Durai for the harm he has done extends to a LOT of innocent people.


3. Gary left...
Friday, 22 June 2007 10:47 pm
The period Durai start to use donor's money is when the Richard Yong step on board.. no meh?? at least before that, Durai did contribute back to society.. lucky Durai got a conscience to return the money..


4. JayWalk left...
Friday, 22 June 2007 11:23 pm :: 
Gary: Durai's contribution has not gone unnoticed. However, the good that he did was in no way anywhere the harm that he has done. Not by a long shot.

On one hand, it may look like Durai is a straight up guy who stayed behind and face the court of law. On the flip side, it may be the fact that Richard Yong beat him to the Houdini act that he was not able to run away?


5. lee hsien tau left...
Tuesday, 10 July 2007 4:54 pm :: http://chiam-see-tong.blogspot.com
With this Ko Poh Koon guy, it's personal.

The way you put it, brother, one day I'll bet you'd be saying the sentence for LKY et el not enough. It's not an atom bomb unless it's an atom bomb? It just doesn't sound right. Humurabi (probably spelt wrong) said: An arm for an arm, a leg for a leg. I'm all for that.


6. JayWalk left...
Wednesday, 11 July 2007 11:22 am :: 
hsien tau: Personal as in your have something to do with the case?

"Sentence for LKY"? What would that be?

"It's not an atom bomb, unless it is an atom bomb." - Logical isn't it?

"Arm for an arm" is the same as the "Eye for an eye. Tooth for a tooth." Well, let's hope TT Durai get kidney disease and we give him shoddy treatment lor.


7. lee hsien tau left...
Thursday, 12 July 2007 12:26 pm :: http://plusminus48degreeswobble.blogspot
He conjured up 13 charges against me, sent me to IMH for observation on the behest of the complainants. The asshole was once my I/O. Click the link.


8. JayWalk left...
Friday, 13 July 2007 10:45 am :: 
Hsien Tau: Wow. That's quite a handful you have on your plate right now. I bid you good luck.

21 June 2007

Tunnels - Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams


Ok, so we all know that JK Rowling's final Harry Potter book is due out anytime now.

For those who are wondering if there is life after Harry, the good news is there is.

Barry Cunningham will be publishing Tunnels (originally named The Highfield Mole) in the US and UK next month.

Barry who?

Barry Cunningham was the man who famously signed up JK Rowling for her Harry Potter series while he was with Bloomsbury.

In other words, Tunnels shall be the next Harry Potter.
The original book, The Highfield Mole, was initally a self-funded book and was published into obscurity. However, ever since the announcement that the book will be published by Cunningham, first editions of the book has since skyrocketed.

A quick check with Amazon and Abebooks. showed that the original signed hardcover can now fetch anywhere from USD 500.00 and even over USD 5000.00 if it were a "Remarque" edition (There are only 80 individually numbered copies of it in the world)!
For the rest of us, the soon-to-be released paperback is expected to sell at around USD 10.00 and I supposed it will be a bit more in Singapore, taking into consideration shipping charges and GST.

Watch for it on your local bookshelves.

- Voxeros

20 June 2007

Goodbye Compact Disc

I just finished* ripping the last of my compact discs and converting them into MP3s. A project that took me over a year to finish, granted that I had been doing it at a leisurely pace.

The headache to that was wondering how to dispose of the 2 big boxes full of CDs? It seemed like a waste to just chuck them into the garbage bin. Fortunately, I managed to find a cafe owner friend who would gladly take them off my hands. I'd bet all my jazz and moods CDs will bring him better business and elevate his cafe's status in a Spitland where the only music we hear are the "mm tzz mm tzz diu diu diu diu" techno trance tunes.

 It seemed only yesterday when I was lugging my entire CD collection over to Spitland to keep me company. I remembered how I had to get rid of the CD jewel cases, flat-pack the CD cover sheets and get one of those CD-R tubs to store all the discs. Upon reaching Spitland, buy the jewel cases locally and "reassemble" the CDs.

I didn't have an MP3 player in the early days until I got the 6GB Creative Jukebox which at that time was still in adequate to house all the songs under one roof. I only embarked on this project when I got the 60Gb iPod video and the rest they say is history.

Anyway, as at now, I have 4,068* songs (17.7 days) occupying a total space of 15.6Gb with backups on the iPod itself as well on another PC.

It looks fairly unlikely that I will be add more songs to the collection coz for one, I have no place to buy CD here in Spitland. Perhaps the occasion spree in Hong Kong or back home but otherwise, this is very much it.

* While I think I have all my CDs up here in Spitland, I have a nagging feeling that there may still be a few residual discs left behind in Singapore. Reminder to self: Bring up the rest of the CDs during my next trip, if any. 

Image Credit: http://www.smidigt.se

- Voxeros

1. Jaslyn left...
Thursday, 21 June 2007 1:06 am :: http://precious-jas.blogspot.com
I can send you mp3... hahaha... Oops.. I mean, MP3ssssssssssssssssssssssssss


2. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 21 June 2007 8:57 am :: 
Jaslyn: Thanks for the offer but I doubt if our tastes in music are the same. Yes? No?


3. Jaslyn left...
Thursday, 21 June 2007 9:31 am :: http://precious-jas.blogspot.com
Hmmm... Might have some... :)


4. carbimazole left...
Thursday, 21 June 2007 10:15 pm
i am absolutely jealous!!!! you have such a large collection of jazz cds!!!! that cafe tan tio... i would love to collect more cds but they are expensive and my pocket is not bottomless....


5. carbimazole left...
Thursday, 21 June 2007 10:17 pm
oops, carbimazole is me, hiao auntie


6. JayWalk left...
Friday, 22 June 2007 7:58 am :: 
Peanut Girl: Yes I am aware that is you. The CD was accumulated over the years since the late 80s. In a way, I have stopped buying CD since there is nowhere to buy them in the first place. So it isn't a bottomless pit after all.


7. Zhe Bin left...
Sunday, 24 June 2007 9:08 pm
There never sell CD one meh. Got, but all pirated one is it? Or they only got Cheena songs?


8. JayWalk left...
Monday, 25 June 2007 12:14 am :: 
Zhebin: I listen to English songs only and over there, they are quite behind as far as keeping current with the billboard charts.


9. barffie left...
Saturday, 30 June 2007 10:49 pm
Eh I don't mind the CDs. *grin*


10. JayWalk left...
Sunday, 1 July 2007 11:10 am :: 
Barffie: I'm afraid you are a tad too late coz I "donated" them to the cafe already. Besides, they are all in Spitland. I doubt if I want to lug them back to SG.

19 June 2007

Caddie 666


Caddies are compulsory in Spitland golf courses as opposed to Singapore, Malaysia and USA where caddies are optional.

To most guests, caddies are assigned to them at random. As for the regular members like us, we have our regular caddies to serve us, if we like, for an additional nominal fee.

The advantage of a regular caddie is that he/she would know your game pretty well after several rounds together. It makes clubs selection, lie reading, green reading, etc so much easier and more convenient.

Besides, a random caddie can be a hit-or-miss affair. There are times you get a very competent one while other times you get duds that would make you blow a few blood vessels along the way.

Engaging a regular caddie eliminates this risk as they have already been qualified by you.

My caddie has been with me coming to 3 years already. She was new when she started and I taught her everything I know. I tend to go for "fresh" caddies as it is easier to train them given that they don't have to unlearn all the bad habits that they pick up along the way.

My dad is the complete opposite. He prefers the super old birds who knows the golf course inside and out. Where each blade of grass is and what direction they are growing. That way, he can leave all the thinking to the caddie who would simply tell him where to play the next shot, what direction is the wind, what hazards to look out for and with which club.

Anyway long story short. Dad's caddie retired and he had to find a replacement. Since we are aware of my dad's "Lao Jiao" requirement, my caddie recommended her friend of 6 years experience. When she showed up, I let out a snigger much to the bafflement of everybody.

Her number.

666.
 
Caddie from Hell !! buahahahaahaha.....

Anyway, dad wasn't too happy with her performance and so the search continues...

- Voxeros

1. aloe left...
Tuesday, 19 June 2007 5:31 pm
heng he never ask u to share caddie or take your caddie away! =P


2. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 19 June 2007 7:23 pm :: 
Aloe: If he wants, it's ok. I have 4 backup caddies. Otherwise, I can always find another newbie and train all over again.

18 June 2007

The Magic Number 71

So I was at a golf tournament last Friday which ended badly for me as I found myself ranked 71st out of 100 participants.

I was mentally defeated at the first tee even before I hit my first ball. There I was, at my turn, taking a couple of first practice swings when I noticed something amiss. The shaft was black in colour instead of silver.

Shit.

I brought the wrong driver along and I didn't even notice that within I was about to tee off. Hong kah! I flipped the driver over to see the markings underneath the club head. My fear was confirmed as  the words "Taylor-Made R580" stared right back at me. F*ck. That's my old driver as I am playing with the R540 XD now.

I carded a 52 for the Front 9 before I decided to ditch the wrong driver entirely and tee off with a 5-Wood instead. 45 for the Back 9 as I fought back valiantly and barely scraped under the dreaded 100.

Well, with all chances of winning anything going up in smokes (you need to be in the Top 20 for this particular tournament; usually it's Top 10 placings only), I didn't bother to check my scores and placing at the prize presentation dinner where they displayed the results on powerpoint.

I was at the table with friends drowning our sorrows with beer (we all pretty much sucked big time) when I heard my name being called out.

Ahh... the lucky draw for the losers non-winners in order to get them to show up for the prize presentation dinner. Thinking that it was just another consolatory shaver or hairdryer, I took my time walking up to the stage. I guesed everybody waited for me to leisurely stroll up and it didn't help that I was walking all the way from the back where the rowdier people are. As I walked, I vaguely heard (lousy sound system) something about "'Mario Brothers'" will cause 'machine' to hang" and I was wondering what the MC was babbling about.

My jaw dropped when I got up to the stage where a big bag was waiting for me. I was telling myself, this bag is definitely way too big for a bladdy shaver (ever wonder if it is not a Braun, then it would be a Philips?).

I peeked into the bag and the 3 magic letters was glowing on the surface of the white box.



I friggin' won a Wii! What dumb arse luck! The number called out was 71 (i.e. my tournament placing) which by the way, was how they assign lucky draw numbers.

Hah! I bet those folks would have loved to take my place instead of finishing in the Top 20.

Golf is a strange game. Really.

p.s. Another tournament next Thursday. Jay needs to win a plasma TV to go with the Wii.
p.p.s. My thanks to Qiaoyun and The Goonfather for the Jap-Eng translation of the Wii Manual
p.p.p.s. For those who got the Japanese version of the Wii, take note of the voltage of the power adaptor. The one I got inside the box is 110v (Spitland is 220v). Be sure to get one with the right voltage rating that corresponds to your local voltage rating.

Image Credit: http://image.com.com; http://gamasutra.com

- Voxeros

1. nadnut left...
Monday, 18 June 2007 4:41 pm :: http://nadnut.liquidblade.com
wah lao. so lucky. i want!


2. KingMeng left...
Monday, 18 June 2007 6:14 pm :: http://kingmeng.liquidblade.com
Liew...Lucky u! :D


3. Gary left...
Monday, 18 June 2007 7:03 pm
either this Wii is coming back to Sg as a surprise gift for your two kids.. or it will stay in China to keep you destress..


4. aloe left...
Tuesday, 19 June 2007 9:14 am :: http://www.xanga.com/aloeve
please bring back and pass over to us. good things must SHARE! LOL!


5. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 19 June 2007 2:25 pm :: 
nadnut: Come Spitland and enter tournament lor. Doesn't matter if you don't play well. It's the lucky draw that counts, right?

KingMeng: Yeah, baby!!

Gary: Definitely staying with me. Kids too young to know how to play Wii. So no point following them back.

Aloe: Then what you sharing with me in return?


6. callandor left...
Tuesday, 19 June 2007 6:27 pm
Liew. gimme. plz. wink.


7. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 19 June 2007 7:21 pm :: 
Callandor: Er........ NOPE! :P


8. Qiaoyun left...
Tuesday, 19 June 2007 9:38 pm :: http://www.sheylara.com
Wahahaha! Dumb arse luck, indeed! Man, that's a huge prize to win. Grats!!!! If I didn't already have a Wii, I'd be damn jealous! Hehe! :P


9. Ruok left...
Tuesday, 19 June 2007 9:43 pm
Dun play with ur wii wii too often hor, not healthy.


10. JayWalk left...
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 7:40 am :: 
Qiaoyun: Yeah. Thanks for the Jap-Eng translation on the operation manual. Very very useful!

RUOK: Yah.... especially when you will end up with one arm bigger than the other at the end of the day.


11. Kelly left...
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 2:10 pm :: http://kellchan.blogspot.com/
I want a Wii too!
I need all that action!


12. JayWalk left...
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 3:51 pm :: 
Kelly: Oi Eddy!! Where are you?? Your woman want some action. Pronto!


13. Eddy left...
Thursday, 21 June 2007 1:57 pm
Haha, I have to come out of retirement when I saw this.
I also want Wii action!!!


14. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 21 June 2007 4:20 pm :: 
Eddy & Kelly: Eddy, meet Kelly. Kelly, meet Eddy.

15 June 2007

Blogdrive, Wordpress, Xanga, etc.


Images Source: sploosh37

As I have mentioned before, one of the bummers of being in Spitland is that you have many websites blocked by the Spitland Internet Gestapos (SIG). To the rest of the world it is known otherwise as the Great F1rewa11 of Ch1na (GFW).

All traffic in and out of Spitland go through Shangha1 where data packets are sniffed and sieved. Keywords that the SIG deemed questionable are red flagged by the bots and may ultimately trace back to the parties involved.

Now for me, I am neither dangerous nor politically motivated (Spitland-wise) and so I feel that it is wise for me to stay under the radar and not court any trouble. Hence the weird spelling of certain words in my entries or coined a totally new phrase altogether.

I have tried poking holes in the wall for years and with sporadic success. I had a server in Singapore redirecting traffic for me but the down side to it is that it can't display images properly. At that time, where it was the best I could do, I tell myself that it was better than nothing.

It was a cat-and-mouse game where the SIG would eventually catch up and lock it down. The recent C0DeeN proxies by Planetlab was starting to deteriorate and I suspect that it is slowly being compromised. Ps1ph0n didn't do any better. It didn't even have a chance to get off the ground.
For those, who are on Wordpress, Blogdrive and Xanga, you would have realised that I stopped commenting for quite some time. My previous proxy solution was through C0DeeN and in recent weeks, it no long able to let me submit comments on Blogdrive and Wordpress. Xanga was worse, totally unable to access. I had to read it via integrators like Bloglines.

Anyway, as I was looking for a solution to get back my Flickr!, I chanced upon this proxy solution called T0R. I downloaded it, installed it and it worked! Hallelujah!

I am back, baby!!

- Voxeros

1. Zhe Bin left...
Sunday, 17 June 2007 12:45 pm
Haha I like the hole in the wall pic.


2. JayWalk left...
Monday, 18 June 2007 10:31 pm :: 
ZheBin: Well, the picture more or less sums up exactly what I was trying to say anyway.


3. lancerlord left...
Saturday, 23 June 2007 4:51 pm :: http://lancerlord.blogspot.com
Heh heh, there are always ways to get around things. Whether you chance upon them is another thing. But do internet search, sure can find all these useful apps.


4. JayWalk left...
Saturday, 23 June 2007 6:15 pm :: 
lancerlord: I can't agree more. I have tried so many different ways to get around. Some successful, some not. You are right that it is all about where to look for these solutions. The internet is big and too big if I may add, ending up like a needle in a haystack search.
 

14 June 2007

Connie Talbot



Got this YouTube clip from mrbrown and he was saying how the singing made him teared. Initially, I thought he was being drama mama about it until I watched the clip for myself.

Aiyoh..... really can cry (well... almost) and I don't mean it in the negative sense.

I was also amazed that despite her chwee kee lao hong, she still able to sing so well.

Mark my words, we will definitely be hearing her in the future.

It was by far the most beautiful singing I have ever heard. For the first time, I was actually moved by someone's singing.

In a nutshell, I was blown away.


- Voxeros

1. Pam left...
Thursday, 14 June 2007 7:25 pm
thank you for putting this up - I'd just missed it by a minute because we got home late on Monday. She's fab. I teared. on the other hand, you should see the others.......! makes one cringe....:)


2. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 14 June 2007 8:21 pm :: 
Pam: You are most welcome. Good thing must share share mah..... :)


3. carbimazole left...
Thursday, 14 June 2007 9:35 pm
such an angelic voice...
¬hiaoauntie¬


4. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 14 June 2007 11:30 pm :: 
hiaoauntie: Indeed. Her singing for so fabulous that the song felt like it came to life. I could feel the emotions. It got me listening with both my ears and my heart. Unbelievable.


5. Jaslyn left...
Friday, 15 June 2007 3:06 am :: http://precious-jas.blogspot.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lF0JgbC2IxE - watch this :)


6. JayWalk left...
Friday, 15 June 2007 7:56 am :: 
Jaslyn: Quite good too but I would still put Paul in second place albeit a close second.


7. Pam left...
Friday, 15 June 2007 4:01 pm
Paul Potts (the previous link) is fantastic. He sang 'time to say goodbye' last night and got into the finals (and made half the audience cry).


8. JayWalk left...
Monday, 18 June 2007 11:33 am :: 
Pam: Here's the secret. We are all suckers for the "underdog". An ordinary looking person with an ordinary job, leading an ordinary life. Isn't that what we are all going through now? We are able to relate to Paul Potts and it is this endearing factor that made him popular.

Where credit is due. Yes. He is good. It looked even a bigger victory if one has to start the race a few rungs behind.

We are definitely going to be more impressed with a student from Boon Lay Secondary Normal Steam achieving 10 A1s in the O-Levels than an RGS girl pulling the same results.

In a way, we are him and we are all trying to live out this fantasy of catching the "BIG BREAK" through him.

Paul Potts not only brought us opera. He brought us hope as well.


9. slurp! left...
Monday, 18 June 2007 11:45 pm :: http://slurplog.blogsome.com
imho, i think Connie Talbot surprised many as nobody expects a child to sing with such emotion. However, a child is still a child, nevertheless she shows great potential!! proper nurturing could turn her to another Charlotte Church or Hayley Westenra?

Paul Potts vocal power is awesome & he sang with such deep emotion.


10. aloe left...
Tuesday, 19 June 2007 9:20 am :: http://www.xanga.com/aloeve
your link brought me to the one for "Am3rica g0t Ta1ent" and the winner is an 11year old gal who sang too maturedly for my taste. However, these competitions do seem to show that quite a number of kids can dance (re: breakdancing kid) or sing very well! I just wonder if it's natural and if it's really their interest, or they are trained to do all these by their families...


11. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 19 June 2007 3:30 pm :: 
Slurp: I saw Connie Talbot again in the semi-finals as well as the finals and I felt that she didn't do as well. It no longer matter by then as the audience were already hooked, line and sinker.

Paul Potts, on the other hand, seemed to have gone from strength to strength while Connie Talbot's chest of secret weapons have more or less run out already.

I am switching my vote to Paul Potts.

Aloe: I guess one of the appealing factor of Connie Talbot was the purity of her innocence. A rarity in this day and age.


12. Pam left...
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 11:04 pm
well, you can be cynical, analytical, whatever... (in your old dotage, I give you that!! :))... but Paul was very good. And we were very impressed. We would buy his CD if he releases one.


13. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 21 June 2007 8:49 am :: 
Pam: Old dotage your head lah!! *bish*

Like I said in my later comment, I felt that Paul Potts deserves to win more than Connie Talbot for the fact that the latter wasn't able to raise her game to the next level whereas Paul Potts has gone from strength to strength as he advanced.


14. Pelicanbrief76 left...
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 9:56 pm
The first time i saw connie singing at BGT by accidentally surfing at youtube, i'm really amazed the way she delivered the song. Definitely she's the next best thing in the music industry.


15. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 13 September 2007 9:49 am :: 
Pelican: I just hope that her parents nurture her talent properly and not see her as a money tree. Btw, BGT winner Paul Potts recently came down to HK to promote his debut album.


16. charlie3 left...
Saturday, 3 November 2007 3:27 am
Connie got a record deal. There a new video on youtube of her singing in the studio. Go to myspace.com and search on connie talbot and there are 4 tracks from the album there. "I will always love you" the Whitney Houston song is my favorite of the bunch.


17. JayWalk left...
Saturday, 3 November 2007 4:18 pm :: 
Charlie3: Welcome to the blog and thanks for the update. I hope that Connie's parents will not let fame and greed get to their heads and fail to nurture this little girl properly. She has a great future ahead of her. Let's hope that this talent don't go to waste as a result of bad handling.

We have had too many cases of child celebrities growing up all haywired.

13 June 2007

No. 169 Chung King North Road Section 3

 

Ok, I am still flying blind with this Flickr thing but strangely I am able to view the pictures if I use my mobile phone's browser via GPRS. Arrghhh... this is super frustrating!

Give me back my Flickr, you bladdy Spitland Internet Gestapo!

Anyway, if you recall my earlier entry where I mentioned that I nicked two items from my Grandpa's house during his funeral, one of which being the thermometer, which after verification from my cousin, is confirmed to be more than 50 years old.

Well, the other item was this metal plate that was supposed to be pasted on our front door for postal identification. We own the four floors where 1st Floor was rented out as shop space. 2nd floor was where my grandparents sleeps as well as a living room plus a home office. 3rd floor is where the rest of us sleeps cum dining room and kitchen. 4th floor is an empty space with an praying altar and a ping pong table. Because of the vast space on that floor, it naturally became our default play area. Above the 4th floor is the roof top were we hang our washings to dry. Since all the buildings were connected, we were able to climb over to the next building from the roof top.

There were a lot of memories when I returned to the house during my Grandpa's passing. I can still see the stickers that were pasted, when we were kids, all over the book cabinet as well as the rubber DaTung American Football Doll coin bank.

All these reminiscing got me map googling the house and here they are below (Click to enlarge).


No. 169 Chung King North Road Section 3 - Satellite



No. 169 Chung King North Road Section 3 - Map


I am not exactly sure of the location of the house from the satellite photos as I suspect it could also be the house diagonally opposite.

I wonder if my cousins can verify this?

- Voxeros

1. ianrush left...
Sunday, 17 June 2007 9:04 am
to be honest, i'm not 100% sure myself. can you re-direct me to the original map? need to enlarge the map to take a closer look. : )


2. Everton left...
Sunday, 17 June 2007 10:46 pm
The satellite photo missed the location by one block. It should be the block situated on the corner of the intersection between Chung King North Rd and Ming Chu West Rd.


3. JayWalk left...
Monday, 18 June 2007 11:23 am :: 
ianrush: Just go to maps.google.com and type in Chung King North Road in traditional ch1nese characters.

everton: I think you are looking at the wrong arrow. You should not be looking at the arrow pointed by the white dialogue bubble. Instead, you should look at the arrow of the yellow peg.

I am aware that our house is at the junction between Chung King North Road Section 3 and Ming Chu West Road. But diagonally across from the yellow peg is also considered at the junction. So which side are we?

12 June 2007

Got Flickr! Back


It wasn't because the Spitland Internet Gestapo (SIG) has release Flickr! back into the open but rather of the fact that I found a Firefox addon that could get around this block.

For guys with similar problem, here is the Firefox addon at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4286. It was developed by an Iranian as Flickr was blocked there. Fortunately, the nature of the block over here in Spitland as well as other tightly controlled countries like Saudi Arabia is similar and as such this addon works over here.

Score one for Firefox over Microsoft Internet Explorer. However, that would mean that I would also have to revert back to Firefox from Sea Monkey as my default browser. What that means is that I may end up with the CPU leak problem on Firefox (which would require frequent Firefox restarts) but I think it is a small price to pay to get back my Flickr!.

Anyway, my suspicion was confirmed as to what caused the suddenly locked down of the site. Apparently, the pictures (that people were uploading to Flickr!) covering the pr0test in X1amen over the building of the P.X. plant earlier in the month triggered the lock down by the SIG.

For those outside of Spitland, check this out. http://flickr.com/search/?w=all&q=xiamen+px&m=text.

G1oba1 Voices has also covered this Flickr! disapperance act. Read it at http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2007/06/07/china-flickr-filtered/
 
- Voxeros

1. lancerlord left...
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 7:58 pm :: http://lancerlord.blogspot.com
You try searching the net. Many tips to improve the memory leak problem in FF.
I feel the latest Firefox seemed to be able to tahan the leaky problem better. Still memory sucking but not as intense as before.


2. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 14 June 2007 9:30 am :: 
Lancerlord: I am refering to CPU leak where Firefox can suck up to as much as 97% of your CPU resources rendering your entire PC/Laptop to a crawl. No problems with memory leak as 230 mb of ram allocated to Firefox alone is a common fare given that I have many tabs opened concurrently.

Speaking of which, I have 10 tabs opened right now as I am typing.


3. lancerlord left...
Monday, 18 June 2007 10:48 pm :: http://lancerlord.blogspot.com
97% means can pack bag, go home liao. Everything will be like standstill. Pek chek. :)


4. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 19 June 2007 3:33 pm :: 
Lancerlord: Well, it happened again last night when I realised my laptop was taking its own bladdy sweet time to recover from Standby Mode.

Task manager indicated the Firefox was again sucking up to 97% of the CPU resource which prompted me to forced shut down to kill the process.

08 June 2007

SpitLand Screws Flickr


This started yesterday when my Flickr images started to disappear. I did the usual troubleshooting steps like clearing the cache, check firewall settings, check if browser is blocking image loading from Flickr. I even tried different browsers, proxies but to no avail. A check with friends in Malaysia and Singapore, both sides reported nothing amiss. I went home and tried to access from my home computer and alas same problem with that in the office.

I can only conclude that the Spitland gahmen is locking down the images even though I can access Flickr. Just not the images.

So essentially right now, I am flying blind. Like a blind-folded Shogun killing all the ninja assassins in the room. Use the Force, Luke! Ok ok... iDrama.

It got me thinking why the sudden lock down. Usually lock down occurs when there is something big happening like last year's Nat10nal Pe0p1e's C0ngr3ss AGM. Then it dawned on me. We just recently passed the anniversary of a certain event where troops and tanks were deployed in a certain Square to quash civilian protestors. Perhaps this embargo is to prevent circulation of photos?

Anyway, everything is just speculation on my part.

Hopefully, everything will be back to normal in a couple of days.

p.s. My internet at home is down since last night though I suspect that it is mere coincidence.

- Voxeros

06 June 2007

Beginner Golf


Was in the SPUG forum where there was a thread on golf. I offered some tips for beginners and I thought it would be useful for readers here who are beginners.

Anyway, the post was written off the cuff and as such may have some inaccuracies. Nevertheless, I still think it is fairly accurate and as best as I know.

Enjoy.



If you want to get up to speed in the fastest possible time, you need to hit the green fast. However, in order to do that, you need to get at least a Proficiency Certificate (PC) or a handicap of 24 or lower.

I think 10 lessons is a good number. However, if you wanna get the most out of it, here's where I recommend:

1) Stretch out your lessons. Get in 2 driving range sessions of your own in between each lesson. e.g. Mon and Wed and if your lesson is every Friday. If, like many for work reasons, you are not able to commit to such a hectic schedule or if you are not in a hurry to get up to speed, book your lessons further apart. It is a real waste of money if you have to use your lesson time to do your own range practice.

Another thing you can do is arrive 1 hour earlier than your scheduled lesson. Drive a bucket of balls or two. That would get you suitably warmed up before your lesson as well. After your lesson, drive another bucket to go through what you have learned.

2) Next, is to get your PC which is relatively easy. You should be familiar with etiquette by now. Dress appropriately for the test and that include golf shoes. Give a good impression and all the more easier to pass.

3) First time on the green is like a virgin. It is going to get messy. You will realised that the fairways is nothing like the range. The ball doesn't sit nicely on top of the grass and more often than not, neither are you standing on perfectly level ground. Also, unlike range where you have 100 balls to get that one stroke right, you get only that one chance to get the ball out.

Don't worry if your score end up a big number, you lost count. We all did.

4) Stupid things are bound to happen. Air balls. Clubs fly further than the ball. Clubs fly into water. Balls end up behind you instead of ahead, etc. Don't worry about it. We have all done it. Sure your friends will be laughing at you. That's only because they are forwarding the favour. Next time, you will have your own newbies to laugh at. Fret not.

5) Submit your score cards whenever you play. Don't worry if you lost count. Do your best. Otherwise, just put down the hole as a 10*.

* By right, you are not supposed to do that as you have a duty to report an accurate score. But what you going to do if you really lost count? Anyway, if you can play a hole of more than 10, your total score would probably be screwed and invalid for handicap calculation anyway. See point 6.

6) Score card will only be valid for handicap calculation if it is under 35 handicap i.e 107. Submit 10 (18 holes or 20 9-holes game) of the sub-107 score and you should be eligible for your handicap test.

7) Don't be nervous during the test. You don't have to play exceptionally well to pass. Club captains or management committee members or club pros will play a courtesy round with you and will be observing your etiquette, your knowledge of the rules as well as your knowledge of scoring. Where to apply what penalty etc. As long as you don't play a super disastrous round that would remind them of Mr Bean. You should be ok.

8) There are only 2 outcomes to the test. Either you fail or you pass. If you pass, they will normally start you off with a handicap of 24. Some people are known to start off lower but those are usually refresher candidates i.e. they haven't been playing for a while and their handicap lapsed.

For some clubs like Warren Golf & Country Club, they have a in-between status. It is for those who didn't play too badly but not good enough to get a 24 handicap. These folks will get a handicap of 25. The significance of the 25 handicapper is that they are not allowed to play during prime time i.e. weekends (like a PC holder) but they no longer need to take another handicap test. All they need to do is to start submitting cards for the games that they play and as they improve, their handicap will be adjusted to 24 and below subsequently.

9) You need to actively submit your cards in order to maintain your handicap. Otherwise, usually after 1 year of inactivity, your handicap will lapse and you may have to retake the handicap test. See point 8 with respect to refresher candidates.

10) In most cases in Singapore, White tees are for men with handicaps more than 18. Blue tees are for men of handicap 18 and under. In Ch1na. Blue tees are for men 65 years old and below. White tees are for the older folks and women who beat you in arm wrestling.


Image Credit: http://www.rocklandgolfcourse.com

- Voxeros

1. nadnut left...
Wednesday, 6 June 2007 10:21 pm :: http://nadnut.liquidblade.com
i played minigolf once and got thrashed like mad. sad sia.


2. hitomi left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 10:39 am
I gotta find time for golf lessons. din manage to go for PC test that time. :-(


3. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 1:08 pm :: 
nadnut: Nairmind. Come back I give you tuition on putting.

hitomi: If you can find a kaki, then easier to find time.


4. nadnut left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 1:12 pm :: http://nadnut.liquidblade.com
im beyond hope.


5. ihawk98 left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 3:22 pm
No need PC or handicap 24 to play in some countries leh.


6. hitomi left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 5:23 pm
kelawar says he interested but i think he needs to find his clubs first. i need to custom make a putter. my set too short. any recommendations?


7. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 6:16 pm :: 
nadnut: I doubt it. My methods of teaching putting has been proven. A lot of my friends can vouch for it. Don't give up hope yet.


ihawk98: Well, since most readers are in Singapore. I speak from a Singaporean context. Even places in Malaysia and our neighbouring Indon islands need a valid handicap but it is more of a "by right vs by left" situation.

hitomi: Don't waste your money on custom made clubs. Your level is not high enough to reap the benefits that custom made clubs have to offer. Save your money. I would recommend Odyssey mallets for you. Rossie II has always been a favourite of mine. I still using it today. Serving me faithfully since 1996. You should however, keep a lookout for a longer shaft like 36" or 37". Most are 34" to 35". I can keep a lookout for you when I go US in July. Interested?


8. hitomi left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 11:08 pm
My Mizuno clubs came in a set mah.. will it be too much of a trouble for u? s'pore cannot get a suitable one? i scared u bring all the way back the length not right again... the one i have gave me backaches cos i had to bend down so much. my instructor said it's the wrong length.


9. JayWalk left...
Friday, 8 June 2007 9:19 am :: 
hitomi: Tell you what. Why do you go back and check your putter. Measure from heel to end of the handle, then tell me how long is it. What putter you using by the way. Assuming you bought the complete set, Mizuno what model?

If have time when I come back next, I organise a driving range outing for us. Free tuition! :)


10. hitomi left...
Friday, 8 June 2007 2:55 pm
ok, will go back and check. thanks in advance! warning: i beri chialak one hor, long time since i last touched my clubs. :-P


11. JayWalk left...
Friday, 8 June 2007 4:14 pm :: 
hitomi: Don't worry about being jialat. I have seen them all and I was one myself too. I am teaching 4 people right now even as we speak.


12. hitomi left...
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 9:41 am
i mms u pic of my putter - did u receive? it's mizuno opti. forgot to measure length tho'. :-P


13. JayWalk left...
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 4:57 pm :: 
hitomi: No. I switched off MMS feature since I hardly use it and I get more spam than actual MMS messages from friends.

Email me instead, please.


14. hitomi left...
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 5:54 pm
ok lor...

05 June 2007

Farewell To The Frequent Flyer Program

I was planning my next US trip again when I did the usual rounds of making phone calls and getting quotations. My first stop would invariably be Northwest Airlines. I have been flying with them for the last 6 years and rightly so for a very good reason.

They give the best value of money but only if you navigate strategically and strike that optimal balance between cash and frequent flyer points.

If you are looking at a straight forward economy return ticket to the US. Northwest Airlines' discounted economy fare (around HKD 4,000) has consistently been the most competitive. However, the same cannot be said the same for Business class fare (around HKD 34,000). I am at the point where my travel budget allows me to be somewhere in between i.e. Full Fare Economy (around HKD 12,000).

One may ask if discounted economy is so cheap (less then half of full fare economy at times), why bother with full fare economy? The answer is simple. Only with full fare economy am I allowed to use my frequent flyer points to upgrade to business class. Full fare economy is around half of a full fare business. In other words, I can get a business class seat at half price (+60,000 points). Pretty good value for money if you ask me.

I have never had trouble getting the points for NWA has always been rather generous with the points. The 125% bonus for Platinum Elite is just additional cherry on top.

However, there is a catch to this. Upgrades are subjected to availability i.e. I may pay full fare economy and still end up in economy. It is quite a bit of a gamble in the sense that you won't know if there are available upgrade seat up to the day of the departure itself. You need to buy a full fare economy ticket and then hope for the best.

In a way, there is a pecking order as to who gets the remaining business class seats. After all the fare paying business class seats are taken, the balance are then made available to the various upgrade passengers. Within the upgrade passengers, we are ranked by our elite member status so as to determine who would be the lucky passenger to get the last available upgrade seat. I would say with the Platinum membership, I tend to get quite far ahead in the waiting list. However, when the planets are aligned, die die no upgrade seats means no upgrade seats and one would be better off just getting the discounted economy fare. Sadly the enlightenment is always the result of a 20-20 hindsight.

In the beginning, I almost have no trouble getting my upgrades but in the past 2 years, they have becoming more and more frequent. I was most infuriated when after paying full fare economy, I could not get upgraded due to the business class being full, or so I was told. Imagine my shock when I saw more than 20 empty seats!

As I encountered more and more of such occurrences, my loyalty is starting to wane and this recent quote of HKD 17,000 is probably the last straw.

Frigging HKD 17,000 for an economy seat with no guarantee of an upgrade. I have to be mad if I were to book that ticket. Anyway, I trawled the websites and I found Thai Airways offering Business Class at HKD 21,000 (I presume it's a discounted business class ticket but who cares?) and if I may add, a guaranteed seat in business class. Granted that Thai Airways, being a partner airline of the Star Alliance i.e. the points earned will not do my Northwest Airlines (SkyTeam) any good, it no longer matter if you are no longer loyal to any particular program.

Anyway this is my travel strategy going forward. Fortunately, it coincides with my plan to scale down my number of trips to the US from 6 to just 2, thus I can afford to fly discounted business class with whichever available airline and still spend less per year.

At 970,000 miles, I am 1 US trip away from hitting the million-mile mark (NWA calls it the Million Air Club) with Northwest Airlines from which I would be award a lifetime membership at Elite Gold tier.

You know what?

I no longer care anymore.

- Voxeros

1. Gary left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 2:15 pm
hmm.. would you consider about compromising for safety rather than the qualities that they have given?


2. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 6:23 pm :: 
Gary: I think you will have to rephrase that question coz I have no idea what is it that you are trying to ask.


3. Gary left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 8:43 pm
this qn have little bearing towards the post.. would you still choose for upgrades and compromise safety??


4. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 8:52 pm :: 
Gary: Since when has I compromised safety? Sorry dude but you lost me there.


5. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 9:24 pm :: 
Gary: I don't think there is a choice between upgrade and safety. Safety is not an option to begin with.


6. barffie left...
Friday, 8 June 2007 8:49 pm :: http://barffie.liquidblade.com
I think he was trying to say that maybe Thai Airways not as safe as Northwest given the track record or the consumer perception (nudge nudge) of the different airlines? Jay is right to say that safety cannot be compromised no matter how much or less you pay for the airfare. But Thai Airways has been trying to improve... so give them a chance lah. (btw I keep forgetting my password. ARGGH.


7. JayWalk left...
Saturday, 9 June 2007 3:03 pm :: 
Barffie: If I may direct you to this website @ http://www.planecrashinfo.com/rates.htm, how safe an airline is quite subjective except for the bloody obvious Indonesian airlines and the Ta1wanese Ch1na airlines.


Yes, Northwest Airlines ranks above Thai Airways which in turn ranks above Singapore Airlines/Silkair. Do we think our own national carrier is unsafe? I'd bet you'd say no which consequently saying that Thai Airways also very safe.

In each airline's history, Northwest has 4 fatal accidents while Thai and SIA/Silkair has 2 each. Which is safer?

Also, if I may add, ticket prices does not equate to safety i.e. cheap budget airlines will be more dangerous? Air worthiness has to be passed before allowed to fly, regardless of whether it is a FSC or LCC.


8. marie left...
Monday, 11 June 2007 12:15 am
I have been trying all day to join the frequent flyer prog with north west> I am already with Star Alliance. Travel with Thai airways ALL The Time. However, now I will be travelling out of UK instead of Singapore for a while.

First .. After reading your long email re... frequent flyer prog for Northwest. Im not impressed. Secondly. Thai airways have a very good safety record. Very hot on security in Thailand itself. Travelled 3/4 times a year with Thai for the last 16 years . Very impressed all round. Excellent frequent flyer prog.
Looking for same out of UK to USA.


9. JayWalk left...
Monday, 11 June 2007 9:00 am :: 
Marie: If you are going to be traveling out of UK, then perhaps OneWorld would be better suited for you as British Airways is a member. BA has always be one of my one favoured airlines. If you have the budget for Business Class, their Club World's lie flat bed seating is simply a delight. Most airlines boast of a 180 degrees flat seat but they always failed to mention that it is at an angle i.e. not horizontal. As a result, this feature proved to be utterly useless as you will find yourself at the bottom of your seat unknowingly, as you slided down during your sleep.

If your budget is more modest, their World Traveller Plus aka Premium Economy is also good value for money especially on long haul flights. Without the price tag of a Business Class ticket (though slightly pricier than a regular economy ticket), you get more legroom and recline as well as a footrest for a more endurable flight.

I can't really say the SkyTeam (Northwest) is all bad. Perhaps over time when my own travelling habits are altering, SkyTeam looks less and less suited for my needs and NWA management don't seen to be doing anything about trying to retain these loyal customers who have been with them for years.

So do I ditch them?

Probably not. No point burning bridges here even though they are no longer at the top of my seek list. For all you know, you may need them again in the future.


10. JayWalk left...
Monday, 11 June 2007 9:49 am :: 
Marie: As for trans-atlantic flights, it would depend on your final destination in the US. There is a need to know if the final destination is one of a major city or one of the super ulu little town.

If it were the former and the prices are around the same, I would recommend avoiding US airlines. US Airlines are known for their lousy serivce. Skytraxx ranked the Big 4, namely American, United, Delta and Northwest, at a mere 3-stars.

However, before we write them off totally, they have excellent connections to the smaller cities and we may have to fly with them in order to get to your final intended destination.
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