Friday, March 25, 2005

How do they know their citizenship but not their sex?

Singaporean journalists media personalities have apparently never been taught that the basics of a story are who, what where, when, why, and how. From Channelnewsasia, which is no better or worse than the rest of the media:

The haze may have clouded the skies but not the moods of some Singaporeans at East Coast who wanted their outdoor fun at the start of the long weekend.

One person said, "I can smell the smoke in the air when I woke up...I think it's ok to come out to the open even if there's a haze, because the haze is not that strong enough to affect..."

Another added, "Yesterday was very bad. Unless it is very high, more than 100, then perhaps I might consider to stay at home."

A third commented, "Because I don't notice any haze around that's why I came out to enjoy myself..."

Meanwhile, one foreigner commented, "This morning I came to Singapore. I noticed the haze in the air and I could smell the smoke... doesn't bother me at all."

So how do we know the first three people are Singaporeans when we don't even know their names, or gender for that matter, and we didn't even wait around to let the first person finish what he or she was saying? Why is it more important that the fourth interview subject is foreign than anything else that could be said? Why "foreigner" and not "Australian," or "Indonesian," or "Brazilian"? So much for who. Wouldn't we like to know how the air quality affects older people or kids or if it matters what they're doing, like rollerblading?

And what's with "Meanwhile"? Was the foreigner really being interviewed simultaneously with the Singaporeans?

Cycling shorts are modest compared to sumo outfits, Japanese teens say

To me, this seems like an opportunity to get them into keirin instead!

Obscure Windows Media Player icons


So the icon for buffering is a rising or setting sun, and the icon for playing is a raincloud with a bolt of lightning? This seems to be a classic case of an icon adding no value. And these are really ugly icons, so they don't even count as eye candy.

I suppose streaming video from the U.S. to Singapore is stressing Media Player. Other things that drive me nuts:

  • It doesn't seem to adjust automatically to network congestion. It seems to think it's OK to play half a second of video, then go off and buffer for 30 seconds, then play another half second, and never cut the video or reduce the quality.
  • When the player is embedded in a web page, I can't manually set it to use lower quality, either.
  • The video gets out of sync with the audio all the time.
  • It resets the volume at the beginning of every clip. Specifically, when the clip starts playing. So if you adjust the volume while it is buffering, you lose the setting.
  • When the network is too congested for streaming to be reasonable, I can't download a clip and play it in full from my hard disk.
  • If I restart a clip, I have to watch the whole thing from the beginning, including any ads. I don't see how it helps advertisers for people to see their ads at times when they are extremely frustrated. Who wants to be associated with technical failure? Obviously, nobody thought through the consequences of the requirement that "it must be impossible to skip the ads."

Struggling art student in need of attention? Try this!

Museums are careful about keeping visitors from taking pieces out of the building, but not so careful about visitors bringing them in.

According to the artist, "My sister inspired me to do it. She was throwing away loads of my pictures one day and I asked her why. She said 'It's not like they're going to be hanging in the Louvre.' I thought, why wait until I'm dead?'"

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Craving for American food suddenly gone

I used to like Wendy's chili.

"This individual apparently did take a spoonful, did have a finger in their mouth and then, you know, spit it out and recognized it. Then they had some kind of emotional reaction and vomited."

Update: I guess it's more the American legal system I don't miss than Wendy's chili.

California, Singapore, job interviews, and car radios

The story of my life lately? Well, that, and AdJab pointed me to the new "Airport" TV ad from Volkswagen. It explains why "What would I hear if I turned on your car radio right now?" is not a good job interview question.

Malaysia celebrates Good Friday with raises for hangmen

Malaysia will now pay hangmen US$131 (RM500) for their services; floggers will get US$2.60 (RM10) for each strike of the cane. Just in time for Good Friday!

There are apparently differences in method between Malaysian flogging and Singaporean caning. I am not particularly eager to investigate what they are.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Gourmet Ice in San José?

I wonder what they craft it from?

watermelon art

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Oral-B bus shelter cameras still not vandalized—or utilized


This is an idea I never would have thought of myself, a true example of creativity in Singapore. As an American, it would never occur to me to put passenger-operated digital cameras in bus shelters all over the city as part of an ad campaign. But in Singapore, these seem to be operative and not vandalized. I can't imagine this working anywhere else except maybe in Japan.

The idea is to get people to smile for the camera, and I guess the results are put in subsequent Oral-B toothbrush ads. Conveniently, the digital camera is surrounded by mirrored surface so you can pose (which is why you can see me taking a picture of the camera), and a USB cable hangs out of the bottom of the shelter so the images can be downloaded once in a while.

There are also footprints on the sidewalk in front of the ad to show bus passengers where to stand while operating the camera. Since bus shelter ads are backlit, I am presuming that the digital camera is somehow wired into the electrical system.

As impressed I am with JCDecaux's street furniture installation and business model, their website leaves a lot to be desired. They have installed high-tech bus shelters financed by advertising all over the world.

Update: I found the website. There are only two shelters with cameras, and one is in my neighborhood. (But the ads appear all over Singapore.) It appears that in the two weeks this has been up, only two people have bothered to take photos at each shelter, and only one at each thought to actually smile in a way that shows teeth. So even though vandalism may not be a problem in Singapore, shyness is.

Wednesday update: Yep, it's been vandalized. Or something. The camera is gone, wires are hanging out the bottom of the display, and the opening for the camera is covered with a metal plate.

Thursday update: The Holland Village camera is back, and I saw some young women posing in front of it.

See also: Photo of workers removing the camera.

Monday, March 21, 2005

MOS Burger locations in Singapore

I have long been bothered that this information is not on the web. So now it is! My favorite is the Unagi Rice Burger.

Isetan Scotts Map >>
Bishan Junction 8 Map >>
Ngee Ann City Map >>
Parco Bugis Map >>
Ang Mo Kio Jubilee Map >>
Caltex House Map >>
Parkway Parade Map >>
Tampines Mall Map >>
Causeway Point Map >>
Toa Payoh HDB Hub Map >>
Plaza Singapura Map >>
Jurong Point Map >>
Orchard Emerald Centre Map >>
Sun Plaza Map >>
West Mall Map >>
Compass Point Map >>
Bukit Panjang Plaza Map >>

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Singlish dictionary

It occurs to me that "Ang Moh GUI" would be an attention-getting name for user interface design consulting services in Singapore.

ang moh [f. Hk. ang moh gui: ang red + moh hair + gui devil; Mand. hongmaogui] Also ang mo, angmoh, ang-moh. 1. n. A Caucasian, a white person. See also kentang. 2. a. Having the nature or attributes of a Caucasian or white person.