Monthly Archives: August 2010

Breathe, Live, Play Lego

Last weekend, I walked into a Lego shop at Takashimaya to look for a present, with absolutely no interest in what I always thought were “boys’ toys”. Instead I was completely charmed.

Now I need to go to Legoland!!!

Someone putting on the final touches of this Lego display in Legoland, to commemorate the inauguration of President Barack Obama

They made the people from bricks too! Not those with features painted on yellow bulbs as heads!

Barack Obama in Lego. WOW!

After my research online, I decided I want to build my own city, and thanks to the Twitteers who gave me a list of shops to go to in Singapore, I found one of the sets that would make the city.

Ta-da...my very first second set of Lego! (P.S. I had one set in childhood)

Huge box, small packets!

If you want to chart my progress, and see which are the two sets that I’ve ordered and are currently on their way, remember to follow me on Twitter for the latest updates!

Meanwhile, check out the remaining sets I’m waiting to get my hands on, that will help me complete my city.

Cafe Corner

Town Plan

Market Street

Look at what some others have done!

This was built by Ralph Savelsberg.

See the remaining town he built.

Bumper Car Ride built by Danila Dandily Martyakhin

A close-up in daylight.

There are countless talented Lego builders on the Internet. If you’re keen to see the evolution of Lego Police stations, you can check out Joshua’s blog.

As for me, I think his evolution is not quite complete, because he left out the Space Police collection.

Space Police Central

Lego really opens up a world of role play and possibilities!

If you’re a Lego Fan or if you know someone who’s really good at it, please share.

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Learning from Teenage Fiction

A couple of days ago I posted a discussion on Facebook to find out what some people think of grown adults being seen reading fiction meant for children, teenagers or young adults.

While most who commented thought that there’s nothing taboo about it because we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, pun intended, there is also a point raised by Diane Leow, that somewhat explains why some adults, who are not necessarily resistant to reading children/teenage fiction, will never be seen holding the book in a public place. A media student herself, she said that “the media industry is so critical on what we read (some newpapers are crap vs “good” newspapers) and what we wear etc. etc. that one can’t help but be self-conscious about what they read. ”

As for me, I think it’s important to read young adult fiction because in a way, they represent what is the current fad and in order to communicate and relate to them effectively , we need to immerse in their sub-cultures.

Actually, I started this thread because one random day, I had the sudden urge to read  “The Diary of A Wimpy Kid”, so I “un-embarrassingly” asked my friend if I could borrow her daughter’s collection.

My Current Reads

I finished the first book the day I brought home the collection and I have to say it is very entertaining because it is a straightforward and unapologetic perspective offered by a teenager, whose particular stage in life is never comprehensible to the adults.

The truth is our parents were all teenagers once, so why can’t they seem to understand and stop nagging?

Because more often than not, they try to relate to the current teenagers by applying what they went through during their own years, completely disregarding the societal, environmental, economic changes that have occured since then.

It is the same stage in life, but it happened in a different time and place, so it’s no longer applicable to the current teenagers. Very often, parents’ attempts  to communicate end up being “incessant nagging”, from the perspective of the teen, which eventually results in the 3Rs – resistance, reluctance and in some cases rebellion.

For me, I find it hard to go back to a previous stage in life once you’ve moved past it. The only way I can, is to immerse myself in the literature of that time, to hopefully gain something that I’ve lost along the way. Not that during my time, the Diary of the Wimpy Kid was around though. Which is why I bought “A Wrinkle in Time“, to return to the kind of stories that I was familiar with when I was a child.

Somehow, children’s book written around the same time, like those by Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl, packaged lessons that both children and adults can learn in an imaginative world.

It’s nice to go back in time once in a while, to remember what it was like when we didn’t have so much baggage to lug around.

Flamed by the YOG Flame?

My involvement with YOG began when I was invited to be one of the torchbearers. It was one of those opportunities that probably come once in a lifetime!

It was a huge privilege and honor to represent MediaCorp TV and my particular Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame started on the 7th August at lamppost 73 along Marymount Road.

Steven Chia was representing News and Shan Wee for Radio.

We had to report at CHIJ Toa Payoh that rainy morning and was told not to bring anything that couldn’t fit into our shorts pocket.

Here's Shan passing me the torch along Marymount Road.

The torch weighed 700g and wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be, which I think is significant because the YOG spirit was never meant to be a burden.

The fact that many torchbearers come from all walks of life goes to show that YOG is not just for athletes or youths. It’s an event that everyone can participate!

After I completed my 100m, I hopped on the bus and headed to RI where there were a few interviews carried out.

Speaking of which, there was one that got some buzz on the Internet forums.

This is a perfect example on how using emotionally charged words in headlines can completely twist the story and mislead the reader.

I don’t know for sure, but I highly doubt it’s the reporter’s call because if that was her angle, it would have unveiled itself in the story. You see, she would have to interview people to get quotes to support her story.

Some potential interviewees would be:

The torchbearer after me – to ask if she felt she waited too long for me to arrive;

my support runners – if mine was the slowest run of the day;

and definitely the organizers – to find out the consequences (if any) as a result of my “selfish” act.

Now wouldn’t that be a story! But since there was nothing in her story to suggest that she was trying to fault me for my “selfish act”, I presumed the headline was designed by someone else after the story was written, which is not uncommon practice according to what I studied in journalism school.

I believe that if someone impartial were to read the article without first seeing the headlines, that would not be the natural conclusion they arrive at. Although I wouldn’t go as far as to completely rule out the possibility.

It’s easy to misunderstand the first paragraph in the absence of a full context because the reader has not been informed of it. The article did not include what was briefed to the torchbearers prior to our run; nor did I tell the reporter what my support runners said to me during my run. Even though these mundane information provide a context, which will allow the reader to better form their judgement, they just don’t add value to the story and is often not the focus of an article, in a newspaper whose main aim is to sell papers!

Having said that, it’s sad that whoever chose the headlines had to put a dampener on the celebration of something as rare as this. It was a day where strangers came together, regardless of race, age, gender, occupation, to support and cheer one another on like friends and made us truly one united people.

I’ve never been more proud that my country is hosting the YOG.

Go for the Gold!

NDP2010

The last time I attended the National Day Parade live was at the National Stadium when I was performing in the band during my secondary school years. After that, I had to contend with watching the parade from television every year.

This year, it was held at Padang and by serendipity, I managed to get last minute tickets (at 5.20pm!) to the parade.

There was a massive crowd around City Hall area as everyone tried to catch a glimpse of the sky performances. We weaved through the mass of people and finally got to the venue, hot and confused. Thankfully there were a lot of ushers around to point us the right way.

I’ve never seen so many uniformed men converge at one venue!

We were supposed to be seated at the Green sector, but we were told there were no more seats, so we ended up at the Yellow sector and this was the sight that greeted us when we popped our heads out of the scaffold spectator stand.

I’m guessing you have to come early to “chope” seats? Anyway, we ended up sitting on the steps which was a lot less stress-free because it would be really disruptive to the rest if we needed to answer nature’s call.

The sea of red is gorgeous!

The backdrop complements the celebrations, especially when night fell and the lights took over.

I found out from the magazine in the goodie bag that there were 7 different designs of it.

I plucked out the candy portion and ate only the biscuit!

The President driving past our section.

I love the sounds of these jets! I especially like the display where 2 jets criss-crossed one another and when one of the jets took a vertical climb up into the sky.

The entrance and exit points for the formation performers were on the side I was sitting on, so I could snap these “behind-the-scenes” photos!

The flash on my camera reflected off the costumes of these performers.

Sparks and aerial performer really took the show to another level! The lights casted on the columns of the Supreme Court really made the show exceptionally colourful!

The costumes made them look like characters off some video game. Quite scary!

The aerial shot of this was gorgeous from the screen, where Kit Chan was perched at the tip of the crescent moon. It was the perfect formation for us to recite our pledge.