Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Photo Essay : "The Great Balloon Experiment"

My friends and I have a dream. And it has something to do with balloon hats.
Lots of them. That's my mum with one. She looks super cool doesn't she? :)

"The act of making balloon hats serves 2 communities. The first is the volunteers who make the balloon hats. The process of learning something new and creative brings out the spirit of adventure and encourages them to think out-of-the-box. The volunteers learn to apply this to many other areas of their lives, eg in their natural giftings and talents, in their school work – how to study more effectively etc.

The experience of bringing joy to the public intentionally by making something that comes from yourself is a powerful empowering lesson that demonstrates in a very real way, how just one person CAN make a difference in the community. Ask anyone who has done it before and chances are they will tell you how much more the experience has blessed them than those they were creating for.

The second community is the people who are receiving the balloon hats. When children put on the balloon hats, they become prince and princesses in their own right, regardless of race, appearances, family background or living conditions. When adults wear them, they learn how to be child-like again and remember how to dream once more. In essence, the balloon hat wearer is reminded that he/she is unique and special. There is no need to earn that. Just to accept it."

I wrote the above paragraphs while thinking through about this project that my friends and I are about to embark on - The Great Balloon Experiment. My good friend, Charles, was first inspired by this person called Addi Somekh who went round the world making balloon hats for people in all kinds of places - the ghettos of New York, the grass plains of inner Mongolia, villages in Africa etc. His motivation was a simple one. He realised that balloon hats had a very special way of bringing people together and to communicate laughter and joy and he wanted to spread that to as many people as he could.

I think we could all to with a little more passion like Addi. Our mission statement for The Great Balloon Experiment is to

"Bring a gift of joy to the public by making balloon hats with no strings attached. By initiating such acts of kindness, we hope to encourage volunteerism among the youth & inspire creativity among the young & old all over the world!"

We are already in plans to hold one "mini balloon experiment" each month for the whole of 2007. These are sessions where volunteers will join us for 2 hours learning how to make balloon hats, then they will be dispatched out to one of the heartland areas to make balloon hats free for the public. That would take another about 2 hours with a short time of sharing our experiences at the end.

We are planning towards sometime probably next year in 2008, where we can mobilise 2000 volunteers to organise the first ever Balloon Hat Day in Singapore! These 2000 volunteers will go all over Singapore to make balloon hats for people in the same spirit that we have started this with. In a culture where things always come with a price, we hope to be counter-culture by demonstrating that it is indeed better to give than to receive. This kind of "successful sharing" of experiences and joy will hopefully generate and build trust in our community.

Drop me a note if you are interested to be part of this. Our website should be coming up soon. I was really thinking of organising one for my Masters class in Archi. Though I wonder if any of you would be interested. :)

Check out these other pics of my mum in balloon gear!


Saturday, January 27, 2007

I have hit 100 posts!


100 posts

I just realised I have hit my 100th post!
That calls for some sort of celebration don't you think? Well, it has certainly been an interesting blogging journey for myself. I started blogging because I thought I had something to offer the bigger internet community apart from the usual write about my life, complain about how tiring school or work is, everyone hates me, i just want to die kind of blog.

I started wanting to be able to inspire people in a positive way with my reflections as I journey through life. I'm not sure if I managed to do that. I know there were periods where I completely stopped writing. It wasn't because I had nothing to write, rather I had so much to say, but could not find the time or the best way to put it down on the blog.

You would have realised by now that I often put up posts under the Extraordinary Discoveries tag. That's me. I believe life should be one huge extraordinary discovery. And everyone who is willing to let me show you how that is possible for you too is welcomed to join me on this incredible journey.

My interest in photography is really a reflection, or rather a personal expression of this journey I am on. In particular I take a lot of people shots and landscape shots. Nature and people, to me, are evidence of how beautiful and unique God has made this world. Some people ask why I like to take "ugly shots" of them. (I call them "candid shots".) Truth is, I never saw them as ugly.

I choose to celebrate the simple things we enjoy as humans. How we "attack" a chilli crab with reckless abandonment, how we laugh without a care for the world (and in many instances, how we look), how a certain glance or look show affection, how we like to do crazy things to amuse ourselves but yet hope it never gets captured on camera and replayed for others to see. People never quite seem to understand this. The things I capture on digital film are in reality how they are. They are uniquely you and hence to me, can only mean beautiful. When we understand this, then we are free to be who we are - Extraordinary people capable of living extraordinary lives.

So I continue to blog. Though a little more specifically now. I hope this blog could reach a wider audience and inspire them towards greatness. I want to take time to share with you readers, the things I have involved myself in - the projects that I am dreaming of, the causes I am fighting for, the lessons learnt, the battles fought. I will continue to do so with pictures and personal reflections cos these are my modes of expression that I am most comfortable with. On the side, you will still see the funny Youtube videos I chance upon and other extraordinary stuff.

In thoughts: My pastor was speaking to me about the issue of mentoring today. He was at this talk where the speaker shared that Singapore as a nation can and needs to grow in the area of mentoring. We need to develop a stronger culture of mentoring in everything we do. That sparked of something in me. I have been a youth leader in church for 12 years now. In recent years, I have had the opportunity to lead and influence (in various capacities), youths in other arenas too, especially community work. I have learnt much through my experiences and I think some of these learning might help encourage those who are in a similar journey (youth work).

I am thus in preparation to start another blog where I will share my own experiences and learning these past 12 years doing youth work in church. Obviously it will be from a Christian perspective as I see no other way that is possible or even thinkable. I will also include reflections from my time with God and precious revelations gleamed through my conversations with Him. I have decided to call this new blog "I am an Architect of Man, but a Servant of God." In short, AOMSOG.

The term Architect of Man is taken from when I thought long about my mission statement in life. I realised I wanted to be a builder of lives. And not just a builder, but a designer of lives. I want to be able to bring out the best in people's lives, to lead them to discover their gifting and specialness so that they might come close to living out their full potential and purpose in God. I hope those of you who read it will be encouraged to do exactly that. For yourself and those you have influence over. Cheers!


Friday, January 26, 2007


I just installed this really cool feature for my blog! Hover your cursor on the word above and watch what happens. PRESTO! It gives you a "Live" preview of the linked site! Is that amazing or what?! Now try it out on every post on my blog that contain links (I normally denote these by making those words bold and changing the font colour to red). It also works with the links under my blogroll! Now what say you go over to SNAP and get it for yourself?! Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Anyone up for a Bilbao Guggenheim or a Petronas Towers? Going by this picture, looks like Gehry's vision of the IR has literally gone to someone's head. Ha.


Monday, January 22, 2007

The Art of Architecture

My FIRST post on architecture! Yay! This article was published in Business Times on 20 Jan 2007. I thought it was an interesting insight into the motivations and aspirations of a world-reknown architect whose first building was built only when he was 54! It inspired me in certain ways, to push on in what I believe architecture is to me, perhaps it might bring some encouragement to you too!

Daniel Libeskind tells PARVATHI NAYAR why he regards architecture as 'the mother of the arts'

WHEN Berlin's Jewish Museum finally open
ed in 2001, its startling zigzag form, zinc exteriors, and dramatic interplay of solids and voids attracted vast public interest and generous critical plaudits. There were 200,000 visitors in the first two months alone. It was a great success that made the architect's name, but the really interesting details are that it was the architect's first building and that he was already 54 years old.

'He was a late bloomer,' says Nina Libeskind about her superstar architect husband.

Architecture isn't a profession of quick returns. 'An architect is a marathon runner not a sprinter,' chuckles Daniel Libeskind, who was in town to launch the exhibition Between, Beside, Beyond at the Singapore Art Museum which features 16 of his key works, and to launch the condo he is building for Keppel Land, called Reflections At Keppel Bay.

'Many run out of breath and drop out,' he says, continuing the marathon metaphor, 'but those who know how to time themselves can reach a goal - which is often very elusive. Architectural projects of grand complexity take a long time. Also, I have worked on a lot of projects that are particularly difficult - not necessarily architecturally, but socially or politically, like the Jewish Museum or Ground Zero.'

If the former laid the foundation of his fame, the latter catapulted him to stratospheric levels. When Studio Daniel Libeskind was selected as the design team of the new World Trade Center site in 2003, the architect became a household name in the West.

It has been a pretty eventful ride since.

Memory Foundations - as the World Trade Center master plans are called - have attracted more than its share of controversy about Libeskind suing the site's developer, Larry Silverstein; differences of opinion between Libeskind and David Childs, the architect of the site's proposed centrepiece, the Freedom Tower; the seemingly endless delays in starting construction; and, most critically, the final plan being very different from that conceived by Libeskind.

'Don't listen to architecture critics,' says Libeskind affably, noting that what is being built now looks remarkably like his original master plan. 'The first beams for the Freedom Tower were placed in December, the slurry wall is being readied, new streets are being created, the flanking office buildings have been presented exactly as I had them in my composition. I'm really excited it is actually under construction. I see it from my office window every day, and it's going to be something inspiring. What emerges there is not simply another piece of real estate but something about the spirit of New York that rises to the sky in an optimistic way.'

As to Freedom Tower itself, 'I'm not the architect of that tower but it follows very closely my ideas. It is standing exactly where I wanted it to be, and is 1,776 feet, which will symbolise the year of American independence. It has what I required, platforms at the original World Trade Center height, so people can see what it was like then, as well as a torch-like element at its apogee.'

The torch at the top means that how the Freedom Tower will look from the water will have resonances with the Statue of Liberty - and this links back in time to Libeskind's first viewing of the torch-bearing lady when he was arriving by boat as a young immigrant to the US.

Born in Poland in 1946 as the son of Holocaust survivors, Libeskind emigrated to the US when he was 13 years old, and attended the Bronx High School of Science. Architecture was not the arena of Libeskind's first display of excellence; he had been a child prodigy and virtuoso accordion player, and studied music in Israel on the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship. At the urging of Isaac Stern, he switched from the accordion to the piano. He continued to play the piano in the Bronx, and also pursued mathematics for a while, but in the 1970s traded it all in for architecture.

Even before he built his first building, when he was studying, teaching and writing, 'I always thought I was doing architecture. Architecture is bigger than just building a building. When I started on the path I didn't have a goal, but it was my own path; I started with drawings, investigations of history and archaeology - and along the path also found opportunities to build buildings and design cities.'

Libeskind was known within the architectural circles for his multidisciplinary approach, so it was no surprise that when he started to build, the buildings ranged from museums to universities, shopping centres and homes, or that he has designed opera sets and has set up an object design studio. Currently, Libeskind has ambitious ongoing projects round the world such as the Fiera Milano in Italy and Hong Kong's Creative Media Centre.

Or, closer to home, Reflections At Keppel Bay, which Libeskind likens to a musical composition. Situated on 84,000 sq m of land, the residential complex will consist of six dramatically curved skyscrapers with skybridges, and 11 blocks of low-rise villas.

The Keppel development may be Libeskind's first residential site in Asia, but the first residential project he ever undertook was part of his gigantic Westside project for leisure and shopping, currently being built in Brunnen, Switzerland. The 60-year-old architect says: 'It's a huge multi-dimensional, mixed use development that radically reinvents the concepts of entertainment and shopping in 21st century life. I suggested that homes for the elderly should be part of this complex: Where else is better for the elderly than where the young people are?'

But if you think building homes is low down on his list of priorities: 'There's nothing more challenging than a residential building. It's not about designing a zappy space that works for partygoers but a place where people spend their lives. Every element of the project has to have a spirit of care. It's not disposable. It's no coincidence that the dwelling - not the museum or city hall - is the source of architecture. We judge cities not just by their great monumental spaces, but how people live in them.'

'What I do in Singapore is part of that belief.'

His own home is 'very modest, a loft in Tribeca, New York. It is very simple, modern, contemporary, a bare space that is also pleasant. We don't have much clutter in the house. I'm not nostalgic about keeping things, but it has the things I love: Books, pieces of furniture like a Mies lounge, and the little things I was given by my kids like a good-luck Buddha they bought in Chinatown. We still have a teenager - my daughter Rachel - living at home; sometimes when Rachel's friends visit they say it is like a movie set, does anyone actually live here?'

More on his Tribeca apartment: 'Some would say it's a very cool place with its grey Italian stone floor and soft white walls and lots of black, grey and red; I love red. I took out all the old windows and replaced it with very, very large windows that have hardly any mullions. Because it's also about how it is located vis-a vis New York; a great building is not just for itself but how the inside is related to the outside.'

Recently Libeskind was appointed by the State Department as the first Ambassador of Culture for Architecture. One tour of duty took him to India last year. He went with his two sons, travelling all over Northern India. It was his first trip there, but 'I'm a great fan of Indian philosophy and literature so I felt I had 'visited' India before. I spoke to large groups of students about architecture and about what they are doing. It was a very moving experience.'

So architecture has brought him all sorts of rewards; still, does he miss trading music for architecture?

As it turns out, music is an integral part of his life in many ways. For starters, he listens to music a lot. His tastes in music are 'eclectic, from classical to ethnic', and the presence of his teenage daughter means that it's not just Bach that plays in the Libeskind household. He chuckles: 'Yes sometimes I have to listen to rap and navigate through commercial music, to find that there are some great things there too, a great voice, for example.'

What's more, he is currently relooking the architecture of the piano. 'An old German family-owned company came to me and asked me to redesign the grand piano, and I accepted. They - and I - saw no reason why the piano should have this 17th century form. The project started a few years ago, and is now under way. It will take a bit of time because it's not just about redesigning the casing, but how a piano operates. I wanted to design a piano that not just a contemporary player would enjoy, but the great pianists like Glenn Gould or Horowitz would want to play.'

'I don't perform any more, it's hard to be a hobby player when you were once a virtuoso.'

Libeskind also sees parallels between architecture, drawing and music; all are 'acoustical'. An architectural drawing has to be conducted, resonate in a certain way and be a successful performance. Before you press the keys of a piano there is a certain impulse, which is no different from the pressure that directs the hand holding a pencil to draw.

'I have always done drawing, there is no 'why', no explanation for such a thing. There is a magic in drawing. It is so deep. It is one of the first artistic activities that human beings ever did, it is the source of writing, construction, architecture.

'The drawings that create a building are not really technical drawings but the artistic hand-drawn conception of what it might be - which later has to be elaborated into a technical drawing. I personally don't use the computer. When I start an architectural project, I draw. Out of the drawing comes an understanding and a relationship to the landscape. The art of architecture is drawing. The building then captures the spirit of the drawing, it isn't just an imitation of the drawing.'

He explains, narrating a lovely incident about another ongoing project, The Crystal, which is the extension to the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada. He did an emotive sketch for The Crystal on the material of choice for all spontaneous, inventive ideas: a napkin. However he put it away, thinking it was an impossible task to actually make a building like his sketch. 'But now when I look at the building - that will open in the summer - it's amazing just how much it does look like that first intuitive sketch.'

Initial emotive sketch of The Crystal

Rendering of actual design

Many architectural projects in today's world - including designs created for unsuccessful bids for architectural competitions - do not get built. Is Libeskind disappointed over his involvement, say, with the unsuccessful bid by Harrah's and Keppel for the integrated resorts project in Singapore, or about the as-yet-unbuilt extension to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London?

He replies: 'I'm not an architect who wants quantities. I never think that we have 'lost' any projects, I don't see it that way. I continue to evoke them, they continue to be alive and part of my work. What I invest in architecture is similar to what I invest into human relationships; if you want something back in return then, no, you don't actually have a relationship.'

In a world shaped by influences that range from technology to terrorism, 'architecture brings stability, not in a rigid form but in its cultural human form. It is part of what is sustainable for human life, it sets the stage for creativity, imagination - and the everyday. Architecture is the horizon we see, the ground we walk on, our orientation of the past to the future. There is a good reason why architecture is called 'the mother of the arts'.

'For architecture is not about itself, it's about everything else, it's about life. Architecture is an artwork,handcrafted; somebody makes these things by hand. Everything matters, from a doorknob to a bathroom tile, from the masterplan to the silhouette; there is nothing which is unimportant. In that sense Mies van der Rohe was wrong, God is not in the details, God is everywhere.'

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.


Friday, January 19, 2007

A toast to this TOASTER!

My adventures with the toaster started in primary school. My mum would make the most delicious luncheon meat toasted sandwiches using those toasters that opened up like a briefcase. The bread always came out as nicely goldened triangles stuffed with piping hot mashed up "Ma Ling" brand luncheon meat, some of it oozing out of the seams of the toasted sandwich. I never stopped thanking God for people who created machines that could make such saliva-inducing stuff.

Then I discovered, (largely from my buffet breakfasts at restaurants when we traveled), that toasters also came in standing-up format. And as some commercials would have you believe, they are also capable of shooting out your toast sky high! I also remember seeing those huge industrial toasters at hotel restaurants with track-run metal grills that drew your bread into the toaster so that your toast got nicely browned on the top, then slid down to a tray at the end. I always remembered making them jam up cos I put cheese on my bread or something.

Well, the toaster has remained more or less the same since then. Until now that is. George Waston, a really clever designer has crafted one of the coolest looking toasters I have ever set my eyes on. This clever and beautiful invention works by heating the bread via twin-facing hotplates and even has a button in the front to control the degree of toastness you desire! At the end of the heating mechanism are V-shaped prongs that hold your bread while you make more. Well, toast making just got THAT much more enjoyable!


Photo Essay : "Friendship links us. Chains could too. You decide."

No matter how you look at it, we are all closely linked together in the community. Whether we like it or want to or not. Sometimes we take our harmony and apparent unity for granted, until a crisis visits and wakes us up. And makes us think real hard again, what kind of foundations we have been building all along. I took this at "Camp Connect", part of a 2 month long forum that I helped designed to bring youth leaders from different religions together. Over the 2 months, we grew to understand each other better and to open up doors where a foundation of trust could be built among friends.

The Grand Finale to the Singapore Inter-Faith Youth Forum 2007 is being held on 27 Jan (Sat) at SMU. You are all invited to come and listen to these great bunch of young people as they share their learning experiences. Let me know if you are interested.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A new year, A new challenge!

Me and my training partner, James after the race.

I've been thinking about something... Most of you know how I started 2006 by declaring that I wanted to do something extraordinary that year, something I had never done before, something that would be a challenge for myself. And I ended up taking part in my very first sprint triathlon, completing it in a rather credible time of 1h 41.58 sec. One of my motivations then was to find something that I could work towards that would help me in my constant struggle to keep fit.

Well, it seems that after the completion of the tri last year in July, things haven't gone on as I expected. I am supposed to have met by ideal weight of 65 kg by now (that is, if I had constantly exercised even after the sprint tri), but truth is, I am far from that, maybe even worse than I was at the beginning of 2006. Haha. A good friend made this interesting comment the other day. He said I was the fittest chubby person he knows. While, that is true to a large extent, I don't really consider myself fit at all. Just the other day, due to some administrative mistake, I was told that I had to sign up for RT since I had failed to take my IPPT. Truth is, I was not able to book for it at all. The more frightening truth is that if I were to take it now, I would probably ace it! From the bottom that is.

So I start this year by making another declaration. I will be attempting the OSIM Olympic Triathlon this year (twice the distance of the sprint). I am counting on all of you who read my blog to constantly badger me, mercilessly remind me and endlessly kick my lazy butt to start training for it and maintain a proper exercise routine even after the race. My other goal is this - in the process, I hope to find 6 long lost friends whom I dearly miss (actually, more like never met before). For those who are interested to join me on this quest, journey, adventure, whatever you want to call it, let me know so we can train together!

I've come to appreciate the importance and value of exercise in leading a healthy balanced life. And I'm always game for a new adventure and challenge. So the Olympic Tri shall be one of those for me this year. What's yours?

Oh, by the way, did I tell you my brother is attempting his first Ironman race in February? He intends to complete 3 by the time he is 30. Now THAT'S a challenge.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Now just WHAT should I get?!!

Ever wanted to buy a digital camera for yourself or a coffeemaker as a gift for your boss but just did not know which one to get and didn't want to go through the hassle of looking through review sites and reading other people's recommendations? Ever wondered how it would be so simple if someone had kindly done all that research for you and told you just which brand and model to buy?

Well, stop wondering and click on What Product Should I Get! Basically, you just choose which item you are looking to buy and presto, you have it! Now just why should you trust the site's recommendation? Well, according to them,

"...because you're tired of surfing the web and reading reviews. We've done research and gone through the headaches already and want to share what we've learned. For every product we recommend, we either have first hand experience or the recommendation is from a reliable source. We realize that our main asset is the integrity of our recommendations and we stand behind them.

There is no "right answer" or "best product." We just want to take the pain out of the process and make sure you're happy with your decision. Something will always be faster, smaller, more expensive, less expensive, whatever. We just make sure you get a solid quality product without a lot of hassle."

Well, their recommendation for a digital camera is the Canon IXUS 60 which IS quite a fine piece of equipment, so they are not too far off I guess. Try it out for yourself and let me know. Now, all I wish is that they will quickly expand that list of items to include printers, mobile phones, pdas, wireless routers etc. By the way, notice they don't have one that says "What mp3 player should I get", rather it is "What iPod should I get?" This people certainly have good taste!


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Photo Essay : "Life is but one very long circus"

This photo was taken on the streets of Chongqing, China, when I was there on vacation with my family. The girl is a street acrobat who does stunts to "beg" for money which ultimately goes to a syndicate. If you look closely, you will realise she is actally spinning herself on her mouth which she uses to hold on to a contraption by biting. Why do people continue to exploit kids like that you wonder. I have no answer. For the little girl, this is one circus where there is no closing act in sight.


Friday, January 12, 2007

More about the iPhone

Ok, so we have seen and heard in the past days how beautiful, how cool, how gorgeous Apple's brand new iPhone is. Well, here's something to balance that. Newlaunches.com gives us 5 reasons why the iPhone might not fair as well as some other smartphones out there.

1) Non Removable battery
2) No 3G, only EDGE and Wi-Fi
3) No Expansion slot
4) Only 5 Hour Talktime
5) 2 Megapixel camera

Click here to read more.

Well, nobody said it was perfect, but it certainly has given us enough to drool about! What about those who don't care to pay for an integrated device and just want their 80Gb widescreen video iPod? Well, I guess we just have to wait and see if Apple decides to roll that one out at all, though I doubt they will do it soon since it would very likely hurt sales of the iPhone.

More on the history of the development of the iPhone. This is a great article at Time.com which gives you a but more background on how the iPhone evolved to what it is today.

Here's an excerpt:

Cell phones are perfect because even Grandma has one: consumers bought nearly a billion of them last year. Break off just 1% of that and you can buy yourself a lot of black turtlenecks. Cell phones do all kinds of stuff—calling, text messaging, Web browsing, contact management, music playback, photos and video—but they do it very badly, by forcing you to press lots of tiny buttons, navigate diverse heterogeneous interfaces and squint at a tiny screen. “Everybody hates their phone,” Jobs says, “and that's not a good thing. And there's an opportunity there.”
I think, Apple has done many things right this time round. Think about it, mobile phones have more less become an indispensable part of our existence. Not everyone needs an mp3 player. But a mobile phone? Even primary school kids carry them nowadays. Makes me wonder how I used to survive with none of these hi-tech entrapments before. I got myself a pager only when I was 19 and my first mobile during 2nd semester of my first year at university.

Back to what I was saying, the convergence of the mobile phone and mp3 player is something that had already started happening since last year. It was only a matter of time before Apple began to lose sales in it's lower end iPods. But with the iPhone? Who knows? Would there be an iPhone Mini (less frills but cheaper) to target a greater audience? When the first iPod came out, nobody considered it affordable. It was a luxury item! But look at how Apple changed the mp3 player industry single-handedly with it?

The iPhone might not make that huge waves in the mobile phone industry, but it certainly will change the way people expect to use their phones. And with OS X built-in to each iPhone, Apple has basically just rolled out it's largest advertising campaign for Mac Computers till date. Who wouldn't want a Mac after you have experienced the fun and ease of Apple's user-friendly graphical user-interface on your phone? Especially when you are used to doing it the Apple way on your phone!

Well, am I glad that amidst all these, consumers are the biggest winners here. Let's just hope that by the time the iPhone reach our shores, there will be great tie-ups with the mobile phone companies to bring down the price a bit.

Finally, this is a great blog that I came across just. Gems Sty is a selective archive of interesting posts and issues online, relating to the bizarre, interesting, inspirational, fresh, clever ideas and happenings. Check out the post on 3D Face Morphing. Truly unbelievable. Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Introducing the iPhone!

This is no Apple enthusiast's dream of a product he would like to see Apple come up with. Presenting to you the very real iPhone introduced yesterday live from MacWorld by Steve Jobs! I like it already!

All the rumours about Apple coming up with a widescreen touchscreen version of iPod have now been validated with this piece of gem that is both a mobile phone, pda and ipod all rolled into one. Best thing of all? It runs on OS X and brings to you online viewing pleasure through WIFI support, and guess what... Safari no less! It is a quad-band phone, has an in-built 2.0 MP camera and is deliciously slim at 11.6mm thick! That's barely over 1cm!

True to their philosophy, Apple has once again come up with a beautifully brilliant product. Talk about form and function, this beauty has both!


Young and Making A Difference

This is truly an example of someone rising up to the challenge to make a difference in the community where he is. He started with nothing but a love for his own community and a dream to make it better. A dream that was subsequently shared by many of the rest in the community because he took the first step to say, "Yes, it can be done."

Which makes me think about how many young people nowadays only know how to shoot their mouths off with complains about how boring Singapore is, how all the chances are going to foreigners, how we have no political freedom etc etc. Here is one guy who responded with action, out of genuine intentions, sincere passion and amazing creativity. We need more people like him. Would you care enough to be one?


Photo Essay : "Time Waits For No Man"

This photo was taken on the day I shifted house. I went around the house taking shots of scenes that had grown familiar to me. I just wanted to preserve some of those memories.
Even things that we deem timeless eventually fade away. I always like to ask the question, "Is what I am doing today going to amount to anything in 10 years time? What is the legacy that I want to live behind after I am gone?" That gives me a better perspective as I evaluate the things that I busy myself with.

We all have only one life. Let's make it count where it matters! Don't live your life as if you have forever. Live it intentionally and purposefully so that not one precious second of it is wasted!


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"Balloons take to water for fund raising!"

Balloons do their part to raise funds for charity in the recent 7000 lap challenge at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex. Said TY, the swimming attachment hired by the Qualatex balloons, "It was an honour and my great pleasure to help the Qulatex balloons for such a cause."

A total of 7228 laps were swam by volunteers who took part in a 7000 lap challenge at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex on 30 Dec 2006. The effort helped raised funds for TOUCH Youth, a youth organisation under TOUCH Community Services that believes in maximising the potential of each young person in Singapore and works to bring about transformation in their lives so that they can be all they were created to be.

I personally have spent some time working at TOUCH Youth and still volunteer with them now. I must say that they are a group of people who are passionate about their cause and are doing an inspiring job of impacting the next generation!

Furthermore, the people who organised the 7000 Lap Challenge were a group of young people themselves. I think it's simply wonderful that they are doing their part to raise the profile of youth volunteerism in Singapore and doing it in such an interesting way too!

Have you ever thought you were too young to do something worthwhile for your community? I hope you are inspired, reading this. To steal a line from the National Youth Forum 2006, "Take the lead, Be the change" today!


Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Great Big Update

So it seems I haven't been writing for the longest time. I wonder how many of you have stopped checking my blog anymore cos you kept seeing the same post week after week. By the looks of my blog hits counter, I think it's almost all of you! Ha ha. Well, I HAVE been really busy. And I do know what's going on in some of your minds... "That Joshua ah... FOREVER busy. Don't know what he is busy with also!"

Don't say I never update ok. I am doing it now. So let me share with you some of the exciting things that have been taking up my time these 2 or 3 months!

My National Youth Forum project - the Singapore Inter-Faith Youth Forum 2007 took off brilliantly with a rather successful camp on 8 Nov 06! We are currently almost into the 3rd phase of the project and I think we have accomplished much. Personally, I have learned much from this experience and thank God for the blessings that He has showered upon us throughout.

The Christmas@Orchard project was quite an eventful event... There was a lot of last minute changes that required quick thinking and on the spot decision-making but all in all, it was a worthwhile experience. The sight of so many of us in pink and yellow singing carols with our balloon hats was certainly something to behold. Along the way, I learned that some people don't really know how to follow script (you know who you are... ha ha...), some people can really go high leading ice-breakers and still some others will go to the extent of getting drenched just so that they can do a good job of setting up the sound system (kudos to you guys at Greenview Sec!)

For me personally, I learned something about event and people management. The ability to be able to react to situations on the ground, yet considering the big picture as you are making
those decisions is crucial to the success of the event. I'm glad I was able to keep cool and make wise decisions in some of these situations. I thank God for His wisdom.

Last but not least, after all the many rehearsals that we had for the YouthNet Countdown Party 2006 at Expo Max Pavilion, I must say we had one "explosive" countdown to 2007! Thanks to my brother for his great ideas and creative direction, and to all the rest who helped put it together, we had a great retro time celebrating 2006 and welcoming in 2007. Who says Christians don't know how to have fun? I think we know how to have the best fun! Heh.

Anyway, as we enter 2007, I want to make my blog a little more meaningful and interesting for those of you reading it. I sort of went into this blog freeze mode where I just could not be bothered to blog cos of all the other things I have to do. Well, I have found a way that can marry both. There are 2 things that I hope to improve this year - my photography skills and my architecture design skills. I have decided that I will discipline myself to put up 2 photo essays (photos will either be taken that week itself or from chosen from my archive of personal shoots if time does not permit) and 2 posts of what I am learning about architecture each week.

The rest of my posts will be updates on some of the other projects that I will be involved in, like the Great Balloon Experiment which you will hear more off soon, and the usual picks from Youtube and Engadget. I will incorporate my reflections into the photo essays and when not possible, I will blog them separately.

Well, I hope you are as optimistic as I am in beginning 2007. I foresee it as a great year of victory for myself! I hope it is for you too. :)