February 29 is also known as a “Leap Day”, which is an extra day added during a Leap Year, making the year 366 days long – and not 365 days, like a normal year. Nearly every 4 years is a Leap Year in our modern Gregorian Calendar.
Other than it’s rarity, do you know February 29 is also a day for women to propose to men?
According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Bridget struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every 4 years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.
In some places, Leap Day has been known as “Bachelors’ Day” for the same reason. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage proposal from a woman on Leap Day. In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were laws governing this tradition.
Ladies, what are you waiting for?
Seize the chance to propose to the man you love! After all, if he rejects you, you still get 12 pairs of free gloves from him. 🙂
For me, as a happily married man, February 29 is just like any other ordinary day. Nonetheless, I would still like to make use of the romantic atmosphere surrounding the day to let my wife Rachel knows that I still love her very much and am thankful to her for giving birth to my beautiful son, Asher last year.
There are many challenges ahead for both of us as new parents, but I am sure we can sail through these, just like how we weathered through previous trying moments in our marriage.
Thanks to the folks from UIP, I caught famous American movie director, Martin Scorsese‘s newest and first 3D movie, HUGO last week at the Singapore preview screening.
Hugois a 3D family mystery film based on Brian Selznick‘s novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret; about a boy who lives alone in a Paris railway station and the enigmatic owner of a toy shop there. The film stars Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen (better known as Borat), Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law and Christopher Lee.
The film has been nominated for 11 Academy Awards, making it the most nominated film of 2011, which include a Best Picture nomination and a Best Director nomination for Martin Scorsese.The film also won two BAFTAs and was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, earning Scorsese his third Golden Globe Award for Best Director.
Hugo has received almost universal critical acclaim.Review tallying website Rotten Tomatoesreported that 194 of the tallied 181 reviews were positive, for a score of 93% and a certification of “fresh”.
Despite the high critical acclaim, Hugo did not perform well at the box office. As of February 23, 2012, the film has grossed $67,843,944 in North America, along with $46,400,000 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $114,243,944, against its estimated budget of $150 million.
I enjoyed the movie very much, but I do think the pacing of the movie may be a tad too slow for more mainstream audiences.
Hugo is a must-watch for film students, those working in the filmmaking industries, as well as amateur filmmakers. In fact, any serious movie buff should see it.
There were many references and tributes made to important moments in the history of filmmaking and film greats like French illusionist and fimmaker, Georges Méliès.
Méliès is a very colourful character for which a large part of the movie, Hugo is based upon. He is famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest days of cinema. A prolific innovator in the use of special effects, he accidentally discovered the substitution stop trick in 1896, and was one of the first filmmakers to use multiple exposures, time-lapse photography, dissolves, and hand-painted colour in his work. Because of his ability to seemingly manipulate and transform reality through cinematography, Méliès is sometimes referred to as the first “Cinemagician”. Two of his most well-known films are A Trip to the Moon (1902) and The Impossible Voyage (1904), both of which were featured in snippets in Hugo.
There’s movie still from A Trip to the Moonthat featured prominently in Hugo. It depicted a rocket wedged inside one of the eyes of a moon face. When I saw the image on the big screen, I could instinctively recall seeing it before in one of my filmmaking 101 textbooks because of the strong visual imagery. That’s the magical appeal of Méliès’ works, brought to live again by a contemporary film great, Scorsese.
Hugo is very different from Scorsese usual offering of alpha-male film genre to the like of Taxi Driver (1976), Goodfellas (1990) and Gangs of New York (2002).
Other than being the first 3D film from Scorsese, Hugo is also his first forage into the fantasy genre, targeted at a family audience.
There’s no overt fantasy scenes in Hugo where the protagonist gets to fly away into a magical far-away land of mystical creatures like in Harry Potter or the Chronicles of Narnia; but subtle fantasy scenes that relies more on the wonderful world of imagination through a child’s eyes as well as the real-life “dream factory” of filmmaking.
The cast delivered a superb performance, including the two kid actors. I especially like Cohen’s character as a bitter-sweet one-legged station master who toggles between being the film villain and eventual hero.
Hugo is now showing in Singapore cinemas. Go catch it! 🙂
I spoke on the topic of “Using New Media to Reach & Engage the Community”, together with two politicians, Nicole Seah from the National Solidarity Party and Yee Jenn Jong from the Workers’ Party. The session was moderated byEric Alagan, a business consultant and book author.
Below are some of the topics raised by Eric and my answers in blue:
1. Social media is a very wide and fast evolving arena – we have Facebook, Blogs and Twitter just to name a few. Which is your preferred platform and why?
Blog. This is because it serves as a container for all my content which I use to share onto Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and other social media platforms. With a central nodal point, this is effective for my personal branding and leaves my content platform agnostic with a archival system.
2. You mention blog is your preferred platform, can you take us through when and how you started. Your expectations when you first started, Summarise your experience to date – met/exceeded/fell short of expectations
I started blogging on Alvinology.com after leaving my job at Youth.SG as portal manager. I was hired to grow the traffic for the site, which I tripled in less than a year. I started this blog as a social experiment to see if I can grow it’s traffic with just one person fueling the content. Alvinology.com currently enjoys over 10,000 readers a day, a remarkable feat, even triumphing the traffic of Youth.SG, maintained by a team of writers.
3. After the initial peak, how do you sustain and grow readership/following – what are the challenges and how do you manage these –any tips for our audience
The easiest way to grow blog traffic is to pick quarrels with other bloggers, organisations or simply anyone under the sun so as to fan reactions from multiple parties. Whether they are your supporters or haters, by visiting your site, they are still contributing to your overall blog hits. Xiaxue did it many times, so do many other famous female bloggers in Singapore.
This approach is not suitable for a non-confrontation, peace-loving person like me.
I grow my traffic via consistency in updates and making my content Internet-friendly. I try my very best to update my blog at least once a day. Recently, I have cut down to five days a week after my baby son came along. I usually write many of the blog posts over the weekend and schedule them for release through the week. I keep my sentences short, breaking my writing into many paragraphs for easier reading. Language is kept simple and I make it a point to use at least one photo or video for each entry to break the monotone of a text only entry.
4. Social etiquette in the anonymous world that is blogosphere – share with us some really nice and nasty experiences and how you handle these. Could you suggest some norms in blogosphere interactions – with regards to language/respect/decorum
Four words – Don’t feed the trolls. Often time, the most critical and nastiest comments come from troll accounts whose aim is to incite a certain response from you. Do not give them the response they want and these trolls will feel helpless.
Eg. When someone calls me stupid, I will just reply with a polite “Yes I am stupid, thank you”, instead of getting angry.
However, for comments that are written by genuine individuals who are truly upset, I sometime respond to them via email. Some of these people became my friends after that.