Bye bye omy.sg

Today is my last day working at omy.sg.

I have been with omy.sg for close to seven years. I joined the team before it was even launched in September 2007. Click here to read through all the projects and experiences I shared with the omy.sg team.

omy.sg's first ever print ad in 2007
omy.sg’s first ever print ad in 2007

I was there when we launched our first TV commercial. Yes, we had one at the very beginning:

I was there when we launched the first Singapore Blog Awards and the first Singapore Entertainment Awards.

I was there when we hosted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the launch of CLing, a Chinese learning portal, co-developed together with Business China.

I was there when we set up the omy Blog Club and developed it to what it is today with a strong, vibrant community of over 3,000 registered bloggers.

I was there when we ventured into mobile and tablet platforms, launching the Fong Fei Fei commemorative e-book and the Vice Ring Probe mobile news magazine app.

There are more exciting projects upcoming at omy.sg. We have to constantly innovate in order to survive as the industry is constantly evolving. I would love to be a part of all these, but the journey ends here for now.

I am thankful for all the opportunities given to me by my wonderful bosses at omy.sg, my supervisor, Kuan Fung, and our big boss, Chim Kang

I am thankful to all my colleagues, new and old for the great support they have given me, especially when I have to constantly trouble them with many last minute marketing projects. Janet in particular for having to support so much of my work whenever I am absent.

I am thankful to all the external partners, sponsors and advertisers I have worked with for omy.sg. Thank you for supporting us and do continue to shower your support for the omy.sg team.

It is bye bye for now as I am being transferred to market another website within the Singapore Press Holdings group.

I will still continue to watch omy.sg grow, but this time, as a blogger, as part of the omy Blog Club and as a news reader.

Adieus. 🙂

Why Darren Woo is Worse than Trinetta Chong

Who you support?
Who you support?

Darren Woo Hon Fai is the valedictorian this year from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).

He made headlines for his controversial valedictorian speech where he poked fun of his fellow graduates from the Chinese Division,  commenting that that they may not be able to understand English.

Here is a full video of his speech. Watch from the 8:00 minute mark for the highlight:

After reminding everyone to honour thy parents, Darren went on to add these hurtful words: “This is especially so for the Chinese majors who probably have not gotten what I just said in English, 所谓望子成龙,望女成凤, I can speak Mandarin too.”

Trinetta Chong, on the other hand, was a valedictorian in 2011 from my alma mater, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, also from NTU.

At the end of her valedictorian speech, she blurted out the f-word: “We f***ing did it!”

If I am an employer, I will hire Trinetta, but not Darren.

The way I see it, one committed a slip of the tongue in her moment of excitement. Yes, she was wrong, but I can still be friend and work with someone like that. Her biggest mistake was immaturity and not watching her language for vulgarity.

The other one claimed his offending words were not in his original speech, but added on the spot to lighten the mood. To me, this shows this guy has deep-seated discriminatory issues. I cannot imagine myself being a friend with someone like this or working with him.

Potty-mouthed girl, I can accept.

Discriminating boy, I cannot accept.

Both my parents are Chinese-educated and my sister and I grew up speaking Mandarin at home. I only learn the English language when I entered primary one.

My English was not good in primary school and I have to endure the abuse of some really bad English teachers who will take every opportunity to shame and humiliate a group of us by calling us names like “Cheena Biang” and “Sons of Stinky Pau Seller” (I kid you not).

Even up to my ‘O’ levels, my English was still pretty sucky. I was always one of the top student in all my other subjects, scoring As for everything else, except English which totally pulled down my L1R5 score as English is the almighty “L1” that cannot be substituted.

It it with much perseverance that I pushed my language ability to where I am now and I am proud to say that I am effectively bilingual in both Chinese and English, written and spoken. The same goes for my wife, Rachel, who have worked in both Chinese and English newsrooms. We hope to do the same for my son, Asher.

Do you know how hard it is to be proficient in both English and Chinese in Singapore where English tend to be the more common language of use?

I am quite sure many of Darren’s schoolmates from the Chinese division in HSS will be able to speak and write fluently in both Chinese and English, while conversely, many from the other divisions, might encounter some difficulty with the Chinese language or their respective second languages.

Currently, I work in the Chinese newsroom in my day job and I admire my Chinese journalist colleagues who are able to switch easily between Chinese and English for their job requirement.

Does Darren think my Chinese newsroom colleagues cannot understand English too?

Somehow, I think many young people today hold the same attitude as Darren – that Chinese is a “low-class” language that is cool to poke fun at.

A few months earlier, a youngster emailed me to ask about my alma mater, WKWSCI and wrote in the email asking if I know the school environment was “cheena” as the person was from ACJC and was worried that she might not be able to adjust.

I replied her with a long email on how rude it was for her to presume she knows my language preference and use a derogatory word like “cheena” on someone she is seeking advice from. The person apologised profusely after that, but the damage is done.

What about you? What do you think of this whole saga?

Historic Moment in World History as God says SORRY to Kong Hee

God allegedly said this to Pastor Kong Hee: “My son, Kong, thank you. Thank you for going through this. I need you to go through this alone so that you and City Harvest Church can be the man and the ministry I call it to be. I am so sorry, but you need to go through this by yourself, to bring a change to your generation.”

Wow.

History in the making.

The people who attended the City Harvest Church sermon that day were very blessed as they got to witness a historic moment in world history.

Kong Hee Fatt Choy.

CooperVision’s #iseefreedom contest – Win prizes worth up to $1288

Contact lenses brand, CooperVision is running a #iseefreedom photo contest in conjunction with Pink Dot 2013The first prize is a prize of your choice worth up to SGD$1000 + 3 months supply of CooperVision contact lens! 

Win amazing prizes from CooperVision
Win amazing prizes from CooperVision

CooperVision wants you to be a part of their movement to change the way we see every day. #iseefreedom is an initiative inviting you to share your refreshing take on freedom in the world around you.

You can find out more about the contest HERE.

Here are some of the photos I submitted which you can refer to for inspiration:

Native American dreamcatchers. Seen at Esplanade. #iseefreedom
Native American dreamcatchers. Seen at Esplanade. #iseefreedom
Two boys at a beach. Seen in a mall in Jakarta. #iseefreedom
Two boys at a beach. Seen in a mall in Jakarta. #iseefreedom
Gathering of strange characters at the Social Star Awards 2013 at Marina Bay Sands. #iseefreedom
Gathering of strange characters at the Social Star Awards 2013 at Marina Bay Sands. #iseefreedom
Hong Lim Park  turned a sea of pink during Pink Dot 2013. #iseefreedom
Hong Lim Park turned a sea of pink during Pink Dot 2013. #iseefreedom
Pink Nando's chickens in support of Pink Dot 2013. #iseefreedom
Pink Nando’s chickens in support of Pink Dot 2013. #iseefreedom
Rainbow chair seen at Millennia Walk. Raindow colours for diversity. #iseefreedom
Rainbow chair seen at Millennia Walk. Raindow colours for diversity. #iseefreedom
Two guys posing for a photo at Pink Dot 2013. #iseefreedom
Two guys posing for a photo at Pink Dot 2013. #iseefreedom
Bling bling wall at Shanghai Dolly, Clarke Quay. #iseefreedom
Bling bling wall at Shanghai Dolly, Clarke Quay. #iseefreedom
A moth can be as beautiful as a butterfly. Seen at Krabi Airport. #iseefreedom
A moth can be as beautiful as a butterfly. Seen at Krabi Airport. #iseefreedom
Colourful house of cards, designed by the Eames. Seen at Essential Eames exhibition at ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands. #iseefreedom
Colourful house of cards, designed by the Eames. Seen at Essential Eames exhibition at ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands. #iseefreedom

All the best for the contest. 🙂

About CooperVision:

CooperVision has a long history of bringing innovation to contact lenses and overcoming technical problems like difficult fittings.

Although CooperVision was born in 1980, its history actually goes back much further. CooperVision’s parent company, The Cooper Companies, Inc., is a global medical device company publicly traded on the NYSE Euronext (NYSE:COO) whose origins go back to 1985. In 1967, Cooper Tinsley Laboratories changed its name to “Cooper Laboratories, Inc.” As the company expanded globally, multiple locations opened around the world.

CooperVision takes its position as a leading global contact lens manufacturer with a sense of pride, encouraging them to make even more advancements in the field of ocular science. Buttressing this determination is CooperVision’s strong R&D team.

Alvinology Goes to Pink Dot 2013

I attended Pink Dot 2013 on 29 June and took some photos. The last time I attended a Pink Dot event was for the first event, five years ago. You can read about the first Pink Dot here.

Happy folks at Pink Dot 2013
Happy folks at Pink Dot 2013

Comparing the crowd then and now, I must say the atmosphere is much more festive and more people were willing to pose for photographs with happy expressions.  The turnout has grown exponentially, such that the designated venue, Hong Lim Park can no longer contain everyone.

For those who do not know about Pink Dot, it is an annual event campaigning for diversity and inclusiveness while fostering understanding for the basic human need to love and be loved, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Global financial firm J.P. Morgan, local hotel PARKROYAL on Pickering, popular contact lens specialist CooperVision and audio branding agency The Gunnery, came on board as Corporate Contributors of Pink Dot 2013. They join a growing list that includes search engine giant Google and international banking group Barclays.

Here are some of my photos taken at Pink Dot 2013:

A large crowd has already gathered when I arrived
A large crowd has already gathered when I arrived
Crowd having picnic on the grass patch
Crowd having picnic on the grass patch
Crowd gathered near the stage
Crowd gathered near the stage
Community tent
Community tent
Pink out loud
Pink out loud
Cosplayer spotted
Cosplayer spotted
Spotted a friend, Daen, giving out free chicken from Nandos
Spotted a friend, Daen, giving out free chicken from Nando’s
Painting mats
Painting mats
This Hello Kitty bubble machine got a lot of grown-men excited
This Hello Kitty bubble machine got a lot of grown-men excited
Free pink cranes
The Purple Alliance
The Purple Alliance
Striaght Ally noticeboard
Striaght Ally noticeboard
Pink balloon house
Pink balloon house
Crew giving out free pink torchlights
Crew giving out free pink torchlights
Peformance on stage
Performance on stage
Singing band
Singing band
Pink Dot plush toys for sale
Pink Dot plush toys for sale
Group of guys with pink hats
Group of guys with pink hats
Rainbow parents
Rainbow parents
A pair of pink Nando chickens
A pair of pink Nando chickens
Group singing of our national anthem, Majulah Singapura
Group singing of our national anthem, Majulah Singapura
Group form Humanist Society
Group from Humanist Society
Group from University of Chicago
Group from University of Chicago
Cheers!
Cheers!
Can you see the small remote helicopter camera on the top left-hand corner?
Can you see the small remote helicopter camera on the top left-hand corner?
Group from Credit Suisse waving at the camera
Group from Credits Suisse waving at the camera
Crowd waving as the helicopter flew by
Crowd waving as the helicopter flew by
Skit performance
Skit performance
Friends gathered for picnic
Friends gathered for picnic
Some brought kids along
Some brought kids along
Happy couple
Happy couple
Some came in flamboyant costumes
Some came in flamboyant costumes
Interesting looking guy with pink hat
Interesting looking guy with pink hat
Pink balloons for everyone to pose with
Pink balloons for everyone to pose with
Free cotton candy from one of the sponsor, Barclays
Free cotton candy from one of the sponsor, Barclays
All-male cheerleading group
All-male cheerleading group
Many brought their pet dogs
Many brought their pet dogs
Last picture of the crowd before I left Hong Lim Park at around 7pm
Last picture of the crowd before I left Hong Lim Park at around 7pm

More photos are available in my Facebook album for Pink Dot 2013.

Btw, CooperVision is running a #iseefreedom photo contest in conjunction with Pink Dot 2013The first prize is a prize of your choice worth up to SGD$1000 + 3 months supply of CooperVision contact lens! 

You can find out more about the contest HERE. I will be submitting some of my photos. Do send in yours too. 🙂 

The Phantom Of The Opera Returns to Singapore at Marina Bay Sands

Broadway’s longest running musical, The Phantom Of The Opera, is here again in Singapore!

Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s phenomenal hit celebrated its 27th anniversary on the West End stage last year, and continues to play to full houses nightly in London, New York and around the world. The musical has been seen by over 130 million people worldwide; has been performed in more than 27 countries; has won over 50 major theatre awards, and has grossed more than US$5.6 billion.

The Phantom Of The Opera is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation of the novel Le Fantome De L’Opera by Gaston Leroux. It tells the heart-wrenching story of the mysterious, hideously disfigured Phantom who lives beneath the Paris Opera House, and his obsession with the young singer Christine. Disguised as the ‘Angel of Music’, he devotes himself to creating a new opera star, and winning her love from his rival Raoul, while exercising a reign of terror over the Opera House.

With 130 cast, crew and orchestra members, jaw-dropping scenery, breathtaking special effects, and more than 230 stunning costumes, The Phantom Of The Opera contains some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most famous and stirring music.

It last arrived on our shores at the Kallang Theatre in 1995 and the Esplanade Theatre in 2007. From 18 July 2013, it will take up residence in the MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands for a limited season.

Although I know of the musical, I am surprise I have not seen it even once, whether in the theatres or the movie adaptation. I missed the musical in 1995 and 2007, I have to see it this time.

And I did…

on the opening night!

I watched the musical without any prior knowledge of the plot and I enjoyed it all the more. The staging was lavish, with some clever play of lighting and props for dramatic effects.

The cast sang well. When I heard familiar songs like Phantom of the Opera and Music of the Night being sung in the context of the musical, the songs became even more endearing and emotional to me:

“Softly, deftly music shall caress you
Hear it, feel it secretly poseess you
Open up your mind let your fantasies unwind
In this darkness which you know you cannot fight
The darkness of the music of the night”

In this season run in Singapore, American actor Brad Little, 49, plays the lead role of the tortured, lovelorn Phantom. Little has performed the role more than 2,200 times across the globe and is one of the only four men who have played the role of The Phantom over 2000 performances. He still shines in the role and put on a moving performance on the opening night.

Whether you are a regular theatre/musical goer or a newbie, The Phantom Of The Opera is a must-see experience. Do not wait another five years or more for it to return to our shores again!

Tickets are now on sale and cost from S$55 to S$230, excluding the booking fee of S$3 per ticket. You can book online at http://www.baseentertainmentasia.com or http://www.marinabaysands.com/Ticketing, by phone at +65 6688 8826 or head down to get in person at the Marina Bay Sands Box Offices.

LG Optimus G Pro arrives in Singapore

Earlier from 30 May 2013, LG started introducing its flagship smartphone, Optimus G Pro into Hong Kong and the rest of the Asia region, including Singapore. The 5.5-inch display Android smartphone was originally introduced in its home market of Korea in February, with good reviews.

The Optimus G Pro received the Best LTE Device/Handset Award at the LTE World Summit 2013, which was held this year in Amsterdam from June 24-26. This award comes in recognition of the device’s superior LTE capabilities, wide range of consumer-centric features, ease-of-use, seamless inter-device connectivity and elegant design.

From early July, LG Optimus G Pro is now available in Singapore for S$868.

The beautiful LG Optimus G Pro
The beautiful LG Optimus G Pro

The Optimus G Pro  is equipped with the swift Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, which features a 1.7GHz Quad-Core CPU and Adreno 320 GPU. Combined with other features such as a long-lasting 3,140mAh battery and 2GB RAM, LG’s Optimus G Pro is one of the most advanced smartphones currently on the market.

With its expansive 5.5-inch 1080p Full HD IPS display delivering a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels at 400ppi, the Optimus G Pro provides razor sharp images and wide viewing angles as well as a comfortable in-hand experience and great “pocketability.”

“LG’s Optimus G Pro sets a new benchmark in the over 5-inch display smartphone category which is catching on with consumers everywhere who aren’t interested in owning both a phone and a tablet,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company.

Love the screen quality
Love the screen quality

Backed by powerful hardware features, the Optimus G Pro also comes packed with differentiated UX features, such as:

    • Dual Camera and Dual Recording: The Dual Camera and Dual Recording functions allow users to capture pictures or videos with both the front and rear cameras simultaneously for a unique picture-in-picture experience;
    • VR Panorama: The VR Panorama allows shots of entire horizontal and vertical environments for a full 360° view;
    • Pause and Resume Recording: The Pause and Resume Recording feature allows for the recording of short snippets of video which can then be viewed as one continuous file.
    • Smart Video: Smart Video recognizes the position of the viewer’s eyes and automatically plays or stops the video without any manual input from the user.
Watch video clip while multi-tasking
Watch video clip while multi-tasking

I attended a media preview in June, trying out the new LG Optimus G Pro before it was released in the Singapore market. I have written some good stuff about the LG Optimus G which I am using. The Optimus G Pro is like a bigger brother – packed with more features and a hybrid between a phone and a tablet.

Preview of LG Optimus G Pro in Singapore
Preview of LG Optimus G Pro in Singapore
Learning about the LG Optimus G Pro from LG representatives themselves
Learning about the LG Optimus G Pro from LG representatives themselves

While the LG Optimus G already had a relatively large screen, drawing on the screen was still challenging. On the LG Optimus G Pro, this is what I can achieve with one finger in less than 3o seconds:

Speed drawing on the LG Optimus G Pro
Speed drawing on the LG Optimus G Pro

After hitting Asian retailers, the Optimus G Pro will be rolled out in Europe market over the next several months. Yes, you read it correctly. We are getting the Optimus G in Asia before the Europeans do. Thank you LG. 🙂

Key Specifications:

Operating System: Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2
Processor: 1.7GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 600 Processor
Display: 5.5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels / 400ppi)
Memory: 16GB / microSD (up to 64GB)
RAM: 2GB DDR
Camera: Rear 13.0MP / Front 2.1MP
Battery: 3,140mAh (removable)
Size: 150.2 x 76.1 x 9.4mm
Colors: Indigo Black, Lunar White

To find out more about LG’s Optimus G Pro, visit the official website.