Category Archives: work

Singapore Campus Likes – Which Secondary School Uniform is the Coolest?

omy.sg is running an informal voting contest to find out which secondary school in Singapore has the coolest school uniform.

Nomination was open from 12 May and the voting phase just started. Is your secondary school among those nominated?

When I visited the voting page, Catholic High School has the HIGHEST number of likes now, leading far ahead of the rest:

Seriously?

Catholic High?

Skimpy green shorts and white top with shiny buttons?

Singaporeans, what are you thinking when you voted for Catholic High School as the secondary school with the coolest school uniform?

I think by “coolest”, omy.sg did not mean the skimpiest and the breeziest…

Anyway, voting is still ongoing and there is still time for you to help determine the eventual winning secondary school. Visit the official Campus Like website to cast your vote now. 🙂

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Social media and the Malaysia general election

This article was first written for and published on the Social Media section of the International Newsmedia Marketing Association (INMA)’s blog on 16 May 2013:

Malaysians went to the polls on Sunday (May 5) to elect their government.

The ruling National Front coalition (or BN for Barisan Nasional) was returned to power, winning 133 of the 222 in parliamentary seats. The opposition won 89 seats, up from 82. Defeated opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim accused the ruling coalition of widespread fraud.

Najib celebrating his win (picture via omy.sg/ my paper)
Najib celebrating his win (picture via omy.sg/ my paper)

Quite frankly, I have not been following the election closely. But through the past weeks of campaigning to the actual voting day and result announcement, I have been getting regular updates via Facebook and Twitter from many of my patriotic Malaysian friends.

Social media brought the news of the Malaysian election to me. I did not search for it or read about it because I flipped open a newspaper or visited an online news Web site.

Think about it: For big breaking news these days, was social media your first information source?

Granted, the shared articles on Facebook or Twitter probably originated from news content sites. But it is still significant to reckon your social circle of friends might determine what news and information you consume — and not the traditional media ombudsmen.

For news publishers, if readers are increasingly getting their news from social networks, is our brand deep enough to still occupy mind-share? Are our readers sharing and tweeting our news content to their friends? This is something to think about for the future of the newspaper business.

Back to the Malaysia election. There were many learning points for me on social media. Here are five key highlights:

  • Video content viral well and very quickly. These might be even more effective in reaching out to a wired populace than TV appearances, given that online videos can be shared and re-shared repeatedly and across geography.

    An example is Bukit Bintang BN candidate Frankie Gan, who launched a series of self-starred music videos, hoping to impress voters with his karaoke talent. The video drew mixed responses, but mostly negative.

    As a foreigner, I was tickled enough by his video to re-share it on Facebook, even though I do not know where Bukit Bintang is or who Gan is competing against. He lost the election, by the way.

  • Parodies come fast and furious. Many parody videos, images, and stories on “magic blackout” surfaced online within 24 hours of the results announcement. Opposition supporters have alleged that BN-tilted ballot boxes had magically appeared at several polling stations after experiencing blackouts.
  • Online show of solidarity can be impressive and impactful. In protest of alleged election fraud by the ruling coalition, many of my Malaysian friends changed their Facebook profile pictures and header images into black boxes. As a foreigner, it is hard for me to not take notice when so many of my Facebook fans transformed into black boxes!
  • Protest to reach the world and world leaders can be done online with minimal disturbance to the public, but can be just as effective in getting the message across.

    Many Malaysians took to commenting on the Facebook walls of other government leaders like U.S. President Barack Obama and my own prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, to highlight their concerns on election frauds. The leaders might not reply to the comment, but others will still read, especially if the comments come in hundreds and thousands.

  • Politics can be divisive on social media, but cohesive at the same time. I see Malaysian friends from both ends, each posting and re-posting content that is in favour of the party he or she supports. This is divisive.

    At the same time, genuine debates sometime surface in the comments. This is cohesive.

    Two friends might not share the same political view or support the same party, but at least there is a platform for them to hash out their differences in a civilised manner. They need not agree with each other at the end of the debate, but at least they have a better understanding of the point of view from the other side.

Parenting with Pampers – Part 5

This is the last part of a 5-part parenting feature with Pampers.

Together with four other parenting bloggers, I am given the chance to try out Pampers range of ultra dry diapers: Pampers Active Baby and Pampers Active Baby Pants while at the same time, share some simple parenting tips.

You can read the other parents blog posts via omy Blog Club.

In this post, I am going to review the Pampers Active Baby diaper:

Pampers Active Baby diapers
Pampers Active Baby diapers

What is so good about Pampers Active Baby diaper compared to other diaper brands? There are four main highlights:

Cow picture
Cow picture

1. Elastic sides – expands and contracts for a comfortable fit.
2. Extra-Locking Layer – helps lock away wetness to keep baby dry.
3. Soft Cottony Comfort – Soft cotton-like outer cover with great breathability.
4. Hypoallergenic Lotion with Aloe Vera Extract – Helps gently protect baby’s skin and reduces diaper rash.

Locked for a good night sleep
Locked for a good night sleep

We have been using Pampers Active Baby diapers with Asher for the past week and so far, the experience has been great.

Do give them a try the next time you are buying diapers for your child. :)

GLASS ANATOMY – The Musical 《搭错车》

Last Friday (3 May), I attended the media preview of GLASS ANATOMY – The Musical 《搭错车》. The show is produced by local theatre company, Toy Factory and omy.sg is the official online partner:

China-born Taiwanese singer, Della Ding Dang (丁当) plays the lead role and sung many of the main songs in this musical. She is known for her singing skills and powerful vocal. I was so impressed with her singing that I went to a CD shop the next day and bought one of her CD and the OST for GLASS ANATOMY. Mind you, I have not visited a CD store for more than a year!

The storyline is adapted from a famous 1983 Taiwanese tearjerker musical film of the same name, 《搭错车》 (Papa, Can You Hear Me Sing), directed by Yu Kanping (虞戡平), starring Sun Yueh (孫越) and Linda Liu (劉瑞琪).This film was released 8 times in Taiwan and 11 times in Hong Kong and won 4 Golden Horse Awards.The theme song “Any Empty Wine Bottles For Sale” 《酒干倘卖无》 by Su Rui (苏芮) is a Chinese pop classic and is of course, featured in this musical.

I did not watch the original film, but am interested to catch it after attending the musical. It is available for viewing here:

SYNOPSIS

什么时候儿时的玩伴都离我远去? 什么时候家乡变得如此地拥挤?

漫渡了时代的变迁,岁月的磨炼,TOY 肥料厂呈献历经十二年构思的呕心创作《搭错车》。时费三年间搜罗来自中国、台湾、香港、泰国、阿根廷以及新加坡的知名艺术达人与设计师齐聚共同打造这部旷世经典。

《搭错车》改编自1983年轰动整个亚洲的原名台湾电影。此电影在第二十届金马奖中获得了11个奖项的提名,创下金马奖提名最高记录。剧中精髓来自由罗大佑、粱宏志、吴念真、陈志远、李寿全与侯德建创作,铁嗓歌手苏芮演唱的《酒干倘卖无》、《一样的月光》、《是否》和《请跟我来》等经典歌曲,绕粱多年,深入民心。

TOY肥料厂的《搭错车》将由华语音乐排行榜新天后丁当领衔主演,以她高昂嘹亮的歌艺,征服她的舞台音乐剧处女作。

哑叔,一个从小被遗弃靠捡破烂为生的哑巴,盼望幸福有一天降临。清晨陋巷的弃婴声,改变了他单调无依的日子。弃婴阿美长大成了拥有天籁般歌喉的美丽女子,与相依为命的哑叔,过着充满乐符的天伦生活。 阿美被唱片公司送上歌唱的星光道路。她与哑叔、情人、童年的玩伴、成长的小屋与简单的生活有了一片摸不着看不到的玻璃隔膜。当她在大舞台上发光发亮时,年老的父亲已在老旧的收音机旁,渐渐睡去…

Have you ever wondered where your childhood friends have gone? When has home turned so crowded and foreign?

Through these changing times and growing years, TOY FACTORY presents, . A masterpiece that has taken 12 years to produce and 3 years to gather the best creative talents and designers across China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Argentina and Singapore.

Adapted from the Taiwan movie, “Papa, can you hear me sing?”, that took the entire Asia by storm and set the record for the highest number of nominations ever received at the 20th Golden Horse Awards. The essence of the movie is created by vocal powerhouse – Su Rei’s numerous classic hits such as The Same Moonlight

Uncle Ya, a mute rag-and-bone man, is always hopeful for the day that happiness will arrive. His dull and lonely life takes a turn when he hears the cries of an abandoned baby in the alley one morning. Being showered with Uncle Ya’s fatherly love, the baby blossoms into a beautiful young lady, Ah Mei. Father and daughter live a simple yet blissful life. Gifted with the voice of an angel, Ah Mei is eventually discovered by a famous record company producer and shoots to stardom swiftly. While Ah Mei lives in her dream, a glass has unknowingly formed between her and the people she loves. Her beloved father, her lover, her best childhood friend, her hometown and the simple life she used to lead are slowly slipping away. As she shines on the glamorous stage, an ailing old man sitting next to the radio that is playing his daughter’s song is slowly passing on…

How did I find the musical?

Great!

Okay, the story is very predictable and comes across very cheesy at time, but it was  based on a movie written in simpler time for simpler audiences.

In any case, I am a sucker for cheesy love stories for they provide escapism into romanticised worlds.

Storyline aside, I think the casting of Della in the lead role is very appropriate, given her similar personal background and rise to fame in real life. At just 18 years old, Della left her home in Zhejiang province, China, to seek chances to be a singer by singing with bands in different bars in Taiwan.

It was delightful to hear Della belt out one classic after another. The other performers sung well too.

If you are interested to catch GLASS ANATOMY – The Musical 《搭错车》, it will be showing at Esplanade Theatres from 3 to 12 May 2013. Tickets can be purchased online via SISTIC. Details:

EVENT DATE
3-12 May 2013
Tues – Sun, 8.00pm
Sat & Sun, 3.00pm

DURATION
Approx 1 hr 50 mins (no interval)

VENUE
Esplanade Theatre

TICKET PRICE (EXCLUDE BOOKING FEE)
Standard – S$129, S$109, S$89, S$69
VIP Box – S$129
Box B – G – S$109
Restricted View – S$129, S$109, S$89, S$69

Please add to above price $3 Booking Fee per ticket for tickets above $20 and $1 Booking Fee per ticket for tickets $20 and below. Charges include GST where applicable.

Parenting with Pampers – Part 3

This is part 3 of a 5 part parenting feature with Pampers.

Together with four other parenting bloggers, I am given the chance to try out Pampers range of ultra dry diapers: Pampers Active Baby and Pampers Active Baby Pants while at the same time, share some simple parenting tips.

You can read the other parents blog posts via omy Blog Club.

In this post, I am going to write about bilingualism.

Both my wife and I grew up in bilingual (Chinese and English) environments and are able to speak and write fluently in both languages.

We want Asher to inherit this as there are many advantages in the workplace, during social interactions and for cultural learning.

Asher with Rachel and I during a family trip to Taiwan
Asher with Rachel and I during a family trip to Taiwan

In our interaction with young children in Singapore these days, we find that many communicate solely in English. They are able to do reasonably well in Chinese tests and examinations, but still hate or  are indifferent towards the language and barely uses it in their daily lives.

Then, there are those who profess they “suck at Chinese”. It is logical to presume these children would be good at English since one should be able to master at least one language, but no, their English is equally atrocious!

From the day Asher was born, Rachel and I made the decision to teach him Chinese first. This will be harder to pick up later in life as there will be lesser opportunity to use the language, given that most children speak primarily in English these days.

Good Chinese starts from home.

He was taught his Chinese name, Yu Yi first before Asher.

When he reaches around 14 months and can start making simple speech, we realise the limitation of conversing only in Chinese to him – he is unable to communicate with other kids at the playground, especially those who are not Chinese.

This is where Rachel made the switch to converse to him in English. My wife’s language proficiency is much better than mine and it was easier for her to transit.

Now, Asher is slowly picking up some English words to converse with others. I still speak to him solely in Chinese. His grandparents too. Rachel is the only one exposing him to the English language at home. This works out to a 70-30 ratio.

It seems to be working well.

If you also believe in bilingualism, do drop me a note if you have any feedback or suggestions on raising a bilingual child. 🙂

Parenting with Pampers – Part 2

This is part 2 of a 5 part parenting feature with Pampers.

Together with four other parenting bloggers, I am given the chance to try out Pampers range of ultra dry diapers: Pampers Active Baby and Pampers Active Baby Pants while at the same time, share some simple parenting tips.

You can read the other parents blog posts via omy Blog Club.

In this post, I am going to review the Pampers Active Baby Pants diaper:

Pampers Active Baby Pants diapers
Pampers Active Baby Pants diapers

These underwear like pants are perfect when you are potty training your baby to ditch diapers. My son, Asher, is in this phase now.

How is Pampers Active Baby Pants better compared to other diaper brands?

Underwear-like shape
Underwear-like shape

1. Extra locking layer – this helps lock away wetness to keep your baby dry.
2. Soft Cotton–Like Outer Cover – Soft touch with great breathability to help prevent diaper rash.
3. Soft Waist Stretch – Pampers soft stretch material to help prevent pressure marking.
4. Hypoallergenic Lotion with Aloe Vera Extract – Helps gently protect baby’s skin and reduce diaper rash.
5. Underwear-like design – Slim crotch shaped like an underwear to help your baby move freely.

I like that it is extremely thin and near weightless:

Super thin
Super thin
There are different cartoon elephants on the diapers
There are different cartoon elephants on the diapers
Asher likes them
Asher likes them
Asher picking the diaper with the cartoon he like to wear
Asher picking the diaper with the cartoon he like to wear

Asher has been using these for the past week now and so far so good. Despite the thinner build and lighter weight of the Pampers Active Baby Pants diapers, they work just as well, if not better than other diaper brands.

Do give them a try the next time you are buying diapers for your child. 🙂

Parenting with Pampers – Part 1

I am not exactly the best father in the world, but whatever good stuff I can impart or provide for my one and a half year old son, Asher, I will try my best to do so.

Same for my wife Rachel who switched to teaching over her journalism career in order to spend more time with Asher during his formative years.

Together with four other parenting bloggers, I am given the chance to try out Pampers range of ultra dry diapers: Pampers Active Baby and Pampers Active Baby Pants while at the same time, share some simple parenting tips.

You can read the other parents blog posts via omy Blog Club.

My first parenting post will be on potty training.

We started Asher young, from when he was less than one year old. He was taught to gesture to us if he needed to pee or pass motion.

Later on when he learned to say simple words like “niao niao (urinate)” and “put put (pass motion”, we teach him to articulate when he needs the potty. Alternatively, we may also ask him if he need to “niao niao” or “put put” and see if he shakes or nods his head.

It helps that we bought him a small portable potty that he can mount on his own.

Currently, he is trained to use the potty before and after meals; before we go out; and when we arrive home. This builds up a routine which Asher can adjust to.

He gets lazy sometime and will refuse to use the potty even when he needs it. This is where we have to be really firm with him. Rachel’s approach will be to mollycoddle him. I will just strip him and plant him on the potty.

If he can sustain a dry diaper for a whole day, we will praise him for his effort.

When we are home, we sometimes use cloth diapers, while disposable diapers like Pampers are used exclusively when we are out.

We have been using conventional sticky-tape fastening diapers mostly. With the Pampers Active Baby Pants, Rachel and I can now experiment on getting Asher to take off his own pants to use the potty. I think Asher now knows that a soiled diaper is not something desirable. A few days ago, he pinched his nose and told my mum “chou chou (smelly)” after he soiled his diaper while they were shopping at a mall. 🙂