Monday, December 01, 2008

The art of the toilet in Japan


Duncan Bartlett discovers how, when it comes to lavatories, Japan is a step ahead of the rest of the world.

No country takes toilets quite so seriously as Japan. Machines with heated seats, built-in bidets and a dynamic range of flushing options are almost ubiquitous in homes and public buildings.

A poem recently published by a stressed-out salary man captured their comforting appeal with haiku-like brevity. "The only warmth in my life is the toilet seat," he mourned.

But lavatories here can do much more than keep you warm. One even sends a tiny electrical charge through the user's buttocks to check their body-fat ratio.
The master of the modern convenience is the Panasonic Corporation.

Booming market
At its Tokyo showroom, located in a skyscraper near the BBC's office, a group of smart young women, dressed in uniforms resembling flight attendants, showed me the company's latest wares.

The lids lifted up when I approached. If I stood in front of one, it took a guess at my gender and lifted up the seat as well.

There was a loo that glowed in the dark and another that had built-in loudspeakers.
With manicured fingernails, the demonstrator pushed the control panel beside the seat and gentle light classical music began to play.

Pleasant enough, I thought, although I preferred a pastoral sound effect that provided the impression one was seated upon a white plastic throne surrounded by songbirds in a springtime meadow. Kyoko Ishii, who heads up the public relations department for Panasonic, explained to me that most of the people who choose luxury loos are older women, so this is a booming market in rapidly ageing Japan.

Kyoko says that for this core customer group, the emphasis now is less on the gadgetry and more on convenience and cleanliness.

A new flush has been invented which does away with the need for a tank and saves dramatically on water.

The device costs about £1,950 ($3,000) including installation. But it is not easy to sell outside Japan as bathrooms in other countries are rarely fitted with the right mixture of sophisticated plumbing and electronics.

Clean culture
A visitor to Tokyo recently told me that he was surprised to find Japanese women rather than foreigners cleaning the toilets in his hotel.

It is of course often immigrants who take on such jobs in rich countries. But foreign-born workers are rare here as only about 1.5% of the population are made up of non-native Japanese.

However, the low immigration level is only part of the explanation. Japanese people do not see cleaning as a demeaning or shameful job.

School children are trained from a young age to sweep their classrooms and scour the playground for litter.

Lorry drivers wash their trucks at the end of every day. No restaurant ever serves a meal without first offering the customer a cleansing towel.

Recently, I visited a small technology company in Osaka. The president, Mr Sugimoto, is trying to inspire his staff to work harder as recession takes hold.
He is noted for his drive and enthusiasm and that came across in a punchy presentation which he showed me on his laptop.

It included photographs of his staff on their knees scrubbing the urinals.

His point was that in preparation for a new project, the whole team had mucked in to clean up the workplace and this was clearly a source of pride to be included in the company's publicity.

Source of comfort
But toilets can raise a smile, too. Television comedies sometimes include scenes of pranksters luring people into loos whose walls then collapse, and the embarrassment this causes the victim is a source of great hilarity.

The Japanese - like the British - do not seem to mind too much when comedians sink into vulgarity and joke about scatological matters.

But there is also a dark underground trade in DVDs filmed in ladies' toilets by hidden cameras, and only last week a man was arrested for placing "spycams" in the lavatories of a girls' school.

Most of the time, though, the Japanese are happy to think of a toilet as their comfort and their friend.

The other day, while catching a commuter train to work, I found myself transfixed by an advertisement which was being screened on a TV inside the carriage. A young girl slowly walked towards a loo, which automatically raised its lid to greet her.

The toilet then appeared to give a welcoming robotic smile and its seat began to glow an inviting orange colour as it heated up, ready for action. Fortunately, the advertisement ended there. But not before a broad and appreciative smile broke out across the face of the girl.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Designer Fashion Rental

With its fast moving fashion cycles, the fashion industry is a highly competitive, and global industry that is worth millions. According to Fenton (2008), due to the notion that fashion is associated with affluence, glamour and status, many consumers (in particular women) are "willing to spend their savings on designer fashions". There is a growing market for rental luxury goods, as there is an increasing trend among consumers to believe that they are entitled to have the best things in life. However, not many of these consumers have the ability to obtain a lifestyle that is beyond their purchasing power... more>>

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Easy Homemade Anti-wrinkle Lotion

The production of anti-wrinkle creams, lotions and such is a multi-billion dollar industry. In this era that we're living in now beauty seems to reign over everything else even health. If you do not like your nose, trading it in for a cute and spiffy newer model is not such a big deal anymore. Same goes with the rest of the body parts. These replacements, 'mega-tron boobs' or reducing even your big toe, all at a drop of a hat has been brought into the forefront fashion by the movie stars, anorexic models and other famous people. This defying nature is nowhere... more>>

Natural Sleep Aids

It seems that many people are taking prescription sleep aids these days. Are natural sleep aids a viable alternative?

Between the economy, the election, violence, and other issues of living the world is full of stressful situations and it may leave you staring at your bedroom ceiling long after that last sheep has been counted. According to the commercials on television and in magazines the only thing you need to do is to try OTC sleep aids (over-the counter) or even prescription sleep medications. Are these chemical and synthetic substances really... more>>

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Leaders are Born Not Made

“Are leaders born or made?” It is an age-old question that has been on the minds of many throughout history. The rationale behind this executive summary is to prove that the statement “leaders are born, not made” is true, but only to a certain extent... more>>

The Best Easy Sweet Potato Recipes

Generally one of the must have dishes on the Thanksgiving table is sweet potatoes. Whether they are boiled, broiled, baked, or fried, sweet potatoes have been an American autumn favorite for decades... more>>

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tips For How To Shorten Jeans!

The problem most have with getting jeans shortened is that they don't look the same anymore once the original hem has been cut. Here I'll give you the basic and easy way... more>>

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Famous Handicapped Animals

To owners, pets are close friends with nothing but love to give. They're guards who will protect their families in the face of adversity. Sometimes they even become vacuums temporarily, at least when food spills onto the floor. Animals find and provide happiness during the worst situations. The majority of pets can be quite inspiring, but certain ones have overcome challenges that launch their status from "inspiring" to "incredible"... more>>

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Iced Tea Recipes

Thai Iced Tea, Apple and Honey Iced Tea etc... more>>

Survey shows Gen Y S’poreans tend to job—hop, prefer younger supervisors

SINGAPORE : Human resource practitioners need to adopt a different approach to attract and

According to its recent survey, 7 in 10 Generation Y workers aged between 19 and 30 think it is normal to job—hop, and they also want instant recognition for their work.

But this poses a problem for human resource practitioners.

"If we are not able to meet their expectations in that area, they may not feel committed to the position or to the company... and so they may leave after some years. That is something we need to tackle," said Joanne Lim, a HR practitioner.

The survey also revealed that Generation Y workers prefer younger supervisors who are aged 40 and below, and they expect them to be open minded, understanding and easy to get along with.

"If employers can better understand this group of people with regards to their value system, the way they would like to be seen and work, the way they want to collaborate with the older generation in the workforce, then I think we can better harness ways on what this (group of) Gen Y workers can bring to the business," said David Ang, executive director of the Singapore Human Resources Institute.

The institute said companies should review their existing HR practices and adopt more flexible policies for this group of workers. — CNA /ls
More often than not, it's the companies who don't think of their employees, with so many being on contract basis; very rarely do you get permanent positions. Than again, that also depends on the industry you are in. I guess the mentality is that of looking out for one's own interest, if you don't who will? The company you work for definitely won't not matter what HR policies they have....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Successfully Managing People

The most important and difficult aspect of a manager's job is to manage people. To be an effective leader you must lead, motivate, inspire and encourage your team. If you fail to manage your people well, it won't be long before they (or possibly you) will be looking for new.. more>>

Fudge Pound Cake Recipe

Fudge Pound Cake is an all-time favorite in our house. During the holidays, I bake two dozen of these decadent chocolate pound cakes and give them to friends and neighbors as gifts. Wrap them in plastic wrap, then with gift wrapping paper and add a pretty bow. You could also include the recipe printed on an index card and attached to the package. Recipient's will love you for your thoughtfulness and appreciate being able to make this rich... more>>

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Deja Vu - Experiencing the Past in the Present

Have you ever felt an overwhelming sense that you are in close acquaintance with something that's totally new? Say, you travel to Spain for the first time and when you go visit the park, you feel that you've been to that same place before. Or maybe when you are talking to your friends about aliens on a Saturday night and all of a sudden you get the feeling that you have already experienced this very thing - same topic, same place, same set of friends- even though you know u haven't. If you have ever encountered any of these situations, it means you've experienced... more>>

Are Animals Capable of Laughing?

Whether it's the youthful giggling of girls in the park or boisterous shouts of the crowd in a comedy show, we hear laughter every day. It's really nothing new to us humans. But what about animals? Are they capable of laughing? And if they do laugh, does it affect their... more>>

How to Spot a Genuine Smile from a Fake Smile

Smiling is so easy to do ... just stretch the corners of your mouth to your ears and your done. Or if not, saying the word "cheese" will do the trick. Every one of us has our signature smile and we do it for different reasons. To appear pleasant, bestow approval, to show happiness or amusement; even when we feel embarrassed about something, we give out cute smiles to cover it up. Generally, smiles are given for positive reasons. Or is it... more>>

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Just Because....

Just because you pay a few bills, you think you're the king of the world
Just because you've lived a couple more years more, you think that all your choices and decisions are correct
There is no wrong in your world, as long as it is by your rules
You think you are right
Only you

There is only your reasoning
No room for others, just because you think so
Other people's reasoning is all wrong to you
They never make sense
Just because you want it your way

Just because you want everyone to bid your doing
Else you'll threaten them emotionally
Just because you think you're right
Just because you want things done your way and your way alone
All other ways are nonsense to you
No way but your way

Too bad I don't want to live by your rules anymore
They make no sense
Just because sometimes I really want to say...
Why can't you hear what I have to say?
It's my life, my space
Not yours
You're just part of the process... that's all

Friday, July 25, 2008

Concealer Basics

There are countless of products in the makeup "world", and one of the many wonders created to help with creating that perfect look is the concealer. As the name implies, it conceals (covers up) spots, dark circles (especially under the eyes), and other visibly small blemishes on the skin (most often on the... more>>

The pros and cons of text messages

Text messaging is a wonderful tool for people to be able to communicate with each other, especially in situations where a phone call just seems quite impossible or inappropriate. It's just like mobile email, without the internet connection, and on-the-go.

In today's busy society, friends can update and keep in touch with o...more>>

Why brown rice is better than white rice

Although brown rice and white rice have the same amount of calories, carbohydrate, fat and proteins, brown rice is the more nutritious of the two: it has several vitamins and dietary minerals that white rice does not have. Brown rice is unprocessed (un-milled/partly milled) rice that still retains its outer layer (the husk), ... more>>

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Behind the name: Addison

Both male and female


Child/Son of Adam

ORIGIN & History:
The name Addison is of Old English origin, derived from the medieval name Addie - a nickname for Adam, and is also a Scottish patronymic surname, "Son of Addie" - a Scottish Lowlands nickname for Adam. It be... more>>

Behind the name: Evan

Primarily male but is also used (seldom) for female


Swift (Gaelic)
Young (Welsh)
Right-Handed (Scottish)
God is good/ God has been gracious/ God has shown favour (Hebrew)

ORIGIN & History:
The name Evan is of Welsh origin and is derived from... more>>


Everything seems to fade with each passing day
What seemed important than
What I thought that mattered most
Looking back
It seems so trivial now
Just so tried of it all
Petty squabbles
Screaming shouts
Disillusioned by it all
Didn't seem to understand
Didn't want to bother anymore
Wanted to get awa... more>>

Friday, July 18, 2008

How much education is enough to succeed

It is common knowledge that education will get you somewhere in life, but there are times when it not always the case. Getting a good education is essential in getting that perfect job, but that is as far as it will get you; unless you are planning to work in a more specialized field such as engineering, law or medical. What ... more>>

Why the restaurant industry needs web-based marketing and ordering systems

Living in the information age, from all areas of life almost every aspect of business has at least a web site with information about the services available or the nature of business. Nowadays, the first thing that people do when they want to gather more information about almost anything is to search the web; they are just a c... more>>

The best free photo editing software

There are countless of free programs for photo editing. Of course, it is said that the best program out there is Photoshop, but you have to pay for that, and it doesn't come to cheaply either. So unless you plan on investing in a really good or require it in your work, and can afford it, you should. What happens if you feel ... more>>

How young is too young to wear makeup?

Makeup (cosmetics), are products created to help one accentuate the face, and highlight its strengths, hiding flaws such as pimples or blemished, or simply to give the illusion of a flawless complexion. Usually people that put on make either need to (due to work) or simply because they want too.

When little girls start to ... more>>

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What is toner used for?

Having been created for the purpose of reducing (tightening) pores and removing any remaining residue from cleansing your face, toners are used as part of a face (skin care) regime on a daily basis, and are usually applied after the face has been cleansed; with moisturizers being applied once the toner has dried.

As toners...more>>

How old is too old to wear a mini skirt?

No matter how fashionable an item of clothing is during any season, we should always choose and wear the types of clothes that will help us accentuate our strengths, and not our flaws.

The same would apply to mini skirts, there should be a limit as to what age we stop wearing them. Basically, as long as anyone has those sh...more>>

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Website reviews: is a comprehensive website for topics related to food, from recipes to cooking, where visitors can learn and share about cooking and recipes. The layout of the site is easy on the eyes, with topics categorized into tabs for easy navigation. There also has an easy to locate search function, which allows vis... More>>

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Are "nanny cams" a violation of babysitters' rights?

According to, the meaning of human rights is "The basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law."

There is a thin line between the basic rights and freedoms an individual is entit... more>>

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Quick Guide to Singlish

It's basically a mixture of English with words borrowed from Hokkien, the Chinese dialect native to more than 75% of the Chinese in Singapore, and from Malay. It is unique to Singapore and Malaysia, the latter having some variations of its own. The most well-known instance of a word borrowed from Hokkien is 'kiasu', which means "frightened of losing out", and is used to indicate behaviour such as queuing overnight to obtain something. The most commonly borrowed word... more>>

How to Protect Your Computer from Viruses - Simple Guide

Computer viruses are mysterious and grab our attention. Every time a new virus hits, it makes the news as it spreads quickly. Viruses can do anything from annoying the user to deleting your entire computer. With more computers are being connected to the Internet, viruses are very easy to be spread. While computers will never be 100% secure, there are many steps that you can take to prevent your computer from being infected with viruses.

What is a Computer Virus?
A computer virus is basically a malicious computer... more>>

Friday, June 20, 2008

Banana Facts

That yellow starchy sweet fruit which has over 400 varieties around the world and is one of the world’s top-selling fruit that even outranks the apple and orange, yes it is the banana: a nutritious fruit which can be eaten in more ways than one has... more>>

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Potato Facts

It is considered one of the main food staple we eat almost every day and contains mostly of carbohydrate, is eaten around the world now and is the main ingredient in over 406,000 recipes on the Internet. Yes, it is the tasty potato. This tasty tuber was first cultivated in the South American Andes Mountains over 4,000 years ago, and a regular potato contains about 80 per cent water and 20 per... more>>

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Has society become controlled by technology?

As advancement in technology makes a vast amount of improvement each year, it's hard not to wonder whether society is starting to become controlled by technology. The vast majority of people believe t... More>>

Shopwiki - A useful shopping tool is a pretty interesting place to shop online, unlike conventional shopping sites which will only show you store that have paid for placement, it offers more by showing everything for sale on the web. It works just like Google, except that it for the purpose of shopping and allows shoppers to look for everything for sale on the web.

With a simple search text of let's say a xbox 360, displays all relevant searches and upon clicking the search result that I was looking for I was pleasantly presented with information such as the pros and cons of getting it. There was also a brief history writeup on it, overall I think it is pretty useful tool.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Virtual Villagers: The Secret City

Virtual Villagers: The Secret City is the third sequel of the saga from Last Day of Work. The game features some new twists taking you to a new place and telling you a new story but it still has its old well-known play mechanics.

Embark on a new journey with a group of villagers in search of a new part of the island to populate. Land on the hidden shores of the northern side of Isola and explore what was once a secret city. Who lived here before? Where have they gone? What is the secret of Isola?

If you're one of those people who likes to play games that are moderately challenging and yet not
too tiring, you should try this game out. Basically it's a game in real-time where you grow your little villagers to re-populate the city ruins of Isola. And while you're at it, you have to solve puzzles and find new sources for your villagers to grow and survive. You'll also be able to make a variety of unique potions from hidden herbs.

The interesting thing is that if you leave them for some time, you'll find them working upon your returning as this is after all a real-time game which goes on even if you off your computer. But if it's too long then you are risking to find them all dead from starvation and you might have to either start all over again. In my opinion, it can be addictive.

Play this game FREE for an hour


Order the FULL version

Hints and Guide to playing the game: I found this pretty good site. Don't click here if you do not want to be spoilt!

Official Site:

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Great Singapore Sale and More!

The Great Singapore Sale (GSS): an annual shopping event co-organized by the Singapore Tourism Board and various retail companies together with shopping malls and stores, all in a bid to promote tourism in Singapore. The participating malls and stores are mostly usually located along Orchard Road, dubbed the "town" area - the heartbeat of Singapore - all the way to Marina Bay. It is usually lasts between May and July. This extravaganza started in 2005 and has since more>>

Signing up for PayPerPost

Looking around blogs, the PayPerPost(PPP) badges seem to be quite prominent and so out of curiosity I decided to see what it was all about. I signed up, but I wasn't approved instantly. After some effort I finally managed to get accepted.

PayPerPost, better known as PPP is a new self-service marketplace for bloggers to blog about things that they love and get paid for it, and for advertisers to advertise their product/service/ website reviewed. In PayPerPost, publishers(bloggers) get to see the list of advertisers' requests, and would be able to choose which opportunity to write on, provided they are eligible for it. Apparently the higher the pagerank of your blog, the more opportunities one would have.

To be eligible to sign up, new blogs have to be at least 90 days old with at least a minimum of 20 posts. The best part is that there is no quota needs to be fulfilled. Once your blog is approved, you can start looking out for opportunities to write and be paid via Paypal. It's really that easy.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Owner Found!!

After one day, we managed to find the little dog's owner. It was a miraculous incident really. What happened was while looking for potential homes for the doggie, we happened to come across a neighbour on another floor who was keen on taking in the dog, who had a nieghbour that recognized the dog.

Apparently, the dog belonged to a relative of one of the residents staying at our block; this relative who coincidentally lives in the block opposite us. So off we went to find the little dog's owner, contacted the owner and she came to collect him. His name is "ketchup" by the way. And the grooming cost $79, considering that Ketchup had ticks on him, we had to get him cleaned up just in case he spread it to our dog.

The owner said she'll get her son to pay the money.. and up to this day we still have not heard any news. I don't know, I just hope Ketchup is happy back home. As for the money, it just amazes me how much people know about keeping dogs; and the state they leave their dogs in. It's like they want to keep a dog but never really think about how to keep them clean or maintain them. It's a live, though it's a life in your hands and you can do what you want with it. It is still a live and that in itself is precious.. Don't you think?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lost West Highland White Terrier

Today was a really interesting day, by any standard. While talking my dog out for a walk today, we came across a West Highland White Terrier, who followed us on our walk. I think it was either abandoned or ran away from home, it was a little dirty and even had ticks on it. And it was surprising how "nice" my dog was to it(him), considering that lately my dog has been a little grouchy around other dogs.

It looked so pitiful that it pulled the heartstrings, it even followed us home... I thought that maybe I could have found him his owner or a new home. However, my dad had different ideas - he said he'd bring the dog to the groomers and get him cleaned up, and he left him(d0g) there. The rationale being that since we do not know the temperament of the dog and since it had ticks, plus the fact that we already ha a dog at home it would be better off at the groomers.

Well, after a little bit of emotional blackmail, he brought the dog home. I wish I had taken a picture of the dog before... Because after the grooming he really looked like a totally different dog!

Doesn't he look all happy and simply adorable?

Hopefully, we'll find his owner, can't keep this little darling for too long... my dog is starting to show signs of "jealousy". And it is tiring having to take care of two dogs...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

7 Facts About Lemons

1. Lemon juice helps to cleanse our bodies of impurities, with its vitamin C content helping to prevent diseases and even helped prevent scurvy of navigators in the past.

2. According to, lemons can be stored at room temperature for about 2 weeks, and they will keep for up to about 6 weeks the refrigerator in a plastic bag.

3. According to, lemons are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of folate, potassium and vitamin C.

4. Often cited as a good stain remover, lemon juice can be used to remove rust stains from clothing. More on the uses of lemons and other tips can be found here.

5. A medium lemon, which is about 60g, contains 15 calories, 5g carbohydrate, 1g dietary fibre, and 4g sugars.

6. During the Renaissance in Europe, it was said that lemon juice was used by fashionable ladies to redden their lips.

7. Lemons were thought to have originated from China and India, and have been in existence for at least 4 000 years. Between 400-600 BC, they were taken to the Middle East where food historians say that they have been cultivated (from as early as the 1st century AD).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Life still goes on

Chances have to be given to people who realize that they want to improve something in their lives and that it is never too late. Chances shouldn't be solely limited to second chances deemed by the people around. Giving yourself a chance means, disregarding the options of what the people around think. After all, the options of other people are only useful if there are constructive; that goes for criticism as well.

Even if a person has fallen, and chance(s) have been given, yet that individual still falls. Chances should still be given as long as the person is willing to change. No one is perfect and it is never to late to change. What if life worth living for if everyone seems to be so perfect?

Being perfect is only a condition and limitation, a perception set by society. There are always, and will always be people who never seem to quite fit the image of "perfect" or at least what this world think as "normal". But that does not mean that those who are not confined by this perception are not perfect.

Each individual is different, in the way they think right down to the way they do things. So why is so often that other people try to impose and force their idea of what is right onto people? That's life... Its not what or how other perceive us, but how we perceive ourselves and make the change from there...

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Clothes Label Guide

I never really thought how difficult it would be to read the labels on clothes on how to wash them. It never occurred to me that discussions could be started on, and even debated about "How do you hand wash?" and "What does a cold hand wash mean?". Have we become too dependent on the use of the washing machine and technology?

Anyways, here's a pretty useful link about the labels on clothes and what they mean.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Crazy Weather

The weather lately has become a little unpredictable... for the first couple of weeks it was all wet and rainy too. Than it was all hot and humid... before getting wet and cold... and now its sunny... lol

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Creative Bags

Shopping will never be the same again. ..

Simple Introduction to CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

If you have ever created a website or webpage, or are planning to do so, Cascading Style Sheets (more commonly known as CSS) is something that would be extremely useful. CSS is a style sheet language that is used to style webpages written in HTML, XHTML and basically any other programming language like ASP, PHP and XML etc... more>>

Monday, March 10, 2008

Is real beauty on the outside or the inside?

In this world where superficial beauty supersedes what is truly inner beauty, it is hard to really believe that real beauty can be on the inside. We are taught to believe that outer beauty such as our physique eyes, hair, facial structure etc - is what matters when we are bombarded with images from the media that portray wha... more>>

Should high school students be required to volunteer in community service projects?

Community service projects are not only a good way to give back to the community (society), but it also helps to nurture considerateness, tolerance, patience, and understanding. And what better way to start nurturing the future generation by introducing them to volunteering in community service projects.

If it were not mad... more>>

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Can you buy your children's affection with expensive gifts?

If money was able to solve any problem or to foster a genuine bond between parent and child, then there would be less of the troubles that we see in today's society. As people are able to afford more things and lead a better life due to rising affluence, it is needless to say parents are able to provide more for their children... more>>

Why you should learn to cook

Why should you learn to cook? Is it that important? Although not everybody can cook with flair, and conjure up delicious meals instantly, it is undeniable that cooking is one of the basic skills an individual requires to survive in this world. It is relatively easy to cook a simple meal, it may not taste that great at first, ... more>>

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Flower Power

Flowers are not just beautiful to be admired, some are good enough to eat and even have medicinal benefits! Here are a few interesting facts about some flowers and their health benefits:

Chrysanthemum tea made from the plants flowers is beneficial for the blood and its circulation, as well as preserving vitality. It also helps with sinus congestion and high blood pressure, and at the same time detoxifies the blood and calms the nerves.

Oil extracted from the geranium plant has anti-fungal properties and antiseptic prowess. It can be used to treat burns and wounds, poor circulation, eczema and rheumatism.

Juice from raw, finely grated lotus root, in small doses can be used to treat lung0related aliments such as coughing and asthma. Lotus root tea is also able to relieve cough as well and lotus seeds not only increase energy and vitality, but also aids in digestion.

The rose has a long history of being used in folk remedies, especially for skin care. Although it is suitable for all skin types, it is in particular very good for dry, sensitive or aging skin. The fruit of the rose plant – rose hip – is an excellent source of vitamins (A, B3, C, D and E). In its tea form, rose hips are good for easing infections, especially that of the bladder.

The leaves and flowers of the pansy are not only editable, but high in vitamins A and V as well. They can also be used as a garnish on cold fruits, in salads or cream based soups.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

FAT Hopes - Seperate fat from fiction

10 myths about losing weight
MYTH 1: I lose weight when I sleep less because I burn more calories when I stay up through the night
FACT: More sleep is better than less sleep. Research shows that the body's fat cells secrete 18% less of the hormone leptin - the chemical that tells your brain you have enough energy reserves and do not need food - if you don't get a full night's rest. Chances are if you have less sleep, you are less likely to exercise and more prone to reach for that box of doughnuts to get through the day.

MYTH 2: Green tea boosts metabolism
FACT: Green tea contains the chemical, polyphenol (commonly known as catechins), which speeds your metabolism for a short while, but that does not cause weight loss.

MYTH 3: Stress from working long hours will help me lose weight
FACT: Some people who are stressed out tend to binge on food (junk food in particular) and irregular eating habits also attribute to weight gain, as well as indigestion.

MYTH 4: Drinking lots of water will help me lose weight
FACT: While dehydration does slow down the fat-burning process, your body requires an adequate amount of water to function properly. Although drinking water with a meal may make you feel fuller faster, drinking water alone may not have this effect because our bodies need calories and nutrients to feel satiated.

MYTH 5: Drinking milk will make me fat
FACT: Dairy products have many nutrients your body needs. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products, as they are nutritious as whole milk products and lower in fat and calories.

MYTH 6: If I go straight for the drinks and skip dinner, I will input less calories
FACT: If you drink excessively in place of a proper dinner, you risk not only consuming more calories but alcohol poisoning too. Alcohol is also more easily metabolised into fat than the protein and carbohydrates found in a nutritious meal.

MYTH 7: Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight
FACT: Meal-skipping causes the body to go into "starvation mode" to compensate for fewer calories. This could then decrease the body's metabolic rate by as much as 10%-15%, causing the body will hold on to fat and burn lean muscle instead. Skipping meals also makes you tired and increases the likelihood of snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods to keep you going.

MYTH 8: I should not eat dinner after 8pm
FACT: Your digestion system does not have a clock-watch. It's not the time of day that you eat matters, rather, it is the amount of physical activity you do during the day that determines whether you gain or lose weight. No matter the time of day you eat, your body will store extra calories a fat. Do not binge and cram you entire day's calories into one meal.

MYTH 9: If I can lose weight by counting calories or cutting carbohydrates, I don't really need to excercise
FACT: Exercise is an important part of maintaining weight. It enhances our body system, and tones up up our muscles; improving our general health as a result.

MYTH 10: Don't snack between meals
FACT: Snacking is not the problem, it is what you snack on that matters. There are people who require a snack between meals to keep their energy levels up during the day, especially those with an active lifestyle. Snack on healthier foods like fruits and nuts, instead of chocolate or chips.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Funny things that happen in Helpdesk

Some of my friends who work in IT Helpdesk have told me some really interesting stories:
I've a friend who works in Helpdesk (handling all Hotline calls) and one day someone calls him to tell him that there's a burning smell coming out of the computer, insisting that he send an engineer down fast. In response he asked whether the engineer should also come equipped with a fire extinguisher...
Another one told me that her colleague who worked in the same place, was so stressed that when she was helping the user pinpoint the problem on the phone, she actually pointed to the monitor and went, "click on this, you see its right here! On your top left, see it's there! can you see it? ". All the while pointing to the screen and talking to the user over the phone as if the user was really there.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Amidst the Doughnut Craze

There seems to be a whole lot of doughnut shops springing up all over Singapore, it is unbelievable that now you can find at least one doughnut shop almost everywhere! First it was the bubble tea boom, then the coffee bread craze and now its doughnuts galore…. Maybe after a while the number of doughnut shops would recede; when the craze has died down.

Anyways, I happened to discover yet another fattening and equally delicious treat – chewy junior (a well… chewy sort of cream puff). It’s bigger than your average cream puff, has a nice chewy spring to it and it even has toppings – 13 of them. I haven’t really tried everything just the cheese ones and there are pretty good. Initially it took a while getting adjusted to such a cream puff, and considering that I have never liked cream puffs, its amazing that I like this one so I just thought I’d share. (^-^)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A beginner's guide to HTML

Have you ever tried to create a HTML page with any WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, and got a result that was different than what you had envisioned? Although WYSIWYG editors are supposed to make the job of creating a HTML page easier, sometimes there are just some things that require the actual tweaking of the ... more>>

Monday, February 18, 2008

What makes the Internet so great

The internet has changed many people's life and the way they do their work. It has managed to bridge different parts of the world together in an efficient and seamless manner, creating a virtual world of information and resources that is easily accessible and convenient. It has become a virtual world in which people have come to rely on. As long as you have access to a telephone line and subscribe to a service provider, you are easily connected to this virtual cyberspace.

Even though the internet is a system of interconnected networks connecting with computers all over the world, it has... more>>

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Interesting Email

Recently I received an email saying about some feedback given to a local driving school, it went like this:
Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your email.

Please provide us with more information on your feedback so that we can better improve our services.

Thank you once again.

Warm regards,
Ms. Debbie XXXXX
I was puzzled, so I scrolled down further and was surprised that someone had left a rather badly written feedback:
Comments :The driving instructors sucks and most of them don't have the
heart and patience to teach. the costomer service officers are impolite
and inefficient. The school ask us to pay so much money for learning, we
are not make of GOLD!From Web Server: 1
Ok first things first, my grammar and spelling are not that bad and its been ages since I went to the website, let alone take up driving again. It's just one of those things that make life more interesting , I guess.

The Durian Affair

Some hail it as the "King of fruits", while others simply cower at the mere mention of its name. What is about one fruit that can invoke such strong feelings from both sides of the spectrum? In case you do not know I am talking about, it is the durian - a fruit encased in a thorny husk, in a shade of green or yellowish green, with a very pungent aroma to some and odor to others and commonly find in parts of Southeast Asia like Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, to name a few.

There are over 30 varieties of this fruit, each variety having its own unique taste and loyal 'fans'. The inhabitants of Southeast Asia are so in love with this fruit that they have managed to concoct a variety of products made from durian - ice-cream, cakes, jelly, cream puffs, log cakes are but just a few out of a vast ocean of concoctions. They have also invented interesting eating the durian by: frying, fermenting, making it into a paste and even.... more>>

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Choices… choices and even more choices

So many things to do and yet so little time to do it all… I used to think I wanted to continue studying and I did after doing part-time work for a while. But lo and behold, the school actually closed down? Hmm… that really put a damper on my plans, that’s a given. So what did I do? Did I follow the rest of them to to another country? Nope. I mean if I really didn’t have a choice I would have had too, but I do have a choice - I decided that since it was so poorly handed and presented, why should they earn money that could be better spent elsewhere? It’s like you might never want to step into a restaurant that had bad service and bad food. Would you?

And so off back to work I went, and I’m happy with it; the pay increased and I get to gain more experience too, plus the environment is pretty good. So no the only option would be to study part-time or would that be full-time? If it were full-time, I would definitely miss my monthly income, can’t spend as much too… Choices… O well, I’ll just take them as they come. After all, the objective of studying is to get a good job with an equivalent amount of pay. It's not a matter of just getting it done and over it, kind of defeats the whole point, doesn't it?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

CJ7 the movie

CJ7 - The latest comedy from Stephen Chow, CJ7 is a fantasy tale featuring state of the art visual effects. A poor laborer father (Chow) and his young son’s lives are turned upside down when a fascinating and strange new pet enters their world. Amid the resulting comic mayhem, they ultimately learn a poignant lesson about the true nature of family and the things money can't buy.

At least that’s what the synopsis says. Today was the first time I watched a late night movie on the eve of Chinese New Year, and to say the least the movie was sorely disappointing; even “Underdog” was better than this. There was very little plot throughout the movie, and the transaction of character growth and change was simply non-existent.

There was no indicator of the bonding between the new pet and the humans, so it was hard to understand why the pet would go through so much trouble to please and save this father and son pair. The son was portrayed as this really good little boy, who was hardworking, considerate and understanding. And when he got the pet, he suddenly became more greedy and selfish overnight. Speaking about the pet, there was no clear explanation or indicator of its origin, how it got found after the boy practically threw it away in a moment of anger, and in the end what was up with a look-a-like pet running towards the boy together with a bunch of similar creatures in an array of colors? What poignant lesson did they learn and what were the things they realized couldn’t be bought with money? It also seems that they couldn't decide whether to make the pet organic or mechanical, or a combination of both.

Although there was comic mayhem throughout the movie, the part about the true nature of family and the things money cannot buy was almost close to nil. Even “Underdog” had a more satisfying plot and ending.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Monsoon Season

Monsoon season - that time of the year when the weather gets cold and wet. According to NEA it is now:

  • North-East Monsoon Season - December to early March
  • Northeast winds prevail, sometimes reaching 20 km/h. Cloudy conditions in December and January with frequent afternoon showers. Spells of widespread moderate to heavy rain might occur lasting from 1 to 3 days at a stretch. Relatively drier in February till early March. Also generally windy with wind speeds sometimes reaching 30 to 40 km/h in the months of January and February.

It can get as low (as it can get for an island near the equator) as 23°C to as high as 34°C; all within one day. I used to think that the rainy season was around October to December, but apparently I seem to have forgotten that it hasn't ended yet. >_<

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Pesticide in Food Anyone? or maybe not...

Japan police find more pesticide on China dumpling packages
Posted: 03 February 2008 1818 hrs

TOKYO: Japanese investigators have found traces of pesticide on more packages of Chinese-made dumplings, police said on Sunday as Chinese experts arrived in Tokyo to join a widening food poisoning probe.

The toxic substance was found on the surface of six packages of dumplings in western Japan, a spokesman for Hyogo prefectural police said.

The packages were produced at a factory in northern China on the same day as one that triggered a nationwide scare here, the spokesman said, adding that police were still checking if the dumplings themselves were also contaminated.

The Japanese government has said 10 people became sick, with one girl still in serious condition, after eating frozen meat dumplings produced at a factory in China's Hebei province in which high levels of pesticide were detected.

The health ministry said the scare prompted some 950 people to seek medical treatment, but only 10 were diagnosed with pesticide poisoning.

Major foodmakers ordered recalls of frozen and other prepared foods thought to have been produced at the Chinese factory as officials warned Beijing that it had to ensure food safety.

China – Japan's largest trading partner and second biggest supplier of imported food – has denied Tokyo's allegations that the dumplings themselves contained pesticides.

Japanese police have said they were investigating a report of a small tear in a pack of 20 dumplings that made a family ill, opening up the possibility of deliberate tampering.

A team of Chinese experts arrived in Tokyo on Sunday to join the Japanese probe, officials said.

Japanese media quoted Li Chunfeng, a food safety official leading the delegation, as saying before leaving Beijing that his team would work closely with Japanese officials to probe the matter "objectively and fairly".

"We would like to take concerted action with the Japanese side," Li told reporters at Beijing airport.

The global reputation of China's vital manufacturing industry was seriously damaged last year by a string of overseas safety scandals and product recalls involving the country's export goods.

- AFP/so (channelnewsasia)

It'll be some time before I start buying the products again...

Friday, February 01, 2008

My First Digital Camera: Canon Powershot A430

What are Megapixels?
A pixel is basically a dot on the screen (though that's what my lecturer in school told us not to write should there be a similar question, its not accurate but the easiest way to understand what a pixel is). Thus, an image comprises of many of these dots (pixels).

A megapixel comprises of 1 million pixels. It is a term used not only for the number of pixels in an image, but also used to express the number of image sensor elements in digital cameras or the number of display elements in digital displays. The more megapixels there are in an image, it will be more clearer and detailed.

Getting that First Camera
The Canon Powershot A430 is one of the basic cameras' out there I would recommend for beginners or novices alike. It's affordable and easy to maintain, using AA batteries to power up instead of having to charge before use. This can come in pretty handy, especially when you decide to take photos and realize that either you forgot to charge the battery, or the battery needed to be recharged after a period of non-usage. I've had mine for 2 years now, and... more >>

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Weird Food Combinations

You know how certain food combinations taste great together but sound totally weird? I haven’t tried anything drastic, but here’s a lists of foods which I’ve tried and tastes pretty good(to me at least):

  • · Ice-cream(preferably vanilla) with piping hot fries (that’s a common one I think)
  • · Mashed potatoes and coleslaw
  • · Macdonald’s harsh browns and maple syrup
  • · Sometimes adding ketchup to mashed potatoes
  • · Or ketchup with fried rice
  • · Eating cold vegetarian pizza out from the fridge
That's about it I guess, nothing that exciting. =)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Life's Equation

Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to them.

How true that is. After all if we had 80% or more events happening to us throughout our lifetimes' we would be pretty high-strung people. And we definitely would not be able to take the time to enjoy life. Whatever happens to us, good or bad, how we react to them determines the outcome of the situations. One bad choice can make even a good situation go awry, and a good choice might be able to turn a bad situation around.

What it all boils down to is our attitude towards life. How we see ourselves and the way in which we respond to the challenges thrown at us in life determines our growth as a person and; affecting our emotional, social and physical health. According to attitude is "a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways". How can such a simple thing affect our lives? Well, in more ways then one. If we are happy doing something, at least it would get by faster and we don't feel miserable; we would be happy and face it being happy is better than feeling miserable. Isn't it?

On the other hand, if we do something we don't like that much, and simply have a bad attitude while doing it, it not only affects our mood but the people around us as well. If life was to be lived to the fullest, why not live life to the fullest happily no matter the situation instead of being pessimistic with a bad attitude and being miserable?

It's easy to feel miserable, but it’s more challenging to stay happy and remember all the good things that have happened to us. It doesn't have to be anything on a large scale in order to make us happy - perfect weather, good times spent with family and friends, having a job or even having shelter over our heads can allow us a reason to simply be happy. I'm sure if we think really; all the happy precious moments would emerge from our memories. Our brain has the funny innate ability to remember all the unfortunate things that have happened to us, it takes effort to remember the happy times in our moments of despair.

Sometimes it’s having a good attitude that can prevent us from spiraling into the abyss of depression. The more we obsess about our state of desperation, the more desperate we become. When we fall the faster we pick our selves up the quicker we can get to our destination: mopping around all does is not going to get us anywhere. It's not impossible to be or stay happy; it’s just difficult to maintain it.

Having a good attitude towards life is more than just conditioning our mind to think a certain way; it’s a way of life.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Between Education & Experience

It is common knowledge that education will get you somewhere in life, but there are times when it not always the case. Getting a good education is essential in getting that perfect job, but that is as far as it will get you; unless you are planning to work in a more specialized field such as engineering, law or medical. What makes you able to stay in the job or get an even better one is your experience which you have gained overtime. That degree is a ticket in which you are able to access better jobs with better prospects, as compared to those who do not hold that coveted piece of paper.

There are the majority who firmly believe that education is what matters more than experience, and there are the minority who think that experience is all they need. Education acts as a base from which we are able to propel ourselves into the working world, while experience enhances the package: making people with both education and experience more valuable then those with only one of the two.

As time goes by, the emphasis of what is important in education and getting that job has changed over the years. It used to be common that all you needed was to have graduated from high school to be able to work (Phase 1), than the emphasis shifted to having to have a Diploma or Certificate (Phase 2), and finally you have to get that Degree (Phase 3). It is good that we aim, or rather society, "forces" us to upgrade ourselves. But there is also a disadvantage. The shift from Phase 1 to Phase 2 aided in the retrenchment and downsizing processes of companies - putting people with experience but no qualified paper to proof otherwise, at a disadvantage. Companies would rather hire fresh graduates to replace these experienced ones. One of the rationale being that fresh graduated cost less, and usually those experienced staff would be unwilling to take a cut in their pay.

And now in the midst of Phase 2 and Phase 3, more and more fresh graduates are being hired based on their qualifications alone. Without the required experience it makes it difficult to get the job done at times, and it can be frustrating. I have heard of stories where fresh graduates did not do their job well because they were not instructed to do so. It is not always the case, but it does happen.

Thus, this has resulted in many people going back to school out of necessity, or just simply taking part-time courses to complement their working experience. It is unavoidable, that piece of paper is an important "accessory" in our lives, without it we would not be heading that far. However, it is difficult to find a job after graduation that pays well and does not require experience. As it is difficult to attain these two attributes concurrently, especially for those who have yet to figure out which path in life to take, ultimately, the ones who determine what matters the most is ourselves. Although factors like time and money do play a part in our decisions, there is no right or wrong. What matters is the choices we make, what we want out of life, the opportunities given and how best we make use of them. The most important thing is to look ahead and never regret your choices in this aspect.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Time is a wonder

Life has a funny way of throwing things at you when you least expect, and that is what makes life interesting. At first I thought I'd just continue studying for a degree and what not, but that did not happen in a way... I ended up working and then after 2 years I finally got to study, only for the school to close down after opening for less than half a year.

Disappointed? Most definitely not. Time has an amazing power to seem to change a person's perspective - from wanting to studying overseas to wanting to study locally, and than from studying full-time or part time.

There's no right or wrong, just what you want. No definite answer till you've tried it out... But one thing I do know, and that is I am in good hands. =)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Max, the adorable golden retriever

Was just browsing computer when I came across long forgotten photos of my adorable golden retriever, Max. Ah... those were the days....
Here he is enjoying himself on the chair, before he ruined it. lol

And look at him now after 2 years....

How he looks like after a bath... hee doesn't he look all brown and golden? He has the shiny look lol