Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Oldest man in the US dies at 112

George Francis, the nation's oldest man, who lived through both world wars, man's first walk on the moon and the election of the first black president, has died. He was 112.
Francis died Saturday of congestive heart failure at a nursing home in Sacramento, his son, Anthony Francis, said Sunday.
"He lived four years in the 19th century, 100 years in the 20th century, and 8 years in the 21st century. We call him the man of three centuries," said the younger Francis, 81.
UCLA gerontologist Dr. Stephen Coles, who maintains a list of the world's oldest people, said Francis lived 112 years and 204 days.
With Francis' death, Walter Breuning of Montana, who is 112 years, 98 days old, becomes the country's oldest living man. At 114, Gertrude Baines of Los Angeles is the nation's oldest living person. The world's oldest person is Maria de Jesus of Portugal, who is 115 years, 109 days old, and the oldest man is Tomoji Tanabe of Japan, who is 113 years, 101 days, Coles said.
Francis, who at his prime barely weighed more than 100 pounds, was born June 6, 1896, in New Orleans. As an African-American in the South, he felt the sting of the Jim Crow-era segregation laws in his early life.
His son said Francis tried to enlist in the U.S. Army during World War I but was turned down because of his stature.
"We always attributed his longevity to his mental and physical toughness," Anthony Francis said.
George Francis quit school after the sixth grade, became an amateur boxer as a young man and later worked as a chauffeur, an auto mechanic and a barber.
He and his wife, Josephine Johnson Francis, had a son and three daughters. Josephine Francis died of cancer in 1964.
Even in his waning days, Francis never lost his passion for politics, his family said. He voted for Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s and for Barack Obama in 2008.
In an interview with The Associated Press after Obama's victory, Francis, who used a wheelchair, said he felt like jumping up and down.
"He is going to give black men a break in the world, and give them a better opportunity to live and make more money," he said. "For people who say voting doesn't matter, I think that's crazy."
Anthony Francis said his father was devoted to his family and that he attributed his longevity to them.
"He said `My children and my friends, I live off of them,'" he said.
Besides his four children, Francis is survived by 18 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great grandchildren.

Trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia (4)

I just got off the phone to my brother and mother, who are at the time of writing this blog, are in Bangkok, and tomorrow will be returning home to Myanmar, after a epic trip to Cambodan and Thailand (an epic trip for us ordinary Myanmars).
The trip was everything and nothing like they expected.
My mother is thrilled and happy and both of them are very, very tired.
Mom says that there is over 2,000 photos taken for these blogs. And is thrilled that her tour is going to be recorded and read all over the world.
But, dear bro says to give him a few days to recover from this Odyssey.

They are dying for some Myanmar food!

Visit this blog to read all about the journey in the coming weeks.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Innocence, Avril Lavigne

This a terrific song. Innocence by Avril Lavigne.

Thanks to Myin Myat Thu for posting it on her Facebook wall.

And now from her to me to you, Enjoy!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Food-For-Work by WFP, My Personal Comments


The pond in the summer before we got there, renovation for the pond was requested by the villagers through the village monk who contacted our office. (you can barely see the monastery and village pagoda)
The villagers have to scoop out the muddy water for domestic use. (but not for drinking)

Old lady from the village has to take 2 hours to fill that bucket. That's the conditions that I was determined to fix.
Some work done already, dig out the silt and heap it on the embankment, also needed a civil engineer to help with something this big, the size of the embankment, the spillway etc..

The article that prompted me to write this;
YANGON, 26 December 2008 (IRIN) -
"The UN World Food Programme (WFP), in collaboration with its implementing partners, will soon begin an ambitious food-for-work programme for thousands of Cyclone Nargis survivors.
The programme aims to rehabilitate local assets and restore livelihoods in affected communities, and will target 40,000 participants and 200,000 beneficiaries in Myanmar’s badly affected Ayeyarwady Delta.
“Food-for-work activities can make a significant difference to food-insecure residents of the delta, and at the same time help households rebuild their individual and community assets,” Chris Kaye, WFP country director for Myanmar, told IRIN in Yangon, the former Burmese capital.
WFP is currently screening projects proposed by its partners, with expected project sites to be announced soon.
The programme is set to begin at the end of January and run till the end of April, with a focus on the construction, repair and maintenance of roads, and the construction of wells, dykes, dams, ponds and drainage ditches.
Reforestation, land clearance and irrigation projects will also be included. Individual projects will last 15-45 days."

Yes, news like that gnaws at my heart.
I was a Team Leader for World Vision (Myanmar), based in Yenanchaung Township, that township is 662 miles north from Yangon by way of the Pyay-Magway-Bagan highway. This distance took 14 hours to cover in a "express bus", and I have taken the trip dozens of times.
During my period of assignment there, I lead the World Vision, Yenanchaung Team to complete over 30 drinking and domestic-use water ponds, the largest had a water surface of 28 acres (the pictures), building 14 schools, and an assortment of activities such as fly proof latrines, hand pumped tube wells, rainwater collection tanks and so on.
The primary method of achieving these objectives were by means of the Food-for-Work programme.

I have implemented and observed many different rural development activities in the past, during my service with Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) projects, cash for work, seeds for work and etc.
All of these methods are extremely effective, but only under the strict oversight of a project leader and supervised by a team of trained team members. If you don't know what you are doing, better leave the village the way it is (they may be poor, but they all help each other, to the extent not seem in cities). This team has to be coordinated and guidance given for strict adherence to the project schedule and budgets.
Personally I endorse the FFW (Food-for-work in UN shorthand), for the following reasons;
  • The food that is received as wages, immediately and directly provides relief upon the food security stress the beneficiary household bears.
  • Excess food may be sold or barter for other condiments. This excess is determined by the spouse of the head of household, and a very comfortable safety margin is considered.
  • Normally the cash intended for the purchase of food may be used for further investment of paying of the school expenses of the children.
  • In many cases if cash is paid, it is collected by the head of household, and there lies a great chance that much of it not reach the household. Normally it is used to repay any debt or other less admirable activities such as a drink or gambling may be undertaken. Regardless of the purpose that the cash is used, a small percent of it reaches the household and most of the time the amount is too small to contribute to anything significant.
Again as I have mentioned this has to done under the oversight of a trained team and a experienced team leader.
The entire project must be reviewed completely in every aspect before implementation. All the food, tools(if needed), documentation, logistics must be ascertained well in advance and the entire team must know the backup plan- cold.

After the project was completed, 28 acres of water surface (this pic above), supplying 4,000 people of 6 villages with all-year round water. It used 56 tons of rice and provided short term employment for thousands of villagers.
What did I get? I got the satisfaction of getting a really big job completed, and the criticism of not following 100% the guidelines of WFP. We put a 18 person team of villagers to run the labor and work allocation, and they parceled it out to workers from 6 villages. Although there are guidelines that say that only the villagers from the immediate beneficiary community may be employed in the work, but to them they is no way on this earth that they can say no to a fellow villages living 2 miles away, a person they have known all their lives, and they know that he is in the same situation, maybe worse, then they are. They let him and his work at the site, with my blessing (they didn't need my blessing, but I wanted to encourage them, its supposed to be called empowerment or something of the sort), besides I needed that pond done and finished before the first rains. I adhered to the principle that if any community used the asset, then they could participate in its renovation. Well anyway, regardless of the conflicting concepts. I made sure the job got done. (eveybody knows me over there in the village, its nice to know that there is a couple of places in the world that you are welcome- anytime.)
99.997% to the target set.

If anyone need some advice considering the field implementation of Food-for-work activities, I would be more than glad to provide free consultation.

Great News from Home

Ah! The joy of being a father.
I got letter from my daughter today. It was written in her cute handwriting.
A simple little letter to her daddy, saying that she got the top scores in all of her subjects in the latest exams.
And now is 1st in her class. And, of course, then there is the part where she says that she loves me.

Looking back to my own past, the highest that I ever made was 7th in my class, I think, but there was only 15 kids in the class so that does not mean I was great! So she is 1st, and the amazing thing about it, I think is that she said she was going try really hard, to be better than everyone else in her class.
And by golly, she meant it, even though she is just 6 years old.
Come to think of it she used two languages in her letter, English and Myanmar!

News like this really energizes parents.
Wishing all the parents who read this blog to receive news like this in the coming week.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Chat with a regular reader of this blog

Yesterday I met with a regular reader of this blog, of course, she is a sweet dear old friend of many years. Although I haven't seen her some number of years, the dot beside her name in the GTalk is green most of the time so she is somewhere nearby (but maybe across the planet). As she had just recently arrived back to Singapore she suggested that we meet up and catch up, a bit. So we met and she is just the same old gal with a radiant smile.
We talked about everything, and then the topic of my blog came up.
she said; 'I read your blog everyday!'
I said; 'Hey, thanks, I hope it's interesting'
she said; 'the posts that your brother writes, are far better than yours! they bring the subjects to life.'
I said; 'yeah, that's true.'
she said; 'when you follow a blog everyday, you get angry if the blogger, miss a new post even for a day.'
Yes, that proves what all the pro bloggers have been saying.
You got to update your blog with fresh, original, well written well organized, content everyday.
Forget about the earnings, and SEO, and advertising and all that stuff.
If the regular reader does not find fresh content, there will soon been no regular readers anymore.
But blogging on a regular basis is hard. That's the reason that team blogs happen I suppose.

And then she told me that she too had a blog. and it's called - oh forget it! I am not telling the name of her blog. She also said that she had tried to put new posts everyday and kinda of drifted away from the posts.
But after meeting me she has gained fresh resolved and will go back to regular blogging.
But something tells me (I don't think so!)

Trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia - Photos

Here are some photos take by Soe Lwin during his trip to Mruak U


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia (3)

So we were off to our alternative destination of Mrauk U. The 11 am flight to Sittwe was as boring as any flight. But we met this Rakhine guy (who was a writer )on the plane and he kindly told us where to stay in Sittwe and, and, and …… that there was NO boat going to Mrauk U for another 5 DAYS. Arghhhhh……
But then he suggested renting a car round-trip, so we were OK again… Phew……
After landing and settling in to the Classic hotel ( 20 USD a night ) and haggling with the taxi which would take us to Mrauk U, we made our way on foot to the Rakhine Cultural Museum and did that place need exhibits, display ideas and funding. Just little clay models and pictures of the ancient cities in their vicinity were shown. Then the Sittwe Market…. which is pretty much like any market in Myanmar, bustling, dirty and selling Chinese wares and local produce except its near to the sea and smelled fishier . Beside the market was the old British "Customs Office" very much looking its age by the jetty.
Next was the "Point" as they call it, a little lighthouse on the tip of the promontory of the slip of the slender peninsular that Sittwe is on. Off we were there on rickshaws or "side-cars" as they call them here. Standing at the tip of the tip of the "Point" the fresh sea air filled my lungs. That was a blast of pure energizing O2 and various other gases minus the dust and dirtiness of the cities.
Lots of photos of the sunset I took. Mum walking alone along the beach way ahead of me. I still remember after Dad died, she and me went to Ngwe Saung beach and she spent hours staring at the beach. She's a strong one, my mum is. But there she was on a beach again and walking alone. You see she lives in Yangon while I'm in Mandalay. I guess the photo of her walking on the beach alone ………….
OK now! Dinner at the Gissapandi Restaurant, Very good place I recommend it. Nothing fancy the fixings of the place. But the chow was good. A whole plate of medium sized shrimp was only 2700 Kyats. That is about 2 dollars and it tasted great about 40 shrimp on it. Filled up us good.
morning we were up at 5am, took a look at the hundreds of fox-bats hanging upside down on the trees in front of the hotel and on our way on the rough, dusty road to Mrauk U.

This post is written by Mr. Soe Lwin of BEST Language School in Mandalay
He's my brother.
At the time of posting this he is packing his bags to go down to Yangon to fly to Angkor Wat - again!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia (2)

One of my friends is a travel agent, well connected to the domestic airlines, who could get me tickets when getting tickets is a difficulty. How ? I really don't know she does it or would do it, but she must have ways. She once got me a ticket to get back to Mandalay when everyone else said : "No, all the flights are full, blah blah blah !"

I popped over to her office and asked her for the favour.
And Voila !
One phone call and it was : " Come get your tickets to Sittwe at 2".
Me : "OK ! Man !, Real cool, U the greatest !".
She : "No problemo friend !"
After the frustration of the previous day I felt a tingling warm satisfaction. Mum jumped for joy when I called her with the good news (I actually didn't see her jump up and down but could feel it). Yesterday I had had to put on a brave face myself when I found out our Cambodia trip was out of the question (at least temporarily). Now things were getting much better! The sky was bluer!
A bit about Mrauk U now. You get there via Sittwe, capital of the Rakhine Division which is about an hour's flight from Yangon. Then it's a 7 hour boat ride or a 6 hour car ride over some of the country's worst roads. And it's about 70 miles to the Bangladesh border. Mrauk U is famed for its 14th, 15th and 16th century Buddhist temples. Of course, it's not so well-known as Bagan or Angkor but the temples when I saw them, were fabulous in their own way. A real photogenic place. The temples are all scattered around the town and most of them are located on hill tops. A very un-touristy place too. No touts at all, trying to get you to buy trinkets etc. And that is refreshing. The local population depends on other means of survival than tourism as there are, I guess, only about or at most a thousand foreign tourists coming there a year. Fishing and farming are main local trades. For Myanmar people to get there cheaply it would mean a 600 mile, 2day and 2 night bus ride from Yangon over the Rakhine Mountain Range with roads that are barely acceptable for only the first 200 hundred miles. So the domestic tourists who want to get there cheaply really have to think about it. It's rough, it's dusty, it's dangerous but I am sure it would be wonderfully beautiful. I sure would have taken that route if I were 20 years younger. But this time it's with my elderly mum and me getting a bit older too, so that route's a no go!
So the next day we were off to Sittwe and then on to the Indiana-Jones-like temples of Mruak U.
To be continued. Ciao for now !

(Actually ,it's the 22nd of December 2008 today as I write this post and I am to be off to Yangon the day after tomorrow and in Angkor on the 26th )

The author of this post is Mr. Soe Lwin, an Engish Teacher, BEST Language School in Mandalay See his blog at the links, and he is my brother

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas in Singapore

With the exception of Orchard Road, which is commercialized, and the newspapers, for all the discounts, Christmas is pretty dry and lonely here in Singapore. My pals at work, who are from the Philippines, a really nice bunch, have mentioned again and again that there is no holiday feeling in the air at all.

There seems to be no air of the holiday spirit, the spirit of love and joy that comes from looking forward towards some time with family and friends. Even in my own country, Myanmar which is predominantly Buddhist, There is a sense of Christmas in the air. There is that wonderful sense of hope and renewal that comes with the season.

But none of that in Singapore! Curiously so devoid of any special holiday feeling or any spiritual feeling.
I had noticed, when I had arrived, that Singapore and Singaporeans lacked a spiritual element.
They seem to be more superstitious than religious!
Even then, as soon as I got out of the airport. But it has been never more evident then what I see now.

So, I refuse to go along with the crowd. I will make something of it.

I will try to visit as many blogs that I can before Christmas and will wish them and theirs , A Very Merry Christmas and A Wonderful Warm Happy New Year.
So I will keep hitting the 'next blog' button.
And leaving season's greeting to all.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia (1)

I was supposed to be off to Angkor Wat, and see the splendors of the Khmer civilization but the siege of the Bangkok airport prevented me from that. You see, I went to Yangon airport and 8 o'clock sharp to check in for the flight to Bangkok (from where we would go on to Siem Reap in Cambodia where the Angkor is) with my mum and bags, all ready to fly out. But what was this large group of about a thousand people doing, milling around in front of the airport's entrances? This was not right! I asked around and found out that we would have to say good-bye to our holiday trip to Angkor again. Why again you ask? I will explain.
My mum was downcast, a bit hot and miffed. I knew she was very disappointed. We had been planning this trip for a more than 2 years now. We didn't get there at the beginning of 2008 because of the Great Fire at the Yadanarbon market and my school was burned to cinders along with it. And with all the relocating and start-up of classes and school, the trip had to be postponed. So you understand why my mum was a bit more than disappointed when the flights were cancelled to Bangkok.
So we made our way home and I started thinking on the taxi on the way. I still have the money; I still have about a week's vacation. So what we need is another destination! I don't want to go back to Mandalay with my tail between my legs and an embarrassed grin on my face!
We go home and have a bit of lunch. I naively thought “what if the flights to Bangkok start again tomorrow?" I go check the internet after lunch. To be honest I did not understand the magnitude of the problem in Thailand. Come on, whoever had heard of Bangkok's airports ever shutting down? This was a nearly 1 in a million or billion chance and by Gawd, I had to have tickets fly there at the time the 1 in a million / billion chance presented itself.
The next day I was off to the airline offices. Full of worried looking people they were. Refunds, cancellations, rerouting were the words that filled the air. So I asked the Bagan Air place: Can I get tickets to Tacheliek? Or Kawthaung? Or Sittwe? Sorry Sir, was the answer. Arghhhh… I was getting frustrated. Then I got an idea.
To be continued …..

By Soe Lwin, BEST Language School, Mandalay

Where the Hell is Matt?

I was surfing for interesting material. And I regard this find a "diamond" in the rough.
Matt Harding leaves a smile and a serious wanderlust in me.
A truly enjoyable video with over 33 million views. (I bet by less than 10 million people, caused i watch it 3 times)
You gonna want to see this twice and more. This is great Matt! Merry Christmas and and wonderful new 2009 to you.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Doodles

Sometimes writing posts for the internet audience is scary.
Why?
Well when we scribble away on these electronic boards, actually a lot of the "me”, a lot of autobiographical thoughts, private considerations, you know, your own feelings, positive or negative get inscribed or read. It's as if you have laid bare a part of your life and I feel a bit uneasy about it.
(All the time, gotta be careful so I don't reveal enough info for a knife-wielding Jacko look-alike to…….. ahhhh…… just the thought of it scares me shivers)
Then don't write posts, you may say!
Well I write cause I feel innately impelled to do so. So here I am, caught in between. It's not like I am very private hermetic person to start with.
Being a teacher, my life is already as public as it can get. I have to follow norms (at least in public) that would seem like a straight-jacket to some. Compounded that with being a teacher in a conservative society I really don't get to say my true feelings or shout or swear like a pirate as I would like to.
On the other hand, I do, at times write rubbish as I am doing "write" now! And try to disguise my real self and write being in someone else's shoes. But that is difficult! Have you ever tried to be someone else?
Actors sure do and most of them go loony or were loony in the first place or are in the process of becoming loony.
How do you extract yourself from a body and mind and plunk it into another entity (which really does not exist)?
And I certainly don't want to be loony without their pay packet to ease the pain
Therefore, I shall continue to write as I have in a semi-autobiographical way and try not to expose too much of myself (really, sometimes it feels like I am doing a striptease in front of million jeering people!) but at the same time, try to do some wretched existence-switching and with the twain, entertain, comfort, incense and bore to death an internet audience.

By Soe Lwin (BEST Language School, Mandalay)

The neighbourhood "Pagoda" Festival

Now every year in Mandalay, and lots of other places around this country too, in the cool months of November to February, there will be a "Pagoda" Festival to mark the founding or celebrate the existence of a neighbourhood pagoda or religious building. Although it may sound a serious and somber affair, actually it is a time for the community to get together and have some communal fun too: dance and song, slapstick comedy and a bit of a country fair-like atmosphere with hand pushed ferris wheels and merry go-rounds. That does not mean the monks and religion are neglected, most probably they'll be attended to by the elders of the neighbourhood, fed, donated to and their sermons listened to but after that in the evenings the neighbourhood comes to life in a way much different than normal. In the evening the street comes alive in a way very different from normal. Merry-making is in the form of a stage erected, a band on it, singers from the band crooning the old, the new and corniest songs . Neighbourhood wanna-be singers paying 5000 Kyat so their voices will heard amplified and backed by the band. An audience composed of the community sitting on rattan mats, is clapping, booing and giggling. Then come the comedians: the jokes are crude and critical but they water it down when the "Anyeint Minthamee" or dancing princess performs a traditional dance for everyone. That's the part I like. Takes me back to olden times and gives me a feel of what my grandparents felt at performances like this. The chill in the air does not deter anyone from going indoors even though the festival may be at their doorsteps. Street vendors selling and assortment of fried delicacies and fruit are out in numbers. I think the kids enjoy it most. They should. I certainly did when I was one. It breaks the school-home-television monotony of life for a child. The dash of electric colour from the whirring merry-go-round and the twinkling lights of bulbs of the vendors and the shouts of joy from most people surely attracts the most bored of children. Paper-machie masks of all sorts, balloons and bamboo swords are for sale. Clay mini-utensils are very popular with kids too. Next day they can start playing-acting cooking with them. By 1 pm the yawns start and the crowd thins. The last songs from the stage are announced. The chill air drives the youngest and oldest indoors first and the rest follow reluctantly. The pagoda festival ends for this year. And a jolly time it was. And everyone knows there'll be one in the next neighbourhood next week for them to visit. But the festival in your own street, I guess is the best.

By Soe Lwin (BEST Language School, Mandalay)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

BAMAR INNOVATIONS Introduces New VOIP Services

Bamar Innovations introduces new services such as a new phones service using Gtalk based system. Its supposed to be far cheaper than any current rate.
To explain things go to the videos, and there a girlie voice will explain how the thing works. I tried to work it out but still didn't connect. probably because my wife was inside our apartment, and a good cheap connection from this side does mean there will be a great connection from the other.
Anyway when enough of us have figured how to get this this working then it shall be of great cost saving for all of us.
There is always a teething period, their new teeth or ours.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Personal Ad, I am putting in for a Friend!

Normally I don't do this but my friend asked me to put it in my blog for his friend,

Single Black Female seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant. She is a very good looking girl, a bit on the short side, who loves to play, She loves to takes long walks and to ride in a convertible, she will literally eat out of your hand when she's getting playfully, She usually is at the front door when you get home from work.
Write for Sweetie, and I'll send you her phone number in a few days.

reply by comment.
I will get her picture up in a few days. Mike said he would send it to me coming around Thursday (18th December 2008)

Brand New Super Hero - Ad

Nemesis Wanted

I'm 5'7", slightly overweight, have to work in the day at a boring job, into books, photography and blogging (by day), justice, honour and vengeance (by night), Seeking arch-enemy, possible crimelord or deformed megalomaniac.
leave a comment and link or email address to followup.

We shall have magnificent battles on the skyline of Singapore (except when it rains)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Me Singing Heaven, You'll Like This!

Really impressed with with video, it almost calms you down.
It's called 'Me Singing Heaven', and the girl got over 11 millon views and 56,000 comments!! Man, She's famous!
The original song by Bryan Adams got a little more than 21,000 views, (That's telling us something)
Enjoy

Why do people take up photography?

Seen lots of tourists with cameras the size of small boxes and lenses the length of a kid's arm ?
Snapping away, then, yapping away? Shamelessly and permissionlessly taking shots of us and our abodes? In the olden days, Red Indians didn't allow themselves t be photographed because they thought their souls would be taken away and used for nefarious white-man- understood –only- semi-medicinal purposes.
And in a way they were damn right! Our privacy which a synonym for our souls and selves are invaded by the lens now. .
We feel date-raped and abandoned after their incursions. They make us all feel like Britney Spears although we don't have as much cash as her, fake her tootsies or dance moves.

But now I will delve into the reasons why photography is now so popular.

My reasons:
These people with cameras are satisfying their voyeuristic tendencies. They think if they're lucky enough they might be in the right place and right time ( or is it the wrong place and wrong time ? )and take shots of the next World Trade Center –like disaster or Tsunami and sell to some TV network and get some dough so thereby l pay off half their mortgage.
Physically, it's as easy and effortless as eating a pie, just have to point and click and Tada! Voila! A piece of art! They want to be seen as artsy fartsy They need a hobby but do not want to take the time or make the effort to learn real art or painting.
Cameras are getting cheap.
The cameras, these days are also better and once in a while they can take perfectly acceptable pictures with minimum of everything else. (The image stabilizers and other improvements on these advanced gizmo cameras can hide the handshakes caused by too many or too few vodkas).
They want another dinner conversation topic that makes them seem cool and less fat.
They want a record of their holidays and travels to places which they can show and boast about to their dumb visually-only- orientated friends.
They think they might be able to make it as a photographer if they are fired from their present jobs.
Their friends put them up to it.

They are the POOPERAZI !
( Poop-shooting- camera –wielding-Nazis )

What Makes People Fat/Overweight Nowadays?

Well it use to be too much lounging on front of TV's and greasy hamburgers (actually greasy anykind of food).
Now I think it's the Internet that makes us put on weight (and ruins our eyesight too).
All those hours we spend in front of the monitor, hooked to this network of networks, supposedly communicating with friends, bantering with strangers, looking up stuff we'd never give a second thought to in the "real" world is putting the pounds on big-time!
The flab’s of fat that amass while in front of a glaring screen peering into this digital world will all send us to an early and greasy grave !
The attractions of interactivity are even more so gripping than with the Ol' tellie.
The innumerable games that kids play and uncountable sites mostly filled with drivel and senseless what-not call us like a siren and we are addicted. We just have to switch on the computer just after we go to the toilet and before brushing our teeth in the mornings.
Why did I ever buy a computer and modem and hook it up to the one of the "greatest" inventions in human history?
My paunch is a testimony to the powers of the digital highway!
The wider bandwidth becomes, so does my girth.
I a slave to the Internet God now!
And maybe you are too! Is there any hope for us?
Is there a rehab somewhere?
Or do I really want to cut myself off from its wonders?
On second thought I don't think so. A learned Buddhist monk said something to me long ago : Everything in moderation; not too much and not too little of something makes our world a better place !
I think I'm gonna abide with his maxim or at least try to. So all you out there, remember this: The reason for our overweighty-ness is the INTERNET, not lack of exercise, or gobbling down platters of goodies.
Wish me success in my exercise of moderation and I hope the same to you.

Ciao for now!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Zoo Elephants Living Shorter Lives


"Living in a zoo shortens an elephant's life, according to a new research study published in the journal Science.
The study compared the life spans of African and Asian elephants living in European zoos between 1960 and 2005, with the life spans of African elephants living in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya and Asian elephants living in a reserve in Myanmar.
"We looked at about 300 African female elephants [in zoos], and of those, none have made it past the age of 50," says study author Georgia Mason of the University of Guelph in Canada. "In Amboseli National Park, about a third of the females will make it past age 50."
The results for Asian elephants were less promising. According to Mason, half the animals living in Myanmar had died by age 41, whereas in European zoos, half of all elephants die by the age of 19.
"Quite a dramatic difference," says Mason.
Zoos need to do a better job of figuring out what elephants in captivity need to live a long and healthy life, she says."


A flashback for me, my mind going back to an article I read, in a paper prepared for Myanmar foresters. I can't remember what the details were, but this one item is stuck sideways in my memory, the reason for the shorten life of Myanmar Timber Enterprise, Logging Elephants by its most prominent expert.

The expert at the time, simply said the reason : " the lack of sex!".

That's the reason why the great beasts were dying younger.

And yeah, it could be depressing to the point of dying if you're chain to a post and a beautiful lady elephant is 15 feet away swaying.

So, could this be applied to men, we are living longer because we are getting more of it!.



Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Kick Ass Bus Driver

I have being seeing this caution notice on my way to work, since October 2008. It made me wonder on that very first day, what exactly would be the management style that these Singaporeans practice. I know that most Singaporeans like to see themselves as very aggressive and demanding managers and bosses ( and most of them do poorly at the act, they can’t sustain the act all day, all the time, so they end up looking like pussies! And most of them can’t stand a stare down!), but this was taking the ‘be-informed-and-aware’ thing too far.
It also made me think where they find guys to drive for them with the required job description written at the door. So he’s got to drive and kick ass, if it comes to it. Does he get any extra commission for every ass he kicked or will it be a flat allowance attached to his pay. But most probably he would get nothing extra and his ass kicked if the something goes wrong and he does not perform the required function.
It has become a nice source of morning amusement for me the way to work. I want greet them like “Hey! Did you get to do all you duties today? Kick any ass today?

A brief look at the jobs market, and something for 2009

"MANILA, Philippines - More than half a million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in at least six countries are at risk of losing their jobs, data from the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) indicated. An estimated 575,000 OFWs may soon join the ranks of the unemployed as the global credit crunch cuts demand for goods and services, prompting companies to reduce jobs just to stay afloat."

If the pinoys are in trouble then we Shwe's, are bound to be in a worse situation, could there be a huge reverse migration of overseas Myanmar workers (OMWs) going the same way as the Filipino?

Maybe not, (cause I don't wanna go home, haven't made my fortune yet!) and maybe its because that we are more willing to accept pay cuts and other stuff like that to stay afloat.

Well, I talked a bank executive (deputy CEO level) yesterday and he says that although 2009 is going to be a hard year, it will NOT be so bad, couse there are now so many smart investors who wil take advantage of this situation to snatch up real estate and under valued stocks. affiliated marketing
So this means that the economic boom coming right after this recession is going to be one for the history books.
So my advise would be to upgrade yourselves skills-wise so that you that you can compete for higher value jobs. There's going to be a lot of millionaires who will want to hired good help!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How the Sports Stars are doing this year


I just found out that three of the top paid sportsmen are not even active, at the time of writing this post!.

They are Tiger Woods (My Favorite!) recovering from a bum knee surgery, he's going to come back and within the next 3 years, he's going set a new master's record (I don't want to say that he's going break the magnificent record set by Jack Nicklaus, a stunning feat in its right too!)


The there is the retired raceman, F1, Micheal Schumacher (ahh got the spelling right!). Who is earning a cool sum and looks like he's gonna keep doing it way after he's finished driving, (has he every got a speed ticket? bet he could drive away from any police chase).

And the third is Micheal Jordan, the legendary basketball star, who has also retired.

Tiger has earned 91 million, Schumacher 36 million and Jordan 35.5 million, in endorsements.

Nobody is quite sure about the exact earnings of the Globe's top sports men and women, but the following is believed to be a reasonable reliable list of the Top 10 highest-paid sports stars from around the world:
1 Tiger Woods (golf) $91m
2 Phil Mickelson (golf) 49.5m
3 David Beckham (football) $47.5m
4 Oscar De La Hoya (boxing) $43m
5 Kimi Raikkonen (F1) $40m .
6 Michael Schumacher (F1) $36m
7 Michael Jordan (basketball)
8 Roger Federer (tennis) $35m
9 Kobe Bryant (basketball) $33m
10 Shaquille O'Neal (basketball) and Ronaldinho (football) $32m.

Now you got something to tell your friends and look smart.

Myanmar will hold a Miss IT (information technology) contest, What?


"YANGON, Dec. 9 (Moe Lwin Stuff) - Myanmar will hold a Miss IT (information technology) contest at the Yadanarbon Teleport in the northern city of Pyin Oo Lwin, the local Pyi Myanmar weekly journal reported Tuesday.
The contest, the first of its kind and sponsored by the Inforithm-Maze Committee, will take place on Dec. 16, the report said, adding that the contest is aimed at demonstrating IT era models by combining the advanced technology with self-created beauty.
The Miss IT contest is part of an ICT week exhibition activities scheduled to take place in Pyin Oo Lwin from Dec. 12 to16 with the aim of promoting the development of the advanced technology."

Oh come on!, you gotta be kidding me, what's she going wear? glasses, and a keyboard handbag with kiddie mouses from her ears for added geekness.
Have they run out of titles for girls to win or have they developed a new category for a niche group so they can have a chance to win something.
And the sponsors would be geekie names for runner ups too - Miss affiliated computers, laptop lady, PDA girl, Best Hardware prize? and my favorite title would be Miss Networker.

Blue Eyed Asian Boy and Gals Coming your Way

Time have changed, I still remember when I thought that black hair was dazzling (it still is, and I still do!), but the change of times, or rather the acceptance of change and attitude, has caused us Asians, especially those in the Far East, to feel we must no longer stick to black hair. Now, no one bats an eye if we have red, purple, brown or blond highlights in our hair. ( I weep, but for a short time only because some of the color hair looks very fine indeed!)
After that, surely changing eye color is the next step and a small one. I remember one Myanmar model sporting the blue eyes look (in Myanmar?!) So one company from Malysia certainly hopes so and is staking its claim in the cosmetic contact lens market.
The company is called Maxvue Vision Sdn Bhd, based in Seremban, and is four years old. I read about it the other day and even with the briefest outline, I was impressed. A company that had identified that such a trend is just ready to start and they are ready, quietly and steadily started making its presence felt in the European and Middle Eastern markets with its range of cosmetic color contact lenses called Colourvue. And they are going to be the latest trend I predict it! (Gotta take a chance with something!)
So with my two headlights dressed up in these colorful sparkles, I certainly hope that some of my years will fall away even if my tummy doesn’t.
And I love the thought of people crying; ‘Hey look at the blue eyed Asian guy!’
Or Maybe I should just dye my hair green!


Adsense, trends, headlights, blue eyed, company

Five Things to Do and to Avoid for Today


To Do
1. Find a great book
2. Learn something new about your job
3. Say something nice to someone older than you
4. Discover exactly why you hate something
5. Get in touch with a friend
To Avoid
1. Bad manners
2. Getting there late
3. Talking too much
4. Eating at your work table (to the girl beside me)
5. Eating that extra bite

The Different Situations My Car Goes Through


Hi Everyone, hoping that you are having a great time (doing what?).

It is the raining season in Singapore, or so they say, it means that the temperatures are down but it still cannot be called cold or anything. It it merely just very comfortable temperature. Which brought me thinking about the weather in Myanmar which lead me back to the night of May the second. Yes the night that Nargis blasted through the delta.
I can still remember, that all the members of our clan were texting each other furiously, updating each other on the situation. And then around 2 am I think all the phones went dead. There goes the tower I thought.
And then the loud pounding of mangoes onto the roof of our neighbor. (My wife kept asking me; 'whats' that?' to every new sound - and my answers sounded silly now, they were just answers!).
Come to think of it, it was a year that the Yangon mangoes didn't make it market. And that was amongst the least of worries.

And my car was half buried in rubble. Good thing a lamp post didn't fall on it.
I search through my personal archive of photos to find one of my little car and another photo (with me and a elephant) to give you a brief idea.

Then I remember that on the next day morning there was hundreds of guys and gals all out in force with little digital cameras, all snapping away to put Nargis in the books as the most documented cyclone in Myanmar history too.
(My wife thought I was nuts at the time! many would agree, save those owners of digital cameras!)

Exchange Rate Box





I have started a box (On the top of the column to your right) that is concerned with the exchange rate between Kyats and Singapore Dollars.
Please bear in mind that it should be used as an indicator of the prevailing rate.
Use it wisely please.
Most of us don't have that much to make money on the forex rate.
And the market is always smarter than us!
I would like to Thank Ko #### #### of ##### for the information.
Hopes he keeps sending me the data, I think his rate is one of the most reliable in the market.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Singapore Ministry of Manpower | 20060707- PR Applicants Dont Need Employers to Sponsor Them


Look at these stories about Singapore Permanent Resident Application.

Make sure that you read the ICA website carefully!


Trap in PR Applications- The Straits Times, 29 June 2006The grant of permanent residence to foreigners is a critical component of Singapore's human-capital formation and its replenishment. It is a privilege that recognises demonstrated contributions to society and the economy. A violinist with symphony-orchestra credentials has equal claim to value as a geneticist and a language specialist. With the birth rate languishing at slightly above half of the 2.1 replacement level, immigration assumes growing importance as a demographic and manpower planning tool. Latest available figures bear out the quickening pace: 290,118 permanent residents were recorded in the 2000 population census, a huge jump on the 112,132 in the 1990 count.
Any impediment to the smooth operation of the PR application process should be put right. If there is a hint some employers are imposing unreasonable restraint and conditions on employees seeking PR, it should be verified how widespread the habit is. It would amount to obstruction of state policy if it is. A letter to our Forum page on Tuesday describes a practice of employers that is questionable. Bosses tell foreign staff they will support their PR applications only if they signed an employment contract, typically of three years, according to the correspondent. If an employee declines, presumably on grounds such as low pay, lack of a career path or an exploitative workplace, a probable deserving case may abandon any thought of settling here. If he signs up against his better judgment, he will feel unjustly 'bonded' if he is confident he could have a better career with another firm. Just how many are deterred from applying through this form of manipulation is anybody's guess.
An employer in such an instance is misleading his employee. This is highly objectionable. An application requires an employer only to provide company details and to certify on a form that the applicant works for the firm. It is not sponsorship or in any way in support of the application. Companies which claim otherwise are being untruthful. Applicants could seek recourse with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), and it is understood a written explanation would in many cases be acceptable. If the ICA ascertains that the abuse is serious enough to harm the state's PR objectives, it could consider substituting authentication of employee status with a simpler step to close the loophole to dishonest employers.


MOM: PR applicants don't need employers to sponsor them.- Straits Times, 07 July 2006

Please refer to the letter "Can firms bond their workers to get PR?" (ST, 27 Jun) by Cera Amir and the subsequent editorial "Trap in PR Applications" (ST, 29 Jun).
2. Employers are not required to 'sponsor' an employee's application for PR. They need only certify that the employee is working for the firm. In lieu of the employer's certification, ICA will also allow the applicant to provide other documents that verify employment, such as payslips issued by the company. Thus far, the majority of PR applicants have had no problems getting such information from their employers.
3. Singapore welcomes all bona fide visitors seeking to work, study or stay here. Foreigners working in Singapore and holding a valid P, Q or S work pass are welcome to submit their applications for PR under the Professionals/Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers scheme. Each application for PR is assessed and considered on its own merits. They do not need their employers to sponsor them.


[Here is the original link]

http://www.mom.gov.sg/publish/momportal/en/press_room/press_replies/2006/20060707-PRapplicantsdontneedemployerstosponsorthem.html

Monday, December 8, 2008

Iron Cross Show & Me, DEC 7, 2008

Yep, there I am, together with Ko Chit San Maung, the lead guitarist of Iron Cross, the hottest, and talented Myanmar Band.
Oh! and the guy, there beside us is Ko Aung Myo, my old friend since the days of Yangon University.
It is their last stop on a 4 month tour of the UK and US, where Ah Nge is suffered a serious episode of homesickness.
Man! I'd like to tell them what real home sickness is all about!, At least these guys had each others and have been friends for years and years now.
Nothing a little Ngapi curry and mohingar could not cure.
Anyway it was a great, jumping, shouting, dancing, singing, entertaining evening. Well Done ! Guys.

And by the time this post is up, they will be reunited with their families, toys and souvenirs distributed. Homesickness dissipated.

Always great to be back home.
We know Ko Ah Nge! What you mean ever so much!
So next time keep it off the stage!
And don't stop singing!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mind-Blowing Animation and Slow Motion Videos that you Got To See

Take a look at some of the amazing creations that we as humans are capable of.
Some of us have the wonderful ability, that comes naturally to them, to create what is it in their minds.
So the rest of the less talented can enjoy!
Follow the links pasted down below;
http://www.bspcn.com/2008/06/03/9-mind-blowing-flash-animations/
http://www.purpleslinky.com/Offbeat/12-Mind-Blowing-Slow-Motion-Videos-You-Must-See.210429
http://samorost2.net/plantage/plantage.swf

My personal recommendation is for the Drum Machine.
http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/drum you gotta see this first!
Hats off to the artists who created this!

Tiger Bum


Yes, last week I had this annoying cough,

And I really didn't want to go to the doctor over something as trivial as a dry hacking cough.

Its been quite a while since I had something like this so I have sort of forgotten what to do.

So I have been asking around, and one of my 'friends', typed over the gtalk to me,

"put Tiger Bum, on your throat and behind your ears!"


I enjoyed the remark so much that now I am sharing it with all of you.

Thanks to Ko Tin Hlaing for the excellent suggestion. Made me feel very nice that day.
Sorry that this is so short, I have to go to the zoo now!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ghost in the Underpass of Tanah Merah Station

I still shudder at the thought of that night. The almost imperceptible smell of rotting flesh in the air, the chill that crept up my spine. That feeling you get when you know that something with evil intent is staring at your back. The sense of utter lost hope, prevailing in the air.
A sense of sadness as if someone extreme had experience a profound loss the sense permeating everything in that close area. I thought I saw someone; I’m not sure at all, from the corner of my eye. But I know I could feel someone right there!

It has been raining almost everyday now since it turned into December. That’s supposed to be normal here in Singapore for the time of the year. The rain brings instant relief from the sweltering heat, which is there if there is even the slightest hint of sun. For me the rapid change of temperature has brought a annoying cough to me. The work hours are right regular here. In at 9:00am and wrap up for the day at 6:00pm. Back to the hostel at 6:50pm, pretty regular, the daily grind. I always use the Tanah Merah MRT station. You descend from the train platform onto the ground level where you check yourself out. And directly in front is a further descent into an underground passes which takes you under the busy road and safely unto the other side.

It had been a long day; I had just come back from meeting one of my friends after work. The great joy, after being here for the last two months, working with people that you couldn’t say, were your friends yet. I have reached an age where friends are not made easily anymore. So there is such pleasure in meeting friends of old, especially in a strange city. A modern cold city! We have said our good byes, and I checked my watch, it’s close to 10:30pm, plenty of time to catch the MRT back to Tanah Merah Station. The rain starts to fall. The heat of the day evaporates, it is enjoyable!

I get off at Tanah Merah station, it be over 11:00 pm by now, no one around, just me walking down to the underpass, as I had done dozens of times now, but for such a time in the night, it was the first.
My foot steps rang in the corridor. So loud that I actually began walked slower, a light flickered in the ceiling far down.
Then I felt it! a breeze, a chill down my spine, a sudden sense of a feeling of someone was down there with you. Something reaching out for, for I don’t even know now. Suddenly the stories of those wandering the earth waiting for their business to be concluded, those waiting for justice or those that couldn’t simply let go. Their affections too great on a person, a place a thing. I had heard that they would wonder and stop at places where they could be acutely felt by those still living.

I thought I heard a whisper into my back by a rasping stuttering voice. Something about being alone, hungry and worried and being so tired. My pulse had quicken to a pounding tempo.
The only small problem in this story: there was no breeze that night, and I was in an underpass.
I do not stay to find out, my pace quickens. And I nearly run up the elevator. I turn around to check, the light is no longer flickering.
I hear that so of the students at the hostel have also felt a cold chill and whispering, with a glance of an outline, just for an instant.
In the corner of the underpass which goes towards the East Meadows Condos, of the Tanah Merah MRT Station. The next time I come back late, I’m taking a taxi.
After all, as rational scientific beings, we all know that ghosts and curses do not exist.
Right! Anyway. don't go there alone!

Payback Time, Chanting for All

I will be reciting some chants for prosperity in for the coming few days and those who want to share in the merit please write your name in the comment line, so I can view your names as I chant. The chants shall be;

Chant one: for prosperity to be channeled to you
Chant two:
for the best of friends to surround you
Chant three:
for the money to be channeled to you
Chant four:
for easy dealing with authorities to be channeled to you

Please check from time to time and let me know if there is any improvement in your lives.
I received this as a gift and it was great for me, the only thing that the person (whose name was requested not to reveal) asked for in return, was for me to do the same for others.
So here I go with the returning the favor.

My personal testimony; before early August, I did not have even in my dreams at the time that I would be working in Singapore. I was more or less gunning for a position in any NGO in Myanmar. On the 1st of September, I was on the plane to check the place that I would be working
And working happily I am!
So yes I will keep my word and repay, I will.

If there is a real major difference in your lives in the next few months, look me up, and I will teach you the chant for you to chant for others.

Iron Cross at Jurong East 2008

Yes my Myanmar Friends!
Iron Cross will be ripping across Singapore on the 7 of December playing some real music!
Chit San Maung to be stumming his six string!
And i will be there there enjoy it, and to bring some of the enjoyment back to YOU!
See the advertisement that they put up in the Peninsular Plaza.
My ticket cost 30$ and that is on the cheap side of things.
Singers include Ah Nge, Myo Gyi, Wine Wine Zaw Paing, R-Zarni and Naw Naw (who's the heck is he?).
They will perform at the Jurong East Sports and Culture Center.



Actually I am looking forward this very much!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Great to turn Forty


Today I am forty.
My collegues at the office I work threw a mini surprised party for me, and it took me bt total surprise. Thanks everyone, the feeling was great. Here a picture of me with the cake.

Forty I am!
And you know what its a great age to be.
You reach an age where 40 is the new 30 because people are living longer. Centenarians will become unexceptional within my lifetime, and the average life-span around the world is already double what it was 200 years ago.
I was old enough to appreciate all the magic of the first Star Wars movie release in 1977.
And I’m not even embarrassed at it anymore. The feeling of it was so magical, and in it George Lucus became my hero and still is.
I lived through the eighties as a teenager. And the music was the best. Nothing beats the eighties music.

They say that LIFE is only going to get faster. The average age for purchasing a Harley Davidson is now 59. My friend bought one a few days ago and he’s only 42. By the way it was a second hand machine but after he’s through polishing it, it’s gonna shine like new. I remember that we had a Chopper bicycle and only one too. It was shared among three brothers, and my younger brother loved it so much.
I already own my own apartment, and a little jeep of a car. It’s right up on the top of this post. With my wife, my real friend in life, with the exception of my parents and family, I simply cannot think of my life without her. She is definitely the better half of me.
And there is my wee little daughter; she had already given me a great birthday gift the other day when she told me that a full 100% scores in 3 of her 4 subjects. Wow! I thought, I had never got scores like that, ever!
I cannot, but write something about my parents, the incredible lengths that they have gone through to raise me. And they have done a right fine job indeed! Thanks Mom and Dad.
And my elder bro out there in Mandalay, still looking out for his younger bunch, I guess after forty years, he’s become really good at it too. It his birthday too! We have the same exact birthday. As the King of Thailand! It’s a holiday on our birthday in Thailand. I heard that he is sick and hope he gets better soon.
When the late Japanese Emperor Hirohito was alive, and my late father was posted at the Myanmar Embassy at the time, it was a holiday on his birthday too, as he his was the same date as the Emperor.
I guess the past 40 years were all about preparation. A lot of things don’t really hold true anymore. I really come to know the people who have stuck by me. I have friends that I’ve know for 30 years now, we go and play golf and we say things at each other that amaze the caddies, it would result in a murder with anyone else, but with us, we don’t bat an eye. The guy been around long enough to have the right to say anything he wants to me, even while putting! Turning forty is a time when you take stock of your life.
And measure your accomplishments. .I think I did great,
A wife that loves me, and daughter, relatives that think I'm not too bad.
I will look after those who have looked after me.
And Hey! It’s been a great ride so far.
And I bet the next twenty are gonna be better.

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ~ "WOO HOO, what a ride!" Author Unknown

I am finally earning some money from Blogging!

Yes, it has happened!
Just when I thinking if this really was gonna work or not!
The situation that I have waiting for since I started to write these blogs.
My blog has started to earn money from AdSense.
And the most amazing thing about it was that, I had become hooked on writing for the sake of writing, and I have had reached a state where I would not think or care about AdSense earnings any more.
I had read up daily on bloggers who had online reps as the best in the business, and their advice was to keep writing everyday, well almost every and to get interesting content up into the blog. So that readers would come and keep on coming.
And they talked about earning hundred of dollars a day, and other stuff that makes you a little envy.
So here’s my advice to you fellow bloggers, especially the new to blogging ones.
This does really work!
It just took me about 26 posts start seeing some visits, and then more visits, and then some earnings.
I guess the circumstances thought it times to reward the poor tapping blogger.
Just keep on writing quality content that would mean something to your readers, and make sure that AdSense is turned on too!
And since it is my birthday today! It was a nice surprise too.
I take it as AdSense’s birthday present to me.
Too cool to be a coincidence?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

One of the Biggest Mistakes I Ever Made, and the Recovery Made



During the period between 1998 and 2002 I was working as a township socio-economist for a UNDP funded FAO implement project in the Dry Zone of Myanmar. In the Kyaukpadaung Township to be exact. I have been working there for a year now and was very confident in the work that I was doing and in the professionalism in the way I got it done too. On the day of this story, I was on my way to a village, approximately 35 miles away to the northwest of the Mount Popa, the extinct volcano, the most distinct landmark and the point of reference for dead reckoning navigation by all travelers of the area. After turning off the main road and onto dirt track of the village trails the soft sand become too much even for brand new Yamaha DT 125, to handle, so I had to revert to pushing the thing along the way. After thirty minutes of pushing the bike a few villages came into sight in the distance, and to a few villagers nearby on the way I asked “which village is Tabauk Kone?” they all pointed in unison to one village not too far. I estimated that it would take another 20 minutes of pushing to get there. Although I was very fit at the time, I still was terribly exhausted when I pushed the bike into the village gates and asked the direction of the headman’s house. Again, all pointed in unison to a particular house. When I finally pushed the bike into the house, I was totally whacked. I stumbled over to the headman and he graciously pull out a bench for me to collapse onto. I told him who I was; there was little explanation was needed as the bike was already identified as a UN motorbike. I asked if he could assemble the population of the village as I would like to make an announcement concerning the community and the reason why an UN official has come here. Then I simply tried to recover as fast as I could for the project introduction speech I was going to deliver. Since I had done numerous times before, I had it down to tack. Just needed to get my breath back.
In the compound of the headman, a respectable audience soon assembled, the news of a UN representative had already circle the community, probably twice, so people were quick in the coming.
An old woman sat in near the front of the crowd, I told the headman that I was going to start, always get permission to speak in someone else’s community, and got to my feet and introduced myself, to the beaming smiles of the community. Then I did it! to personalize the speech a bit I would always mention the name of the villages and the people there. So I chimed “ People of Tabauk Kone!, Thank you for assembling here to listen to what I going to say,” there was an instant hush, silence in the 200 people that had assembled. I immediately recalled every word that I just said, no problem, at all, then why? That’s when the old lady in front said to me “this is not Tabauk Kone Village, this is Than Bin Village, Tabauk Kone Village is another 4 miles down the track” she said pointing along the same direction the villagers on the way had pointed. Cold sweat and hammers in my chest pounded out the situation. But luckily Than Bin was on my list too. So I did what I did, smiled hugely and said that’s the village that I’m going to after Than Bin Village, much to the relief of everyone there.
I had simply never asked if this was Tabauk Kone Village when I had arrived there.
The comedy of the situation is very well known in the area.
The time the UN guy went to the wrong village.
I don’t know why but the memory just came vividly back to me.
I am smiling.
No one in Singapore knows this.

Amputation with sms instructions - Friends know the caliber of each other


Yes, that an eye-catching topic that was in the news today. A short account recording the brave initiative of an individual who has gone the extra-mile to help a fellow human.

Yet, I wonder, though Doc David Nott is a trained surgeon, with no experience in the particular surgery performed, but he must have had considerable experience in alike situations of equal complexity. Otherwise he could not have summoned up the initiative to perform such a feat. I am in no manner try to belittle his extraordinary effort yet, trying to analyses the circumstances in which hundreds of others in similar situation across would have ignored to fate and simply walked on.
And many cheers to his friend Professor Meirion Thomas on the other side, I could only imagine what the reaction to the first incoming would be like. Would it generate the ‘you gotta be kidding!’ reaction. But as my friends know me and know in certain situations that it is better not to question your colleague and get on to the crisis on hand.
Did he really have to thumb in all those tongue twisting medical terms and procedural steps as medical soap operas have familiarized us with. Or did he stick to the mere basic actions and let his friend at the scene work them out. Every discipline would have its own economical words and phases. And when you really know someone you really know how to make him know, and he would know what is between the lines too.
Yet again another occurrence of human nature that proves there is always hope, for us all, even in bleakest conditions.

Just found out that he text just ten instructions. And the job got done indeed!
A tribute to the professionalism!
Also its serves to fact that there is a whole lot more that great friends know about each other then they let on!

The World Greatest Title

I was took a great interest into a similar title the other day. It was written by a fellow blogger and I could not but notice that it had made it to the top of the most read lists. The content wasn’t much to go by on anyway. So how did it get itself up on those lists? I suppose it was for the merit of the catchy title. It was the sort that search engines would pick up and put on the top of their lists, causing the hit rates to increase dramatically. That would then put the imposter of a post to be included into the most read lists of the hour, the day, the sort, propelling it higher into the most read hits lists, until a good deal of the suckers have taken a look and navigated away from the site.
It was something like a sideshow in the village pagoda festival, somewhere and sometime lost in my memory. The “picture most handsome man in the world” show, where you paid, your 5 Pyas (1cent??) to be shown a mirror, with yourself staring back at you!
And a sheepish nod to the fellow posted on the way out with the duty of asking, everyone “good looking eh?”
Yes, we are all suckers at one or another.

For All Mankind, the Greatest Love at First Sight!

I can tell you exactly when this happened.
I can tell you exactly how it happened.
I can vividly describe the place where it happened.
And above all I can still remember how it feels.
It’s a feeling that I’m never going to forget, that I never want to forget.
One of the most amazing transformations a person can go through.
And billions have gone through it.
And tens of thousand are going through it every moment. Even as I write and you read this.
And I still can’t help wondering how that an emotion that you would only suspect one day would be so pronounced the next.
It was the day my daughter was born.
She was born on the first of February 2002, at 7:17 in the morning. I got to see her about fifteen minutes after, when the nurse brought her out to show me and pronounced that the child and mom were ok.
Then in another few minutes later my little baby was rolled outside in a little cot.
Where I studied every single little feature of her. My mother was beside me doing the same, for her it was her third grandchild.
Oh, the feeling of love at first sight!
Yes, the feeling of love at first sight!

Then she yawned, a full oval mouth yawn with her lips quivering.
Then she looked around, with me, moving trying to make sure that she would be looking at me, the only one there but suddenly jealous of all the other things she was looking at, the windows, the walls and all the stuff in the room.

Then my wife was wheeled out still drowsy from the drugs, it had been a successful caesarean. And then a tiny wimp from her daughter and she started lactating.
Amazing!
I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest day.
Wee little Muchi Moo had arrived!

And to my mom that day, I am proud to be as the best that I could have always been. And to be really thankful for your parents that day!

I am sure that many dads have had the same super feeling.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

You Want to Study Here in Singapore? Know some of This!

I got this from a Education Site, Very important to know
Get all the information you can about the schools.
Private schools that have a certification called CaseTrust For Education are qualified to recruit international students.
These have the foundation for good quality student welfare and protection practices and standards.
Indian students, along with those from China, Myanmar and Bangladesh, need to put down a $5,000 security deposit.
Some foreign students are allowed to work in Singapore for 16 hours a week during term time.
For more information, log on to www.ica.gov.sg
2. Accommodation:
If you are not staying at a student hostel at your campus, check with your school's International Student Office, notice boards and local newspapers for housing options and costs.
If you are using a housing agent, get recommendations from friends or relatives.
3. Budget, budget:
While it may be cheaper to study in Singapore compared to the UK and the US, cost of living here is higher than India.
Students should be prepared to spend between $1,500 to $2,000 a month on living expenses.
4.Tap your network:
Check with friends and acquaintances who are already studying in Singapore. They can give you tips about interest-free loans that universities offer, cheap accommodation or even a cheap lunch.
5. Talk to the locals:
It is always good to make friends with the locals and learn the culture. Have a sense of humour and be adaptable. You will enjoy your stay here more.
For more information about studying in Singapore, log on to http://www.singaporeedu.gov.sg

သင့္လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္း လုပ္ႏိုင္တဲ့ လူသိနည္းတဲ့နည္းေလးခ်က္

အသက္ကယ္ ပစၥည္း သို႕မဟုတ္ ရွင္သန္ ရုန္းကန္ ႏိုင္ဖြယ္ရာ အေရးေပၚ အေထာက္အကူ ပစၥည္း ျဖစ္ႏိုင္ပါသတဲ့။
(၁) အေရးေပၚ အတြက္ keypad ကို locked လုပ္ထားရင္ေတာင္ သင့္ လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းမ်ားဟာ 112 ဆိုတဲ့ နံပါတ္ကို ႏွိပ္လို႕ ရတာ ေတြ႕ရ ပါလိမ့္မယ္။ အဲဒီနံပါတ္ဟာ ကမၻာလံုးဆိုင္ရာ ၊ ႏိုင္ငံတကာ အေရးေပၚ ဖုန္းနံပါတ္ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ သင္သာ လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္း ဆက္သြယ္ႏိုင္တဲ့ ဧရိယာထဲမွာ ရွိေနပါေစ၊ ဒီနံပါတ္ကို ႏွိပ္လိုက္တာနဲ႕ သင့္လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းဟာ အနီးဆံုး ဆက္သြယ္မႈ ကြန္ယက္ကို အလိုအေလ်ာက္ ရွာမွာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းက ခလုတ္မ်ားကို ပိတ္ထားရင္ေတာင္ ဒီနံပါတ္ကိုေတာ့ ႏွိပ္လို႕ ရေနမွာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ ယံုဘူးလား .. စမ္းၾကည့္..
(၂) ကားထဲမွာ ေသာ့ေတြ က်န္ခဲ့လားသင့္ကားတံခါးမွာ အေ၀းထိန္းစနစ္ ရွိပါသလား။ တေန႕မွာ အေ၀းထိန္း မဟုတ္ဘဲ လက္နဲ႕ ဖြင့္ရမယ့္ အေန အထား ၾကံဳတတ္ပါတယ္။ ကားေသာ့ကို ကားထဲ ထည့္ခဲ့ၿပီး အပိုေသာ့က အိမ္မွာ က်န္ခဲ့ရင္ လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္း တစ္လံုး ရွိရတာ ဒီလုိအခါ က်ေတာ့ ေကာင္းလုိက္တာ။ အိမ္မွာ က်န္ခဲ့တဲ့ လူရဲ႕ လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းကို သင့္လက္ကိုင္ဖုနး္ကေန ေခၚပါ။ တဖက္က ျပန္ထူးေနရင္ သင့္လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းကို ကားတံခါးကေန ေျခတလွမ္းအကြာမွာ ထားပါ။ ေနာက္ၿပီး အိမ္ကလူကို ကားေသာ့ဖြင့္တဲ့ ခလုတ္ကို လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းနားကပ္ၿပီး ႏွိပ္ခိုင္းပါ။ ဟဲဟဲ.. စမး္ၾကည့္ရတာ စိတ္လႈပ္ရွားစရာ ေပ်ာ္စရာပဲ မဟုတ္လား။ ကၽြန္မတို႕ စမ္းၾကည့္တာ ေအာင္ျမင္တယ္ရွင့္။ အိမ္ကလူက လာေပးစာ မလိုေတာ့ဘူးေပါ့။ အကြာအေ၀းက အေရး မဟုတ္ပါဘူး။ ေသာ့အပိုက မိုင္တရာ အကြာမွာ ရွိေနပါေစ ခုနက နည္းနဲ႕ သင့္ကား တံခါးကို အလြယ္တကူ ဖြင့္ႏိုင္တာ သင့္လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းေၾကာင့္ပါ။
(၃) ဖြက္ထားတဲ့ အပို ဘကၴရီသင့္လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္း ဓာတ္အား သိပ္နည္းလာၿပီဆုိပါစို႕။ *3370# ကို ႏွိပ္လိုက္ပါ။ သင့္ လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းက အေရးေပၚသံုး ခ်န္ထားတဲ့ ဓာတ္အား ကို ျပန္ဖြင့္ေပးၿပီးေနာက္ သင့္လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းက ဓာတ္အား ထက္၀က္ က်န္ေသးေၾကာင္း ျပပါလိမ့္မယ္။ ေနာက္တစ္ၾကိမ္ သင့္လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းကို ဓာတ္အား ျပန္ျဖည့္တဲ့အခါမွာ သာမန္နဲ႕ အေရးေပၚသံုး ႏွစ္မ်ိဳးလံုး အတြက္ ဓာတ္အားကို ျပန္ျဖည့္ပါလိမ့္မယ္။ Safety first !!! ပါတဲ့။
(၄) အခိုးခံရတဲ့ လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းကို သူတပါး သံုးလို႕ မရေတာ့ေအာင္ ဘယ္လို ဖ်က္ဆီး ပစ္မလဲ။သင့္ လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းရဲ႕ နံပါတ္စဥ္ကို သိဖို႕ *#06#ကို ႏွိပ္လိုက္ပါ။ ဂဏန္း ၁၅လံုး (ဆယ့္ငါးလံုး) ေပၚလာပါ လိမ့္မယ္။ အဲဒီ ဂဏန္း ဆယ့္ငါးလံုးဟာ သင့္လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္း (handset) အတြက္ သီးသန္႕ပါ။ ဒီ ဂဏန္းေတြကို ခ်ေရးၿပီး လံုျခံဳ စိတ္ခ်ရတဲ့ တေနရာမွာ သိမ္းထားပါ။ သင့္ဖုနး္ အခိုးခံရတဲ့ အခါမွာ သင္ဟာ ဖုန္း ကုမၸဏီကို ဖုန္းဆက္ၿပီး ဂဏန္း ဆယ့္ငါးလံုးပါ ကုဒ္ကို ေျပာျပ တိုင္တန္းလုိက္ၿပီး သင့္ လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းကို ပိတ္ခိုင္း ႏိုင္ပါ တယ္။ တကယ္လို႕ သူခိုးဟာ Sim Card ကို မထုတ္ရေသးမီ သင္သာ တုိင္တန္းႏိုင္မယ္ ဆုိရင္ Sim card ကိုေရာ လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းကိုပါ disable လုပ္ႏိုင္မွာ ျဖစ္လို႕ သင့္ဖုန္းထဲက သင့္ဆက္သြယ္မႈ ကြန္ယက္ ထဲက သူေတြ စာရင္းနဲ႕ ဖုန္းနံပါတ္ မ်ားကိုလဲ သူတပါး သိျခင္းမွ ကာကြယ္ ႏိုင္သလို သင့္အေယာင္ ေဆာင္ၿပီး သူတပါးကို သင့္ဖုန္း နံပါတ္နဲ႕ ဆက္သြယ္ျခင္း ကိုပါ ကာကြယ္ ႏိုင္မွာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ တကယ္လို႕ သင္ တိုင္တန္း တာ ေနာက္က်လို႕ သူခိုးက ပိုလ်င္သူ ျဖစ္ခဲ့ရင္ေတာ့ သင့္ Simcard ကိုသာ disable လုပ္ႏိုင္မွာ ျဖစ္ၿပီး သင္ ဟာ ဖုန္းနံပါတ္မ်ားကို လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္း ထဲမွာ မွတ္သား တတ္သူ ျဖစ္ပါက သင့္ ဆက္သြယ္မႈ ကြန္ယက္ ကိုေတာ့ သူခိုးက ေကာင္းေကာင္း သိႏိုင္ပါတယ္။ ဒါေပမယ့္ သင့္နံပါတ္နဲ႕ သူတပါးကို ဖုန္းဆက္ျခင္းေတာ့ မျပဳႏိုင္ေတာ့ ပါဘူး။ ဒါေၾကာင့္ အေရးၾကီး ဖုန္းနံပါတ္မ်ားကို Sim Card ထဲမွာသာ မွတ္သား ထားသင့္ ပါတယ္။ ဒီလို ကာကြယ္ ထားႏိုင္ရင္ လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္း ခိုးယူျခင္း ေၾကာင့္ အက်ိဳး မျဖစ္ထြန္းတဲ့ အတြက္ လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္း ခိုးယူမႈမ်ား ေလ်ာ့ပါး လာမယ္လို႕ ေမွ်ာ္လင့္ရပါတယ္။
လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းတစ္လံုးကို ၀ယ္ထားရၿပီး တန္ေအာင္ အသံုးခ်ႏိုင္ၾကပါေစ။

Slower Pay Raises in 2009


The pay raises will be lower next year in Singapore, that’s the sort of news that is in the newspaper this morning.
So who’s complaining, after all the weeks of the headlines saying that most of the global economy is in a recession, people should be happy that there is still some sort of pay raise coming anyhow. They Strait Times quote “on average, base-salary increments will drop from 5.1 per cent this year to 4.2 per cent next year”. Ok now, that might now cause a major disruption in the 25 year financial plans of most people. For those that have such plans! (One, perhaps in a few thousand?).

And recovery will only start in the first and second quarters of next year! That doesn’t sound so bad for me.
The fact is that it always depends on the market characteristics of the sort of job that you have at the moment. If it is the sort of industry that can be put off for a while, say like IT ("let’s change the computers next year, instead of December!" as planned) then things are going to be slow, but certain jobs will never be hurt (to a certain degree), or hurt last, that is the jobs that actually bring in the revenue, like marketing or sales. There are companies that are willing to pay top dollar for people with such caliber.
So pay raise slowing down? Come on! and get us some other news?

The Celestial Frown, another indication of the times ahead?

The celestial frown, is this a sign from the heavens for the times ahead? Could this be that things are going to be tough in 2009? Hey! we really don’t need this sort of interpretation right now, do we?
The planets, Jupiter and Venus are supposed to be a width of a finger held at arm's length
The same thing in 2 BC when most of the middle east population must have been slightly far sighted, as they must have the same astronomical situation as a single bright light.

This event might have caused the fanatically superstitious amongst them to follow the “star” resulting in the turn of events as we know so when now. Just when Joseph with Mary on a donkey was having such a hard time looking for a place to stay. Different age same problem, it’s always tough to find a nice place to stay! Get back to the title!

Anyway the best time to see them was yesterday Monday night. They won't be this close together and well-placed for evening viewing again until May 2013.

The Singapore Cough


So its been like 2 months since I arrived upon to Singapore soil. Yes the place is nice, and well-organized, with all the street signs up and the sort, haven’t been lost a bit since I have been here, at all, not a bit, well a little bit.
But then there is the universal and very aggressive air-conditioning that they have everywhere in Singapore. And in the places where there is no air-conditioning there are huge powerful fans that blast a gale force wind in your direction. Some of these fans have these little water dispersion taps on them so that the air is cooler and wetter. Actually rather nice, when you are perfectly healthy, that is. And then there are the un-timely showers that rain down for short periods, I have only seen a very few of these showers lasting from more than 2 hours.
Don’t get caught in them if you’re new around here, and if you do, dry off as quickly as you can. Before the annoying sniff and the dreadful cough work up. Woe to that person that catches the cough and refuses to go to the doctor over such minor little thing. It’s minor isn’t it, no temperature, no elevated blood pressure, no any other symptoms that are obvious at all. Only this terrible, annoying, persistent, embarrassing dry hacking cough.
Those who have been here a while say that, all go through it. And then it magically disappears, I am trying to drown mine in Vicks vapor- drops right now and staying away from a direct air-con or fan air flow.
I feel better already.
Otherwise it feels like a case of mild acute bronchitis.

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