Archive for May, 2011

Going.. going..gone……10 technologies that are almost obsolete

May 27, 2011 4 comments

1.Typewriter.. I always have a soft corner for the typewriter because we had 3 at home – 2 Facit typewriters and  a Godrej one.  I learned to type on a typewriter. After the simple typewriter came an electric one, an electronic typewriter and then the computer has now made the typewriter a thing of the past.

2.Pager.. When I came to Singapore in 1994, the pager was everywhere and you could hear beeps and nice tones.  But today you hardly see a pager in use.

3.Cassette tape recorder:  Today we hardly use the cassette tape.   In the early 1990s there was a steep decline in cassette tape use.

4.Walkman: The Sony walkman was introduced in 1979 and was very popular in those times.  1986 marked the farewell of the walkman and Sony introduced the discman

5.Floppy disc/floppy drive: Today most computers come only with dvd players and recorders and the familiar  3.5” floppy drive is hardly in use

6.Video cassette player/video cassette: The VHS format has lost use with the advent of DVD/VCD players

7.Film camera: Today it is difficult to find film cameras and photo studios that clear pictures taken using film.  Cameras have all gone digital.

8.Laser disc player: The laser disc which was popular in the 1990s became officialy obsolete in 2009 with Pioneer announcing the cessation of production.

9.CRT monitor: Flat screen monitors have replaced the CRTs and almost everywhere you see only LCD/LED/Plasma monitors.

10. Zip drive: This drive had a very short life cycle and with the advent of compact discs the usage significantly dropped.


Imperfectly perfect

May 26, 2011 4 comments

Right from childhood, comparing and contrasting is the favourite pastime of parents.  They seek  perfection in their children – perfect in studies, in arts, in sports and ‘second best’ will just not do.  I shudder to think  what would this world be like if we were all perfect?

Those little quirks, mistakes, strange behaviours are what makes us so unique and beautiful.  So why are we in an endless quest for perfection?

Does a perfect 100/100 mean your child is a genius?  It is not wrong to be ambitious but in that quest to get perfection are we not destroying their creativity?

Can we mess up things a bit?  Do things differently without offending anyone.  Be a little clumsy, crazy once a while.  That imperfection, that chaos is so much fun in this world .  If not things would be too orderly and routine.

It is our mistakes our flaws that give us strength to try harder.  If we were perfect  we would be lethargic – we wouldn’t feel the need to work.  Imperfection is what builds our character.

We are humans – we are born with flaws and each of us has our own strange mannerisms and behaviours.  That is what makes us stand out from the crowd.  That is the beauty in us.  So, let us celebrate our imperfections.  Let us seek to be imperfectly perfect.

Here is Alex Lambert singing ‘Imperfectly Perfect”:

My favourite poems

May 22, 2011 3 comments

These are 20 of my favourite poets and their poems (I’ve attached a link to my favourites).   Which are  your favourite poems?

1)Robert Frost – The Road Not Taken :
2)Walt Whitman – O Captain! My Captain!:
3)Robert  Browning – The Patriot:
4)William Shakespeare – All the World’s a stage:
5)John Milton – On his blindness:
6)William Wordsworth – Daffodils :
7)Thomas Hardy – A Kings Soliloquy:
8)D.H. Lawrence – On That Day:
9)W.B.Yeats – When you are Old and gray:
10)T.S. Eliot – The Hollow Men :
11)Rabindranath Tagore – Where the mind is without fear:
12)Percy Shelley – Time :
13)John Keats – When I have fears:
14)Ralph Waldo Emerson – Ode to Beauty:
15)Emily Bronte – Love and Friendship:
16)Elizabeth Browning – How do I love thee?:
17)Lewis Carroll – Solitude:
18)Rudyard Kipling – If:
19)Christina Rossetti – When I am dead , my dearest:
20)John Donne – Death be not proud:

Categories: Poetry Tags: ,

True beauty

May 21, 2011 22 comments

A pure mind
Discerning and dissecting
Living in a world of forms and shapes
Still revels in the true essence
Beauty in truth

When beyond mere looks
Your presence enlivens
Brings meaning to my life
A feeling  unexplained
Beauty in love

A child at play
Looking, touching, querying
In wonder
Beauty in innocence

The artist looks at his canvas
And it becomes his world
Everything else turns to nought
A flourish of colours and strokes
Lost in creation
Beauty in work

This universe infinite
Defying all imagination
All we can do is surrender
In awe, In admiration
Praying for inspiration
Beauty in devotion

© copyright skm, 21st May, 2011

Categories: Poetry Tags: , , , , ,

A Desaru weekend – Of palm trees, fruit farms and fireflies

May 17, 2011 31 comments

Looking for a short break during the Vesak day long weekend we decided to go to Desaru.  We were contemplating whether we should take the road or take a ferry from Changi jetty.  This being our  first trip to Desaru, we settled for the safer ferry trip from Changi ferry terminal.  Our ferry was supposed to leave at 10.30am.  However, bus 2 from Tanah Merah which we took for the first time took a long winding path and we reached late by 5 mins  at Changi Point ferry terminal which to add to our disappointment was not the correct ferry terminal.  We hurriedly took a taxi to Changi ferry terminal which is near the cargo complex but we were not allowed to board the ferry.  So we spent the morning at Changi beach and took the next ferry trip at 3.30pm.

The ferry ride which is owned by Indo Falcon was a very pleasant ride as we were the only passengers on the ferry.  It takes 30mins from Changi  ferry terminal to Tg. Belungkor.  After reaching Tg. Belungkor the shuttle bus from Pulai Desaru resort was waiting to pick us up at the terminal.  Along the road to the resort we saw the endless rows of palm trees on both sides of the road.  In another 20mins we were at the Pulai Desaru resort.  This resort in the heart of Desaru has one of the most beautiful stretch of 22km of uninterrupted beach in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

The Pulai Desaru resort is a very beautiful resort with rooms facing the garden and the pool.  It has a lot of amenities like indoor restaurants Palm Brasserie and Teppan Japanese restaurant, Lounge, table-tennis, kids play room, internet, pool tables, swimming pool etc.  The only drawback was there wasn’t a gymnasium.  However, Desaru is a very peaceful and laid back  place.

We didn’t go for too many activities, except for the fruit farm tour and the fireflies cruise.  The fruit farm tour was an eye-opener.  At 10mins by land transfer from the resort the 90 acre tropical fruit farm is a showcase of fruits from Asia. Our guide gave us a very nice account of the various fruits like passion fruit, dragon fruit, bread fruit, guava, durian, jackfruit, jambu, mangosteen, mango etc.  We also visited the mini-zoo within the farm.  We also got a talk on the preparation of honey, its importance and how to check the quality of  honey that we buy at markets.

We also took a long walk on the beach.  The beach is very clean and there are lot of tables for sitting and enjoying the view.  There are also many hammocks and we saw many people relax in the shade.

At 8pm we took a fireflies cruise.   The fireflies are a dying breed with urbanization and destruction of our natural flora and fauna.  A wetland reserve of Desaru’s berembang trees is home to millions of fireflies that light up the lebam river. At the cruise terminal there are a lot of seafood stalls.  We were given life-jackets to wear on the cruise.  This river cruise on a moonlit night went through  a dense jungle route and we could see a lot of fireflies glowing in the night.  This cruise was very unique and memorable.

We enjoyed relaxing in the room, taking a swim in the swimming pool and playing table-tennis when we were free.

All in all, it was a truly relaxing getaway!

English language – fun with homophones

May 12, 2011 8 comments

The English language has many homophones (similar sounding words) that have different meaning altogether. It is easy to be confused with such words and one has to be careful to understand their right usage. Here are some examples:

Accept & Except:
Accept: to agree to receive or do
Except: not including

Advice & Advise:
Advice: recommendations about what to do
Advise: to recommend something

Assent & Ascent:
Assent: agreement, approval
Ascent: the action of rising or climbing up

Bare & Bear:
Bare: naked; to uncover
Bear: to carry; to put up with

Complement & Compliment:
Complement: to add to so as to improve; an addition that improves something
Compliment: to praise or express approval; an admiring remark

Council & Counsel:
Council: a group of people who manage or advise
Counsel: advice; to advise

Principal & Principle:
Principal: most important; the head of a school
Principle: a fundamental rule or belief

Cereal & Serial:
Cereal: a grass producing an edible grain; a breakfast food made from grains
Serial: happening in a series

Practice & Practise:
Practice: the use of an idea or method; the work or business of a doctor, dentist, etc.
Practise: to do something repeatedly to gain skill; to do something regularly

Storey & Story:
Storey: a level of a building
Story: a tale or account

Here is a link to other examples of commonly confused words from Oxford dictionary:

And here is another great website by Jim Wegryn with a collection of over 2500 english words and phrases in humorous context:

And finally here is another video of funny English jokes and commercials:

Categories: General Tags: , ,

Laburnums and daisies

May 7, 2011 9 comments

Laburnums in full bloom on the neighbourhood trees

and a bouquet of daisies –

Categories: General Tags: ,

Credit card pitfalls

May 6, 2011 6 comments

Ever since the plastic card replaced cash, banks are continuously calling customers to entice them with offers.  This has caused many people to fall into the debt trap and to overspend.  Banks will easily give you a huge credit limit. And it is a prestige symbol for youth who have just started working to flash their card at restaurants, shopping malls, and everywhere they go.

Loren Baxter gives a humorous account on how to prevent yourself from overspending on your credit cards :

And here is a hilarious video on credit card pitfalls:


Its our 10th marriage anniversary and here is a poem in celebration:

Ten years have gone by
Since fate united us
And we have come a long way
Sharing our hopes, fears, trials and successes

Let us cherish our sweet memories
Our little joys and quibbles
Our moments of togetherness
and the space we give each other

A little pearl came into our lives
Bringing us even more smiles
She plays a big role in uniting us
And is the spark in our celebration

Let us help each other to achieve
Our best in what we do
Be the shoulder to fall upon
Whenever the tide rocks our boat

I thank you for you
For all the love we share
Let us be guiding beacons
for each other through life

©copyright, skm,  5th May, 2011

Categories: Poetry Tags: , , , , ,

What are some of your favourite humorous books?

May 2, 2011 4 comments

Here are some good humorous reads.  I have read some long ago and am trying to read them again. Do you have any more recommendations?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy created by Douglas Adams. Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio in 1978, it was later adapted to other formats, and over several years it gradually became an international multi-media phenomenon

A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel written by John Kennedy Toole, published by LSU Press in 1980, 11 years after the author’s suicide. Toole posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981.

Catch-22 is a satirical, historical novel by the American author Joseph Heller, first published in 1961. The novel, set during the later stages of World War II from 1944 onwards, is frequently cited as one of the great literary works of the twentieth century

Three Men in a Boat published in 1889, is a humorous account by Jerome K Jerome of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford. The three men are based on Jerome himself (the narrator) and two real-life friends, George Wingrave and Carl Hentschel , with whom he often took boating trips

Lucky Jim is an academic satire written by Kingsley Amis, first published in 1954.  It was Amis’s first published novel, and won the Somerset Maugham Award for fiction. Set sometime around 1950, Lucky Jim follows the exploits of the eponymous James (Jim) Dixon, a reluctant Medieval history lecturer at an unnamed provincial English University

The English Teacher is a 1945 novel written by R K Narayan. This novel, dedicated to Narayan’s wife Rajam is not only autobiographical but also poignant in its intensity of feeling. The story is a series of experiences in the life of Krishna, an English teacher, and his quest towards achieving inner peace and self-development.

Bridget Jones’s Diary is a 1996 novel by Helen Fielding. Written in the form of a personal diary, the novel chronicles a year in the life of Bridget Jones, a thirty-something single working woman living in London. She writes (often humorously) about her career, self-image, vices, family, friends, and romantic relationships.

The Inimitable Jeeves is a semi-novel collecting Jeeves stories by P. G. Wodehouse, first published in the UK by Herbert Jenkins, London on May 17, 1923

Naked, published in 1997, is a collection of essays by American humorist David Sedaris. The book details Sedaris’ life, from his unusual upbringing in the suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina, to his booze-and-drug-ridden college years, to his Kerouacian wandering as a young adult.

The BFG (short for “Big Friendly Giant”) is a children’s book written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake, first published in 1982. The book was an expansion of a story told in Danny, the Champion of the World, an earlier Dahl book. An animated film based on the book was released in 1989

Categories: Books Tags: , ,
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