Like Icarus, who flew higher and higher towards the dazzling sun in his exuberance, the warmth will one day melt the wax which held him together, and onwards he tumbled deeper and deeper into the maelstrom, uncertain of how far he would fall before he hit the ground.

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I'm really getting very annoyed living with people who think it's okay to move/shift/throw my things without asking me.  Really can't wait to get a place of my own where no one controls what goes where other than me.
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El Juan

Why I will not buy an iPhone

The other day, I was sleeping when my dad burst into my room asking me to help him.  Apparently, he had slipped and fallen into the fishpond.  His iPhone was in his pocket and while it was completely dead, it had short-circuited so the flash was on and it was starting to heat up.

Now if this was any other phone, I could easy pull off the cover, remove the battery, and stabilise the situation.  But iPhones, as you know, don't allow you to access the battery at all.  So what I had in my hand was effectively a lit brick which was getting hotter and hotter.

Now if you need emergency help with your phone, who should you call?  Apple right?  So I called the Apple helpline and told the guy the problem, emphasising that the iPhone was getting hot and asking what I should do.

The first thing the Apple guy did: ask me for my details, like the phone number, phone serial number, the exact outlet I purchased it from, etc etc.

I was like... dude, the phone is heating up.  It's starting to get almost too hot to touch, and you're asking me the phone serial number???  The best part was when I flipped it over to see if the serial number was imprinted on the back, the CSO told me that to get the serial number, I could press the home button and... it was at this point that I told him again: the phone is dead.  Luckily my dad kept the box so I could read the serial number off the sticker.  All this while, the phone is getting hotter and hotter and the flash is starting to flicker.

After that, the Apple CSO tells me that the phone is still under warranty but the phone call-in service has expired, and also since it was accidental immersion, the warranty doesn't cover, so I will need to bring the phone back to SingTel.

Then he pauses.  Then I pause.  Then I say: "THAT'S IT???"

He says yes that's all, to which I remind him that dude, the phone is overheating, how do I switch it off?  I was so exasperated that I just blurt out, "If this was a Nokia, I could just remove the battery but I can't remove the battery in an iPhone...."  (I almost said "thermal runaway".)  Then he finally grasps the urgency of the situation, and then tells me to put it "in a safe place so that it will not catch fire" (I'm like, the phone itself is the heat source, so where can I put it that it won't spontaneously combust?) and he calls his tech support guy to talk to me.

The tech support guy comes on the phone after about 2 minutes and asks me to press this and press that and to hard reset, but everything he tells me to do has no effect.  He then says, "The iPhone comes with a safety feature that automatically shuts down the phone when it gets too hot... but in this case, since it was dropped in water, the battery is grounded, that's why the flash is on."  (To which I wanted to say, "So that means your safety feature is not working what.")  And then he tells me: since the phone is not responding, I will have to bring it down to Comcentre to shut it down.

I'm like... the phone could be melting in my hand and the only place I can bring it to is Comcentre???  And he says yes, nowhere else nearer can help me.  So my dad and I jump into the car and head down to Comcentre, with the aircon blowing at full blast at the phone to mitigate the heat.

Guess what: before we even got there, the flash went off.  The battery must've run out. -_-

The overall chain of events left me with an even worse impression of the iPhone.  It's good—when it works.  But when it screws up, its strict insistence of not allowing third-party interference is actually now counter-productive (I can't think of any other reason why they designed the phone such that the battery couldn't be accessed).  There was really no way to isolate the battery and prevent it from potentially melting the phone.  (In some way, it reminds me of the PAP, but that's another story for another day.)

What I found more disappointing was that in spite of this design flaw, when I called Apple, they were more concerned with certifying the warranty-state of the phone and making sure that we were within the allowance for phone assistance rather than attending to an immediate time-critical problem (caused by their own design, I might add).  I really wonder what I could have done had the phone start to emit smoke or melt that day.  Thank God it didn't and I hope I will never know, because there's no way I'm buying an iPhone now.

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I must stop neglecting my LJ

In Auckland now.  It was really fun meeting up with Jaq again, after so many years. I hope I managed to sufficiently entertain her and her bf (and that I didn't terrify him too much, haha!)

Body clock is totally whacked now.  When I came here I was still on DEL time, now I seem to have acclimatised to AKL time.  Strange, since we're supposed to have more difficulty changing from West to East.  Oh well, we'll see what happens when I get back to SIN....

Supposed to have blogged about my CCTS, my first nightstop, and more importantly, the new gf. ;)  But been just so busy lately!  So looks like FB will have to fill in the blanks (and even that, I'm behind).  Totally enjoying the nightstopping life so far.  MEL, SYD, PEK, DEL, now AKL.  Where will I go next?  Hmmmm....

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My Resolution for 2011

Although I am not in the habit of resolutions, I have decided: my resolution for 2011 will be to write in my LJ more.  Less Facebooking, less tweeting, more LJing.

It's time to rejoice in the written word and not let it be shackled to 140 characters.
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El Juan

A New Low, ST

I've been meaning to write about this for some time but keep procrastinating.

I have always regarded journalism as one of the noble professions, especially because their purpose is to educate and enlighten people about what is happening in the world around them, to spread the truth and ignite ideas.

So I found it rather repulsive the way the following ST article was morphed into the next one.

Dec 20, 2010
Saved by guest not lifeguard
By Hannah Koh

A GIRL who almost drowned on Sunday afternoon in Marina Bay Sands' infinity pool was saved, not by a lifeguard but by a hotel guest, who performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

The incident was reported by STOMPer Eric on Singapore's leading citizen journalism portal STOMP. The contributor also posted photos of the scene online.

The drowning girl, who wore a pink bathing suit and looked to be no more than ten years of age, was successfully pulled out from the pool.

But 'the lifeguard on duty didn't seem to be able to perform CPR', wrote Eric which shocked by-standers.

However, in an email reply to straitstimes.com, a Marina Bay Sands' spokesperson said, 'in a near-drowning incident, the first step is to ascertain if the airway is clear and in this case, the child was placed in a position to minimise any possible airway blockage. The lifeguard will determine if there is a pulse as CPR is only performed if there's no breathing or pulse.

'At the time, one of our hotel guests identified himself as a doctor immediately and came forward to administer CPR. We thank him for his proactive assistance.'

The spokesperson also said that all Marina Bay Sands lifeguards have received Lifeguarding Certificates and CPR Certificates.

'We strongly encourage all guests to take the necessary precautions if they are not strong swimmers or if they are swimming with children or people with any pre-existing health conditions,' said the spokesperson.


Dec 21, 2010
MBS denies claim
By Kimberly Spykerman

Marina Bay Sands' response
When contacted, the Marina Bay Sands insisted that all its lifeguards are trained and certified to perform CPR. There are always between three and five lifeguards on duty when the pool is in operation, it said.

'It is regrettable that the incident occurred and we hope that the child is recovering well... Safety is our No. 1 priority,' said a spokesman.

A girl who almost drowned in Marina Bay Sands' infinity pool was saved by a hotel guest, who performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) -- PHOTO: STOMP

A NETIZEN has alleged that a lifeguard at the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort was not able to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a little girl after she was pulled out of the infinity pool on Sunday evening.

In a post on citizen journalism site Stomp on Monday, 'Eric' posted a picture of a girl clad in a pink swimsuit lying on her side, with a lifeguard beside her.

He said he had been at the SkyPark, near the pool, when the girl encountered difficulty in the water and the lifeguard came to her aid.

The netizen said that one of the hotel guests - a doctor - came forward and performed CPR on the girl.

'Although the girl was successfully pulled out of water, the lifeguard on duty didn't seem to be able to perform CPR,' he wrote.

Officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) arrived at the scene around 6pm.

Read the full story in Tuesday's edition of The Straits Times.
If you read carefully, you will notice that the first article was changed into the second one after one day.  Notice in particular that the lines I highlighted in bold were removed.

It may not seem like a big deal to you, but I found this utterly reprehensible because instead of spreading the truth and clearing the air, here you have ST deliberately perpetuating a piece of misinformation.

It all started once again because of that website of collective national idiocy, STOMP.  Somebody saw the girl being pulled out of the pool and decided of his own accord that the lifeguard didn't seem to be able to perform CPR.  Note that when ST decided that this deserved a broadsheet airing on Dec 20, they had already contacted MBS who issued an official response clarifying that as the lifeguard was about to perform CPR, a hotel guest who was a doctor came forward and he administered CPR instead.

This is perfectly logical: would you rather a doctor or a lifeguard attend to a drowning victim?  And this ties into what that Eric fellow saw—that it was a guest who performed the CPR—and having had to perform CPR for a no duff case before, I can tell you that save for medical professionals, there are always a few moments where the reality that you are called upon to help save someone's life sinks in before you get down to doing it.  Perhaps what happened to the MBS lifeguard was the same thing?

In any case, if you read the second article, the tone changes, asserting that the lifeguard didn't seem to know what to do, was "not able to perform CPR", and the girl "was saved by a hotel guest, who performed CPR".  MBS's response was shortened to an insistence "that all its lifeguards are trained and certified to perform CPR", which sounds more like an excuse and an attempt to save face.

Which of the 2 articles do you think gives the more complete picture?  Don't you think that the tone of the second article sounds more like shit-stirring once you have read the first one?

Perhaps the full story was hidden beneath the subscription service link, but is this really the way to go?  To seemingly tell one story if you don't pay and another if you do?

Coming on the heels of the low-down entrapment of the Beach Road aunty by the 2 TNP reporters, even the biased election reporting during GEs is not as despicable as this piece of shoddy reporting.

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El Juan

Who's really to blame for the Ulu Pandan Bear

I know this is an old topic but I thought I'd just say something about the whole ruckus surrounding Philips's Ulu Pandan Bear.  The police say they are investigating them for causing a public nuisance, and the Straits Times went so far in another article as to criticise them for wasting "time and energy"1 of the police and Wildlife Reserves Singapore, by uploading fake footage of a bear to STOMP.

I have written about how imbecilic STOMP is many times, and one of the main problems with it is that what they call "citizen journalism" apparently allows anyone to write anything about anything—which is hardly my definition of the term 'journalism'.  But what undoubtedly made something already stupid become downright inane was when the main broadsheet itself started to pick out sensational postings to STOMP and featured them in the broadsheet itself as 'news'.  This is still forgiveable provided that someone from the broadsheet actually bothered to check and verify the STOMP posting before publishing it (a.k.a. journalistic integrity), but obviously that never happened, the Straits Times published the 'bear sighting' as news, and that set everyone from WRS to the Police to Ulu Pandan residents agog.  I don't know whether it was due to naivete that since there was a video it had to be real, or people were just too lazy to verify their sources, but somehow the lines between 'citizen journalism' and 'journalist journalism' got blurred.  And so cheshirefeline pointed out—and it really is blitheringly obvious, I might add—that the ones chiefly responsible for "causing alarm" are actually the Straits Times reporters themselves.  After all, the irony of it is that nobody else really trusts what people post on STOMP prima facie, but far too many Singaporeans accept what the newspapers say as truth.

To put it bluntly, the Straits Times got punked, courtesy of Philips Singapore.

The problem with a state-controlled press brought up on self-censorship against criticism of the state is that it can then use the same principles to self-censor any criticism against itself.  So unfortunately we'll never see any postings on STOMP or any letters published in the ST Forum explicitly criticising the Straits Times for this, or even drawing the connection.  This has been one of the best examples of why STOMP is actually detrimental to this country, but no one will point it out in the mainstream media.  There will be no red-faced ST journalists, being all too happy to have Philips being made the scapegoat instead.  And so while Philips, being the one who sparked off the entire mess, has all the fingers pointing at it, no one will ever point any fingers at the one who really led to the unnecessary alarm and waste of time and resources; causa latet, vis est notissima.

Oct 13, 2010
Bear on the prowl?
By Bryan Huang

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Oct 14, 2010
Philips sorry for ad stunt
By Victoria Vaughan

TIME and energy were wasted on Wednesday, all in the name of a new media marketing campaign for a shaver.

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I've always found the actual day of your birthday itself very surreal, especially when you have no significant other at the moment to spend it with.  Before I go on, let me explain that I'm not saying that life sucks when you're single; I'm merely making the observation that when you're with someone, that someone is more or less obligated to make you feel as though the world, just for one day, revolves around you.  This usually takes the form of elaborate plans and surprises, or a getaway or staycation, or something like that.

However, since no one comes into the world with a partner as a default, by default then birthdays are surreal affairs.  You see, compared to other celebratory events such as Christmas or New Year's or even Halloween or ZoukOut, when the day of your birthday rolls around, you more or less commemorate it alone.  Even if you spend the entire day surrounded by friends, unless one of them shares the same birth date as you, the feeling of mutual celebration isn't quite there, unlike, say, New Year's, when the year rolls around for everyone equally.

So as a consequence, every year, the hype has always led up to my birthday itself, but when the actual day rolls around, it's always spent rather understated and anti-climactic, spent mostly just like every other day, except that once in a while I stare at my watch or my computer calendar, to see the date which appears only once a year and which means no more than any other day to everyone else: 10 Oct.

Even this year, which is supposed to be some sort of jubilee or once-in-a-lifetime date, the magical 10.10.10, I remember building up the hype for this birthday as long ago as 2 years back, and then when it arrived, it came and now has almost went like a whimper.  Even the days coming up to it, I had a big party on Friday night at Timbré, then last night I went to Paulaner for Oktoberfest and the magical date arrived amidst copious amounts of Oktoberfest bier and Ein Prosit-ing.  And what did I do today?  I slept till the afternoon, then spent time in front of the computer replying to all the birthday greetings, went to church, went for dinner with my parents, and then updated my logbook and I'm going to do laundry later.  Most of the day was spent planning what I'm going to do on 11.10, 12.10, 15.10, and 16.10.  Somehow, it seemed as though the magic of the 10.10.10 evaporated the moment it actually arrived.

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