Monday, April 25, 2005

The world's best airports

Just chanced upon this on rediff. Just look at the number of Asian Airports on this list: I am pretty proud of the fact that the number of Asian airports on this list is 5 (Dubai?? I consider it Middle East). I am also extremely proud of the fact that Singapore is No. 2. Indeed, there is so much to do in Changi including free phone calls and Internet. Unfortunately, I will never be stranded here.

Formula One

Alonso won again! But at least Schumi finished. His podium is like icing on the cake.Its getting exciting, and it will be, lest Alonso decides on winning all the races this season and the next, and then it would be all the same again. May be, Schumi will pull something out of his hat! As an employee of a french firm, I have smoothly changed my allegiance to le constructeur français. It makes good conversation. Also because I am sick of Red. Red (and gold) reminds me of Chinese New year, and Devdas, and Ferrari winning year after year. Not so happening.

Vinay has an indepth analysis of how the rule changes affect the F1 Scene - I would agree with most of it. F1 is about speed and technique, and not about stress testing of the car.

Though people would kill for the opportunity -- watching F1 live is not as exciting as watching it on TV. You can see only a part of the circuit, and with the affordable tickets - you cannot see the finish line either- there are no screens. The noise levels at first seems awesome, but by the 20th lap it kills. Laps are difficult to figure out, also who went for pit stop, who retired, who did what. When Schumi was leading, you could figure out by waiting for his car, but the rest - usually no idea =). Your race is restricted to the part that you can see-- more like spot the car competition. Not as cuticle-chew-worthy either. And also, you have to go early, and wait for hours -- if you really are worried about the race itself, stick to TV.

But having said that, watching F1 live is totally worth the experience, the cars on display are mindblowing. Walk through the pits is mindblowing. For the guys, an added incentive are the Malboro chicks, wearing oh-so-short skirts. The smokers hearts flutter even more. I got to see/hear the mostest-cutest Raikkonnen. The whole ambience is *mindblowing*, since you see/meet/hear fanatics from all over the world, and the town is painted RED. It feels like it is a religion. Isn't it?

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The argument continues....

Its interesting to see the war over bloggers. Thankfully, there is no argument about the need for blogging!

I had created this Id on blogger/blogspot eons ago... so I don't deny I am slightly prejudiced.R and S have been arguing so I sampled xanga. Y!360 was ruled out since I feel too many choices are not too good either. With all disclaimers, here goes the opinion on xanga:

Apart from the adivasi hoolalala name there are a lot of other things against Xanga. Shom says xanga is very "15 years old". I agree. With the smileys and eprops and those blinky blinky things all over, somehow it feels like another social networking place where there is no chance you will be hidden. For someone who secretly dreads being found out, xanga is not the place. You can't be serious either. What do I say? Today I am thinking deeply about the futility of life. *sad smiley*

I don't like the "linking system" of subscription either. I still don't know how you can do it on xanga, but I want to be able to blogroll other people with my own comments. I like editing the templates too. Its quicker. Comments [yes, round won by shom!] -- even LJ allows anonymous comments.

What I do like about xanga, is for one, the image uploading. its a lot easier there. And the fact that I can add what book I am reading and what music is playing. Its kinda fun, since it is a more generic indication of the mood, than the words I write. There is no way I can be serious on xanga, hence all things colorful come out. The background/template that I complained about so much, is not bad either. On blogger, every amar-akbar-anthony has the same serious dark background as me. I think like the foreigners clapping after a confusing "fusion" performance, we [Amar, akbar, anthony and me] try to look serious and intellectual here. Why the hell are we sitting and thinking about the futility of life!!

So, as of now, confused, and since I have too much of blogging to catch up on-- me and my alter-ego remain.

Friday, April 22, 2005



Le Petit Prince

I spend a day a week in book shops, and last weekend while hunting for a suitable gift, I chanced upon the priceless - The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Comme d'habitude, I flipped a few pages and tried to read as much before this gift could start looking recycled.

The last time I read this book, I would say I was still a child, and I didn't understand the irony in this children's book. I didn't understand the French either. The French are perfect at what they call irony [For us, we could call it subtle sarcasm. My boss disagrees. He says irony (ee-ro-nee) is different, and spends a bit of time trying to explain to my singaporean teammate the nuances of this form of humor.]
Anyways, coming back to Le petit prince: A few favourites from till wherever I read the book.

'Language is the source of misunderstandings.'

'What are you doing here,' he asked the drunkard...
'Drinking,' replied the drunkard, with a gloomy expression.
'Why are you drinking?' the little prince asked.
'To forget,' replied the drunkard.
'To forget what?' inquired the little prince, who was already feeling sorry for him.
'To forget that I'm ashamed,' confessed the drunkard, hanging his head.
'What are you ashamed of?' inquired the little prince, who wanted to help.
'Of drinking!' concluded the drunkard...

and the best:

Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: "What does his voice sound like?" "What games does he like best?" "Does he collect butterflies?". They ask: "How old is he?" "How many brothers does he have?" "How much does he weigh?" "How much money does his father make?" Only then do they think they know him.

If you tell grown-ups, "I saw a beautiful red brick house, with geraniums at the windows and doves on the roof...," they won't be able to imagine such a house. You have to tell them, "I saw a house worth a hundred thousand francs." Then they exclaim, "What a pretty house!"

Thursday, April 21, 2005

More Hidden Secrets behind 'The Da Vinci Code' -

Secrets behind 'The Da Vinci Code' - Dateline Specials -

These days, in bookshops, you find more copies of books elaborating on the Da Vinci Code than the book itself. The above article is worth a read only for the hype [read: controversy] that the work of fiction caused - shaking everything right up to the church (lest people seriously start believing the written word).

As discussed in the rather long article here, I also dont particularly agree with the interpretation of the famed "Last Supper". The M [or V for that matter] could be totally unintentional, or maybe to add a sense of symmetry to the painting. Maybe it stands for "Mo". hehe.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

On Crusades

Today I am happy since I beat Murphy to it. With the same eagerness with which i wait for Fridays, I somehow managed to tactfully and gracefully [no damsel in distress act] distribute my work to all others worthy of it, and received swift returns on the same. I will probably return early!

I also got my fill of crusading today.
I went to the doctor, and his assistants reminded me yesterday and today of my impending appointment at 1145 am. Stickler for time that I am, I left all the work aside [The buck was still with me then], I reached a good 20 minutes before the designated hour. And guess what, I wish I had gone late....I had to wait there for a good 45 minutes. The potpourri which i couldnt smell, some boring pamphlets were not helping the situation. Though the plan-your-wedding magazine on the table did evoke some bride-like feelings for me. Not the coy type, the samurai sword weilding Uma thurman brand. I swear I wanted to pull out one!. After having to wait a good 20 mins more after the doctor saw me, for some stupid blood test which cost me a fortune, I decided to give in to my very humble desire of putting my point across: Of why the doctor's time is precious, and mine not so much, and if they could remind me half an hour before the appointment lest the doc have to wait, why they don't inform me if the doc is busy, and I might have to wait. Having put the point across with all my cool [*pat on my back*] - I felt happier than ever, came back with renewed joy and enthu to pass the buck [ I wonder if it was the 8 ml blood slowing me down!]

Sunday, April 17, 2005

On Rajdeep Sardesai and on Journalism

Rajdeep Sardesai quit NDTV: The ubiquitous face of NDTV a few years back won't be around any more. Frankly, I dont know if i am affected by this, or if it matters to me to say the least. A few years back- it would have broken my heart. I remember, a few years (Actually, make that many years back!) when all we had for news was DD news readers reading out the day's happenings in an impersonal and distant way -Prannoy Roy did the impossible. He gave me an obsession for current affairs. The people on the discussion forum went through their share of emotions on camera, commenting the current affairs as if it bothered them, and they were affected by it as much as any of us. From nowhere Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai and Vikram Chandra were public figures, [my IDOLS - puns intended!] - And why wouldn't it be so: in a world of celebrities who were all about appearance - these few seemed to have some content.

Well I have lost touch over time. Last I went to India, to catch up with friends and Family in India, I decided to catch up on my annual share of TV. As expected, the story of the soaps hadn't moved in 14 months. Some characters had changed, some remained, some new people were playing old characters. Jassi was still the ugly duckling nurturing her love for Armaan Sir. [ I was like, get a life girl!]. Music channels: the movie songs were ok, the music video's didn't seem too much "For-the whole-family's-viewing-pleasure"! I switched to News. And, was I disappointed.

News and the presentation has changed in India over the years. News channels have doubled. From what i saw, There was/is too much sensationalism. With the scroll *BREAKING NEWS* below the screen - some headline was being presented [Frankly, I dont think it was important enough]. Reporters were running every where - covering every little itsy bitsy detail from Kareena Kapoor getting a shoe bite to the situation between Israel and Palestine in the same breath. I was confused. I still am! The fine line between the reality and entertainment seems to have vanished. We have so called "sting journalism" trying to catch the reality of entertainment. Its not only TV, its the news papers too. Times of India (online) seems to have become a tabloid [reporting "Camilla wears the same dress thrice"] - feeding on reel-life people's real life details. And all seem to be very unapologetic about it. To get back to the point: As I channel surfed, I ws shocked at the situation to say the least [May be I wasnt watching TV at the right time?] As I looked for familiar IDOLS on Tv I wondered if this is what India wants, Indians want?

So Mr. Sardesai, is starting another channel. I wonder if everyone is waiting with bated breath on what he comes out with.
(Comments are welcome!)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

True Singapore Sling

Another piece of Tropical Vocabulary- and a special dedication for a Gin Soaked Gentleman:
The recipe for the Singapore Sling:

  • 1 1/2 ounce gin
  • 1/2 ounce Cherry Herring brandy
  • 1/4 ounce Cointreau
  • 1/4 ounce Benedictine
  • 4 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1/3 ounce grenadine
  • dash bitters
Shake with ice. Strain into an ice filled collins glass. Garnish with cherry and slice of pineapple.

Its kinda sweet- in fact a treat for the sweet tooth, but worth every sip. A must try, especially because it derives its sweet name from the the island!

The Singapore Sling was originally created by Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon for the Raffles Hotel in Singapore[In singapore, anything called Raffles is Premium], somewhere in the early part of 20th century. Most websites and recipe places say that there of disagreement as to how closely the current version of this drink that is served at Raffles is to what was originally served. The original recipe was supposedly lost and forgotten and the drink that they currently serve at the hotel's Long Bar is based on memories of former bartenders.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Singapore Sling

Do you remember the Class 2 puzzle which used to go - what word is a mile from beginning to end? and the answer was "Smiles". Well, in similar vein, though not as literal, certain words are short but have expression in fact an entire idea within them. One such word is: *drum roll*
KIASU (kee-ah-soo)
Hokkien adjective literally meaning, "afraid of losing". A highly pejorative description beloved of Singaporeans. Possibly the defining national characteristic. The nearest English equivalent is "dog in a manger", though even that is pretty mild.

A simple example would be queueing up all night for some "limited offer" stuff. Or, to grab freebies by the dozen, eat enough of the "free food" sample so you don't need dinner, polish off office stationary as if markers are going out of style. And of course, not to buy things which are not on sale. I wouldnt think its not something new - all cultures have our share of kiasu-dom to various degrees, but I guess are not shameless enough to admit it and more so, find a word for it.

I have heard both kiasu-dom and kiasu-ism. I guess because we are kiasu enough not to let go of either of the suffixes.

Here is the A-Z of kiasu-dom/ism:

Always must win Never mind what they think
Borrow but never return Outdo everyone you know
Cheap is good Pay only when necessary
Don't trust anyone Quit while you are ahead
Everything also must grab! Rushing and pushing wins the race
Free! Free! Free! Sample are always welcome
Grab first talk later Take but don't give
Help yourself to everything Unless it's free forget it
I first, I want, I everything Vow to be number one
Jump queue Winner takes it ALL! ALL! ALL!
Keep coming back for more Yell if necessary to get what you want
Look for discount Zebras are kiasu because they want to
Must not lose face be both black and white at the same time

Thursday, April 07, 2005


The deal is this: I couldn't sleep at night. Kept thinking about a lot of things- more than necessary. So, I am little blur today. [In singlish Blur: Used to describe someone as rather inept or in a world of his own. May also be used to describe the feeling of being dazed] 11:30 am- Have finished all the required work in the same feeling of daze. Last night, I flitted from subject to subject: some technical, most reeking the overrated nostalgia. And then I wondered, if my ever nostalgic self would like to go back to the place where I started.

To make matters worse, this old batchmate from school buzzed me on Orkut saying “Hi! I know you remember me! You look very different in your picture!” I must have spoken to him not more than 10 times through school, and here he was. I had to try hard to remember him- [Needless to say, he looked very different in his picture too!]. I am not sure whether I am happy about getting this fragile[-as-an ego] link back. I had top secret identity in School – I was geeky/ gawky (CIA) agent, now I try to dissociate myself from. It doesn’t look like my friend lived a vagabond existence like I did and hence, he is still in touch with a lot of people from school. I am sure through him, I am sure I will get back many other links which I am not sure I would want any more. In fact, I am quite sure I don’t want them any more. Love, hate, indifference – all was good while it lasted – now it seems too complicated for forging a new friendship, and too difficult to avoid this one! Lets see!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

More like "JumpStarted"

2 hours since the previous blog. I am solpa jobless. Though still a little apprehensive about how long this enthu will continue, I am still non-philosophical and extremely extremely excited. So I have already finished "enabling" comments, edited the the previous blog three times, updated my profile once, run out of ideas once, given up twice, reopened it - and now I am at the second blog. Will wait for more events to happen before I get back to this.


Shomo specifically said:
"Write, write.... don't miss out on these moments, and today's memories...."

Well today I make an attempt- not to miss documenting today's memories, but to document the memories of the days i miss.

The first post on this blog was a few years ago. I still am unclear why I never had any desire to write. Off and on, reading other's opinions and musings out in the open made me wonder if I was brave enough to put my life and more so, my precious thoughts under public scrutiny. But then again, I am no British Royalty to merit such attention. For all practical purposes the only people reading it will be people I know, I love, I care for, I have, I want, I resent. How can I express an opinion or a thought in an isolated (and more so, in a politically correct) context? Frankly, I shiver at the thought of people reading this and knowing me better than they need to. It felt diificult then and now, I (re)start with a little bit of apprehension.

As of today, in a relignment of priorities and thoughts, I have stopped looking for the purpose here, I am doing it for the heck of it. Makes my task easier.