Wednesday, October 22, 2008

After 7 years of blogging on and off, I've succumbed to micro-blogging.

I'm going to be honest with you, I prefer immediate responses and more interactivity. Micro-blogging gives me that. Which is what I want. And, best of all, no spammers.

If you want to jump ship or also micro-blog in addition to blogging, I recommend Plurk.

You can follow me here. Occasional political talk, rants, but mostly - me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Usain Bolt: 37.15 Km/h, A Cheetah: 90km/h

Picture: Usain Bolt

That is how amazing this man is! Michael Phelps might be the water God, but Bolt is the God of the track.

"I am Lightning Bolt. I am not Flash Gordon or anybody. My name is Lightning Bolt"

Bolt's comment on Phelps : "I will not compare myself to Michael Phelps. He swims. He is a great athlete to win eight gold medals. That is just great. I am on the track. He is in the water. So you really can not compare it pretty much. But he is a great athlete. And I congratulate him on being the best at what he does."

Watching him and the other athletes in the 200m, it seemed like the rest were jogging! He was miles ahead of them - in athletics term. He is indeed in his own class.

I am Blot, Lightning Bolt. Watch me win.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Today's Olympic Silver will go down in Singapore's record books

The elusive Olympic medal is now ours. After 48 years, Singapore finally earns a spot in the "medal tally". For the first time, I watched the Singapore flag being raised, albeit not Gold medal, but Silver is still very good. My hats off to them! For Olympians, sports is their life. Tremendous effort and training is put in to obtain any Olympic medal. Most have dreamed of the moment when they take their place on the podium since young. To realise it, is a dream come true.

The odds were stacked against them but they put up a brave fight against the world number one, China. Even the Singapore coach said that we had no chance against China. The Singapore team hasn't even done a thorough study of the China team, as they were not expecting to get this far earlier.

Singapore's team lost, but they were good losers, they fought for every point and we didn't make it easy peasy for China to trash us. Singapore's table tennis team should lift their heads up high for what they have achieved.

I have to admit its getting quite frustrating watching China dominating some events. After the Gold-medal playoffs between Singapore and China, I switched to another channel to watch badminton - also playing for the Gold medal, badminton singles title - Malaysia and China. The China player, Lin Dan, seeded world number one, beat the Malaysian, Lee Chong Wei, seeded world number two. Both fought really hard, but in the end, China was just miles ahead, just as in table tennis - and took the gold.

As for Michael Phelps's 8th gold medal today, I just don't know how he does it! He could well be his own country!

-- Starwish

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pizza, Eggs and Mayo: A Look at Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps' 12,000-Calorie Diet

Picture: Wow, look at that body!

Michael Phelps, 23 year-old Olympic gold medalist that has broken records with 11 medals, tells the media of his secret to staying fit and trim. His 12,000 calorie, high carb diet and his five hours a day, six days a week training schedule.

In the day and age where there are a ton of fad diets, many of which include a low-carb intake, it would be considered amazing by some to see what Michael Phelps, the swimmer that has won a record breaking, 11 gold medals for swimming at the Summer Olympics, eats on a daily basis.

The 23 year-old Phelps starts his morning off, at 5am, with a little snack before breakfast which includes three fried-egg sandwiches with cheese, fried onions, lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise.

His body then primed, he drinks a couple cups of coffee and starts on breakfast which consists of a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, some coarsely ground corn, three slices of French toast with powdered sugar on top and three chocolate chip pancakes.

By lunch his appetite is in high gear so he treats himself to a pound of pasta, two ham and cheese sandwiches on white bread with mayonnaise and 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.

Time to prepare the body for the next day's training session by loading up on some more carbs, so Phelps treats himself to another whole pound of pasta followed by an entire pizza (no size of pizza given) and he helps wash that down with another 1,000 calories of high energy drinks.

Phelps says, "Eat, sleep and swim, that's all I can do."

Using a calorie counter, which calculates daily calorie needs for his size and weight, which is 6'4 and 195 pounds and works out 5 times a week, it shows that for a average 23 year-old male of his size, the daily calorie needs are said to be 2900 Calories/day

-- Digital Journal

Singapore Guaranteed of an Olympic Silver or Gold medal!!

Singapore's table tennis team has done us proud!

Singapore’s women table tennis team have made it to the FINALS in the Beijing Olympics. Where they would probably have to meet China.

This means Singapore is on track in its quest for an Olympic medal after 48 years.

I started watching from the beginning of the match and it was nail biting as both sides (Singapore and South Korea) were equally good. Yes, I cried when Singapore scored the winning point. I was just overwhelmed with emotions. It meant THAT much for us, Singaporeans. Way to go, Singapore's women table tennis team and coach!

One thing for certain is, their faces will be splashed on the front pages of all Singapore newspapers tomorrow. The heroine of the match was definitely Tian Wei Feng. Her resilience paid off big time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

German Olympic stars bare all for Playboy

Picture: Hockey player Katharina Scholz

The Germany women's hockey team's Olympic campaign is in danger of being overshadowed after one of their players starred on the front of today's Playboy magazine.

Katharina Scholz joined three of her Olympic colleagues to bare all for the German edition of the adults' magazine.

And, after her team's 4-2 victory over the US today, she admitted: 'I think now I have to play hockey and later talk about things like that. I think it a good opportunity but now it's not important for me for now.

The most important thing for me is playing hockey. And because I am playing hockey, I got the opportunity to go on Playboy. Otherwise I wouldn't. I have no plans on a career in modelling.'

American Olympic swimming champion Amanda Beard posed naked in Playboy last year, and in Beijing stripped for a campaign to end the fur trade, while British athletes have been photographed naked to advertise a sports drink.

'For me it was a good opportunity, and maybe when I look back after a few years I will be proud of it. Not everybody can go on the cover of Playboy,' the 25-year-old striker said.

'I did it because I am confident of my body and myself.'

Germany's September Playboy will have four different covers for the first time when it is published on Thursday, each dedicated to one of the athletes.

Sailor Petra Niemann, canoeist Nicole Reinhardt and judoka Romy Tarangul are the other German Olympians who will feature.

'It wasn't a group decision, we haven't seen each other. The shooting was separate. Everyone decided it for themselves,' she said without giving details about the picture that will appear.

--The Metro

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

China and its quest to achieve the picture perfect image

Beyond the beautiful young lady dressed in a blue-coloured-cheongsam-type costume, it’s a wholly different picture.

You would have probably heard by now the “faked” fireworks and the young girl who sang their National Anthem who was replaced by another because she was not pretty enough.

The reasons given for the faked fireworks? According to an official, "It would have been prohibitive to have tried to film it live,”,“ We could not put the helicopter pilot at risk by making him try to follow the firework route."

This begs the question, why then couldn’t they present to us as it is? Was there really a need to go overboard? Of course there was, people around the world need to see a perfect image of China. The China that has moved on to achieve great things since the disastrous Cultural Revolution period.

I’m not questioning China’s economic power, but their human rights issues is appalling. Blatant discrimination against a child who was deemed not pretty enough to be on television. What kind of moral ethics are the children being exposed to since young? They are potentially destroying a child’s pride in order to project the “perfect” China.

In addition to that, China also erected walls and screens to cover up the slums, homes to some Beijing natives. Why was that action taken? According to the authorities those areas were, yes you guessed it - “not beautiful”.

Do you know that the Chinese government even restricts its citizens up to what questions they can ask foreign visitors? They are as follows:

• don't ask about income or expenses
• don't ask about age
• don't ask about love life or marriage
• don't ask about health
• don't ask about someone's home or address
• don't ask about personal experience
• don't ask about religious beliefs or political views
• don't ask what someone does

This is ridiculous. Now even the people you meet in Beijing are “fake” as in, not their usual selves. Its one thing for the Chinese government getting its way by faking, but to the extent of even restricting its citizens like this?

Now, this issue just takes the cake. According to Digital Journal, Chinese police pressured some of their nation’s minorities to pack their bags and leave the city quickly before the Olympics officially begin. The minorities refer to Uyghurs, Tibetans and Mongolians. They join ethnic minorities, migrant workers, petitioners and social activists in a city wide crack down that has spread in recent months. Some are being expelled by force by Chinese police.

Aren’t they part of what makes Beijing, Beijing? This somehow reminds me of Hitler expelling all “non-Aryans” during his Nazi rule.

I would hate to visit or even be in Beijing during this period of time. Why settle for anything less than the real thing (Beijing)? - as Coca-Cola would say it.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bush mixes sports and politics at Olympics

President Bush pressed his Olympic hosts Sunday to permit greater political and religious freedom, warning Chinese leaders they can expect to hear similar blunt talk from his successor.

In an Olympic medley of sports and politics, Bush also cheered from the stands as U.S. athletes launched their hunt for gold, while behind the scenes he and aides appealed to Russia to halt what the White House called ''dangerous and disproportionate'' attacks on Georgia, a staunch U.S. ally.

The president worshipped at a Beijing church and declared China has nothing to fear from expressions of faith. Later, he met with Chinese leaders and again voiced concern about the jailing of dissidents and religious activists, aides reported.

''As you know, I feel very strongly about religion,'' he told President Hu Jintao in a meeting at the Zhongnanhai government compound while reporters were present.

After they were ushered out, Bush told Hu that human rights concerns are a key part of the U.S.-China dialog, and ''the Chinese can expect that any future American president will also make it an important aspect,'' said adviser Douglas Wilder, who accompanied Bush. But Bush did not raise specific cases of dissidents.

At the same time, Bush praised his hosts for their swift response to a stabbing attack that killed the father of a 2004 U.S. Olympian. ''Your government has been very attentive, very sympathetic, and I appreciate that a lot,'' Bush said.

Todd Bachman, the father of Olympic volleyball player Elisabeth ''Wiz'' Bachman, was killed Saturday and his wife Barbara was gravely injured as they toured Beijing's 13th-century Drum Tower. The Bachmans of Lakeville, Minn., are in-laws of U.S. men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon.

The assailant, identified as Tang Yongming, 47, jumped to his death. The motive for the attack, which also left a tour guide wounded, remained unclear, though officials doubt Tang knew the Bachmans.

Bush also discussed with Hu efforts to verify North Korea's scrapping of its nuclear program. Bush has pledged to remove North Korea from the U.S. terrorism blacklist if a verification accord can be reached; Monday was the earliest that could take place. But talks have dragged on. ''Tomorrow probably will come and go without that happening,'' Wilder reported.

Outside his meetings with Chinese leaders, Bush joined the effort to halt clashes between Russia and the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The conflict erupted Friday when Georgian troops moved to retake control of South Ossetia, a region bordering Russia that gained de facto independence in 1992.

The Bush administration has expressed concern that the attacks were occurring in regions of Georgia that were far from the zone of conflict in South Ossetia.

Jim Jeffrey, President Bush's deputy national security adviser, said the U.S. has made it clear: ''If the disproportionate and dangerous escalation on the Russian side continues, that this will have a significant long-term impact on U.S.-Russian relations.''

Bush discussed the widening crisis by phone with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, current president of the European Union. The two agree ''across the board'' on the need for a cease-fire, disengagement and ''respect for for Georgian territorial integrity,'' White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

Despite his official duties, Bush has made clear his main role at the Olympics was as America's First Fan.

Sunday was a U.S. sports fan's dream.

Bush and first lady Laura Bush, daughter Barbara and former President George H.W. Bush, cheered from the stands of the Water Cube Olympic swimming venue as American Michael Phelps claimed the first of an expected string of gold medals by smashing his own world record in the 400-meter individual medley.

''God, what a thrill to cheer for you!'' Bush told Phelps afterward.

Phelps told reporters he looked up at Bush just moments after winning, and the president nodded.

''That was a pretty cool feeling,'' he said.

Bush's Sunday began with a worship service at Beijing's Kuanjie church, an officially registered Protestant congregation. A children's choir sang ''Amazing Grace'' in English and Chinese, but the service was mostly in Chinese. Aides said Bush was helped by a translator.

He exited to the strains of ''Onward Christian Soldiers.'' Speaking to reporters in a driving rain, he alluded to the millions of Chinese who brave harassment and arrest to worship at unregistered ''house'' churches.

''It just goes to show that God is universal,'' Bush said. ''No state, man or woman should fear the influence of loving religion.''

Speaking in Bangkok on the eve of the Olympics and again at Friday's dedication of a U.S. embassy here, Bush insisted China can only reach its full potential by allowing free speech and other freedoms.

Those words and his church visit, which followed a 2005 visit to another official Beijing church, were carefully calibrated to prod the Chinese while deflecting attacks from human rights groups who say Bush's Olympic sojourn lends legitimacy to a repressive communist government.

-- Associated Press

Watching the Olympics Games is addictive. My life for the next two weeks will practically revolve around Olympic scheduling.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Did you know that Singapore was the 188th contingent?

Yes, probably the second best number after 88. And what is it about Li Jiawei dragging our flag! Its either that the flag was too heavy for her or she's just has no respect for our flag. Should they have let a true blue Singaporean (from birth) to carry our flag instead? Especially when its so near our National Day?

The neighbours cheered loudly for Singapore even though it was so near midnight. Reminds me of an international football match between Singapore and another country. You couldn't have missed the Singapore contingent with people suddenly screaming at midnight. Watching all the countries/territories entering kind of teaches you how many countries/territories there are in the world. Its like a mini geography lesson.

Putting that aside, the opening ceremony made me tear a bit, no, not when the Singapore contingent entered, it was when the 9 year old boy who saved two of his friends from the Sichuan earthquake walked beside Yao Ming. Wasn't it such an "Awwww" moment? He must have been the happiest 9 year old boy yesterday.

Besides that, I loved how they showcased a few of China's greatest inventions and history. And the use of technology! Fantabulous! Will Singapore have a grand opening for the first Summer Youth Olympics Games when we host them in 2010? Obviously not to this scale, but I'm hoping that we do well.

The part where it leaded up to lighting the gigantic torch was one of the best moments of the ceremony for me. The number one moment for me will be the many fireworks displays. They were just WOW! I admit, I am such a sucker when it comes to fireworks.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Will China be able to pull off the Olympics?

Picture: Birds Nest Stadium

08-08-08, 8pm. Tomorrow is the day.

However, grey skies are still hanging over China. From human rights issues, pollution problems and now the recent attacks.With the world’s attention over China now, will more problems be uncovered? Its settling to know that China is not leaving any stones left unturned where security is concerned. But, haven’t you wondered how come China couldn’t get their pollution levels at Beijing under control despite having a 7-year preparation period?

Had they put in place appropriate measures to cut down the pollution levels earlier, they wouldn’t be frantically trying to lower it at the eleventh hour. Inducing rain, shutting down factories and limiting the number of vehicles on the road are several measures China has adopted. But, are they enough?

Pollution levels in Beijing have resulted in several Olympic teams setting up bases in countries such as Japan and Singapore; choosing to train there instead, before the Olympic Games officially begins.

Where human rights issues are concerned, journalists will not be able to access information on political and human rights stories because of China’s government censorship laws. Even the IOC admitted that it allowed China censor the Web for journalists covering the event.

We have yet to see if this year's Olympics will be memorable for good or bad reasons.

Putting all their misgivings aside, there’s one thing for sure - everyone will be watching in excitement as their respective countries compete in the Games.

And of course, the question on every Singaporean’s mind: Will this year be a lucky year for us? After a 48 year medal draught? Winning an Olympic medal is so coveted in Singapore that SGD 1 million is up for grabs for a gold medal winner.

-- Starwish

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mac Users Are Arrogant Snobs!

The latest findings according to Reader's Digest show that Mac users are snobs. This is such a shocker. How did Xiaxue get this right? (she mentioned it during her iPhone review)

If you've seen those Apple advertisments on TV with a young, hip Mac user versus an old, slow PC user, you should get the idea that there's a bit of rivalry between the opposing computer camps. But why? Because they have wholly different personality traits, say branding experts.

Mindset Media, a US branding company that analyses the relationship between consumer behaviour and personality, surveyed 7500 Mac and PC owners. Its finding? Mac users are "snobs". In comparision to PC owners, they're likely to visit Starbucks for coffee more often, buy organic products and drive a hybrid car.

Mindset Media says that people who purchase Macs fall into what it calls the "Openness 5" personality category - which means they are more liberal, less modest and more assured of their own superiority than the population at large.

Ah, the rivalry continues...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dancing prisoners are back!

Remember the Youtube hit? Prisoners dancing to "Thriller" by Michael Jackson? It was all the rage last year! They're back! - this time, dancing to the tune of "Macarena".

Apparently Los Del Rio, (the duo behind Macarena) even endorsed it themselves!

Monday, August 4, 2008

You might be forgiven if you forgot your luggage, but your children?!

I wonder if they did that on purpose? That or they have a bad case of amnesia.

"Staff at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel have found a four-year-old girl alone in a duty-free shop after her parents accidentally took a plane without her.

The parents boarded the flight to Paris with four of their five children.

The mother and father were sitting in different parts of the aircraft and did not realise their mistake until the captain informed them after take-off.

The girl was put on the next flight to Paris. The parents will be questioned when they return to Israel.

"It is usual that travellers in a rush forget their luggage but not a child. This never happens," AFP news agency quoted a police official as saying."

-- BBC

Why Obama won't look like all those other US Presidents on dollar bills (besides the obvious)

Picture's Source