the simple shanghai life (thurs)

My bladder is incredible.

I must have peed about 200 times on Wednesday. The weather here in Shanghai is about 16 -10 degree celsius. And although I loved it, my bladder didn’t.

At first.

But on Thursday, everything was back to normal. It adjusted to the weather and I was peeing normally (tall, proud and occasionally).

Damm straight.

I love cold weather. I was here in July where it was the hottest time of the year and I never did enjoy it then.

It’s incredible what agreeable weather can do to a city.

Not to mention the people.

In my opinion, the jacket is the most wonderful clothing accesory in the world. It never made much sense to wear a jacket in humid Singapore. But here, at this time of the year, you see people in jackets, coats, windbreakers and all sorts of cool-looking drapery.

Everyone looks so cool here.

I love it.

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the simple shanghai life (tues)

Come to Papa is banned in China.

Like cnn.com and news.bbc.co.uk

Nor can I post this blog the usual way. Thankfully, I have the option to email this entry and hopefully, this gets published.

Ok, it’s not just my blog as I can’t seem to access any blogs at blogspot.com

I’m staying at a second rate hotel that is far away from civilization. The people at front desk don’t speak much English. (What’s adaptor in Mandarin?) The television channels are all in Mandarin, and strangely enough, we have BBC but that has running Japanese commentary. The aircon is not cold but the weather outside is great.

Boy, I can’t wait for more surprises tomorrow.

I’m off

It’s a quiet week for me as I leave for Shanghai Tuesday. Due to the high season, I’ll be staying in a hotel where I will not have any Internet access in my hotel room. So I don’t expect any updates this week.

But I promise you some nice pics when I come back. I still have some photos from my previous trip.

Stay safe.

It just works

Don’t you love it when it just works?

Technology can be so frustrating.

But not today.

Let me share with you 2 things that work for me.

First, the Firefox browser.

“The open-source application already has a cult following (8 million downloads since mid-Sep), a major portion of which like it because viruses and worms aren’t written for it in the same number that they are for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Others like the Google search field that is built into the toolbar. Still others like the tabbed browsing that simplifies moving among different Web sites. ”

The download was a mere 4.7 MB. The installation was flawless. It imported all the IE bookmarks without a hitch. More importantly, it also took all the cookies, recent accessed links and all other settings from IE. (My only problem was that I had to manually set the proxy but that wouldn’t be a problem for all you proxyless people in the free world.)

Simply put, the Firefox browser allows a better, safer, more secure browsing experience. And it helps that migration is really easy.

Farewell, IE.

It was painful while it lasted.

Second, the Amazon Theater.

When was the last time you saw something you liked in a film or television program?

Chances are, it may not be of those painfully obvious product placements. It might just be an obscure watch the protagonist is wearing, an archaic bookshelf sitting in the corner of the room or a funky clock on the wall.

With Amazon Theater, you can now watch a short film on the Net, find the products that you have just seen as links, click on those that you like and purchase them.

All that without leaving the browser.

Ethical issue aside, I would imagine this would be useful for many of us.

Right now, the list of products is not as exhaustive as I like, but I’m sure it will evolve with time.

Technology can be frustrating.

But today, I have just shown you a way to shop and entertain yourself at the same time in a browser that is safe and efficient.

I humbly accept your gratitude.

But I’d rather have cash.

Bank Robbers

Someone tried robbing the bank today with a toy gun.

He was shot twice.

With a real one.

Did you know that bank robberies make great movies?

A little bit of film history. The first film to tell a fictional story was “The Great Train Robbery.” (Previously, films document events, mainly involving french people, factories and train platforms)

Ok, maybe it isn’t technically a bank robbery. But it involved money and robbers right?

Throughout film history, there have been many great films involving robberies. Here’s a non-exhaustive list: Bonnie and Clyde, Bob Le Flambeur, Dillinger, Dog Day Afternoon, Killing Zoe, Heat, Honor Among Thieves, Out of Sight, Reservoir Dogs, Riffi, The Thomas Crown Affair and The Wild Bunch.

Even our very own Liang Po Po had a bank robbery scene.

But we were talking about great films.

Somehow, bank robbers make very fascinating characters, whether in reel life or real life. (If you have an opportunity, watch Dog Day Afternoon)

For me, it’s their desperation that I identify with. I mean, you must be really up to your neck to want to rob a bank right? It’s usually a gut-wrenching struggle with debts, family well-being, poverty, hunger or even a sex-change operation for your partner (just to clarify, this is not gut-wrenching for me but I always think about you, Faithful Reader).

And nobody usually gets hurt in a bank robbery if everybody co-operates. It isn’t like other criminal activities such as rape or murder which set out to hurt and kill.

And of course, the most important reason – they rob banks.

Banks are evil things.

While I wish our Toy-Gun-Bank-Robber a speedy recovery, aspiring film-makers will do well to start digging in his background for a good story.

An idea for the quintessential Singapore film.

A honest story about a desperate man robbing a bank in a not so rosy land.

Cheng Tng Tree

The most common trees in Singapore are the rain tree (Samanea saman), the angsana (Pterocarpus indicus), the kayu manis hutan (Cinnamomum iners), the MacArthur’s Palm (Ptychosperma macarthuri), the Khaya senegalensis, the jambu ayer laut (Eugenia grandis), the acacia (Acacia auriculiformis) and the Paraserianthes falcataria (Albizia falcataria).

But I’m sure you know that already.

Me? I was totally clueless and had to dig it out.

I’m preparing for a little excursion this Thursday, thanks to Naggy Ng’s wonderful idea.

“The HSBC TreeTop Walk is the highlight of an 11 km-hiking route in MacRitchie that brings you through different stages of mature secondary forest. The first of its kind in Singapore and in the region, this free-standing suspension bridge connects the two highest points (Bukit Peirce and Bukit Kalang) in MacRitchie and offers a bird’s eye view of the community of plants and animals that live in the forest canopy.”

A preliminary survey on the HSBC TTW has identified the following flora and fauna:

  • 80 birds including 16 forest specialists. Some of these forest birds include the Drongo Cuckoo, Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Thick-Billed Green-Pigeon, Asian Fairy Bluebird and the Green Leafbirds.
  • 8 reptiles including the Black-bearded Dragon and the Clouded Monitor that sleeps on the Terentang tree at night
  • 18 rare trees and climbers including the Cheng Tng Tree (Scaphium macropodum) and Cyathocalyx ridleyi.

I didn’t know there was such a thing as a Cheng Tng (a local desert here) Tree.

Fascinating.

Here’s a useful link to find out more about the diversity of trees /plants we have in Singapore.

And here’s another great website.

I’m looking forward to my little walk on Thursday. And I’ll promise you pictures.

Just don’t put too much hope on the captions though.