Striving for a little more professionalism

Victoria Chorale is a small choir with members coming from alumni of Victoria JC and Victoria School. Founded in 1988 by some choral loving members from the pioneer batch of VJC, the choir has come a long way since then. The choir had attempted to stage full-length operettas with accompanying orchestra, performed frequently with professional artists and have outstanding results in competitions in and out of the country, especially with last year’s wonderful “results” at the Choir Olympics.
However, we are still consider an amateur choir, with no members being paid or professional administrators to manage us. Everything is done voluntary with the love of choral music at its core. But we always aim for something more. Every year we talk about striving to be better with what we do, a better concert or better results at competitions. We also always talk about striving for a little bit more professionalism as a choir.

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How to op-out of receiving junk mail

Ever notice why your mailbox are always cramped full with mainly pamphlets and other form of junk mail. Most of the time I thought it was because of companies who employ people to stuff your mail box. It was really a surprise to find that SingPost, actually send out such promotional mail — the term they use, through their AdMail service.
bq. Use AdMail For Greater Reach — Unaddressed mailing with AdMail service, delivers brochures, pamphlets, samples or any other materials to any households and business premises within Singapore. You select the region or house type, we’ll deliver it for you.
As a consumer, you have no choice but to take those promotional mail and dump them away. But according to this ST Forum reply from SingPost to an earlier Forum letter about junk mails from SingPost, you can actually op-out from receiving this. And you do this by, calling their Deputy Director of Mail Delivery, My Tay, on 6845 6760 to suppress the service. Yeah, the Deputy Director.
Which I did. But, a big but, which I found out from My Tay is that, such promotional mails or unaddressed mails, include those from the Government. So if you op-out, you might find yourself on the wrong end of the stick if you have missed out something important from the Government. Although it has to be said, most letters from the Government are addressed mails (which isn’t delivered under that AdMail service). But well, when pressed, he said that it was logistically and financially not advisable to sort between Government(unaddressed) and business promotional mails so you can’t op-out of one but not the other. And according to him, both parties pay the same rate to deliver such mails and they have to be responsible to the their clients and their shareholders. To add, he said that they have a set of filters to ensure those promotional mails are mails people will find useful. Which I can safely say, not so for the past decade.
So like how IDA proposed the opt-out method for antispamming legislation, we still have to tolerate such junk mails in our mailbox.

3 accidents – 2 surprising and 1 blushing outcome

First was the collision between Singapore Navy’s RSS Courageous and merchant ship ANL Indonesia which resulted in the death of four crew members of the RSS Courageous back in 3 January 2003. There was an official inquiry plus and also criminal proceedings which attributed blame on both ships in addition to fines for two naval officials who were manning the controls.
Now the government has filed a suit against the owners of the ANL Indonesia and is asking for ‘loss, damage and/or expense suffered as a result of the collision’.
Both the inquiry and the court judgment earlier concluded that actions by the RSS Courageous crews to avoid the accident were not according to International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, while those by the ANL Indonesia although in accordance but were insufficient to prevent the collision.
So if both sides were blamed as ruled by the Courts in Singapore, then why is the Government suing ANL Indonesia for sole responsibility in the crash? Likewise, I am baffled and confused by this change in event. Have to keep a look-out for development.
h3. Driver vs Pedestrian
Another accident, this time on the roads of Singapore, to be exact — traffic junction outside Goodwood Park Hotel in Scotts Road, back in 1994. Driver couldn’t stop in time after jogger ran across road even though light was green. The jogger was an American real estate broker who previously was a millionaire turned bankrupt trying to make a comeback, while the driver was a local driving her kid to school.
According to the report, the judge decided that 45% of the fault was the driver and 55% to the jogger and that the driver have to compensate the jogger’s family proportionately to his financial worth and assets.
Does this judgment means that drivers will always have to foot certain amount of liability for whatever happen in an accident, even if the fault doesn’t rest on the driver? If the light was red and the driver fails to stop, it is clearly the driver’s fault. But according to the judgment, if a pedestrian jay walks, and you fail to stop sufficiently to prevent the accident, you’ll be at fault too?
Drivers are taught to follow traffic rules the first time we go to driving schools. Red you stop, green you go. Travel at the speed limit and be courteous — says those big illuminated signs on the road. Pedestrian break the rule and gets hit, drivers are 45% at fault.
Something just isn’t right here.
Maybe we should all drive slowly so that we can both watch out for other cars but also pedestrian in case they decide to jog across the street. Or maybe we should just all forgo driving and sit public transport such that in case the pedestrian decides to jog across the street, it is the public transport company’s 45% fault.
Another point, why is it that such exorbitant compensation are paid to foreigners while you won’t hear such cases when locals get hit. Is there a disparity in judgment when foreigners are involved? Or is it just locals don’t bother to sue the drivers for ‘loss of support’.
update Driver is paying only 45% of the fine.
After some chat with friends, I learnt that there is a point in basic theory that states drivers must slow down or not accelerate near or at traffic junctions, which might possibly explain the judge’s decision.
h3. on a slightly lighter but uplifting note
Never buy brassieres on discounts. You will never know what will happen if you wear it.
This poor woman suffered a leakage of her WonderBra she bought at a boutique while on sale.
bq. Later in the day while at a meeting I realised that the oil was oozing out of my shirt and it finally dawned on me that it was leaking from my brassiere. The right cup had somehow disintegrated and began oozing large amounts of oil. It soaked through the right side of my shirt.
After some intensive investigation, that poor woman probably was wearing this model of Wonderbra that contains unique lightweight gel pads and not really oil. Although there are certain types of bra that contains a percentage of body oil and water for the inserts, according to Amazon ( they have really grown into something other than selling books ).
Back to the poor woman. She went back and contact the store and was surprisingly told by the shop that they were clearing defective stock and offered an exchange. Is somebody at CASE volunteering for this boob case? And did that poor woman exchanged her leaky bra for another? WonderBra again?
Moral of the story, never buy bras on discounts.
Did somebody say go natural?
And why does ST keep allowing such boob-py stories be printed out? Is there a decline in more serious feedbacks or is ST trying to be more risque to compete with local magazines?
update – Blush! issued response and replacement for leaky bra.

27 January 1945 – Auschwitz Remembered

Auschwitz, the largest of the Nazi camps, was liberated by the advancing Soviet army on 27 January 1945.
bq. “The Holocaust is not only a tragedy of the Jewish people, it is a failure of humanity as a whole.” – Moshe Katsav, Israeli President
Photos from Yahoo and BBC

Jin Tsunami Response

I’m not much into hip hop, rap and stuff. There’s too much blingbling and bangbang among those hip hop/rap artists which made them all sound the same. And sometimes they either rap too fast or mumble too much that the lyrics just don’t make any sense.
So whilst browsing around a week back, there was this article about this hip hop radio station in New York that broadcasted a parody song filled with racists terms and insensitive lyrics which i will not reprint here. That program was hosted by an Afro-American DJ called Miss Jones who launched an abusive tirade against this other Asian DJ (Miss Info) who was in that program after Miss Info voice her objection to playing that song and being affiliated with that program. The other co-host, another Afro-American, was even heard saying that he’s “gonna start shooting Asians”.
After the news spread, calls started to come in to remove the show. Petitions to remove the show and also the people behind the song also popped up.
That station came up with some lame-ass apology and have also suspended the show indefinitely, although that might just be temporary. Certain sponsors of that show have also suspended their advertising.
But the best response I think is this song from Asian Rap artist Jin who was recently in Singapore. Go download and listen. Listen to his interview with the DJ that took over the morning show in which he explained why he recorded a response.
I have nothing against parodies but sometimes people take things alittle too far. To say that it was just a joke is no excuse. The people who wrote the lyrics, the engineers who produce it and the people who sang in it, knew the content and the response it will get. It is so ironic that Afro-Americans who have been subjugated to racism throughout history, can produce such racist contents.
* Jin’s Tsunami Response
* Jin’s interview
* Stop Hot97 and Emmis Communication Petition
* Anti-Racism – End Hate Petition
* – New EVEN WORSE Hot 97 Audio and list of Sponsors
* The Superficial – Jin Tsunami Response

iTMS hits a quarter billion songs

125x125 iTunesiTMS was launched back in April 2003 and it kicked start a new channel for music distribution unheard off before. With a click and with less than a minute, you get a reasonably good quality copy of a tune of your own choice which you can burn or transfer to your iPod with minimum hassle. All for 99cents (US$).
And iTMS kept growing and growing. And just after less than 2 years, more than 250 million songs were downloaded at a rate of one and a quarter million songs per day. Currently iTMS is being served in 15 countries…except in Asia.
So when will we see a iTMS store in Singapore? Maybe we are too small a market. Or maybe there are just too many different music distributors in this region. But hey, didn’t SoundBuzz managed to tie up all the different distributors to setup their music store?
Apple Singapore has also been rather quiet with releasing any indication of the availability of iTMS. We can only just wait speculate while the rest of the world enjoy the ease of click and buy music.

Hello, I am Macintosh.

Steve Job - 1984 With these words, the first Macintosh introduced itself at the Shareholders meeting on 24 January 1984, marking the launch of the first Macintosh.
bq.. Hello, I am Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag!
Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I’d like to share with you a maxim I thought of the first time I met an IBM mainframe: Never trust a computer that you can’t lift!
Obviously, I can talk, but right now I’d like to sit back and listen. So it is with considerable pride that I introduce a man who has been like a father to me… Steve Jobs!
p. Happy 21st Birthday, Macintosh.
* Folklore – The Times They Are A-Changin’
* Apple’s 1984 Commercial
* Kottke – links to Video of Jobs introducing the Macintosh in 1984

iPod stories

I have been an iPod user since the first iPod was released way back. Over the years, I have got some stares when I pull it out to change volume or playlist, had the earphones yank out of my ears when moving out from packed trains. I also plugged in while I am driving on the road, which is kindda illegal i think. But hey, local radio sucks and listening to BBC World Service all the time can be a drag sometimes.
But I’ve yet to lost my way or get mugged (thankfully).
bq. And 25-year-old Leah Foster has her iPod to blame for getting her lost while she was visiting the city from Chicago. Because she was under the spell of seemingly unlimited songs, she missed the Times Square stop, where she was supposed to meet her boyfriend.
However, since I spend so much time in front of my Mac, I might want to try a hand at this new iPod loading industry.
bq.. The rising popularity of Apple’s sleek iPod has created a new niche service: the professional iPod loader. There are housekeepers to tend homes and gardeners to tend landscaping. Why not iPod loaders to take care of music collections?
p. For $1 to $1.49 a CD, the professional loaders will embark on the time-consuming process of copying a music collection onto an iPod, often providing a digital backup copy as well.
So anyone needs a professional iPod loader?
iTunesSo Cruel” by U2 from the album Achtung Baby(1991, 5:49).

Time Gadget of the week – iPod shuffle

Time magazine recently listed the iPod shuffle as its Gadget of the week.
shuffling bq. Does the Shuffle count as an iPod? I have a sideways answer: I think that people who own iPods will want an iPod shuffle. Not only is it undeniably affordable, but as a lightweight plastic thingamajig with no moving parts, it can go where a hard-disk iPod risks more long-term damage. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t still sly Apple marketing. Somewhere on a dry-erase board in Cupertino, there’s a formula showing exactly how many cool kids must be seen with iPod Shuffles before the rest of the world suddenly, instinctually, races to a store to plunk down cash for that little white slice of heaven. Wouldn’t Bill Gates love to see that formula?
I had my first feel of the iPod shuffle and found it extremely light. Light enough to be attached to your shades and still won’t feel a thing. It does feel plasticky but doesn’t seem like it will just break into pieces if dropped — but please don’t start dropping them. Funny thing was the Made in China tag at the back which reminded me of a certain worse than the cheapest chinese player comment by a certain CEO.
Big question is this — will I buy it? Yes. In due time. It complements my old 1st generation 5Gb iPod.