Friday, June 22, 2007

退后 Step Back

I think 周杰倫 Chou Jie Lun aka Jay Chou is one of the few Chinese singers that has actively and successfully incorporated Chinese musical elements into contemporary popular Chinese songs. From the Er Hu to traditional normadic and even religious melodies, he has frequently managed to weave complex tapestries of music, one that I feel is especially relevant to the modern Chinese pop culture. And when it comes to love songs, nothing beats one that is written in Mandarin (ok, I might be a little biased =). One of my favourites from 周董 is 退后 Step Back. I've tried to translate the lyrics in a way that best retains the "Mandarin-ness".

Step Back
Music: Jay Chou
Lyrics: Devon Song

The sky, so gray, like it just cried
Leaving you did not bring more freedom
The soured air, smells of our distance
The heart wrenching end, like breathing, unstopping

In the drawer, a yellowed diary
Pressed dried, our memories
That smile, like summer
Our past, with passing time, forgotten
A love that lacked oxygen
Careless tears are unnecessary

I know you and I were not at fault
It's just we forgot how to step back
Promises given, begetting sincerity
But time plowed their emptiness

I know you and I were not at fault
It's just that letting go would be better
The most beautiful love can only continue in memories

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Spidey's Web Unravelled

Although Peter Parker might have been the first to create an "advanced adhesive compound" that allowed him to swing from building to building, researchers in UCR have found a way to synthetically produce dragline silk, the web spun by black widow spiders, which is incredibly strong and extensible. Not only will it allow someone to hang upside down from a ceiling, its properties can be used to make lightweight super strong body armour, micro sutures and even a new line of high-tech Nike Spidey sportswear.

Coincidently, the research was funded by the US Army (think dragline stormtrooper exoskeleton), which goes to show again that the best inventions usually come from the worst of intentions.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Nicola Tesla

Although the transfer of electricity through the air has been mooted for over a hundred years, a team from MIT has successfully demonstrated the theory by lighting up a 60W bulb 2 metres away without the use of wires. This is pretty exciting stuff. Don't just think about charging mobile devices wirelessly. Imagine what this means when we improve the efficiency of harvesting solar energy and are able to receive electricity from orbiting solar panels in space. (cue Samsung jingle...)

Remember the scientist Nicola Tesla who sold Hugh Jackman the huge electrical device in the movie The Prestige? Nicola Tesla was a physicist in the 19th century (no, he was not a rock singer =D), and he was the first person to propose the "transmission of electrical energy without wires". The movement of energy through space/matter that may or may not be conductors of electricity was subsequently named the Tesla effect in honor of Nicola Tesla. However, he died without realising his dream when a failed attempt to transfer energy wirelessly at the Wardenclyffe Tower in New York bankrupted him.

Tesla (middle) with Einstein (left)

So here's to Nicola Tesla, mocked by his peers at his time, reduced to an mad scientist in a movie. You were right. And your legacy might still change the lifes of every person on this planet.

BBC: Wireless energy promise powers up

Anywho, I do like the song by Tesla. The guitar solo just rocks, hell yeah! =)

"Love Song" by Tesla
So you think that it's over Say your love has finally reached the end
Anytime you call Night or day I'll be right there for you
If you need a friend

Yeah Love is all around you
Love is knocking outside the
Waitin' for you Is this love made just for two
Keep an open heart and you'll find love again
I know you'll find love again
It's gonna take a little time
Time is sure to mend your broken heart
Don't you even worry Pretty darlin'
I know you'll find love again

Love will find a way
Darlin' Love is gonna find a way
Find it's way back to you
Love will find a way
So look around
Open your eyes
Love is gonna find a way
Love is gonna
Love is gonna find a way
Love will find a way
Love's gonna find a way
Back to you Yeah
I know
I know
I know
I know

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Average Singaporeans Getting The Shortest Straw?

If this is true, I really wonder what our Ministers and policy makers are smoking to believe that they are making the average Singaporeans' life better...

Future not so rosy for working-class S'poreans
Jun 04, 2007
The Straits Times

MANY Singaporeans must be celebrating at the moment, with the buoyant economy, high employment, higher salaries and, for private home owners, skyrocketing property prices and 'en bloc' frenzy.

However, is the current state of the economy and future as rosy as it appears for most working-class Singaporeans?

According to data published in a report on the wealthiest cities in the world by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) on March 11, Singapore ranks 36th out of 70 cities based on gross domestic product (GDP) in 2005.

A look at the rankings will reveal that, apart from Singapore, all the cities in the bottom half are in Second and Third World countries.

Singapore's GDP of US$129 million (S$197 million) pales beside other Asian cities such as Tokyo (US$1.19 billion), Hong Kong (US$244 million), Seoul (US$218 million) and Shanghai (US$139 million). In fact, we are only slightly ahead of Mumbai (US$123 million).

These?rankings are arrived at by using purchasing-power- parity exchange rates.

However, unlike Singapore, our Asian counterparts in Hong Kong seem to have more to look forward to. The projections for city wealth in the year 2020 show that Hong Kong is likely to rise to 14th position, while Singapore is likely to decline to 40th.

The study (taking into consideration deduction of taxes and social-security contributions) reveals that net salaries in Asian cities such as Tokyo, Dubai, Seoul?and Taipei will surpass Singapore.

However, these sobering statistics apply only to the average Singaporean citizen. The top bracket of earners in professions such as medicine, law, banking and, of course, within the ranks of the Government, will earn as much, if not more, than some of their counterparts worldwide.

What do these figures tell Singaporeans? We can conclude that even though we pay a relatively low rate of?personal income tax, the net amount of wages we take home leaves us in the bottom half of the 70 cities in the PWC report.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock

Monday, June 4, 2007

Cooking Up a Storm

Seems like the guys at the Online Citizen are inviting people to join them as they try to serve up a main course by opening a can of worms from the Auditor General's office. Let's hope they do find something other than the "forgone rental" that they have highlighted.

Good luck guys, and watch out when the lightning strikes.