Archive for 2006

Fragments of memories

I finally found time to download the photos taken from last weekend's wakeboarding. These photos remind me what we went through before I crashed. Taking a break from editing my wedding work, I decided to post some of them up:)


Left to Right: David, Erm… I can't remember his name (that's one missing fragment), nice chap I know:), Chris, Suping. Ok, you don't see me in there for obvious reasons!:)

And here's the bonus shot…

If you wanna throw handle, throw it in style. Here's matrix (barely covered).


Received an sms from a client after I told him that there's are additional charges for going to the wedding before certain timing… here it goes…

“…wats $xxx compared to a once in a lifetime event.”

What a beautiful day… I'm going to get more sleep :)

I’ll be missing you

530am. I tried to go to sleep… turning on my walkman, Puff Daddy and Faith Evans came on, with their remake of Sting’s classic “I’ll be missing you”. As the music played on… images of my dogs started to cloud my mind. The last 2 labradors I had; “Triever” and “Blackjack”. Triever died of cancer after spending 5 years with us. We gave Blackjack away for some reason. Triever was named by my mum. She asked, “what dog is this?”. “Labra-door Retriever”. So “Triever” became the most obvious choice for her. Sometimes, I wonder if she chose my name based on Mahjong tiles.

I didn’t really spend alot of time with Triever when he joined the family, because I was still in National service and spent most of my time hanging out with friends. As for Triever, he went to schools and came back with dozens of prizes from local competitions (I have to say he’s a pretty smart dog). After I returned from my studies in Australia in 2002, we grew much closer, as I was jobless for 3 months, and he kept me company while I waited weeks after weeks to be called up for interviews. We started to frequent the beaches in East Coast Park, where he would indulge himself in the water for the entire afternoon, occassionally suntanning with me. I still remembered how I left him unleashed on the beach once, while I rode out the seas on the windsurf. When I turned back to check on him, only to find him missing. Finally, I spotted him right in the middle of the sea (head bobbing on the surface of the water), swimming towards my direction. I had to turn back and lead him back to shore. “Some day”, I said, “I will bring you out on a surfboard”, but that day never came.

Triever, big as he is, was never aggressive towards people, especially kids. I remembered when my nephews visited, he sat down beside them and allowed those terrible kids to “manhandle” him. He is also a crowd pleaser, when the pet shop opposite my place held their opening ceremoney, he quietly went across and sat in front of the shop’s entrance, wagging his tail. The shop owner saw him and gave him a chocolate dog treat, which he happily fetched it home. Once, my dad walked him past the durian shop, he charged in and sat beisde the racks of durians, waiting like a kid in a candy store. My dad had no choice but to buy him one, afterwhich he immediately carried the durian (in the plastic carrier) back home.

A year and the half after I landed my first job, he started to be very choosey with food, eventually, he couldn&’t finish his meals, which is a strange sign given his ultra “greedy” character. We took him to a doctor and was diagnosed with splint cancer (I didn’t know dogs get cancers…). I was devastated. The doctor said he doesn’t have much chance of survival. I was at a loss and didn’t know what to do. At that time, I started to bring him out more regularly for walks, while he would munch at some wild grass, which I hope he would find some miracle cure for himself. But as days go by, I can tell that he’s not doing well, reduced to barely skin and bones, he still fulfilled his duties as the guardian of the house, mustering every bit of strength to bark at strangers. Until we hear lesser and lesser strangers passing by… or perhaps… we just couldn’t hear him that clearly anymore. We knew he was going to go one day, but I don’t know when and I don’t want to know, because I want him to stay. But mum told me, he’s in pain and it hurts so much to see him suffering. He stopped eating completely, even his favorite ice-cream.

It was during those days, that I picked up wedding photography. My first paid shoot, I felt really excited and nervous. The morning event went smoothly. As usual, I came home and downloaded the photos and sent some photos to a colleague who would do up the slideshow. Just when I was leaving home for the dinner, I saw Triever, lying at my doorstep. His mouth was foaming a little and he was breathing very hard. I knew his condition wasn’t good, but I couldn’t stay. I called my parents up and told them to come home. Before I left, I pleaded with him “wait for me to come back…”.

Halfway through the shoot, just before the group photo session, my phone rang, it’s a call from home. At that moment, my heart sank… my world stopped for a split second while I thought of the possibilities. Mum’s voice came on and she said “… he left…”. She asked me to come home. But how could I? I still recalled her saying, “his body is still warm… but he’s not breathing anymore”. I told her, to keep him there for awhile and I’ll be back as soon as I’m done. I went through the entire shoot, putting up the best smile I could possibly come up with. After the couple thank me for my efforts, I rushed home immediately and Elliot (a good friend of mine and also Triever) called me. I told him the bad news and he insisted in coming to see him through his last journey. Then Jessie, my ex-partner for wedding business called and her voice was breaking… “… I have a bad news for you… I just went to your place and I saw…”. I told her I already know the news.

Elliot reached my place about the same time as me. As I stepped through the gates, I saw Triever draped in white cloth. I approached him with a very heavy heart. As I uncovered the cloth, I couldn’t help it and started crying (I can’t remember when was the last time I shed a tear in front of my parents). Memories flooded me like never before. He was like a part of the family, my best friend, someone who I can talk to when I’m feeling down, someone who I would share my joy and woes with. The “human” in him is just something that can never be replaced. Now, he’s just lying there, peacefully, motionless… just like how he would behave when we return from day trips to the beach, except this time… he’s not going to wake up. I stayed there for a long long while, before dad broke the silence and told me that we have to bury him. Together with Elliot, we put him onto the truck and went off to Dad’s workshop. We buried him near the premises. Before we left home, I grabbed a handful of sunflower seeds, which I harvested over the last set of sunflowers I grew. As we buried him, I scattered the sunflower seeds over the area. To my best pal, rest in peace.

Everytime when I’m alone and I think of him, I still shed a tear or two. He was a personal friend, who I can share all my secrets and thoughts with. It’s just so hard take knowing that he’s no longer around. There was a sense of emptiness in the house after he left. Although life still goes on, I know it’s never going to be the same again. Parting is just so difficult, but I know he has gone to a better place.



I didn’t have many images of Triever. Sometimes, I just wished I did more.


Every day I wake up
I hope Im dreamin
I cant believe this shit
Cant believe you aint here
Sometimes its just hard for a nigga to wake up
Its hard to just keep goin
Its like I feel empty inside without you bein here
I would do anything man, to bring you back
Id give all this shit, shit the whole knot
I saw your son today
He look just like you
You was the greatest
Youll always be the greatest
I miss you big
Cant wait til that day, when I see your face again
I cant wait til that day, when I see your face again…

Yeah… this right here (tell me why)
Goes out, to everyone, that has lost someone
That they truly loved (cmon, check it out)

Seems like yesterday we used to rock the show
I laced the track, you locked the flow
So far from hangin on the block for dough
Notorious, they got to know that
Life aint always what it seem to be (uh-uh)
Words cant express what you mean to me
Even though youre gone, we still a team
Through your family, Ill fulfill your dream (thats right)
In the future, cant wait to see
If you open up the gates for me
Reminisce some time, the night they took my friend (uh-huh)
Try to black it out, but it plays again
When its real, feelings hard to conceal
Cant imagine all the pain I feel
Give anything to hear half your breath (half your breath)
I know you still living your life, after death

Every step I take, every move I make
Every single day, every time I pray
Ill be missing you
Thinkin of the day, when you went away
What a life to take, what a bond to break
Ill be missing you

I miss you big

Its kinda hard with you not around (yeah)
Know you in heaven smilin down (eheh)
Watchin us while we pray for you
Every day we pray for you
Til the day we meet again
In my heart is where Ill keep you friend
Memories give me the strength I need (uh-huh) to proceed
Strength I need to believe
My thoughts big I just cant define (cant define)
Wish I could turn back the hands of time
Us in the 6, shop for new clothes and kicks
You and me taking flicks
Makin hits, stages they receive you on
I still cant believe you're gone (cant believe youre gone)
Give anything to hear half your breath (half your breath)
I know you still living you're life, after death

somebody tell me why

On that morning
When this life is over
I know
Ill see your face

Every night I pray, every step I take
Every move I make, every single day
Every night I pray, every step I take
every day that passes
Every move I make, every single day
is a day that I get closer
to seeing you again
Every night I pray, every step I take
we miss you big… and we wont stop
Every move I make, every single day
cause we cant stop… thats right
Every night I pray, every step I take
Every move I make, every single day
we miss you big

Puff Daddy / Faith Evans


Happy Anniversay to Eric and Irene!:)

One year on, I wish you guys all the best and many more wonderful moments together in the years to come:)

Everytime I look at this image… I'm lost for words.

I want…

…a wakeboard for christmas.

santa… please… i’ll provide a very large sock.

Cheap and Good revisited.

A reply to the previous post. Another perspective, but still going at the same things, at least that’s what I think… put this 2 post together, and then put them into the context of wedding photography… and go… hmmm… :) I can’t wait for next year.HOW TO BE A TOP TOURIST DRAW—————————-

Premium pricing not the point, target market is Work on S'pore's cultural

image to attract top dollar

Letter from tony tan

Letter from erik wilgenhof plante

I refer to the News Comment, “Time to stop being cheap and good” by

Vincent Chia (Dec 14). He said that “We are not cheap as compared to China

and India … So, we should stop trying to be cheap.” He went on to give

examples of hotel room rates, and asked if we want to continue to be

“stuck in the middle?”.

In the context of manufacturing, it's true that the unit cost of

production in India and China is very much lower than it is in


However, in the context of the hotel industry, the room rates in Beijing

and New Delhi are much higher than those in Singapore, at least for the

foreign business traveller.

Genting International's Lim Kok Thay recently said that Genting's hotel

room rates had to be set at a low enough rate to attract the locals to

visit its resort. Otherwise, they would not go.

We must ask ourselves where our target market is. If the objective is to

increase the number of tourists visiting Singapore, the question then is

whether we will achieve this by creating a “premium” pricing as Mr Chia

has suggested.

I believe the hotel market will have to continue to be segmented, with the

five- and six- star hotels offering the premium luxury brand, three- and

four-star hotels offering the affordable mass market segment and, of

course, the budget hotels for the no-frills travellers. This is far from

being “stuck in the middle”.

In his article, Mr Chia made the point that a company – and Singapore, by

and large – needs to be either a cost leader or a cost differentiator,

rather than be “stuck in the middle”, as it will end up poorer for it.

With this, he made a classical marketing error that many companies

still make. Instead of starting with what the customer – be it Singapore

residents or visitors – wants, he immediately jumps to the finished

product and its price.

In my opinion, Singapore should be asking itself if it wants to be a

cheap and relatively good holiday stay or a premium destination with

resort type facilities. Does it want to give the best facilities to its

citizens or does it want to put its wealth into yet another bland shopping

mall or an amusement park?

In comparing Singapore with world renowned cities like London and

Paris, one should be reminded that these cities are much more than places

to live, work and shop. If Singapore really wants to command top price for

its hotel beds, it needs to work on its cultural image.

In The Netherlands, the city of Groningen – where I grew up in –

had the challenge of attracting tourists, even though it's far from the

standard tourist trail.

It answered this challenge by building a world-class modern art

museum, making the inner city car free and attracting shops that are

“different” from the standard mall type outlets. At the same time, it

attracted businesses like biotech and IT to settle down on the outskirts

of town. Couple this with a charming centuries-old city centre and you

have a tourist magnet.

To be like London, Paris and even New York, Singapore needs so much

more than integrated resorts, spruced up streets and luxury hotels. Find

out what kind of people you want to attract before offering them what they

want. The price becomes irrelevant after that.

Cheap and good (eh, not anymore).

An article from Today’s online edition. Reading it with some bold thoughts. Today is the 14th.



To maintain living standards, S'pore needs to command a premium for its

products and services and not stay stuck in the middle


Vincent Chia


WHILE Singapore was recently cited in a survey as having a lower cost of

living for expats than most major cities, 2006 for Singaporeans will go

down as the year of price increases.


We have had to live with higher fuel costs, public transport fare hikes,

even  10 cents more for kopitiam coffee. The announcement of a likely

goods and service tax hike next year adds to the overall pressure of

escalating costs.


Thankfully, costs are only one part of the equation – if increase in

income offsets the increase in costs, then our standard of living is the



Given the excellent economic growth expected for 2006, most employees are

looking forward to a decent year-end reward. The stock market has been

buoyant, property prices are going up. Civil servants will be getting a

pay hike next year, and employees in 12 private sector industries can

expect an average 4.2 per cent wage  increase (“No peanuts in these

packets”,  Dec 13).


There will, however, be those Singaporeans who are paid fixed rates or get

negligible pay increases. Only if the Government's offset package, one

year of no Government fees increases and Workfare schemes address this

shortfall, will they not suffer a reduction in standard of living.


But in the long run, costs are on an upward spiral. When businesses are

faced with more costs, to maintain profitability, they will either have to

charge their customers more or cut other costs.


Given the relatively high cost and percentage cost of labour in Singapore,

this is one candidate area for cost-cutting. Pay raises may be curtailed.

Or workers will be worked harder for the same pay.


These two effects of higher prices to consumers and slower pay increases

will reduce the standard of living of not just the lower-income groups but

also the middle class. And as we see costs spiral upwards, so will the gap

between the rich and the poor grow even wider.


The common solution touted by most is to grow the pie so that everyone can

have a bigger share. While this is not wrong, we have to appreciate that

Singapore has a small domestic market and no natural resources. How much

faster can our tiny red dot grow?


Harvard Professor Michael Porter, who was in town recently, is an expert

on competition. His theory of Competitive Advantage is well accepted

management wisdom: A company should either be a cost leader or a

differentiator. In other words, either be cheap or be good. If a company

persists in being “stuck in the middle”, it will be less profitable.


Singapore as a country today is “stuck in the middle“. We are not cheap as

compared to China and India. The escalating costs that we are experiencing

today will widen this gap further. So, we should stop trying to be cheap.


But on the other hand, when it comes to being good, can we say we are

comparable to the best in Europe and the US?


In major cities such as Paris, New York, London and Tokyo, you could

easily pay about $400 a night for a four-star hotel. Yet there are still

lots of people who want to visit these cities, for business or for



In Singapore, a night's stay at a four-star hotel would cost just over

$100. This figure is probably kept low to ensure that more tourists visit

Singapore and boost the retail and Mice sector.


Coupled with our best efforts to make Singapore attractive, this appears

to be a “cheap and good” strategy. And while hotels are planning to raise

their prices next year to an all-time high, rates will still be far

cheaper than in Hong Kong and Shanghai.


Looking to the future, when we have our two world-class integrated

resorts, we will hopefully be as attractive a tourist destination as the

major cities. But will our hotel prices still be cheap? Do we want to

continue to be “stuck in the middle”?


While we can still strive to grow fast, we also need to shift our focus

towards differentiating ourselves. This differentiation will enable us to

command a premium for our goods and services. And this premium will give

us a higher income to offset our escalating costs.


We all want to maintain, if not increase, our standard of living here, but

we cannot buck the trend of rising costs. It is thus time to stop being

cheap and good.


The writer is a co-founder and  writer at Oaktree Research, a web of

knowledge on business and finance.  (

傻傻 傻傻 傻傻…

老虎 老鼠 傻傻 分不清楚…

This is making me so happy… :)