Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blue Man Group Megastar World Tour

Went to the Blue Man Group Megastar World Tour performance at Taipei Arena last night and really had a great time. The Taiwanese are really a fun-loving bunch of people and with just a little warming up, they were all set to have a great time at the get-go. Sandwiched amongst the crowd, I couldn't help but be brought into the mood as well.

The Blue Man Group, which features 3 bald and mute men covered in blue paint and dressed in black has become a global franchise amd I especially love them in their Intel advertisements. (Watch below) They are in town as part of the 2009 Deaflympic's Art Program and they were originally going to perform for only 5 shows but they held an extra performance on Thursday afternoon, donating all ticket sales to the Red Cross for the victims of Typhoon Morakot. Blue men with heart. Awwww...

The gist of the blue man program last night is their strive to become rock stars by following a purchased on television "step by step" user manual which includes hilarious instructions on how to gyrate their hips and lip-sync. With their innocent and curious by nature persona, they were able to draw laughter and screams as they engaged the audiences with "rock-inspired" actions. The audience were also treated to high tech laser light shows and a great many pieces of nice soothing "hilarious" songs played by a supporting group of band members (dressed in white) and accompanied by the blue men's specially designed percussion instruments which include PVC pipes, drums that spit out paint and an old grand piano that's flipped on its side with the mallets exposed and struck like a bass dram.

I totally enjoyed myself and would recommend it to anyone who has a chance to watch this show. Tickets were sold between NT$400 to NT$4,000 in Taiwan.

Blue Man's Group Official Site

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My new Wordpress Site!

After months of procrastination, I've started another blog (with wordpress) that is meant to cover my "technical" exploits and findings. If that is your cup of tea, please feel free to visit this site here . (Though its currently only about 4 posts strong, I think). :)

I would also like to introduce you to another brand new blog The Art of Living Deliciously written by a dear friend who is currently living in NYC and by the looks of it, having the most insanely busy and wonderful time there. (And everywhere she goes). Nothing has changed! The author was one of the smartest and most fun loving person I've ever known. :)

Anyway, these 2 links have been added to My Blog List on the right for future reference.

Thanks for reading.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, August 17, 2009

Taipei Times - Backroom cyber warriors search the Internet in hunt for extremist threats

News Article taken from the Taipei Times 17th August.

BATTLEGROUND:: Five analysts at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies are keeping a close eye on radical Web sites to see what their next move will be

Nur Azlin Mohamed Yasin spends several hours a day trawling the Internet, but she is not your typical young surfer.

The 24-year-old Singaporean research analyst is constantly on the lookout for bomb-making manuals, video clips of Islamist militants in training and fiery extremist chatter that could hint at an imminent attack somewhere.

From her computer, she enters a world where young Muslims openly volunteer to fight against US-led coalition troops in Afghanistan or learn how to make explosives out of everyday materials.

It is a place where al-Qaeda terror network chief Osama bin Laden is venerated and the three Indonesian men executed for their role in the Bali bombings of 2002 are held up as poster boys for would-be recruits.

“This whole thing is worrying,” she said in an interview, referring to a growing trend of individuals imbibing radical ideas online.

Nur Azlin is one of five research analysts at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies who monitor extremist Web sites daily to get a sense of an emerging battleground in the fight against terrorism.

All of them happen to be women and their collective skills include knowledge of Arabic, Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Indonesia — and geopolitical issues.

“After you sit down, think about it and do a trend analysis, you say ‘Oh my God! this is really happening,’” said Nur Azlin, who works for the school’s International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research.

“You can see the radicalization process unfold online,” she said.

There are between 5,500 and 6,000 Web sites worldwide peddling extremist ideas, said the researchers, who work from a spartan office in a suburban university campus.

Nur Azlin is tasked to monitor and analyze Web sites in Southeast Asia, a region that hosts notorious organizations such as the Jemaah Islamiyah movement and the Abu Sayyaf group operating in the southern Philippines.

She estimates that there are around 192 extremist Web sites in the region, many of them individual blogs which have mushroomed since early last year when Internet blogging became popular.

Singapore, a staunch US ally and international finance center, considers itself a prime target for terrorist attacks like last month’s deadly hotel bombings in Jakarta aimed at symbols of Western influence.

Singaporean Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng (黃根成) has warned that “self-radicalized” individuals have emerged as a new security threat.

In 2007, Singapore announced the arrest of five suspected Islamic militants, among them local law lecturer Abdul Basheer Abdul Kader, who allegedly planned to pursue jihad in Afghanistan after getting radical ideas from the Internet.

When analyst Nur Azlin started monitoring the websites in early 2007, most of the content was in the form of articles urging Muslims to fight back against perceived oppression, she recalled.

They were usually accompanied by photos like a child allegedly maimed during an attack by coalition forces in Afghanistan or by Israeli troops in Palestine.

In late 2007, computer hacking manuals started to appear on Southeast Asian Web sites, uploaded by individuals in online forums, she said.

Forum participants, some of whom identified themselves as undergraduate students from Indonesia and Malaysia, urged each other to hack websites they considered to be promoting liberal Muslim views.

“By early 2008, we started to see bomb-making manuals and bomb-making videos,” Nur Azlin recalled.

With the appearance of these manuals — taken from Arabic Web sites — the reaction from forum participants got more virulent, as they goaded each other to take action rather than stay passive supporters or sympathizers, she said.

In one of the exchanges, participants tried to organize arms training, but some said they did not have money to buy AK-47 assault rifles, Nur Azlin said.

A group called Indonesian Airsoft Mujahideen stepped in and offered to facilitate their training using air rifles and paintball machines, which are widely used for play sessions at corporate training seminars in Asia.

“They would rent the place much like a team-building activity,” Nur Azlin said. “They used this training in the meantime that they don’t have their AK-47s.”

Jolene Jerard, 26, a manager at the center, said the analysts compile a monthly report about their findings.

The extremist videos they download — now in high definition and professionally taken compared with the grainy amateurish clips of the past — are put into a database, one of the biggest collections in Southeast Asia.

The center shares its findings and analyses with the relevant government authorities and foreign diplomats visit the school for briefings.

“The cyberdomain is an area where governments have been gradually moving into,” Jerard said.

“It’s a changing threat landscape. I think it is increasingly becoming important and governments are definitely enthusiastic about countering it and putting enough resources in place,” she said. 

Cheers to Jolene Jerard, Nur Azlin Mohamed Yasin and all the people who are working behind the scenes to help weed out these misguided thoughts before they blossom into unspeakable atrocities . It has always been my desire to contribute in something as meaningful as this (hehe, since young, I've always wanted to be a police woman and as I grew older, I changed my mind to Computer Forensics/Crime Unit) but alas it was not meant to be. I guess I'm destined to contribute in other ways but who knows....maybe one day.

Note: I chanced upon another blog that I would like to share. Its quite gruesome especially the section on beheading. Do not visit if you have a weak stomach.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I'm getting a LapDawg!!! (well sorta)

I'm getting a LapDawg!!! A Taiwanese/Chinese made one that is. But it still cost me a cool NTD 1850. But I think that's 75% of the internet price (excluding shipping).

I was mulling over it at work and introduced it to my colleague. She decided that she was going to get one too!! Now we are going to get it from Yahoo. Ahhh..I love online shopping.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Singapore!

For some reason, I've been looking forward to this year's National Day Parade. More so than the previous years. Figuring that I would be in Taipei by August 9, I took the trouble to check out beforehand where I could catch the live webcast. Homework done!

However, fate has it such that Typhoon Morakot hit Taiwan over the weekend and my flight was delayed. Therefore, I went with my parents to Batam for some shopping and massage. No worries, I was going to make sure I get back to Singapore by Sunday and so I was. Alas! A cruel twist of fate, my watch was on Jakarta time and therefore being one hour behind, I missed the first part of the program!!!

Anyway, at least I was in time to watch part of it and if I wanted, can always watch the repeat telecast online. In a nutshell, I thought it was very well done and at certain points of the show, I had this warm fuzzy kind of feeling and maybe became a little nostalgic of primary/secondary school days.

I admit I love my country...I'm very patriotic. When we talk about how much I love my country, my Malaysian friends wonder if we go through some major brain washing since young for Singaporeans to love our country so. Okay, maybe we DO go through some kind of social conditioning since young but you have to admit it, Singapore has come a damn long way from the time we were booted out from the *arhem* other side.

Although I always kid that I'm allergic to my own country because I always get into these sneezing fits whenever I'm back, (I think its because of the humidity or the trees...who knows!!), but I'm damn proud of some really crazy and stupid things about Singapore.

Yes...even if our wanton noodle is sweet and not salty and we are such a small small small country with no natural resources. Some call us a pimple on the world map. You know what...whatever...this is still the place that I call home.

So what were you doing at 8.22pm? Were you at marina bay or surrounded by a group of people at the supermarket persuading you to say the pledge together. Or were you like me...surrounded by othe nationalities..and resorted to secretly mouthing the words to our national pledge?

Yes, I admit it. I may not be the pioneer generation that helped built Singapore from the post WW2 years but I'm geeky enough to proudly proclaim I love being a Singaporean and my country. (minus the sneezing fits and don't mistake it for H1N1).

Happy 44th Birthday Singapore!!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Lam's Noodle House

Am back in Singapore for a couple of days so you can imagine that I've been eating non stop. Local food, home cooked food and so on. As I'm writing this, I'm actually feeling very bloated from dinner. Hehe.

Anyway, mum took me to Lam's Noodle House at Kaki Bukit Road 3 for lunch one day. We had the set meal which cost about SGD $15.80 (if I don't recall wrongly) which consisted of 2 bowls of abalone dry noodles, a bowl of steaming hot fish soup and a small basket of dumplings.

As you can see from the picture below, though the portion looks rather small, they had quite a lot of different ingredients. Coupled with the fish soup and dumpling, the portion was just nice for mum and me. Note: I love Chinese mushrooms prepared this way!!

Abalone Noodle (Dry)

Fish Soup

Lam's Noodle House was apparently introduced to my mum by my dear brother and then introduced to me. Okay...chain introduction going on here. I've never heard of this place and was really surprised when mum drove me to this obsure industrial park for lunch one day. It was a pleasant surprise.

Note: Besides Abalone noodle, this coffee shop also serves Shark Fin's noodle. Muahahahha. The Chinese in me is smiling....

If you are interested, you can find Lam's Noodle House (Opened between 10am and 11pm) at the following address:

18 Kaki Bukit Road 3 #01-16/17 Entrepreneur Business Centre

P/s: You probably know that I don't normally do food blogs so I guess that this one is an exception today. Or maybe there are more to come....who knows...:) Happy eating.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Seals Galore - Sirotan

Sirotan is this CUTE little white seal that loves to disguise himself as other animals/fruits/things. He has got such an adorable face that almost everyone I know is drooling over it. Check out this crazy collection from a certain individual I know. But ya lah, I admit Sirotan is sooooo cuteeee. Haha!

Sirotan can be found at any respectable Mother Garden Stores and cost about 800 Yen for one.
For more sirotan's merchandise, check out this site: