Friday, January 30, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Few nights ago, I went with my wife to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". A movie that just got 13 Oscar nominations this year. Well, I've not seen any movie for a while, and I'm the one who pick this movie, certainly I should enjoy it. Indeed, I think I've mentally prepared to see this movie as I found out something about this movie before I went, like it is over 2 1/2 hours long, it is a bit slow, and the main plot as well. So, I wasn't surprise by the story or other things. Some people might think that it would take away the fun to see a movie. Well, for this kind of 'art' movie, it is ok to do that. Otherwise, if the movie sucks, I will regret to pay the full price and wasted hours in the theatre for it.

About this movie, I wasn't disappointed at all. In fact, I enjoy it very much. The set pieces, the make up, the specific effect, and Cate Blanchett's acting are all good. Brad Pitt is....well good, but not good enough to deserve to win an Oscar. Cos, maybe due to the character, his performance is quite....subtle. No much ups and downs in terms of display of emotion. Not sure it has anything to do with the makeup, anyway, I think he is doing a fine job in terms of acting, it basically go with the tone and flow of the movie. The 2 1/2 hours went fine and as the story itself is captivating. One thing that I noticed about Brad Pitt is that, when he was playing a 50+ years old character, he really look like Robert Redford!

Anyway, I would say the movie is enjoyable if you know what you expect. My wife enjoyed that, but not as much as I, cos she got a cold that night. Anyway, I would say that I'd good time in viewing this movie.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Parenting 2

Last week, I’d caught up with a good friend of mine, Jacob. We were chatting on our family and stuff. Jacob has a son about a year older than mine. He recently had an argument with his wife, Eve, who happens to be my friend too. Normally, argument between a couple is very normal, but the topic of discussion really interested me. It is about parenting. Eve’s idea is that their son, Samuel is their only son, and she will just give him anything he wants with her best effort regardless. Jacob’s idea is that he will give Samuel what he needs and what’s good for him, rather than simply blindly doing things that simply satisfy his son’s desire.

Certainly, the two approaches have overlapping areas. However, there are gaps. Cos, kid’s desire has no limit and reason sometimes. We were all kids before and we know that sometimes what we wanted were not what we need or are best for us when we looked back. Certainly, our parents couldn’t and didn’t give us everything that we wanted, but Eve’s attitude towards such ‘blank’ check approach simply scared Jacob tremendously. Cos, though their kid is still very young, but with years to come, argument and even fights between Eve and himself seems unavoidable. Also, kid is smart, if he knows that he has an easy way with his mom, will he still listen to his dad? Then, all the discipline, hard works, lecturing, motivation to excel will be thrown out of the window if his son can simply beg his mom to give him what he wants.

I told Jacob that he can only take it easy for now and spend time to talk to his wife on occasion basis. Eve has a point, but it doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t change. Also, he shouldn’t always look at the worst cases. Since both Jacob and Eve love their son, so they can build on trust and understanding from there. We all know that bringing up a kid is hard work, it isn’t easy by any mean. Feeding, bathing are not the hard part, negative returns from parenting effort is the worst nightmare for every parent.

I hope similar things will work out in my nest as well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Can he do it?

In an extraordinary time, we need extraordinary person to lead an extraordinary nation. Just getting where he is already extraordinary. Whether he can do it or not won't be known till few years down the road. If he can, he should be added to the President Hill, if not what he is going to do while facing such extraordinary situation, he should have probably done his best. Afterall, he is still human....

Friday, January 23, 2009

180 degree turn

Lately, I've been quite stressful on both end of my life: at work and home. On the one hand, I was quite busy at work with conference calls at night. On the other hand, my son has a fever and I'd a cold. So, I remember last night, I was checking some SWIFT messages requirements with a celebrity in my dream. As usual, my dream are very unreal, why would I talk to a celebrity? but the checking part was stressful.
Then, I was woken up by 'knocks knocks' of my bedroom door. My housemaid said that my son has a fever again. So, my wife and I got up and gave him medicine. After that, I went back to bed. I said to myself, how come my dream was so exhausting. Then, I fell in sleep again. After I woke up, I still remember bits and pieces of my second dream. I was in a party on a local island. Seeing some old friends from ex-company that bought his friends and family from Brazil. Also, I was dancing with some college friends, reading some comic books with visual special effects, and it was a really fun dream!
I wish I can command my dream at wish. Theoretically, if I can do that. It means that I can control 1/3 of my life....ha...just a fantasy!
Anyway, I really hope that the recent chaotic events will settle down soon, so my boring but stable life can resume!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An idea about TV ads in future

My thought on TV advertising in future….

Current situation – TV audiences are diminishing in number and they are getting old. Yes, they still do have money to spend, but in the long run, TV programs will be delivered via the web rather than through the traditional TV set. Yes, there is a trend that TV sets are more become a LCD monitor with some PC capabilities. That’s another sorry, it is no doubt that many young folks are watching TV programs on their PC/laptop/netbook than before, most young people just want to watch whatever they want to watch at the time that they want. So, TV Guides will become obsolete if they don’t change in future.

TV programs are popping up on the web in many ways: in the official websites of the TV broadcasting companies, in blogs, in various websites with online TV weblinks, Youtube, Joost, Hulu, etc. Based on what I see in many cases, the broadcasters are just using similar tactics are they did on traditional TV, i.e. attach TV ads to TV programs, kinda force folks to watch them before they watch the TV clips.

Thoughts for the future – As I said before, people want to watch whatever they want whenever they want. It also means that they will not tolerate the ‘enforced’ ads that they need to watch in order to watch the shows of their choice. That just not only apply to TV shows, it applies webpage as well. Cites an example of, how many times I will look up the ‘x’ at the top right corner to turn off the whatever ad they want to show me when I just want to read the article that I want. Those intrusive ads just annoy me, I would say, don’t show what I don’t want to see, I don’t care how good your product or services are! However, does it mean that ad has no role in future? No, they just need to do that differently. There is something call ‘product placement’ in movies or TV shows. Like you see a guy pulling a bottle of Pepsi slowly in an ‘awkward’ position just want to show you the ‘Pepsi’ logo. That was bad! But, if product placement can be done wisely, it should help a lot.

For example, when you are watching ‘Desperate Housewife’, some might want to know where do those actresses get their clothes from, or when you watch CSI, you may want to know where you can buy those cool gadgets, like torches, or the nice suits that the actors wore. If someone can develop a technology that can allow folks to ‘freeze’ the screenshot, and show ‘links’ and ‘pointers’ to describe where are those clothes or products on the screens are from, then that should fit the idea of getting whatever viewers want whenever they want it. E.g. they may put a yellow dot at the top right corner of the screen showing that product placement info is available for that screen. If there is none, then the yellow dot will disappear. I know that would be able distracting as well, but certainly, showing the dot is optional and per user request. Somewhat like to on-screen script for the visual impaired. I’m sure that if I want certain product information on that screen that I watch, when I get my butt moving to click those links to view about those product info, I more likely will go to buy that product that just viewing some blind advertising that wasting my time. Like, if I saw the actor is driving a nice car on the show, if I want to know about that car, I can click the links to view the info about that car, or click other links to view the detail spec of the car, where can I get it, and what price. You know what I mean? That is more a smart advertising approach than the current one. Cos, I think this kind of ‘Pull advertising’ is much more effective than the ‘push advertising’ that are prevalently done in today’s media.

I know there are still a wide variety of considerations involved, like what kind of products can that applied? The cost involved? The nature of products, etc. However, what I just mentioned is an idea that must be further built upon in order to be effective. Just two cents from me!

Hope to get well soon

I’ve been sicked for 2 days, my doc’s medicines don’t seem to help to much. I hate being sick, though it is just a cold (not a flu, as I took a flu shot last month), it just makes me weak and sad. I’ve to get well soon, so I can play with my son again. Kinda miss it….

Friday, January 16, 2009

Corporate Life

I've working in few companies before. Different companies have quite different environment, culture and atmosphere, even though they are in the same industry. We are in a highly stressful industry, job is demanding, we have clients to deal with who are always demanding and difficult. As we can deal with them alone, cooperation among folks internally is a must, in order to satisfy client's requirements.

A lot of pressure is coming from working with internal folks. There are people above you, beside you and under you. Pressure and frustration are coming from all sides. Yes, there are barriers and filters to select the so-called 'right' people to join the firm. Hopefully, you can find someone who are capable to do the job. I think it is very important to do that, cos in my ex-companies, there are folks just not capable to do what they suppose to do. Well, they are exceptions, but just a small group of them would make a hell for many folks. It is sometimes not that easy to get rid of the incapable, especially when their bosses want to keep them around for some reasons that doesn't need to make to us.

For the 'normal' folks that are capable doing their jobs, a lot of times, it doesn't mean that they can also make you doing your job. The way they do their job, or do that better is to make other people's life more difficult. Also, there are folks that are 'X-men' (include women). They are so special, they have strange abilities that just weird in work place. Like they never give straight answers, never take person responsibilities, never do what they told you, never cooperate with anyone except their bosses, etc. I assume that they have 'normal' intelligence more or less 100, but they just have low EQ or just being difficult with others.

Cos, my industry is not facing robots or machines, there are people all around. We need to talk, ping, call, others. So much communications are going on everyday that, for anyone that is not trying to be helpful, it means hell!

Certainly, I've different levels or aspect of difficulties working in different companies. Nonetheless, such problem are just not going away. Cos, we are all people, we have our characters. There is no way everyone can match everyone else. So, I'm telling you, if you can work with a group of people that you find comfortable with. You won the lottery. Stay there! Yes, there are also other stuff like job security, prospect, promotion, rotation, restructuring, benefits, learning opportunities, pay policy, etc that are important. But, most of those things can be seen, whether you can get along with folks around you is not a given or policy. It can change along with change in personnel. So, just cherish what you have if folks are nice to you, and suck it up if they aren't, unless you can find a better place to go.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What will you ask a spirit?

I had a dream last night about encountering a dead local celebrity. It was like a gathering of fans and the dead in a party or something, it was by no mean scary. As I was about ask question to that celebrity in close up encounter, I was woken by my alarm. The dream does linger a bit in my mind this morning and get me thinking...what questions I will ask in this encounter? Provided that, it is in a nice and calm environment. Come to think of it, I think I will ask the following:

1. What have happened since XXX (the act that caused his/her death, or discretely the date/time of his/her death)?
2. How did you feel during the time of 'passage'?
3. What have you done, where do you go and normally where do you stay since then?
4. Where are you planning to go, or where can you go ultimately?
5. What do you miss the most?
6. Would you do anything differently (if it is a suicide)?
7. How do you feel now?
8. Anything you want us know?

What will you ask if you have such opportunity?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Korea's Education Initiatives on Teaching Chinese Characters

Just came across few articles about this topic. Something that I've never known before. Just wanna share with all interested.
























[世間萬象] 韓國的漢字教育

朝鮮日報評論員 金東燮 (2009.01.12 15:23)






[Opinion] Teaching Chinese Characters

There is an effective way of teaching the Korean language to teens who have returned to the country after a long stay overseas: teaching commonly used Chinese characters. As 70 percent of Korean is derived from Chinese, a student can learn Korean much easier if he or she has knowledge of Chinese characters. It is like having a map when traveling. Many words in European languages such as English, French and German originate from Latin, which was the official language of the Roman Empire, which ruled much of Europe. Latin is inseparable from American and European school curricula no matter how badly students complain about the difficulty of learning it.

Young Koreans are not good at Chinese characters because the subject has been neglected for a long time. Seoul National University administers a reading test for Chinese characters as part of its entrance exam. Though easy Chinese characters appear on the test, many test takers find it very challenging. Jobseekers fresh out of college are also poor at Chinese characters. Sadly, their poor understanding of Chinese characters mirrors their poor comprehension skills in Korean. Though it could be argued that Korean language education is the most important, in reality, it cannot be properly done without teaching Chinese characters.

Illiteracy in Chinese characters incurs a big loss to the nation. The combined population of China and Japan, two countries whose people use Chinese characters, is 1.5 billion. Good knowledge of Chinese characters is a must for someone wishing to learn either Chinese or Japanese. China and Japan are Korea’s major rivals and partners. A good grasp of Chinese characters is also essential to better understanding of the cultures of the two neighbors, which is of paramount importance.

Most of Korea`s cultural heritage is preserved in Chinese characters. As the number of people illiterate in Chinese character swells, precious cultural legacies of Korea such as classical literature are growing useless. This has also resulted in widening the generation gap. Twenty former prime ministers recently urged the government to enhance Chinese character education. It shows their grave fears over the young generation`s growing inability in Chinese characters. It is pointless to split the nation into two groups involving one insisting on using Korean characters only and another demanding the use of both Chinese and Korean characters. Instead, the two sides should quickly find common ground and lay the foundation to strengthen Korean-language education.

Editorial Writer Hong Chan-sik (

日本人“汉字造词”功力高 汉语国货很少

Just came across an interest article about sources of 'modern' Chinese wordings, would like to share with anyone can read Chinese:




  “靖国神社”正殿旁边还有一个展馆,展出有死者有关的事迹、物品,名叫“游就馆”。“游就 二字”语出荀子的《劝学篇》:“故君子居必择乡,游必就土。”之句。含有招唤亡魂回归故土之意。











  《周易·乾》:“用九…大明始治,六位时成,时成则六龙以御天。” 《孔子家语》:“长聪明,治五气,设五量,抚万民,度四方。”


  《周易·临卦》:“彖曰:“说(悦)而顺,刚中而应,大亨以正,天之道也。” 《周易·大畜卦》:“彖曰:刚上而尚贤,能止健,大正也。”

  昭和(1926—1988)是大正天皇的儿子裕仁的年号,典出于《尚书·尧典》 :“九族既睦,平章百姓。百姓昭明,协和万邦。”



  日本天皇的名字,多择自我国儒家经典,近代天皇的名字均带“仁”字。《论语》“子曰:仁者,爱人。” 《尔雅》曰:“太平之人,仁也。”









  随着对外交流的加剧,日本取名的一些传统吉利汉字组合还要考虑“欧美”读音,比如“涌大”,本来很有气势,但与英语“You Die”(去死吧)读音相近,所以诸如此类的字被拒用。







Pretty Women

While having lunch with my colleagues today, we were having a discussion about topics. One of them is about a common interest - Movies. Then, a topic about who are the prettiest actresses was brought up. As a movie buff in their eyes, I told them my choices. Certainly, there were discussion back and forth, and they suggested their selections. One of the funny things was that the only female colleague that thought that Julia Roberts is pretty. Others asked me what I thought, I said her mouth is too big. She has a great smile, but pretty?....nah. Then, other said what about Angelina Jolie? I said she has big lips, not big mouth! That's different. They seems to agree with my comment.

Then, I mentioned who are my choices, like Charlize Theron, Sharon Stone, Natalie Portman, Winonna Ryder, LeeLee Sobieski, etc. Certainly, some of them are not at their prime. I think except Sharon who they disagree a bit and Leelee who they really can't recall. I think they said my choices are generally pretty. Certainly, there are other names mentioned among us, like Catherine Zeta Jones, Scarlett Johanson, etc, and other suggestions that were 'shot down, like Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, etc. Well, I was a fun conversation and we all seems to enjoy it.

I think 'Pretty Women' is such a common topic that unless you can't see or you can't remember names, it is always a fun topic to chat about. Definitely it depends on how far you wanna go in your conversation, but it is topic that can be quite interesting and informative. I can say that I enjoy the conversation very much!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


What is going on in the world lately? Of course I'm not talking about those celebrity gossip news. The biggest story, besides the ongoing financial tsunami episode X, it is the war in Gaza.

Well, I'm not in the position to tell who is right or wrong. Cos, for me, all I saw are destruction of propeties, loss of lives and suffering of the surviors. Their blood is red, like all of us. I understand that violence aggression is part of human nature, it makes us human and help us to survive. Yes, there is an ongoing shortage of resources, but with cooperation and love, things can be worked out to help each other. We are not put into a position that we have to kill another human being for our own survival. That makes me sick to see the civilian victims. That just doesn't make sense to me.

Violent conflicts between individuals are understandable. Cos, some of their acts are results of emotion, mental sickness, or impulse. However, when groups go into organized violent conflicts or war, that just stupid. If they read 'Art of War' CORRECTLY, to get something without going to war is always the preferrable way. War causes so much destructions that there are always implications, such as revenge, hatred, retailation as aftermaths. Cycle of violence can last for generations, are those really something we want? Do human beings ever learn? I don't think so. Cos, war is main theme of human history, peace is only oddity. I remember that I read an article long ago saying that out of recorded human history, only a small portion of time that there was no recorded war. So, I guess we humans just don't learn. That's why it is so common to wish for world peace as new year resolution. I guess as long as there are humans on earth, there won't be peace.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


My last blog mentioned about 'Prediction'. That makes me think about Prophecy. There are many famous prophets, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, etc. Certainly, everyone of them has their own predictions and the accuracy are subjected to interpretation. Cos, the bottomline is that you won't know if they are accurate until things happen. Anyway, in the last decades or so, there have been increasing interest in prophecy due to the approach of millennium. So, there were many doomsday scenarios, especially after WWII. Then, Hollywood were making tons of those movies, like Deep Impact, Armageddon, End of Days, etc. They have not stopped that, the latest one will be coming out soon - '2012'. It is about prediction by Mayan thousands years ago about the end of the world. As it was told that the Mayan calender will be ended on Dec 23, 2012. Certainly, Hollywood would not let go of such thing, that's why X-Files last episode is also about 2012. Another prophecy movie is 'Knowing', also about how a bunch of mathematical codes can predict future events. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that Prophecy is such an interesting topic for many of us, as many of us are 'helpless' humans that often look to God or else for advice on what is gonna happen, either good or bad.

Do we really want to know the future? I think that most impressive story about knowing the future is a old Chinese sci-fi fiction about a guy who has the ability to know what is gonna happen in future. To him, reading newspaper is a depressing act, cos everyday, the news are not new to him. The worst case is that he can't change the future, even his thought about changing the future is already known to him. He even knew how he is gonna die - in the operation room for brain surgery - the final act that he wanna his future-knowing ability to be taken away but fail.

So, the thing is a paradox: if future can be changed, then prophecy is not accurate. If future cannot be changed, then all surprise of good things will be taken away, but the bad things would depressive and more depressive if you know all the efforts that you make to change the bad things from happening would make the bad things even more difficult to accept.

I just think accept who we are, what we did, and just do what should and want to do. Let's see what will happen and that's it!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My 2009 NBA All Star Games Prediction

Well, I'm a fan of NBA since I was a kid. Anyone who know NBA knows that NBA All Star Game is show of popularity and glitz. What I want to talk about is that I think something unpleasant to Chinese fans will happen in this year's All Star Games.

The 5 starters of each coast are voted by fans, the rest players are selected by NBA insiders. For the past years or decades, things have been fine. i.e. star players on winning teams usually got high votes. Those star players are usually quite talent and entertaining. As NBA was largely an U.S. centric game, though the champion has been called the World Champion. Those votes were come from U.S. fans mostly. However, as NBA is a 'global' business in these days, you can tell how David Stern, the commissioner of NBA has been salivating the Chinese market. Then, we got Yao Ming. Yao has been in the All Star Games since he joined NBA. Luckily, he is a talent and has getting more and more dominant in the center post. So, with the decline of Shaq, Yao has been voted as the starting center for the west coast for few years. Fans and critics are largely ok with that, because he is really talented in his position. If he is not the best center in NBA now, he is certainly in the top three, so it has been fine.

Nonetheless, 2009 is a different story. The cause is Yi Jianlian. He is a good player, but not a star, at least not yet. However, he is second in vote after Kevin Garrnett so far. That's not good from basketball prospective. His votes, undoubtedly mostly of them are from China. I can understand they want to see their player in All Star Games. However, they got Yao already, if they just blindly vote whoever is Chinese, that's not good. Cos, my prediction is that if Yi Jianlian is voted as a starter for the East Coast. Then, the other 4 starters and the rest players of the East will not actively pass balls to him and he will be hacked by the 4 starters and all the rest of the West (excecpt Yao, but I doubt he will help Yi out as he plays the opposite team). If you think that is not gonna happen, you will be surprise! Cos, it happened before, I remember that when Shaq was young and stupid, he verbally challenged the centers of the west in one of the All Star Game in the 90s, then he got hacked by Kakeem and David Robinson whenever Shaq wanna go to the basket, u know playing defence in All Star Games are usually a second thought, people just wanna dunk, slam and striking poster post. So, Shaq got hacked.

For Yi, he will be hacked not because what he said or what he will say, but because he will be voted blindly by the Chinese fans. Those players will punish him to show that he doesn't belong there, at least not yet. That would be embarrassing for Yi and for the Chinese. I hope that won't happen, but based on the current signs, it is very likely that will.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

First blog in 2009....just another blog....

I've been lazy updating my blog in the last 2 weeks or so. It's because I've been on vacation. Usually, I've more 'personal time' to update my blog during my work days. While in vacation, my time has been occupied by many other stuff, just couldn't find the time alone to update my blog as I did before. Anyway, I think things will get back to 'normal' from now on....

Well, new year has just begun. My thought is....SO? I don't see how Jan 1 is any different than let say....Jan 12? Maybe, the weather is a bit different, but we still have 24 hrs a day, the world still goes on, so do our lives. The poors are still poor, the riches are still rich for the most part. Arabs and Jews still fight, and the economic tsunami is still going on. I just don't see what is the big deal about a new year. I think people just need to find an excuse to do something together. To me, that's about it. What's up with those countdown? Fireworks? Oh! come on, if those are not excuses, I don't know what they are then.

Am I anti-social? am I a party-pooper? am I just trying to be different? Well, I don't think I care how other see me on this issue. As long as I don't hurt anyone and I think I'm entitle to what I think and I still respect what they think and do, so that's why I don't really care. Don't get me wrong that I'm upset or unhappy of new year. I'm not. My mind is calm and my thoughts are clear and steady. Just want to point out the hollowness of the 'new year' celebration 'gift-wrapper'. To me, if you are a Christian, Christmas is meaningful. If you believe in labor rights, May 1 is meaningful. If you are self-center, your birthday is important. If you need an excuse to 'start' something, Jan 1 would be the day for you. That's my point.