Saturday, October 27, 2007

Timber Flooring? Think Again...

The subject on destruction of rain forest is an old story that most would have heard of long ago, most reports would mentioned the seriousness of the issue and the impact it will have on our earth, but not many say anything on the other byproduct from the forest harvesting, slavery.

This blog touches not only these two issues, it also include facts on the importance of preserving the rainforest, benefits the rainforest provides for the human race and others, these is a whole lot of enriching reads.

Some of the facts we should know about the rainforest,

The Amazon Rainforest has been described as the "Lungs of our Planet" because it provides the essential environmental world service of continuously recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen. More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest.

More than half of the world's estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in the tropical rainforests. One-fifth of the world's fresh water is in the Amazon Basin.

At least 80% of the developed world's diet originated in the tropical rainforest. Its bountiful gifts to the world include fruits like avocados, coconuts, figs, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, bananas, guavas, pineapples, mangos and tomatoes; vegetables including corn, potatoes, rice, winter squash and yams; spices like black pepper, cayenne, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sugar cane, tumeric, coffee and vanilla and nuts including Brazil nuts and cashews.

Currently, 121 prescription drugs currently sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. And while 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less than 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified 3000 plants that are active against cancer cells. 70% of these plants are found in the rainforest. Twenty-five percent of the active ingredients in today's cancer-fighting drugs come from organisms found only in the rainforest.

The blog also include these links on child slavery in Burma for harvesting teak, and slavery in Brazil here and here on cherry wood harvesting.

Friday, October 26, 2007

New Kids On The BLOG

I have decided what I want to do to my blog. I wanted to split up the personal entries from the other articles. For the time being, I have created one other BLOG to house my personal entries, and I’m going to take some time to organize the site and make it more children and family friendly. Oh, and I decided to use blogger over wordpress.

The fact that on presentation, workpress does offer more choice of templates and seems less complicated to use, but that’s also where the problem lies, the simplicity of the blogging tool is achieve by exercising more control on the usable widgets, there are no place I could insert some interesting HTML widgets that I used here. By the way, I am only referring to the free blogging services, I believe the paid service would offer more but I am not prepare for that yet.

One more thing, I am also cutting down the frequency of my entry partially due to my work commitment. And I hope that through blogging, I will continue to improve the content and context of my entries.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Revamping My Blog

I have not been posting for the last few days, I was feeling terrible, and lost. I realize that my blog is not very focus, and needed some sorting out. So I decided to revamp this blog. I will be creating another blog to house my personal collection and leave this one to serve general posts. But due to the fact that my project is in moving into a new stage where my scope covers, it is going to take a while to complete the transfer, I only hope my time management skill would start working.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Call From Supreme Court Of Singapore

I got this email today about some people been disturbed by a voice recorded message, spoken in mandarin, claiming that they're calling from the Supreme Court of Singapore.

This is a FRAUD and the police have already started investigating.


It has come to the attention of the Supreme Court that members of the
public have received calls from individuals falsely claiming to be staff of
the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has lodged a police report on these
calls. The matter is currently under investigation by the police.

Members of the public who do not have pending cases in the Supreme Court
are advised to exercise caution when they receive telephone calls from
individuals identifying themselves as staff of the Supreme Court, directing
them to attend court or requesting for transfer of monies. Members of the
public should also note that any request for payment of monies to third
parties in respect of court proceedings should be made only if supported by
an official court order. Staff of the Supreme Court do not request for
payment of monies verbally over the telephone.

In case of doubt, members of the public should always verify the source of
the call with the Supreme Court at (1800) 338 1034.

A CHILDREN’s Garden In Botanic

I was very tired yesterday. I did not get enough sleep the night before, and what welcomes at my work site me was intense task to be rushed. I intended to write about my Sunday trip to Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden with my kids, but my memory had failed me, that was why I am only writing it today. I learn about the garden only about a week back, and since my wife have a weekend assignment (road show), the trip would keep them occupied for the weekend and also give them a break before they settle down for their preparation of year-end examination.

As I was not familiar with this area, I parked at the car park near the Singapore Botanic Garden visitor center. Following the maps and the road signs, we walk about 20 minute to the garden within the park vicinity.

The greenery is something children cannot appreciate, while I enjoy my slow walk toward the garden, my kids would hassle me about the long walk and keep asking me, “我们到了吗?” So along the way I would talk to them about the plants, and took photos for them to kill their boredom.

The place is quite well planned for the children visitors. There is a controlled entrance which is guarded, the guard is meant to ensure that children in the garden are accompanied by adult since the entry is free. There are children’s toilets and drinking points, and the canteen is right outside the garden with little chairs and tables.

The garden is separated into many stations like water-play area, cave, suspension bridge, tree house, maze, etc. With its size and the variety of play area, it could easily keep the children busy for at least half a day, especially the water-play area. As I did not prepare extra clothing for the children, plus the weather was very sunny, we left the place after only 2 hours. Now, things got tough for me and the children, they were too exhausted to take the walk back to my car but there are not alternative, so the daddy (that’s me) has to lure, encourage, push and pull them along.

This is a picture of my youngest daughter learning how to drink from the water point on her own.

On the way back, we pass by the big pond where we had an encounter with the black swan.

When we reach the visitor center at last, we took a rest before we goes off. And we manage to spot and snap a picture of a squirrel hanging around our rest area.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

An Angler's Dream

A fishing trip with a good surprise, it is like any angler's dream. I only hope the shark is not endangered species.

Fisherman lands record 844-pound shark

DESTIN, Fla. - Six friends went to a fishing tournament looking to catch some grouper. They caught an 844-pound shark instead.
The fight by Adlee Bruner and friends to pull the 11-foot mako shark onto the boat from the Gulf of Mexico took more than an hour on Saturday. But when they made it back to land, it was a record for the decades-old Destin Fishing Rodeo.
"It was tense," Bruner, 47, said about the fight to land the shark, which has a mouthful of huge, fearsome teeth. "I've fished for 40 years. I've never see one that big."
Bruner and his fishing buddies were on a 52-foot charter boat with Capt. Robert Hill, about 70 miles southwest of this beach city in the Florida Panhandle.
The fishermen first noticed the big mako because it kept eating grouper and scamp they had hooked.
"It was like 'Jaws,'" Hill said.
Hill hooked a two-foot amberine on as bait and tossed it out. The shark eventually hit it.
After the long fight, the shark was gaffed and eventually gave up after its tail was roped. But even then, the men could not get the big shark in the boat. They tied it to the stern with three ropes and made the four-hour trip back to land.
The shark was hoisted at the rodeo before a big crowd. It tipped the scale at 844.4 pounds.
After it was gutted, the mako still weighed 638 pounds, breaking the tournament's previous shark division record by 338 pounds.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Global Warming On Blog Action Day

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

When the sun shines onto earth, some of the heat pass through the earth’s atmosphere and is absorbed into the earth, warming the surface of the earth. When the heat is radiated out from the earth’s surface to the atmosphere, the greenhouse gases absorbed and trapped most of the heat, keeping the atmosphere warm and sustain life. This is called The Greenhouse Effect.

The process is in balance until modern lifestyle intensifies the warming effect by releasing additional greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, hydro-chlorofluorocarbons are released from car, air-con, refrigeration, aerosol, factories and others. The result is Global Warming.

These are some site/article on going green,

The Green Guide

5 Tips for "Going Green" in Mind, Body, and Spirit ...

Tips for going green at home

Going Green – NBC

Going Green Blog

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Crab Story

How many ways of cooking a crab do you know? For most restaurants or coffee shops I know, it is normally about three to five ways. So it is going to be impossible to find one place that can cook your crab in say 10 ways, right? WRONG!!!

When I had my dinner here on Tuesday night, it was not so crowded, and I choose a smaller table right in front of the store, it so happen to be right in front of this light box which displays all the type of crabs they are offering. I came here quite often and never really realize they actually offer 16 types of crab dishes. If you are a crab lover, it is going to be tough on your pocket.

So far, I have only tried the Chilli, Black Pepper and Tang Hoon crab since it is the most common type of crab you can order anywhere without looking into the menu. But I will come back for more, some of them(the crabs) just look irresistible.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Member Of The Myanmar Opposition Died While interrogation By Junta

This is inhuman, after all the killing the tragic continues. How can anybody tolerate this nonsense? Check out this lastest news

Myanmar dissident dies under questioning

YANGON, Myanmar - A leader of Myanmar's recent mass protests was arrested Wednesday, and a member of the opposition party has died during interrogation by security forces, an exile group said.

The Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners also said security officers had been threatening dissidents' relatives and neighbors in order to get information on the whereabouts of those involved in last month's pro-democracy protests that were brutally suppressed by the military regime.

"The security forces have become more severe in raiding houses of, and searching for, anyone whom they suspect to have been involved in the protests," it said.
The Myanmar exile group, made up of former political prisoners, said authorities had recently informed the family of Win Shwe, 42, that he had died during interrogation in the central Myanmar region of Sagaing. He and five colleagues were arrested on Sept. 26.

The body of Win Shwe, a member of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, was cremated at the detention center, the group said. The report could not be independently verified, although in the past the group has provided detailed, accurate information on political prisoners in the country.

White House foreign affairs spokesman Gordon Johndroe condemned Win Shwe's death and warned that the United States would impose new sanctions against Myanmar, also known as Burma, if it continued its crackdown on dissidents.

"The United States strongly condemns the atrocities committed by the junta and calls for a full investigation into the death of Win Shwe during his detention in Burma," Johndroe said. "The junta must stop the brutal treatment of its people and peacefully transition to democracy or face new sanctions from the United States."
First lady Laura Bush, who has been an outspoken advocate for human rights in Myanamar, also warned the U.S. was considering sanctions unless the government loosens its grip on the populace.

"The crackdown has been brutal," she said in an interview with USA Today published Tuesday.

The National League for Democracy won a landslide election victory in 1989, but the parliament was never allowed to convene by the military junta.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said that at least seven people have been arrested in the past two days in Yangon, even as the junta and the NLD appeared to be taking cautious steps toward talks.

Hla Myo Naung, a leader of the '88 Generation Students, was arrested in Yangon while seeking treatment for a serious eye problem at a clinic, the exile group said. Hla Myo Naung, 39, had been on the regime's "wanted list" but had evaded arrest for two months. A young woman who belongs to the '88 Generation and had been with him was also arrested.

The '88 Generation organized marches in August over a fuel price increases that quickly ballooned into mass demonstrations calling for democracy when widely respected Buddhist monks began taking the lead.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Petition to PM Lee From Burmese

I have just read an article on the CNA. The report mentioned that a group of Myanmar nationals went to the Istana this morning to hand in a petition to our Prime Minister Lee. The man collected nearly six hundred signatures from Myanmar community in Singapore.

The content of the letter as disclosed by CNA urged our PM to take stern action against the Myanmar crackdown. It also calls for the involvement of the international community and the release of all political prisoners. The petition also states that the people of Myanmar are depending on external support to help stop the violence.

As compare to this one which happen less than a day ago, the above article comes in a very interesting timing.

Singapore In World Cup Qualifier

It is only the first game, but the win is a good start. The lions have trash Palestine 4-0. Singapore will face Palestine again in the next game in Singapore on the 28th of Oct.

Schedule of the match can be found at FIFA site.

Burma Situation Improving, I Hope.

Deputy Labor Minister Aung Kyi had been appointed as Liaison Minister to coordinate contacts with Aung San Suu Kyi

The appointment was recommendeded by U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari during his visit to Myanmar earlier, as printed in The New Light of Myanmar newspaper. The junta had accepted the idea "in respect of Gambari's recommendation and in view of smooth relations with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi."

However, the new official's duties were not detailed, and the announcement did not say when he might meet with the 62-year-old Suu Kyi.

It appeared that Aung Kyi would coordinate Suu Kyi's contacts with both the regime and the U.N., which is seeking to end the political deadlock between democracy advocates and a military that has ruled since 1962.

Check this.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Motorcycle Got 4 Wheel

Yamaha will be introducing the Tesseract at the Tokyo Motor Show, the Tesseract is a hybrid 4 wheeler, powered by both a V-Twin gasoline engine and an electric motor. The suspension is what they call a “dual-scythe” which leans while cornering, just like a motorcycle. It also has a dual arm lock to keep the Tesseract upright when stopped, just like the lock on a Piaggio MP3.

How Hot Can Your iPod Get?

iPod Nano can burn a hole in your pocket, I mean it, check it out here and here.

Danny Williams, of Douglasville in Georgia, found his one and a half year old iPod Nano caught fire in his pants.

"I am still kind of freaked out that after only a year and a half my iPod caught fire in my pocket," Williams said.

"So I look down and I see flames coming up to my chest. If the US Transportation Security Administration had come by and seen me smoking, they could have thought I was a terrorist."

The Nano range uses lithium ion batteries which was the subject of overheating problems in mobile phones, digital cameras and laptops.

Family Day

My wife’s company had their family day last weekend at the SAFRA Resort. So our family was there for the whole of Saturday afternoon and evening.

We started with a swim with the kids in the pool. It reminds me of the life saving trainings in my poly days, it was tough. We trained twice, a total of eight hours a week, swimming close to a hundred laps every session. But sadly, swimming one lap now feels like a marathon.

After the swim, the kids join in the tele-match, magic show followed by barbeque dinner. My elder daughter was enjoying chocolate fondue so much she didn’t feel the chocolate flowing out from her month.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Psychological Effect Of Sanction

Our government did not believe in tightening sanctions on Burma which might be counter-productive, we can see in this report a few days back, and the interesting issue, they may be on the right track. But I am still not agreeing to their statements in the press for not supporting tightening sanction on Burma. The fact is the junta is responding to the threat from the world. In reality, the effect of sanction has worked before it starts, you can see by the way junta reacted.

Myanmar trumpets release of protesters ahead of UN meet

Sun Oct 7, 5:49 AM ET
YANGON (AFP) - Myanmar's state press on Sunday trumpeted the release of monks and demonstrators ahead of a UN Security Council meeting to discuss how to handle the junta following its crackdown on street protests.
Security Council members -- under pressure to condemn the military regime after 13 people were killed in its drive to end the escalating pro-democracy rallies -- were to meet on Monday to debate a draft statement on Myanmar.

The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said Sunday that more than half of the 2,171 people arrested after the biggest anti-government protests in nearly two decades has been released, repeating figures given late Saturday on state TV.
The government paper specified that nearly 400 of 533 Buddhist monks detained had been "sent back to their respective monasteries."

The New Light of Myanmar did not mention the UN Security Council, but analysts have said that the regime is trying to make a few token gestures to ward off a harsh Council statement, or possible sanctions.

It is like when I am trying to talk sense to the children, if I simply talk, the words do not get in their head, if I use cane on them, they become rebellious, and my words would get in from the left ear and got out from the right. One of their most attentive moments happens to be when the cane is right beside me or in my hands. I do not need to actually cane them for them to listen to me. This happens to work well psychologically, although I rarely use this method too often in order to avoid thinning its effectiveness.

Meanwhile, ASEAN countries continue to sit on the fence, apparently sandwich by many factors not within their control and issues they did not want to jeopardize. Check this.

Botak Jones In Woodlands TOMORROW !!!

Remember in my last post where I talk about the branch in Woodlands? It is here at last, ready to serve with effect from tomorrow 8th of October. Check this.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

World Effort Has Made A Difference For Myanmar

Myanmar's military regime tries to cool international pressure

YANGON (AFP) - Myanmar's junta Saturday tried to cool growing UN pressure over its deadly crackdown on peaceful protests, offering talks with democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and relaxing its blockage of the Internet.

But analysts warned that the rare gestures offered by the regime appeared to be token efforts to stave off tougher UN action demanded by the United States and other Western countries.

Faced with the biggest protests against military rule in nearly two decades, Myanmar's government launched a bloody crackdown in late September that left at least 13 dead and more than 2,000 locked up.

Across Asia, activists on Saturday took to the streets in cities from Sydney to Bangkok, kicking off a global day of protest against Myanmar's bloody crackdown on dissent.

Hundreds rallied outside Sydney's iconic Opera House, while in Melbourne 1,000 people marched, some carrying red banners that read "no more bloodshed."

In London, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown sent a message of support to the people of Myanmar, saying the world was not forgetting them.

"We have not forgotten their courage and dignity, taking to the streets in the face of a brutal regime. We have not forgotten the guns and batons, the arrests and murders which met them," Brown said.

Meanwhile, UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari, who visited Myanmar to express global outrage at the junta's actions, warned the UN Security Council Friday that the nation's turmoil could have "serious international repercussions."

As Gambari was briefing the Council in New York, state television in Myanmar broadcast images of the detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time in at least four years.

The regime also restored some Internet access and announced that it had freed hundreds of detained Buddhist monks who led the protests.

The military, which has ruled this country also known as Burma for 45 years, rarely makes any concessions, but analysts warned the gestures were a bid to ward off tougher international action.

"The regime is trying to cool down international pressure. The junta hopes to defuse pressure as the UN Security Council is likely to take some action against Burma following Gambari's briefing," Thailand-based Myanmar analyst Win Min said.

Junta leader Than Shwe has made a heavily conditioned offer to hold talks with Aung San Suu Kyi, insisting that the Nobel peace prize winner drop her support for sanctions and tell supporters to stop confronting the government.

"It's a mixed signal. It showed Than Shwe at least recognised internal and international calls for dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi," Win Min said.

"But at the same time, the conditions set by the regime were not realistic at all. It looks like the regime really doesn't want to talk to her."

Aung San Suu Kyi, 62, has spent most of the past 18 years under house arrest but she remains an international symbol of non-violent struggle against tyranny.

The United States has led global calls for her release and warned Friday that it may push for UN sanctions if the ruling junta kept up a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

After Gambari's briefing, the United States, Britain and France circulated a draft of a non-binding statement condemning Myanmar's government.

"The Security Council condemns the violent repression by the government of Myanmar of peaceful demonstrations, including the use of force against religious figures and institutions," the text said.

Gambari told reporters that there was a consensus among members of the Security Council that the status quo in Myanmar "is unacceptable and unsustainable and probably unrealistic."

He also said Aung San Suu Kyi appeared to be in good spirits when he met her.

"But now I think she wants this to be used as an opportunity to really engage in dialogue with the authorities so that together they can move the country forward," he told CNN.

In Yangon, residents declined to comment on the UN draft statement condemning the junta's actions.

"I don't want to talk about politics. Poor people like me are just trying to survive. Now commodity prices are high, but my salary is still low," said a security guard in his 40s who works at a downtown building.

Myanmar's neighbour China has previously sheltered the generals from action at the United Nations.

China's ambassador to the world body, Wang Guangyam, has warned that pressure for greater democratisation "would only lead to confrontation."

Friday, October 05, 2007

Sinful Enjoyment

My wife and I went for a walk at IMM few days back. We were feeling hungry when we happen to pass by this “Tea Room” selling Hong Kong food, which have a display menu showing something interesting, the price is reasonable too. The place looks quite popular as there were only few empty seats left. We decide our pick and my wife quickly take up a seat while I went on to queue ordered a ginger steamed egg, oyster beef with egg and HK crispy chicken with mushroom.

I collected my drinks and steam egg from the counter, then make my way to my table and wait for the main dishes to arrive. The steam egg was very smooth and soft, I can smell the fragrance of ginger as I put it in my month. Interestingly, this delicious dessert does not appear in the menu.

I took the beef rice while my wife had the chicken rice. Not only the rice was done in a different way but they also use different ingredients from what we have in our local food court. For example, the chicken rice was covered with molten cheese, and my wife described the rice as sinful. I didn’t understand the description till I tried the rice, it taste good in my month but at the same time, I started feeling very sinful as the molten cheese make its way through my throat.

The dishes also come with a soup as a set, which have included tremella(白木耳), red date(红枣), and papaya(木瓜). Well, whatever, it is really an enjoyment! I’ll be back, 湾仔香港奶茶店!

Bird flu mutated to infect people more easily.

Bird Flu Virus Mutating Into Human-Unfriendly Form

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The H5N1 bird flu virus has mutated to infect people more easily, although it still has not transformed into a pandemic strain, researchers said on Thursday.

The changes are worrying, said Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"We have identified a specific change that could make bird flu grow in the upper respiratory tract of humans," said Kawaoka, who led the study.

"The viruses that are circulating in Africa and Europe are the ones closest to becoming a human virus," Kawaoka said.

Birds usually have a body temperature of 41 degrees celsius, and humans are 37 degrees celsius usually. The human nose and throat, where flu viruses usually enter, is usually around 33 degrees celsius.
"So usually the bird flu doesn't grow well in the nose or throat of humans," Kawaoka said. This particular mutation allows H5N1 to live well in the cooler temperatures of the human upper respiratory tract.

For Your Eyes Only

Singapore’s First ever eye care festival is on, from 11 October to 14 October 2007, which is this coming Thursday onwards. There will be free eye screening, free health talk by Singapore’s leading optometrists, opticians and ophthalmologists, and free goodie bags will be given out too.

The health talks include topic on contact lens, eye allergies, glaucoma, myopia and others. The festival is held at the Linkbridge Atrium, level 2 of Marina Square. For people who concern much on the windows of your soul, this is a good time to gain good knowledge and do something for yourself and your family.

Thursday, October 04, 2007