Singaporeans are the most emotionless

Channel News Asia reported that Singapore is ranked as the most emotionless society in the world. Yet another honor our country of 5 million clinch.

Singapore has been ranked as the most emotionless society in the world, according to a Bloomberg News report on a Gallup survey.

“If you measure Singapore by the traditional indicators, they look like one of the best-run countries in the world,” Gallup partner Jon Clifton was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. “But if you look at everything that makes life worth living, they’re not doing so well.”

According to the report, not many Singaporeans answered “yes” to negative questions, and to questions measuring happiness, such as, had they smiled yesterday, had they learnt something interesting or felt respected or well-rested?

Only 36 per cent of Singaporeans responded affirmatively to either the positive or negative questions.

According to Gallup’s research, only 2 per cent of the country’s workers feel engaged by their jobs. The global average is 11 per cent.

So is it true? That Singaporeans are emotionless? I will claim that our lives are too stable and we don’t face enough ups and downs to sway our emotions in either directions. Also, Singaporeans aren’t assertive enough. This might lead to people just kinda sit on the fence on questions like this.

Lady Gaga song in National Day Parade

Here is one of Singapore’s more cringe-inducing moments. Someone decided it’s a good idea to change Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance into a song about National Day Parade 2011 door gifts. Well it didn’t quite work out. Time and again I open this video to relive the moment of awkwardness. I feel our nation owes Lady Gaga an apology for this. It’s embarrassing and we aren’t at our proudest.

Take a look at the lyrics though, see what they emphasized. Apparently a lot of effort is made to localize an imported song to make it ours. The song embodied our nation’s general strategy — to take what’s proven outside and give it a local spin. There’s Newater, there’s coffee Kopi-O, so what went wrong? It just didn’t blend — saucy song with cheesy lyrics, unless you are PSY with Gangnam Style, you can’t pull it off.

Here are the lyrics:

Ohhh
Time for the fun pack song
Ohhh
We like the fun pack song

Let’s start with the bag
That’s right, grab your bag
It’s the fun pack bag
Attack the fun pack

(Repeats)

Hold up your flag, don’t you forget
You can wave it if you feel like it
Let’s wave the flag
Wave wave wave
Let’s wave the flag
Take out your light stick, it’s two of a kind
It’s interactive, means you can join
Just pretend
Oh oh oh… It’s a disco

(Rap)

You know that I want you
And you know that I need you
I want a wet, wet tissue

I want Newater and I want a cold drink
You and me, let’s share a bit
I want a biscuit and I want a sweet
You and me, let’s share this treat

Kopi-O
Time for the fun pack song
Kopi-O
We like the fun pack song

Let’s start with the bag
That’s right, grab your bag
It’s the fun pack bag
Attack the fun pack

I want Newater and I want a cold drink
You and me, let’s share a bit
I want a biscuit and I want a sweet
You and me, let’s share this treat

Kopi-O
Time for the fun pack song
Kopi-O
We like the fun pack song

Let’s start with the bag
That’s right, grab your bag
It’s the fun pack bag
Attack the fun pack!

Default surfing

Know of the time when your mind’s spacing out and your fingers start typing things in your address bar and pressing Enter?

It used to be Yahoo.com that I go to when I have nothing in mind. I don’t know why but it seems like my mind’s portal of choice. Uh, it’s not mine, it’s my mind’s. Anyway, it has since changed to Facebook.com and I am concerned.

I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.com, that it is that I love to hate it. Facebook.com has my photographs and life trapped in it and just the other day I was using Facebook to date a particular moment of my life. I am so reliant on a channel that it almost is part of me. My friends are there, okay, my friends’ profiles are there. Facebook manages to make me feel I’ve done my social homework everyday and it fulfills my need to be close to people somewhat sufficiently.

But, there are times when I typed Facebook.com on my browser windows only to close it in defiance. This is the rebel facility in my mind acting up. I call it a bunch of names:

  • Unsocial
  • Fake social
  • Toilet status machine
  • Rant Reader 2.0

At one point of time I blocked myself from Facebook.com by, very smartly, adding Facebook.com to my /etc/hosts file. I remained proud of myself till the day I had to do some work on Facebook. I now have it unblocked and Chrome is picking it up as one of my most frequented sites.

So let’s look at my most frequented sites:

  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • Hacker News
  • Google Reader
  • YouTube
  • Gmail
  • Cafyn
  • CNN

Okay I can’t continue my topic from here, let’s go back to the topic on Facebook.

My point is Facebook has become some sort of a validation tool. Nothing happened unless it’s on Facebook. Went to Australia? No you didn’t, because it ain’t on Facebook. Which is why it took me so long to put up my Sydney and Melbourne photographs (I still have yet to). I felt a part of me is putting it up to confirmed my presence in Australia and that disturbed me.

And think of the time you do something good and write on Facebook.com. What happens? Your friends flock to Like your comment. You feel pleased and your act of kindness is validated by their likes. For the lazy, Facebook is the new moral compass. “I’m not sure what I am doing is right or not. I’ll put it on Facebook.”

Then the rants. Facebook is the most unhappy website for me because I read far too many complaints I feel unhappy too. There’s just too many rants on Facebook until I feel a little less reading lightens my mood.

Now look at your news feed and look at what people are sharing on Facebook. I’m not sure about your news feed but mine is filled with music videos. “Charles shared this with me the –” I stopped and thought for a while. Well he did share it to Facebook but it wasn’t specifically to me. Suddenly sharing the way I understand is evolving. I don’t feel the exclusivity anymore and they’re sharing everything they found interesting. I missed the times when shares are with more intent, now things are just so random. Furthermore I don’t feel my friend really shared things with me. My friend just delegated the sharing to Facebook. My friend is Facebook.

I am back to blocking Facebook. I’m staying away from it for a while. It’s getting depressing.

Interesting discoveries #01

I wrote on a set of interesting discoveries I made in this week. It’s somewhat inspired by Sayanee Basu’s Build podcast, you can check it out on iTunes by searching “build podcast” where she introduces different tools to build applications.

1. John McAfee

First is John McAfee, the McAfee in the anti-virus software of a similar name. You can read more in this WIRED article. McAfee, 67 years of age, is wanted for murder in Belize — a murder he claims he did not commit. The homicide victim is McAfee’s neighbor, Gregory Faull, who was killed by a gunshot wound in his head. I read the full account through this Amazon Kindle Single. Through that I came to learn how McAfee started his business by giving the antivirus software for free until companies felt compelled to be paying his company a fee. I shan’t spoil it more.

2. Organizational Structure That Supports Your Digital Presence

Also interesting is Paul Boag’s write up on a simple organization structure to support a digital presence featured in Smashing Magazine. It’s an accessible read with good examples to illustrate how it could be done.

3. Dumb Ways To Die

Madelyn shared this with me the other day and it is quite possibly the best video I watched all week. Dumb Ways To Die is a Melbourne Metro viral video, you can read more about it here. I love the song and video. Please watch it here:

4. The David Petraeus Scandal

What? David what? Really it doesn’t matter at all. It’s such a non-issue in fact that making it an issue all over news websites becomes the issue itself. Short story — David Petraeus, director of CIA, has an affair with his biographer could have possibly put the country at risk. Did Pertaeus reveal anything then? Nobody knows, but a scandal’s a scandal and Americans are concerned anyhow. John Prados’ Washington Post article cannot have articulated this better.

5. The issue with unions

The death of Twinkie is imminent anyway but the reason as to way it died is partly due to unions. Previously the troubled company behind Twinkie, Hostess Brands, declared bankruptcy to save itself some money, after which employee wages and benefits were cut. The union organized a strike and Hostess claimed that it is unable to operate in such circumstances and shut its operations. Unions which supposed to help workers didn’t this time around. The New Yorker has a good overview. This also reminds me of how Caterpillar manages to make unions ineffective but continuing operations during strikes by hiring temporary workers and not bowing down repeatedly. The concept of unions might be in need of a change for good.

6. Romney supporters looking for agent to blame — Orca

So Romney lost as we learnt last week. Supporters have switched to pointing fingers. One interesting agent to blame is Romney campaign’s Orca project. Ars Technica initially wrote that Microsoft is responsible for Orca but has since reverse that claim. Now no consultant seems responsible for Orca, claims Ars Technica again. There’re so little news of Romney’s Orca project who that the presidential candidate has dismantled his campaigns, you know, bury it under the carpet, and try again four years later. Orca is in response to Obama’s Narwhal project which isn’t exactly a software but more of an emphasis towards real time campaign data analytics. I can’t forget Orca though, nothing is clear at all and it annoys me so little is being mentioned on it.

7. On Gong Li

I’m back to watching movies and this week I caught Zhang Yimou’s Red Sorghum. My favorite parts of the movie is its cinematography and Gong Li. The whole film is a visual treat and yet it’s so simple. There’s also something about Gong Li that makes her so mesmerizing and she is undoubtedly one of the most consistently good actresses I have watched.

8. Tower.js

Not really a new discovery but I am amazed by how fast Tower.js is moving. Lance Pollard’s Tower.js is a relatively new web framework that is build on JavaScript, Node.js platform. I haven’t done any actual projects on it but it’s something I am loving. The fact that they chose CoffeeScript makes things really appealing. The only downside is the MongoDB support which is still hard for me to change. This increases the learning curve but I fancy the idea where web developers only need to essentially know CoffeeScript/JavaScript to could a web application in both client and server side. I’ll definitely be exploring more and I can probably write some getting started guide soon.

9. Euthyphro dilemma

In its modified form: “Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?” You can read more in Wikipedia about this. Refrain from making a conclusion too fast.

End note

It’s been a short week. I haven’t done as much reading as I hope. I’m making a transition out of the company I worked for — Cherry Credits. It represents a key change of direction for me. It will have no more PHP, will be moving to somewhere with much more JavaScript. I’ll share more when the time is right.

Court dissatisfied with Apple’s acknowledgement

Apple told to rewrite ‘Samsung did not copy’ statement, post it on front page until Dec 14. Here’s what Apple wrote contemptuously:

Samsung / Apple UK judgment

On 9th July 2012 the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Samsung Electronic (UK) Limited’s Galaxy Tablet Computer, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe Apple’s registered design No. 0000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the High court is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Patents/2012/1882.html.

In the ruling, the judge made several important points comparing the designs of the Apple and Samsung products:

“The extreme simplicity of the Apple design is striking. Overall it has undecorated flat surfaces with a plate of glass on the front all the way out to a very thin rim and a blank back. There is a crisp edge around the rim and a combination of curves, both at the corners and the sides. The design looks like an object the informed user would want to pick up and hold. It is an understated, smooth and simple product. It is a cool design.”

“The informed user’s overall impression of each of the Samsung Galaxy Tablets is the following. From the front they belong to the family which includes the Apple design; but the Samsung products are very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back. They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool.”

That Judgment has effect throughout the European Union and was upheld by the Court of Appeal on 18 October 2012. A copy of the Court of Appeal’s judgment is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/1339.html. There is no injunction in respect of the registered design in force anywhere in Europe.

However, in a case tried in Germany regarding the same patent, the court found that Samsung engaged in unfair competition by copying the iPad design. A U.S. jury also found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple’s design and utility patents, awarding over one billion U.S. dollars in damages to Apple Inc. So while the U.K. court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement, other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung willfully copied Apple’s far more popular iPad.

The UK court of appeals is not at all amused and demanded Apple make necessary corrections and change it within 48 hours. Also as a requirement is Apple prominently display the order in 11 points font and above. Apple claims such changes with take 2 weeks, a claim the court find unbelievable.