Saturday, September 29, 2007

Help The People Of Burma -- Post This Meme On Your Blog!

I found this post on Aine Livia's blog.

Note: This is a new kind of online protest that uses blogs to spread a petition globally. To participate, just add your blog by following the instructions in this blog post.

This not an issue of partisan politics, this is an issue of basic human rights and democracy. Please help to prevent a human tragedy in Burma by adding your blog and asking others to do the same.

By passing this meme on through the blogosphere hopefully we can generate more awareness and avert a serious tragedy. As concerned world-citizens this something we bloggers can do to help.

How to participate:

1. Copy this entire post to your blog, including this special number: 1081081081234

2. After a few days, you can search Google for the number 1081081081234 to find all blogs that are participating in this protest and petition. Note: Google indexes blogs at different rates, so it could take longer for your blog to show up in the results.

3. If you know how to add tags to your blog posts, add the Technorati tag 1081081081234 to your post as well. This will make your post findable sooner in Technorati.


There is no press freedom in Burma and the government has started turning off the Internet and other means of communication, so it is difficult to get news out. Individuals on the ground have been sending their day-by-day reports to the BBC, and they are heartbreaking. I encourage you to read these accounts to see for yourself what is really going on in Burma. Please include this link in your own blog post.

The situation in Burma is increasingly dangerous. Hundreds of thousands of unarmed peaceful protesters, including monks and nuns, are risking their lives to march for democracy against an unpopular but well-armed military dictatorship that will stop at nothing to continue its repressive rule. While the generals in power and their families are literally dripping in gold and diamonds, the people of Burma are impoverished, deprived of basic human rights, cut off from the rest of the world, and increasingly under threat of violence.

This week the people of Burma have risen up collectively in the largest public demonstrations against the ruling Junta in decades. It's an amazing show of bravery, decency, and democracy in action. But although these protests are peaceful, the military rulers are starting to crack down with violence. Already there have been at least several reported deaths, and hundreds of critical injuries from soldiers beating unarmed civilians to the point of death.

The actual fatalities and injuries are probably far worse, but the only news we have is coming from individuals who are sneaking reports past the authorities. Unfortunately it looks like a large-scale blood-bath may ensue -- and the victims will be mostly women, children, the elderly and unarmed monks and nuns.

Contrary to what the Burmese, Chinese and Russian governments have stated, this is not merely a local internal political issue, it is an issue of global importance and it affects the global community. As concerned citizens, we cannot allow any government anywhere in the world to use its military to attack and kill peacefully demonstrating, unarmed citizens.

In this modern day and age violence against unarmed civilians is unacceptable and if it is allowed to happen, without serious consequences for the perpetrators, it creates a precedent for it to happen again somewhere else. If we want a more peaceful world, it is up to each of us to make a personal stand on these fundamental issues whenever they arise.

Please join me in calling on the Burmese government to negotiate peacefully with its citizens, and on China to intervene to prevent further violence. And please help to raise awareness of the developing situation in Burma so that hopefully we can avert a large-scale human disaster there.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sorry, Where'd You Get Your Body From Again?

This is one HAWT music video. ~drool~ Sorry, I was totally distracted just now. Where did she say she got it from again? ;)


Friday, September 21, 2007

Sedilix - My Friend, My Enemy

If you've been following my Jaiku presence, you should be able to remember my new best friend Sedilix, seduced by none other than my sexy voice. Sedilix has been in my life for only a week and from being my best friend, she is now my enemy. So who is this Sedilix character, you ask? Let me now share with you my love-hate relationship with Sedilix, my cherry flavoured cough syrup.

I've been under the weather for awhile now and it took a turn for the worse last weekend. It was a crazy thing to do especially in my condition then but I just had to do it, no two ways about it. Anyway, I didn't think I would end up so sick. Everyone thinks they are Superman and are protected from the elements, no? I was no different. My voice became sexier than Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley combined. So I had no choice but to turn to Sedilix to ease my constant coughing and undo my sexy voice before more girls fall prey to its siren.

You should know the contents of a bottle of cough syrup and Sedilix is no different. It makes you drowsy. At first, it's a wonderful feeling. It's like you're walking on clouds. You sleep really well. You wake up the next morning feeling fresh. Most importantly, you don't cough that much anymore and can speak a sentence without raining saliva on your listeners.

The only problem is, after a few days of cherry flavoured heaven, you start to feel really awful. You feel drowsy even when you are not taking the medication. You sleep all day long. You become unproductive. You can't think straight. It's usually the meds talking and not you. You always feel like you're walking on a rocking boat. You get so addicted to the cherry flavoured poison, you go back to it time and again so you don't feel like shit. Yup, it's definitely time to throw away the bottle!

Now it is my enemy and I've to get rid of the evil bottle. Only thing is, I still need it. Not because I need it to constantly mess up my mind and make me feel like I'm flying without wings but to relieve my coughing which has been successfully reduced to just a random itch now and then. So what should I do? Should I continue to drink the poison or walk away from it? You tell me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Finding Grace

No, this is not a review about the book by Alyssa Brugman. I attended a Scientific Writing Workshop at the Eureka building earlier in the week not because I didn't know how to write scientifically but I wanted to know if I could learn anything new from the nine hours or so lecture and of course, it is free. Turns out I discovered a little bit more than that.

There wasn't much in the scientific writing department that I didn't already know. To be honest, all the pointers in the workshop isn't exactly the be all and end all. There's a different requirement from each journal and you have to cater to the requirements of each journal as you submit to them. Also, a lot of the things covered during the workshop was truly elementary stuff and I was quite surprised to see many who didn't know those stuff. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they are really, really new to all of this (although some of the participants were actually lecturers). Well, it's still good to have a refresher course, I suppose. That's the reason I was there anyway but the difference is, I know those stuff but they don't.

There was this one slide towards the end of the workshop that reminded me very much of someone complaining about the comments he received from his dissertation examiners. The slide was about how you should face rejections (more likely how NOT to react).
Do Not Tell the Editor
- everything looked okay to me
- one of the reviewers agreed with me so I did not change anything
- the reviewer(s) who disagreed with me knows nothing about ....
- "everybody" knows things work this way
- you should accept this article beacuse you published one that was worse than this last year
I was nodding my head off as each point was projected on the screen. The points were too similar to that incident that it was impossible for me not to connect them both together. In fact, that person has trouble major issues with rejection. It is clear for all to see except himself. It's a pity really especially when he can so easily label others to be "over sensitive" when it is he himself that has epidermis the thickness of a tissue paper.

What actually kept me awake was the antics of a certain person I call the "Eager Beaver". Don't get me wrong, the speaker was very interesting but I easily get distracted whenever they regurgitate things that I already know. This eager beaver was so engrossed with the speaker that he nodded in agreement to practically all of the points put forward, laughed at all of the speaker's jokes and flipped his head from speaker to screen and back ever so often I was getting a headache just following the movement of the bobbing and turning head.

There was also this terrorist-looking dude (I don't mean to put a label on him or stereotype but he did look like one and for the sake of illustration, just bear with me for this instance) sitting next to him and whenever the Eager Beaver were to nod his head too enthusiastically when in actual fact there wasn't anything really interesting with what the speaker has mentioned, he would turn his head and look at him with a serious I-want-to-eat-your-first-born stare. It was simply entertaining just looking at the two of them and they kept we awake throughout the workshop.

I also discovered some new things about my friends. For example, I found out that one of them can be quite brazen, so much so that I was ashamed of myself! And here I thought I can be quite thick-skinned. It was all fun though but sometimes I feared getting clawed at by some old aunty that he insulted. :P

Another person I realised was quite kiasu. OK, maybe A LOT. OK, maybe I already know but definitely not to this extent. Although he sat behind all of us in the auditorium, he would be one of the first out the door and queueing up for food. For the first time, I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he's really hungry but when it happened again, it all but confirmed my suspicions.

During the last part of the workshop, we were suppose to work in groups to edit a horribly written abstract. When it came to giving our answers, our team managed to name most of the mistakes including the most important last piece that enabled everyone to go home. :)

The speaker commented that we were behind the Koreans who managed to name the most number of mistakes among all the participants that had attended his workshop. I have a strong hypothesis on how they managed that feat. What they actually did was probably pull out the lecture notes and named every point there is, hoping to nail all the fifteen mistakes in the process, very much like using a sledgehammer to kill a fly. Sure, you can name the most number of mistakes this way but you sure won't get a high precision rate. At least our team's success rate was pretty high (nearly 100%).

You'll be surprised to hear some of the silly answers given by other groups. It really shows what a novice they are at scientific/academic writing. Even lecturers can give you the lamest of answers. Sure, there's nothing wrong in trying. In fact, if you do not try, your chance of success is 0% but if you gave it a shot, it would be 50-50. I agree with that saying very much but in this case, I agree with another one even more.
"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."
Ultimately, I learned a lot of stuff from this workshop but unfortunately, they do not belong to the scientific writing category. I still enjoyed the nine hours or so, although I was pretty late. :P All in all, I learned two important things from the workshop, 1) you have to find grace in your writing to capture the attention of your readers and 2) use hot pink to make corrections! ;)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Something Of Interest To Card Players

I'm not much of a card person. I do play cards once in awhile but usually only during special occasions. That's why I do not have any card tables at my house but if I ever do catch the card bug and find myself playing poker or some other card games more frequently, I know exactly where to look for one.

Cardroom Supply has one of the internet's largest selection of high quality poker tables and poker supplies. You'll be surprised to know the type of tables that are specially used for playing cards and the prices are sure not cheap! Don't worry though, you'll get generous discounts if you purchase through Cardroom Supply and shipping is free for purchases above $100.

Another good thing is they send all orders out as fast and safe as possible as 90% of their tables are in stock and ship the same or next business day. Delivery will usually take between one to three weeks but you shouldn't need to wait too long for your purchases to arrive since they've shortened the processing time.

Buying from Cardroom Supply is easy as they use Yahoo! Store platform as their main selling source and they accept a wide variety of payment methods. I'm not saying that just because this is a paid review. The site is a bit sluggish but that shouldn't impair your buying experience too much.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I've Joined Jaiku

Before I proceed, I'm sure my loyal readers would have realised by now that my blog has gone through yet another redesign. It's been a few months since I did some decluttering on my blog. I thought it was time for a little more decluttering and I've also taken into account the comments I've received (such as the narrow blog column in particular :P) and made some changes to the whole layout. Let me know how you feel about this new layout. :)

Alright, back to topic. I've joined Jaiku. So what's Jaiku? It's actually a micro-blogging service where you get updates I post about myself (or whatever I decide to comment on) immediately on your mobile phones (or emails if you prefer). Sure everyone's on Twitter and Malaysians are warming up to PacMee but I think Jaiku's for me.

With Twitter suffering constant outages and PacMee being a paid service (and only restricted to Maxis and Hotlink users), I think my choosing Jaiku is quite justified. Also, it has a lot more features than Twitter which I feel will come in real handy. For example, you can also share your RSS subscriptions and comment on each Jaiku update, something Twitter and PacMee isn't capable of.

So how does this thing work? Everytime I post an update, say I'm watching Ratatouille at Queensbay Mall or I'm eating Char Koay Teow at New Lane or I saw something interesting that I wanted to share with you all, you will receive that update through SMS, email and/or instant messenger quite instantaneously.

So why have I decided to let you all in on mundane stuff like what I'm eating? Well, actually I'm not exactly gonna flood you guys with what I'm having for breakfast, lunch and dinner but if I do find something interesting, I can immediately post an update. It's much easier than writing a full length blog post but will definitely not replace blogging.

So fret not. I will still be blogging here but you may have realised I've not been blogging as frequently as before and I constantly get requests for new blog entries to be posted up (or even storytelling sessions through instant messaging) although I do not have the time and/or motivation to do so. So with Jaiku, I'll be able to update more frequently and you won't have to wait so long for updates (and stories). With each update limited to only 140 characters, the longer "stories" will still be featured on this blog. ;)

Some have complained that the updates take awhile to reach their intended recipients but from the trials I've run, the updates are quite instantaneous. Maybe there will be times when the service will suffer a little lag time but I'm sure it's better than Twitter and its constant outages, no?

So how do you get my Jaiku updates? See the Jaiku badge on the right side of my blog? Click on the "Follow kshern on" link, register for a Jaiku account, add me as a contact, set and confirm your notifications for mobile, email and/or instant messaging and you're set. The process is very simple, really.

Will it cost you anything to receive the updates? Nope, it's totally free even if I flood you with a million updates a day (which I will not...I promise...cross my heart and hope to die :P). The only time you need to pay anything is a one-time charge of 20sen (if you're from Malaysia) for the international SMS reply to Jaiku to confirm you would like to receive updates from your mobile phone. You'll have to set this through the notification page.

It's more costly for me to update from my phone than PacMee (20sen vs 10sen per update) but I can always opt for the web or Google Talk option to post updates which is totally free. At least with Jaiku, my friends on Digi can still receive my updates whereas PacMee is exclusively for Maxis and Hotlink users only.

Come on now, register your own Jaiku account and join me on this journey. Get ready to receive my Jaiku spam! :)