October 31, 2008


I mentioned before that I had no intention of buying the Casio camera. I already have a camera, a BenQ given by Starhub and if I buy, my preference was either Sony or Panasonic. Nevertheless, I was persuaded into buying the Casio.

I think there were two reasons: It was on special offer and with free gifts and I don't mind having another camera.

I thought of a letter in the papers. The writer claimed he went to a bank to deposit money but was persuaded to put his money into some other investment instead. This is not related to the Lehman Brothers or those bonds mentioned in the news..

I suppose quite a number of people were persuaded this way. But then if the investments made money and they collected their dividends, I think they would be smiling away. On the other hand, when the investments were not doing well and they saw their savings dwindling, they said they were not told the risks and said the banks should not be allowed to sell such investment products.

My view is that people themselves have to bear some responsibility too. Why did they change their mind in the first place and didn't just deposit their money in the bank.

October 29, 2008

Street opera scene at Chinatown, Singapore

This is the street opera now on till 30 October at Spring Street, Chinatown.

A few years back there was more excitement during this time of the year because on some days there were two operas going on at adjacent fields at the same time, one Cantonese and one Hokkien. At that time there were three empty fields. Now there is a Buddhist Monument on one plot of land and another plot of land was converted into a car park.

Still further back ten years or more, I remember there were also street opera at Mosque Street and Keong Siak Street at certain times of the year.

Here is a short clip of the scene three days ago. The background singing was by Long Koon Tin and Wong Kum Tong. Perhaps in future when you watch this, you could only reminisce with nostalgia.

October 27, 2008

Another accident

First about the car accident.

Repairs: about $40 more and it would be $2000, double the amount I first estimated. One unexpected item was replaced - the radiator. Maybe there were damages I couldn't see from the top. Exclude the radiator and probably Victor's and MD's estimate of $1600 were correct. It was only a small accident, yet repairs cost so much. No wonder premium keeps going up and insurers are reluctant to insure accident-prone drivers.

The workshop is one of INCOME's quality workshops. I would say repairs are well-done, and there is guarantee for 6 months.

Another accident

It involved my camera, the blue Casio camera I bought more than a year ago and which I had written a post about.

It slipped out of my hands, at standing chest-level high, and plummeted about 130cm onto the concrete floor. If you still remember your Physics, when an object falls, potential energy is converted into kinetic energy. You can calculate the speed at which the camera struck the floor. The force of impact depends on the mass of the object and speed at that instance.

For example, if you are speeding and your car hit a tree, the tremendous force will smash up the car and kill you.

As for the fate of my camera, the impact caused the cover of the battery compartment to break open and the battery tumbled out. The screen and lens were OK. I put the parts back quite easily. It can still function but now pictures taken look like this:

October 24, 2008

Car accident

Getting into an accident, even a minor one, gives you a lot of inconvenience and repairs are expensive. Even if you don't have to pay, it may affect your insurance premium. So drive with care.

I had a small unfortunate accident not long ago. The damages are shown below. Inside, one top corner of the radiator was dislodged from the front of the car but the car could still be driven normally. How much you think repairs cost?

OK, give you answers to choose, to the nearest $100: $800, $1200, $1600, $2000

Fortunately, I had an eye-witness and I think the other side was honest when making his report. But still there was the hassle of taking down particulars & taking photos, reporting, sending to workshop, looking for witness to get his statement, etc, etc.

The workshop claim advisor told me that if the other party admits that it is his fault, get him to write it down and sign it on the spot, lest he changes his mind and blames you later on.

October 18, 2008

Some interesting pictures

These pictures are copied from other blogs.

Rock formation - what creature do you see ?

- see, the woman's face and the face on the book cover in almost perfect alignment

, three-inch feet - women in ancient China bound their feet to fit into these tiny shoes

Pain - I think this is from Shanice's blog.

October 13, 2008


Writers normally name their stories in sequence - Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, ....

This story book I'm reading, the writer named his chapters 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13,17, 19, and so on. The last chapter is 233.

Do you recognize these numbers? Yes, they are prime numbers or primes.

Remember what primes are? Well, they are numbers which have 2, and only two, factors and the factors are itself and 1.

So, 4 is not a prime number because it has 3 factors - 1, 2, 4. Also, 1 is not a prime number because it has only 1 factor - 1.

Mathematicians are intrigued by prime numbers because prime numbers have no formula and there are also no patterns. There is no formula to tell you if a very big number, say 21203, is a prime number or not. There is also no formula to find out for example what is the 1000
th prime number.

Mathematicians may know the largest prime number to date but there is always the next one waiting to be discovered.

All these may be useless information for us. But I read that prime numbers have some very important applications. They have to do with secret codes.

The fact that the writer used prime numbers to name his chapters tells us that he loves mathematics.

October 11, 2008

Braised mei cai with pork

Not long ago I read YG's blog post about how to prepare this dish. So I tried it out with sweet mei cai and not-so-fat pork. It is quite easy but you must wash the mei cai (mui choy in cantonese) clean and soak it in water for at least 30 minutes.

The picture doesn't look very appealing but don't be fooled by its look.
The taste is not bad. I would rate it 6.5/10. But as teachers like to tell us 'there is room for improvement'.

By the way there was a principal who used to write the same remark in the report book of every sec 1 pupil, from the top pupil in standard to the last. You know what he wrote? Just four words:

You must rearrange the letters. I think like that more fun for you.

Coming: 厦门高甲戏, see Chinese Opera Performance

October 05, 2008

My Singapore

I bought this book recently. From the caricatures of the characters, I think you can recognize many of them. Below are some pages from the book.

An Aussie's experience performing Cantonese opera for the first time.

October 03, 2008

Another look at the Monty Hall Problem

The book I was referring to looks at the Monty Hall Problem the following way which sounds logical to me:

Suppose Door 1 and Door 2 has a goat behind it and Door 3, the Car. Possible outcome:

You choose Door 1, the host reveals Door 2.
You switch doors, you WIN

You choose Door 2, the host reveals Door 1.
You switch, you WIN

You choose Door 3.
The host reveals either Door 1 or 2
You switch, you LOSE

So if you switch, your chance is 2 in 3 or 66.7%.

In other words, if you don't switch, actually nothing has changed. The host is just revealing the doors to you one by one. So your chance is the same as the original, 1 in 3 and not 1 in 2.

Revealing a door when you have already made your choice does not improve your chance if you do nothing.

Hahaha, logical or not?

October 02, 2008

The Monty Hall Problem

When I first read about the Monty Hall Problem I didn't pay much attention to it. Recently MK wrote something about this. A book I am reading has a chapter about it too. If you have not heard of it before, here it is :

You are in a game show on TV. In this show, the idea is to win a car as a prize. The host of the show shows you 3 doors. He tells you there is a car behind one of the doors and there are goats behind the other two doors. He asks you to pick a door. So you pick a door. Then the host, who knows what is behind each door, opens a door you didn't pick to reveal a goat. He says that you have a final chance to change your mind and ask you if you want to pick another door.

What should you do? Do you have a better chance if you change and pick the other door instead?

Most people think it doesn't matter. Whichever remaining door you choose the chance is 1 in 2 or 50:50. Not true. If you change your door, the chance is higher, 2 in 3.

It is quite intriguing and not easy to understand but it could be proved.

If you are interested, search for Monty Hall problem and read it up.

I tried out the game with 3 cards, one card with the word CAR written on it and the other two cards with the word GOAT. Every time I changed the original card I had picked. Results: 7 out of 10 times I got a car. That means if I didn't change the card I got a car only 3 out of 10 times.