Friday, 31 March 2006

Having to share what I know is probably one of the most bizarre experience in my life, especially when it involves returning to the very place that I got my degree.

Returned to Avondale on Monday to help take a PR class on how to write a media release and pitch to the media. It was the strangest experience, being in the same classroom that I was in as a student and teaching instead.

Thankfully, it wasn't a strict lecture session. We were separated into two groups of four and I sat with one, simply guiding them with my "wealth of experience".

At the start of discussion, I simply sat there, not knowing what to say. It was rather weird to be placed in a group of strangers and having to "impart" to them what is supposed to be pearls of wisdom.

I had so much difficulty trying to share. I think there's a reason why teaching never crossed my mind as a career option. I kept assuming that what I said held no weight because I would only be stating the obvious. I was at a loss as to what to point out and what not to.

Not to mention the part where I got really frustrated because I kept thinking, "why can't you just write something!?" without being able to fully empathise that the students really had no clue.

That saying, the lesson went rather well and I think they did get a better idea of how to write media releases and pitch stories to the media. But it did nothing to convince me of a change in career, I'll leave the teaching to the teachers.

And guess what? The teaching experience continues. I have to take a seminar next Saturday involving the communication secretaries of the local churches, teaching them how to write media releases and news articles.

Now what do I say to them?

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Wednesday, 29 March 2006

I nearly died laughing when I saw this.

I knew it wouldn't take long before some smart alec came up with a spoof of the Tourism Australia ad - with all the unfortunately true infamous Australian incidents at that (except the dingo bit...)

[Thanks to Della for the link.]

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Tuesday, 28 March 2006

What in the world?

Being raptured is supposed to be dangerous and life-endangering?

[Thanks to Garth for the link.]

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How much better can it get?

One of my favourite actors praising one of my favourite musicians.

Thought it was interesting how philosophical and Christian the train of thought was...

[Thanks to Ida for the link.]

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Monday, 27 March 2006

Who would have thought I'd spend Saturday evening on a race track, first watching cars race and then watching drivers deliberately ram their cars into each other, with the sole determination of fully wrecking their vehicles?

Went to the Parramatta Speedway with some friends from work two nights ago and I have to say it was the first time in my life that I'd ever experience anything like this.

First there were the funny solar-powered looking sprintcars flying around the tracks with their engines roaring and mud flying (specks of which landed on us on time to time) which unsurprisingly led to the occassional accidents...

Seeing the cars fly through the air and crash onto the ground was really rather heart-stopping. The driver of this crash actually got out intact and conscious. An accident in the next race however resulted in the driver having to be sedated, car cut up to move him while still attached to his seat and driven off to the hospital because of a previous neck and back injury.

The entire process took about two hours, which resulted in the other races being cancelled/postponed (I have no idea) while we sat around chatting and listening to music.

At least they didn't cancel the demolition derby, which was one heck of a crazy event.

About 10 to 15 cars driving around with only one goal - smashing into each other. The last car standing was the winner, although I have to assure you that the winner of Saturday night's race would not be driving his car out on the road in a hurry. And it really wasn't standing very much.

This wasn't the winner, but it gives a pretty good picture of how the cars ended up. What was hilarious was seeing the cars actually still attempt to move despite having their tyres sticking out in weird angles and boot completely smashed up.

Oh the things we do for entertainment.

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Friday, 24 March 2006

One wonders if this is going to cause similar riots as the ones of Muhammad did...

For some of us, Sabbath means a day of extra special rest (early Friday night, sleeping in on Saturday morning, afternoon naps...) but it's a manic day for others (preparing lesson studies, sermons or some sort of program on Friday night, early Saturday morning to make that one hour trip to church, activities till evening...)

The truth is, the Sabbath day is pretty different and special.

The only problem is, for some of us, it's also the only special day where we suddenly become a completely different person doing things we would not "normally" do.

Shouldn't our lives be more consistent than that?

There's nothing wrong in doing what you feel is the best way in which you can honour the Sabbath for God. The problem only comes when we suddenly get all high and mighty on the Sabbath, tsk-tsking at others who may not observe it the way we would.

No wonder cartoons like this exists.

[Thanks to Kristin for the link.]

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Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Update: The Japanese have a bigger problem - they can't translate the ad.

Usually, when you think ads inviting people to visit a certain country, you think slow heartwarming music, beautiful scenary, enticing activities. Not a tagline that loudly asks, "So where the bloody hell are you?"

I couldn't help but watch incredulously when I first realised that the new Tourism Australia ad would be your face, to put it politely.

The creators behind the ad are the same people who brought the world the award-winning 100% Pure New Zealand campaign (now those were really well done). What were they thinking with this one?

No wonder it got banned in the UK where the word is seen as a much worse swear word than it is in Australia.

And apparently it's now banned in Canada too (although for a different reason).

The hilarity of the situation makes me laugh every time, but I guess sometimes the myth "any PR is good PR" does work sometimes. The publicity that's been generated over the ad is probably more than anybody could ever dream of.

Maybe the ad guys were thinking with this one...

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Thursday, 16 March 2006

Oh dear, My Heritage has just revealed something rather disturbing using their celebrity face recognition software.

My Heritage Pic 1

It's not the fact that they've decided that I look like someone of the opposite gender that disturbs me. I mean, computers are stupid after all right?

Unfortunately, I think I actually do look like that unknown Korean actor. So am I the one with the masculine features, or is he the one with the feminine ones?

My Heritage Pic 2

At least the second try revealed a female celebrity of sorts...who she is I do not know, but at least she's female!

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Wednesday, 15 March 2006

No wonder the Microsoft ipod parody was so well-done. Seems like it was produced by Microsoft's packaging team as an internal joke.

Gotta give it to Microsoft for having the ability to laugh at themselves though.

[Thanks to Seth Godin for the link.]

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Oh my goodness, I didn't realise there were that many ways to tie shoelaces.

Which one do you use?

I think I use the second one, but I'm not sure. Trying to visualise tying laces without actually have laces is a challenge for me...

[Thanks to Seth Godin for the link.]

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Tuesday, 14 March 2006

Guilty as charged. That friend mentioned in her blog entry? *raises hand*

At the risk of sounding rather hypocritical (after all, I left Singapore didn't I?), I think I need to put in my two cents worth regarding the Paved with Good Intentions article.

Here's the main reason why I began questioning whether it was the Singaporean Dream, or simply the dream of Colin, the author of the article:

But I had the job, and more important, the income. They brought me a measure of social acceptability. Parents' friends would nod approvingly, non-lawyer friends would remark how much lower their salaries were. I made enough to afford membership in a club I never had time to step into, and for season parking in town. I had credit cards and designer ties. I could share war stories about work that might have seemed glamourous to non-lawyer friends, weaned as they were ona diet of Ally McBeal. I was in the secure embrace of the Singaporean Dream...I then made a classic Singaporean evaluation: if I'm going to suffer, then by god, I'll suffer for more money.
The thing is, I don't think that was ever the Singaporean Dream. It was a pure and simple materialistic dream.

Unless I had lost my memory sometime in the past and was raised overseas, growing up in Singapore never provided me with the Singaporean Dream.

Maybe it was because I was raised by parents who were determined for me to chase my dream (which was not The Dream - in fact, for the longest of times, I wanted to be an archaeologist, probably the anti-thesis of THE Dream).

Maybe it was because I had alternate influences (which is hard to imagine considering Singapore ain't that big, or possesses many varied types of influences).

Maybe it was because I have always been a rebel, refusing to quite settle into the norm of things and am so unique and special that pursuing the Singaporean Dream seems to have virtually unaffected me!

Yeah, right.

Thing is, I'm not that unique and special (I hope to think I am a little, just for the benefit of my fragile ego). Most of my friends who are born and raised in Singapore do not chase the so-called Singaporean Dream.

I'm not saying that Singaporeans aren't materialistic. I have met people who would fit Colin's description to a tee, but they don't all come from Singapore. Materialistic people are the same everywhere. So if it is indeed the Singaporean Dream, why do I meet more people who do not dream the Dream than I do people who dream the Dream?
My experience in Singapore was, however, very different. There were always people telling you what and how you should do things, and imposing penalties fordeviation. There were 'right' schools, 'right' professions, 'right' strategies.

Have I been living in a black hole for the first 20 years of my life? Because in all honesty, that has hardly happened to me.

I was always free to choose my own path in life, albeit somewhat restricted due to the limited choices around (which I have to agree, may be a reflection of the Singaporean government wanting us to do what is "right"), but it has never been that big a problem.

I chose to go to Cedar Girls' Secondary not because it was the "right" school to go to, but because I liked what the marketers said when they came to my primary school to promote it.

I chose to go to Yishun Junior College because it offered the strand of history that I wanted to study (we shall not dwell too long on the fact that they decided to scrap that idea after I enrolled....), had a rather entertaining Literature lecturer and I had met some brilliant people there who are still my nearest and dearest friends.

I chose my extra-curricular activities without pressure and my final profession without someone telling me what to do. Well, God actually told me what to do, but that will simply bring my argument to a different plane.

I had freedom, amidst restriction.

And yes this is where it starts to sound hypocritical. Why did I leave then?

I chose to leave Singapore because of certain aspects of its lifestyle and culture that I did not agree with. And as much as I will not make Singapore my home if I had a choice, I will be able to live with it if I had to.

But I did not choose to live in Australia because it's utopia. As Faith said, I'm just happier with Australia's set of faults. At the moment at least.

Which begats the question - just who have Colin and his wife Jocelyn been hanging out with? Just who are their circle of friends and spheres of influence?

Is their experience a Singaporean nightmare, or just the unfortunate result of a completely different set of upbringing? Is it Singapore's fault that they have a chip on their shoulder or is it their community's fault?

Perhaps they've cast too big a net when they determine that everybody in Singapore dreams The Dream, or plans The Plan?

This is precisely what I mean when I harp on about how we need to be relevant and engage pop culture. Excerpt:
Christians have decidedly failed in discerning goodness in our art. In embracing a mediocre copy of an already mediocre popular culture, we have left discernment and turned instead to a dangerous isolationism that rejects the God-given power of art. Perhaps a complete paradigm shift is needed.
I'm not trying to knock Christian music, art, drama or any other form of creativity. I'm just unimpressed by those of us who instead of generating a unique product of our own, choose to imitate and "kosher-ise" that of the secular.

Engaging pop culture is not about being like them, but understanding it and being able to offer something better and far more attractive (cheesy Christian movies need not apply).

Monday, 13 March 2006

Some interesting sites bloggers or blog readers may be interested in:

You guessed it, it kind of works based on Particularly interesting for avid blog readers who like to be directed to other blog sites, but do not want to do so quite as randomly as hitting the "next blog" button at the top of blogspot sites.

It's basically a search engine whereby you type in the url of a particular blogsite, and then according to the maker, "it answers the question 'people who tagged this site also tagged what other sites'".

Pretty interesting stuff. Fair warning though, do not expect the search results to show you other blogsites that have similar content as the one you typed in. People have interests in a whole variety of topics after all.

2. iSift
This one I'm particularly interested in, although I haven't actually submitted anything to them yet. What it basically does is allow you to send in content to be reviewed by the community, who will vote on it and let you know just how interesting they think it is.

Alternatively, if your ego is too frail for that kind of beating, you can just read what others are submitting.

3. Zookoda
Probably more relevant to bloggers who have a huge fan base, are making bucketloads from their site or looking to further promote their site in a more corporate way (read: not me).

It's basically an email marketing tool whereby you can send out promotional emails or email newsletters with a daily, weekly or monthly summary of your blog to a particular mailing list.

[Thanks to Steve Rubel for the links.]

Thursday, 9 March 2006

It is with great regret that tour promoter The Next Adventure announces the postponement of the final ten dates of U2's Vertigo '06 tour.

The effected shows, which are all sold out, are...31st & 1st April, Telstra Stadium, SYDNEY
Full report here.

I can understand and see why it's being cancelled, but at the same time, I can't help but feeling a little disappointed. I had been looking forward to it for months!

I hope whoever the family member is, that he/she gets well soon. I for one would know how it feels to lose a loved one.

I think Solomon affected me too much *shakes fists at the Book of Ecclesiastes*

Am beginning to question the meaning of everything I do.

Honestly, what is the point of it all? I spend the bulk of my conscious time at work, and the rest of my life is spent sleeping.

I once thought I was engaged in highly meaningful work but am now beginning to question that. I'm finding it harder and harder to engage the secular world. I'm supposed to be working on both internal and external communication. Considering that my passion lies in external communication, I'm ironically spending the bulk of my time focussed on internal communication.

We seem to completely enjoy preaching to the choir. I have no problem with internal communication. I think it's great and it helps improve morale and encourage people in what they're doing. My problem is the fact that I seem to be concentrating only on internal communication when my job really should be more about engaging the others.

But too often, we fail to realise that part of engaging the outside world involves letting people know what we're doing and how it will benefit them - public and media relations. If there's no hype (even word of mouth), nobody would even know something exists. But nobody seems to be interested in that.

I hate to say this, but sometimes I feel like I'm being swallowed by a cocoon and am becoming more and more insular. And therein lies the problem - I no longer know why I'm here for.

It's not so much an existential question, but more of a locational/occupational one. Am I really making a difference with what I do?

I'm not sure anymore.

Thursday, 2 March 2006

I couldn't help but laugh when I got this letter in the mail this morning:

Dear Melody,

At the last meeting...we discussed the current situation with the Communication Department and our need to have someone with the authority to represent it when needed.

It is with this in mind that we took the following action:

RESOLVED: That Melody Tan be temporarily reclassified from PR Assistant to PR Officer until such time as the department is restructured or a full time director is appointed.

Melody, I do hope that you are able to take on this added responsibility...Unfortunately it does not come with an increase in pay (italics my own).

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

And Google's empire increase.

Has anybody heard of Google Base? It's a brilliant tool "where you can easily submit all types of online and offline content that we'll host and make searchable online."

Anything from podcasts to services, to even using it as a classifieds ad. And apparently it's already enabled e-commerce by letting people buy items that are on sale and posted on Base using their Google Accounts.

What will Google think of next?

[Thanks to Poynter Online for the link.]
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