NDP rocks.

Yes, it does. It it taking up the whole life out of us.

What is, in your view, NDP? Does it appeal to you being cheered by the adoring audience, your fellow Singaporeans, shouting "ONWARD SINGAPORE!!"? Well, under all that swaying bright red sea of flags and banners is actually a lot of sweat, blood and flesh. We, the people who are going to perform and entertain you on the big day, are actually almost worked to death during the gruellling practices. The very people about to have their streaming this year.

This damned NDP have taken every Wed or Fri since March and at least 1 week of our holidays. And now even our school curriculum. Every Saturday during June when most of the nation's secondary 2 students can sleep right up to noon, we are at the National Stadium, running to and fro on the green field raising flags high in the air for at least 2 hours. Don't make me talk about the full day rehearsals. Ok, I know that since this is NDP, there will surely be sweat. You might even say that the Army guards, instructors, teachers-in-charge are all sweating it out, helping us to run this program smoothly. Ah, but they are paid. Money is a very big form of inspiration. Dont shit about money being unimportant, and the pride for our country is more important. No money = no you. And earning money is helping Singapore's economy anyway. Now what about us? Two measly CCA points for running and training for 5 months, and then performing for the country twice, once SYF once NDP. What shit is this. And they dont even do much anyway (teachers can slack because they do not need to teach) , aside from the instructors (they are paid a hell lot more than teachers). So why did we even choose to do this in the first place? Oh no, we did not even have a choice. Mr Foo simply decided one day: "Ah! I shall have my school to be in NDP! It will bring glory to the school, country and even give the students a whole new experience!" and then we had to do it. Sort of like God saying "Let there be light!" and there was light.

This is simply taking too much of our time. This starting week of the new term already has Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat all booked up for full day NDP rehearsals. That means we go to school on these days and get chartered to the National Stadium just to practice, from 10am right up to 7pm. Can you imagine? On school days we instead of having classes, go and run about the field to celebrate the country's birthday. And I expect those elite schools like Hwa Chong and Raffles would have enrichment classes while we were training for NDP during the holidays. I suppose the sec 1s shouldnt mind NDP too much. It is both an enriching and fun experience for them, plus they get 2 CCA points. They have too much time on their hands anyway. We, on the other hand, have our streamings to worry about. Ah. Hopefully, just hopefully, we will have enough time for studying. We might just adapt quick enough to balance the activities and our studies at the same time. Yeah, and I might even enjoy performing and quit school to join Tan Ah Kow's Dancing Troupe and eat nothing but tofu everyday.

Disclaimer: This post is absolutely fictitious, and any person or place described above that bears any similarity to that living, dead, demolished, undemolished is pure coincidence. I do not bear any responsibility for any influence of opinions the above has on anyone. Prone to grammar/spelling errors.

Dopod 585

w00tZzZ! pH34r mY d0p0d 585!! 1t r4xX0RZz and pWnZ!

Wahaha! I finally got my Dopod 585!!

The given accessories in the box consisted of a charger, mini-usb cable, in-ear earphones, a white leather pouch and a small cloth bag which I do not know the reason for it. As promised by Dopod, it is an identical clone of the o2 xPhone IIm, albeit a cheaper one.

The Dopod 585 is clad in white plastic, an ever-growing trend setted by Apple for its iPods. It even has neat buttons dedicated to playing music. I am satisfied with its large 2.2" screen with 65k colours. Switching it on, the red Dopod logo greeted me with its fluttering butterflies and twinkling of sweet music. After around 3 seconds, the important part came in; Windows Mobile booted up with its trademark blue screen and Win Mobile in white. After waiting for 15+ seconds, the main screen appeared. The Menus and everything were quite clear cut and easy to use., though there was not a proper selection screen for apps. There is one screen which appears when you press the first round button on the phone. It shows some commonly used apps, and the 'Album ' file inside is basically a My Documents, but only view image files. If you wanted to search for other docs under my Documents, you had to use the File manager which will then show you all the files in the phone using a tree-branch format. The Bluetooth is a little puzzling, as you will need to switch on your Bluetooth and Beaming function. It does not have any problems receiving but I dont seem to have much success in sending files to my sisters.

The downsides of this phone is that the storage space of the Dopod is miniscule. It has an advertised 64mb, but after adding the Windows Mobile, it is left with around 24 mb. Furthermore Windows Mobile lags at startup just like its PC counterparts. Another badly designed part of Windows Mobile is that its applications dont close down, but gets pushed into the background instead, using up RAM. So the user will have to use the Task Manager to close down the apps. A pity this smartphone does not have Wifi capabilities, as that is the essential part of a smartphone: to be able to surf wireless.

The pros for this is that its sound quality simply rocks. Added with the in-ear earpieces, the music that blasts into your ear is guaranteed 100% good. There was also good support for synchronising files and Outlook information with the PC, through ActiveSync and mini-USB. The beauty of ActiveSync is that it allows you to drag-and-drop files directly into your Dopod. It does the rest of converting them for you. The keypads are soft for this phone, providing comfort when you message, though the T9 is a little slow. Last but not least, the Dopod comes with a 1.3 mp camera with X2 zoom and environment ambience (auto, daylight, flourescent, incadescent, night, grayscale, sepia and cool) and view options. (brightness, hue, saturation and gamma) The video function had the same capabilities. The pictures taken are rather sharp and good looking.

All in all, I have to say that the Dopod 585 is a cheap and good phone, though I would love it better if it had more clear-cut menus and came with WIFI.

It rained while it was sunny today so there was a rainbow.

Church Camp

Ok. I am back from the Church camp in Malaysia. We went to a place called Kuala Rompin by bus. It was ok, but the trip to and fro takes a lot of time (around 8-9 hours there and back). The facilities at the hotel (Summerset) sucks. They had AVPs which are buggies that have motorbike handles for us to rent. It cost RM40 for one car, 30 mins, RM80, one hour. There were only 5 AVPs, and one had to be taken up for the guide who brings us around the track. And they had a place for canoeing. It is totally run down. The paddles were the only things kept under the shade. The canoes were stacked on a bench outside. They do not wash them at all, so they are all sandy and the paddles were chipped. Furthermore, the 'place' we were supposed to canoe is a lagoon. Basically it is just a small river with an end. The whole stretch of it was filled with floating decaying matter and it was very smelly. The guide explained that since the lagoon had an end, there isn't any outlet for all the dead stuff, so it just accumulated.

But the hotel itself was not bad. They had a nice meeting room (The Duke) and the rooms were well furnished, except for a badly scratched floor. Plus they serve good food. The whole package was RM140 per person, so its very good in fact. Using only $70 and we were able to get this. Try it in Singapore. So based on the economic pricing, I would rate it 7.5/10. When the coach brought us back to Singapore, I felt truly at home. Malaysia looked very run down as compared to Singapore. Im saying the general look of Malaysia, not the big cities. Even the Customs at Tuas look so much more futuristic than Malaysia's. And then I saw the many HDBs in the nucleated settlements, and the shopping malls. Even the busy road junctions were of contrast with Malaysia. At Malaysia, I saw only Proton, Proton and Proton. Thats the worst car we can see in Singapore. But its probably of very good standard there. I think their main mode of transport is on motorbikes.

Its really Home Sweet Home.