April 2005

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Tech support

I have been the de-facto tech support person to my circle of friends and family ever since I start working in the IT industry.

Even though strictly speaking I work only with the software side of things, I’ve never been afraid of opening up the box to poke around.

I remembered the first time I opened up a computer by myself. I had just started on my first job, and I wanted to upgrade the CD-ROM drive on my family omputer. The very nice network guy (I forget his name) in the company whom I got to know when I was interning, helped me buy the new drive and gave me some basic instructions. It helped alot that he also let me watch him when he took apart computers to troubleshoot.

I remember sweating like a pig the first time I “operated” on the computer. It went smoothly and the family computer upgraded from a 6x CD drive to a 40x one.

After that first time, I continued to upgrade the family computer, adding a new harddisk, more RAM, network card. Later I partitioned the disk to dual boot with Windows 2000 (on top of the existing Windows 95).

Almost everything I know about “operating” on computers was learnt while experimenting on the old geezer at home.

The 8 year old PII 233 mHz is still running today with its original motherboard and CPU. Just like the Duracell bunny, it keeps going and going, and simply refuses to die. My family still uses it for basic word processing and surfing the net.

I will be the first to say that I hardly qualify as a hardware wiz. I haven’t tried upgrading the CPU and motherboard before [but then I feel that if the CPU really needs upgrading (after upgrading RAM, OS, harddisk), it’s time to get a new computer anyway].

I know nothing about overclocking, or the latest and ‘most’-est in the hardware world. But I do know enough to get by, and help out people around me now and then.

I love computers and am a certifiable computer geek. Even then I find that technology in its current state is still too complex (USB, RAM, megabytes, gigabytes, viruses, spyware, firewalls, bluetooth, wireless G) for the man in the street. I guess I’m still waiting for the day when computers and information technology can integrate into our lives seamlessly, in the way appliances like televisions and mobile phones already are.

Drama Mama

Looking back at my last post, I realised I’ve made yet another one of those drama mama posts, and am reminded again why I shouldn’t really subject the world to my rantings.

Reactions from the people around me are decidedly more muted. Most are resignedly ambivalent, while one was skeptical about the viability of having 2 “integreted resorts”.

Since the proof of a pie is in eating it, I guess we will all know soon enough.

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I caught the live proceedings of the parlimentary session on “Casino Decision”. I missed the part where the prime minister made his speech, but I heard enough to surmise that a casion will be allowed as part of an “integrated resort”, and there will actually be two, one at Sentosa and another at the Marina area.

To hear the self-serving rationalisations served up, while unsurprising, disappoints me tremendously. I am not sure why either but the thought of a casino (worse yet, two) being built on my little island nation breaks my little char-kway-tiao-clogged heart.

I’ve been to many developed countries around the world, and in many aspects Singapore pales. Despite it all, there are many things that I’m proud of in this little red dot I call home. In half a century, we have moved from being a backward little former British colony to a proud member of the first world. It took tremendous determination, an undaunted work ethic, and a good dose of integrity. All this is a big part of why Singaporeans can stand upright and hold our heads high in a region where sometimes a little coffee money can make a speeding ticket disappear, or save yourself from a broken nose getting through immigration.

If nothing, my little island home has always stood for how the little guy can survive and make it big, through grit and determination, not compromise.

I’m not a moral objecter; it’s just that the picture of a casino with bright flashing neon lights right next to the backyard, of which it has often been said, one of the best ones to raise your kids, feels… for lack of a better word, incongruous. On one hand, we tell our children hard work and integrity paves the path to success, and with the other we wave our visitors on the false path to quick riches.

As I hear our leaders champion the construction of casino, so that we may not “become a backwater”, I wonder if they remember we have left the backwaters before, without riding on the roll of a dice.

Whilst we try like the Pied Piper to summon the rich M.I.C.E. to our casinos, we forget that it too was the Pied Piper that led the town’s unsuspecting children to their doom with the same bewitching tunes.

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Originally uploaded at 11 Apr ’05, 9.42am PST.

Received 2 colourful wrist bands yesterday. Bought from Giordano in aid of World Vision. “Hope” and “imagine”. I thought them quite appropriate for me. 🙂