Monday, January 29, 2007

Katana Pawar

There are some things that are amazing. And then there are those things that are just madness.

I found the longer video to this. But I'm sticking just this shortened one up to show the action... the front part was just introduction, history, and all that anyway. This video shows a faceoff conducted on a Japanese variety show between a hand-forged katana (Japanese Samurai sword, not because I think my readers are ignoramuses but, you know, you dunno who's reading man. This is be calls service :)) and a .45mm Colt Government issue. You probably can guess from my title which one won.

Then, today when I showed the video to Hans and Graham, Hans pointed another video I hadn't noticed the previous night.

This is the same sword, I believe, against a .5mm machine gun. The gun of course triumphs via the number game (power of strength in numbers), but objectively, the katana wins again.

Nihon banzai~!

Oh yeah and, I wanted to upload this earlier, but I sent my phone in for servicing, and since that's the only way for me (as of now anyway) to access my MiniSD card, I only just loaded the picture into my com. I must have accidentally pressed the resolution toggle by mistake, which is such a pity for a great moment like this.

Such a dogeatdog world we're in. This is like some capitalist joke or something...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Master of Comedy... RSS Feeds

RSS feeds are really addictive. You just add and add and add. Terrible is the power of convenience under human wield.

In other news, let me present to you one of the immortal moments of British humour. Rowan Atkinson plays a technologically outdated judge in the popular comedy show from the 80s period, Not the Nine O'clock News.

Another one 'for' gay Christians, or probably making fun of pastors who try to tell gays it's acceptable, but instead put their obvious prejudice in broad daylight. This guy manages to makes fun of everything without offending people - the mark of a true comic.

OMGWTFBBQ!!11oneone LOOK AT THIS! BumpTop 3D Desktop Prototype

BumpTop 3D Desktop Prototype Demo Video

Wonder how many of you have seen this video - this is REVOLUTIONARY! There are a couple of programs out there, but this looks by far to be the most user-friendly. Of course there are stuff for Linux - Ubuntu Kubuntu XGL Beryl (if you don't know what I'm talking about don't worry, neither do I), but as already suggested, they are for open-source OSs (OSOSs hurhur). I'm an idiot as far as that is concerned.

One program for Windows is 3D Top, but I don't recommend you try it because it's really hard to navigate. And, well, it looks rather primitive. All I managed to do to my desktop was to make it into a disco, roving spotlights and strobers and all, with the lights function. See this

3D Top Screenshot
as compared to this

Of course, I can't say for sure that BumpTop will be easy to use, but it looks fun and easy in the video (DOESN'T EVERYTHING?? you scream).

I was disappointed that there were no downloads available yet. But I signed up for the newsletter, which promised news of beta testing opportunities if any. This is the first time I've done this, go bazooka over a new software and sign up in hopes of trying it. So geeky! But I'm already too used to behaving weirdly for my interests.

Finally if you have watched the demo video, here's a funny parody.

Grrrr I can't wait!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

COM125 Week 2: The Rise of Political Blogging

The blogging concept has taken the world, or at least the cyberworld, by storm. For no charges at all, you are offered a flexibly customizable site of your own to display your thoughts to the world, with an online software to make inputting those thoughts child’s play. If you enjoy writing, or entertaining people, there really are not many reasons to refuse such an offer. And so it was that having your own blog became hip in 2002, according Hobbes’ Internet Timeline (Zakon, 2006). This boom set new heights on many different levels – a new way of socialization, a new form of entertainment, and a great source of income for some. But what I feel is the greatest, and possibly most unexpected result of the blogging boom, is its effects on politics.

As with the original concept of blogging, political blogging started out small, with few big names before 2001. 2001 was when ‘several broadly popular American blogs emerged’ (ed. Mmmovie, 2007), like,, Political Wire, and MyDD, all focusing primarily on politics. By 2002, the pervasiveness of politics in the blogosphere, as well as the influence of the blogosphere, was spectacularly shown when comments by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott were interpreted as approval towards racial segregation. Bloggers dug up documents and interviews suggesting that this was indeed true. Even though the media who attended the event did not pick up on the comments initially, the combined impact of the bloggers’ comments and documents turned it into a political crisis, and Lott was forced to step down (ed. Mmmovie, 2007).

Closer to home here in Asia, countries often do not get as much press or political freedom to say what they want. One popular way of sidestepping that is to satirize your comments, as Singaporean blogger Mr. Brown often does. Through podcasts, he often exaggerates political concerns into comic situations. Apart from avoiding trouble with the authorities, this method has, wittingly or unwittingly, gained Mr. Brown a huge readership.

The sudden suspension of his column in the Today newspaper (Straits Times, 2006) was a shock to everyone. The authorities had a right to respond, and did so in a fiery response letter that was published the following day. But they did not direct the suspension of his column, so why did the newspaper do it?

I see the reason behind the intensity of the Singaporean government’s response as similar to that of why the Chinese authorities spent so much time, effort and resources tightly censoring all media and communication. These two governments, among others of course, are very protective of the stability of their respective nations. The way they are running it now seems right, it is peaceful, and that is just how they want it to remain. They are, dare I say it, afraid of what might happen if issues raised in political blogs were to become a hot topic for the people reading it, and if sentiments were to run out of control. Chaos and resentment could break out, and this could well translate into riots or violent protests. As for the newspaper suspending the column immediately after the governmental response, I see it as disappointing display of self-censorship in the media. All the government gave was a hard response, and I do not recall Mr. Brown as having gotten on the government’s nerves like this before. There was really no need to have taken such a drastic measure.

On the other hand though, this only goes to show how influential blogs have become, especially in the political field. Governments are starting to pay attention to blogs now, or any other new media that comes along, and with good reason. Blogging seemed like a small thing, but it is changing lives everywhere today. If the government neglects any new medium of communication for that matter, it might well represent their downfall if it were to become the next big thing.


Zakon, R. H. (2006, Nov 1). Hobbes' Internet Timeline v8.2. Retrieved January 26, 2007, from Robert H'obbes' Zakon Web site:

ed. Mmmovie, (2007, Jan 2). Blog - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved January 26, 2007, from Wikipedia Web site:

Straits Times, (2006, Jul 7). AsiaMedia :: SINGAPORE: Today paper suspends blogger's column. Retrieved January 26, 2007, from AsiaMedia Web site:

Friday, January 26, 2007


Some of you might be wondering about the influx of posts. I've found myself swamped with stuff to do, and since they were non-assignment posts (the one about blogging wasn't compulsory), I had to postpone completing them time and again. I only completed them last night, with one more coming up shortly. So do take your time reading them, and really, feel free to comment. After talking and typing for so long, I'm often worried I lose my focus, and start saying things that are contrary to my opinion, or baseless, or even offensive. So if there's anything you find out of place, just ask me. And if you get it wrong, well then others learn that that phrase was my intention and why.


Monday, January 22, 2007

To Hans' Anti-Hero... Post

As a fellow metalhead (ya I know I look more like a classical puss... I am too. Cannot ah lol), I agree with the views Hans has expressed. It is disappointing to know that in this age where we highly value scientific credibility and reason, the media and other experts would be so quick to falsely induce the cause of socially fatal psychosis and mental warping.

I'm very glad that guns are not available in Singapore. And I'm glad I was brought up in this nation. Many condemn Singapore's relative conservativeness and traditionalism, but one of the better points of these two double-edged swords is that we know better where to toe the line. Thank God I've never experienced school violence, as Hans mentioned, but I get teased alot. And if I'm one who lets myself get tipped over the edge easily, even if there aren't any guns, I truly believe I would still commit cold-blooded murder with knives.

Or preferably swords. Long swords. Long Japanese swords. Long sharp Japanese swords. That can disintegrate at my command into hundreds of thousands of razor thin metal shards and kill my target 10 feet away.


I scare myself sometimes. When I don't check myself, and when my imagination takes off while I'm pissed about something, I would start trembling. I can almost feel and evil aura envelope, consume, surround me. Or for those who know what it means, and can read it - 殺氣. And it scares me so much that I never fail at this point to get back down-to-earth. I will not kill. I cannot kill.

America, in their quest for freedom of speech and society, have neglected to draw the lines where these issues are concerned. Then again, we can't place all the blame on them, since such values, which we label Asian for a reason, aren't one of their primary concerns. Now I'm not criticizing America. They, like I believe, most of us, have as many good points as bad points. And I also don't think much can be done in the immediate future to curb this problem. But a major problem it is, nevertheless.

Many of us use the I-listen-to-metal-why-am-I-not-killing line of reasoning and argument. But really after so many years of debate, it's come to mean little now, if not nothing. It's just not convincing anymore. It's just like saying 'I listen to Swan Lake, why don't I prance around in a tutu?'

Because lor. Then?

People don't know how to respond not because your reasoning is better than theirs, but because your line of logic allows for little more thought.

My uncle married a woman. I don't know the details, but where we came into the picture she was mad. Not mentally retarded or challenged. Crazy. And she either forgot or neglected to take her suppressant medication, and had a severe lapse. She refused to let my uncle into the house, calling him bad and evil. She yelled all sorts of accusations at him. And most painful of all, she brainwashed his two early teenage daughters into thinking he was bad, and left strict instructions before she was taken to Woodbridge (mental hospital, if anyone foreign is reading) not to let my uncle into the house under any circumstances.

Now here, two things can be seen. The first is rather obvious if you think about it, but some experts' comments on Columbine have left me wondering whether someone should explain this slowly and clearly to them. My aunt did not listen to metal music. She wasn't even driven mad, she just was mad. Now my uncle on the other hand, was dealt major bonecracking blows - his wife barred him and was bitter to him, and his daughters were resentful of him. I'm sure he was more than just sad, I won't even hold back on saying he might well have been shattered. But he's still fine. He simply moved in with another uncle of mine at his kind invitation, and whenever I meet him and greet him he always manages a smile, however slight.

You see, people simply have different thresholds. Different pain thresholds, sanity thresholds, and so on. I don't think it would even be fair to call the two killers 'weak' or 'sissypusses'. Because some people naturally are low on their level of emotional control.

For all his pseudoness, Marilyn Manson gave the best response when Michael Moore interviewed him for Bowling for Columbine. 'I won't say anything to them,' he said when Michael Moore asked him if given a chance what would he choose to say to the two killers, 'I would sit down and listen to what they have to say.'

You want to prevent that from every happening again? Hear this! This is what is to be done, not aimlessly blaming all the things the killers were associated with. You chose to turn away from the bullying going on behind locker doors. You chose to look the other direction when Harris and Klebold were sniggered at and mocked by arrogant inflated jocks and cheerleaders. You chose for many other jocks, cheerleaders, Christians, people with a good heart and who would have embraced Harris and Klebold if only to make them feel 'in the group' - you chose for these people to die for nothing. You chose for the Columbine High School Massacre to happen.

When all is condemned and lashed out at, all I see a very, very, very unfortunate string of events. Fate took its worst possible course, and this was the result. Lives can never be reclaimed, not even if the two killers were caught alive and cruficied. But lessons can be learnt.

Stop studiously ignoring such a dangerous problem. Turn around and take the bull by the horns. It's a scary thing to do, but if you don't do that, sooner or later, the bull will only run you through.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

On the Week 2 Readings - Blogging

I'm feeling a sense of growing responsibility, and a sort of accompanying guilt that questions the real purpose of having a blog.

Frankly there wasn't much to say about the Wikipedia articles. It's a pedia after all. Simply information and knowledge. Not very thought-inducing as far as I could read. But the Wired article, or write up, caught my attention as I read through it the second time (nothing registered first time round).

"Informed people will look to amateurs they trust for information they want." (Wired, 2002) I've always thought of my blog as entertainment-oriented. I'd put videos of me gulping helium, pictures of painfully funny misspelt Engrish signs, and post (self-) depreciating words to amuse everybody. It does make me feel great when people come up to me and say stuff like, 'OMG Renhao I read your post about the Mentos-Diet Coke fiasco and I laughed so hard.'

Yes. It really happened.

But what am I contributing to my readers? What do they learn from reading my blog? Nothing, really, of great importance. Nor anything of great significance. All they take away from my blog is a lighter heart, filled with the noble gas called Humour. At least, that is what I hope to achieve behind all the HTML codes.

And how will my blog influence my friends? I don't assume that I influence because my blog is oh so inspiring, but with the blogging boom, there has to be some sort of peer influence going on. And if what all an aspiring blogger sees are silly Youtube videos, cam-whoring pictures and acidic remarks at the expense of others, what have I done to this would-be blogger's perception of the idea of blogs?

I get so much fun out of blogging, but in the end, I've done nothing at all. Well, it's certainly not too late. I've whooped up a whole bunch of RSS feeds (well ok 80% are COM125 blogs but I really hope to see you guys continue posting even after this semester. Some of you really can write engagingly even if you don't or didn't like to blog) and I'm gonna blog more about the news.

And if I become a famous blogger Mr Kevin Lim, it will be alllll your fault. ;D

PS --:
In order not to confuse Kevin or anyone reading this, I decided to remove the reference that originally took up this space, as well as delete the Assignment label. This post merely reflects my own opinion. Assignment posts will be clearly distinguished by the title, formatted as Kevin showed in class, citations and references, as well as the Assignment label.

Monday, January 15, 2007


For the record, I think of 1337 as no more than ornamentation (me la huh... to each his own). Outside of gameplay, 1 7#1|\||< \/\/|-171|\|6 |1|<3 7#15 15 \/\/4`/ 0\/3|-|<1||. N even tho I cn reed it, I dnt lyk ppl writin lyk dis. I sometimes have a headache comprehending text, let alone unnecessarily coded ones.

my mom can act cute too

My name is Renhao. I find myself experiencing alot of unease and momentary unconfidence when I introduce myself with my Chinese name. It sucks big time to have someone give you a 0_0 face and bellow 'WHAT?' or 'AGAIN SORRY?' Sometimes people take the initiative to give me a nickname they can remember, like Rennie or Ren, but more often than not, bless them, they warp my name 180 degrees... I've had Ren-ho, Wren-ho, Renao... whatever. But hey, look at my Friendster URL below. One straightforward name to remember easily, instead of like weston638 or imcutebitemehahaz, you know what I mean. I don't blame the poor things for joining the ship later, I just feel blessed that the uniqueness of my name allows me to keep it undistorted in times like this.

I'm 18, having joined SIM/UB right after my 'O' levels. I have a Friendster account, and it is the reason why I didn't join Facebook sooner. I don't really want a ton of these things under my name. But well... just join lor. So here's my new Facebook account, if anyone else wishes to add me. My main blog... well, naming it mozartwannabe was quite a folly, but for the sake of my readers and for those who've kindly linked me I don't wish to put them through the trouble of changing their link. And I've no problem being a Mozart wannabe. :) But I might just move to Wordpress. Times be changing, I be lagging.

You might notice now that my writing style is highly informal and I love to digress into little lanes, and elaborate here and there. People say that's what they love in my writing, but it does get abit hard when I've to 'turn on' my Formal Write mode. Life's a game, they say, but we unfortunately can't yet do such things with a simple -fwmode.

Uh looks like I'm going on forever. I sometimes tell my readers not to bother reading till the end. People think 'Alright... finish this post and I'll go do XYZ.' The only problem is that I never seem to stop, and I really don't want my readers' loved ones to come back to find them unconscious from starvation or a burst bladder. So yes I'll say it now. I've only covered up to the URLs part from Kevin's rough guide on the Wordpress blog, so please if you have to go do whatever you need to do and come back later.

Alright. Special abilities... well I don't really think I have any to reeeaaally be proud of, so rather than special abilities I'll list my interests.

I love reading. I don't read as much fiction as I used to, but I still love reading things (except perhaps the papers, some textbooks, and the like). And from the love of reading I gained the love of writing. That's why I love blogging. I like telling people about my life, what I feel about certain things, the usual principles. I also do some of it, but Kevin's really kinda inspired me to make it a point to blog more about things that capture my attention or generates thoughts worthy (IMO) of sharing. Procrastination rears its ugly face in blogging, and when I don't complete the post the first time, or at least finish 3/4 of it, chances are you'll never see it. Procrastination tends to cut in when I write more serious posts, where I try to argue logically and soundly, especially in my Christian blog where my concern is that readers understand what and only what I'm trying to say, not gaining misconceptions from an ambiguous phrase. That is very hard for me, and when I hold off publishing to edit after I've had some time away from the post, it also sometimes never sees the light of day. I love blogging, but it highly depends on my mood. And blogging was the last thing on my mind during the holidays when I was wasting my life away. I love writing fiction as well, but that's taken a backseat (like... really really far back) with the million other things I have to do.

Music! Jazz, guitar, rock, metal, heavy metal, very heavy metal, death metal, black metal, classical, opera, oldies... I'm tempted to type you name it, I have it, but I've kinda grown to have a certain level of, shall we say integrity for myself, as a music aficionado/connoisseur, and the fact is that for every genre I know, there may well be 5 others that I'm not even aware of. Slowly, I'm discovering more genres. And, pardon for the seemingly arrogant phrasing, at this level of music appreciation, to me it's not about my taste anymore. Certainly my iTunes library contains music that I can click with. No sense to put stuff that I don't like in... as it is I have yet to hear every single MP3 in my library. Rather, I like to keep an open mind, where knowledge is the keyword. I explore music to know what a genre sounds like, it's characteristics, and proponents. And if I like it, I simply explore further. As for instruments, I can play the piano and the guitar (note: can play ≠ good)

I like anime. Don't ask me why. I just like it. Maybe it's the drawing, maybe the voices, maybe the special way they draw them when they're shocked/angry. Perhaps it's a way to escape from the drab depressing reality of the world we live in. It's nice to know that at least somewhere, you can be a Shinigami with insane spirit powers that run off the charts, or you actually can keep all sorts of animals from electric mice to psychic cats in palm-sized balls that interestingly shrink to pebble-size for storage on your belt. I don't really mind much, but to my knowledge I watch the most anime in my circle of friends. I'm following +-30 running series concurrently. Gasp.

On to IT skills. There isn't one I feel I'm particularly good at, but I find myself proficient in these areas...

I like to think, given that the information is there in the first place, that I can somehow get whatever I want out of the Net, without having to pay, and if possible, without having to register or signup. Through experience and some thinking I kinda sorted out the types of keywords one can use to get more accurate hits, without which you'd probably be digging aimlessly through 14, 534, 735 links. I taught myself HTML by playing around and editing my blog template, but that's fast going out of fashion. I edit audio files with Audacity, and recently tried my hand at video editing with (the desparingly sparse) Windows Movie Maker.

Photoshop. It was actually my brother who first picked it up to play with it. After seeing the wonders of the Healing Brush I picked the program up from... the uh appropriate sources and again taught myself how to use it, sometimes using my own photos to explore the vast capabilities of Photoshop. Gradually, that turned to me becoming the photo editor of the house, using the MS Office Picture Manager for minor adjustments, and Photoshop for adding stuff in, or really major editing, like Healing or removing subtitles from a snapshot of an anime episode... stuff like that. I'm proud of this particular piece, taken when my mother was enjoying the delicious green tea ice cream at Hilton's Japanese Buffet Dinner, where we celebrated my last birthday.

Whew. Ok. That's it. I'll be posting my thoughts on our dependence on the Internet next. Shalom till then.