Shhh! Secret Life of a Princess

Random, provoking thoughts from a self-confessed princess :: with focus on motivational learnings from the media. I hope to inspire everyone to be the best they can be

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Singtel and Its iPhone Craze

What is the hype with iPhone? When Singtel announces it's launch of iPhone this 22 August (the first operator to bring this phone into Singapore), I least expected that people would line up to get the phone just to be the first few to lay their hands on an iPhone. There was a queue to get the phone hours before the 12am launch time and finally one boy became the first person to get it at the stroke of midnight for his girlfriend.

Least that I expect that I will be one of them in the queue to get the phone too since I am not a Singtel subscriber. So, today, I found myself joining the crowd and became a proud owner of the 'I Got iPhone' handbag as I signed up a Singtel line (iOne Plus) just to get the phone at SGD848 for a friend in Malaysia who found out that Singtel is the only operator that did not sim locked the device. A bit pricier than United States but Singapore is the closest place to get this phone.

After toying it with the phone for a while, I realised why I for one will not consider buying this phone. One is the inability to switch sim cards easily as one has to poke a hole at the top before opening the sim container. Without the needle, my sim card is as good as stuck on the phone, reason why it made sense for US and Australia operators to sim lock the device. Singtel meanwhile did not take the trouble to do so thus making the device usable on any numbers, encouraging even non-Singtel numbers to get the phone. The battery is non-removable making the task of replacing batteries one that can only be done by sending the phone to a service centres.

The phone is only 2 mega-pixels and the photo quality seem to be quite blurry especially when comparing with Sony Ericsson's 5 megapixel phones. Videos cannot be recorded using this phone and MMS cannot be sent. Not of high priority but will be good to have on a phone.

However, the phone does win my approval in terms of the incredible touch screen that allows websites to be browsed fully across it's large screen and zoomed easily using the touch of fingers. This means loads of YouTube that can be easily viewed clearly through this screen. The GPS features are also good allowing its users to search for location and be pinpointed it's location when they are lost. Last but not least is the phones easy integration to iTunes allowing one to download as many songs as they want into the 8GB or 16GB memory. I also liked the phones' repository of applications that allows users to read iBooks, play games and install productivity softwares.

I am still not convinced to buy an iPhone but owning one for a short while today made me hip and happening especially when I can show off the sleek interface and thin structure of the phone. The buyers are buying its brand, not its functions as I am sure a lot of its functions can be improved. An iMac or iPod owner will most likely get it due to brand loyalty, something Apple has successfully done to the people of the world. Those who did not own iMac wil get this as a status symbol and to make themselves look good. All in all, Apple has done a good job branding their products with quality to boot. A good move by Apple is to open it's API for the development of more applications to be downloaded onto iPhone making it one of the phones where designers and programmers will grow to like and there will be more things for consumers to try on their iPhone. I for one would enjoy free applications on my phone. It is no wonder the line to get this phone has not stopped since day one.

Monday, August 25, 2008

China - The 'Perfect' Land Or So It Seems

Is perfection so crucial that you are willing to create a fake persona to cover up what seems imperfect? That seems to be the case for China during this Beijing Olympics so much so that the singer of the Olympics song who is deemed not adorable enough to appear on international tv has been sneaked backstage only to be using her voice on the face of a better looking and more adorable young girl. When the press found out that that was not the actual voice of the girl, the press went into a media frenzy. Yes, no dout the opening ceremony was all beautiful and grand but can't they accept a small girl with chipped tooth and slanting eyes who possess one of the most beautiful and powerful voice for a 6-year old? Even the fireworks during the opening ceremony are fake just in case the actual fireworks didn't turn out as beautiful as they wanted.

In the Chinese community, 'face' or what we normally call it as status symbol is of extreme importance. It is better to lie and hide than to look poor and imperfect. Which explains why everything has to be done in such grandeur fashion befitting the purpose of certain events. Marriage is one where so much money is spent in organizing one dinner banquet and everything that goes along with it like the rental of wedding attires, cars, make-up assistants, fashion stylists, tables and food for relatives and friends and the beautiful hotel suite that the lovely wedded couple will stay in. Even more outrageous is the practice of eating sharks fin where it becomes customary to serve on every wedding dinner despite how costly, distateful and cruel it is to kill sharks just to eat its fin. Chinese are willing to harm others at the cost of looking good for themselves.

Is having the Olympics in Beijing too early to allow a country like China to shine too soon only for the detriment of the country once the Olympics is over? I am not so sure but talks of how the economy in China and some parts of the world will spiral down after the Olympics is strife. I will know more about China when I am there but will have to reserve that for my future posts. But it certainly is the land of promises for now. But it will definitely be more beneficial if the media does not get filtered by the whole nation just to display what is deemed 'perfect' by the government, depriving the people of real news and emotions. As we all clearly know, nothing is too perfect!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fortis Heroes Search 2008

What makes a hero? According to Fortis Watch, the world reknowned watch which has launched astronauts into space and divers into the deepest sea waters any human has ever gone, a hero is someone who scaled great heights, someone who is courageous, authentic, inspirational and go beyond their boundaries for the benefit of others. These selfless acts have garnered five Singaporeans from five different professions and industries to win the Fortis Heroes Award 2008. The award event was held in Helipad, a new bar on the top of Central Shopping Centre. There really is a helipad on the top where people can sit and wine in the open air overlooking Clarke Quay.

The winners consist of a serial entrepreneur who contribute immensely to the advancement of the enterprise in Singapore as a means to lift people out from poverty - Nicholas Chan , a lecturer who raised up to his plates to help victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, - A/Prof Ng Yee Kong a photographer who used his impeccable photography skills to capture photos that is used for donations and to showcase plights to the world - Stefen Chow, a lady who built a now well-known retail empire in Singapore called 77th Street which has expanded to China - Elim Chew and last but not least a phelephegic who conquered his disabilities to run a marathon on his wheelchair across 7 continents to raise donations for the needy - Dr William Tan. These figures were monumental beyond words and has indeed become an inspiration to everyone in the award ceremony and soon the world. It was heartening to hear stories of how the photographer, Stefen Chow, while climbing Mount Everest took a photo of an avalanche seconds before he could have been covered by it. It was even more touching to hear the story of Dr William Tan who participated in the marathon across 7 continents and pushed himself so far to complete the race that the skins on his hands and fingers peeled and bled durnig the race.

Nominating my hero as a Fortis hero has given me my award. Hearing his name announced as a hero and seeing the sparkle in his eyes when the prestigious B-42 Flieger Chronograph watch was handed to him was jubilation enough for me. At least I now know that my hero is now a world-reknowned hero and that his contributions will be made known to the society.

Fortis watch has started a fund to support people in the aviation and aerospace who will make a difference in society in collaboration with National Technology University (NTU) of Singapore. With these kind of awards, Fortis has proven itself as being committed to contribute back to the society.

My most memorable quotes from the Fortis Heroes:

"Mountains bring out the best and worst in people. By scaling a mountain this high and going through all the obstacles so unimaginable including an avalance that almost drown me and to come out alive is indeed a humbling experience." - Stefen Chow

"I do not consider myself a hero. I am MAD - Make A Difference" - Dr William Tan

"The secret of my success is my people. Everyone is given the same opportunities. The only difference with me is I make great use of it." - Elim Chew

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Traffic Jam at Chris Daughtry Concert

The exhilaration of waiting for a star in the making to arrive was almost overwhelming. Girls in trendy short skirt and short pants arrived in droves with their funky boyfriends in tow. The whole event was made to look exactly like a street party with human entering the street through a huge car wash (more like human wash since humans walked through them) followed by a bus stop complete with a bus stop signages being the only place with seats in the whole street party. They do not call it street party for nothing. Booths with food and drinks was in an array before the clubbers arrived at the front of the stage where a big tent for VIPs was set up to allow VIPs to grace the occasion complemented with food and drinks.

There was lots of room for standing and when I found a place, I actually felt how breezy the place was. Singapore being Singapore placed large coolers around the standing area to avoid poor standing souls like us from sweating too much hence creating a stench in the area. I like it so I stood there patiently waiting for the runner up of American Idol 2, beaten by the sacharrine sweet Carrie Underwood to appear.

A few hours later, approximately 9.30pm, when the stage lights was dimmed and the soft beats of music start turning louder and when the drums were beaten, all hell broke lose and the crowd screamed and shrieked to their heart's content. The wait is finally over and the bald Chris Daughtry appeared on stage dressed in a casual checked shirt and jeans, rocking to the tunes from his recent album. Famous for his hiht song "Over You", he sang his songs to the loud hums from the audience who were crazy to his charm and style. He also sang a few of his new songs which were responded favorably by the crowd.

The street party called Traffic Jam (even though there was none on a blocked-off road) was sponsored by Singtel, Sony Ericsson, Stuff magazine and Red Bull. The only way to get the free tickets is by winning them from one of the sponsors or by looking pretty enough to be one of the celebrities or radio DJ in Singapore. The main sponsor Sony Ericsson could be commended for doing a good job in setting up such fantastic props along Armenian Street which is condoned off for the event. The branding was quite good with a subdomain called being created to drive traffic into their website to find out more about the latest walkman phones and promotions. Since Sony Ericsson is coming up with so many models of walkman phones where the user can shake their phone to change the selection of music, it does make sense for Sony Ericsson to sponsor a mini concert like this.

What they should have done better is they could have used this event as a platform or avenue to create bigger awareness to their Walkman phones. Just like how Nokia promoted the use of their latest phone models to take videos and mms of the New Years event they sponsored where the best videos and photos stand a chance to win more Nokia phones, SE could have done something along those lines. I was even spying to see if anyone was using SonyEricsson's phone to take video of the concert but everywhere I only see Nokia phones being used from N82 to N95 to Nokia Communicator. Finally I found someone using a SE phone to record the concert and found the quality commendable.

They could even organize a sing- a Chris Daughtry song using SE Walkman phone recorded and upload to the website to win free tickets to the concert. They can also offer a post-concert contest like uploading of photos and videos of the events taken using a SE phone and send the photos via mms to the website. This will increase the use of GPRS data which benefits Singtel as well. This could also encourage the purchase of better models of Sony Ericsson for the die-hard fans to win the contests.

Well, I was unable to catch the ending of the show as I had to rush off somewhere but the exhilaration of hearing him sing live did not rub off till much later. With Sony Ercisson sponsoring this concert all over the world creating a good music branding strategy for themselves, I am left wondering if they will be a phone sponsor for the upcoming Beijing Olympics 2008 and how an international sports event will benefit handset manufacturers.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Mayhem at MTV Asia Awards

It's the most anticipated awards show to be held in Malaysia for year 2008. I have attended a few awards show this year like Frost & Sullivan IT Awards and Malaysia's IT Industry Award (see how geeky I am?) but my dream came true when I got the invite to attend the glamorous MTV Asia Awards to be held for the first time in Malaysia at the beautiful Arena of Stars, Genting Highlands. And my dream came truer when I found out that the host of the event will be none other than the yummy looking lead singer from 30 Second from Mars, Jared Leto more famously known for his potrayal as a wild jock in "My So-Called Life". I still remember the days when I and my sis drool over him whenever Claire Danes expressed her undying crush on him. Well, who wouldn't?

So when the weekend finally arrived, I grabbed my bags and packed for an exciting weekend at Genting. Unlike other award shows, this one started right on time, in fact 1 minute earlier than scheduled: 6.59pm. The show was opened by the dedlicious looking girl band who dressed to fulfill all men's fantasies, Pussy-Cat Dolls. When the names of the hosts were announced, the first being Jared Leto, hell broke lose again. The girls chanted his name like he was a god of music or something like that. And fortunately, he did not dissapoint. He was calm, cool even entertaining throughout the show interspersing his words with some comic reliefs and together with the effevercent Karen Mok, they made a great duet host.

I was lucky to get to go into the mosh pit even though I got tickets for seats as they needed lively vibrant people like I to fill up the pit. I and my friend shouted till our throats are sore. It was amazing to watch Jared Leto so close and to have him hear me scream. Haha.

The show was graced by in ternational bands like Click Five who won the Knockout Award, the pretty boys band from Korea who did amazing dance moves for groups of screaming teenage Koreans who flew all the way to Malaysia to see them perform and picked up the waward for best Korean artiste, the extremely talented British singer, the winner of X-Factor, Leona Lewis who picked up the award for best breakout artiste and the alternative band from Singapore, Eletrico which gave a stunning performance with the talented Stefanie Sun who then picked up the award for best Singapore artiste. There were alos local artistes like Projevct E.A.R which did a great job with their rendition of alternative rock music. The winner of best artiste from Malaysia was won by (suprise, suprise) not the ever award taking Datuk Siti Nurhaliza but our very own Chinese performaer Nicholas Teo who I think deserved an award after all the good music from his albums have been hitting No. 1 in Malaysia's music charts. It's a pity he did not perform during the show.

The best performance in my humble opinion is when Click Five combined their music "Stop and Stare" with the sounds of kompang from a group of kompang players. And the best showmanship of the night has to go to one of the most famous bands of today "Panic at the Disco" who ended the show with a bang with colorful acrobats adorning the stage while they play their famous songs from human pyramids to dancers in trppical attires and acrobats jumping around the stage. The show ended punctually at 9.30pm but you can see that the guests were still starving for more actions. However, as this is not a concert but meant for live TV, no encore was played.

All-in-all, it was a fantastic, fantabulous (if there is such word in the vocabulary) experience, the high one feels from having close brushes with the celebrities and seeing them so close was unimaginable. I was so happy to be part of the in-crowd of music for the 2 and a half hour. Some of Malaysians cyber celebrities who were there are Kenny Sia who did a live blogging for the show despite not being able to enter the event but got into the After-Party, Miss Malaysia Universe 2008, Levy Li (I call her Leggy Li, well, will she not get invited to any event? ;) and KinkyBlue Fairy who all got a fair share of my experience and excitement.

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