Saturday, July 31, 2010

Family Dinner

It was a good get-together... with just 5 of us in the family :)
Well, it's special, too... for me... just arrived homeland after a week being away... and yes, we had good food for the night... it's also like marking a 'finale' to the month of hardwork :)

Goose liver that's just cooked... tasted very nice... no smell of organs at all!

Wow! Shark Fin in very thick soup with a 'hammy' taste

Here came the highlight of the restaurant: Abalone!
There were 2 types here, the Mexican abalone which was the dry one (on the left, slightly smaller) and the fresh abalone from Japan! I liked the fresh one! It tasted sweeter and more 'crispy'

Here's another 'mysterious' item - a mixture of goose liver and some meat were mixed and wrapped inside the comb of fried noodles.
For a change, pakchoi and gooseberries... simple dish yet tasted very nice :)

Another highlight: Lobster yifu noodles
Finale: Almond flavoured bird nest

Friday, July 09, 2010

1-minute painting

Chanced upon this clip at Yun Huann's edublog. It's simply so amazing... the creativity - in terms of the 'techniques' (or skills) to create that piece of art... from sprays and papers and some sticky stuff. It's an example of optimising resources and using them creatively. It also means one has to use the resources in a way pretty different from the norm :)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

1-to-1 does make a difference...

It's was just a quick observation, when we attended the FS Sharing session. Not talking about the content or what's delivered in the session; it's about the degree of 'participation'.

Indeed, I thought our table stood out... probably because we were so 'ourselves' (at home) - so naturally that we brought our own macbooks with us when turned up for the meeting.

Out of 6 tables:
  • 5 tables, each had one computer for 5-6 personnel
  • 1 table, i.e. ours, in a 1-to-1 configuration

When working on the first activity - when the participants were to enter their inputs to the googlespreadsheet: While the rest needed to share one screen and read what's required to do; what we did was to immediately shared out the worksheet and everybody at the table could view, discuss and start contributing to where we think we could. Well, it's a good illustration how 1-to-1 configuration has changed the way people work and collaborate :)

Ah! I'm impressed with what the fluency and teamwork demonstrated :) Hope that those around has sensed how different the learning and participation experience, given the appropriate environment.


Delicious Delicious Sashimi

Had this last evening at a gathering... Thanks to Karen who brought us to this place for the authentic Japanese meal... loved the thick cuttings of the fresh sea creatures... there, we learnt that it's reaaaaaaaaaaaal cheap eating sashimi in Japan... ah! Those generous servings of fresh catches from the sea...

One of the highlights we had last night...

The one in Japan definitely tasted better...

About the Peak Hour Rush

This has been the 'hot' topic for the week... saw a couple of reports on this (though I rarely touch newspapers in the morning in weekdays).

A few days ago, the (sub-)headline in one of the Straits Times articles read something like "the highest frequency of the MRT train is 2-3 minutes". This morning's Sunday Times has a page on "Special Report: The Big Squeeze" Peak-Hour Crush.

Well, the MRT system... I think the heightened interest was attributed by the Fare rise, that was publicised a coupled of months ago... ok... when the day is near, people start to talk more about it.

In the article, while the current effort to bring forth a better service were highlighted, I thought the few reasons that were cited to explain why certain what's "best" could be done were not good enough to justify. For instance,
  • "The train can run only at two or three-minute frequencies due to the current infrastructure". I couldn't believe this was cited as the first reason! It sounds as if that its the infrastructure to blame! How old is our MRT system? Compare this with what they have in Europe countries like Paris and London! The frequency of the trains is high, especially in peak hours. Mind you, their systems is much more complicated - with a railway track serving several lines at ago! Tokyo's system is impressive! Don't just compare the populatuion or the number of passengers that could be packed in each car, please compare the train frequency!
  • "More carriages cannot be added as the length of the station platform is only 6 carriages long." Please think out of the box! The length of the platform is not a constraint! It's just a place for people to board and alight. I may sound "unreasonable" but it's really a matter of shaping people's expectation and routines! In fact, if we are familiar with the London Metro System, we would know that some cars at the end of the train do no open their doors at certain station because the length of the train is much longer than that of the platform. So, commuters know best where they should move to if they need to alight at stations where certain cars do not 'open' the doors. Ah! It also means that the train could 'control' which door to open or not... Would this help to 'expand' the passenger capacity per ride?
  • Several times in the report cited as if it's the commuters' fault of not making full use of they system - true that the user habit needs to be looked into... and since it's the problem, why not tackle it right? Thinking of removing the number of seats in the car helps to increase the capacity? Well, theoretically it does, but if the commuters are not educated to do so, the situation will never improve. Why the service provider not working on this? or it is, but the effort is not observable?????

One of the biggest 'puzzle' I have is, what's the role of the SMRT officers at the platform? Of course I could think of lines of reasons to justify the need to have such personnel at the platform to provide a "better commuter service"... but I've not seen enough (or sometimes, at all) that it's happening. Very disappointing!

Something that I saw at overseas train platforms that the auxiliary personnel do (which I don't see in Singapore, from my experience, to-date):

  • Ensure passengers board the train in an orderly manner. In Japan, be it in Tokyo or Osaka, and I believe these are not the only cities in the world that we see that... Commuters follow the lines marked on the floor... while everyone knows that the train packed, they waited for commuters to alight first before stepping into the train. The auxiliary personnel at the platform maintain that order! They are able to ask or signal the commuters to be in order. What do we see at our MRT platforms? Maybe our auxiliary personnel do not know what to do or how to do? Simply instructing them to 'tell' the commuters off doesn't help. I think they need to really see how their counterparts do it overseas... then they know what that means.

Similarly, drawing the lines on the floor doesn't help... there needs reinforcement from the auxiliary personnel. The lines do not create 'automatic' barricades for those who block those alighting the train!

Adding more reinforcement around is not enough... Educate the commuters, please!!!!