Friday, 11 December 2009

Do you have an interesting story to tell?

I read a book "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs", and as you probably know, Steve Jobs is the CEO of Apple Computers and he's been rated as one of the best presenters in the world (yes... you're thinking "hey, if I had the chance to unveil the iPhone I'd be a great presenter too!).

Anyway, one of the gems in the book was this - the presentation slides are your props in telling the story. They're important, but not anywhere as important as the story you're going to tell. So the morale of the story is to have an interesting story to tell in the first place! The props are just there to support you - not to replace you as the hero of the day.

What has this got to do with the following video? Well... this comedian had a very humble prop, but an interesting story to tell. And that's what matters!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Help Feisty Princess Charmaine fight cancer!

If you're thinking of splurging on something to make yourself feel good this Christmas, stop.

There're other ways of feeling good, such as helping others in need. I came across this blog while surfing, and I was floored to know that there's someone in need of our assistance. Charmaine is only four, and she has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Treatment is possible but costly, running at US$350k. It's good to pamper yourself from time to time, but before you splurge on the handbag, dress or gadget that you might buy and use for only a couple of times,  consider using a portion of that fund to help someone else instead.

The treatment is costly and Charmaine's single mum cannot raise the funds alone. Harness the power of the internet and help them raise the funds - it only takes a little effort each to do so. Please spread the word!

Feisty Char needs bullets to fight!

I've thought over it carefully. So here's the deal - I've a IWC Top Gun chrono for sale (brand new in box). It's a collector's item since it's been discontinued. Buy it from me and the entire proceeds ($8800) will go to Charmaine's donation for medical bills. Yes, you read correctly... the entire sum! So if you're looking for a nice watch to buy, this is it. You'd definitely feel much better wearing it knowing that you've helped a little girl fight cancer.

You can write the cheque directly to the account number listed on the blog, so the money can go direct to her.

IWC Pilot Chrono Ceramic TOP GUN edition (44mm)
Mint condition with everything as per AD would supply. Warranty card dated 27th October 2008.

Condition: MINT
Accessories: Complete with boxes (including outer brown box), original IWC strap, instruction manuals, and warranty card
Price: S$8,800


A fellow watch lover Andy at the Singapore Horological Club has kindly agreed to donate a fine bottle of The Glenlivet 18yrs old single malt whisky to the kind soul who purchases the IWC ceramic Top Gun watch! The Glenlivet 18yr single malt scotch received a double-gold medal at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, so it's really top grade stuff! Thanks Andy!

Latest update (14th Dec 2009)

The IWC Top Gun chronograph watch has been sold to James Ng, who was only too happy to be able to help someone in need. As I mentioned to him, there's no better way to enjoy his watch than knowing that he has bought someone else time to live on!

This is also a great chance to thank my dear friends Khim, Sean and Cindy, who donated more money to this cause. I'm sure this Christmas will be a great one for all of us, knowing that we've done our part for someone in need. More importantly, we hope that it'll be a season of joy for Charmaine and her family as well!

So comes the good news... we've consolidated a total of SGD10,000 for Charmaine! Yes... I know it's still a drop in the ocean considering the amount that she needs, but it's a step in the right direction. So watch this space... I'll be contacting Charmaine's family to pass them the donation.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Alfa Romeo launches the Giulietta

Alfa Romeo has just announced a new five-door compact based on the MiTo platform - the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The new car will replace the aging Alfa 146, and this front-drive compact will debut with four engines - two 1.4-liter petrol engines (120 & 170 bhp) and two diesels (1.6-litre at 105bhp  & 2.0-litre at 170 bhp). The name Giulietta means "little Julia" in Italian and is pronounced Julie-etta, and is steeped in Alfa's history as a best-selling sedan.

The new Giulietta shares the same strong Alfa DNA as the other cars in its line-up, with its updated Alfa shield and sharing design elements with the Alfa Mito compact. The car measures 171.3 inches long on a 103.5 inch wheelbase (width is 70.9 inches and height is 57.5 inches), making it slightly longer than a Golf (which it'll compete against) and slightly taller than the out-going Alfa 146.

Sporting enthusiasts will always remember Alfa as the sports car manufacturer, and they will be pleased to know the Alfa Romeo Giulietta will be launched with a 1.8-liter four-cyclinder enine with turbocharged direct injection producing 235 horsepower, as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1750 TBi. The car may be compact, but all models will feature a host of technology such as stability control, DST (Dynamic Steering Torque) and Q2 electronic differential (splits torque between the two front wheels to maintain grip and avoid wheel slip).

Personally, I think Alfa is on to a winner with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta (they probably need to work on getting the correct pronunciation out to the customers). The design for a compact car is stunning to say the least, and with the bland (IMHO) styling of the current Golf and Polo, this little number can run circles around the competition (which I felt should include the MINI and Fiat 500). I love the resigned headlight cluster (much more than the MITO) and the creases in the bonnet is a nice touch of muscle. The honeycombed grill reminds me of the previous Golf GTi, which is not a bad thing.

From the side, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta looks equally stunning with the smart crease along the shoulder-line of the car. A unique aspect will be the hidden door handles of the rear doors, which harks back to the Alfa 156. I'm glad they put it back here in the Giulietta because it's a perfect fit for the sporty character of the compact, making it look like a coupe even! And the turbine-blade rims have the killer-look, although I'm sure that you'd probably need 17" or bigger rims for the full-effect. They do look like they're really difficult to to clean though. And yes... the red Alfa brake calipers are heavenly...

There are many cars today which are mismatched - they either have a nice front or a good rear, but seldom both. The Alfa Romeo Giulietta on the other hand, got both ends right. In fact, I'd think the rear is even better than the front! One can't help but think of the Alfa Brera when they look at the swanky curves of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, so obviously the Alfa DNA runs deep in the family. The end result of teh creases and curves are dramatic, and the tail-lights are styled with a flair for passion, unlike the dead-looking or gawky and awkward looking taillights you find in many cars today. Twin-exhaust for a 1.4-litre car? Definitely a case of aesthetics over technicality, but they do look gorgeous! The keyhole is probably hidden behind the badge of the serpent, delivering one of the most stunning rear design of a car.

The Italian flair for design and passion continues inside with the incredibly stylish interior. The uniquely styled seats take centre-stage with the ribbed design that only Italians can pull off, emblazoned with the Alfa logo in red stitching on the headrest. The official pictures show a huge retractable sunroof as well, which will probably be an expensive option (maybe only available in the 1750 TBi?). If I must criticize something, perhaps it's the headroom which looks pretty tight in the photo, especially for the rear passenger. There're no official photos of the dash board yet, so I do hope that doesn't disappoint an otherwise great design for a car interior.

So if you are looking for a nice continental compact car, there're the usual suspects such as the VW Golf/Polo, the MINI, the Peugeot 207 etc. And then there's the Italian alternative - the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Darn... even the name sounds sexy already!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The value of a crushed dollar note

A professor was talking to his class about the lessons in life, when he took out a dollar note from his pocket and asked if anybody wants it. The entire class put up their hands eagerly without a moment's hesitation. He folded it once and asked again, and as expected everyone raised their hands once more.

The professor then folded the dollar note into a small square and asked, "does anyone still wants this dollar note?" The entire class was waving their hands in the air by now, clamoring to be the lucky recipient of the money.

He unfolded the note carefully, and crushed it tightly into a small ball. "How about this? Everybody still wants this lump of paper?" The students shouted, "yes! We still want it!"

The professor dropped the note on the floor and stomped on it with all his might, while the class watched on in silence. "How about now? You guys still want it?"

Before the class could react, a student shouted, "yeah I want it! It's still money!" The professor picked up the note and handed to the student. He turned back to the rest of the class to explain the moral of the lesson.

"Many times in life, you'd be crushed and stomped upon by others. Without a strong sense of self worth, you might end up feeling small and worthless like a lump of paper. But no matter what I did to the dollar bill, all of you recognized its worth as a dollar, so it retained its value even as I abused it to the core."

"Never depend on others to determine your value - know your own worth. No matter how much others try to crush you, you will always know what you are capable and worthy of. Just like the dollar bill, the outside appearance will never diminish your true value."