Sunday, April 26, 2015


74.3% of Singapore’s population is of Chinese origin. My observation in general with the Chinese race has been that – the men are blessed with minimal to no facial hair (Obviously I am generalizing).

Which means, most men look clean shaven and probably spend no time grooming facial hair (known as shaving). No wonder they are so productive. These men save an average of 15 minutes everyday! During my Movember challenge, I implored some of my colleagues to join me. But they argued that to get a moustache, they would need a year or more. A month was an impossible target to get anything on their upper lips.

Now, if there are not many consumers for shaving products then naturally, you hardly find any good products on the super-market aisle. Every time I run out of my shaving cream, I dearly miss Indian malls. Out here all I see is one brand and one type of cream. And that too looks like it has been lying around on the aisle for ages desperately waiting for an owner!

With the amazing hair growing capacity of the average Indian male, we have a plethora of options for shaving foams and creams back home. Besides the magical properties, we have creams for every conceivable skin type – sensitive, oily, rough, dry and the list goes on. Then there are moisturisers, skin-softeners, whiteners and what not. Oh I so dearly miss my shaving creams!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Chewing Gum

Singapore gets a lot of flak in international media for its draconian ban on chewing gums. Chewing Gums in Singapore have been banned since 1992. There is an interesting Wikipedia article about the ban. The gist being – Gums are expensive to clean and they cause a lot of nuisance if they are stuck in public properties – like train door sensors, public-transport seats or even on elevator buttons. The logical thing the Government did back then was – just ban the gums.

Any big metropolitan city that I have been to, one thing I have distinctly noticed on the pavements always is – stuck chewing gums. These are remarkably absent in Singapore. The cost of cleaning one such stuck gum is approximated to around 3 SGD. And then in the public restrooms in these cities, I have occasionally seen a lone chewing gum happily dancing away in a urinal for what might seem like ages. And the gum is not biodegradable. So the freedom of having chewing gums is associated with a big cost for the city to clean the gum.

Chewing gum on Sidewalk

Since I had nothing much to do on the weekend, I actually spent sometime surfing YouTube for “chewing gum cleaning machines”, and the internet sure didn’t disappoint me. That does look like a lot of effort (and $$)

High-pressure Dry-ice blasting of Chewing Gums

Anyway, to conclude, if you eat chewing gums, please be extra careful to dispose them off in the right places (rubbish chutes) and prevent causing litter that is expensive and unsightly. That’s my community service message for the day.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Impulse buying

I belong to the community of electronics buyers that do their complete and thorough research before buying anything. It could be as stupid as a USB drive or something as complicated as a Computer. I spend days researching, reading reviews and going through articles on the internet to really understand what I am getting into. Most of the times, the research is not justified for the value I get and many times it painfully slows down the buying process.

Singapore has 4 IT shows a year. IT shows are like electronics carnivals where a set of electronic retailers come to an exhibition hall and setup temporary stalls to sell their stuff. Sometimes there are discounts but most of the times you just collect freebies that you don’t want. I have religiously been to these quarterly events for as long as I have been here. Though I regularly go to these  exhibitions, I have hardly bought anything without knowing about it before. This time however was an exception.

I succumbed to impulse buying and bought a shiny and expensive new toy. A Bluetooth speaker. A Creative SBS Roar 2. To be fair, I am really happy with my buy. But I was not really looking for a Bluetooth speaker and I hadn’t researched anything when I bought it.

Creative SBS Roar 2

Now, I have generally been a big Creative Technologies fan. So every IT show, I make it a point to stop by their booth. This time, I heard a passionate sales guy selling the SBS Roar 2. He was so damn convincing and so sincere that I made an impulse decision then and there to buy the speakers. I am amazed by his selling skills and continue to be surprised by my gullibility.

Anyway, now I am loving the speaker and it is definitely worth the price that I paid. I am also listening to my music collection that much more often now (and not just stuck to the radio).

Thursday, April 2, 2015


The word drifting reminds me of this car racing game I played more than a decade ago – Need for Speed. I spent many a weekends during my engineering days trying hard to complete the “Factory Driver” levels in NFS Porsche Unleashed. And that is where I perfected the art of drifting a Porsche using my keyboard arrow keys.

Anyways, this blog post has nothing to do with that drifting. So read on. Though Singapore is a small country it is blessed with a whole lot of reservoirs. I had a chance to Kayak in one of them a few weeks ago. Now, mind you, my physical fitness level is embarrassingly bad. And any kind of Kayaking requires serious upper body strength to move your kayak in the direction desired.

While I have kayaked in the ocean and in rivers before, I was totally unprepared to kayak in a reservoir (or so I figured out!). So as I set out, I set myself a target to go to the other end of the reservoir and make my way back. What I didn’t notice was that there was a steady flow of water perpendicular to my direction and while I was inching forward by my paddling, I was also drifting away (without me noticing). After what seemed like an eternity, I reached the other end of the reservoir. And when I turned around to get back to the starting point, I gasped in horror as I couldn’t see it anymore. That’s the time when I realized that I had badly drifted. Anyway. while it was sunny, I had enough water and a life jacket to survive. Yeah no chance of a cast away. So I slowly and steadily started my herculean task of paddling my way back.

Luckily, the operators realized that I was no where in sight and having known my physical capabilities assumed that I had drifted. So a knight in shining armour came in a power boat and tied my kayak to his boat and dragged me back. I might just have set a world record for the fastest kayak ever. I am sure kayaks don't get dragged this way unless an incapable idiot is paddling them.

Anyway, long story short, I had an experience of a lifetime riding behind the power boat with a kayak. I held my paddle high up above my head and came back to the shore like a hero.