All posts by scenzz

I had a dream of Stand-out and Blend-in banners.

I had a dream.. I was walking through my office corridor and noticed 2 banners arguing with each other. One banner was noticeably Flashy, out spoken and I called him Stand-out. Another was a plain-jane, soft-spoken, who I almost went unnotice everytime I bumped into him. I called him blend-in.
Stand-out argued..
“I’m better looking than you. I always stand out among the crowd and get everyone notice. I am able to repeat myself many time through animation loop. I have these flashy colour that align with the brand and catch the audience attention. And you know what? I’m expandable, sometimes I float and I pop out… uninvited…”
Blend-in replied angrily..
“So what? I’m stealth. I can blend in to the party without anyone notice. I don’t feel out of place and I can be quiet yet sound geniune. Some call me Native.. I prefer people call me Ninja… And guess what? It works.. People come to me and they don’t feel intimidated. (whisper aside) Though sometimes they feel cheated when they saw my “sponsored by”, “promoted” under garment.”
And they continued to argue..
“I need to be prominent to make my brand known… ” Stand-out said
“Nobody clicks on you any more. Only 0.05% in the world click on you” Blend-in argued
“You are a cheat, pretending to be someone you are not”
“You are too intrusive and rude”
Noticing the comotion starting to turn angry, almost into a fight, I shouted “Wait!! Let me be the judge and resolve this!”
“Both are right and wrong.. Let me advise you how you can better banners”
Both turn their heads and glanced at me, waiting for the advice.
Looking at Stand-out, I advised
“1. Don’t be intrusive. You may be eye-catching but you still need to be relevant to your audience. You need to able to entertain them and tell a story. Let them have a positive experience about you, not just showing them the latest promotions. In these ways, you will avoid those Ad-blockers standing at the front gate too.
2. And remember, people are getting sick of you so 99.9% will not clicks. So don’t measure clicks. Focus more on how to convince them with your stories. Audience attention span is getting shorter now. Think how your message can influence them and let them be engage within the short time span.
3. And don’t go to all the party. Some are totally irrelevant to you. Know who is in the party and tailored your conversation accordingly. And don’t overstay the party. Just remember, there are other Stand-Out banners out there competing for attention.
Just remember: Stay relevant, entertain and useful.
And now for you, Blend-in…
1. Even if your natural instinct is to blend in to the environment, please make known to audience that you are being paid to be present so audience will not feel cheated.
2. Avoid tricky opener like click-baits. People will click once but will avoid it all together. Not good for the whole industry.
3. You may not stand out among the crowd. But the advantage is that audience will trust you more. You look friendlier. So don’t abuse the trust. Same points: Stay relevant, entertain and useful.
4. And you may not able to tell the whole story so please have a landing page ready to continue the conversation.”
To both of them,
“And the last advice is that you guys should be working together. Using blend-in to start the conversation, let them get comfortable about the brand. And then follow by Stand-out, who can continue to stories on how the brand can benefit the audience. And if you don’t, there are others like videos and social ready to replace you”
Looking at each others with tears rolls into their eyes.. and they hug each other.
And I wake up.. Happy Valentines Day.

Not so long trip to Paris London and Liverpool (Part 2 – Liverpool)

Highlight of the trip is my visit to Liverpool – Home of the Kop, Liverbird and also the famous scouser accents.


Virgin Train Ticket to Liverpool. A 2 hours short trip to the Merseyside. Ready for the match day
Albert dock overlooking Liverool Museum
Kop Bus sighted
Spectacular cloud hanging over Museum of Liverpool.
Dusk at Albert Dock
Sunset at River Mersey


MatchDay scarf – Liverpool vs Bournemouth
Anfield – Highlight of the trip
The match happened at night with Neon light
The famous Kop stand

Not so long trip to Paris London and Liverpool (Part 2 – London)

After 2 days in Paris, we made our way to London via Eurostar and spent 2 full days…


Eurostar from Paris to London.. l.. Seems need some cleaning
Having a lobster roll at West End.. £10
View outside my airbnb apartment, in the nice neighbourhood of Pimpico London
Foliage in St James Park with a duck
Sighted red telephone booth
Spending 2 hours in British Museum. one can spend full day in the museum
The famous 12th centuries Lewis Chessmen
Having a brunch at Borough Market
River Thames overlooking Tower Bridge
Invisible man .. a good way to earn money
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Westminster Abbey

Not so long trip to Paris London and Liverpool (Part 1 – Paris)

Here are some photos from my recent trip to Europe. An impromptu trip due to S$700 return air ticket to Paris by Oman Air… 

Day 1 Paris – Arriving late at night. Stayed in an Airbnb apartment near the train station. Kind of worried as there was no review for this apartment, but turned out to be good.
Day 2 Paris – Paris is beautiful in Autumn.. Fall foliage in full bloom and sky was in perfect blue.








总相信 以后岁月(八十岁后)仍然能分享好戏 纵已失去浪漫气氛


每一个画面里 每一个灯影里

如重播一切 有我共你

Have you seen this old lady selling pens?

I saw this old lady among the busy lunch crowd around harbour front today. She was approaching each passerby, looking desperate, trying to grab hold of their hands.. I walked towards the old lady and realised she was holding a box of pens, trying to sell each one at 3.50.


I asked her where’s she from and if she need any assistance.. She just shook her head and mumbling that she is selling pens and no one is buying. Trying to probe further but no further response, I bought a pen and passed her $10. And from a distance I observed the crowd.. Many just shrugged her off.. Some paused for a moment, glanced at her and moved on.

I don’t know her story but her helpless eyes were telling me that she was not there just to earn some extra bucks or as her hobby..

Maybe our government does not have power and reach to help those that fall through the cracks despite all the grassroots effort.. and maybe our government does not have the political will to provide a safety net to the old and vulnerable…

So it will be up to us Singaporean to take action.

If you see the old lady somewhere among the office crowd, pause for a moment, reach out to her and buy a pen from her. It’s really a good pen.


Update: After I posted this on Facebook, my dear friend Roy reminded me that COMCARE can help. So if you see her on the street, you may want to call 1800 222 0000.

Overdose of “Home”? These are the 7 songs that define my Singapore


I don’t usually fancy National Day Songs, as I think they are cheesy and too official. I guess many of the song writers are being commission by Ministry of National Development to write those songs, so bo bian (no choice), have to perform national duty. When comes to patriotic songs, I think Hong Kongers did much better than us (see here).

However, look outside of those official songs, you will find gems. Here are my 7 favourite songs that define my Singapore and probably only fellow Singaporean can relate to. Happy SG50 Singaporean!

1985 – 翁素英、蔡振雄 – 岛的儿子

Theme song of SBC (now Mediacorp) TV Series “亚打籽“。The TV series told the story of villagers who live in Pulau Tekong and had to leave their beloved island due to redevelopment of the island into Military training base. The song reflect the love of the island and in larger extend, love of Singapore and how modernisation has change our landscape, from kampung to a modern city.

1985 – 巫启贤- Kopi O

Another theme song of TV Series “咖啡乌” aka Kopi O aka Coffee without milk, by Eric Moo. A lovely song that describe how a cup of Kopi O wash away all our worries, and it’s true. Time to head down to Coffeeshop.

1990 – 梁文福:新加坡派

This is the song that describe going up in Singapore from the 60s into the 90s. By Xinyao Pioneer Liang Wern Fook. I love the interlude: 浪子心声 in the 70s, to “I just call to say I love you”, “We are the World”, “明天会更好” in the 80s, songs that represent those era.

1990 – Dick Lee: Rasa Sayang

One of my favourite songs during my secondary school day. I remember getting the album “The Mad Chinaman” from my neighbourhood in Bukit Ho Swee. Love all the songs in that Album including “Bengawan Solo” and “Mustapha”. That’s the only Dick Lee’s album I have bought.

2004 – Dick Lee – We are Singapore (Cool Version)

Another song by Dick Lee (Not his song strictly speaking but he improvise it). Perform live during his 30th Anniversary concert. The KNNB*** is a surprise. It’s censored in the video so I can’t really sure if he blurted out the 3 words. I like the Lee Kuan Me part too.

2006 – Hossan Leong – We didn’t start the fire

As part of “Talking Cock in Parliament”, the lyrics is just hilarious.

2009 – Electrico -What do you see

The only official National Day Song in the list. The reason I love it is that it’s so different from other Official Song. A little bit of rock certainly do no harm.

Bonus: 2009: Mr Brown – Lekuasimi

A perfect spoof of “What do you see?”, by Mr. Brown.


So what’s your favourite Singapore songs?


3 sites in Singapore awarded with DAMN IT. They are…

Woo hoo! It’s been a week since our well beloved Singapore Botanical Garden bestowed with the title UNESCO World Heritage site, joining the old timer of Angkor Wat, Borobodur Temple among others. Ain’t we celebrating?

While we rejoice with our new found fame, I also notice that few of our very owned Singapore sites will also be awarded with the prestigious recognition DAMN IT, Demolition Award for Monuments of Not  so ImporTant.

Before I reveal the new nominees, let’s take a look at some of past achievers who have unlocked this prestigious award:

1. Singapore National Theatre



It was found to be structurally unsafe and obstruction to construction of an expressway (Erm.. Exactly what’s the reason again?), it was awarded with DAMN IT in 1986. Now, two miserable plaques are erected to  remain us of her glory past.


2. Van Kleef Aquarium

Van Kleef Aquarium


Like brother in-arm, Van Kleef Aquarium was awarded same glory as National Theatre, but 12 years late, in 1998.

Van Kleef Aquarium - Now

3. Old Outram Park Housing Estate



No big deal. Come on, it just another housing estate, and was awarded DAMN IT in 2003. A beautiful plot of empty grass is what’s left of.


4. National Library – (The Old)


In Singapore, every minute count so in order to save 5 minutes of commuting time within CBD area, old building definitely has to go away. So she made the wonderful sacrifice and awarded with the DAMN IT in 2004 – And a tunnel runs through it… Every brick well damned!



And here I am to present the latest DAMN IT achievers. Following the footsteps of those pioneers, these 3 wannabes have certainly done their generation proud.

1. Dakota Estate

Dakota Playground

Just a stone throw away from the new minted Sport Hub, tucked between 2 MRT Stations and within the high affluent Tanjong Katong compound, it’s only matter of time before this plain old Dakota Estate caught the eye of the judge to be selected for the award.

2. Rochor Estate

Rochor Estate

Following the trends of pioneers making way for better connectivity to the city, the colourful Rochor Estate proudly stands it way and so “Siam Lah”, the bulldozer says.

3. Tanglin Halt Estate

Tanglin Halt Estate

Another housing estate in the city fringe, part of the now-defunct Queenstown estate. Also a rare gem beside the Commonweath MRT Station, she too make her way to the DAMN IT.

While the nation celebrating 50 years of independence, and thousands turn up at Botanic Gardens to watch SSO performing “Black Swan” and “Benhur”, do let us remember those who DAMN IT, for the seek of progress of the nation. RIP.

Tragic days for Nepal..

Patan Durban Square
Patan Durban Square before the earthquake.
Since the deadly earthquake struck on Nepal last Saturday, it’s beyond words to witness the continuous rise of death tolls, with last count at 3200: Corpses are lying on the streets, homeless people staying out and UNESCO historic sites reduce to rubbles.

It’s a tragic event for the developing country that in recent years have been troubled by political turmoil and natural disasters. Among the poorest countries in the world, it’s lack of resources have been hampering the peoples daily lives; Load shedding of electricity, occasional flooding in urban area and bad pollution and traffic in central Kathmandu. The last thing the country need is another disaster of this scale.

The news of the disaster struck me hard as as I was there just a few weeks back. Although I’m glad that I have avoided the disaster, I know that this is not the time for me to feel lucky. My heart are still with the people I have met: The shop owner selling the painting that I bought from, the waiters from Black Olives Cafe, the guides and friendly villagers I met along the trek, police in Pokara. I hope they are all ok.

Living in the comfort of Singapore, we often measured the severe of the event through the number of fatal casualty and it’s easily fall into the trap of “this disaster is not as big as the previous one and since I have not made any donation to that one, why should I do it for this one?” logic. The thing is that just because there are bigger disasters happened before  doesn’t make this disaster any less tragic.

Let’s start now, it’s always at these very moments that we as Singaporean, need to take a step forward and show empathy to the less fortunates around the world. We have never experienced tragic event of such scale and we may never apprehend how it’s feel like losing love ones, our home and our living, and I hope that we never would. The least thing we can do now is to make a donation to Mercy Relief or other charity organisation who are out there saving lives.

I hope the country will recover well from this disaster and emerge as strong as ever. Namaste.