The Truth Behind Magic Rocks

Image taken from google search


I believe most of us have heard of the story of the con men who were selling magic rocks to aunties at exorbitant prices. For those who have not, [which rock have you been hiding under for the past few years?] the gist of the story was that con men were picking up normal rocks from gardens and selling them off to aunties with the promise that these magical rocks would improve their luck/fortune/health/sex lives etc.


Most of them ended up in jail, while the rest decided to quit while they were ahead. And thus, the chapter of the Magic Rock was closed. Or so we thought...


In our modern society, the actual magic rock no longer exists, however, they have evolved. [Did I hear someone say Pokemon?] No one sells rocks nowadays, but there are lots of "supernatural" / "Energy-emitting" products that are basically the same as magic rocks.


Image taken from google search


For the religious, there are holy/blessed/enchanted trinkets that protect them from "evil forces".
For the hippies, there are magnetised and energised necklaces and bracelets that emit "positive energy".
For the sports fanatics, there are ionised bands and tapes that "improves performance".


Basically they are all selling the exact same thing: HOPE.


Image taken from google search


A hope of having a chance to live a better life.
A hope of being able to beat that nagging illness you've been bearing with for most of your life.
A hope of being able to be recognised as one of the best.


Oh, and don't forget a hope of being able to strike it rich. That's 4D and ToTo for the gambling types.


Image taken from google search


Personally, I don't think those con men did anything wrong by selling the aunties and uncles those magic rocks. Yes, they were just normal garden rocks with no proof that they actually do the things that they are supposed to do. But on the other hand, magnetised necklaces and ionised bands also have no proof that they do the things they are supposed to do have been scientifically proven to NOT be able to alter any scientific form of energy in any advantageous ways. Yet there are humans who swear by them and won't even leave home without having them on. Which is the bigger con now?


Image taken from google search


Why are the magic rock sellers behind bars while the magnetised necklace and ionised band companies pulling in the big bucks? One word: Beliefs. It's because the authorities themselves do not believe that the rocks actually work. However, some smart humans managed to make the authorities believe that the magnetised necklaces and bands do actually work, before actually going out to sell them. It also helps that these necklaces and bands can't be found lying around in your backyard garden.


It all boils down to a person's state of mind. Again I'm not saying it's wrong to sell/buy those type of things. If it gives someone a peace of mind, why not? If $10 can make me believe that my life is changing for the better for the next 10 minutes, I wouldn't mind paying that $10. Although after said 10 minutes, I would feel kind of stupid wasting that kind of money. But for those glorious 10 minutes, something in my life had really changed. What was it that changed? Only my state of mind, nothing else.


Image taken from google search


But the point is humans want to believe in something. It gives that the drive to keep moving. And we do it everyday. Why do we wake up everyday, do the things we do, and go back to sleep every night? Because we believe that the world will still turn and be there for us the next day. If there was scientific proof that the world would be ending tomorrow, I can bet my last dollar that you won't be doing the things that you are doing right now. In fact, here's what I would be doing if the world would be ending in 24 hours.


As long as both parties willingly believe that the item will be able to bring them what ever they are looking for, I believe that it is a fair trade and the monetary value is irrelevant. It isn't very much different from the politicians and leaders that we vote for every election. Isn't that what they have been selling to us all this while? A glimpse of hope that we will have a better future?


Image taken from google search


Hope and Beliefs are wonderful things, but scary and unpredictable at the same time. Anyone who is able to master the art of bending human's hopes and beliefs would most likely be unstoppable in our society.

Romeo and Juliet: The Ballet - A Sneak Preview

Image taken from Singapore Dance Theatre


Arguably one of the most famous plays written by William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet tells the story of 2 young, star-crossed lovers entwined in a forbidden love. [Remember those days in secondary school?] And what better way to express such an emotional story than by playing it out in a heart-felt ballet?


Singapore Dance Theatre will be presenting a ballet rendition of Romeo and Juliet, from 13 March to 16 March 2014, at the Esplanade Theatre! With choreography from the award winning Goh Choo San, and a powerful musical score by Sergei Prokofiev, this ballet is definitely one not to be missed.

Tickets are available now at sistic.com.sg, at $30, $50 and $70!


The good people at Singapore Dance Theatre invited me to the in-studio preview of Romeo and Juliet at the Singapore Dance Theatre at Bugis+ on 1st of March.




Coming from a more street dance background, honestly I wasn't sure what to expect. But at the end of the 1 hour preview, I was both awed and amazed by both the dancers as well as the entire show. Step in with me to the Founder's Studio and catch a glimpse of the classical love story.





The preview started off with the artistic director, Mr Janek Schergen, explaining the brief history and outline of the story to us. You could really tell how passionate he was about ballet and the entire show in general.





Introducing the cast of Romeo and Juliet...





As well as a preview of some of the amazing costumes that were designed specially for the show...


The quality and intricate details of the costumes were amazing


And before we knew it, the show had already begun!
This adaptation of the story introduces an invisible character called "Fate", who has a hand in many of the events that unfold throughout the story...


Beautiful and undeniable, as what we would expect from Fate



Apart from the amazing costumes, there were also many props that were brought in to enhance the entire performance...


A scene from a busy marketplace


And of course, not forgetting our talented dancers...



I'm always amazed at how ballet dancers can leap 20 feet in the air [okay, maybe a little exaggeration there], maintain their lines and postures, and yet make it look so easy.


Oh, and did I mention that the dancers actually had to take fencing classes so that they could use these real fencing swords? Yup, those are actual, real fencing swords that could really hurt someone if not used correctly.






And of course, what would a ballet be without a lovely duet by Romeo and Juliet...








And in case you're wondering, yes, there is even a bedroom scene. [Don't worry, it's still a PG rating]




And as "Fate" would have it, we were left wanting more at the end of the preview...



The amazing thing about this ballet is that there is a lot of storytelling [through the scenes and the dance] happening throughout the entire performance. So even if you are a person who does not really know how to appreciate the art of ballet, you will still be able to follow and enjoy the story without getting lost in translation.


Also, the talented dancers exude lots of emotion in both their dance as well as in their facial expressions and physical actions. [Just look at the hug above and try to tell me that they don't look like lovers having to part] This was also one of the elements of the performance that impressed me the most. Every smile, frown, laugh and tear in the performance was so believable that you actually get pulled in deeper into the story, and at times you can actually feel their joy and pain too.


The preview only consists of snippets of the actual performance and did not include most of the costumes and props, and yet it was already so enjoyable. Can you imagine what the actual show would be like with full costumes and props?





I can't wait. Remember to get your tickets at sistic.com.sg quick! Performance dates are on the 13 to 16 March 2014 at the Esplanade Theatre. [That's this weekend humans!]

See you there humans!




N.E.Mation! 8: The Winners Have Been Announced!

Image courtesy of N.E.Mation flickr


On the 20th of Febuary 2014, 4 students won a once in a lifetime trip to USA, to visit a world class Animation Studio [think Pixar, LucasFilm and Walt Disney] to check out how the professionals make movie grade animations fit for the big screen. And all 5 of the N.E.Mation!8 ambassadors [that's us!] were there to witness the unveiling of the results!


After months of endless workshops, idea generation, pitching and production, it was only fitting that the results of N.E.Mation!8 were released at an equally impressive venue: The National Museum of Singapore. In line with the theme of Total Defence, there were even some actual vehicles that our total defence friends use to protect us on a daily basis, on display outside the entrance of the National Museum of Singapore.


Our friends from the Singapore Civil Defence Force


And even a Protector from our friends in the NAVY


The National Museum of Singapore is huge, and there were other exhibitions going on on that day too. Luckily for us, the organisers did a good job of helping us to orientate ourselves...


Looking for N.E.Mation!8? Just follow the red arrows!


My babygirl cum fellow N.E.Mation!8 Ambassador, Mint Leong, getting registered for the event


Right outside the auditorium was a mini-exhibition of the entire N.E.Mation journey...


From the works of our current finalists...



The actual Monopoly board game that was used in one of the finalist's video



To the history and memories, including the storyboards and props used by some of the finalists from the previous seasons!





Once we got inside the auditorium, you could feel the excitement, hope and anxiety in the air. The students, together with their parents, friends and teachers, were excitedly chatting away, wondering which teams would take the top 3 spots.


Image courtesy of N.E.Mation flickr


And before we knew it, all the seats had been filled up and the show had commenced!





But wait, what were those colourful tubes sticking out from the goodie bags placed on each of the seats?


Well, they are called boomsticks! They may look like 2 simple, ordinary plastic tubes... And in fact, they are. But in line with this year's theme of "Because You Played A Part", with just some simple guidance and instructions from the people who put them there, we managed to create our very own makeshift orchestra after just a few minutes of practice! Check out our performance!


So cool right?


We had an opening speech by Minister for Social and Family Development, 2nd Minister for Defence, Mr Chan Chun Sing, before diving straight into the results.


Image courtesy of N.E.Mation flickr


All 10 teams were reintroduced to the audience again on stage, and had their videos shown on a high definition screen, before taking their places in anticipation for the results.


The suspense was killing me... And probably more so for the finalists on stage...


The 7 consolation prizes were given out to first, before revealing the results of the top 3. So without further ado, I present to you the top 3 winners of this year's N.E.mation!8...


Image taken from nemation.sg


Congratulations to the girls from Tanglin Secondary School! They will be walking [flying] away with a trip to USA to a world class Animation Studio! In fact, there was even a joke going around that the 1st Runner Up prize was "better" than the Top Prize as it included an iPad Mini. Check out all their videos on the N.E.mation official website!


In any case, congratulations to all the top 10 finalists. You are already winners by getting this far into the competition! Here's a shot of Mr Chan with the finalists amidst the chaos of celebrations going on both on and off the stage.





And of course, you wouldn't think that I forgot about my 2 teams WayneStarkCo and Hashtag right? You guys and girls are all already winners in my opinion. You won more than just a trophy and some prizes, but more importantly, an experience of overcoming a challenging journey that nobody can ever take away from you in the future!


Do cherish this special bond you have formed with your buddies over these few months, and strive to achieve greater heights!


The ever-joyful girls from WayneStarkCo, Methodist Girls' School (Secondary)



The fun-loving boys from Hashtag, School of Science and Technology 



But wait. The finalists were not the only ones receiving prizes on that day... All the N.E.mation Ambassadors were also awarded with some shopping vouchers for our efforts throughout the entire campaign! [Yay! Shopping!]


We had our own mini prize presentation for the various Ambassador prizes such as:
- Overall Best Blogger
- Best Social Media Effort
- Best Blog Post
- Student Favourite
and more...


So you must be wondering if I won anything. Well, they say a picture speaks a thousand words, so I'll let this picture speak for itself.




Yay! I won the Best Blog Post award! In fact, all the ambassadors won something this year! [$$$ Amounts have been removed for obvious reasons] Looks like it's time to go shopping!


In fact, Mint and I headed out immediately after the awards ceremony to get something that we had been looking forward to for a long time. I'm sure the salesman was shocked when he asked "How are you paying?" and we replied "By Vouchers!". Can you guess what we bought?



Well, that's it for N.E.mation!8. I would like to thank the organisers of N.E.mation and Animagine Productions for giving me the chance to be part of this wonderful experience. We'll see you again next year for N.E.mation!9!

Gender Equality: An Unrealistic Dream

Just a couple of days ago, I noticed a female teen student having a little fun with her friend. While her friend was happily sipping away at the water cooler, with a cheeky smile on her face, she playfully hid behind the corner of the wall, presumably getting ready to give her friend a cheeky surprise.




I didn't stick around to watch the entire episode unfold, but that got me thinking. This entire scenario only worked because both students were female. Because the students were females, the whole atmosphere had a cheeky, playful and cute feel to it.


But if the same scenario would have happened with a male student of the same age, I'm pretty sure the same people around them would not use the same words to describe it. Instead of "cheeky", "playful" and "cute", it would probably have been "childish", "immature" and "bo liao".


Same same, but different?



In the same light, when ladies wear men's clothes, nobody bats an eyelid. But when a man wears ladies clothes, everyone looks at him as if they've just seen a ghost.


Image taken from google search



So what's all this fuss about gender equality? It's obvious that there's no such thing as gender equality in our society, no matter how much we try to make it seem like we advocate it.


It's normal for men to hit on girls in the clubs and pubs, but when a lady hits on the guys, she is deemed as desperate.

It's normal for men to have unshaven armpits, arms and legs, but a lady who does the same is mocked as a hairy gorilla.

It's normal for ladies to go out with thick make-up, but when a man does that, he is either crazy or gay.

It's normal for ladies to slap a man for molesting her, but when a man slaps a lady for molesting him, he is found guilty of abuse.


And the list goes on and on.


So it really seems that Gender Equality is truly beyond our grasps. This is the result of social expectations. And we all know that expectations are always different from person to person, let alone trying to generalize expectations for half of the world's population against the other half.


Image taken from google search


The only realistic dream that any society can hope for is Fairness in Expectations. And again, these expectations should not be between 2 genders, but instead between 2 parties. As long as both parties agree to the expectations put forward by the other, this is as fair as it can get. And for the rest of us not involved in this agreement, we should all learn not to judge.