It might be closer to home than you think

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

When I was a child, I though that the world’s easiest job was to a food taster. Somebody is actually paid to come to the work place just to eat. Possibly write something down (Today the person probably typed on a keyboard or just use a mouse and click) and then eat. Until it was time to go home. Then I learn that people were actually paid to sleep.

In case you think that this was old news, here is something more recent. In a workaholic society like Singapore, there is…


Or how skim milk masquerades as cream

In 2003, France opposed America in the Iraq war in the UN meetings. In retaliation for the slight, an American politician renamed French fries in the Congressional cafeteria. And Freedom Fries was born. Freedom fries died in early childhood as it was renamed French fries three years later. The slight was also misdirected as fries originated from Belgium.

Photo by Mockup Graphics on Unsplash

This would be an interesting footnote in history if it were not for the Freedom phone. For the “low” price of $499.99, you get a phone that the Big tech giants are not able to…


Or why you will never to get away from it all

Yesterday, I took a trip to an island in an attempt to get away of my troubles and be one with nature. The rest of the country apparently had the same idea because my wildlife photoshoot quickly became a queuing session.

To get to the island, I had to pay a fee to share a boat with my fellow travellers. Usually this meant waiting for a boat to fill up to fifteen passengers before the boatman would start his trip. This time there was no wait for a ferry…


How you need to find ways to manage boredom

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

There is a new series called Loki in Disney+. Spoiler Alert. It is about a bunch of bureaucrats in the organization TVA. Pen pushers created by powerful beings. You did not see any bureaucrats with the Kree or Skrulls. Even the pen pushers at S.H.I.E.LD carry firearms.

The office workers at TVA? Clipboards, pens and paperwork. But there is a little Easter egg that is a blink and you will miss it moment. At 6:47, a bureaucrat has a mini screen at the top left corner of the shot. Inside that…


Or how marketing can change the way you perceive things

Recently, I was at a discount store when I saw a bottle of paprika for sale. I grab it and then immediately used it for my first home cooked meal. To my disappointment, it tasted exactly like chilli powder. When I checked the label, I discovered that despite the shelf labelling the spice as paprika, the bottle was actually labelled as chilli powder.

Caveat Emptor

Stung by the minor deception, I then researched what paprika really was. It is technically correct to call it chilli powder.

Photo by Aliona Gumeniuk on Unsplash

It is made from grounded European…


Working in the rain

The Wet Look spotted by a squirrel (Image by Author)

With climate change, one headache that I face is more rain. The storms are often heavier and the rain lasts longer. I hate to shoot in the rain or just after it as the lighting is usually unsuitable for my camera. Moreover, I hate balancing an umbrella while trying to shoot.

Full Disclosure: I am an amateur wildlife photographer. With a Nikon P1000 to play with.

I had many bad memories in rainy conditions but I felt that I should see if my skills have improved with more experience and equipment. Hence the attempt to shoot…


Or things are never what they seem

See the bird below? It is a Chinese Pond Heron.

Image by Author

See the bird below. Same species. It is just that the bird below has a breeding plumage. The bird above is in a winter plumage. And before you ask, the bird migrates to warmer climate in winter so the brown is for camouflage in the tropics.

Back to the heron in breeding plumage. I have never seen how they attract their mates but my first impression is that the female herons are less picky then peahens. …


No country for men

When I was young, I played a board game called Risk. It requires a player to take their Roman numeral troops across the border and claim other territories. It unfortunately gave me an incorrect world view. The civilized world needed to spread its civilization to other civilization. No prizes for guessing whose civilization was preferred. Hint: The war loving civilizations.

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

It turn out that the view was myopic to say the least. Certain civilizations may be remembered for their empires but it still depended on the nameless bureaucrats for logistics. We can romanticize about how the…


Or how lasting impressions are made

Last night, I was at a fast food restaurant. They gave me a fork to go with my French fries. Normally, this incident would never be remembered except that a fork decided to make it memorable. In Toy Story 4, a spork was scripted in as a character. My plastic fork would have been scripted in as the movie villain.

Photo by Kevin Bessat on Unsplash

First, its prongs started to get bent when I stabbed the fork into the fries. To be fair the fries were crispy and firm. The fries were however pretty much normal in every other…


Make the rain disappear from your picture

There was a bird that I was taking a picture of. However, no matter how I focused, the camera kept capturing the rain. The rain was not particularly heavy which is why I could see the bird.

Image by Author

Then I recalled that there was a trick that you could adjust the shutter speed to mitigate the effects of the rain. Which resulted in a picture that captured the bird. The raindrops have disappeared.

Engsiong Tan

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