The Romance of Tiger and Rose (传闻中的陈芊芊) – An Amazing C-Drama

Had I not have watched that many Korean drama involving out-of-the-world kind of time travel storyline, I would have found The Romance of Tiger and Rose far fetched and too weird for my liking.

But thanks to Korean drama, I can no longer be shocked by stories that are … just way too bizarre. When I was young, I was used to scoring well at homework most of the time. Except for that one time when I failed homework because my story was … unrealistic. Now, I can safely conclude that I was born in the wrong era.

Oh yar …

The story starts in ancient China when the third princess of City of Huayuan (the girl in red above) intercepted the crown prince of Xuanhu while he was on the way to marry the second princess. Just to complete the picture, first princess is paralyzed from waist down. Although the second princess is not the real daughter of the queen (or City Owner), she is next in line because … well, the third princess is ruthless, not fit for the crown and the first … wheelchair bound.

In the City of Xuanhu, women call all the shots. They lead the army, go to work while men, stay at home and do housework. Women are the educated ones. It is not a taboo that women visits male ‘musicians’ (more like male courtesans) to seek entertainment. Men are born to obey and it is just weird to watch. In a good way. Sort of like, what if the whole gender bias in the world is … reversed?

City of Xuanhu is the total opposite and needless to say, the two cities are at war.

But that is not the main story, even!

The main story is that this ancient Chinese story is created by a modern day female scriptwriter who has been criticized because … she wrote a love story without knowing what love is.

And then she was teleported into her own story living the character of the third princess, get to fall in love with all her characters!

This is a recipe for a great story. A person travels in time to experience a plot, to attempt in changing the plot, and to live through a life changing experience.

That’s why, to me, this is bar none one of the best dramas I have watched.

PS. Yes, great chemistry on screen.

Different Types Of Friends As You Leave Your Workplace To Another

When you are young in your career, it is easy to make work becomes you. As though consciously or subconsciously, work is the single most important thing in life. Over time, you may find your balance. And recognize that workplace is just an entity. Your boss doesn’t own you a living. Neither do you own him or her your life.

With the amount of time we spend at work, inevitably we make friends. Or at least be friendly to others. We talk about our weekends, our overseas families that visit us, the joy – wedding, childbirth, or promotion – and the sadness – aging parents, a sick child, or health issues. We talk about our “friends” at work. We talk about our “enemies” at work. Enemies become friends (less likely). Friends become enemies (more likely). A workplace can be fun (less likely). Or it can be toxic (more likely). Most of us could probably write a book about work than writing about what happens after work, though I sincerely hope not.

Eventually, one leaves from one workplace to another. This is where I have come to the realization that besides those whom I don’t care about and those who likewise don’t care about me in my day-to-day work and beyond, there are different types of friends as I leave one workplace to another.

Type I. Friends who no longer talk and are turning into strangers.

People can be nice to each other thanks to the work environment. We find topics to talk about that are largely work related. We need each other at work. We have common goals. Outside of this environment, there really isn’t anything worth catching up on. So when separated, there is hardly any reason to be friends.

I suppose most of my colleagues at work would fall under this category.

Type II. Friends who continue talking with me most likely they still need something from me in near future.

While no one is indispensable at work, when one leaves, someone else would need to take over. It is hard to say whether or not that someone would continue befriending me when I am of no value to him or her in near future.

Pessimistically or realistically, type II can become type I. Or it can become type III.

Type III. Friends who become friends for real.

I have worked for more than two decades. I can say with conviction that I do come across people whom I have got to know at a workplace and we keep in touch after we parted. In fact, many of my best friends in life were once upon a time my colleagues.

When you come across type III friends, count your blessing. Hold onto them and stay in touch. Time works both ways. It can grow friendship; it can also kill friendship.

Marvel Heroes Hero Archetype Quick Reference Guide

Update: Jan 21, 2017. Adjustment after biggest update ever patch 2.0 is live.

What can I say? For Marvel Heroes fans (yes, you). By Marvel Heroes fan (that’s me). I hope you will find this quick reference guide useful. Feel free to print it out, hang it on to your wall, impress your girlfriends / boyfriends / parents / children that you are indeed playing a very complicated game. This game means business.

In this card, you can quickly find:

  • Hero archetype ordered by hero names.
  • Hero archetype ordered by archetype.
  • Attribute and Infinity Gem color mapper (yes, this game is getting complex).
  • Attribute popularity index (for you to price your priced artifacts perhaps).

You may pass to your friends but please do so in entirety (I need to ‘advertise’ my YouTube channel and feed my plants). This guide is free, on me. But I may sell you different skins of the same guide in future.

Marvel Heroes Hero Archetype Quick Reference Guide

Kidding. Click the image below for your free download!

“Don’t Eat My Family”

Kids say the funniest things.  Out of nowhere, my 3-year-old niece led me out of my living room – where my sister Lora and my brother-in-law Benny were seated – and into my bedroom.  She said in a calm and composed manner, “Don’t eat my family.”

My niece and I

She then closed the door on her way out, effectively ‘locking’ me into my bedroom.  Just not too long ago, she led me into the common bedroom – which is now her room – and we have started our drawing ritual.  Bethany does not draw much.  But she enjoys watching others to draw.  So I asked her, “What shall we draw today?”  She replied, “A monster”.  I did just that.  Perhaps too realistic in my ever burning enthusiasm in everything I do.  Bethany was frightened and in one quick reflex, I tore the page out, collapsed it into a ball, and passed it to my wife Cynthia literally erased the monster from our drawing history.

“Wonder Pets!” Bethany requested.

What on earth are Wonder Pets?!  I called out to her parents for help.  Still unable to visualize how a turtle, a duck, and a guinea pig look like in a wonder pets setting, I quickly asked for my phone and Google it.  How I love technology.

With a kid around, it is impossible – just not possible – to sit and do something for, say, 10 seconds.  The moment I stepped away, Bethany would call me back.  I said to Cynthia, “Could you please keep her occupied for a minute?”  Nope.  Just not possible.

I love watching Bethany playing pinball game on my phone.  There is no such notion as losing a game.  Bethany got excited and she cheered every time the ball fell off the drain and reappeared at the spring launcher.  It is as though she has made it happens (which in a way she has).  It is good to see the world through kids’ eyes at times.  Participation is a win by itself.

Benny has taken some photographs using his Nikon D90.  I am happy to share them here.

  • Click here to view the photo album (7 photographs)

Dia Frampton Was In Hard Rock Cafe Singapore

Dia in Singapore!

And we were there, thanks to our Google+ buddy Kevin‘s friendly alert.  Kevin all the way in US heard about the concert.  We in Singapore didn’t.  Recently, Cynthia and I have started watching The Voice.  We love how this singing competition invites semi-pros to participate.  Since we have missed the first two seasons, together with our buddy TK, three of us put our heads together day-and-night analyzing Dia Frampton’s music album in depth, trying to see if the S$25 ticket price (and S$10 booking fee!) was worth it.  We love her music.  I love her sultry voice.  It was three yes’es.

Hard Rock Cafe Singapore – the one in town – is a rather small venue.  But it has a great atmosphere.  There is a small stage and behind the stage, three large Gothic multicolored glass panels immortalizing Elvis the King in the middle, a dude on a piano singing Great Ball of Fire on the right, and on the left, a legendary guitarist whose name I am unable to  pinpoint.  He could well be the Boss.

In front of the stage is a rather large dancing area.  Much larger than the one in Hong Kong.  But here lies the challenge of seeing the artist if you are standing a few rows from the front.  We reached the venue at 6.45 pm and there was a queue forming.  Hardcore fans were determined to get to the front row.  TK, Cynthia, and I were the pragmatic one.  We needed a good meal and some good beer.  I have reserved a table on the second floor in advance.  Time for some quality fajitas and beer and a great time guaranteed every time we visit a Hard Rock Cafe, wherever in this world.

At nine-ish, Dia Frampton entered the stage, with her guitarist Daniel from UK.  She is – I would say – petite and in a beautiful pastel colored bareback dress with her hair tied up.  A perfect outfit for the Singapore weather.  I had no idea what to expect.  It turned out to be an acoustic set with she occasionally played the guitar and the piano.  Daniel was her temporary guitarist and the entire performance seemed a bit like them jamming on stage.  At times, it wasn’t entirely clear who should pluck the ending notes, a song was restarted because the starting notes weren’t that entirely right, or some of the rhythms seemed a bit strange.  However, none of these matters because it was so easy to lose in the moment when all I saw was two artists creating music on stage.  Dia has made the effort to change the arrangement and delivery of her songs making them fresh to listen to.

It was Dia’s first visit to Singapore and she has cracked some good jokes on stage.  Like how she came to know more about Singapore in the last minute through reading Wikipedia during her 24 hours plane ride.  How visiting Singapore is not exactly helping on her new year resolution of trying to shop less.  She and Daniel had American food for lunch and she has promised to try out Singapore’s chicken rice before she left.  Because it is famous according to Wikipedia.  Dia and Daniel took turn to tease each other on stage.  Like how Dia is unable to understand Daniel’s British accent most of the time.  And Daniel was surprised that Dia cries a lot, even when watching Wreck-It Ralph.  There is a girly side to Dia that I found charming.  She talked a little about The Voice too.  I am pretty sure I would have been a fan had I watched the first season.

I was expecting her to perform some cover songs.  True enough, she did a few (which I presume that some of these numbers were taken from The Voice).  Cynthia loves Dia’s rendition of Losing My Religion.  Dia sang Inventing Shadows, which signifies an important milestone in her competition.  That was a solid delivery.  I love the last song of the set most – Heartless – when she performed by the piano.  So full of emotion and commitment.  Watching Dia on stage was like watching The Voice.  TK said that she sang much better live than in her studio recording.  I felt that her falsetto was a bit weak.  But when she attacked those big notes with commitment, it was glorious.

We had a great time.  It was a fun evening.  And thanks to Kelvin for the alert!