General Knowledge

China ‘building runway in disputed South China Sea island’

“China’s work on the [Spratly] islands mostly serves civil purposes apart from meeting the needs of military defence. China is aiming to provide shelter, aid in navigation, weather forecasts and fishery assistance to ships of various countries passing through the sea,” a commentary carried prominently by Xinhua news agency on Thursday read.

Look, we don’t really need you to police the region, nor did we ask for your help.

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Starting Up

Bubble, My Ass: Some Unicorns Might Be Overvalued, But All Dinosaurs Gonna Die

Unless they innovate more rapidly (or acquire their internet peers), expect most S&P 500 Dinosaurs to be disrupted and destroyed by an endless march of VC-funded Unicorns that will bash their tiny little reptile brains in with software and internet marketing.

500 Startups’ Dave McClure makes the case that even though unicorn startups might be overvalued, Forture 500 companies that do not innovate are going to get superceded, and there’s definitely some truth in that.

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Design

First implementation of Material Design: Feedly

We wrote these principles on the board and started prototyping. The goal was not necessarily to implement each principle but rather to get inspired by them.

I’m a big fan of Feedly, though I don’t think too much about their design, simply because RSS readers are function over form for me. Still, it was really interesting to read about some of the new design considerations and implementations undertaken by the team, and based on the side-by-side comparisons, I can agree to some of the new UI/UX implementations.

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Art

A-Town Boyz

Executive Director, Spike Lee and Director, Eunice Lau, explore Asian American gang culture and power struggles. It sounds like a very compelling story.

Quartz also opines further, regarding the complexity of race and culture in multicultural society, suggesting that model minority stereotypes (read: over-achieving Asian) hurts the diaspora more than it helps it.

… the film shows how non-achievers turn to gang life to find a kinship they never knew at home or school, and a means to make money they never had.

Edit: Adding this quote from the film’s synopsis, that makes me want to watch this even more now.

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Journal

It’s 2:08 AM in Sydney, Australia right now. I flew out from Singapore at 1:45 AM the day before, and it’s actually 11:08 PM in Singapore now.

I feel like I’m writing this from the future, but only because I came from the past. So many things in life feel that way, don’t they? Well, that’s just rhetoric.

I’m in Sydney because of my job, we’re running an event this coming Thursday. I feel so displaced, because one day I was at awake when they announced the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, and the next, just slightly less than twenty four hours later, I’m still awake cajoling myself to write, so that I don’t forget.

In my own ways, I have my own things to grieve for. Something deeply personal in me, not to do with Mr Lee, but something I will probably have to come face to face with very soon.

Cryptic, yes I know.

Mutterings and the littlest of words weigh the heaviest on my soul.

And I choose to deal by listening to things I cannot understand. To sounds and melodies that are dissonant, panged and not commonplace. To find solace in alien places, to find hope in the unknown.

I wish for so many things, but I don’t wish to be happy, if happiness was just a transient, fleeting, disposable emotion.

That changed after Sean died. [Nigel's] attitude was, ‘Make this as lo-fi as possible.’ Looking back I think grieving had a lot to do with that. All those sounds make no sense when you’re grieving. Instead it’s lo-fi, gritty and just a bit ‘fuck you’ when you’re in a lot of pain

- Jonnine Standish (HTRK), Interview with The Quietus, 6 September 2011

Mutterings; Little Words; Lo-Fi and just a bit fuck you

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Journal, Leadership

We remark at what a great man and leader Lee Kuan Yew was. I’m intrigued at his leadership, benevolent dictatorship, a mix of fear and power.

On some level, he managed to rally an entire nation to his vision, not just his cabinet, but the populace. At the same time, he also removed every (political) distraction so that Singapore in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s would be accelerated, and provided enough of a head start when the 90′s started.

Looking at that, he wasn’t interested in being a politician. Politics was just the means to give him the position, authority and influence to shape Singapore according to his vision. And that vision ultimately translated and trickled mostly to the pioneer generation that came before me. My grandparents, and my parents.

Lee Kuan Yew led the vision, but it inspired many others to sustain that vision and also tow that unbearable burden. It takes a certain kind of leader, and a certain kind of team (read: all Singaporeans) to wade through the uncertain mire, to stand up even when we fall, to always look towards tomorrow, that it is worth building.

I say, remember Lee Kuan Yew, and also, remember the generation before us, the sacrifices everyone made. Singapore did not arrive, an era has passed, but the story is still being written.

We close a chapter, dedicate another man to history, but we have not stopped writing history.

This message is also not just for Singaporeans, it’s not a nationalistic emotion I feel. This message is for every startup I’ve come across, every family and friend who face our own struggles and insurmountable mountains. May you find your strength and purpose, just as this man did.

Thoughts on Lee Kuan Yew

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