Polyphony’s Tribute to Ferrari 458 Italia

This got me drooling. Gran Turismo 5 on PlayStation3 is finally here! (Umm, well, we have to wait until next Christmas actually) Polyphony Digital Inc. has just released a teaser/tribute to the latest Ferrari 458 Italia. This prancing horse should be available for players to drive in the Real Driving Simulator. All the images in the video are computer generated and it should be the level of detailed graphics you get while playing the game on the Sony console.

Astro Star Quest 2009

It was a Saturday evening, and I have nothing planned. My beloved would be joining her family in the PJ Catholic High School School Band Concert, and that left me being alone for the night, until I got a call from my niece.

“We’ve got tickets for the Astro Star Quest Finals at Bukil Jalil Putra Stadium tonight, do you wanna come?”
“Yes! Where? When? Who? What? How?” I immediately jumped at the offer.
“But you won’t be sitting with us girls, we belong to the fan group of one of the contestant, you have to sit with our tuition teacher,”
“Er…not again, going to a concert with a g-u-y…” (the last time I went to Jacky Cheung’s 2007 World Tour in Bukit Jalil Stadium, it was with a GUY friend).
“So you wan or not?” young girls are getting less and less patient nowadays.
“Okay, count me in.”

And here I am. In the free seating section almost at the top of the stadium, this is the view I get, which is not too bad actually.

Astro Star Quest 2009

Since this is a live broadcast on Astro Channel 311, the show started promptly. With a set of fast songs followed by a set of slow songs performed by the final five. To be honest, I have not followed any of this year’s ASQ, therefore I have no idea who are the five finalists. My judgement is based on their performance on the Finals night and not the whole series.

Having to endure a very poor sound system with echoes and deafening loudness, I can barely differentiate who is actually singing and who is mumbling there. I cannot even hear a single word the judges have said about the performance. By the way, there were no FEMALE judges on the panel.

After the first round of songs, I have eliminated two of them in no particular order:

Kah Fai

Reasons for Kah Fai to enter my elimination list:
#1 He was the first to start singing, and he failed to lift the roof, in short, he failed to “come in with a bang”. I know that is pretty bias but being the first contestant to go out, he has to be THAT good.
#2 His voice is a bit better than average but does not have the range to go high pitch without struggling.

Reasons for Ryan to enter my elimination list:
#1 He does not know how to sing (as compared to the other finalists).
#2 He seems to capitalize only on his good looks and the fan base attracted to (perhaps) his looks.
#3 He has shown nothing to convince me that he deserved to be in the last five.
#4 And he ended up No.4 …

Since I have never followed the Astro Star Quest Finals before, I have no idea what was going on when the first elimination was made, until a long long time after that. I was a bit disappointed to see Alvin eliminated in the first round as I tipped him to be in the last TWO. He has that cute babyface (no I am not GAY) and his voice is sweet and soulful, his performance for the night was good, bar his microphone problem in the first song (which was not really his fault, was it?).

Bye bye cute teddybear Alvin...
Bye bye cute teddybear Alvin...

The performance of the last four has picked up a notch and they are singing songs that I know very well. Therefore I can compare them to the original singers. The song that touched me most was Heartbeat (Xin Dong) orginally by Shino Lin Xiao Pei performed by the eventual winner Min. The other female finalist Jie Yu, which I tipped earlier to be in the FINAL TWO, chose to go with Ambiguous (Ai Mei) originally by Rainie Yang Cheng Lin, and in my opinion was the reason she lost. Later I found out that Jie Yu was a ASQ2007 Top 20, which explains why she could only get third place even when she was much better than the rest.

The next round, the final THREE, was messed up by a messed up appearance from Janice ??, who should be responsible for the eventual downfall of Kah Fai. The clueless kid had no idea what was going on when he was backing-up for Janice. Neither did the audience there. After the short appearance, Janice left during the commercial break, looking wobbly and under the influence of drugs. I was wondering if that was Janice or Jill. Later it was reported that Janice has sufferred from a sore throat but insisted on appearing so not to let down her fans, and the smoke from the earlier stage fireworks have made things worse. She was hospitalized immediately after she left the stage.

During the PK round, Kah Fai, probably hit with a huge confidence loss from the previous round, underperformed when it mattered the most. He was out of key in large parts of the song and that no doubt handed the crown to Min with no questions asked.

Podium Finishers of Astro Star Quest 2009
Podium Finishers of Astro Star Quest 2009

Even though Astro Star Quest has produced a few notable stars over the years, namely Nicholas Teo, the standards should be raised so that the Finals will be an entertaining event instead of a dull and a clueless one. I began to check my watch after an hour or so of the show, hoping that it would finish as soon as possbile. Instead, I was forced to sit there and endure almost 3 full hours of a not so entertaining show.

At least it was better than sitting at home, alone, doing nothing.

CW – Smile

Before proceeding to reading this entry, please scroll to the end where you can see a YouTube video. Click on the PLAY button and PAUSE it immediately so that the video will load while you are reading this entry. When you come to the end of this entry, click on play to enjoy the music video. If your Internet connection is fast enough that YouTube does not stop to load the video, please keep the video playing while reading this entry.

Creative Writing – SMILE

You have had a bad day.

The alarm clock went dead in the morning when you have a very important meeting with a client before office hours. On the way to the meeting, you got stuck in a very bad jam because the road was closed for some public event, without prior notice. Naturally, when you finally got there, your client had left. An inevitable dressing down from your immediate superior followed that even your fiercest rival in the workplace felt sorry for you.

After lunch, you made more visits to the toilet than your fingers can count because the food you ate was not hygienic. While your colleagues that went along with you suffered no ill-effects at all. It was five minutes to six and you are almost done word processing your fifty-page proposal that you have been working on for one full week when your computer crashed and the recovered file was at page twenty-five.

Finally, you left the office and realised you are already late for a dinner date with your other half. You were thankful that she was still waiting there when you apologetically made your entrance to the restaurant, just to find out that she waited for you because she wanted to tell you that she has decided to leave you for someone else.

Feeling dejected and lost of hope, you began to wonder what worse could happen to you. Your car picked up a puncture while you were driving home and had to change the tyre. While you were at it, rain began to fall and it got heavier by the minute. Just when you were about to give up and wanted to rush to the middle of the road so that any passing vehicle would end your misery, you were approached by two robbers. You gave them your watch, your hand phone, your notebook and all your money. Since you have already taken the wheel out of your car, they could not drive it away, therefore they gave you a good bashing before leaving the scene.

Eventually, you replaced the punctured tyre in pain, and drove home. There was a voice message for you from your parents that the grandfather you loved the most had just passed away. By then you were overwhelmed by the series of unfortunate events that have happened on you that you began laughing like a lunatic even though streams of tears were rolling down your face.

You began asking questions.
Could anyone else have had a worse day than mine?
Will I be able to survive tomorrow?
Why must all bad things happen to me?

Smile, though you heart is aching
Smile, even though it’s breaking

You heard the song coming from the radio. ‘How could I smile after going through what I have been through today?’ You stared at the radio while thinking to yourself.

When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by

Every cloud has a silver lining, no matter how bad a situation you are in, there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. If you could grit your teeth and push yourself, you could make it through.

 If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just…

There is always an end to everything, be it good or bad, happy or sad. When you are in a midst of a difficult situation, where you are powerless to control or to change its outcome, be positive and smile. No matter how hopeless things tend to be, at the end of the day, new possibilities (and positivity) will emerge.

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near

There is a saying that tells you, if you give up hope and give up trying, you have zero chances of overcoming the problem, but if you stay positive and keep trying, you still have fifty percent chance of succeeding.

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just…

When you are sad, when you feel the negative emotion, everything seems to work against you. When you are happy, when you are filled with positive emotions, you feel that you can conquer the toughest challenge thrown at you. With just a change in attitude, you can change your own destiny.

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by…

People can tell you how wonderful it is to just smile but you will never receive this gift unless you open your arms to receive it. When you keep thinking negatively, you will stay where you are. But if you would just smile, and have a positive attitude, which costs you absolutely nothing, you are ready to turn the situation around.

If you smile
Through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just smile…

Bear in mind that no matter how dire the situation is, all is not lost as long as you stay positive and keep fighting. If you felt that you do not have the energy to do so today, get some rest, have a good night’s sleep, and try again when the sun rises tomorrow. As long as you keep trying, you will gain some ground at the end of the day.

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just smile

Remember the most important five letter word in our life, smile.

Music composed by Charlie Chaplin (1936)
Lyrics written by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons (1954)
Song performed by Michael Jackson (1995)
Movie in clip written and produced by Charlie Chaplin (1921)

NB. This is one of my favourite song, it never fails to lift my spirits whenever I am down. I like this song so much that I wrote a Chinese lyrics here. Enjoy and smile 🙂