Thursday, April 29, 2010

Canon’s Misstep?

Canon has appointed Jackie Chan as it’s spokesperson for China. It even released EOS 550D Jackie Chan Eye of Dragon special edition…

Somehow, the movie star is hugely unpopular in his native Hong Kong ever since he made the Chinese-should-be-controlled remark. Photographers of Hong Kong have created a group on Facebook, asking Canon to remove Jackie Chan as its spokesperson…

Facebook group to remove Jackie Chan as the spokesperson for Canon

And they expressed their disgust over the new camera in a forum…



I will consider if it’s Chow Yun Fat edition… Jackie Chan edition… [laugh]

xxxx!!! [angry] Project a bad image for Canon

Make us vomit [vomit]

For a moment I had the intention to jump ship [vomit vomit]

It looks like Canon’s move has backfired, at least in Hong Kong.

I am not anti-Jackie Chan, but the special edition is definitely not my cup of tea. Even if one is given to me as a free gift, I will cover the Chinese character with a sticker, and replace the strap

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Japanese Movie – Heavenly Forest

I was watching Japanese movie – Heavenly Forest (ただ、君してる) over the weekend. This is a story which revolves around photography. Probably because I was a shutterbug, I immediately found the theme interesting.


University student Makoto liked to take pictures. His classmate Shizuru learned photography from him. Shizuru loved Makoto, but the guy was attracted to another girl.

One day, Shizuru told Makoto that she wanted to participate in a photo contest. The picture she wanted to shoot for the contest would center around the theme ‘kiss’. The following day, Shizuru set up her tripod by a lake, and connected a remote control cable to her camera. The two young people kissed passionately. At that moment Makoto realized that he loved Shizuru.

But Shizuru soon disappeared…

Heavenly Forest is actually a remake of Collage of Our Life (恋愛寫眞). Now I am searching for the DVD of the latter.

It is worth noting that Heavenly Forest was released in 2006, but the lead characters in the movie used film cameras. I gather that developing film in dark room is more romantic than tweaking pictures with Photoshop.

Monday, April 26, 2010


根据哈里斯互动(Harris Interactive)所进行的一项调查显示,美国总统奥巴马是最受西方人欢迎的领袖,西藏精神领袖达赖喇嘛排第二,第三是美国国务卿希拉里。哈里斯互动是在今年三月到四月间,对英国、法国、德国、意大利、西班牙和美国的六千多位民众进行访问而做出这个结论。




Friday, April 23, 2010

Popular Malaysian Search

When I enter ‘s’ in Google, the search engine suggests a few combinations of keywords, one of which is seks melayu (Malay sex).

Malaysians are conservative people. This is the country where National Geographic Magazine is censored for showing African tribeswomen in their traditional costumes i.e. topless. (March 2010 issue) In the past, young lovers have been fined for holding hands in public place.

But apparently something just can’t be suppressed.

Monday, April 19, 2010

PC Fair, Booth Babes & Others

Sex sells. In conjunction to the PC Fair held in Kuala Lumpur on April 16-18, many exhibitors hired young girls to promote their products. Call them expo girls, booth babes or whatever, these pretty promoters had made the PC Fair more than just about technology.

Sony showing 3D technology in the PC Fair

Three promoters for Kaspersky Lab

A rechargeable battery dealer had gone one step further in exploiting the sexual appeal of young promoters. Not only it had hired three pretty girls to attract customers, but it also organized a photo contest. Anyone who purchased any item from its booth was entitled to photograph the girls and participate in the contest. The dealer has listed down the rules of the contest as follow:

1. To enroll for the Grand Prize – buy any item from our booth

2. Take photos of our models posing with our E8GE products!

3. Log on to

4. Upload your best photo of our models by 11:59pm 30 April 2010

5. Get your friends to “like” your photo until 11:59pm 9 May 2010

6. The top 62 photos with the highest number of “likes” win!

Now, if a photographer asks his friends to ‘like’ his photo, he is indirectly doing a marketing job for the products. (I’m assuming all participants are males.) What a brilliant idea! Unfortunately, I had less than 50 friends on Facebook. There was no way I could win the grand prize (a total of 2, with the remaining consolations).

One of the models for this contest was Rhea Lim, whom I photographed last year. I was surprised that she still recognized me. I bought four rechargeable batteries and a charger from the booth, but was nonetheless not interested in joining the contest.

This photo contest reminds me of another online contest held several years ago – The New Seven Wonders of the World. Even when the competition was going on, I already could predict the final results. China had the largest number of Internet users in the world, and they were fiercely patriotic. They were called to support their own national treasure, and anyone who failed to do that would be condemned as traitor. As expected, the Great Wall got the most votes in this meaningless competition.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

From Telephoto to Wide-Angle

A couple of years ago, I bought my first DSLR. (It’s still my only one.) In the next two years, I added two lenses – EF 50mm and EF 85mm.

On my camera, 50mm and 85mm fall into the range of short telephoto, or long lens. One advantage of telephoto lenses is that they can ‘blur the background’ more easily. This can be useful when we shoot portraiture in a not-so-great setting.

Here is one picture shot at 85mm. By blurring the background, I make the viewers focus on the model rather than the pool or trees behind her…


Until third quarter of 2009, I photograph models using these two lenses exclusively. However, I eventually found my pictures to be rather boring. Hence, I decided to give wide-angle shots a try.

I bought a new lens in September 2009 – EF 17-40L. The following month, I took part in another model shooting event with my new gear. Here are two pictures taken then:



Models not withstanding, I prefer the picture shot at 23mm, as it covers more of the building in the background.

I started out as a telephoto lens lover. But over the years, I have learned to appreciate wide-angle lens. Of course, there are occasions when normal or telephoto lens is preferred. But with right settings, wide-angle shots can often bring out the best.

Two more examples:



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pee Fee & Others

I came across an article on BusinessWeek which mentioned about ‘hidden charges’ to be slapped on airlines passengers. Here is the excerpt:

The announcement that Spirit Airlines will charge as much as $45 for a carry-on bag provoked a torrent of reaction. Spirit described its change as “the next phase of unbundling” and an effort to lower fares. I was heading home Tuesday from a weekend trip when the Spirit news broke and in the 90 minutes it took to fly from Chicago to New York two friends had dropped emails expressing their outrage. “The bastards!” said one. The other’s note referred to buggery.

The very next day, Ryanair – never to be outdone when it comes to stoking media outrage – renewed talk of pay lavatories on its 737s as a way to eventually remove all but a sole loo and add seats. The idea being that a fee to pee will make a single WC adequate as opposed to the current three, but regulators are likely to consult on that plan before it actually were to happen. Ryanair also boosted its baggage fee by 5 euros to 20 euros ($27) per bag for the peak travel months of July and August.


Back in 2008, the crude oil price rose to historic high of US$147 per barrel. Oil price crumbled when the world was mired in recession. Now, as the economy improves, the price is going up again. At the time of this writing, crude oil is sold at over $85 per barrel. I won’t be surprised if it breaches the $100-mark this year. Expect more budget airlines to imitate Spirit Airlines and Ryanair.

What other things can airlines do to keep their cost low? ‘Fat tax’ is another option – the heavier a passenger is, the more he/she pays. Some airlines are also considering planes with stools instead of chairs in order to squeeze in more passengers.

But here is my proposal to Datuk Tony Fernandes: Outdo Ryanair by taking away ALL lavatories. Sell adult diapers for RM10 per piece!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Smart Phone

Do you use a smart phone?

As a person who still hasn’t own a smart phone, I must be… oh, so 2006!

Smart phone is all the rage these days. It’s the must have for every gadget lover. Even if we prefer to surf Net with PC, it is still good to own a smart phone so that we don’t look like dinosaurs. Apple iPhone is the most acclaimed of all phones in this category. It is to smart phone what LV is to handbag.

The phenomenal growth of smart phones in the last few years surprised me. Not so long ago, I thought few people would like to surf Net with mobile phones, because of their small screens and small keyboards. The introduction of iPhone in January 2007 was the turning point. Today, we can read e-mail and do facebooking on smart phone. In fact, some applications, such as music download, Twitter and car navigation system, are probably better suited to smart phones than to PC.

The rising popularity of smart phones has a huge impact on the Internet-related industry too. Just two years ago, I thought WiMAX would have better potential than 3G. (For that reason I almost wanted to buy the stocks of Green Packet, which operated a WiMAX service.) Today I am not so certain. Remember that iPhone only works on GSM and 3G.

If you do use smart phone to surf Net, I would like to do a simple survey. Please answer a few questions. Many thanks in advance.

1. What applications do you use? (e.g. e-mail, Twitter)
2. Do you spend more time surfing Net with smart phone or with PC/Mac?
3. What are the advantages of surfing Net with smart phone?
4. What are the disadvantages of surfing Net with smart phone?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Annual Leaves & Public Holidays

My aunt, who has been living in the Netherlands for many years, returned to Malaysia recently. Accompanying her was her husband.

Out of curiosity, I asked her husband, “How many days of annual leaves do you have?” The answer was: 25 days each year.

Many Malaysian politicians and business people have complained that there are too many public holidays in this country, so much so that it affects productivity. It is true that Malaysia probably has the second highest number of public holidays among Asian nations, just behind Thailand. But we don’t enjoy as many paid holidays as our counterparts in Europe (generally less than 20 days), so that pretty much evens out.

Also, bear it mind that if a public holidays falls on Saturday, it is not replaced. The next Labor Day, Christmas and New Year Day of 2011 all fall on Saturday, so essentially we ‘lose’ three holidays.

Ultimately, the more important issue is how we make use of our free time. If we do charity works or take part in self-improvement class during our days off, we are not being unproductive. I am sure many people have second occupation.

As for myself: I have been doing MBA in the last few years. And it has been ages since I last joined a week-long meditation class. C’mon, give us more holidays!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Can’t Stop Buying

Amateur photographer Mei Teng made two major ‘investments’ recently – a tripod and an external flash unit. She wrote in her blog: No more buying of stuff.

I giggled when I read her statement. I told myself the same thing when I bought a Canon flash (580EX II) last year, but now I am feeling itchy again. Here are a few gears in my wish list:

Canon EF 35mm F2

35mm prime lens

A 35mm prime lens will be great for indoor portrait – without the need to fire the flash. While my existing lens can take decent indoor pictures with flash on, sometimes I just wish to turn off the flash to create certain effects.

I am eying a Canon EF 35mm F2, if I can get a used unit at reduced price.

Wide-angle lens

Wide-angle lens exaggerates perspective, and is best for shooting landscape and architecture. Canon’s EF-S 10-22mm is one of the best options for crop camera, but it is also quite pricey. More likely I will consider third-party lenses, such as those from Tokina.

But there is another possibility. Get a Canon 5D mark II camera, and my standard zoom lens will suddenly become wide-angle! There is no need to buy a separate lens for wide-angle shots. (OK, I know your heads are spinning now, baffled by all those photographic jargons.)

Carbon fiber tripod

Light weight tripod

Tripod is essential for taking night photos. I plan to get a light weight tripod before I go to Hong Kong. The one I am using now is too heavy for travel.

Fortunately, my next travel destination is likely to be Java. I am in no hurry to get a new tripod.

Pocket Camera

I hardly bring my DSLR and lenses when I leave home. They are too heavy. A pocket camera would be useful for day-to-day snapshot.

OK, so many things in my mind. But ‘wants’ are not ‘needs’. I must control my desire…