Monday, September 28, 2009

Fads and trends part 2

To continue my previous post about fads and trends, there are certain number of fashions which I find ridiculous to exist and even more ludicrous that anybody follows them.

1. The iPhone phenomenon

It first began with the iPod and now the latest must-have gadget is the iPhone. People are constantly taking it out in front of friends and fiddling with the poxy thing. Probably half of the people I know own iPhones and I always see them updating their Facebook status with them.

I don't see why people have to use them all the time. I don't feel the need to be constantly in contact with the internet. Anything that comes up on the internet that I urgently need; such as emails, can usually wait until I get home. It cost a ridiculous amount to buy and with restricted service plan that seems to be provided in every country in the world, it adds more charges to your wallet. People tend to forget that there are similar phones out there, including the HTC and the Google phone that has just come out. Some of these have better functions over the iPhone. People really need to shop around.

With that said, I do feel guilty when I get out my iPod Touch. It looks similar to an iPhone, only thinner. It has the same capabilities, apart from the phone and camera functions. I do constantly fiddle with my iPod Touch but I find it a good device to replace my previous mp3 player and it has good games on it to occupy me when I am on-call or travelling on public transport. Plus the fact it came free with my MacBook Pro is an added advantage, which leads me on to the next fad I hate.

2. Being a slave to Microsoft Windows

Around 90% of people use Microsoft Windows. People always encounter problems with Windows, but never think of doing something about it. Firstly they can change the operating system. Linux and Mac OS are far superior operating systems which can be adapted to easily. They also have the added advantage of never suffering from attacks from viruses, trojan horses or worms.

I have had my MacBook Pro for about three months. Apart from a few minor slow downs and some adapatation, I don't have any problems with working on Mac OS X. I'm rather glad I switched to Apple since it is much faster and much more user friendly. Heck is so much faster on startup, I stopped switching my laptop on and going to the toilet as I used to with my old laptop since it took so bloody long to load up.

I think people only use Windows because everybody else uses it. They fear the incompatibility, especially when they need to present a Microsoft Powerpoint presentation or require reading a Microsoft Word document. People tend to forget that there is a Microsoft Office for Mac. Even though it is adequate, there are still some compatibility issues (due to Microsoft, not due to Apple). I'm rather glad I freed myself of the Microsoft dependency and want to avoid giving Bill Gates anymore money in the future.

3. The Mini Cooper

The Mini Cooper, when it came out at the beginning of the millenium, used to be cool. It was a great modern reinvention of a classic. However it has gradually become uncool over the years because just too many people have bought it. There are so many good cars out there.

The same idea applies to anybody who buys a Mercedes/BMW/Lexus, just because it is an expensive car. I hate those people who use the car as an image status rather than a fine piece of automotive engineering. These are the people who constantly buy the newest car, changing their vehicle every two years. Thankfully there is an upside to this - it allows us less mortals to buy good reasonably new cars at affordable prices.

4. Glory supporters

These are bandwagon jumpers who tend to support any footbal team that is successful. They tend to switch allegiances faster than Katie Price can publish an autobiography. In recent years these so called football fans switch from Chelsea to Manchester United to Barcelona to Real Madrid. They say they are fans of football but true football fans stick with their team thick or thin.

At first I'm guilty of being a glory supporter. I first started supporting Arsenal in 1990-1991 because they won the title that season. I have no local affinity to the club, having never lived in the Highbury area. Since then I have supported Arsenal even through the bleak black years in the mid-nineties, when George Graham was involved in the bung scandal, when Nayim was lucky to lob David Seaman in the 1996 Cup Winners' Cup final and in the past few years when we haven't won a trophy in four years. But I'm still supporting Arsenal, because they are my club.

Other fads and trends I hate
- Switching your mobile phone every two years to the 'latest' model when you clearly don't use 90% of the functions on the phone.
- Wearing designer clothes because they're designer clothes.
- Playing also those Facebook applications when real life beckons.

Please don't turn to sheep - be a lion instead.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fads and trends part 1

I just saw the most appalling news today. For those who know me, I used to be very enthusiastic about films and the movie industry, being quite up-to-date with the upcoming releases. However I was very surprised and shocked to hear "Fame", one of the most iconic films of all time, had been remade and will be out for release soon.

Some part inside of me wept loudly because it died. Over the summer I saw the remake of "The Taking of Pelham 123", another classic movie, released with big names headlining the thriller. The remake of classics has just proven two things to me.

Firstly Hollywood has finally run out of ideas and are just remaking old films. There was once a rumour, which was featured in "The Island", that there are only thirteen real stories with different variations being made by the studios in Hollywood. I don't think that is true. In the 1970s, Hollywood was making original stuff like Taxi Driver and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Nowadays nearly every movie is linked to a true story, a book or some other form of media. It is obvious each film must have some angle so people are enticed to come and see it. I initially thought "Wanted" was an original film, only to find out it was adapted from a graphic novel/comic leaving me very disappointed. There are enough good ideas and writers out there to make original films. Hollywood, just give these ideas and writers a chance.

Secondly the current youth are just far too lazy to watch something "old", no matter how good it is. I seriously challenge anybody to go out and watch the original "Fame" or "The Taking of Pelham 123". Those are very good films which don't need to be remade. The youth of today just want to see anything that is new and trendy, rather than go back to the classics. I hate it when people don't watch movies or listen to music just because it is old. I still listen to the vast majority of my music, even if it is more than ten years old like Blur or The Beatles. The quality of the music hasn't deteriorated, so what is the problem?

Please Hollywood, whatever your do please don't remake anymore classics. If they start to remake movie such as "The Godfather" or "Apocalypse Now", I think I'm going to the mountains to live as a hermit.


Speaking about being new and trendy, quite a number of people I know own iPhones. I always wondered whether they bought an iPhone because it is a good device, has great functions and applications, or just because everybody else has bought one. I know a friend's sister only bought the new iPhone 3GS just because "it has a white back cover". Don't people know there are other phone/PDA hybrids out there, like the HTC or the new Google phone?

There are other trends and fads out there which I don't understand. People have to understand there are other options out there and they don't need to be like sheep, following the crowd. Please don't buy something or follow something just because everybody else does. I always use this analogy whenever somebody says, "everybody else is doing it" - if everybody was throwing themselves off the tallest building, would you too?

Next time I will write about what fads and trends I hate, except for the iPhone trend which I just mentioned. This ranges from cars to football teams.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

England's World Cup squad

The website Football 365 has a very good article about which players should be in England's World Cup squad for South Africa 2010. Although I generally agree with the article overall, I don't think the selection criteria should be in the form of a ladder. I think most coaches when picking a squad will select by position rather than the quality of their players. So here is my view of who might be going.

Goalkeeper (number of places: 3)
On the plane: David James, Robert Green
In contention: Ben Foster, Paul Robinson, Joe Hart
Only if swine flu breaks out: Chris Kirkland, Scott Carson

David James, despite playing for the English Premier League's bottom club Portsmouth, is still the best English goalkeeper by a mile. His absence has proven this point. The only problem is will Capello continue to pick him if Portsmouth still play as they are. With James's absence, Green has been deputizing admirably and seem to be the second choice.

The third goalkeeper spot is up for grabs. At the moment Ben Foster is taking his chances. Much will depend when Edwin van der Saar comes back to takes his place in the Manchester United goal with Ben Foster reverting back to benchwarmer. Paul Robinson brings experience but I think his England days are past him. It might be better to bring a young pair of hands to get the experience.

Right-back (2)
On the plane: Glen Johnson,
In contention: Wes Brown, Micah Richards
Only if swine flu breaks out: Luke Young, Gary Neville

Although his defending capabilities will be exposed against better opposition, Glen Johnson is currently England's top right-back. He has the ability to go forward and deliver crosses. With that in mind, the back-up will probably be a bit more defensive minded. This is probably why I put Brown ahead of Richards. Both are capable of playing in the centre of defence as well, which will bode well for Capello as he might not take four specialist centre-backs, but Brown has better defending qualities and big match experience compared to Richards. The only problem for Brown is that he is not playing regularly for Manchester United. Yet Gary Neville was called up to the England squad over the summer despite playing very few matches for his club, so Brown still has some hope.

Left-back (2)
On the plane: Ashley Cole, Wayne Bridge
In contention: Leighton Baines, Stephen Warnock
Only if swine flu breaks out: Nicky Shorey, Paul Konchesky

Probably the most secure and undramatic position in the England squad. Cole and Bridge have been the mainstay left sided defenders since the beginning of this millenium. Although the likes of Shorey have gained a couple of caps in their absence, it will be definitely those two on the plane to South Africa this summer.

Centre-back (3-4)
On the plane: Rio Ferdinand, John Terry
In contention: Matthew Upson, Joleon Lescott
Only if swine flu breaks out: Phil Jaglieka, Gary Cahill, Curtis Davies

Rio Ferdinand and John Terry will definitely be starting for England during the World Cup but the most definite issue is who will be deputizing for them. In recent games when one or the other has been out injured, Matthew Upson has been filling their boots. Yet he is not world class. Joleon Lescott is the only other real contender but he has floundered when put in an England shirt. With England having already qualified for the World Cup, Capello might want to use the two remaining qualifying games as a chance to see Lescott and Upson under real pressure. Cahill & Davies have been called up but I don't think Capello will be bringing uncapped centre-backs to play against the likes of Brazil and Spain. Jaglieka is currently injured but has shown he is capable of playing in the big leagues and his versatility will also prove to be an useful asset.

Right-midfield (2)
On the plane:
In contention: Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott, David Beckham, James Milner, Shaun Wright-Phillips
Only if swine flu breaks out: Leon Osman, David Bentley

Probably the most open position to be filled by Fabio Capello. No player is a definite in this position. Currently with his league form and recent displays for England, Aaron Lennon will be filling the right of midfield. Theo Walcott has been played the most as right winger by Capello plus he can pushed further upfield if required. Milner has the ability to play across the whole midfield and up front. Beckham has been a great impact substitute for England in the past year and can play in the centre is the dubbed "quarterback" role if required. This is why SWP is so low down in the thinking. Although he is a good player, can Capello afford to bring a specialist right winger who isn't that world class?

Left midfield (2)
On the plane:
In contention: Ashley Young
Only if swine flu breaks out: Stewart Downing, Joe Cole, Matthew Taylor

With Steven Gerrard starting on the left and Milner deputizing, I doubt anybody can push their way through to be on the plane bound for South Africa. Ashley Young has to have an outstanding season to even be considered for the squad. The likes of Downing and Cole have to get of the treatment table and on to the field before even thinking about World Cup places

Centre midfield (4-5)
On the plane: Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry
In contention: Owen Hargreaves, Michael Carrick
Only if swine flu breaks out: Scott Parker, Jermaine Jenas

With Gerrard, Lampard & Barry dead cert on going to South Africa, only one or two places are really up for contention. Even though Gerrard will most likely be playing on the left and free up a spot, I think Beckham will be picked as a third right midfielder to cover both right and centre midfield. Currently Michael Carrick is filling the spot but I don't think he will be testing the likes of Argentina and Holland. Capello will be hoping Hargreaves can get fit soon and have a decent season for Manchester United, as his defensive prowess, passing ability and versatility makes the most ideal holding midfielder, even better than Barry. I don't think Capello will bring three holding midfielders in the likes of Barry, Hargreaves or Carrick as he will want to leave the fifth centre-midfielder (if takes that many) to be more attacking.

Forwards (4-5)
On the plane: Wayne Rooney, Emile Heskey, Jermaine Defoe
In contention: Carlton Cole, Peter Crouch
Only if swine flu breaks out: Gabriel Agbonlahor, Darren Bent, Dean Ashton

It is most like Rooney and Heskey will start with Defoe coming off the bench. This leaves one more big striker to fill the post. Currently it is a straight fight between Cole and Crouch with the West Ham United player having the edge. Although Crouch is reasonable in the air, he likes the ball at his feet unlike Carlton Cole who can be a target man just like Heskey.

Current prediction
Goalkeeper: James, Green, Foster
Right back: Johnson, Brown
Left back: A. Cole, Bridge
Centre back: Terry, Ferdinand, Upson
Right midfield: Lennon, Walcott
Centre midfield: Lampard, Barry, Beckham, Hargreaves*
Left midfield: Gerrard, Milner, Young
Forward: Rooney, Heskey, Defoe, C. Cole

* If fit, otherwise Carrick
On standby: Robinson, Richards, Carrick, Crouch

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hypocrisy maybe the word

I know my Cantonese is very poor. Not being able to read or write is, at times, a matter of shame being Chinese. Yet I manage to get by in normal day life. The only problem or piece of humiliation is when I have to order dishes in a restaurant, leading me to dine at establishments with pictures of their dishes in their menus or where the menus are in English. I do get a lot of grief from people around me, especially nurses, who tell me to learn Cantonese properly so I can advance my career. Doctors are a little bit more sympathetic and patients find it amusing. A lot of people, especially nurses, tend to correct me about my pronunciation or grammar.

With that said, I don't even attempt to correct people's use of English, even though I might have a standpoint since English is my first language. I hate it when Chinese people always say "Thank you 你", which literally translates as "Thank you you". I cringe when people say words wrong such as "mechanism". I tend to believe the quality of English used nowadays have deteriorated, thanks to the Internet, text messaging, online chatting and emails.

I don't think anybody has a deserved right to criticise anybody else on any matter. The only position where somebody can comment on somebody else's action or words is if they themselves are experts in that area or have experience in the field. I don't like it when sports commentators or journalists criticise athletes or players on their performance. It is OK when you are a former player criticising a player about the sins of diving, since you know what it is like to play against cheats.

I never say to patients, "I know how you feel" even though I have been a patient. It is their body I have no idea what they are going through. I do hate it when my doctor friends say, "I know what you are going through. I have been through psychiatry..." I really want to say at that point, "If you know how to drive, do you know how to drive a racing car or know what Michael Schumacher is going through when he drives that Ferrari F1 car?" No of course you don't. It is just better to say, "I'm sure what your going through is difficulty..."

Recently I have been suffering from hypocrisy from my parents recently. I tend to be on the internet a lot, mainly gawking at babes. I have been told by my parents to cut down on this. With this said, most of the time my mum and dad spends on the internet using Facebook applications, such as a farming game and mahjong. I find it hard to take their advice of cutting my use of the internet when they spend most of their time on the internet as well.

It is so much easier to criticise when you have somewhere to stand from.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Single and desperate

I was going to write an article about fads and stereotypes but lately something else has been on my mind. I'm going to whine about the lack of my love life again. If you are not interested in reading yet again about the absence of romance in my existence, please go somewhere else...

Still here? Then let's begin...

I use Facebook far too often. Unlike other people who seem to use this social networking site for means other than social networking, such as playing those blasted applications involving mahjong or planting crops, I actually follow how my friends are getting along in their lives. I always feel left behind when I compared my life to my friends and colleagues. Not a day goes by when I see another person I know putting his or her pre-wedding photos up and I have to fake some congraulatulations for them, when most of all I feel envy and depression. Other people are announcing they are pregnant and others are stating they have broken up.

And what am I doing? My state is similar when I rub my shoes against the carpet - I'm static. I'm in the same state I was ten years ago, just fatter and actually have a job. I'm twenty eight years old, never had a girlfriend and I'm still a virgin, which irks my fragile male ego. I hate to use a feminine phrase but my biological clock is ticking. I thought by this age I would be married but now I don't feel my chances of meeting somebody are getting better.

I work most of the time and spend most of my free time at home. I don't like going out that much, since I hate the social life in Hong Kong. I have reduced the amount of alcohol I drink. All this significantly reduces the chances of meeting somebody. My hobbies are not great ways of socializing either. I spend most of my time cooking at home and I like to watch movies by myself, either at home or in the cinema. I don't go to exercise much and most of my keeping fit, if I'm actually bothered, is cycling (again which I do on my own) or going to the driving range - something which I do on my own and not really a sport which women engage in.

I could look to my circle of friends but most of my friends are doctors and I don't really want to hook with somebody in the same field. No offense to all my doctor friends but most of us are quite boring. I would like somebody who can talk about something other than their patients or the latest advancements in the medical field. That also rules out nurses, no matter how cute or sexy they are.

What also limits my options are my criteria. I do have very selective needs as such. I would like to meet somebody who has a similar background to me (Western upbringing, broad views) but in Hong Kong, meeting somebody like that is very difficulty. With most people having a Cantonese background, finding a lady I like is similar to sieving for gold in a river.

I'm starting to get desperate now. I'm rating all the women I meet into categories. I've started signing up to online dating sites. I'm contemplating starting to do some exercise, not for my health but in the hopes of meeting women by either going to the gym or making me slightly more attractive. Yet I'm still to cowardly to look through those online dating sites and ask somebody out.

At the end of the day, despite all the criteria I have put out and all the restrictions I have put on myself, everything boils down to one factor - I like her and she likes me. Simple? I wish it was.