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Saturday, March 27, 2010
I'm Beautiful Damnit
This Thursday was an absolutely fantastic one because I headed down and attended Dubai Twestival. I'm a huge Twitter person now as I've given up on Facebook almost entirely, and unlike Facebook I actually enjoy being on Twitter. Don't get me wrong, when I attended my first Twitter meetup I was sitting at a table of strangers wondering "What the hell am I doing here and who the heck are these people?". Thankfully, those strangers turned out to be truly wonderful people, and they've become great Twitter buddies since.

To describe Dubai Twestival as "electric" would be an understatement - this year it was really pulled off in style, thanks to the generous people down at the Intercontinental Hotel in Festival City. Support sponsor du was also out in full force, complete with blue and pink bean bags and foam 'du' logos floating above. I of course met up with the familiar faces there, and then proceeded to do what I do best - mingle amongst the wonderful Twitter folk who follow my various rants. There were marketing managers, mums, film makers, photographers, housewives, students, and people from all walks of life. Though it felt like one big party, we were all there to support Concern, and thanks to a generous contribution from du, we raised a total amount of USD$ 35,010, which was simply phenomenal.

It was a night filled with great company, food, and plenty of conversation. And most importantly, it shows that Twitter is more than just "a site to tell people what you're eating" as some uneducated people put it. It is a living, breathing community, a thousand voices strong, void of nationality, age, gender, or religion, that makes 140 characters sound like tomorrow's next bestseller.


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Thursday, March 18, 2010
One Love


The purpose of this blog post is to contribute to The March 18 Movement.

Millions of us around the world own blogs. Our blogs serve to educate, critique, entertain, and narrate a host of opinions to a universal platform. Most of us blog with a relative amount of anonymity, but in this digital age, what does "anonymous" truly mean? Sure, we can use pseudo names, different email addresses and the like, but as most of us know, we aren't really 'anonymous' on the Internet.

The point I'm to make here is this: do some of us compromise on what we blog about because we fear the repercussions? The short answer of course, is yes. We may not consciously do it, but our brains instantly red-flag something inappropriate while we're composing our posts, and the faithful backspace key does what it does best. But surely this defeats the purpose of blogging and of free speech? Some may agree, while others say that this form of self-censorship regulates what we blog about, so that our blogs don't turn into an all-out bitch fest. I myself have had a mixed relationship with my blog - what started as a hobby many years ago turned into something much bigger that brought me readers from across the globe and connected me to so many wonderful people. But I'm glad I started up this blog, because not only has it helped me deal with some of the things in my life, it's also helped other people (shocking I know) who've recently come out or are going through some of the problems I faced when I was coming out.

So to all of you out there who blog tirelessly about cats, war, elections, freedom, baking, politics, fashion, democracy and an eternal selection of other topics, I say "thank you".

March18.org


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Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Toy Soldiers


I have a love/hate relationship with ATMs. Whenever I really need to use them, they never manage to spit out any cash - some nonsense about insufficient funds or such. Anyway, the other day I had to get some cash deposited into my account rather than carry it around with me like some idiot with a ROB ME sign on my forehead. The nearest cash deposit machine was at MOE, so I decided to drive there after work for a bit and then head home.

So I head over to MOE, slide into a parking spot with all the finesse of Knight Rider, and head towards my bank branch. As luck would have it, there was no one at the cash deposit machine, so I gleefully walked up to it, popped in my card, and watched the machine slurp up my bank notes. Everything is going swimmingly at point, and the machine politely displays "Please wait for your receipt". So I stand there and wait. And wait. And wait.

10 minutes zoom past, and by now a couple of people have queued up behind me, patiently waiting their turn. Then from out of nowhere this bitch in the queue says to me "Excuse me, are you standing here doing something?" To which I reply "Not really, I'm standing here because I've got nothing else to do in the mall" which promptly shut the bitch up.

It's now been 15 minutes and the machine still stupidly displays "Please wait for your receipt" while the people behind me are running out of floor tiles to count. Some random guy in a suit the walks up to the machine and attempts to brush past me, but I cooly slide back in front of him and say "Yes, I don't know if you've noticed but there's a queue here", and flamboyantly gesture at the tiny crowd that's now formed behind me. He takes one look at them and promptly walks off - I guess he wasn't in any hurry to deposit cash after all.

20 minutes have gone by and I'm patiently ignoring the little voice in my head that's telling me to do what Chuck Norris would do - break the damn machine with my fists and take my money back. By some miracle, one of the bank's staff ambles over, only because the crowd outside the machine is turning into a bit of an angry mob.

This is a word for word account of what happened:

A man wearing an over-sized light brown suit approaches me. He has a receding hairline which has been combed into a slick side parting, and has a rather dumbfounded look on his face. In short, he looks like Mr. Bean.
Bean: What is the problem sir?
Me: I've deposited cash into this machine but it hasn't given me a receipt
Bean: You put cash or cheque?
Me: I just said, I put in cash
Bean: Ah okay. Just checking sir. So what is the problem now?
Me: The problem is I don't have a receipt for my deposit
Bean: (seems slightly stunned, and stares at the display as if deciphering some hidden Matrix-type code)
Me: So do I stand here and pray for a receipt?
Bean: Sorry sir?
Me: Am I going to get a receipt or not?
Bean: It is coming sir, machine is stuck maybe. Server is down.
Me: Which one is it - is it coming, is the machine stuck or is the server down?
Bean: Just wait sir (proceeds to hold down the ENTER, CANCEL, and ERROR buttons, like a primitive Ctrl+Alt+Del. Nothing happens)
Me: Yea, I don't think that does anything
Bean: (looks like his world is coming to an end) Can I have your card please sir and ID?
Me: ( hands over bank card and ID)
Bean: (scurries off to a teller while I watch him like a hawk - he comes back in 5 minutes) Here you go sir - receipt.


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