I read it on Reddit.

Before you begin, please be aware that the word “read” in the title should be read/pronounced in past tense, like “rad”. Okay now, repeat the title once more in your head.

Ah, now you get the pun.

This post is about Reddit! If you haven’t heard, it’s basically a website where any registered user can submit and share interesting content and other users can ” vote up” or “vote down” that submission or post.

Users can also comment on the link (click on the ### comments just below the title) and even the comments can get voted up or down (think top rated comments on YouTube, except no mindless top comments about some stupid face at 2:07 or Justin Bieber). Which kinda works for itself in the sense that you will only see the top rated comments, some of which are informative, thought provoking and mostly hilarious.

Sounds complicated? Not to worry, it’s your lucky day. Check out this über cool guide Bryan Xie made:

A subreddit is where the content really feels more organised and targeted. Think of it as a category or even a sub-community that works like Reddit. Here are some of my favourite subreddits:

Well, those are my favourite subreddits. The beauty of having an account (it’s free) with Reddit is that you can customise your Front Page with YOUR subreddits. Try it yourself! Click here and search for ANY topic of your interest: Diablo, Kpop, reddevils, coversongs, fashion, singapore, newyork, mma, coldplay etc. Anything.

Alternatively, you could just try your luck and type reddit.com/r/______ into your address bar. Hopefully, you can start discovering and interacting with like-minded individuals who will share interesting/helpful content on these subreddits.

I think there’s more the Internet can offer than just 9gag and YouTube. If you’re looking for a place to make you laugh, tickle your thought process, learn something new each day or feel connected with millions around the world, I think I have just the place for you.

Have you Reddit yet?

P.S. For iPhone users, the official app is called iReddit. Android users can use Reddit is fun.

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I made a promise to myself today.

Due to the nature of my job, I have access to that international zone in the airports they call “transit”. So today, I was walking around in at Changi International Airport (best damn airport in the freaking universe, I must say) Terminal 2 Transit zone when I saw this Indian place: Chutney Mary. I’m not sure if it’s fast food, but it’s just next to McDonald’s on Level 2, just above the DFS liquor area.

This must’ve been the 15th time I’ve seen the place, and aside from Roti Prata (which is my favouritest-est supper, Mushroom Cheese to be exact), I don’t really eat a lot of Indian food. So didn’t really think about it too much, just another of those restaurants I’ll never patronise.

Then suddenly, it hit me. Why am I limiting myself? Why am I playing it safe? Why am I so narrow-minded? Why am I so cowardly? Bam bam BAM. I know, some of you may think it’s trivial, choice of a lunch determining my entire approach to life, but I think it’s the small things that come to you naturally that showcase just what type of person you are.

I got me thinking, everyone just wants to stay in their comfort zones. I wouldn’t try Crystal Taste Paradise Dynasty because I’ve got Din Tai Fung, the safe bet. People just stick to what they’re comfortable or good at. Which is sad, really because there’s a huge world out there, yours for the taking. There’s so much to learn and appreciate from different cultures and backgrounds; shouldn’t we all lead a fuller, richer life?

I was overcome with this “self-enlightenment” (for lack of a better word, epiphany is getting too common) but I was quickly awash with pity. Pity that I might never live long enough to taste all the food the world has to offer, see the sights Mother Earth and Man have created, dabble in all the sports ESPN/STAR SPORTS covers and exchange experiences with un-found friends across the globe.

So I made a promise myself today: to always try something I’ve never tried before.

When was the last time you ordered something different from your usual?

What we can learn from the 2012 US Elections

Allow me to be upfront: I don’t really follow US Elections to a tee. Basically, all I knew for this year is that Democrat Obama was campaigning for his second 4-year term as POTUS and was up against Republican Mitt Romney.

So, news got out this early afternoon confirming Obama’s victory. I was following some of the reactions from my Facebook News Feed (I know, most reliable source EVER) throughout the day without much fanfare.

One thing really stuck though. Obama’s Victory Speech. If you have the time, please watch it. Obama is a great speaker, one of the best in our time. You may never do public speeches in your life, but there’s much you can learn, young padawan. His posture, how he pauses at the right times, his tone of confidence, the smoothness of his transitions, the progressive style and culmination of his speech, the genuine feel of his strong ambitions, how he can motivate, instill pride and show leadership, his well articulated vision and the one that really stuck to me: his idea of a citizen and his/her role in a democracy.

Image source: The Guardian

If you’re really pressed for time, or rather mindlessly scroll through 9gag, at least watch the video from 16:24 (scroll it yourself, I don’t know how to make it jump automatically LOL). Obama was thanking everyone who casted their votes, and I quote him:

But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of “citizen”, in our democracy, does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.

Barack Obama, 2012

Wow. I’m blown away. The level of maturity he is imploring on his people is applaudable. His re-definition of “citizen” adds such a refreshing outlook and template for all citizens from all nations to follow.

My wish is that someday, all Singaporeans will realise that we have been too reliant on our government, that we need to start looking inwardly before blaming anyone else, that it’s us that need to work harder and smarter before we complain about foreigners “stealing our jobs”, and most importantly, that the spirit of competitive enterprise is meant to push us harder to improve and innovate collectively in strength as one unit, one nation.

Congratulations Barack Obama on a resounding victory. It seems Singapore and the US share the same strong beliefs in our big dreams, but only time can tell if effort will bear fruit. May the best team win.

My thoughts on the SMRT breakdowns

I write this post with a slice of frustration. Too many times have I seen, read or heard my friends (or people that are considered my “friends” because Facebook says so and decides to showcase their flaunt of wealth on my News Feed) complain about public transport in Singapore. Or all the talk of privatisation to improve standards. I grow sick of the narrow-mindedness and childishness of it all. Sure, SMRT ain’t perfect, but allow me to share a personal story of mine.

I worked for a year in Melbourne, Australia after obtaining my degree. From 8 to 9am, trains at my station came every TEN (10) minutes. On top of that, every week, without fail, there will be at least two disruptions to a service (you will hear an announcement at 8am: “The 0820 train will not be in service today”, much to the chagrin of the commuters).

Imagine a typical day: At 0815, you’re at the train station, you wait for 5 minutes for the 0820 train that you can’t fit in, only to find out the 0830 service wouldn’t be coming. You decide to wait for the 0840 service….., only to realise that the 0830 train commuters are packed into the 0840 one that you (you guessed it!) can’t fit into. You take the 0850 service in resignation and receive a stern look from the most uptight boss in the world at 0910. Wow, 55 minutes for a journey that would take 20min off-peak. And this kind of thing is accepted as the norm. *shudders*

I remember when I first arrived at Melbourne, public transport was privatised and the company operating the public trains was Connex. From what you just heard, you could deduce they failed in their service standards as set by Metlink, the “LTA of Melbourne” (Connex trains were to arrive on time, 92% of the time; the definition of “on time” being arriving within 5 minutes of stipulated time). In other words. all Connex had to do was to deliver all their trains 3-4 minutes late to achieve 100% punctuality, which they failed at doing so.

Connex was fined a total of A$70m by the state government in 3 years(link). You’d expect a company to buck up when faced with huge fines, but things didn’t improve significantly. This is an excellent example of one of the shortcomings of privatising public transport. The Connex contract was not extended and another company Metro came in. However, it was a case of different company, same problems. I suspect most Connex employees were just re-hired into Metro.

At the end of the day, Connex/Metro employees still received their salaries, the Victorian Government received their $70m, a different company takes over in 4 years, but who suffers? It’s the commuter, who pays A$3.20 just so he/she could travel for 2 hours. I forgot to add that by the time I was experiencing the story I was talking about above, Metro was already in charge of the trains.

Hopefully, after hearing my story, you can start to appreciate our trains better. I was there at Raffles Place at 7pm, in the masses waiting for half an hour for a train home. I was also there at Clementi MRT at 8am, seeing 7 fully packed trains come and go before finally boarding the 8th train to work. Everyone (and company) has their bad days, and I think it’s really childish and unappreciative of us Singaporeans to just condemn our public transport. It’s one thing to give constructive feedback and suggestions, but a whole other thing to just write off the spine of Singapore’s growth.

Ironically, it was SMRT’s reliability throughout the years of Singapore’s development that proved to be its PR undoing. This goes to show how sometimes, Singaporeans can take things for granted.