my recent reads..

Silverfish New Writing 1

New Writing was published in 2001 by silverfishbooks. It is a collection of works in English by writers from around Singapore and Malaysia.

At the time it was quite a risky business proposition. Was anyone going to buy a book like this? Mainstream sentiment was generally quite negative towards works in English (either because the national languages held more prestige, or a perverse expectation that local writers by definition couldn't be any good if they used English).

Well, with six editions now in print, I think the critics have been silenced and the series has I think given the local writing scene more self-confidence.

I recently went back to read some of the stories in the first edition. I like the little sketches of life. Either contemporary such as Hong Wee's The Drive Home, or reminiscing on the past as in 14 Leech Street by Bernice Chauly.

Of course must pay homage to the local fascination with ghost and zombie stories with Kaysidayat bin Ishak's The Last Train. Or something a little more tender and juicily experimental like Plat du Jour by Muslin Abdul Hamid.

And much more. Pick any book in this series to try something new and different. Its a bit like nasi padang - get to sample a whole range of small dishes with great local flavour.

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After Jupiter, I went back to start with the first book in Ben Bova's series - Mars.

It is a gripping page-turner of the first manned mission to Mars, and the hopes of making the most startling of discoveries - life on another planet. The book's tension comes from a great balance of the personal story of the astronouts, the hard-science of the mission, and the all-too-realistic dimension of earthly politics. Real drama cloaked in a scifi setting.

Looks like I'll be reading the whole series now!

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Singapore wins!

Support Singapore YOG 2010
The perfect choice to host the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010!
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Popflying the Oracle Community

Back last year I got all excited about Yahoo Pipes ( Web 2.0 Wake-up Call for BPEL? ) and its graphical approach to building mashups. In fact I still use a Pipes mashup as my mega-aggregated Oracle newsfeed.

Now I've discovered a new toy - Microsoft Popfly - and finally a reason to install Silverlight! I remember popfly getting mentioned in Bex Huff's roundup of mashup tools last year, but at the time it was still in restricted beta.

Popfly's still in beta, but now open to one and all. Put aside your biases for a minute and go play ... if you are like me, it will blow your mind. It may not be the final word in mashup tools, but it sure opens your mind to what should be possible.

Here's a little mashup I created 5 minutes up the learning curve. It's a cute display of the latest photos posted to the Oracle Community site:
Edit: popfly is no more; link to is defunct.

Postscript: yes, you do need Silverlight installed for this to work of course. Silverlight is available for "all major browsers running on the Mac OS or Windows". If you are not prompted automatically for the Silverlight install, visit the Silverlight site.
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