We bring you news of the most trifling kind (in our opinion) which may potentially be of utmost importance to your species, although we can’t imagine why.
We announce the release of one piffling blogger, Sheylara, who has remained in our captivity care as of one year ago for the crime error of perpetuating an extremely garish pink blog, which hurt our eyes.
Sheylara has successfully completed a thorough treatment of brainwashing gentle counselling for the totality of one year, and been granted a probationary certification of sanity. She is hereby allowed to resume blogging on strict conditions of non-repeat.
Most sincerely but not yours,
Aliens (the most awesomest beings in the universe)
I got a call last week from CNBC reporter Cris Prystay, wanting to interview me for a story on CNBC.com.
It was nice. We spent about 20 minutes chatting about my blogging career.
I feel quite lucky that, so far, all my interviews have been quite positive. I mean, I haven’t gotten any reporters trying to wrangle nasty stories from me or purposely misquoting me just to make me look bad.
(Okay, except for that little thing in Maxim, but that was probably my fault for reading the question wrongly, and partly their fault for phrasing it badly. But it wasn’t like a deliberate sabotage.)
This CNBC interview was for a business story, anyway, so I wasn’t expecting anything nasty, although I didn’t know the angle of the story when we were chatting.
Turns out I’m a case study for a bigger story on how blogs are today a dominant influence in consumer markets. I feel quite amused. And somewhat flattered, I suppose.
Anyway, what the report didn’t mention is how thankful I am to have supportive readers who enjoy reading what I write. That’s what keeps me happy and inspired.
My Mandarin has never been as bad as it is now. I mean, it has always been bad — I was a chronic F9 case in school — but it’s really bad now, if you can imagine anything worse than F9.
I can do very basic conversations like, say, discussing a shopping trip with the girls, if I’m allowed to pepper my speech with English words.
But ask me to be interviewed in Mandarin, on national TV no less, and I am suddenly struck dumb. I mean that quite literally.
That was actually what happened last week.
I received a call from my manager:
“Channel 8 news wants to do a segment on POCC (Power Over Cervical Cancer) and they’ve requested to interview you in your capacity as POCC ambassador.”
“Um… um… in Mandarin??”
“My Mandarin is very bad. I can’t do it.”
In the end, I was talked into doing it. I would be given the questions and a list of key terms I would need to use in Manadrin.
On the night before the interview, I received a list of six questions. I typed my answers out in English and attempted to translate it.
It took me an hour to translate just the first two lines because I couldn’t figure out how to structure my sentences correctly. I had about 35 lines to translate.
First: “Cervical cancer kills one to two women every five days.”
The only way I knew how to say it was: “每五天,子宫颈癌杀死一到两个妇女。”
Well, at least my Mandarin is good enough for me to know that THIS IS VERY BAD MANDARIN.
For my non-Chinese readers: What I did was a literal translation almost word for word. But what results in Mandarin raises an imagery more like: “Cervical cancer picks up a chopper and hacks one to two women to death every five days.”
Simply put, very crude.
Here’s another example of my butchery of the Chinese language:
“The earlier people know about this, the more lives we can save.”
My translation: “如果大家越早知道这个消息，就会越少人死。”
If you can read that, you now understand why I rejected the interview right off the bat.
Actually, I wasn’t even aware that my Mandarin had degenerated to this degree. I had eventually agreed to do the interview because I believed if I could prepare my answers beforehand, I would be able to do it.
It was only when I was attempting to translate my answers that I realised my Mandarin is now effectively 87 keys short of a piano.
I finally sent out an SOS on Plurk, Twitter, Facebook. I received lots of good translations for the two sentences above. But no one offered to help me translate all 35 lines of my answers.
Thankfully, I managed to get a friend to help me. By the time I received the two pages of translated answers, it was midnight. The interview was the next day. And I’d only had two hours of sleep the night before so I was rather exhausted by then.
But I had two pages of Chinese to memorise. It wasn’t simply a matter of remembering the points. I had to memorise everything word for word because, if I were to answer in my own words, I would come out with something embarrassingly rubbish like: “POCC 希望会有两万个人去他们的网站支持他们和子宫颈癌打架。”
I didn’t have enough time to memorise everything so I had to wing it and hope I didn’t look too bad.
If you happen to watch Channel 8 news this Sunday, and you see me stuttering on TV and looking quite bimbotic, you know why.
To compound matters, my laryngitis had not totally recovered, so I was still sounding rather hoarse.
Maybe with clever editing, Channel 8 will manage to make me look halfway decent, but I’m not too hopeful about that.
Look, I think my Mandarin is even worse than Ris Low’s English. So that’s why I never laughed at or criticised her. We can’t all be good at everything!
In any case, I think I’d better not accept anymore interviews in Mandarin. Or I’d better go back to Chinese school.
Now I hope I won’t set POCC’s efforts to reach out and save lives back by a millennium because of my disastrous Mandarin.
I mean, I hope people won’t see me on TV and say, “She sucks,” and then not watch the rest of the segment. Lives could be lost because of that!
Seriously. I’d feel really bad!
Anyway, it’s this Sunday (July 11), 10 pm, on Channel 8. I don’t know what time the POCC bit will be aired but it’ll be a short segment. Around five to 10 minutes.
I have always wanted to get into a cockpit and get entangled in chaotic dogfights.
I have tried playing games such as Wing Commander, Strike Commander, F15 Strike Eagle III, Falcon 3.0 and F-22 Lightning II, but gave up after a couple of tries. You need to have attended flight school for a week just to make sense of the controls in these games.
So it was for that reason that I stopped buying flight combat games despite being sorely tempted with each release.
Then, one day, I found a copy of Heroes Over Europe sitting on my desk, courtesy of Sheylara. I hesitated a little. To be honest, I still have an unwrapped copy of Blazing Angels which I bought more than a year ago.
But thanks to the forceful persuasion Sheylara, I finally relented and played Heroes Over Europe over the weekend. My first impression of the game was: “Wow! Easy controls!” There are no gauges to bother with and the controls are as simple as those of FPS games.
The gameplay is less of a flight simulator and more of an arcade shooter, which will appeal to players looking for a fun game rather than a realistic flight sim. There’s the regular “chase, aim and fire” tactic to take down the enemy, or the ace kill mode.
When your meter charges up, you can go into Ace mode where time slows down and you can zoom in a great distance to see in magnified detail the enemy pilot, gunner, engine and ammo container. You will need to hit one of these vital spots to one-shot the plane. (Bigger planes may require two vital spots to be taken.)
There is also a nose dive tactic, in which you’re required to dive straight down at full throttle while firing at the enemy. Damage is maximised in this stunt.
The storyline seems messy and weak as the game takes you to different missions in different areas. The story revolves around three pilots, each out to become a hero of the skies during the WWII era. I just skip the stories and go straight for the action, which is addictive enough as it is.
Swordplay is my pesky li’l bro who spends all his time playing time-wasting games. To make him a little bit more useful, I’m sitting on him and making him recommend one fun and simple web-based game each week.
Back to the topic of iPhone games, Nanny Wen recently introduced me to this game called Tap Tap Revenge 2. It’s also free. It’s a music game where you tap on notes as they fall.
By the way, I only download free games on the iPhone. It’s like that. When you give someone something free from the start, they find it hard to pay for the same, subsequently.
That’s why I haven’t attempted to purchase the paid version of the game even though I really enjoy it, and it has only a few songs in the free version, and iPhone games are actually really cheap (value for money).
An MSN conversation between myself and the Goonfather yesterday.
On a side note…
I just learned from Wang Wang and Minou that if you go heehee and <3 a lot in MMORPGs, you will get tons of free stuff from rich players. Of course, your avatar needs to also be female and have a cute name.
Hmm… I think Sheylara is not cute enough. She never gets free stuff from strangers and has to resort to actually killing monsters to earn money.
I shall have to reroll and call my new character Princess Cuteness or something sick like that and then proceed to making a lot of heehees and <3s.