Kim Huat reads the news of the week for 8th January 2020.
YouTube link: youtu.be/qiEuo48hP68
Kim Huat reads the news of the week for 8th January 2020.
YouTube link: youtu.be/qiEuo48hP68
Sam Mendes's World War I movie, 1917, is one of the best war movies I have ever seen. And I am a HUGE war movie fan.
Shot in what looks like one continuous take, the movie grabs you from the start and immerses you in the story.
My wife falls asleep often in movies that don't work. She did not sleep during this entire movie. It was surreal, she said, to watch the story unfold this way.
You follow two young British soldiers — Schofield and Blake — as they go on an almost suicide mission: to get across No Man’s Land with a letter to save 1,600 men from a German ambush.
Blade Runner 2049's cinematographer, Roger Deakins, needs to win all kinds of awards for this.
There are stars like Colin Firth, Mark Strong, and Benedict Cumberbatch playing secondary characters in the film, but they are never used to outshine the story. Instead, you are made to care about the two men on an impossible mission, as you gape at the horrors of the First World War, the "The war to end all wars".
Go watch it in IMAX. It is not in 3D but that screen really works well for this movie.
Here is another mrbrown’s Mini-movie Review, that came out of being sick over the weekend and looking for something to watch.
Netflix's 6 Underground was Michael Bay doing one mindless action sequence after another without a story. This US$150 million movie was meant to set up a franchise of sequels. Oh please no.
Even watching this while drowsy from cough mixture did not make it better. Even Ryan Reynolds couldn't save this stinker.
I waited for two hours for a coherent story to come out of it all, but nope. Nothing. Nada. We did get an overly-long 15-minute car chase scene, flying blood, and waaaay too much parkour.
6 Underground should have STAYED underground and not seen the light of day.
I should have watched The last two episodes of The Mandalorian on Disney+ instead. Or even any Korean drama that my wife is currently bingeing on.
I wish they still had the ratings system on Netflix so I can warn others about shows like these.
This has to be one of the most fun projects I’ve had the privilege of working on this year. Downstairs is a new adult animated series by Robot Playground and Ervin Han (who also brought you the series Heartland Hubby, which I was also a part of).
It is really something to be working with so much comedic talent.
I play Uncle Dong, the sexiest man in the block.
Here is a quick look at Episode 2: Train To Bishan, from the series:
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/85K5M3zmkPc
Do catch the entire series on Toggle (which will be renamed dunno simi MeWatch in 2020). Er, the 21-episode series is NC16 and Not for Kids ok? Don't say I nair warn you first.
See you Downstairs, ok? ONZ!
I have enjoyed sharing my photos and stories with you this year. Here are the 2019 Best Nine photos of my instagram feed. Here is to more stories and adventures in 2020!
1. Faith finally overcoming her fear of flying
Blog Post: https://www.mrbrown.com/blog/2019/12/faith-takes-a-plane.html
2. Family Krabi Trip in December
3. Joy’s Christmas present to us
Blog Post: https://www.mrbrown.com/blog/2019/12/the-best-kind-of-gifts.html
4. Faith in Church
5. Road trip with my wife in Spain.
Exposure Photo Essay: https://brown.exposure.co/the-browns-go-to-spain-in-spring
6. 12 of us in our Krabi family trip
7. CNY 2019
8. Meeting Tim Cook and Theresa Goh
Blog Post: https://www.mrbrown.com/blog/2019/12/meeting-tim-cook-and-paralympian-theresa-goh.html
9. Hokkaido trip with the two younger ones
FB Posts with more photos: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5, Link 6, Link 7.
Podcast: mrbrown travels: The Watermelon Story, Japan
Other stories that meant a lot to me in 2019:
10. Turning Fifty:
12. Going to NYC with the Wife for GoT:
13. Being interviewed in Chinese by Tung Soo Hua on Channel 8's《我.董.你》 Be My Guest (thereby increasing my street cred at the wet market forever):
Blessed Christmas from the browns!
As we gave out presents to the kids at a minute past midnight, we got a surprise gift in return: this lovely painting from our youngest one.
Behind the painting, there were messages from Isaac and Joy for Mommy and me. And even a message from Faith. (Technically Joy helped her autistic Cheh Cheh to write that message but it was still sweet.)
Joy said her test of whether the paintings looked like her subjects was to ask her big sister questions like:
“Where is Papa?” Faith points to me.
“Where is Mommy?” Points to Mommy.
I tell you, the best presents are kids who love you and know you love them. Even if they drive you crazy sometimes, during the rest of the year.
May the Love and Peace that surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds this Christmas.
I am not a morning person but this morning was an exception.
You see, I was on my way down to OCBC Aquatic Centre to meet Apple’s Tim Cook and Paralympian Theresa Goh.
We had a good chat about creativity, accessibility, and parenting in a fast-changing technological world. And of course, Apple products, which I love using.
All the photos here were taken with an iPhone 11 Pro Max by me except the last one, which was of me Airdropping my selfie of us to Tim and Theresa [Photo: Reuters].
It is like magic, I said to Tim, about Airdrop. Which is what I also feel of many of Apple's products and services.
It was an honour and blessing to meet two extraordinary people in one morning.
This is us a few days ago, on our way to a Krabi family vacation with my younger brother's family. We were a party of 12 and it was like a tour group. It was a short flight but Faith has a fear of flying and major sensory issues on planes. We know it is always a challenge, but we Improvise, Adapt and Overcome. And we step out with faith, surrounded by prayer.
This short video clip will give you an idea of how difficult it is for Faith to fly.
Before this, she stopped twice — once outside the aerobridge, and once outside the plane door — refusing to board until we reassured and consoled her.
Her autism makes her particularly sensitive to the sounds, G-forces and ear pressure of takeoff and landing.
If this happened a few years ago, we would be holding her down as she had a meltdown, trying to remove her seat belt and leave her seat. Once, on another trip, she lay down on the tarmac of Kuantan Airport, just in front of the Firefly plane, and refused to budge. We took a long time to get her on her feet to board the plane.
Over time, she has learned to cope and brave the sensory overload.
This trembling behavior you see in the video is both a form of stimming (self-soothing and modulation) and also the trembling of fear. We gave her a sweet to deal with the ear pressure, and my helper and I took turns to reassure her with touch, and joint compression. When the plane finally leveled out, she calmed down for the rest of the flight. She even took the Beats noise-canceling headphones off and returned them to me. She decided she didn’t need it anymore.
When we finally made it to the hotel, Faith had a huge grin on her face as she tucked herself into bed and rested under the compression of the blanket. That is her holiday bliss face. And her father also had the same grin seeing that happiness.
Kim Huat reads the news of the week for 21st November 2019.
YouTube link: youtu.be/cpy20FW1h3w
Isaac and Joy are currently on a road trip with me in Japan. We discuss things on the long drives.
Someone sent me this note allegedly written by someone affected by the recent move by the authorities to ban PMDs from footpaths, a ban that was announced on 4th November 2019 and was effective the next day. It was announced by Minister Lam PMD Min.
The issue of PMDs is a polarizing one, with some calling for a ban, others calling for regulation but not ban, and yet others calling for the authorities to maintain the status quo.
I got my youngest to read the post below out loud. And then my two kids and I had a discussion about it during our long drive, covering topics like:
1. Should PMDs have been allowed in the first place without infrastructure and legislation?
2. Was the PMD issue handled with the right wisdom and speed?
3. The impact the ban has had on livelihoods.
4. The impact PMDs has had on pedestrian safety.
5. The importance of personal financial responsibility.
6. What is the Locus of Control? (People who develop an internal locus of control believe that they are responsible for their own success. Those with an external locus of control believe that external forces, like luck, determine their outcomes.)
7. Should the government help those impacted by this ban and if so, how can it help mitigate things?
8. What other options are there for food delivery employees?
9. Who should take the blame for this fiasco? The government? The errant users? The retailers who imported these devices? The companies who encouraged the use of these devices in their food delivery business?
10. The tradeoffs between working in a job that pays less but has more stability, and working in a job that pays more but has less certainty.
11. The viability, benefits, and risks of the gig economy.
12. The tradeoff between having CPF and not having it.
13. The cost of housing.
I had a good discussion with my teens on this matter. I trust there will be many views here too. Keep it respectful please. Thanks.
“I am an ITE graduate who previously work in office job, it paid me $2,200 every month, no 13th month, no bonus, 3 days MC.
Since Grabfood come along, with my trusty PMD, I earn $3,500 every month.
Now overnight, my PMD is illegal and I cannot use it for daily work.
With my $3,500 salary, I thought it was good time to start family, I can provide for my baby. Combine with my wife $2000 salary, we buy $250,000 BTO in CCK.
Now my income suddenly become zero, if I go back old job, it drop by $1,300 every month, I have baby that need diaper, need milk powder, need infant care, now my expense is more than my income.
Govt ask me to buy certified UL2272 PMD, I support and follow.
Govt ask me be careful while riding on the footpath, I careful. Never hit anyone or get into argument before in my 2 year as PMD rider.
Govt tell me to register PMD, I register.
Govt ask me to have stable proper job, I found one.
Govt ask me to have children, I agree and have kid.
I do everything you ask me to, but you still ban me from doing my job, a good job that pay me well. Now my children childcare fee how? Now their daily expense how? Overnight my salary cut by 30%, how can I be a good father to raise my children responsibly?
I want to be good citizen and help the country by being employ and by having children.
I want to help my country, but now my country don't want to help me.
Tell me what I should do now? With one speech now my income drop so much, if I am irresponsible rider, u penalty me I nothing to say. I am safe delivery rider but I pay price for those YP black sheep.
How I face my wife now, how I tell my children I cannot bring them go out enjoy some family excursion?
Sad to be a loyal Singaporean. I want to be loyal but there is no care for me.
Written by: M Siva, Grabfood PMD rider since 2018”
Say hello to the new Apple AirPods Pro. I have been waiting for you, little ones. I loved the portability of my AirPods but I missed having Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). I also liked having a tighter seal in my earphones and the AirPods had a more open design. Now the AirPods Pro address these two issues with ANC using two microphones (outward-facing and inward-facing), canceling out the environment for me.
Apple also touts Adaptive EQ for the AirPods Pro, to deliver better sound. I shall test that too. The AirPods were ok, but lacked the sound fidelity of more expensive wireless earphones like the Sennheiser Momentum TW (great sound but bulky case).
That Pro label on the AirPods Pro had better live up to its name. My cursory listening so far on the AirPods Pro (I am rocking Summer Walker’s new album currently) shows promise.
I also like the ability to switch from Active Noise Cancellation to Transparency mode with one click of the new capacitive force sensor' in the new shorter stem. The Transparency mode lets the outside sound in, and sounds very natural.
Battery life is four and a half hours with Active Noise Cancellation on, and five hours without ANC or Transparency on. All day battery life with the case to charge it, just like the AirPods 2.
It also comes with three sizes of tips to fit different ears and a Ear Tip Fit Test to let you know if you are using the right size of tip. I ended up with the Medium size. The seal feels good too. I wonder how the AirPods Pro sound with third-party Comply foam tips with them. I shall look for some when they become available.
Also fun to test will be sharing music with Audio Sharing mode: two AirPods or AirPods Pro listening to one device. Nice.
What I am truly happy about is I can now get true-wireless earphones in a small package. I love being able to slip my AirPods into my jeans and these AirPods Pros are not much larger. Same thickness, just slightly wider. Other True Wireless earphones in the market are usually too big and bulky to carry in the pocket with their case. Let alone True Wireless earphones with ANC.
The AirPods Pro retail for S$379 and will be available from the 30th of October, 2019. By comparison, the Sony WF-1000XM3 noise-cancelling earbuds cost around S$349, so this seems to be the price point for this class of wireless noise-cancelling buds.
I am so gonna test this these buds in my upcoming trip to Japan. I may not need to pack the larger noise-cancelling headphones in future.
19 hours. That was how far I flew to see the new Sonos Move speaker.
That was the longest non-stop flight I ever have ever taken too. Why did I fly so far? Because the launch of the Sonos Move speaker was in New York City and this was the fastest way to get there from Singapore. I was apprehensive at first, worried that my tender butt would not be able to take it but thankfully, it was a pleasant journey on this Singapore Airlines flight sitting in Premium Economy. Next time, perhaps I can try the Business Class on SQ21 (hint hint, SQ).
I stayed at the High Line, a hipster part of NYC, and spent a nice few days exploring the city. I even saw Taylor Swift coming out of an event in her car. I joined the screaming fans on the road.
But of course, I was not here (just) for fun. I was here to see the new portable speaker from Sonos.
For years, many have asked Sonos, “Eh, when are you going to make a Bluetooth speaker ah?”
As a Sonos user myself, and a worshipper in the Temple of Sonos wifi-connected Speakers (I have more Sonos speakers in my home than Christian, who is the boss of the brand in Singapore), I have also wondered the same thing. Sure, it was nice to have wireless speakers in my home, including a wireless home theatre setup. But what if I wanted to take a Sonos speaker outside? To the park? To a party? To my patio?
Ok, limpeh lives in an HDB flat, so limpeh has no patio. Just the common corridor. But you get the idea.
Enter the Sonos Move.
This baby can connect to your Sonos home network via wifi, just like any Sonos product. BUT IT ALSO DOES BLUETOOTH.
I know, I know. You are thinking, “Eh, brown. There are a gazillion Bluetooth speakers out there leh.”
True, but none of them are Sonos. You don’t get the benefits of a wireless system of networked speakers with those other Bluetooth speakers. And also, most of them sound very dinky.
The Sonos Move is not one of those small speakers you pop into your handbag or backpack to go to your chalet or your beach holiday though. This beefy speaker is happier on a road trip or blasting tunes in the garden or park.
Sound is crisp and clear, even outdoors, thanks to the design of the speakers to ensure you don’t lose the high-end where there are no walls to keep sound in. The tweeter inside is downward-firing, designed so that you have even dispersion, indoors or outdoors. Vocals and bass come out strong with the built-in mid-woofer. The speaker drivers benefit from the power of two Class-D digital amplifiers.
The Move is also waterproof, dust-proof, drop-resistant and tough as nails. I know, because I saw the abuse the Sonos folks put the Move through in their tests and research. You don’t want to drop this on your foot though. It is somewhat heavy. The handle they designed for the Move was created to address this heft. You can tell Sonos spent a LOT of time on the handle design because I was lifting it quite easily and I am no Arnold Schwarzenegger.
With the Move get the easy Sonos setup. You also get Apple Airplay 2 support, like all the current models, and Voice Control via Alexa and Google Assistant. Wifi and Bluetooth is switchable with a push of a button behind the Move. And you can pair two Moves in a Stereo Pair, but only over Wifi and not when in Bluetooth mode.
Battery life is 10 hours away from the charger, which is this ring the Move sits on. It is an elegant charging solution. You can also charge the Move via its USB-C port. When the lithium-ion battery inside the Move no longer holds a charge (after an estimated three years or 900 charges, according to Sonos), Sonos will also do a battery swap for a fee. That is very reassuring, in this world of electronic devices where the device dies with the death of a battery.
Another cool feature is Auto Trueplay. This allows the Move to figure out where it is in your room or outdoors, and adapt the sound to the environment. If you plonk them on a shelf, for example, it will optimise the sound from that spot. If you lug it outdoors, it will sense that and give you the right sound for that. The automatic EQ of Auto Trueplay only works in Wifi mode though.
What is lacking in the Move? You can’t pair them a home cinema surrounds. Pity, because I can imagine them being used as a handy pair of surrounds as and when I need to watch a movie with a Sonos Beam as my TV speaker. You also can’t pair the Move with a Sonos Sub. Sorry, bass heads.
I also wish the battery life was more than 10 hours. But you can charge it with a compatible USB-C charger when away from it’s charging ring.
The size and weight of the Move can also be a hindrance, I feel. You can pack a Move in your hand-carry to fly (the battery inside meets airline requirements) but it isn’t something you will do very often unless you really really want to blast your music in the hotel room with the power of the Move. I suspect it is more of a speaker you throw in the car for a road trip, than a speaker you carry on a plane.
There is also the price. It is… brace yourselves… S$729.00. This is not a cheap Bluetooth speaker you can buy from the discount bin of a computer store. But you do get an excellent speaker that sounds, and is physically, robust. And plays nice with the rest of the Sono eco-system. That may be enough reason to get one.
And hey, think of how fun it will be to carry it into the bathroom with you when you shower.
You can find out more about the Sonos Move and purchase it from trysonos.sg/products/move
Kim Huat tells you his taxi stories and the new features in the ComfortDelGro Taxi Booking App. There is a contest too!
Between now and 31st December 2019, stand a chance to win $88 in ComfortPoints every week, or be one of the three monthly winners of $888 in ComfortPoints, or even win the Grand Prize of $8,888 worth of ComfortPoints! Just book ComfortRIDE for a chance to win! Click here to book a ride now - https://comfortdelgro.onelink.me/1fTR/830ada5e
YouTube link: youtu.be/FvO47NbFzeA
We finally get the T2 sequel we deserve. Terminator: Dark Fate is the easily best sequel after Terminator 2: Judgment Day. I know, the bar is low. But it was a really fun ride.
When it wasn’t trying too hard to be emo and drama, the movie really rocked. The action set pieces were spot on. Some of the CG was a little weak in small places, like one or two face-transformations but it was not Gemini Man level bad.
And wow. Linda Hamilton really stole the show. So glad she is back. She spent a year with no carbs and full exercise to get back in shape for this and it shows. I want to look like this kind of Merdeka Generation.
Maybe it is me getting older and grumpier but I totally connected with the cranky badassery that Sarah Connor brought to the table.
The new Terminator Rev-9 looks sufficiently dangerous. You could say he is twice the man the others were.
Arnold is back this time too. He has appeared in the other sequels before but I like this version of him. He brings a quiet strength to the movie and has some of the funniest lines. This is Swarzenegger’s best outing since T2.
Mackenzie Davis was also a delight to watch. Her lean, statuesque figure was a nice contrast to the brute force of the Rev-9 when they fought. Grace was a good name for her. I also liked the subtle details like the surgical lines on her body.
As for the other post-T2 sequels, let’s call them Terminator Legends. As far as I am concerned, Dark Fate is the true Terminator 3. Let’s forget the other sequels existed.
Is Terminator: Dark Fate better than Terminator 2? No. That is a difficult movie to follow. But Dark Fate holds its own.
Oh, James Cameron, welcome back. We missed you. Please do the real Aliens sequel too. Thanks.