I’ve been listening to 1989 for a few months now, it’s quite addictive. In the deluxe version, Taylor Swift talks about her different music composing techniques. It makes me think about how I write films.

Some people think of plot, others are obsessed with characters. For me, it’s about a scene. Usually, it’s a scene that mesmerises me so much that I want to write a whole entire film just to get to it. This approach means that it is very hard to write and develop feature films as you have to grind away to make the story fit.

This is also why I love short films so much, it lets the audience decide with their imagination what happens before and after.

I love learning about space as a child. The uncertainty and mysteriousness about life on other planets intrigue me. In primary school projects, I would create worlds for them.

I remember in 4th grade, my friend decided he wanted to become an astronaut so he sent a letter to NASA. They responded back, sending a folder of materials along the way. I don’t know if that friend of mine ever ended up pursuing his ambition (two years later he wanted to become a policeman).

The space obsession ended in primary until the last year of high school when we studied Gattaca. I love that film for so many reasons. I think that’s what got me into filmmaking. The fact that I can re-create worlds without ever having to leave the planet. It’s also a beautiful medium to play with.

So after posting my weekly reading list, I found myself searching up NASA. Surprisingly, the preliminary requirements of being an astronaut isn’t that bad. Perhaps I should go back and get a maths degree?

Commander and Pilot Astronaut Duties
Astronaut attired in a training version of the shuttle launch and entry garment floating in pool at NBL Astronaut Leroy Chiao in Training Pilot astronauts serve as both Space Shuttle and International Space Station commanders and pilots. During flight, the commander has onboard responsibility for the vehicle, crew, mission success and safety of flight. The pilot assists the commander in controlling and operating the vehicle. In addition, the pilot may assist in the deployment and retrieval of satellites utilizing the remote manipulator system, in extravehicular activities, and in other payload operations.

Basic requirements for an Astronaut Pilot include the following:

1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. An advanced degree is desirable. Quality of academic preparation is important.

2. At least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. Flight test experience is highly desirable.

3. Ability to pass a NASA space physical which is similar to a military or civilian flight physical and includes the following specific standards: Distant visual acuity: 20/100 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 each eye. Blood pressure: 140/90 measured in a sitting position. Height between 62 and 75 inches.

Source: http://www.tinker-doodle.com/

Source: http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/postsecondary/features/F_Astronaut_Requirements.html

Happy new year.

What can I say, a few activities here and there take up all my time. In case you are wondering why I went AWOL,  I’ve started a series of (bi) monthly letters that I send to my close friends. Believe it or not but they are quite time consuming; also time doesn’t stop for anyone. So here are some interesting articles I’ve came across last week:

1. A Global Life: My Journey Among Rich and Poor, from Sydney to Wall Street to the World Bank

I picked up a secondhand copy of this book from the local Berkelouw last week. I quickly browsed through it and thought it was a great read. I’m halfway there but there are a lot of things that I’ve learnt and picked up along the way from Mr. Wolfensohn, especially his younger years which I can relate to. It’s nice to know that someone who doesn’t have laser sharp focus ambitions can still do amazing things just by making decisions one step at a time.

2. An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth: How To Prepare For Anything

Patrick Allen reviews An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth: How To Prepare For Anything and summarises some tips from the books that help to reduce stress. I’ll write a review if it turns out that the book is worth reading. The review, however, seems to think so!

3. Snap, crackle and pop: this is no tech bubble, it’s a revolution

A simple article arguing that there won’t be any bubble popping. It gets to the point and captures another fine moment in tech history. Whether we’re in a bubble or not, 2015 will be an interesting year. Is this the start to a frenzy and will Sand Hill Road becomes the new Wall Street? Time will tell.

Wow. Can you believe it? It’s almost three months since the last weekly reading. I’ve been busy but to be honest, I was so consumed by books that I couldn’t read anything else! Here’s the top three read for this week:

1. Ho Chi Minh: A Life

If you were wondering why I went quiet, it was because I need to finish this book and I did! It’s a great revelation into Ho Chi Minh’s life. Duiker is also very matter of fact. Highly recommended for any campaigner though be warned, it is a long read.

2. My Startup Failed, and This is What it Feels Like…

A heartfelt post from Nikki Durkin, a startup poster child for the Australian startup scene. 99dresses hits it off in Australia and Nikki moved to the US after got funding from Ycombinator. Unfortunately, a last minute deal fell through with investors post-YC and things went downhill from there.

3. Pricing the Surge: The Microeconomics of Uber’s Attempt to Revolutionise Taxi Markets

An article from The Economist about Uber’s pricing strategy.

Here are some nice HK film quotes that I found off a website.

I never realised it until now but I’m a big fan of Hong Kong cinema. From Kungfu, vampires, cheesy Stephen Chow comedies to Wong Kar Wei impressionist pieces, HK films have always been engaging, entertaining and pushing boundaries.

Whilst cinematography continues to improve, it seems that Hong Kong filmmakers are also short of ideas these days. I’d definitely like to see some more experimental filmmakers coming from Hong Kong.

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It’s been months…somewhere amongst the chaos, I forgot how beautiful words are. How they are formed to bring something magical, enlightening.

Words are powerful. Use it with care and it’ll evoke the most powerful emotion. Use it recklessly and it’ll get gulped into the ocean of oblivion.

It’s not hard to write, it’s just hard to write thoughtfully. Yet, somehow the more you write, the clearer are your thoughts.



Here’s a great, short, sharp & succinct commencement speech from Dale Heydlauff that gets to the point. Tips:

  • A strong work ethic;
  • Polished communication skills matter;
  • Always keep an open mind and embrace life long learning;
  • Always respect what others can deliver;
  • Learn to focus – be here now;
  • Know thyself – your strength and weakness;
  • Find and follow your passion;
  • Cultivate a network of mentors and never hesitate to ask for advice; and
  • Remember the serenity prayer.

Truth is, I’m old at heart and I never get enough of this song. First sang by Sylvia Vartan (who is also in the video), La Plus Belle Pour Aller Danser was a hit in 1963. It’s amazing that thanks to the internet, you can still dig up original videos of these songs 40+ years later. It’s great to see new covers from young artists — that’s what beautiful about music, it has no boundary when it comes geography or time. There are few things in life that gets our hearts excited, that makes us our feet moves to a certain rhythm, and yet keep us in a trance.



Like Father, Like Son

Initial release: September 17, 2013 (Tokyo) Director: Hirokazu Koreeda Running time: 130 minutes Screenplay: Hirokazu Koreeda Awards: Japan Academy Prize for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role   I went to watch an independent Japanese film called Like Father, Like Son (そして父になる Soshite Chichi …

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I’ve started reading a few books in the past week. The first book I’ve finished reading while the latter two I’ve only just started. If you can get a copy of the second one, I’d love to hear what you think. Comment below.

1. The Fine Art of Success: How Learning Great Art Can Create Great Business

A great book that compares the art/show biz world to real business and how you can still be a creative artist in a corporation . I love some of the analogies in there especially the ones focusing on comparative advantage. The first chapter about Madonna also shows great insight why girl bands-boy bands  like Spice Girls decline but solo singers like Christina Aguilera and Beyonce are still around.

2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things

I’ve only started reading this one but I do enjoy the story of how Ben Horowitz met the 22 year old Marc Andreesen. That’s as far as I got to but it seems to have some very useful insights for startup entrepreneurs. I will do a more comprehensive review later on.

3. Why Most Things Fail: Evolution,  Extinction & Economics

Again, I’ve started this one because it’s one of the physical books I have at home. It’s good so far because I agree with his non-mainstream economics view point but we will see whether the evidence is convincing enough.