Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Some random thoughts on Christmas 2008

Christmas day has just passed. People around the world would have seen this day in different lights. Christmas often means different things to different people. Some people celebrate Christmas purely a holiday season, some people like to spend their time with their love ones while others celebrate this day as a religious day.

Being different from many other Christians, I do not celebrate Christmas as the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible never stated that Christ was born on Christmas day. Far from it, the Bible indicated that it could not have been on Christmas day. Some historians reckon that Christ was probably born sometime between March, April or May. Without going too deeply into discussion this, I would simply like to point out that the Bible emphasised on Christ's death and resurrection, but never His birth.

But while the world celebrated, it also gave me the opportunity to think about what has become of this world and humanity in general. Christ came to bring us hope and salvation. He also came to teach us about love one another and yet what we see today are wars and rumours of wars. What we constantly witness on news and current affairs are often filled with reports of crimes, misdemeanors and misadventures. Human morality and humanity have sunk to all time low. I think we have truly disappointed our Lord Jesus. His teachings were utterly forgotten and abandoned.

Christmas is a good time to reflect what we have done throughout the year. Perhaps part of Christmas is truly to share some precious moments with our love ones, to right some wrongs, to ask for forgiveness and to set new course of direction in our lives.

Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain, as usual, delivered her message to the people of Britain and the Commonwealth during this Christmas.

One part of her message gelled with my thoughts:

The Queen said of the current financial crisis and what is happening around the globe, "in such times as these we can all learn some lessons from the past. We might begin to see things in a new perspective and certainly we being to ask ourselves we it is that we can find lasting happiness. Over the years those who have have seemed to me to be the most happy, contented and fulfilled have always been the people who have lived the most outgoing and unselfish lives. The kind of people who are generous with their talents or their times."

Strangely enough, the President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also delivered an alternate message to rival Queen Elizabeth II's annual address. It is easy to dismiss his message altogether, but interestingly I have found some small truth (yes, some, but not a lot) in his message, the part where he mentioned what Christ would like us to do - to love one another, to take care rather than to oppress the less fortunate.

This year has been an interesting year. As the financial crisis deepens, the world spirals into more conflicts in the middle east, South Asia between India and Pakistan, the ongoing conflict and violence in Afghanistan, I truly hope and pray that we Christian would step up and live a life that is different from the world. We must show God's love to other. We must go forth and be the light and the salt of this world. Let us pray that we will be found worthy of God's use for His work in 2009 and beyond till Jesus returns.

May you have a blessed New Year and a fruitful 2009.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

America needs Inspiration - America found inspiration!

America is in the state of decline. An old hyper-power in both military and economic strength, but one of old and withered. It is currently plagued with many woes. From the desert of Iraq, to the streets at Wall streets, America just can't seem to do one thing right.

The world is progressing at a frantic pace. The Americans are starting to look like an old schoolmaster who are loathed by everyone except his own mother. Oh well, in this case, Britain :)

America is definitely in a bad shape, it lost its glistering glory - is it not that it claimed to be the land of the free, the land of opportunities where everybody wants to have the elusive "American Dream"?

America lost its Inspiration.

In the mist of all these glooms and dooms, America found some hope. Americans started to believe that change is what they need. Americans woke up to a new morning and decided that they are going to follow a man, they made him their next President, the first non-white man that they will lead the nation and to bring some hope to the people. The man they call Barack Obama.

Unlike many people both in America and around the world, I didn't give much thoughts to this presidential elections. I didn't think much of both the candidates. A young African American senator from Chicago and an old ex naval aviator whose running mate is more a pretty face than someone I will trust my life with. What a contrast, what a boring race I thought. Then came the landslide victory that everyone had already predicted. The usual yadi da di da speech.... hang on a minute... this is no ordinary speech. My jaw dropped after reading Obama's speech. I was actually dumbfounded and yet inspired by his speech. I misjudged the man, I started to understand why so many young Americans are so inspired by this man. His speech was motivating and moving. His speech was powerful and dynamic. His speech will quoted by many in the years to come. There are shades of Martin Luther King in Obama. I can almost see him motivating the Americans like what John F Kennedy did in the 60s. I think it is only right I should quote his entire speech so that in the future should I need to find inspirations, I would find it here....

Democrat Barack Obama has become the first African-American to win the White House. Here are his remarks to a huge crowd in his home city of Chicago: (thanks to BBC Online)

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

A little bit earlier this evening I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

I congratulate him, I congratulate Governor Palin, for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the vice-president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years, the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House.

And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure. To my sister Maya, my sister Auma, all my other brothers and sisters - thank you so much for all the support you have given me. I am grateful to them.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best political campaign in the history of the United States of America. My chief strategist David Axelrod, who has been a partner with me every step of the way, and to the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; it grew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organised, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from the Earth.

This is your victory.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.

There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for their child's college education. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.

And above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for 221 years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity.

Those are values that we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours: "We are not enemies, but friends… though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection."

And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your president too.


And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those who would tear the world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you.

And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the colour of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes, we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes, we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes, we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbour and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes, we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "we shall overcome". Yes, we can.

A man touched down on the Moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes, we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: yes, we can.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

This word cloud displays words in proportion to their frequency.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Russell Falls - the highlight of my recent trip to Tasmania

Russell Falls is one of Tasmania’s most treasured places. Located in Mt Field National Park, it can be reached by following a path from the Mt Field National Park Visitor centre. The walk path will take you through a mixed forest comprising towering swamp gums, the tallest flowering plant on Earth, and species typical of wet forests and cool temperate rainforests, such as dogwood, musk and myrtle. Towards the falls, the track is framed by stunning tall tree ferns. The falls themselves are impossibly picturesque.

I always love being in the nature, being able to witness the beauty of God's handiwork and at the same time find the peace and quiet that nature offers. I was able to take some time off last July and I took my family to Tasmania for a week of relaxation. Tasmania is well known for its nature beauty and I have heard too many praises from past visitors and thus I was eager to see it for myself.

Russell Falls are simply breath-taking. They may not be famous like the Niagara Falls but nevertheless they are just as beautiful and one of the better known waterfalls in Tasmania. Recently the Australia Post has issued a waterfall series of stamps and stationary and the Russell Falls were one of the featured waterfalls.

It was certainly rewarding for me to be able to witness the beauty and to immerse myself in the surrounding of the falls. I could stay at the falls whole day had it not been the fact that I was with my family and the sky wasn't exactly that bright that day. Having only arrived at the Falls in the afternoon, we were only able to stay for some half an hour before having to make the journey back.

Nevertheless, the short visit to this beautiful place yielded me some great images that I will always treasure and look upon with smiles and fond memories.

Russell Falls

Russell Falls

Having just witnessed the Russell Falls, I was thirsting for more. The Horseshoe Falls were just some 100 metres upstream from the Russell Falls. Naturally, I couldn't leave that place without giving them a visit. Unfortunately, the short path from Russell Falls to the Horseshoe Falls was closed for repair. I ended up having to drive a few kilometers deeper into the National Park and walked some over 1 km to the Falls. The reward was great as I was yet again treated with some magnificent scene to behold.

Horseshoe Falls

It was an awesome feeling to witness such beautiful work of the Lord. As the sky was growing dark, I hurried back to my car to meet up with my family. You see, I was alone all this while as I figured that it would be must faster for me to "mini jog" my way to the waterfalls site alone with a camera and a tripod... not the smartest thing to do I know. Looking back, I should not have attempted such silly "feat" as I would be in a bad situation had I met an accident or some unfortunate circumstances (which I shall elaborate no more). I think sometimes photographers do silly things and take unnecessary risks in an attempt to capture the "wow" shots.

That beside, these places left a deep and sweet memory for me. I would love to go back there sometime soon and attempt to capture more beautiful pictures.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Lamentation of a A NAS sufferer

Once again, this poem never stopped me from smiling, or should I say, very lamenting.

The NAS Sufferer's Tragic Lament
Oh, how I wish I’d never gone
Into a shop that stocked Nikon.
I could have simply walked on past
The shiny bodies and the glass.

I should have spent my cash on booze
Or bought my wife some fancy shoes,
Or gone to any other store
Instead of walking through that door.

And even once I’d gone inside
My fate remained mine to decide.
I could have chosen something cute –
Perhaps a Canon point-and-shoot?

But, like a moth towards a flame
I walked straight past the other names.
The Nikon salesman looked at me
And rubbed his hands with overt glee.

“A camera, sir? You bet your ---!”
And that was how it came to pass
That in a minute, maybe less,
I owned a new D70s.

I captured everything that moved,
I exponentially improved.
My work would hang in the Smithsonian!
But then I stumbled on Nikonians…

And suddenly I knew the truth,
Was faced with concrete, graphic proof.
My pictures sucked! My gear was tragic!
I had no talent, much less magic.
And so I read and read some more
And soon became a crashing bore --
An uninvited tip dispenser
On depth of field and full-frame sensors.

But, to my shame, my main reaction
Was chronic gear dissatisfaction.
Woe is me, alack, alas –
I had a fatal case of NAS!

I had to have the very best
There was no way I’d accept less
And so I spent and spent some more
On lenses, bodies, gear galore.

It had to end, that crazy spree,
And did when my bank called on me.
The heartless swine, I'm sure he laughed
As he shut down my overdraft.

My credit cards went in the garbage
They threatened to foreclose my mortgage
My B&H account went too,
Along with my (now) ex-wife Sue.

So let my tale serve as a caution
To stay away from Ebay auctions.
Don’t rush out and buy the new
Just because you’re NAS-struck too.

And what of me, your tragic scribe?
How have I managed to survive?
I’m well, no really, it’s true, I’m free!
But I REALLY want that new D3…

Source: Unknown... would love to discover who the original author was.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Spring in Araluen Botanic Park

Spring in Perth brings new sunshine and gentle cool breezes. It is also when flowers begin to blossom. Hearing the news that the wonderful Araluen Botanic Park is having financial and council problems, and that it may have to shut down next year, my family and I decided to go with a few friends to visit this wonderful park before it disappears like the many other tourist attractions we used to have in Perth.

This post is the beginning of a series of posts I will put up to showcase the wonderful flowers and settings in the park. Deep down I hope and pray that this wonderful park will continue to survive and to give us opportunities to enjoy its beauty and the beauty of the flowers therein.

Araluen Bontanic Park is well known for its Tulips collection. Every spring, the garden will inevitably be dressed by an array of colourful tulips from around the world. It is therefore, fitting, to present some of these wonderful flowers for all to share.

Red and white strips tulip (by autumn_leaf)

Red and white strips tulip (by autumn_leaf)

The Tulip (Poem by Ernestine Northover)

Tossing turban style contours, with an aloofness as one passes by,
Utilizing every charm it possesses, under a lupin blue cloudless sky,
Like a guardsman, gallantly standing, holding up his noble head high,
In rainbow colours, brilliant and stately, a vision to surely yield a sigh,
Ponder thus upon the regal tulip, it has pure beauty, you cannot deny.

Orange turban (by autumn_leaf)

Clean as a lady
cool as glass
fresh without
the tulip was.
(Poem By Humbert Wolfe 1924)

Rain drops on petals (by autumn_leaf)

Two among the multitude (by autumn_leaf)

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Taking Pictures of Children

Children make great subjects to a portrait photographer like myself. Children are often fun to photograph as they have myriad expressions, emotions and energy. They have the ability to live in the moment, to laugh and to play. However, on the flip side, they do sometimes have short attention spans and can be uncooperative and cranky. It is thus important to understand how to work with them, coax, tease and even engage in some sort of play (eg. "peek-a-poo" or "hide and seek") with them to help facilitate a relaxing environment in order for them to let go and express their natural selves. The photographer will then be able to make most of the capturing of those unexpected fleeting moments and priceless memories that the children so often bring.

Here are some of the images of children I have recently captured. Most of these photos were captured at events like weddings and family picnics.

Confetti picking

Friday, 23 May 2008

Wedding Number 3 - Allison and Danny

My third wedding shoot for the year... Oh, you might ask what about second wedding shoot? Well, I was fortunate enough to be working as an assistance photographer for a professional wedding photographer. I still haven't received all the shots I have taken that day.

With this wedding, we took on a slightly different style. We did a more photo-journalism style shoot as the bride and groom did not plan for a specific portrait shoot location. The wedding ceremony and the reception were held at Burswood Park golf course. It was a simple and beautiful ceremony followed by some mingling in the reception area.

Here are some of the photos I took that day:

I took the opportunity to take some portrait shots of Allison while she was getting prepared.

Allison and her mum leaving for the golf course.

Beautiful flower girls started the ceremony with scattering of rose petals on the red carpet

The exchanging of vows between Danny and Allison

Cutting of the Wedding Cake

Thursday, 15 May 2008

First Wedding for this year - Fiona and Mark

My first wedding for this year has been quite an experience. I am now starting to work with a few local photographers for wedding shoots. This has given me the chance to learn many new skills from these great photographers. We call our little group "Passion Photography".

My first wedding shoot this year was conducted in March. The bride was actually a colleague of mine from my day job. She is a spirited and fun-loving lady. Shooting the wedding was such a great fun and joy. Here are some of the photos I took that day:

Getting Ready
Mark was getting ready before leaving for the location shoot.

Bride on bench
Fiona sitting on a bench in her garden

Romance at a waterfall
A loving and tender moment at a waterfall in the Harold Boas Garden

The groom and the sexy bride
The dashing groom and the sexy bride :)

Kisses at the church door
Finally married, some kisses at the church door

If you are interested in seeing more photos taken at the wedding (including those taken by other fellow photographers), you can find them here:

Hi, I'm back...

I have disappeared for quite a number of moons. My excuse is that I've been busy... ya ya, sure is. That's what everyone says right. But really, I have been.

I've just done 3 weddings and 2 portrait shoots last month. It had been days of post-processing work, creating of slide shows, burning photos into DVD, etc. Yes, it has been a rather hectic month. I am kind of glad that the wedding season is now more or less over here in Perth. I really do look forward to the few months of "rest", enjoying the cold winter days and snuggling with my family doing family stuff.

I shall attempt to write more in my blog while going back to do some post processing of my landscape photos which I took 2 months ago in Denmark, South-west of Western Australia. At the same time, it is also good to start flipping through some wedding photography books and pick up some new tricks.

Keep watching this space. I'll start posting some wedding photos that I have taken in the next few weeks. Hope you will like them. I also encourage you to leave me any feedbacks and any constructive comments.

It's great to be back!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

They don't build cars like this - no more

"Heaven 24x7" (by autumn_leaf) On the way home from work last Friday, while driving on the road, half day-dreaming about what I should shoot for a photography assignment based on the Nostalgia theme, I came pass this really cool looking 1950s/1960s car. That was it. The car would be my main subject. I promptly parked my car along the roadside, jumped across the road with my camera strapped around my neck. Apparently, this car was some sort of a chartered vehicle. Sat inside this convertible were 4 or 5 young ladies, whom I believe were on their way to their prom night. One of girl's father was taking a video of the girls in this "vintage" car, and the driver was patiently waiting at the side of the road.

Sensing I wouldn't have much opportunity to take too many shots, I asked the driver for the permission to take photos of the car and quickly snapped a couple. Satisfied I had half a dozen shots of the car from various angles, I reluctantly saw the car departed.

“back wings” (by autumn_leaf) Here are some of the shots. Hmm... a car with back fins (or sometimes also being called "wings") indeed looks cool, not only in the late 50s or early 60s, but even now. I could daydream and let my imagination run while about Elvis driving in one of these, with one of his hand stretching across the front seat caressing the young Priscilla Presley, while Priscilla busy trying to keep her beehive hairdo intact from the blasting breeze! Ha ha..

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Leighton Beach discovery

I was photowalking with a few friends on Friday when I saw this:

Ants Attack!

Some poor kid must have lost one of his "Ants Attack!" Crocs sandal. This photo was taken at somewhere between Leighton Beach and Port Beach, East Fremantle, Western Australia.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Photowalking in Dullsville

Well, it turned out that there are so much more about "Dullsville" that I have never known. I've lived in this beautiful city for some 20 years now and I often discovered "new places" that fascinate me.

This is an interesting month for me "photographically" speaking. 2 photowalks in 2 weeks. This is definitely the first time where I have done photowalking on consecutive weeks.

On the 15th Feb this month, a bunch of us went to the "historical" suburb of Guildford. Guildford is the only town in the Perth metropolitan area classified by the National Trust of Australia. Close to the Swan River and just 25 minutes drive east of Perth, Guildford is the gateway to the Swan Valley's new food and wine trail.

Here is an interesting read about Guildford from

"Given that it is now part of Greater Perth it is hard to imagine that its origins lie in Captain Stirling's determination to establish three settlements in the Swan River area - a port at Fremantle, an administrative centre at Perth, and a rural centre at Guildford. Thus the market town and inland port of Guildford is as old as Perth and Fremantle. There is even some evidence to support the idea that Guildford would have been Stirling's first choice for a settlement and certainly, when the Government established the first schools in the area in 1834 they appointed three teachers - one for Fremantle, one for Guildford and one for Perth."

No wonder so many historical buildings are being preserved in Guildford.

Here are some of the photos I took at the photowalking session:

Guildford Hotel (by autumn_leaf)

Post Office at Guildford (by autumn_leaf)

Early settlers (by autumn_leaf)

Afternoon light in a park (by autumn_leaf)

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Deception of IT software vendors?

I have been in the IT sector for now some 13 years now. In my 13 years of working, the last 8+ years have been with a financial institution, whilst the first 4+ years have been 2 different Independent Software Vendors (or ISVs).

In the past, when I was working for ISVs, I had the idea the clients I had to deal with were usually not that bright. They would ask me questions which I would consider bordering dumb or naive.

Now, having worked my last 8 years as client of software vendors, I am sitting across the other side of the fence, I sometimes feel that the vendor guys are not that cluey either.

This set me to think that either my perception is totally warped or I just happen to have a string of really unfortunate less cluey people to deal with.

Well, the truth is... all these perceptions are true to some certain degree. Perception is a funny thing. When I was working for software vendors, I used to think that the clients (who too, were developers) didn't know or have a clue what they were doing. They often asked the simplest and "dumbest" questions about the software products I was supporting. What I have learnt now that I am sitting over the other side of the fence is that often software vendors failed to realise what would consider "the most obvious and simplest" things about their software often turned out to be difficult to understand for their clients. Often the software applications were not built to the quality the clients expected before they are released to the market. Often, the sales people or the professional services people over sold the capability of their software which led to unrealised expectations. Often features sold by the software vendors are NOT that rich and yet often pitched as the "best things since sliced bread" or the "best of breed"!

Trust me, most ISV sales and professional services people are liars or "keen exaggerators" at best.

Very often support staffs of software vendors do not realise the frustration of in-house software developers and programmers where things are not easy to use or do not have features that they were led to believe. I, too, are often frustrated by what I would describe as being the recipient of blatant deceptions by software vendors. Perhaps during the days when I belong to one of the guy working for software vendors, I too, am guilty of similar "blatant deception", rubbishing clients for their "lack of ability" to use the software "properly" as intended for.

Anyway, I am right now dealing with a software vendor. I felt that my company has once again fell into the trap of purchasing a software / technology at an enormous cost but result is dismaying results. What can I do but resign to the fate that we have to simply just "live with it"!

Friday, 8 February 2008

Chinese spectacle for students on Chinese New Year Day

Students of Winthrop Primary School were treated to a colour lion dance performance this morning. The performance was held at an assembly and was organised as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations welcoming the Year of the Rat. Some pre-primary students donned the traditional chinese costume called qipao added to the festive mood.

The students marvelled at the acrobatic performance presented by the Chow Kwoon Yarn Yee Tong lion-dancing troupe.
Lion dance - Lift stuntThe two lions even did a few laps around the assembly hall with students trying to touch them for "good luck" and picking up scraps of lettuces from the floor after the lions 'Picked the Green'.
Up Close and Personal with a Lion

The green here referred to the lettuces which were tied to a piece of string which also had a red packet attached. The string was hung on the wall some 2 to 3 meters high, and the lions 'ate' both leaves and red packet. Lying on the floor the leaves were 'chewed' by the lions while the ensemble played to a dramatic rolling crescendo. The lull was broken as the lion exploded back into activity while spitting out the lettuce leaves. This symbolic act of blessing by the lions, with the spitting out of the leaves, signified that there will be an abundance of blessings in the new year.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Perth Skyshow 2008

The Skyworks is a fireworks show that is held over the Swan River in Perth city in Western Australia. It is held every Australia Day on the 26th of January. This year, I went to the Jeff Joseph Reserve with my family and shot some photos of the skyshow from there.

It had been quite an experience shooting the skyshow. It was difficult enough trying to setup my camera in the dark, and having to frame my shot at the start of the firework and in the process got some people annoyed apparently because I was blocking their view. It was good thing that I got it done relatively quickly was able to shoot most of the time using a remote shutter release button.

I shot approximately 40 over shots and here are some of the pictures I took:

Perth Skyshow '08
Perth Skyshow '08 (2)
Rain of fire