Update on my NS Life

Nothing interesting to say, I’ll just leave a quick update. I graduated from Basic Military Training exactly a week ago, and this morning I received news of my new army deployment.

I am to become a trainee at the Specialist Cadet School (which is all the way at the other side of Singapore, yay me), and upon completing my training after 6 months graduate as a sergeant. It is weird that I should feel this way towards NS, but I really am looking forward to the days ahead. I entered National Service with the intention of improving my character and upgrading my skills over the next two years (I really hate that I am often blur and lazy), and the learning is just going to get better and better.

On a separate note, being in the army also has other benefits; I got to know a friend who works with computers and runs a server. I’m looking forward to working with him to get my site hosted (and lose the .wordpress part in the URL) and my PC upgraded.

As I begin to find more time for extra curricular activities over the weekend, look forward to more appearances by TK8315 too.

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Chingay 2010

Recently, the 501st Legion Singapore Garrison deployed a 50 member-strong contingent of troopers to attend the Chingay Parade 2010. Over a course of consecutive weekends, we attended training sessions and simulations (a.k.a mini-Chingay parades) to prepare ourselves for this grand event, to be televised island-wide. The event passed flawlessly, and everybody present was undoubtedly proud to be part of such a historic event. Continue reading

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Modern Warfare 2, Mythbusters Style!

By 小日向はやみ of pixiv

Ever wondered if an EMP blast could stop a nuclear launch? Or if the mattresses at Afghan can cushion a fall off the cliff beside them? Wonder no more, because a team at defendthehouse.com have come together to clarify these doubts for you.

The moar you know, the better you play. So educate yourself on how you can use game physics to cut corners and achieve a competitive edge over everyone else in multiplayer.

Episode 2 now out too!

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Three Kingdoms Online

Of late, I have been intensely engaged in this free RTS  browser game called The Three Kingdoms Online. It is a long-term RTS (recruiting units and constructing buildings etc. take hours on end) similar to other browser games like Travian and Evony (Save the Queen! Free Forever!) that sees the player taking on the role of the lord of a tiny town within the Three warring states of China in 180 A.D. to 230 A.D. The player has control of his own hero unit which can command armies into battle with other towns around the player’s own, as well as participate in quests that re-enact actual events in the Romance of the Three kingdoms story.

Being a naturally-occurring fan of Romance of the Three Kingdoms (i.e. being a Chinese person), my attention was caught days back when I noticed a Facebook ad promoting the game whilst playing my usual FB apps. A normal Facebook user would usually receive a whole variety of Facebook ads during a regular session, so I felt extremely lucky to have chanced upon that ad. That spurred me on even further to add Three Kingdoms Online to my list of daily commitments in my NEET life.

(Later on I found that I would see at least 9 different variations of TK Online Facebook ads, appearing on a very regular basis. Those developers must’ve been really desperate for attention. They sure got what they wanted though, at least 30000 accounts active and inactive now exist on their newest server. *rolls eyes*)

The additional fun comes in the open-ended way you can give names to your in-game character and heroes. As for me, I’m known as Liu Bei (Liu Xuan De actually, since the name ‘Liu Bei’ was already taken), and I command two heroes Meng Da and Fa Zheng (once I have the capacity to command one more hero I shall name him Zhang Song. Go educate yourself on the Three Kingdoms if you don’t get where I’m headed with this). No doubt a feature like this has the potential to provide added realism and immersion for the Three Kingdoms enthusiast.

No, this isn't from the game itself, but it'll give you a good idea.

The game starts off being very complicated and intimidating to the first-time player, but a very helpful quest sequence that doubles as a tutorial helps the player ease into the role of ruler of his own town, and together with 7 days of Beginner’s Protection which prevents his town from being assailed too early into his game, the player has plenty of time to develop his potential as a successful leader. It helps that many accounts turn inactive within days of joining (people who joined but gave up halfway leaving their towns still intact albeit half-developed), I’ve been having a ball of a time sending my troops to siege to obtain additional resources with little difficulty (since most of those cities do not have any armies to protect them), steal some chickens and rape some women (just kidding).

If you’re a Three Kingdoms enthusiast like me and have the time to spare I highly suggest you give The Three Kingdoms Online a try. You can additionally log in through Facebook, Myspace and Reddit.

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End of Year Event 2009

Yes, I am so very late on this, but I was determined to shell this post out before 2010 otherwise I’ll be accused of being one year late with this post lol. First post of the new year yay!

I took no photographs of my own during the event, so I had to rely on my photographer friend for a bit of photo coverage. All pictures here should be credited to Jason Trooper.

Didn’t do much phototaking this time around as I was concentrating more on cosplaying for the first time. A good part of the morning was spent doing last-minute preparations and purchases and a good part of the early afternoon was spent getting my act together before actually walking around. A million thanks to all the guys who showed up to help, Biggu Gai especially. :D Will buy you guys lunch once I have enough money. :P

I really do know how to pose like a Jedi, don't I?

My costume for that day was basically a mash-up Black Rock Trooper: Stormtrooper with a little bit of Black Rock Shooter elements mixed in. My usual white shins were replaced with Darth Vader shinguards and riding boots (special thanks to the 501st Singapore Garrison’s resident Darth Vader for loaning them to me), and instead of arming my blaster I carried a lightsaber (the Star Wars equivalent of BRS’s Black Blade). I must say, the lightsaber was the main draw of the costume. People’s reactions towards me when the lightsaber was turned on and when it wasn’t varied from completely awed to nonchalant. :P Credits to the SG Garrison’s resident Jedi for lending that to me.

Gai's is the one that is lit up. The other one belongs to kodomut.

Other add-ons to it include a tiny blue LED that shone from my visor, a cybernetic imitation of BRS’s blue flame over her left eye (didn’t look so convincing though, I’m gonna have to re-think this one), and a Figma Drossel hooked onto my guitar amplifier to keep me company. She had been specially lit up as well to accompany my light-blue colour theme. Credits to kodomut for pioneering this piece of advanced technology, and once again to Gai for his hard work and efforts in hooking me up with all the gadgetry.

A New Hope!

Met this Black Rock Shooter cosplayer who was hanging out with her gang just beside where me and the guys were camped. She’s really nice. :3

She was at EOY2008 too! Click image to find out more.

Hotmail screwed me over this time so I never received confirmation of my EOY2009 media pass until much later after the event. Also, by the time I was done getting my cosplay up I had no more money with me. The end result was that I never really got a chance to take a gander at the happenings with the Drama Centre on the 3rd floor, with neither a media pass nor a paid ticket. I was mostly confined to hanging out on the ground floor.

The space offered there was vast, much vaster than the 3rd floor of Suntec City, where cosplayers are always seen hanging out whenever cosplay conventions were held at the Suntec Convention Centre. I got to see much more cosplay this time around as compared to previous events, and I was quite surprised at the high turnout too. Here are some more photos documenting the event. More coverage at TD8316’s EOY2009 report.

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Merry Christmas!

The minute hand has just passed 12, and a new day has arrived! Happy December 25th, everybody!

I can remember, at this very time, at this very date, around 6 years ago, I would still be wide awake (a rare occurrence for at that time) opening up Christmas presents underneath the Christmas tree.

7 to 8 years ago, I would be doing that together with the neighbours and kids, who would come visit and exchange gifts. We would all then go outside to play with sparklers.

Here to drink all your milk and eat all your cookies.

Christmas these past few years however have been pretty much ordinary days for me and the family. A declining financial situation here at home meant that we could no longer afford the money and time for Christmas. Our old, faithful Christmas tree had long since been sold away. Nobody buys anybody presents. After having a western lunch at home together, the family breaks off to do their own things on Christmas day like attend friends’ Christmas parties. At this point it would be pointless for me to have a Christmas wish list because there’d be no point.

It may be a pretty dreary image I’m painting, but I’ve learnt to live with it. If you’ve got presents to open, turkey and log cake to eat, a Christmas tree to take down a few days later, feel lucky for yourself. Remember the people out there who don’t get to celebrate Christmas like you. :|

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TK8315 Updates

TK8315 a.k.a. ANeH (A New Hope) reporting. You might have noticed on my Trooping Record page that quite a lot of trooping missions have been completed the past few days. It was basically 3 straight days of suiting up in armour, from Friday to Monday. Here are the highlights, coming to you from the Stormtrooper’s point of view.

18th Dec – Trooping for Simply Toys at Vivocity

Simply Toys has recently opened up a new branch at Vivocity (on the 2nd floor beside PageOne) and one of our members offered to organize a troop for them to raise a bit of publicity. The Singapore Garrison has trooped for Simply Toys before and were very impressed with their generosity in return, so it went without saying that the Garrison would readily answer any further appearance requests from them.

The event was free-and-easy, we mostly just interacted with passers-by and took photos. Much toddler-scaring was had as usual, but there were also quite a handful of children who were not afraid and even eager to greet us.

Part of the fun in wearing my armour comes from watching the crowd’s reactions to us as we/they walk past. Reactions are varied and sometimes quite funny. I’ve even had grown women and teenagers run away from me before.

Pictures here do not have me in it. They were only taken on Day two of the Vivocity Appearance; I was there on Day one when no photographer was present. Credits to Azhari and Esther for the pictures.

19th Dec – Christmas Kettling at Raffles City Shopping Centre and East Coast Seafood Centre

I am part of a rare breed of Stormtrooper that can kneel on one knee. :P

Once again I volunteered to help out the Salvation Army this holiday season to collect donations from the needy. This time around was different though, because I finally could wear my Christmas hat! ^_^

The Raffles City kettling was done together with my beloved brother and longtime friend TD8316. The sight of a clean Stormtrooper and a dirty Sandtrooper standing across a kettling pot was quite interesting, it seemed almost representative of the harmonic balance of Yin and Yang. :P Many passers-by were crossed with the decision of taking a photograph with either the ‘clean Mr. Star Wars’ or the ‘dirty Mr. Star Wars’. (Sometimes they had both. :P)

This time around we both had Santa hats on. I felt a lot better with it on, in some strange inexplicable way. Perhaps because I knew it will get the crowd to understand the cause I was supporting. Perhaps it was a sign that i was keeping up with my big brother. Or just maybe perhaps equipping it gave me +1 Charisma.

Could she be the droid we're looking for?

We were accompanied that day by a very pretty bellringer lady, whose name is lost on me but not the sly sandie. :\

Later on I headed down to East Coast Seafood Centre for the second and final kettling troop there. Together with two other troopers we attracted crowds to the kettle to make donations and take photos with us.

The fun part came afterwards when our shift ended; we took a bit of time to tour the Seafood Centre area, mingle with the crowds and diners and take a few funny pictures for posterity.

I am also part of an uncommon breed of Stormtrooper that can sit on chairs. :P

This is how our armour kits are kept, by the way.

Credits to Leonard and Grace for taking the pictures, Gordon and Azhari for uploading.

20th Dec – Adidas Originals Promotion Troop at Orchard Road

There's me, right there! ^_^

Try to find me in this picture. It's not that hard. :P

One of the biggest trooping events of 2009, 30-odd members of the 501st Legion including Darth Vader stormed Orchard Road on a busy Sunday afternoon to promote Adidas’ new line of Star Wars-themed footwear and clothing. Toting Adidas bags and ‘strutting down Orchard Road’ with pride, we garnered the attention of many  tourists, shoppers and motorists who sounded their horns in salutation as they watched us march down pedestrian crossings.

Does this jacket make me look fat?

We later on had a ball of a time pretending to be shoppers inside Adidas’ store at Pacific Plaza, attracting many onlookers from outside and seizing once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to wear Adidas apparel outside our armour pieces. :P Well, I don’t know about them, but I sure did.

Click image for link to Reuters Report

I was elated to find out later that we were featured on a local newspaper, numerous TV channel newsreels including Channel 8, Channel News Asia and Suria, and even Reuters!

I had, days ago, passed by a landmark on Orchard Road which I thought so profound that I promised myself I would one day take a bunch of troopers with me to get a picture taken with this landmark. It was sheer luck that our trooping event took place so nearby to that location, so later on that evening when the official troop was over I brought a bunch of ragtag renegade Stormtroopers with me to fulfill my mission. Donning our Santa hats, we spread the spirit of Christmas to all passers-by along the way, stopping many times for pictures.

And here was our mission objective. The address of Wheelock Place. This picture sort of summarizes the events of that day: the 501st Legion had stormed and conquered Orchard Road!

Credits to various people taking various shots.

Much fun as a Stormtrooper was had, but the party ain’t over yet. Next up, End-of-Year 2009!

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