Sunday, September 28, 2008


The story is about a young man's encounter with vampires in a small town.

Liked the eerie atmosphere and the great special effects! The old vampire looked very scary!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, September 27, 2008

ISBG Scrabble Games 2008

The ISBG Scrabble games is held every two years, for statutory boards to take part in a friendly game of Scrabble. It was held at the PUB Recreation Center on 27th September 2008 from 9am to 5pm. 15 statutory boards are divided into four groups where round robin matches are played to select the top two teams from each group. This is then followed by a series of elimination rounds to decide the top 4 positions.

Here's my match report, with quizzes marked with [number] and the answers given at the end of the report.

Our first game was against NParks.

Game 1: NParks
Had a bye for my first game so I had a good walk around to see how the other players were doing. Noticed that the IRAS team was quite bored as they were in group A where there were only 3 teams and they had a bye in the first round. HDB and CPF had excess players and they were having practice matches against themselves. I also saw Adeline's end game where she tried AZOS* and ZOAS* in succession and they were challenged off by her opponent! Do you know what is the only back hook for AZO?[1]

My team won the match 4-1!

Our second game was against LTA.

Game 2: LTA
My opponent was a jovial man with a loud voice. Saw him previously at the final game of this year's PSTAR tournament as he was sitting diagonally across me. Had ADEIMT? at one time but gave up thinking of a bingo out of it. There are 10 anagrams for it out of which two are common words![2]. I overtook him when I bingoed with RADIAnS(70) but he was not far behind as he scored steadily. Had a lot of vowels subsequently and I exchanged several times while allowing my opponent to score heavily with EX(36) and SUQ(47). Thought I had a chance when I challenged off his TEB* in the final few moves but he scored with BrUISE(28) along the TWS lane on his next move and I lost.

Lost my second game with 357 vs 378. Our team also lost the match 2-3.

Our third game was against NUS.

Game 3: NUS
Had a relatively easier time when I surged ahead after my opponent played OB just next to the TWS lane and I bingoed with TAPERED(103). I scored steadily while keeping the board close. He had a bingo later with LAYINGs(77) but it was a bit too late. Adeline did very well against Karthik who was one of the most experienced masters player from NUS! She was trailing until she bingoed with a EHIKOOS rack[3] just above the TWS lane and scored big again with MATH underneath. It was a close match and she managed to win by just a few points.

Won my third game with 454 vs 314. Our team also won the match 3-2.

It was an interesting situation after the end of all the small group matches as NUS, LTA and DSTA all have 2 wins and 1 loss. NUS beat LTA 3-2, lost to DSTA 2-3 and won NParks 5-0. LTA lost to NUS 2-3, won DSTA 3-2 and won NParks 5-0. DSTA beat NUS 3-2, lost to LTA 2-3 and won NParks 4-1.

First step to unravel the dead-knot was to look at the matches involving just the 3 teams. All 3 teams had a 1-1 match record and 5-5 games record. Next step was to look at the matches involving all 4 teams. It was here where we lost out. All 3 teams had a 2-1 match record but both NUS and LTA had a 10-5 record while DSTA only had a 9-6 record. NUS was named group champion as they beat LTA in their head-to-head match.

I wonder what would happen if we also beat NParks by 5-0. The rules did not spell out how they would differentiate the sub-group rankings in this case. Hmm, maybe it should have been more comprehensive to cover all possible scenarios.

Packet lunch in the form of seafood fried rice was provided by the organisers. It was not very good! After lunch, some of us went back home while Jiang Pern and Adeline stayed back to play a few more informal games. Learnt later that LTA won 1st place, NUS 2nd, HDB 3rd and CAAS 4th.

Quiz answers (Highlight to see clearly):

[1] AZON

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Please Vote for Me

This is a documentary about the class monitor elections in one of the primary schools in China. Three primary 3 students have been shortlisted and they have one week to convince their classmates why they should be class monitor.

A very funny film that touches on the lives of the students and their parents! It was interesting to see how people react in different situations!

Internet Movie Database Link

Though I am Gone

This is a documentary about an old man recollecting what happened to her wife during the Cultural Revolution.

A very depressing movie as we learnt about the atrocities performed by the students in the name of ideology! Would be interesting if the director could interview one of the Red Guards but there was no "the-other-side-of-the-story" to be heard. Learnt about the existence of a Cultural Revolution Museum from the protagonist. Would like to visit it if I have the chance!

Friday, September 19, 2008


The story is about how a Japanese soldier decided to commit seppuku (the act of killing oneself by slitting one's belly open) and his wife's reaction to it. This is an adaptation of the director's own short story.

Liked the silent film look and feel, the minimalistic noh theater setup as well as the great acting by the actor and actress!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, September 14, 2008


The story is about how a young man dreamed of building an Opera house in the jungles of Peru. He encountered many difficulties and even had to drag a streamboat across a mountain in the process!

Had a pleasant surprise initially when I saw that Claudia Cardinale was the lead actress but realised that it had been almost twenty years since she acted in Fellini's "8 1/2" and Visconti's "The Leopard". She still looked beautiful but not as young as before. Liked the nice jungle adventure and the great acting by Klaus Kinski!

Internet Movie Database Link

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Decalogue

This is a 10 1-hour episode TV series made in Poland that is loosely based on the Catholic Ten Commandments.

Liked the excellent script and the modern interpretation of the commandments! It is interesting to see how each character is placed in a situation where he or she has to make a moral choice where there is no clear right or wrong! Episodes 2, 3 and 8 are the most boring while episode 10 is the most funny! Episodes 4, 5 and 7 are pretty good but my favorites would be episodes 1, 6 and 9!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, September 06, 2008

PSTAR Scrabble Games 2008

The PSTAR Scrabble games is an annual event for organisations in the civil service to take part in a friendly game of Scrabble. It was held at the Civil Service Club on 6th Sep 2008 from 10am to 5pm. A total of 38 teams took part. MINDEF had two teams taking part this year.

Here's my match report, with quizzes marked with [number] and the answers given at the end of the report.

Chew Chuah helped to draw our first pairings for MINDEF 1 and it was against the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) team 1. MINDEF 2 played against the all girls team from CPF 2. I saw that Peng Kee was really happy with his draw!

Game 1: MEWR 1
Had a bye as my opponent could not make it on time. Played a friendly game with Linda from Ngee Ann Polytechnic instead. My luck was pretty good! I bingoed with TEARIES*(74) and AILERON(73). What are the 2 anagrams for AEEIRST ?[1] I also guessed correctly the "C" front hook for OFF and scored with CHAIN(59) by hitting the triple word cell. Linda could only bingo with BARTENDED(75). If only this was an actual game where it really mattered!

Our team won the match by 3-0.

Next game was against IRAS 2.

Game 2: IRAS 2
I played against Chris who was from the same reservist camp as me! It was a closed board with no bingos from either of us. I scored big when he opened up the triple word score lane with WaRNS(40) and JET(39) by capitalising on the double letter score. Was lucky to be able to play my Z late in the game with ZETA(23). If not, the score line could have gone the other way round.

Won 310-280. Our team won convincingly with 3-0.

Had free lunch catered for us after our second game and it was delicious!

Our third game was against CPF 1. Hmm, I remembered our third game at last year's PSTAR games was against them too!

Game 3: CPF 1
I played against Chee Keong, the same player whom I played last year. JP and CC had a switch of opponent from last year. Missed my opponent's opening phoney HINE*. He bingoed with SWaYERS(88) and scored big with sEZ(64) and OX(38). My only big scores were OATH(44) across the triple word lane and PEAK(35). Maybe I should have blocked when my opponent played OVER with the O hovering underneath the triple letter cell. Didn't realise he had the Z!

Lost 324-403. Our team won with 2-1.

After 3 rounds, MINDEF 1 was placed in the top category that consisted of the top 6 teams: HDB 1, HDB 2, LTA 1, MINDEF 1, MOE 1 and NP 1.

Our final game is against HDB 2.

Game 4: HDB 2
I played against David. Our scores were neck-in-neck after both of us scored one bingo each. I had SoRRIES*(74) while he had InTRUDE(68). What are the 2 anagrams for EIORRSS ?[2] I was leading slightly towards the end until he scored with JOBS(37) to pull ahead.

Lost 375-391. Our team lost narrowly with 1-2.

In the end, MINDEF 1 came in 4th placing among the top category teams. We beat MOE 1 and HDB 1 who both lost 1-2 in terms of spread. LTA 1 came in 1st, NP 1 came in 2nd and HDB 2 came in 3rd. MINDEF 2 had a pretty good showing too with 2 wins and 2 losses! Had fun seeing so many familiar faces! Hope we could do even better next year!

Quiz answers (highlight to see clearly)