Why Australians will still pirate


April 14, 2015 10:15 PM

22 Jump Street
That Australians are the torrent pirate kings of the world is an indisputable fact. However, there are also some of us who are willing to pay for content even if it means using a VPN to connect to Netflix USA. They do this because the legal alternatives to streaming content in Australia cannot compare to what’s available in the US.

Seven out of 10 most pirated movies not available for legal purchase in Australia – NEWS.com.au.

The above article was written in Sept 2014, and even though Netflix Australia has now launched here, the situation has not improved.

Of the 158 movies that topped Australian box office takings between 2010 and 2014, just 26 are available on Netflix Australia. While older flicks have a better chance of appearing, even in 2010 less than a third of the chart-topping movies have made their way to Netflix. That doesn’t mean you won’t have a lot to watch — but if you think of a popular movie, the chances are it isn’t on Netflix right now.

These Are The Most Popular Movies Netflix Australia Is Missing | Lifehacker Australia

Even when the desired content becomes available, we are waiting too long and paying more for it than people in the US.

Legal downloads not cutting it for Australians: Comms Alliance survey – CNET

So once again like the last time when I tried to legally rent and stream “The World’s End” without much luck, I’ve decided to conduct a very scientific study of one to prove the points listed above. Spoiler alert: I came to the same conclusion as previously.

One fine weekend, I wanted to watch “22 Jump Street”. I searched the two streaming services that I know of in Australia that do not require a subscription (I’ll never pay for one!): EzyFlix TV and Bigpond Movies. Both of them don’t have the movie available to rent. A bit more research via streamin.it shows that the only rental options in Australia require subscriptions (Quickflix and Fetch TV).

Needless to say, I then did the easiest thing. Not going to say what but suffice to say, I was entertained by Mr. Hill and Mr. Tatum over the next two hours. So there you go – until the content providers fix the cost and availability issues for Australian viewers, Australians will continue to pirate content. Even with this legal precedence being set:

'Dallas Buyers Club' wins access to pirates' information in iiNet case – CNET.

You Cannot Be Friends With Him


March 14, 2015 6:52 PM

The heterosexual dating world is unbalanced. Women will get asked out more, and men are most likely the ones who’d pay for the privilege. Not just in buying meals and drinks, but also in terms of getting rejected more. That’s only logical if we are the ones doing most of the asking out. Ideally, when a man gets rejected he accepts it and moves on. The problem occurs when the woman, for one reason or another insists on remaining friends with the man whom she has just rejected.

A common reason would be if they have been friends for a long time and she feels the friendship would be wasted. I’m here to say that once the man had romantic feelings for the woman, that friendship no longer existed. Which is to say, he doesn’t view her as a friend anymore no matter what she thinks. So for the woman to insist on remaining friends is misguided at best, and selfish at worst.

Of course, saying “I hope we can still be friends” is a nice way to reject someone and if the guy can take a hint that will be the end of it. And if the girl is classy, then it is possible to maintain a friendship. I know because I speak from experience.

However not every guy can handle that because once a guy wants to be more than just friends, he can’t go back to just being friends that easily. And you insisting on it will make things worse. Again, I can also speak from experience – when I was rejected by this girl I couldn’t wait to not be her “friend” anymore.

Every situation is unique. It will depend on the guy and what has led up to the point of him confessing his feelings for you, and you rejecting him. Some guys can’t handle being just friends and seeing you with other men because it will hurt too much, while some don’t want to subject themselves to false hope whether or not you were leading him on.

So by all means, say “I hope we can remain friends” if you can’t bring yourself to be brutal with the rejection but don’t actually insist on it. ;)

Friends by xkcd
(source: xkcd)

Old Taiwan


February 8, 2015 10:24 PM

An old street sign in Tainan
An old street sign in Tainan

Taiwan is a developed nation that has managed to maintain its historic charm, especially outside of Taipei. These are some of the things that I saw and liked.

Jiufen is a good example of that old world charm. A former gold mine in the mountains just outside of Taipei (technically still part of the city), it takes two buses to get up there – one to the mid point, and then sanctioned shuttle buses that ferry visitors to the top. This is because the roads are narrow and there are very limited parking spots at the top.

What can you do up there? Eat!

This is a noodle shop.

A photo posted by Marcus Ooi (@real_mooiness) on

And the interior looks like this.

A steaming vat of tea eggs.

This is a street scene in Tainan, the oldest city in Taiwan. What gives the entire place character is that most buildings appears to be no higher than 10 floors, allowing plenty of sunshine and views of the sky.

Of course, there are parts of Taiwan that are REALLY old. The Taroko National Park is truly magnificent.

Nature is awesome like that.

I intend to visit Taiwan again, and the plan is to focus more on the old stuff because I can’t get enough of it. :)

Urban Taiwan


January 3, 2015 12:12 PM

A
A “Help Wanted” sign outside a restaurant in Taiwan

As you might have gathered from my last post, I loved my trip to Taiwan. The people were friendly and outside of Singapore and Malaysia, I felt that they were the most culturally similar to my family out of all the Chinese speaking places that I have been to. And being an urban creature, I loved taking in the street scenes and buildings. Here’s a sample of what I saw.

I will follow up this post later with one showing the older side of Taiwan.

Until then, here’s me hugging a giant stone penis in Alishan.

No Fate But What We Make


December 30, 2014 10:46 PM

Anytime there’s a disaster of any kind, man-made or natural, I see a lot of exhortations to pray. I am going to be callous here and call bullshit on that.

I don’t believe in prayers because I don’t believe in God. If there is a God though, I don’t think He has a plan for us. God is like a kid and we are like ants in his ant farm. I don’t think He is benevolent because bad things happen to good people all the time. However, I don’t think He is necessarily evil either in the sense that a kid that uses a magnifying glass to burn the ants does not know that what he is doing is evil. For example, shitty and catastrophic weather is not evil – it just happens.

Whilst He may be fascinated by our freewill, one that He has so generously gifted us I don’t think He cares one way or another if any individual one of us lives or dies. But somehow He cares who gets to enter heaven? This brings up another bugbear of mine with monotheistic religions.

If good people die early so that they can join God in heaven, then God is selfish because surely a good person can do a whole lot of good amongst the living, right?

If good people, along with the bad, the not-so-bad and the occasionally naughty ones die together in the same random events, then God is not a just God.

And if babies and children die before they can even be deemed good or bad, and if they die in the womb or if their mother dies in childbirth, how is that a plan?

How are people being born into, and living and dying in war zones through no fault of their own a good plan?

No, there is no plan. If He exists, He doesn’t care. There is just chaos and randomness and whilst we all spin around together on a little blue planet in one of many vast universes, we have only each other. We try to enforce structure and order where we can and live the best that we can, and if we are good and most of us are, we try not to be evil assholes who ruin someone else’s life along the way. If we are really good, we go beyond that and actually help others live a better life too.

The natural state of the universe tends towards increased entropy, ie. randomness. Like all life on this planet, we live and then we die. Some of us are lucky to die old, whilst some are taken away too soon. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Where we do have control is how we live the life that we are given, once we are able to comprehend the difference between being a good person and a shitty one. Don’t do something because you think God would approve and you will get to go to heaven. Do it because it’s the right thing to do.

So next time there’s a disaster, don’t pray – do something more practical instead.

Michaelangelo's Creation of Adam
He sure has inspired a lot of awesome art though

Going home in three different places


December 2, 2014 8:49 PM

In November, my leave from work took me back to Perth for a week, Taiwan for 9 days and KL for 2 days. During this time, it felt like I was going home in three different places.

Perth

Snoop

Home is where my family is. I had not planned on going back to Perth this time as I was already planning to go back during the Christmas break. But Snoop’s surgery to remove some cancerous lumps compelled me to want to see him as much as I can. He is a 14 year old dog and our time together is limited, even more so now that I’m living in Melbourne.

I’m glad I made this trip back – seeing him bouncing around like nothing has happened put my mind at ease.

During the week here, I also caught up with all of my friends which I thought was quite impressive (yes, I’m saying that I have a lot of friends :P). And I got to spend time with mom and dad and Marvin. I like my life in Melbourne but I will always miss my people in Perth. Thankfully Whatsapp and Facebook makes it feel like that they are just there.

Taiwan

Tainan old street

Home is where my cultural roots are. I have been to cities in China – Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Now that I’ve been to Taiwan I can honestly say that I feel more at home there than those other cities. Outside of Singapore and Penang, which also have an ethnic Chinese majority, I can now add Taiwan to the list of places that I feel very comfortable being in. I felt that the people are friendlier than those in China and Hong Kong, and it also helped that in addition to Mandarin, most people also speak the dialect that both sides of my family speak – Hokkien.

Hearing it widely spoken evokes memories of my family and childhood, and feelings of warmth. It was very intangible but very comfortable. The look and feel of Tainan especially, a city south of the capital Taipei, are very similar to the older corners of Singapore and Penang. And the street food is equally delicious.

Taiwan will deserve another post from me here, with more photos. :)

Kuala Lumpur

Here on a whirlwind stop and spotted this. #wheninmalaysia

A photo posted by Marcus Ooi (@real_mooiness) on

Home is where I was born and had spent 14 years growing up in. Although the racial politics depresses me whenever I read about it, and I don’t foresee myself ever living here again, there was still something making me feel at home here. It’s not the maddening traffic, nor the heat and humidity. I’m guessing that it must be the food even though we can get very authentic and very good Malaysian food outside of Malaysia these days.

There was something intangibly comforting about eating Malaysian food in Malaysia, and seeing Malaysians of all races enjoying each other’s food. That gives me hope that someday like the food, the politics will follow suit and be less divisive, and be more binding and uniting.

And I also quite like that upon seeing my place of birth on my Australian passport, the customs officials will immediately switch to speaking Malay with me. A few broken phrases of Malay from me, and they smile and I smile. :)

And the sun comes out


October 12, 2014 9:11 PM

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Sun shiny day.

View on Instagram

We have transitioned into spring in Australia, and the weather in Melbourne has gotten warmer but no less schizophrenic – the sun can be shining on you warmly and along comes a cold blast of air. The questions of whether to bring a jacket out, and when you are out whether to keep it on or take it off are persistent ones. I’m still getting used to it all.

During the winter months I’m certained that I went through a mild case of the SADs (seasonal affective disorder). I’ll be lethargic, and I’ll be depressed without knowing why or have a reason to. However, there was one legitimate reason in July and that was when we found out Snoop had multiple lumps on his body. Over the next few weeks after that, although I was not a mess I was not my usual happy self. And the way I usually handle my depression is not the easiest on myself as I prefer to deal with it on my own and at home – I don’t show it to friends and colleagues.

But good news is, our vet recommended a surgery specialist (yes, for pets!) and after two rounds of surgery we got all the lumps out – the first one cut out the obvious ones with an X-Ray taken to guide the surgeon to clean out the rest during the second one. I think I’ve mentioned the importance of pet insurance before because it’s really worth it. I ended up paying about $6000 and that’s roughly half of the actual bill. The price of unconditional love, right? And I will get to see him soon when I go back to Perth for a week next month. :)

July was also the month I started my new job and I’m happy to say that I’m really loving it. The work is varied, and I am trusted with and get to recommend IT-related stuff. Best of all the people are awesome. And I’m not gonna lie – the fact that there are more females in the office really livens up my work day. Only downside? Formal business attire means not-so comfortable shoes and more laundry and ironing. Small price for a more satisfying work life and a happier me during the work day.

Plus my social network has expanded and is still growing. So yeah I’m glad that the sun has come out – in more ways than one.

Sunny Melbourne