Something about “Talking to Strangers”, Malcolm Gladwell’s new book

Monday, 9 September, 2019

I’ve reserved a copy of “Talking to Strangers”, Malcolm Gladwell‘s new book, from the Calgary Public Library and looking very much forward to reading it. Here are some video interviews Malcolm has done on his book tour to promote his book and some links to book reviews. Enjoy!

20190910, CBC Radio The Current (23 minutes), Can a stranger’s demeanour tell you what they’re thinking? Maybe not, says Malcolm Gladwell

20190904 Channel 4, “Malcolm Gladwell on truth, Trump’s tweets and talking to strangers

20190907 Economist, “Why we should talk to strangers, according to Malcolm Gladwell | The Economist PodcastRead the rest of this entry »

Good Book (FREE) for a Good Deed: Creative Philanthropy Redefines Success

Wednesday, 19 December, 2012

Brett new book "Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes" interview pix - 2012

A few weeks ago I video interviewed Brett Wilson (businessman & philanthropist, “Dragon with a heart”) to talk about his new book Redefining Success: Still Making MistakesBrett‘s team was very helpful in sending an additional copy of the book so I can give it to one of my readers! That means YOU my readers have a chance to receive a FREE copy of Redefining Success!

Good Book (FREE) for a Good Deed

After reading the Creative Philanthropy chapter in Redefining Success and some careful thinking, I’ve decided on a creative way to give the book away! Here are the rules for a chance to receive a FREE copy of Redefining Success for yourself or one of your deserving friend!

1) Share a true story of a good deed that you’ve done during this holiday season in Alberta.

2) Please keep your story short, may be 100-200 words max. If possible, please post a link to a photo or very brief YouTube video, etc to help tell your story.

3) There is no age restriction, so if your young children want to submit their stories, feel free.

4) Please post your submission here in the comment section under this post. Make sure you leave your contact email (visible to me only to contact you if you win).

5) Contest starts today and closes Saturday Jan 12th, 2013. And the winning entry will be announced hopefully within a week after the end of the contest.

P.S. A good book give away lead to one happy winner. I am hoping the shared good deed stories here will inspire us all to do more good!

CBC Dragon Brett Wilson redefines Success and talks Mistakes in extensive video interview

Saturday, 24 November, 2012

Brett new book interview pix - 2012

Over the last four years since June 2008, I’ve the pleasure to interview Brett Wilson (businessman & philanthropist, “Dragon with a heart”) many (see my 2008 pre-Dragons’ Den interview videos) and many times. I also slowly get to know Brett from industry events (we’ve met at Banff World Media Festival quite a few times (see 2009 interview)) and from his annual charity garden parties (thx Brett for inviting me & my better half). I can honestly say the “up close & in person” Brett is pretty much the same nice & straight talking no non-sense guy that many viewers of CBC’s award-winning Dragons’ Den have come to know and love.

Earlier this afternoon, I had the pleasure to conduct an insightful, open and frank video interview with Brett to talk about his Globe & Mail best-selling book “Redefining Success: Still making mistakes“! I hope you enjoy my interview with Brett as much as I in conducting it. Please share this article & video. And comment too.

note: this article is cross-posted by me at

Brett & Kempton at 2010 Garden Party with book cover

Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything – First Look

Wednesday, 21 November, 2012

Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything by Carol J. Loomis - pix 1

Forty-two months! Thats how long I’ve been eagerly awaiting for Carol Loomisnew book “Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A Fortune Magazine Book” (368 pages, on sale Nov 26th and online & Carol is Fortune magazine senior editor-at-large and a long time (40+ years) close friend of Warren Buffett! I am thrilled to see Carol’s book published and in my hands as it feels like having an insightful person who knows Warren really well to guide me through some important and insightful articles. It will take me some time to read & review the book, please stay tune for my detailed review. Until then, my first impression of the book is it looks awesome!

Long time readers of Warren‘s news and insights will be familiar with some of key articles in this collection and also see many (for me) new articles that are important but less well known. Carol has added many insightful commentaries before the articles to give us context and share with us her views. For example, the article “The Inside Story of Warren Buffet” (April 11, 1988) is Fortune’s first profile of Warren and Carol’s preamble explains what lead her to finally wrote the first profile about Warren after knowing him for 20+ years at that point! And then the afterword for articles like “Buffett Hits $200 million Downdraft” (Nov 17, 1994) reminds readers that Warren actually made money on the USAir investment (which many people may have an impression of it being a money losing investment).

P.S. Now, let me explain my wait of almost forty-two months in this postscript. You see, in April 2009, shareholders of Warren Buffett‘s Berkshire Hathaway NOT physically presented at the annual shareholders’ meeting in Omaha were given opportunities to ask Warren & Charlie remotely in advance via email for the first time. And I jumped at the chance by emailing my question to Carol! Along with my question, I told Carol that,

I am a big fan of your Fortune articles about Warren and BRK. (I have taken the time to look up some of your older articles and really enjoy reading them.)”

In Carol’s email reply was where I first read of the mention of a possible book (the book that I am finally holding in my hands)! So, yes, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the book since Apr 2009, and that is about forty-two months! :)

P.P.S. Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed there is a stack of five books in the above picture. Can you guess the titles of the Warren related books in the stack? Find out how many you guess correctly by clicking here to see this picture.

P.P.P.S. If you have read this far, you might as well check out my review of Warren’s biography “Snowball” by Alice.

note: this article is cross-posted by me at

May 16, 2016 Update: (with video) “Buffett’s editor Carol Loomis: Pen, paper, Fed-Ex & email but never the telephone“. Via Yahoo, click here to view a full replay of the 2016 Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting

Interviewing Sir Salman Rushdie from Calgary – Who is Joseph Anton?

Monday, 24 September, 2012

20120924 Sir Salman Rushdie

To many readers, Sir Salman Rushdie is most well-known, unfortunately, for his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), which lead to death threats made against him, including a fatwā issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in February 1989. To some film-loving Calgarians, Rushdie will also be known for his second novel, Midnight’s Children, the 1981 Booker Prize winning novel which was made into a movie that was premiered in Calgary International Film Festival last week.

So who is Joseph Anton? Rushdie answered, “Strangely enough, it is me. Because during those years, the police who were protecting me [from the fatwā] at these undisclosed locations needed to have a pseudo name to call me by so that they didn’t accidentally use my real name when they were at the local corner store. So they asked me to invent one. So I invented a name based on two of my favourite writers. Joseph Conrad. And Anton from Anton Chekhov. Put them together and that name lasted for ten years. Truthfully, I always disliked that name.” Rushdie used that name as his memoir’s title because he wants to give readers a sense of how strange it was during those ten years.

Rushdie initially wrote the book in the first person “in the ordinary” way. He didn’t like it. He felt it “too much self-regard, too narcissistic“. When he finally wrote it in the third person, he felt he could have “a little more distance” from himself. Rushdie said, “Also it was a long time ago, the story began in 1989, twenty-three years ago.” He felt there is enough of a difference between him now, and him then. So using the third person allows him to express the idea that the person he is now is different from the person he was then.

Rushdie’s new book is out, check it out from your bookstore or library, “Joseph Anton: A Memoir“.

P.S. It was an honour for me to hangout with Sir Salman. Many thanks to the wonderful Maria Quiban and the Fox LA crew for the great hangout.

Note: This article is cross-posted by me at

Jan 22, 2013 Update: Here is the Hangout video with Sir Salman,

To “Read Before” or “Read After”, that is the question

Tuesday, 3 April, 2012

I have an interesting discussion with my friend DeAno. The main discussion point is this:

Given an upcoming movie, will you read the source material before or after you watch the movie?

Here are my comments:

– Don’t know why I do it but I read a ton of spoilers from the Wikipedia entries for the books some months ago. Fortunately I’ve forgotten most of the details now. :)

P.S. I think it can still be fun even if you know what may come from the books. Many people who watch the Harry Potter films are avid readers of the books and I don’t think their fun was spoiled much.

– Totally see your points in not wanting to know what’s coming next. Very different personal preferences I guess. And Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power Of Introverts has helped me understand why this difference in personal preferences.

Don’t know if you’ve watched these two movies but I loved their trailers so much that I didn’t want to wait for them on screen and ended up borrowing the play & novel to read before I watched the movies on the big screen! and

In contrast, I watched English Patient, loved it so much and ended up getting the book and read it in two days.

Susan Cain videos – Quiet: The Power Of Introverts

Saturday, 31 March, 2012

Susan Cain - Quiet - The Power Of Introverts

Tonight, I’m excited to get Susan Cain‘s new 2012 book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” as an audiobook so I can listen to it while I drive! Susan also writes a blog.

The following are some videos of Susan talking about her book.

Update: I’ve finished “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” and would highly recommend it to anyone interested. Very insightful book.

Leading@Google: Susan Cain

The Secret Power Of Introverts: A Quiet Revolution

The power of introverts – Susan Cain’s TED Talk

Techcrunch, Keen On… Susan Cain

*** Book reviews:

* Canadian Business: Book review – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

* Globe and Mail: Giving introverts permission to be themselves

* Guardian, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – review

*** Here is a selected list of press mentions from Susan’s post:

CNN – Introverts Run the World — Quietly

The New York Times – In New Office Designs, Room to Roam and to Think

The Asian Age – Why Introverts are Quiet Winners

CTV News – Interview: Loud Society Fails to Capitalize on Introverts – Audio Interview / Podcast

The Introvert Entrepreneur – Audio Interview / Podcast

MSNBC – Video interview on The Dylan Ratigan Show

WNYC – Audio Interview on The Leonard Lopate Show

Vancouver Sun – Hate Networking?  Introvert Business Leaders as Good or Better than Extroverts – Sshh Branding: The Quiet Revolution

3 simple questions The Hunger Games movie audiences should ask ourselves

Saturday, 24 March, 2012

First of all, I want to say I LOVE The Hunger Games (the movie) and happy to see it box office is going strong ($68.3m on Friday). At the same time, I think we, the audiences, can and should ask ourselves 3 simple but meaningful questions. Check out The Hunger Games Official Movie Trailer.

Question 1) What kind of world would let its children aged 12 to 18 fight to their death?

The movie only had a few short seconds of screen time to setup the “rationale” for why they select children aged 12 to 18 to fight to their death for 74 years in a row. It is up to us to ask more. Lets ask ourselves, will we let our children fight to their death? The sad answer is yes as I’ve learned from the news and books like “They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers“.

I’ve previously shared my views re child soldiers in my #Kony2012 post which I stated the focus should be less on the hunt for one bad man but instead addressing the much deeper and meaningful challenge of the demobilization and rehabilitation of child soldiers.

I’ve both books on my desk and will be spending more time on “They Fight Like Soldiers” to start.

The Hunger Games & They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children

Question 2) Do you find the violence in The Hunger Games so stylized that you forget that these are children being killed?

When I watched The Hunger Games yesterday, there were two young teens, probably less than 13, 14 years old, plus their mom sitting besides me. If I were a better reporter, I would have asked them after the film how they felt about it. During the show, the kids were already asking the mom questions and I would be interested to know if the mom explain or talk much afterwards and at at dinner time. I found this timely clip about the movie posted by Emory University.

Violence As Entertainment – The Hunger Games

Now, in a calculated stark contrast, David Cronenberg‘s A History of Violence is a film that has been designed to put violence front and center, strip away any stylization or pretence, and force us to face our guilt when “enjoying” the violence. Rolling Stone’s Travers put it this way,

Cronenberg knows violence is wired into our DNA. His film showed how we secretly crave what we publicly condemn.

Question 3) Does The Hunger Games (movie) make us question our love of reality TV or feel guilty of our current addition to it?

Lets not forget, The Hunger Games depicts a reality TV show where children aged 12-18 have been fighting to death for 74 years in a row! It just seems to me the movie lets the audience (yes “us”, as it you and me) get away free without any guilt. I agree with what EW writer Darren Franich wrote in his “‘The Hunger Games’: What the movie missed about the book

“But there is one important aspect of the original novel [by Suzanne Collins] that is almost entirely absent from the movie: The darkly funny way in which Collins directly accuses the audience. As in, us. Weirdly, by turning the book into such a fan-baiting crowdpleaser, the movie version of Hunger Games seems to oddly miss the point of its own source material.”

You see, in The Truman Show, we the audiences are clearly reminded of who put Truman Burbank in his predicament in the first place. Yes, the viewers put Truman in the show! In Extras, comedian Ricky Gervais reminded us that we are very much accomplices in this celebrity crazed and reality TV mess.


Note re question 1: I haven’t forgotten the shameful ways the US and Canadian governments have acted in the handling of one particular case of child soldier prosecution as I wrote in my #Kony2012 post.

Articles worth reading:

– EW, ‘The Hunger Games’: What the movie missed about the book by Darren Franich
– MTV, ‘Hunger Games’: Why The Movie Beats The Book by Josh Wigler
– Cinema Blend, 10 Big Differences Between The Hunger Games Movie And Book by Jessica Graberb
– “Roger Ebert movie review

Research info:

– The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games full casts (imdb)
– Catching Fire (2009 novel)

Hannibal and Me – A book Review

Tuesday, 20 March, 2012

 Interviewing Andreas Kluth, author of Hannibal and Me, The Economist U.S. West Coast correspondent

Meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same.” from Rudyard Kipling‘s poem “If –“, first read in “Hannibal and Me

Andreas Kluth is The Economist‘s US West Coast correspondent and author of a new book “Hannibal and Me: What History’s Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure“. I’ve been reading Andrea’s blog for some time, so I knew I would like his book but I ended up loving Hannibal and Me!

The following is my review of the book, video interview clips, plus some additional bonus materials about characters trimmed from the book.

*** Book Review ***

I love biographies in general and reading Hannibal and Me to me was like reading the crucial slices of lives of many interesting people’s stories of “successes“, “failures“, and sometimes “impostors” (successes that actually lead to failures, or failures that become foundation of future successes) all in one book woven into many cohesive lessons.

To give you an idea of the “who’s who” in the book, take a look of this partial list of characters featured in the book: HannibalAndreas (the author himself), Barack ObamaEleanor RooseveltSteve JobsAmy TanMeriwether Lewis (and Thomas JeffersonWilliam Clark), Douglas MacArthur and Harry TrumanLudwig ErhardPablo PicassoPaul CézanneTiger WoodsCleopatraLance ArmstrongLiu Shaoqi (and Mao Zedong), plus Albert Einstein.

In Andreas’ throughly researched and eloquently written Hannibal and Me, the lives of modern day people like Steve JobsTiger WoodsAmy TanEleanor Roosevelt, Douglas MacArthur and Harry Truman were woven into the spectacular venture tale of Hannibal, bring every characters to live.

Don’t let words like “history“, “military strategist“, “Hannibal” in the title deter you from reading the book. I had to study history for six years and pretty much hated every minute of it. Andreas’ Hannibal and Me managed to bring all these characters to life to teach me, Kempton, teach us, readers of the book, important life-changing lessons. I originally thought I would have to skip a few pages so I can get to the interesting/fascinating modern real life stories sooner. To my pleasant surprise, I ended up reading every page over a few days. I find the lives, decisions and actions of the charters in the book absolutely fascinating and illuminating.

Ultimately, each reader will learn different lessons from the book depending on our own life experiences and life stages. Hannibal and Me is one of the best books I have read for years. To me, the book crystallized some of the life decisions I have made over the last few years and will be making in the future. I know I will be re-reading Hannibal and Me again and again over time as I grow older and gain more experiences. I hope you will enjoy the book as much as I did.

*** Video interviews with Andreas ***

Here is the main video interview clip. (My previous post about my multiple interview video clips with Andreas.)

Andreas on Eleanor Roosevelt Read the rest of this entry »

Interviewing Andreas Kluth author of “Hannibal and Me”

Friday, 24 February, 2012

Interviewing Andreas Kluth, author of Hannibal and Me, The Economist U.S. West Coast correspondent

Earlier this week, I had an insightful and fun interview with Andreas Kluth (Google+). Andreas is The Economist‘s US West Coast correspondent and author of a brand new book “Hannibal and Me: What History’s Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure“.

I highly recommend “Hannibal and Me” and will write a book review later. For now, have a watch of my interview with Andreas. I hope to give you a sense of why I love the book so much.

Interviewing Andreas Kluth author of “Hannibal and Me”

*** Extra English interview clips & Chinese articles ***

Andreas Kluth, “Hannibal and Me” author, on Eleanor Roosevelt – interview extra

Chinese article: 唐英年太太郭妤淺應向羅斯福總統第一夫人Eleanor學習面對凱旋及厄難【短片】

Andreas Kluth, “Hannibal and Me” author, on Liu Shaoqi (劉少奇) in Cultural Revolution (文化大革命) – interview extra

Chinese article: “Hannibal and Me” 從文化大革命中的劉少奇學習 – 防人之心不可無

Andreas Kluth, “Hannibal and Me” author, on Harry S Truman – interview extra

Chinese article: Hannibal and Me” 美國總統杜魯門在韓戰中大敗於中國? Harry S Truman in Korean War

Sept 14th, 2015 Update: I wrote a Facebook status about “Failures, Achievements, Triumph, and Disaster” to share with friends after reading a FB status by 2015 Miss HK and quoted Rudyard Kipling’s “If” (thanks to Andreas for the introduction),

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

And then I googled and found this great Economist audio interview with Andreas. Worth a listen.

Review: Amazon Kindle apps for Mac, Android, iPad #fail

Wednesday, 15 February, 2012

I am very disappointed with my Amazon Kindle apps for Mac, Android, iPad and I am giving them a big #fail !!!

Destroyed Highlights & Notes

After the recent Amazon Kindle app update, all my pages and pages of highlights and notes are lost! And after some googling, this problem has been around for months! I am one of those readers that add lots of markups and notes to books I read so that I can go back to interesting passages months and years later. To me, a blank new book is pretty much pointless because I can always get a new unmarked book (or an unmarked ebook) from the book store!

Poorly designed and unreasonably slow UI

The User Interfaces of Amazon Kindle apps for Mac, Android, iPad have been poorly designed and thought out. When you select something on the top 1/3 of a page to add notes/highlight, the menu blocks the next few lines. And then to make matter worst, a simple highlight can take not 2, not 3, not 4 seconds to complete! It has taken 21, yes, TWENTY-ONE beeping seconds to highlight a few line of text! What the beep is going on with the Amazon Kindle app when there is nothing running on my Mac (with nothing else running, right after a restart)?

I haven’t got around to complain to Amazon to try to get the lost notes back (I have synced to the Amazon cloud) but I am not optimistic. Until and unless Amazon fix its bugs, admit to these problems and improve its apps, I don’t think I would buy another e-book from Amazon.

I am surprised to see Kindle out for so long when these apps with simple and minimum functions being so buggy and unreliable! Feel free to share your Kindle app experiences.

Update: After a day of missing highlights & notes, they seem to be back on the ebook on the Mac Kindle app now. But the highlights and notes are still missing on the Kindle Android app and the sync didn’t sync the notes!

Update 2: Some notes are back on both Mac and Android apps. Unforunately, some notes in some chapters are missing! Beep!

Drive Different – How Steve Jobs Legally Drove Without a License Plate

Thursday, 27 October, 2011

Mystery solved - Here's how Steve Jobs drove without licence plates

Love this Steve Jobs drove without License Plate story for a Friday. See CA DMV law section 4456 (c) (1) &(2) at the bottom of the page.

Drive/Think Different

See also my Steve Jobs biography review/”best of” series.

HT these articles which gave partial answers (without the legal reference).

Steve Jobs biography review/”best of” – Think Different, Jobs as iCEO

Wednesday, 26 October, 2011

I am adding “Chapter 26 Think Different, Jobs as iCEO” to my Steve Jobs biography review/”best of” series.

Think Different has a very special place in my heart. I wrote this many years ago,

“Here’s to the crazy ones”,
a timeless Apple Computer advertisement that showcases
the core DNA of ideas Revolutionaries.
We aspire to Think Different

This chapter now completes my knowledge of the back story re the creation of the Think Different campaign. For this alone is probably worth the price of the book for me as I’ve spent many hours (without success) to find out the info in this chapter.

See is my personal “best of” in the “Think Different, Jobs as iCEO” chapter (click to read the high res capture).

Steve Jobs biography review/best of - Pix 03 - Think Different

To me, this excerpt in the Think Different chapter is very telling in Jobs’ thinking (emphasis added),

Jobs couldn’t decide whether to use the version with his voice or to stick with Dreyfuss. […] When morning came, Jobs called and told them to use the Dreyfuss version. “If we use my voice, when people find out they will say it’s about me,” he told Clow. “It’s not. It’s about Apple.”

Steve Jobs narrates The Crazy Ones

Richard Dreyfuss narrates The Crazy Ones

Walter Isaacson talks about “The Leadership of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs biography review/”best of”

Wednesday, 26 October, 2011

I admire Steve Jobs and have bought many Apple products over the years but I am not an Apple “fan boy” as I removed Apple from my list of admired companies last year.

Steve Jobs biography - Pix 01 - Start

But I still eagerly picked up a copy of Steve Jobs (biography) yesterday so that I can learn from it. I think Steve Jobs is an important book that it should be made required reading for all serious and self-respecting competitors of Apple. There are many good insights that entrepreneurs and business executives can learn from Apple and Jobs. It will be foolish to think we can replicate and copy Jobs but it will be stupid to not to try to understand, to learn, and may be to be inspired.

In this post, I’m doing a review/”best of” Steve Jobs similar to my extensive review/”best of” The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life). I will start the review/”best of” with the chapters that intrigue me the most.


Here is my personal “best of” in the introduction chapter (click to read the high res capture). I will include links to other chapter’s entries (some with video clips, etc) to this post later.

Here is an excerpt from the introduction chapter (emphasis added),

‘She [Laurene Powell, Steve Jobs’ wife] is one of the smartest and most grounded people I have ever met. ‘There are parts of his life and personality that are extremely messy, and that’s the truth,” she told me early on. “You shouldn’t whitewash it. He’s good at spin, but he also has a remarkable story, and I’d like to see that it’s all told truthfully.”Read the rest of this entry »

It takes a few days – New Quotes I Love

Saturday, 2 April, 2011

Here are a few new “Quotes I Love” entries.

It takes a few days to get my head around how much I like a film, if I really like it a lot, and longer to start to figure out why.” – William Gibson in this tweet

When you love a film, as when you love a person, why isn’t necessarily that meaningful.” – [via tweet]

The why’s of disliking something are easier to find, and make for quicker, juicier copy.” – [via tweet]

Michael Mann’s theory: We only begin to really experience the film as we leave the theatre, in memory. And *backward*. I agree.” – [via tweet]

iPad app review: Moving Tales’ Unwanted Guest

Thursday, 3 March, 2011

Moving Tales' Unwanted Guest - pix 1Moving Tales' Unwanted Guest - pix 2

Apple iPad app:  ”Unwanted Guest

Price: US$ 4.99

Star rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Unwanted Guest“ is great story and wonderfully designed app by the creative people at Moving Tales. The story about a poor old man, down on his luck and living in a tumbledown house, is visited by an unwelcome house guest was very engaging that I ended up finishing the app/book in one reading! The animations are beautifully imagined, stunningly designed and rendered. The English, French, and Spanish voice-over all sounded very engaging and worked great with the story. I can imagine some parents using the foreign languages option to teach their children one or more of the languages. I highly recommend you check out ”Unwanted Guest“.

By the way, if you haven’t seen Moving Tales‘s first story app ”The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross“, have a look of my 2010 August app review and you may want to get that app too. By now, I have seen and reviewed producer/director/animator Matthew Talbot-Kelly’s Moving Tales team of creative people’s last two out of three story apps and they are setting very high standard for the industry!

The following is a promotional clip of the app from Moving Tales.

Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong – 地產霸權 – Alice Poon

Thursday, 9 December, 2010

地產霸權 - Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong

In my recent trip to Hong Kong, I made sure I picked up a copy of the 2010 translated Chinese edition of Land and the Ruling Class (地產霸權) by Alice Poon. I will try to write more about the book after I finish it.

Here is an excerpt from a nice review of the original book (in English) in the Canadian Book Review Annual,

Poon’s concise, well-argued analysis is one of the few available English-language sources on Hong Kong’s predicament. While Hong Kong’s once-vigorous and argumentative press has lost its teeth following the takeover, new outlets such as blogs have assumed huge importance as a barricade for free expression and democratic principles. With Shanghai rapidly eclipsing Hong Kong as the banking and finance powerhouse for China’s breakneck growth, there’s a chance that competition may in fact re-emerge and make for the kind of “popular” entrepreneurship long absent in Hong Kong.

Alice talked about the case of post-service work of Mr. LEUNG Chin-man in the updated Chinese edition’s introduction. And, yesterday, just by chance, the LegCo Hong Kong issued its “Report of the Select Committee to Inquire into Matters Relating to the Post-service Work of Mr LEUNG Chin-man” (English full report link) (in Chinese “調查有關梁展文先生 – 離職後從事工作的事宜 – 專責委員會報告”).

If you understand Mandarin, here is an interesting video chat about the book.


For the record, here is Apple Daily’s report of the news of the LegCo report re the post-service work of Mr. LEUNG Chin-man.

利益輸送 立會裁決 政府認錯 釘死梁展文 – 2010年12月09日


Read the rest of this entry »

Joe Weber FlyingWord CEO interview – “Treasure Island” iPad app

Tuesday, 9 November, 2010

FlyingWord - Treasure Island - pix 2

The following are video clips of my Skype video interview with Joe Weber, CEO and co-founder of FlyingWord, to talk about their Treasure Island iPad app based on the classic Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. (beautifully narrated for about 7 hours)

Also check out my FlyingWord “Treasure Island” iPad app review.

Here are part 1 of my interview with Joe.

Part 2

Part 3

Here is a promotional clip of FlyingWord’s Treasure Island,

iPad app review: FlyingWord’s “Treasure Island”

Tuesday, 9 November, 2010

FlyingWord - Treasure Island - pix 1

The following is a review of the pre-release version of FlyingWord Treasure Island iPad app. And I will post my video interview with Joe Weber, CEO and co-founder of FlyingWord, later.


Apple iPad app: “Treasure Island” by FlyingWord based on the classic Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Price: $7.99

Launch date: Nov 13, 2010

Promotional clip of FlyingWord’s Treasure Island

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


– Lively and very engaging narration of the original full-length classic Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. (beautifully narrated for about 7 hours)

– Excellent music and sound effects at the right places.

– Historical original Treasure Island illustrations by N. C. Wyeth and Walter Paget.

– Nicely rendered 2D illustrations into “3D projections”, camera angle controllable by readers. [Note: the 3D here is not real Avatar 3D, but closer to what Ken Burns does with his “layers” of photos in a scene.]

– Some of the pages have objects for readers to play with. For sure to check out the cannon. (These objects have “physics engines” behind them to allow users to move them around.)


– The initial version of the app has a few bugs that I’ve reported to FlyingWord.

-The app has problems waking up from “sleep” or “auto-lock” modes. Narration fails to restart gracefully. In a few instances, waking up after sleep actually tripped the narration and it got stuck in repeating a word/sound.

– If the reader flip to a page where part of the text in the paragraph is in the previous page, the narration will read from the text in the previous page. This result can be very confusing for the readers as they may not know this is the “expected behaviour”. To me, readers may expect when flipping to a new page, the narration will match the text she/he reads on the page.

– Many of the objects are a bit too small and difficult to control.
+ e.g. in the breakfast scene (bottle is ok, but the egg, plate, and sword are difficult to manipulate)
+ in the scene with the apple barrel, the barrel can be easily moved but the apples are not controllable even though the readers will likely spend time to try to move it. It may be more enjoyable if the apples are made bigger and controllable by readers like the barrel.

– This one is technical. Currently, the space outside of the edges of the 2D to 3D projections are blank (set to black space). I think it will look nicer and gives a more immersive experience if the whole background are filled and readers won’t see black space around the edges of the original 2D frames.


As discussed in the Pros section, the narration is lively and very engaging and I really love it. At the same time, the app may have been a bit ambitious in using the full-length original Treasure Island in its launch version. The good news is that an abridged free update will be released in a few weeks after the initial launch. To me, the abridged version with shorter audio (~1.5 hour long) and text will be a nicer fit for kids who will appreciate the physics engines games and 2D-to-3D effects more.

To write this review, I also found and checked out a LibriVox free audio book version of Treasure Island on the app store and it has the original text and the audio is reasonably good but definitely not as exciting/engaging as FlyingWord‘s version.

FlyingWord - Treasure Island - pix 2

Coming Soon

FlyingWord‘s next book is ‘Twas the night before Christmas (tentative price: about $4.99).

The Citadel – A. J. Cronin

Thursday, 18 March, 2010

Thanks to my wise and loving English teacher, she not only helped improve my English when I first came to Canada in the late 80s, I also learned important lessons in ethics (and medical ethics) in high school via medical doctor turned writer A. J. Cronin‘s The Citadel! Interestingly, over the years, I may know more about “medical ethics” than some medical doctors that I have come across! (note: you see, I actually have “ethics” as a blog category. :)

Here are some additional resources:

book review.

Article about Cronin and Scotland’s NHS.

Here is the “The Citadel (1938)” movie. It reminds me of some nice moments in the novel.

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