Friday, 15 May 2015

World Water Day: 5 Ways to Save Water in Singapore

Following the passing of our founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew, I'm sure many of you have read the many articles surrounding how the vision of LKY helped in our water security today, and how we call him "the architect of Singapore's water story". You can read this one if you are absolutely clueless.

Many of us take water for granted, especially the younger ones in school today who have not experienced days when we practised water rationing. I remember when I was in school (it wasn't really THAT long ago - come on, Singapore's barely 50!), there were days when my grandmother would have to keep pails of water a couple of days in advance leading up to the water rationing exercises. There were 8 of us living in the same house, so imagine how many pails of water we had to keep for our showering, cooking and drinking usage for a day. 

On the actual day of the water rationing exercise, there would be a water distribution point in the open carpark of our HDB estate, and for those who were not prepared or who need more water, they would go downstairs with their pails and queue up for water.

Yup, those were the days. 

Hence I grew up to be a bit more aware about not wasting water, even though I didn't really understand why. Grandparents, uncles and aunts would always tell me not to waste water, so that was ingrained in me as a subconscious habit. Because I drank a LOT of water as a kid, I even worried if the water I was drinking was too much! Maybe that's why I stopped drinking so much water as an adult now haha! (Seriously, if Singapore uses 400 million gallons of water a day, and I believe many of us are not drinking our recommended amounts of water per day, I wonder how much more water Singapore would be consuming if we did. Just a thought.)

It's been a couple of decades since then, and we don't practise water rationing anymore. To help educate the public, particularly our young and the new citizens of Singapore, I decided to be a part of World Water Day Singapore this year. 
At the PUB social media booth.
My role was to get people to "Like" the PUB's facebook page. Seems like just a way to garner likes right? WRONG! Because their page shares interesting tips on water conservation, whenever they have an update, you'll see it on your FB newsfeed, which in turn reminds you about water conservation, or updates you about the activities they have planned so you can bring you family and loved ones along to! P.S. They've even launched an iOS game app recently called "Save My Water", so kids can learn while having fun! You can download it here.

Some of the faces at World Water Day Singapore!

Since we are on the topic of water conservation, here are 10 tips on how you can save water in our little island, Kampung Style. ^.^

1. Use a pail to shower at least once a week. 
Try it. It was how I used to shower growing up. I had the rare opportunity of getting to stay in a kampung, and we had these huge metal pails which collected water which was dripping from our leaky tap. It can be cold yes, but one way to fight the cold water is to jump up and down in the shower upon first few contacts with the cold water. After a while, your body will get used to the cold, and trust me, it feels really good to have a cold shower!

If you didn't already know, cold water is great for your hair as it seals the hair cuticles, giving it a glossier sheen when it's dry! Cold water is also good for your skin! =D More reason to shower with cold water! Tip: If you can't take the cold cold water, try cooking a kettle of water to add to your pail of cold water. It was how I bathed. TRY!!!!

2. Collect Rainwater!
If you are lucky enough to have a porch/backyard/unsheltered balcony (not too sure though if this is considered "lucky" lol), place a pail out to collet rainwater for your indoor plants. 

Try not to do this though, as we don't want to risk getting stomped, or more importantly, risk dropping the pails on someone's head as they walk past below...

3. Make washing your vehicle an activity!
With a couple of pails and a 20¢ coin (in HDB multistorey carparks' car wash bays), you can wash your car with the family/loved one/by yourself, and get a good workout too! 
Get the girlfriend to wear a white T-shirt if it makes a good incentive. If you are washing in your own backyard, you guys can even wear swimsuits. Note: gf in bikini. Heh.
You may end up with a harder workout during or after the wash. (No pun intended of course. And erm, please make sure the coast is clear if you are intending on a sexy workout.)

Remember to bring her a towel to cover up so that she can walk back to the house without being visually harrassed. 

4. Practise water rationing at home with your young ones a few times a year.
This one is going to be pretty fun. Tell everyone in your household that they are not allowed to use the tap for the day, and that you guys only have this many pails of water to use. Take this as an opportunity to educate your young on the importance of water, and you'll be amazed at how the little ones can become bossier about water usage that day! =D

5. Repair Leaks ASAP
This doesn't take a genius to understand why we should do this. Even if you use a pail to collect water from the leaked taps, the pail will be full before you get home. And what about WCs that just won't stop flushing? That wastes A LOT of water! 

One minute of leaving the tap on can waste you 9 litres, so imagine a never-ending flushing toilet bowl! 

Here's a video narrated by Mr Lee Kuan Yew himself on how important clean water is to Singapore. =) 

I also did a post on ways to save water last year. Do have a read too!
Let's all do our part to save water, shall we?

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Review: The Casio Exilim MR1 (Off to Bangkok!)

I have a new camera!!!! And because I like to take pretty pictures of myself the cameras I use are very important - if it is not worth your money, don't spend on it. #duh

So Casio has launched a few cameras recently, and I'll be sharing about the Casio Exilim MR1. 
You might have seen a few reviews on this and its comparison with the TR series. You should know by now that Casio's selfie cameras are da bomb and its TR series are the top of the line selfie cameras. The MR1 is its less expensive sister so if you are just looking for a selfie camera but don't want to blow your budget, this is what you should be looking at. 

Disclaimer: To be fair I have not actually tried the TR series cameras. Them being THE BEST SELFIE CAMERAS are stuff I've heard about and read from other bloggers. 

 I brought it along with me to Bangkok a couple of months ago, to see if delivers well. I'll be sharing a lot of pictures and the modes they were shot on so you have a better idea of how it performs. 

I like its size. Very compact, and very ladylike. I assume most selfie cameras are targeted at the female audience, because we look better and thus prefers to take more selfies than men. Lol. And the front camera-embedded mirror? Doubles up very well as a mirror for me to refresh my makeup! =D

One of our first selfies onboard. I find that although the camera comes with a whopping 14.1 megapixel camera (which most phone front cameras lose out to), under low light it's still a little grainy and the shutter speed is not high enough. So you really need a stable hand. 

As with any selfie camera, having the smooth skin mode is absolutely essential. You want to be able to just wifi the pictures to your phone (YES IT HAS THIS FUNCTION!!!) and immediately share it instead of having to do any editing. 

Yup, none of these pictures have been edited. They came like that straight out of the camera. No I didn't even resize anything. 

There are nifty modes like this crystal ball mode which bokehs your background and gives you an interesting picture like this.

I personally like the toy camera mode for its vignetting effect. 

Please please note that lighting in the airplane was quite poor so these pictures were far from ideal. Under good light, however, it's a different story altogether.
Taken at Chatuchak! By the way all the pictures of people with super good skin mode were taken with Makeup Mode on at their original setting at Best Shot - Portrait/Portrait with Scenery (unless otherwise specified), which is Skin tone at 0 and Smooth Skin at +6. You can lighten your skin tone from 0 to +6 or smoothen face from 0 to +12. 

Notice the warmer colours? I changed the white balance to Shade.

And night falls.

Trying the anti-shake. One thing I noticed is that after setting it to anti-shake now and having taken a picture, when I turn the camera off or if I want to take another picture, the anti-shake setting somehow resets to OFF and I have to turn it back on again. A little annoying to have to do it so it'll be good if they can allow me to lock that. So instead, I'll rely on spamming loads of pictures and pray that one of them turns out clear. Oh and turn the flash on.

Auto white balance. Flash.

Steady hands for you. Auto white balance with Flash. Notice how it doesn't make us look white like how most flashes do? I like that.

When in doubt, just turn on the flash. It is indicated as LED in the phone's settings.

Good morning! Off to the pool!

Auto white balance. At ISO 500.

Auto white balance. At ISO 800. I didn't really do anything. The camera will try to adjust its exposure from time to time depending on how you frame the picture and how much light the lenses detect, but look at how a change in white balance settings changed things. 

With Shade white balance.

Pictures look AMAZING on auto when there is enough light. But my eyes couldn't handle the lighting lol.

Get what I mean? The above 2 pictures were both taken on auto Best Shot Portrait mode, as are most of my pictures. I find it leh cheh to keep changing mode la.

They have many modes, like Sports, Pets, Children, Portrait, Portrait with Scenery, Candlelight Portrait, Scenery, Food, Flower, Fireworks, Sunset, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Party, and even Text. I'm super lazy to go in and change modes because it's very troublesome, but I'll test the macro modes.

They have a food mode in its Best Shot. Let's see how they perform.

Looks pretty good to me. I think you'll be using this camera to shoot yourself and people most of the time anyway, but if you wish to shoot food and other objects macro, this works fine.

I wanted to test the macro capabilities of this camera on its FLOWER mode as well so these shots are not Bangkok-related. The FLOWER mode is supposedly more saturated and takes better pictures up close.
This was on the auto White Balance. I find that I have trouble shooting macro, especially in low light. The autofocus took quite a while to find my focal point.

For this one I changed the White Balance to Daylight White Fluorescent which was what my kitchen lighting is like. The colours seem richer and more vibrant here. That being said, the light blue on my UJM were supposed to be lilac. It turned out light blue here. The IK< and command buttons were supposed to be purple but they turned out electric blue. That being said, a lot of cameras have trouble finding the purple hues anyway. #betyoudidntnoticethat

In FOOD mode now.

Back on FLOWER. I think there isn't much of a difference. Even though I was shooting neither food nor flower. Lol. 

Let's bring this outside. I think this camera takes beautiful pictures outdoors. 

Best one. Because we angles it such that it catches just enough light from behind, but not too much (like the first one). =D 
All 6 pictures above are taken on auto Best Shot. 

This one is on Shade white balance. There are other standard white balance settings like Overcast and Shade and Tungsten and all, but yes, Auto and Shade are my faves.

Sometimes, when low light just doesn't work...

Just turn the flash on, and the clarity comes right back on!

I'll keep using this camera, so you can see more pictures as they come and decide if this is worth your time. ;) 

P.S My next post will feature pictures from the MR1 as well. ;)

What do you think? A good investment for a selfie camera? 

The Casio Exilim MR1 comes in white, pink and green (picture above do not show true colour - the colours are nicer in real life!), and retails at S$429 at all good gadget stores! =D

Disclaimer: The camera was sponsored for review. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone, not by Casio or any affiliated employee thereof, and written for the benefit of my readers looking for an honest review. Any mistakes in print are also mine. As well as grammatical errors, intended or not.