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I write with no particular theme in mind, because I am random like that.

Jan
26 2014

6:36 PM

Hobbies & Interests

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Have a loose ring? Here’s how you can tighten it.

I love rings. So much so I have a ridiculous number of them. It’s rather easy to get nice rings (cheaply too) here in Singapore, with my favourite haunts being the weekly flea markets at SCAPE and on the mobile e-commerce app Carousell.

My ridiculous collection of rings.
My funky (bordering slightly on geeky) ring collection.

I grew my collection again yesterday at the SCAPE flea market. I usually wear adjustable rings or rings with an inner diameter of 17mm. But this particular stall I was browsing didn’t have many adjustable rings, I spent ages trying on ring after ring to gauge the right sizing.

However, I still went home with two rings in the wrong size.

Perhaps my fingers had expanded a little more than usual yesterday, because both rings were a millimeter too big. Sounds small, but it makes a lot of difference in ring sizing. Plus, I have really tiny fingers to begin with.

A search online on how to tighten rings brought up suggestions such as attaching a ring guard/sizer (cumbersome) or applying a thin layer of cushion solution.

The latter method appealed to me but it was near impossible to find cushion solution here in Singapore. (I don’t even know where to begin.)

So I decided to substitute it with something else. I used Sally Hansen’s Diamond Flash Top Coat. (Actually, any clear nail polish/top coat/base coat will do fine too.)

Sally Hansen's Diamond Flash Top Coat

To reduce your ring size by one milimetre, apply three coats of polish on the inner surface of your ring, leaving it to dry for about a minute in between coats.

After applying the last coat, let the ring sit for half a day to ensure that the thick coat of polish dries completely. The layer of nail polish coating should feel solid to the touch, even when it is pressed. If it feels soft/cushiony, it has not dried enough yet.

Finally, a wearable ring!
Spot the polish coating on the inner surface of the ring on the left.

And voila – a simple method to tighten a ring using products you’d (most probably) already have at home. What more, you can CTRL-Z the whole process if you make a mistake. Just use nail polish remover and you’ll be back at the original size.

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Jan
23 2014

#onboardpostitproject (Royal Caribbean – Mariner of the Seas)

I was on a short cruise trip with my parents and Dayna last weekend on board Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas.

It was a fantastic trip on the whole – excellent weather (which we totally lapped up by spending more than half our time on board on the top deck), free-flow desserts (ooh-la-la) and excellent company.

More on the trip later in a second blog post. Today, I’d like to share about this little impromptu project I was up to while I was on board, which I call #onboardpostitproject.

After boarding the ship, I suddenly became curious about the livelihood of the crew who worked on board. I had some free time in between and thankfully, 3G connection (was still in Singapore’s waters then) so I managed to read up a little online.

Was pretty disheartened to discover about the cramped living conditions (below the waterline, no less) and the long hours put in by the lower-ranked crew (particularly the housekeeping and dining room crew) and began racking my brains about how I could minimally, add a smile to their day while I was on board.

The post-it project came about randomly as I was walking down the long corridors to our stateroom. Initially, I thought of pasting random post-its on my fellow travellers’ doors to say hello. Then, I decided it’d be too creepy. Then, I remembered what I read earlier that day and realized, hey – why not direct some of those cheerful/funny messages at them instead?

Upon arriving in Kuala Lumpur on Day 2 – I began my mission of scouting around for post-it notes and markers. Seached several stationery stores in The Pavilion but to no avail. Daiso eventually came to my rescue when we were at Sungei Wang (another shopping mall).

Back on board the ship later that day, armed with a stack of post-it notes and a packet of markers, I gleefully set about #onboardpostitproject.

Not all the post-its are documented, unfortunately. About 3 of them were left unphotographed because I forgot. And I was “testing the waters” with the first couple of post-its, so I just stuck them on … and scooted off quickly (just in case anyone saw me).

Warning: May be smelly!

The first target was obviously, our stateroom. I’m pretty sure our housekeeper laughed when he saw this.

Dec
17 2013

1:02 AM

Geekology
Hobbies & Interests

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A world where numbers define your reputation

After taking a hiatus from Carousell, I’ve decided to go back on it in a whim of boredom. My reasons for leaving previously was simple – there was no buyer/seller rating system in place. I’ve had my fair share of buyers backing out after confirming an item (which can be extremely frustrating for sellers), and eventually I decided enough was enough.

Since then, Carousell had implemented a ratings system and I noticed that things have become more civil. In fact, I was just quipping on Twitter earlier today that I’m enjoying Carousell much more than before.

I was really starting to enjoy the community. Most of my buyers were really personable, and the sellers I’ve dealt with so far have been amazing. Through Carousell, I’ve discovered home-grown handicraft artists such as Hanxi from Fresh from the Kiln and young, entrepreneurial girls as young as as 15 who DIY gift ideas such as Kerensa.

Not to mention the several others who have direct links with suppliers and conduct pre-orders on the platform to share the discounts with others – with a slight profit to themselves of course. (And honestly now, what else was I doing back then at 15 apart from whining about school?)

It was nothing short of wonderful… until I received my first negative feedback this evening.

It was a revenge feedback.

The feedback was left in response to a neutral feedback I’ve given a user for backing out after confirming for an item on my list over the weekend. (Though I was tempted to give a negative initially – I thought it was respectable of that user to at least inform me that she no longer wanted the item, so I gave a neutral.)

I’m not going to name the user since that would be ridiculously petty on my part, and we’ve since sorted things out. (Apparently, it was a misunderstanding – I’ve decided to just trust and let go.)

But it did get me thinking. About how rating systems could potentially backfire.

My response to this whole saga already says it all. I do pride myself in my ratings – because I always make an effort to make my buyers happy. Before leaving that neutral feedback, in fact, I did consider the possibility of my ratings being destroyed by a retaliatory feedback from an angry user. (And sure enough, it did happen.)

Now, I do wonder – exactly how many sellers have been in my same position before, and avoided leaving non-positive feedback for fear of receiving retaliatory negative feedback.

In fact after this, it is unlikely I will be using the rating system for anything other than leaving positive feedback, which will then defeat the purpose of a rating system to begin with. This whole negative feedback for negative feedback mentality is breeding an unhealthy culture around this rating system.

People think twice about calling out improper behaviour from other users, because that will mean putting their own reputation score on the line. While for every person who avoids giving negative feedback, means there’s someone else out there with a perfect reputation score who might be causing annoyance to the community.

Of course, it’s not easy to build a foolproof rating system. Such ‘retaliatory negative ratings’ can happen literally anywhere – I’ve seen it happen (although a lot less) on SGSellTrade (a Livejournal community for Singapore-based second-hand sellers) and a little on eBay (although I can’t gauge the extent for eBay because I very rarely use it – although a quick search on Google reveals some results). Although methinks Carousell is in a very ripe position to innovate on the feedback system since they are a very talented fellow startup.

Some ideas off-my-head;

1. Allow sellers to submit feedback for users only when that user has made an offer for his/her item.

2. Conversely, only allow buyers to submit feedback for users only when an item has been “marked as sold” to him/her.

3. Have a “dispute feedback” feature where buyers/sellers may start a private chat in relation to a neutral/negative rating they are unhappy about. This allows them to channel their angst elsewhere and reduce the number of revenge feedbacks.

In an ideal world, a user’s rating will be a true reflection of his/her trustworthiness and reliability. Unfortunately, this is reality where emotions (specifically, anger) usually triumph rationality.

Meanwhile, revenge negative ratings or not, I’ll just continue putting the human connection into every interaction I make on Carousell.

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