Thursday, August 25, 2016

The New Silk Road: The Ancient Trading Route Revisited

Back then; this is the only trading route that is not just about trading but also the source of exchanging knowledge and bridging cultures. This route was interrupted many times because of many wars that occurred.
Professor Zhang Yuyan
Long before the Spaniards colonizers, there was an existing trading relation between China and the Philippines. Back to the present, I was invited to attend at forum at Asian Institute of Management or AIM in Makati City to hear Professor Zhang Yuyan to present China's Economy of Global Context.

Before you react first, you heard it right. I said China. But Professor Zhang is an economist. He speaks here in an economic perspective. I am not going to bore you with the technical details, I will just narrate the sequence, Prof. Zhang narrated the economic situation of China as well as how it affects the world economy.

From this, he is able to present a plan for economic growth not just for China but for the world. He suggests reviving the Silk Road and taking advantage of the digital technology that we have. This will not only contribute to economy but it may also help build bridges and understand each other culturally just like in the old Silk Road.

Who knows, this may also be the key to end any conflicts we are currently in. This is the kind of topics that is discussed in AIM. It may be controversial but it also helps widen our perspective. For more forums like these, feel free to inquire at AIM or receive updates from this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Monday, August 22, 2016


Press release

Collaborative effort between Wildlife Reserves Singapore and National Parks Board to save critically endangered primate; only one of three primates found in Singapore a valued part of country’s natural heritage

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s Raffles’ Banded Langur (Presbytis femoralis femoralis) is getting a boost this National Day month, with the launch of a national conservation strategy for the critically endangered species. Ambassador-at-Large Professor Tommy Koh, who will serve as patron of the project, launched the initiative during a ceremony at Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Immediate priorities include managing the habitat and population through habitat enhancement such as establishing green corridors and exploring options for providing connectivity across forest fragments, focused enrichment plantings based on our understanding of the dietary requirements of the langurs, gathering data to understand more about the movements and habitat  preferences of the langurs, and securing the necessary commitment and resources to ensure the long-term conservation of the Raffles’ Banded Langur in Singapore and Malaysia. 

A workshop was held at the Singapore Zoo in early August in which over 30 stakeholders from 15 organisations, including representatives from Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), National Parks Board (NParks), International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Primate Specialist Group, Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia, conservation NGOs and universities came together to jointly develop a conservation strategy for the Raffles’ Banded Langur. The workshop was funded by WRS and facilitated by IUCN.

Securing a future for the Raffles’ Banded Langur will require targeted action in a number of areas. Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund will engage Ms Andie Ang, who has studied the langurs since 2008, and is a member of IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group, to set up and chair a Raffles’ Banded Langur Working Group. The working group will glean outputs from the recent workshop to map out a Species Action Plan, which will be used to guide and implement the conservation work for this species in the coming years. The project is fully supported by Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund over the next two years.

One of only three non-human primates to be found locally, the Raffles’ Banded Langur was first discovered by Sir Stamford Raffles 194 years ago. Up to the 1920s, they were still reported to be common in Singapore across Changi, Tampines, Bukit Timah, Pandan and Tuas. Deforestation for urban development led to the shrinking of their habitat such that the Raffles’ Banded Langurs were confined to only the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) and Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) in the 1980s. In 1987, the last member of a troop living in BTNR was reportedly mauled to death by a pack of dogs.

By 2010, it was estimated that there were 40-60 Raffles’ Banded Langurs left in Singapore. This subspecies can also be found in southern Peninsular Malaysia, where a number of isolated populations continue to be threatened by habitat loss and conversion. Small and isolated populations have a heightened risk of extinction from the effects of genetic deterioration, extreme weather, disease outbreak and other catastrophic events.

Dr Sonja Luz, Director, Conservation and Research, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: “It is a fitting time to embark on a consolidated, comprehensive and integrated conservation strategy for the Raffles’ Banded Langur, to ensure the continued survival of this highly charismatic primate. This conservation project is of national importance for Singapore, and together with NParks, we are fully committed to be a part of the pioneering approach to manage the species over the long-term so Singapore does not have a primate going extinct on our watch.”

Dr Adrian Loo, Director (Terrestrial), National Biodiversity Centre, National Parks Board, said: “Reforestation, setting aside buffer parks such as the upcoming Thomson Nature Park and enrichment planting over the years have improved the rainforest habitat of the endangered Raffles’ Banded Langur. This will further help increase the foraging area and connectivity for the species, which saw an increase since the early 1990s. Even so, a multi-pronged approach is required to ensure the full recovery of the species. Thus, NParks looks forward to working with our stakeholders to guide the development of long-term conservation and management strategies for this shy, elusive species. We hope to see these animals thrive in our forests one day.”

Primatologist Ms Andie Ang, of the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group said: “The development of a regional Species Action Plan signifies a first collaboration between Singaporean and Malaysian authorities, universities, and NGOs in the research and conservation of the Raffles’ Banded Langurs. Besides ensuring that the habitat of the langurs is protected and restored, we hope that this joint effort can also help raise public awareness and appreciation of this primate and the natural heritage in both countries.”

Friday, August 19, 2016


Press release

August 15, 2016 – Adventurer and survivalist Ed Stafford is back, pushing his survival skills to the limit and pitting himself once again versus Mother Nature in the brand new second season of MAROONED, premiering August 30, 8:10pm on Discovery Channel.Watch as Ed tackles six new challenges in which he is left high and dry in some of the most inhospitable and extreme environments – equipped with nothing but an emergency phone, medical kit and his camera to record his adventures.

Shot in remote locations ranging from the arid and rocky Gobi Desert in Mongolia to the tropical jungles of Guatemala and the Namibian bushveld, each location presents a unique and deadly test as Ed strives to not just survive, but thrive in some of the world’s toughest environments.

Having become the first man to walk the length of the Amazon in an incredible 860 day feat featured in Discovery Channel series WALKING THE AMAZON, and having spent 60 days alone with just a camera on a desert island for NAKED AND MAROONED,Ed is back again, putting his life in danger as he proves to himself that he can devise a plan to survive in any environment.

Helen Hawken, Vice President Production & Development at Discovery Networks International, commented: “This new season captures Ed doing what he does best – pushing his survival skills to the limits in his true inimitable style. Despite crossing the Amazon and spending 60 days alone on a deserted island, Ed still manages to prove that he can survive and even thrive in even more inhospitable terrains than ever before.”

MAROONED is produced for Discovery Networks International by Tigress Productions. For Discovery Networks International, Helen Hawken is commissioning editor and Tom Gorham is executive producer. For Tigress Productions, Dick Colthurst is executive producer and Tim Walker is series producer.

Marooned With Ed Stafford 2 – SeriesDescription
On the back of his incredible 860-day feat traversing the jungle featured in Discovery Channel series Walking the Amazon and 60 days spent alone with just a camera on a desert island for Naked and Marooned, Ed Stafford faced eight of the world’s toughest environments in Marooned and is now back with this all-new second installment of the series.
In each self-contained episode of Marooned, Ed goes into isolation for approximately 10 days in a remote and potentially deadly location. He’s completely on his own – unless extreme circumstances take hold. All he’s got is a camera to capture his adventure and his survival know-how.
There are critical things every survivor must master in their first few days, starting with water, shelter, food and fire. Ed must rapidly assess his situation and draw up a survival plan that takes him beyond the basics to being in control of himself and his environment. No two episodes are the same as Ed confronts challenges unique to each environment that require him to use every survival trick in the book.

Each location – Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, Guatemala and Namibia – arid rocky desert, tropical jungle, and unique African forest – is difficult and dangerous in a different way and requires Ed to adopt different strategies in each place.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Ballet Philippines Kicks Off The 47th Season With Firebird and Other Ballets

After the recent Dance Manila and Dance Cup, Ballet Philippines opens its 47th season. BP is not only the oldest ballet company in the Philippines but also in Southeast Asia. Wings is the theme for this season. The season kicks off starting with Firebird which is the suitable for the season’s theme.  It is one of the known ballet dances that is popular in the ballet world.

Firebird will be choreographed by Mr. Birkadze and the costumes are designed by Mr. Mark Higgins of Slims Fashion School.  For Mr. Birdkadze, he will present Firebird and recreate it to give it a different look and feel.

Just like Mr. Birkadze, Mr. Higgins designed the costumes in Asian context. Mr. Higgins wants to create costumes for Firebird that is already telling the story. It is the first time he is designing costumes for ballet. Each costume is made specifically for one wearer only. The dancers love the costumes and they can still dance without worrying about the costumes.

This only shows that this Ballet Philippines’ production of Firebird is truly a world class standard. Firebird will run on limited time from August 19-21 at CCP Main Theater (Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo). The rest of the line up this season are Crisostomo Ibarra/Simoun in October, Awitin Mo at Isayaw Mo in December, Swan Lake in 2017 and more.

For more update about Ballet Philippines, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook.

Friday, August 5, 2016


Press release

New York Knicks Point Guard Pays Homage to Chicago with Seventh Signature Shoe as He Begins New Chapter in His Career 

As Derrick Rose prepares for the bright lights of New York City, adidas Basketball starts the next chapter of his signature series with the D Rose 7.  Inspired by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the D Rose 7 is a tribute to Derrick’s beloved hometown of Chicago and the city that raised him.

The D Rose 7 echoes the resilience of Rose’s passion for the game and perseverance through every challenge. The silhouette introduces unique elements of strength and for the first time, incorporates full-length BOOST through a design inspired by fire and one’s willingness to rise from the ashes.  Built for unmatched flexibility and comfort, the D Rose 7 is designed to harness the raw energy of Derrick’s style of play, including powerful strikes against defenders in traffic and speed at both ends of the floor.

“Chicago’s always been my home and this shoe represents the city that made me the man I am today. From how I play the game, how I live my life and how it’s prepared me for my next step in New York,” said Rose.  “It’s the perfect tribute to the city and fans that helped raise and support me.  It’s built for my game and gives me an added incentive knowing that I’m carrying my city with me on every play.”

True to the history of the Great Chicago Fire and the city’s spirit to rebuild, the D Rose 7 embraces cues from the fluid, yet sharp and unpredictable, shape and motion of fire through a variety of Primeknit color combinations. The silhouette also displays four stars on the heel cage honoring the Chicago flag plus a flame-inspired TPU shank and D Rose signature.

“For each D Rose signature shoe, we focus on a very specific element of storytelling behind what inspires Derrick on and off the court,” said Brian Foresta, vice president of Global Design, adidas Basketball. “With the D Rose 7, we’re ensuring that Derrick’s hometown is never far from him on and off the court. His perseverance and passion to rise above every challenge is what makes him special, so we focused on bringing that to life.”

The D Rose 7 reimagines the brand’s most innovative technology, delivering endless comfort and unrivaled performance:

Full-Length BOOST
The D Rose 7 is the first in the Rose franchise to feature full-length BOOST cushioning for long-lasting comfort and infinite energy return. Incorporating a reinforced TPU shank for stability throughout the outsole, the D Rose 7 is tuned for hard cuts against defenders.

Smoke Traction
Inspired by smoke rising from flames, the D Rose 7 is primed with herringbone traction that delivers optimum grip and control for one of the game’s quickest and most explosive players.

Lockdown Support
To support rapid drives to the rim and speed at both ends of the court, a hinged mid-foot lacing panel attaches to a split heel cage and GEOFIT molded collar to increase stability, lockdown and sock-like fit.

D Rose 7 is available in Solar Red on August 11 for P7,995 with additional colors dropping throughout the season, including: Smoke Gray (August 13), Hydration (September 16), Black/White/Red (October 1), and White/Black/Red (October 15).

Popular culture/Geek stuff
Movie reviews

Thursday, August 4, 2016

adidas launches Crazy Explosive for the next generation of basketball superstars

Press release

adidas Basketball officially unveils Crazy Explosive, a new franchise built for players with explosive moves that play above the rim. The introduction of Crazy Explosive is part of the brand’s new design and collaboration strategy that combines unique design and style elements that stand out from the crowd.

The mid-top silhouette featuring full-length BOOST allows players like Minnesota Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins to change the game, propel slashing drives to the basket and embarrass defenders in the air. Crazy Explosive will be worn by Wiggins, Harrison Barnes, Iman Shumpert, Serge Ibaka, Marcus Smart and Justise Winslow, among others.

“adidas came to me with a shoe to make me more explosive on the court. When I tried this shoe for the first time, I really felt the difference when attacking the basket,” said Wiggins. “And we all care about style. You haven’t seen adidas shoes like this before, these shoes are dope.”

Crazy Explosive was designed to challenge the look of the conventional basketball shoe and make a style statement on and off the court.  The silhouette features a Primeknit upper that enhances comfort, fit and durability, while offering striking color combinations that make statements on the court.

“We designed Crazy Explosive to stand out from every other basketball shoe ever released, so when I saw the initial response on social media by fans and media, I knew that we accomplished our goal,” said Jesse Rademacher, design director, adidas Basketball.  “As players get bigger, faster and stronger, they need footwear that harnesses their raw power and explosiveness.  For Crazy Explosive, we tuned our best BOOST and Primeknit technologies to meet the needs of these players that are too versatile to be contained and thrive on unpredictability.  We packaged it with an equally stunning silhouette and Crazy Explosive was born.”

Crazy Explosive was designed from the inside out, loaded with a full-length BOOST midsole, energy enhancing roll cage and power traction:

First Full-Length Boost Mid-Top Shoe
Crazy Explosive features BOOST cushioning from heel-to-toe for industry-leading comfort and infinite energy return.  True to adidas’ mission to make athletes better, BOOST features innovative material made up of thousands of capsules that help store and release energy efficiently as athletes perform.  Crazy Explosive features a full-length infinity-shaped torsion plate that provides basketball tuned stability.

Energy Enhancing Roll Cage
The Crazy Explosive silhouette is stabilized with a lateral TPU roll cage that provides forefront stability to harness BOOST cushioning for explosive cuts and takeoff to the basket.

Power Traction
Crazy Explosive utilizes an entirely new traction pattern based upon reaction-diffusion that provides commanding grip and stability on the court.  The result is a natural traction pattern that stands up to even the most explosive player’s moves to the basket.

Controlled Lockdown Support and Comfort
Crazy Explosive is designed with dynamic lacing and a Primeknit upper to maximize breathability and lockdown on the court and in the air.  Tuned for infinite comfort, Crazy Explosive features an internal bootie construction that delivers an enhanced layer of comfort and support with GEOFIT foam along the tongue.

Crazy Explosive Solar Red is already available in Titan and NBA Store for P8,795, with additional drops throughout the year, including: Andrew Wiggins Home PE (October 1) and Triple Black (October 10).