Struggle and hope: A poem (Working title)

 

Written for a colleague:

Struggle and hope: A poem (Working title)

When darkness flows all around,
When dim is sight and sound,
All it takes to break the night,
A single candle, set alight.

Silver linings in dark clouds above,
Diamonds in gritty coal below,
From great strife can come great life,
Like a bird’s struggle before first flight.

Johnathan Sia (C) 2016

Advertisements
I may have solved the mystery of the copyright claim in Europe against Atlus’s Attack On Titan: Humanity In Chains

I may have solved the mystery of the copyright claim in Europe against Atlus’s Attack On Titan: Humanity In Chains

AttackOnTitan-Copyright

On 1 May, Atlus issued a statement detailing their plans for the Western release of Attack on Titan: Humanity In Chains, a localisation of the previous Japan-only entry, Attack on Titan: Last Wings of Mankind, which released in December 2013.

While North American fans of the blockbuster anime series were delighted to learn that the game would release stateside on 12 May, European fans were left disappointed by the announcement of a delay due to a copyright claim.

Baffled fans said things like

Attack on titan copyright

and

Attack on titan copyright2

and

Attack on titan copyright3

And they had a point. A quick search on Google Play reveals dozens of entries with with “Titan” as an integral part of the name. Atlus didn’t release any details or hints about who issued a copyright claim against them for Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains. But I’ve done some internet sleuthing and discovered who might be the real culprit behind it.

The official European Union trademark database (OHIM/CTM) contains details of the copyright filing and the subsequent opposition for Attack on Titan (CTM013347331).

Timeline of events:

10 Oct 2014 – Trademark application by Kondansha Ltd for “Attack on Titan” wordmark under classes 9 and 28 (covering computer games and electronic games)

25 Nov 2014 – Application published for opposition with a deadline of 25 Feb 2015 for any trademark opposition to be filed.

25 Feb 2015 – Opposition filed by PT Entertainment Limited against “Attack on Titan” under grounds of “Likelihood of confusion”.

26 Feb 2015 – OHIM begins investigations into the validity of the opposition claim and informs Kodansha Ltd about it.

6 March 2015 – OHIM declares the opposition claim is admissible as it is based on an earlier right for “Titan”.

11 May 2015 – Expiry of ‘cooling-off’ period

12 May 2015 – Beginning of adversarial part of opposition proceedings

11 July 2015 – Deadline for submission of further material to substantiate earlier rights.

Who are PT Entertainment Limited and what do they do?

From my investigations, they are an “interactive gaming” company based in Antigua and operates Titanbet and Winner, both online gambling sites. It’s also a subsidiary of Playtech, “the world’s largest online gaming software supplier”.

Now, back to the copyright claim in question. According to the trademark filing information, PT Entertainment Limited filed opposition against Attack on Titan for the following trademarks on 25 Feb 2014:

  • Titan Poker
  • Titan Bet
  • Titan Casino
  • Titan

What did the opposition possibly mean for Atlus?

This is speculation but I believe Atlus held off as long as they could for PT Entertainment to withdraw their opposition claim but ultimately felt a decision needed to be made.

To the casual observer, there is no chance of anyone getting confused and mistaking Attack on Titan as a gambling game but this is a legal issue and it’s one for the lawyers to deal with.

In the meantime, I invite casual observer to be confused by Attack on Titan’s similarity to Titan.

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

And here’s the Nintendo eShop trailer:

The next #SteamWorld Ambassador challenge wants you to put your design hats on

The next #SteamWorld Ambassador challenge wants you to put your design hats on

The next SteamWorld Ambassador challenge (for those of you good at math, we’re on to the second challenge) is now live on the Image & Form blog.

The challenge this time is for the visually creative types out there, with those possessing steady hands being in an advantageous position – or if steady hands aren’t available, then the ability to scribble in the shape of a hat will do just nicely. Essentially, you’ll need to “design a hat that will appear in SteamWorld Heist”.

SteamWorld-Heist-Hat-sketch

From Image & Form

What’s the payoff for this? As with the first challenge, the winner will be “among the first in the world to play SteamWorld Heist before release” and will get codes for every platform it releases on plus a few spares to give to people you want/need/desire to be indebted to you. SteamWorld Heist is slated to release on the 3DS, Steam, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Wii U and mobile.

Intrigued? Watch this video and quickly mosey over to the Image & Form blog page for the competition and make your submission (or just forget the video and just get over there and make a submission quickly). And please please please make sure you complete your submission by Friday May 8th at 23:59 CEST (EU) / 5:59 PM EDT (NA).

Good luck!

A farewell poem to my Lou Dao

A farewell poem to my Lou Dao

On 11 January 2015, my family suffered a great tragedy when my step-father passed away from a fatal sudden heart-attack in the company of my mother and her family at their favourite Sunday afternoon hangout spot. The great consolation for me was that his moment of passing was in the company of those who held him dear in their hearts.

He was only in my life for just under 5 years after marrying my mother in the month of July in 2010, not long after I set foot on British soil. And during those few short years that he was with us, he made certain to ensure all of us were made to feel loved equally without judgement.

I’m slightly surprised (or maybe I shouldn’t be) that writing this short introduction piece to the simple poem I wrote would still bring up such raw feelings of loss. As I write this, a song plays in the background. A song written and sung by my Lou Dao (a cantonese term, meaning Father, which we settled on because me and my wife felt that ‘stepfather’ was too ‘cold’ a term and we wanted to show that we had truly treated him as our father) about his own desire to be closer with God.

This write up has probably been delayed by at least a week now as I’ve been wanting to get my thoughts and feelings down ever since the tragic news reached me and my family in London. After rushing back to Malaysia to see through the wake, the funeral, and the scattering of the ashes, I now find myself in a new kind of normal. It’s tempting to continue living in ignorance but the stark reality is that nothing is normal anymore. There is a new living environment which I will have to adjust to.

Before I go on any further though, here’s the poem I wrote during the evening of the last wake session:

Poem: A farewell to Lou Dao

The stars shine bright tonight,
Though we’ve just lost a shining light.
A man of principle, in word and deed,
A man who moves mountains when we need.

Sorely missed he is from far and near,
And though we now shed many a tear,
For a man, a husband, a father, and grandfather most dear,
We shall meet again, some day, some year

(C) 2015 Johnathan Sia 

Raw feelings

I suppose the raw feelings I feel right now are due to the ‘realness’ of it all. As I write this out, I’m forced to confront the fact that the house would be that little bit quieter. That my mother has lost a great love of her life – one who obviously gave her great joy and who obviously loved and doted over her. The dogs lost a loving owner and trainer. My mother’s brother’s and sisters lost a loving in-law. And me and my sister’s families have lost a loving Lou Dao.

The sudden nature of the parting is probably what hurts most and I’m very glad we took every effort to get to know and be close to our Lou Dao despite the relatively short period of time we got to know him for.

Have to take a break here to recompose myself. I’ll like work on writing out another part to this as a follow up of sorts.

Poem: One for fathers

A poem I wrote for fathers and those that play a father role in families. #fathersday

Embed from Getty Images

 

One for fathers

Arms that cradle
that cuddle,
that tickle,
And arms that wipe up dribble.

Continue reading

Plainly speaking (or How to write so that others can understand you)

Please do not state the obvious, thanks :)

Please do not state the obvious, thanks 🙂 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English can be a horrible language (the French would probably attest to that and if they could they’d probably sue the English language for grand larceny). With terms like idioms, double negatives and conjectures being thrown about the English speaking world it’s no wonder a large number of people are confused.

Our Malaysian education system hasn’t seemed to help improve our level of English proficiency and it seems like more university graduates these days struggle to write a report without either basic grammatical mistakes or including bombastic words that would not see daylight in normal conversation let alone in a standard audit report.

Consider this extract from a company called Cityware and try to see if you can understand what they are talking about, “This theme investigates the impact of pervasive technologies on the spatial environment in urban space, both within and outside buildings. As a theory of society as modified by the spatial environment, we will develop space syntax to respond to novel pervasive modes of communication, transaction and exchange implied by pervasive technologies. This will be achieved in Cityware by means of a continuous process of analysis of empirical data on people’s use of and relationship with the urban spatial environment as this is affected by the intervention of pervasive technologies.”

Some people mistake the use of bombastic words and industry terms and believe it’ll make others perceive them as being smarter (or at least, more knowledgeable). After all, ‘unsmart’ people don’t know many fancy words do they? The reality however, is far different.

Two way street

Communication is a two way street and more often than not, if someone else doesn’t understand what you’re trying to say, you are the one that comes off looking like a total goof. Not the other guy. Not even if you’ve talked about, ‘creating total solutions for solution-focused people who are working in a environment that is not conducive towards fostering greater problem-solving situations.’ (Note: that line was totally made up).

The Flesch readability diagnosis was interesting, “You overwhelmingly embrace obfuscation and don’t want the reader to understand
anything you have to say. Your writing lavishes a preponderance of dependent clauses and compound negatives upon the reader, whose cognitive load not infrequently exceeds the purported benefit of the substance of the article. Syntax incorporates numerous collections of items juxtaposed or in series that demand persistence and not a little unqualified expertise on the part
of all intended recipients of the author’s communications.

In fact, such machinations inevitably prove detrimental to comprehension and sabotage the imparting of any and all knowledge. Your condition is irreversible.”

In other words, “you probably don’thave a clue what you’re talking about and there’s little chance that anyone else will understand it either”.

Writing tips

To help make your writing easier to understand, for both your manager and your client:

  • Speak using ‘you’ rather than the third person or passive voice.
  • Break up long runs of text with subheads. It will be more inviting to read and will help structure the development of your ideas.
  • Communicate key themes by demonstrating audience benefits through specific proof points and examples.
  • Avoid jargon and clichés
  • Express complex thoughts in simple terms. Aim for clarity, accessibility, and understanding.

Words to avoid

Double confirm

You can’t double confirm something. You either confirm it or you reconfirm it.

Irregardless

Irregardless is supposed to mean regardless. Why not save that 2 letters and just say regardless when you mean regardless?

Revert

Revert does not mean the same thing as reply. It means ‘to go back to a previous state.’ You can’t say “revert back to me by tomorrow please” because that’s physically & psychologically impossible.

Handphone

The correct term is mobile phone or cell phone. Technically, ‘handphones’ don’t exist in the market.

Understooded

You can’t past tense a past tense. Since ‘understood’ is already the past tense of ‘understand’, there’s no need to add an ‘-ed’ at the back of it. The ‘-ed’ is only meant for events that have happened in the past.

First written back in early 2008 in a company magazine.

Divided – a short story

Accessories

Accessories (Photo credit: N.L)

We meet every day. Same time. Same place. Our eyes meet and hold each others gazes. You smile whimsically and tuck a loose strand of hair behind your ear in that cute way I love so much. I grin and mouth a kiss at you.

Your eyes shimmer as you wrestle with your emotions. You struggle and just about manage to swallow that lump in your throat and return my smile with a weak one of your own.

I want to reach out and touch you but I can’t. Something separates us. Divides our worlds in two. You’re near but far away and far away but near, one of those confusing paradoxes of our lives.

You hold out a handwritten message. “Come back soon” it says. I look at it for a moment, close my eyes and nod gently, trying to hold back tears. I reply with a message of my own, “I miss you so much”. We sit and stare our soundless tablets.

A bell rings in the distance. My time is up. I rise and wave goodbye, chains jangling in my hand as I do so. You lean over to give me a kiss goodbye.

And then the screen blacks out.

THE END