Geek Culture

Gundam pure gold statues available for opulent otaku

Want to be the man -- or woman -- with the golden Gundam? Get pure gold statues of the RX-78-2 Gundam and Char's Zaku II from the popular Gundam anime franchise. Image credit: Kogei Co., Ltd
Image credit: Kogei Co., Ltd

Want to be the man — or woman — with the golden Gundam? Get pure gold statues of the RX-78-2 Gundam and Char’s Zaku II from the popular Gundam anime franchise.

Sold only in Japan, these gorgeous gold statues are the handiwork of Kogei Co., Ltd., the same high-end crafts and toy company that produced limited edition pure gold Mazinger Z statues last year. The pure gold Gundam statues will be their first products under their new U-Works project, in collaboration with Urara Cube Co., Ltd. Both the RX-78-2 Gundam (Beam Rifle Version) and Char’s Zaku II 24-karat gold statues will sell for JPY26.4 million (US$241,375.20), while the much smaller RX-78-2 Gundam (Beam Saber Version) will have a price of JPY3.96 million (US$36,206.28).

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Entertainment, Geek Culture

Disney+ Hotstar launches June 1 in Malaysia, taps Astro

Image credit: Screenshot of Disney+ Hotstar site
Image credit: Screenshot of Disney+ Hotstar site

The magic of Disney+ Hotstar will cast its spell on Malaysia starting June 1, with a three-month subscription available for just RM54.90 (US$13.32).

The announcement comes less than two weeks after the season finale of “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier”, one of the Disney+ Originals that Disney+ Hotstar Malaysian subscribers will get to enjoy, as part of the over 800 films and 18,000 episodes of popular series from Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, National Geographic, FX, 20th Century Studios, and more. Apart from this international content, the streaming platform will bring Malaysian hits to subscribers, including popular Malaysian movies, TV series, and exclusive titles. Leading Malaysian content and consumer company Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad has also been appointed as an official distributor of Disney+ Hotstar in Malaysia.

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Science, Technology

Headspace: Meditation, mindfulness minus mysticism

Image credit: Headspace
Image credit: Headspace

In today’s edition of The Wake Up on the Headspace app, Headspace Chief Music Officer John Legend — yes, that John Legend — walked the plank.

The multi-awarded American singer, who is the first Black man to win the EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony), was using a VR headset to walk a virtual plank way up high under the guidance of neuroscientist Dr. Yewande Pearse. They were testing how music could make us feel less stressed. I found this episode of The Wake Up — a series on this meditation app that features different subject matter experts — very relatable because I have acrophobia, which I sort of overcame in college by climbing mountains. And it’s a perfect example of how Headspace demystifies meditation, and marries ancient wisdom with cutting-edge science and technology to help more people practice mindfulness.

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Technology

Blockchain for shipping: R3 partners with Tramés, IMDA

R3 Head of APAC Amit Ghosh touts the benefits of using blockchain technology for the shipping industry. Image credit: R3
R3 Head of APAC Amit Ghosh touts the benefits of using blockchain technology for the shipping industry. Image credit: R3

Proving that blockchain can be a gamechanger for global shipping, enterprise software firm R3 has announced a partnership with Tramés and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

“When it comes to paper-based documents such as bill of lading, blockchain technology is a perfect fit as it eliminates the need for an intermediary or third party due to its decentralized nature — allowing peers on the network to transact directly with each other,” R3 Head of APAC Amit Ghosh told Digital Life Asia.

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A Life Less Analog, Entertainment

Save the Children, save the world

Technology column header

Save the Children, which is celebrating its 40th year in the Philippines, has named actress Liza Soberano as its newest ambassador.

The world’s leading independent children’s organization, Save the Children aims to give children a good start in life, protect them from violence and any other damage, and help them learn crucial skills. Soberano is known for using her social media platforms to support women and children’s rights, including joining forces with a senator to fight the online sexual exploitation of children.

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Entertainment

Play Something: Let Netflix decide for you

If you love streaming but find it hard to decide what to watch, stop scrolling and just let Netflix Play Something for you. Image credit: Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash
Image credit: Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

If you love streaming but find it hard to decide what to watch, stop scrolling and just let Netflix Play Something for you.

That’s what Netflix Director of Product Innovation Cameron Johnson wants you to do, as he announced the launch of the streaming giant’s new Play Something feature in a blog post. Just hit the button, and Netflix will instantly take you to a series or film it knows you’ll love based on what you’ve previously watched.

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Technology

Fintech, bank convergence seen to accelerate amid crisis

While fintech startups disrupted the banking industry, the COVID-19 crisis will see traditional banks, neobanks, and fintechs converging and collaborating to address the needs of customers. Image credit: Floriane Vita on Unsplash
Image credit: Floriane Vita on Unsplash

While fintech startups have disrupted the banking industry, the COVID-19 crisis will see traditional banks, neobanks, and fintechs converging and collaborating to address the needs of customers.

“Fintechs, while regulated, almost don’t have any baggage to begin with. This is where they kind of flew up front to provide the experience profile, to provide the experience management for the market. But at the same time, they needed to connect back with systems so that the customer that they are serving has an end-to-end experience. And this is where I think the new age digibanks, the new age fintechs, and the heritage banks have a real opportunity to now leverage technology and leverage partnerships,” Aju Murjani, IBM Public Cloud Executive, Sales, IBM Asia Pacific, told Digital Life Asia.

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Technology

Financial woes force Filipinos to cancel digital services

A Philippine survey on the financial impact of COVID-19 on consumers shows that 31% of Filipinos have cancelled or reduced digital services due to financial woes. Image credit: TransUnion Philippines
Image credit: TransUnion Philippines

A Philippine survey on the financial impact of COVID-19 on consumers shows that 31% of Filipinos have cancelled or reduced digital services due to financial woes. This was among the budget changes reported by respondents, according to the Consumer Pulse study conducted by TransUnion. The research found that 93% of Filipinos surveyed have seen their household income negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The survey did not specify the digital services. However, examples of wireless data, cable TV, and internet were provided in the survey, so at least one of these digital services has been cancelled or reduced by respondents,” TransUnion Philippines President and CEO Pia Arellano told Digital Life Asia.

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Technology

NFT art: Banksy showcased in new ARTCELS portfolio

If there is one thing you should know about NFT art, it's this: "This isn’t a fad. This is gonna go on for a lot longer.” 

Art investor views 'Girl with a Balloon', distinctive screen print by Banksy. Image credit: HOFA Gallery
Art investor views ‘Girl with a Balloon’, a distinctive screen print by Banksy. Image credit: HOFA Gallery

If there is one thing you should know about NFT art, it’s this: “This isn’t a fad. This is gonna go on for a lot longer.”

That’s what Alex Elias, Head of Digital Art of London-based HOFA Gallery and digital arts investment platform ARTCELS, told Digital Life Asia during a virtual preview of the new blue-chip art portfolio “Millennials” for the media on April 22. The portfolio, which includes pieces by coveted artists such as Banksy, Nina Chanel Abney, Jonas Wood, Josh Sperling, and Yoshimoto Nara, is available to investors as share-based ownership using NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which are currently revolutionizing the gaming and collectibles space — including helping Filipino gamers put food on the table during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Technology

BPI on evolving role, encouraging Gen Z to save

New BPI president and CEO Jose Teodoro “TG” Limcaoco wants to cement BPI's position as the undisputed leader in the Philippine digital banking space. Image credit: BPI
New BPI president and CEO Jose Teodoro “TG” Limcaoco wants to cement BPI’s position as the undisputed leader in the Philippine digital banking space. Image credit: BPI

Quoting Charles Dickens, BPI Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” for the bank in 2020. And as the oldest bank in the Philippines — and in Southeast Asia — formally welcomed its new president and CEO Jose Teodoro “TG” Limcaoco on April 22 after its board meeting, BPI emphasized the evolving role of banks as they navigate the changing digital landscape and the preferences of consumers across different generations and channels.

“In the old days, people wanted to see the cash in the vault. Today, you don’t see the cash in the vault. You know your money’s there, but it’s in data form. And therefore going forward, the successful banks are the ones with the name that people can trust that the data is safeguarded, that the data can be used by themselves, and that the cost of using is actually cheap or actually positive because their data grows, or their wealth grows. And that’s why people love the concept of digital banks. I think there will be people who will come into the Philippines trying to set up a digital bank, but they will always be at a disadvantage to BPI which has the name and the physical infrastructure to attract the customers,” Limcaoco said.

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A Life Less Analog, Science

Earth Day 2021: Change the system, change yourself

Technology column header

As we celebrate Earth Day 2021 today, let us remember that while it’s true that the system needs to change, this doesn’t mean that our personal actions are no longer important.

Like nature and nurture, collective and individual action go hand in hand. Both are important. Both are needed. And are, in fact, interconnected. As individuals, the choices we make can have an impact on the decisions of others, and together we can change the world. Those who belittle our individual efforts to take climate action and live more sustainably, who say it’s the whole system that has to change and that we can’t make much of a difference as a person, probably just want us to despair and not even bother to attempt to change the world. Maybe because they don’t want the status quo to change.

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