Tuesday, 31 December 2002

seven and a half more hours to the end of 2002!! it will be 2003 soon my darlings!! and there is nothing anyone of us can do about it!!

*gasp* gasp**

have you made your new year resolutions yet? re-examined your old ones??

i'm trying not to recycle anything from last year.. :p.. but i think the main themes will still be the usual:

- skills (language/artistic/business/sports etc): might try to pick up pottery and get around to learning Spanish and Malay. would love to do more oil painting too..

- family: respect and love my parents and siblings

- fitness and health: run hweeling run! :)

- finances: cut out all the frivolous expenses

- break bad habits, grow good ones: late nights, poor eating patterns

something like that lah..
i still get tickled everytime i see this in Amazon while surfing for a particular book. they have this to introduce their new Apparel Store (just below the usual helpful section on "Customers who bought this book also bought")..

Customers who wear clothes also shop for:

  • Clean Underwear from Amazon's Target Store

  • Ladybug Rain Boots from Amazon's Nordstrom Store

  • Pet Socks from Amazon's Urban Outfitters Store

  • Puppy Footed One-Pieces for Newborns from Amazon's Old Navy Store

  • For a limited time get $25 to spend at Amazon when you spend $75 in Amazon's new Apparel Store! Valid on first Apparel purchase only. Limit one per household.

  • hahahaha.... :D

    Monday, 30 December 2002

    i was originally going to blog about the Raelians and cloning but then, after watching the 10 o'clock news on Channel U, i've got more exciting stuff to share with you!! (btw, check out the Rael.org site... it's really odd!! with flying saucers and aliens!! creepy too!)

    according to the news report on the recent fad regarding mexican jumping beans (they showed a whole trayful of them!! remember my earlier blog on my new pets - Biggie, L, and Bert??), some countries such as Hong Kong and Taiwan have banned the import of mexican jumping beans due to their disastrous effect on the natural environment! i didn't quite catch the whole report but apparently, the hatched moths and their crawlies supposedly wipe out huge tracts of native forests!

    the news reporter said that the Singapore authorities haven't produced confirmed reports on the extent of the impact but PPD has issued a request for all owners of Mexican Jumping Beans (including me!!) to hand them over to PPD "for proper disposal"!!

    they're going to kill my Biggie, L and Bert!!! No Way!! Oh dear.. what am i to do?? :(

    and to add to the injury, my mom says they are the most likely cause of the nagging cough she has been having over the past two weeks, as well as the cause of the bit of ill-health I had earlier ... in fact, she added, they are probably the reason why the clinic has been so crowded with so many ill people recently, with persistent illnesses!! :O

    huh??? surely not!!?

    Sunday, 29 December 2002

    today is one of those days when i suddenly get into a strange shopping mood and end up with the strangest and most random things in my shopping bags..

    i bought a matt silver thermos flask (350ml) from the household department, 3 packs of film (36 photos in all) for my Polariod i-zone camera (which i haven't used at all since i bought it in 2001) from the pharmacy, special edition Spawn action figurines (Exclusive Two-Pack Evolution) from the toy department; and a pack of Polish sausages from the supermarket.. very surreal when i look into my bags..

    anyhow, pics from my trip to Taiping are ready!!

    click on the wantan mee auntie to view gallery!

    Thursday, 26 December 2002

    a lovely article that Straits Times columnist David Kraal wrote four years ago. The core message cuts across all lines of race and religion, colour and creed. It is a message of the wonder of life...

    The Straits Times, December 2, 1998.

    Yes, Auréa, there is a Santa Claus

    I SPOKE on the telephone to my favourite little girl in all the world three nights ago.

    Her voice filled with the sparkle of good cheer: "Our Christmas tree is up and it's so tall it touches the sky. The lights are so bright, just like the stars in Singapore." Then she laughed a laugh of complete joy.

    Sticking to the festive theme, I asked: "Has mummy gone out and bought you your Christmas presents?"

    There was no pause from the Paris end when the six-year-old set about correcting the ignorance of age with controlled patience: "Grandpa, grandpa, it is Santa who brings me my Christmas presents, not mummy."

    I was utterly mortified; devastated by my own ignorance. I could only blurt out: "Of course, my darling Auréa, Santa will be bringing you your presents."

    She laughed again, happy that she had put me right about Christmas gifts and where they really came from.

    We chatted about this and that for a few more minutes, then she said she had to go, something about it being time to feed Gaston, her cat.

    I told her I would ring her up to wish her a Merry Christmas and I sadly hung up the phone.

    I sat in my chair for minutes on end, pondering my mistake. How could I, of all people, forget the reality of Christmas? How could I, a journalist all my life, forget that unforgettable journalistic landmark dedicated to Santa Claus?

    Francis Church, the editor of The Sun newspaper in New York, wrote an editorial, published on September 21, 1897, in answer to a letter. It was headlined (strong contender for the most famous headline of all time!): Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

    "We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

    Dear Editor,
    I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says: 'If you see it in The Sun, it's so.' Please tell me the truth: Is there a Santa Claus?
    Virginia O'Hanlon.

    Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see.

    They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or
    children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world
    about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

    Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus!

    It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

    Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove?

    Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

    You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart.

    Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

    No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."

    I want so much to tell you, my dear Auréa, that I do know who brings you those Christmas presents.

    I thought long about how I could make up for my blunder. I decided that try as I might, my journalistic words would be no match for the words written by another journalist just over 100 years ago.

    Yes, Auréa, as Mr French says so eloquently, there is a Santa Claus. Please forgive your old grandpa for his festive folly. One tends to get a little forgetful with age, even when it comes to the most important things in life. More is the pity.

    this is for the fans of LOTR who were appalled by my mis-spelling of their favourite Lord Sauron... just to let you know how I came up with the name Saudemor.. (btw, alb helped me to figure it out).. realised that it was actually a gross mutation of Lord Voldemort (aka He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named) from the latest Harry Potter movie.... hahahhahah... :p .... unbelievable eh??...

    ok.. don't panic.. i'm still around... blogging from the lovely tranquil town of Taiping (near Ipoh) in Malaysia.. taking a lovely holiday break in the shadow of Maxwell Hill, eating the local versions of wantan mee, laksa, char kway teow, nasi lemak, kopi, teh ping, peanut pancake, prawn mee... the appearance is very very different, not to mention the taste!

    will post pics once i get back.. :) in the meantime, merry belated christmas and happy boxing day!!

    Sunday, 22 December 2002

    Discovered today that I have a terribly bad memory in terms of Hollywood movie plots and storylines. Sometimes, when I try to figure them out, the result can be rather hilarious. But mostly, I suppose, they are just plain “bizarre”,as my close friends will testify.

    Caught LOTR this morning (Don’t worry, no spoilers in this blog entry. Promise.) and this was my conversation with alb shortly before we went in for the 10.45am show.

    Me: umm… can’t really remember what happened at the end of the previous episode. I can only remember this guy saying something like “the battle has been won… but the War, with the Dark side, has just Begun!”..

    Alb: huh?? That’s Star Wars lah! Yoda! Not LOTR!

    Me: huh?.. oh. umm… quite similar hor?.. I remember there was also this grotesque-looking swamp thing that was jumping around destroying things.. what was its name? umm...

    Alb: oh no! you’re getting confused! the swamp thing is Gollum.. but he didn’t destroy anything! The destructive, jumping, grotesque creature was from Harry Potter and he is Dobby the house elf!

    Me: oh! But.. but.. what about the trolls then?? There were trolls, right? In both shows? Which are the trolls anyway?? There are so many weird looking things there..

    Alb: Trolls are the creatures that live under the bridge and eat goats.

    Me: Ya.. but they attacked the Hobbits in the first show, right? I remember the guy, Frodo, had to hide behind some pillar and almost got killed! Didn’t that happen to Harry Potter too??

    Alb: Ya.. the troll in Harry Potter was the creature in the toilet with the club.

    Me: ok.. then which ones are the orcs? And what are ogres?? What ‘s the difference anyway??

    Alb: oh no! you’re confused! Orcs are the enemy soldiers in LOTR, controlled by the evil Lord Saudermor. There are no ogres in LOTR. Remember Shrek? He’s an ogre lor..

    Me: huh? Oh, the one with the pointed, antennae ears? But there are dragons in both shows, eh? I remember Gandalf battled a dragon at the end of the first show and got killed. And Shrek had a dragon attacking them too.. and even Harry Potter!

    Alb: aiyoh! The thing in LOTR is not really a dragon. It is called a Balrog (supposed to be the devil), made of shadow and flames. The creature that attacked Harry Potter is a Basilisk, more like a snake. The only dragon was in Shrek.

    Me: oh dear! Why are all these shows so similar?? Like.. like.. did you see that all this types of shows have a wise old man guiding a young, brave warrior, like in Harry Potter, there was this professor, called.. err…

    Alb: Dumbledor.

    Me: Ya! And in the LOTR, there is Gandalf! And the bad guy in these shows is always dressed in black, with a cloak, riding a black horse, like.. Ringwraith in LOTR, and err.. the Headless Horseman in…err…

    Alb: Sleepy Hollow…sigh…

    Me: uh huh! And … this guy controlling this huge lion in this other show.. can’t remember the name, which was traumatizing the villagers??

    Alb: oh no! that’s Brotherhood of the Wolves!! You’re getting all the characters mixed up!

    Me: even Darth Maul wears a black cloak!!

    Alb: But you have to remember by the storyline rather than just the characters or creatures in the show!

    Me: but.. but… the characters in each show are so “ripped off” from each other!! Even the battle scenes look remarkably alike! I remember there was another show where the army in this massive battle also uses long spears, like in LOTR!

    Alb: huh?? Aiyoh, that’s Braveheart!

    Me: huh?? really?? from so long ago??

    Alb: sigh…

    Me: sigh.. (slightly embarrassed.. but definitely more confused than ever)

    Friday, 20 December 2002

    i've finally got my lomohome up on the net... enjoy... :) .. (taken with the lomo lca)

    Thursday, 19 December 2002

    i'm still beaming from the afterglow of something which feels a lot like the Amelie Effect.. you know (from the really amazing french movie Amelie).. where Amelie did an unexpected good deed for someone and then felt so good that it set her off on this life mission to create chain reactions of other good deeds to people around her (which even spun-off back to herself eventually).... have decided that maybe my calling in life is to make a difference to people i meet everyday and where-ever i am, with whatever i have rather than trying to do some really "grand" and earth-shattering things.. maybe little differences that make these people's lives better and which helps them along in what they are doing.... wow... it even sounds good.. :)

    helped someone today to come up with a novel and "out-of-the-box" solution for a troubling problem which first looked like it was "unsolve-able", and which had been causing her sleepless nights for the past couple of weeks. what was most interesting was that the solution came up almost out-of-the-blue when we were jesting and toying around with the most absurd possibilities.. all at once, there was great hope again and things started looking up.. it felt really good for me as much as it was for her...

    then met up with a good friend for lunch and we had a fruitful time updating each other on the latest happenings in our lives and what we have learnt and experienced since some three months ago when we last met. we exchanged some of the new thoughts and ideas and dreams that came up for both of us over this short time.. quite inspiring to be able to knock ideas off someone... and he remarked that it was really good that we had dreams cos "strangely enough, it is really rare to find someone with dreams even among our peers".. can't agree with him more.. everywhere we turn, everyone seems to be so discouraged, in careers, in relationships.. everything... it seems like the economic crisis has taken a blow in almost every aspect of our lives... but then again, maybe we're all just making excuses not to do anything at all.. as someone (i think it was one of my lecturers again) once asked... what do you see in the line below:


    you could read it as "Opportunity Is Nowhere" (pessimist)... or you could also read it as "Opportunity Is Now Here" (optimist)..

    every day offers more food for thought...

    Tuesday, 17 December 2002

    bunnies can come in all shapes and forms...

    the exceedingly cute... Beheaded but eager to please

    the bizarre and mutated.. Auditioning to be bunnies


    when you work in an artshop, you have permission to be child-like forever!!! :D

    Sunday, 15 December 2002

    dropped by after work today to see this "Women For Peace" Charity Carnival & Concert thingey at Fort Canning Park organised by UNIFEM Singapore in conjunction with International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. They had a couple of stores selling exotic jewellery and decorative items, Nepali food and snacks, beer and other random stuff, as well as a stall representing AWARE and another by UNIFEM Singapore themselves.

    Spoke to this volunteer at the booth and thought UNIFEM does really good work: helping women to learn to provide for themselves and their families, educating them on their rights, eliminating violence against women etc. They are currently involved in projects in Bintan to help women and families affected by the recent economic crisis. Though she sounded a tad bit feminist ("women are likely to use the money donated to them on their families while men tend to squander it away"), she was truly passionate about the cause she was supporting, in both words and action.

    i'm still trying to figure out where to place my time and efforts in terms of contributions to charity... i know i love animals and am against cruelty to all of God's creations.. especially to cats (i love cats!!)... i also want to help children in neighbouring developing countries to have more opportunities in life.. at the same time, i have to acknowledge that there may perhaps already be areas on the home-front that i can readily contribute in... umm.... it used to be easier when i was in the Interact Club in school and we had scheduled days and times to visit special schools and service centres to help out.. now, it takes a lot more commitment and responsibility to make sure i can keep it up once i start.. very complicated..

    will surely be something to work on for the new year..

    Friday, 13 December 2002

    Albert Einstein has some pretty amazing quotes (taken from this site):

    The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

    People like you and I, though mortal of course like everyone else, do not grow old no matter how long we live...[We] never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born. (in a letter to Otto Juliusburger)

    We have to do the best we can. This is our sacred human responsibility.

    The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.

    The search for truth is more precious than its possession

    Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.

    The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.

    I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.

    With fame I become more and more stupid, which of course is a very common phenomenon.

    Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the life-long attempt to acquire it.

    Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.

    He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice. (this one is really harsh.. but makes sense..)

    Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them.

    Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means (i love this one :))
    you have heard of the Serenity Prayer which goes like this:

    GOD, grant me the serenity
    to accept the things
    I cannot change,

    Courage to change the
    things I can, and the
    wisdom to know the difference.
    (see full text)

    but have you heard of the Senility Prayer:

    GOD grant me the senility
    to forget the people
    I never liked anyway,

    the good fortune to run into the ones that I do, and the
    eyesight to tell the difference.

    very true.. i'm still trying to learn the lesson of not staying angry with the millions of bad drivers who recklessly cut in in front of me everyday when i drive..grr...
    a bunch of Canadian Mennonites have started a movement called Buy Nothing Christmas "dedicated to reviving the original meaning of Christmas giving". They are even providing you with posters you can download (here) to support the movement!

    Buy Nothing Christmas

    though i don't completely agree with this group of radical souls (after all, isn't Christmas about giving? and if we want to give something tangible, don't we have to buy it??), the Christmas crowd can get a little daunting and frustrating at times. and the worse thing is, we usually end up at the end of gift exchange sessions (especially at work) with a lot of things from a lot of people we aren't really all that close to, that just end up sitting around on the shelf or cupboard for the next 12 months till next Christmas...

    hence, i am tempted to practise what i now term the new form of "Gift Exchange".. basically, if you get something you don't really like from someone you are not all that close to, just rewrap it, write a new card, and give it to someone else! :D this way, you save your money buying more presents and at the same time, save yourself from all the clutter that builds up from unwanted gifts...

    hahahaha.. . oh oh.. now i think i may end up not receiving any presents from some of you anymore!.. :(

    Thursday, 12 December 2002

    my lecturer has a website! how fun!

    i think everyone should have their own webpage, even if it is just to dump random stuff they find or think up or to scribble down the occassional note.... it's like staking out a home in a global village of limitless communication and connection... go beyond email (which is no different from just having a PO box but no home).. build a house where people can visit to know a little more about you and from which you can make that little bit of difference (no matter how small) in your own way to the information world.. if you are an expert in something, contribute to the global repository of knowledge that will benefit humankind!!

    read this random joke in Reader's Digest:

    My friend and I were working on her computer when a spider landed on the monitor.

    While my friend was trying to chase it away, I couldn't help but retort,"Maybe it's trying to access its website."

    hahahaha.... ok ok.. not funny... :p

    Wednesday, 11 December 2002

    i think everyone should know about Axel Erlandson and his Tree Circus - pretty amazing! this guy grows trees into amazing twists, hearts, spirals and any shape you can imagine... cool...

    one of the original trees..

    20 days to the end of the year!!

    having encountered quite a couple of pretty dramatic end-of-year happenings over the past couple of years, i can safely conclude that the end of the year has probably something of a catalytic effect on most people I know, including myself.. For some reason, a lot of dramatic things tend to happen anywhere between mid November to end December... New and old relationships defined & redefined, intense emotions felt, career changes and plans, meeting new people, forming new bonds.. it is as if we are all trying to get things sorted out quickly so we can start life anew for next year ... even though most of the time, things don't quite end up the way we expect or hope them to ... anyhow, we learn a lot of sweet or painful and frequently life-changing lessons - we may end up crying a lot, laughing a lot, but mostly, we just sit around talking and sharing.. it is really nice... warm and fuzzy... This makes the rest of the year somewhat dull.. but hopefully we can all come together on the eve of New Year and count down together, hug, kiss and hope for the best for one other for the next year.. for that, i'm actually looking forward to New Year Count Down.. just for the "purging effect" :p ..

    on another note: if i were to challenge you to try something new or to pick up something you have always wanted to learn before the year is through (with what little time we have left), what would it be?

    i'm going to try out cooking Asian dishes!! umm... maybe i should try making Tom Yam soup?.. :)

    Monday, 9 December 2002

    2002 in Twenty Words or Less

    did grad-dip. laughed. cried. learned. ran. loved. read. took loads of photographs. london again. gained friends. became wiser.

    More brisk walking through town...

    Indian Temple At Waterloo St Childish Blessings This is in the middle of town! Guess where??

    and check out Happy Tree Friends come alive!!

    Made with Sculpey III Polymer Clay available from Creative Hands

    Sunday, 8 December 2002

    A brisk walk through suburban Singapore...

    Sun Plaza New HDB flats Govt flats from afar - indistinguishable from condominiums Seletar Reservoir Fighting Fishes at Sembawang Shopping Centre Endless Pathways More Endless Paths Canals Shady Trees Night - end of a journey without destination

    Saturday, 7 December 2002

    Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri! (pick your own greeting card :p)

    took a quick glance at Edward de Bono's 'Six Thinking Hats' book just now at Kinokuniya.. seems like a really interesting technique to help confused, overwhelmed people like me make decisions for all areas of life, especially in terms of work.. the technique advocates considering a problem from 6 important perspectives, systematically, so as to get a more rounded view of a situation. You imagine you are putting on different coloured hats, each representing a different style of thinking, from creatively, cautiously, intuitively, analytically, etc... so at the end of it, problems are supposed to get solved a lot more quickly and also comprehensively.. but quite an expensive book.. will try to get it from the library instead..

    we also saw this book called "The 36 Strategies of the Chinese: Adapting Ancient Chinese Wisdom to the Business World".. see a list of the 36 strategies here... sometimes, i hate to read about the business world like it's some sort of battlefield.. maybe i'm just naive, but i've always looked at business as just another aspect of modern society - to serve people, driven by the invisible hand.. if you see a want to be met and you fill it, everyone benefits. to win over your competition, you provide the best service or best price (or best value) available and everyone benefits even more.. something like that..

    battlefield?.. sigh.. i don't know...

    Friday, 6 December 2002

    went to see Mini-Z Racing today at this walk-up pre-war shophouse unit along Jalan Besar.. very strange place... Here, hidden away from the human traffic below, grown-up men play with modified 5" long radio-controlled racing cars in all makes and models, pitting their speeds against each other on a 10mx5m carpeted circuit at up to 20km/hr.. going round and round and round, flipping over, bumping and crashing... the whole idea is not only to be the most skillful at moving these little cars smoothly around circuits of twist, turns and straight lanes, but also to be skilled at changing the million and one parts that can make the car go faster, turn smoother, survive harder knocks or just be more stable... seems like the sort of things that engineers would love (alb says everyone there is an engineer, one type or other)... the camaraderie present there seems quite good.. like-minded individuals no doubt..

    just one of the many hobbies that folks (especially guys) are spending their time and money on that i know nothing about.... such as playing with radio-controlled planes and helicopters, flying stunt kites, playing LAN and arcade games, fishing...

    something new indeed.

    Wednesday, 4 December 2002

    according to the lecturer in class today (yes, i still have one last module for my SIM course - called the Executive Empowerment Module.. sigh..), we often are attracted to people (or discover that a particular someone is "attractive") when he/she:

    - rewards us (either in terms of inspiring us, supporting us, or otherwise making us feel good about ourselves)
    - likes us (cos the typical person feels "unattractive" and is usually afraid of rejection and likes to know that they are liked..)
    - is similar to us (rather than dissimilar, in term of educational level, intellect level, etc..)
    - is physically attractive
    - is around us when good things happen
    - likes the same people and the same things (my lecturer believes the only time that the notion of "opposites attract" holds true when men or women are attracted to someone of the opposite gender. otherwise, similarity attracts..)
    - disclose themselves to us (this one is quite true)

    umm... i think there is some truth in most of them, though not all.. what do you think?
    joined the frenzied but festive (mostly Malay) crowd at Geylang Serai Pasar Malam today doing their pre-Hari Raya shopping, all in the spirit of racial harmony...

    impressive array of traditional season cookies colourful thirst quenchers plastic flowers selling for $1 a bunch fried things - prawns, chickens, beef, lobsters! wow! cushions were in fashion

    we ended up eating a strange green pandan bao and a Ramly Burger (!) for dinner... yumm.... :)

    pandan bao and ramly bun.. racial harmony...

    Tuesday, 3 December 2002

    i ate a half-boiled egg this morning (the type you can find in kopi tiams (neighbourhood coffee shops) anywhere in Singapore), semi-scalded with boiling water, broken into a bowl or saucer (or slurped directly from the shell), with soya sauce and white pepper.. the way we have been eating it all our lives... and suddenly, I wondered out loud if people in other cultures eat their eggs like that too..

    it's yummy!!

    do they??
    pic from Straits Times with the caption: "Reds fans at the official Liverpool FC fan club at Maxwell Road can only watch in despair yesterday as Manchester United striker Diego Forlan celebrates his first goal in a 2-1 victory." (story here)

    Check out the girl's expression! hahaha...

    i couldn't help but notice that the girl in the front row was more amused than "in despair" .... hahaha... hope she didn't get into trouble after the photo was published..

    Sunday, 1 December 2002

    i took the Love Test and these are my results...

    1. You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free.

    2. In the process of courtship, the approach that would make you feel irresistable is straight-forward, just tell you he/she loves you.

    3. The impression you would like to give to your lover is stylish.

    4. What you hate most in your partner is that the person is ruthless, cold-blooded, and/or ironic.

    5. The kind of relationship you would like to build with your partner is that both of you can talk about everything and anything, no secret is kept.

    6. You can never be stabilized; actually, you are not suitable for marriage and you don't want to make committment.(!!)

    7. You are afraid of marriage, you think it would take away your freedom.

    8. At this moment, you think of love as a committment for both parties.

    found a rather inspiring article which could be handy for times when i (or maybe you) feel afraid...
    We the Wimps by William Ecenbarger
    ever since i started doing the "mirror project" thing, and begun looking out every moment for reflections of myself, either perfect or distorted, in all sorts of random places to add to the growing collection, i realised that i have slowly overcome one of my biggest childhood (and also adulthood) fears.. the fear of actually looking at myself or catching sight of reflections of myself when i least expect it... (yes, indeed, i used to turn away whenever i see reflections of myself in shop windows and still don't particularly like having my picture taken)..

    lest you think i have turned narcissistic, let me assure you otherwise.. my close friends will tell you that i am still one of those people who almost "can't be bothered with how i look or what i wear". however, in my quest for self-awareness, i have come to realise that one of the most amazing ways (or rather methods) for self-reflection is this... To look at yourself in a mirror as you ask yourself some deep, personal questions. By this, i don't mean that you take the usual random glance at yourself in a bathroom mirror, only to adjust that straying strand of hair, or to check that your make-up is neat or to say "My, you look good!" (even though that is not a bad thing too.. :p) Instead, the next time you look at yourself in a mirror, look deep within yourself, ask yourself "Who Am I?".. "Who's that looking at me?".."What's this person's story? Dreams?"... And look at those eyes looking back at you and perhaps even answer yourself out loud (but not in a public loo in case you scare the cleaning lady..).... it's really weird but when you are able to look beyond your own appearance, and speak to yourself as a "second person", you will realise that you are actually looking deep within your own soul and discovering some amazing things about yourself and your thoughts.. and perhaps others will be able to look beyond your appearance too to know you more deeply..

    if this sounds too much like the sort of thing you read in this book and you simply hate it, sorry... it worked for me... i didn't read the book too 'cos it read like a bunch of hogwash when i flipped through it in Kino, haha... double standards... :p

    Saturday, 30 November 2002

    (pause for a moment and let me ask you some questions....)

    Do you have dreams?

    Goals and ideals that you want to achieve before you bid this world farewell?

    How serious are you about your dreams?

    Deep in your heart, do you really want to make these dreams come true?

    But who’s going to make them happen if even you are not serious about them yourself?

    What’s holding you back from pursuing them?

    Are these obstacles real?

    Are they really insurmountable?

    Would these things that hold you back matter anymore when you die?

    Suppose you really wanted to make your dreams come true..

    What would you do?

    What would you need to do?

    (i'm asking you but i'm asking myself too...)
    Breast Scarves from Japan!!! Yucky!! (via AccordianGuy in the 21st Century)
    i'm trying to figure out this thing about the nauga.. is it real? looking like this? or is it just an urban legend?

    One day, Bob decided that he really needed to have some leather pants to complete his rock-star image. He didn't know where to get them, so he went to the wise and beautiful Lana, his sister, and asked where he could get a pair of leather pants.

    Lana, however, told him that leather pants were too expensive, especially considering Bob's salary. So Lana advised him to track down the elusive and mysterious Nauga in the wilds of Target ("tar-jay")and take its hide. She said she could make him a pair of pants out of Nauga hide to rival all the leather pants in the world.

    So Bob went to Target and stalked down the Nauga. It was a long and arduous chase. it fiinally ended when Bob cornered the Nauga somewhere between the snack bar and electronics. Bob tackled the Nauga and brutally murdered it with the Super Plastic Commando-Man Playset Knife. He then skinned the Nauga and attached the hide to his wallet chain using the Super Plastic Commando-Man Playset Handcuffs. Toys are a wonderful thing. Bob took the Nauga hide to the wise and beautiful Lana, who made a marvelous pair of pleather pants.

    Bob loved the pleather pants with all his heart and soul. He wore them all the time even though they were miserably hot and reeked of dead Nauga.
    (story from "Bob and The Mysterious Origins of Pleather")

    hahaha... i love the Internet...

    Friday, 29 November 2002

    hi! how was your day today?

    i sat in a cafe with a cappuccino and a wonderful book.... got your envy yet?? hahaha...

    Cappuccino, Book & Time on My Hands

    don't worry.. it's just my off-day... gonna work over the weekend (both Sat and Sun) so stop beating your chest moaning about the unfairness in life.. :p

    i've bought my Grandluxe 2003 diary to get ready for the New Year! It's a very handy palm-sized notebook but packed with loads of space (one full page per day) for penning down my everyday thoughts (yes, i'm abandoning my Palm and going back to pen and paper..it just feels a lot more natural than scribbling on a slippery glass screen with a plastic stylus) have you decided what grand plans you have for the year ahead? what hopes? what aspirations?? something you want to change about yourself? a new look? a new hobby? a new language? a trip somewhere perhaps??

    how about getting together with a couple of like-minded good friends and talk about it before the year is through?? it will be so much fun! Beats complaining about your job or about how boring life is or about how you hate office politics or how nothing ever changes (and nothing ever will)! Inspire each other! Find out how you can all work together to make each other's dream come true! Join the gym together! Plan to run next year's Marathon together!

    a day of self-reflection does much wonders.. :)

    and i saw a giant toadstool on my way home just now.. it's the biggest freaking toadstool i've ever seen in my life! check this out!

    giant man-eating toadstool
    i love it when i get pleasing fluke shots like these..

    view from car
    haw par villa
    pics taken with LCA using Kodak T400CN b&w C41 film

    Thursday, 28 November 2002

    what a tremendous day!

    went to the botanical gardens in the morning to take pictures of the dragonflies there (loads of them in all hues of red, purple, yellow and blue dart around any of the large muddy ponds there) and found relaxed retired couples walking around, parents with noisy kids on holiday and all sorts of random yuppies and ang moh backpackers sitting or hanging around, meditating on the beauty of the natural surroundings and breathing in the fresh foresty air. Really nice. should make it a habit to come here often - it really is a gem in the city, great when you need moments of solitude to think stuff over :)

    Dragonfly stunning morning sky!

    then dropped into the shop and my very funny colleague gave me two of these paper barbie doll sheets that we used to play as kids. said she found it in a shop in Chinatown selling the most amazing and random 80s stuff (the really tacky, really obiang things that we grew up with).. hahaha.. should check out this place.. in case you want to play with it as well, you can download one of the pieces and print it on some kind of stiff white paper and cut them out to play.. hahahaha.... :D

    XiaoTianTian XiaoTianTian's Dress XiaoTianTian's HandBag

    Tuesday, 26 November 2002

    i love books and i love reading... which is why being sandwiched between the two most wonderful places in town for books (Kinokuniya @ Takashimaya - which is indisputably the best bookstore in Singapore, and Library@Orchard - which allows me to bring all these otherwise really expensive books home for free) isn't exactly a good idea... even walking through the bookstore without buying anything, just thumbing through the thousands of books on display - checking out the latest award winners, or browsing through the library when my loan quota has already been reached, pleases me immensely... i used to even buy hardcover books just for the spines, imagining what they would look like on the bookshelf (good friend lynn can attest to that :p) i think i am a book addict.. i still dream of opening a cafe one day just displaying all the books that i have accumulated all these years (so my mum can stop complaining about the growing book warehouse at home) where people can spend all afternoon reading and drinking coffee al fresco under shady trees or beach umbrellas... pondering on the meaning of life.....wow.. picture that in your mind... :)

    someone (i think it was my Marketing lecturer) once told us that he can predict how anyone will turn out in the future just by knowing what and how many books they read and the friends they keep. Just today, i read something similar:

    "You are the same today as you'll be in five years except for two things, the people you meet and the books you read"
    (Charles E. "T" Jones)

    isn't it so true? most of what motivates us comes from who we meet at different points in our lives and what we read and encounter along the way.. umm.. :)

    Monday, 25 November 2002

    my present has become dull.. i've decided to blog about my past instead.. err.. is it allowed?.. blog rules.. umm... :O

    anyway, this was me twenty-seven years ago..

    mini me & my beautiful mum

    took a spontaneous and random trip to Haw Par Villa this afternoon to finish up the roll of film in my LCA .. haven't been there since i was twelve or so (way before they made the place a silly amusement park and started charging exorbitantly high entrance fees) even though it's only like 5-mins drive from where i stay. I remember that it was mosquito-infested and the ten courts of hell were scary as.. er.. hell.. (durrh..).. on my way there, i wondered if the place would still charm me as much as it did when i was a child, looking up at the life-sized, coloured plaster statues of deities, mythical beings and all things odd and bizarre....

    boy was i impressed! even though the place has really suffered from poor maintenance and it was still mosquito heaven, it is one-of-a-kind, a true original - something i think we should all be proud we have in Singapore.. where else in the world can you see a no-holds-barred depiction of crime and punishment at it's very extreme?? parents with their kids at the ten courts of hell can't help but explain (even if they don't believe in stuff like heaven and hell) to the bewildered but definitely captivated kids the importance of traditional chinese virtues such as filial piety, honesty, hard work, albeit the rather morbid setting.. the whole place is amazing, a work of art meets mythology meets 60s hip… no wonder they tried to change it into an amusement park (i'm glad they failed.. it could have done much damage to the inherent beauty and magic of this place)..

    go visit it.. it's really really cool.. a tad bit kitsch but cool... (you'll be seeing some pics from me on this place soon :))

    Sunday, 24 November 2002

    you're no smiley you're a banana
    What Smiley Are You?

    brought to you by Quizilla

    caught Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets yesterday. great storyline, great effects and captivating from start to end. pretty impressive. but a tad bit too dark, i feel. i think it should be rated NC16 or something.. i wouldn't want my kids growing up with this sort of ideas running around their immature minds..especially if they start wanting to buy wizardry stuff! gulp.. but great show. looking forward to Lord of the Ring: The Twin Towers!

    squeezed with the weekend crowds at the motorshow @ suntec to look at all the impractical racing and sports cars on display there. these couple of things caught our eye...
    a true art car.. very cute..Esplanade Beetle
    BMW Z4 definite dream car of many.. drooling over it..
    ASIMO ASIMO - honda's innovative new robot. amazingly flexible.. it looked like it could move every single one of its joints, making it incredibly human-like - going up and down steps, waving and dancing.. very impressive - could be the sort of thing that will take over the world in the future... :O

    Thursday, 21 November 2002

    i was fascinated to read (via hidden city) about this dietary additive called guarana capsules - and this spirulina powder thingy which apparently helps to focus one's attention and to aid those poorly focused to see more projects to completion.

    it sounds just like the sort of stuff that i need.

    this is why.. i don't remember when and how it really started... but on a typical day, i will find myself starting on one thing with enthusiasm, but before i actually finish doing it, something else comes along to totally distract me and i'll start on this new thing... but give me another half hour or so and suddenly, i'll remember something else even more important, drop whatever i'm doing to do it.. and the worse thing is, i usually never come back to either one of the earlier activities again (having completely forgotten about them!).. at the same time, i'll leave something somewhere as i'm walking around, find myself completely misplacing it and eventually waste more time looking for it.. according to my rather frank (actually brutally frank) colleague, i "leave evidence" of semi-completed work everywhere, which isn't untrue. :(

    so this drug actually sounds quite cool, if it works..

    it's not because of lack of sleep. i've tried getting tons of rest and yet i'm still so.. distracted..

    very weird really... it's a disease.. my sister says it's called attention deficiency.. huh? i thought that only happens to kids??

    Wednesday, 20 November 2002

    woo hoo!! turns out the malay guy won in the end even though the chinese guy looked much more confident and everyone was betting on him to win!

    oh well, you never know with such things..

    life resumes normality.. at least for me... now i have nothing to blog about.. err..
    a christmas bandit in our store!

    Face to face with the Christmas Bandit

    Tuesday, 19 November 2002

    It's Party Time!

    It’s Party Time! They’re all here! There’s the forty-something Ah Chek wearing his striped polo tee, with his bulging beer belly and loose khaki bermudas. There’s also the housewife-y auntie, with two or three kids in tow, trying to get them to behave themselves. There’re also my favourite Ah Pors in their grey, round-collared blouses (with tiny pink and yellow flower prints) and flowing black slacks. There’s also a good showing of after-dinner yuppie couples, hand in hand, whispering sweet nothings to each other. The smatterings of Bengs and Lians can also not be missed, along with a bunch of folks who look suspiciously like gambling bookies. All in all, a good cross-section of the Singapore demography, even some not commonly seen in this part of Singapore. It’s a lively crowd!

    And they have all made their way here to see the latest free attraction in town: Human Magnets!

    These human-like creatures, weather-resistant, can go without sleep for extended periods, are capable of having dinner and toilet breaks simultaneously in less than 5 minutes, who can go without using their mobile phones for more than 3 days (an amazing fact indeed!), and are able to attach themselves to their objects of desire without once letting go for 6 hour periods! Amazing!

    2 left. And they look like shit. Sleep deprivation. What do you expect??
    behold the puppets of materialism!

    the day was unbearably hot and then the rain poured twice, making the night really chilly, yet at least 15 of them still remain... many have blood-shot eyes, look terrible terrible terrible, some look distinctly grumpy, and some are barely coherent, unable to answer simple questions posed to them by the chirpy and pesky DJs from the local radio stations.. they have become a bit of a joke for the ever-changing crowds hanging off the barricades around them and so many try to shield their faces when they see cameras pointing at them... some even look angry.. but most of them just look so blank, like they are on some kind of drug or something..

    one guy said he was doing it "for his girlfriend" (who had gone home but "will be coming again later".. poor thing...:p). another said it was for his family and they were "all standing over there".. why don't they just admit they are doing it for themselves?? that they are actually "slaves of materialism"?? let's face it, who will actually allow their loved ones to go through this sort of stuff, no matter what the prize is?? i know i wouldn't.. and from the worried looks of some people around, i can tell they don't want the contestants to suffer that much too... i can understand if one goes through suffering for a charitable or justifiable cause.. but for a car? i don't know...

    honestly, i have little respect for these people.

    Sunday, 17 November 2002

    alb got me some mexican jumping beans!! they are so amazing!!

    Meet Biggie, L, and Bert.. according to the instructions, i will need to give them a drink once a week, encourage them to jump often and avoid the most common accidents that have happened to other beans, namely:

    - Sucked up by the vacuum cleaner.
    - Eaten by the dog.
    - Fallen down the drain.
    - Got too friendly with the cat.
    - Accidentally stepped on and squished.
    - Went through the clothes washer or dryer.

    went to look at the miserable-looking people at the Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza just now with their hands on the 3 Subaru Imprezas at the "Last Man Standing Wins" contest to launch the new Subara Impreza.. None of them were smiling or talking and a few look dreadfully glum.. gee... i wouldn't be able to do it if i were them. I reckon i will end up falling asleep even while standing. anyway, they do get a toilet and meal break every 6 hours or something like that.. hee hee.. i'll go check on them again tomorrow and take an updated pic of the remaining survivors.. woah.. it turns out Singaporeans are a hardy lot indeed.. :p

    miserable people trying to win the Subaru Impreza
    this rather bizarre-looking "halloween-recycled" snowman was outside our shop terrorising small children.. evil snowman

    the shopping mood of Christmas fills the air.... i have started playing Christmas songs in the store and it seems to have gotten people into the mood of buying crafty kits to give away or to make presents for their loved ones... the crazy shopping will soon begin.. there will be frantic scrambling for bargains, perhaps some pushing and shoving, last-minute buying of gifts for that obscure uncle or auntie x-times removed...gulp.. Christmas shopping can be such a terrifying experience.... has the true meaning of Christmas been hidden beneath all that commercialism??

    Saturday, 16 November 2002

    what's their problem?? "making Singapore unban chewing gum as part of the FTA deal"?? (via Krisalis)... but we like our floors free from blackish lumps and our MRT doors not to be jammed with wads of gum left by irresponsible chewers!!
    for some bizarre reason (bordering on overgrown childishness??!), i feel like checking out the Cartoon Network - Tinseltoon X'mas at Downtown East & Escape Theme Park... I wish i have a toddler nephew or niece to bring down to pretend to be just an escort...sigh.. nevermind, guess i'll just stick to checking out the cool lomowall exhibition at Citylink/Esplanade and the Motor Show @ Suntec instead this weekend...

    Poster for Tinseltoon X'mas at Orchard MRT

    Thursday, 14 November 2002

    i got my exams results and they were quite ok! :)

    hope i can finally get around to some daily routine of doing those things i promised myself i would do after my exams.. like go running (which i would have done if not for my illness), take loads of lomo and serious photos (not just all the bunch of digital stuff i have been posting recently... which were fun anyway..), learn a bit of some third language (either Malay or Spanish), paint, read and maybe write (i.e. other than my blog)... sounds arty huh?? :p

    me and me and me on christmas baubles