Wednesday, 31 July 2002

a talk with a good friend of mine yesterday triggered off this pondering in my head about life, living it, and what achieving the full potential of our earthy lives really mean.. for my friend, there is this concept of "life spans" - which does not actually refer to the period of our lives from the very first breath to our last.... instead, this concept of "life spans" refers to the different periods of our lives... for most people, the various so-called "phases of our lives" is differentiated by the different physical, financial, or psychological/mental states we are in at each stage.. for example, we are financially dependant when we are young, then we start working and earning and finally, (hopefully), we are comfortable and can retire... there is also the stage when we are too young to go anywhere without our parents, to when we are at the peak of our physical and mental abilities and finally, when the ravages of age catch up with us....

my friend, someone who has travelled much of life's journey and seen and experienced much, reminded me gently - as i spoke of my ambition, goal and hard work to learn and study as much about managing a business as i can now and eventually work towards owning a business - that there are certain other important life goals that i have that can only be achieved in this very same "life span" that i am in now. even when the time is through and i do achieve what i want in my career, i may then look back and find other equally important life goals neglected and hence too late by then to do anything about them... for example, fear, old age and family commitments might have caught up... or the enthusiasm might have died...

the taste of regret ... would i be able to handle it then...? as author Bradley Trevor Greive says in the lovely "The Meaning of Life" book -

"...of all the awful feelings that make you feel sick to your stomach, nothing feels half as bad as knowing you had a chance to do what you truly love, and you didn't take it."
pardon me if you don't like soya-based products.. but this is the last of the lot…

To-Fu Oyako (C) & Egg To-Fu (W) .. :D… see the whole lot of them here

got a hardcover copy of the rather excellent The Private Life of Plants (based on the 1995 BBC series by Sir David Attenborough) from a budget bookstore today for a little over $10! this comprehensive book covers a whole array of topics on “plant behaviour” from “Travelling” to “The Social Struggle” to Surviving, Flowering and more… I guess what struck me most as I flipped the pages of the book, looking at the amazing pictures of plant spectacle, was the realization that I never really thought of my pots of cacti as being really “alive” – I mean, I know they are alive but they really don’t move much (especially not in front of me) and don’t make a fuss (even when they are ill-treated), so they usually end up neglected on my window sill, lying on the precarious edge between wilting and living… I realised why my plants look the same week after week - when I finally notice them and find time to water them - even though they should really have grown, at least a little bit…. my conclusion is that my plants are emotionally neglected and their growth has thus been stunted.. .

I feel quite responsible for these poor plants.. maybe I should find time to talk to them….?

Monday, 29 July 2002

Life's most important questions most certainly can't be answered with just about any book, even if it is "The Book Of Answers"



kai and i spotted it as we were in the new Centrepoint Times Bookstore during lunchtime and we had a whole lot of fun with it.. it is exactly what it says it is.. just pages and pages of snappy short answers (one on each page).. you are supposed to come up with the question yourself and then flip open a random page and see the answer - though i would not recommend that you take it too crystal-ball gazingly seriously... for example, i asked out loud "Should we go back to work now?" (since it was already way past our lunch hour), the answer was "Absolutely not!" and we couldn't help but burst out laughing out loud 'cos that was exactly how we felt (though not what we would actually do.. :p).. then we asked "Would we be able to keep our jobs till the end of the year?" and the answer was "It will cost you" (so absolutely true!! :D and we already know that!!! hahaha... why else are we working our butts off... :p)

anyway, i think it is all a matter of interpretation and all the answers will probably fit somehow or other after a while...
i love how little girls interpret the powerpuff girls..

instore graffiti

the real thing:

the real thing

Sunday, 28 July 2002

To-Fu Bros 2
someone came into our shop today with "Francie", this barbie-doll look-alike. Francie (who is apparently some three-decades-old) had resin-skin that had turned blackish brown and the owner wanted to repaint her... as i was helping the customer, it occurred to me that life-like dolls like that are really spooky.. every moment i was holding her/it, i could imagine she would start blinking/winking/speaking/moving in whatever "chucky-like" way... it was really creepy... that's why i prefer roundish, cutey-style cartoon characters anytime.. i mean, seriously.. if buttercup (one of the powerpuff girls) were to come alive and tell me she wants to take over the world, i'll probably laugh and beat her to a pulp.. but if francie were to do the same, i would probably believe her and flee for my life...

anyhow, read "The Barbie Conspiracy" (please note that this does not reflect my view of barbie-dolls.. it is too extreme a view, even for me..).. seems like mattel really doesn't like people to tarnish barbie's reputation in any way.. they even made barbie a cousin who would get married and give birth so that barbie's figure would not be affected and they could still satisfy fans who want barbie to have a baby to take care of...anyhow, did you know that If barbie were a real person, she would have to be 7'2" tall, her chest would be 38-40", her waist 18-24" and her hips 33-35".. anatomically impossible so it seems...
today was a day of much violence, blood and gore.

at noon, i witnessed the aftermath of an ugly road accident at the traffic junction just across from my apartment block.. a family sedan and a van, too eager/impatient to get to wherever each wanted to go, collided head-on as they came from different directions. The impact was so great that the van ended up mounting the protective metal railings at one side of the road while the car’s front was completely mangled... one of the bloodied victims was helped out of the car and laid on the ground waiting for an ambulance while another had to have his door forcefully opened to be rescued.. they held up traffic for a while till the police and ambulances came... this traffic junction seems particularly prone to accidents and near accidents, judging from the many times we hear cars screeching to emergency stops and actually witness accidents.. i drove particularly carefully today, remembering to myself that "more haste (very often, like in this case =) less speed"...

then we went to watch Powerpuff Girls: The Movie and i tell you, i seriously haven't seen any cartoon quite as violent as this one... while the girls are really a 100x cuter on the big screen (since they are also 100x bigger and with improved graphics to make them more 3D), their violent streak shows through - with their mass destruction of their evil primate enemies (piling up the bodies holocaust-style on the streets of Townsville) - their ability to go for the kill swiftly and nonchalently more impressive than that of a big cat in the wild, and the way they rejoice and cheer as blood and dead corpses and other disturbing images spill out around them.... i agree with this article that one really wonders who the intended audience is.. (in fact, all the kids in the theatre became deadly quiet when all the mayhem was going on.. as if stunned into silence).. a puzzling long period of the movie was also cast in an eerie greyish hue, very unlike the normal weekly cartoon of bright sunshine and cheerful colours... i enjoyed the movie but i wonder if the kids did.. umm...

Saturday, 27 July 2002

Poison To-Fu

they had so many mousepads they made it into a couch... unbelievable...

and i really want this Smart Mass Thinking Putty

Friday, 26 July 2002

ducktours sounds like a really fun way to see Singapore.. bit of like seeing the usual but with a twist.. might just do it .. if i can get over the fact that it is $33 (!).. don't recall ever having seen Singapore from the river.. guess should see it while the Esplanade is still under construction.. :).. or maybe only afterwards?...

Hot To-Fu

one of alb's colleague's hamster died yesterday and the poor guy was so upset he almost cried. how very tragic. that's why i don't keep pets.. they are much too dependent and anyway, i can't even keep cacti alive so i reckon i shouldn't torture any more of God's creations until i am way too old to run about and can settle to a daily routine of feeding them and walking them (if they can walk, that is..) i gave alb this Pet Cremation Services contact that his colleague could call, just in case. thot i'll share it here too just in case anyone's pet gecko dies.. :p

Thursday, 25 July 2002

To-Fu America

finally...my very own, highly-subjective Checklist Guide To Singapore - contains all the fun stuff i enjoy doing in Singapore (and think all tourists should do) and all the yummy stuff they should eat

::guimp:: the ORIGINAL world's smallest website - is really hard to look at after a while..
To-Fu Bros 1

am still up this late for the silliest of reasons... i was watching the final episode of ... err.. Meteor Garden!!! :p hahahaha... i am feeling incredibly embarrassed as i say this but still, aren't we all at least a little bit curious what the big deal is about this stoney bunch of long-haired, 1.8m tall, apparently "good-looking" guys that have made them so popular all the way across Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and now Indonesia as well?? anyway, i don't think i have ever seen acting this bad and this stiff since the time i was in school and watched impromptu school skits... haha...

but there was one line in the episode that did leave an impression.. when one of the girls in the show used the phrase

"Life's myriad possibilities"


was struck by the truism.....

Tuesday, 23 July 2002

To-Fu China

hi Karen, i, too, have taken the deathtest and am predicted to die on April 29, 2054 at an equally ripe old age of 79 years old. i have a 24% chance of dying of cancer and 14% chance of being abducted by aliens...

on a more serious note (yah yah, i know life-and-death is already pretty serious a topic but..) i started thinking about something after class today.. something that i have put off for quite a while since i started my interesting work @ the artshop (which doesn't actually have steep prices - just really interesting and affordable, good quality products and superb service - this is just for clarification, Daniel :)) some two years back. before that, i was researching heaps on starting a business and writing some business plans, just for the heck of it... putting it off was so i could experience and learn how to actually run a business - but like all dreams, sometimes, you wonder if the long sleep has actually laid these plans to a permanent rest.. or if age and maturity have dampened the enthusiasm somewhat... things feel a little different now, but still there is a stirring inside when i think about.. umm....

Monday, 22 July 2002

To-Fu Oyako (M)

snapped a pic of a bunch of ah pors in bras basah today, in their typical ah por garb (i.e. grey blouses with little pink and red flowers and matching flowing pants) and i was suddenly struck with this questioning thought: Which of my friends will still be with me when i am that old..? and when we are that old, what will we be talking about?.. and wouldn't it be weird knowing that we are all approaching the end of our lives and the group will soon grow smaller and smaller.... umm.... what would i have accomplished by then...?

Ah Pors @ BBC

Sunday, 21 July 2002

Egg To-Fu
did i mention i watched MIIB??? hahaha... loved the show, especially the aliens... :) ... the show is way cool.... imagine the existence of aliens roaming the earth... umm... what if your neighbour is an alien?? how do you know she is not??

hahahaha....

sunset at lim chu kang jetty took our breaths away... tell me if you have seen a place as tranquil as this anywhere else in urban singapore!

Lim Chu Kang Jetty
Lim Chu Kang Jetty
Lim Chu Kang Jetty
Lim Chu Kang Jetty

Saturday, 20 July 2002

i've become one of those fanatical weekend exercise/health freaks... i veg out the whole week, stuff myself with all sorts of unhealthy junk, sleep late, stay up to surf the net, and then, when weekend comes around, i run till i work out some real sweat, swim till i turn toasty tan, rollerblade till i blister, and walk walk walk everywhere, trying to burn off the excesses of the week..... on top of that, i count calories, detox, drink plenty of liquids, stuff myself with lots of fruits and veges, do lots of stretching...

i know this really isn't a good idea.. apparently (read it here), "weekend warriors" put themselves at a fair risk of injury from "over-exercising" and "exercising once a week won't help you improve your fitness levels" .... but you have no idea how unbelievably difficult it is to start a daily exercise regime.. i know 'cos i have been trying a daily run thing since the start of the year... sigh...

Friday, 19 July 2002

see my room.

i describe it as "cluttered but neat". a bit of a tokyo-style, i think.

what say you?

Wednesday, 17 July 2002

this whole bunch of articles from Guardian Unlimited's | Special report: what's wrong with our food? can really put you off processed food of any kind.....

especially this article called Fowl Play on our favourite chicken nuggets.. (via alb).. plain foul...

Tuesday, 16 July 2002

a moment in time

the banana fell right off the string when i picked it up... it really was quite a funny moment... my sis and i laughed and laughed and then decided to snap this pic to remember what happened and to laugh at it more... and then i suddenly had a revelation.. i learnt an important life lesson... from the fallen banana..

i realised that Life (as i understand it) is really all about Moments.... funny moments..sad moments.. happy moments.. touching moments.... i realised that life is not a continuous flow of good or bad things happening all the time...or having lots of good times or bad times... or about long events..... mostly, our lives are mundane, routine and pretty predictable.... but then there are Moments.. and they are ultimately all that we remember about our lives at the end of it.. the people at those moments, the weather, the other sensorial stuff.. like smells, sights, sounds.... oh well..... getting sentimental.. :p all from a fallen banana.. durrhh??? hahahahah... :D
i love egg... this is really quite cute...
there's something about studying what i'm studying now (i.e. Grad Dip in Business Admin) that keeps making me mentally extrapolate and translate what i learn about running a business into how i should be living my own life..

for example, learning about Strategy Management (i.e. how a business sets about stating the organisation's long-term vision and mission and how it goes about achieving it) sets me thinking about what my life vision is and how i want my life to be lived in order to achieve this vision...

learning about knowledge workers in Strategic Info Management keeps me thinking about how i should keep myself abreast of info and whether i am making a living using my mind or if i am just merely "turning the cogwheel in a factory" - filling a gap in the workflow rather than achieving anything lasting and significant...

and the latest intense ('cos it is really very technical, what with all these TCP/IP and what-nots) study of how traditional businesses transform themselves into "E-businesses" under the E-commerce Module, with this interesting diagram of a business at its current "As-Is" (traditional brick-and-mortar) state and then at its "To-Be" (full-fledged e-biz) state and the amount of changes that have to be made to move from one to the other, made me think about the amount of "in-between" work and the long (though not uninteresting) journey before one can reach a state of "excellence" in personal success...

either i'm not really paying attention in class or i really understand the concepts well and can already apply them... :p oh well.... whatever...

Monday, 15 July 2002

i found this incredibly funny for some reason...

why brazil beat turkey in the world cup...

Sunday, 14 July 2002

the latest issue of idn glows in the dark.. very eerie...



yesterday afternoon's lecture on e-commerce infrastructure (i.e. tcp/ip, routers, client/server applications etc etc) left me utterly confused, stumped by the technical terms and jargons.... i think i really am technologically-challenged, much as i hate to admit it... and it didn't help that it was a sticky, humid Saturday afternoon after a full and lazy lunch... lots of reading up to do...

Friday, 12 July 2002

this guy in class gave me this "look" today when he heard from a fellow classmate that i "blog". the latter had stumbled onto my blog while searching in Google for something really random that he can no longer remember... oh well, i blog about pretty random topics anyway...:p

i still get this "look" whenever someone finds out i am a "blogger" - the look that says.. "why would you want the world to know what you are thinking and doing??"... i don't know... i keep it as a diary... i mean... why not..? just in case i forget what i thought about or said or felt today, i suppose.... then i guess the thought or idea will disappear forever.... it probably doesn't matter to anyone.. but it does to me!... or maybe.. what i should try asking next time is..."Do you blog? no? why not?"

of course i could try to repeat what this article says: "Weblogs aren't just glorified pages of links and rambling personal sites; they are an antidote to mass media. According to the author of "The Weblog Handbook," Rebecca Blood, blogs are also bringing creative expression to everyday people when they need it most."

anyhow.. i started to blog and i haven't yet found a reason to stop.... so... .. let's just say you haven't heard the last of me... :)

-- anyway, if i sometimes seem like i am suffering from Blogorrhea 1. (n) The tendency of bloggers to begin posting the minutiae of their life in an effort to keep their Weblog active...... i probably am... but i usually try my best not to annoy or disgust so give me some space, eh? ;-)

Thursday, 11 July 2002

i'm experiencing such a high now from studying the topic of Strategy in class that i can fully understand why some people just can't stop studying and start working like everyone else.... they go to school to get a bachelors degree, then a masters and then a phd.. and just when you thought they have reached the end of their academic road, they surprise you by taking yet another bachelor's degree in a totally new and funky (though not altogether "practical") field, something like archeology, or astronomy, or botany, committing themselves to another couple of years of intense academic work...... but experiencing this high now, studying a topic that has got realtime, real world examples (in the form of the collapse of giants Enron, Worldcom), i really think that sometimes, acquiring knowledge for knowledge's sake can be so much fun... :) ... and (correct me if i am wrong, Lynn..), i always imagine that i will get more "folds" or "nerves" in my brain if i use it more.. i.e. when i die and they cut my head open, my brain will not be so "smooth"... :P

maybe i should get a qualification in art history or something fun like that just for the heck of it....:D... then i could become a museum curator.. or work in an auction house.. haha... :D
For those who just need to engage in a discussion of something D&M ("deep & meaningful"), try The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock:

The Book of Questions may be the only publication that challenges and changes the way readers view the world, without offering a single opinion of its own. Posing 265 questions, The Book of Questions is bound to provoke hours and hours of thought.

Ask your friends. Ask your parents. Ask someone you hardly know. The Book of Questions gives you permission to ask those things that are too bold, too embarrassing, or just too difficult to ask by yourself. You will find questions of integrity; of sex; of what you would do for money; even things too personal to talk about out loud. Whether you use it as a tool for self discovery, or as a provocative way to stimulate conversation, this book constantly challenges attitudes, morals, beliefs-and it challenges you.


but maybe more usefully.. for couples especially, will be this 1000 Questions for Couples - The Book Of Question... :)

Wednesday, 10 July 2002

still on the topic of conversation:

10 Greatest Conversationalists of All Time (according to Utne.com)

Socrates (469-399 B.C.E.)

The Seven Sages of The Bamboo Grove (circa 250 C.E.)

Martin Luther (1483-1546) - known for his Table Talk

Catherine De Rambouillet (1588-1665)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)

Carl Rogers (1902-87)

Luba Petrova Harrington

Bill Moyers

Indigneous People (e.g. native Hawaiian ho'oponopono)

Tuesday, 9 July 2002

i'm absolutely taken by this idea of the Conversation Cafe...

"Why Conversation Caf├ęs? Because when you put strangers, caffeine and ideas in the same room, brilliant things can happen. For that very reason, the British Parliament banned coffeehouses in the 1700s as hotbeds of sedition. Might we brew up a similar social liveliness now? With democracy, critical thinking and "the ties that bind" all under siege, this may be the most radical cup of coffee you ever drink."

i really miss having witty debates with like-minded friends (such people like my dear friend Lynn who is now studying the brain in the UK), where we can banter into the wee hours of the morning on a million and one topics from religion, politics, friendship, relationships, dreams, travel, and anything that comes into our minds.. better still, we come up with funny and imaginative new ideas, new ways of thinking about the same things and challenge each other on our philosophies, ideas and plans.. debates can be such fun if they are between two equally open-minded, imaginative, child-like, intelligent people...

as they say in the Conversation Cafe website...

"....your mind is such a beautiful thing. It would be a shame to waste it."

so true... i am so in need of great mental stimulating conversation now.... somehow, studying and thinking during work, while being mental stimulants as well, somehow just don't seem to do the job entirely...

Monday, 8 July 2002

this is really quite lovely... click on it, it's worth your time for the timeless wisdom....
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just found that it doesn't really load properly sometimes, if it doesn't, try this.. and then click on "View Presentation"
i am convinced that the world is divided into really technical people (whom i term "Zoids" - a shameless plagiarism of the favourite manga characters) and those who are not... i struggled much of the whole morning trying to reformat my hard drive in the office and to reinstall a new and more stable Windows 2000 and bumped into a million and one "err.. what-to-do-next...err.." situations...

while not being the most technologically-savvy individual on earth, i pride myself on knowing at least an "above-average" amount on what to do with all things electronic & electrical - such as cameras, scanners, printers, computers, pdas, vacuum cleaners, aibos (haha... :p), what-have-you.. but for some reason, there are just some things that are impossible to handle without calling for technical help (in this case alb's help on the phone).. within a couple of minutes, he diagnosed what was wrong, got me to hit a couple of random buttons as the screen was rebooting and i found myself looking at a strange yellow/red screen i have never seen in my life.. i mean, how are we supposed to know that??? you can't even find it in the Windows manual!! and as far as i know, they don't teach this in school... which means.. this sort of esoteric knowledge must surely have been transmitted to these Zoids by another means... i suspect... they are born with it...

these zoids came into earth in the last 20 years (with a proliferation of them in the last 10 years - as evidenced by the sudden surge in technological progress) and their aim is to make the rest of us ("lay people") helpless through the use of crytic language.. we hence become totally dependent on their help and many of us end up employing or marrying or propogating them yet further so soon, they will take over the earth (ever heard of "Geeks rule, ok"??)!!! and with the internet, who knows what's ahead??!!

urgghh.... i propose an immediate return to pen, paper, pinhole cameras and a life without internet!!! stop the Zoids!!!

Sunday, 7 July 2002

attended a lovely and very elegant wedding dinner last night @ Grand Hyatt.. bridegroom serenaded bride's entry into the ballroom with a touching and brilliantly delivered rendition of Josh Groban's You're Still You.. very touching. Fantastic food and great wine followed by a futile attempt by the night's MC to have a slightly different "ang moh-but somewhat inappropriate-style" toast to the couple - fortunately, some (slightly drunken??) tables still insisted on doing their Yum Sengs and the dinner once again became more familiar and chinese... umm... ya, i think it is kinda weird to try to toast with shouts of "To the bride and groom!" but still have a chinese-style dinner at a wedding.. very surreal..

caught Steven Spielberg's Minority Report this afternoon - actually found it rather enjoyable and applaud Spielberg on the good plot and nice pace of the movie... for what it's worth, it did set me thinking about the whole idea of arresting people before the crime is committed so the crime is prevented from happening at all.... cool.... technology and the responsibilities that come with it.. an issue certainly worth pondering about.. don't know if the future would really change all that much even by the year 2054.. after all, if George Orwell's 1984 and Stanley Kubrick's Space Odyssey 2001 have really come to pass, we should really be now living in a "big brother is watching" kind of society (err.. umm... are we already..?) and zooming around in spaceships and all that.. but then again, who knows.. maybe changes in society and technology will really accelerate much faster than anyone of us can anticipate in the next couple of years...umm....

Saturday, 6 July 2002

...sigh... beyond work and studies, L I F E has become...

d u l l

i n s i p i d

b o r i n g

u n i n s p i r i n g

u n s p o n t a n e o u s

v a p i d

had y u m m y turkish f o o d @ anatolia restaurant @ far east plaza for lunch

l a z y saturday m o r n i n g ... r e a l l y last m i n u t e shopping for tonight's wedding...
@ SIM now for classes.. trying to keep awake...

Thursday, 4 July 2002

today's lesson on Strategic Management - ya.. similar to the previous lesson sans the word "Information" - was a definite contrast to the lesson of Tuesday.... first of all, the notes are ten times thicker.. i'm not kidding.. i stacked them both side by side.... then, we have this guy who is actually funny and very sure of what he is teaching.. difference #2..... and instead of just killing time in the most ridiculous way (like what the previous guy did), this lecturer gave a solid 2 1/2 hour lecture peppered with great examples, great facts and superb thinking points... he just made me think and ponder on every single thing he said in class and i can already find many possible applications in my work.... it is eye-opening to realise that as a shop, we really do not have a very solid strategy to guide us and a lot of what happens is based on gut feel and so on.. and we definitely seem to have failed miserably when it comes to sharing our vision with our staff, many who are really just working for the money and little else.. and look forward to the next pay day or off day...

i'm absolutely fascinated with this topic of Strategy now... don't think i know enough about it after this first lecture to talk much about it... but i intend to be an expert at it..

and on the side, i realised i need to set a personal mission and strategy too... seems like i have really been so sucked into the whole work and career thing for most part of this year and it is already July and i haven't seemed to achieve much in terms of personal goals... umm... midpoint check of sorts, i suppose...

Tuesday, 2 July 2002

started the first day of 2nd semester lessons today - Strategic Information Management - and was absolutely astounded at how bad the lecturer is... even though the topic actually sounds really interesting, on knowledge-based workers and all that...one of my pet interest.

first of all, he has this really annoying habit of tugging at his shirt near the breast pocket part and he does it almost twice every minute... he is all fidgety and nervous and after asking the class if the clip-on microphone is too soft took it off instead of adjusting it to make it louder, making him even more inaudible.. then he gave us this really long break (half hour!) saying that it is because the lesson is going to be really short (so he wants to stretch it??).. .. he also adds loads of errs and umms as he ponders on how else to explain something, only to end up still reading off the notes or saying something that is totally irrelevant or stupid (for e.g. he said that technology is causing a lot of walls to be broken, such as the Berlin wall (ok..) and the Great Wall of China (what???).. . while elaborating on the points in the notes that say that technology collapses time and space (e.g. one CDrom containing 325,000 pages of text.. saving space.. and technology speeding up work), he said that this was an example of technology bridging time and space (huh?? where did that come from??).. my conclusion at the end of the lesson.. no point attending unless i have too much time to kill and want to be fed with wrong info or info i can read myself at my own leisure..

sigh.. hope the other lessons will be more fun.. methinks they structured all the fun lecturers in the first semester and left all the boring ones for this semester...eeks...