Monday, 30 September 2002

what a long day that went on forever... woke up at 6.15am for the sheares bridge run and am still up now, back from work and after my shower - waiting for my hair to dry... i am utterly pooped.. sheares bridge fun run was great! - one doesn't get to run on the left lane of ECP every day! - but got stuck for more than 2km behind "sludge" of slow-moving people so am not-at-all pleased with finish time ... can't believe there were apparently 50,000 people there today! i know a bunch of people who actually completed 21km (the half marathon) without stopping.. wow... maybe i should make that my aim next year?? :p ok lah, see how.. can't be too ambitious..

the artshop at takashimaya is officially open! (click for larger image) - don't we look fantastic??

click to see larger pic

so can i expect to see you there when you next swing by kinokuniya bookstore or the library@orchard?? btw, newly-opened but already tremendously popular Spanish label Z A R A on the ground floor uses the same escalator as our store!! :) that's another reason to drop by!

Saturday, 28 September 2002

my group scored 86 marks for our e-commerce project! hooray! ... funny how we spent the whole 3 hours after our presentation this afternoon moping over how badly we thought we did compared to the other groups, and how much harder we have to study for the exams now (the project - white paper + presentation - takes up 30% of the marks).. wow wow wow! what a relief.... all that hard work and sweat was definitely worth it..

sheares bridge run is tomorrow... pant pant... and after that, kai and i will pop into the new artshop and paint one of our walls dark burgundy! hehehe... let's see how we surprise our first customers on Monday...we will be the funkiest artshop in Singapore!!
Had the most surreal experience yesterday lunching at the Takashimaya staff canteen. Just in case you don’t know (and I bet all my ten toe-nails that you don’t), there is actually a place in Takashimaya shopping centre (yes, Orchard) where you can get a decent meal (three dishes and rice) for less than $2.50 and a soft drink for less than a dollar (other than at Cold Storage) Ever wondered where the typical cleaning auntie gets her lunch? Ha! No, she doesn’t always ta pow from home! Hidden beneath the posh interiors and polished marble floorings of one of Singapore’s most “high-class” shopping centres, behind giant pots of artificial bonsai plants, away from the view of Prada swinging fashionable tai tais and expat ladies, is this very spartan, but cleanly scrubbed staff canteen (with cheap flourescent lighting, rows of grease-stained tables, bare walls, and plainly-tiled floors) which only the low-waged town workers (salesgirls, security guards, cleaners, waitresses and underpaid retail managers :p) know about… i practically had to weave my way through a maze of unmarked passageways, walk through doors that only read “Exit”, surreptitiously follow this guy in Cold Storage staff uniform, before finding this really surreal place that looks a complete world apart from where I just came from… strangely, I thought of the Victorian soup kitchens that Charles Dickens mentioned in his classics like Oliver Twist as I joined the proletariat masses for lunch… haha.. call me if you ever want to see this place.. it’s really amazing…

Stumbled upon this article “The Singapore adventure from 1996-1998” by this chap called Jochen Kern while randomly surfing the net. Get a dig of this sentence.. “This hotel was the champion on food cost which not fit in the frame of the lost paradise " Value for Money " concept”…. Huh?? Read more of his strangely worded account at

Friday, 27 September 2002

incidentally, World Animal Day falls on October the 4th in Singapore as well! what a day to about!

i support the
i want to remember myself as a dreamer and an idealist
i want to be remembered as a runner, photographer, traveler, adventurer, diver, artist
i want to be remembered as a child of God.
i want to be a linguist.
i want to be a writer.
i want to be a strategist.
i want to make a difference to the world's less fortunate.

I’ve got a friend who (rather bizarrely) eagerly looks forward to the day she dies because she is excited about what others will say about her (not that she would be able to hear anyway)…

But hey, here is someone who is really confident of the difference she has already made in others’ lives! Good for her! As for me, there’s still a long way to go in every aspect of my life..

Have you ever wondered what you would want others to say at your funeral (or even what you would think about on your own deathbed)?

Sorry for morbid topic. There is a funeral wake at the void deck of the neighboring block… strange inspirations… oh well…

Thursday, 26 September 2002

i think i have much to be thankful for.. so i should be supporting this year's World Smile Day - Oct 4

the grey smiley is to reflect my current "burnt-out" state..

Monday, 23 September 2002

legs are aching...

and feeling really tired from waking up at 6 something over two consecutive days. followed by hard labour (running and packing yesterday, and packing and carrying today)

and feeling the pressure of time - got to finish painting glassware, doing project presentation, and moving shop - all in this week.. then exams will come and lecturers haven't given us a clue on what topics to focus on, telling us everything is important and need to be studied.. and that exam questions will be broad to test our "thinking skills".. umm..

this is a difficult period..

Sunday, 22 September 2002

totally pooped..

woke up at 6.30am for the terry fox run at sentosa (from bridge to beach). turned out to be tougher than a lot of us expected.... (heard this woman loudly declaring to her running mate "This is NOT a fun run. I repeat, this is NOT a fun run") did the 8.8km route that covered some interesting off-the-beaten-track spots (such as the golf course, earth satellite station, maritime museum and even the ferocious merlion) and discovered that Sentosa is amazingly undulating... the uphills and downhills were endless, and the weather was stiflingly hot... very testing.. think i am quite well-prepared for the sheares bridge run next week.. :p.. once again, the camaraderie was wonderful.. :)

then popped into artshop for more packing.. the place is a big mess now, with boxes and plastic bags everywhere, of all shapes and sizes.. we are all getting into the mood for the big move to takashimaya next week! see what the place looks like now, before the furniture moves in next week.. a blank slate ready to become the best art shop in the world! :)

all boarded up, like a present waiting to be openedthe beautiful shop sign - very classy..
carpeted, plastered, painted - all set for displays!kai bouncing with excitement

come visit me from 1st October.. we're one floor above kinokuniya bookstore or one level below the main entrance of the library.. :)

Saturday, 21 September 2002

lost my mobile phone today.

searched everywhere!

i looked in my bag… not there.

i checked with coffee bean & tea leaf where i had my eggs ben breakfast. not there too.

i called my colleagues at the artshop where i was briefly this morning. nope.

finally i cancelled my sim card. m1 told me they will replace it for me on Monday.

went for my lessons at SIM with a heavy heart.

sigh. more expenses. unnecessary ones.

and i was sad to lose Kam Kam, my cute mobile phone accessory.

but just an hour ago… i found my mobile phone again!

it was sitting in the car – right next to my handbrake.

how did it get there?? i don’t remember putting it there!

another close shave. another moment of embarrassing stupidity.

thank you God for the phone and the lesson.

and thank you reader for hanging around. listening to my blabber.

Kam Kam thanks you too.

Thursday, 19 September 2002

my sis made me read her blog while i was having dinner just now and i almost lost my appetite.. eeks... it's not really yucky, just medical stuff but i'm not good with stuff like that, so... urgh!

i'm glad i didn't choose to go into Nursing.. oh well, how silly, of course i wouldn't since i can't even handle injections.. and i'm talking about witnessing them (not actually taking them.. :p)
:D woo hoo!!!

I'm finally #1 on Google search for "hweeling"!!!

you have no idea how long it took me to reach this position!! there are easily 2000 to 3000 hweelings in Singapore (maybe even more!! i personally know at least 10!), let alone the whole world!!! and i'm now No. 1!!!

wahahahah!!! World Domination!!! :D
said goodbye to my oil painting teacher Lydia Miller today. she's returning to her home country Australia after a stay here of some two years with her very loving and wonderful husband. it was a touching moment indeed...

what struck me most as i wished her well and we mused over how quickly the two years have passed since she came to our artshop (rather by chance - as she likes to say - "i don't know why but i just thought i'll come in and i'm glad i did" :) ) was the sheer amount that has happened for her since then... she held no less than 5 exhibitions (three here, two in Sydney), painted more than 200 paintings (at least), transformed her style of painting from Western abstract style, to a more fusion style, and now one leaning definitely towards the exotic East. Through us, she taught no less than three scores of complete beginners (including myself) not just the art and technique of oil painting but also the love and appreciation of it... she also built a community of sorts with local-based oil artists, some of them through contacts from us... yet i was totally surprised that she thanked us profusely for our part in making all this happen.. and all i ever did was to approach her (two years ago as she was just "another customer" standing at the oil paints rack) to ask if she was interested in teaching and telling her that i was interested in setting up a course and learning from her if she did.. isn't that amazing? :) ... i'm glad i approached her.. i really am..

i realised how blessed i am to have met so many wonderfully remarkable and inspiring people in my short 27 years - many of whom have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of art, music, writing or whatever else they feel drawn towards.... people who have taken the "road-less-travelled" and given me the inspiration to do the same in my life... every single encounter a life-changing one in one way or other.. their passion shows through their sharing of what they do, their never-ending quest to make themselves even better, even though so many of them have already spent a good 15 to 20 years of their lives already being so amazingly good at what they do...

farewell and thanks Lydia!

Wednesday, 18 September 2002

b r o t h is one amazing restaurant! Big thanks to Daniel for the generous sharing of this wonderful discovery.. :) - we had foie gras, snails, NZ steak fillet, and salmon steak (skipping the wines 'cos we were suspicious).. i can safely say each is in a class of its own.. almost the best i've tasted - at least in quite a while (consider that i have been surviving on sub $2.50 lunches).. and the setting was just so nice, double storey shophouse tucked away from the hustle and bustle of club street, tanjong pagar and maxwell market... decorated in a simple classy way.. you simply have to check it out.. loved it.. :)

i can't believe i almost completely missed the terry fox run this year! publicity has been terrible!! how can they expect to raise enough funds with this pathetic amount of publicity?? run is this sunday and i only got to know about it, like, yesterday?? enjoyed the camaraderie, sweat, and squashy cheerful crowds last year so will definitely go for it again this year. run around sentosa.. umm.. sounds fun.. :) sounds like good exercise too, just before next week's sheares bridge run... pant pant..

Tuesday, 17 September 2002

exams are coming round... grr...don't panic don't panic!!

festive mood in the artshop now.. we are going to move upmarket to Ngee Ann City in the next few days (just below the main entrance from the library@orchard - i love this library! - and up the escalator in Kinokuniya)... but don't worry, we ain't gonna increase prices .. :) can't wait for all the exciting tie-ups with the library@orchard, kinokuniya, and doing all the fun stuff we have always been doing but better (like art courses, mini art library, new art and craft products... we're going to see a whole new bunch of people, and get to reach out to a lot more people now who have never enjoyed doing art in their lives (not counting the bad experience in school, that is..:p)... it's nice to know we are making a difference to the lives of these people.. :)

btw, see pic of fluffy rabbit taken by alb (of his colleague's rabbit)... So cute!!!!

fluffy hoppy - Photo by Albert Yee

papier mache vs knitted
Battle of the Mutant Po(s)

... ok ok.. just taking a break from another artwork mass reproduction project again for another wedding... roses roses and more roses... zzzz....

oh dear, mum just told me there was a news report tonight about another dive accident somewhere... another dive casualty... sigh...

Sunday, 15 September 2002

mooncakes and pomelos... it's the mid-autumn festival again!! :) ... i have eaten... umm... an aggregate of 4 full mooncakes (at least??) since the start of the festival.. yum yum... i love the ones with double yolk and lots of melon seeds, especially the snowy skin green pandan ones.. yum... they are selling them everywhere in town!! Decided it was more than a snack and I should do a bit of study on the historical background of this custom so i surfed the net and found this.. (pardon me for my ignorance.. .but i really do get all the Chinese heroes mixed up.... i mean, there is this guy who was thrown into the river by some enemies and that started the dumpling thing, and then there is another story of Chinese households trying to stuff the mouth of some deity on New Year's Eve with sticky paste cake, and then now this story about Chu Yuan-chang leading the Han people of theYuan Dynasty to overthrow the Mongol rule by distributing mooncakes with the message "Revolt on the fifteenth of the eighth moon" hidden inside.. very confusing...

pomelo/s mooncakes
random pictures from a "drive-by photographer"..

abandoned babiesstrange passenger
fluffy duffydelirious joy

exams are coming again... trying to get a bit of fresh air and sunshine before hibernation period starts... grrr....

Thursday, 12 September 2002

lack of sleep is wrecking sheer havoc in my life...

remember the incident where i left this huge mounting board of fragile tiles on the roof of my car and then drove off unaware? a few days after that, i left something in the laundry and it was churned to unrecoverable shreds by the washing machine... and today... sigh... today, i left my Strategic Management lecture notes (a thick stack of notes, mind you), on Bus No. 14 on my way to work (it brings me to Dover station where i take the MRT) and only discovered it missing much later as i was getting off the Raffles Place MRT Interchange to switch to the Northern line...

fortunately, it proved worthless to anyone and made its long but safe voyage from near Clementi (where i left it behind on the bus seat) all the way to Bedok Bus Interchange and was kept by the very kind bus uncles from SBS Transit who contacted "Lost & Found" .... pretty amazing how i'm learning all these lessons of late... and fortunately relatively inexpensively.. except for the bus uncle who "extorted" $10 from me to donate to the President's Charity Drive before returning me my file.. didn't mind it though, it's for charity after all and i did learn a lesson to be more careful...

THANK GOD for watching over me...
i'm having a stomachache again (and once again, it is accompanied by the "detox" kind of symptoms... you know... diarrhoea, stomach churns..)

And there is no doubt the No. 1 suspect: Newater

had another swig of it during the reception at the opening of Naked Perfection exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum and overheard a very eager (and seemingly knowlegeable guy) explaining loudly and confidently to his small audience how "distilled water" (such as Newater) is used by slimming and fitness centres in their health and detox programmes. According to him, distilled water is "so clean", so stripped of impurities and minerals, that it literally "scrubs" your insides as it passes through.. umm... no wonder i suffer so much every time i drink it but feel healthier afterwards.. (or is it my imagination?? :p) you think Singapore has an exportable health product here?... :)

anyhow, the exhibition itself was interesting - on nakedness (or nudity?), a rare theme indeed in still awkward and somewhat conservative Singapore. Aimed mainly at showcasing the various cross-cultural attitudes towards nakedness - with an emphasis on the Asian perception of the naked human form - presented in myriad forms and mediums (painting, sculptures). Clearly absent at the opening were the "hum sap" (i.e. lecherous) old men you would normally find at Yangtze Cinema staring unabashly at movie posters with semi-clad women.. instead, we had well-heeled executives and elegant ladies in cheong sums and the usual who's-who in the local art and design industry, mingling and discussing the finer points of each art piece, occassionally exclaiming in their posh accents the "brilliance" of this artist, and the "cleverness" of that, nodding and smiling.. most of the pieces were abstract representations of the human form rather than realistic studies - with a few even going beyond that into what they call "allegorical" forms, supposed to represent two things at one time...

quite good. go if you can find time.

Wednesday, 11 September 2002

I read an article last night about the Sept 11 incident and it felt as fresh in my mind as if it only happened yesterday.... i'm feeling sad again... it's unbelieveable that a year has passed since that awful day and the emotional impact on everyone's lives is still very much there.... :(

Tuesday, 10 September 2002

my mind has been wandering of late... due in large part to my continuing lack of sleep, in small part to the restlessness i have been feeling towards everything (in general) ... when i'm not rushing about getting things done or meeting people or working, i stop and i'm suddenly thinking of all the possible life paths i can take from this very moment on (or more realistically from the end of this year).... i have categorised these possible life paths into a general few... (a) the typical life path (the one most of my peers appear to be taking now), (b) the outrageous life path (charting new grounds, living life on the edge-style), (c) the dream life path for me (if i wasn't afraid of anything at all).... etc..

i'm struck by how possible any one of these life paths is to me, being the multi-personalitied person i am... so possible i could visualise it to the day-to-day details.... one side of me wants to accomplish something BIG, and yet another side of me wants to drop everything and take to the roads - spend some time seeing what life has to offer - get out of the rat race, get away from peer pressure and all... and yet another side of me still sees the possibilities of just living the way i am living now...

such is my personal response to life's myriad possibilities.... bizarre...
“STORIES MAKE US more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving. Why does anybody tell a story? It does indeed have something to do with faith, faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”

Madeleine L’Eagle, author, The Writer (June 2002)

and hence i blog.

daniel, i completely empathize …. some days (and especially of late), it suddenly strikes me (out of the blue) that Life (with a capital ‘L’) really isn’t about being constantly amused, or constantly finding and seeking happiness… or having a good laugh (though that is important too).. of being contented...or even having a good life (“good” being relative, of course)… for me, it’s really about seeking and finding fulfillment and purpose in what i do… to have that inner glow of knowing i have made good of this short stint on earth, walked and lived well this period of time that the Great Creator granted to me (and not to, say, any of the other possible combinations of X and Y chromosomes that could otherwise have existed in my place)... but then again, it's not easy to always know what to do next and we all struggle a little in the in-between bits... it's funny that thoughts like that always strike me during a continuous and extended happy phase of my life (i.e. good food, good company, good fun etc etc).... i begin to ask myself: If the rest of my life is going to be exactly like that, would that really make me happy?

funnily enough, the honest answer is usually a 'No'..... restless creatures we all are..

Sunday, 8 September 2002

hi! :) i'm back!

in my brief but sudden and unexplained disappearance, i encountered NEWATER, late nights and a bucketful of unforgivable stupidity...

a) the NEWATER – first encounter…tastes like normal tap water, except really flat - no "body"... i still prefer Ice Mountain Pure Drinking Water anytime.. and for the very last time (to those people who have been asking me repeatedly)- No, there is no taste (not even a slight ammonia taste), and i didn't buy it (who would?? it's going to be tap water next time, you know??), it didn't cause my stomachache (i blame that on overeating, poor diet and alcohol) - and i don't think the "orange label one" is a different flavour from the "blue label one" – durrhh??? you think it's Pink Dolphin or what??

Newater - our pride and our joy

b) late nights - or should i say early mornings (:O??).. have been sleeping at an absurd hour (4 to 5 am) over the past three nights working on different things - trying to finish business plan project, then trying to migrate company website to new webhost (free online webhost very very unreliable and threatened to delete my files for exceeding bandwidth and storage space), and then creating new layout for company website (very fun but highly addictive) and editing pictures in photoshop..

c) unforgiveable stupidity – making one of the silliest blunders of car owners.. leaving something on the roof of the car and then driving off… nothing new to me of course, having heard about (and even witnessed!) handphones being left on top the same way… in my case, it was a mounting board of rather fragile decorated tiles and I didn’t even realize it until I got to a carpark far away. When i got there and found my boot empty, I suddenly recalled why the taxi uncle behind me was gesturing so strangely to me while I was driving, throwing his arms in an upward manner… went back an hour later to the scene and retrieved the wreckage from the road (quite embarrassing..) and managed to save some of them miraculously…

very zombied now.. and a new week beckons... :(

Friday, 6 September 2002

yippee! i won a badmarsh & shri signs cd from the british council contest at womad!! and during class today, i suddenly found that i have a $70 Visa receipt from buying 2 cds from hmv the other day so i can swap it for a free hawaiian pizza from pizza hut tomorrow and eat it for lunch! (ya, don't miss Visa's latest promotion!! :) fantastic!)

i love freebies.. more so now that i just suffered a sudden paycut, and had two unexpectedly huge expenses this month (hospital bill for my bad backsprain and dead car battery.. :( ).... have (both consciously and subconsciously) started on this personal expense-cutting campaign... (ok ok... ignoring the fact about the $70 for two cds thing i just mentioned.. :p)... found that i can actually live even more frugally than i am already doing (in my opinion, that is..).. for example, i even tried to stop using Shell VPower for my car for a while (which didn't really last 'cos i could really feel the difference in the acceleration and power, and i found that i actually really hate lagging behind everyone on the road. awful feeling... the laggard feeling.. love driving so must make driving enjoyable, if not don't drive at all.. so.. back to VPower.. :)). then i cut back my lunch budget from $4.00 - 6.00 to $1.50 - 2.20 - which, believe me, is a real challenge since i am working in town.. but not too bad, it just means i stop eating burger king and macs value meals, and start eating beehoon and egg from Cuppage Plaza, or rice, one meat, one veg (+ drink ice mountain bottled water in office).. then there is less driving to town so i save on ERP and parking, walking instead of taking feeder buses from mrt station to home, eating cheaper dinners out (i.e. famous hawker food rather than Swensen's, for example), cheaper forms of exercise (run run run.. it's FREE!!!), watching less movies, buying less books... oh well, something like that....

oh ya, and am trying to earn extra bucks from doing freelance artwork mass production.... i.e. if you need someone to paint glasses or tiles or something like that for corporate gifts or something, call me.. i'm available for hire.. what to do.. times are hard.. :)

Wednesday, 4 September 2002

why blog?
i'm partially distracted by mum in the background listening to her $1.99 karaoke vcds at the moment.... hahaha... she's complaining about the quality (suddenly loud, suddenly soft, rough and scratchy etc etc..) but i think the funniest is the fact that they show really random scenes, like flowers that are out-of-focus, or women dressed in 60s swimwear in totally amazing places.... and i like the in-between bits (i.e. in-between two songs) where they will pause.... awkwardly.. for like 10 seconds or even more on this one single out-of- focus flower swaying in the breeze.. waiting for the other song to come on.... hahaha...

out-of-focus flower scene woman in very uncomfortable position

am juggling a whole plateful of different personal, studies and work projects now but am strangely feeling elated... i think i'm feeling high from all the busy-ness doing what i love to do... cool... :)

Monday, 2 September 2002

womad singapore 2002 was very good... caught it last nite at fort canning for the fifth year running - i think..... it helped that the weather was really cool from the midday drizzle, the crowd was enthusiastic (almost like last year's) and we had a nice big poncho to sit on.... :)... notable number of acts from Africa (the absolutely divine Rokia Traore from Mali, Chartwell Dutiro from Zimbabwe - who performed with our own Sri Warisan Performing Arts - creating a dikir barat meets african drum sort of thing, and a bit of a let-down from Sally Nyolo from Cameroon - who was supposedly a member of one of my favourite funky african acapella groups - the Zap Mama - who didn't quite manage to get the crowd moving ). also from Latin America (especially Trio Mocoto from Brazil -who really got everyone on their feet with their very samba music - very cool.. despite their middle-age paunches, their rather ragged look in their plain tshirts and their wrinkles crinkling up when they smile- haha.. sorry, so shallow.. and the slightly subdued but still applaudable Inti-Illimani from Chile.. conjuring images of high-mountains and llama goats with their wind instruments..

very strange to see almost no acts from the indian subcontinent (other than something from pakistan I missed on Friday and the dance music duo Badmarsh and Shri (UK)- which isn't really pure indian music though we saw quite a bit of fantastic tabla and north india flute playing in between dj badmarsh's electronic drumbeats and breakbeat music and this uk apache guy's rapping on "peace, love and UNIFICATION!!!" and pleas for all of us to "LIVE RIGHT!!".. almost hypnotic with his repeating it over and over again and asking everyone to jump up and down.. very dizzying...

funny how world music events can never seem to get away from artists trying to promote love and world peace ..... are we all supposed to feel all fuzzy inside after this..? :p

Sunday, 1 September 2002

Isn’t blogging odd? Blog addicts like me blog about everything - things we think about, think up, fret over, dream about, experience, muse over and one fine day, we inevitably start thinking (almost out-of-the-blue) about the whole idea of “blogging” itself …. we realize the amount of impact it has had on our lives since we started, all the changes that have happened since, all the real and virtual friends we have made, and also all the time and energy for other things it has taken from us… We muse over it for days.. maybe weeks.. and finally, we take the brave step of deciding (and then formally announcing to the blog world) that we want to take a break from blogging itself… to get back to life as it was … before blogging… usually indefinitely … many times, the blogworld is left grieving the loss of the departure… but we know what must be done must be done..

don’t worry, I haven't gotten to that stage yet so don’t press that panic button just about yet :p... but I did chance upon Richard Cody’s blog – where he pondered the issue and mentioned another two bloggers taking “blog breaks” - Elaine of Kalilily and Stavros The WonderChicken …. I recall also dannybunny and Mary T’s brief hiatus from the blog world at certain low points of their lives… (they are back, fortunately)..

will that day come for me?… who knows….shudder… it almost seems like a natural part of the journey all bloggers will ineluctably have to go through at one point or other.. well, at least I’m still enjoying it for now…. it’s almost exactly one year since I started… :) happy blog birthday to me…