Thursday, 31 July 2003

the color of my life

sengkang lrt

life always has a way of making me confront my greatest fears and worries. much as i've resisted feeling stressed or unhappy this recent past, mounting pressures in and out of school have forced me to concede that life at this point is far from 100% ok...yet, life isn't all bleak..

i conclude that the colour of my life now is like a slide film "cross-processed"...

Tuesday, 29 July 2003

experimental photography

the purple cat - safe from culling

taken with the LCA, but NOT with the Colorsplash.. hah! go figure! :)
durian, coke & overdue manado pics

i'm having D24 durian and diet coke for dinner. i suspect that's.. eh... 0% nutrition?? after all, according to the can, Coke Light has Energy (0.3 Calories), Fat 0g, Protein 0g, Carbohydrate 0g and durian.. umm... does durian have vitamins and minerals like other normal fruits?? i always felt durian was kinda savoury and just plain heaty... :p

ok, some long-overdue lomo pics from my dive trip to manado can be found here.. taken off Bunaken Island (where we did most of the dives), pilot whales and dolphins, the market scene, interesting tombs of the cemetery at Airmadidi, the volcanic sky as seen from the rural town of Tondano etc

manado's clear blue waters

i have found it, thus far, unnecessary to add to the debate on homosexuality that been going on in the local media, following PM Goh's statement on the "quiet change" by the govt on employing gays in the civil service. to me, the debate will go on, and there will always be a part of society which will find it hard to accept, or even try to understand, those who are different from them. i do not want to take a firm stand on this issue, for the very simple reason that taking a firm stand seems to run counter to my belief of being "open"..

nonetheless, this mass mail that i received from an old schoolmate today touched me tremendously, and i thought it apt to share it. i have deleted his name, not because i am ashamed of who he is (i am not), but because i take his email as a personal one, from a friend, seeking understanding from another...

"hi everyone.

it's been a while since we all met, and i guess it'll probably be one
of the upcoming weddings that we'll see each other.

you guys have known me for a long, long time. - at least 16 years,
more than half our lives, and though i've not interacted much over
the years (save for a few of you), you all have been part of my life.

the recent statement by the PM, and the media coverage following
that, as well as the reaction from the conservative Churches have
brought the issue of homosexuality to the top of a lot of people's

most of you already know that i am gay. some of you probably figured
that out, some of you probably suspected. it didn't really matter
because i think that my sexuality has nothing to do with our

but me being me, i have to get involved with things - and i'm one of
the activists involved in the gay community and i'd rather come out
to you guys on my terms, rather than having you guys find out from
the media.

i also have to put my money where my mouth is. coming out to people
around me puts a face to the so-called homosexual threat, and i can
change perceptions of the heterosexual majority.

some of you may have issues with homosexuality. well, so do i. it
took me a long time to grapple with it - and trust me, it is not an
easy struggle.

i hope that this begins a process of understanding, and hope that in
doing this, i help people understand more about homosexuals - that
despite of our sexual preferences, we are at the end of the day,

your friend,

he's right.. it really doesn't matter at the end of it... not to our friendship, anyway..
Bad Kids, Bad Parents?

I was greatly disturbed by the article in Straits Times today about the 7-year-old KaoHsiung boy who is addicted to pornography. This little boy was apparently exposed, by his porno-loving grandfather, to years of hard-core pornography, to the point that he is now “addicted” and knows how to surf TV channels himself for porno programmes, draws naked women instead of cartoons, and even fondles his own private parts. The grandfather, like many adults, I suspect, probably thought it was “ok” as the boy was “too young to understand.”

It is sad, even tragic, how so many parents fail to realise the negative impact they have on their children, each and every day, as a result of their own bad behaviours and attitudes. Take Singlish for example. Many parents are quick to blame the poor standard of English of their children on negative peer influence in school as well as bad teachers. But just take a walk around the heartlands one Sunday morning. You will be shocked how frequently (and loudly) you hear parents speaking in bad English to their children: “Aiyoh! Boy ah, wait you lost it how?” Little wonder why Singlish has unfortunately become our lingua franca, much to the dismay of the more linguistically proficient amongst us. I recall a close friend of mine and I musing one day last week at a restaurant (while overhearing this mother at the next table exclaiming something loudly in Singlish to her young son) how ironical it is that so many parents nowadays struggle hard to speak to (and hence misguide) their children in a language they themselves can hardly handle, even though they are perfectly competent in their mother tongues. I personally grew up in a home environment where my mother spoke to us only in Chinese since she didn’t know any English. As a result, I am effectively bilingual today, and can certainly tell Singlish apart from Standard English.

Having said this, it is not my intent to bash parents. I cannot imagine a more challenging role than parenthood, more so because it is often thrust upon ill-prepared couples that don’t know what they are in for. After all, babies, unlike toy cars and laptop computers, do not come with instruction manuals. Parents are left pretty much to their own imaginations and devices when it comes to “best practices” for bringing up their children. According to my Educational Psychology tutor today, the latest research shows, disturbingly, that “the majority of Singaporean Secondary school students are juvenile delinquents.” Majority?? The worst thing is, when parents are summoned to schools to discuss their children’s deviant behaviour, many show disinterest, apathy, and at the extreme, even exhibit signs of such behaviours themselves!

It will take a long time before society can figure out how to deal with these problems. In the meantime, we can only hope and pray that these problems do not worsen. But a lot has to depend on the parents, and their willingness to work with the teachers. That’s my view, at least.

Saturday, 26 July 2003

NEL is dumb - and they think we are too!

have you heard the NEL station announcement that goes:

"When using the escalators, please hold on to the handrails", said in four different languages?

not to mention the reminders that we are not to put our hands on the glass doors, that we are to mind the narrow gap between the train and the platform and goodness knows what else??

just when we thought we have heard enough of the dumb announcements over on the MRT side, suddenly, it seems like singaporeans were not only totally ungracious beings who need to be told to "let others come out of the train before we board" and not to "eat and drink", we were also clumsy, fumbling bumbling, unthinking idiots who need to be told to take care of ourselves wherever we are! the way the announcements just play over and over again, NEL stations sound as hazardous as construction sites!

grr... i so yearn for peace and quiet when i take the trains...

oh well, just venting partly 'cos a lousy connection between NEL and MRT made me miss the last train home yesterday. stuck waiting some 15 mins for NEL train from Chinatown to Outram (could have walked between the two stations in half the time!) and missed the westbound to Boon Lay by a couple of minutes. what was most infuriating was: when i told the MRT station manager to give some feedback to his management that something like that should not happen, he walked away quickly saying there was nothing they could do as it was "NEL's fault" and not MRT's. grrr.... as if i wasn't their customer as well??

guess i am forced to write a complaint letter to MRT again.. sigh..

Thursday, 24 July 2003

Ode To Broken Things - Pablo Neruda

Things get broken
at home
like they were pushed
by an invisible, deliberate smasher.
It's not my hands
or yours
It wasn't the girls
with their hard fingernails
or the motion of the planet.
It wasn't anything or anybody
It wasn't the wind
It wasn't the orange-colored noontime
Or night over the earth
It wasn't even the nose or the elbow
Or the hips getting bigger
or the ankle
or the air.
The plate broke, the lamp fell
All the flower pots tumbled over
one by one. That pot
which overflowed with scarlet
in the middle of October,
it got tired from all the violets
and another empty one
rolled round and round and round
all through winter
until it was only the powder
of a flowerpot,
a broken memory, shining dust.
And that clock
whose sound
the voice of our lives,
the secret
thread of our weeks,
which released
one by one, so many hours
for honey and silence
for so many births and jobs,
that clock also
and its delicate blue guts
among the broken glass
its wide heart

Life goes on grinding up
glass, wearing out clothes
making fragments
breaking down
and what lasts through time
is like an island on a ship in the sea,
surrounded by dangerous fragility
by merciless waters and threats.

Let's put all our treasures together
-- the clocks, plates, cups cracked by the cold --
into a sack and carry them
to the sea
and let our possessions sink
into one alarming breaker
that sounds like a river.
May whatever breaks
be reconstructed by the sea
with the long labor of its tides.
So many useless things
which nobody broke
but which got broken anyway.

by one of my favourite poets.. leaves us with questions we should ask ourselves.. about broken things..

Does everything break?
Can everything be fixed?
Should everything be salvaged?
What was life like before and after the break?
Where were you when the break happened?

(ponder...) - read also Bei Dao's Comet - about leaving and loss..
new school, bad ankle, volcanic activity

feels funny and rather nice to be a full-time student again :)

life is really as cushy and protected as it looks on the outside.. and everything is so well organised. the ultra modern computer lab with its high ceiling, 10 rows of some 200-300 powerful new computers (and broadband! hooray! ok ok..i know i am a laggard.. :p), the library with its fashionable cafe on the third floor, cheap canteen food, twice a day temperature checks strictly followed, friendly classmates, teachers making sure you are clearly informed about homework, tutorials and materials to pick up... there is a endless flurry of activity - running to and from the photocopy room, surfing the web for information, going to the library to borrow books, tutorials, lectures and idle chattle at the canteen.. as expected, most of my schoolmates are fresh grads from NUS and NTU this year who have had not a bit of working experience in the "real" world, so all this is still the "normal" life to them.. still, i think i will be enjoying the lessons, especially the module on Educational Psychology... whee!! i'm even going to be learning Grammar all over again! :O

second update is not so pleasant: missed a step in school (i blame the bad design) and twisted my ankle. not a big deal 'cept that i haven't had a sprain in quite a while so hopefully, this doesn't put me out of sporty action for too long.. swelled up horribly and i made the mistake of not icing it down soon enough.. (received this wonderful advice from athletic friend via sms only this morning - "ice the swell for the first 24 hours. After which, do a light massage to remove the blood clot which is causing the swelling" - remember hor! next time (touch wood!) you have this problem..)...was hoping to train up a little and see if i can join the Army Half Marathon this year :p Twisted Anke, Go Away!

here's a pic of the volcanic sky i took on my trip to Manado last week.. (taken with LCA)

town of Tomohon - see blue local transport vehicles - mikrolets - in foreground

Monday, 21 July 2003

dive alternatives

if you are a non-diver, you can either :

1. Go watch Coral Reef Adventure Omnimax movie at the Science Centre - it's pretty good. saw it yesterday. educational and rather spectacular! really feels like being underwater.. or

2. Pop down to Unique Seafood Market.. why bother looking for them when you can see them in glass tanks and be all nice and dry at the end of it... haha.. was amazed at what they sell! Stonefishes?? They don't even look tasty!! :O

3. (Heard this from a friend) Go to the Kaiyukan Aquarium in Osaka - they have a tank so big that they even keep a whale shark in there!!

Sunday, 20 July 2003

more experimental photography..

Jap Inventions

woah! hahaha

you can't beat this for pillow design.. hahaha...

Saturday, 19 July 2003


Manado diving was fantastic beyond my wildest dreams. Other than the 3 dives that I did on my last trip to the Flores in Indonesia some two years back, I’ve never seen such diversity of marine life, healthy display of hard and soft corals, superb walls and reefs, as well as large shoals of schooling fish of every type, colour and size than off Bunaken Island this time round. Every hour-long dive was consistently and memorably good, and even diving off the house reef yielded some incredible finds.

for the uninformed - these are nudibranchs

Summary of my dive log: pygmy seahorse (my best find – at 33m!), black tip shark, white tip shark, a spotted eagle ray, 2 huge green turtles, no less than 4 to 5 Napoleon wrasses, Giant trevallies, mackerels, jacks and snappers, school of 30 teira batfishes swimming Zen-ly, a teira batfish juvenile (awesome!), lots of fantastically beautiful and huge Spanish dancers (50cm hexabranchus sanguineus), the black with green dots Dusky Nembrotha (nudibranch), countless other nudibranchs which were equally beautiful, schools of clown, titan, orange-striped and redtooth triggerfish, delicious looking groupers, the pretty scrawled filefish, tiny black-saddled tobies, my favorite spotted boxfishes, yellow-margined moray eels on almost every dive, the very rare zebra moray and snowflake moray, cowries, dendronephthya crab (very camouflaged!!), a very cute mantis shrimp, slipper lobster, a cave of 5 different types of firefish and lionfishes, variety of scorpionfish and stonefishes (as well as some frogfish), panther flounder, longnose hawkfish, barracudas, all the pipefish, trumpetfish, cornetfish and flutemouths we could find in the coral reef book, the very rare cometfish (which mimics the moray eel), banded sea snake (freaked me out), lots of bumphead parrotfish, a cluster of bigfin reef squids, amazing colonial ascidians, sea fans, and a prolific display of wrasses, anemonefish, sweetlips, damselfishes, fusiliers, butterflyfishes, anthias, surgeonfish, porcupinefish and puffers etc.

We had the good fortune of diving with a bunch of cheery marine biologists from the Raffles Museum of NUS and they were rattling off and logging scientific names of marine fish and invertebrates after each dive, which made the whole trip extremely educational. The rather famous underwater photographer Michael Aw (no relation of mine) was also on a visit to the resort and we had a chance to talk to him about the amazing dives he has done around the region as well as a new book he is publishing. And lucky us also got to see schools of dolphins and pilot whales swimming alongside and around our little boat when we went out on one of our dives! Really funny fellas!

Ended the trip with a visit to the unbelievable Chinatown market, where the “everything-also-eat” Chinese populace were blowtorching dogs, bats and field rats, and cutting up everything marine from giant green turtles :( to slipper lobsters and giant mantis shrimps. We also got ourselves properly covered with fine rusty volcanic ash from Gunung Soputan, which “hiccupped” on the last day we were there.

Photos to follow. :)

Monday, 14 July 2003

messed-up bodyclock

waking up early two days in a row (i.e. before 10am ... :p) has messed up my bodyclock. slept the whole afternoon today and am now bright awake at 4am, scanning photographs and messing around with the website.. such is the life of a "professional bum".. hee hee.. wow, can't believe i've worked only about 1 and a half months (technically) this entire year! :O

sad to say (umm.. actually i'm quite glad..honestly!), my bumming days will be over soon.. after my very highly anticipated dive trip to the lovely Spice Islands (which shall commence tomorrow from the early hour of 9.55am for the flight), i shall be heading back to school - to books, lectures, and sloppy wear... feels really weird to go back to being a full-time student again.. maybe i'll start having feelings of deja vu??

ok, nuff said. besides, talking late at night often feels a lot like sleep-talking.. :p

in the meantime, check out some nice new lomo pics from my recent ride on the NEL etc.. :)

the cenotaph

Friday, 11 July 2003

experimental photography


more to come...

Thursday, 10 July 2003

scuba diving

manado beckons.. :) gonna be away from 14 to 19 july and then back to start school...

pygmy seahorse

can't wait to check out the little critters... :)

Wednesday, 9 July 2003

domain name

someone has already taken my domain!! :O

it's my fault for being so slow... :(

seems like this hweeling is also from singapore but is now staying in Bologna, Italy ... :,(
Man cleared of removing girl's teeth

A man has been found not guilty of removing 18 of his girlfriend's teeth while they were both high on the hallucinatory drug GHB....."I turned to face my bedroom wall and a luminous green and pink fly flew out and down my throat. That's when it started choking me." Samantha Court ... (see full exorcism story)..

proves that drugs are bad.... they can make you lose your teeth.. :p

i still love these drug campaign ads... not sure how effective they are though.. reminds me of Eric Carle's drawings..
paying the price for chasing a dream

it's really hard for anyone not to feel the pain of loss from the death of the Iranian twins... the difficulty and immensity of what they went through is something that few of us will ever experience and can ever truly feel ... the courage, the fear and the determination that they had as they stepped into the operation room, determined to fulfill their dream of leading separate lives..

in comparison, many of us have far less life-threatening dreams (if we have dreams at all, that is..).. perhaps a lot of what we dream of achieving just requires us to get out of a comfort zone.. or require more time, effort, material risk, thinking... in comparison, here were two people who put their lives on the table... really makes you think about how we are leading our own lives

another equally heartrending story this week is the one on the British journalist who risked it all to cover the war story in Iraq and was shot dead in the head... he too paid the highest price ever to chase his dream...

these were people who clearly believed, as Helen Keller said:

"Life Is Either A Daring Adventure Or Nothing"


Tuesday, 8 July 2003


i haven't seen any of these segway human transporters around anywhere in singapore.. i think they are a really good idea..but.. ya, i haven't seen one yet..

take a look at the various parts of the segway.. and there are even people with blogs about the segway!
cool sports gadgets

i went out and got myself one of these yesterday... i think they're so cool.. :) and the sound quality is pretty amazing too..

portable sport audio

i'm a sucker for sports stuff that i always imagine will somehow (mysteriously) "inspire" me to run that extra mile. or to make me wanna get up and get out to hit the pavement... i think i'll carry it along with me on one of my long walks too.. :)

for girls inspired by the butt-kicking charlie's angels, check out nikebeautiful ... i think it's great that nike has elevated sports to a lifestyle/fashion symbol... the swoosh is irresistable... :p

Monday, 7 July 2003

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters By Portia Nelson

I walk down the street,
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost. I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.
flash mobs

i find the whole idea of flash mobs (via pics and titbits) extremely amusing and intriguing..

Flash mobs are performance art projects involving large groups of people. Mobilized by e-mail, a mob suddenly materializes in a public place, acts out according to some loose instructions, and then melts away as quickly as it formed.

wonder if anyone will dare to undertake something like that in singapore - other than being highly conservative and practical, i think most singaporeans will just be too darn scared to try it for fear of being arrested (i.e. "illegal gathering") by our super efficient police..

there will surely be someone asking something dumb like "eh, this kind of thing need licence or not, har?" hahahaha....

then again, don't you agree that something like that is exactly the sort of thing we need to "Remake Singapore".. :)
simple friendship

yes, kai, i enjoyed our wine and pasta session last night too. :) There’s nothing like getting together with some of your best old pals for a relaxing evening just catching up with each other, finding out what’s happening, new ideas, thoughts, projects, dreams, and getting each other fired up and encouraged about possible opportunities life is presenting now and of course, comforting and supporting each other for some of life’s harsh lessons too...

No judgments whatsoever. No “I’m-better-than-you” kind of crappy attitude. No jealousy, bitchiness, useless gossiping or destructive criticisms. Just good ole “hey, what does this dream of yours mean?”, “wow, sounds like a good idea! you’ve got my support!”, “hey, what’s eating you? cheer up! you’ve got us right beside you!”, “wow, it must be tough what you’re going through.” and “hey, snap out of it.. life is good” We put our heads and hearts together and sort out some of life's tough questions.. At the end of it, good friends are really like good wine, getting better with age. And talking about wines, there’s nothing like sharing good wine with good friends.. :)

Thank you to all my dear friends out there - several of whom have made it a habit to read my blog daily – it means a lot to me :).. especially those of you who have stood by me in some of the oddest decisions, actions and giant leaps I have made in these few years of my life. You have never condemned me for how bizarre I am but have grown to love me for my quirkiness and idiosyncrasies, to support me in my goals, dreams and to encourage me gently to break my bad habits and to chide me, even if harshly, for my occasional (:p) vices and misguided moves... I thank God for friends like you. Your friendship will always be an honour and treasure to me.

Saturday, 5 July 2003

wayang kulit

Javanese Wayang Kulit

sat through a cool 2 hour performance of traditional Javanese Wayang Kulit at Fort Canning tonight, with jumbo flies buzzing around after the evening rain adding to the atmosphere..

i've never seen a real performance of wayang kulit before and was hence surprised to discover that the majority of the audience actually sits behind the puppet master (dalang) and his team of singers and gamelan assembly, rather than in front of the stage, i.e. the screen onto which the shadows are cast. It is almost as if the audience is sitting backstage or something.. haha.. :p The flat, elaborately cut-out wooden puppets are also beautifully-painted (probably for the sake of the audience behind the screen) and a lot of fighting, punching and jumping takes place, while the singers sing and the gamelans gong.

i like the effect when the dalang pull the puppets away from the screen rather than across 'cos it makes them larger and more intimidating, and they have a ring of lighter shadow (aura) around them, which reminds me of the gaussian blur effect in photoshop - which is one of my favourite filters... err... durrh... :p

Friday, 4 July 2003

Big blob baffles boffins

for some reason, i found the following story really creepy.. maybe it's the time of the night.. eeks... :{ or maybe it's because i just watched JU-ON two days ago and Dark Water the night before!!!.. :O

Holy calamari!

"Chilean scientists were baffled today by a huge, gelatinous sea creature found washed up on the southern Pacific coast and were seeking international help identifying the mystery specimen..... (see rest of story) and more pics of the scary blob...

this is the sort of news budding scuba divers must hide from their concerned parents...

Wednesday, 2 July 2003


This is simply one of the most meaningful and sweetest stories i've ever read about Friendship.. read it... it really makes you think about and cherish your deepest and most enduring friendships (sorry folks - it's in Chinese .. & turn on those speakers.. :))

Location: Kitchen
I pumped out the air in my bottle of Wyndham Estate 2001 Bin 555 Shiraz with my new Wine Bottle Vacuum Seal. As I wasn't completely sure it was vacuum tight, I let in the air and did it again. And again. Then i put the bottle of wine back in the fridge.

(a random record of current real-life idling - inspired by the dullest blog)
Day of the NEL

In my first-ever “tour” of Singapore’s latest pride and also the “world’s first heavy metro driverless mass transit train”, another idling friend and I took the NEL (or North-East Line) from Dhoby Ghaut to Sengkang and then back to HarbourFront yesterday, checking out the cool monorail-like Sengkang LRT along the way.

Our PM Goh grades the NEL “between 8 and 10” –- err… whatever that means.. hahaha.... Our verdict? More like 5 (almost fail) to maybe 7 1/2 (B-)??

Firstly, the plastic chairs are a hideous pinkish peach-light purple combi. One would imagine even a colour-blind person with better colour sense.. Then, for a $5bil high-tech system, it was really weird to see them fix the emergency button (which apparently got activated by accident a ridiculous number of times initially due to poor design) with short lengths of cheap ugly white pvc tubes (it’s really cheap-looking, and very funny..) But worse of all were the four to five unexplained “short delays” we encountered on this one single trip, which ranged from 15 second waits to one that stretched for some 10 minutes at least! And when the trains finally started moving again, no explanations and apologies! The NEL staff, in their lime-green uniforms, were walking around unhelpfully, like phantoms in this giant Matrix. The stations are also all identical-looking when you look out of the train to check which stop you are at (unlike the current MRT stations which are at least differentiated by their different coloured tiles), except for (once again, cheap-looking) A4-sized pieces of paper stuck up on pillars showing the station name and number. Well, at least some of the papers were slotted into clear plastic file pockets.. :p

Everyone in the train had this look of resignation whenever the train stops, as if they were almost used to it. Hey, I didn’t pay all those taxes for something like that, hor??? Sigh… worse thing is, SBS Transit's chief operating officer for rail, Mr Simon Lane was supposed to have said "The system will continue to have some teething problems. We expect the passenger experience to be as good tomorrow as it has been today.".. as good or as bad??

Tuesday, 1 July 2003

Location: Clementi Swimming Complex
I noticed a transparent pink-purple swimming cap worn by a lone “auntie” figure in the pool. She reminded me of the jellyfish in "Finding Nemo". I watched her for a while and then carried on swimming.

(a random record of current real-life idling - inspired by the dullest blog)