Sunday, 31 August 2003

womad 2003

oops.. i realised that my last blog sounded really bleak.. ok, it's really meant to be seen in a positive way, if you know what i mean?

broke the monotony of the stay-home weekend at the very enjoyable and crowded Womad 2003 last night, braving the smoke, haze and midnight downpour to watch the funky fusion Afro Celts, melbourne-based mish-mash musicians The Cat Empire, latino band Los de Abajo, amongst others, attended a drum-dance workshop by the very fun Badenya les Freres Coulibaly from Burkino Faso, and saw the ultra-cool and ultra bo-chap Nitin Sawhney in person at the DJ Club set (wow wow!) There was a visible absence of "yellow-skin" performancers, as usual..

I think Fort Canning still remains one of my all-time favourite outdoor performance places..

sacrificed rollerblading today to rest my assaulted eyes..
pain as my teacher

"I am a student
and suffering is my teacher
I have learnt nothing
until I have suffered."

When Disease Maks Sense

Saturday, 30 August 2003

growing fonts

no, your eyes are not playing tricks on you... yes, i've increased the font size of the text on my blog..

long overdued, eh? :p
weekend wonders..

thanks michelle for your kind prayers.. :)

i'm up at my computer again, cos i'm tired of lying back on my bright yellow conduroy beanbag all day, listening to spanish language tapes and thinking about life.. but what to do.. on and off, my eye will feel that sharp jabbing pain that reminds me that i am not ok yet, even though i think it already looks a little better than before.. :( i've been told to avoid dusty places and dusty people but an evil neighbour upstairs has, for some bizarre reason, started dispersing talcum powder out of his/her window and the wind has blown a whole lot of that through my room window - which means that i have to keep it closed.. evil, don't you think?

last night, i had a random dream.. i dreamt that i was about to deliver a speech and had it all scribbled down on this flimsy piece of foolscap. however, just as i was leaving the house, i suddenly couldn't find the piece of paper with my speech on it among the stack of papers i was holding in my hands. i started searching frantically around the house. Suddenly, as i lifted up this stack of papers, a giant snake (about 10 cm in diameter), looking distinctly like a yellow-margined moral eel, with yellow markings on a black body, shot up ala jack-in-the-box and hissed at me ferociously. i ran away in fright and it turned its attention to my mother, who was obliviously reading her Lian He Zhao Bao at the table next to it. i remember screaming to my mother and she screamed as well, waving her papers at the strange looking reptile.

we managed to frighten the snake and it dropped to the ground and slithered along the edge of the wall. i opened the door to let it out and, as it was leaving, it suddenly got stuck and began moulting, leaving a mighty big pile of skin on my floor.

this was the point when i woke up.

wonder what this dream means..

Friday, 29 August 2003

another day @ the hospital

little ones @ the hospital

today's diagnosis was better.. thanks everyone for the prayers and regards.. :) hope i'll be ok soon though will have to visit the Eye Clinic again on Monday for a further round of checks.. 4th day of MC.. wow, never been this ill..

sat waiting for almost 2 hours, eavesdropping on other conversations..

in one corner, an ah mah in a dark flowered blouse was telling her two old ah mah friends in Cantonese about her ordeal two years ago. In one particular two month period, she suffered one heart attack that left her hospitalised for three days, a stroke that paralysed her left side, and a fire at home that left her comastose from smoke inhalation. the fire apparently started from a leaky gas pipe that exploded. worse thing is, she happened to have a "couple of thousand dollars" in her handbag at that time and whoever came into the flat after the incident apparently took the money! anyhow, she looks fine now and her friends were visibly impressed.. well, i was pretty impressed too..

in one of the clinics, a medical intern/student (??) was grilled by two doctors for not knowing some complicated processes and medical terms.. they kept asking him question after question and the poor student started looking slightly flustered... i guess it really isn't easy to be a doctor. i mean, so much is expected of them and one cannot even imagine the consequences of a misdiagnosis.. gasp... at one point, they also had trouble deciding what my condition was. got me really worried too. doctors are really expected to know everything.. right..?

two seats behind, a mother was going back and forth educating her son about the importance of taking care of his eyes, and the difference between articles 'a' and 'an' - e.g. an owl, an apple vs a house, a cat.. suddenly, she paused awkwardly and confused after explaining to her son that 'an' is used for nouns starting with a, e, i, o or u and then realising that it is also used before 'hour' ... she was stumped as her son looked on expectantly at her... her solution? "er... ok, 'an' can also mean "one" so "one hour", ok? understand? ok, next word.."... so she glossed over her incompetency skillfully.. haha..

oh well, time to let my eyes rest again.. tata..

Thursday, 28 August 2003

humble prayer request

i went to see the specialists at the hospital eye clinic today and i didn't like what i heard... :(

and it was really and horribly uncomfortable to get needles (i hate needles) swiping my eye ball no less than 4 times as they got samples into separate petri dishes for further tests in the lab.

am on hourly eye drops now, and they gave mc again for a third day tomorrow - need to go back to hospital for further examination..

it's hard to stay upbeat now even if i'm normally an optimistic person...

i don't normally ask but.... whoever you are...if you could..

i need some prayer right now... please... ?

Wash hand - Brush teeth

phew, turns out there is no reason to panic yet..

found this informative health brochure yesterday at the A&E dept on "How To Wash Your Hands" and thought i'll share it with everyone..

i'm not a hypochondriac, but i do believe that some of our daily habits are putting ourselves at risk of contracting unnecessary illnesses - which can cause our lives to come to a standstill - like my eye in this instance, which has definitely put me off running in this weekend's Nike Real Run, or worse still, to put us out completely and permanently..

as Dr. Chérie Carter-Scott writes in "If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules: Ten Rules for Being Human",

The body you are given will be yours for the duration of your time here. Love it or hate it, accept it or reject it, it is the only one you will receive in this lifetime. It will be with you from the moment you draw your first breath to the last beat of your heart. Since there is a no-refund, no-exchange policy on this body of yours, it is essential that you learn to transform your body from a mere vessel into a beloved partner and lifelong ally, as the relationship between you and your body is the most fundamental and important relationship of your lifetime (see it here)

it's about respect and i'm beginning to learn more about it..
Mars farce

just went out to see if i could see Mars, like every one else, as the world gazes at Mars.. but i see nothing! just clouds and a smattering of stars...

maybe it is really true that "cloudy weather in parts of the Asia-Pacific zone, where night falls first, prevented many from witnessing the spectacle" as the article says..

oh dear, does this mean i have to wait another 284 years???

it's not fair!!

related news: Soothsayers See Doom, Gloom in Closeness of Mars.. bleak.. very bleak.. anyone knows what the Feng Shui masters say to this?? :p

Wednesday, 27 August 2003

an eyeful update

truth is, my eye infection hasn't gotten better... in fact, it has gotten worse and i no longer have the heart to put up new pics of it on my blog lest i scare off my dear & ever loyal blog readers..

so i was referred to the A&E just now to get it checked - my GP is now pretty sure it's viral infection, rather than mere bacterial infection (cos if it was, it should have gone away by now..) and didn't have the medication to fix that.

as usual, the A&E wait is long...

cold empty chairs

and it turns out, SARS precautions at hospitals are back in place...

N95 masks & disposable protective gowns

i was informed by this roving nurse that new SARS cases have just been identified in Hong Kong and China.. . darn...

i really hope to get my eye fixed soon. above all, it's because it happens to be what i call my "photography eye" - the eye i usually use to look through my camera.. :,( once i get this eye fixed, i'm definitely going to work on my photography ... times likes these really make me realise how important my eyes are to me in the pursuit of my dreams..

i guess crises tend to make people rethink their paradigms in life....

Tuesday, 26 August 2003

inquiry about geylang district

i was clearing my email box today and found this email sent to me last year.. i think this chap got my email through my Insider's Checklist Guide to Singapore)

Subject: inquiryabout geylang district
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 20:54:31 -0800 (PST)


Im a traveller and i visited many parts of the world. Im originally from San Diego, California and i would want to spend x-mas in Singapore with some of my friends. a friend of mine who got there told me that clubs in singapore are really wild and crazy and the people there are nice and friendly. Aside from being a clubber, i have a thing for asian girls preferably japanese and filipino women, just merely thinking of them really drives me nuts. However, the present situation in the philippines(social, economic, etc) is the only thing that bothers me and made me change my mind in visiting their country. But i reallly want a filipino girl. Tommy, my english friend advised me that there are lots of filipino women in singapore but they work there as domestic helpers only, i told tommy that i want a foxy filipino not a nanny who scrubs the floor and clean houses everyday. Now, im seeking your help about this little dillema of mine regarding filipinos. Do you kno! w any filipino girl who is outgoing, adventurous, promiscuous, pretty, definitely not a maid, who is willing to go out with me during the holidays when i get there a week from now? Or if you're busy ( I assume you are) can you direct me to a place/ district where there are filipino girls i can choose from and go out with, you know paid girls or prostitute japanese and filipinos. Anyways, i'll be going now i just hope that you could help me with my inquiry and i'll be more than grateful should i hear from you this week. Thanks man!!

Don Andrews

hahahaha... yes, just in case you were wondering.. no, i didn't reply... and i'm surprised i am such a karang-guni to have kept this email in my mailbox for so long.. no wonder it is overflowing.. :p

Lynn introduced me to Friendster over the weekend. It's the second time i've been invited by anyone, though i didn't give it much of a thought earlier, dismissing it as just another gimmicky fad..

Looking at it more carefully now, it does seem like it is actually a pretty good idea - a giant social-network helping users find dates and new friends by referring people to friends, or friends of friends, or friends of friends of friends, and so on... i guess it could technically go on forever! eventually, we are all linked up, even if only ultra-superficially.. the idea is, you can easily find someone who shares a similar interest and send them a message, and then hopefully end up knowing each other better. it's a way of linking up with long-lost friends as well.. the possibilities of this medium have yet to be fully exploited..

it has even spun off the new jargon: A friendster is not exactly a friend, but rather an online acquaintance about whom a lot is known, thanks to the degree of disclosure in their social resume, which, of course, may or may not be true.

it's an inevitable consequence of the growing web culture, no doubt..

i'm still a bit of a sceptic honestly, although i am someone who believes in the power of connecting with people..

reason is: although i'm technically linked up with some 860 people now (much less than the 250,000 acquaintances most people have, and one of the guys on my network looks suspiciously like a black NBA player.. :O) , only 3 are really my direct friends (cos i haven't sent out any invites other than a test one - so don't cry if you haven't received an invite from me.. i tend to procrastinate on stuff like this).. if you ask me how likely i am to contact the rest? umm... don't know... not likely i think.. especially since even the Giant Squid has got friendsters.. umm... actually, i wouldn't mind being the Giant Squid's friendster... haha... :p

nonetheless, check out Friendster's phenomenon growth

anyone wants to be my friendster? :p

yippee!! :D


just got a phone call a minute ago from guy from NIE-YEP team - i've been selected to join an expedition project team to go up to Yuksam area of Sikkim (India) end of this year to help out in a community project!

Project Details:

Project Yuksam: The small village of Yuksam, Sikkim is the base where treks up the famous majestic Kanchenjunga begins. The Kanchenjunga Conservation Committee (KCC) is set up to look into ways to conserve this beautiful mountain and make sure that responsibilities, sustainable ecotourism is carried out.

Our project aims to work with KCC in the following way:

1) Public education and exchanges: We are exploring into possibilities of educational exchanges in the areas of sanitation, waste management and natural conservation.

2) KCC: We would like to help the committee come up with a more informative and comprehensive website in which it serves to act as a one-stop trekking service where trekking services e.g. hiring of guides, transportation, trekking packages can be obtained. Possibilities of aiding them in the setting up a Visitors' Centre is being looked into

3) Logistic support: We are looking to provide them with technological support the likes of cameras, computers etc to aid them in the documentation of plant life.

4) Traning and educational exchanges: Exchanges aimed at equipping local guides with more skills, e.g. First Aid and Risk Assessment Management (RAM) skills so that they can provide top quality and safe guide services.

Join us if you want to help the locals in Yuksam in their efforts to preserve the natural beauty of Kanchenjunga and in turn make ecotourism a livelihood they can depend on.

Monday, 25 August 2003


got a bunch of these via email..

> BOY : May I hold your hand?
> GIRL : No thanks, it isn't heavy.
> GIRL : Say you love me! Say you love me!
> BOY : You love me...

some more here..

i've also uploaded a food cholesterol content chart and a nutritional function of fruit and vegetable juices chart..

Shiok!: Exciting Tropical Asian Flavors

Check out this new coffee-table style cookbook by Terry Tan (famous TV chef and author of several cookbooks) and son, Chris Tan (former editor of Wine & Dine).

it's a wonderful collection of some 100 classic and modern local recipes - from nasi lemak, laksa, hokkien prawn mee and hainanese chicken rice, to creative versions of roti prata and other equally yummy and truly "singaporean" dishes.. there is even a nice encyclopedic list of ingredients, detailed description of utensils and implements, and useful notes on techniques...

best part is, the food photography by Edmund Ho, is delightfully lomo-esque and buying it for the pictures alone already makes it worthwhile...

i'm getting one copy for myself.. :)

certainly a splendid buy for yourself or as a birthday gift for any friend of yours who is into good food - you can get it at kino..

Sunday, 24 August 2003

love's lofty goals

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

I will love the sun for it warms my bones; yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit.
I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars.
I will welcome happiness for it enlarges my heart; yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul.
I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due; yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.

I will love the ambitious for they can inspire me! I will love the failures for they can teach me.
I will love the kings for they are but human; I will love the meek for they are divine.
I will love the rich for they are yet lonely; I will love the poor for they are so many.
I will love the young for the faith they hold; I will love the old for the wisdom they share;
I will love the beautiful for their eyes of sadness; I will love the ugly for their souls of peace

(from Og Mandino)

Jesus defined success when he was asked which is the greatest commandment. Jesus said

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
- Matt 22:37-39, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27-28.

The first four of the "10 Commandments" instruct us to love God while the last six instruct us to love people.

in this dog-eat-dog world that we live in today, are these lofty aims or essential guiding principles for our lives?

You decide..

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. - Gandhi

Saturday, 23 August 2003

i'm infected by an eye infection (try saying it)

red eye

scary pic eh??

ya, that's my eye now.. thought it was quite artistic, with the silhouette of the camera in the pupil... hee hee.. sorry if you didn't think so... beauty is in the eyes of the beholder... (pun intended)

doc says it will take about a week to heal.. so i checked Google to find out more about it. i discovered that there are actually several types of eye infections:

- Red eye with yellow eye discharge - "pink eye" or bacterial conjunctivitis
- Red eye without discharge and with a cold - viral conjunctivitis
- Red eyes with itching, watery discharge - allergic conjunctivitis
- Red eye with history of trauma or chemical in the eye
- Red eye with pain, watery discharge - possible foreign body in the eye or corneal abrasion
- Eye with redness of the skin around the eye and swelling of the tissue around the eye - infection of the tissue around the eye (periorbital cellulitis) **
- Eye discharge in a newborn baby - blocked tear duct (naso-lacrimal duct)
- Swollen lump near the lid margin - stye

i reckon mine is the one in italics though i can't be sure.... too bad doctors normally don't tell us more about our illnesses.. the eye is a fascinating organ indeed...

Anatomy of the Eye

i also found out that "Eye Infection" is an ultra-cool 17-gallery exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam... wow...


Thursday, 21 August 2003

worm hoax




ok.. childish senseless prank...

Wednesday, 20 August 2003

comedy of misfortunes

today was a day of funny misfortunes.

first, i woke up in the morning with a sore irritated (infected?) left eye from the night before, probably from too much time spent in front of the computer as well as atmospheric dust. red and sore with clear reddish veins running all over my eyeball. no good.

decided to wear my glasses to school instead.

but just five minutes after trooping out of my front door in a hurry, one of the spectacle lenses fell out.

fortunately (and this is really fortunate), i had my pair of contact lenses with me and managed to put the one for my right eye in.

half-blind. but at least i could still see.

then midway through the day, while walking to a lecture theatre for a briefing, the sole of my right shoe fell completely off. suddenly.

fortunately (and this is again really fortunate), there was a random bazaar in school and these chaps were selling funky sneakers at one of the bazaar stalls. some brand from China but surprisingly well-designed and at half price. these two chaps showed me a pic of NBA star Yao Ming wearing it and tipping a basketball into a net.

wow, maybe i should start playing basketball. good buy. very pleased.

rest of day went pretty ok, except that the lecturer training us for English teaching thought my suggestion of using Little Red Riding Hood for teaching Reading to Secondary 2 students was a good idea but a tad bit unrealistic for a 20 min lesson. He felt it probably would take me one full hour, so i can't use it for teaching the bunch of kids this Saturday.

I like Little Red Riding Hood but I guess it is more important to be realistic. Bye bye Reddie..

have to head home now to rest my poor overtaxed eyeballs.

no computer for a while.. must be because of unlimited broadband... evil. very evil.

Tuesday, 19 August 2003

The Lurker's Guide to Stomatopods - Mantis Shrimp


what a lovely find.. :)

i also like tunicates very much.. yes.. very very much... and nudibranchs.. and mola molas, of course..

all so cute.. all so marine..
deadly bug

someone just sent me an email saying that these bugs are deadly...

deadly bugs

the email said:

"For your info:

Have you come across this insect?

Pls be very careful with this particular insect. It seems to be attacking quite a number of people these days. It is quite poisonous too.

Consult a doctor immediately as if not the infection will spread very fast.

This insect does not sting or bite. It is its urine that is extremely acidic which causes the infection.

If you touch the wound, you must quickly wash your hands or else it will spread to the next place you touch."

it came with an attached .jpg pic of an arm covered with pink scabby sores as well, which i shall not put here to avoid grossing everyone out..

while i appreciate emails like that, i hate to have to start avoiding little bugs as well, when there is already so much stress and paranoia going around..

oh well, if you do find one, catch it in a transparent (Fuji) film canister and show me, can? :p

Sunday, 17 August 2003

woman turns vegetarian

she sat down for lunch at the hospital canteen and ordered her favourite plate of goulash and began to take a few bites of the meat.

Matala said she found the meat slippery and could not cut it with a knife. She then placed it in her mouth but the meat was so tough that she could not bite it.

She then took the meat out of her mouth and inspected it with her colleagues. To her horror she found that it was a piece of penis....

Matala was so traumatised that she vomitted for the rest of the day and from that day was put-off by meat. She had since become a vegetarian.

see story.

choose your own adventure

found this site while looking for materials for my teaching.. it is so darn funny!
the way i am

just had dinner with tireless terence and kooky kai and had an amazing and amusing self-revelation, one of those things that don't happen very often till someone points it out to you.... it's like suddenly discovering you have BO.. (oh no, i'm doing it again! :O .. ) ok, well, the self-revelation was:

I can't speak beyond two to three sentences in a lively conversation without using any one of the following:

- analogies/epitomes: .. i mean, i can't think of a better way to describe someone who's flexible than by using the analogy of a grass that bends in a strong wind vs a tree that gets blown down because it is stiff and refuses to yield..

- metaphors: my brain has "hung" (one of my favourites - when my brain suddenly stops working, inexplicably and embarrassingly, and there's nothing i can do about it except "reboot" - i'm sure you know that feeling...)

- ironies: this is always by accident, almost never planned... life itself is an irony... Life Is a Fatal Disease

- similes: wah... the laksa is as spicy as.. err.... a plate of thai chilli padi mixed with japanese wasabi??

- tautology: unnecessary repetitions.... repeat again... widow woman.. either it will rain tomorrow or it will not rain tomorrow

- cliches: (as the saying goes) time and tide waits for no man..

- oxymorons: blue movie in full colour (??)

- alliterations: christopher columbus caught captain cook cooking curry chicken containing cancer-causing carcinogens.. err... geddit??

- sibilants: (the) short slippery snake slithered slowly south

only someone as pedantic as terence could have spotted it.. i tried to explain something after that without using any one of the above... err.. figures of speech (??) and found myself totally paralysed! i couldn't continue speaking and explaining what i was saying cos that appeared to be the way i was used to talking, and hence conversing... funny no one ever pointed it out to me... short of old pals like Lynn who slams me on and off for using "platitudes" in my speech :p

hey, i just can't help it! <--- (think Dove shampoo ad as you read this)

Saturday, 16 August 2003


watched Bent last night at the Toy Factory. It was so C O O L!!

amazing how Beatrice Chia went about getting the cast into their roles and working together.... reminds me of German movie Das Experiment..

go watch it if you're into males with good bodies with non-singaporean accents plus solid script and fab acting... :p .. oh well, don't go if you have issues with homosexuality.. i guess..

the cast of Bent

Friday, 15 August 2003

Mars closest in 60,000 years

the story.

the exact date: August 26 2003

the extract:

Mars hasn't had as close a brush with Earth since September 12, 57617 BC, when Neanderthals still ruled, but modern man had begun to make inroads

still not convinced??

It will be a last-chance proposition for all alive today: Mars won't be as close again until August 28, 2287.

wow!! doesn't that make you just want to see it?? no matter how irrational the feeling?? :p

reminds me of Halley's Comet when it last went by in 1986. with its next return scheduled for AD 2062, which many people at that time didn't think they will live to see, there was a mad scramble for telescopes, though almost none of these layfolks knew about this particular comet (or even comets, for that matter) prior to the news reports.. haha..

Thursday, 14 August 2003

dewormed and speeeeeding along...

wheeeeeeeeee..... the joy of * * b r o a d b a n d ** u n l i m i t e d * *... :D x 100 welcome to my first weblog entry with my new 1500mbps SCV cable broadband access.. :)

glad i got rid of the blaster worm yesterday evening, else all this speed will be pointless.. shocked to hear that "at least 230,000 computers were infected by Blaster, according to a sample by anti-virus vendor Symantec Corp, while Moscow-based anti-virus provider Kaspersky Labs put the number closer to 300,000"!

Asia Grapples with Variants of Blaster Worm...

this number includes "a (Korean) mother (who) complained of being unable to buy diapers for her toddler online." oh dear.... funky mother... wonder if it will occur to her to go downstairs to the supermarket to get it instead.. hahaha.. oops.. so mean... :p

ok, if anyone needs help, please email me. I've helped one dear friend yesterday so she could chat with me online.. :) i think i've become an "expert" of sorts after getting rid of the one in my computer... :) hee hee.. no shy... :p

Wednesday, 13 August 2003

hooray! i'm un (mblast)ed

licking the vicious mblast worm

some help from a friend and sheer tenacity on my end.. i've blasted (pun intended) away the bug!

i don't think i've ever appreciated my computer that much.. even when the internet is running on a 56kbps modem..

Here's the basic steps of how i did it:

1. Enable your built- in Windows XP Internet Firewall (how?)

2. Update Windows with the patch. Download and install the latest operating system patches from Microsoft Corporation (how?)

3. Download Removal tool (either from Symantec or McAfee)

4. Set Windows XP System Restore to Off (how?)

5. Run Removal tool (go to Start Menu, Run, Browse)

6. Set Windows XP System Restore back to On (how?)

7. Update your anti-virus software (mcafee/norton antivirus) - new variants are appearing...

8. Done. Phew!
i'(m blast)ed

it never rains but pours...

with 6 assignments and 2 presentations to hand in next week, i can hardly find the time to maintain my sanity.. and then what happens?

my computer gets a virus (the now infamous mblast.exe) which shuts my computer down in 60sec every single time i log on.

i've been surfing around the net figuring out how to fix it and it turns out McAfee probably has the clearest solution, though Symantec was helpful in giving me a removal tool (which didn't totally work anyway..)

anyhow, i can't work from home now till i fix this. this is terrible.

and no more online chatting too :(

Tuesday, 12 August 2003


here's a piece of good advice for those of us finding ourselves burning out and under-appreciated by our companies. yes, i do believe in loving my job but in these difficult times, expecting the company to feel sorry for you or to guarantee you lifelong employment just because you sell your soul to them is really not realistic..


I know people who work 12 hours a day, six days a week, or more. Some people do so because of a work emergency where the long hours are only temporary. Other people I know have put in these hours for years. I don't know if they are working all these hours, but I do know they are in the office this long. Others put in long office hours because they are addicted to the workplace. Whatever the reason for putting in overtime, working long hours over the long term is harmful to the person and to the organization.

There are things managers can do to change this for everyone's benefit. Being in the office long hours, over long periods of time, makes way for potential errors. My colleagues who are in the office long hours frequently make mistakes caused by fatigue. Correcting these mistakes requires their time as well as the time and energy of others. I have seen people work Tuesday through Friday to correct mistakes made after 5 PM on Monday. Another problem is that people who are in the office long hours are not pleasant company. They often complain about other people (who aren't working as hard); they are irritable, or cranky, or even angry. Other people avoid them. Such behaviour poses problems, especially in an area like IT, where work goes much better when people work together instead of avoiding one another.

As managers, there are things we can do to help people leave the office. First and foremost is to set the example and go home ourselves. I work with a manager who chides people for working long hours. His words quickly lose their meaning when he sends these chiding group e-mails with a time-stamp of 2 AM, Sunday. Second is to encourage people to put some balance in their lives. For instance, here is a guideline I find helpful:

1) Wake up, eat a good breakfast, and go to work.
2) Work hard and smart for eight or nine hours.
3) Go home.
4) Read the comics, watch a funny movie, dig in the dirt, play with your kids, etc.
5) Eat well and sleep well.

This is called recreating. Doing steps 1, 3, 4, and 5 enable step 2.

Working regular hours and recreating daily are simple concepts. They are hard for some of us because that requires personal change. They are possible since we all have the power to choose to do them. In considering the issue of overtime, I am reminded of my oldest son when he was a toddler. If people were visiting the apartment, he would not fall asleep no matter how long the visit, and no matter what time of day it was. He would fight off sleep until the visitors left. It was as if he was afraid that he would miss something. Once our visitors left, he would go to sleep. By this time, however, he was over tired and would scream through half the night with nightmares. He, my wife, and I, all paid the price for his fear of missing out.

Perhaps some people put in such long hours because they don't want to miss anything when they leave the office. The trouble with this is that events will never stop happening. That is life -- things happen 24 hours a day. Allowing for little rest is not ultimately practical.

So, take a nap. Things will happen while you're asleep, but you will have the energy to catch up when you wake.

Sunday, 10 August 2003

food search

do I blog about food all that much??

most of the hits to my page from search engines are related to food.. for example..

- List+all+ya+kun+kaya+toast
- importance+of+calamansi+for+hair (*hahaha)
- lor+mee+calorie+count
- wan+tan+calorie

I don't even blog about strange topics like that!!

and hence I always end up totally amused.. :)

Saturday, 9 August 2003

Happy Birthday Singapore!

It’s national day again! Happy birthday Singapore!

One cannot help but recall PM Goh’s provocative speech at last year’s national day rally:

Has the younger generation of Singaporeans gone soft? Look yourself in the mirror and ask, am I a "stayer" or a "quitter"? Am I a fair-weather Singaporean or an all-weather Singaporean?

Black-or-white. Pro-or-anti. You’re either with us or against us.

Can anything ever really be so clear-cut?

from all the political unrest and problems that have occured all around the world these past two years , it seems like many governments and politicians (and gullible everyday folks) seem to think so...

wonder what our PM will say at this year's rally speech ... umm...



LCA's Day Out @ Jurong Bird Park

Friday, 8 August 2003

challenges of life

i was just reading my best pal kai's blog about the numerous daunting challenges that she is facing now and thinking about how overwhelming life is beginning to look for me (i've got five assignments to complete for next week and 2 presentations :O) and the people around me also at this moment..

and i started randomly surfing the net for "Challenges of Life" (talk about distractions..:p) ... and i found this fantastic website with some stunning photographs! On Humanity.. people.. the living, breathing, walking, jumping world we are trying to do something for (no matter how lofty-sounding that might seem in a rat-race world of money, money, money).. where we want to make a difference... to people, after all..

what do you know? :) it was encouraging and touching.. sometimes, we stumble across wonderful things on our ardous journeys that make us stop and smile.. and remember what we are doing all this for.. :)

oh well, back to assignments..
Grammar (noun)

I: Subject (S) - first person pronoun (subjective form)
I feel: S +Verb (V) – transitive verb
I feel nauseous: S +V + Complement (C) – object complement (adjective phrase)
I feel nauseous after: S +V + C + incomplete Adverbial (A)
I feel nauseous after studying: S +V + C + A
I feel nauseous after studying thirteen: S +V + C + A (with incomplete Object (O))
I feel nauseous after studying thirteen chapters: S +V + C + A (prepositional phrase)
I feel nauseous after studying thirteen chapters of:<><> S +V + C + A (with incomplete O)
I feel nauseous after studying thirteen chapters of Grammar: S +V + C + A (prepositional phrase)

Burp. (interjection)

I do feel sick…

It’s time for bed…

Thursday, 7 August 2003


in this regard, i am indubitably a laggard..

thus far, i have been relying on StarHub's Surf-for-Free Internet Service and of late, it has become more and more unreliable... sometimes, i spend a whole night just trying to access my blog. even online chats can get cut off midway and phone calls to their tech helpdesk costs a hefty 30 cents a call! and believe it or not, all that has shockingly added up to a monthly phone bill of no less than what i get paying for broadband access!... guess nothing in life is really free..

i have finally decided to jump aboard the Broad Band bandwagon.. it is hard to decide between the Starhub, PacNet and SingNet plans (especially when i have to sift through all the gimmicky stuff and hidden costs).. i got all muddled-up last night figuring out the technical specifications of each.. but i can't wait anymore.. i have to get onto broadband, else i get left along the roadside on the Info Highway, or worse still get run over and left behind as road kill..

dramatic?.. yes, the sad facts of living in a highly competitive and high-tech world...

Wednesday, 6 August 2003

Working for a Living

more meaningful things come thru the email-box:

We were meant to work for a living...not a life. Yet, billions of us spend more than a third of each day, in places we don't want to be, doing work we don't want to do.

In the name of a "fast-track corporate career" or some such thing, we spend most of our lives buried in work...the kind we don't even enjoy...earning more money than we can spend...and still wanting more !! Many spend their whole lives chasing a dream that's not really their own, all the while, harbouring desires to do something entirely different. ....

see rest of article..

i especially like the bit from Thoreau who said most people "lead lives of quiet desperation"

... unfulfilled, unhappy and uncertain of what to do. Yet the lure of financial security and the fear of the unknown keep them from acting to change their lives, and their best energies are spend creating justifications for staying where they are or inventing activities outside of work that they hope will provide them with a sense of meaning. But these efforts can never be totally successful. We are what we do, and the more we do it, the more we become it. The only way out is to change our lives or to change our expectations for our lives. And if we lower our expectations we are killing our dreams, and a man without dreams is already half dead.

i can fully understand how hard it is to break out of a comfort zone.. i guess i wouldn't have changed jobs too if i wasn't literally "pushed out"... quiet desperation.. how apt..
Happiness is a journey, not a destination

"When you ask a child, “what makes you happy?” A child might reply, “clouds” or “petting my puppy.” As we get older we are convinced that happiness is some formula, an ingredient list that once combined will create the state of eternal bliss. We seek out temporary states of bliss through drugs, relationships, sports and sex. We psych ourselves up, convinced that this time, it will not fade. Realty kills the buzz every time. We wake up to discover: Pleasure is not always happiness, afterglow is not meant to be a 24/7 promise and no win is so big that it’ll be the last challenge we will ever have. No relationship will ever fill the void you created inside yourself. Happiness is acknowledgement of the world as it is today. ..."

by Crystal Boyd.. who also wrote this often passed around via email story which has these memorable lines:




Tuesday, 5 August 2003

marking school work

i'm marking the Dictation Passages of some of the kids from my Sec 2 English class on Saturday..

Actual Sentence: Clung to the wire mesh

What I got:

1. Clang to the wiremash
2. Clung to the wire blash
3. Clark to the wire nash
4. Climb to the wire bench (????)


reminds me of the names of the Fried Chicken stalls in Manado when i was there. Trying to differentiate themselves from KFC, they called themselves

1. Kentacky
2. Kentucy
3. Kentakcy
4. Kentuky
the new singapore education system

"Using what is commonly known as 'blogging' or 'online journalling' students from two top local junior colleges (JCs) are pouring their hearts out quite publicly (mourning the deaths of their college mates)".. see fully story here..

a heartwrenching reminder of the tremendous pressures of society on our younger generation...

i'm in school today discussing my group's presentation next week on the "Desired Outcomes of Education". we're supposed to present what has been done so far by the govrment to attain these outcomes and then lead a class discussion on the problems and obstacles that may hinder the Ministry's progress..

for those who don't know, the singapore education system has often been described as "ruthlessly efficient".. and not without reason.. other than the acquisition of skills and knowledge, the MOE website states and strives towards the following goals:

"the right values and attitudes to assure the livelihood of the individual and the country's survival and success. We must learn to be self-reliant, yet able to work closely with others; individually competitive, yet with a strong social conscience. We must be flexible in mind and outlook to adapt constantly to a rapidly changing world. We must have firm moral bearings to give us strength in a world of shifting values.

Pupils must know our common history, our vulnerabilities and constraints. They must develop a sense of shared identity and destiny, the instinct to defend Singapore's national interests, and the resolve and confidence to stand together as one people, to overcome threats and challenges.

Education helps to preserve our cultural roots. Our pupils ought to know their own cultural heritages and mother tongues. At the same time they must learn to understand and respect the different racial, religious, cultural and language backgrounds of their fellow citizens."

on top of that, IT literacy is emphasized, as well as the fostering of creativity and innovation..

sometimes, i wonder if all that change is necessarily good, and if berating those who are slow to change is fair... i look at what we have in store for our students in school these days - project work, critical thinking skills and creativity, entrepreneurship, knowledge-based learning (known as "knowledge inquiry") - on top of their curriculum, and i can understand the pressures they and their parents must face every day .. even primary school kids are exposed to genetics, robotics and bioscience, not just basic level science like pond life and roadside trees (remember??) we were learning in our time

ever wondered what the future looks like to them? a pressure vault? or full of hope and good things worth embracing..? i remember coming out of school fresh-faced and excited.. is there room for those who choose to take things at a slower pace? what about people who are late developers?


Monday, 4 August 2003

life and growth

adorable grass monster

I’ve walked by these critters on sale a zillion times but never thought of getting one. And then suddenly, last Thursday, I bought this cute hippo-shaped one from Majestic for $4 and it’s now growing quickly and beautifully.

They call it an “adorable grass monster”, and there’s something mysteriously nice about seeing something alive and growing, even if it’s just a plant, or grass for this matter. Especially if one’s own life appears rather stagnant at this point.. in one way or other.. maybe it’s like I can vicariously grow along with it.. I don’t know… as they say, the only indication that something is alive is when it actually shows that it is growing.. I always ask myself this too: Am I growing as a human being? Or is my life stagnant and wasting away..?

as my life's pace comes to a slowdown, i watch something grow to remind myself that i'm still alive..

Friday, 1 August 2003

weapons of mass destruction search

this google search thing is really quite funny...

1. Go to, type in "weapons of mass destruction"
2. Press the button "I'm feeling lucky".
3. Read the error messages carefully..

how to make a singapore teacher (first semester)

basic stuff:

Module 1: using IT in education (following MOE’s Masterplan to “prepare our students for a different future” using computers, internet and all things fancy)

Module 2: the social context of teaching and learning (to learn the what, why and what else about the infamous “singapore education system” – a bit of propaganda here? :O)

Module 3: the psychology of pupil development & the learning process (the “educational psychology” course – aka “how to handle kids of all shapes, sizes, values & behaviours in your class” course)

Module 4: use of English in teaching (we learn to say “the stork ate the pork with a fork” – not the stock ate the pock with a fock)

for english teachers:

Module 5: grammar (nouns? verbs? adverbs?? interjections??? participles????), reading, writing, listening & speaking (oral communication).. stuff like that..

Module 6: language study (bit of an overlap here, but mainly to teach us how to teach english, so we say jargon like “the use of a pronoun here is inappropriate” vs. just saying “it’s wrong ‘cos.. err.. it’s just sounds wrong, ok???)

for economics teachers:

Module 7: basic approaches to teaching economics (learning how to make shifting demand and supply curves sound fun to a class.. umm… HOW IN THE WORLD DO WE DO THAT??)

this is for all the people who have been wondering what I’m doing in NIE.. there you go, that’s the stuff they want us to learn before allowing us loose in the schools.. :) .. umm... doesn’t look all that much, eh? but gee, quite a lot of assignments, no kidding!!