Wednesday, 29 December 2004

Bali Montage (*warning - rather large image file - 155.22 KB)

the wonderful feelings from my very recent trip to Bali (I arrived back only on the 26th Dec evening!) are sadly marred by the devastating news of the (still hard to believe) huge natural disaster that has befallen a large part of the region that I come from..

although fortunate to have chosen my holiday in a safe part of the region (thanks be to God*), my heart still wrenches continually from watching the updated reports on TV and reading of it on the Internet and in the newspapers...


via email: Let's Help... (Full List)

A list of emergency items needed for the survivors of the recent disaster.

1. Tents
2. Food (Pre-cooked or ready-to-eat meal packs)
3. Water Purification Tablets
4. Wheat Flour, rice, other staples
5. Drugs: Paracetamol, anti-biotics, wound dressing, suture material, disposable syringes, vitamins, and vaccinations for diarrhea, cholera and malaria.
6. Intravenous infusion (saline and dextrose)
7. Portable generators

For small parcels/items, please have them sent to the Sri Lankan Airlines office at
133 Cecil Street, Keck Seng Tower #13-02 Singapore 069535. Tel : 6223-6353

For medium-sized and large donations, contact Sri Lankan Airlines at 62236353 and a staff member will make arrangements to collect items from your office either with their personal vehicles or with a logistics operator.

* in Oct this year, i was planning to go on an end of the year dive trip to the Maldives. then in mid Nov, my supposed dive buddy became too overwhelmed with work and we considered changing our trip to a week long Sri Lanka trip instead, though eventually, that also fell through. Then in mid Dec, another friend returned from abroad and we excitedly set out to plan a week long liveaboard trip to the Similans, off Phuket, where the end of the year normally corresponds with the peak diving season. We were even in the midst of arranging our air tickets. Then his grandma fell ill and we decided to shorten that to either a diving weekend off Langkawi or Batam instead. We settled for the latter for novelty reasons. The disappointment from the missed Sri Lanka trip was also more than made up for by another opportunity, to go to Bali (possibly with free accommodation on someone's time share voucher) over Christmas. And hence, it was Bintan and Bali I went to eventually and (yes, in case u haven't realised, i've just listed all the hard hit places above in my entry) and I am safe... I believe i am watched by angels..

Tuesday, 21 December 2004

idyllic weekend

beneath the tranquil waters lies quite another world, of things with names like gorgonians, ascidians, phyllidias and acroporas...

and of cos nemo too. :)

altogether a relaxing weekend.

Thursday, 16 December 2004


looks like i'm going to be doing not just one dive trip, but two! :)

this weekend, i'm diving Riau! just off Batam! (see site)

while in Bali, i'll dive Tulamben! (see site)

see nauseating Tulamben wreck underwater panorama - Full Screen QTVR from

cool! DIVING! :D
weekday farm visits

Frog farm, Vishnu Dairy farm, Cactus Garden, Vegetable Farm, Kranji Beach
All Look Same

hahaha... check out this ALL LOOK SAME test i just took (courtesy of my good friend Lynn)

these are my results:

I suck!!! way below average!! hahaha... Chinese, Japs and Koreans really all look the same to me!!

I'm so ang moh...:p

Wednesday, 15 December 2004

The Incredibles..

Edna Mode in the show is doubtlessly my favourite character...

appears that she had many people wondering, after the show, which real life person she was modelled after...

taken from The Disney Blog: "Edna Mode is Edith Head - Don't click on this link until you've already seen The Incredibles. However, once you have, you need to see how similar Edna Mode is to Edith Head" .. wow!

or could it be..

taken from this site.. "based on diminutive actress Linda Hunt's portrayal of fashionista Regina Krumm in Robert Altman's Prêt-à-Porter. " .. guess we'll never know..

- see extreme left

see also the Incredibles "TV Spot 7 Edna Mode" Movie Trailer .. very funny..

Monday, 13 December 2004

You Are a Hunter Soul

You are driven and ambitious - totally self motivated to succeed.
Actively working to achieve what you want, you are skillful in many areas.
You are a natural predator with strong instincts ... and more than a little demanding.
You are creative, energetic, and an extremely powerful force.

An outdoors person, you like animals and relate to them better than people.
You tend to have an explosive personality, but also a good sense of humor.
People sometimes see you as arrogant or a know it all.
You tend to be a bit of a loner, though you hate to be alone.

Souls you are most compatible with: Seeker Soul and Peacemaker Soul

When God Made The World..

Project Genesis - Internal Corporate Correspondence
National Kayak Marathon 2004

ha, no, i didn't take part though i sure wished i could have ... i mean, what could be nicer than sweating out with a large group of people on a nice sunday morning on singapore river?? ha. :) ok ok.. i just like mass sporty events like these i guess ... there's always this "sporty" spirit in the air and you somehow always get so inspired to set health and fitness-type resolutions for next year.. to get all tanned and toned and fighting fit.. ha... anyway, i was there to "chaperone" a group of "kids" (yes, we call 17/18 year-olds that.. i think it's a teacher thing though i'm not sure why coz that usually conjures up images of toddlers and bratty 10 year olds in shopping malls.. )

anyway, this was what it looked like, in case u didn't watch the news last night..

watching all that fresh-faced eagerness, all the determination on the faces of the participants to race to the end. kayaks sloshing and slicing through yucky green water, the clockwork see-saw motion of paddles, the beautifully synchronised moves of the front and back paddlers for the double kayaks, the skilful manoeuvering of boats that have swung too close to each other, the occasional capsize or two for the not so skilful ones.. the 200+ boats raced along the course that brought them down Singapore River, past the Merlion, all around Kallang Basin and Pebble Bay, and back past Nicoll Highway and into Kallang Park, and then round again.. a total distance of 25km or so (route))

but yet, the most interesting thing i saw yesterday was...

other than the frantic racing....

or the occasional eye-brow raisingly nice bod with rippled muscles...

unbeknownst to the participants...

this rather disturbing thing that was in the water..

amidst the other less interesting flotsam...

swollen like a balloon...

quite about to pop...

quite about to pop

pretty gross.

Friday, 10 December 2004

The Socratic Traveller

this being the season where foes, friends and family take off to new places to see new faces, here are some great tips i have taken from the book "Socrates Way" by Ronald Gross to share with you, that you may want to keep in mind to get the most out of your travels:

1. Free your mind from preconceptions about your destination so you can see it with fresh eyes.

2. Ask good questions about the places and people you visit before, during, and after your trip.

3. Seek out experiences, not just things to buy.

4. Look for the values that motivate the people you visit.

5. As what you can learn about yourself in the particular places and among the people you meet.

6. Seek out the most interesting range of different people and places.

7. Come home with your soul strengthened by your travels.

Remember~ you're leaving home to find diversity and stimulation! :) Leave your biases at home and enjoy yourself!

*afterthought - one of the most annoying and mechanical responses i have heard from many Singaporeans from their travels is "Oh! I have learnt that I am sooooo lucky to be living in Singapore that everything works! blah blah.. so dirty there.. so poor.. shops close so early.. "

no doubt gratitude is good (thanks to our very efficient government and certainly some laudable policies they have implemented), but surely there is something worthy to be noted in the other countries as well, no? look at the relaxed smiles of the people! the free enterprise! the spirit of the people -yes, even the ones who try to rip you off! for it seems to me that for the entire duration of the holiday, these people have done little else than compared Singapore to what these places didn't offer, rather than focused on what they could learn and what these places and people had that we didnt'.

keep an open mind, i always say, DON'T WASTE YOUR HOLIDAY!!

Thursday, 9 December 2004

Movies I Watched in 2004

1. De Lovely (2004)
2. Old Boy (2004)
3. The Incredibles (2004)
4. Shrek 2 (2004)
5. Love Me If You Dare (2004)
6. The Village (2004)
7. Vanity Fair (2004)
8. Ju-On (2004)
9. Hero (2004)
10. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
11. Santa vs. the Snowman (2002)
12. The Story of the Weeping Camel (2004)
13. Clean (2004)
14. Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
15. Goodbye Lenin! (2004)
16. Mona Lisa Smile (2003)
17. Facing Windows (2004)
18. Irreversible (2003)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
20. Last Life in the Universe (2004)
21. The Passion of The Christ (2004)
22. TaeGukGi: The Brotherhood of War (2004)
23. Big Fish (2003)
24. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
25. Lost in Translation (2003)
26. The Last Samurai (2003)
27. The Return (2004)
28. Shutter (2004)
29. Le Choristes (2004)
30. Quill (2004)
31. Travellers and Magicians (2004)

very strange assortment.. not as many as some of my movie fanatic friends, though i'm sure i missed out some.. quite hard to recall after so long.... and certainly, on closer scrutiny, you will realise that i have actually missed many of the so-called blockbusters, including even Lord of the Rings 3!! (i didnt' see that last year cos i was out of the country..) bad timing lor...

this page on yahoo movies allows you to compile your own list but it doesn't have everything..
land rover defender

i'm seriously considering buying a Land Rover Defender.. it's the ultimate adventure car..

Wednesday, 8 December 2004

portable music mania

".......two fans of MP3 players reveal that they have become so attached to their devices, that they refer to these devices as 'darling' and 'pal'. Their players are with them all the time...on the bus, in the gym, and yes, even in bed. It is the first thing they see when they wake up and the last 'toy' they play with before going to sleep.

They would rather be late for work than forget to pack it into their bags. That's how important that gadget called an MP3 player has become in their lives. Doesn't that give you a little insight into why the competition between the manufacturers of digital music players is heating up?"

(from ST Digital Life)

that sounds just like me!! :O wahahahah... check out Pingu protectiing my yet-unnamed iPod...

any suggestions for names??

Monday, 6 December 2004

standard chartered marathon 2004

no, that is not me.. i am not so stylish when i run... just thought it is a nice and inspiring picture..

in fact, yesterday's half marahon (21.1km) run for me was excruciatingly painful.. started cramping up after hitting the first 10km. had to limp to the medics and they gave me some strange oil to massage my thighs.. felt better but then the leg cramps started coming again on and off.. and i also felt continually dehydrated and my toes began to curl up involuntarily ... very very uncomfortable.. and not to mention my coughing and wheezing and choking on my phlegm (from my month-old cough).. grrr...

walked, hobbled, jogged all the way to the finish line, looking real terrible when i finally crossed it... lucky i wasn't the last to come in. ha. not too bad a timing too considering how little training i had before the run.. sigh.. in fact, i think the last time i ran was a good 2 months ago! darn the wicked flu bug...

sigh, next year, i swear i'm going to keep healthy all year round so i can get all my training properly done and come in blazing like the woman in the picture* above!

*i'll check the official photo website in two days' time to see if any photographer caught my picture as i crossed the line. i'll post it up to show u how bad i look when i came in... haha.. :p


here's how i looked as i approached and then crossed the finish line.. not too bad but rather sloppy, don't u think?.. i need new shorts.. ha.. anyway, i found a few other pictures of me but they were way too odd to put up... you should just see the expressions! haha.. see if u r clever enough to find them yourself online, ya? :p

Friday, 3 December 2004

Where the Jobs Are!

the statistics below relate to the US economy but they could well provide a highly probable picture of the direction our own economy is going as well.

This "hierarchy of human talents" shows how American jobs are changing as a result of greater productivity.

- People Skills (financial services, nursing, teaching and such)
- Imagination and Creativity (acting and a host of others)
- Analytic Reasoning
- Formulaic Intelligence (book keepers, secretaries, phone operators, etc.)
- Manual Dexterity
- Muscle Power

"Those who earn their living with muscle power, manual dexterity or formulaic intelligence are increasingly finding themselves replaced by automation or cheaper overseas labor, requiring them to adjust by utilizing higher-order skills that machinery or outsourcing can't do as well.

"Americans who want to prepare for the better jobs of the future will concentrate on developing their creativity, imagination, people skills and emotional intelligence," the authors write."

see the 2003 Annual Report at Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

something worth noting for friends of mine who are contemplating their future vocations..

Thursday, 2 December 2004

43 Things I Want to do in 2005

1. stop wasting time (740)
2. Learn Spanish (65)
3. To live instead of exist (165)
4. be a great teacher (1)
5. eat healthier (35)
6. take more pictures (428)
7. become a better photographer (25)
8. make people smile (19)
9. volunteer (15)
10. exercise more (447)
11. stop procrastinating (578)
12. keep on writing and reading and thinking (3)
13. live life to the fullest (3)
14. make more friends (77)
15. draw more (17)
16. read more books (203)
17. be more confident (62)
18. paint a lot for no reason other than i love to paint (7)
19. Enjoy working. (7)
20. make something of myself (12)
21. manage my money (4)
22. practice random acts of kindness (10)
23. Change the world (for the better) (17)
24. live passionately (203)
25. run a marathon (66)
26. start something big (16)
27. stop wasting my time on stupid things like this (7)
28. take better photographs (99)
29. design a beautiful website (72)
30. Laugh. A lot. Genuinely. (61)
31. don't lose my sense of wonder (65)
32. take a photography class (22)
33. Love (221)
34. Eat more fruits and vegetables (37)
35. make art (122)
36. Display my photographs in a public place (91)
37. re-establish lost friendships (41)
38. find the meaning of life (22)
39. visit japan (164)
40. be a positive role model (4)
41. be myself (38)
42. inspire others (30)
43. maintain great friendships (60)

see my list online

from twinkler - "What do you want to do with your life?"

Wednesday, 1 December 2004

A weekend visit to the zoo

Pygmy Hippos

isn't this so sweet?? :)

the one on the left is papa (or mama) pygmy hippo, the one on the right is mama (or papa) and the little one in the middle is baby. when we approached, one of the parents was touching noses with the little one. then all they once, they all rose, in tandem, to the surface to breathe. suddenly, the little one started sinking again (either because staying up was difficult or it was just plain sleepy). almost immediately, the bigger two rushed forward to prop it up so it could keep breathing above the water. but then it kept slipping off them and falling back in.... awwwww..... :)

went down to the zoo last Sunday morning to see my friend, who works as a zoo volunteer (aka docent), in action. we saw her leading miniature horses (no more than a metre tall) to the zoo entrance to show parents and the first question these kiasu parents love to ask is: " Can it be sat on?".. durh! typical parents.. grrr... just want to put their kids on every thing to take photographs on..

the zoo has become so amazing! practically all the animals are at arm's length away, or if they were big predators, we could usually see them just behind clear glass. Guanacos, fruit bats, tamarin monkeys etc all came up to us to examine us more closely.. the proboscis monkeys were new too. as well as a new enclosure for the white tigers which we unfortunately missed because it was raining and they brought them back to their private quarters (isnt' that so nice?? they get to stay away from pesky humans for a while everyday!) :)

i think our zoo is cool, a good place to bring your foreign visitor friends. it reminds me of Life Of Pi by Yann Martel. have u read the book? it's a good read.

Monday, 29 November 2004


attended Day 1 of the 2 day Aids conference. an eye opening and wonderfully educational experience and had tons on my mind after that, but no time to blog them all down for now. in the meantime, i'll leave you with this poster from Red Cross reminding us of the stigma and discrimination faced by those infected with Aids or HIV.

Remember, it was NOT their choice to get Aids or HIV. And it's NOT that easy to get it from them too.

Anyway, when you discriminate against someone for whatever dumb/immature/nasty reason you have, remember that someone else somewhere is probably discriminating against you in one way or other too.

Let's work together to stamp out discrimination and intolerance of every kind from our society!

Saturday, 27 November 2004

The Secret of Becoming A Teacher

Once there was a man named Nathan. He wanted very much to be a teacher. So he went to seek the advice of the wisest, most highly respected counselor in the land.

“Wise counselor,” Nathan began, “it has always been my dream to be a teacher. I want to stimulate the minds of the young people of our land. I want to lead them down the road of knowledge. Please tell me the secret of becoming a teacher.”

“Your goal is a commendable one, Nathan. However, it is also a very difficult one to achieve. First you must overcome three major obstacles.”

“I am ready to meet the challenge,” answered Nathan bravely. “First you must swim the Sea of Children,” directed the knowing counselor.

Nathan started off to swim the Sea of Children. First he had to learn their 38 names. He had to send the line cutters to the end of the line. He made the paper throwers stay after school to clean the room. He commanded the name callers, pushers, and punchers to apologize to their victims. He gave candy to those who finished assignments and stars to those who were sitting in their seats quietly. Nathan checked passes to see how many children were in the bathroom. And he tracked down students who were gone longer than was necessary. He arranged the desks in alphabetical order, then boy-girl, boy-girl, and finally into small groups of four. He lined his children up for physical education and music and library and lunch. Then stifled a cry when the secretary came into the room with number 39.

Tired and shaken but still undefeated, Nathan returned to the counselor for his second task.

“You are a very determined lad,” said the advisor. “However, now you must climb the Mountain of Paperwork.”

Nathan set out at once. He wrote objectives and drew up lesson plans. He made out report cards and graded papers. He filled out accident reports, attendance reports and withdrawal reports. He completed inventories, evaluations, surveys, and request forms. Finally, he made dittos and more dittos. He ran them off until he was purple in the face.

But the courageous boy’s resolve never dwindled. He went to the wise counselor for his third task.

“You are indeed very strong, Nathan. But this third task will take all the courage you can muster. You must now cross the country of Duties and Committees.”

At first Nathan was hesitant. But his convictions remained steadfast. He began his long journey across the country of Duties and Committees. Nathan took lunch duty, bus duty, and recess duty. He was on the social committee, patrol committee, and the faculty advisory committee. He was the adult supervisor of the student government and ran the United Fund and Easter Seal drives. He went to PTA meetings, AEA meetings, SST meetings, School Site meetings, and in-service workshops. He organized bicentennial programs, talent shows, and book drives. Finally, he was elected the building representative of the union. At last Nathan reached the outskirts of Duties and Committees.

Exhausted but happy, he returned to the knowledgeable counselor.

“I swam the Sea of Children. I climbed the Mountain of Paperwork. I crossed the country of Duties and Committees,” Nathan proclaimed. ”Am I not worthy of the title of Teacher?”

“Why, Nathan,” began the counselor, “you have been a teacher all along.”

Nathan protested, “But I have not stimulated any minds. I have not guided anyone down the road to knowledge, I have not had any time to teach”

“Oh, you say you want to TEACH! I thought you said you wanted to be a teacher. That is a completely different story!!

Friday, 26 November 2004

websites too good to trash..

Brain Transplantation - Be Young Again! Change Your Body - Keep Your Soul! - "When your car too old to fix it (sic), you are buying a new car. Would it be wonderful if you will be able to change you (sic) human body as easy as you can change a car? - Just for $499,000.00 you will get completely new human body, any age, race or gender you will choose...."

Frankenstein fears after head transplant - "A controversial operation to transplant the whole head of a monkey onto a different body has proved a partial success. The scientist behind it wants to do the same thing to humans, but other members of the scientific community have condemned the experiments as "grotesque"....."

Isamu Suda's Cat Brain Experiment - "Suda wanted to find out whether the brain of a mammal would still function after a period of freezing...."

and lastly, research findings on ear wax... apparently "Caucasians and blacks have only the wet type of cerumen (earwax). In 80 to 85% of Japanese, the cerumen is gray, dry and brittle. It is referred to as 'rice-bran ear wax' in Japanese. In the other Japanese, the cerumen is brown, sticky and wet. This is referred to as 'honey ear wax,' 'oily ear wax' or 'cat ear wax.'...."

(links via lynn) - perhaps staring at brain cells for excessive periods has something to do with her bizarre web inclinations?? :O ...

Thursday, 25 November 2004

clay turtle

check out this really adorable handphone ornament my sis just got as a present!!

it's made of polymer clay in the Millefiori style!

anyone knows where to buy it?? of course you can make it yourself too! :) it's not that difficult.,. special clay is available, in little blocks, from the place i used to work, Creative Hands @ 4th level of Takashimaya Shopping Centre!

Tuesday, 23 November 2004

Melaka (Malacca) snapshots

a famosa

anyone who's ever been to malacca will know what a lovely and laid back little town it is. a gem, really..

on a few websites, it was written:

The city was so coveted by the European powers that the Portuguese writer Barbarosa wrote "Whoever is Lord in Malacca has his hand on the throat of Venice."

great food and great sites too, considering how small the whole place is (i.e. excluding the outskirts and larger environs, with the shopping malls and all). i couldn't resist the yummy chicken rice balls, local popiah, teo chew food, grilled fish and not to mention the traditional chinese sweets sold along Jonker street.

click here to see some snapshots i took on my short weekend visit.

and behold here the king of the river that helps to keep the river dividing the city clean! these fearsome beasts are at least 2 metres long from snout to tail!

jumbo water monitors

Friday, 19 November 2004

zen micro

look! this creative zen micro has the colour of my blog background! :p
Cherrilicious - my cherry blog

carol is in japan and eating all sorts of strange but cool stuff...

the defiant swine

click to read her fab food blog.

Tuesday, 16 November 2004

more about the US elections..

excellent article by Jeanette Winterson.

"America is in a state of civil war. Outside forces threatening the USA are nowhere near as dangerous to the country as the battle being fought for the hearts and minds of the American people.
For now, it looks as though the liberals have lost. Three million people - the margin of the win - have decided that America will turn back the clock on abortion, gay rights, civil rights, environmental responsibility, and America`s obligations to the rest of the world."

click here to read it all..

Monday, 15 November 2004

US apologises to the world...

this is really quite interesting..

Sorry Everybody is a neat collection of photographs from across America, by Americans, to express to "the rest of the world" their "deepest apologies" for the present political situation in their country and for how the elections turned out..

i admit that for a while, i too was pretty upset with the US for how the results turned out... oh well.. it's true that we can't blame everyone.. let's just hope we see more peace than wars in the years to come... and miraculously too, more tolerance for the minorities in the country, in every sense of the word... "moral values".. what does Bush know about that anyway?... grr..

(link via Otterman)
Tree-top Walk

did what Kai did, a day later. WET WET day - got drenched in the late afternoon downpour but somehow managed to slosh through the whole 11km, looping around MacRitchie Reservoir. This route, once described in this site as "A Hidden Find for Runners" is fast becoming popular, especially after NParks spruced up a large part of the way with nice new boardwalks and stuff.

judging from the huge turnout of parents, grandparents and with children in tow, it is apparent that bringing children on nature walks is quickly becoming the "in" thing to do. hope these kids learn to respect nature and in time become conservationists-at-heart too.

fun. :)
The Singapore Motorshow 2004

other than trying (often in vain) to take pictures of beautiful cars without being blocked by beautiful but sometimes under-dressed women, we also got to witness half an hour of impressive precision driving performed by master stunt performer Russ Swift (parallel parking in 2 seconds, reverse parking without using the reverse gear, driving on two wheels, spinning on the spot etc), sit strapped tight in one of these Subaru Imprezas for a little nausea-inducing spin by one of the ah-beng drivers on duty, get cool autographs by Russ Swift and motor racing artist Fredd Briggs, and check out the interiors of some of my all-time favourite cars like the Peugeot 206cc and even an ambulance!

all the different car manufacturers were also out in force, showcasing their new cars as well as a drooling number of sleek new concept cars for us to ogle over. As usual, Mercedes had a classic stylish booth with a pretty display of vintage cars. not to mention the Lamborghinis... very nice..

more for fun than for shopping but well worth the $10 paid! We were there for almost 6 hours! :)

*if you want to get tickets for the stunt performance, make sure you are there at the reception counter at least 2 hours prior, when they start giving out a limited no. of tickets for each show.

Saturday, 13 November 2004

Asian Congress of Storytellers 2004

Very Urgent!! :O

The Asian Congress of Storytellers is about to pass us by!!

Kai and I are planning to take part but we need a third person to make it a bit cheaper ($348 rather than $388).

Anyone interested???

It's a good opportunity to meet some world class storytellers and learn how to create and tell stories effectively and creatively to family, friends and anyone interested. I've read through the programme, it's really interesting and varied (drama, dance, songs, folktales, rhythm etc etc) and should appeal to everyone funky and young at heart (dogs young enough to learn new tricks), especially to those of you who are teachers, parents, librarians and storytellers yourself!!

click here to read it yourself and email me @ hwee(at) if you are interested ASAP!! Please note that it is on the 25th and 26th Nov which are weekdays.

Friday, 12 November 2004

ode to the sea

Pygmy Seahorse - Hippocampus bargibanti

i hear the roaring sea calling to me.. in the midst of the traffic noise below

i smell the ocean in the breeze, blowing gently

the salty mist wifting gently through my room window....

gosh, i miss diving..

this has been a dry dry land lubbing year.. and it's already November..


Sunday, 7 November 2004

The National Orchid Garden

went on a nice Saturday morning outing to see the National Orchid Garden at the Botanic Gardens, in particular, to check out the newly-built 'Cool House' simulating sub-tropical conditions.

i've always loved this place, especially for its truly splendid collection of orchid hybrids commemorating the visit of VIPs from royalty (e.g. Princess Masako) to state dignitaries (our friends from all corners of the political world) to pop stars and celebrities (e.g. Tom Cruise and Bae Yong Jun). Some orchids can truly blow you away.

it's one of those places i would recommend for my foreign friends, anytime. :)
Singapore River Experience

on the spur of the moment, i went with a friend to try the very touristy Singapore River Cruise Experience last Friday, something i've been thinking of doing ever since i heard from another friend some time ago that it is actually worth the hefty $12 for a half-hour ride down a river i've already walked down countless times.

here are some pics taken with my phone cam:

turned out to be rather fun indeed, especially when we were going under the different bridges: there are 11 of them, some with names that were unknown to me previously, like Pulau Saigon Bridge, Read Bridge and Ord Bridge. it was also interesting to see the Esplanade, Merlion, ACM and Fullerton Hotel from another perspective.

the evening breeze was cool and surprisingly, Clark Quay was abuzz with the chatter of diners visiting the new restaurants that hugged the riverbank. noticed a couple of new places to check out... glad they have revamped the ghost town.. :)

kitsch? well, sure beats the trishaw ride i just took the weekend before at Little India!.. haha.... never mind, i could always pretend to be Japanese.. :p

Tuesday, 2 November 2004

a quick update (oct - nov 04)

friends, fans and concerned colleagues (past and present),

i had disappeared and i apologise. thanks for your kind patience and undying support and trust in me that i'll return, and of course, your unbelievable loyalty in still checking out this page faithfully, after my unusually long hiatus..i have been extremely busy...

below is a brief pictorial capture of some of what i've seen over the past month. words will follow shortly (i hope).

for now, adios! au revoir! ciao! and take care!

caption update: (1) 'From the Land of the Ottoman Sultans' @ ACM (2) observatory near hilltop jap restaurant @ jurong (3) bottle tree (4) good friends @ chalet (5) kai's niece (6)-(12) the animal resort (13) everbloom mushroom farm (14)&(15) breaking fast @ arab street (16) the old istana @ kampung glam (17) SENI Singapore 2004 @ SAM (18) sunflowers for my sis' birthday (19) pretty gerbera (20) birdwatching @ khatib bongsu with naturetrekker ben (21) pitcher plant @ simpang (22) Sungei Simpang (23) mating horseshoe crabs (24)&(25) wild fungi (26) anthill (27) feet in therapeutic hot spring H2O (28) scary mr lee

Monday, 25 October 2004

The key to self-awareness is honest self-observation

"If we do not observe ourselves, we cannot ever hope to be our own master.
We will be like 'puppets' yanked by every impulse tugging on our strings."

- Don Riso, an international Enneagram authority

circumstances in my life threaten to tug me in all directions. lots of both positive and negative events surround me these few weeks.

staying afloat. learning to keep everything in the right perspective and staying perfectly aware of what is happening in and outside of myself, as well as the choices open to me.

will be back to blogging real soon.

Saturday, 16 October 2004


I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint - and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.

Oprah Winfrey, O Magazine, September 2002
US actress & television talk show host (1954 - )

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Mark Twain

If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Wednesday, 13 October 2004

from.. you are what you eat
the net principle

the irony of it all...

my new sony ericsson t610 got nicked at my workplace today after i left it on my worktable.. darn sad..yes, if you're wondering, it's the phone i mentioned in my very last post, just before this one.. lost all the contacts i have stored in my sim card over the past couple of years.. anyway, i figured that this is also a good time for me to figure out who my existing or remaining or enduring friends are.. those who have survived years of my nonsense and decide to remain friends with me.. if you got my number and still want to be in my list, please sms me, with your name of cos, and let me add you back, ya?

else i'll try to email you at some point to find out or get it from someone else in our "clique"??

i've realised that life is just like that sometimes.. someone returned me a mobile phone recently, one that i had lent to her for a while, and very promptly, i lost my new one. it is as if there is always this "net effect".. you lose something, you find something else, you drive your old car around for years and nothing happens to it. you buy a new car and you wreck it the next day... you lose a friend and then gain a new acquaintance.. when God closes a door, He opens a window..

bizarrely, this is always something i realise i subconsciously believe about life, despite how positive i appear about things around me and circumstances and events.. sometimes, i suddenly wonder.. in the quiet of the night.. maybe, just maybe.. there is really a "net" amount of happiness in this world... when someone is really happy, someone else in the world becomes sad.. when peace appears somewhere.. war breaks out in another corner..

oh well.. neber mind.. anyway, many thanks to the dearest friend who's about to lend me a camera phone to tide over these difficult times.. :) thanks! muaks! **

Thursday, 7 October 2004

the *new* sony ericsson t610 gallery

went down to sim lim to buy an infrared to usb cable last night and finally managed to download my pics from my recently purchased (albeit no longer in fashion) camera phone.

now announcing the t610 gallery!

hahahah.. very lomo-esque pics.. cool..... i like.. :)

Wednesday, 6 October 2004

sunrise 05 oct 2004

Monday, 4 October 2004

a weekend of varied experiences

sunrise 04 oct 2004
sunrise 04 oct 2004

the weekend that just passed (from friday all thru to sunday) was pretty amazing..

firstly, Friday. i happened to be at raffles city at the right time and caught no less than 5 babelicious models catwalking down the side of Raffles City to pulsating electronic music (see here for the 2004 vertical catwalk asia tour by espirit). i stood alongside heartland aunties with toddlers in tow and young couples in smart office suits, all of us watching in awe the real life Lara Crofts in action. Very surreal.

then hopped over to the opening of a good friend's exhibition at Singapore Art Museum. His team, sciSKEW architecture, is one of 10 artists exhibiting as part of Seni Singapore 2004 (Project Home Fronts). Look out for the cool piece of work – you can’t miss it cos it’s so huge (stretches over two rooms) and white and elevated and rather bright with about 30 flourescent tubes incandescent. Noticed a few somewhat well-known figures in the local arts scene while sipping wine and gulping tea tarik at the reception and caught up with some “long lost” acquaintances and friends. Fun :)

then adjourned to the related art exhibition Insomnia 48 at the Arts House where we stumbled upon a free slow waltz 101 course by a bubbly lady with a broad smile. She was brilliantly friendly and made the moves seem so effortless. Still, it didn’t stop me from tripping over my two left feet. Nonetheless, I’m glad i overcame some of my initial biasness against this dance form and now I think it can actually be quite fun. Ha.

woke up early Sat morning and went to get my already-not-so-long hair chopped further at my favourite HDB dwelling hairdresser, as suggested by my kind colleagues who are going to do likewise, as preparation for the heavy load of marking that will descend on us in a few days’ time, once the exams are done. In their own words, “Have a lighter head”. Imagine the extreme lengths teachers will go for their students! Erhm. *I’m sure you’re weeping in gratitude now??* haha.

Then headed down to Yishun swimming pool for some sun and laps. Trying my best to get the “healthy glow” look that is not typical of teachers.. hahahaha . ok ok, well, actually I was trying to fix my right ankle which is still throbbing a little from a careless sprain after the long run last week. Thought the soft motion of the water current will help. It didn’t after 10 laps, so I just stood around and people watched. Ha.

Ended the evening walking around famous Chong Pang "village" (where every other nasi lemak stall claims to sell the original "Chong Pang nasi lemak", just like in the katong laksa case), stopped by at the handful of pet shops to stare at the gerbils, hamsters and budgerigars, and eventually, ended up at Ma Kuang Chinese Physicians and had my first taste of acupuncture! I think the trauma of really doing it was more than the actual pain, though I did have some six needles poke into my foot and light electrical impulses sent through them, causing this odd numbing sensation for a good 15 minutes.

The random experiences continued into Sunday. A good friend and I caught up over lunch and then watched the Discovery Travel and Adventure channel host contest live at Suntec. At the beginning, we pained over those on stage who put on faked accents and looked enthusiastic but awkward for the cameras and live crowds (too fat? too old? really sweet? too friendly? too fake? whatever..) We cheered those who pleased us intuitively, even if we couldn’t figure out their appeal. In the end, I didn’t finish watching the whole contest and spent the rest of the day with a group of fun friends for cold beer along the river, laughing and bantering. Good clean malty fun. Ha, who can complain!

I think a weekend like this takes a while to recover from… burp…

Friday, 1 October 2004

on a morning a few days ago...

on a beautiful morning like this one, i could easily pretend i was watching the Aurora Borealis itself.. brilliant! :)

Thursday, 30 September 2004

Exam Time Brainology

quote taken from a student's handed up assignment:

"When the exams are around, everyone's brain consists only of the left and the right. On the left, nothing's right. On the right, nothing's left."

- Anonymous

Sunday, 26 September 2004

Sheares Bridge Run and Army Half Marathon 2004

i allowed myself to be coaxed into running the army half marathon (21km) this morning, instead of the 12km fun run i originally signed up for, and I managed to finish the whole thing without stopping in a little under 3 hours!! :D

by no means olympic standard and suffering from some aches in my thighs and ankle now (which i imagine can only get worse tomorrow) plus in desperate need for a quick snooze but it sure feels good to set a new milstone in my running! :) thanks to my pal for believing i could do it and pushing me along.

to more exciting running adventures in time to come!

next: The 10km Second Link Run (from Singapore to Johor) in Oct. Should be fun!

Thursday, 23 September 2004

terry fox run 2004

it was supposed to be 8km. but it was definitely no more than 6.2km.

they cheated us!!! hope sheares bridge this sunday will really be 12km.

Monday, 20 September 2004

boycott M1!!

on behalf of my dearest friend Kai, i ask that all of us who can do so..


grrr.. shouldn't have just extended my contract with them for another two years just to get the Sony Ericsson 610... hope ST Forum publishes her complaint letter. Bad customer service deserves a sound whopping! :(

Sunday, 19 September 2004

International Coastal Cleanup, Singapore 2004

I joined an enthusiastic bunch of environment conscious folks at Chek Jawa (Pulau Ubin) this morning for the annual International Coastal Cleanup. As far as I know, there were more than 3000 people cleaning up the various coastal areas of Singapore this morning! Way to go! :)

Our team of about 40 cleared more than a tonne of trash from amongst the mangrove roots over the course of a little more than 2 hours, including more plastic bags and mineral water bottles than I could count, slippers, tires, light bulbs, cigarette lighters, ping pong balls, fishing nets, jerry cans, glass bottles and other random things. We worked fast and against the rising tide, sometimes knee deep into mud, pulling out plastic bags and ropes that had wrapped themselves around the roots of the mangrove plants at low tide.

While I was there, I took time to observe the nature that nevertheless managed to survive - amazing little crabs with single oversized pincers, large mudskippers, yellow-green sea grass.. the whole place was like a secret garden filled with wonderful mysteries.

Pulau Ubin as we arrived

Chek Jawa at low tide

The Mangrove Swamp in silhouette

Secret Gardens

My group's 200+ kg of trash

Friday, 17 September 2004

On Fear

"What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it. "

~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Anything I've ever done that ultimately was worthwhile... initially scared me to death."

~ Betty Bender

"Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Winners are those people who make a habit of doing the things losers are uncomfortable doing."

~ Ed Foreman
Nick Nolte (on Life)

"Look, everything we repress, we put in a bag and carry behind us. Sometimes it gets too full and breaks open. That's what happened to me a couple of years ago.

"When that bag overflows is when I'm going to learn. When I mess up, there's a problem and I have to recognize it. I find my anger, my rage. I find that love is temporal, passion is forgettable and pain is always with you."

- Nick Nolte (The Toronto Sun)

Do you agree?

I don't know about pain.. but guilt does stay a long long time...

Monday, 13 September 2004

A common misconception is that antisocial personality disorder refers to people who have poor social skills. The opposite is often the case. Instead, antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a lack of conscience. People with this disorder are prone to criminal behavior, believing that their victims are weak and deserving of being taken advantage of. They tend to lie and steal. Often, they are careless with money and take action without thinking about consequences. They are often agressive and are much more concerned with their own needs than the needs of others.
Borderline personality disorder is characterized by mood instability and poor self-image. People with this disorder are prone to constant mood swings and bouts of anger. Often, they will take their anger out on themselves, causing themselves injury. Suicidal threats and actions are not uncommon. They think in very black and white terms and often form intense, conflict-ridden relationships. They are quick to anger when their expectations are not met.
Very High
People with histrionic personality disorder are constant attention seekers. They need to be the center of attention all the time, often interrupting others in order to dominate the conversation. They use grandiose language to discribe everyday events and seek constant praise. They may dress provacatively or exaggerate illnesses in order to gain attention. They also tend to exaggerate friendships and relationships, believing that everyone loves them. They are often manipulative.
Very High
Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by self-centeredness. Like histrionic disorder, people with this disorder seek attention and praise. They exaggerate their achievements, expecting others to recongize them as being superior. They tend to be choosy about picking friends, since they believe that not just anyone is worthy of being their friend. They tend to make good first impressions, yet have difficulty maintaining long-lasting relationships. They are generally uninterested in the feelings of others and may take advantage of them.

Dependent personality disorder is characterized by a need to be taken care of. People with this disorder tend to cling to people and fear losing them. They may become suicidal when a break-up is imminent. They tend to let others make important decisions for them and often jump from relationship to relationship. They often remain in abusive relationships. They are overly sensitive to disapproval. They often feel helpless and depressed.
Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorder is similar to obsessive-compulsive anxiety disorder. People with this disorder are overly focused on orderliness and perfection. Their need to do everything "right" often interferes with their productivity. They tend to get caught up in the details and miss the bigger picture. They set unreasonably high standards for themselves and others, and tend to be very critical of others when they do not live up to these high standards. They avoid working in teams, believing others to be too careless or incompetent. They avoid making decisions because they fear making mistakes and are rarely generous with their time or money. They often have difficulty expressing emotion.

-- Personality Disorder Test - Take It! --

Sunday, 12 September 2004

seeing eye dogs

everyone in the cinema went "awwwwww... sooooo cute!!!!"

baby lab

then there were more awwwings and aahhhings cos there were more of them..

a bunch of baby labs

finally everyone settled down to watch Quill and found out how seeing eye dogs are selected and trained and loved.

sweet movie for labrador retriever lovers.

or for all dog/animal lovers for that matter.

Friday, 10 September 2004


had a nasty fall last night while running (yes, not a good idea at my age.. sigh..) and both my shoulder and two kneecaps are throbbing with pain now, badly scratched as i had fallen sprawled clumsily onto the rough tarmac after i tripped over a kerb while trying to avoid this guy strolling in front of me who had his cigarette butt held out dangerously by his side. grr...

thank goodness my sister is a nurse.. this was what she did for me, which closely corresponds with what i found later from a First Aid website:

1. Calm your child and let him/her know you can help. (my sister brought me my favourite Penguin soft toy - Pingu - which was great comfort..hahaha.)

2. Wash your hands well. (which she did, before laying out all the surgical implements neatly on the dining table)

3. Wash the abraded area well with soap and water, but do not scrub the wound. Remove any dirt particles from the area and let the water from the faucet run over it for several minutes. A dirty abrasion that is not well cleaned can cause scarring. (i flushed the wounds with blasts of cold water from the showerhead - thankfully i'm a bit of a masochist so it was ok..:p)

4. Apply an antiseptic lotion or cream. (we used Betadine)

5. Cover the area with an adhesive bandage or gauze pad if the area is on the hands or feet, or if it is likely to drain onto clothing. Change the dressing often. (i had it nicely taped up and dressed expertly by my sister)

6. Check the area each day and keep it clean and dry. (when i looked at it this morning, it was dripping and oozing with the yuckiest stuff you can imagine! i had to troop down to the pharmacy for fresh dressing.. eeww..)

7. Avoid blowing on the abrasion, as this can cause germs to grow. (i didn't cos i forgot, though i reckon i would have had i remembered. Now i know so i won't)

hope this doesn't affect my run next week at Sentosa! grr...

Thursday, 9 September 2004

emotional intelligence

have you read about the Marshmallow Test?

i was reading my 8-year-old copy of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, given to me on my 22nd birthday by my dearest friend Lynn, and i came across this interesting study:

Four-year-old kids from the Stanford University preschool were the subjects.

The experimenter put a marshmallow in front of each kid and said: "You can have this marshmallow now, if you want, but if you wait until I finish running an errand, and don't eat it until I get back, you can have two then."

The videotaped results were hilarious. Some kids went up to the marshmallow, smelled it, then lept back like it's dangerous. Some went off in a corner and sang and danced to distract themselves. Some kids just grabbed it. About a third of the kids grabbed their marshmallows and ate them, about a third waited just a while, and the rest waited an endless 10 minutes until the experimenter came back, and they got their two, as promised.

These kids were followed up 14 years later, when they graduated from high school. The "grabbers" were still impulsive; they were quick to anger and not very popular. The "waiters" were popular and well-balanced emotionally. But the most astonishing finding was that the "waiters" had higher scores on their SATs - 210 points higher than the "grabbers," out of a possible score of 1,600.

Here are some social consequences of being impulsive: for boys - three to six times more likely to be violent by the end of adolescence; for girls - three times more likely to get pregnant in adolescence; for kids who are chronically sad or anxious in elementary school - most likely to end up as a substance abuser in adolescence during periods of experimentation.

Here are some consequences of being "waiters": A U.S. Department of Personnel study of outstanding performers found that they were flexible, adaptable, and conscientious; they stayed positive under pressure and had integrity.

i can't be sure what my EQ level is.. this test showed it was rather high while for the other test i barely made it above average... haha.. anyway, with stuff like that, who better to tell me then those dear long-time friends of mine who are always so brutally frank with me... :p .. should ask them.. haha..
love quotes

If love is the answer, could you rephrase the question?

-- Lilly Tomlin

Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.

-- Anais Nin

Tuesday, 7 September 2004

the bintan break

bintan beach

bintan's still a nice weekend break when you have great company, great food, great relaxation.

we could even see colourful fishes of several varieties when we swam out no more than 10 metres from the shore into the warm clear waters.

more random pics in a while.. in the meantime, stay cool..
On Self-knowledge

And a man said, "Speak to us of Self-Knowledge."

And he answered, saying:

Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.

But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.

You would know in words that which you have always know in thought.

You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.

The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;

And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.

But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;

And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.

For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."

Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."

For the soul walks upon all paths.

The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.

The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.

taken from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, 1 September 2004

27 blocks spurn HDB lift upgrading scheme

yesterday's Straits Times had this story about how some elderly folks, who voted for the Lift Upgrading Programme in their estates and didn't get it are bitter, saying others are selfish. Parliament is hence going to discuss if these blocks should be given a second chance.

in particular, they quoted this 'accounts clerk Tan Aik Hua, in her 50s', who is bitter that the scheme was nixed at her block saying:

"I hope those who vote against it don't grow old."

now, my point is, what do you think this old lady meant when she said that?

read it again carefully.

did she mean.. "Wait till these people grow old themselves"? (which, of course, is a pretty reasonable thing to say)

or did she mean.... gulp!.... "I hope these people don't get to see old age"?? :O!!! i.e. .. this is one evil curse??? :O

i've asked around and most of my friends think i'm nuts for being quite sure she meant the latter.. but read it carefully and you can surely see why i believe that..

gulp... the old lady sure is angry.. :*
Happy Teachers' Day 2004

Sunrise 1 Sep 2004

to all the teachers out there.. here's something lovely for us on Teachers' Day... :)

The Molders of Their Dreams

Teachers, You are the molders of their dreams
The gods who build or crush
Their young beliefs of right or wrong.
You are the spark that sets aflame
The poet's hand or lights the flame
of some great singer's song.

You are the god of the young, the very young
You are the guardian of a million dreams
Your every smile or frown
can heal or pierce the heart

You are a hundred lives, a thousand lives.
Yours the pride of loving them
And the sorrow too.

Your patient work, your touch
Make you the goals of hope
Who fill their souls with dreams
To make those dreams come true.

~Clark Molenhoff ~

A Teacher's Prayer

I want to teach my students more
than lessons in a book;
I want to teach them deeper things
that people overlook--
The value of a rose in bloom,
its use and beauty, too,
A sense of curiosity to discover
what is true;
How to think and how to choose
the right above the wrong,
How to live and learn each day
and grow up to be strong;
To teach them always how to gain
in wisdom and in grace,
So they will someday make the world
a brighter, better place.
Lord, let me be a friend and guide
to give these minds a start
Upon their way down life's long road,
then I'll have done my part.

~ Jill Wolf ~