Friday, 30 January 2004

'Cap? Pas cap?' ('Game or not?')

view from my window - with the breeze blowing.. nice..

taken just ten minutes ago... aren't digital cameras just so cool and convenient??... :)

finally caught French movie "Love Me If You Dare" this afternoon... leaves you thinking about how important fun and playfulness is in any relationship and finding that "soulmate" who connects in that special (even if sometimes crazy) way.. it's a bit idealistic but still, it's hard to find someone who wouldn't be touched by it, even if they are not die-hard romantics.. it's a quirky romance story, if i could put it that way.. great acting too..

seen it yet? if not, go see it! going to finish already!!

Thursday, 29 January 2004

desktop support

inspired by valska's pic of her doggy wrist rest, i took a picture of my cat wrist rest and here it is, on my messy worktable, surrounded by boxes of my mounted slides:

messy desktop?

sigh.. so much work and i'm playing away, taking nonsensical pictures... i ought to be scolded.... back to work.. grr..

i can't wait to go to the jungle and hide away.... heh heh.. endau rompin!!
Not Tonight, Honey. I'm Logging On.

Internet porn is everywhere; even “nice” guys are hooked. So where does that leave their girlfriends?

great read.

non sequitur thought: i've just noticed that a large number (maybe not majority, i hope) of regular bloggers are actually single.. or maybe they just happen to be the blogs i read... gulp.. any correlation between regular blogging and singlehood, anyone??

a tale of many values

There was once a woman named Mei Ling who was in love with a man named Ah Seng. Ah Seng lived on the shore of a river. Mei Ling lived on the opposite shore of the river. The river, which separated the two lovers, was teeming with man-eating crocodiles. Meil Ling wanted to cross the river to be with Ah Seng. Unfortunately, the bridge had been washed out. So she went to ask John the riverboat captain, to take her across. He said he would be glad to if she would spend the ngiht with him. She promptly refused and went to a friend named Boon Teck to explain her plight. Boon Teck said he did not want to be involved at all in the situation. Mei Ling felt her only alternative was to accept John's terms. She spent the night with him and he fulfilled his promise and took her across the river to Ah Seng.

When she told Ah Seng about what happened, Ah Seng cast her aside. Mei Ling turned to Tom with her tale of woe. Tom then sought out Ah Seng and gave him a good blow that sent him into the river.

Rank the five characters from one to five, one being the person you like the most and five being the person you like least.

Mei Ling, Ah Seng, John, Tom & Boon Teck

after you have done this, deliberate on why you made those choices. it's quite interesting how this little exercise reveals a lot about our personal values, and what we like and dislike most about the behaviour and beliefs of ourselves and others.

so who did you like the most and least?
the last samurai

the last samurai

"Nearly every set in the film was made from scratch by the production, under Kilvert's careful direction, from the thatched-roof homes of a rural Samurai village to the congested, modern Tokyo thoroughfare; from silk-shaded lamps and rice paper window screens to prop weaponry and period flags. They even made their own trees..."

maybe it was the attention to detail.. maybe it was the brilliant acting by the actors, or the plot, or maybe it was even just because i haven't seen a movie in quite a while.. anyway, i found myself enjoying almost every bit of the last samurai when i watched it this evening... even the pace was just about right (not draggy in the typical pseudo-epic way) and i was touched by several scenes of heroism and honour.. quite cool movie indeed..

go see.

Wednesday, 28 January 2004

gender stereotypes??

A French teacher was explaining to her College class that in French, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine. House is feminine "la maison." Pencil is masculine "le crayon."

A student asked, "What gender is 'computer'?"

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups - male and female - and asked them to decide for themselves whether "computer" should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for their recommendation.

The men's group decided that "computer" should definitely be of the feminine gender (la computer) because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later review; and,
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine (le computer) because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and,
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

Tuesday, 27 January 2004

moral dilemma

one of our lecturers shared with us in class today this real life moral dilemma she faced several years ago while teaching at an all-girls secondary school. One day, she was suddenly approached by one of the girls' mother and told that the latter wanted to withdraw her daughter from the school. It turned out that this 15-year old-girl was actually already 7 months pregnant at that time! And the worse thing was, the "father" of the baby was actually her own stepfather! This was one of those typical all-girls' school where the girls wore pinafores and could hide their figures quite well as long as they did not wear their belts - which would be familiar to you if you came from such a school yourself - i did. in my lecturer's own words: "you can't tell who is pregnant and who is not".

with all the intuitive instincts of her psychology background, my lecturer figured that what really happened was the girl, since she was so young, had probably been raped by her stepfather. Her mother, in order to protect her husband and to hide the shame to the family, was now withdrawing the daughter from the school and was trying to keep everything hush-hush. In fact, the family had already decided to bring up the child as if it was the girl's brother and to keep the secret forever from the child. According to my lecturer, she found herself struggling with whether to report the case and finally decided not to, after pressure from all sides (even the girl herself was willing to hide the truth of what happened). What was most painful was that even the Principal of the school said that "nothing could be done" since everyone was willing to "cover up" on what really happened..

in retrospect, she is no longer sure if she had made the right decision after all. in some ways, she even felt like an "accomplice" to a misdeed..

is the responsibility of the teacher first and foremost to protect and nurture the child, above all else? what could have been done otherwise? umm... difficult situation, huh?

Sunday, 25 January 2004

Pilot Crew - Globetrotters Alert!

"Arts central has been showing a travel documentary series every thurs 9pm, called "Pilot Guides". They have shown Beijing, Turkey etc. More coming up. Nice footage, and a pretty host."

Their website:

(via email - thanks!)

Saturday, 24 January 2004

holiday mood extended

something today triggered a realisation in me that it is already almost the end of January and I still haven't started on any of my resolutions yet... and it doesn't look like i'm about to start on them anytime soon as well, what with all the existing projects and all that still remains to be done... grrr... the start of the year is always filled with anxiety... and of cos a lot of lethargy and procrastination too.. sometimes, i get the feeling that i certainly don't seem to be getting better at time management even as i grow older and time becomes more and more scarce...

oh well, anyway, i've got a short trip with the Green Volunteers' Network coming up soon! :) the small group of us (the first time i'm joining them for their activities) are going to Malaysia's second national park, ENDAU ROMPIN NATIONAL PARK this coming Hari Raya Haji weekend to experience the tropical jungle and the Orang Asli way of life. Can't wait! only problem is that i can't decide if i should bring my digital camera or my slr.. umm... definitely not both since i'm trying not to be burdened by my gear this time.. i'm there to have fun! :) this could be the start of (hopefully) some volunteering this year, if time permits, once i get to know this organisation better... see first lah.. must focus this year instead of trying to do a million and one things half-heartedly..

Friday, 23 January 2004

countries i visited

create your own visited country map

.. takes forever to download the map though...

always looks impressive - even though i visited only the capital of some of these countries, e.g. Tokyo (Japan) and Manila (Philippines), the whole country is still coloured in red.. haha.. makes me feel dishonest.. durrh.... just noticed Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe look temptingly bare.. umm... ..

Thursday, 22 January 2004

fortune smiles on my family..

mum just won the lottery!... see latest Singapore Pools results.... not 1st prize lah! but she's sharing part of her windfall with me and sis! :D

i'm finally going to get my long awaited for.... Akarui 56L Electric Dry Cabinet! now my humble collection of cameras and camera lenses will have a dry home sans silica gel! have been eyeing it in Cathay Photo for over the last two years.. haha.. unbelievable huh?

popping down to the store second thing on Monday! (first thing being classes, of course..) woo hoo! yippee! :D .. hope they still have it in stock..
Happy Lunar New Year Everyone! :)

someone sent me this lovely Happy Lunar New Year link.. click this... it's so cute.. :)

according to my Chinese Astrology fortune telling chart , i am a Green Tiger and am equivalent to Wood. In order to "improve my luck", i have to increase my "deficient element", which is Metal.. amongst the list of things that i supposedly have to take note of are:

1. Winds or air coming from the west are good to you. (that's ok, i live in the western part of Singapore.. haha..)
2. It's good for your well-being to orient your body with your head toward the west while sleeping. (i have to adjust all my furniture in the room??)
3. When arranging the office desk, you should sit facing the west. (umm.. very feng shui.. )
4. A metal bed is good for you. (eee....)
5. Your lucky color is white. (er.. ok..)
6. You should wear white often. (easy to get dirty, no?)
7. You should use a white system (pastel colours) for decorating your house. (no problem.. typical Singapore home.. pastelly..)
8. Driving a white car brings your luck. (no car)
9. Wearing jewelry will bring you luck. (haha.. not in my character though..)
10. It's a good idea to wear golden rings. (gold ring somemore! so obiang!)
11. You will have better luck, if your name has an 'E' sound. (hweeeeeeee...)
12. You will have better luck, if your name is associated with a meaning of metal or gold. (umm.. don't have.. i should call myself Goldie or something?)
13. Spicy food is good for you. (yum yum..)
14. For your health, don't be sad or worry all the time. (sounds logical..)
15. For your health, don't be in dry weather too long. (sounds logical, again..)
16. Take care of your respiratory system - Lungs, Nose and Skin. (this is true..)
17. Take good care of your large intestine too. (burp)
18. A person with higher Metal score is likely to be your good companion. (drop me a note if you are metal, ya? :p)
19. Your job will be easier, if you choose a business something to do with Metal or money. Pertinent jobs include Jewelry store, Mechanics, Transportation, Driver, Judge, Engineer, Electrician, Financial staff, Banker, Stockbroker, Funeral business, Police, Guard, Martial art, Appraiser, Scientist, Machinery, Wood cutter, Automobile, Metal factory or industry
(oops.. wrong job?)
20. Activities: Martial art, Fencing, Shooting, Hunting, Exercise in gym... (martial arts... umm..)

The tiger's fortune for this year 2004 reads:

This is a year to unwind, re-think and reconcile emotions. If you attempt too much activity, initiating risky projects and starting up new business, difficulties could ensue. Best consolidate, plan and prepare. Discover and develop the inner realm of the imagination. The magic of the Monkey will contribute most to the artistic and spiritual side of Tiger. Ambitious nature must show restraint.

wah.... so cheem... anyhow, 2004 will supposedly be a difficult/complex year for Tigers.. brace yourself, my tiger friends! Or, better still, DON'T BE SO SUPERSTITIOUS!!! haha..

Tuesday, 20 January 2004

Gourmet Hawker Food

with a bit of imagination and a spirit of adventure, friend and i turned our casual alfresco meal at Lau Pa Sat Market tonight into a pseudo-"gourmet" dinner, comprising dishes either one or both of us have never tried before….

instead of:

chicken & beef satay, we decided to order duck & mutton satay

plain mee goreng, we had cockles mee goreng

bbq stingray, we had bbq sotong (ok, i admit this is not exactly an "upgrade".. haha.. )

plain popiah, we had sole fish & crab meat popiah

and i had my two bottles of India's national beer, Kingfisher Premium Lager, well-chilled in the fridge - brought back carefully from New Delhi, to accompany the meal so we didn't have to buy the all-time local favourite Tiger Beer from the beer aunties prowling (no pun intended) around in their blue polo tees, tight skirts and track shoes...

we couldn't find any substitutes for the usual staple bbq chicken wings so we just bought that anyway... as well as teh tarik from the bored teh tarik man who could probably perform his amazing tarik-ing stunt blindfolded after doing the same action a thousand times a night.. this guy is so straight-faced he wouldn't even smile when you greet him!

nothing disappointed.. yum yum.. never knew eating at a hawker centre could be so much fun .. definitely the way to go to eat well and eat cheap in Singapore.. :)

for all the meat we had tonight, i strangely had one random thought mysteriously come into my mind for (i believe) the very first time in my life... that maybe i should try being vegetarian for a while this year.… for a month or two… to detox or something.. umm…. THAT would certainly be a new experience indeed…. :p .. haha.. better not overestimate myself here.. umm...
The Decline of Fashion Photography

The Decline of Fashion Photography | An argument in pictures. | By Karen Lehrman

good read.
sunrise surprise

sunrise 21 jan 2004

Wah... today sunrise very nice.. (*this must be spoken with a distinct Singaporean accent)

Monday, 19 January 2004


reflecting on the new year and my coming of age

taken in dzongri, sikkim (4030 metres above sea level)

These past two weeks have been mentally and physically exhausting.. on top of being dreadfully busy getting back into the routine of things (waking up at 6.45am to rush for classes is a lot harder than I thought), and working on the follow-up work from the project in Sikkim, I’m trying to sort out my hundreds of slides from the India trip before I lose my momentum and these colourful little squares end up in dusty little stacks; unseen, unevaluated, unloved…

add that to the fact that the start of the year also sees me (since I’m a early-January baby) coming to the end of the 25-29 age bracket earlier than most of my same-age peers.… yes… it’s the last year I can put a little tick on application/survey/contest forms that indicates that I am in the two-decade plus category.... I know you folks who know me tend to imagine this is not something that will bother me that much.. but even when I met up with some of my good friends in little informal gatherings this past week, one way or other, we always end up discussing it... it’s an unavoidable topic… and, like it or not, the feeling of anxiety starts creeping sneakily into our minds.. we realise (and keep reminding each other sadistically) that it’s the last 365 days or so of our lives before we hit the big 3... the age that most 20-something females (and even the handful of vain males) dread to think about, even if they do not admit it.. it’s like, there’s this list of stuff (personal dreams?) we always thought we would do before we turn 30.. learn a language, master a musical instrument, establish a career, run a marathon, start a business, get rich, get married.... whatever.. and now, finally, there’s only one last year to complete them... suddenly, time is finite.. so so finite..

for me, I know it’s not because I feel the pressure to keep up with the rat race and unaccomplished in that sense… I think I’ve long been left on the “career sidelines” anyway.. or worse still, disqualified....(haha).. still, the desire to use my time well has never felt stronger... In retrospect, last year’s pace was frightfully but pleasantly fast, and (praise God) things turned out on most counts better than I expected, despite a number of unexpected and significant personal changes (including even a career/job change).. by the end of eventful 2003, I felt a small but real tinge of accomplishment, even if it was by my own humble standards.. I guess that’s why I find myself reviewing my 2004 resolutions again and again these past two weeks, wondering if they are good enough to at least “keep up” with those of last year’s... sounds a tad bit silly, huh?..

anyway, point is, I think I’m not ready to start the year yet... thankfully we have CNY just round the corner.. :) … grrr.. I need to hide away for a while and pretend it’s still 2003… umm.. maybe i can swtich to the lunar calendar instead?? :p

Monday, 12 January 2004

la la la.. getting back into the swing of things

umm.. just discovered someone nominated me for the Asia Weblog Awards 2003 (Singapore category) last november... wow.. i'm flattered....

ya, btw, i've put up some of my digital india pics online so you can have a look at some of the stuff i saw... (click on the link under gallery "india 2003") a small selection for the time being.. too many to sort out... i see until i blur.. don't click unless you are on broadband 'cos the files are unimaginably huge!! hahaha.. don't blame me, blame your slow internet connection..hahaha..

first day of NIE today.. i'm trying to run away from all the work that needs to be done but realise that i can run but i can't hide.. (hahahha).. not forever at least.. . in addition to the terror of regular course assignments (cos we don't have exams, so they've come up with another way to torment us..), I've still got a whole bunch of post-expedition tasks to complete from our project to Sikkim (including revamping this 2nd-generation website.. haha) and the deadlines are awfully tight .. worse still, i don't have all my resources yet... (gasping for air..).. never mind, shan't frighten myself further.. let me talk about.. my most interesting module this semester:

Facilitating Sexuality Education in Secondary Schools!

remember how when we were young (primary school?) and the principal separated the boys and girls one day after morning assembly? each group went for a separate talk on the birds and the bees by two different teachers. i don't know what the (usually male PE) teacher told the boys but the girls were told about the female adolescent growing up process and (sudden but always shocking) biological changes to their bodies.. thereafter, we were reminded/warned Never Ever to talk to the boys about anything that we learnt... haha.... anyway, i don't think the kids know that little nowadays with the Internet and all.. the concern now is really whether the information they get (from whatever sources) is accurate or safe.. i do feel kids need to have an avenue to ask questions and receive answers, especially if their parents are awkward about it themselves. my parents never told me anything, so i'm still wondering how i came to having any knowledge at all about the topic .. we didn't have Internet at that time.. and certainly no books for that matter.. peers? umm.. trashy novels?? haha, no, i'm not a fan of Mills and Boons... umm...

oh well, anyway, this will be quite a challenging topic to teach if i'm ever tasked to do so by my school next time.. to me, i feel that the challenge is really about not imposing my own biased values on the students but rather teaching them more universal values such as personal responsibility and respect for others so that they can think for themselves what is right and wrong, and guiding them as much as i can..

yes, spoken like a real teacher.. hahaha.. got to zzz already... (it's much later than what is stated but i faked the time so no one would ask me if i get any sleep at all.. I do, btw.. durrh.. hahaha.. why do i bother...?? i'm nutz..)

Sunday, 11 January 2004

The Sacred Rats of Deshnok Temple

Deshnok Temple

rats enjoying milk from a large wok-like pan at the Deshnok Temple in Bikaner

this was one of my personal highlights - not because i really like rats or anything.. just that this was one place i've always wanted to visit after seeing it featured in a BBC documentary and in some movie i can't remember..

the very lucky whitie

and because we saw this very very rare white rat, we are expected to have "good luck" ... heh heh...

there is even a website for the temple... cool...

Saturday, 10 January 2004

till we meet again, Adios India!!

the inimitable STARE

reflections on the India trip

In so many ways, India is a challenge to even the most seasoned of travellers, particularly those who meet it for the very first time. Most of us come from places that are so much less crowded, where something such as privacy and a certain measure of personal space exists, and where animals and people live in existence quite apart from each other. For us, a "no" usually means a "no", a nod means "yes", and toilet business is carried out, as much as possible, in obscure places.

Hence, India is most definitely shocking! No, it is more than that.. India culture and society is also infuriatingly hard to understand and penetrate, difficult to conquer and almost impossible to truly love, especially if you have only seen it for a short while (yes, even 45 days isn't long.. believe me..).. nonetheless, no one who has experienced India can deny that this country is fascinating...

For those willing to be shaken and shocked, to scratch beneath the surface of grime, smog, dried up spit on the walls and pavements, and weeks of uncleared garbage, to look past the outstretched hands of the hordes of beggars, the moth-bitten skins of sacred cows standing in the middle of busy road junctions, the bloodily exposed scalps of emaciated stray dogs, and the devious scams of autorickshaw drivers and mendacious tour guides, and to set aside any biasness that may have built up from listening to one too many horror stories in the past, something special always emerges..

At the end of my 45 days in India, one thing that I can say for sure is.. I can never say anything for sure - not about people, about situations, or whatever.. Indians are both the most highly developed (they almost never ever get angry - read: zero road rage) as well as the least civilised (they spit, pee, poo, puke and drop litter on the street without care) people I've ever met. They are (or appear) highly religious and spiritual (most are vegetarians, throng temples, and amulets and statues of their thousands of deities can be seen everywhere - on themselves, their vehicles, street corners, under trees), yet find absolutely nothing wrong with scamming foreigners on a regular basis (we are walking Rupee signs). They scrub and clean themselves and their own little tiny domains obsessively, yet have no qualms stepping on dung and others' fresh puke and spit on the streets. They are meticulous about money (they never ever miscalculate - we were charged for a dollop of butter on our plates.. grr..) yet spend much of their waking hours sitting around drinking chai and chewing tobacco sold in little silvery packets. They devise the most elaborate scams, yet look at us with naive and innocent big black eyes..

I've only touched the surface of this culture even after more than a month of travelling in this country.. but I?m definitely entranced.. haha.. I guess I'll be back then.. this time speaking Hindi, definitely!
back from India

Sam Sand Dunes

these are the Sam sand dunes near Jaisalmer.... this pic came out looking like it was taken in the 60s with Lawrence of Arabia in front.. haha.. only have my digital pics for now. i'll show a few more of my digital pics over the next couple of days..

yes, i've returned!!

after 45 days in masala land, i finally have a chance to eat my hainanese chicken rice, my laksa and real vegetables!! you know, the only "veg" they seem to eat in India are potatoes (aloo), mashed up spinach (palak), peas (mutter), beans and tomatoes!! i need kailan and chye sim - the way my mama cooks them!! anyway, came back only this evening cos the plane was delayed for more than 11 hours due to fog...grrr... spent the past few hours washing the grime and dust off everything.. you wouldn't believe the number of pails of murky water i created!!

too tired to blog more now.. you shall hear more of me once i recover from.. err.. jet lag?? hahahah..