Wednesday, 30 June 2004

Why People Hate America?

Interestng article: "Why people hate America?"

here's another: The Shock and Awe of American Ignorance.. according to this third article, National Geographic tested 18-24 year olds (we're talking young adults here) from 9 countries about various topics related to geography, and America finished second to last, ahead of only Mexico. Many Americans had trouble identifying the Pacific Ocean or New York state. 83% couldn't find Afghanistan on a map. Only 25% could pick the correct population of the United States on a multiple choice test, with the most common answer given by Americans as 1-2 billion (!!)

i'm NOT anti-America. I'm anti-ignorance. and i'm anti-war too, of course.

Tuesday, 29 June 2004


the half hour blackout that hit the western and northern parts of Singapore just now left my area in darkness...

undeterred, i continued my marking in the candlelight of 5 faithful doggies.. they smell nice too.. :)

Sunday, 27 June 2004

Mood: Contemplative

starting school tomorrow...

Friday, 25 June 2004

The Three Languages by the Brothers Grimm

as the new school term draws near, i ask myself: "What is real education?"

An aged count once lived in Switzerland, who had an only son, but he was stupid, and could learn nothing. Then said the father, "Hark thee, my son, I can get nothing into thy head, let me try as I will. Thou must go from hence, I will give thee into the care of a celebrated master, who shall see what he can do with thee." The youth was sent into a strange town, and remained a whole year with the master. At the end of this time, he came home again, and his father asked, "Now, my son, what hast thou learnt?" "Father, I have learnt what the dogs say when they bark." "Lord have mercy on us!" cried the father; "is that all thou hast learnt? I will send thee into another town, to another master." The youth was taken thither, and stayed a year with this master likewise. When he came back the father again asked, "My son, what hast thou learnt?" He answered, "Father, I have learnt what the birds say." Then the father fell into a rage and said, "Oh, thou lost man, thou hast spent the precious time and learnt nothing; art thou not ashamed to appear before mine eyes? I will send thee to a third master, but if thou learnest nothing this time also, I will no longer be thy father." The youth remained a whole year with the third master also, and when he came home again, and his father inquired, "My son, what hast thou learnt?" he answered, "Dear father, I have this year learnt what the frogs croak." Then the father fell into the most furious anger, sprang up, called his people thither, and said, "This man is no longer my son, I drive him forth, and command you to take him out into the forest, and kill him." They took him forth, but when they should have killed him, they could not do it for pity, and let him go, and they cut the eyes and the tongue out of a deer that they might carry them to the old man as a token.

The youth wandered on, and after some time came to a fortress where he begged for a night's lodging. "Yes," said the lord of the castle, "if thou wilt pass the night down there in the old tower, go thither; but I warn thee, it is at the peril of thy life, for it is full of wild dogs, which bark and howl without stopping, and at certain hours a man has to be given to them, whom they at once devour." The whole district was in sorrow and dismay because of them, and yet no one could do anything to stop this. The youth, however, was without fear, and said, "Just let me go down to the barking dogs, and give me something that I can throw to them; they will do nothing to harm me." As he himself would have it so, they gave him some food for the wild animals, and led him down to the tower. When he went inside, the dogs did not bark at him, but wagged their tails quite amicably around him, ate what he set before them, and did not hurt one hair of his head. Next morning, to the astonishment of everyone, he came out again safe and unharmed, and said to the lord of the castle, "The dogs have revealed to me, in their own language, why they dwell there, and bring evil on the land. They are bewitched, and are obliged to watch over a great treasure which is below in the tower, and they can have no rest until it is taken away, and I have likewise learnt, from their discourse, how that is to be done." Then all who heard this rejoiced, and the lord of the castle said he would adopt him as a son if he accomplished it successfully. He went down again, and as he knew what he had to do, he did it thoroughly, and brought a chest full of gold out with him. The howling of the wild dogs was henceforth heard no more; they had disappeared, and the country was freed from the trouble.

After some time he took it into his head that he would travel to Rome. On the way he passed by a marsh, in which a number of frogs were sitting croaking. He listened to them, and when he became aware of what they were saying, he grew very thoughtful and sad. At last he arrived in Rome, where the Pope had just died, and there was great difficulty as to whom they should appoint as his successor. They at length agreed that the person should be chosen as pope who should be distinguished by some divine and miraculous token. And just as that was decided on, the young count entered into the church, and suddenly two snow-white doves flew on his shoulders and remained sitting there. The ecclesiastics recognized therein the token from above, and asked him on the spot if he would be pope. He was undecided, and knew not if he were worthy of this, but the doves counselled him to do it, and at length he said yes. Then was he anointed and consecrated, and thus was fulfilled what he had heard from the frogs on his way, which had so affected him, that he was to be his Holiness the Pope. Then he had to sing a mass, and did not know one word of it, but the two doves sat continually on his shoulders, and said it all in his ear.

From Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Household Tales, trans. Margaret Hunt (London: George Bell, 1884), 1:136-138.
A Story to Remind

I've read this before but it's so good to be reminded:

Once upon a time there was a boy with a very difficult character. His father gives him a bag full of nails and tells him to drive one nail in the garden fence every time he loses his patience and/or has an argument with someone.

The first day the boy drives 37 nails in the garden fence.

In the following weeks, the boy learns to control himself and the number of nails driven in the fence gets lower every day: the boy discovers that it is easier to learn to control himself than to hammer nails in the fence.

At last, the day comes when the boy does not drive any nail in the garden fence. Then he goes to his father and tells him that today he did not
Need to hammer any nail.

His father then tells the boy to take out one nail from the fence for every day he succeeds in controlling his temper and not loosing his patience. Many days pass and finally the boy can tell his father that he took out all nails from the fence.

The father brings his son in front of the fence and tells him:
My son, you behaved well, but look how many holes you left in the fence

It will never be the same.
When you have an argument with someone and tell him bad words,
You leave him with wounds like these ones.

You can stab a man and then take the knife out,
But you will always leave a wound.
It does not matter how many times you say sorry, the wound will stay.
A wound caused by words hurts just as bad as a physical wound.
Friends are rare jewels, they make you smile and support you.
They are ready to listen to you whenever you need it,
They are behind you and they open their heart to you.
Show to your friends how much you love them.

A few lines to think about...

Give people more than they expect

When you say ”i love you", mean it...

When you say ”i am sorry", look into the eyes of that person

Do not ever make fun of other people’s dreams,
Love deeply and with passion.
You may get hurt, but it is the only way to live your life to the full.

Do not offend and judge other people according to how their relatives behave.

Speak slowly,
But think quickly.

If someone asks you a question that you do not want to answer,
Smile and ask him: ’why do you want to know?'

Remember that the greatest love and the greatest success involve the greater risks.

When you lose, do not miss the lesson,

Remember the three "Rs":
- Respect yourself
- Respect others
- Responsibility for all your actions.

Do not let a small misunderstanding ruin a great friendship;
When you realise you made a mistake, correct it immediately.

Smile when you answer the phone, who calls will be able to hear it in your voice.

Wednesday, 23 June 2004


this article on "Self Mastery" is rather good.

it's worth the long read.
Nothing left to photograph

it comforts me greatly to know that i'm not the only one who had the rather awful experience of being treated like a terrorist suspect, just because i was taking pictures of lovely things that interest me (and which were not military or security installations or whatever).

(read the comments box of my blog entry on Sembawang Black & white houses to know what i am talking about)

soon, we may not even be able to take pictures on the streets, just in case the guy walking behind you is an American.


this was taken in Labrador Park. A bunch of fishermen were fishing.. i guess i'm lucky no one stopped me cos maybe in the vicinity of a 10km radius was a US warship or something??


Labrador Park Fishermen

Tuesday, 22 June 2004

Bukit Chandu: Singapore's last stand against Japanese invasion

Bukit Chandu

nice and quiet place. read about Bukit Chandu.

war is evil.
when did the world become such a nasty place?

Black & White House, Singapore

as i was admiring and taking pictures of these pretty black and white houses in sembawang last sunday, my friend and i were suddenly accosted by no less than 2 police cars, 8 police officers and two soldiers on an open truck with a mounted machine gun who circled us twice and finally stopped and surrounded us.

since we had entered the compound via one of several unmanned gates, and there were no signages whatsoever which had prohibited us from doing so or taking pictures, we didn't see how we could have done anything wrong.

i was wrong.

this police guy (whom we later found out was an inspector no less) stepped forward and asked us, in this suspicious and slightly sneering tone (which was immediately off-putting): Why are you all here? What are you all doing here?

i replied: We're taking a walk and looking at these black and white houses cos we find them very interesting. is it ok to take a walk here? we see no one stopping us at the gates and no signages saying we cannot do this.

and his reply: Oh, so you find them interesting? What do you find interesting about them? (his tone was now even more sacarstic, mixed with disbelief - he really was bad at asking questions, no doubt..) Where are you all working? Is this for your work? (yes, it seems that everything that people do in Singapore is only either for money or work.. sigh.. sad, right?)

not trying to point out his ignorance, i tried to be educating: "These are black and white colonial style houses. They are historical features and i just find them architecturally interesting, like the ones at Portsdown Rd. Is there anything wrong admiring them?

this other smart aleck police guy (i think a staff sergeant or something) then blurted out: "The ones at Portsdown Rd never mind cos other nationality staying there. if you want to take pictures, no problem. but here, cannot cos you know (which i didn't) there are a lot of Americans here (a fact which i didn't care about, anyway, since i wasn't there to see them). and you know after Sep 11 (blah blah blah - i lost him after a while)...

Anyway, they were obviously unconvinced by our story and asked to see the pics i took, which i gladly showed them (since they didn't show much anyway, durh!) and proceeded to take down our details.(probably to track us later??.. sigh..)

as if this wasn't annoying enough, this inspector guy came back after a while and started asking us some really dumb and irrelevant questions, to which we looked at him in bafflement .. finally, i realised that he was just trying to delay time so they could check their master database for records about us.. i was annoyed and asked him if they were actually doing that and then told them straight in the face that they could have just told us they needed to do that instead of being sheepish and beating about the bush and looking rather foolish trying so hard and poorly to engage us in lame small talk.

this other guy then sacarstically said "Never mind, you don't like the police anyway" to which i could only reply (while trying not to roll my eyes) "i don't think i ever had any opinion about the police" and his reply just made it so hard for me not to cringe at his childishness "cos they don't take down your records what.." durh! wouldn't words like that just make u so annoyed??

and to make things even more annoying, the second police car drove up at this point and one other police guy asked to see the digital pics again. "Again??" i asked " your colleague has already seen it!". and then this second police woman began repeating the whole story again about how they needed to protect the residents of the place etc etc.

our moods dashed, we left the place straight after the rigmarole and went for a coffee instead.

initially, i was annoyed at the whole event. but after thinking a while, i realised that ultimately, it was really because of the lack of wisdom, tolerance and understanding of the very people who were supposed to be the leaders of the world, and because they just love to get into wars and kill each other and declare themselves and what they believe in to be right that has led to the world becoming a more and more unsafe place everyday..

it was at that point that i realised i needed to pray.. so so much.. :(

Saturday, 19 June 2004

Photography Volunteers Needed!

Streetwise Run 2004

Date: Sunday, 4th July 2004.

Event: The Streetwise Run is a nationwide campaign to deter juvenile delinquency and promote community awareness of youth issues. It is organised by Beyond Social Services and supported by the National Youth Council and is part of the Milk Money Fund.

The campaign will comprise a series of awareness programmes that culminates with a Youth Day Celebration at East Coast Park, Carpark F2 after the run. The celebration also features a youth concert and carnival. It promises to be a meaningful Youth Day Celebration for the young, the young at heart and those with a heart for the young!

Who They Need: Volunteers to take photographs at various venues.

I was approached to help as well as to spread the world.. think you should be able to email them @

and remember...

"A candle loses nothing when it lights up another" ... :)

Friday, 18 June 2004

Metal Can Pinhole Camera has clearly run out of things to sell since the Lomo LCA.. now they are trying to rip people off selling them metal cans (yes, your milo tin) with a tiny hole in them - Paint Can Camera for 65 USD!!

Please don't buy it!! I've made a pinhole camera with a Cheezels container before - it's really quite easy and even more satisfying when you can create your own camera from scratch! And you get to eat Cheezels too!! yum... if you need to know how it is done, email me. I'll try to teach you..

Click here to view spooky self-portraits taken with my Cheezels container at the playground downstairs.. here's one:


Thursday, 17 June 2004

My Japanese name is

Hara (wilderness) Ayumi (walk, deeper meaning: walk your own way).

Take your real japanese name generator! today!

Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

I am the wild one who walks my own way... wahahaha...

Wednesday, 16 June 2004

Puss in Boots: Shrek 2

Tuesday, 15 June 2004

"Out, damned spot! Out, I say!"

As the show last night drew gently to an end, I noticed that most of the cinema had fallen into a thoughtful silence. Other than the soft sniffling and the occasional ruffle of a tissue produced to wipe an unexpected tear. the audience was deep in thought..

And I thought how extraordinary it was.

Clearly, the show had struck a chord in everyone, but in different ways... On one level, many of us (even me?) can no doubt relate to either one of the characters Joel or Clementine – the complete opposites who meet and fall in love and then find that their apparent difference makes them collide more often than they expected, an irony considering that that was why they were attracted to each other in the first place… cos the difference had made them both better people.. with more exciting lives.. or whatever..

Then of course there’s the obvious question – if you could live life all over again (clean slate and all that), would you? Go back to a certain point in the past, in your relationship with someone, and live it all over again – this time, hopefully avoiding the painful mistake that you made.. the last straw/s that broke the camel’s back.. A friend had told me a couple of years back (a day after an especially painful breakup with his girlfriend) that he wished he had something like 'Norton GoBack' (something like Microsoft’s System Restore) so he could go back five months and do something to prevent their first nasty argument from happening.. I remember that straight after he said that, we both mused over it silently for a while and finally had to agree, it wasn’t much point unless both of them could remember what had happened.. and moved on from there instead..

The truth (as it was powerfully brought out in the movie) is, given the exact same circumstances and the same two people with the same tendency to make the same decisions and to react in exactly the same way, things are just going to happen ALL OVER AGAIN, when the two people meet again! As Cherie Carter-Scott says in her book 'If Life Is A Game, These Are The Rules', “Rule Four – Lessons are repeated until learned. What manifest as problems and challenges, irritations and frustrations are lessons - they will repeat until you see them as such and learn from them.” So that’s a bit of fruit for thought..

Lastly, I find myself musing over why sometimes, we hold on so desperately to mementos from the past – things that certain people have given to us – not because we like these things, but because of the sentimental value they possess for us… while it is understandable to do so for people who may no longer be with us (on Earth), to reminisce over the times we had with someone who has since moved on into other relationships just seems so.. I don’t know… regressive.. then again, that’s MY opinion..

Oh well, so much for musings.. Go watch the show if you can ‘cos it’s ending soon – Jim Carrey isn’t at all the annoying rubber-faced Jim Carrey you normally see.. He and Kate Winslet are brilliant in this show..

How to make a hweeling

3 parts intelligence

5 parts crazyiness

1 part beauty
Stir together in a glass tumbler with a salted rim. Add a little wisdom if desired!


Personality cocktail from
3 Fat Virgins Unassembled
Produced by Buds Youth Theatre
Written by Ovidia Yu

Performance Venue: The Play Den at The Arts House (1, Old Parliament Lane)

Performance Dates: 16 July 2004 (8pm), 17 July 2004 (3.30pm & 8pm), 18 July 2004 (3.30pm)

Ticket price: $25 & $20 (student concession) [plus $1 handling fee]

Tickets available from The Arts House Box Office at The Old Parliament House
By Phone: 6332 6919
By Fax: 6334 9695
By Email:

General enquiries:
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

i watched this and i loved it.

How happy is the blameless Vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd.

— Alexander Pope

i'll blog more tomorrow..

Friday, 11 June 2004

today's trivials

i bumped into one of my (ex)students at the bus stop today while i was going out wearing this:
3 Monkeys
instinctively, i turned away before she could see me and pretended to sms, thinking to myself "Oh no! cannot let her see her JC teacher wearing a bright orange tee with three monkeys!"

after managing to escape onto an SBS bus that came along the following minute, I started thinking to myself, "eh? what's the big deal?"

it's funny (and certainly tragic) how becoming a teacher has a way of making me rather self-conscious, sometimes to the point of being rather fearful.. sigh.. if I saw my teacher in the past wearing a t-shirt like this, i'll actually think she was rather funky, eh?

hahaha.. oh well.. what to do...

enjoyed an unexpectedly eventful evening at Arab St, lazing at the supercrowded (and everything also "sold out" cos very famous) Cafe Le Caire, eating yummy braised lamb and lamb kebabs with bismati rice, downed with iced mint teas and ending off with relaxed and heavenly puffs of shisha (water pipe with apple-flavoured tobacco)..

as it was Arab Heritage Week (which wasn't really the original reason why we were there - so we were very lucky indeed), we were treated to some fine Middle Eastern live music from Egypt and endless belly-dancing by voluptuous women with thick folds in the middle, jiggling their stuff..

how fun.

Thursday, 10 June 2004

new toys

my sis just bought Pingu and Pinga to add to our collection of stuffed dolls...

aren't they the cutest things in the world??

haha.. i love stuffed toys... Pingu has his own website here and will be at Marina Square between 12 and 20th June at 3 and 7 pm.

just found some time to upload some of my pics from Sikkim - take a look - i was inspired after watching the movie "Travellers and Magicians" a couple of week ago.. it was filmed in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, which looks every bit like Sikkim..


Wednesday, 9 June 2004

my bangkok trip

traffic bottlenecks, calf-deep flashfloods and sweltering weather aside, bangkok is beginning to look like a really great city to live in.. at least for a while..

thai folks are in general gentle and friendly, and definitely a lot more relaxed than the typical Singaporean, the food is almost always cheap and delicious (as long as you don't mind the occasional overdose of MSG), booze of all kinds is plentiful and impossibly affordable, the mix of weekend street markets and upmarket shopping areas continually and reliably provide that heavenly shopping experience that singaporeans are known to visit bangkok (almost exclusively) for.. thai traditional and foot massages go for S$10 for a full hour.. and now they have a nice skytrain that looks almost entirely like the MRT before we had ezlink (down to the gantry and signages)!

in short, i had fun.. and i got to meet up with an old friend and her hubby, which is always really nice.. :)

click here to see these pics in details (2 pages)..

the chatuchak weekend market continues to amaze, albeit in an often very distressing way - at the pet section, we saw, amongst others, the following being sold: cats, dogs, rabbits, box turtles, tarantulas, hundreds of clownfishes, squirrels, koi, sharks (yes, sharks - i've got a picture there), mongoose, green tree snakes, cobras, chinchillas, fishes of all sorts in tiny air-filled plastic bags.. it was a whole zoo there..

i'll see if i can find time to upload a few more in time to come (no promises.. very busy..)
the transit of venus

i witnessed the "once every lifetime" transit of Venus across the sun today, "a sight that no one on Earth had ever seen before"..

(see news here)

it looked like this when i peered through the telescope set up by the students of the astronomy club in school..

i feel so lucky..

Wednesday, 2 June 2004

Minolta Prod 20's

in a fit of unexplained madness (quite unlike me), i bought this supposedly limited-edition compact Minolta camera just now for a little sum..

it's not incredibly expensive but now i've got another camera in hand! :O

i'm mad.. i'm truly camera mad.. i should be restrained... help me!!!

oh well.. if you want to know more about this camera, this site says it best:

The camera which Minolta which rode condition in outdated boom of eighties limits sells. The Minolta PROD 20's, being conscious of the styling of the European-American of 20 age camera, those which were designed it seems. With limitation sale only of the Japanese country, there is no with something and design likes and purchases. Those which with the dead stock item are displayed at the store it seems. Because it is limitation sale, in world 20000 unit limited items.
As for the body nickel chrome plating is administered with the brass make, but contents are simply the compact camera. The electric battery is exchanged, it has become L type Leica faked that you remove the bottom cover entirely. Price of that time: 48,000 Yen / $400.00us case attachment . c1990/8

hahahaha.. don't u love weird English..
My True Nature?

Your True Nature by llScorpiusll
The quality that most appeals to you:Intelligence
In a survival situation, you:Act crazy as a diversion
Your hidden talent is:A beautiful mind
Your gift is:An iron constitution
In groups, you:Perfer to act as security
Your best quality is:Your insightfulness
Your weakness is:Your lack of focus
Created with the ORIGINAL MemeGen!

umm.. what do YOU think?..
::: Visions & Illusions - Reconstruction of a City :::

have been busying myself helping a good friend and his two kakis set up their ultracool but rather large art-architecture installation piece on the third floor of 21 Tanjong Pagar over the past 2 days or so.. it's always so fun to be involved in a creative endeavour and to mingle with people with these crazy and abstract ideas.. haha..

their work is part of this Singapore Arts Festival visual arts exhibition "> Visions & Illusions - Reconstruction of a City" which is held at two places: 21 Tanjong Pagar, which is just opposite Maxwell Market, above Ya Kun Toast (yum yum) as well as the St James Power Station near WTC (ala Tate Modern of London), involving some 50 artists.

this is sciSKEW collaborative's idea:

read about it here.. Inhabitations: NYC-SIN

i think the whole exhibition's quite cool. don't miss it! :)