Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Trip to Batu Pahat 12 Nov

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accompanied my mum and a gaggle of aunties (10 in all) some two weeks ago to Batu Pahat for their regular "Arapaima touching" plus temple visiting plus seafood eating excursion.. i love to join them 'cos they can be quite funny and they are all so nice to me.. hahhaha..

pretty amazed at the variety of rituals temples have devised to make aunties part with their money.. there were prayers for 4D and Toto numbers by spinning wheels of all kinds, touching the head of the gigantic south american arapaimas (which can grow up to 5 metres long - you can see my mama in the top picture with 2 of them), washing of feet and bathing with the special "well water" at the room designated for you depending on your chinese astrological sign (pic above), prayers for family safety and harmony by floating lotuses on the murky river next to a "floating temple"; and praying to a shrine with a hundred idols (very economical use of time).. there was supposedly even something called "hugging the pineapple" though i didn't see any auntie doing that.. haha..

some of the idols and prayer items are downright whimsical looking.. like the stylised drawings on the prayer paper and the ferocious looking statue on the top right hand with 4 sets of eyes on his body.... ummm... and the odd incense container in front of my mum as she lights the incense sticks.. there were many more (like gods with fish and shrmp heads and pearly white "buayas" (alligators)) but i couldn't fit them all in..

the last pic shows the really rustic kelong, with good coastal bird life like egrets and herons (just before a light drizzle), that i relaxed in front of as the aunties (including my mum) repeatedly cajoled the arapaimas to be touched in the two large ponds in the temple complex.. so i had a good 2 hours or so to just sit and chill.. :) it was a nice day out..

Friday, 23 November 2007

An Afternoon at Qian Hu Fish Farm

as a colleague of mine quite aptly puts it, I'm a real sucker for any heartland stuff that the Straits Times recommends (see here for newspaper article).. haha..

So here i was, right after the cruise last Sunday, at Qian Hu Fish Farm trying out the faddish fish spa thing with a bunch of friends, letting the "Turkish spa fish, of the Garra rufa species" nibble on the dead skin on our feet. It was a surprisingly rather therapeutic experience, albeit a little weird at the start. Haha.. anyway, quite hard to get pics cos it was very dark by the time we got there in the gloomy evening..

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The Annual Cruise to Nowhere (16-18 Nov)

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The view from the balcony of my cabin on my annual (now in its 3rd year) 3D2N cruise to nowhere (in other words, cruises that depart and return to Singapore without a port of call) with my parents on the gigantic Star Cruise Superstar Virgo. 13 storeys! whee...

For the unfamiliar, these cruises (with their endless buffet spreads, 5 meals a day, 24hour casinos, caberet shows and more) are a wonderful way to experience the seven deadly sins, all at once,in a hurry... me? ha, no, i stayed healthy and wholesome with visits to the gym, jacuzzi and pool and tried to moderate my dietary intake since the mass produced food was pretty bad anyway, believe it or not... :p..

But we got a little treat on the boat! the free evening music concert was by singer Cao Ge! Quite teeny bopper with screaming teenage fans and all but I must admit I was quite impressed by his vocal range and he straddled, rather effortlessly, a couple of octaves.. quite cool for a pretty boy..

a good getaway to reflect on the good and bad of the year that is coming to an end.. and more importantly, the possibilities that lie in the year ahead.. :)

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Farm Visit with My Family

sometimes I forget to spend enough time with some of the most important people in my life....

finally brought my parents and sis to see the farms at Kranji and saw a couple of old and new things, such as the still pensive looking bullfrogs at the Jurong Frog Farm, Khai Seng Fish farm (with the strange boy and his eels plus the beautiful bonsai creations by his supposedly famous uncle), the bizarre pig-nosed turtle and motoro rays at Hausmann Aquarium amongst others.. it was a good day out and we ended the morning with some good teochew porridge at the Teochew Porridge place opposite Beauty World.. btw, that's my mummy hiding behind the bonsai plant! haha..

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Monday, 19 November 2007

Cao Ge's version of My Way

I'll blog a little more later.. it's all in my head now bursting and I hope it'll be there for long enough for me to put it all down.....

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Who Am I and What Do I Want?

Translation from website:

Take a look at your priorities and your goals. Where did they come from? Are they the products of soul-searching, self-analysis and careful planning? Or are they a reaction to pressures from other people? Did you find them within yourself or within the pages of a magazine? The answers to these questions are important because they tell you if the person you’re becoming is someone you want to be. Here’s another way to look at it: do you want it (whatever it is), or do you just think you should want it? It’s not easy to follow your own direction in life. But it’s more possible than you may think. Question everything. Everything in your life needs to justify why it’s there. If you can’t come up with a good reason that actually comes from YOU, maybe it doesn’t belong.

Incidentally, this is what I have been mulling over for the past 2 to 3 months since I was hit by what i felt at that time to be a torrent of problems; and what I will likely continue to think about till the end of the year as I go on my various trips and have many (planned and unplanned) moments of solitude to ponder with. Nonetheless, I don't really agree that finding out what we want for our lives from within books or magazines or from talking to friends is entirely wrong because I believe different people discover things differently and seek different sources of inspiration... and besides, if we keep questioning everything, we may never actually get around to doing anything... In my view, sometimes, we just have to take a leap of faith.. besides, many things or people don't make sense at the point in time they exist or appear and can only be understood retrospectively... haha.. ok.. easier said than done, speaking from my own experience...

it's something to think about nonetheless.. before 2008 begins. :)

(continuation from above...)
last night, something (which i shall not elaborate on further) happened that triggered me to ponder more on the above topic, which is about searching for who we are and what we should be or do in our lives... whatever happened made me realise that at many points in our lives, we might have been blessed with glimpses or given clues of what makes us really really happy, or contented, or at peace... be it a beautiful friendship or relationship, beautiful moments spent with others, a nice trip somewhere, or doing something we enjoy... for these wonderful "things" in our lives, we may find ourselves wanting to capture or reminisce on those times, either in photographs, or diaries, or in conversations with others.. by so doing, we conjure up the good feelings again and soak in the sentimentality and all.... which is all well and good, i suppose... except that it just feels to me to be indeed a great pity if we do not see in these the opportunity to learn something about ourselves... about what is really important to us; and what makes us ultimately happy... i know of many people (including the individual who made me think up this bit of my blog entry) who spend their lives looking back at times of the past, at photographs, remembering the happiness they felt.. i wonder to myself, isn't making the future happy as important, if not perhaps more, than looking at a past that was? Not that i'm not a sentimental person myself (cos i do read my past blog entries too), but sometimes, holding on to the past (and not learning from it) just isn't going to help us build the future we want for ourselves...

indeed, life is full of lessons to be learnt with open eyes and open hearts, don't you think?

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Kudos to Catherine Lim

as impressive, if not more, than all the great literature of hers i had to study in sec school.. like.. umm.. Little Ironies??

An open letter to the Prime Minister

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Your Inner Child Is Surprised

You see many things through the eyes of a child.
Meaning, you're rarely cynical or jaded.
You cherish all of the details in life.
Easily fascinated, you enjoy experiencing new things.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Another way of worship

this is pretty amazing..

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Thanks JS for the drawing!

i love it!!