Wednesday, December 20, 2006

MTV Punk'd and Olivia Wilde


Olivia Wilde in THE OC


I was watching MTV Punk'd the other day. And guess who I saw on telly....Olivia Wilde! I saw her briefly on one of the episodes of The OC and I would say that she left an impression. In the show, she really gave out the cool rocker girl vibes. Abit like Angelina Jolie - a little.... in your face attitude. Anyway, I thought she was very nice in that episode.

So anyway, back to MTV Punk'd, Olivia Wilde was suppose to get punk'd on that episode and my god...she was SO COOL about the whole thing. I mean if you saw the episodes starring Justin Timberlake and that Frodo dude from LODR, you would slap your forehead. Like LOSER..............
But....Olivia Wilde.....had none of that... she was clearly in control of the situation and while trying to make sense of the entire situation, she had just pure "coolness" pouring out of her pores. She actually was quite amused by the whole situation but at one part she got a little annoyed when the fake policeman was trying to attack her friend. It was very nice of her to protect her friend during their "close brush with the law".
When she finally knew that the whole thing was a hoax, she took it very good naturedly too. *clap clap clap* So I did a bit of surfing and since I'm such a nice person ....here....care and share.






Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Woman silver medalist who may not be a woman ?!?

TOP Indian woman athlete Santhi Soundarajan , who took the silver in the women's 800m race at the Asian Games in Doha on Dec 9, failed a GENDER VERIFICATION TEST soon after the race and is likely to be stripped of her medals, reports from New Delhi said yesterday.

This is interesting. Read the article. Male or Female runner

Picture on the right, you judge for yourself.

By the way, she has passed gender verification test in other competitions before. Bizarre isn't it?!?


Feminism......does not allow me to accept.....

Merriam Webster Dictionary:
Feminism
1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

2 : organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests

I used to be quite the feminist when I was younger. At a young age of 10, I would try to “brainwash” my younger brother to agree with me that: “All man and woman are born equal. The only difference whether they succeed in life is whether they work hard for their goals”. I was so successful that my 6 year old brother could chant this sentence on demand. :)

However, today – reading the online news during lunch time (yes! I'm still skipping lunch because my GOD I have so much more pounds to shed!!) I'm acutely aware that in other parts of the world, woman are still persecuted for –to me- absurd reasons.

Title of the article: Pakistani woman in hiding despite Islamic sex law change
Summary in points: Refer to article Today Online Article

1) Pakistan have recently overhauled its existing Islamic sex laws.
*clap clap clap*
Need to share this, this is funny
-an example of the Islamic sex laws distinguishing between rape and adultery as follows –
Formerly rape victims had to produce 4 MUSLIM MALE witness to prove allegations. Otherwise, they may be charged for adultery and if convicted, face the penalty of death by STONING.

Wah KAO! I mean, if she can even find ONE witness (muslim or non muslim, male or female), she would probably NOT be raped right! NND, truckload of cow manure.

2) Despite this Quratulain Sattar, 25 year old medical trainee, still needs to worry. Her story as follows:
a. Quratulain Sattar’s father is accusing her and her current husband on charges of adultery. This is because Quratulain refused to marry her COUSIN in a forced marriage.
b. QS’s father
i. Has previously detained the husband’s parents to force him to divorce her.
ii.Produced false witnesses to say that QS has been kidnapped and is already married.
c. Pakistan’s religious party Jamaat-e-Islami supported the father when he pursued the case.
d. QS and husband is on the run and may have to leave Pakistan for their safety.

*takes a deep breathe*

Enough said. This is SICK SICK SICK……………………………

Free Car Wash Today

I had a free car wash today. Actually, my car had to endure heavy “scrubbing” since last night as it kept raining, raining and yes….more raining.
It was really nice to go to bed last night to hear the pitter-patter but really a horrid experience to wake up this morning because it was still pitter-patter and how I wish I could sink into bed and let the world forget me for just one day.

Hooray!!! Today I’m going to watch Crazy horse….Yes, all of Singapore, I admit, I have yet to go to watch Crazy horse (despite the hype that has come and gone). I’m so looking forward to it as I’ve heard so much about it.

Note: Actually, this old lady with the wrinkly toes (i.e. ME) also have not had a chance to visit the Ministry of Sound for that matter. *blush deeply*. I need a walking stick soon.

P/s: On days like this, I super duper love my Honda Edix MORE MORE MORE.

Showcasing my car..........imagine it in Black tho.


Bless my wrinkly toes - Cross Stitching and more hours of sleep

Well, by the looks of it, I'm certainly getting to be quite the old lady....Bless my wrinkly toes.

For starters, I'm starting to sleep earlier (except for tonight because it is already 1.30am and I should be in bed by 1230am)- I just had enough of everybody telling me that I'm heading to "doomsland" by not getting enough sleep and acting all cranky every day.
Second tell-tale sign is that *gasps* horrors!! my latest craze/hobby is * drum rolls* C.R.O.S.S.S.T.I.T.C.H.I.N.G!

Before you roll on the floor and die from laughter, I'm going to share the story about my cross stitching saga. It starts out like this:

One day, my colleague (and also very nice friend) was telling me that I need to become more patient :). She was reflecting that when she was younger, she was alot like me and yes, we are quite the "pain-in-the-arse" perfectionist. Haha!

Anyway, she told me that I should try to relax a little, work less, have a more moderate life, yada yada. She then suggested that I pick up cross stitching because it might calm me down a little and I could learn to be more patient. I thought to myself:"Oh well, sounds like an interesting idea but aw man.....the cow will jump over the moon before I'll pick up the needle to start cross stitching JUST FOR FUN. *I'm saying this because fully knowing my own character, I would probably tear and burn the cross stitch in frustration if I don't get it right the first time *

So anyway, last Sunday, after attending Jason's graduation from bible school (and also attending the entire service at city harvest. @@) at expo 8, Mak and I headed down to Shislik, a russian restaurant at far east plaza. (Its the first time that I knew there is a difference between far east plaza and far east shopping center. So confusing!!)

By the time we got there, the restaurant was having its last orders and so we had a quick glance at the menu and ordered away. So hungry!! We had a dozen escargots (not say fantastic), steaks, soup and for desert cherry jubilee (which the waitress would prepare in front of the guests, so yummelicious).

After our lunch, we wanted to head to borders but it was raining quite heavily (And yes, Mak - if I should one day ever so run out of jobs, I can work as the weather lady). We wandered around far east plaza and then we saw this cross stitch shop! Amazing!! I don't think I ever went into a cross stitch shop before. We had a nice chat with the store lady - Betty, who is a 50 year old lady and she was so kind and patient in giving us our first FREE lesson in cross stitch. Bless the lady!

Since Mak and I were having so much difficulty deciding what christmas presents to buy each other, we made a pact and decided to each choose a design and so we are going to finish the cross stitch and exchange as christmas presents. THERE! No need to crack our brains to buy x'mas presents for each other this year.

You won't believe it but I'm HOOKED! Cross stitching is so much fun. Everything has its place. If life could only be this simple.....Anyway, I'm already thinking up of new things to stitch..........STITCH STITCH STITCH. STITCH AWAY.

Okay, time for bed.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Seven Wonders of the World

The number 7 is a special number.

In Judaism, we have seven days of mourning, seven days of celebration following a wedding, seven days for the creation of the world (which are our familiar days of the week), the seven commandments and others.................

So let's talk about the seven wonders.............

Seven Wonder of the Ancient World
Today, only one is left standing. Listed in order of construction:
1) Great Pyramid of Giza - Still standing (Egyptians)
2) Hanging Gardens of Babylon - Earthquake (Babylonians)
3) Temple of Artemis at Ephesus - Fire (Lydians, Persians, Greeks)
4) Statue of Zeus at Olympia - Fire (Greeks)
5) Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus - Earthquake (Persians, Greeks)
6) Colossus of Rhodes - Earthquake (Hellenistic Greece)
7) Lighthouse of Alexandria (Hellenistic Egypt)

Seven Wonder of the Middle Ages
1) Stonehenge , UK
2) Colosseum, Rome
3) Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, Egypt
4) Great Wall of China
5) Porcelain Tower of Nanjing
6) Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
7) Leaning Tower of Pisa
------Also famous wonders of the middle ages------------
8) Cairo Citadel, Egypt
9) Ely Cathedral, UK
10) Taj Mahal (India)
11) Cluny Abbey, France

Tourist Travel Wonders:
1) Great Pyramids of Giza
2) Great Wall of China
3) Taj Mahal
4) Serengeti Migration (Tanzania, Africa)
5) Galapagos
6) Grand Canyon
7) Machu Picchu (Lost City of the Incas ,Peru)

Jamie's Wish List:
1) Acropolis in Athens
2) Pyramids , Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa and Cairo Citadel
3) Taj Mahal
4) Stonehenge
4) Grand Canyon
5) Machu Picchu
6) Leaning Tower of Pisa
7) Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa
8) And many many more!

There should be a lot more travelling for leisure now :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

I don't know how to .......I'm sorry

I would be scared too....if someone told me that I was dying....how would I say goodbye? Would I just choose not to know and live life as normally as I can.....

We used to visit my grandmother every Sunday when we were young but as we grew older, we became so busy that the family visits became more irregular and then fewer and fewer. It didn't help that I was travelling most of the time. In Bangkok, my mother called me to say that my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. There was a lump that kept bleeding....it must be very serious.

I came back to Singapore and spent Sunday with grandmother. She was playing mahjong most of the time and I sat there as always reading my book. Everyone tried to pretend that things were as normal as could be. I glanced at grandma from the corner of my eye to check if she was okay. She seemed fine.

But when I went to kiss my grandmother goodbye to go home, she suddenly held my hand and kissed it. I was taken by surprise by her sudden action and didn't know how to react. In that instant, her eyes welled up with tears. I felt my heart break into tiny pieces. She was suffering and there was nothing I could do..I didn't even know how to say that I was sorry.

My grandmother is very stubborn and she won't seek treatment because she thinks she is too old from it. My mother tells me that she just wants the bleeding to stop. I think she is just very tired because she overcame alot of difficulties when she had a stroke a few years back. Would cancer hurt alot?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Geography Lesson 004 - Continents and Europe

Well, as usual, if I should be studying for my Jap paper, everything else is suddenly so much more interesting. Taking a break from my 日本語の勉強。。。。。I'm once again back to looking at maps. Big interesting world.....

Although some listed in the World Atlas cannot really be considered as continents, we have 7 continents: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antartica, Europe and Australia/Oceania. (ranked from largest to smallest)

In terms of population, Asia has the largest followed by Africa and then Europe. Taking another slice at the data, terms of countries per continent, the largest would be Africa (53), followed by Europe(46) and then Asia (44 - including middle east).

Having a closer look at Europe today.


From the map above, we can see that Europe is separated from Asia by Russia's Ural Mountains on the right, Caspian Sea and Black Sea from the bottom.

For a nice list of countries by continent, please refer to:
World Atlas - Countries by Continent


One of the interesting things about Europe is the formation of the Euro which is the attempt by Europe to have a single currency. The euro is the currency of 12 European union countries namely Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland. As of 1 Jan 2007, Slovenia will adopt Euro as their currency as well.

The Euro banknotes are managed by the Eurosystem which consists of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the national central bank of the 12 countries. The Eurosystem has the exclusive right to issue banknotes. Meanwhile, the 12 euro-area member states are allowed to issue their own euro coins. This is managed by the eurosystem that allocates the total value of euro coins issued by each country. So the next time, you see a euro coin, you can find out which EU country produced it!!



Saturday, December 02, 2006

Home sweet home and some good news

When I was boarding the plane yesterday, I learnt from this tall and slim (but very scary looking) model-like lady (she had long black hair and some parts were tinted blue and she looked like she had just stepped out of a sci-fi movie) that the the reason the flight was delayed was because the airspace around Shanghai was closed due to military exercise. One look at the electronic board and all the flights were labelled delayed delayed delayed! Quite an experience how unlike Beijing! (in a veryyyy sacarstic tone....you know how I feel about BJ airport)

My immediate thoughts was Taiwan and Mr Chen Shui Bian. :)

Reflection on politics on an increasing scale:
Family - Annoy a family member and you might not be able to have dinner!
Company - Annoy some one up there and you might lose your job!
Country - Annoy the government and have missiles pointed at your country and oh yes! no direct flights.

Enough said!

So I got home, struggled like crazy to keep my eyes open while I washed and cleaned up and then fall asleep on the coach. Didn't know how I ended up on the bed and slept till noon today. I could have slept more if I didn't have to be the chauffeaur and if I didn't have to study for my Japanese paper tomorrow. :P As you can see, I haven't started studying yet.

Good news, I got my LOMA paper results.
LOMA 280: Passed, score 100
LOMA 290: Passed, score 100

Don't ask me how I did it. I don't know.....

Trapped in Shanghai Pudong Airport...thank goodness for krisflyer elite gold

Legs stretched out and propped up against one of the trolleys, I’m in Pudong International Airport, Shanghai. The flight back home to Singapore has been delayed and it seems that the revised estimated departure time is expected to be 2 and half hours later! Thank goodness for krisflyer elite gold perks, at least I get to sit rather decently in the lounge. Otherwise, I know that I can feel a lot nastier if I were sitting outside(probably on the floor since it is a full flight and everyone is waiting impatiently at the gate). If I had known the flight was going to be delayed, I would have gone for at least an hour's body massage just now.

So I haven’t been updating my blog for almost 2 weeks now. I’ve even had a couple of friends asking if I had given up (once again :P) blogging but nah, if you are reading this as you can see, I haven’t given up blogging, it is just that it has been a pretty rough 2 weeks for me.

Yes, you are 100% right, totally work related. I’ve recently been embroiled in some office “rearrangement” and it is not a pretty sight. In fact, it got so bad that at one point I thought…hey I want OUT of this whole thing!! In fact, in a fit of anger, stress and disappointment, I wrote my letter of resignation and sent it out.

If I were to conclude on the entire episode, I would just say that the whole thing was just bad timing. Almost everyone I knew was unhappy with the situation for some time, but everyone tried to keep it under wraps and manage it in their own way but when someone finally snapped, the others followed and like some chain reaction, the dominoes came falling down.

Do I regret my decision? I don’t. I figured that if things remained status quo, I would have left anyway. Life is too short and we shouldn’t spend time doing things that we don’t find worth it.

For me, it was very easy to look at the situation in a simplified way. I wasn’t very happy with the current arrangements and tried to highlight this to my boss…once, twice and then three times but received no reciprocation. I finally made the decision to escalate and certainly I never meant for anyone to get hurt but sometimes when you try to do the right thing, I think that happens. Deep down inside, I just wanted to do a whole lot more but ended up getting very frustrated. The worst part is that I think it is hard to do it to someone you like very much but then again the situation was just too painful to ignore.

So a couple of things that I learnt from my colleagues this week:
a) Do the right thing and ensure your conscience is clear at all times.
b) After you made a decision, look forward and don’t look backward.
c) Just do the work. One thing at a time!
d) Respect other people’s time as you would hope others to respect yours.

Thank goodness for the people who love and support me. I’m sure that without them, I would never have come this far. Bottom line, I’m blessed.

P/s: I still have my job and I'm going to look forward from here onwards.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ken Hirai - Grandfather's clock

When I first heard Ken Hirai's "Grandfather's clock - 古い時計", I was driving my car and began thinking:"Hey, how come this song sounds so darn familiar?!?".

Within seconds, I had memory flashes (no...i did not have a car accident :P). In my mind's eyes, I started to recall the good ol' days, when I was 6 years old and my mother bringing me for my organ lessons at Hougang every week.

I remember that back in those days, every student had a parent sitting next to them. This was because all of us were so short that when we sat on the organ's bench, our legs were not able to reach the pedals. So it was a parent-child coordination every week where the parent was in charged of pressing the pedals while the student would be working away on the upper and lower keyboards. It was really fun because both the parent and the kid were mostly learning together for the first time.

As we grew older and taller, we had pedal extensions. These extensions worked by putting identical pedal fixtures onto the organ's original pedals. At that thought, while driving my car, I started laughing out loud. (The drivers to my left and right must have thought I was going crazy). Naturally, I turned up the volume for my CD player in the car and started singing along.
My Grandfather's clock (English version) was one of the songs that was taught rather extensively during my Yamaha school days . It was so much fun!! Every student was entitled to a shiny sticker to paste in their book at the end of each lesson. When the teacher started playing the "Goodbye my friend" song on her organ, the students would jump out of their seats and rush up to the front of the class to queue up and get their sticker. First comers could select the stickers that they like.

After that, we would have to sing the "Goodbye my friend" song whilst standing in a circle...without much effort, I started to sing in the car "Now its time to say goodbye, sayonara my friend.....lalalalallalala". Its amazing I still remember.

Back to Ken Hirai: Born in 1972, 17 January in Higashi-Osaka, Osaka prefecture, Ken Hirai grew up in Nabari, Mie prefecture. He is a Japanese R&B and pop singer. He released the popular nursery rhyme "My Grandfather's Clock" in 2002 which became one of the biggest hits in that year.







大きな古時計
My Grandfather's Clock

大きなの古い時計
おじいさんの時計
百年いつも動いていた
ご自慢の時計さ

おじいさんの生まれた朝に
買ってきた時計さ
今はもう動かないその時計

百年休まずに
チクタクチクタク
おじいさんといっしょに
チクタクチクタク
今はもう動かないその時計

何でもう知ってる古い時計
おじいさんの時計
きれいな花嫁(よめ)やってきた
その日もう動いてた

うれしことも悲しいことも
みな知ってる時計さ
今はもう動かないその時計

真夜中(まよなか)にベルがなっだ
おじいさんの時計
お別れ(おわかれ)のときがきたのを
みなにおしえたのさ

天国へのぼるおじいさん
時計ともお別れ
今はもう動かないその時計

百年休まずに
チクタクチクタク
おじいさんといっしょに
チクタクチクタク
今はもう動かないその時計


Note: The Japanese version has slight differences from the English version.

My grandfather's clock
Was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor;
It was taller by half
Than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn
Of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride;

But it stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.
Ninety years without slumbering,
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
His life seconds numbering,
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
It stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.

In watching its pendulum
Swing to and fro,
Many hours had he spent while a boy;
And in childhood and manhood
The clock seemed to know,
And to share both his grief and his joy.
For it struck twenty-four
When he entered at the door,
With a blooming and beautiful bride;

But it stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.
Ninety years without slumbering,
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
His life seconds numbering,
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
It stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.

My grandfather said
That of those he could hire,
Not a servant so faithful he found;
For it wasted no time,
And had but one desire,
At the close of each week to be wound.
And it kept in its place,
Not a frown upon its face,
And its hand never hung by its side.

But it stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.
Ninety years without slumbering,
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
His life seconds numbering,
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
It stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.

It rang an alarm
In the dead of the night,
An alarm that for years had been dumb;
And we knew that his spirit
Was pluming his flight,
That his hour of departure had come.
Still the clock kept the time,
With a soft and muffled chime,
As we silently stood by his side.
But it stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.
Ninety years without slumbering,
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
His life seconds numbering,
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
It stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Geography Lesson 003 - North Asia (and recap on Southeast Asia)

Before I start on North Asia, I would like to share a conversation that I've had which I found rather interestng. Just the other day, my colleagues and I were talking about Egypt. And whilst talking about Egypt, "Egypt" and "Middle East" were used interchangeably throughout the entire conversation. And then it dawned on me: Hey...are we talking about Egypt or Middle East here?

So, being the usual pain in the arse (that's just me :P), I had to ask and I learnt that due to to the Arabic influence in Egypt, it is often related with Middle East in the business world.
In reality, ladies and gentlemen, Egypt is on the African continent. But hey, before I had even started on this blog, I would not have even thought about this at all. So I would say that this blog is not an entire waste of my time :P

Okay, so now since Middle East is on the Asia continent, here's a little tribute to Asia (before I start on North Asia) *drum rolls*

Did you know.....
Asia is the largest continent on the planet covering up to 30% of the world's landmass and includes 44 countries and assorted islands. Significant features of the continent of Asia include:
a) World tallest mountain - Mt Everest 8,850m (Nepal and China)

-> Are you going to tell me that K2 is taller?
b) World lowest point - Dead Sea 392m below sea level (Israel/Jordan)

-> Yes, that is middle east.
c) World most populated countries - China and India
d) World longest coastline
e) World deepest lake - Lake Baykal (Russian Federation)
f) Some of the most important rivers (more on this at a later date)

And now, here is a list of countries in North Asia:
1) Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)
(HORRORS! I had it the other way round)
2) Japan
3) Mongolia
4) People's Republic of China (Include Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR)
5) Republic of Korea (South Korea)
(Once again, I really thought this name had more of a communist flavour)
6) Taiwan

And as you can see from the map, Russia (largest country in the world) is divided into Russia (Asia) and Russia (European).



Also, just to avoid confusion, I need to do a recap.

There is South Asia (includes India, Sri Lanka and etc) and there is Southeast Asia

Here's recapping the countries in Southeast Asia:

1) Brunei (Tricky, Tricky I always connected it with West Malaysia. Pai seh)
2) Burma
3) Cambodia
4) East Timor (Tricky, tricky, I missed this out the last time)
5) Indonesia
6) Laos
7) Malaysia (East and West Malaysia)
8) Philippines
9) Thailand
10) Vietnam

Monday, November 13, 2006

Vera Zagorodnov....my baby niece



Look at her. Isn't she just a cutey? Her name is Vera Zagorodnov and she is my niece. (Yes, yes, I've elevated in status and am now an auntie :P)

She was born on October 30th (thanks k.ling!) at about 1am. A very healthy baby and according to her parents...she is a really good kid as well. She doesn't cry too much and I tell you...she smells wonderful and has got the tiniest toes and fingers.



Baby Vera has got double eyelids and soft black baby hair. My mum says she has got a sharp nose but it doesn't look it in this picture. :P

And actually, I'm telling you that the lower half of her face has got my sister's cheeks. Hahahha...Baby Vera...I hope you grow out of it!

Her daddy takes her out sun bathing on the steps of Nanyang Technological University because baby vera has got slight jaundice problem. But not to worry, in the capable hands of her loving parents and grandma, Vera is bound to make a fast recovery.

P/s: I need to take good care of myself, pamper myself with lots of moisturizer, day cream, night cream, eye cream...... Baby Vera, I love you lots but ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Persistent headache, TODAY and Prison Break

First scene
It’s a dark and empty room except for a wooden chair right in the middle. A spotlight shines on that chair, a girl is sitting there with her hands on her head. She looks up and notices that she has company. She says:

Let me introduce you to my new best friend, (you probably already know him) his name is called * drum rolls* Mr Headache

My dear friend Mr Headache has paid me a visit and has been continuously by my side for 2 and half days and counting. He endearingly keeps me awake when I try to go to sleep and kisses me good morning when I wake up. His constant reminder that I’m not alone and that he is always by my side is heart felt.

At this point, 2 backstage persons appear. One with a drum in her hands and the other with 2 dustbin tin can lids (What the hell am I thinking?!) They stand slightly behind the girl. Backstage person 1 with the dustbin tin can lids starts clanging. Backstage person 2 decides:"What the heck" and starts drumming on the girl's head. Despaired, the girl puts her head back in her hands. Life with mr headache…..

(As of this writing, I’ve slept almost 15 hours on a Saturday and Mr Headache appears to have gone off visiting someone else. 3 Cheers…hip hip hooray!)

*screen fades*

Second scene
Sitting in front of her study table, Jamie is multi-tasking. Reading the newspaper and having a nice chat over MSN with her friend, Feifei. It has been raining all Saturday afternoon and the air has cooled a considerable bit. There is music playing in the background and a Todayon her lap.

On MSN:
Jamie says: “Hello FF, How are the deers?”
(Note: Feifei is currently working in AT&T research lab in USA. The research lab is surrounded by trees and wild deers)

FF replies: “Hello. Haha, they are all right, they come out at night” *or something to that effect*

Jamie says: “ Don’t work too late, if not the deers will come out and say: “Hellow Fei fei”

FF replies: “ Hehe…Hey, don’t scare me…..”

Jamie’s attention is distracted to an article that she is reading. Its entitled “Walking Tall” and is an article written by Neil Humphreys. I like Neil Humphreys…his article always makes me laugh.

For more information, please refer to the following article:
Neil Humphrey’s Walking Tall.

Quoted from the newspaper: “Its worth repeating that TODAY is the only newspaper not controlled by the Singapore Press Holdings to survive and thrive. What you’re reading right now represents an alternative of sorts and Singaporean consumers must cherish alternatives.”

Support TODAY today. .....3 Cheers.....

*screen fades*

Third Scene

Oh! I’m hooked. I’m so much in love with the hit series by FOX: Prison Break. It’s a thriller….very exciting and has very very very erm..interesting cast.
Its a story about 2 brothers: Lincoln Burrows (middle guy) is accused of killing the Vice President's brother and has been sentenced to death penalty. The problem is he didn't commit the crime! But no body really believes him except for his young, talented, handsome brother (who happens to be a genius by the way) Michael Scolfield.

Michael Scolfied is a structural engineer who happens to have worked on (and thus have access to the blueprints) the prison where the brother is currently held! Initially, he tried all sorts of legal ways to help his brother but it was (of course) not successful. Finally, he decided to take things in his own hands. He plans meticulously for several months and then arranges for himself to be arrested (by attempting to rob a bank) and locked up in the same prison as his brother. The story unfolds......


My god, c'mon look at him, is he handsome or what.....his look is so…………INTENSE! *melts melts*.

P/s: Jomin agrees that INTENSE is the right word to use. Haha.

A little bit about Wentworth Miller:
Born in United Kingdom, raised in Brooklyn, New York, and a graduate of Princeton University in English Literature. Wentworth Miller can be seen in:
a) Buffy the Vampire Slayer (guest star)
b) ER(guest star)
c) Popular(guest star)
d) Dinotopia
e) The Human Stain (this I need to watch)
f) Underworld
g) Joan of Arcadia (guest star)
h) Ghost Whisperer (guest star)


This is a picture from Prisonbreak. You might be wondering what's up with all the tattoos right?

Okay, let me give you a little insight: Well, Michael Scolfield ends up in prison as an inmate right? So he can't bring anything in with him. Therfore, he gets the prison's blue prints and any other necessary information tattooed on his body (encrypted nonetheless).

Jomin said he would look alot better with a nicer body but I think. Okay lah! Good enough. :)

Therefore, if you ever get a chance, get Season One of Prison break. I promise you that you will be absolutely hooked by the 3rd episode.


Here is the official website for Prisonbreak: Fox – Prison Break

Monday, November 06, 2006

Feeling demoralized....and overwhelmed overwhelmed overwhelmed!

Ever had the feeling that you wish you could turn back the clock to make "right" something that you have done wrong? I'm there.............right now.

It made me think of this REALLY cliche phrase:" Life is like a roller coaster ride. There are ups and downs". Or if you prefer: "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get." *rolls eyes*
Well, whatever it is, at this point in time, I'm riding the lows on the roller coaster or eating that bad chocolate.

Recently, things seem to have gone a little out of control for me. There are just too many things going on at the same time and the more I try to manage them, the more I realize that I can't manage them.

Anyway, I'm here blogging and trying to blow off some steam. I've had enough of unproductive revision for the day. Boy, am I'm glad that I will be finishing the second LOMA paper tomorrow. The paper that I did this morning was pretty okay but now, I already know that I've made a couple of careless mistakes. What the HELL!! (Note: I've been kicking myself all day in the head for making those stupid mistakes.)

Actually, I know you are going to say that I'm a geek, but I'm still going to say this... I really did enjoy reading some parts of the textbooks because I think those parts were interesting and erm...informative. But comes the test and its a totally different story.....My personal opinion (and I know that I'm not alone in saying this) is that the focus of the LOMA paper is all wrong! I mean..I feel that it should be focused on testing the basics of insurance and NOT on the regulations for USA or Canada. Because I really don't giving a flying f*** on the age limitations, rules and regulation for USA's SSDI or SIMPLE plan, for that matter. (which is Social Security Disability Income or Savings Incentive Match Plan for Retirement purposes) 好废哦!Oh pleaseeeeeeeeee, I can barely remember what the Singapore CPF rules and regulations!! (blush!)

So therefore, though I agree that taking papers are a good way to test your understanding on a subject, I think it really depends on how the paper was prepared. This morning really killed my interest in studying for the paper tomorrow. Oh well, we'll see how it goes.

Desperately need to oil & crank up the ol' machinery...geez my brain has gone rusty over the years. I realized that I cannot remember half the things I've read in the textbook. Tricky tricky! Very dangerous. Either I've gone all stupid or I wasn't very "focused" while reading the text. Either way, I'll pay for it soon enough. :)

So! Come tomorrow....I'm going to get my life back in order. Er...hem...My to-do list as follows:
1) "Exterminate" all outstanding emails/reports/work items pending in my tasklist since last week. So, if you are reading this and I owe you something, I'm going to get it to you by the end of this week.
2) Read my newspaper.....oooohhh such a luxury to be able to do it everyday.
3) Spend some quality time with my tiger cub. This time, my undivided attention -I promise.
4) Love myself more by controlling my diet. Ok, need to get back "with the program" *canadian street slang* and make Nhon proud of me. HA!
5) Man-handle my Japanese textbook for the paper in December. Like really MAN-HANDLE.
6) Spend more time with my friends. Guys, I love you to bits but I really have a lousy way of showing it. Hang in there, Mak!
6) Get the rest that I deserve. Just sleeeeeeeeeeeeeepppppppppppppppppppppppp!!

God!!! I'm so tired.

Over and out!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Shanghai....Its nice to be back...and the smelly ang mor

I'm back in Shanghai.........its great to be back!!

When the plane landed on the tarmac, I had only ONE feeling:
Elation!!!!

For several reasons:
1) Because I could get out of the plane...............
Well, you see, I tried to do an internet check-in (the night before the flight), so that I could get myself my "standard" aisle seat. I don't care left or right or centre, I just wanted to get a seat with at least no one on ONE of my sides. Is that soo much to ask for?!?!?

BUTTTTTTTTT the flight was so full that I only managed to get a middle seat!!! (I think everybody just WISED up and started booking their seats online via internet.) Naturally I was rather irritated but I thought....its only a 5 hour flight, should be manageable......... Boy, was I wrong.

When I boarded the plane, my first realization was that I would be sandwiched between 2 rather BIG guys. If you think that is bad enough and it couldn't get any worse, you would be so wrong. The next thing I realize was that the ang moh on my left smelt soooooooooooooooooo BAD. It was like every time he exhaled through his mouth, I'm wondering to myself if life is worth living at all.

At one point in time, I figure that I was better off just killing myself by smashing my head on the screen or just jumping out of the plane.

I mean, seriously dude, shower or something!!!

I think it was pretty obvious because I was SOOO not in my chatty mood, in fact, I was bordering between absolute BITCHINESS or complete MADNESS (in which both ways I would end up killing him and throwing his carcass out of the plane.)

Towards the end of the flight, he "waddled" over to the toilet and I think he poured the entire cologne bottle on himself, because the smell was OVERPOWERING when he returned. Everyone should know that bad smell and cologne just don't mix so well!!! It made it even worse....that cheapskate and smelly guy.

Fortunately, the Chinese guy on my right was VERY gentlemanly and well, minimally, he smelt all right. :P So I naturally "gravitated" to his side and I'm pretty sure he could understand how i felt because he gave me that "knowing" smile.

If the flight wasn't so full, I would have demanded a change of seats!!

2) Fantastic weather and the lure of Shanghai magic....my second home.

Anyway, the weather in Shanghai was fantastic. About 16 degrees on average. It's great to be back in Shanghai, after all I've regarded this place as my second home for the past 3 years. It is great to be back to see the familiar buildings, cars all over shanghai, although this time, I'm strictly THE "OUTSIDER". I miss Shanghai!

3) Wonderful friends and colleagues
It's been a couple of months since I've seen my friends and colleagues. So many things have changed! The office has been relocated to a location that is quite far away from the old office. New location, new building...old faces and old friends.

It's great to be back!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Selamat Hari Raya! I'm suffering..........

Today is a public holiday in Singapore - Hari Raya Aidilfitri (more popularly know) as Hari Raya Puasa. Hari Raya (means Day of Celebration) marks the end of the Ramadhan, the holy month of fasting. During this month of fasting, Muslims are required to abstain from basic needs and urges :) between sunrise and sunset. If I had to fast, I would be OVERJOYED when this day came about. I would be ECSTATIC. But I'm not muslim so I need to worry about my weight because no no no absolutely NO FASTING. Minor dieting is still OK :P

Last night, I was studying for my FLMI papers. Dumping as much information as I could for LOMA 280-Principles of Insurance: Life, Health and Annuitites, I gave up at 3.30am. (My stamina is at rock bottom but if there is any consolation, I have to work the entire day too, you know!!).

So this morning, it wasn't a day of celebration for me. I woke up and had 2 conference calls before I finally managed to settle at my study table for another cramming session. Did 2-3 hour solid cramming before I had information overload and decide to have a short nap. LAZY!! (My "pia" stamina is really .......... but I did get a bit bit of "feeling" for my university days where I was ALWAYS cramming 2 weeks before the paper).

My first 2 papers are on November 6 and 7. HORRORS!!!! The problem is that I'm on business trips from next week onwards and probably won't have time to study and this week is PACKED to the maximum with meetings and documents to read in the office. I still have another THICK THICK BOOK TO GO for LOMA 290: Insurance Company Operations. ARRGHHHHHHHH!

But never mind, let's think on the bright side and the sense of satisfaction I will get if I manage to get this done..........*happy thoughts happy thoughts*

Okay, I just decided that I will cancel all lunch appointments (Sorry warren) so that I can study during lunch time. The only appointment I won't cancel is the Vegetarian dinner to celebrate Meilin's birthday tomorrow. Yes, I must also cancel my movie appointments....................

Life will be the pits until my last paper in December. Sorry penguin and all my friends.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Straits Times and Today's portrayal of the haze

Today I will blog about how I felt after reading the Straits Times' article and the Today's article on the haze that is affecting Southeast Asia. My focus is partly but NOT entirely on the haze situation but the impressions that I got after reading the 2 newspapers' report on the same issue.

SUNDAY TIMES - The Straits Times

In the Sunday Times, the "top of the news" article is entitled: "Jakarta drags its feet again on haze pact". The gist of the article is that Indonesia is "unlikely to ratify an ASEAN anti-haze agreement any time soon even though President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said that it would."

In the article, it stated that all factions in the Indonesian committee (elected to lead the debate on the ratification), including the President's own Democrat Party, had agreed that there should be certain steps taken by the government BEFORE the ratification process will resume.

An example of "certain steps" mentioned were the cross-border enviromental issues involving Indonesia's Asean neighbors. These include:
a) Malaysia's alleged role as the biggest buyer of illegally-logged timber from Indonesia
b) Illegal fishing in Indonesian waters by Thai fisherman
c) Ongoing talks between Singapore and Indonesia over an extradition treaty.

A member of the commission, Mr. Alvin Lie, also spoke about a "balance of benefits" and he added that there were already several existing laws in place that can deal with the haze problem and that Indonesia "did not need to be afraid of pressures from other countries".

*As I am writing this section of the blog, imagine me having to take several minutes away per paragraph trying to prevent my blood pressure from bursting through the ceiling. Damn this stupid Indonesian committee.....damns this stupid Alvin Lie, his mixed up priorities and his inability to see that these existing laws are not doing any good for anyone including the people in his countries. In fact, I felt that Indonesia was rather under-handed to make use of this situation to force matters in other areas and such a joke that they could refute their President’s pledge to another nation*

TODAY NEWSPAPER

BUT then I also surfed online and read the TODAY newspaper and they also had another article on the haze entitled "Lifting the haze". (Immediately you can see that this is a less negative headline as compared to the Straits Times)

This article, I felt, was more balanced. It reinforced the Straits Times' report that the haze problem would NOT go away in the next few years. And it also gave a more balanced view on the size of the problem. In the article, it explained that fires from the peat land amount to 20 percent of the fires but are responsible for more than 60 percent of the haze. (In which, 60 percent is a conservative number). This makes the problem seem easier and more manageable to tackle.

In addition, the TODAY newspaper also added that the Ambassador from Indonesia called for the ASEAN member states to start pledging money to the proposed regional fund provided for in the ASEAN pact to combat the haze. Ambassador Wiryono explained that fulfilling this ambition of the pact will assure Indonesia that it won't be combating the haze on its own AND also would not make Indonesia feel like they are being singled out for the punishment for the haze. (I accept that there are many reasons that contributed to the haze even the existence of external factors in which Indonesia is not to be entirely blamed. However, I do think that they take up a large percentage of the blame due to their lax laws to combat this problem). This in turn encourages the Indonesian government to clamp down on the businesses responsible for the fire.

After I read the article, I felt more appeased. Certainly the Today's article made me understand that Indonesia did not feel that they were totally responsible for the haze, it also explained the situation in Indonesia where the fact of the matter is that the people feels like they are being blamed entirely for the whole situation. This makes them defensive which honestly, does not do one bit of good to solve this problem we have at hand.

FURTHER REFLECTIONS

And then I thought to myself, if a volunteer had came up to me in Orchard Road and asked me to donate to a fund set up for the haze prevention cause, the possibility of me donating would be almost ZERO if I had read the Straits Times article. However, if I had read the Today's article, I would definitely have donated.
(Although, I would still be thinking if the money would be put to good use and not into the pockets of corrupted officers in Indonesia since it is obvious that some people in the Indonesian committee are just so incapable)

Therefore, I reflected on the importance of the mass media to provide an unbalanced view of the news that they report on the world today. It is very important to reflect a balanced view at all times. Certainly, there are dimwits that make stupid decisions and comments such as (A.L) but there are also good mixes of balanced people out there who can explain the situation such as the Ambassador (W.S). Not being careful and portrayal of any imbalanced views would just incite bad feelings which is really not necessary if the ultimate aim is to avoid taking sides and focus on the problems at hand, which is: To solve this haze problem!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Namaste....Happy Deepavali

In Year 2006, Deepavali (The Festival of Lights) is celebrated on October 21st.

Deepavali (also known as Diwali) is a Sanskrit word which is broken down into Deepa (which means light) and avali (meaning a row). Yes, you've guessed it, that is why this joyous celebration is known as the Festival of Lights (an equivalent to Chinese New Year :P) which marks the victory of good over evil and it is a joyous occasion celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.

In India, the Hindu calender has 2 versions which are used in different regions. The Amantnm (ending on the no-moon) version is prevalent in southern India and the Purnimanta (ending on the full moon) version is prevalent in northen India. The Amantnm version of the Hindu calender has been adopted as the Indian national calender. However, according to the Prunimanta version, Deepavali is marked as the new year's day and regardless of the differences, Deepavali is worshipped on the same days throughout India in which it is a 5 day celebration where it is customary to fast for 3 days.

There are slight differences in the significance of Deepavali for Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism. Nevertheless, generally speaking, this festival celebrates life and the strengthening of relationships.

I was particularly fascinated to learn that Hindus find cause to celebrate this festival for different reasons: (will not be covering the significance of Sikhism and Jainism)
1) As per sacred text, on this day, Lord Shiva accepts Shakti (a goddess) into the left half of form (body) and appeared as Ardhanarishvara.(synthesis of masculine and feminine energies - go figure, its worth while to view Indian art on this :) )
2) To celebrate the return of Lord Rama from a war which he killed the demon King Ravana.
3) To commemorate the killing of Narakasura (an evil demon) by Lord Khrisna's wife Sathyabhama.
4) Daitya king bali, who is allowed to return to earth once a year.

The 5 days of Deepavali are named as follows: (abbreviated to capture meaning only)
Day One: Dhan meaning wealth. Auspicious day for shopping!
Day Two: Narak meaning "of a new era of Light and Knowledge"
Day Three: Diwali - the moon completely wanes (something like new years eve for the chinese)
On this day, there are lights and lights galore!
Day Four: Padwa - Beginning of the new year.
Day Five: Bhayiduj - On this day, brothers and sisters meet to express their love and affection.

For more information: The Story of Diwali

In Singapore, deepavali is a public holiday and if you drive down Little India, you can enjoy the beautiful light-up. Also, one of the special things celebrated by the minority Indians here is the fire-walking ceremony (which is not practised as part of the festival in other countries!). And if you are wondering what the fire-walking ceremony is.......fire-walking is the act of walking barefoot over a bed of hot coals!!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Geography Lesson 002 - Middle East

Okay, I decided NOT to blog too much about nuclear power today (because of some reasons that I will not share here) BUT I do more or less know the meaning of "katak". Well, katak means FROG in malay. Ahh!! Now we know!!!! Things are starting to make a little more sense now, aren't they? **Thank you Meilin for this precious information. I will endearingly nominate you as my walking Malay dictionary from today onwards. :P
Hehe, let me also share with you that while I'm writing this blog, Meilin just made a really funny comment about her friend. And its really funny because of the way she said it. (P/s: Meilin is one of my housemates). She asked her friend:"How come you don't learn how to use internet banking and still go to the bank and queue up to make bank transactions?? So aunty!!" Hahahhahaha....damn, I love my housemates.

Well, since I'm a little brain dead today. Drowsy from all the flu medication and very tired because I'm sneezing every 3 minutes, I won't blog about anything too "geeky" such as the entropy theory or my ideas on how nuclear power should be shared by the country/region. But I do want to sneak in a tiny little comment that I was very happy to read an article in the Today newspaper by Mr Bernard Baker (director - Public Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs). In his article, he suggested that ASEAN could "play a stronger leadership role to ensure safety and other legitimate concerns are adequately addressed at a regional level". He cited nuclear power and the haze as examples. Mr Baker also argued that such an approach "in no way derogates the soverign rights of the countries concerned". He ended off by saying that ASEAN should set an example for other regions. *clap clap clap*
For more information: ASEAN and nuclear safety

Okay, before I start on our geography lesson 002, I would like to congratulate my housemate Jomin and my colleague Johann for being the only 2 persons that I know that got all the answers correct for my questions on South East Asia. Very impressive indeed!! Note: Both their names start with "J" so perhaps for potential parents out there. Erhem...if you want your kids to be good in geography then if the first letter of their name is "J", it might be a better bet. :P


There are 22 countries in Middle East. Middle east is also known as West Asia. The countries in alphabetical order are:

Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen

Okay, anyone notice that Palestine is not mentioned in the list of countries? (I was a little surprised myself in the beginning.) Also, if you ever wondered why there seems to be alot of fighting going on in Middle East (almost Israel vs everyone else) and you dig in a little deeper, you will be "in" for a wonderful and fascination history that goes way back...........

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Conversations on the nuclear power topic

Today I had 3 short but interesting conversations regarding nuclear power. Let me see if I can share it appropriately here:

[FF] : Jme, so are you FOR or AGAINST nuclear power?
*FF is reacting to my MSN statement*
[Jme]: You mean nuclear weapons? Definitely AGAINST.
[FF]: Me too! But for nuclear power, it seems that at this point in time, it is the most viable energy souce.
[Jme]: Agree.
(which is quite sad because it seems that if we use nuclear power, it is hard to control nations NOT to have nuclear weapons - refer to pillar 3 arguement)

I shared this conversation with K.Ling and she asked me some interesting questions:

[K.Ling]: Why do you think nuclear power is the only viable energy source?
[Jme]: Because we will eventually run out of fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) AND renewable energy like solar,hydraulic, wind power is neither stable nor adequate to meet the world's demand on electricity. At this point in time, nuclear power is the only stable source.
(My brother later shared with me a new method using hydrogen - water and a new type of car that is powered by this new method)

[K.Ling]: Nuclear power is stable?
[Jme]: At least it can be controlled by man. Renewable energy depends on nature and there is just so many dams you can build for hydraulic power.
(My brother commented that there has been no known nuclear power plant problem at least for the past 10 years)

[K.Ling]: Which countries do you think can be trusted with nuclear power?
[Jme]: ERm....tough question. At the top of my head, I think only a few countries per region require to have nuclear power plants and maybe they can provide this to the surrounding countries??

[K.Ling]: Hmm...these countries will become very powerful.
[Jme]: Yes, I think so. But it is the same situation we have now. Some countries have oil, some countries don't. Therefore some countries are richer than others.

I thought about this more and then I added the following -
[Jme]: Hmm...there should be more than one solution. For instance:-
a) Countries that cannot afford to build nuclear power plant can invest in research to determine how to make renewable energy sources more stable. If they have natural resources like rivers/land, they can become self-sufficient.
b) Countries that can afford to build nuclear power plant but do not have the land to do it can buy electricity from their neighbours. (Like Singapore - but these countries then need to provide services in other ways.)
c) Countries that can afford to build nuclear power plant and have the land to do it can then sell their services to other countries.
d) Countries that do not have money to build or purchase on their own can group together to share.

Anyway, I also read somewhere that some places in Nigeria do not have stable electricity supply at this point in time.

The interviewer asked the Nigerian:" When do you think you will be able to get stable electricity supply" and the Nigerian's reply was:" 2056".

The interviewer laughed and said: "Wow! You are a very patient man to be willing to wait half a century for stable electricity!!!" The Nigerian good-humouredly replied:" I may not be alive when this part of Nigeria gets stable electricity, but so far, we can make do with what we have"

Conclusion: Maybe, we can get use to life using less electricity and yet be happy? Or maybe, we can trade away our lives in this nuclear power gamble.

P/s: If you have any thoughts on this matter, please do write to me and share.

Feeling unwell......only 24 hours a day.

I have been sleeping an average of 3 hours a day for the past week since I've returned from South Africa. (My brother ask me how I manage to do it!)

My waking hours are spent doing the following things (estimated):
a) Reviewing stacks and stacks of documentations for work. :) 40%
b) Writing stacks and stacks of reports for my boss and attending conference calls. :) 40%
c) Reading newspaper and surfing the internet to answer the questions I have based on my reading. :P (Once again, I love the internet love the internet love the internet) 5%
d) Studying for Loma :( 5%
(Looks like I"m going to do miserably but I am just too tired when I return home so I just flip the pages.)
e) Travelling to work and listening to the radio 5% :O
f) Blogging 5% :)

(Yes, nhon, exercising is currently not on my daily to-do list. Working on it!!! But I know you are not proud of me so I put this in smaller fonts. Haha!)

In fact, I realize that I eat lunch at my desk while reading documents (today glenn had to pick up my sandwiches for me because i was feeling so unwell) and I ate dinner in 15 mins today while reading the newspaper online. It seems that the body is very unhappy with me at this current point in time. But I can't seem to sleep very well. Stressed up?

Anyway, I came home from work slightly earlier today while struggling with a conference call at the same time! Drove like a maniac demonstrating the idiotic Singaporean side of me: apologies to all the drivers who had the bad luck of seeing me on the streets today. :P

After my medication, I was going to bed but I ended up having a chat with my brother on lots of stuff. I think he is a very informed person (he reads a lot!) and I encouraged him to share it in his blog. It only takes 15-30 mins a day and I feel that it is wonderful thing to share.....In the sharing process, we learn many things from the people around us as well.

P/s: The fever has subsided. Its great to be alive!!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Nuclear Weapons...who should have them?

Anyone reading the newspaper, listening to the radio or watching television will know that one of the hottest discussion topics in the world today is North Korea becoming a nuclear power after their (supposedly) partially-successful nuclear detonation experiment held on October 9 2006. The world went into shock because of the unspoken consequences (horrors!!!) that this Stalinist country could unleash with their new-found power. Countries, especially USA, were quick to condemn this improvised country.

In my mind, my first reaction was fear and I thought to myself:"Damn the North Koreans! Their people are living in poverty, half starving and yet the government spend their money investing in nuclear weapons. Pyongyang is reputed to have few lights on at night because they do not have enough power for electricity. So minimally, I thought, if North Korea had nuclear knowledge then I would think that their priority would be to use it for some good such as generate electricity for their people and not for mass destruction weapons. So..what kind of half-baked logic is that? Damn Kim Jong II, this stupid mad man."

Everyone still remembers the mass destruction in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Towards the end of world war II, in 1945, USA dropped two bombs comically called "Little Boy" (uranium) and "Fat Man" (plutonium) on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively. Sure, there are arguements that this action resulted in a quick end to the war. Yet, no one can deny that these weapons resulted in immediate deaths of 100,000-200,000 and more over the years. The radioactive "harm" that lingered through the years created many genetically deformed people in those 2 islands. In addition, who can forget the disasters during the failure of the 2 nuclear power plants now known as the Three Mile Island (1970s) accident and 1986 disaster at Chernobyl.

Remembering these "well-loved" moments, countries around the world including N.Korea's well-known ally, China, signed an agreement to implement trade sanctions on North Korea until North Korea will come to the table for talks on disarmament. No one could trust them to hold onto this power.

And then the story unfolds and the hyprocrisy surfaces. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (signed in 1968 with a participant of 188 soverign states - out of which Malaysia and Singapore are one of them :)) can be summarized in 3 pillars.

First Pillar - Non proliferation
5 states are permitted to own nuclear weapons: France, Russia, China, USA and United Kingdom. (Reason being at the time when the treaty was signed, these countries already possessed these weapons, I believe). The first pillar basically indicates that these 5 states will not transfer nuclear weapon technology to other states while other non-Nuclear Weapon states (WPS) will not seek to develop or acquire these nuclear weapons.

However, many people argue that USA does not abide by this guideline because it is sharing its technology with NATO states. For more information, please refer to Wikipedia - First Pillar

Second Pillar - Disarmament
The second pillar basically states that the 5 WPS will pursue plans for eventual disarmament.

However, in reality, over the past 3 decades, disarmament plans have been rejected by the 5 states for one reason or another.

This I believe has caused many non-WPS to become disillusioned and start to withdraw from the treaty and seek ways to arm themselves. Case in point: North Korea.

Third Pillar - Right to peacefully use nuclear technology
Obviously, due to the relunctance to abandon nuclear alternatives, a way must be decided to allow nuclear power to be harnessed and used for the good of man. And this includes generation of heat, electricity and others.

However in reality, it is only one small step for moving from nuclear technology for constructive purposes to generating weapons. USA has constantly criticised Iran for developing nuclear weapons under the pretense of using nuclear power to generate electricity.

I am by no means an expert on this topic but I do know that I hear the common people on the street comment that the easiest solution for the nuclear problem is for everyone to disarm (including India and Pakistan who have nuclear weapons althought they are not permitted to have). This will give NO further excuses for other nations to arm themselves.

Note: In North Korea's case, they were actually a signatory to the Treaty for Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons up to Year 2003 when they made a withdrawal. Reason at that time: North Korea felt that USA was becoming a threat to them.

Ultimately, I still condemn the fact that North Korea has nuclear weapons and are continuing to strive to perfect their technology. At the same time, they are constantly using this as a threat for the world to back off.

Yes, I do NOT think that weapons in the hands of HALF CRAZED man allow me to sleep easy at night. Yet, I would also like to highlight the hyprocrisy that I see with these so-called established countries (WPS) refusing to disarm and also pointing the finger at North Korea.

My view is that everyone will become a mad man when they become the ultimate power..........Even more so, who can bear the consequence if this technology lands in the wrong hands such as insane religious fanatics or extremist (-we won't say who-) and then used for terrorist means.

Nations need to make a stand to disarm so that the world can be a safer place to live in. We need someone to make the first step and then, we won't have to answer the question: Nuclear Weapons.....who should have them?

Veil Update - Today (Singapore)

I couldn't agree with this article more: Today article - Why Britain fears the veil

Contest for a national anthem - Armenia (also Singapore anthem)

Has anybody heard about the country called "Armenia"?

Armenia is a country next to Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan. Its capital city is called Yerevan and its total land area is 29,800 sq km (Singapore = 647.5 sq km). Armenia has a population of about 4 million. (Singapore = 3.5 million) In the lonely planet, Armenia is romantically entitled as the ancient country making a comeback in the 21st century.

A mountainous area, Armenia is at the edge of southeastern Europe and serves as a gateway to Middle East and Asia. This wonderful geographical location could have been a blessing but it turned out to be a curse: Over the centuries, Armenia was invaded and torn apart by different empires including Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian and Ottoman.

Finally in 1991, Armenia gained independence from the Soviet Union but ended up in a bloodbath with their neighbour Azerbaijan. Peace was attained in 1994. The Armenian people have been involved, in several occassions, as victims of ethic cleansing (such as in Turkey). Nature also did not spare this country with a major earthquake in 1988 destroying most of its infrastructure and killing more people.

Armenia is turning around and the tourist industry is starting to blossom. Today, I heard that Armenia is holding a contest to decide on their new national anthem. It is the belief and hope of the government that Armenia, which has undergone so many changes in the past 10 years, can unite their people with a new national anthem. However, interviews held by BBC, has obtained only lukewarm or negative response from the Armenian youth.

For more information: Article on Armenia's national anthem contest

After I have read more about this country, I recall back in secondary school where we had a debate on whether the national anthem of Singapore should be changed. Right now, the national language of Singapore is Malay. So is the national anthem. Yet to be honest, most of the Singaporeans are unable to relate to both the language and the anthem. Sure, we remember it by heart but if you question any Singaporean on the street, they are probably going to have a hard time telling you what the national anthem means.

I made a resolution to find out what my national anthem means.

My country is small and it has no natural resources and the people is by far from perfect but I do count my blessings and I'm very proud to call this little island my home where I feel safe enough to walk out on my own late at night.

I present to you my country's national anthem.

MAJULAH SINGAPURA
(Onward Singapore)
Mari kita rakyat Singapura
(We, the people of Singapore)
Sama-sama menuju bahagia
(Together match towards happiness)
Cita-cita kita yang mulia
(Our noble aspiration)
Berjaya Singapura
(To make Singapore a success)
Marilah kita bersatu
(Let us all unite)
Dengan semangat yang baru
(In a new spirit)
Semua kita berseru
(Together we proclaim)
Majulah Singapura
(Onward Singapore)
Majulah Singapura
(Onward Singapore)

Note: Composed in 1956-57 by Encik Zubir Said. Adopted as the republic's National Anthem upon independence in 1965.

WAH KAO!!! - MTV

DUDE, PIMP MY RIDE => All day long that damn phrase was stuck in my head, like the chorus of an irritating song that won't go away.
(which makes it 100,000 times more annoying when all day long imagine someone shouting in an American accent in your head: DUDE, PIMP MY RIDE!)

Like, wah lau eh, GET LOST already…..

For all those MTV junkies out there, you should already know what this show is about. For the benefit of those people that don't watch MTV and don't know what the hell I'm talking about (you better be too broke to pay for cable or 35 years old and above or just spend your time watching Chinese MTV channel [V]. Muahahahhahaha), here is an explanation:


MTV – "Pimp my ride" is a show that happens weekly where 2 teams compete with each other to pimp (which means modify in this case) a pok-gai (that is Cantonese which means lousy/useless) car to become the coolest ride ever. So each team starts with a similar pok-gai car (now, you know what that means), come up with creative ideas based on the theme of the week and build really cool rides that blow your mind away. The winning team gets RESPECT and more importantly………….the other team’s car. :)
**Flash Update: 18 October 2006 - I have been updated by the MTV expert -Mak that the show with 2 teams competing is called "Trick it out" and not "Pimp my ride". Pimp my ride has the rap superstar and car specialist create unheard of pimped out masterpieces. However, I would like to confirm that the phrase "Pimp my ride" was in my head and NOT "Trick it out"

But enough of digression, once again as I was saying, the phrase “DUDE, PIMP MY RIDE” was in my mind the whollllleeeeeeeee day. And I’m also saying, I have no freaking idea why the hell that phrase is in my head. I mean…..it does NOTHING for me!

Dude, seriously……………. I don’t mind if there is like this really “healthy phrase” stuck in my head. Erm..for instance: *cough cough*
人人为我, 我为人人 (meaning – All for one and one for all) –
*CHIN CHONG CHANG *cymbals clashing to announce what a chin chong chang person I am :P

Correct????? So healthy!! But NOOOoooooooooooooooooo *sacarstic voice*. What was stuck in my head was: DUDE, PIMP MY RIDE!!!

I mean ENOUGH ALREADY. Just had to ask that voice to “ShOO Shoo….GET OUT OF MY Head. GET LOST!!!” *takes up the broom to do the sweeping act* (do you hear the cymbals clashing again??)

Well, while I'm talking about MTV, another thing I want to share is from Channel [V]. Channel [V] has this show called: “MTV! Wah Kao!!” (Yes, I watch channel [V] too, note how I consciously put the square brackets [ ] covering the V). So now, I take it upon my personal duty to explain what I think Wah Kao means.

Wah Kao means…………erm…wah kao. Its just like Wah Lau.

Hahhahaa. Okay, I don’t think I did justice to that explanation. Aiyah, sorry, seriously I can’t think of a better way to explain it. But like what the bak chor mee man says: “Sorry, your si nang tao (direct translation is: Dead Person Head) sorry also must expRain”

Anyway, so one day I asked my Taiwanese colleague what the phrase “wah kao” meant. She didn’t really answer me but just told me that “Wah Kao” is not a very ladylike thing to say. Like “Wah Lau”, nice ladies JUST don’t say it.

I thought about this long and hard and decided: “Ma ma de, I’m not nice lady so WAH KAO…………AWAY!!!!

HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA.

Okay, before you think I’ve gone complete bonkers. Explanation time:
1) Slept only 2 hours last night. I tossed and turned till about 5.30am this morning and just couldn’t go to BED! And my brother was playing “Need for Speed” last night, so I’m thinking that phrase “DUDE PIMP MY RIDE” must have just popped into my head. *HORRORS, you mean it was nesting in my brain since last night?!?!??!*
2) And if I really had to guess the meaning of wah kao…hmmm…*thinks hard*….wah kao could be a hybrid between something harmless like 我的天啊!(direct translation: Oh my heavens) or…something less harmless like WTF! :)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Oh MaMa...Check out the giant cat fish - Mekong wonders


For some obscure reason, I wandered onto the National Geographic website at 3am in the morning and chanced upon this article.

(I've NEVER EVER EVER been on the National Geographic website but I do watch them on telly tho.) :) I must say HEY, that website is really not BAD. Very Interesting! (Book mark it book mark it!)

Okay, anyway, the picture above is NOT a hoax. Its a giant catfish caught from the Mekong river and ...erhem....their species are now facing the risk of extinction. I'm thinking: WTF! What other monsters are there in the Mekong river.....and then I thought....the NAGA!! (For those of you who don't know what the NAGA is.....where have you been?)

Read more about the giant catfish (eaten by villagers): National Geographic Article

The Mekong river really has piqued my curiousity. Just the other day, I watched this Thai movie called the "The Mekong Full Moon Party" (my Thai colleague bought it for me because I commented that I was interested about the strange phenomenon that happens at the Mekhong river near Nong Dhai (Thai village). You see, towards the end of the Buddhist Lent, there would be strange fireballs (colourless, odourless, smokeless) that shoot up in the air from the river (supposedly from the NAGA) to celebrate the end of buddhist lent. (Yes.....this movie is about it and it speculates on the different theories on how the fireballs came to be. It is very good. You should watch it!)
About the Naga's Fireballs

One day, I'm going to plan for a trip to watch this phenomenon. Perhaps I have to book a hospital bed when I check into the Nong Dhai village (if u don't understand, read the article above). AFter all, thailand is such a nice place. Sawardi -ka................

Geography Lesson 001 - Southeast Asia

I had a discussion with my colleagues (Chinese) while stationed for work in Ho Chi Minh City last year. The question was:" Is Vietnam bigger than Thailand?" At that point in time, my first reaction was:" Hell yeah, Thailand should be WAY BIGGER than Vietnam...erm....correct?".

So when we got back to the office after our dinner, we googled it on the internet and then I realized: DAMN. The size of Thailand is 513118 km and the size of Vietnam is 329,560km. (I was expecting total land area for vietnam to be 1/4 that of Thailand).
Geez, Vietnam is BIGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.

And so, I went around quizzing my friends on some geography questions concerning S.E.A like:
a) On the map, what is the country to the left of Thailand?
b) Is Laos above or below cambodia?
c) Etc etc

And guess what...................................... most of us didn't know!!! Muahahahhaha.

Here is an excerpt of my hilarious conversation with my bro:
*USA CIA/FBI agents, if you want to snipe my brother, I can give u the address*
Erm....bro....seriously.....I love you and your sense of logic to death :)



So Kids, the lesson for today is to learn the south east asia map and don't be so darn swah ku lar, before you "clever-clever" go and learn the map of europe/africa/america/china.....拜托 (means please lar) learn the map of south east asia OK?

(As for me, erm, I had better start off with the map of singapore first. Hahahahahha. So I don't get lost looking for IKEA. :P)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Michael Jackson - The Indian

I got cramps from all the laughing watching this. :) Enjoy

Perseverence.....Its the size of fight in a dog that matters.

I spend the afternoon reading my textbook- Principles of Insurance: Life, Health and Annuities. Okay, come to admit it, it really is not bad. Quite an interesting read. If it weren't for the exams, I might enjoy it better but yet again, if it weren't for the exams, I'll probably be reading some other novel. (Psstt...I am reading an interesting book called the Knights Templar but I promise to keep it away until I'm well-prepared for my exam. But last night, I quite sneakily read one chapter but I was nabbed red-handed and a little reprimanded this morning). *sheepish look*

After a couple of chapters, I fell asleep and had this really strange dream. I know it was strange but now, I actually cannot remember what it was about. :P So I had dinner and came online to blog a little. Sigh! When you are supposed to be focus on doing something (studying in my case), everything else just seems so much more interesting BUT when you are not studying for anything, then the mind keeps nagging at you to keep moving forward to upgrade yourself. Life is such a paradox. Cannot understand!

I was also surfing the internet (THANK GOODNESS FOR INTERNET. Computers and Internet, I love you *muacks muacks muacks*) and chance upon a few quotes on Perserverence that I would like to share.

" People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don't know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to." by George E. Allen.

AND

"What counts is not necessarily the size of a dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog" by General Dwight Eisenhowell.

MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA...............
Enought of inspirational "moments". I"m going to take a shower and hit the books again.

Love or hate the veil....

I was driving home and listening to the BBC on the radio when a particular segment caught my attention.

The topic was on a Muslim teacher in England who was asked to remove her veil because her students could not hear her clearly. She refused and was later suspended. She is currently pending the decision of an employment tribunal. Please read: BBC news

Living in a multi-cultural society, I am surrounded by people from all walks of life with different religious beliefs. I've worked closely with many Muslim colleagues who later became good friends. For me, religion was never a barrier. In fact, most of my colleagues, especially in Malaysia, wear the Tudong - head scarf but they do not cover their faces. I think it is a personal choice that they want to cover their head, religious reason or not, and really it makes no difference to me.

Due to the actions of certain Islamic extremist, Islam has become the focus over past few years. Because many people do not understand the religion, they tend to fear it. Now, all sort of ridiculous things have been raised such as the banning of Muslim woman wearing the tudong. I think it is a matter of HUMAN RIGHT on what people choose to wear, as long as it doesn't affect (harm) another person, why do you want to force your will on others? It is the same thing as freedom of speech. Sure, we can have freedom of speech....IF freedom of speech is practiced in a responsible manner. Its that fine line...but its there.

However, with regards to this particular issue, my personal opinion on this particular matter is a totally different matter due to the following reasons:

1) The Quran says “And tell the believing women to lower their gazes and be modest, and to display of their adornments only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms.”(24:31)

In this verse it is clearly mentioned that sex parts must not be exposed and must be covered. “Adornment which is apparent” alludes to the common body parts between male and female sexes. The face, hands and feet are common parts and are exposed without any indecency or immodesty.

Quoted from: Article by Prof. Maqsood Jafri

Based on what I understand above, covering the face is not compulsory. Isn't it?

2) Has anybody heard about "In rome, do as the roman does."? If foreigners/tourist who visit countries like Saudi Arabia, are REQUIRED to put on a veil when they go onto the streets such that the hotel provides these garments for them and they put it on, out of respect for your culture, what is the difference between that and the situation where if you are in UK, and it is courtesy to take out your cap or sunglasses when u are talking to others so that they can see your facial expression clearly. Why can't the Muslim woman who wear veils over their face respect that?

3) I think Ms Azmi's arguements about wearing the veil during class is a little weak. I think that communication is always best when you are face to face. Everyone knows the difference between having a conversation over the phone and face-to-face in which you can see the other person's facial expression. The entire point of face-to-face is so that you don't have to guess the other person, it is normally written all over the face.

Ms Azmi is in a teaching profession and it is her responsiblity to let her students understand her clearly and to minimize all probability where her students are guessing her intentions. When I read that she expected her students to understand her clearly with a piece of cloth over her mouth, her body expression under all that garments AND her eye expression, I really laughed. I was immediately picturing myself *with the mentality I had as a young student* sitting at the back of the classroom STRAINING my eyes to see my teacher's eye expression. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA.
----------------------------------Leaving nothing to the imagination -------------------
Look, Ms Azmi, I know you are a modest woman, following strictly what you think your religion expects you to do but please.....perhaps you should consider changing your profession. Isn't the purpose of wearing the veil to minimize lust in the male counterparts? The people in your class are STUDENTS! YOUNG CHILDREN!

I'm rather sceptical about MAN being unable to control themselves because they can see your face but hey...if that is your religion, I'll keep my big mouth SHUT. But to be honest, I would PREFER to talk to someone who is not covering her face because the idea of talking to someone whom I don't know under a veil really scares me and makes me very uncomfortable.

Just my 2 cents worth on this matter. I apologize if I have offended anyone but this is just my personal opinion with regards to this matter. And for the record, I'm not anti Islam and I have great respect for the religion. For more interesting opinions, please read: Forum on the veil topic by BBC

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Haze and Rain Update

As of 10pm on 14th October 2006, the PSI reading is 116. It has been steadily climbing all day!!! I'm not feeling so calm and tolerant at this moment in time. *murderous look in my eye* I could just about KILL some bloody inconsiderate KUKU bird out there right across the strait.......

Its bloody HOT and bloody HUMID and so very UNCOMFORTABLE. And it is so much WORSE when you know that every time you inhale, you are breathing in BAD AIR that will slowly work to KILL YOU. Slowly but surely. Sure, I can hide in an air con room all day but hey let's just say everyone is doing just about that.....aren't we also ultimately contributing to a greater destruction of the ozone layer. *cough cough* The throat is starting to itch and I'm actually having sore throat symptoms.
Erm....maybe if it rains the air will clear abit. *jamie starts to prepare for the rain dance*

Oh! Talking about RAIN. I just read in the newspaper (actually it was yesterday's newspaper) that Rain is coming to Singapore on January 21st. Tickets ranging between $188 to $888. Wah lau eh....How many rich people out there will pay $1000 for a bloomin Korean concert where you don't understand a SINGLE word except for the occasional incoherent sentence in English which gets repeated 2/3 times every chorus. Anyway, erhem....to my fiery penguin-tiger (yes, you know who I'm talking about). It might be worth it after all.

P/s: I also note that on Friday's newspaper, I read 2 articles about the haze problem. One article talked about $79m lost due to a dip in tourism, productivity (because ermm people take time off from work if they are sick)....and recreation.
Also, a correction to my earlier post, this year's haze is not as bad as in 1997. (But hey, it is still damn bloody BAD okay. Too much...basket!)
The other article talked about environment ministers from Asean - meeting to discuss the haze problem and that "Indonesia and the regional countries would take concrete steps and develop a long-term plan of action towards preventing the haze. "

Hmm.....A very comforting thought.....we will see if there are any improvements next year. Meanwhile, I might thinking about digging out my mask -purify the air- very soon. (the unused mask which I bought while working in Shanghai during the SARS period)

Haze situation in Singapore

I looked out of the window in the afternoon and just got irritated. The haze was so bad that it made the view outside look like it was winter wonderland. The cause of the haze, based on what I understand, is that the plantation firms in Indonesia intentionally set fire to clear the fields. The traditional practice called “Slash and burn” (One of the few things from school that I still remember ). The first thought that I had was….how can people be so stupid, inconsiderate and myopic to do such a thing. Each year this happens, each year the neighbouring countries around Indonesia complains, each year the Indonesian government apologizes and promises to take up measure to prevent this in the future. Obviously, these measure are NOT working because this haze is the worst in 10 years. The current PSI reading is 99. (PSI = Pollutant Standard Index). Right now we are in borders of moderate to unhealthy air quality. At 99, the air quality may cause problems for some of the general population especially those with air respiratory problems such as bronchitis or asthma. If it crosses over to 100, this is the “Unhealthy” region where even the healthy people may experience eye irritation, sneezing or cough.
For more information, please refer to the following link: National Environment Agency
I had a friend just return from Malaysia and according to her, she mentioned that the Malaysia papers actually reported that their government wanted to curb the reporting on the haze but in the end, the government effort’s was reported in the papers as well. (I’m trying to get the newspaper article on this to verify what she said). I laughed when I heard about this because if it is true, KUDOs to the Malaysia press for freedom of speech and standing up to what is right and fair. As for the people who tried to curb this reporting, my personal view is: “ Are you freaking kidding me?? Do you think that the Malaysians are blind or stupid or something? Do you think that they don’t have eyes to look out of the window and realize that there is something different about the air that they breathe in?” We should be educating people and not restricting information!!!
Therefore, I think that the constructive solution to this method is not only to complain about the situation but also to contribute towards helping our neighbour understand the consequences not only short term but long term as well. Of course, yes, short term we are suffering for their behavior but long term wise, we are all living in on planet earth and need to be responsible for the hole in the ozone layer. So if there is something that I can do, I will surely sign up for it and I hope that my fellow Singaporeans will join me as well. As for the people up there, making the decisions for the countries, please make the correct decisions and if the common people can only see the short term benefits because they are looking out for their self interest. You, the elected leaders to lead your country, please make the right decisions and lead us in the correct direction.

Friday, October 13, 2006

4am in the morning and I can't sleep (Panic Attack)

I have to work tomorrow AND a really important conference call at 10am but I can't seem to go to bed. There is just so much to do!!! Oh my god oh my god oh my god.... Project potentially delayed??? cost overrun??!?!? *panic panic panic*

I ALSO haven't finished studying for my 2 LOMA papers in November and my Japanese paper in December.....*more panic more panic more panic*

Okay, deep breathe...deep breathe. Focus...think one thing at a time. Breathe damnit...BREATHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
*pulls hair, sweaty palms, eyes dilate, cold sweat, stammers...sta sta a aa mers merss merrrsssssss*
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*silence*
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*silence*
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*DEAD silence*
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AND THEN..............................
Person A: "Psstttttttttt, ok, I think the panic attacks are gone. You can come out now..."*looking around furtively*

Person J looks out from the corner of the building, crouching low, eyes bloodshot and wild with worry. "Are you sssssurreeeee? What about Mr big bad tomorrow?? Will the panic attacks return with him....................?"

Note: A day in the life of a STRESSED OUT working-class habitually nocturnal creature. It is very tough....trust me.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

South Africa, here i come...

October 2nd: After flying 14 hours on SQ, I almost kissed the ground of South Africa when i landed. Muahahaha. Inhaling the clean cool spring air, I thought to myself...
"Oh beautiful glorious South Africa, here I AM! No computer, no conference calls...just plenty of sun, glorious sights to soak in. Simple rest and relaxation :) "

We met Jensen from Thompson's Tours who sent us to our hotel. He was busy showing us the CCTV that was in almost every other building in the city and main roads. Security seems to be a problem in South Africa and for good measure, the authorities have put the entire city under close watch. Nothing like, big brother is watching....
Upon arriving at the hotel, we had a quick shower and were soon geared up for our half day city tour.



Mummy and I at St George's Hotel Lobby
During the short half day tour, we visited table mountain, the malay quarters, the Cape Town "Defunct" Castle (which, by the way, currently is home to the Cape Town military, and I do think they have a pretty easy life because they close their doors at 4pm!!)

Like any typical Singaporean, we did quite a bit of shopping on the first day and oh yes, simply ate like kings! I mean, seriously, the food was soooo good and reasonably priced too. Fantastic! You really should check out the Waterfront restaurants if you ever visit Cape Town. Everything there is to die for *drools*

Note: I didn't get a chance to try the Ostrich, Crocodile and Kudu steaks though. Couldn't muster the stomach to do it. :P So do let me know if it tastes good.

Oh yes, and about shopping, i really must talk about the pair of diamond earrings that I bought. My first pair of diamond earring! I bought them from a tiny store. The boss is called Uncle Dave, who has been in the diamond business for almost 40 years. He was quite a nice guy and after the "magic" that my mother persistently worked on him, he threw in a set of smaller diamond earrings to me as a present. Well, at that time, I simply didn't realize what a good price he had given me until I did some price comparison later. So I would say good price, good quality. Well, I certainly believe it is good quality because if it ain't, I just don't want to hear about it. :) If you are heading to Cape Town and need some recommendations, do drop me a note.

The remaining two days we toured the rest of Cape Town and its outskirts. I need to particularly mention visiting Cape Point which, contrary to popular belief, is really NOT the point where the atlantic ocean meets the Indian Ocean. (Hehe, guess you didn't know that right, I certainly did not either!)

We also had a nice ferry ride by Drumbeat Charter to a tiny island about 20 minutes away from the main island that was full with furry seals. We also had plenty for chances to see ostriches, baboons and penguins! All out in the wild.

Here is a picture of the Table Mountain which I nicked off the internet. I couldn't find a nice picture of the table moutain that I took without a close up of my face. P/s: I'm very self conscious after all the good food that I ate so....hehhe... Enjoy!