Sunday, August 28, 2005

Impressed with SIA

During our recent family trip to Seoul, we took our national carrier as we wanted to be sure that in case of any emergencies (we are 8pax, with 3 elderly of over 70yrs, 2 kids of under 7yrs, you can imagine my pain when we were travelling), we can be assured that we will be taken care of. Afterall, we should support our own national carriers right?

Previously, I took a flight to San Frans on our national carrier and was not at all impressed with their service, I had few juice stops, and the flight stewardess could not be bothered with us at all. I did not remember seeing them for more than 5 times on the long haul flight.

However, this trip, our experience was totally different! Before the plane took off, we were offered drinks and hot towels, the kids were given a stuff toy to keep them entertained. The stewardess came frequently to check if things were okay or if anyone needed any assistance. They took notes of where to serve the kids meal and also prepared diabetic meal for my daddy. The smiles were generous as with their service and answered all our queries without any grumbles. What a change I thought.

In all my past experiences with them, the flight stewardess would barely bother with us local travellers, perhaps we were only good with asking for freebies. But I'm very impressed with their change in attitude and makes the traveling experience a whole lot more enjoyable. It is a great feeling to be coming home with a bunch of smiling, warm stewardess. =D

well done SIA!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

More Seoul-ful Adventure

On another occasion, the group of 10 decided to go and take a walk down one of Seoul's famous streets, in 2 cabs, the drivers were given instructions by Joi as to where to go and I took the first cab with sis, niece, colin and grandma. We arrived infront of a huge LV mall in like 2mins (the meter on the cab did not even jump!)

So we waited happily for the other cab to arrive before we start exploring this place filled with festivity and life! and we waited, 5mins passed, then 10mins, then 20mins, still no sign of the other group nor cab. I started to rack my brains out for the possibilities of contacting them. (yah, we are very smart to have left two rented mobile phones in the hotel!!!) I remembered that I had CK's mobile number on my hp, luckily I got my singapore hp with me then (dun ask me why I'm carrying a dead weight in my already super heavy bag!!) But it came in useful, ease my nerves for a while, at least we've got HOPE! The information counter staff were nice enough to help me make the call, but there was no answer!! Argghh....

When I got back to where my sis and the rest of the folks were, I saw Joi talking to them excitedly about how their cab driver insisted that there was a jam along the main road and drove them around to some side alleys. And in the end, Joi had to unload their cab a few streets away. Our night out of having fun, turned out to be one of cat & mouse game. She found a cafe and loaded the folks there for coffee to settle their nerves while coming to look for us at LV.

What an eventful trip! I'm sure my little nephew will have alot of stories to write hee....

Friday, August 26, 2005

DongDaeMun Here I Come!

Yes, after hearing about the 12 levels of shopping experience where each level only concentrate on ONE type of stuff, I was totally excited to check out the 40,000 shops that contribute to this legend.

First night upon touchdown, done with all the meet the family dinner, I set off at 10pm with Sue and friend. (Nice young man who drove us around, helped us with our shopping bags and all this with a huge smile on this face).

And if I forgot to mention, the shopping here does not stop at 10pm typical of Singapore, in fact it becomes more lively after 10pm! The shops generally close at 5am. Dun ask me how they go home, but there's surely enough crowd to pepper the shops with brisk business. Shops here mostly cater to their own local business speaking mostly in Korean. So if you are a visitor, better arm yourself with a few simple Korean words to "fake-it" else the prices can double for most item.

One useful word to use is "pi sai yo" which means expensive, you've got say it with gasto! like "Pi Sai YOOOOO" (all the korean conversations that I've encountered are spoken expressively with facial and body langgage).

After visiting almost all the different levels, I was extremely tempted to purchase a Hanbok for myself. Hee, just for fun of it. I know that a really good one will cost me an arm and a leg. But no harm in asking right? Lucky for me, Sue was around to help me source out the cheapest Hanbok in the building, which is.... Kid Size!! ha ha ha... Yes, I could fit into ONE leh, no kidding, I din realise that i'm short for even an asian country. So Sue went on to bargain with the guy... and we got one at 50k won. But I was still cautious at spending 50k won.... (actually, I kinda forgot how much that means in Singapore dollars, it just sounded very expensive hee...) So we decided that we'll still have time to come back again to buy it if I really wanted it. =D

So we left Koota and went outside for a short break, yes, ate chicken nuggets off a street stall with coke and asked a thousand questions about the culture, the people, the behaviour etc.... It was here that I discovered that the place was actually famous for the statium which houses school tournaments. It was in this area that alot of wholesalers sold their unique goods sourced from different parts of the country to the big retailers in the shopping malls. As their stock grew popular among the lay people, the streets has more people coming her to buy things than those in the shopping malls.

On another night, I decided to revisit DongDaeMun again, this time with my sis and two kids. We got them to promise us that they'll behave themselves and will walk the whole way through the night out hee.... (That was not knowing that we have to walk almost 2km to reach the subway, then another 800m to the train line of our choice) The public transport cost only 900won (about S$1.70) but took us over an hour. Mostly because we had two kids so cant really briskwalk, and the human traffic was quite heavy for some distance.

We were also very thankful that there were enough new things to distract them from wanting to be carried. =D

yes, we arrived at DDM on our own, second time for me... happy!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mt Sorak Adventures

We headed out from Seoul in two vehicles toward Mt Sorak, one of Seoul's most famous mountains, for its seafood, for its army base camp? for its maize and salted fish.

After two hours of driving, the two vehicles kinda lost track of one another and took different routes towards the resort. Still we had a great time making stops at scenic places, we thought that we were at a natural waterfall, after taking numerous shots, my eldest bro observed that its not so natural afterall, how can a water stream travel against gravity and have such a straight thin outlet??? It obviously piped up! so here's me with daddy under the fake waterfall, quite cool nevertheless.

Then we made another makan stop at a pretty popular destination which overlooks the great valley where our resort was going to be. Here we discovered yummy corn and chestnuts hee...

One evening, we decided to go and watch the waves along the coast. Interestingly, the carpark was located right infront of the shoreline where huge waves come crashing into the carpark. We parked right behind one vehicle, which was located in the "wave-spot" and watched it get a sea-wave-car-wash. It looked kinda fun from our end hee...

So then, our driver decided to inch forward to the "wave-spot" to get a cute experience of the wave splashing onto our vehicle, well, it was also the only route to get out of the area as it was a one way street. So while in the spot, we were all oogling at the magnificent waves forming into a tall wave..... before we knew it, the huge wave came crashing on us! It kinda lifted our vehicle and bounced it on the its sides for 1sec... It was definitely fun for me but not so for the older folks in the vehicle who had a shock. Hee. Hope it will strengthen their hearts. (I caught a video of the whole episode, so catch me to watch it!)

There after, we headed to eat our dinner and took a walk down the seafood area. With the slight drizzle, we all put on our rain coats and did the walk walk.

Upon entering the vehicle, my mama, decided that she should not be wearing her rain coat as it would cause some damp effect etc... so she took it off outside the vehicle and all loaded in it and returned to the resort. Guess what? She lost an earring!!! It was some pearl earring that she had on her. Argghhh... we decided to search the vehicle high and low for it. No findings. Then me, ck & joi decided to drive back to the dinner place to search for the lost earring. Yup, in the light drizzle, 3 of us bent over cars, scooped the grounds, re-traced all the steps that we took and yet, we did not manage to recover the lost earring. Sadly, we had to tell her the truth. Thankfully, she was more grateful by the effort than the actual loss. Heng ah!

Yummy Seoul Seafood

Food being a Singaporean's favorite topic was definitely something close to my heart hee...

We went out to check out a seafood area, located right next to the coast and it has a long strip of seafood joints along it pretty much like our clark quay. Except that the prices were pretty reasonable, after feeding a table of ten, with a huge spread of food, fresh sashimi, it cost about $20 a head! So seafood was really cheap here!

we had kelps soup or was it big seaweed??

then we went to check out the seafood in that area... I swear I saw the Biggest! Fattest! Juicest looking crab....

Then we see flounders, clams, scallops, mussels, prawns HUGE ones! ( I thought all my seafood loving friends including Ad will be salivating alot at this place hee...) All freshly cooked right before your eyes...

These grilles also acted as the cooking stove for these roadside stalls which has a small eatery behind them.

And if the fresh seafood wasnt enough, I think the dried fish snacks would definitely make great home-"cooked" food.

These are pressed-fish meat that is simply delicious when bbq over light fire, the soften fish meat is yummy snack for the young and old!

I think its good general observations that lots of food gets cooked before your eyes over hot stones instead of charcoal. Nice! Definitely looking forward to eating more of these snacks! Strangely, I din have any urge to stock up huge piles of these goodies.... I think it must be due to the absence of my Hubby Ad ha ha ha

There were other fishy food too, not really sure what they are, but looked good anyway.

In addtion, the roads also have prawns cooked in a different way, the Tempura way! About S$1 each, pretty cheap I say...

For the "Ohmonnis" aka aunties, they can also bring home some ikan bilis of all different sizes hee....

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Snippets of Seoul

Seoul is really a land of kimchi, you get it for every meal, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, be it with noodles or rice. In addition, they have other preserved food like radish that is really yummy! So its really appetizing during meal times hee.

Along the route towards Seoul from Incheon International Airport, we were impressed by the numerous bridges across the Han River. Each bridge had their own design and unique appeal to the tourist to cast a second look. Another striking feature we observed was the height of each building we passed seemed pretty low for a city. Perhaps they do have enough land to accommodate all 12 milion or was it 120 million?

Air was fresh on our day of arrival, however the traffic jams were not so fun to be in. Following a long long trail vehicles, we took joy in watching a new place go by in slow motion. LIke some of the other places, we saw roadside hawkers selling food, snacks, drinks, toys (yes TOYS! to entertain kiddos, I guess). We wondered if the traffic get more held up by patronising these hawkers and bargaining for a good price along the way.... Hee Hee.

Guess what I did?? To immerse myself in this new country which I'm already begining to embrace..... I stuck the earphones from my iPod and listened to LDG's music which Steph has kindly lent me hee... SHIOK I tell you!

You cant help but notice the large use of cute graphics all around as advertising media instead of pictures. There is hardly any idol poster or signages made with real people, the streets are filled with cute korean words and graphics!

Then I noticed alot of tall buildings that resembled housing, they have very little public housing in Seoul, most city people stay in apartment blocks that has huge block numbers painted on their sides. No one will make any mistakes with going to the wrong block like that!

I was wondering why are all the buildings have that two words on them that translates to Modern, then I saw this that explains it! Ha ha ha ha... silly me!

We had to add "energy" to the car that we were driving and guess what?? Its the "modern" petrol station! hee....

During our short stay, I cant help but noticed that Koreans are very expressive people and that they loved to laugh! Not at someone, not about gossips but possibly some interesting experience which can last a 5hr car journey. It was such delight to be drown in conversations of giggles and laughter even though I do not understand a single word, or giggle of it! hee...

Another interesting phenomena was that Koreans adore little children! They were well loved by anyone just off the streets! My little niece attracted two school girls to approach her off the streets to take a picture with her. Cab drivers cant seems to stop wanting to play with my nephew. Sue (Joi's sister) was in love with my nephew as well! Could not stop talking about him, let alone taking pictures with him, good thing he was very easy going with people and willing to pose for pictures.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

On the lighter side

On the lighter side, we did have quite alot to be happy and joyous about... hee...

I've got a present from my labmate recently and its so cool!

Havent figured out how to use it yet... anyone any ideas?

Found some nice yummy peanuts, tastily flavoured....

in smaller containers, making it impossible to say No to junk food...

One evening, I saw this interesting stunt done by a cuty cat, all white and snowy, with no legs!

Our Xbox has found a new player for Halo, our game lover fren simply cannot keep this senses out of the game once he started!

Our pet, Panther, aka Ah Hock, is begining to recognise who's the boss! He will swim over to peer at you, while you are enjoying his company, he'll fin around the tank to explore the little nooks and holes which was exquistly crafted by Ad, he will also use his two big side fins to tahan on two rocks or tanks to hold still at a position. Interesting!

Last but not least, Ad was notified of a possible mobilisation over the weekend so Ad had to go back to his "niang jia" to dig out his old old old old army clothes, helmet, berat, boots, full pack, SBO etc to standby.... and in the process we had some fun hee...

then it dawn upon him that he cant really remember how to tie his boot lace the stylo milo way..... after many failed attempts, he called me to try to figure it out with him.... I couldn't either... Ad continued to beat his boots to it.... still no luck!
I tried sms-ing our gamer friend above for SOS incase Ad just sit infront of his boots for the rest of the day trying to figure it out.... still no success! ( I was secretly worried if the house cleaning was going to happen with the bootlace in the way!). After about 30mins... even with google, there was no help, Ad finally abandon his boots for the vaccum! Heng Ah!

A Sunday that was not meant to be....

We looked forward to Sundays in church with our dear friends and most of all... hee... my new little darling Josh.

But this morning, we've been awoken by a call from my cousin who told us that an aunt who was in the hospital for a full body check-up is not doing well. At 815am, we leaped out of the bed, while trying to call my parents, my sis and my eldest bro, I managed to brush my teeth, take a dump, changed and dashed out of the house.

Why dash out?

Because none of my family members can be reached!!!!!!!!! with today's modern technology... can you imagine that?? The house phones rang till they almost burst, the hp were diverted to voicemails.... I just cannot believe my luck!

I live with these folks who believe that having a mobile is for them to call others and not vice versa, their mobile is for their private use and not for others to "distrub" their tranquility. I live with parents who do not listen to what I mean by contactability. The countless times when I tried to emphasis the importance of being able to contact them has often turned into fruitless, fustruating sessions.

After 1 hour of standing outside my parent's house, banging on their main door, shouting at their window, calling the house phone, running to two markets in the neighborhood which I thought they could possibly be at... I was exhausted, I gave up.

I gave up trying to reach them, I gave up wanting to even be associated with these folks who lack social conscienceness.

It makes me sick!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A Friday that was not meant to be...

I was looking forward to the weekend as Friday approaches, there was the promise of a great meal and most of all, Korean Fest! I get to indulge in a night of nothing but great looking Korean men and get to to know ALL about him or them hee....

But at work things seems to get out of my hands even if i tried to keep it within my control.

I was tasked to "mentor" a 3rd year student in the lab. A 3rd yr, your average joe kinda student, who had little training or experience in a real lab. You can imagine my pain. I dun think I can ever be mentally prepared enough to "mentor" undergraduates anymore. The lack of respect for other's workspace, safety, cleanliness and worst of all, the lack of the sense of responsibility pissed me off big time.

There were many occassions where my reminders and advises were turned as deaf ears and later on I get deemed as a "bad teacher" through my boss. How fair is that? Well, my boss did mentioned that "nothing is fair in this world". Perhaps this was an appropriate situation to remember that advise from my boss. Fine, I do not have to be a good teacher to everyone. But at least I get to chose which method I use for each 'student' under me.

So here I have an undergraduate who is over-laden with normal school work and trying to carry out a project which requires alot of planning and conscience thinking. Not only did I not see the plans (after many many reminders.... because we do have to SHARE our equipment....). So when I learnt that this fella wanted to conduct a new set of experiment, I gave specific instructions, defined conditions, even handed the equipment into the hands.... yet mistakes were made!!! I honestly do not know HOW to be a GOOD teacher to this "student".

For those who knew me..... i would have chopped the fella's head off for such kind of mistakes. But I took it in as I knew that it wasn't easy for a young person to step into the lab and live up to its expectations....(what expectations you may think, i wonder sometimes myself too!). So I took a deep breath and asked "How?". The response "just used the wrong one, sorry", I do not know to consider this dumb or brainless.

Then, the friend who kindly came along for the whole week to assist this fella placed the glove wearing hand with ethidium bromide on my writing desk! My eyeballs nearly jumped out! I pointed at the gloves and said "Please do not put any gloves on my table."

With a please in front, does one consider that as rude? ha ha ha....

I have a good mind to give this young fella a lab safety course. But i asked myself is there a point? Would it be heard? Would it be practised? I'm stil thinking about it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

K wave has taken over Peakview

Recently, in our jenad home, we've started watching Korean dramas, upon strong reccommendations by the seller, she repeatedly said that the movie Sweet 18 was her favourite romantic comedy.

After letting the disc rot in the cupboard for a couple of weeks, we finally took it out to watch. And we cannot STOP!

Korean plots and acting is really really captivating.

Most importantly *drooling* they have a cute cute cute actor! Lee Dong Gun! He is sooo cute!

So I'm looking forward to meeting more Korean cute men and women next week when I head for Seoul to attend my Bro's wedding. heh.... The traditional wedding will entails the wedding couple to serve tea to all their family, including YOUNger siblings! ha ha ha... So I'll get the chance to be seated down looking at the newly wed like some old foggies ha ha ha....

wait for my updates!

Why No Elements that starts with J?

I was staring at my Dashboard Periodic table complementary of Digital Science and I realised that there isnt any elements that is named starting with J!

Why huh?

There is a Americium in the Actinides, a Tantalum transition metal... but nothing with J!

so sad, was thinking of naming my kids after it if it sounded cool! hee...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Panther In the House

Yeah, our new pet is called Panther because its one of his many names hee....

He's a FISH, actually, I'm not sure if its a He or a She yet. But I doubt I'll ever find out in my 2.5ft tank hee...

Our marine Panther is in the Soon Hwak family, often bred or caught for its valuable meat as food. Panther is only 2inch long, we'll have feed him quite a fair bit to get him to commerically valuable size hee.

He's quite a fussy eater, he doesnt take fish flakes =(

He ate the frozen sea monkies for 2 days and STOPPED!
(while he was eating them, he'll gobble them in his mouth, chew on it and spit it out, catch it again, chew abit and spit out, after about 3 cycles, he'll find new sea monkies to eat.)

Is he monkeying with his food?

Maybe got to practise the Eugenia theory of starving them to get them to be less picky about their food. (Eug & her Hubby has Arowana) Not sure if freshwater fish and marine fish follow the same theory? Maybe its another example of convergent evolution or adaption hee...

Induced thoughts....

Just visited an old fren Nada at the maternity ward after the delivery of her No. 2 Abdullah. He is so cute! Tiny boy as compared to US the 50kg giants. He was in his comfy position close to his mama, eyes all closed in absolute comfortable and maybe secretly listening to us talking about him, his delivery.... hee...

Then when Saz his daddy fed him, he got restless after a few sucks... he opened his eyes to examine the world around him. Then the stuck his hands out of the enveloping blanket and woah... what LONG fingers he's got! Amazing! His curious eyes wondered around the room, where there was light, sound, movement or speech.

Interesting that such a small little fella can display so much interest in these daily mandane things that we've taken for granted.

For his parents, they'll have to re-start the journey of teaching him what to do and what not to do... ha ha ha....

After understanding the aftermath of delivery, I'm begining to deepen my (aldy very deep respect) for those who has gone through labour. The contractional pains, the uncertainties in labour, the risks of childbearing... the list goes on.

Every mother deserves a gold medal or something!

Yet, as the child grows, the child loses their dependency on their parents and it is during these times that the bond between parent and child is lost. Perhaps the children these days are simply not so "obedient" or "fillial" therefore parents have endless examples of tested authority. Could it be that the parents are also failing to realise that their kids no longer need them as providers?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that parents should start to appreciate the smallest things that their kids do for them rather than pointing out all their shortcomings. As the kids grow older, its their turns to make their own mistakes and learn them. Perhaps I'll soften and refute all this when I've my own kids or much older... But I hope to remember this for as long as I can and practise it. =D


Yahoo, there's network in the campus!

I'm on wireless hee.... waiting for Ad to appear from the Inaugral Mac session in NUS with my good old Nicky *wink*

Drooling Babies?

This is the funniest tale I've heard relating to pregnancy.

Well, you know, when the mama is pregnant with a baby, they have a whole list of to-dos and NOT to-dos to follow. Some of it revolves around what can eat, what canNOT eat and what to eat ALOT of....

but have u ever heard of the tale....

that says....

If the pregnant mama does not eat when she feels hungry, her child will be drooling always!!

I wonder if there's any child that does NOT drool??

any comments? hee...

Counter Attack

Just a day ago I thought that I was able to surpass the "cleverness" of my boss... later in the afternoon, we discover that the samples were still quite resistent to be 'seen' by us... sigh...

Boss is using a new technique to keep us on our toes... he visits once a day and expects delivery of the daily results at the end of the day. Today, he's expecting us to pick up the call from him at 7pm to report our "findings".

Smart move, but totally not a popular one. =(

on the bright side, at least he cares? *blah*

Monday, August 15, 2005

Experiment Failed! But I'm happy!

ha ha ha... Yah, must be wondering what kind of sick scientist I am right??

Well, last friday my boss suggested that we cut down the time for a particular step to speed things up with his theory of how unneccessary was it to spend additional 20mins to precipitate out DNA in a freezer instead of carrying out the subsequent steps immediately... blah blah...

So, today my labmate and I went ahead to follow his advice and took 3hrs to verify that his theory is WRONG! It IS neccessary for the precipitation to occur in the freezer for our experiment! ha ha ha....

so we have to spend another 3hrs to REPEAT the whole extraction, but I'm happy!

Because, i'm RIGHT and he's WRONG for ONCE... heh heh.....

mayb more to come? who knoes.... HA HA HA *super hearty laughter*

n we've still not taken our lunch yet....

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Hair Raising Experience

Recently, I went to straighted my hair and had to trim off some of the ends for its dryness. Somehow, these ends still end up being very very dry after 4weeks of attempting to self-treat them.... I had to go and get it fixed before I loose my whole head of mane hee...

But I really dread the idea of making an appointment with my regular hair stylist, especially after I did not go to her for the straightening.... I'm not sure if she'll be happy with me.

My alternate short & sweet option was to visit the neighbourhood salon at the bottom of my flat. I've always wondered how they survive, with barely any custmer throughout the day, and about 8 other salons in the same area, how good are they? (its really scarly walking into unknown territory of the hair salon... u know, u can walk out with a totally awkward hairstyle that is totally NOT to your liking... *scared*)

Also, the shop is tended by females who seemed to dress in spaghetti strips and short short skirts, often they are open till 11pm in the night, so are they REALLY just a hair salon?? *shoulders going up and down* chanting I dunno.

So after days of pondering, with Ad's encouragement, I mustered up my courage and walked into the "hair salon". The short haired lady with a whole head full of blonde hair attended to me as I approach their shop. I showed her my frizzle hair ends and she broke into a smile saying that I need to get my hair treated. Not wanting to spend MORE $$ on my hair, I responded by letting her know that I've got HOME treatment hee... but of course she insisted that theirs is DIfferent!

So I went on to inquired about the COST of my hair trimmings.... and she said "$10", I tried weakly to retailiate about my hubby's $8 haircut and I knew that I was at the losing end because of my ultra LOOOONNNNGGG hair, so I meekly gave in.

(I learnt that you've got to let whoever that is cutting your hair WIN at something first before they cut your hair, else you'll walk out feeling like you need another haircut...)

She was quite "gentle" with cutting my long frizzle hair ends, after flipping my hair left-right, forward-backwards (about 20mins) she seemed quite happy with her works, she decided to do the Big-Mirror-behind-the-head thing when i cant really see what she's done for me cos I havent put on my specs yet!

I was quite worried what I'll see on the mirror, for the 20mins that she was cutting my hair, the horrendous image of her "accidentally" cutting more than needed was on my mind. I could not even catch my nap in peace....

Even though the cut was quite decent, there was stil some frizzle hair at the ends, after pointing out to her... she looked cheery and said "No problem, I'll take care of it for you, but it will be shorter..." (You know, when hair stylist tells you that it'll be 'shorter' you have alot to worry about..... cos their short can be anything from 2cm to 20cm... while yours is 2mm to 10mm....

She started chopping my hair off gladly, I din dare to make any comments in case it gets even shorter or look really GROSS! I'm at her mercy..... *shivering with fear*

After what seems like an eternity, its finally over, all the bad ends are gone and i'm very happy to quickly pay up and leave before anything else happen.... its much shorter now... *sob* *sob* and it feels really really WEIRD! Its like its unnatural u know?

(hope i never have to step into that shop again.... *eeks*)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

National Day at home

This year, we decide to hold a welcome home party for a couple who just returned from a long overseas posting.

(actually it was suppose to be at another friend's house, but he claimed that he did not have the IT infrastructure.... so hence the last min mad rush to clean the house on monday night hee...)

Someone mentioned to wear RED for the happy occasion and in the end... only 3 of us heard and remembered and took the courage to wore RED. =P

We started with alot of finger food on the table... we had a whole box of brownies of different types (ha ha ha... Blim Blim I think you will like them....) the brownies were courtesy of HC and family (he has 2 boys,, 16mths and 3yrs old, just the great age to help us test the safety of the house for young children hee... HC, hope your kids did not develop some interesting bruises or cuts from our place!! =PP but... I'm quite sure the younger boy will not forget Dr. Morbid who forcefully pull his little leg to prevent him from crawling away.... ha ha ha). We had Indian rojak, goreng pisang, grapes, jumbu, curry puff and a whole chunk of titbits... u may have guessed it, we din need a proper dinner after all that junk food hee.

We caught the parade on our project screen and it enticed our young kiddo friends to start marching on the spot and saluting at the President, we even had a display of leopard crawl across the living room! Young soldiers in the making! Good Job HC & W!

T, we are so sorry that we came home late.... T was at our place much earlier then US the host hee... and he thought that he got the venue or time or date wrong... he drove home and checked his email and came back again, just in time to catch us at home this time hee....

Ad got really excited when he found out that the tanks will b rolling by our central later in the evening, we all got mentally prepared to dash out of the house to see those huge metal box roll past us. However, when the time came, we were all to comfy in the house, drinking and chatting away and no one was willing to walk 500m to see the tanks! Ha, this reinforces the notion of slack singaporeans. The last time the tanks rolled past any heartlands was about 15yrs ago! Yet, we were all not willing to climb out of our comfort zones to witness this "replay" of history Ha ha.

When the anthem was played, we all stood up in our house and I sang patriotic along with the 25,000 crowd on the TV. Yes, I can only hear my OWN singing since no one else was singing... they were all more interested in lamenting about the standing for the anthem... hmm... got to whack their butts the next time they talk during the national anthem or make them do remedial/corrective work order in my house hee...

at 8pm, a few of us throttle into the lift and went to the highest floor on my block, 22nd floor to watch the fireworks, after the initial recce, we decided that the left wing has a better view and we went Oh.... Ah... when the fireworks came on hee. But I think the view at 22nd floor was much BETA than the fireworks.... it really felt like we're on top of the world! Wonder how does those who stay on the 40th floor feel??? SHIOK i think!

We took turns to update each other about our latest happenings.... eg. Dr. Morbid's Anne, T's marathon, Alex & Em's baby, we forgot to share about the Heritage Hunt though.... shucks!

It was Jas's bday the next day... so we all sneaked a lighted birthday cake on her and she was totally caught unaware! Ha ha.... i tot that by asking her to wash the dishes, she would face away from the sight of the cake... then when the cake was removed from the fridge, the whole gang went into the room to look at the new fish and some weird sea creature. She was in the living room again... with a few winks amongst us.... Alex distracted the bday-girl-to-be with his exaggerated efforts to keep the projector screen and Cav totally blocked her from the lighted cake which had to travel 8m from the store-kitchen-living room... HA HA HA... n I had to dash for the aircon remote to turn off the fan mode, else there'll b no lighted candles but just the cake for her.

Jas still had no clue when I said "One-Two-Three", everyone burst into a birthday song! ha ha ha....

Happy Birthday Jas!

Overall we had FUN on National Day! =D

Great to have public holidays isnt it? Can we get another holiday for MM Lee's contributions? We can spend the whole day discussing his greatest contributions.....

Monday, August 08, 2005

Another crazy Sunday

Yeah, following the many new things saga on Sat... we've another day of totally crazy schedule.

I had to coax Ad to get out of bed to go to church with me... hee... but in confession later, he did enjoy the mass and that he felt that the singing was GOOD! Ha, another example of the wife knows BEST hee...

(also because we had a fun time with our favourite little friends from church hee... we got some really really TOUGH brain teasers set by Matt, and Gab who obiviously knew the answers did not help us!!! =( So our Uncle Wise-Captain had a hard time guessing which alphabeth can be drunk, which alphabeth can fly and also which alphabeth can "pang-sai"?? Super chim leh!

Then we went into an Indian resturant to have lunch with Alvin who is in town as a "tour-guide" duty hee... and he had to rub salt into my wounds... of the "expensive" buy of my bag!!! It was really good catching up with this bunch of folks from NUS who has shaped me into a more forward thinking individual. A lady of steel in her 60s, a retired lady is doing brisk-walk in the the morning, playing mahjong in the afternoons and traveling to the silk roads.... truly admirable adventurous spirit! I must strive to lead that kind of lifestyle at her age! (but now must be life more healthily FIRST hee...)

So anyone interested in Mini-Triathalon next year?? hee... only 200m swim, 5km cycle and 2km swim! =p

dinner was a cool re-visitation of the Zion Road market.... and Lau Pat Sa, with great crowd, our topics range from lost sailor to babies in the making to wat to wear for National Day hee.... its good to have these two folks back on the island again! They are still the same people whom we know since Uni hee... their bickering can be really entertaining and edgy.... we learn to keep really really silent and let them work things out themselve hee...

Overall, we've not been able to CLEAN the house, nor clear the rooms but we had a bag full of laughter and caught up with our friends.

good weekend!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A ROM, a Home-coming & a Mac tutorial in 1 day!

Today seems to be day of many many new beginnings!

For a start, my 2nd bro is going to register his marriage with my new sis-in-law at the Love Suite at the ROM.
All photos can be viewed here
They looked pretty relaxed while waiting for their "turn" to say their vows.....

during their exchange of vows... CK looked SOOOO serious that it was hard for us to keep a straight face!

then... in excitement Joi had a hard time trying to repeat after the solemization officer...

here's the couple in JOY after the simple yet meaningful ceremony...

my parents were of course in JOY as well... to mark their 42nd year of wedding.... they also stood outside the lovesuite for a photo moment

a bunch of CK's friends came to share this joyous day... and they definitely look familiar to me... because, they used to come over to our place to do "projects" behind closed doors for hours and hours to come. Often with loud outburst of laughter as well! So as a curious kid, I always try to sneak in to their room and "join" into their semi-adult jokes and "work" but often left in wonder what actually happened.

I guess I must have left a pretty deep impression on these folks as well... cos this fella was shocked to me see all grown up and could not believe that I'm 30! ha ha ha....

Today is also great day for US because our buddies from Brussels are relocating back to Singapore! So happy, we were at the airport at 430pm... their flight was to touchdown at 425pm... But it landed much earlier than scheduled! So we ran over to the luggage belt that they were supposed to be and found that there was alot of people coming OUT of the customs already! We couldn't find our friends nor their parents!! Ad kept telling me that they've left, they have left!

Not knowing whether to cry or to laugh.... (we had to yank ourselves out from the temptations of a good afternoon nap to go to the airport...) pls dun tell me that we've MISSED them!!!

In desperation, I called Em's hp and her mama who is holding her hp picked up the phone and said that she's just walking INTO the airport hee... HENG ah....

So we all stood outside belt 34 and waited.... happily... they arrive, woah... totally the SAME looks! As like when we left them 1 yr back after our 3.5weeks of travelling. And Em is 5 months pregnant! So soon, we'll be celebrating the birth of a new life! So cool!

See many NEW beginings ah....

I recieved a call this afternoon from my gf telling me that she's got her new PB!! YEAH! being totally lost in it... we invited her over to our place for a Mactutorial.... only for special friends hee...

She was so amused by the magnifying function that she had it on for quite a whie... ha ha ha... simple things yet totally amazing! like the dashboard, the dock, the stickies.... i think its EVERYTHING about the mac that is simply AWESOME!

now she just need to get used to using all that shortcut keys that has cool functions like dictionary, spotlight..... the list is endless....

the end of the day yet? maybe not....we still have to plans to cross the border for some nice food .... *wink*

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Boss's Tendencies

Over the last decade, under 3 different bosses.... I've grown to notice a few key characteristics about them....

1. they tend to repeat themselves.... several times during each conversation, meetings and also BETWEEN meetings....

2. they do not neccessarily understand what you're trying to tell them, especially when it gets too technical (cos they will feel paiseh to ask you to explain the techniques etc.... so they just pretend that they understand. But when the conversation moves on... you'll discover that they dun really Understand... cos if they do... they wont be asking you to do what you've just explained not possible)

3. they enjoy riding on the pinnacle of research frontier, not only THIER information will always be the BEST but also will be the ONLY best. So regardless of what you propose, its THEIR way of doing things.

4. a month later, they'll ask you why did you conduct the experiment that way.... (then u major scratch head as you'll be trying to tell them that it was THEIR idea in the first place, this point, their forgetfulness will come into FULL play and they'll be in total denial that it was their idea in the first place...)

5. in short, they're NEVER wrong and they also do not enjoy being corrected.... so dun even think about it...

mayb it only happens with asian bosses... wonder if the other bosses out there would be better??

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Strange Things.... is it the time of the year??

Two strange incidents occur to me, they caused me to instinctively think of the supernatural but yet, it does not frighten me. I'm sure there's some logical explanations for it....maybe someone reading this can tell me about it.... hee...

First Incident:
My lab door is made up of two chunky piece of wood with standard rectangular windows for us to peer in or out of them. So its always clear if someone is standing outside the door trying to come in or just hanging around.
The door has a hydralic system to "soften" the closing and opening of it, like most doors, also, it has a plastic roller that sticks out to cushion the door closing effects also. Hence, ALOT of noise when the doors are being opened, as it closes and when its slightly a-jar.

here's the mechanisms:

when its opened, here's how the plastic roller will be:

Today, my labmate and I witness a really strange incident with the door, it has NEVER happened before today (at least not to my knowledge).

The door went ajar by itself, without anyone on either side of it! for a good 3secs! It bang close and then it opened AGAIN! for another 3 seconds! For the second time, both our eyes were feasted on the self-opened door.....

She said she felt scared.....

Wat could it be??

Second Incident:
As you may know, my car is old and the tuner died on me and Ad bought me a new replacement

Yesterday, on my way home, I heard some interesting noises that came from it. It sounded like someone used their fingernails to scratch at the speakers like this:

I thought i was hearing things, so I tried listening for it again and again and again, it only happens when I'm near home and near work!!

Initially the noise was heard when the radio was turned on, but when I turned it off also HAVE!
then I noticed a trend with the noise..... whenever I go over a hump the noise is specially LOUD!

Wat do you think it could be??

The Bio teacher that I wish I had

check out how cool he is....

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The New Garang Guni Man

I remember when I was young, the garang guni man are always pretty old, in their 50s or older, driving their pick up around and honking that familar horn going "Garang Guni!".

When I shifted to my HDB flat two years back, I was shock to see the replacement of our good old friendly GG man to a much younger version.... not just younger but also non-local.

They were mostly PRC foreign labour who are here on work permit.

You would wonder... is there a work permit for being a GG man? Woah... we're really pretty advance in our MOM laws eh?

NO.... they are here on work permit as construction workers, but due the slump in the construction industry, these men are given "time-off", so they have to find other jobs to support themselves during this "time-off". They still have to pay monthly fees to their boss supposedly to pay for their work permits etc.... (that's where the complication starts).

In short, as a GG man, they earn the difference between collecting the papers from us and the recycling facilities.

One GG man who seemed to be quite disgrunted by his current status because his friends told him that "there's gold everywhere in Singapore" but he felt otherwise. ha ha ha... But he passed on his unhappiness to me also!!

Normally, my newspapers are worth 10cents per kg.... but he gave me only 8cents! I said... okay.. let him earn MORE since he's so poor thing right? Did you know how much $$ my 2months worth of newspapers fetched? Only $1.50.

How can that be? Normally, after 2 weeks, when we can find the GG man, the paper would fetch about 80cents. So how can 2months be worth less than $2?? Obiviously he wasnt really honest with the weighing scale. I was really unhappy and shocked at the price he offered, when I question him on the total weight, he arrogantly responded, "Don't sell if you're not happy, I earn so little already you are still trying to pick on me. What is this $1.50 to you?"

If not for the fact that 2months worth of papers was too bloody heavy and tiresome to collect back from him (cos I was alone at home) I would have given him a piece of my mind and ask him never to come back again (alone mah... so abit scared and dun dare to show my claws....).

You can be sure that that was the last time I sold my old newspapers to him.

My question is... what is happening to our dear old trusty GG men?? Our own local guys whom we can trust to not "cheat" us of a few cents, our own guys whom we know we can to a certain extent be secure with their pressence.

With these foreign guys, they may be tempted to break into a house to steal things or harm our elderly folks, especially if they are nearing the end of their contract, once they leave the country, it would be almost impossible to trace them ever again.

I understand from the Criminal Investigation Unit that alot of our crimes here are committed by foreigners who are desperate for some quick cash, at times they commit serious offences like murder. We cant really be so lax and say nebermind about them....

for everyone of them walking down our corridor.... there's one more pair of eyes wondering what's good inside that house.

Aren't you scared?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Road Manners that Drive me NUTS

The most disliked road users on my list:

1. Taxi drivers who change their lanes at their fancy WITHOUT signaling.
- do they really think that after driving many years on the road, the roads "know" where they want to go? Or that they "know" the roads so well that it doesn't matter that there are OTHER road users as well.?

2. Big truck drivers who signal to INFORM you that they want to cut INFRONT of you.
- just because of their mega size, most road users would have NO choice but to give in to them. SICK!

3. Big truck's HIGH beam right into your car.
- when you "disallow" the big truck to cut infront of you, they come right behind you and HIGH BEAM you in retaliation. Your whole car get illuminated and you get completely "lighted" up and not sure if you're in heaven for a moment. It not just bad driving manners but totally dangerous for the other road users as well. Can they be charged for inducing danger on others?

4. Fancy car drivers who think that the only right way to stay on the road is to drive in the middle of TWO lanes.
- u seldom see small cars doing this (maybe it wont be noticeable anyway... hee...) but, the bigger, the more luxurious the car, the most likely they'll be seen doing this stun on the road, it will sway from left to right, left to right on two lanes, undecided for a good 2km, completely irritating the other road users and we're all not sure if the driver was drunk!

5. Cars who want to make a turn into a side road and does not signal, while another car is patiently waiting to get out of that side road.
- you begin to wonder if the other road users are human after a while, everyone would need to turn out from a side road one day or the other, why would other car users "sabo" you by NOT signaling early so that you can turn out? Its sad that the other road users are so lazy or reluctant to make the driving experience a better one for others.

6. Pedestrians who cross the roads withOUT checking if any vehicles were turning into that side lane or road.
- this irritates me most when the adults are with kids, with such bad road manners, do they expect their kids to stay alive while crossing roads? If the adults do not turn their heads at least twice BEFORE they cross the roads to check... Do you think that their kids will miraculously grow up knowing to check? Or do they think that the cars owe them a living by letting them cross every road as if it was a zebra crossing. The public ought to be educated about using the side roads, when there's NO zebra-crossing, its the CARS right of way! This is to prevent jam up... Not because CARS are bigger.... Also... The yellow-black lines are NOT counted as zebra-crossing....

7. Cyclists who do not look at on-coming vehicles, cycle across 4 lane traffic, no safety gear, usually elderly men in their 50s or later.
- I've seen a few of these cyclists peddling along busy roads on their trusty black bicycles, they look totally confident and comfortable on the road despite the cars whizzing by them at 5 times their speed. That does not deter them to force cars to slow them when they wan to cycle across 4-5 lanes traffic, no signal-light, no safety gear, no lights at night. Bravo for their courage but honestly, if anyone knocks them down, they only have themselves to blame. Times have changed, its no longer those days where cars move at the same speed as the bikes, drivers have no patience on the roads anymore, and all it takes is one knock... and these old folks would be sent flying off their bikes. Is it worth it?

I think I've become a better driver on the road because I'm more aware of all these bad driving habits that can pop out anytime. At the same time, I've become more vocal when I meet these terrible road users while driving.

So thumbs up for better driving, double thumbs down for being a loser person.... *blah*

Is there a way around this situation? We are creating monsters on the roads instead of better driving ethics and manners, we have higher incidents of road rage and frustrations, when we reach home, we're just trying to untangle the messy hair we yank out while driving.... even if its for 45mins a day on the road....