Thursday, April 27, 2006

Adam in his office

had the great opportunity to visit a friend at his work place hee... it always thrills me to be at a friend's workplace. To see what they do, how they do things, their office setup, decorations etc. Its a great way to know a friend better too!

So last weekend, we met up and went to his office and woah.... quite big leh! quite impressed by the wide array of stuff on his desk and his walls.... being the blogger me. I wanted to take pictures!

he's so vain! he had to put on a TIE before i can take his pictures! *SIGH*



then, when his tie is done.... he wanted to make sure that his hair is neat!! aiyo!!



Finally, got him seated down properly.... here it is.. him n his seat n his office n his tie n his neat hair....


p/s: some of the comments here are over-exaggerated to have the appropriate effects, so go figure! hee...

Going are the sails... Chapter 5 (the end)

This is the last of the 5 chapters which adam has promised on his experience at the east coast sailing center which was due to be closed on the 30th April 2005 after two decades of operation as one of Singapore's prime sailing center. After several different approaches of highlighting the windsurfers' concerns about the venue, I've recieved good news that the license for their operation as a sailing center is extended for another four months. What will happen thereafter? Its up to YOU as readers to make a case for it.

enjoy!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On the morning of April 13, 2006, the Strait Times
reporter Marcel came down to write a story about the
closing down of this beloved centre which had been a
sanctuary for many Singaporeans and expatriates,
boasting once a membership of 1400. The wind was
blowing hard from the southwest and the sea was choppy
with whitecaps that day. I asked Marcel to come down
because I feel this part of east coast is dear to many
hearts and cannot be bulldozed without a cry. That
morning, at 930am, I brought him out to sea on my
laser sailboat “Anne”. He came unprepared but was
sporting enough to risk drenching his formal attire.
The sea was rough and he eventually had to interview
people in wet pants. By Divine Providence, the
relevant people were at the beach that day. People
like Robert Teng, the oldest lifeguard, and Jason Lim,
who build East Coast Sailing centre from a wasteland
with 3 other windsurfing enthusiasts in 1980. The
current management came down as well and the article
was published the following day on page 28 of Straits
Times Home section. The article generated interest and
a moving letter from young windsurfers Kristen and
Fiona was presented in ST interactive Forum website 4
days later. Many lament over the closing down of a
place so deep in sentimental value for the windsurfing
and sailing community. The older sailors and
windsurfers started their sea sports here. There is a
wonderful story in the sands of this beach; of how a
small group of windsurfers turn it to the “Bali of
Singapore” in the early 1990s and brought people from
all walks of life together for the love of the sport
and the romance of the sea.

Ann first knew her husband and learned windsurfing
from him at East Coast Sailing centre. Her husband was
a famous national windsurfer who won many
competitions. When her husband died, Ann threw his
ashes at the sea around KETA buoy. KETA is now known
to many windsurfers as “Kelly’s Eternal Training
Area”. Ann could not overcome her grief because she
loved her husband dearly. She gave up windsurfing
altogether and tried hard to live her lonely life but
it was difficult. Robert took Ann out to sea in his
rescue boat to help her overcome her grief but it was
too overwhelming and every time, for the past years,
she cried whenever she was near eastcoast waters. She
lives on for her two sons and helped out in a church
support group for widows. Somehow the hand of God
brought me to the same church as Ann and we bummed to
each other many times at Tampines to Orchard Road. On
the last BBQ night of the sailing centre on 22nd April
2006, I met her again. That night she showed nostalgic
pictures from Betty’s album, of herself, her husband
Kelly and her son, Kelly Junior, in 1983. I felt
compelled to ask her to come with me on my sailboat
the next day. I don’t know why I asked her to come but
on that Sunday afternoon, she came and was surprised
to find that my boat was named “Anne”. We went out as
far as Bedok buoy towards KETA buoy. She asked me
whether I got over the girl whom I broke off a 15
months relationship with. She knew the girl as she
attended the same church. I told her I had never felt
so relieved and liberated. Since Jan 2005, when I
started spending my weekends with “Anne”,
the sea filled my shrivelled heart and taught me to
love again. Ann shared with me her story. We came
back to the beach in the late afternoon. She walked
across to the lookout shelter and borrowed a
windsurfing board from Robert. On 23rd April at about
5pm, Ann started windsurfing again...


-adam
the story is true, no kidding

Going are the sails... Chapter 4

Desmond is a bright-eyed Chinese Singaporean, perhaps
in his early 30s, who spends his free time in the late
afternoons and evenings close to the sea and gets back
home to his wife at night. He is a soft-spoken chap,
the kind of man who talks only when required. You can
see him carrying a skim board on the beach of the
sailing centre near East Coast Lagoon Food Centre.
Skim boarding is one of the new things one get to see
at east coast other than kite surfing. Down the
western part of east coast, at the area where there
are rows of cafes, bars and restaurants, you will find
more Malay boys skim boarding with fancifully
decorated boards. I knew Desmond only when we were
sharing barbecued chicken wings and fruits with Robert
and 3 other windsurfers at the food centre. At this
sailing centre, strangers become friends when they
have meals together. It is the endearing culture that
started all the way back from 1979. We were
encouraging a couple of novice windsurfers and sharing
with them the interesting things encountered at sea.
It was in this light-hearted conversation that I found
out Desmond windsurfs too. He even did night
windsurfing before. In one of his adventures beyond
KETA buoy he saw a manta ray and encountered sea
snakes swimming around the coast. The sea teems with
creatures below and above it. I even have little
stories of my own; from a stranded huge jellyfish on
the beach, an unidentified silvery large fish that
somersaulted over the bow of my dinghy, a huge black
swan which floated around the waters off Long Beach
Restaurant, and an eagle that swooped grandly and
perched on Siglap buoy. Now I understand how old
mariners told tales of sea monsters and giant squids.
Then came the famous story which many of us know; of
how a windsurfer’s leg was pierced by a swordfish. It
is amazing how stories like that spread around the
beach community. Once a windsurfer from another centre
survived a lightning bolt which splintered his mast
and burned the base of his surfboard. The folks around
here got to know about it almost as quick as the
accompanying thunder. As Desmond narrated his
experiences, my mind wondered on why and when his
conversion to skim boarding. Perhaps the roaring waves
on the beach speak louder to him. Perhaps flipping
over the rolling waves is a closer communication with
the sea. I was trying to understand because I wanted
to know whether he felt the same way as me when I am
out on the sea alone. The restless mind is made quiet
by the visual symphony. I figured that Cassandra felt
the same when she was alone out there paddling on a
surfboard in sunsets. On some evenings, when the sky
had very few clouds, the setting sun over the island
made an entrancing scene. As if the sea anticipated
the tranquil mood of the setting sun, the waves
quietened down and lapped gently on the sands. There
was a dance of quiet and strong colours with
flickering sunrays over the tips of waves. The
majestic azure purplish sky let its fleecy clouds
sieved the setting light to orange, chrome and
vermillion. How not to let your soul speak when
experiencing a sight like this!

Cassandra would paddle back before it gets dark and
sometimes brought back a bag of plastics and Styrofoam
packs which came from drains and ignorant hands. She
never allowed anything to pollute the sea. It was her
small but significant part of making nature untainted
by the wastes of industry that cares not of the earth
it robs.

Everybody calls Tan Chin, “TC”. He is an adept
windsurfer who teaches windsurfing. TC windsurfs as
and when he likes even in light winds. One day, I saw
him experimenting windsurfing with an upside down
sail. In the community of sailing and windsurfing, he
is well known and respected as the person to go to
when your sail needs repair. His meticulous work takes
consideration of wind dynamics. In a zinc- roofed
shack of the centre, you can find TC all by himself,
sewing sail repairs from all centres of the island. TC
together with Ben and Andrew are some of the dedicated
instructors who have shared their passion of
windsurfing with many Singaporeans.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

dinner quiz

the common question in the house is "What do you want to eat for Dinner?"

for one of our dinners..... our main chef Ad decided to have the following....



QUIZ: can you see their similarity?

ANSWER:
all the 3 dishes have onions.

all the 3 dishes have garlic.

all the 3 dishes have rosemary & thyme as spices.

their only difference? the meat, egg & veggie.

My Fav Uncle

Yes, finally I have a photo with my favourite Uncle Jin. He's got the charisma of a true gentleman. His humorous nature will break a smile even on the stern-looking british guard's face! He's got the heartiest laughter, widest grin and the cheekiest smile that one can imagine. He's my favourite uncle!

clouds

some clouds never fail to amaze me. the sky is always so full of mystery and at times looking majestic with its colours, structure and imposing towering images.


was on my way to work one morning and saw this big fierce looking cloud overlooking the expressway, threatening to empty its rain upon us. Fierce!


this sunset was pointed out by Ad who found the colours pretty awesome. its amazing how simple daily routines of nature can amaze us like little children, make our footsteps come to a halt and take a deep breath to say "AH".

hope that these pictures reminds you of the last time you were faze by a genuine piece of work of nature and bring some lovely images to your mind. ;)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Non-Sense

am irritated today, very irritated today. by a recurring situation that i have no wish to get caught in from the very begining. since last april, we've been entangled in some sort of sick sense tassle of "power"? Even I am not sure why our time and more importantly our friendship is taken for such a ride.

I guess the payoff for being genuine with friends is getting taken for granted from time to time. But I want to convey this message that we are not interested to be part of anyone's game of sabotage or jealousy cat-fights. Do not use our names or any information that you may obtain directly or indirectly from us. It is not only an unpleasent exprience to be "made-use-of" but also reduces the quality of the friendship which we may (still) share.

thank you

Monday, April 24, 2006

Going are the sails... Chapter 3

There is something magical about the east coast of
Singapore. One feels like it is a gateway to something
grander and more beautiful beyond the horizon. If I
did not know the strait leads to South China Sea, I
would have thought it leads to another world, where
the sky is azure blue and the seas glimmer with
dancing light of multiple hues. Not everyday though
feels like paradise. Each day brings a different sea
reflecting a different sky. The morning, noon, and
evening evoke different emotions.So does each mood of
the sea attracts each type of sailor.

I first met Mr Foo, a bespectacled elderly man, during
the early hours of a Sunday morning. This tanned
Chinese man wears a frayed cap and can be found
rigging his boat alone when the beach is quieter. He
would mind his own things, setting everything in
orderly fashion-the mark of an experienced sailor. If
you greet him from a distance, he might ignore you as
your voice is too soft for his hearing aid to amplify.
I used to worry about him whenever a pouring
thunderstorm crept over east coast. I would scan the
sea for the black-colored hull of his dinghy. But the
lifeguards never broke a sweat over him. Din once
remarked that Mr Foo is a smart sailor and would be on
shore before bad weather comes. True indeed, this wily
man told me he was enjoying hot coffee with his
sailing mate in a beach stall on that day of mad
weather. Like any sensible sailor, Mr Foo would never
take the challenge of bad-tempered seas. He prefers to
wait for the tantrums of foul weather to abate and
sail on its gentle breeze.

Yet, I prefer darkened skies and howling winds. The
tumultuous sea that flails its arms over my puny boat
delights me. It is a secret delight of challenging
myself to think calmly during stressful dangerous
situations. The delight of making calculated moves, of
focusing my mind on the adjustments of rope, rudder,
and body weight against the might of the wind on the
stretched sail, as I hover over the rowdy sea. These
are moments when you find the true equanimity of your
spirit. These moments you remember because they make
you smile quietly when you recall them on land.

When the sky unleashes its fury on the waters below
with fierce winds that send tall waves crashing on the
shore, no one dare venture out except a few. Catching
the might of nature in your sail and riding its breath
that send you skidding across the waves at high speeds
is an indescribable thrill of the windsurfer. There is
an elation of spirit that erases memory. The thrilled
windsurfer forgets himself, what work he does, where
he stays, his past and even has to take minutes to
recall his own name, for that thrilling moment is
almost transcendent. You can feel your feet slide
across the sea and you have wings to fly over it. You
manage to find a way to bridle the wild wind so all
you care is to maintain the hold on the boom of your
sail till your hands blister. You will even forget
that you have to eat and drink. And that is how Norman
would windsurf for hours until complete exhaustion. He
got his tone up body from that “kick” and Sharif hopes
to trim his paunch in that manner too. Sharif receives
phone calls from Norman whenever the prospects of
windy weather are good. He will then abandon his nasi
padang business to good hands and careen down to the
beach, all the way from River Valley Road.

Hence, you will see this blonde curly-haired Dutch,
Norman, chatting away on the beach with Ben, Loh,
Sharif, TC, June and the rest of the thrill-seeking
windsurfers, when the big white flag on the pipeline
is flapping nicely but not tautly. Windsurfers who had
ridden strong gales get stirred only when the trees
are plucked bald by the wind. And there were such
days, like 9/6/2005, when the waves rolled on the
shores at heights of 1.5 metres because the wind was
mad. It was a fascination to watch how petite June
could handle a towering huge sail as she sped beyond
the farthest buoy. She said it was all technique but I
think it takes more than that.


-adam

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Moving with Times

I'll always remember how often my parents lament about "Times have changed". Has it really been that different? Growing up in luxury and comfort, I can hardly recall the harsh times of living in the rural kampong where the toilet is outside the house, having to visit it at night is definitely out of the question. I can still vaguely remember the big house full of rooms by its long narrow corridor with its slated zinc roof. My grandparents came from China in their late teens and made Singapore their home. They have 15 kids between them and almost lots count of how many grandchildren. Used to having everyone living under the same roof, my grandparents wanted the same concept to be applied to even his children, hence he bought a piece of land and built an apartment years ago and gave each of his sons an unit to set up their own family.

Growing up is FUN! I never felt like I needed to be afraid of who is walking up the stairs, if it was any strangers, I would always have the authority to question their pressence and "drive" them away. Because, my neighbours are my aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and more importantly, my parents and grandparents. It was a secure childhood filled with memories of how our brothers converted an open space into a badminton court, bought the poles, set up the nettings and viola we have a badminton court which we spent endless after school hours hanging out. Even the cracks on the floor became one of our favourite gaming grounds when we invented the "pacman" game using it. A small flight of stairs before the gate became also our playground for playing catch. We never ran out of ideas nor space to have fun. We never have to fear mixing with bad company, only our parents were fearful of us not returning home clean for dinner hee.

If there was any other better childhood, I think mine is one of the best I can ever imagine. I was indeed blessed.

Besides having an apartment for us, grandpa also build a "home" for his ancestors in our building. He firmly believe that one must always remember our roots and ask for blessings from our ancestors. They look really intimitating when you first see them. I suppose simply the large number of the tablets at one place is scary. We used to have guests who got scared when they see the many tiers of the tablets and decide that they went to the wrong place and turn back hee.



When we were young, our parents would impress upon us that we were always "watched" by some of these ancestors, so whenever we leave the house, we should let them know where we were going so that they can watch over us. But, gradually, being the last min me, always dashing out of the house, I seldom found time to stop over to them and burn them the joss-sticks to "inform" them. So I guess, they know little about me heh.

When we got older and if we did something really bad, our parents will punish us by asking us to kneel infront of the ancestors, yes, I kana once too. It was really scary to be alone on your knees in the cold windy night infront of so many of them....

The reason for this blog is to say goodbye to them. They are moving off to their next "home" where the rest of the family members' ashes are. Our uncles figured that its better for them to be moved now then later, so we gathered round them and pay our last respects towards them at home before sending them to their new home.



It was a simple and solemn ceromony lasting barely 10mins with a taoist monk doing some chants before my uncles were given permission to invite them to leave their existing place to follow the vehicle to their new home. It would be the last time that they will be seen here with us. Although its a neccessary action, but its definitely part of a memory piece that will remain with me.

Looking at the big playground of my parent's place, many of our favourite play swings, rides were gone. Our fathers used to tailor-make swings and merry-go-rounds for us. We spent our childhood sitting these rides and now they are all gone. It is sad. However, it serves to remind us that nothing lasts forever, every glory will have its sunset, every childhood will have is memories.

Yes, even the ancestors have moved with times. How can we just stand still?

I LOVE ANIMALS

actually, only in a MJ game hee.... first time in my MJ career, I collected all 4 animals in one game. Super cool! collected the $$ for it 3 times also.... how cool is that? too bad I did not finish the game, else, I would have collect $$ for the 4th time in one game! ha ha ha....

Saturday, April 15, 2006

playful cats

we walked along the row of shops and saw this pair of playful cats at play.... literatelly! Not only did they occupied what would be a toddler's happiest moments on the musical car.... they were also having a ball of time cuddling each other! They were totally Bo Chap about us, our stares, our amazements and our paparazzi style photography! Now how cool is that?



cant see clearly? closeup shot....



there's always something fun, light-hearted to see everyday....

Ad's driving test RESULTS

many came to know about Ad's butterflies jitters, anxieties before his driving test... so how did he fare?

Ad was in good form after his warm-up before the test, even though he did not do his parallel parking well during this time, he was confident that he'll be able to ACE the test with all his mental notes running through his head. (He's been mumbling about what to look out for, how much of the wheel to turn etc etc since the night before!)





I was super surprised the he came back immediately after the circuit, I thought that the tester was so impressed by his driving that he does not need to go out to the roads! ha ha ha... never did I guess that he would make the biggest error in the test by mounting a kerb. That was Immediate Failure...

Poor chap, he gets agitated whenever the word "kerb" is mentioned... so please do NOT talk about it.... it still hurts.... *ouch*

well, let's hope that he'll do better next test k? *keeping fingers crossed*

Friday, April 14, 2006

good ole chuppa

remember those famous lolly pops that make any kid drool? all the fancy colors/flavours that makes you want to empty out your piggy bank to try them all? well, they are BACK, with style!


go get yourself some good ole style lolly!

friendships

through the years, we've seen lots of friends come and go. many stayed on and became part of our daily/weekly lives as well. its amazing how two person can connect and feel strong affinity to share every bit of their lives together for a short momentary period of time and almost instantly break away from each other.

recently, i recieved a parcel from a friend from school, it was really strange to recieve this parcel from her, especially since we live a few blocks away from each other. interestingly, except for the ONE time when she was curious how my place looked like, she has never had time/found the opportunity/remembered to drop by. Of course I was also at fault for not trying and keep trying to get in contact. thing with her is, over the years, i've learnt to let go of her, she's like a free bird, she needs to soar the skies, feel the strong winds in her face, breath in the warmth of the sunlight, without an adventure, she'll most likely be bored to death. i guess, over the years, my role/friendship has became more of a communication updater tool. without much to update, i gradually became less exciting to "connect" with. at least, that's how i felt on my side. we've had our differences before, not that i can exactly understand what she meant, perhaps i can never understand her way of being friends.

after so many years, i must say, that she's always been generous with her gifts, no matter where she went, she'll always try to bring back something for me. at times, i look at her gifts and wonder if she just took it out of a whole bag of "gifts", would i ever have a use for them? finally, this time in this parcel, there was finally something inside that reminded me that she actually remembered what I loved. yes, you may have guessed, its SNOOPY of course! yes, i was thrilled to recieve something, at last, that reminded me that i actually have a better place in her mind than i thought. maybe it was time to savage what's left to the friendship...

then, there was a card, inside, wrote alot of pretty personal stuff most of which i cannot understand. the last time we met up was more than 2years ago. i can barely remember what was her favourite activity, what makes her cry anymore. but the card woke me up. i realised that she was in need of someone to pour her heart out to, without having any judgement.

i guess, in the corporate world, there are lots of cruelty & abuse of trust, such that one treasures those long-lost friends even more. its been a while since my foot was in the corporate world, but it'll be the last thing that i'm looking forward to. i cannot imagine how people can work side by side with someone else and go round back-stabbing them. how do they sleep at night? what do they tell their kids? where is their conscience?

i'm sure we can still find true friendships at work, we just have to look really hard before committing ourselves. I have quite a few and I'm glad that we stuck through, the warm fuzzy feeling of a true friend always warm me up on a cold day.

yes, you know who i'm talking about, you know who you are. thank you for your friendships, trusts, for sharing your joys and pains and for sharing mine too! :-)

so, have you been a good friend today?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Going are the sails... Chapter 2

At the top of the gentle slope of the beach where the
sailors and surfers launch their crafts and boards, a
lookout shack stands under a droopy tall tree. It is a
sturdy makeshift wooden shack with a roof of layered
coconut leaves. Here the lifeguards keep their
vigilant watch through binoculars for the sailors and
windsurfers.

I remembered when i first took up windsurfing at 18yrs
old. What motivated me, a westerner(i used to stay in
Jurong West),who rarely touch sand or even smell a
whiff of the seabreeze, was a TKGS gal whom i was very
fond of. She wrote me a letter of perfumed pages with
photos about her windsurfing adventure and its
culture. And there in my frantic efforts to emulate
the lifestyle of the object of my heart, came Robert
Teng, riding on the waves of a motorboat to rescue me
from being foolishly swallowed up by the unfamiliar
sea.

Robert is still around. He has been rescuing
windsurfers and sailors for more than 20 years. The
wide teethy wrinkled smile that beamed under the
sad-looking hood-lid eyes never fail to lighten the
gravity of any circumstance. He is the man to go to if
you need anything; from contacts for sail repairs,
cheap second-hand boards to the correct techniques of
sailing and windsurfing. This man who is in his late
sixties still walk around half naked, baring his
tanned body with a big midline scar on his chest- a
testimony of a heart operation he so openly admitted
from taking a bit too much of those smoke-sticks which
kept him warm when it rained.

With him is Shamsuddin, a muscular Malay man in the
late forties who worked with him for many years. "Din"
is a serious looking frowny chap who smokes as much as
he takes his job seriously. First look at him and you
feel intimidated and hope not to foul up on safety
precautions at the beach. He would sometimes shout
across to you from the shack. And, thankfully, he
would shout at any other sailor who so unwittingly put
himself at a collision course with you. It was known
around the circle that he used to windsurf
competitively and was good in it. However, one does
not get to see him windsurf that easily. It was only
during one of those days when a freakish storm blew so
hard till the leaves of the trees littered the beach
that I witnessed his lithe figure speeding across the
sea. In late afternoons, Din can be found at the
"windsurfing school" shack located at the west end
corner of the centre premises, doing his prayers.

Robert got another help from the less talkative but
helpful Shukor, a former fisherman. Shukor likes to
fix things and when things are quiet at the beach, you
can see him scraping some small piece of wood with a
blunt knife. Sometimes, i wonder whether he carve
figurines or repair fittings with that piece of wood.
On certain days, he would set out net-traps at to
catch lobsters and crabs. One can see where they are;
the bobbing white oval floats 50-100m from the coast.
Some days, he would be found alone swinging a fine net
over the grassy areas for grasshoppers to feed his pet
birds. On lazy afternoons, his mata-putehs and jambus
chirped happily in the air, making soothing lullabies
with the waves and the rustles of the trees, and
luring any tired mind to restful sleep.

Work is not all that easy for these lifeguards as they
have to be on the constant lookout for the safety and
the lives of the sailors and surfers; other than
ensuring the rental crafts and sailing premises are in
good condition. They have two motorboats moored nearby
which are used for rescue and to tow back stranded
surfboards or dinghies. All sailors and windsurfers
are at the mercy of the capricious wind and currents.
But knowing that there are responsible eyes scanning
for us if we ever run into trouble or when the wind
died, gives us the assurance that we will never be
lost to the ocean.

-adam

Going are the sails... Chapter 1

Hello folks,

this is a series of 5 chapters about a sailing club set up in the '70s or '80s in east coast by a dutch man from his passion for sailing. At its height, it was the biggest sailing club in the region boasting of 1800+ members. At the end of this month, it's license to continue as a sailing center will cease. A friend who's been sailing there for a while, holding many fond memories have decided to jot down his thoughts, views about the place that served many over the years. So enjoy.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

I want to tell you all a story but i dont know how to begin. So i think i will tell you all bit by bit, and as my words flow, i will compile all the bits and pieces and tell you the story in a more eloquent manner another day.

As you know, i spend most of my weekends at sea off the eastcoast since the begining of year 2005 after the tsunami relief mission at Sri Lanka. The enigmatic sea with its many moods does not only bring destruction and death. To many people, it brings rejuvenation, an escape from the stresses of daily lives of the land. With its endless horizon and open skies, it fuels the sense of adventure and courage one did not know he had. Its breath of wind, healing and recovery of health and spirits. In sunrise, hope of a new day, and in sunset, romance and love.

This is a story about the people i met at eastcoast who go there to windsurf or to sail, to skimboard or swim the waves, to be in solitude in the open sea, to rest or to work and rescue. A story about these personalities from all walks of life. They have their own stories but all love the sea and all make the poetry of life.

I so very much want to share it with you all because this place called PastaFresca Sailing Centre, formerly known as Europa and more than a decade ago, as EastCoast Sailing Centre, is folding up in April.

I have made it my personal project to put this place and its people in words during my coming one week of leave.

...
adam

Ad today....



so will he pass??? or not??? find out later...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ad is 30!

Yes, in a flesh, Ad is 30! So the big question is.... WHAT'S the PROGRAM?????

All the pressure of creating a memorable day fell onto my shoulders. Not wanting to "shoulder" all that responsibilities, I asked the bday boy if there was anything, anything in the world that he wanted to do on his big day. He thought about it for a few days and wanted to go "overseas". So the most natural place to head to was Ubin! hee.... Its been a long long time since we've been there, it would be fun to just hang out with nature and eat ubin seafood for dinner. After making some calls, I realised that most of our kakis had something on or could only make it really late on a saturady. So traveling great distance to get to ubin seems like not too good a choice.

We have a common friend asking us WHY ubin on his bday. ha ha ha.... Then, we carried out a lengthy conversation on what could beat ubin and creatively, she found out that our boy hasn't been to the Night Safari! Imagine that! At age 30, Ad has yet to visit one of Singapore's top tourist "night" spot.... *tsk* *tsk*

So it was decided, we'll go explore night safari with the bday boy, which suddenly seems alot more appealing than taking the bump boat ride and ubin seafood dinner.

so how exciting is that for a 30th bday celebration eh? only so so if you asked me... but but but.....

on the eve of his bday, exactly 12hours before he turns 30, I had an incredibly feasible and fun idea for celebrating his bday! hee.... I would throw a surprise bday party for him in our house! I'm sure I surprised quite a few people with my super last min invitation to the party. I quickly sent out loads of sms, called a few that I thought was "safe" to talk on the phone. And the adrenaline built up was scary, I could almost go on adrenaline instead of food. hee...

So this was the plan:

evening:
I'll get party decorations & drinks for the party, must clean up the house also....

night
7pm: Jen & Ad to meet Em & Al for pre-dinner shopping
9pm: JenAd, Em, Al, A, Ja & Ca to have dinner
11pm: A, Ja & Ca to go to JenAd house to open the house for the rest of the folks
Em & Al to "send" JenAd home with a BIG detour hee hee.....

1115pm:
Ad's colleagues will get ready for choc fondue together with E.
B & E to bring icebox with ice for all the drinks!
M to get snacks.
J to bring duck.... dun ask me why....
T to bring yummy choc cake (which we forgot to cut.... eeks sorry!)
everyone to pinch in to decorate the house, blow up the ballons, doodle on all the glass in the house. All in 30mins!

midnight: bday boy to return home to his surprise!

This plan sounds excellent right? Everyone seems so ready to chip in, the mood was HIGH. mins before meeting Ad, I had to psy myself to behave NORMALLY, not to sms excessively, not to be sneaky about anything! but HOW not to???

*excited*

Co-incidentally, Ad had a great pre-bday dinner thanks to Em & her new job hee... she brought us to Brazil, a great MEAT restaurant, Ad's favourite was their beef. Here's how MUCH food he has on his plate.... yes, its that FULL all the time!


here's the rest of the folks:

Em & Al, who gave us the big big treat. Thank YOU Thank YOU!


Mr. A here is trying to decide how much to take... hmm....


these two are the critical people here who is going to open JenAd house for the rest of the folks for the surprise party heh....

and here's my healthy looking plate heh.... lots of GREENS (because the man with the meat on skewer guy hasnt visited me yet.... :(( )


So, we had dinner as planned, JenAd house was opened and all the guest streamed in without a hitch, we had the detour required by visiting Aldric. He's super CUTE!

So after some photo-taking session with this cute baby, we took another slight detour to the petrol kiosk hee... I sent Ad to check out the prices of drinks in SPC, if they were indeed cheaper than Esso/Mobile. Reluctantly, he got out of the car with a super LOOOONNNNGGGG face. Not sure if it was because he was tired. Or it was because he was wondering about his BIRTHDAY hee...

I took this time of absence to make a call to check if everyone is INSIDE the house. It would be funny to find them outside the house, along the corridor or at the carpark.... then it'll b going, "hey, what are you guys doing here?" ha ha ha....

This was when I realised that ALOT of Ad's colleagues were not IN yet! *panic*
We're 5mins away from home and they are just turning in from PIE. I had to sneak a word to Al, the driver to drive sssssslllloooooooooowwwwwllllllyyyyyy

I had to pray so hard that all is INSIDE the house, no one in the carpark, no one in the stairwells nor the corridor PLEASE!

I called Ja when we reached the carpark with a fake conversation. She was on the other side mumbling a totally different set of stuff from me! ha ha ha.... it was quite hilarious. hee.... at the last moment, she told me to stall for 3mins! Because Ad's colleagues just rang the door bell as we spoke!

WHAT a close shave! Thank god we din MEET them in the lift landing ha ha ha... wonder if they were smart enough to take the other lift hee....

So, I had to sneak the stalling info the Al again. We spent 1min deliberating if we should use a coupon for parking their car, another 30secs deciding WHICH type of coupon to use, 30secs looking for the coupons, 30 secs tearing the coupons, checking the dates to make sure its correct and 30secs slowly emerging from the car, locking it and double checking if its safely locked and finally, reach the lift landing..... *phew* got some time allowance.

While in the lift, I started digging for stuff in my tiny bag in a decoil to take the camera out of my bag hee.... (I think my acting and script writing is getting really GOOD, I should consider a career in TCS someday....). As usual, Ad opened the door to our house and..... here's the first shot:


The door was open to a dark house, with a tinge of BO in the air (because all these jokers did not turn on the aircon! They were afraid to let Ad suspect that someone was in the house... ha ha ha.....). With the corridor lights, we can see bits of the birthday streamers, party decorations darting across the living room.....





So WHERE are the "surprise" crew members? I got a surprise to be greeted by an empty house fill with ballons and party streamers.... I had to look really hard to find them.




not only were they being creative with the decorations, even the decorations has their own decorations.... see to understand what I mean heh....




Here's Ad in his happy dance...


But these two young gentlemen does not seem very impressed....


Guess who's the centre of attention in the end?????

Yup, Ginger the cat stole the show for the night.....
it was the first time we have a 4-legged animal in the house, maybe the last, because I was sneezing like crazy the next day from possibly an allergy to its fur. :(

more cat-nips:

might be her first time seeing fish food through a glass, wonder if she'll try her claws at my nemos when she's alone with them. Her stares were intense! Perhaps she prefers freshwater diet to marine fish hee....


here she is, causing quite a stir in the games room, where the boys are tackling tough HALO mission. Having Ginger purring at the motion game doesnt really help them advance forward much. Ha Ha Ha....


erhm, I'm not sure if Ginger is really so intelligent to play scissors, paper, stone or that whoever that hand was, is seriously DRUNK! ha ha ha.....

More of the rest of the party:
Here's super tired Al, relaxing at the "sleep" corner of the house in his super relac-jack clothes hee....


all the glass in the house had graffiti on them. Including the fish tank! pity it's not easily captured on picture, but what the hack, here's one:


the fondue....


the relac-jacks....


the bday boy doing a choc-spoon-number:


the man with the duck... or is HE the duck??? hhmmmm......


After a night of surprise, laughter, dancing, gaming, relaxing Ad's bday has just STARTED! ha ha ha.....

Plans for the actual day celebrations carried on as planned, dinner with T & R, Ja & Ca at PS Cafe in Dempsy road. The cafe is nicely decorated with a great sit down chitchat ambience. T & R arrived at PS Cafe at 6pm and were shocked to discovered that they are fully BOOKED for the night! Aww.... after all that anticipation, of dining there. Just before they left the cafe, they spotted a lounging area, which was still suitable for dining and was available. super COOL!


the most retro looking table ornament. somehow the printed flowers with the ball-like tea-light holder turns the table super nostalgic.


if you look closely enough, you might be able to spot celebrity-actress-emcee Sharon Au in the background, hair tied up in two pony tails like a little girl hee...

At 830pm, after our dinner, we quickly drive off towards our destination of the NIGHT SAFARI! Yeah, arrived at 9pm, did not get lost due to the great navigational skills of Ca.


We got onto the tram after watching the not so exciting show....


Recalling my previous experience in the night safari was not really exciting. Because, I can hardly ever see any animals in those glass displays..... I think they all hide away from ME! *bleah*

Fortunately, for us this trip, we saw almost ALL of the animals in the safari. Hee... Bday Boy Luck? maybe.

Unfortunately, these animals are flesh-shy, oops, flAsh-shy, so it was not possible to capture their presence on our camera.

In the flying squirrel cage, it took us a while to find the squirrel on top of a branch along with another 6-10 patrons in the cage. We starred at it for a while, it did not moved nor show any intentions of flying, bored, we started to shuffle along... Out of the blue, it FLEW!

Not only did it flew, it flew and landed on someone's HEAD! ha ha ha.... right before our eyes! That poor fella must have gotton a fright. No, I mean the flying squirrel being frighten out of his skin....(who cares about the fella who was hit on the head??? homo sapiens, we've got tonnes of them around). That squirrel quickly scurried up another tree trunk, a much taller one this time and it looks as if it REALLY mean to STAY up there for a while. Still recovering from the pantene-shampooed hair maybe? ha ha ha...

just as we figured out what happened in that spilt seconds, we felt as if we've witness a much better performance than that rehearsed by the trainers hee hee.... One comment from the crowd made:

"that was worth my ticket money for the night!"

How true it is...

We saw most of the safari and headed back to the entrance/exit at midnight. There, was a space were visitors can pay S$10 to take a picture with the safari's animals.... So we did not hesitate to be generous with our photo-taking:


you can pay US S$10/view k? hee....







So its past midnight of Ad's bday, you think we'll stop here? NO!

Al & Em offered supper & cake after our safari experience and sure, we headed up towards their place. We parked the car and decide to walk over to their place without displaying any coupons... cos got bday boy mah, so lucky the whole, can see so many different animals in the night safari, surely, we wont be so "lucky" to get caught by the summon officer?

Just as we were walking towards the staircase of the carpark, we saw the summon guy!!!!! ARGH!!! Straightaway without any hesitation, all 4 of us made an illegal instant U-turn in our steps in the carpark and headed towards our car! Super HENG sia.... I tried to dig for the night parking coupons but failed to locate one... :( So we had to call for reinforcements.... Al came down with his car keys to rescue us!!!! YEAH!

We tore the night coupon in style right infront of the summon officer's EYES and left the carpark in style as well!


Yeah, we made it to eat the yummy fresh cream mango cake, chicken nuggets n wings and best of all, COKE! ha ha ha


And you think we're done celebrating? NO! We've still got a choc-fudge cake from T remember?????
So we brought it to lunch with our church mates and held another celebration there! ha ha ha.....


looks good eh? it taste GREAT!


And you think we're done after eating the cake??? HALO?????

The gang came over to our place and inline with the IR concept from our garmen, we held a xbox gaming corner:


and a MJ table hee....


and the luckiest boy of the night:

He just keep winning! This hand was a self-touch super limit game of half-color, two animals, one wind, one big card 6 doubles in total. He WIN!

yes yes.... its really the end now. After 48hrs of non-stop action. our boy has celebrated his 30th big day more than anyone that I know.

not bad for the 12th hour effort eh?*grin*

Hey guys, thank you for making this celebration so memorable, for being so supportive, for being so responsive to the super last min preparations hee....

YOU ARE the BEST!

Happy 30th Birthday Darling Ad. *muaks*

Sunday, April 09, 2006

bye bye long hair

Since Dec '05, I've been lamenting about the chore of washing the long hair that I have, conditioning it, waiting for it to dry before dashing off to bed, having to "organise" my activities around how to sleep FAST, EARLY with dry hair.

(so you can imagine how many thousand times Ad has heard me say:"Shall I cut my hair?" and "I WANT to cut my hair") hee....

Finally, in late march, since the last drop of my conditioner ran out (perfectly timed till the last drop on this faithful day...), I went to my favourite hair stylist, Jas (the lady whom I've known for almost a decade, our first meeting was a memorable one, tell you later.... story getting distracted....)

Okay, so so, conditioner ran out, booking made.... After taking a pee break before sitting down for my hair cut, I took a good last look at my long long long hair and took a snap...


yup, my long long long hair...

I took a deep breath before entering the salon, not sure if I'm going to hate what I'm doing, regret like S**T or just LOVE it....sat on the chair, got my long long hair washed, conditioned for the last time at the salon (yes, I did asked if she could cut it while it was dry to save the water, shampoo & conditioner... answer was NO *bleah*). In a flesh, my long long hair got tied up in a pony tail....


this look reminded me of the Jedi-look that we created while we walked down Orchard Road in a Jedi suit hee....(got to find the pics for that! see, got distracted again!)

In less than 2secs after Ad took this shot, Jas appeared from nowhere, armed with her scissors

and SNIP, SNIP, SNIP! 3 cuts!

and its GONE!


and here it is!


heh.... after 20mins, here I am, with a fresh new look, new style and maybe a whole new wardrobe? *HINT* *HINT* hee....

the funky back! (which I'm still trying to recreate after 10days.... :(((( )

the new ME!


-------------------------------------------------------------

okie, the short story of Jas & me as promised earlier:

I met Jas almost a decade ago (whoa, sound like very old hor??? *eeks*), in fact, at that time, she just joined her previous salon as a senior stylist. I made a call over the phone for an appointment to cut my hair and she was "appointed" to me. Since then, our client-stylist relationship grew and blossom into a firm friendship. One whom I know I can count on, any time. (THANK YOU JAS!)

That was defnitely a memorable day for both of us, her new job.... me had super long hair wanting to chop it ALL off. (yeah just like what I did 10days ago hee...). So, she asked me at least 3 times:" Are you SURE you want to cut it?" before I washed my hair, after I washed it and waited like 20mins after I washed it. I think she just wanted to make SURE of it. She wont want to screw up her first few jobs at a new salon by having a disgrunted client hee.... Imagine if I wanted to "trim" and she thought that I wanted to CUT? ha ha ha.....

yes, she cut my hair that faithful day, to trim away the painful memories of a broken relationship to initiate a new lease of my new life and I never looked back ever since. She was there for me during the harsh days, the early wee hours of my ROM, wedding ceromony and even super early hours of photo-taking for the wedding albums. She constantly created new looks, new style with every photo shoot. Something I truly admire about her. Yes, I love her!

Fate brought us together. Trust made it last.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Babies update!

this year has many newborns being born and waiting in line.... so here's a special on BABY updates!

First baby, is the latest addition to my family, baby Qi Qi. She weighed a whopping 4kg when she was born. Her mummy went through a painful 20hrs labour and only to find that she's just too big.... so had to do the C-section. *ouch*

here she is:

(hope this is not considered online nudity??)

she's such a great joy to look at... when she's soundly asleep, you can move her around, play with her hands, massage her belly and even change her diapers and she'll not wake up. hee...

Next is Shawn & Jes's newborn. She's a record holder man.... not by her birth weight nor by her head circumference etc... but by the astonishing speediness of her delivery. I've not heard anyone who can deliver under 1hr for their first born... yep, she did it! Amazing.




Next come Aldric, the young man who decide to be born 2days before his daddy returns from his overseas posting, 3 week ahead of his due date.... 3months on... check out how good he's doing now....


so cute eh? yeah, he's a great kid when he's contented, he's happy to just watch the world go by.

Last but not least, the next baby is not so much of a baby anymore. He's 16mths old Josh aka Sunshine. Hee, he's super duper adorable. He walks around all the time, exploring different places, poking his tiny finger into every nook and crack. He can even point out where is the toilet and the washing machine! He goes yakking non-stop when he saw our two nemos in the tank hee... Maybe he thinks that they can understand his baby language better than US! haha ha....

Painting the house

Yes, in a brave attempt to save the cost of renovations, we spent over $100 on paint, brushes, paint trays etc... (hmm, wished they had sold the paper hats for painting houses... maybe even the "magic" way to fold papers to get the hats would have helped!)

the setup:


We started late on wednesday afternoon, after a big lunch, we quickly laid the floor with newspapers, plastic sheets etc and Ad started with the celling. (The most challenging part of the house.... man, I tell you, its super neck breaking!)



Unfortunately, we had to stop painting by evening to attend a dinner "date" which was pre-arranged months ago... Sad to leave the "unfinished" job, in the short 4hrs, we have painted the living room twice and the kitchen once. Not too bad for a start I guess.



We've got two extra hands that night. YEAH! Thanks the the great support of our MJ kakis, they got roped in to help us with the painting, Jas proclaim her experience painting skills at the 5yr painting of her own room. Even offered the "tools" for the painting ha ha ha... sadly, she could not recall how to fold us that "painter's hat" which we all bad needed. So Cav have to make do with his make-shift "shirt" by tearing a hole in the papers and putting his head through it hee.... He's "fashionable" wear often suffered from sweat-drenching and hence require a make-over or should it be change-over? hee...

We started work at 10pm that night and we realised that the two bedrooms had walls full of DUST! yes, again we were bugged by dust! So under Jas's supervision, we all took rugs and went on all fours to clean the walls, celling from the dust that had accumulated due to the years of neglect behind wardrobes, tables etc. It was a pretty yucky sight I tell you. Within a few short mins, we all felt like we are getting the "workout" that anyone need for 1yr. Hee.... can excuse from exercise for a while liao! *yipee*

At 3am, we surrended to the exhaustion and decided to take the night off. We took the opportunity to look for supper as we sent the duo home and guess what? The hunt for supper took us from macpherson to thomson to jln kayu. My goodness, if jln kayu's prata was not available, you might see 4 adults squating outside some HDB blocks ordering Macs! ha ha ha... We almost made it to the 5am breakfast by the time we found our prata. So being a long night, we settled the makan and sent everyone home, we quickly settled into bed.... *snooze*

So thursday, after a short recovery from our first day at painting, we started to touch up the kitchen, living and give the bedrooms another coat of paint.... woah... after 50man-hours. The house is finally painted. ;)

*happy*

thank you Cav & Jas for your hard work. You guys did a great job! We'll always remember YOU (for future paint jobs! ha ha ha....)

Hacking the wall

yup, as part of our "agreement" with HDB to purchase our new flat, we have to hack a hole through the walls. Our contractor told us that the reno will take about 1 week and we were excited to get it started to quickly settle all the reno once and for all.

So on a monday morning, bright and early, in between my breakfast and reading the papers, the team of workers came and started their work.

Just thought that we should have one last good look at the lovely, perfectly plastered wall before they do the HACKING.... *eeks*
(if only we knew this would happen, maybe we can save some $$ from NOT plastering this wall during our first renovations! ha ha ha)


notice the nicely laid out papers and the remains of the plate? hee.... (YES, someone should have shot my head for leaving the whole house "unprepared" for the hacking. we thought that it'll just be hacking lor.... who can guess the MESS left behind? okay... more of that later...)

wanna close up of my perfectly flat wall?? Here it is:

isn't it lovely? Pity that it has to go.... :(

I was trying to figure out which unit should bear the drill & hammers for hacking through... if we think about it, the rocks and rumble will fall over to the other side MORE than our side right? So I bravely told the workers to start work on our side of the house. Generally, they agreed with me and started laying down the papers, cardboards etc to keep my floor undamaged....

The first "hole" was made by an electric drill. *sob* *sob*


I think he wasn't sure if he was doing it right, he had to check his drill & perhaps the drill bit to see if they are going to last one whole wall..... so I had the chance to snap a few more shots...




Then, they took out a gigantic hammer and started to whack against the wall. Yes, WHACK! I thought it was really cool! hee...




Within an 1+hr, they were done hacking! Amazing! What an electric drill and a giant hammer can do...


Unfortunately, all my amazement for the power of hacking vanished as I witness the accumulation of DUST in my house. YES, the WHOLE entire house had like 5 layers of dust on it. Thank God we covered the sofa and the workers were fast enough to "protect" my table and chairs with newspapers. We had totally forgotten all the "warnings" & "nightmares" of hacking a wall in a fully furnished house. This was in addition to proving that my "theory" of messing up the new house did not exactly came true. In fact, our current place had like 20times more dust than the other house! *sob* *sob*

After the workers left at about 3pm, we cleaned BOTH houses like mad. YES, I was also mad at myself for not protecting our house from the dust etc. We mopped the entire place like 10 times, vacuumed like 3 times and the result was only satisfactory. *SIGH*

Yes, we lived in the nightmare for 1 week.... it'll be quite a while before we do anymore hacking....this is for SURE!