Christmas damage

I was back in Malaysia from Christmas Eve night till Sunday, 28 Dec. First damage was on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. It was terrible. I just hope things can only get better. Just received news that points towards improvement.

Except for Christmas Eve night, I've stayed over at my sister's place in KL. We were at One U on Boxing Day and I was looking for a casual belt. Saw one but thought should look further because wasn't sure it was too broad or not for some of my pants. She helped me to get a short-sleeved shirt, a pair of cargo pants and a pair of jeans. I more or less chose a few pairs of casual and office socks myself. Typical conversation during the shopping process is as follows:

Sis: Kor, try this.
Me: Ok
(later...)
Sis: Wah, looks nice wor
Me: Ok, buy!

People who know me know that I'm lazy at shopping but I'm happy to let someone else to shop for me and I just pay for the goods hehe.

On Saturday night, I met up with Mr Skanky and 6 of his friends. As usual, Apollo and SK asked me to go shopping i.e. they shop for me, I pay lah. I said I'm looking for office shirts and casual belt. Unfortunately, only managed to get casual belt but I'm happy to get one finally. Ironically, my sister that night pointed out that it was the same belt we were looking at hehe.

Here are pictures of the main items bought during this trip. Want to guess which is the most damaging (to my wallet) after discount?

Belt

Shirt

Jeans

Cargo pants

Holistic

It was simply one of those days. There was something to do with respect virtually all aspects of my life today. Thankfully, only 1 posed serious problem.

Health
I had my initial consultation with a gastroenterologist at SGH in the morning, after being refered by my GP. From previous experience at that hospital, waiting time i.e. waiting to be called to the specialist's room after registered usually takes about 2 freaking hours. So, as per previous practice, besides the referral letter, I was armed with a bottle of water, newspapers and a book "History of the World", which I have already started reading (usually in transit between home and office).

Surprisingly, it took about only 40 mins before I was called. By then, I've already read the newspapers (but to be fair, I've already read some of it before I got there) and continued reading my book. The consultation was less than 10 mins. The specialist decided have me take blood test (full blood count, a liver test thingy, T4 and something lol) and undergo an endoscopy the next morning. I then queued for each of the following: (1) pay bill for the day and the blood test, (2) blood sample drawn and (3) information and forms for the endoscopy. The estimated fee for the anaestesia to be used during the procedure is about 6 bloody times of the total fee today.

When I was back at office later, to my great relief, I found out that endoscopy can be claimed under Hospitalisation & Surgical Benefits insurance, rather than outpatient specialist. If it was the latter, I would have busted the limit!

Wealth
Went straight for lunch after spending almost 2 hours at the hospital. After lunch, I've exchanged S$ into RM to bring home to pay my dad for stuff he bought for me. Rate was S$1=RM2.38, down from 2.4 just about 5 days ago or so.

Job
I was inundated with work once I was back at office. Sorry, I meant once my boss was back at office after lunch hour. A colleague is on leave until end of this week while another until next year. I'm already following up on the project of the latter (and yet to find time to seriously follow up!) but I was sucked into the work of the former because there was no one else to help my boss! In addition, I was also sucked into work handed over by my ex-manager to my boss. I myself have 2 urgent jobs of which one I have to prepare the draft report for my boss's review by today while the deadline for the other was...errr last week lol. I ended knocking off work 2.5 hours after than I usually do. Took taxi home. One of these clients is going to pay for it.

Social
Since I am going home on Christmast Eve until Sunday morning (company gave half day off for the eve, full day for Boxing Day and full day for the day after New Year), I won't be having any Christmas gathering with my friends here. Hence, I was organising dinner for tomorrow night. So sms was flying back and forth for quite a while before the matter was settled.

Personal grooming
I wanted to wait till after I'm back to have my monthly haircut but this morning I decided not to because it looks thick and definitely feels like it. I wanted to do it today but my hairstylist was booked the whole day. Alternative suggestion was given i.e. tomorrow after lunch but I then asked to postpone once I was informed that the enscopy is tomorrow just after noon. Also, there is that dinner being planned, and before dinner, I plan to collect my monthly supplements from Pharmanex. So fortunately after a couple of phone calls and him checking at his end, I managed to get a rather convenient slot. Phew!

Family
Something has been brewing at home for past few days. It was getting nastier and ridiculous by the day. To paraphrase a quote from a  loved one: "It's turning into a rather good drama series! I know it's not funny but sometimes you just gotta laugh." It seems to have escalated to whole new level today of which urgent call needed to be made to someone else to arrest its development. Due to timezone difference, it could only be done at night. It was short, shocking for the receiver but I was relieved I have delivered the message asap and the receiver agreed that this is getting out of hand and agreed to do something asap. Hopefully this matter could be prevented from taking the next new level. It will be a lousy Christmas for me since I would be involved in sorting this out while I'm back home but it would be worthwhile if it results in a much better situation in future

Christmas trees in Singapore

Actually I'm not even sure why I started this but somehow I thought it may be interesting to see how different Christmas tress are decorated here in Singapore.

Outside Suntec

This is outside Suntec Mall. And no, that seemingly white piece of blot is not inserted by me to censor anything. It is in fact a metal plate engraved with some words. My gimpy camphone couldn't capture that and likely due to position of the sun or something (fengshui? ;-))

Suntec convention centre

This is inside the Suntec Convention Centre, right at the entrance of the Food Republic foodcourt. It's a small tree and seems sparsely decorated. Incidentally, there is a Japanese restaurant on the left named Hamoru that serves delicious value-for-money set meals. Their ala cartes are equally yummy too, especially the salmon belly sashimi. *drool*

City Link

I hope I got this right. I believed this is in City Link, the underground mall connecting Raffles City and Suntec/Esplanade/Raffles Link. It's huge and it's underground! I quite like this. Pretty.

Office

This is at my office. Sorry for the bad positioning. It is actually nicely decorated. I wonder it's the same as previous years hehe. I should take photo of the tree in a year's time.

Outside Heeren

This is outside Heeren. See those rectangular shaped decorations? Those are actually replicas of Maybank platinum credit cards.

Outside Raffles City

This is outside Raffles City. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy day and it was taken near dusk time. Looks a bit plain to me. However, at night...

Outside Raffles City night

...it looks much nicer! It does look like there's fireworks at its top half, doesn't it?

Prudential Tower

Twin trees at Prudential Tower. I noticed that for corporate companies, my office has one of the best Christmas trees so far, not that I went to every office.

After 24 hours...

...the modem/router is still working well! Woohoo!

The problem has been solved last night.

Before that, as I've said in my earlier post, I've tried connecting my housemate's laptop directly to the modem via LAN cable. I've also tried the following without success:

(1) Connect the modem directly to the phone socket, instead via microfilter.
(2) Scanned housemate's laptop for virus.
(3) Scanned housemate's laptop for spyware.
(4) Installed a internet connection keeper in my laptop.
(5) Used another phone line.
(6) Used another LAN cable (for my laptop).

Mr Skanky labeled my case as an X-File case :-)

There were only 3 suspects I had: modem, ISP or housemate's laptop. So next, I e-mailed the modem vendor techincal support. First reply was to ask me to scan housemate's laptop for virus and spyware. Yup, done that already. Next reply was to ask me to bring the modem and my housemate's laptop to the service centre.

Now, that's a bit tricky because the opening hours for the centre is 9am - 7pm, which encompasses my office hour. Fortunately that day when I read the e-mail I was working from home. So a quick call to my housemate to get his password, I swiftly went off and took a bus, train and then a taxi to the centre, which is not at a convenient location.

Reached there about 15 mins to 7pm. The tech guy was quite funny and down to earth. Snippets of our conversation are as follows:

Me: So I guess you guys worked late, huh?
Tech guy: Yah lor. "Because of you..." (to the tune of Kelly Clarkson's song)
Me: *Laughed* Wei, not my fault what. Your opening hours mostly coincide with office hours and so this is the only time I can come mah.
Tech guy: Then it's my fault, is it?
Me: Of course not lah.

(After running some diagnostic, analysis and even go elsewhere to type and do stuff...)

Tech guy: Ok, I have 2 suggestions.
Me: What?
Tech guy: Either reset modem or upgrade firmware. But upgrade firmware has 50/50 chance of failure of which then the modem will spoil.
Me: Eeeek. Like that, I don't have a choice. Try reset first lor.

Tech guy: Wah, reset and still the stats look bad ar. This one should be 0 ideally and even after reset for problematic modems, normally should be between 1 to 5. Yours is 14!
Me: So how ar?
Tech guy: Only thing left is upgrade firmware. But got 50/50 chance ar.
Me: If spoil, then have to buy new modem, is it? How much?
Tech guy: S$300. Actually, you can buy other brand lah. Cost S$100+ only. So you wanna upgrade?
Me: Got temple nearby?
(Both he and his colleague laughed)

Tech guy: Ok, I already set up the upgrade. I'm not going to press it. You presss it lah.
Me: Huh? Don't lah. You can press for me.
Tech guy: No, no, no. I don't want to be responsible if something goes wrong.
Me: Haiz. Ok, ok. I press.

Me: So what's your name?
Tech guy: No need know my name lah. Skali if something wrong...
Me: *Laughed* You scared I report you, is it? I won't lah.
Tech guy: Just call me Tech Guy A
Me: *Laughed* Ok, thanks Tech Guy A

Tech guy: So how old are you?
Me: Oh, oh, you wanna guess?
Tech guy: Hmmm I'll say you're about 30.
Me: Wah, you so good ar. I'm 32. Nobody has ever guessed above 20+
Tech guy: I got experience mah.
Me: Why? People also guessed you're younger than you look meh?
Tech guy: No ar. I'm 25.
Me: Oh, that's ok what. You do look your age.

Tech guy: So if you have any problem, ask for YX, ok?
Me: Which is not you, rite? Your colleague, rite? *Pointing to his colleague, who smiled*
Tech guy: Yah, hehe.

(Later he did tell me his name)

Yes, it was fixed after spending at least 1 hour there. Thank goodness the gamble paid off and more importantly, thanks to the nice tech guy.

An attack

On Friday, while on the way to work, I experienced difficulty breathing, whether through mouth and nose, especially the latter. In addition, the lower half of my eye sockets near my nose bridge are tight/aching. I had to occassionally take in huge gulp of air. It was rather scary and so I went to see my regular doctor.

The nose part is easy: it's blocked nose. Would have just concluded it's onset of flu if not because of the difficulty breathing through my mouth too. Doctor said that I'm probably suffering from stress.

I was disappointed. If it's any other ailments, it can be cured easily. Stress? That's difficult.

Yes, it's been a stressful week but I do not think it warrants such bodily reaction. My boss, who I believed is under the same, if not more, level of stress is fine. He rarely fall ill in general.

At times like this I feel like a weakling. I exercise regularly, eat healthier than most people and yet this happens. Haiz.

Anti-internet connection aura?

Modem&router

This is the modem integrated router that I'm using. Since goodness knows when (but certainly after the warranty period), it has been going bonkers. It will either suddenly restart itself or just loses internet connection. It does this regularly each day. The frequency per day is sort of random though. The downtime period can range from merely 1 minute to 5 minutes at which point I would manually restart it.

My housemate was away for a few days last week including the weekend. Then a miracle occured: it was sane throughout the entire period! Every single minute for a few days it never once disconnected. As to how I can be sure to the exact minute, I may just elaborate another day.

I also realised that after my Australia trip, during the next one week before my housemate came back from his vacation, the modem also did not disconnect (although I couldn't be sure it was every minute though).

So what do I conclude? I thought perhaps for some odd reasons, the problem exists when my housemate is using the wireless connection. Even he did confirm that if I'm not using the internet and he uses it, it still does happen.

The strangest thing is this: the moment he came home a few days ago, within 10 minutes of arrival and without him even switching on his laptop, the problem occured again for the first time in days. What the hell was that?? It's like he has this evil aura that is affecting it!

I bought a LAN cable to hook up his laptop directly to the modem, based on a friend's suggestion. Didn't work. This is frustrating. Guess I either have to bring it for repair or get a new one but I loathe having to do the installation.

Coffee Prince


1st shop of coffee prince, originally uploaded by marj04.

I love this drama series.

"I'll say this just once so listen up. I like you, whether you're a man...or an alien. I just don't care anymore."

- Han-gyeol (main actor) to Eun-chan (main actress), whom he still thinks is a boy, in the Korean drama series Coffee Prince

And the show goes on

Yes, at 1am I'm still awake. Went to bed before 11pm. Didn't exactly have deep sleep but definitely woken up by gastric yet again. Took antacids and an omeprazole. Seems to work...for 15 mins and the rumbling began. Ate half slice of bread and now drinking warm milk.

Earlier yesterday, went to work super early. At about 5.30am, I was fed up trying to sleep and decided to prepare to go to office. Plan was to work until boss came in and asked his permission to work from home. He agreed. Packed up my laptop (so damn heavy!) and went to see doctor.

For the medicine geeks (hehe), he prescribed me omeprazole, librax (apo-chlorax) and domperidone. Upon clarfiying with me that my previous gastroscope was 9 years ago already, he advised that I go for another. I readily agreed since that was what I intended to do anyway.

There were many people at his clinic past 10am. I usually go there just when it opens at 9am. So by the time I checked out, it was already 11.30am. Bought lunch and took taxi home since I was lugging many things, including the heavy laptop and I was about to faint from no sleep.

Had 3 hours of nap. Worked until past 8pm, with break in between for dinner while watching Avatar.

I really wanna sleep...

(Acidic) Sleepless in Singapore

Yeah, it strikes again but slightly different from then.

This time, it isn't hunger. It's pure acid flowing for no other reasons than to deter me from sleeping well. What made it even worse is that it is still there although I tried sleeping recline. Hence, it's not merely an acid reflux issue. Eating bread didn't help, neither did antacid nor omeprazole.

It is only the second time I've had this. The first time, I visited my regular doctor (who is aware of my GERD problem) who then prescribed antacid, omeprazole and some stomach medicine thingy. Perhaps was the 3rd one that solved it then or likely it was all 3 of them.

Gah, I better see doctor tomorrow. There seem to be a spike in such visits during the last month or so but probably due to different reasons. I'm nervous because years ago, I used to take sick leave (not due to GERD though) so often that my boss spoke to me about it. It was then I made a huge effort to eat and live healthier e.g. fruit and mini exercise everyday, which actually worked.

After less than 2 weeks...

...I've submitted my answers to the exam, which I've posted about here. Nervous about this as the quality of the answers are probably borderline in my opinion. Oh please let me pass.

If I don't, I'll blame it on Nick and Llyod who introduced me to Trickster hehe. I've already forwarned Nick :-)

Wedding dinner & red packet

How much red packet do you give for a wedding dinner? I understand the convention is to give enough to cover your share of the cost of the dinner i.e. cost per table divided by the number of people at the table.

The logic behind this is to help the newly weds in covering the cost of the dinner. Yes, that is definitely a good way to help them, especially if they are your loved ones but only if you can afford to do so. Unfortunately, due to society’s convention, it’s better to decline attending such dinner, even if it’s in the honour of your loved ones, than to turn up with meager red packet.

I recounted to my colleague during lunch that during my younger days, my family has to avoid going to wedding dinners simply because we cannot afford the red packets. Or at least minimise the number of members attending. We were rather poor back then. My colleague (who thought that anyone giving anything lesser than conventional amount are misers) suggested that we just don’t attend. I responded that that is not the point. The point is that it is stupid that we cannot go as a family to celebrate the wedding of people dear to us simply because of society’s convention.

Do you decide to attend wedding dinner of people close to you only if you can afford the cost or simply because you truly want to celebrate their wedding? Shouldn’t the latter be the determining factor rather than, “Geez, what will people think of my $20 red packet?”

If I ever hold a wedding dinner, I shall forbid anyone from giving me any red packets or presents to avoid such dilemma. The presence of people close to me is more than sufficient, and so I would hate that society’s convention may just prevent some of them from attending.

PS: James, perhaps you got this right for your birthday few months back.

Stumble over shoes

Last Saturday, I was supposed to attend a friend's function. However, due to some unexpected circumstances, I ended at VivoCity with nothing on my agenda.

Now, I dislike going out without having some sort of objective. Even objective as simple as "Dinner at xxx" is good enough for me to venture out. Window shopping is a borderline objective for me since I usually don't want to do that.

So I tried to think of meeting up with some friends. Problem is that I've met a bunch of them the night before (movie, dinner and coffee) and I don't want to bore them ;-) Tried SMSing and calling another friend whom I haven't met for a while but as expected, he's still sleeping (it was just past noon).

So I just walked around VivoCity. It is a mall I rarely go to and so there are plenty of new stuff to see. It's a good thing too because I stumbled upon Daiso: a $2 Japanese store. Got a few stuff from there and most importantly I bought something to cover the legs of my chairs, with sponge in them (what are these called?). I was using stick-on rubber that did prevent scratches to the floor but often leave black marks. Besides these, I bought a pair of pimpled soles (acupressure hehe), seeds (to grow plant), a cute pot shaped like a bucket and some hooks.

My phone's pouch is worn out. Its bright red colour has turned dull and its edges now show its underlined whiteness. I was vascillating between buying new one or just stick with this one when my mobile phone's screen protector was literally ripped off. Guess I was rather rough when inserting the phone into the pouch. The inside part of its opening is quite rough and so not entirely a surprise that the protector was ripped off. So that does it: I bought a new screen protector and a new pouch (cloth type).

Just went my feet were telling me to head home, I stumbled (yet again) upon an exhibition of shoes. It was part of a shoe design competition organised by Crocs. What attracted me was the unusual design. Definitely not the wearable kind.

Took some pictures with my gimpy handphone cam (names were given):

Colours of the wild
Colours of the wild

Spirit of the lion dance
Spirit of the lion dance

Wherever you go
Wherever you go

Puffer fish
Puffer fish

Botticeli's garden
Botticeli's garden

The chameleon
The chameleon

Durian does the disco
Durian does the disco

Crocky fruity
Crocky fruity

Sweet-walk
Sweet-walk

Fresh from nature
Fresh from nature

We Could Be In Love

Lol sorry for this sudden lingering nostalgic songs. I love these songs but seems they are not popular enough to be played on radio.

This particular song is so cheerful. Gives a warm glow in my heart...especially if I daydream haha.



Lea:
Be still my heart
Lately its mind is on it's own
It would go far and wide
Just to be near you

Brad:
Even the stars
Shine a bit bright I've noticed
When you're close to me

Lea:
Still it remains a mystery

Chorus (Both):
Anyone who seen us
Knows what's going on between us
It doesn't take a genius
To read between the lines Brad: ohh
And it's not just wishful thinking
Or only me who's dreaming
I know what these are symptoms of
We could be in love

Lea:
I ask myself why
I sleep like a baby through the night
Maybe it helps to know
you'll be there tomorrow

Brad: Lea:
Don't open my eyes Ohhh
I'll wake from the spell I'm under
Makes me wonder how Tell me how
I could live without you now

Both:
And what about the laughter
The happy ever after
Like voices of sweet angels
Calling out our names
And it's not just wishful thinking
Or only me who's dreaming
I know what these are symptoms of
We could be in love

Brad:
All my life
I have dreamed of this
But I could not see your face

Lea:
Don't ask why two such distant stars
Can fall right into place

(Repeat Chorus)

Both:
Oh, it doesn't take a genius
To know what these are symptoms of
We could be Lea: ohh
We could be, we could be in love

Brad:
Could be in

Please Be Careful With My Heart

Any chance anyone know where to get hold of Jose Mari Chan's album that has this song and Beautiful Girl?

Boy, the music video looks so old. But I love this song. Hope I get to sing it with someone special in future ;-)



If you love me like you tell me please be careful with my heart
you can take it just don't break it or my world will fall apart
you are my first romance and i'm willing to take a chance
that 'til life is through i'll still be loving you
I will be true to you just a promise from you will do
from the very start please be careful with my heart

I love you and you know I do there'll be no one else for me
promise i'll be always true for the world and all to see
Love has heard some lies softly spoken
and I have had my heart badly broken
i've been burned and i've been hurt before

So I know just how you feel trust my love is real for you
i'll be gentle with your heart i'll caress it like the morning dew
i'll be right beside you forever I won't let your world fall apart
from the very start i'll be careful with your heart

You are my first *and you are my last* romance
and i'm willing to take a chance *i've learned from the past*
that 'til life is through i'll still be loving you
I will be true to you *only to you*
just a promise from you will do
from the very start *from the very start*
from the very start *from the very start*
from the very start please be careful with *i'll be careful with* (*my your heart*)

After more than one and half years...

... I'm taking exam again. I've switched to Society of Actuaries after having failed the Instituted of Actuaries of Australia for, oh only gazilliion times. As what I've achieved previously is not completely converted, I have to take a step back and do this particular course: Fundamental Actuarial Principles. I'm doing its Interim Assessment. I have to pass this for the sake of my self-esteem and to arrest the continuous demoralisation for past years. Gambate!

Interim Assessment

Australia: Going down the university memory avenue Part 4

Bad bird

Magpie. The bad bird. During early part of spring, countless of people have been and, I bet, will be attacked by these birds, especially those wearing caps. In more serious cases, people lose their eyes. Toddlers are not spared either. And the dumbest thing is that since magpies are protected species, it's illegal to hurt them. Sheesh.

I theorise that they attack people wearing caps because they look like huge birds with beaks and the magpies are trying to protect their young chicks.

ANU ducks 1

This is just across from Bruce Hall, on the way to the university's Union Court. These ducks are quite common, and they are adorable with their ducklings. My friend thought I was going bonkers when I said that I've even spotted a duck on a tree. Really, I did.

ANU ducks 2

Ducks on the lawn, where students sometimes sit around and chat, especially in late spring, during summer and early autumn when the weather is warmer in general.

ANU avenue

The paths to and from the Union Court. Lined by trees. It's unfortunate that no cherry blossoms were in sight when I was there. Oh, and I forgot to take a photo of the willy trees.

ANU Union Court entrance

Entrance to ANU Union Court, where there are cafeterias, a bank, a credit union, a pharmacy, a bookstore, a newsagent, a bicyle shop (where I spotted the one and only cute student on that day) etc.

American Election at ANU

Couldn't escape from the US presidential election. If these are unlimited, sounds like a good deal!

ANU University Union

It was where the cutie cycled away before I could get a good look (and perhaps take a photo). Sigh. Oh well ;-)

Manning Clark Centre

This was where I attended lectures that catered to large number of students. Inside there are also boards for people to advertise. I think I did get a secondhand textbook via an advertisement here. Books were so expensive. They have strict copyright protections here too and so photocopying the entire book is out of the question.

Copland Building

Copland building. It was where most of my statistics and actuarial subjects were taught. There are also many computer labs here. In fact, there are computer labs all over the campus.

That concludes my trip down memory lane. Don't worry, there's no Part 5 :-)

Australia: Going down the university memory avenue Part 3

Bruce Hall 1

Just across the parking lot from Burton & Garran Hall ("B&G") is Bruce Hall, where I stayed during my first 2 years of university. It started of as a fully catered hall i.e. 3 meals per day everyday except for weekends where, if I recall correctly only breakfast and dinner were served on Saturday and none on Sunday. Later it switched to partially catered hall where only breakfast and dinner were served during weekdays but meals for other times were available on pay-as-you-want basis.

I did not choose Bruce Hall. In fact, I was already late arriving at ANU (missed first week of lectures I believed) because I was waiting for my A Level results in Singapore to assess my options. So when I decided to go to ANU, only Bruce Hall still has vacancy. It was my idea, supported by my parents and my grandfather, that the first year I stay at a fully-catered hall so as to minimise the impact of the challenges I'm about to face e.g. foreign country, university, actuarial studies etc. I'm grateful for their support especially since my scholarship only covers tuition fees. During my second year, I've applied and was awarded a working bursary where I've worked in the kitchen like twice a week (1 breakfast, 1 dinner I think) in exchange for some offset of my accommodation fees.

Bruce Hall 2

This is the South Wing, which was where I used to stay. Its room is spacious, with a bed, desk, sink, electric jug, medium sized wardrobe and enough space to have yet another bed in there. This is the wing nearest to B&G, separated by a parking lot as mentioned earlier. It used to be that there is no security door here. Seems like security has tightened since a decade ago. Same thing at B&G.

Bruce Hall 3

This is the East Wing. They are bigger rooms at least because they have balconies. They should cost more. Rooms are given depend on the ranking of your preference. You rank which room you want and whether you get it depends on factors such as demand, seniority and whether you're the current occupier. Throughout my 4 years, I've stucked with the first rooms allocated to me at Bruce Hall and B&G respectively.

Australia: Going down the university memory avenue Part 2

B&G Hall

This is where I stayed during my 3rd and 4th years at ANU (specifically, one of the blocks in the photo). It is a fully self-catered hall i.e. food is not provided. What's provided is kitchen and dining facility that unofficially doubles up as social meeting place i.e. it's where you meet and chat with friends and take shelter from the bitter winter cold lol. You see, although there is heater in each room, the heat is centrally made available (geez, I sure hope I'm not mixing up with my previous hall lol), which in turn is connected to the university itself. Apparently, it will only be turned on after the maximum (or is it average?) temperature of the day hit below a certain degree for 3 consecutive days. Meanwhile, we all get warmed up in the kitchen hehe.

Unlike in Singapore, you can save tonnes of money by cooking your own food rather than buying. The amount you need to spend, even if you shop around, on eating out or even getting take-away is easily at least twice the amount of money you would need if you cook.

B&G Hall kitchen 1

I believed this use to my kitchen station. Nothing much has changed to the stoves and ovens.

B&G Hall kitchen 2

There is now a separate bin for rubbish to be recycled. Also, I've found out from a current resident that instead of having microwave oven at each station, it is now either that or a toaster or a sandwich maker. That's a good idea, although admittedly the hall also gain by saving tonnes of money this way too.

B&G Hall kitchen 3

It used to be conventional fridge, which is shared by 3 or 4 people. Now it's like a supermarket fridge!

B&G Hall kitchen 4

One of these cabinets used to be mine hehe. Doesn't seem to be anything changed. Even colour scheme is still the same after nearly a decade.

B&G Hall kitchen 5

Typical table and chairs in the kitchen. During my time, there are cleaners who clean everyday except for weekends. So by Sunday lunch, the place is already quite messy but I still have a quick lunch to save money (remember Asian Financial Crisis??). However, I cannot take it when dinner comes. It's just too messy for me. Hence, I eat out for Sunday dinner.

Conventional bike parking lot

This is the conventional parking lots for bicycles. Cycling is a great way to travel around the campus and to Civic (which is Canberra's city centre). I bought a secondhand bicycle for AUD30 and then got a helmet (compulsory). Huge problem was that I didn't know how to cycle. My parents back in Malaysia didn't want to teach me and my sisters because they perceived it to be dangerous for kids to cycle in Malaysia (which I'm inclined to believe). A good friend then taught me the basics of cycling one night in what I thought was a place where few people passed by. After that, it was just me practising. Managed to cycled a few metres the next night before I have to stop because of bleeding from my legs :-) Gosh, those were the days...

B&G Hall bike shed

This is new. Bicycle shade. I wonder whether it's reserved for some people only or perhaps via balloting or maybe fee based.

Australia: Going down the university memory avenue Part 1

University Ave

Just when I thought there was nothing else I want to accomplish during this trip, suddenly I was inspired to take a walk on my university's campus. It was unfortunate that it was not a good day to take photos. Oh well.

ANU

The Australian National University. It was where I spent the last 4 non-working years of my life. It was quite an emotional journey and at least one of my major ailments arose during my tenure here. I had the most free time ever during my entire academic life e.g. during my third year, I had only about 10-11 hours of classes per week, including both lectures and tutorials. It was my first real taste of internet too...yum ;-)

Coombs Theatre

Coombs Theatre. It's where I went, often with friends and my sis, to watch movies screened by the ANU Film Group. With movie tickets in cinema obscenely high, the Film Group's membership fee was dirt cheap. At the start of each semester, they have already lined up what movies they were going to screen during the semester and hence one could decide whether it was worthwhile to join or not and more often than not, the answer is a resounding "yes". If at any screening, there wasn't enough seat, then that movie would be rescreened on Sunday afternoon.

They show all sort of movies from mainstream to artsy, international to local, past to very recent movies. Remember Titanic? At the start of the semester, the Group has already secured the rights to screen it later that semester even though the movie was not out yet in the cinema at the start of the semester.

Menzies library

Opposite the Coombs Theatre is the Menzies library. Asian Studies students would use this library regularly. It is where I've found English version of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, in 2 thick books. I've enjoyed reading it and am really happy that I finally get to read the fabled tales.

Unfortunately, in my haste (was rushing for an appointment), I forgot to take pictures of Hancock and Chiefly libraries - the other 2 libraries that I use from time to time.

ANU grasscourts

Somewhere behind the Menzies library are 4 grasscourts. Artificial grasscourts to be exact. Usually I play tennis on the hardcourts, which are nearer to the hall I stayed at but at times my friends and I craved for some grasscourt actions especially during Wimbledon Open :-)

ANU BBQ pit

Behind the grasscourts is a BBQ pit and some benches. I've never had BBQ here before but I've attended at least 1 BBQ each year since the Aussies love BBQ.

Path across drain

There is a path from the tennis courts via the BBQ pit that crosses this huge "river". Actually this river is part of a huge drain. It does smell a little but amazingly there are usually birds hanging around. I usually take this path as a shortcut to the tennis courts or to Coombs Theatre unless I'm cycling. It really depends on whether my friends have bicycles and willing to cycle or not.