Luck

The monthly actuarial magazine I receive from the institute has a section on a survey conducted a month ago, Any member can ask for a survey to be done. It gives members "an opportunity to express their opinions on a mixture of serious and not-so-serious issues".

While I usually enjoy reading the results and opinion, it is more enjoyable to read the comments by the participants that are published. Examples:

Question:
Imagine you are waiting to be served in a bank. Suddenly, an armed robber enters the bank, fires a shot and the bullet hits you in the arm. How would you describe this event?


Choice of response:
Lucky
Unlucky
An unfortunate random occurrence that has nothing to do with luck


Comments:
"Typical bank - not enough tellers. If they were properly staffed, I would have been out of there before the robber arrived."
"I'd describe it as 'chk chk boom - ouch' to the press of course."
"Any time I have to be served at a bank, I feel unlucky. Thank goodness for internet banking and ATMs."

Question:
What other superstitious activities do you carry out (if any)?

Response:
"I only ever sacrifice maidens on the night of a full moon."
"I try not to tell people that I am an actuary, as it seems to bring me bad luck with women."

Hahaha.

Las Vegas Robin Hood

Such a cool dude!

Robin Hood

Cockington Green: I - J

Continue from here:

Indonesia 1

Indonesia 2

Avatar

I watched Avatar recent. It is a good movie but truth be told, I expected it to be great, not merely good. I wasn't exactly wowed by it. Maybe I was caught up in the hype and so had high expectation? *shrug*

I watched the 3-D version. Again, nothing to shout about. It didn't seem to do much difference to me. In retrospect, I wouldn't have paid S$5 to watch it in 3-D and wearing uncomfortable 3-D glasses in front of my own glasses.

The first encounter between the two main characters reminded me too much of Pocahontas, especially with the theme on respecting nature, give thanks to the animal killed for food etc. I wouldn't have blinked my eyes if Neytiri burst out singing "Colours of the Wind", especially callimg Jake Sully a "baby" when it comes to understanding the forest and stuff. It would have fitted the scene perfectly, with her running up tree trunks and jumping around while pointing to the lovely flora and fauna around.

Yah, I'm just a tad dissapointed because I expected something really different, not only in visual but also the details of the storyline.

Having said that, I will still recommend this movie. Probably not in 3-D though.

9.5 hours

That was how long I slept on Friday and Saturday night. It is rather shocking to me because I usually need about 7.5 hours only. Even if I tried sleeping beyond that, at about the 8th hour mark, I would start getting headache which is a sign for me to wake up.

But not these nights. There was no headache. I could have slept on longer if not because it was lunch time.

Perhaps on Friday night, I was compensating the lack of sleep during the weekdays, especially Wednesday night (if I recall the day correctly) when I couldn't sleep till past 2am.

Whereas on Saturday night, maybe I was tired out doing house chores: mopped and sweep the house, cleaned bathrooms and kitchen sink, spring cleaning half of my room (the other half was done earlier) and ironing 8 pairs of clothings. I normally don't do all these within a day. Still, I did it in a relaxing manner i.e. did a bit, watched tv a bit, did a bit, surfed net a bit, did a bit etc.

Strange.

Even weirder is the dream I had last night. In it, I saw both my grandmothers. I showed sincere care and concern form them. Nothing weird, right? Well, except that I have never seen one of them in my life. I don't know where she came from.

Pants tragedy

I've yet to successfully buy the right office pants. The first time I tried, I managed to get hold of pants with the right waist size. I tried them on and it felt just right.

However, to my dismay, after having bought them and actually wearing them to office, I find them to be tight. I figured the difference are the items I put in my pockets.

So the second time I went shopping for a pair of pants, I purposely tried them on with belt and items in my pocket. Although the size is one size larger than I asked for, it seems fine at that time.

But now I regret. It seems a bit large for me. Haiz.

Maybe I should get them tailored. But it apparently costs at least 50% more. Hmmm.

Delicious food in Canberra

Eating out is expensive in Australia. Almost every meal was cooked at home. It is simply way cheaper. Here are some pictures of the yummy food I had during the 15 days trip to Canberra:

Food 2

Japanese meal! :) It was held in celebration of my sister's birthday. Only thing missing from this picture is the delicious teriyaki (unconventionally cooked I must say) by my bro-in-law. It was DIY for anyone wants sushi rolls, except that I made a few for the birthday girl of course. It was definitely a great success.



I did it again

Please refer to the failed exam.

I failed again :(

Since I failed twice, I now "qualify" to receive detailed feedback for each attempt for a charge of US$150. Gah.

Cockington Green: D & H

Continue from here:

Duxford 1

Duxford 2


Cockington Green: B & C

 CCG 0

Although it already existed when I was studying in Canberra, it was only during my recent trip that I visited Cockington Green. Its main attraction is its miniature buildings of which most of them are modeled on actual buildings.

I almost never visit any place on my own. Rather spend time with loved ones, wherever they are. This time, however, my dad was keen to visit Cockington Green as it is highly recommended by a Chinese newspapers in Malaysia.

So my sister drove her toddler sons, my dad and youngest sister there while I took a short bus ride there. We brought some food in case we were hungry, of which we were 100% certain the boys would be hehe.

Here are some photos of buildings taken from places with names starting with B and C:


November long weekend

Last weekend was a long weekend here in Singapore as well as Malaysia. Ban took the opportunity to come down to Singapore :)

Thursday
After collecting supplement, buying movie tickets, soya milk and pears, I went to the Budget Terminal to meet Ban. Since I had some time, I took the train route i.e. MRT train to Tanah Merah, transfered to the train to Changi Airport and then finally tranferred to the free shuttle bus to the Budget Terminal. Luckily his flight was not late. In fact, it was a little early.

A debate on bridge


Crossing the Cavanagh, originally uploaded by williamnyk.
Earlier this morning, I woke up feeling better than the past 2 days. At least the fever was gone. Sorethroat subsided. The only irritating thing was my blocked nose and I was running out of spare medication.

So I decided to drop by the clinic of my regular doctor before going to work but as the time passed by, I felt worse. The sickly tiredness came back (apparently my feet would feel very tired when I'm sick) and I was getting headache from the blocked nose.

After seeing the doctor (who said I was infected by yet another viral flu) and collecting medicine and MC, my mind was still debating whether I should at go to work or not for the remaining hours of the morning. I was standing in the middle of the pedestrian overhead bridge with my mind debating whether to cross over to take bus to work or turn back to take bus back home.

JJ work: Should go to work lah. At least clear e-mails and discuss with colleagues on what to do so that they can do their part while you rest in the afternoon.

JJ home: But I really feel lousy. This headache's seems getting worse and I'm going to faint anytime soon.

JJ work: I have taken medicine already. Should get better soon, at least well enough to do those things lor.

JJ home: If make mistake, then how? It'll be even worse trying to undo those mistakes tomorrow. Moreover, what can I hope to achieve within 1.5 hours?

JJ work: There's that proposal to complete and the valuation to be done by this week, of which I have not even started and not even familiar with last year's work (done by another colleague). Aiyoh, if take one day off, it may be even more stressful for the rest of the week.

JJ home: I understand but if sick and tired, not only I cannot work but may even be short tempered, right? Especially with colleagues asking me a zillion question almost every minute (an exaggeration but nevertheless...).

...

While this was going on in my mind, on the outside, my body was just standing still, frozen in the middle of the bridge with eyes staring blankly in one direction, I kid you not.

In the end, JJ home won the battle. There's still the war to win for the rest of the week. Pray.

Flowers in spring

I was hoping to bring my dad and my sis to visit Floriade when we were in Canberra earlier this month. It is, theoretically, just before mid-spring. Unfortunately, and surprisingly, Floriade was already over in October. That's early.

Hence, I managed to take only photos of flowers I saw around the suburb:

Flowers 5

Flowers 2

Flowers 1

Flowers 3

Flowers 4

I love spring!

Quick update

Been busy since I came back from Australia. First 3 days, I retook the exam I failed and the questions were the same! I just hope that the additional stuff I put in will help.

Then it was 2 days of catching up with work after 2.5 weeks away from office. It made me realise how bad things really are and I was thinking of quitting.

Weekend was spent mainly with Ban, who is ever so caring and sweet :) And naughty too. Haha. Met up with some friends for lunch on Saturday, bought an office belt (after having rather heated discussion with William about it hehe) and then Ban and I attended Ban's friend's wedding dinner in Melaka. We were back in KL after 1am.

We were supposed to meet NotHamsap for lunch but it was postponed to New Year. So we had lunch nearby. Satisfy my craving for char kuay teow, which was yummy. Finished the Heroes 5 game (we may start new one later hehe), dinner at airport and off I flew back to Singapore, reaching home before 11pm.

Cheryl and Apollo were at my place since Saturday. Had dinner and dessert with them, Derek, Nick and Lloyd. It was a great night although I was a lilttle under the weather.

Handed in my resignation letter to my boss but the slim chance that I hypothesised materialised and now he has started the ball rolling to enable our team to cross over to another department, with hopefully better big boss (who is certainly not from China). Hopefully I'll hear some good news within the next week or so.

Looking forward to Thursday night when my honey will be here until Sunday :)

Help me budget

As a result of this, I am now preparing for a backup plan that is quite risky and hence all the more important to get a hand of certain figures as much as possible.

I would like to find out the monthly/yearly budget for the following items in Malaysia (can just assume KL):
(1) Food
(2) Mobile phone
(3) Car maintenance
(4) Car petrol
(5) Motor insurance
(6) Broadband

Anything else I should be thinking off? There's no need to consider paying car loan, house loan, house rent or tax. I would appreciate any valuable input here. Thanks!

19 Nov 09 9.38pm update: Added broadband

Food for thought

I was in Canberra for 14 days and 14 nights. It was only on the 14th night I needed to take antacid (due to particularly spicy curry vegetables and ice cream that night). Otherwise, I neither ingested antacid nor omeprazole. This is despite having a slice of toasted bread with 100% natural peanute butter every night for 12 of those nights, with half glass of full cream milk, about 1-2 hours before sleep. This is in direct contradiction of the specialist's advice.

Yet, I felt so much better than I had been in recent months. No sorethroat from acid reflux either.

What does this tell me? I could only think of 2 things: either it was due to lack of stress from work (a very likely reason) or due to generally healthier main meals in Canberra (my sis is trying to inculcate healthy eating habits for her sons) or both.

This really got me thinking about alternatives to current job and I thought a lot about while waiting to board my plane back home. I may need help from you all to tell me certain figures for budgeting purpose.

Quirky signs?

Man overboard

Be careful of raining man? Errr into the sea?

Long taxi

40m-long taxi can be found on the right side.

Green thumb

Sis garden 2

My sis has some plants in her garden but not due to her own doing - they were planted by her in-laws. Apparently my sister (in her own words) is "hopeless" in looking after a garden (Me: Huh? But she planted vegetables!). Hence, they planted hardy plants and only asked her to occassionally water them.

The result is pretty good. Perhaps I should get some and see whether it can grow in the tough environment of my condo hehe.

Sis garden 1

Hunger


Love in Nature, originally uploaded by williamnyk.

There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.

- Anonymous (please let me know if you know who said this)

Journey to OZ: The Good

Apart from the bad stuff, there were some good ones although the spoilt zip tips the balance towards bad stuff and especially since some of the good ones turned out to be bad in the end. Oh well.

Anyway, some of the good things that happened are:

(1) I managed to leave office at about 4.15pm, collected my bags at home, checked in at Changi Airport and have time to eat Subway's Vege Delite (which I bought earlier near my office) and to have a short foot massage using OSIM's U-Squeeze (not as good as I thought but it was good enough).

(2) As usual I asked for aisle seat on the Singapore-KL flight at the check-in counter and was pleasantly surprised that they could also get me aisle seat on the KL-Melbourne flight (but turned out to be the seat beside the aisle seat, as blogged previously).

(3) The back of the seat on the MAS plane was a little puffed up and so provided better support to my back (but unfortunately still had sore tail-bone).

(4) The beef stew with potato and broccoli served for supper was rather delicious and better than expected.

(5) There were a couple of instances where the turbulence was so bad that the captain asked the cabin crew to go back to their seats in the midst of serving us drinks and food. Luckily there were no accidents and I'm still alive.

(6) Although I didn't manage to get the earlier flight to Canberra, this gave me time to get a Vodafone prepaid sim card and its recharge and a plug converter. This saved the hassle of getting them in Canberra and more time doing other stuff.

(7) Lastly, I have to mention that The Lounge at Melbourne Airport T3 was fantastic! My Priority Pass enables me to access plenty of airport lounges worldwide (the pass is complementary of my Citibank Premiermiless credit card) twice a year for free. The lounge was spacious and had ample seats and tables. I had shower there (towel, shampoo, conditioner were provided), breakfast, used my laptop awhile to update my budget and then registered the sim card.

Here are some pictures of The Lounge:

Melbourne The Lounge 1

Melbourne The Lounge 2

Melbourne The Lounge 3

Melbourne The Lounge 4

Melbourne The Lounge 5

Melbourne The Lounge 6

Melbourne The Lounge 7

Journey to OZ: The Bad

I was on a 15-hour journey, including transit time, on the route Singapore-KL-Melbourne-Canberra. I was on MAS for the route Singapore-KL-Melbourne and on Qantas on the route Melbourne-Canberra.

With 2 transit, a few things could go wrong. They did and they were:

(1) Although I asked and was supposedly given the aisle seat on the KL-Melbourne flight, it turned out to be the seat next to the aisle seat. I couldn't get up as often as I like to stretch which I usually do.

(2) My tail-bone was sore throughout the KL-Melbourne route and I couldn't get much relief due to (1) above. My sister attributed this to us being small people. Discriminatory seats. Bah.

(3) I slept a total of 2 hours during this entire 15-hour journey, mainly due to (2) above.

(4) The queue at the Melbourne airport immigration checkpoint was very long. I believed it took at least half an hour just to clear that.

(5) Although I indicated on the form I have nothing to declare, I was asked to join the queue (quite a long one...gah) to get my bags scanned instead of straight to exit. Note that my father's bags were not checked eventhough he declared a few times (my father was on the next day's flight).

After joining the queue, I had another opportunity to escape as there was another custom officer at the end of the queue deciding whether visitors could exit or have their bags scanned. I was asked to have my bags scanned.

As I was collecting my bag, suddenly one of the custom officers asked me to open one of my bags (omg when would this end??). In my haste, I spoiled the bag's zip :( Luckily there was another functioing zip there. As expected, there was nothing alarming in it. What a bloody waste of time, which did nothing but spoil my bag. Honey said I had hamsap look, which supposedly explain why they picked on me. I think not!

(6) Plane touched down just past 8am local time and by the time I cleared immigration and custom checkpoints, it was around 9am. Did I mention it was a waste of time?

My plane to Canberra was at 11.50am. Hence I asked whether I could take an earlier flight. The only earlier flight was at 10am and it was full. Now, instead of the usual service counter checking in, it is now self-check in for Qantas but still need to queue to drop the checked-in luggage, which was yet another long queue (did Melbourne import Singapore's trait or what??)

First weekend stay: Part 2

...where we started playing Heroes 5! Hahaha. We both love the game very much and Ban is really good at it. Hence it's hardly surprising that we stopped playing only at 4am and that too after first deciding to stop at 3am ("Oh can we play one more turn so I can get that gold mine?") :P

This paragraph is for Heroes 5 fans: remember the experiment I was doing earlier? It was Ban's concern that Avenger's ability may not be useful due to the availability of alternate upgrade. Prior to the alternate upgrade, if, say, you want to target both Vampire and Vampire Lord, you would need to use 2 slots to target them. His concern was that with the alternatve upgrade, which is Vampire Prince in this case, you would need to use 3 slots if, say, you are fairly certain you'll be fighting lots of vampires but not sure which one would turn up. Fortunately, research on the internet and the experiment confirmed that you just need to select 1 to target all 3! This is enabled even if you only killed Vampire before the selection and not any of the upgrades. Cool, right?

So as you may have guessed, Ban chose the Sylvan castle and, like a typical Sylvan fan, he is especially fond of his Master Hunters :) He chose a hero who specialises in Hunters. I chose the Fortress castle (dwarves) and my hero's speciality is spontaneously learn a random rune, which is especially useful since there is only one Fortress castle in the that particular scenario. To date, he has already captured the Infernal castle whereas I have just discovered the enemy territory (without having been to every corner of my territory yet).

Next day, we played more Heroes 5 in late morning before going off to the Curve for lunch with my sis and her hubby. We ate at Kim Gary's restaurant. Food was not too bad but a bit light in their ingredient. Had a good time chatting with my sis and her hubby. I'll be seeing my sister again in Australia later when we visit our sister there :)

Ban and I bought Subway sandwiches to be eaten at airport later before I fly off. Meanwhile, it was more...Heroes 5! What did you expect? Hehe. Ban actually managed to sneak in a bit of research while playing. After that, it was off to KLIA airport. I ate my sandwich in the car as I was hungry and in case there was no time to eat it at airport. However, we were on schedule and hence after check-in, I chatted with Ban while he ate his sandwich.

One good hug, few waves and off I went through the immigration checkpoint. Oddly, a last call was made for the flight I was taking although boarding gate was just opened for 10 mins i.e. there was still 20 mins left to departure time. Plenty of time I would think. Turned out that I was the last passenger lol. I ran a little bit towards the gate but the staff was kind enough to apologise.

I'll see you again next month, honey. Muack!

First weekend stay: Part 1

Last weekend was the first weekend Ban and I spent together as a couple. As posted previously, I flew with Japan Airline. As usual, I'm pleased with their service and seats. Their price to for SG-KL-SG is as competitive as those budget airlines for the same dates and around the same time.

I used the KLIA Express to go to KL Sentral. Fast and cheap. As it was Ban's first time picking anyone up at KL Sentral, it took him a while to figure out where I was. I was a little cranky because, while we were trying to figure out where we both were relative to each other, he asked me to walk to an "end" (which end??) but possibly not knowing I was handcarrying a rather heavy bag and backpacking another (and I was tired from the trip and yoga from lunch time). However, he quickly soothed me and asked me to stay where I was after seeing some of the door signs I told him I saw earlier. Hehe. Thanks honey :)

Saturday was designated as study day! Well, that was after we lunched outside at a kopitiam and bought some grocery, antacid and shampoo. Ban was diligent in doing his research while I was fidgeting trying to finish doing a few straightforward financial economic calculations (that was after I did a little blogging). I ended doing some experiment on Heroes 5 haha. We set up the game for later. So Ban did probably like 3 hours of research while I did maybe an hour of study. Shame on me hehe.

Saturday dinner was Japanese buffet at Kin No Uma at Palace of the Golden Horses with Cheryl. The hotel front lawn is beautiful but unfortunately I forgot to bring along my camphone. Gah. The buffet was great: good layout, ambience, delicious variety of food. The only complain I have is that some staff has rather bad service e.g. no smiles, no "Sorry sir, I'll get you one", don't talk basically. Maybe they don't know how to speak English? *Shrug*

Had good chat with Cheryl for about 2 hours while eating at the restaurant. Later, we went to a mamak place to hang out because she left her car keys in her car, which William drove to his colleague's wedding dinner. So we waited for William to come over. In the end, we met William at Cheryl's place. It was nice to see him again and we four chatted for maybe an hour before Ban and I headed back to Ban's place....

Please try again

Slightly more than a month ago, I attempted the FAP Final Assessment.

And now...

Failed exam

Nooooooooo!

:(

Exercise

This is currently my exercise routine:

Monday
- Pilates 6.30pm - 7.30pm. Sometimes I may instead go for Hotflow Yoga 6.30pm - 7.30pm

Tuesday
- Hatha Yoga 7.35pm - 8.35pm

Wednesday
- Restorative Yoga (very relaxing; don't sweat at all) 1pm - 1.50pm. If I went for Hotflow on Monday, then instead of this, I'll go for pilates 12.10pm - 1pm.

Thursday
- Vinyasa Flow 6.40pm - 8.10pm (toughest of all classes I attend)

Friday
- Ananda Yoga 1pm - 1.50pm

Saturday
- Tennis either 9am - 11am or 10am - 12 noon. If there's no tennis, I'll likely go for Hotflow Yoga 11.30am - 12.30pm.

Etched in stone?

Andrade always said that the future isn't carved in stone - and even if it were, stone can be broken.

- Sioned to Rohan in the book Stronghold, Book 1 of the Dragon Star series by Melanie Rawn

Rush & Queue

Queue

This was the scene at the Raffles Place MRT station during the last week of September 2009. In fact, shortly after this was taken, the queue in subsequent days was even longer: it went right up on to the staircase.

What were these people queuing for? Perhaps there was freebie given at the ticket office? Or maybe the ticket office was lacking manpower (but for an entire week??)?

Well, a bit of background: as early as January this year, it was announced that the stored-value card ("EZ-link card") that was used for the buses and MRT trains would be replaced with a new kind.

Grace period was given until end of September to change it (and subsequently it was extended by another week, which is not a surprise to me given this last-minute rush). That is a 9-month period. Evidently this was still not sufficent time for these people to get their cards changed.

How long would they need? A year perhaps? 2 years? From my observation of other similar phenomenon, it wouldn't matter because most likely they would still do it last minute, even if it for something important (such as filing tax return).

Why is this so? Why would they want to rush to do it last minute and wasting time queuing? Is it fun? Is it exciting having the adrenaline pumping, knowing that they may just miss the deadline? Perhaps they have nothing better to do and so just looking for the opportunities to queue?

Stranger than fiction.

The curious case of a stomach upset

A couple of weeks ago, I experienced stomach upset (gastric juice in overdrive) a few hours after my initial breakfast at home. This continued throughout that day and affected my sleep that night.

This is my attempt at guessing the culprit:

(1) My first guess of the culprit was the white bread I bought from Malaysia as that was the only thing different. So I bought my usual Gardenia white bread. Nope, it still happened.

(2) Then I thought maybe the kaya (the breadspread) has gone bad, despite its expiry date being next year. So I bought another kaya, a different brand too. Nope, didn't work. Gave the loaf of bread to my housemate hehe.

(3) Next I changed from white bread to raisin bread (it's not white, although I don't really know what it is). Wheat bread here or Malaysia doesn't work for me, unlike Australia's wheat bread. Weird, isn't it?

The raisin bread worked pretty well actually. The gastric juice rarely occurred then. However, my palate couldn't take too much of the raisin bread for too long.

(4) I then tried Weet-bix with fresh milk at home and muesli bars at office and whenever I'm hungry. Muesli bars worked very well but it is so very expensive! Unfortunately, gastric still occurred after Weet-bix (which previously didn't; I normally have it once every few days).

(5) My housemate alluded that it may due to the licorice and/or slippery elm supplement I recently started taking. I have temporarily stopped taking the former for a couple of weeks before he brought it up and so don't think it's that. I stopped slipper elm. Nope, didn't work either.

(6) Hence, I decided to stopped taking Lifepak and glucosamine supplement, both viewed to be essential to me, and try to take these supplements back one by one once my stomach stabilises.

Meanwhile, perhaps I should stick to raisin bread (but it's so rich in taste!). Hmmm should I see doctor now?

Jumbled dreams

Not sure why but last weekend I had trouble waking up. When I woke up on time (i.e. around the time I wished to wake up), my eyes were so heavy that I promptly closed them again and fell asleep. My head was a bit heavy (no, I didn't drink).

I had strange, rather clear, dreams. The sort that I believed my sister had (not sure whether she is still experiencing it or not) regularly - so much so that her colleagues in her ex-company eagerly await her storytelling of her dreams.

The parts I remember was dreaming about me waking up late on a Sunday (ironic, isn't it?). Late for what? Late for taking a coach down to meet Ban in Melaka. Apparently I am in Seremban. Panic set in. I want to call him to let him know that I have missed the bus and to discuss what to do (as the return ticket is scheduled on Sunday evening) but my handphone is almost out of battery.

So I decide to use my computer (desktop, instead of laptop which is what I'm using now in reality) to call him on Skype (cheaper mah hehe). However, my entire computer has been changed! Not sure by whom but likely an extended family member. I can't find the port for me to insert the speakers' cable. Meanwhile, someone, who is supposed to be my grandmother but doesn't look anything like her in reality, is fiddling about with my keyboard, causing the computer to do some funny stuff on its screen.

It was a bit blur at this point. Something about my uncle finding the parts needed for the speakers' cable (huh??) but in the end, it is sort of a non-issue as the computer has in-built speaker.

Then the dream changed. I am in Willliam's company, sitting at a desk. William drops by with his trademark Chesire grin and asks me to pass some documents to the boss (for him to sign) and tell the boss that either him, Marky or someone else (Su Fen?) will collect them from him later.

Then the scene changed again but seems like I was still in Wiliam's company. A guru on karma is saying something and the last bit he appears to allude that Samy Vellu (what the hell is he doing here??) is no longer his most favoured student. Shortly later, Samy Vellu holds a conference/meeting whereby he is talking about the organisation headed by that guru.

With such jumbled nonsensical dreams, it is no wonder I felt tired :)

Enriching Jetstar

After Ban confirmed which weekends in October he will be busy, I then went ahead to look for cheap air fare for night flight to and from KL. It was close to 10 pm then. The left lense of my spectacles was smeared with ointment I used on my left eye. My eye was swollen and a little painful. Probably due to seeing stuff I shouldn't see :P

Then I saw an air fare of only SGD114 by Jetstar Asia. Wow! It's awesome. I paid for it and gleefully told my honey and also my housemate about it.

Mistake

The next day, I printed out the e-mail confirmation at office. To my horror, the flight is morning flight! Both ways! The time was stated in 24-hour format but somehow my mind inserted the pm in there i.e. 0720 was interpreted by my mind as 7.20pm! To change the flight to night flight would cause me SGD150! Goodness!

In the end, after thinking of a variety of options, I purchased a new ticket from Japan Airlines for SGD144. I tried desperately to give away the Jetstar ticket for free (name change within 24 hours of purchase is free of charge). Spoke with 5 friends. No takers. Gah. Such a waste.

A year of own blog

My first entry in this blog was on 3 Oct 2008 but I actually started blogging in late May 2008 in a shared blog called Queer Qloset. That shared blog is pretty much dead now. Gradually over the months it seems that only a few of us are actively blogging in it.

Reason why I started on a shared blog was that I wasn't confident enough to blog and that I was also concerned that it may be just a passing phase. However, later I discovered that I do enjoy blogging. I like just blogging whatever I feel is interestng or merely jotting down my thoughts on certain issues.

Not counting those I tested out for a few hours only, the current template is my third template. The first one was one of those in-built templates, where I inserted my own picture as the banner, which is cropped from this photo:

Sesame

Cute, right? I thought it fitted quite well with the theme I was trying to portray.

Unfortunately, that template wasn't wide enough to fit medium size Flikr photos, which is the size I like. So I searched and then used a template that fitted and had a library kind of theme, which was again suitable.

I changed to the current template because I thought it may solve the button issue but it did not. However, I love this current template very much and still in keeping with the theme. Kept it ever since :)

Many things have occurred this past year. Met more people, closer to some people I know, family issues, getting used to housemate and his quirkiness, the "empress" showing her claws at work, financial crisis, first foray into shares, inaugural exercise and self-expression :P, passing exam, health problems, lovely time with friends and family and of course getting a boyfriend. Highly likely I left out some important things but I'm not that free to look through past entries and summarise hehe.

So let's hope the following year would be better. I hope this blog has helped my friends and family in understanding me better. To everybody: thanks for reading!

Tell me the secret

There's something about a baby that makes you want to protect him, make sure he doesn't cry, have enough to eat, enough to sleept etc. Basically, you just want to take care of him. What do you get in return? Smile, laughter and utter cuteness!

Some people just seem to retain such quality even to adulthood. No, they are not vulnerable bunch of people. In fact, most of them are capable of taking care of themselves and don't ask to be taken care of. Yet, others are falling over themselves trying to offer to take care of them. I know a few people like that but I can't figure out why they have such baby-ish qualities.

Care to share?

Inaugural

27Sep09 depart

Ban was here from Thursday night till Sunday evening. He was here attending a seminar on Friday and Saturday. In between, we spent time with some friends here, played Citadel and getting to know each other better. He is good at playing Citadel hehe. Beat me 2 out of 3 games and the last game he lost by merely 1 point. I tried a few times to get a few friends to join in but the timing wasn't too good. Oh well, next time.


We spent quite a good deal talking about our lives and sharing our thoughts, which is great. So far, so good :) See you soon honey!

DBS/POSB credit card is "back"

Josie Lau


Yay! Some good news! I have cut my POSB credit card because of this woman after she became president of AWARE for a few weeks. Since she is now no longer heading the DBS cards department, DBS/POSB credit cards are now under my consideration.

Some background reading on the AWARE saga:
http://www.theasiamag.com/categories/lives/people-of-asia/singaporeans-rise-to-the-occasion-in-aware-saga
http://singaporeenquirer.sg/?p=3473
http://singaporeenquirer.sg/?p=3603

Flying Spaghetti Monster

Flying Spagethi Monster

I honestly thought Ban was just pulling my leg but there is such deity...albeit for a parody religion. It's quite amazing. It's a result of someone who strongly protested against a move by Kansas School Board. For more details, read these:

http://www.venganza.org/about/open-letter/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster

20 September 2009 (20092009)

This is a key date in my life. A very happy occassion. About four months ago, I added and started corresponded with a guy, who turns out to be super nice, caring and considerate (among other lovable qualities). He is Ban and he's now my man :)

Where am I?

Ever woke up and wondered where you are? I had that moment more than a week ago.

Except that I did that in a dream :)

Health defense


HealthFairMap, originally uploaded by williamnyk.

Just woke up...involuntarily. My feet felt cold. My throat itches. Slightly thick phlegm in mouth. Gah.


Quickly boil water. Warm water is always good in dissolving those phlegm and ease the itchy throat. Ate a slice of bread so that I can...let's see...oh luckily there's one more but it's actually for morning. I'm desperate. So I ate a tablet of cetrizine (for runny nose), 500mg Vitamin C time-release capsule and 10ml of cough syrup (the brown one).


I better see doctor tomorrow morning to stock up on medication to bring along on my trip back to Malaysia. Hope this is defeated quickly.

Logical mind

Two accountancy students were walking across campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"

The second accountant replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."

The first accountant nodded approvingly, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't fit."

Hahaha.

96 hours

FAP Final Assessment

I started this about 15 minutes ago. I hope I'll pass.

A counter-tip

Few days ago, I posted a tip for sleeping well from a news article.

I used to use aircond every night when I sleep. After last night, I now remember why I resolved to switch to fan. No, it wasn't the regular nagging I received from my housemate. It was because of my blocked nasal passage.

I never had that problem before until early this year. For some strange reasons, I started having the blockage each time I sleep and it has gotten so bad that the next day, I had headache too. Besides medical treatment, doctor strongly advised me to make do without aircond, which I did and the problem didn't come again until few nights ago and last night.

In any case, as I've responded to comments left in a previous entry, I doubt the temperature is the cause of my sleeping problem (mind you, it's not that regular though) because when I was using aircond, this problem did crop up every now and then, whereas using fan, I could sleep soundly on most nights.

*Shrug*. Oh well.

Ps: Switching to fan cut my utility bill by about 1/3!

Car comparison

I'm not into cars but I always remember that Proton cars are not....how shall I put it....safe in a car crash. Years ago, I pressed my palm on a proton saga and shocked to notice that how much less resistance it had against my palm, unlike other cars. Now, maybe things have improved since then but this seems to vindicate the decades old perception:
(I am not responsible over the veracity of this video clip. Believe it at your own risk.)

A tip to sleep well

Cool night sleep

I hope the housemate is reading this.

Broken save button

Awhile ago, I said that the issue of save function not working resolved by itself. Well, it happened again.

I wanted to insert a code and so open up a html/javascript gadget and to my dismay it looked like this:
Broken save button

It definitely didn't look right and in fact, it looked exactly as it was a few days ago. Noticed how the "Save", "Cancel" and "Back" buttons are on the top right? The latter two were working just fine but the "Save" button was not.

I've scoured the internet and did find some people with similar issues but unfortunately with no effective solutions. Use different browser - checked. Clear cache, cookies, temp files etc - checked. Shut down and restart - checked.

Hmph!

PS: Thanks Ban for "lending" me your laptop to do amend my blog :)

A new look

It was actually kind of incidental only.

I had problem with the blog. After editing the page element, the save function didn't work. So I thought maybe it was the template's fault and hence I carefully selected one of those in-built ones. I'm pleasant surprised to find 2 blog templates that meet my minimum requirement i.e. able to allow me to insert medium sized Flikr's photos.

So I chose this. Unfortunately, it didn't solve the problem. I even try editing directly the blog's html. Although at least there was a message saying it was saved, the edit wasn't actually saved. Bummer.

Tried googling about this issue. There are a few people having the same issue but so far there's no effective solution. I also tried using IE8 and Google Chrome (my default browser is Firefox). Oh I also obtained the latest Java version. None worked.

In the end, it just simply resolved itself...after struggling with it for 14 hours!

So what do you think of this new template? Better or worse than the previous one?

Update: I changed the template again upon feedback. I believed this looks neater. However, I would like to change the colour scheme to blue. Anyone can help? ;)

Second update: Hehe...found this one instead. Think it looks good. What do you think?

Trust

A man is only as good as his word and his action.

- Did anyone say this before? If not, I'm claiming it hehe.

Indicative power of underwear


UW II, originally uploaded by williamnyk.
This one's for you, Mr Skanky :P

Extract of a news article in TODAY papers, Tuesday 23 September 2009:

"One quick way to know when the recession will end is to look into the American man's underwear drawer.

If men are putting off buying new pairs and sticking to wearing threadbare underpants, the downturn is probably not over. But if there are new pairs in the drawer, that could signal better days ahead, reported The Washington Post".

Ooooh.

Formenting dissent

I've been thinking hard how to provide 'feedback' about the unease (a gross understatement) my colleagues we feel about our big boss a.k.a. the empress, especially what happened here and here. In fact, I'm not even sure there's anyone higher than her who can intervene as technically she is considered equal to other big bosses.

Then a glimmer of hope appears...and please let it eventually brightens the future.

Ok, a little background: our department here in Singapore have both internal and external clients. Internal clients are our fellow colleagues in other departments, who need our expertise in certain areas. One area is to provide our opinion on the reasonableness of work performed by their own external clients. This matters because our colleagues are signing off certain forms/certificates that include, among other things, work done by their external clients.

Over the years, there were discussions, at times squabbles, about how this should be done but I can safely say that after 7 years, both parties are comfortable with the work we perform and the fees that we charged.

Enter the empress. Instead of checking reasonableness of the work, she is insisting that to provide proper assurance, we have to reperform the work! Naturally, this will mean a gigantic increase in fees (easily doubled), which is something that internal clients cannot pass to their clients as doing so will drive them to our competitors (who are already providing the same service a little cheaper).

Of course this caused an uproar among the big bosses of the other departments and inevitably some of them, including their senior managers, have touched on this topic with me and lamented that they are already comfortable doing the way of which my direct boss is advocating i.e. reasonableness check (and at most, some sample checking), rather than full reperformance. I agreed with them but said that it is out of my hands and it is something that all the big bosses have to work it out.

Later, I learned that the empress may just shift all such service to China and the reason given is because of lack of manpower (which is true). As we have already started discussing about this year end work with internal clients, we were given permission by our senior manager to forewarn them. This causes yet another uproar and I can safely say that all of them prefer the work to be here as even their external clients view this as an advantage over our competitors. Again, I agreed with them that we should just hire more (in fact, it's merely hiring to replace those who left) here, instead of shifting the work to China.

I really hope the big bosses of other departments can knock some sense into my big boss. Pray hard.

Ticklish current

On Sunday, Derek, Nick, Lloyd and I made our maiden journey to a fish spa, specifically at Kenko Marina Square. Lloyd and I had vouchers that were just enough to get each of us 30 mins of fish spa. Unlike normal massage, one cannot book in advance and so we just turned up. Fortunately, there was plenty of space.

At the entrance, we were asked to wash our legs after spraying some disinfectant on them and then to use their slippers. Our bags were kept in lockers.

Inside, there was a rectangle pool in the middle and a drain-like kind of pool against the wall facing outside. We just automatically gravitated towars the middle pool, which later we learned has the smaller fish (but not much smaller actually).

The feeling is truly unexpected. We couldn't stop giggling for the first 5 minutes or so. It was very ticklish! In fact, Derek kept wriggling about (so guys, we know how to "handle" Derek next time, ok? ;) ) for a while. Later, after getting used to it, it felt like tiny electricity current running through my legs.

It was truly fascinating. Some of us started with more fish on one side of leg and gradually more on the other side. Also, Nick has the most fish on him. He must be shedding plenty of dead skin hehe.

Fish spa

Although I may not necessarily pay to experience this in future, I will still recommend to everyone to try it at least once. Perhaps 15 - 20 mins will do. If any longer and especially if you're alone, bring a book along to read. It should be relaxing.

Throwing money

A friend is considering taking up insurance, which is great as I strongly encouraged him to do so when he's young. It should be used as protection. He wouldn't want all his savings go to, say, hospitalisation, right?

He did ask me a few things about insurance e.g. what he should get first, which company etc. Among many things I've advised him not to take up investment-linked policies because of a few reasons: investment risk is transferred from insurer to policyholders; better to separate investment and protection as it's cheaper doing it that way. He seems to understand.

Today I met up with him for dinner

Him: Oh yah, I decided to get policies from XXX company.
Me: What you're getting?
Him: The basic one and the hospitalisation plan.
Me: What basic one?
Him: The whole life one lah.
Me: But XXX only have investment-linked plan leh for that.
Him: Yah, that's the one.
Me: But didn't I tell you about how bad investment-linked plan is?
Him: Yah I know but I'm hoping that by getting it, I'll have better chance of them approving my application for hospitalisation plan since I was hospitalised before.

I nearly cried. Ok, ok. I actually did cry. Cried in despair. No, no, no, I told him that the company does not make it easier for you to get the hospitalisation plan simply because you get another plan from them. But he made up his mind, even though the company hasn't processed his applications.

It's like throwing money away. Much better to spend it on me lol.

Up (a coincidence)

On Saturday, before watching Up (an animated movie), my friends and I were having dinner at Plaza Singapura's Kopitiam foodcourt. One of the main topics we discussed was insurance. A friend commented that it is such a morbid topic and that insurance agent always talks about death and living. Well, that's the nature of insurance. To protect oneself from unfortunate events (e.g. on dying prematurely or living beyond expectation) that one cannot guarantee will not happen.

We watched Up at Cathay after dinner. It is much better than expected, even though I went in with much expectation in the first place due to good review all around. It's basically about a man who shares his adventurous wife's dream to live in Paradise Fall in South America. They set about saving money to achieve their dream but alas, they have to use their savings to pay for a few things, of which among them are hospitalisation bill and cost of repairing their house after a tree collapse on it due to windy weather (seems like a prelude to hurricane).

If only they have insurance...

In our hands


In My Hand, originally uploaded by williamnyk.
It is precisely because life is not fair that we shouldn't make it any more unfair.

- Me

Daily fasting

I've been having this persistent sorethroat since last week of May. Though it's not painful when I swallow, it is still sore and dry. Problem with me is that this could be caused by
  • your typical bacteria
  • acid reflux
  • post-nasal drip
I have been given medicine to treat all 3 but it's still there. Hence, I was referred to a ENT specialist. The GP suspects it's caused by post-nasal drip and said all the specialist can do is to confirm it i.e. there is nothing else to do but to live with it. My eyes nearly bulged out. If that's true, I'll seek a second opinion, especially from the doctor near where I live, who is very competent but unfortunately his clinic is not in the panel clinic list.

Anyway, I saw the specialist last week and he did a scope through the nose. Confirmed there's nothing there causing post-nasal drip. Confirmed throat reddish:

Throat

So conclusion: acid reflux. He suspects it's due to my light supper but I pointed out that it consists only of half glass of milk and a slice of bread to prevent gastric. Although he acknowledged that, he still said the reflux is likely due to that. So he prescribed me omeprazole and domperidone for just over 2 months I believed, which I am fine.

However, he also said no food 4 hours before bed. The shocker is this: no water 3 hours before bed! If thirsty, just rinse mouth. What the hell! I'm supposed to see him 6 months later in January. Six bloody months on this fasting regime.

Hope I don't collapse from dehydration before that :-(

Share share

For about 8 years or so, I have been investing in unit trust funds. Made some mistakes along the way but due to my prudent nature, they were not fatal but, instead, provided valuable lessons to me.

During the last few days of July, I made my first foray into investment in shares. At this point, I'm not looking to trade shares but I'm buying shares as long term investment (naturally with regular review to ascertain my view of the companies have not changed). I'll be splitting my future investment between unit trust funds and shares.

As a start, I search for shares that provide consistently good dividends, especially from companies that are dominant in their respective industry. I was fortunate that 2 ex-colleagues pointed me to Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) as they fit into my search criteria. As a result, I now own shares in 8 REITs, Comfort Delgro and SBS Transit.

Please help by taking SBS buses, Comfort/Citycab taxis, shop at Plaza Singapura, Bugis Junction, Tampines Mall, Raffles City, Ngee An City and Wisma Atria :-)

Dear Diary

I doubt anyone knows or remembers that I have a diary. No, not this blog but an actual traditional diary.

I have stopped actively write in it ever since I started work. There were a few huge gaps, with the longest one being 3.5 years! I started writing in it in November 1991 and was quite active until early 2000 when I started working. Since then, there have been sporadic entries, with the latest one written down on Sunday a few days ago.

I took the opportunity to randomly read some past entries. Wow, it made me realise I have forgotten many things. So many happy incidents, so many sad incidents, all blown away from my mind. It's good I wrote these down as there are important markers in my life.

So nearly 18 years on, things have changed dramatically. In fact, I can't even point to one thing that hasn't changed. Scary. Yet changes can be for the better. Let's hope there are more of these in future.

I should make an effort to write in the diary more often. Precious memories.

A funky entrance!

This is just too cute!

Causes of sleeping problem

(1) Hunger/Gastric
(2) Cough
(3) Mosquito
(4) Dinner past 10pm
(5) Wearing only underwear
(6) Temperature (hot if use blanket, cold if don't use)
(7) Tea in the evening
(8) Vivid dreams

Thematic torture

Last week, it was "Oh, let's call JJ busybody no matter how reasonable his questions are." This week it is "Let's confirm doing something for JJ and reconfirm much closer to the date but then at the last minute say cannot."

Help! I want to get out of this curse!

Eventful weekend

Ban was down here for the weekend. His brother advised him that trading account in Singapore, for the purpose of trading shares listed in overseas stock exchanges, is better than that in Malaysia for reasons that isn't entirely clear to me...nor to Ban but hey, his brother knows this stuff.

Saturday
He arrived here on a bright early Saturday morning at about 7.20am. It's the usual time I wake up for work hehe but well, it was ok since I had planned to wake up for tennis even earlier than that. I didn't go for tennis since I decided to get Ban at the airport. Not exactly a good idea to have a bunny hopping too long at the airport ;-)

We had breakfast at Parkway Parade and then headed to POEMS to open account. Unfortunately, they needed quite a big sum for deposit and wouldn't accept Ban's suggestion of completing the application and then send the cheque later because it has to be done in person. Bummer.

Had lunch at Aston but this time at the branch at East Coast Road. Ban agreed it's delicious and cheap but unfortunately, but not unexpectedly though, his food was slow to arrive.

Headed back to Parkway Parade to get swimming trunk and goggles for Ban. After browsing a few stores, finally bought them from World of Spots with the assistance of a helpful salesman.

Went back to my place and we both napped. I was really about to conk off lol. Just not enough sleep the night before. Swam a little while after that before visiting Llyod's workplace, which is an art gallery, where we met up with Lloyd and Nick.

Had dinner at Vincent's. I don't think that's the restaurant's proper name but that's what Lloyd and Nick call it. Had herbal chicken, some green vegetables, har kau, soup and white tea. Nice place to have decent conversation. We bought some dessert at Bedok's hawker centre and headed to my place for a round of Citadel! Ban won with more than 30 points while the rest of us had over 20 points each, with me in last place. I was 'assasinated' at least 3 times. Bah. But it was great fun :-)

Ended the night with Heroes of Might and Magic 5! Seems like Ban's good at playing this game and I'm looking forward to finish the scenario next time. We both are ganging up on the computer players hehe.

Sunday
Woke up late morning. I ironed clothings while waited for Ban to wake up. Didn't have much time to continue HoMM5. Exercised a bit before heading out. I couldn't see Ban off at the airport because I was going to watch Harry Porter: The Half-Blood Prince with 7 other friends and I was having the tickets.

I was in time for the movie, which I thought was so-so only although some of us thought it's better than The Order of the Phoenix. I prefer the latter for more action though.

Had dinner at Plaza Singapura's Kopitiam, followed by coffee at TCC. I just drank water as I wasn't too keen on coffee or desert at that time. The company that matters :-)

I was really bushed that night. Slept rather well and contented :-)

Rose Quartz

I used to have a rose quartz pendant. Long story short: I lost it. Wasn't really keen to get another one until recently when I was at Parkway Parade. I've been to the shop Times of Feng Shui before and so I decided to go in and enquire.

Unfortunately, all the pendants didn't look appealing. Moreover, after having tried having 2 pendants in a chain, I don't think I want that any more. The lady was resourceful enough to recommend a few carry-on rose quartz instead. So in the end I bought this, with a pouch too:

Rose quartz 2

Rose quartz 1

There's a note attached to it that's entitled "Romancing Mystic Endless Knot". Here's what it says:

The 'Mystic Endless Knot' immortalized in Rose Quartz crystal makes powerful talismans & said to bring all kind of good fortune & networking luck to the owner.

Never ending with no beginning it is symbolic of one's life aspirations for perfection, everlasting love, endless wealth, smooth partnership and a union of friendship like no others.

Keep one close to you at all times to enhance your chances in finding your perfect partner for the rest of your life. It can also be displayed at home to improve family bond as well as to bring peace & bliss to all.

Wah so powerful. Makes me want to hold up to the sky and say, "By the power of rose quartz! I have the power!". Hehe. So all single guys (including cute ones of course hehe): beware :-)

Precedent

Recently, I visited my regular doctor in the morning to get more supply of omeprazole. I had planned to go in office after that.

While in the bus, I realised that my blocked nose was still there from the day before and so I thought I might as well seek his consultation.

Me: I have blocked nose
Doc: Since when?
Me: Since yesterday.
Doc: Anything else?
Me: Nothing else.
Doc: Fever? Sore throat?
Me: No fever but got slight sore throat

He checked eyes, listened to chest etc and while taking my temperature...

Doc: You can work today?
Me: *Nodded yes*
Doc: You sure?
Me: *Nodded a bit more vigorously*
Doc: You better rest lah.
Me: *Blinked and then shrugged*
Doc: Better rest at home and not spread around.
Me: *Nodded ok*
Doc: Anyway, your office will probably kick you out.
Me: *Silently laughed inside*

First time in my life a doctor insisted I take MC. Can't blame him in current environment of pandamic H1N1. In fact, there was news about how someone was sent off by his GP but later discovered to be infected by that virus.

Sleepless in Singapore

Been trying to sleep since about 10.20pm. Highly likely cannot work tomorrow. The question is: should I see doctor and attempt to get MC or just take annual leave? The answer is not as easy as it seems as I am keen to keep the number of sick leaves down to the minimum.

Gah.

Guess how much?

Aston 1

Aston 2

Guess how much is this? Here are some information:

(1) It's served in a restaurant.
(2) You can mix and match the 2 side dishes. Here, the side dishes are french fries and garden vegetables.
(3) It tastes really good.
(4) There's perpetually a queue, and long one especially during regular meal times.

I am confident that it could easily sell for more than S$10 here in Singapore but actually it costs a mere S$6.50 and that's net: there's no additional charge for GST or service charge.

It is no wonder there's queue at Aston. The only issue I have is the time it takes for the food to arrive. It's slow but it noticeably improves over time. Oh and another thing is that you cannot reserve seats in advance but guess that is not a problem with the restaurant.

So far, I have eaten its branches at Cathay, East Coast Road and at SingPost. The best is still at Cathay. I've had grilled fish with herbs, chargrill chicken and fried chicken. All great.

I definitely recommend to everyone but be prepared to queue and expects slow serving of food.

Thank You For Coming


Thank You For Coming, originally uploaded by williamnyk.
Also thanks for the photo and the apt title of the photo haha :-)

As mentioned before, William was here for 5 days. Besides "exercising" with his Derek, he has been ironing and doing laundry (not mine, though sweet of him to offer) at home hehe.

Ok, ok, that's not all that he did obviously. Since he'll probably blog about it (conventionally weeks later hehe), here's just a summary of what I know:

Monday
Have already blogged a bit about it.

Tuesday
Lunched with Derek's friends. I accompanied him to Orchard Road to attempt to buy a pair of shoes for Cheryl. Took a few photos of ION. Went home for a while before going out again for KTV (yay!) with Derek and his friend. Had plenty of fun singing :-)

Wednesday
Derek and I were working and so William was left to his own device. If I'm not mistaken, he ironed Derek's clothings. While a bunch of us were watching the play Own Time Own Target, he was out for dinner with his brother. Met up later to go home

Thursday
My outing with William. Swam at my place but unfortunately it was too hot to swim long. Jiggled a little bit to a special dance video haha. Met up with Derek and Eskay for dim sum and dessert at Peach Garden. Yummy! It's nice to have dim sum once a while but definitely not often. Jelak.

Went to House of Condoms to get certain product for his friend :P Enquired about memory pillow at some departmental stores but decided it's cheaper to get it in KL. He took photos at Orchard Central and Iluma. Had yummy noodle and dessert at Chinatown.

Met up with Derek to go to Llyod's art gallery for the opening night of an exhibition. Nick joined us soon. Lingered at Llyod's office until the gallery was closed and then off for dinner at a nearby food centre. Frog legs (I didn't take it), fish (a tad too spicy), pork and green vegetables.

Friday
Paktor with Derek. "Exercised" on my bed lol. They went to Science Centre. I arrived at airport first and discovered that his flight was shifted to past midnight due to technical faults. Suggested he tried getting morning flight the next day (today), which was obliged by the airline (but only that midnight and morning flight were offered as replacement).

Dinner at Crystal Jade Shanghai Restaurant at T3. Price was expected for a restaurant at airport but the portion was smaller than expected. Fish was horrible! It's now on my ban list. Don't go there, unless you're in desperate need to throw away your money.

William took more photos of T3. He's obsessed with that terminal. We all browsed through a bookstore that's going to close down. Didn't buy any books.

Played Boggle at home. Much laughter and cursing hehe. Derek suggested 10 rounds. William beat me by 1 point! Derek was last because he was constantly looking for words with letters beyond the agreed minimum. I believed I had the longest word that night (guys, correct me if I'm wrong), which was "scythe".

Saturday
Woke up at ungodly hour. For a moment, I wondered why the hell my alarm clock rang when it was so dark haha. Long queues at airport for all JetstarAsia counters. Slight hiccup at check-in when he was informed that the replacement ticket he had did not have free check-in luggage. We pointed out that this was a replacement ticket and the person who issued the ticket didn't inform him that it was a Jetstar Lightsaver ticket. He was prepared to show his original ticket, which allowed free check-in luggage. Thankfully they didn't argue and just checked in his luggage.

Had lousy breakfast at Changi Kopitiam. Eggs were lousy but more importantly, the service was lousy. Even the kopitiam near Simei MRT, in a HDB shoplot, is much better. Banned!

Tearful goodbye before departure...ok, no tears lah but heartfelt :-)

Trouble sleeping

It started after it finally rained decently here in Singapore, which was on Sunday evening. That night, I was woken up because persistent mosquito bites. I had to get up and spray fragant environmental-friendly insecticide and had some midnight snack (because of slight gastric) while waiting for the insecticide to diffuse.

Monday night it sort of happened again, which is why I'm awake now at 2.30am. There are mosquito bites but seems to be localised at 2 spots only no matter how long I was tossing and turning in bed. Had to get up to drink some milk and eat some bread because of slight gastric.

Highly likely to be really tired in office tomorrow. Haiz.

On a brighter note, had an excellent gathering at my place last night. William is down here for 5 days. Lloyd cooked curry chicken with unintentionally mashed potatoes (hehe), tomato based lightly fried fish with capsicums and stir-fry green leafy vegetables with prawns. They are delicious! Tasted his cooking before and I was convinced it would be good :-) . Thanks Lloyd! I helped fry the fish before he cooked it with the sauce. William helped to chop and prepare the raw food. Bet he also had "supper" last night haha.

Other guests at dinner were Derek, Nick and Simon. Our dinner lasted about 2 hours. There was lots of chatting (loud!) and laughter (loud!) and modelling of t-shirts (bit loud lol). Considering recent serious stuff, I hadn't had such relaxing joyful moment for quite sometime (Melaka trip was enjoyable but really tiring). I'm grateful. Thanks guys!

Hope I can fall asleep soon.

Change to what and where?

Big boss chatted with me when handing me letter on salary increment and bonus. She outlined where she's planning to steer the Singapore operation to. Agreed with some stuff she said but disagreed on some key points.

In fact, quite shocked when she reaffirmed the decision to harmonise the study leaves across regions. When I raised the concern the effect this has on attracting and retaining staff in Singapore (since it is severely below industry practice here), she said that the competition is not within Singapore but with China (or did she say "world"?) and that people will join the company because of how good the company is (rather than the study leaves). This is laughable. She might as well say that salary doesn't matter then.

The last straw is that my nice boss is retiring at the end of the year. Hence, I am looking elsewhere and contemplating working freelance. Haven't heard of anyone working freelance in my profession and so have to do my sums and come up with a strategy. Meanwhile, I've started asking around for opening in selected companies but so far nothing.

Haiz, so troublesome.

Job and hobby

If I like my job, then it wouldn't be a job. It would be a hobby.
- Choo Veh Den

Bewildering incidents

Some bewildering incidents have happened since the official take over by the new big boss last year:

(1)
Fact: Before she took over, we were already shorthanded by one. Within the next 8 to 10 months, 3 more left. Despite pleas from my boss for replacements (not new hires), there had been none except for the new manager.

Thoughts: Is she trying to demoralise us? Close down Singapore office? Shift all business to China?


(2)
Fact: A new manager was hired early this year and we were told of his exact date of joining. That was great news as we thought he could then help us with some of the excess work we had since the departure of 4 colleagues. However, he was instructed by big boss to go to China instead for a couple of months and the interesting bit is that we were not told! We accidentally found out from HR.

Thoughts: That was so rude! The irony is that he ended up doing alot of our excess work, which could have been done more efficiently if he was here in Singapore

(3)
Fact: We were told that study benefits are now harmonised across the region. As a result, our study leaves were cut by a third, which is far below what our competitors in Singapore are offering.

Thoughts: Goodness, what's going on up there? Are they dumb or is this really an attempt to drive us away?

(4)
Fact: We tried billing for work done on China projects. We were told to just "write them off" as they are not significant. One of the projects incurred a time cost of USD50,000.

On the other hand, we no longer can claim for study materials. All materials will belong to company and photocopied and distributed as needed. This is to save money. A typical textbook cost USD100.

Thought: Penny wise, pound foolish anyone? Copyright issue? Wiley, you reading this?

(5)
Fact: When she said she would do this or that by this time/date, rarely she met her own deadlines. She couldn't even make the time to peruse proposal for a huge project or just to say didn't have enough time.

Thought: Too much micromanaging? Misplaced priority? Too focused on the big picture but little on the details?

(6)
Fact: A manager in China that he would pay us certain amount of fees for our support. This was written clearly in an e-mail. When the time came for us to bill, he said he needed to get approval from big boss. In fact, since she would be down here later, he asked us to discuss with her.

Thought: What the hell is going on? Shouldn't he obtain the approval beforehand? Does the fact that he has the guts to ask us to tell big boss what happened mean that she knew about this?


As an aside, any idea how to overthrow a tyrannical empress?

The unrecognised dads and mums

During Mother's Day and Father's Day, appreciation is shown for the patience and care our parents have shown (if they had shown) us in bringing us up throughout the decades. I would like to highlight a large group of people who have never been appreciated before on such days: those who have childish parents (and I don't mean parents with regressive minds).

Oh yes, I know that some people may think it's ridiculous to compare decades of bringing us up from babies till young adults with a few years of taking care of childish parents. Well, think about this way: our parents have the advantage as starting of as parents since we were babies. We feared them. We respected them. We looked up to them. We admired them. Therefore it is much harder for us to have our roles reversed i.e. we have to be parents to them when they are childish. We want to scold and punish them and yet have to do it without raised voice, with careful words and, impossible it may sound, with respect. I put to you that this is a harder role to play.

So to all guys out there with childish parents, I wish you belated Happy Father's Day and best of luck!

I Love You, Man (updated)

This is an excellent movie! Go watch it. Sorry, I'm bad at general description. I suspect Derek might write a review about it.

Update on Sunday, 21 June 2009:
Hehe well, I'll say a few words about this movie. I was so tired last night especially since I played about 2 hours of tennis in the morning.

It was about a guy, Peter, who was about to get married but realised that he doesn't have any male best friend to be his best man. Thus he went on a quest to find one. It's hilarious (but not slapstick) especially the inevitable awkward moments (both gay and gayish ones) as he doesn't really know how to make male friends.

I've never had best friends, at least not according to my intepretation of "best friend". I had a few close friends. In fact, there was a group fo 6 of us back in lower secondary school. In upper secondary, I had a few close friends and a few very good friends but not all of them hung out together. I remember writing a letter of thanks during Valentine's Day to 5 of them (or was it 6? Lol I'm really old). Yeah, I was depressed and sentimental then while in Australia.

Now? I still don't have best friend and maybe not even close friend. I do have one of which I definitely can count on in emergency but we run in different circle of friends and do different things. However, we regularly meet up for lunch and catch up. I have a very good friend and a few good friends.

A counsellor once suggested that being away from home (I was away since I was 15), I tried to incorporate my friends as members of my "family" and thus the conflicts I had with a close friend back then. Although she was wrong about the reason of the conflicts (I was in love with him lah hehe), I believed her statement in general is probably true and hence I try not to do that as then my expectation would likely to exceed what can be received from my friends.

An affair

He was always there but I barely noticed his presence. It was usually a quick, that was all.

However, something changed last week. For some strange reasons, I had this strong urge to see him. I did meet and spend some time with him but I was concerned as he is not one I would wish to engage with for too long.

Hence I visited a doctor and was prescribed some medication that hopefully would eliminate the urge. It definitely lessened the intensity but, unfortunately, not its frequency. I still meet him regularly for the past week. At home, at work and sometimes even at the gym.

After more than a week of exhaustion and struggle, I visited the doctor again and once again I'm popping pills. Hopefully this urge will go away this time.

Please let this diarrhoea go away.

SGA313J

To the lady driver of this BMW: you could have killed a bunch of office workers around 12 noon at Telok Ayer Street, after the junction with Cross Street, by not stopping at the traffic light when it was clearly red on your side and it was clearly green on the pedestrian side.

Fined

My poor cousin. His started his first job here in Singapore as a hair stylist less than a year ago. Still unsure about how things work in Singapore. He was recently fined S$500.

For what? For taking a sip of drink in the MRT train.

It was really unlucky because firstly, MRT officer is seldom seen in the train. Secondly, even if the officer is in the train, what are the odds he bumped into my cousin just when he was sipping? Thirdly, usually people are warned first rather than fined right away.

S$500 is no small amount especially for a young man on his first job.

Sleep


IMG_1502, originally uploaded by williamnyk.
I wanted to sleep forever this weekend.

Out to a higher standard?

What fellow blogger, Alex, experienced is one of the reasons why I've decided not to come out to my parents. It would be a very convenient excuse for them to blame on homosexuality for all my perceived undesirable attitude and behaviour in the past and in the future. There would be pressure for me to maintain a standard that is likely to be higher than your average heterosexual person, which would be grossly unfair.

Even worse is my fear that they may take this further by excusing their bad behaviour and ignore any admonishment from me and waved it as some gay distorted views. It would be so easy for them to continue to be irresponsible since whatever I say then would fall on deaf ears and maybe even ignore my siblings' advice by assuming that they have been influenced by their gay brother.

If this happens, it would be dangerous. It has very real consequences on me and my siblings, at least on the financial side. No, it's not that we depend on them. It is the other way around. All these years we have been struggling to get the concept of budgeting and spending within one's means across to my mum and as far as we can tell, she hasn't grasped it. My dad's not helping by offering little resistance to her perpetual request to expand beyond the budget. Many things have happened to vary the intensity of these actions but that's what it is in a nutshell. This is only financial effect. You can certainly draw your own conclusion the effect on our relationship. Hint: certainly would not be rosy.

Can you imagine what would happen if I come out to them? As Alex's parents have demonstrated clearly: irrationality can rein in and all hell can break loose.

Road trip to Melaka Part 3

The next day, the Fenix Hotel occupants had breakfast at a nearby Taiwanese restaurant. I had some sort of noodle. It was so-so only to me, and evidently so from the fact that I don't even remember the name of the noodle hehe.

Went shopping at Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall (hope I got the name correct). Bought some underwear and a short sleeved shirt (thanks guys!). Caught up with William while Derek and Cheryl had their foot tenderised at at Thai massage shop in the mall.

Had chicken rice balls, with chicken of course, for lunch. The rice balls were great but the chicken was kinda normal and in fact more moist than normal. Had delicious chendol after that. We had to queue at both shops.

After that, it was tearful parting (hahaha well it could very well had been one) and then back to Singapore. What are the key practical lessons I learn in this trip?

(1) Never go during school holidays, especially when it is the case for both countries
(2) Satay celup is a must!
(3) The Baba chendol at Jonkers Street is a must!
(4) Shopping is also a must lol

Road trip to Melaka Part 2

After satay, we went to do some touristy stuff. The place that is new to me is the so called Flower Garden but seriously lacking of flowers:

Melaka Flower Garden

The garden in front of the Cultural Museum is much better than this, if it is still as good as it was years ago.

Nearby is the open air Transportation Museum:

Melaka Transport Museum 1

Melaka Transport Museum 3

Melaka Transport Museum 2

Oh, Melaka has significantly expanded the number of museums. I believed it has around 20 museums at the moment. *Boggled*

We next visited A Farmosa, ruins of St Paul's church and another museum in the Stadhuys, which at the time has a small gallery on Admiral Cheng Ho:

Cheng Ho 1

Cheng Ho 2

After that, our group was split. I've followed Lloyd, Nick and Lloyd's two friends to eat satay celup at Capitol Satay, while the rest, as I found out later, went outside town and had Nyonya food. The queue for the satay celup was long and the place was warm with steaming satay gravy but boy it was worth it!

The system requires us to proceed to obtain the satay and the cost is counted on a per stick or per coloured plate basis. After some time sitting and eating, the waitress brought us a few sticks of large prawns, scallops and some other seafood that cannot be obtained ourselves. The finale was sticks of abalone, some other seafood and, surely the crowning moment, a super huge prawn - so huge that its tail end stucked out although we placed it diagonally downward into the pot of gravy. Lloyd was already deliriously happy when he saw the earlier 3 large prawns but he was postively ecstatic when this one came:

Satay celup prawn

After that, we walked along Jalan Hang Jebat a.k.a. Jonkers Street. Remember the steel figurines I bought recently in Singapore? They were also sold here and so much cheaper! It was around 40% cheaper! Omg! I bought another two:

Steely spearman

Steely scythe user

Had supper and drinks later at Coconut House. I've been there before. Quite decent. I was very tired that night. I slept well, even without my usual milk and bread and even with the smell in the room.