Foot reflexology & a surprise

IMG_6508, originally uploaded by williamnyk.

I had always wanted to try foot massage but two things stopped me: price and fear of embarrassing myself by screaming my lungs out ;-)

Well, due to a sudden elevated stress at work, I decided to try Kenko's foot reflexology and foot bath, after having shoulder & neck massage (which includes arms, fingers and head). I (wisely) chose the shortest duration i.e. 45 mins, which consist of 15 mins of bath and 30 mins of massage.

First 10 mins of the bath was just my feet in a machine, filled with quite hot water. It's like a jacuzzi for my feet (although I've never tried a jacuzzi before but it sure looks like one). It was relaxing for my feet although it appeared to be streaming on one side more than the other. Meanwhile, I slowly sipped on the flower tea.

Then for the next 5 mins was, the masseur scrubbed my feet. Again, a first for me. I was amazed at how smooth my feet felt after. Like baby's feet! Hehe.

The foot (and calf) massage came next and oh boy, it was so much more painful than the massages given by Bigfoot or I-Squeeze. The big toes were the worst! I nearly screamed when my left big toe was massaged. After those, the next most painful was the outer side of the feet. Surprisingly, the middle portion wasn't the most painful. Maybe this is due to the way of the massage: it utilises small movement of the thumb across every inch of the foot, unlikely using the knuckle.

Will I do it again? You bet! :-)

Ps: Remember the waiter at the Italian restaurant? He's no longer working there. Got a surprise call from him and we'll be having dinner sometime next week. That's a pleasant surprise :-)

The big picture

Looking Out To The Sea, originally uploaded by williamnyk.

Someone I know vacationed in Nepal recently. To his and everyone's disbelief, he was robbed. No, the amazement was not the robbing but the fact it was done via a stun gun! Stun gun in Nepal!

In fact, he didn't know it was a stun gun effect until someone else told him so. He felt electrick shock and then was in a dream-like state while he was being robbed. It was a good thing he didn't carry all his cash with him. So here's a tip: don't carry all your cash while on vacation.

He quickly alerted the banks that issued his credit cards. Once back in Malaysia, he called RHB and EON Bank. Here's the second amazing fact of this incident: despite having told the banks that he was robbed, the banks still ask him to pay a fee for them to reissue cards!

Seriously, are they brainless? For a mere RM50 and due to no fault of the customer, they're willing to lose a customer and potentially many other customers (words do spread around). I can understand if he has lost the card due to carelessness but he was robbed for goodness sake.

Hence, he just instructed them to simply cancel his credit card as he can always apply for credit cards elsewhere. RHB just stupidly did that. EON Bank was smart enough to check and discovered that he is a valuable customer and it didn't take them long to offer to waive the fee. Either bank should have just offered to waive the fee regardless of whether he's a "first class" customer or not.

Here's another tip: see the big picture.

Troublesome client

I was given a bomb at work. I was asked to be the main contact person for a particularly troublesome client (i.e. to front for the company). That's on top of a particularly fussy client.

What happened was that after performing certain calculations and submitting to client, my colleague discovered a huge spreadsheet error and promptly recalculate and resubmit to client. By then, client has acted upon the erroneous figures and thus understandably was furious with us.

Now, I'm not sure why the error occured in the first place and it is entirely feasible that it is not my colleague's fault. Probably his only mistake was not to discuss with my boss on how to handle the situation first and I put it down to lack of experience. However, the damage was done and unjustly it may seem the client apparently has lost confidence in my colleague. Hence, my boss's suggestion of me as a replacement but still with my colleagues performing calculations. Just that I have to make sure things are done right.

Although I can see my boss has almost no choice (no one else is more experienced than me besides my boss, whose knowledge dwarves any of us), I'm quite nervous and not particularly pleased with this arrangement because I have already 4 other clients for such service and one of them is that fussy one where we have to tread carefully too as it is a very important client to our company globally.

As a result, I had to check thoroughly the new calculations done and reassured the client that these figures are correct and the error has been detected and corrected properly.

Consequently, I missed my regular yoga class in the evening and attended the one after that. I must be doing something wrong because my back doesn't feel as uncomfortable at the end of the class as compared to other classes. Haiz. In addition, it's so hot! Hope can sleep well.

Forgettable weekend & Singapore Botanics Garden Part 3

The recent weekend was disappointing on a few fronts, ranging from frivolous issue such as the hot weather to serious issue such as the lack of effort in studying and lack of support that led me to fall backward with my life briefly flashing back at me.

This morning, the gastroenterologist told me that my Helicobacter Pylori breath test is negative i.e. they all have been slaughtered. He guessed rightly that I still have gastric problem every now and then, due to sensitive stomach. I really wonder how on earth did my stomach get that sensitive? It clearly wasn't there before 1999. One new thing I learned today is that I'm not supposed to consume beans and nuts. Why? Strangely, it didn't strike me to ask him there and then.

Anyway, here is the third and last part of my visit to the Garden. Though most of my photos are of flowers, there's probably 50/50 flowering and non-flowering plants in the Garden.

Red claws

Red claws! Recently, I realised that my condo compound has this plant too but its flowers not as big and red as this one.

Many roots

Overflowing roots!

Wide falls

Mini Niagra Fall?

245m years ago

This many years ago...

Dino footprints 245m yrs ago

...a dinosaur left its footprints here. ;-)


The circle of kois.

Intermission & Singapore Botanics Garden Part 2

Haven't had time to do much else for past few nights after I came home, aside from catching the latest Bleach & Naruto Shippuden episodes and several blogs update.

Normally I have at least an hour at night to do stuff, depending on the time and duration of the pilates/yoga evening class. However, I've been having problem sleeping past few nights (yet again!) and not too sure why.

Have a vague suspicion that it's due to my mouth guard. Due to the refilling of a tooth, the mouth guard has become a bit tight. Since over adjustment would result it being too loose and thus useless, adjustment has to be done bit by bit and comfort via trial and error. Adjusted once but no good. So went without it last night. Though I slept through, I had rather vivid dream and so I knew I didn't sleep well. Woke up once again feeling really tired.

So due to such restless nights, I tried sleeping earlier to catch up but not working. Since tomorrow is Saturday, I'll sleep in and hopefully that helps.

The second part of the Botanics Garden photos taken with my trusty gimpy camphone :-) :

Red keris

Looks like red keris, right?

Red flowers 2

Obsession with red flowers hehe. This has thick bright deep red petals.

Sunshine orchirds

The sunshine cheerful orchirds!

Purple orchirds

Typical but still pretty purple orchids.

Shy guest stars

They are really cute! Still puppies I think. I didn't have time to wait till they turn around. Shy guests of the garden :-)

Rope root

I thought it was a rope until I took a second closer look. Still not sure it's root from the fern (unlikely, right?) or from the tree (but why?).

Singapore Botanics Garden Part 1

William was down in Singapore for a week, from late March to early April. It was the longest stay so far but like most good things, it's never enough :-)

On the first Saturday of April, William, Derek, Llyod, Nick and I made our way to Singapore Botanics Garden. If I recally correctly, it was Derek's suggestion although someone has been whinging that his other half had still not brought him there although latter had suggested it before ;-)

I had always thought the garden is called Botanical Garden and so I was surprised to learn its actual name. Hmmm I wonder why it's named this way. I supposed it's similar to Historical vs Historic City? *Shrug*

So all of us walked around, not necessarily together all the time but within sight of each other most of the time initially. William, Derek and Llyod took photos using proper cameras while I used my gimpy handphone. Nick was there, panting from the sun and the walk hehe. Ok, I did that took but not that obvious :-)

Some of the photos I took:

Pink lotus

The usual image I have of lotus flower is the one with broader petal and white.

Plant shaped carving

It was only later at home when I was viewing these photos that I realised the carvings on the wall are shaped as plants with the usual shaped leaves.

Red flower

Isn't this so red and looks unreal?

White from red

Never have I seen such flower. It looks like a flower crawls out of a dragonfruit!

Brown pearl on rocks

Like a brown pearl on rocks...

Unusual pine tree

Look at its leaves. Pine leaves, right? So unusual.

Fern's curled end

Curled end.

First ties...

...I ever bought in my life. Cost more than some of my shirts!


Bought specifically to match the shirts I bought recently which are of the colour lavender (match with tie at the top), rose red (match with tie in the middle), strong blue (match with tie at the bottom) and black (match with tie at the top and in the middle).

Great Friday

In Singapore, Good Friday is a public holiday. Since a few weeks ago, I had already planned to ask a few friends over for lunch and boardgames on that day. Not sure why but I was in one of those moods (and it's rare these days) to make sushi maki. So I suggested that I would make the makis while someone else brings cut fruits and another brings non-carbonated drinks. Apparently I was over-enthusiastic as most of my friends hedged their response by wanting to confirm closer to the date.

About a week ago, I asked again and in the end, Lloyd, Nick, James and Simon turned up yesterday. Lloy and Nick volunteered to get the fruits while James get the drinks.

We had guava, papaya, honeydew and watermelon. They came in those sealed plastic cups and were bought from a vending machine at a temple. Amazing! They were amazingly sweet too. Thanks for doing me a favour and not buy sour fruits, Lloyd and Nick :-)

As for drinks, while at the mall, James asked me for my preference. I requested for water chestnut and honeysuckle with white tea. He bought those plus green tea. Green tea's a good choice as most people don't mind drinking it.

As for me, I was rushing a bit to prepare the makis because I slept in and boy it was a good rest in bed :-) In addition, I noticed that some key furnitures were a bit dusty and the floor needed a bit sweeping. I did that before starting to make the makis. By then, it was less than an hour to the appointed time!

Fortunately, it was one of those rare moments where I was grateful the guests were a bit late. Not too late but just nice...for me to finish making the makis hehe. I used 3 pieces of seaweed purely for salmon, 3 pieces for egg and 1 piece of cucumber plus shred radish. As for rice, I normally would use rice vinegar mixed with a bit of sugar and salt to mix it with the rice but I chanced upon this instant packet that had all 3 of them in it and it was even cheaper than buying the cheapest bottle of rice vinegar which would be wasted anyway. However, I still prefer the conventional method.

Personally, I thought this batch of makis is one of the better ones I've made: dense and held up well. It helps that the salmon was purchased from one of our (Nick, Llyod and I) favourite Japanese restaurants. My friends enjoyed them very much and Nick was rather impressed by it :-) Hope they were being honest hehe.

After lunch, we played a round of Citadel (longer than expected with James and Simon in the mix) won by Llyod and a round of Super Munchkin won by Simon (which was also long but because Simon took too long to decide to whether he could sabotage and how) before we took a small break while Lloyd munched on a small packet of yummy instant mi goreng. We then played a round of Super Munchkin: Superheroes version won by Llyod and finished up with a few rounds of basic Uno, which is a nice relaxing winding down game. If I remember correctly, all of us won at least once in Uno except me lol.

Citadel & Uno

We then headed out to a place nearby I recommended for dinner to have rice with fried beancurd, luohan vegetables, prawn paste chicken and furong egg at surprisingly cheap price of $30.50 for 5 of us and that included charges for the wet towels. My friends thought the food was good, thank goodness :-)

By the time we parted, it was more than 7 hours we have spent together. Although I didn't win any game, I felt like a winner. Thanks for coming guys!

Scrooge to extravangance!

Rick is not one who spends recklessly. He'll weigh, measure, read, chat, window shop before deciding whether to buy or not and even then, it's not uncommon that he ends up empty handed. This is a positive characteristic as that means he'll usually get stuff that's value for money and often useful. I've asked his opinion a few times previously e.g purchasing my current phone, which is extemely helpful to me since I'm clueless. Ok, more like because I'm lazy. So imagine my surprise when this happened:

Rick: I'm flying home this time.
Me: Huh?? Thought you're big fan of coach?
Rick: Well, the ticket is really cheap.

Ok, maybe that's not surprising. After all it's cheap, right? But how about this baby?

Touchscreen phone

Me: Hey, why did you buy that phone ar? Is it because it's touchscreen?
Rick: Yah, it's the cheapest touchscreen.
Me: Oh I see.
Rick: I want to know what's all the fuss about the phone.
Me: What the...and you bought it simply you want to know what's the fuss about?
Rick: *Giggled* Yah ar.
Me: *Boggled*

I know people can be fickle-minded. I know he can be fickle-minded but such 180 degree change in behaviour is disturbing. It's like the sun decides to set in the east one fine day, just to see what's fuss about. This is more serious than the magazine incident. Perhaps I should monitor him closely for a while...

A beautiful eulogy

In the end, it's these small things that you remember: little imperfections that make them perfect for you. So to my beautiful children, I hope one day you too find yourselves life partners who are as beautifully imperfect as your father was to me.

- The Indian lady in the advertisement speaking during an eulogy for her departed Chinese husband

Beyond beauty

He's not the best-looking man, but he's the most good-looking man on Earth to me. In the morning, while he's sleeping, I lean over to my 46-year old Chinaman and coo, 'So cute!' If the neighbours heard me, they'd think I was mad ... He's got a paunch where he used to have a flat stomach. I said to him, 'You know what? I prefer you with a paunch. You have more to hang on to.' It's so nice! Like a cushion!"
- Acclaimed Malaysian director Yasmin Ahmad, on her husband

Ps: Mr Skanky, you have a punch line to use now haha.


I think if you want to run life with regrets, you may end up doing little

- Ms Ho Ching

Restless night

It is less than 2 weeks to the breath test for H. Pylori. During this 2 weeks, I have to refrain from taking PPI i.e. proton-pump inhibitors. In short, these are medication that inhibits the production of gastric juice. I've been taking at 1 omeprazole at least at bedtime before this period. However, ever since this moratorium began, I started having gastric again.

First it started with gastric in the late morning. The usual treatment with food didn't work. Had to take antacid. Took the usual stronger yellow Actal. Didn't work too well. Went out and bought Mylanta, a liquid antacid. Worked wonders but didn't last as long as I would like it to be but still gratful for its very fast relief. At least, I managed to attend my first Body Balance class, which is basically a combination of yoga, pilates and tai-chi. I like it! It helps that the instructor is good as well.

Now I cannot sleep. I was merely in shallow sleep since bedtime and as expected, had to wake up because of gastric. Drank warm glass of milk. Helped tremendously and tried sleeping again. Tossed and turned. Felt warm. The bed felt warm. Switched on aircon. Still warm. Lowered temperature. Gave up and blogged instead.

I doubt the sleeplessness is due to gastric although having to wake up and do something about the gastric definitely didn't help the process of trying to sleep. Not sure why I'm restless. The heat maybe? It's been very hot during the day these few days, with no rain. Perhaps the dinner? Shouldn't have ordered the Italian restaurant's special milk tea. Almost always my sleep is disturbed when I have it for dinner (think lunch is ok). Mind's thinking a tad too much? Could be, could be. A few things are on my mind lately of which I don't know how to respond yet.

Whatever it is, I hope I can sleep well after this...well, after I take a few teaspoons of Mylanta.

Irony of Earth Hour

From TODAY newspapers under "Voices" section:

"If you really want to save the Earth, why light candles?
Letter from Errol Goodenough

The report "What they did in the darkness?" (March 30) gives cause for reflection.

I hate to be a part-pooper but in the excitement to switch off for Earth Hour, many may have lost the plot. I witnessed families switching off a coiple of lights and then lighting 20 or more candles.

At the Esplanade the scene was repeated a hundredfold and it is mind-boggling how many candles have been lit all over the world. If the compaign is about gloval warming and not merely about minising the use of electricity, then one ought to consder the carbon-footprint of a myriad of naked candle flames worldwide.

How much carbon was released when all the eco-disciples switched to candle power? One also needs to factor in the processes that produce, transport and market candles, as these could be more eco-friendly than the careful generation of electricity, which is efficiently channelled to our homes.

If it was about making sacrifices for the environment, couldn't we have gone one hour savouring the darkness?"

Kudos to the writer. Enthusiasm of mob mentality proportion with eagerness for publicity and perhaps commercialism had blinded at least thousands of people in Singapore (not counting people in other cities) to what Earth Hour actually meant. Ironically, they perhaps led Earth inches closer to death.

Even worse was effort of some people chastising others for not observing Earth Hour. Well, for your information (and if you even bother to stop to listen instead of carrying clouded prejudged thoughts), some of us care for Earth in other ways and some of us are horrified by the suggested actions (candles, torch lights etc) by the masses.

So when the next Earth Hour comes along, please think carefully. Do some research. Please do not mislead children. I especially "love" the photo of a guy lighting candles with his daughter...for the love of Earth, stop it!

PS: By the way, there's a chance that this letter is an April's Fool joke. Apologies to the writer if it isn't. Nevertheless, real or not, what it says makes sense.