Goodbye iPad, Hello 2011

This likely is my last post of the year. Thanks to Malaysia football team's victory, this year's New Year's eve is declared as a public holiday. So it's a long weekend here in Malaysia. I hope many people will take the chance to flow out of KL, in case I'm going out.

Here's wishing all of you a Happy New Year. May the coming year bring much happiness, health and wisdom to everyone.

I'll leave you with a photo, which no doubt you'll recognise its significance for 2010. Thank goodness the madness has died down, as evidenced by this photo.

iPad sign

Goodbye to 2010 soon

It'll be the end of 2010 in one week. If I have to pick a momentuous point of the year for me, it would be a tie between having Ban as my boyfriend and leaving my job for a trial of self-employment.

Though I was not smitten by Ban at first sight, I am now in love with him. He's caring, considerate, quirky (like me hehe) kind yet tough when needed to and, importantly, he's happy being with me. Currently I'm staying with him about more than half the time (the rest of the time with my parents) and so far, it's going quite well.

That ties in with why I'm staying with him: I've left my job in August. My income now primarily comes from the rental of my condo in Singapore, supplemented by dividends from shares and tuition in KL. So far, it's working quite well. There are risks such as plummeting rent, dividends and dismal exam results (of the student) but let's hope they'll all go well next year as so far I prefer this to be employed by a company.

So here's goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011 with much hope! Happy New Year to everyone in advance.

Help yourself before others

I know from time to time we feel guilty for helping ourselves first before others. E.g. take MC when sick although there's urgent work to do at office and the need to say no to helping friends to move because you are exhausted and simply need to rest.

I believed that if you're in trouble, you should help yourself before others. You need to make sure your basic foundation (you) is strong enough before you can support others on your shoulders. If your foundation is shaky, others will likely fall with you too.

So don't feel guilty. Say no if you need to fix yourself. Once you're well, go spread cheers by helping others :)

Busy

Hi family, friends and fellow readers. I've been very busy this past week. A prolonged crisis occured. Due to the nature of the crisis, I can't divulge more details. Just hope it'll be ok lah. Though I'm slowing down some activities (or stopped some of them temporarily), I'm still contactable as usual. So don't stop calling, texting or e-mailing, ok? It's a welcome distraction :)

Home: flowers

I always prefer a home with a small garden. Not too huge as otherwise there may be too many unsavoury creatures to handle e.g. mosquitoes, snakes, monitor lizards. At the very least, it should have potted plants but still a small garden is ideal.

I would like to be able to see some patches of grass clearly, instead of the garden filled with too many plants. Plants with flowers are essential. Palm trees and bamboos are some of the plants I would like to consider, depending on the location and its surrounding I supposed.

So it is great that my parents also share the preference for a garden. Our garden at home has undergone several transformations. The latest one was before October this year, with the aim of making it less cluttered.

Usually I'll walk around the garden at least once each time I go home, depending on how long I'll be home. Some of the photos of the flowers I've taken recently are as follows:

Home flowers

Nasi lemak & tallest slide

Where do you find one of the most delicious nasi lemak and the world's tallest tube slide? Empire Shopping Gallery.

This shopping centre lies behind Subang Parade. It is so new that it does not appear in Ban's GPS. Then again, Ban's GPS has been known to be rather strange and so...

At Serai, I wanted to try one of their signature dishes, which is conveniently listed on the first page of its menu. I decided to try their nasi lemak, chiefly because it's the cheapest there, costing RM16++.

Though expensive, it is of large portion. In fact, taking into account of its size and its ingredient, its price is quite comparable to nasi lemak at other restaurants. It is not apparent in the photo below but there are a few pieces of prawns in the sambal. The sambal is not too spicy for me. Overall, it is one of the few nasi lemak I enjoy eating.

As for the slide, tell me about it if you try it :)

Empire Gallery

Tormented?

SBB pants

Ban thought it might be fun to have SBB wearing my short pants. Hmmm perhaps under the facade of smiley face is a soul tormented by wearing the pants? What do you think?

Cool nights

I am back in my hometown since a week ago. The really astonishing occurence is the almost perpetual cool nights here for the past week. Except for two nights, I didn't need to use the ceiling fan when sleeping and even had to use my towel blanket. For the exceptions, I just needed to use the fan at power level 1.

During day time, there was only one day when it could be called hot (didn't need to switch on fan when napping!). Most of the time, it was cooling with nice breeze passing throughout the house. It is so comfortable to be in the house. One major drawback is that it makes me sleepy and lazy to go outside, which I should to get some sunlight (Vitamin D).

How about your place?

Shaky driving skills

It has been over two months since I started practising my driving. Taking into account those time I was at home and didn't drive, I estimate that I had a solid 2 months of daily practice.

Things definitely did improve compared to 2 months ago, however, there were some improvement made in between of which I inexplicably backslide on. I still don't know why it happened. It's rather stressful.

To top it all, I had to get Ban's car repaired because it scraped against a pillar while I was moving it out of the car park spot at his place. The car was dented too. This made me even more anxious on a whole while driving.

Hmmm.

On Twilight Saga

A very interesting read from "Reasoning With Vampires". After you have your fun reading the main body, I do encourage you to read, from the left-side menu, "About", "An Overview of Opinion", and "FAQ/MM", preferably in this order.

As a sample, the first two paragraphs of "About" are as follows:

Prior to actually reading Twilight, I had an opinion about it. I scoffed and mocked. I argued with my sister that, No, no, Edward doesn’t sound like the perfect guy, because I don’t really think that breaking into the bedrooms of teenage girls without their knowledge is romantic. I maintained a generalized position that Bella and Edward’s relationship seemed psychologically unhealthy. Also, the idea of a sparkling vampire was too ridiculous not to mock. Yet, I never felt like I had the authority to really trash the book(s), because I didn’t read them, and I try to avoid being a jackass. Then it seemed like Twilight was everywhere with the upcoming release of Eclipse in theatres, so I decided to earn my Twilight badge and read it.

I fully admit I was prejudiced. I expected to be mildly offended by the content. Even so, I took for granted that it would be a good book because of how wildly popular the series is. Surely, an author doesn’t sell millions of copies without writing well! I was wrong. I was so wrong. I have not read a book so poorly crafted that wasn’t the construction paper publication of a child.

Eclectic dinner

Eclectic dinner

This is what Ban and I had for dinner recently:
  • ABC soup, cooked by moi, which is made of ikan bilis and peppercorn as the soup and potato, tomato, white onion and carrot as the ingredient
  • Maki with egg and cucumber as its filling, made by moi
  • Onde-onde, bought from Jaya Grocer
Influenced by Ban's Orihime's streak? :P

A bargain gone wrong?

I'm sure many of you are familiar with Kellog's Cornflake, the ubiquitous representation of cornflake (and certainly superior to Nestle's, in my opinion), much as Maggi represents instant noodle and Tupperware represents plastic container.

In Seremban, there's a chain of local supermarkets called Family Store (or Ka Ka in Cantonese...strange to me). Family Store is popular at least in Rasah Jaya area. Not sure about other housing estates around Seremban. On the other hand, I'm sure Giant is a very recognisable hypermarket in Malaysia and generally things are cheaper there compared to your local mini/super markets.

Anyway, recently, I found that a large box of Kellog's Cornflake (I believed it's either 125g or 175g) costs RM7.29 in Giant while it costs only a mere RM3.99 in Family Store. This is truly unbelivable as the difference is very significant.

I wonder is it possible to arbitrage here? Buy all boxes in Family Store and sell them at where they do not exist? Hmmm...

On the contrary...

With regard to the recent remark from a certain puppet (ironic...you'll see why very soon) that SBB is dead, let me assure you that he's well and alive. In fact, just yesterday he was seen reading the latest Dan Brown's book:

SBB read

I'm sure Ban suspects that SBB was trying to see what evil techniques he could learn from the book, rather than just for the pure enjoyment of reading a mystery book.

Super Boing Boing

SBB is Ban's long-time companion. According to him, SBB is an evil bunny whose aim is world domination but it's hard for me to believe that each time I look at him. He's so cute lah :)

Also, he's been very helpful. For instance,

SBB 1

he helped look after our laundry while we were out for lunch, and

SBB 2

he helped me to watch the conversation on my gtalk while I was resting on the sofa.

First maki in KL

First KL maki

This is the first plate of maki I made, with Ban's help, in KL and the first I made in Malaysia in years. Ban and I were supposed to make these for William's potluck birthday celebration but in the end I couldn't make it.

The only hiccup during the cooking process was the egg. I should have been more patient by fyring the egg in batches. The maki-making process went well and the end result looked pretty good.

As you can see, the ingredient was a mix of egg, cucumber and crabstick. Ban didn't like the crabstick as it somehow had stronger fishy smell to him. Though I thought otherwise, guess I'll make do without it next time.

Vandalism

Back during my schooling days, including university, scrawl of words etched in wooden tables and benches was common (and likely still is). I sometimes do read them and majority of them are just pure juvenile. However, once a while, I came across gem like this:

"I hate vandalism."

"Me too!"

What fish...

Long fish

...is this? It looks like a distant cousin of the seahorse.

Melaka Corner


Melaka Corner, originally uploaded by Jaded Jeremy.

Somehow it was difficult to find cheap food or even snacks at One Utama. So I was pleasantly surprised to chance upon this shop when I was walking from The Gardens Cafe towards Jusco. Not too sure which floor it was. Likely it was LG

This quaint shop serves many local delights at relatively cheap prices. Lots of kueh-kueh, drinks and 3 types of noodle. I had a box of onde-onde (8 of them, if I recall correctly), which was not sickly sweet, and a cup of hot coffee, which was rich and thick. They cost only RM4.50.

This is one place I plan to visit again especially if I want to have some light snacks.

Big 2 among 3

Recently, my sister, her husband and I played Big 2. After consecutive wins by my b-i-l, both my sister and I were just aiming to be second-placed as the loser would need to shuffle the cards for the next round. Fortunately, I was second-placed most of the time hehe.

At one point, my sister indicated it was nearing her bedtime and so she would stop playing if she loses that round. Once again, her husband won again. Both my sister and I had only 1 card each:

Big 2

I was the loser as my 6 of spade is bigger than her 5 of spade. Darn it. So close.

Achieving inner peace

Ban achieves inner peace by humming "Mmmm mmmm bum bum yum yum."

I tried but each time ended up laughing :)

In the words of a PM

PM of a country told his party consisting of majority race of the country that they need to be moderate and not offend the minority races because they need the latter's votes to win general election.

Excuse me? I thought it is only the right thing to do, isn't it? So if they have enough votes on their own, they can simply trample on the minority races, is it? Sheesh.

A Famosa Melaka

No, it's not the historical relic in Melaka town. It's actually the name of a resort, which have a few "venues" in it. Among them is the Animal Safari.

It's by far one of the best places in Malaysia to see animals up close, though I admit that I haven't been to any zoo here for ages and so I could be wrong. Nevertheless, I would recommend it as a place for family outing.

Go in the morning. Make sure you're in time for the Elephant Show, which starts at 10.15am. I did cringe at the thought of the elephants being made to do actions that are not natural to them (unlike the bird show at Jurong Bird Park in Singapore).

Then take the free truck ride which brings you to places that you cannot see if you walk, especially the animal enclosures. It's like the safari in Africa e.g. you're in a caged truck while the tigers are right outside.

Surprisingly the ride is quite long because it would be just in time to watch the Animal Show at 11.20am. That is rather enjoyable except for the part where a cat is asked to jump through a hoop of fire. Sheesh.

After the Animal Show, just a mere 10 to 15 mins later, it is the Bird Show at 12pm. It is probably the most visually pleasing show, with flock of doves flying, sea eagle and hornbill swooping through the air.

By now, it's time for lunch. Lunch is included in the ticket. Pick a meal out fo 3 and a choice of a can drink.

Though I didn't stay for the Cowboy Show this time (it was my second time), I would recommend to walk around looking at animals up close before the show at...2.15pm? Can't remember. Cowboy show has no animals, if I recall correctly but it is entertaining nevertheless.

Overall, it's a worthwhile trip, costing RM45, inclusive of a meal and drink.

A Famosa band

A Famosa animal 1

A Famosa 2

A Famosa animal 3

Pegging with nephews

The result:

Pegs

It took me significantly more time and some anxious moments (when they wanted to help holding the pole with hooks at its end) to finish hanging clothes. Nevertheless, it was one of the precious moments :)

Sudden knee pain


I kneed you, originally uploaded by tamelyn.
Yesterday, while walking in the Arena foodcourt (at One Utama) looking for food (the seaweed noodle soup was nice but stingy on ingredient and hence it was expensive), my knee felt painful.

At first, I thought it was my osteoarthritis acting up again. So, I did a leg exercise that was taught by my doctor in Singapore, which has helped me in the past. However, I noticed that the pain, and its location, was not exactly the same as in the past.

Fortunately, it improved sufficiently for me to finish doing errands (with Ban), with some careful walking. Once home, I did the same leg exercise.

Later I noticed that, unlikely in the past, the pain was more acute when my knee was bent. So I sat on the floor with my leg straightened. It was so painful that I had to use Voren gel to soothe it and used a knee protector to prevent my knee from bending too much.

I pondered over this with Ban: why did it suddenly flare up? In fact, I realised then, pain from osteoarthritis usually doesn't flare up suddenly - its intensity increases gradually.

It was then I recalled that in the morning, I nearly fell down when my foot was on its side (instead on its sole) while turning to walk the opposite direction. I didn't fall though and was grateful I didn't sprain my ankle.

Could it be that the fall was prevented at the expense of my knee?

Update on tuition

As I've said before, I'm tutoring a Standard 5 student, who is a family friend's son. However, instead of 4 subjects, I've decided to tutor only in Math (in English language), which is what I'm most comfortable with. I may consider tutoring in other subjects in future.

A natural concern I have is whether I'm doing any good at all. After a few classes, I thought that it was not doing badly because he has yet to respond negatively to attending my class, unlike with respect to a previous tutor where he told his mum he didn't want to attend that tutor's class.

Next indication was that he took the initiative to arrange for extra classes with me so as to prepare for his exam, which I was glad to help. This is important especially for him because an outcome his mum hope I can help to achieve is to get her son interested in his studies.

Then at the latest class, his mum told me that he told her he is now more confident doiong his Math, in both English and Chinese language, after being taught by me. This is surely a clear indication that my teaching has positive effect.

I'm thankful that I'm able to help him thus far. Now let's hope this translate to improvement in his exam. Good luck to both of us!

Fitness First

Firstly, there is something I want to say: cost of living in Malaysia is higher than that in Singapore overall.

Why? Consider this: salary, in term of figures i.e. without taking into account of currency, is roughly the same in both countries. For example, if the starting salary of an actuarial executive at an insurance companie is RM2000 in Malaysia, then it is about S$2000 in Singapore. However, economic rice with 2 veg and 1 tofu costs about RM3 in Malaysia whereas it costs about $2.3 in Singapore, both at around the similar kind of shops and location.

Hence, given that salary is about the same, in term of figures, then it's important to consider how much each unit of that figure can buy. So, with the notable exception of houses, Singapore is 'cheaper'. There is no point converting the currency one into another as you would also have to do so for the goods too (exception would be savings that you bring across the causeway).

Specifically for Fitness First ("FF"), consider the following:
  1. FF platinum in SG fee is about S$126 while in KL the fee is about RM180
  2. FF platinum SG members can borrow towel and attire while in KL it's towel only.
  3. Guests in SG can borrow towel and attire. Guests in Malaysia can rent towel. No attire at all.
  4. Receptionist at SG greets every member and guest e.g. "Good morning and welcome to Fitness First" and followed by "Enjoy your workout, " after returning the member his card and they do these smilling at you. In KL, barely a few words. Don't even bother to look at you. No smiles.
It is very obvious that SG FF is much better and at a 'cheaper' price. I'm truly amazed.

My Kitchen

You know how in general that food in pictures are usually smaller than their actual serving size? At most, they may be the same size.

I have just found one that is actually larger than it looks in the picture:

Hainanese mee

What you see here is after I have already eaten at least a third of it already. It's called Hainanese mee, at My Kitchen at Aman Suria. The restaurant serves Hainanese Melaka food. Didn't know Melaka has Hainanese people

The mee was unusual but tasty. It was a little sweet as it has slices of pineapple in it. The chicken rice had only 3, albeit larger than usually served these days, rice balls but more chicken than normal. Chendol was so-so only and not worth the price (RM2.40).

Their most popular dish appears to be the Hainanese curry chicken nasi lemak. I was tempted to try it but decided not too. I try not to eat spicy/sour food from dinner onward as my bowel may still be irritated when bedtime comes.

1st anniversary

Beware! Sweet stuff ahead :P

Today, and in fact exactly around these hours, marked the first anniversary of our (Ban and I) relationship. Although it's been only a year, it felt much longer. I feel much loved and most comfortable with him. There are still much laughter and silliness everyday :)

I love you very much, honey. Thanks for taking a chance on me. Muack!

Complexity of closing BSN account

11am
Arrived at the branch where I opened my savings account. Told them that I wanted to close my account but I had misplaced the book. I was told that they would need a week to process my request (presumedly because need approval for either request or both request from main branch?) and so I was advised to go to the main branch if I wanted it done immediately.

Time spent: 10mins

12.30pm
Upon entry, in the absence of any instructions, I took a queue number. Once my number was flashed, I told them what I wanted to do. I was informed that I had to approach the customer service desk to fill up forms. Waited further to speak to the CSO, who subsequently helped to process a form for me. However, I then was told to approach counter 10, which is not part of the queue number system. There was no one at that counter. I was asked to come back at 2pm as the counter 10 person was taking her 'rest' (I believed it was lunch time to be specific).

Time spent: 40mins

2pm
No one at counter 10. So patiently waited. The CSO was going around, appearing to try to pre-empt people who eventually would be told to approach her (since most of us would have automatically taken the queue number for counters 3-8) and was surprised to see me still there. I told her that counter 10 person wasn't there earlier and so I came back again.

Eventually someone else stood at counter 10 (he was already waiting elsewhere at the bank when I came back at 2pm). He managed to get the security guard to get the counter 10 person from the office. Unfortunately, this customer's case seems rather complex because the counter 10 person kept going back to office to get more and more forms. Kesian.

I then approached the counter and gave her the completed form and my IC. I was then told I needed to fill yet another form at the customer service desk. Goodness! I waited a little while before attended by the CSO, filled the form and submited both forms to counter 10 after waiting at the counter a few minutes. I suspect she is part-time manning that counter while working in office.

I was asked to (yet again) wait for my name to be called. Next, counter 7 attended me. Took an electronic scan of my thumbprint and then was asked to wait (again!). Finally, counter 8 attended me and duly told me that RM20 was deducted for the issuance of a new book (couldn't they just close account without issuing a new book?), passed me the book and bid me farewell. I informed her that I wanted to close my account. She then did more paperwork and deducted another RM10 for closing account (at least this was as expected).

Time spent: 1hr 15 mins.

Total time spent: ridiculously long!

Soup spoon

Since there is no proper soup spoon at Ban's place (yet), ...

Soup spoon

...that became my soup spoon :)

Sleepless in PJ

For the second time in a week, I hardly slept during the night.

In the first instance, it was mainly due to accumulation of phlegm in my mouth and cough - onset of cold. In the second instance, it was gastric. I'm not sure due to what but I suspect the milk played a part - it tasted a little off.

I was supposed to start tutoring a student in Math today but thankfully I managed to postpone it to the following week. This is precisely why I hesitant to take up part-time jobs with greater commitment to a fixed schedule: my health is a wildcard here.

If there is one thing I miss working for a company, it is the medical coverage :) Now I have to self-insure myself for that.

Rigidity

A schoolboy in Singapore was reprimanded by his English teacher for being mischievous. He was supposed to complete a certain well-known proverb, presumedly by using the well-known words. Instead, he stated it this way:

People who live in glass house should not undress.

I laughed out loud when I first read this. I thought it was a brilliant substitute for the standard proverb. Too bad his teacher couldn't appreciate it. I know that she wanted him to learn the standard proverb so as to pass exams but she could at have least complimented him on his creativity and then gently explained to him why he needed to answer in the standard way.

Legend of rubbish bins

In general, people agree that Singapore is a clean city. However, what most foreigners do not know is that the cleanliness is due to the legion of cleaners rather than the civic-mindedness of Singapore residents. In fact, every year there will be people caught littering who are punished with corrective work order ("CWO") i.e. wear a particular uniform (with CWO on it...or maybe not, I'm not sure) and pick up rubbish at certain spots notorious for litters.

Singapore government makes it very easy for people to dispose of their rubbish. Every bus stop has a rubbish bin. Every carpark lot tend to have one. Every floor of shopping malls have one. They are usually regularly emptied. Yet I've seen people littering before, with a bin a few seconds away.

Malaysia, however, is a different story. I remember travelling with my parents when I was young and often we have to keep rubbish in a plastic bag and disposed of it later. Maybe things have changed now, I'm not sure as I have yet to observe.

Hence, it is shocking to find the following in one of the rest stops along the highway:

Rubbish bins

Topics

I usually have something to say on a wide range of topics. However, most of the topics were usually brought up by others before I poured in my thoughts.

Hence, I would love to hear what topics you readers would like me to touch on. So please do tell me. Thanks :)

The next chapter

One fine day in early August marked the end of my 10-year employment by others. It also marked the beginning of my journey of self-employment.

I'm realistic to give this a try and not to close door on the chapter I'm leaving behind. The try-out period is a year. Then I will contemplate and assess the success/failure of that one year. Hopefully it'll go well.

An update on my planned sources of income:

(1) Rental: yet to find a tenant. I've indicated to my agent that I plan to rent out my place from Oct onward, to give Rick time to find a place. So, with my agreement, the agent will actively market my place from Sep onward. Good news is that Rick just managed to find a place.

(2) Tuition: I'll be tutoring a Standard 5 student in KL on 4 subjects. I'm nervous about Bahasa Malaysia (Cikgu William, tolong! :P) and Science. The standard of the former has gone up dramatically for the past decades (hehe) while the latter has plenty of facts to memorise. Haiz. Hopefully English and Math will be ok.

(3) Freelance actuarial work: Have met up with ex-boss and his colleagues. Arranged meeting with potential clients. Have made it very clear that at least for 6 months, I would want to do mainly back-office work e.g. calculations, draft reports etc and only occassional client-facing.

Meantime, there's still packing and moving to do. Argh! Anyone want to help?

Unusually tired feet


Foot over Drain Cover, originally uploaded by williamnyk.
These past few days my feet have been gradually feeling more tired each day. So strange. It's not like I've been walking a lot.

I go to bed with tired feet. I wake up with tired feet.

I suspect it's due to lack of exercise.

What do you think?

The recovery process

About one month after this photo was taken, here's the update:

Stitch off

Ban helped to take the photo...and he wanted to take one more. Down bunny, down. Good boy :P

(eeek I'm being punished now hehe)

So, does it look better?

Insect up your...


Buzzing III, originally uploaded by williamnyk.

When I was younger, I sometimes, though rarely, had this irrational fear of insects or creepy crawlies finding their way into my ears or nose. I'm quite sure it is something that crosses everyone's mind...right? Right?? Surely at least once, right?

(double question mark for William's benefit :P)

Well, my nightmare came true one day...literally in broad daylight. I can't remember how but long time ago I had an insect flew into my left nostril.

I was afraid, of course. No wailing though. My heart beat faster as I prayed that it wouldn't go in any deeper. I feared that it may be a bee.

I blew my nose as hard as I could, hoping the the air current was strong enough to expulse it but alas, to no avail.

Finally, at the risk of possibly being stung, I used my fingers to grab hold of the insect, pulled it out (it was stubbornly clinging to my nasal passage!) and quickly threw it away.

I was instantly worried that it may be swollen inside my nose but luckily it wasn't the case. Phew.

Surprisingly, and fortunately, I wasn't traumatised by that incident. Strong kid, eh? Hehe.

Spoke too soon

The miracle was short-lived: the sinus headache attack is now back after about 6 days not using the aircond on dry mode. Haiz.

But I'll still try again later, to slower lengthen the days and hopefully one day it'll go away.

After over a month

Remember my mysterious sinus-like symptoms where I was medically diagnosed not having sinus? For background, read this and this.

More than one doctor advised me to stick to daily nasal spray using Flixonase for a month for it to be effective. Besides that, I have been doing sinus rinse twice daily and also using the aircond on dry mode when I sleep. It's been a while since the last sinus headache attack but I didn't want risking not using the aircond yet.

However, things got out of hand: I caught cold a week ago. The whole works: fever, runny nose, sore throat, body ache. Also, it has been raining here in Singapore almost on a daily basis, so much so that every morning people are wondering whether Orchard Road is flooded or not ;)

So I had to use fan. I didn't get the sinus headache but that was expected because I was taking Allersin, a decongestion for my runny nose. However, I have since recovered from cold for a about 5 days and stopped taking Allersin. Yet, I could still use fan to sleep, with windows open without suffering from headache the next day.

This is great news! I am thankful. Now, the next step is to wean off from Flixonase.

The aftermath

It has been more than two weeks since the surgey.

It was troublesome and painful the first few days. I had to sit and sleep slightly to the left side. I diligently took the antibiotic as well as paracetamol, which is the painkiller prescribed to me. Helped only a little.

I had one week of sick leave but I did work a few hours for most of the days because I didn't want work piled up and also my colleagues were on leaves for some of the days too. Besides, it is in my interest the make sure that most of the work are not towards the last few days I'm with the company.

Ban changed his flight so that he was here 2 nights earlier. Thanks honey! Muack!

A week after the surgery, I had a follow-up appointment with the specialist. Thankfully the good news is that the infection's all gone. Phew. I was afraid some might linger on.

This is how it looked like when the stitches were taken out:

Stitch

Fantasy - Reality

Anyone who have played Everquest would know the spell Gate. Available only to pure caster classes, it enables the caster to teleport to the place where he has "binded" himself too. That's also where he will spawn if killed. Logically it has to be a safe place for him to bind to in the first place.

I've played Everquest for slightly more than 2 years, I believed. It was a great game. A whole other realm was open up to me. I met different people from different countries and background, with different personalities. It was especially more fun with friends playing the game too. The game itself was flexible enough that it could cater to casual gamers and hardcore players. My main characters were wizard, cleric and enchanter, with a druid and a beastlord as minor characters.

I was mildly addicted to the game at one point. I wasn't seriously addicted such that I neglected my job, studies or my friends. But I maximised my leisure time playing this game, forgoing other leisure activities such as reading. Hence, I quit.

Once, I remember, I was in a shopping centre, shopping for grocery. After that, I was tired and the thought of walking all the back home was daunting. Suddenly I thought it was silly of me to consider walking: I could just gate!

Seriously, that was what I thought before I realised the next moment that that was even sillier lol.

Resign, rent, move

I've tendered my resignation recently, although I suspect my manager, who is the team-leader of my team, hasn't told the relevant personnel yet. Going to meet him soon to have the "talk". Hopefully my resignation date still stands.

I've made up my mind to resign since late last year. I'm not the only one: at least 2 other colleagues will move on too. One has already left. I see no good things coming out from working for the empress for as long as she is in charge of our practice and determines our career lives within the company.

However, I wasn't certain what I was going to do next. I've been pondering for quite a long time (at least 6 months). At one point, I thought of looking for a job with specific criteria: work mostly from home and with lesser workload than current job.

One day, while in office, it suddenly struck me that it would be good to spend an extended period of time with my parents. They are both getting old. Although physically my dad appears to age the most, my mother is the one with health issues. They are definitely happier to have their children around. In fact, on a few occassions, I observed that my mum's health improved a lot when I was there.

So I decided to go through the trouble and temporary stress and pain to rent out my place in Singapore. I can sell it, of course, and get rid of the monthly house loan repayment of my back but I'm taking my sister's advice to rent out first just in case I don't like living in Malaysia. So I worked out a budget: met up with my agent (who helped me to refinance my loan and whose company provides a variety of services) to talk about tenancy management and potential rental income, researched on taxes, expenses here and in Malaysia etc. It appears to be doable and so I'm going ahead with that plan.

I plan to rent out my place from September 2010 onward. That'll give me most of August to deal with packing and moving back to Malaysia (as I would have stopped working by early August). I plan to spend half my time with my parents and half my time in KL where Ban, my sister and some of my friends are.

I do hope to do some freelance actuarial work that can be done from home. For that, I would need to build up contacts with possible clients.

One outstanding thing left is to hopefully get a friend's help to collect my mails every month and post them back to Malaysia (I shall bear the expenses and transport cost).

Surgery surprises

Following on from here, I was referred to a specialist since not only was there no improvement, the infection seem have gotten a little worse - slightly larger, slightly redder and definitely more painful.

Specialist:  Yes, it's infected.
Me:  (Errr yes, I can tell). Yes.
Specialist:  I would prefer to get the infection cured by medication first and then remove the cyst once the infection is gone, as it would be less messy (i.e. less risk of infection complication).
Me:  Ah yes but I've taken antibiotic (for 4.5 days) and yet there's no improvement. In fact, it has gotten worse a little.
Specialist:  (Took a look at the medication written in my GP's referral letter). Hmmm yes, this is good medication.

Then he right away called to book the operating theatre and scheduled the earliest time slot for the surgery.

A few nasty things happened later:
  • I was given a few jabs of local anaesthesia. Each jab was very painful to me because the infection itself was painful.
  • Towards the end of the surgery, from the moment they were about to remove the cyst till the sticthing and cleaning up was done, it was the most painful period of my life. I whimpered and went "arghhh" and clenched. Goodness, I would never want to experience that again.
  • Soon after moving from the operating table, I nearly fainted. They were quick enough to get me to a wheelchair and subsequently to a bed, with my oxygen level and bp monitored. In total, I drank 2 cups of milo, 1 cup of glucose solution, 1 cup of water and 3 pieces of biscuits. Rested for over an hour before I felt ready to be discharged, after my bp was measured a few times.
But the most nasty shock I had was during a conversation with the specialist (who was the operating surgeon too) when I was in bed:

Specialist:  It's going to be alright. But there's a good chance you may get infection (which explains why I'm prescribed antibiotics along with paracetamol for the pain - thank goodness!). This is why I prefer to have the infection cured first.
Me:  Yes, I know. But the medication wasn't working.
Specialist:  You gotta give it time and be patient.
Me:  (What?? You're telling me this option only now???)
Specialist:  But you seem insistent on the surgery.
Me:  (Since when??)

I'm now in pain. Walked very slowly. Sit leaning on my left side. I sure hope I can sleep well.

Info for the medical geeks:
Diagosis - infected sebaceous cyst over right gluteal region
Procedure - skin and subcutaneous tissue, tumor/cyst/ulcer/scar excision

Pain in the butt

I have that...literally. Ok, specifically it's in my right butt cheek.

For quite some time (years?), I noticed that I have this small painless lump there - a cyst as confirmed by doctor months ago. That's all well and fine until during the last weekend, I realised that it was now slightly painful, swollen and reddish. Doctor didn't know how it got infected but cautioned me to monitor closely because it could go deeper (my poor bum!).

So I was given antibiotic tablet, antiotic cream and omeprazole (since the tablet is very acidic and my stomach can't take acidic stuff) for a few days before going back for follow-up check. However, if the infected cyst grow bigger or become more painful or redder, I should see him immediately. Next couse of action would be surgery.

Exam and toilet

Recently I had a dream where I supposed to take an exam. The exam paper was in the form of a newspaper magazine (anyone still remember Galaxy?). The questions were largely in English but the exam was testing my understanding in Malay e.g. "Fill in the blanks of the following peribahasa".

It was not your usual kind of exam. All it needed was one invigilator and a bench. Yes, a bench. That was where we sat. In fact, the invigilator shooed away another set of invigilator and candidate when they wanted to share the bench.

I remember I had two hours to answer the exam questions but after 1.5 hours, I wanted to quickly finish it because I wanted to go to toilet. Apparently, candidates were not allowed to go to toilet during the exam and so the only way was to submit the answers and then go to toilet. I remember not being able to finish one question, which didn't make sense to me but nature's call was more important.

I went to toilet and next thing I knew was a sense of relief. However, strangely, shortly later it was nature's call again. I was puzzled. I went to toilet again and yet it was still there.

It was then I woke up...with my bladder and bowel full.

Freaked out

Remember the "eunuch"?

Well, he's not in office this week. Apparently he's in the Bangkok. According to our Thai colleague over there, the intern was so freaked out by the eunuch that she decided not to be an actuary.

Lol. That is just bizarre. I wonder why was she freaked out?

Longest tennis match

6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68

Nope, the score for the 5th set is not a typo. Mind-boggling, isn't it?

It was during the 1st round of Wimbledon Championship 2010 between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut. Here are some interesting statistics (as obtained from espn.go.com/tennis):
  • Over 3 days, without rain interruption
  • 11hrs 5mins long
  • 183 games
  • 5th set alone lasted 8hrs 11mins, which by itself is longer than the previous longest match record by 98 mins
  • Isner had 112 aces, Mahut had 103 aces (the latter better the previous record by 25)

Twin yolk...

Twin yolk

...from Rick's egg :P Fascinating and rare.

Symptom management

Remember the aircond in dry mode treatment for my sinus-like symptoms? Well, turns out that it is not a permanent solution. The "congestion" around my eyes and face comes back every 4 of 5 days and I have to take decongestion medication then when it becomes unbearable.

I went back to consult my GP, after knowing that by then he would have the report from the specialist. The GP viewed it as good news that the specialist found no infection. Huh? How is that good news? I rather have that infection and take the necessary medication. As at now, it is a bloody mystery.

Oh and guess what? The aircond in dry mode treatment supposedly make it worse because of dry and cold condition. Yet, when I try sleeping with the window open and with fan, it is worse but I feel better using the aircond that way. I am so convinced that this is not sinusitis.

The GP advised me on symptom management. *Groan* What? More regiment and medication? So in total now, the things I need to take for my health are as follows:

(1) Glucosamine for my osteoarthritis
(2) Sinus rinse (with saline solution) for the sinus-like symptoms
(3) Decongestion whenever needed, which is currently every 4 or 5 days
(4) Headon, a homeopathic medication that relieves minor headache due to the sinus-like illness
(5) Omeprazole as and when needed for my gastritis/acide reflux/GERD
(6) Domperidone when my IBS-like symptoms come about
(7) Librax when my IBS-like symptoms come about
(8) Antacid whenever my gastric rears its head

Haiz. 

Forging the Darksword

Possible spoiler ahead:



I read the book halfway (no spoiler please!). Until then, the characters, atmosphere etc were generally serious. Then came Simkin. It was then only I laughed out loud. One of my favourite passages (so far) is as follows:

"Of course I've talked to Vanya," Simkin said, turning back to Saryon. "His Tubbiness laid his plans out quite clearly before me. 'Simkin', he said, 'I would be grateful, eternally grateful, if you would assist me in this little matter.' 'Bishop, old chap,' I replied, 'I'm yours to command.' He would have hugged me, but there are some things I draw the line at, and being hugged by fat bald men is one."

So far, I enjoy reading the book (a birthday gift from Ban), especially the setting where magic is the norm and technology is viewed to be evil and technologists are reviled - a total opposite to the stories we're usually accustomed to i.e. magic is misunderstood, feared and magicians are hunted.

A bunny song

I sang this song to my honey:

"How much is that bunny in the window.
Boing! Boing!
The one with adorable face.
Boing! Boing!
How much is that bunny in the window.
Boing! Boing!
I know that the bunny is mine.
Boing! Boing!"

My honey said that the bunny is sold to a Seremban guy living in Singapore :)

The search is over

Remeber my pants tragedy?

I tried my luck again to get the same pants William helped me to choose at Takashimaya, during the ongoing Great Singapore Sale. The last time I visited them they didn't have my size.

Lo behold this time they did! I tried a pair, chose the colour of two pairs and asked them to alter the length of the pants. I asked them to use the length of the pants I was wearing (it is the same pants i.e. Brentwood and the same cut) as the measurement. Bought them at the same discounted price as previously.

Collected them recently, tried again to make sure they fit and they did. Just hope it would still be when I finally wear them for work. *Fingers crossed*

Where's Dr Gregory House?

The day after this, I visited the ENT specialist to listen to his opinion after he had the chance to review the CT scan.

The verdict? Same as his scope i.e. there is no evidence of sinusitis. Not even a hint of it. It is mind-boggling, even to him, since I exhibited typical sinusitis symptoms and obtained relief (albeit temporarily as long as I'm on medication) by taking medication for sinusitis.

In the end, there is no real diagnosis. His advice to me was basically to stay as healthy as possible e.g. exercise regularly, adequate rest etc and try forgetting about this illness. The funny thing is that, as a few people have pointed out, I'm already doing all those healthy-living stuff. Someone even suggested that perhaps I should start living unhealthily since people with less-than-healthy lifestyle has no health problems.

I did, however, tried something new that night. A friend claimed that his sinusitis is due to humid condition and suggested that I use the dry mode of the aircond while sleeping (which works for him). Whether it is due to this or otherwise, miraculously I haven't had any sinusitis symptoms (especially that bad headache) for past two days after adopting his idea. I woke up with only slight pressure around my eyes and nose, which gradually eased off and gone by late morning. Weird.

A case for Dr House, isn't it?

Medical errands

8.35am - 9.45am
The clinic opened at 8.30am. It was no wonder I was patient number 6. Doctor was at the stage where he concluded that I needed to see an ENT specialist about my sinusitis symptoms. Went to the one he recommended 3 years ago who miraculously cured my very bad persistent cough and so didn't mind at all going to the same one again. Since it's private, I got my appointment the same day.

11.50am - 12.50am
Specialist, after asking some questions and read the note from my GP, did a scope through my nasal passages. They appeared to be fine. He recommended CT scan of the sinus area. He also postulated that if it shows nothing, maybe I'm having tension headache. Highly doubtful as I pointed out to him that I feel great pressure which moves to whichever side I sleep on (not something that tension headache should have, isn't it?). Paid S$280.

1.50pm - 2.50pm
First time doing CT scan. Hope it shows something that explains the symptoms because otherwise, I need House :P Paid $224.

4.55pm - 5.10pm
Personally collected the scan because if it was left to the hospital, the scan would reach the specialist after my appointment the next day. Delivered scan to specialist's clinic. Was hoping to get a little discount for being a delivery boy but oh well... :P

King of forgetfulness?

Alf: Hey, how are you? Been quite a long time.
Alf's friend: Good lah. Honeymoon was pretty good.
Alf: You're married? Wah, didn't tell me you're married?
Alf's friend: Huh? You were at my wedding dinner!

Can beat that?

Inaugaral Pocket Scrabble Game

Pocket Scrabble

I've bought the Pocket Scrabble years ago. It was only recently I managed to open the pack and played it, thanks to Rick agreeing to play with me (thanks!). He thinks that it is for the Liliputans :P Admittedly, it is really small but that's why it's called "Pocket" Scrabble. It's magnetic based. Even the tile holder is magnetic.

We played a rather fast game - just over an hour I believed. We agreed to restrict to 3 mins per turn but most of the time, we were quicker than that.

I was off to a bad start. Rick was so bloody lucky in getting all the Ss and one blank. However, I was sort of compensated Q and Z very early in the game.

In the end, I won by a small margin: 311 to 284 :)

Aversion to fruits


LloydNicKL2010022, originally uploaded by williamnyk.

Me: Honey, have you had fruits today?
Ban: Fruits? Errr.
Me: Means you didn't lah?
Ban: Errr no.
Me: Honey, it's been like 4 days since you had fruits.
Ban: *Makes some bunny noises*
Me: Have some tomorrow, ok? Even a little is better than none.
Ban: *More bunny noises*
Me: It's good for your health lah.
Ban: O ok.

Cattle in Singapore CBD?

Bridge_cattle

Work/Life Balance

Work/life balance is enshrined within my company's policy. Here's my big boss's idea of what work/life balance means to her when she was asked:

Work hard and long hours + destress

Nothing about spending time with loved ones. Nothing about exercise. Nothing else except to work hard and long hours (e.g. working till 10pm was cited as "being serious about career") and then destress the stress work caused. It's like working yourself till exhaustion and then fix it. That's work/life balance.

To her, only those who work hard and long hours care about their career.

It appears that she's operating on the maxim of Career = Life.

Conspiracy

Few days ago, for a while, I couldn't use my handphone or my office phone to call or receive call and couldn't receive e-mail.


I can't determine what was the common link among these three tools except that I was the user. What are the odds that they all happened the same time and recovered within minutes of each other?

So strange.

Financial freedom

A glance at one of those junk mails lead to some research on the current approximate price of my place in Singapore. After taking into account my current amount of savings (include both investments and emergency fund), I can have financial freedom IF
  • I move back home in Malaysia
  • Significantly tone down my lifestyle (but not until poverty level lah)
  • Earn at least an average of 5% p.a. on my investment capital
I was quite surprised to learn this. I am truly grateful for being lucky in the accidental great timing in getting this property in Singapore for it has been, to date, the quickest way to earn a huge return.

I guess it's good to know this in case I want to quit my job and want to have the option to be much more selective in what I want to do for a living.

How do you...

...even begin to eat this??

Bread

Anyone tried before? Is it like crisy roti canai/prata?

The case of a banana

Me: What's the banana doing out on the laundry rack??
Rick: Oh can throw it away.
Me: Why is it there in the first place?
Rick: A bird flew in and pecked at it.
Me: (?!) All the way into the dining hall (just to eat your banana)?
Rick: Errr yup. So since it already has a peck on it, I hang it there so that it can eat it. Seems not.
Me: Ok...hey, can just cut off the tip and eat the rest?
Rick: *Rigorously shakes head side to side* Don't want. Bird flu...
Me: Oh yah, good point.

Lightning rod?

Is that a lightning rod on the roof of the bus stop (on the right side)?

Bus stop 1

Bus stop 2

Incompetent taxi driver

Normally if a taxi driver doesn't know how to get to my destination, he would do the following (or a combination):
  • Ask me
  • Call and ask his contacts
  • Look up a street directory
I have no qualms in assisting the taxi driver as much as possible to reach my destination (it is after all in my interest to do so) but the I'm only assisting: the onus is on the taxi driver to get all the relevant information, if he hasn't already gotten it, to enable him to drive me there. Although I generally try to get as much information as possible about how to get to the destination, it should always be the taxi driver's responsibilty; not mine.

Recently, I took a taxi to a client's office and here's what happened:

Me:   10, CBP Central 1.
Taxi:  Ok.

Few seconds later...


Taxi:  Is it after the ABC building?
Me:   Mmmm yes it's near there.

Later, as we were nearing ABC building, I was looking out for the road CBP Central 1 and lo behold it was right after the building on the left. Yet, the taxi driver drove past it and said...

Taxi:  So where? Where?
Me:   I think you just past it. The road is on the left, after ABC building.
Taxi:  No, no. No such road on the left.
Me:   ???
Taxi:  Ok, I turn left at the traffic light and turn left again and you can show me.

Once he did that, he said...

Taxi:  So where? Where? (in a seemingly impatient voice)
Me:   Just drive back to the ABC building.

Once there, it was again...

Taxi:  Where, where?
Me:   See? That's CBP Central 1. Turn left. I don't understand why as a taxi driver, you're asking me to direct you (in a frustrated voice).
Taxi:  I've been driving taxi for a year only (in a rather apologetic voice).
Me:   So? I don't even drive and yet I (have the sense of) always look out for the road signs (and I'm not even Singaporean!).

He was much nicer when collecting the fare. Though I was seething, I did manage to thank him but I refused to give any tips. Usually, if I don't have exact coins and the fare is close to the next dollar, I would round up and let the taxi driver have the difference. All I ask is a normal ride without anything unpleasant. I'm not even expecting good service. But not this time. Ironically, he gave me back 5 cents more lol.

The decline of Fundsupermart

The beginning
I have invested in unit trust funds since 2000/2001 and have a Fundsupermart account (a distributor of unit trust funds) for about 9 years already, almost since the day they came into existence. Note that Fundsupermart since day 1 has always been an advocate of regular saving for the medium to long term (rather than speculation).

The only explicit charge that I paid (until now) was the sales charge i.e. a certain % of my subscription which is levied only once. Other charges are implicit within the unit price, which is the same for all investors, big or small, as it is determined by the fund manager.

The change
However, in a recent announcement, they are decreasing the sales charge quite significantly but introducing a platform fee, which is an ongoing fee charged as a % of amount of assets invested.

Any normal investor would know that this is detriment to him as such ongoing fee will very soon offset whatever saving that's gotten from the reduced sales charge. In fact, someone showed via a simple calculation, with reasonable assumptions,  that after 3 years, amount of ongoing fees would offset the reduction in sales charge.

This could be good news for speculators or short-term investors but most of us are investing for at least the medium-term (i.e. at least 5 years). Also, such ongoing fee will also penalise those of us who have already paid the old sales charge and so we are penalised twice. Such fee reduced our investment rate of return, on a compounding basis, with no appreciable benefits to long-term investors.

Despite pleas to scrap this platform fee and alternative suggestions to generate revenue (e.g. start charging for fund switches, savings on IT side, reduce number of free magazines etc), both the GM and CEO are adamant in sticking to this new pricing structure. In fact, the CEO stated that such structure exists in US, UK and Australia. Yet, people who are familar with US and Australia contradicted him by saying that it is cheaper to invest in unit trust funds in these countries and it's even without such ongoing fee.

The decline
Their main competitors are Dollardex, AvivaDirect, POEMS and Finatiq. I know for certain that the first three do not have such structure (and in fact, Dollardex, in a e-mail response, said that they have no such plan). They are definitely not small fries in the industry either, having existed for between 5 - 10 years. Moreover, transfer of invested funds is free. Thus, it is no brainer that many of us are transfering our investment out of Fundsupermart to its competitor.

Of course there is a chance that the other online fund distributors may follow Fundsupermart's new pricing structure in future but until then, there is no harm moving to them. At worst, it's bye-bye unit trust funds and hello alternative investment instruments (likely ETFs).

Ban's Bread Country


Civ 4: Bread country, originally uploaded by Jaded Jeremy.
What do you do if your country is a desert with a long river (ala Nile River)? Well, in Ban's case, he used his magical units to turn desert squares to plain squares and feverishly turned them into farms which in time generated plenty of food (see those bread?). On those squares, he also earned plenty of money (see those money bags?)

It's just amazing how many farms he had. Too bad food from farms is not something one can export in Civilization IV (or any Civilization game for that matter). He would had been filthy rich!

MYR50

Recently I received an sms on my Malaysia handphone from a phone number that I don't recognise. The sms asked me to provide him/her my bank account number so that he/she can transfer MYR50 each month to me, preferably to either of two specific banks (one of which is RHB and I forgot what was the other).

I thought it was a scam but on hindsight, it could be a genuine mis-sent. What do you think?

Happy baby

One of the poses I learned at yoga classes is the happy baby pose. You know how babies, after a few months, start holding their feet? It's like that.

Recently, I asked Ban to do that pose. After a split-second (probably trying to remember the actual pose hehe), he turned and hugged me and said, "Happy baby pose!".

We were helplessly laughing after that :)

27 March 2010

Not sure whether news in Singapore was sufficiently extensive or not but judging from what I can glean from Channelnewsasia, it seems that there wasn't gazillion candles lighted up last night during Earth Hour (8.30pm - 9.30pm). There were some from the video I viewed but at least it seems to be only 1 candle per group of 5 people. Ironically, the next scene was presumably a spokeswoman for the organiser saying something about encouraging people to "reduce carcon emissions".

What did impress me this year was that the energy used to light up the stage of the singers was entirely from biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil. I do wonder though how's its carbon footprint stacks up against hydroelectric power.

During that time, I was having delicious expensive dinner with 3 other friends at the restaurant Desire at Scarlet Hotel (a boutique hotel). The menu is called the Book of Desire :P

At one point, we were talking about movies:

"Oh that's just similar to the movie we watched (struggling to remember the name)."

"Marley and Me?"

"Bob and Marley? Ehhh"

"Bob Marley?! Thought that's an actor's name?"

"No, he's a singer."

MRT

I was standing in the train when a lady beside me said...

Lady: Can you let me hold on the railing?
Me: (looked around and discovered there wasn't any room to move for her to do that) What do you expect me to do?
Lady: Wait till we all fall down to our death, then you'll know
Me: (shocked) There are some of us who can't hold on to anything too. Perhaps you should start learning how.
Lady: I blame SMRT.
Me: That I agree.
Lady: Stupid SMRT

Actually, on hindsight, she could have been asking the lady in front of her but since she continued to chat with me, I guess it should be me.

Smile at past 6 months


Smiley, originally uploaded by Jaded Jeremy.
Six months ago, we decided to be partners with hope but not fool's hope. Since then, at least for me, I felt much happiness for being with you. A wonderful, caring, thoughtful, smart, sweet man.

Did we argue? No. Only once I was furious but I didn't yell as it broke my heart even while reprimanding him.

Not a day past that I didn't think of him and grinned at some of the things he did or said :)

At times, I wasn't sure what he sees in me but he's happy to be with me as much as I do with him and that's what matters most.

Ban, honey, here's to many more smiles and laughters. *Kiss*

Morning rooster or night owl?

Provided I have enough sleep, I love waking up early and enjoy most of the morning before noon comes. 8 o'clock would be a good time. I'll feel fresh and usually manage to lots of stuff and yet there's still time to spare before the morning is gone. It feels gooooooood.

However, the dilemma is that I also love late night i.e. staying up late until early morning e.g. 3 o'clock. I love the cooler air and the quietness. Playing game or reading book while snacking on bread and drinking milk or even hot beverage.

Where's the dilemma? Well, I prefer to have 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep. Otherwise, my health will suffer - 100 percent confirmed, without a doubt.

Suicidal consultant

I was so frustrated with a client tonight that towards the end of our conversation (of which I was the one who ended it, because otherwise it would have gone on longer than 1.5 hours) I said,

"I wish I'm hospitalised for the next 30 days or so."

and also, yelling to my colleague while client still on the phone,

"Hey, later just let me stand in the middle of the road. Don't bother pulling me in."

The saga was merely postponed till tomorrow. I'm tired to think how to stop this time-wasting discussion.

Civ IV: Sir Bunny and Little Dragon

Recently Ban and I started playing Civilization IV on his laptop. We played as a team using hot seat mode. Took ages to finish the first game because I was keen in winning via cultural victory.

We started a second game where basically we aimed for domination victory i.e. via military. I chose the Chinese civilization. Normally, the first city built would be given the default name "Beijing". I renamed it as:

Dragon City

I discovered Confuciansim and Christianity. I had no choice of which city these religions were founded and both were randomly founded in my second city. Well, since Beijing was not taken up, it was offered again as the name of this city. Instead, I chose this:

Bunny Luv Shack

Very religious place, right? Haha.

A glance at my Chinese cities:
JJ's cities

A glance at Ban's Roman cities:
Ban's cities

Top cities were:
Top cities

A reminder to eat

This happened a few days ago:

Just before noon
I sms-ed Ban to remind him to have lunch

At about 12.10pm
Me: Honey, I may be coming home later. I'm going to buy lunch. You?
Ban: Not yet. I'll go buy lunch now.
Me: Ok, see you soon

At about 1.30pm
Me: Honey, I'm thinking of cooking dinner. Chicken's ok for you?
Ban: Yup, yup. Ohhhhh I forgot to have lunch.
Me: Honey! Aiyoh, I buy lunch for you here lah. By now, no more food at the condo's cafeteria.
Ban: *Makes some bunny's noise* Ok dear, see you soon.

Bunny in farm

This is the sanitised version of the song I sang to Ban recently hehe:

Old McDonald has a farm
E-I-E-I-O
And on his farm he has a bunny
E-I-E-I-O
And it's boing boing here
And a boing boing there
Here boing there boing everywhere boing boing
Old McDonald has a farm
E-I-E-I-O

:)

Women

Women don't do different things; they do things differently.

- A passerby with his friends at Raffles Place MRT station

SOA back to IAAust

I have decided to go back to try qualifying for Fellowship with the Institute of Actuaries of Australia.

After I failed the second time and obtained feedback from Society of Actuaries, I find that the feedback wouldn't help me to learn and improve enough to pass the exam. I acknowledged half of the feedback is valuable but the other half basically said that my answers were incorrect without pointing out the correct answers. Another issue, perhaps a more important one, is that the reviewer seems to impose his/her response as the only acceptable response to certain subjective questions. After I tried to clarify my point of view and hoping to get the reviewer to enlighten me further, he/she basically took a rather arrogant stand by saying that he/she was not there to "debate" with me.

Well, in that case, how would I learn from my mistakes? It is so obvious that some of my answers are incorrect (as otherwise, I wouldn't have failed, right?) and surely it doesn't take USD150 just to tell me where I've gone wrong (in two attempts).

Hence, there is just no point attempting the exam again as I would fail again. Besides, there is a deadline to take it again, which is sometime end of this month. I can pay some money to extend the deadline. Failing that, I would need to redo all over again for this course. If I were to quickly retake the exam, I am almost certain that it would have the same questions again for the same scenario and who want to bet I would pass?

Napping birds

Last week, I came across these "birds" near the Raffles Place MRT station during lunch time:

Bird suit

There were signboards there:

Front sign

Side sign

They must be sweating like crazy!

Bad timing

Of all the time for me to fall very sick, it has to be today, when any time now there'll be tonnes of work to do and the critical portion to be completed soon after Chinese New Year.

It started with dry throat on Sunday morning. Then worsened to sorethroat that night. Next morning, on Monday, it was so painful I could barely speak. My doctor, who usually refrains from prescribing antibiotics, took one look at my throat and promptly declared that I need to take antibiotics. He was mindful that I cannot tolerate acidic medicine (Curam was particularly acidic to me) and so he prescribed me Tarivid.

As Monday passed by, I realised I have stuffy nose as well. Oh no! I took panadol and at night I added a runny nose tablet and cough syrup. Alas, it didn't help. I didn't sleep throughout the night because of accumulation of phlegm in my mouth that I constantly needed to expunge. It's definitely caused by the stuffy nose because when I lie down, my nose clears but the phlegm accumulates. If I'm sitting/standing upright, my nose gets stuff but the phlegm subsides tremendously.

Feeling fed up and after formulating alternate plans, I woke up just before 6am and reached office at around 7.30am. Did some work for half an hour, packed up laptop and brought it along with me to see the doctor. Doctor prescribed medication for runny nose and cough. Once home, I work a little more before napping.

I do have MC but unfortunately, due to bad timing, I have to do some work, otherwise I may be flooded out this week. In fact, I can get MC for tomorrow too if I need it. At least I do have the company laptop here should it come to that.

Cockington Green: T & U

Continuing from here:

Torquay 1


Torquay 2


Turkey 3


Turkey 4


Turkey 1


Turkey 2


Ukraine 1


Ukraine 2