Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 Resolutions

i made 10 resolutions for the next year. although that's a lot, they are very simple ones, but at least, this means i am less likely to break them. no point overreaching myself, and failing eventually. here goes:

1. i shall not purchase too many beauty and makeup products. why should i have 2 blushers since i have only one face?

2. pay my credit card bill fully every month.

3. drink less coffee and tea :(

4. try to use sunscreen and moisturisers more conscientiously. got a scolding from skin doctor last month :P

5. get my own bachelorette pad. anyone got a flat to let out (cheaply)? i promise to be a good tenant.

6. keep my room and workstation tidy. no slum area allowed.

7. read more books.

8. lose weight, THEN watch my new weight more carefully.

9. use a hair conditioner everytime i wash my hair.

10. be less quick to judge, and more quick to listen

My simple lifeplan:

A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

(Ecclesiastes 2: 24-26)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

KL snippets

i am back! it was a short trip we had, but with the heavy action that went on, the fat one and me were almost out of ammunition by the end of the trip, so it is just as well that we made this shopping trip a quick one. otherwise there would be greater damage :P

we stayed in swiss garden hotel, it is quite near the shopping districts. the rooms are really nice, quite cosy and given a wooden feel. but i am sorry to say that the breakfasts were mediocre, and the service not much better. anyway, this was my room before the mess set in.

we spent the first day at KLCC, because it was the fat one's first visit to KL. i figure that no one can actually go to KL and not see Petronas...right? shopping there was limited, because everything was dreadfully expensive. so it was mainly a 'i've seen KLCC' visit.

second day at megamall saw much more fruit :) the place was unbelievably huge. we spent the whole day trawling, and then when we were about to leave, we realised that...we had only seen one corner of the whole place, because we didn't even know that there was another wing! huh-uh. how embarassing :P but anyway, we did enough damage to our wallets.

we spent 3 whole hours at the Bobbi Brown counter (because it's cheaper there). the saleslady was excellent, and basically taught us how to enhance our looks with make up. she was amazingly it was like we tried on something, cleaned it off, and tried again, etc. my goodness. make up is so much effort! in the end, i told her frankly that i'm really lazy and want a minimum-effort-look, and yes, she created one for me. with such great service, the inevitable happened. this is our loot from bobbi brown. i think it is about to become my favourite brand :)

then, of course we had to enjoy luxury meals at half the price, so this was one of our lunches: grilled oysters, shisamo (fish), gyoza, seafood salad. yummy!


according to cousin Kee, we should pay cabs according the meter. but guess what, me and the fat one probably have the words 'foreigners' written on our foreheads. the cabdrivers ALL refused to use the meters! the minute we get into the cab, sometimes before that, they would quote us a price, and it was IMPOSSIBLE to get a cab to use the meter :( i call it the conspiracy of the dark forces of cab drivers.

mummy said that KL has great tea, so i was really looking forward to it. but we were probably in all the wrong places, because there was NO milk tea anywhere. the only tea served was with teabags that looked like damp tissue paper :P in the end, my caffeine fixes were carried out at Toastbox in megamall - singaporean brand at singaporean prices. the other place bean and tea leaf - American brand at american prices. my cappucino cost RM8.50. where is all the good tea? sad, didn't even find a place for bubble tea :(

then we came back on grassland coaches. they actually had in-coach entertainment, so i watched 3 movies on the way back :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


How silent is silent enough?

reading sminy's entry on invigilating makes me want to laugh. i had a similar experience in the same place, so i know exactly what it feels like. we guardians of peace and justice were solemnly warned that we should wear soft shoes so that we could walk quickly (but noiselessly) when delivering extra paper. this was hard, because not everyone was trained in ballet, so the same problems happened - complaints about being slow, being noisy. yes, excuse us for breathing at all.

i don't remember taking my examinations in such holy silence. in those days, air conditioning was a luxury that was never spent on examinations. we took our exams with children shouting in the neighbouring fields and noisy fans whirring. on one remarkably memorable occasion, one invigilator even forgot to tell us to start writing. of course there was h*ll to pay for later, but for some of us, justice came too late :(

so i can't helping wondering why so much importance is given to creating the PERFECT environment for examinations. of course we would like to give the children a fair chance, but really, why do external factors matter so much? i should ask, why SHOULD external factors matter so much?

frankly, no where else would ever again care so much for YOUR well being, YOUR comfort and YOUR sense of peace. in most of our lives, we are expected to perform as well as we could with people pacing around, and yes, with people breathing down our necks! the examination hall is quite an artificially protected sanctuary, and effort should be made to control the atmosphere. however, when unreasonable expectations are placed on our ability to control, i think what is displayed is just...weakness. after all, it is also one's personal responsibility to shut out distractions and concentrate. hey, even athletes from cold countries are going to have to compete in the dry summer heat of Beijing 2008, and nobody is going to try to control the climate, because it is simply not possible.

since the external cannot be controlled completely, i think the only source of stability should come from one's inner peace. isn't this part of inculcating resilience? for youths on the brink of adulthood, complaining incessantly about NOISE seems awfully childish and petty. and, nobody except the candidates is going to have to live with the results of this great endeavour.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Band-Aid verses

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14:27)

honestly, who feels more peaceful just after reading this verse? in moments of intense stress, i never get much consolation from reading a verse like this, telling me not to feel troubled. the verse goes right to the head, but not the heart. i comprehend, but i cannot perceive it.

similarly, the Bible tells us repeatedly to 'love your neighbour as yourself', but it is so difficult to obey the commandment.

think it is nihon no tomo who said this long ago in our uni days - memorising scriptures, though immensely important, should be done in the context of our relationship with Christ. the Word helps us to understand God's character and ways better, but most importantly, we need to come to an understanding of who God is, and most importantly, His love for us. it takes a personal relationship with God to trust and find peace in Him.

most of the time though, we treat the Word as Band-Aid, finding relevant verses for specific problems, but never quite seeing the holistic picture of God's plan for our lives. how can we find peace in God if we do not know Christ as our Prince of peace? and how can we forgive others if we do not know that, 'as far as the east is from the west has God removed our sins from us'? that is why Band-Aid verses don't seem to work very much.

until we know the author of the Word personally, words remain words and have no power over our lives.

this is what i am learning for myself recently:

there are many circumstances and situations that i want to change, but nothing budges. it seems to me that everything is simply beyond human control, well, at least, my control. more importantly, i am really not sure that i am up to what is asked of me. i have only faith the size of a mustard seed, but i need to see mountains move. Lord, i believe in Your plan for my life. i believe that Your grace is sufficient for me, for your power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)

Thursday, August 23, 2007


an exercise calculated to bring one on a trip down the memory lane: on a piece of blank paper, write down what memories of college life you have, that you cherish.

i was saddened to see that some (only a few) students seem to think that they have nothing to pen down. how could it be? 2 years spent, during which, nothing worth remembering happens? meanwhile, others happily scribbled down their thoughts, and decorated the piece of paper fondly with coloured pens and drawings. suddenly, the paper looks profoundly symbolic of the experiences of these students. some hand in brightly decorated work, some, a perfunctory few lines in drab ink. in the same place, why do people have such diverse experiences?

it is the season to choose colleges and universities again. as usual, there is a mad rush for open house days, reading all the prospectuses available, seeking divine guidance and even drawing lots! but i think that most of the time, the place isn't the main factor in determining the quality of the experience. after all, in every environment, there are people who enjoy themselves, and there are those who wish that they were somewhere else. i really don't think that it means that some are luckier than others. what matters more is, what everyone choose to make of his/her own experience. the fact is, YOU make the difference between being happy and being sad.

then i got rather nostalgic and inspired, so i shall also write down some of the memories i have of my own college:

being one of the airy fairies in the play, 'the Tempest'. The Other Fairy and i were gracefully dancing on the stage during rehearsal, when we bumped right into each other. very lovely sight.

having a (cute) senior send me home. i had a crush on him :)

making Year One students search through a rubbish bin for clues...then a REAL cockroach ran out. hehehe, that wasn't planned.

going to a dance with snake. i was all dressed in black so i thought i looked very cool, actually, i think i was just trying too hard.

falling asleep every history lesson. but dear Mr T always forgave me.

class outings at TGIF. yummy potato skins. the restaurant has closed down. sigh, it was that long ago.

one to one literature s-paper time with the tutors. having Mr H read John Donne's love poetry to me :P hey, it was for professional reasons, but i blushed anyway.

Friday, August 17, 2007

why it matters

i am angry.

i heard that a student from a top school forged an MC using his old one. even when the truth became evident, he tried his best to deny it. he displayed no signs of repentance eventually, only regret that he had been caught. he should have been more careful about using the right kind of ink. more disturbingly, this isn't an isolated incident. neither do his friends condemn an act like that. to these students, there is nothing wrong about forgery. after all, this act hurts no one in particular. why does the teacher have to spoil the party and discover the truth? what does it matter?

i feel so tired. how do you guide children who question even the fundamentals of basic morality? what have these students ever experienced in life to justify such cynicism and amorality? nothing. but life is very strange. those who have a lot, think they deserve more, and they don't see why they should allow inconvenient moral rules to get in the way of what they want to do.

first let me address the idea that the act was acceptable because it hurts no one. not every act should be measured by utilitarian principles. sometimes, things are simply right or wrong. beyond the pragmatic effects, is nothing else worth believing in? this deception is ultimately a deed done in darkness and secrecy, the perpetrator lives in fear that he would be discovered. there is something in his life that has to be hidden. tell me that this isn't guilt that comes from doing something wrong.

i always think that there is a very effective litmus test for whether an act is moral or not. we can just ask ourselves, is this something we would want our own children to do one day, on the basis that what you don't know can't hurt you?

besides, there are after all some social rules that everyone follows, to protect the order and mutual trust in society. these rules might bring about some immediate inconvenience, but no one sane wants to live in a world without them. we respect official documents, like MCs, because we trust that they come from a reliable source. but this is a situation that requires everyone to cooperate. our collective stability is safeguarded, and this too protects the individual. frankly, the very students who argue that a little deception is acceptable, would definitely not think the same way if the tables were turned on them, and they are the ones deceived. doesn't this betray some double-minded hypocrisy and selfishness?

it is naive to think that this deception hurts no one. it hurts his parents and those who care for him, but most importantly, it hurts his conscience and how he sees himself.

anyway, ultimately, i really don't think that people get away with doing what is wrong, even if they persuade themselves that they haven't done anything wrong using twisted logic. as the psalmist says to God,

'If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. '(Psalms 139)

Thursday, August 16, 2007


sometimes i think that i am in the wrong line. if i hadn't gone to read poetry and plays and such in the university, maybe i would have become a scientist. in fact, i do remember that chemistry was my best subject in secondary school. my interest in scientific research has not waned over the years, and i am just as keen as ever on conducting experiments. but what is a scientist to do, without a well-stocked laboratory?

luckily, there is actually one place right at home that is also full of volatile substances and the bunsen burner. so i indulged my adventurous spirit in the kitchen. i came up with quite a few innovative recipes, though no one particularly liked them :P. there is something else to play around with. i read about some interesting beauty treatments that use the ingredients in the kitchen, and so the only thing to do is to try them out. my dear friends, after much investigation and practical experiments, here is my verdict on these suggested treatments. you guys have to try them out to test if i am a reliable scientist.

What works:

natural yoghurt as a face mask. the bacteria eats away your dead cells and makes your skin brighter.

green bean powder+green tea powder+egg white = a very good mask to make your pores smaller and cleaner.

lemon juice+witch hazel= a good skin whitening product.

my mum keeps the water that is used to rinse rice, and washes her face with it. apparently it makes her skin less lined. in fact, if you keep the water overnight, it actually smells as bad as SKII products :P

What doesn't work:

rinsing your hair with vinegar. this is supposed to make your hair shiny, but it also makes your hair smell like puke :P

smash a tomato on your face. it's hard to function with bits of tomato dripping off your face.

banana peel on your eyes. this supposedly is a good eye mask, but all it does is make your eyes itch.

Monday, August 13, 2007


it is the national day season and i am feeling patriotic. besides, if i wrote a glowing enough piece, maybe i would get a pay raise :P

it probably is my age now, but i am not feeling half as footloose as i used to be. i guess, i have been to enough countries to feel somewhat less curious about what the world out there is like. and frankly, after it all, i do is rather good to be a singaporean.

of course things could be better. there is always room for improvement. we don't have the terracotta army or polo buns. we could be less kiasu, more gracious. less demanding, more generous. we should complain less and smile more. oh yes, things could be better. but think again, things could be much worse too.

having been squashed on tokyo trains and left stranded by striking subway workers in London, i do appreciate our comfortable and reliable MRT. after shopping through a major street in HK, both little fish and me fell ill because of air pollution, so, never take the clean air back home for granted. there aren't many developed countries in the world that offer cheap freshly cooked food either. you just have to make do with cold sandwiches, even in winter :P . and there are some countries that you simply mustn't fall ill in. the list could go on, but i don't want to sound jingoistic. suffice to say, after travelling, i feel quite glad to see the 'Welcome Home' sign at changi airport.

there is only one other country in the world which i really wanted to live in - New Zealand, of the Lord of the Rings beauty. it looks picture perfect from every angle. in fact, i wanted to marry a New Zealander just so that i could migrate there. but here is the irony. the country has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

so, what exactly makes an ideal country?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


phew, a breath of fresh air back home.

It does feel good to be able to breath freely again. not sure if it is a sign of environment damage, in Xian and Beijing, but everything is covered by dust, and after a day out in the open, we all feel very well powdered.

after days of listening to tall tales about palace intrigue, foolish emperors and evil eunuchs, i feel strangely disoriented. spent most of the morning sorting out my spoils from China and reading my mail.

tuesday morning, bright and early, we followed the map and navigated ourselves to a place where Silk Street was. it was a street filled with stalls, selling all kinds of imitation goods and curios. try as we might, we just couldn't find the place. finally, we asked someone where Silk Street was, and to our dismay, the local pointed to a shopping centre.

Apparently, the central authority cleaned up the whole street and put everyone into a building! now, that quite destroys the charm of shopping at street stalls, in the open. who wants to go to yet another shopping centre? sigh...modernisation.

V (formerly known as Bedi) and i gave up shopping after a while because all our renminbi ran out. we decided to shell out exhorbitant prices for drinks at a nice cafe and people-watch. the cafe was clearly local-run, and guess wat, a starbucks imitation. it calls itself Spr, and looks, well, just like starbucks, complete with the green logo. think they call it globalisation, China style :P a coffee costs RMB 35, which can pay for a meal for 2 at a restaurant in Beijing.

A phenomenon at Food Street, Wangfujing: HUMAN DUSTBINS

my friends, i know it's rather mean to say that people are dustbins, but that is what they are doing in Food Street. there are many stalls selling all kinds of food to tourists, and inevitably, a lot of food is wasted because people order more than they can finish.

so people stand beside the real dustbins, so that they can take over the unwanted food to eat. sometimes they also rummage the dustbins for edible scraps. it's very sad to be in such a state. i bought a stick of deepfried crabs which tasted horrible, so i wanted to throw it away uneaten. and this old lady simply took it from my hand and ate it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Get the ads coming

i just don't get enough hits on this blog. in fact, little fish says that my blog is downright boring, but i figure that this isn't the reason. what kind of blogs get the most attention? those that write sensationally about sex, or food. it looks like cyberspace citizens only like to gratify their basest instincts. so when a blog muses on issues of philosophy and current affairs, nobody is going to read it.

fine, if this is the way things are going to be, guess i have to be more pragmatic, and give the audience what they want. be warned. what is written below is R(21) material.

Fatal Attraction
She sees him and he sees her.
they do it, and so she is going to get pregnant.
Then she eats him up because there is no more need for him to stay around.

there, you depraved lot! i hope you are happy now! the sex life of spiders is exciting, isn't it? this entry is all sex and and violence and food. what more can anyone ask for? think google is going to put some ads on my blog soon :P

Monday, March 26, 2007


it is always difficult to say goodbye
and so i didn't.

they say that a modern city slicker meets more people in one day than an ancient rural dweller met in his whole life. i think it must be true. so many people come in and out of our lives that we will go crazy trying to keep in touch with everyone.

and so we don't.

it is only pragmatic to allow strangers to enter regularly, and to let friends and acquaintances fade out quietly, unmarked. but somewhere in my heart, there is always a sense of loss. there are people whom i would have liked to get to know better, and there are those whom i would like to meet again, but life doesn't offer such chances.

so yesterday, i taught my last sunday school class in grace chinese church. i didn't tell the students that i wouldn't ever be teaching them again, because i have other plans for my life. after all, a sunday school teacher is a sunday school teacher, and there would always be others. besides, what could i say that would be meaningful? and most importantly, i do hate saying goodbye, knowing that even if we promised to keep in touch in the spur of the moment,

we most likely wouldn't.