Friday, 30 October 2009

Where am I ?

Guess where I am? Inside the toilet in Raffles City Shopping Mall. I just like the dark black flowery prints on the tiles. And each cubicle is fully enclosed, meaning you cannot see any shadows or legs from the next cubicle and you cannot smell anything horrible coming out of the next cubicle, besides your own. 

If you are wondering why I am using polaroid photos.... I have just uploaded an application "Polarize" into my mobile. So I can just snap a photo, polarize it, and even add a tag to it. I think it is pretty cool and neat.

Thumbs up!

Singapore Press Holdings publishes a weekly chinese magazine for primary school kids in Singapore. It is called 大拇指, or Thumbs Up. My niece and nephew subscribe to the magazine from school.
My niece showed me this edition. There is a section where school students can showcase their drawings and they are good enough, they may get their pieces printed on the magazine. 
My nephew's drawing of Pokemon or some monsters is on print!  According to his sister, he will be so excited when he sees this.  And he will be receiving a prize for this as well.  Heard my niece's art piece is also up in the next issue. Stay tuned.

*Chuckle* (do I sound as if it was my son who has graduated from university?)  *BEAM*

Thursday, 29 October 2009

A short story

One fine day, my friend wanted to give me a treat.
Off we went to Botejyu for that Japanese pancake.

We waited in hunger.
Could not help feasting our eyes on the yummy waiter.

My wonderful thirst-quenching drink!

Craving for this for some time. Slurps-satisfied.

Finally our Okonomiyaki came on a platter.

These were the treasures hidden underneath.
This is the short story of the Okos.

You've got a message inside

I chanced upon one of the carts inside Liang Court selling funky and cute stuff.
This was what stopped me. And I chuckled.  *hint: black tag*  Local pseudonym for some guys.  :D
Saw some cute cups that were all individually different. This one got me interested.

Now everybody, let's say....... aaawwww....... soooo schweet ...... meow. What's the message inside your heart?

If you are interested in the items they carry, visit this "train" of carts - Ameba.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

We learn by doing

This evening I attended the Guru puja in DPL. Every 10th and 25th days of the Tibetan calendar, Guru puja will be conducted, even if it does not fall on a weekend. More lamas are gradually coming back from Gaden Shartse monastery in India. There are about 10 lamas now.
By doing the Guru Puja, we create the causes for a good connection with our spiritual teacher, and this connection is the root of the path. All the realizations on the path to enlightenment depend upon our spiritual friend.

And tonight I am so happy to have made a friend. A fellow blogger and one of my readers recognised me. Happy to finally meet you, Mr B! You know who you are! *BIG WAVE*  Hope to catch up with you again. There are many things I need to consult you about the blogging world, as well as sharing our experiences about the Dharma and gurus.  :) Contest

Recently, (a DIY travel show) is holding a travel-photo contest. The folks behind, Adrianna Tan and May Yee, are avid travellers. From Singapore, Adrianna (aka. @skinnylatte) is a fantastic author, photojournalist and blogger (of the popular Popagandhi fame).

Although I do not travel that often, I have taken tons of photos of the places I have visited over the years, which perhaps serve as the best travel memories for me. My only regret is, I should have taken even more photos in those pre-digicam days. I actually have many more photos taken in those days, not scanned yet.  I am not a professional photographer, but for the fun of it, I sent in some memorable shots of the places and people I was exposed to. Watch out, photos galore!!!

Dubai, UAE -  a fish and vegetable market near the Dubai Deira Creek and Gold Souk. Interestingly, all the sellers are clad in blue "uniform". The market is open throughout the night till early morning.

Lucerne, Switzerland - a couple of friends sharing a quiet moment in front of the Lion Monument,  Löwendenkmal, or otherwise known as the Lion of Lucerne, designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution. The American writer Mark Twain praised the sculpture of a mortally-wounded lion as "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world."

Phnom Penh, Cambodia - Inside the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum which was originally used as a prison by the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. Prisoners were interrogated daily and chained to the bed and tortured with various tools. Many committed suicide. The black patches on the floor tiles were actually dried up blood.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia - In the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are the mass graves containing 8,895 bodies after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime. A memorial stupa was erected and filled with more than 5,000 human skulls. The remains of the bones are still in the killing fields nearby.

Shenzhen, China - Watching a performance by a Chinese dance troupe.  I think it was the story of Chang'e, the celestial maiden.

Gyeongju, South Korea - Taken in Bulguksa Temple (meaning Buddha Land). This was behind the courtyard behind Munseoljeon (Hall of No Words). Caught a monk strolling by. The name "No Word" comes from the belief that it is impossible to express the essence of Buddha's teachings simply through language.

Mt Titlis, Switzerland - A light moment between the tour guide and fellow tourist, who looked like she was about to fall over the cliff.  Mt Titlis is a mountain in the Urner Alps of Switzerland. It is located on the border between the cantons of Obwalden and Berne in Switzerland, overlooking Engelberg (Obwalden) and is famous as the site of the world's first revolving cable car. I got up there on the big cable car. Engelberg is a really nice place beneath the mountains with little cottages.

Istanbul, Turkey - I think this was at the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (more popularly known as the Blue Mosque), a historical mosque in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey and the capital of the Ottoman Empire. A mother and daughter chatting at a courtyard behind.

Ankara, Turkey - I just love this surreal shot. It is actually at Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey.

Ankara, Turkey - The same place in Ataturk Mausoluem, these Turkish men having a smoke outside one of the museum halls.

Siem Reap, Cambodia - This is at the grounds of the famous Angkor Wat, a temple complex built for King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre - first a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, then to a Buddhist temple.

Ephesus, Turkey - This is near the House of the Virgin Mary, a Christian and Muslim shrine located on Mt Koressos, Ephesus. It is believed by many Christians and Muslims that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken to this stone house by St John and lived there until her Assumption into Heaven according to many Catholics.  How appropriate I got a shot here of this beautiful young mother playing with her child.

Melbourne, Australia - Having a picnic somewhere near Port Campbell along the Great Ocean Road, enroute from Adelaide to Melbourne.  It was a great scenic coastal drive. I love how this shot captured a  pigeon 's landing. :D

Ephesus, Turkey - My lame attempt taking a black & white panaromic shot of the Great Theater, part of the archaeological site of Ephesus's ruins. It is a dramatic and impressive sight and of biblical significance: this is traditionally where St. Paul preached against the pagans.

Paris, France - This was taken near the tunnel where Princess Diana met with her tragic car accident. The golden statue of the eternal flame near the tunnel was an original tribute to Franco-Americian friendship, but now it has been adopted as the unofficial shrine to Princess Diana following her death.  Many people have placed cards, flowers and her photos around the statue. I loved Princess Diana and it was so sad being so "near" her for the very first time, albeit upon her death.

Florence, Italy - This Fountain of Neptune is situated on the bustling Piazza della Signoria (Signoria square), in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Florence, established by Julius Caesar, is regarded as one of the most beautiful city in the world. The city lies on the River Arno and is known for its history and its importance in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance period, especially for its art and architecture.

Florence, Italy - Nearby the Fountain of Neptune, this is the Uffizi Gallery, one of the oldest and most famous art museums of the Western world. It is housed in the Palazzo degli Uffizi. I love how light is cast upon the Uffzi Tower in this shot.

Siem Reap, Cambodia - This is along Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia which runs into the Mekong River. This area is home to many ethnic Vietnamese and Cham communities, living in floating villages around the lake. The floating houses can be shifted at any one time, depending on wet or dry seasons.

The contest closes on 31 Oct. It is still not too late if you would like to submit yours too. You can send in as many photos as you like. Others have already submitted so many awesome photos. But I hope I win a prize too, haha!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Non-existent craving

Nothing spectacular to share about food and too busy to cook these 2 weeks. Didn't want to bore people with my meat-less diet, haha. I am hoping by being temp vegetarian I can lose some weight as well, so if I do so after the 100 days, then it will be a bonus.  One advantage is, I no longer feel bloated compared to when I was eating meat.

Was with a friend a couple of weeks ago in Sushi Tei. Here's my order - cold Cha Soba which was very good in terms of being springy. Potato tempura was the first time I tried potato in tempura. It was something different, not bad compared to the usual potato salad. Ordered the jap tofu to go with the sauce, yummy but I could not finish all. I think to a Jap food lover, these seemed lacklustre to the usual sashimi, prawn tempura, unagi rice, katsu don, or sushi. But I feel ok, really. I am really surprised with myself that I did not have any cravings or temptation for so long (because I was usually starving by the time I eat, been skipping breakfast or lunch).

Met up with another friend whom I have not seen for a long time, at Coffee Club for a quick lunch. Ordered the Mushroom swiss sandwich which came with salad. Included in the set was the soup of the day - minestrone soup and a drink. The sandwich was nothing extraordinary but I was hungry so I cleaned up everything (breakfast cum lunch). However during the late afternoon, I was hungry again. So I ordered a Croquette and french fries from Mos Burger.  I love the croquette there.

Just tonight, my sis called for delivery and ordered shepherd's pie for dinner. It was from, well, The Shepherd's Pie! Hmm.... we had chicken pie and veggie pie. Even the veggie pie tasted like chicken pie (carrots, mushroom, mashed potato, corn). I prefer to eat my shepherd's pie all mashed up like this, since it was wobbly soft. Too much of the good thing is jelak though.

Sometimes during the weekend after puja, I would order food from Fatty Weng coffeeshop nearby. Mostly is Hor Fun or Bee Hoon the tze char style. Recently, I prefer to order separate dishes without rice or noodles. I discovered these oblong pieces of fried tofu was fantastic, because of the sauce which they prepared on the spot. It tasted something like a mix between BBQ sauce and oyster sauce. The hot black sauce went very well with the hot crispy exterior and melt-in-the-mouth tofu inside.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Singapore Philatetic Museum

Just realised I did not post up the photos of Singapore Philatelic Museum here which I visited some time last year. I did not planned to visit the place. I just happened to pass by, so I thought I had go in to have a look. 

SPM is housed in an old nostalgic colonial house, and it is conveniently located at Coleman Street, somewhere near Fort Canning and Peninsula Plaza, the nearest MRT station being City Hall, the central of Singapore.

Beneath the old facade of the colonial house, the exterior of the entrance was adorned with colourful banners and stickers shouting for your attention. And once inside, it was actually cosy with colourful lamps in the main hall. I like a cute corner where these chairs and tables were, with wooden pots of flowers.

You see the different types of letter boxes used from the past few decades, and view the collection of philatetic and postal artefacts since the 18th century. I still prefer the bright English Red Royal Mail letterbox which has more character. Reminds me of London! I love London!

Discover the process of stamp making, the craft of stamp designers, and the passion of stamp collectors. We also see what the postman of the 50s, 60s wear - a typical beige safari-looking shirt and khaki shorts and boots, with what seemed like a straw hat. BOOMZ!

Stamp collectors would drool at the antique and more recent collection of stamps and memorabilia - from that of Marilyn Monroe to Jackie Chan to Harry Potter. It actually reminded me that I have a collection of stamps from the 70s, 80s somewhere in the house. I used to collect these when I was in primary school but they are in a mess now.  

There is a Heritage room showing mock up of the olden days shops. The familiar mama shop (operated by Indians) along the pavement of shophouses is what I miss seeing in Singapore. These Indian shop owners used to sell snacks, sweets, magazines, newspapers, cigarettes, and lottery tickets. I used to buy chewing gum from these mama shops. There is the old barber shop that can be set up anywhere, in a shop, in a house or in the open. You just need a mirror, a chair, towel and a pair of scissors. Oh, and shops selling chinese clogs are no longer in existence. These bright red wooden clogs are what people wear in the olden days. The last time I seen a shop selling these "char-kiak" was actually in Penang Malaysia. It's called char-kiak, because "char" means wood and "kiak" is the sound it makes, kiak kiak kiak.  :P

This is a mock up of traditional Chinese coffeeshop in the olden days. I love the nostalgic feel. Look at the bright calendar with a round metal plate, my grandma used to hang this at home. These traditional hot flasks are heavy, and I used to wonder how hot can the water keep, because they used to get little colder after a few hours. Big nice pots with chinese painting used to keep sugar in the coffeeshop, and the thick small kopi cups with matching saucers. The luggage reminds me of my Grandpa (he used to have a luggage like this).

Wow these comics from the 40s-60s! I remember my uncle used to pass me his comics like Dandy and Beano. I had a huge stack of these when I was young but I think they got thrown away. Otherwise, they can fetch a tidy sum today, I think.

These are the modern day comics and superheroes we know. The rooms were decorated real loud and colourful befitting the theme. SPM has different exhibitions at different times, so some of these are only temporary. SPM is really more of an educational place for kids, but glad I had the chance to browse and got a feel of the past again.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Whether you "Like" it or not

We know there is this feature in Facebook which there is a "Like" button we can click under every status, or remark or photo or any action posted by your FB friends. That is, if we "like" any of the posts they make.

Let me introduce the characters. I have 4 FB friends A, B, C, D, all of whom do not know each other, and they have a mutual friend called XX, who is not my friend in FB list.  It happened that when I was conversing with A that I noticed that XX is her friend. In A's FB wall, XX clicked "Like" in almost whatever she posted.  Then I was commenting about something on B's wall. Again I noticed XX also knows B as well and XX clicked "Like" in everything on B's wall.  The same goes to C and D. And I won't be surprised to see XX in many many of my other friends' walls as well, doing the same thing...... Seeing so many "Like"s everywhere just made me wonder what the hell is this bugger XX trying to do! Which kind of irks me and made me want to ask XX, "are you for real or just playing around?" Irritating.  I hope for example, if one of his friends write on his/her status "going for major operation tomorrow", he will absent-mindedly click "Like"! I think this is a nice feature but over-used by overzealous people sometimes.

Makes me wish Facebook can give us some more buttons, like "Hate", "Funny!",  "OMG!" or "ROTFL!" ?  Better still, Facebook should give us a template so that we can customise our own one-word buttons in FB. If I am able to do so, I would create and click "Lame!" after XX's "Like".  Haha!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Meeting Baby Amber

Finally met Baby Amber for the very first time, when my buddy came back from Dubai for a visit. She is about 4 months old. I think her looks changed again since birth, but still as chubby.

I, as usual, was snapping away at any opportunity. Didn't have a nice shot of myself and the baby though... all my faces got chopped off, haha! Anyway, Baby Amber is good humoured, always smiling, besides meal times of course. And I think her daddy needs to aircon their whole house next time as Baby Amber is not used to the horrendous heat here. If I am the mommy, I wonder how I had survived the heat, with a baby forever latched on. I had be swimming in the sea of sweat all the time. Hehe....

Good news is, my buddy and family will be coming home for good in a few months time. Bad news is, I lost a pen pal again. Haha, I think we express ourselves better through writing to each other instead of confiding in each other face to face. *sniff*

Oh  bought this beansprout pillow online for Baby Amber. Saw this from a blogshop, Pupsik Studio, as recommended by Claudia and thought this is quite a unique traditional gift. The old folks used to handmade pillow and filled it with dried beansprout shells inside. This made the pillows light, cooling and safe for newborn babies especially. Newborn babies are easily startled by sudden noises and movements, these beansprout pillows are usually placed over their chest to give them a sense of security when they sleep. As they grow older, these pillows turn into a comfort pillow. The folks at Pupsik also let you choose if you wanted taggies at the side of the pillows. This is from the idea that kids usually like to rub the edges of fabric, clothing labels and tags, to lull them to sleep. And I chose this pillow design from the many available. Pupsik also carries alot of other stuff as well. 

Friday, 23 October 2009

Do you fit the bill?

Sometimes I wonder what will become of a business if it is being run by friends. I saw many businesses failed because it was set up between/among friends who got together to make some money. But how far the business will grow and become successful depends entirely on the individual who has the sharpest business acumen. And not how clever the person is. Not how rich the person is. Not how good a person is at multi-tasking. Not how much work experience (maybe irrelevant experience) a person has prior to his own business. It depends on the person's judgement, on how to run the business, on how to grow the business, on which partners he ropes in. I saw many fail for one reason - the partners fall out with each other eventually over the slightest tiny reason.

No matter how many partners there are in a business, the person in charge must be far sighted in terms of business, in terms of strategy, in terms of having a heart to feel for others as well. It is good to dream how big your business will be. But it's the getting there that is the most
difficult. How to choose the "leader" of the pack, so that the rest would be willing to work hard together, for him?

For me, to earn my respect, this person who would lead the pack .... must have some pre-requisites.

- The person must have undergone some business training in management somehow or another. Eg. how do you expect a techie IT guy to run a business when all he knows is computer lingo?

- The person must be willing to take risks. It is easy for anyone to say they are risk-taking, but it shows in your character how you handle certain situation. Eg. making sure not to waste money by travelling by train to get to your destination. How to make money when 80% of the time was spent travelling instead of finding business or closing that crucial deal?

- The person must convince his fellow workmates or subordinates he can do the stuff he is dictating them to do. An employee once told me that his boss did not know a single code of the technical project he was supposed to be in charge of and his boss was relying on him to finish all the crucial tasks.

- The person must be able to present his ideas in even simple reports and business plan to convince clients or to the bigger boss or to his fellow team mates. Although it is good to have the PR, but business does not succeed purely by calling people "brother" all the time.

- The person may have a wealth of working experience in different trades but as a CEO, would you choose this person to manage your "corporate" business? Being a Jack of all trades does not mean that person can be a Master of the One & Only trade. Can a restaurant owner or pub owner manage a huge MNC if he does not have prior experience working in a MNC before?

- The person who can succeed in managing a business will not allow himself to be led by the nose by others who told him to do even the lowest inefficient task, and wasting sleepless nights to resolve a simple technical problem, when help is just a phone call away.

Everyday I do observe people's behaviour, people's talk, people's action, people's passion, people's dreams, but how many of these people can convince me enough that they can perform up to the standard of a leader? I saw many businesses fail because there is no long term plan, or the plan keep changing or the people do not have the calibre to lead. I hope through observing others, I will learn and be well prepared to run my own business one day, learning from others' weaknesses and strengths. I hope I won't be cold turkey by then.

Quote of the Day
The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people. Woodrow Wilson
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