Friday, September 29, 2006

Here's the day you hoped would never come.

The day you hoped would never come. That was today for me. Now gather close my pretties, while I tell you the story.

I woke up two days back and noticed I couldn't call out from my home phone. Starhub had blocked my phone number because they hadn't received any payment from me for my telephone number. Now therein laid the problem. I HAD infact been dutifully paying my bills, JUST not for what I thought was a telephone bill which I though was rolled into my Cable and Internet bills. Starhub had noted my address for the telephone bill INCORRECTLY. How on earth that happened while they got the correct address for my CABLE AND INTERNET bills is beyond me. However, I proceeded to get this issue resolved. and thus swiftly, it was beautifully brought to a conclusion. I paid my bill without too much fuss from a wildly sympathetic and helpful girl at the customer service center in Plaza Singapura. And was on my merry way.

ALSO my Nokia cellphone decided that now was a great time to die on me. Specifically the RINGER that is. I was vastly disappoint yesterday when at 8:15 PM at night while I was just alittle late from riding the bus with my wonderful Gloria to Bishan MRT, the customer service had to shoot me what I thought must have been the dirtiest look ever, like I was a retard and a pile of steaming poo lying on the ground. I was like ok FINE. But today when I went there at 5ish everything was beautiful. It must be the lack of sleep/overdose of cellphone smells that gave these people bad dispositions at 8 o clock. But now, as my cellphone is at the Nokia Care Center being fixed, I'm cellphoneless. No matter, I decided to find myself a replacement, for situations like this and such. Because you never know when you need a replacement cell.

I got myself a Samsung X160. Frankly a better phone than my 6021. The user interface has SOME tiny quirks that I can forgive it for in the main just Samsung style quirks. But I mean for the lack of bluetooth, it is THE perfect phone. HUGE Phonebook. Sigh, the lack of Bluetooth is infuriatingish. But I am seriously considering giving my Dad my 6021. Or My bro. Coz his phone could seriously use a refresh. HINT HINT Hue. Trade in your old one get a new one for yourself and give the 6021 to dad. See such a simple plan. MUAHAHA. Or Not, I may want both for myself. One for weekdays and one 2 party with:P LOL I'm a Fone whore.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Day In Suzhou

Yes, Suzhou, Venice of the Orient. Where rampant construction has not yet touched this pristine and beautiful country, tourism has arrived, and in the best way possible. I shall begin, with the picture of the street outside the Humble Administrator's Garden.

Ah yes, The Humble Administrator's Garden, 拙政园, a beautiful garden, full of life, beauty and more that cannot even be stated in words alone. The entrance fee of 70RMB aside, it is truly a sight to behold one of THE reasons to even visit Suzhou. What is so special about this garden, is probably its size, its variety of flora, and the way which all this beauty comes together in glorious harmony. We in Suzhou are blessed, truly blessed to hold one of the world's treasures, treasure it we must.

The above picture of a tea house, is typical of such Chinese gardens and can be found almost always filled with smoking Chinese men and women, a performer, in this case a person playing a Chinese instrument and singing in the local dialect.

A feature of the Chinese garden which often surprises people is the common appearance of buildings, this can be a little disconcerting for the average non-local. However we must remember that these gardens were meant for private use in the past and often was integrated into the houses of the Elite in Chinese society.

Something which I found extremely beautiful which is rather unique to 拙政园 is the number of lotus plants there, in the ponds. I thought it provided so much green and was incredibly pleasing to the eye, no wonder Monet loved painting his Lotus plants! Bamboo, Bamboo lined up all against a wall, totally reminiscent of the scene from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, in the Bamboos dancing rather than fighting in those leaves. You can almost hear the HIYA-ing and the rustling of leaves.
We leave the garden with this picture of what to me truly is the Humble Administrator's Garden, Tourists, Lotus plants, Nice old Buildings and a serenity that seems to be a snapshot in time.

We move on to Tiger Hill, arguably Suzhou's No. 1 tourist spot, though oddly enough, and all the better for me, dear readers, a much better place to go to. 虎丘, has been over the years known by different names, in the past because of its proximity to the ocean, because of an Emperor's desire. We know it as 虎丘, simply because of a story, that as an Emperor was being buried in a tomb on Tiger Hill, a White Tiger was sighted passing by, the locals believed that this Tiger was the reincarnation of the Emporer, and renamed this Hill, Tiger Hill. A story much more interesting on the hill itself, with a bubbly 20-something tourguide telling it to you. Here is a picture of me and my 6th Uncle at the base of this Hill of 36 metres in height at its summit.

Directly behind us is the actual entrance of the hill, and behind that some metres up is this beautiful rock, named the 1000 Persons rock. This rock, as with most famous rocks that housed tombs in history is named thus because it required 1000 people to carve into such a beautiful shape and condition. The Emperor as is most Chinese Emperors in history was afraid that these people would tell others about the location of his tomb and his 宝剑, *Why should he care about his treasured swords! He's DEAD!* Either way, he had them slain, and that is why, we have the name 1000 Persons rock.

In this beautiful picture... of the scenery, we see a beautiful rock formation, shaped in a sword. This formation, is there simply because of the treasure it hides. The aforementioned Emperor's 宝剑. He hid them underneath the water, the fishies, in a sword shaped formation... Hm, why no one caught on is beyond me. Darn, or they did and didn't tell me bout' it!

This next picture is really unique. It is essentially the Leaning Tower of Pisa in China! Yes another Italian reference, wonder if its something in the water, first Venice then their tower, next thing, you know they'll be taking their noodles as well!

This picture shows the tilt more obviously and also throws in some of that beautiful greenery that we rarely see anywhere anymore.

Next we come across the 定园,strangly AKAed as the Calm Garden, nevertheless it is something special. Within the wall of this garder are these nice little boats where all the propelling power is provided by women, slim slender Chinese women, who sing as the row along, with 7 people in their boats, HA! See, we, Chinese people whup the asses of those smancy pants Venetian Gondoliers!

This garden is truly quite beautiful. The difference is it has this nice river within it, so there is slightly less flora here than at the Humble Administrator's. However there is a charm similar to 周庄, right here in the middle of Suzhou. 周庄 for those of you in the know, i.e. living outside of China, is that little town where they shot the whole Tom Cruise screaming ZHOU KAI scene in MI:3, in what must be the most Lao Wai accent you can think of at the hapless Chinese people whose only sin was smoking copious amounts of ciggies and spitting. This little garden was where I ended my tour of Suzhou, in a little garden not well known to tourists, but extremely beautiful and definately with its beauty, its flaws hidden by its stunning colours, tastes, smells and textures.

Friday, September 15, 2006


I am here, back so to speak, in the land of my fellow countrymen, the land of beauty and industrialisation. The Middle Kingdom. Yes, Ladies and Gents. I am here, In China. Those of you no doubt will find out later in the day. Haha, I kept it a surprise, yes, a surprise. To freak those of you out, especially in MUN. Oh god, it feels quite good to be back. Though, my head is spinning from lack of sleep and I really should be going off to bed now. As is probably quite plain to see, I am not up to my usual standards of blogging, and beg you, my dear reader's forgiveness. I am only human. There are things to do here, like get a testimonial from Mr House, and... er. Lol well Yea. Things to do. Yes busy busy busy. Like, wash my hair, breathe, sleep, run around neighing like a horse, buy turquoise jewelry, and handbags. See lots of things to do! So yea, Don't go telling me this trip will be a waste!

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Story

The writer sat at the table, completely assured of his abilities, forever certain that someday, he would in fact be able to pay the bill for his daily cuppa, rather than his mother, his wife, his father, his lies. The sheer torrent of words that mulled in his head gave his an all consuming desire to write, and yet the connection between the spongy material in his head and his writing implements seemed once again spotty, if he was a cellphone, his agent would be getting a "Our system is not getting a response from the subscriber's mobile phone, please try again later". Not that his agent didn't call, he did, everyday, hounding him for the next sure-fire sell-a-million book. No, he thought, let me write a bomb for once, let the critics roundly hate me, roundly criticise me for losing my knack, for no longer being able to write, for deciding to get lost in the streets of Shanghai. His own life, had been decided for him since he was born. He knew he had write even as he was in his mother's womb, or at least in a profession that let him write, law, journalism, even joining an airline, because he heard of the mounds of paperwork pilots had to fill out to get up in the sky. He considered them all, and yet, here he was, a Writer. A poor writer, but still a writer. People wondered, what the hell is he complaining about, he's only poor now! But the publishers love him, he had the the looks-ish, the charisma, a million girls would kill to be him and a million men would kill him. But of course, they couldn't know. He was after all, a writer. No writer can continue writing if there wasn't something gnawing away inside of him. Some repressed urge to express the un-expressable. Some observation that if revealed would shake the very foundations of the Earth. He hated that cliche even, that old cliche that said writers had to be sad, depressed and disappointed with his lot in life. He could be happy, he had just forgone that right when he chose his line of work.

He wrote everything, and anything. From literary fiction, that was the darling of the critics, to solid plotty stories, with heros and heroin, guns and roses, women and more women, men with well, men. He knew what appealed to the public, and seemed to have his finger sorely on the pulse of the popular, the fashionable, and the interesting. He always knew that his gift, would benefit him, and benefit him it did, he was in turns rich as a sultan and poor as a student, had a loving wife, that kept him firmly on the ground, through the good, bad, ugly and vile. She worked herself, as a sucessful agricultural enginner in Spain, so money was never really problem, even though he hold onto the belief that men had to be men, bring home the bacon and have a loving wife to fry the afore mentioned bacon. He was going to try for children, and if that didn't happen, as often it didn't if twentieth century media was to be believed, he was more than willing to adopt. Nothing could stop him, and here he was, stopping, sitting at a little cafe along Orchard road, sipping away at his cappucino. He had used up his last million buying that strange little casino down in Monte Carlo, that ended up getting squandered away. He was a poor, but sucessful writer. Money was bound to pour back in at some point, and he just had to wait. He didn't quite know what was around the corner. And his life for now, was a complete blank slate. He decided to just wait, because that was the card fate dealt him, all he could do was see what game was coming up, hell, if there was a game to be played.

Sarah walked up to him. Kissed him on his lips. He stared at her, and loved her. All over again, he loved her. She started talking about fashion, the police, and the fashion police. Everything she knew, she told the writer, knowing that somehow it would trickle into his writing, and she would get an acknoledgement in his book, with the appropriate kudos coming from her friends, relatives, and taxi-drivers. He was in a light haze. Happy for a moment, and he swiftly returned to his expressionless face, his look of intense studiousness. He knew she was cheating on him, and he cheated on her. They led a 20th century lifestyle afterall, but they were married, and they loved each other only. There was nothing else in their lives worth loving, so along they carried on, in their own merry way. Why not, they asked their friends who held more conservative views, after all, love is all that really matters, and after which they would insert a intelligent comment like, "Oh Gosh, I sound like a 60ies hippie!" Prompting laughter and a subject change. They knew the routine and used it often. Friends loved them, invited them to parties and knew they would provide excellent company, they on the other hand treated it like a mathematical excercise, if you practice it enough, it was no problem at all.

And, so after finishing his cappucino. He got up, paid his bill, and walked away, into the sunset. Singapore's multitudes soon swallowed him out, and he disappeared from sight. You, my dear reader, would wish him all the best, as him would continue to lead his life ever so typically, ever so wonderfully, and yet so normally. Who's to say that normalcy isn't perfectly beautiful, isn't perfect in itself.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sinking In

So, I think I can officially say that the notion of joining the Civil Defense has sunk in. Its a strange combination of surreal, mixed with a tinge of fear, and complete and utter terror that I'll look bad in the uniform of the SCDF. Oh yeah and the fact that after a week in basic, I'll probably keel over and die. Literally, keel over, die... keeeeelllll, DIIIIEEE. Yes. I'm developing a flair for the dramatic, how sad. Living alone can do that to you. Hell, living alone can make you develop a love for the small things, the smell of the breeze, the taste of the water, the weird squelching sound you make when you slide around the sofa and yes, you even begin to think that this particular extended description is overused to the point of cliche isn't even that sad! And reading that last line makes me think that I'm also losing my ability to write clearly and concisely. Exactly what Mr House keeps warning against. Oh yes, I'm screwed.

For those of you wondering, I've not been drinking (to drink alone that'd be sad), I'm not amped up on Meth, and no, the painkillers are just for the dull ache in my heart. Love Y'all!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

My 18th Birthday Champagne

Gather round my children, I shall tell you this interesting thing I learnt just now from my God Mother that happened after my birthday celebration. I went to the Lim Family (on my mother's side) family home(ish) and we had the whole shebang, by our own lofty standards. My contribution was 400 grams of meat. Yes, meat, but from Crystal Jade, so very very good meat. We went downstairs, me and my feisty grandmother, to the neighbourhood hawker centre, and bought a bunch of stuffs back home. Hokkien Mee, Stingray, yes, food that is artery clogging and yes its my birthday, so yes, I let my guard down. We also ordered a pizza from Pizza Hut. It was surprisingly edible. (Of course, nothing compared to Pete's Place or Garibaldi's, don't strike me down, Gods of Italian Cuisine!!!) And who was to show up but my cousin in the air force, Xiang, along with the parental units. I really do like those members of the family, they are fun, and actually like technology! Like me, but on a slightly less fanatical level. (YES! Buy an Intel Core 2 Duo but not anything else!!! NO, No ATI, Nvidia all the way!!! 133t H8xx00rz!!!!)

Anyway, I brought along with my meat, two bottles of drinks, A bottle of Sparkling grape juice, and Champagne. Proper Champagne, from the Champagne region in France. The family finished off the Grape Juice in about 10 minutes, and didn't even touch the really really expensive stuff! It cost me 55SGD! (close to 300 RMB) I was a little disappointed, and I really can't hold my liquor, I guess its a family trait. So ne grave pas, I left it to my Grandmother to pass on to apparently the only drinker in the family, one of the sisters.

Turns out they didn't manage to give it off. What they did then, as I told them that Champagne goes bad *flat* in 3 days or so, was to put the champagne into whatever meat dishes they had during that week, and it turned out, "really really great lor!" I was throughly surprised, and a little disconcerted, but hey, my Grandmother at this point in her life managed to create a whole new genre of cooking, French haute cuisine-asian homestyle fusion! I'll call it Frangapore Style Cooking! Haha... Maybe I should ask for her recipes! Hell maybe I should sell her recipes!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Biennale Singapore: First One Ever

Fantastic isn't it, we are now the proud hosts of an event originally started by the ever fabulous Italians, the First Singapore Biennale!! And what better way to inaugurate an event than the slightly staid sounding IMF and World Bank Board of Governers Meeting. Looking at it sends chills down my spine!!!

The opening piece of installation art as seen below, was/is (could still be there)... very beautiful. If kid friendly. Which I believe is the whole point of art, coz if you can't even get your most innocent, most precocious members of the audience to appreciate your work, how can you get the more experienced, more educated members of your audience to appreciate it. To the creator's credit, I thought it was really something else, something so unique and beautiful, though shortlived.

My fervent apologies for the incredibly blurry pictures above, that's the problem with nightime shots, you can't use a flash if not everything else is just black in colour, so yeah, those pictures above are the pictures Gloria and I took of the installation art, with varying degrees of sucess, either way, enjoy!

The poem shown above, though I did not manage to catch it all, was a stunning example of pure ingenuity. City Hall, was decked out in pink coverings, all over the windows and such with subversive(?) writings and such, and the beautiful white font, clear though this beautiful white font, the columns sort of obscured the writing, so unfortunately I did not manage to catch it, I am however, very much intrigued by this poem and given the chance I would definately make an effort to have a look see.

Anyhoos. It was a night to remember, for it spectacularly told us all you really needed to know about the Singapore party scene. (or any house party hosted by SSIS people at 9 pm) People were standing around, nodding, walking away horrified at the music being played, or just standing there stunned that they made sound systems that could pump out such noises, while a few slightly rockier people were, WHOO HOOing and dancing, and screaming... the singers/rappers/screamers/insane manic depressed persons on stage were, to be polite, not at all to my taste, while their bands were really quite good. I really really liked their string players, totally in the spirit of things and definately rocking. So all in all, just bordering on acceptable? God, I'm such a bitch. Its art, darling, you're not supposed to know that the artists are saying, its their creative vision... etc etc.

After leaving the Padang, we sauntered off to Boat Quay, where we managed to get into Q Bar, and I must say, this place was definately a lot cooler than many places I've been to, though definately too smokey for my taste. It was cool though afterwards, we walked the stretch of Boat Quay, and settled down at Harry's Bar, which coincidentally you can also find in Suzhou, and I passed by the Harry's in Venice too. There're just too many Harry's. Anyway, I had an Erdinger, Great German Beer, and got red (I just know you Suzhou folks are reminicing about my famous 1/16 Margarita incident). Gloria has a Kilkenny and didn't like it much. So we all stomped off to the Metro, (MRT lah, I know but must internationalify it for the foreigners) and I prepared to go off, to the warm comforts of my bed. But no, I ended up at Gloria's neighbourhood 24 hour prata store, and had 2 Kosongs (basically a flat crispy pancake, tastes 100 times better than it sounds). Yes, it was fun. Yes, it was surreal, having prata till 2 in the morning, but hey, its my one life, I'll live it the way I want to... albeit without too much drinking, no smoking, and definately no drugs, but hey! I rock, I roll, and I definately have the physical proportions to roll!!! So Yeah! Don't tell me I'm Staid!

I leave you with this picture of the St. Andrews Cathedral. Because I can;)