Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Welcome 2009!

The last minutes of 2008... are there reasons to celebrate? Should I give myself a pat on the back for my good behaviour? Or lament on the things that I should have done but did not do?

At this time, the forest is calm and the sound of the crickets and insects are as soothing as ever. It is a peaceful night, so peaceful that I could easily forget the bustling crowd and celebrations going on in every part of the world. It feels just like any other day, so why are we all celebrating?

What is the significance of a new year?

A time to reflect on the year that just passed perhaps, if we have not done so previously. All the new year resolutions that we made, have we make good those promises?

As I looked back, I think I have lived an exciting year. No major breakthrough, but many fun and fulfilling months, doing things that I love. Travelled to Europe 2 times and many other cities in Asia; read 2 great books (so great that they have somewhat changed my life); moved house; made someone else's dream come true.

The world, on the other hand, is in a state of turmoil. We don't need lengthy discussions here of the major world events which occured in 2008. By tomorrow, these will be covered in every newspaper. The fact that I can sit here at ease, despite all that have happened in the world lately, and watch the stars sparkle so bright in the sky, is indeed a blessing. When I think of many of those who are living in misery and dire conditions, I wonder what I have done to deserve such happiness. Nevertheless, I am grateful for all that I have and do not have. 每一天都感恩!

Just like in the past, tonight is the time to renew my new year wishes. They have not changed, but have reduced from 3 to 2. I wish for health for all my family and friends and for a more peaceful world.

Tomorrow will be a better day. 2009 will be a better year.

May I propose a toast, with my red Bordeaux. Happy New Year to all!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

将世界捧在手里



他,最怕收到的礼物是地球仪。我,却特别喜欢这玩意儿。

事实上,我的地球仪也是别人送的礼物。

能将“世界”捧在手里,感觉十分微妙。睡不着觉的晚上,我会亮起我那颗会发光的“地球”,然后开始幻想的旅行。地球仪表面上凹凸不平的部分代表高山和沙漠。白色地带是常年冰雪的南极和北极。还有念不出名字的夏威夷群岛,被孤立在太平洋遥远的一处。不管是哪里,只要稍稍转动,就能轻易抵达。

随着想象,我穿梭于各个国度,感受季节与气候的转变。每一个地方的人现在都在做些什么?结果,总是发现,世界上很大一部分人口都处于不幸之中。例如,被饥荒、疾病困扰的非洲,饱受战火蹂躏的中东地区,落后保守的印度和世界最贫穷之一的印尼,他们就占了世界人口的百分之30。

还有呢,在密密麻麻的城市及分界线之中,有一些令人不解和尴尬的局面。两岸三地是什么立场?南韩、朝鲜之间的DMZ (Demilitarized Zone 非军事区) 算什么?以色列和巴勒斯坦为什么老是分不清界线?这些历史所遗留下来的难题,我们这一代人真的有能力解决吗?

世界真的很大。但,真正能将人类分隔的不是险峻的高山和深不可测的海洋,而是我们心中的一把尺。人们总是太过于积极的衡量对方、互相比较,放大彼此间的不同。甚至还借着一些莫名其妙的价值观和信仰将人分类,并与他人划清界限。为什么颜色可以作为评判人贵或贱的标准?是什么理由战争会以宗教信仰来作为辩解?而选择政治立场不过就是为了吹捧谁的自尊心吗?相信,这些超出理智的问题只有那颗复杂的人心才可以解答。

但,这样对吗?我们心中分辨是非的能力何时有过统一的标准?

那天,朋友的小孩在我家抱着我的地球仪玩耍。他一边快速的转动着地球仪,一边开心的笑了。我想,他还不可能明白,地球背负着多少人的快乐与苦痛在不停转动。他也不一定知道,他那一双小手在未来可以改变这个世界。又或许,他会选择冷漠,就像现在他身边的很多大人们一样。


其实,我想的事很简单。要的也不过是一个和平、公正的世界。这,真的有那么难吗?

我相信世界一定会变得更好,只要我们努力。只要你也相信。

为世界添一些美丽色彩!2009 到了,你也别再冷漠了吧!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Dummy guide to flowchart

Click to enlarge

I am amused.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Happy Xmas

放任的人儿游历街头;
寂寞的人儿独守家中;
平安夜全世界失眠。

圣诞老人忘了到访送礼物。
饥饿的孩童继续消瘦。
病疾的大人继续挣扎。

战争仍未停息;
纠纷尚未化解;
人类还在等待救世主出现。

圣诞节,我祝你快乐。
你,真的就能快乐吗?
哪怕只有一天。

今夜,如果我遇见天使,
一定请她降临你身边。

Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Life is...

I read this somewhere, it's from the bible. Though I am not a Christian I found it very beautifully written.

Maybe this is what life is all about.

传 道 书 Ecclesiastes

凡 事 都 有 定 期 , 天 下 万 务 都 有 定 时 。

生 有 时 , 死 有 时 。
栽 种 有 时 , 拔 出 所 栽 种 的 , 也 有 时 。
杀 戮 有 时 , 医 治 有 时 。
拆 毁 有 时 , 建 造 有 时 。

哭 有 时 , 笑 有 时 。
哀 恸 有 时 , 跳 舞 有 时 。
抛 掷 石 头 有 时 , 堆 聚 石 头 有 时 。
怀 抱 有 时 , 不 怀 抱 有 时 。

寻 找 有 时 , 失 落 有 时 。
保 守 有 时 , 舍 弃 有 时 。
撕 裂 有 时 , 缝 补 有 时 。
静 默 有 时 , 言 语 有 时 。
喜 爱 有 时 , 恨 恶 有 时 。
争 战 有 时 , 和 好 有 时 。

这 样 看 来 , 作 事 的 人 在 他 的 劳 碌 上 有 什 么 益 处 呢 ?
我 见 神 叫 世 人 劳 苦 , 使 他 们 在 其 中 受 经 练 。

神 造 万 物 , 各 按 其 时 成 为 美 好 。 又 将 永 生 安 置 在 世 人 心 里 。然 而 神 从 始 至 终 的 作 为 , 人 不 能 参 透 。

我 知 道 世 人 , 莫 强 如 终 身 喜 乐 行 善 。
并 且 人 人 吃 喝 , 在 他 一 切 劳 碌 中 享 福 。 这 也 是 神 的 恩 赐 。

我 知 道 神 一 切 所 作 的 , 都 必 永 存 , 无 所 增 添 , 无 所 减 少 。 神 这 样 行 , 是 要 人 在 他 面 前 存 敬 畏 的 心 。

现 今 的 事 早 先 就 有 了 。 将 来 的 事 早 已 也 有 了 。 并 且 神 再 寻 回 已 过 的 事。

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

伤心恋爱歌曲篇

谁正被感情困扰?谁今晚睡不着觉?
是谁... 是谁?

谁想放弃却舍不得?谁想继续又缺乏勇气?
是谁... 是谁?

好吧,这篇伤心恋爱歌曲为你演奏。

烦恼,一下子就好。
接着,该重新起跑。

献给某位小朋友。







Friday, 12 December 2008

In the meantime while the network is down...

Once in a year, there should be a day like this, when the network connection is down, email is not responding and the server switches broken. Although the telephone lines are still working right, there isn’t a single buzz all morning, as if they too are part of a conspiracy to disconnect us from the rest of the world.

This reminds me of moments when I would feel completely cut-off and isolated. At the airport boarding area, I would switch off my mobile phone well in advance of boarding time. Fellow passengers scattered loosely on the benches nearby, leaving a gap of at least one empty seat between each other. They understood, as much as I did, that there are times when people simply needed an extra space.

No familiar faces, no possibility of receiving phone calls, not even a friendly smile from the stranger when our eyes met. Isolation. Feelings of isolation took different forms on different occassions. At times, I felt delighted, as if I have finally become a worthy rebel who escaped reality by simply being uncontactable. Other times, it was destitution. I was the loneliest person on earth.

As the IT team tries to salvage the broken connections, I could do nothing but feel “trapped” inside the office. To be in a place where I should be in and not doing things that I am used to doing creates anxiety. Somewhat similar to that of a person being trapped in a place that he should not be in and doing things that he is not used to doing.

With all the time in the world we now have, our attention is redirected to those menial tasks, those which we have been too busy to attend to on all other days of the year. Housekeeping! At least something good came out of this IT glitch; the office is now spic and span.




City dwellers often complain that their paces of life are too fast and that they have no time to do this thing or that thing. What they need is probably a “day off” like this one, to take stock of their lives by doing some "housekeeping". Breakaway from routines, put work aside, disconnect from people in your network; return to nature, listen to it, smell it and immerse in solitude. For solitude has amazing healing powers; it tames the beast living inside us, allows us to dwell on past successes and failures and most importantly, forces us to be judges of our own characters. In solitude, it is often not loneliness that is most insufferable, but the reflection of your true self that is hardest to bear.

So people who are afraid of being alone are perhaps only afraid of finding out who they really are. Are you your own best friend or your worst enemy? Find out in isolation.

It helps, of course, when the network is down.

Isolation
Written by John Lennon


People say we got it made
Don't they know we're so afraid?
Isolation
We're afraid to be alone
Everybody got to have a home
Isolation

Just a boy and a little girl
Trying to change the whole wide world
Isolation
The world is just a little town
Everybody trying to put us down
Isolation

I don't expect you to understand
After you've caused so much pain
But then again, you're not to blame
You're just a human, a victim of the insane

We're afraid of everyone
Afraid of the sun
Isolation
The sun will never disappear
But the world may not have many years
Isolation

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Quote of the Day - Tolstoy

This is an interesting one. I will pin it down here for future reference.

I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means—except by getting off his back.

~ Leo Tolstoy

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Food for thoughts

When I was a kid, my mother used to threaten to send me to Ethiopia when I was picky about food. She wanted me to have a taste of starvation; then I would learn to appreciate the many good things (and food) I already possessed.

That was over 20 years ago. In the mid-1980s, Ethiopia suffered 2 great famines, mainly the results of unfavourable weather conditions and civil wars within the country. At that time, Ethiopia was synonymous with starvation and malnutrition. I remember distinctively, the pictures of children with matchstick-like arms and legs, carrying protruding rib cages or ballooned stomachs. They were featured on posters and other publicity materials, appealing for donations and aid. Despite “high-key publicity” by the media and international community rushing to provide support, over 8 million people became victims of the famines and 1 million died.

I wish we can simply attribute poor harvests and famines to harsh climates and other natural factors, but man are often the ones to aggravate the conditions further.

In the list of famines of the 20th century, China scored top place in terms of number of deaths as a result of starvation. From the late 50s to the 60s, China went through a series of reforms. One of such reforms that led to dire consequences was the Great Leap Forward (大跃进). Eager to develop its agricultural and industrial sectors, radical changes were implemented throughout country. Steel production became the "in" thing and heavy resources were poured into this activity. Backyard furnaces were set up and peasants were even asked to contribute their pots and pans to provide raw material for the production. At the same time, collectivisation of farm lands was introduced. The government hoped that through central control and monopolisation of agriculture, grains can be bought cheaply and then sold at high prices in order to raise funds necessary to support the ongoing industrialisation efforts.

Unfortunately, the outcomes of these "reforms" were none according to expectations. Due to the lack of knowledge and expertise, steel production was not very successful and mostly poor quality iron was produced. Farm lands and harvests were neglected as masses of labour had been diverted from agriculture to steel production. Crops were left to rot. There was also a general lack of motivation for peasants to farm the lands after collectivisation. Coupled with locusts attack, flood, drought and poor weather conditions, food shortage became a serious issue in China during the early 1960s. According to official statistics, 11 million people died of starvation during the Great Leap Forward years. Western researchers however estimated the number to be between 20 - 40 million.

Looking at the numbers give me jitters, although I cannot quite imagine how extensive the effect must have been felt. As a matter of fact, I never did understand the meaning of hunger until I came face to face with it while I was in Mongolia in 2005. A few teenagers were fighting over a box of fruit juice given to them by a tourist. A small charitable act it was, yet, the impact was tremendous. As they fought, some of them fell down, one was injured, others screamed. In the end, most were crying.

There is also the "Tale of the dilemma bun" from Mongolia, which I am still telling friends sometimes.


It is hard to forget a scene like this, but in the few years which followed, I meet others who were more or less in the same plight, if not any worse than the Mongolian teens. There was an elderly woman who begged for food instead of money, who accepted my gift of a half eaten packet of pancakes. Then, there was a child covered with dirt, who grabbed my ankle, whom I dragged along as I walked away, crying as if there would be no tomorrow if I did not leave behind a single cent for him.

There is a Chinese saying that "外国的月亮比较圆" (the moon in a foreign country is rounder). This, I beg to differ. The further the distance in the world that I travelled , the more I realise I should cherish all that I have at home.

In this Christmas season when food is in abundance, probably even excessive, we should be grateful for every grain of rice and wheat that we are able to put on our tables. We should also be mindful not to be overly generous with our Christmas menus, for it is good to have plentiful but when they become wastages, that's a different matter altogether.




Sunday, 7 December 2008

Moving on

Finally come too close to the deadline for handing over the old house. Despite my reluctance, I had to "burn" one Sunday just to clear out the old stuff from the house.

I dread going back to the old house sometimes. It feels so sad and lonely, not only because it now looks run down and empty, but also there seem to be an unbearable sense of loss in the air, perhaps of the youth that was lost to time and those unfulfilled promises.

Packing up memories is a very hard thing to do. Some of them fit into boxes, others, well, they will be lost to the void if not already sealed in my heart. As I picked up those bits and pieces, I smiled and I frowned. I think I have become a sentimental fool somehow, living between the past and the present, tormented by things that were once good but are now gone forever. I feel old suddenly, as I look at how much memories I have accumulated over the years.



These cards and drawing I received from my sister when she was a toddler haven't fade off much, though she is now all grown up, graduated from the university and got her first job. Despite all the years, she is still naive, careless and making mistakes. But who am I to complain? Even being much older than her, I am still learning the lessons of life and is a constant worry to my parents. And I wonder if she still loves me as much as she did when she wrote me the Christmas card that year.

The only thing that hasn't change is that the "necklace" she gave me on my birthday years ago remains an imaginery one.



Letters and cards from friends all over the world whom I have not met or spoken to for over 10 years. I cannot imagine how we could have lost contact, even though email and internet have brought the world closer together in the meantime. Everytime I look at these, I regret that I did not do enough to preserve our friendships. There is nothing more I want now than to hear that they are all doing well. But at least we have shared some happy times together and these old envelopes and stamps will be our witnesses.

For a very long time, I have kept all the letters from my ex-boyfriend but they were unfortunately destroyed some years back when I learnt that he was getting married (:-P). Don't misunderstand that I did it out of anger or distraught, but it was a promise we made to each other that we would start life afresh, without clinging on to anything between us from the past. Now I realised we were fools, for those people and things that are not meant to be yours will never be yours, no matter how close you keep them by your side. And what harm can a few letters and photographs do? It would no doubt bring some joy and maybe a little embarrassment if I were to re-read those letters now.

I remembered he wrote something about "forever" in one of his letters to me. That "forever" he promised me turned out to be too long to wait. Instead, "forever" between us has taken another form. Some memories are very selfish, particularly those from your first romance. They will live forever, even if you don't tell anyone and don't talk about it anymore. He will always have a place in my heart, sunk deep into my ocean of secrets eternally. Likewise, I know, he will never forget me.


Old photographs. My life would have been an illusion if not for these photos to prove the past. It saddens me greatly that I am no longer in contact with anyone of the people inside.


My first Identity Card. Where has that young girl with pointed chin gone to? Ah... I have aged.


Make a guess but I bet you won't get the age of this sly looking fat cat ballon correct. It has been at least 12 years, a gift that I got during one of my first dates. Look closely, he has a lot of freckles (老人斑), but he is still not "dead"... haha! I think he has many more years to live.



This new place, amidst the enchanting forest, is now where I call home. It is filled with new furnitures, new curtains, new space, ready to embrace new hopes. There will be some day in the future, perhaps, when this place too will become old and empty, too will tell sad and lonely tales, for life is, fundamentally, transient and nothing is permanent. So, I will keep some more boxes and pages in my album empty, to collect those memories that will form inside this house and beyond it.

Friday, 5 December 2008

又说“Happy Birthday”



《一首简单的歌》
曲:王力宏 词:王力宏/陈镇川

这世界很复杂 混淆我想说的话
我不懂 太复杂的文法
什么样的礼物 能够永远记得住
让幸福 别走得 太仓促

云和天 蝶和花 从来不需要说话
断不了 依然日夜牵挂
唱情歌 说情话 只想让你听清楚
我爱你 是唯一 的倾诉

写一首简单的歌 让你的心情快乐
爱情就像一条河 难免会碰到波折
这一首简单的歌 并没有什么独特
好像我 那么的平凡却又深刻

我一直 在思考 让你了解我的好
却忘了 常常对你微笑
失去的 忘记的 我会尽力去弥补
你是我 最珍贵 的财富

写一首简单的歌 让你的心情快乐
爱情就像一条河 难免会碰到波折
这一首简单的歌 并没有什么独特
好像我 那么的平凡却又深刻
深刻 简单的歌 简单的歌
写一首简单的歌 让你的心情快乐
爱情就像一条河 难免会碰到波折
这一首简单的歌 并没有什么独特
好像我 那么的平凡却又深刻

Sunday, 30 November 2008

First ray of light - 30 Nov 2008

Whenever I watch a sunrise, I feel that life is rejuvenated. The first ray of sunlight brings hope that the day will be brand new and that we can make things possible, which were impossible yesterday.

At this time when the world has gone mad, I count it a blessing that I am "insulated" from all the madness and that I can sit back and watch how peaceful a day begins.

Let us not take for granted each sunrise, because, who knows, what will happen to us tomorrow. Let us all pray for world peace.













See more photos here!

Friday, 28 November 2008

A song for 同志

A song that I've liked for a long time, but I never fully understood the meaning of it until I came to know that it was originally written as a 同志(gay) song.

The version that we frequently hear today has some parts of the lyrics re-written to "fit" a commercial album. The original version, while probably controversial is subtly beautiful. 既暧昧又含蓄。

First version in 1998 sung by 小平 and included in 《拥抱 同志专辑》
Later version in 1999 performed by 五月天 and included in their first album 五月天第一张创作专辑

Please enjoy both versions.


小平version (music by 五月天). Beautiful acoustic. Singer has a great voice.
终于明白为什么会失去形状,为什么是同样的身体。



五月天version. From their first concert. The singing part ain't great, but it's such a pretty sight to have 4 of them sit in a row strumming their guitars. Rarely get to see these days.

愛情的模樣 (Original 同志版)
词曲:阿信

你是巨大的海洋 我是雨下在你身上
我失去了自己的形狀
我看到遠方 愛情的模樣
愛在你身上飄蕩 品嚐你黃昏和朝陽
堅硬和柔軟的地方
是我的幻想 是你的樂章

你是誰 教我狂戀
教我勇敢地挑戰全世界
在一樣的身體裡面 一樣有愛與被愛的感覺
我愛誰 已無所謂
沒有誰能將愛情劃界限
在一樣的身體裡面 迷樣的魔力卻是更強烈

荷花池中泛著月亮 我在池邊不停流浪
天使和魔鬼的戰場
身體和靈魂 失眠的晚上
這世界全部的漂亮
不過你的可愛模樣 你讓我舉雙手投降
跨出了城墻 長出了翅膀

你是誰 教我狂戀
教我勇敢地挑戰全世界
在一樣的身體裡面 一樣有愛與被愛的感覺
我愛誰 已無所謂
沒有誰能將愛情劃界限
在一樣的身體裡面 迷樣的魔力卻是更強烈
你是巨大的海洋 我是雨下在你身上
我失去了自己的形狀
我看到遠方 愛情的模樣

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Cebu, where sun, sea and fun are in abundance

Arriving in Cebu, I was greeted with a landscape that was totally unexpected. In my mind, the Philippines is "branded" with the over-populated and congested images of Manila, so when the welcoming coast line and blue water came into view, I knew I had to reset my expectations about this place.



Despite having been told by my Philippino colleagues that Cebu comprises of many beautiful islands and is an ideal vacation destination, I was skeptical about it all as I thought they could be tinted by the patriotism and national pride that seem to flow in the blood of every Philippino. But now, I am truly convinced that "beautiful" is a word of understatement.


Whether it is the white sandy beaches that emerged during low tide...




Or the fancy corals and colourful fishes you'll find when you snorkel in the turquoise clear water...


Or the sea that glitters so brightly in the far horizon under the afteroon sun, as if someone has spilled gold onto the water...

There is only one way to explain these grandeur and beauty, that is our Creator had planned these for us, in the world that he built.

Often, our selfish pursue of nature's wonders inevitably lead to destruction of things which were once beautiful and precious. Part of the primitive charms would give way to modernisation and development. You'll know that a place has become "touristic" when you feel instantly at home after you arrived. In many ways, Cebu has been tailored in a fashion to suit the needs and fancies of the foreigners. All the familiar amenities and international brand names can be found with relative ease in Cebu city. The "poor" and the "unsightly" bits have been "censored" out from a typical touristic itinerary. And together with the propaganda speeches by a trained tour guide, you may be compelled to believe that all of Cebu is as good as the sun, sand and sea it has to offer.

The truth is, for many of the natives who live in Cebu, life is not exactly a permanent vacation. When comparing the per capita income (about FY2005 - 2006) of Singapore (US$29k) against that in the Philippines (US$1.4k), it is not difficult to imagine the disparity in the standard of living and quality of life of people in the 2 countries. If economic jargon is hard to digest, we can also measure quality of life by the volume of shampoo purchased. Here, we buy them in bottles, sometimes 2 or more at a time, saving them for "god knows when" the next time we'll run out of some. In Cebu, shampoo (and other basic necessities) are sold in small sachets, as people live by the day, buying more on days they feel wealthier, lesser or none on all other occassions.





People who live in make-shift houses under bridges, men who haul and pull ropes for tourist boats to dock... I don't think they appreciate the sun and the sea exactly the same way as the occassional visitors do. But I am sure the beautiful natural setting do mean something to them or they will not be boasting it so much to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, tourism in Cebu (and the Philippines in general) has suffered much injustice because of security concerns over the Abu Sayyaf and annoyance caused by the rowdy crowd at Lucky Plaza on weekends. However, as soon as we let go of our preconceptions and learn to embrace differences (ha, it is funny that I should be saying this), we will find some truly amazing things, especially in this place where the sun and sea are in abundance.

More Photos here!

video
Video courtesy of K.B. Adore him, listen to his breath haha...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

The price for perfection

The flawless skin, one sharp pointed nose, a set of well defined eyes... and the perfect smile. We saw them on TV, read them in magazines, perhaps even encountered them on the streets. Ask the beautiful women who walked with poise and great confidence, what is the price for perfection?

4.5mil Korean won, that's the price for a perfect nose. If you pay by cash, you get 20% off the list price. Of course I wouldn't miss the chance to check out on plastic surgery while I was in Korea. That place is like the Mecca of cosmetic surgery!

For the whole of last week I was preparing for the day that I would visit a plastic surgery clinic in Seoul, thinking of what to say and planning my responses. More so I was worried that I would become too self-conscious when come face to face with someone so accustomed to perfection. Maybe he would think that I need a total overhaul.

Turned out that my worries were unfounded. As I stepped into the consultation room, I was put totally at ease by the doctor. He was good looking, extremely mild mannered and most importantly, not judging at all. So I thought I didn't have to prepare much for the dialogue because I would be relying on my colleague for translations. Bad move. Little did I know that doc spoke fairly good English and as he started spouting out English words, I got nervous... Oh no, which part of my face do I want to do?

I was asked what "makes me feel complex" (I think he meant inferiority complex). My instinct matched his question with an answer "Nothing". Wrong answer! I shouldn't be sitting there if I felt there is nothing wrong with me and I couldn't let him know that I was there only for some touristic fun. Somehow "maybe nose" (to make it smaller) came out of my mouth after pausing to think for a few seconds (gosh the silence was dreadful, as if my lies were about to be exposed!).

I was given a detailed run through of what needs to be done to fix my nose. It is a complicated process which requires my nasal bone to be partially flattened, flesh removed and then remove cartilage from a ear to create support for a new sharp pointed nose (like scarfolding haha!). As my nose is "not in such a good condition" (literally quoting doc), I was told that it could only become 20%-30% smaller after the surgery. So much pain for such small improvement... it doesn't make economical sense.

Unfortunately, plastic surgery is often associated with negative stigmas. But in fact, the skill and precision required in such procedures are as much as, if not more than the other types of medical surgery. After my visit to the plastic surgery clinic, I have absolute respect for doctors who are in this business. They are true professionals who are knowledgeable and skilled and I don't think they are less honourable than any medical doctors. So what's wrong with helping people gain confidence and fulfilling dreams? Even if it's a bimbotic dream.

For me, this was definitely a fun-filled and rewarding experience. I've learnt some techniques used in plastic surgery and understood the difference between fat injection and botox...haha big discovery! As a consolation, I was told that I don't need a facelift until 10-20 years later... listen only to the good things!

So, will I pay the price to be more perfect? Though I am no ravishing beauty, I am pretty happy with the way I look. And I am a chicken who wouldn't even dare to take a flu jab, do you think I will let someone break my nasal bone and cut off my flesh??? Not unless you tell me I will look like Angelina Jolie afterwards.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

青春之后,认输之前。。。

青春之后,认输之前。I didn't invent that, 阿信 did.

* * * *

Someone told me that in this season when nights are cold, people feel lonely a lot. He says that the sight of fallen leaves are unbearable, because of the emptiness it stirs up in the heart.

Those who tried to explain the feeling of loneliness are fools. How do you visualise a void? How would you grapple a heart with regrets? How could you scream out loud without being heard? For those who understood, it means no more than the word. For those who don't, they won't have a clue even if a book is written.

The autumn wind is cruel. Leaves fall, flowers wither, passion turns cold... constantly reminding one that all good things are ending. It is a depressing time, as if the world is dying. There ain't much more to anticipate, except for the bitter winter snow and days without warm sunlight.

Fortunately for season's change, spring will come once more and bring new hopes. But in life, seasons do not repeat. What is missed will be missed forever, what is lost will never be found. Life stories are not to be rewritten...

Which season in life are you at? I think I am in summer, like the weather in the little isle which I live. Regrets may be too early to recollect, but I hope there won't be plenty.

* * * *

听一首歌,没有重复的歌词。
活一次,无法重演的人生。
读一首, 后 青春期的诗,感动着。


五月天 - 如烟



Or listen to song here

我坐在床前 望着窗外回忆满天
生命是华丽错觉 时间是贼偷走一切

七岁的那一年 抓住那只蝉
以为能抓住夏天
十七岁的那年 吻过他的脸
就以为和他能永远

有没有那么一种永远 永远不改变
拥抱过的美丽 都再也不破碎
让险峻岁月不能 在脸上撒野
让生离和死别都遥远
有谁能听见

我坐在床前 转过头看谁在沉睡
那一张苍老的脸 好像是我紧闭双眼
曾经是爱我的 和我深爱的
都围绕在我身边
带不走的那些 遗憾和眷恋
就化成最後一滴眼泪

有没有那麽一滴眼泪能洗掉後悔
化成大雨降落在 回不去的街
再给我一次机会 将故事改写
还欠了他一生的 一句抱歉

有没有那么一个世界 永远不天黑
星星太阳万物都 听我的指挥
月亮不忙着圆缺 春天不走远
树梢紧紧拥抱着树叶
有谁能听见

耳际眼前此生重演
是我来自漆黑 而又回归漆黑
人间瞬间天地之间
下次我又是谁

有没有那么一朵玫瑰 永远不凋谢
永远骄傲和完美 永远不妥协
为何人生最後会像一张纸屑
还不如一片花瓣 曾经鲜艳

有没有那么一张书签 停止那一天
最单纯的笑脸和 最美那一年
书包里面装满了蛋糕和汽水
双眼只有无猜和无邪
让我们无法无天

有没有那么一首诗篇 找不到句点
青春永远定居在 我们的岁月
男孩和女孩都有 吉他和舞鞋
笑忘人间的苦痛 只有甜美

有没有那么一个明天 重头活一遍
让我再次感受 曾挥霍的昨天
无论生存或生活 我都不浪费
不让故事这么的後悔
有谁能听见
我不要告别

我坐在床前
看着指尖已经如烟

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

From SG to Incheon

Even after a thousand times, some drills have to be repeated faithfully the same way.

Fasten the seat belt, rearrange blanket and pillow, know your Captain's name, revise safety video, and wait... taxi... then the aircraft picks up speed, the metal wings flap. As the wheels remove themselves from the ground, my heart skips a beat.

The tragic accident of SQ6, which hit obstacles on the runway in Taipei CKS airport during take-off, is still fresh in my mind (a lot of people will remember this because it is the first fatal accident involving a SQ flight). Who knows this could happen to me today and life would mean a different thing in just split seconds. Not that I am being morbid, but the only certainty in life is death and for all the others, there are endless possibilities.


A glimpse of Taipei from over 11,000m above.

History can be made digestible by movies. I learnt a few things new today: “欲望使人年轻”、“冷天扇扇子可以让人更冷静”。More importantly, a calm mind and the right strategy are keys to success (never mind if it's the goose or turtle formation). Know thy self, know thy enemy, old fashioned but words of wisdom applicable in every era.

A name rang in my ear, Zhao Zilong. He was the hero, of course until Tony Leung appeared. What was the Battle of Chi Bi all about? The movie never say. But in the most superficial layman manner I shall explain, this was an important battle in history because the good guys (Liu Bei and Sun Quan) defeated the bad guy (Cao Cao) even though their troops were out-numbered by 4 times in the number of soldiers. It was all based on the wise use of strategies and strong morale plus unity. And apparently because the good guys won the battle, they secured the red cliff area, which seems like an important segment in Yangtze. Get it? Hmm.. I think we have better leave the details for the great story teller to tell us in the next movie.

It is fast approaching the 8th anniversary of SQ6 plane crash. On 31 October, many will weep once more. I wish for those who have lost their loved ones, to feel less grieve and find strength in life and those who have lost their lives, to rest in peace.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Seoul, so?

He must hate it everytime he sees me lug the suitcase out from our storeroom. Just like I hate the fact that there are always one too many thing to pack.

Last time, he left his toy inside my luggage. This time, he tried to pack himself into it.


He stepped onto my suits!


Reality check. Eh eh, you're never going to fit in.

I have lost the ability to decipher information from the weather forecast. The temperature fluctuations from day to day are so confusing that I have decided to pack for 2 seasons just in case.

I feel a little uneasy about this trip, but on the other hand, glad that I will be spending some time away from home. I guess we all need a "vacation" from one another occassionally.

Going to miss my forest,
Miss my monkeys,
Miss my dog.



Also going to get some advice on how to carry such a thick stack of notes on a day to day basis. My wallet's going explode!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Before the next milestone...

I woke up one day and realised that I have grown old.

The settlement of fine lines on my face makes me look like a new person. The lines are like tree-rings which reveal the age of a tree; but unlike tree-rings, which also record the climatic conditions of each year in the lifetime of a tree, you cannot tell if a particular year was harder than another from those lines alone.

I have created a reserve of people and events which I carelessly shoved away as "forgotten". Maybe it is the passage of time that has caused compartments of memories to be slowly erased. Of course I have to admit that my "attention radar" has reduced over the years, making it harder for people or things to score a point with me (not easily impressed, huh). Perhaps, some were unimportant in the first place to be remembered.

Without realising it, insecurity has creeped into my life. As people aged, they become insecured about their lives, their relationships, their finances... their future to sum it all up. As life becomes stable and routinised, people draw comfort and security from the monotonous lifestyles and are afraid to change. With more possessions to provide a secured and comfortable life, there are more possessions at risk of being taken away. It is funny that insecurity should breed from security and simply put, life like this is a sad irony.

I ponder on my thoughts a lot lately, about what 40 years could mean in a person's life. Why 40? Because it is the next milestone in my life. When Chopin died at the age of 39, he left behind a legacy of Nocturnes which still plays in my CD player, on nights more than 150 years after his time. Che Guevara led Cuba into revolution at the mere age of 28, and even though he died young, those 39 years which he lived were glorious, making him a significant icon of the 20th century. Coincidentally, on 9 October, the day when Che was murdered, we will also remember the birthday of a great musician of our time, one who shot to fame during the 60s as The Beatles (and continued to become a peace-activist), and was shot dead in 1980 when he was just 40. John Lennon demonstrated to the world that 40 years is enough to make a hell lot of differences (and noise).

Although there is still a journey before I would reach 40, I feel each day that I am running out of time. I do not want to become someone famous, and I have no desire to lead a revolution, but I am constantly afraid that my time will be wasted in a life I live only for myself, that I would be forgotten, as soon as I passed on, as if I have never existed in this world. Most of all, I am afraid that there is no purpose for my existence and that I am merely living a parasitic life, wasting the world's resources and air, which are already scarce.

Thoughts like these keep me awake at night, wondering what I should do to make my life "right". There is no question that I have to change, break away from my current routine, move out of my comfort zone, "erase the old concepts" and pursue something "more real". But what is real? If I can do things that will make a difference to someone's life, even though it is just for one person, I guess that makes me feel real enough and is what I should pursue.

Wait for me there, my purpose! I'll find you by 40, panting maybe, but I'll be there.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Excuse me, but I need to tell you the truth

I think I'll have to spend forever to learn, how to tell a friend the truth without reservations.

Many times I have thought my friends were making the wrong decisions. However, despite my struggles, I chose to not say a word. I often asked myself if I have failed my duty as a friend, especially when those decisions led to catasrophes in the end. Would things have turned out differently if I had spoken my thoughts? Maybe not.

I had a great way of getting away with my silent indifference, that is I respect my friends and thus their choices and decisions. Saying that I have confidence in them when I have none in my words - is that hypocrisy or cowardice? I am merely a coward trying to avoid confrontations.

Differences in opinions are often the root cause of conflicts, arguments and maybe war in the most extreme sense. Take Pedra Branca for example, they think it's theirs, we think it's ours... nothing more than differences in judgement and interpretation. And who's telling the truth, who's a liar? Vote for the Republican or the Democrat? I don't have the faintest idea. It may be politics, but is also a mind game, convincing you and I to take sides.



The frienship band was a popular item during our teenage days. If you remember how it was made, by making many knots on strings, this colourful embellishment which we wore around the wrist is strong and durable, like how real friendships are meant to be. In a way, my friends, those years that have passed and moments which we have shared, are like the little knots we tied on the strings. Surely, it can endure some careless words and inconsiderate actions. And more importantly, the truth... even when truth hurts sometimes.

I often gazed into the dark sky, hoping to see a shooting star. Millions of shooting stars occur each day, but because of our limited view of the sky (I understand we see only 0.005 percent of the sky), we would have the chance to see only about a dozen per hour. Don't need a genius to calculate how much we have missed because of this natural limitation.

Same applies in life. Amongst the 6 billion in this world, our paths crossed. It is the amazing work of fate no doubt. Friends are hard to come by, more so those whom we have spent a quarter our lifetime with. Perhaps we should not let the "limited space" in our hearts to cause us to lose a few... because these guys are hard to find, much harder than to sight a shooting star.

Food for thought: Speak the truth with a little bit of diplomacy, and never with an empty stomach :-P


My view of the beautiful night sky tonight, full moon. 月圆人团圆。

Saturday, 4 October 2008

From that September morning onwards...

Years ago on one September morning, I came to Cross Street with nothing more than a bachelor degree, thinking that I would make a short stint there of not more than 3 years.

I ended up staying on much longer than I expected, 3 years short of a decade in fact.



Little did I know on that September morning that the years ahead would consist of many life changing experiences. Some of my happiest and most devastating times were spent at Cross Street. From there, I've built a career, made a bunch of friends and accumulated a wealth of memories.

Memories are like wine. As they aged, they become sweeter. I have finally unpacked the bag of stuff I brought home from Cross Street a year ago. The little things in this bag tell so many stories, I wondered why I have left them unattended in a corner for so long...

How many of these can you recognise?


2003 - 2006. Hamtaro and Timothy Seah (missing here) were the wardens of 女人街who ferociously guarded our workstations against intruders.


Birthday in Blue 2003. Trying to pose with poker faces... but none was successful.


2003 at our favourite steamboat place. We were almost 20 men & women strong back then. (Note the alien dog and Shoe peeping at Cowboy)


2004. People were crazy about William Hung. Our favourite pastime at the ailing construction company in IBP was watching video clips of Hung and mimicking his moves. I had the lyrics of the song stuck at SSR's workstation for the longest time!


Trans Siberia 2005. Travelling for 23 days with over 100 hours on trains. From St Petersburg to Moscow to Siberia to Mongolia and then Beijing. St Basil Cathedral, Lenin, Lake Baikal, grassland in Mongolia, Great Wall of China... an unforgetable vacation in short, with marvellous companions.


2005 GEM award. Sometimes going the extra mile means keeping mum and doing nothing. Received after being ruthlessly blasted by a client for no reason whatsoever. Fortunately my boss was there to witness it all.


2006. These pens commerate the many nights I spent at SGX Centre. Night after night I had takeout for dinner. Never once we ate at LPS cos I never saw the satay stalls open as I was working hours longer than the satay vendors.


There we have it! The first baby in our group. K was borned on 11 July 2006. His 1 month old gift box.


2006. Notes from Dahan and SSR from their "visits" to my cube. Dahan wrote this on my memo pad when I first got them after turning "M". SSR left her "trail" when she visited office on a weekend during her maternity leave.


Christmas 2005 - 2006. I still haven't found out who was the Mystery K who got me the hand cream for gift exchange.


2004 - 2007. Witnessed so many sweet unions and happy moments.

Time flies, places change, people come and go. Someone once told me that the only thing constant in life is change. I may not be able to stop the clock from ticking, maybe I can't keep a person who has his mind set on leaving, but I can seal every memory... from that September morning onwards.

Friday, 12 September 2008

What's for tea?


Oreo Cheese Cake

Friends, this is what we will be having for tea tomorrow.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Wet and wild

Mummy's point and shoot camera is back from loan. I smell trouble... she's going to make me pose in all her silly photos again!

What's the big deal about taking a bath? Haven't you seen a 帅哥"let down his hair" before?


Wet and wild! Sexy? Not quite...


I'm smiling because I'm making a“洗头妹”out of my Mummy.


Going to relax for a while. Wake me up when I'm done.


Thanks to this 3 speed, 3 temperature hair dryer with ion care , I get the maximum air at lowest temperature, free from static. Cozy.


Ooo... enjoying the "breeze"; How comfortable.


Almost there... before the final touch.


White and fluffy once again.


Hair loss.. sign of old age!

Sorry to all the uncles, aunties and 弟弟、妹妹 who came to our house yesterday. I smelled like rotten cheese. That wasn't my usual self.

Today I'm 白白香香了!