Friday, 31st March '06

When There's Nothing Left to Burn You Have to Set Yourself on Fire

Right. It's the weekend again at last. The whole of the past week has been passed in a ridiculously majorepaper-induced trance like state. It's nowhere near finished, by the way, but at least I got that presentation settled. Heh. One thing that exchange does to you (ok, high-strung control freaks produced by the NUS Law like me) is that you realize how to relac one corner.

I'm going to digress for a short racist joke, I'm sorry. I really have nothing against Mats - in fact I think they have an incredibly cute culture and attitude and I know some really smart Mats - but this was so funny I couldn't let it go:
How do you confuse a Mat Roker?
Draw a circle around him and tell him to relac one corner!

*wipes tears from eyes, laughing too hard*

So anyways. Today I presented a 5 min presentation prepared in about 15 min. To some form of critical acclaim too! Whee. Total relac one corner... just ramble on. And when they ask questions it's all nice and informal and friendly - it's not like the presentations we did in school in Year 1. Where the profs barbecue your ass for an hour.

Ok, will finish this blog later - having a big exciting scuba diving conversation with Tzo.


Right, it's actually Saturday morning now - got too tired and lazy and snoozy and couch-potatoy to finish it. So. The suger shack excursion starts in a couple of hours - with an all you can eat syrup buffet at the end of it, I may be bouncing around like Tigger on speed by the time I come back. Which, I suppose, would put me in a decent mood for the big day tomorrow. Or tonight - I'm never quite sure how this time zone thing works out.

And thanks, Babs, I saw your birthday wishes on your blog. April is such a Smubby birthday month. Kai, Babs, Bert - 4 of us is a lot out of 10... and then there's ZH and Tian'ai too... one wonders what special event happened in August 1983.

I also thought I might be hit by some modicum of wisdom, insight or at LEAST, another quarterlifecrisis as the 21st year draws to an end. *shrug* Nope. I have lost my angst. Haha. Maybe that IS the sign of growing up.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 06:01 pm
[4 photographs developed.]

Wednesday, 29th March '06

Maybe I Should Just Go Conserve Pandas In China

Taking a break from the major paper. For all interested (and the various ones who understood the Hattori Hanzo references) - it's finally coming along. It right now consists of an 8-page introduction (!!!) and 4 pages of Patent Law overview. Die lah. I only have 35 pages within which to overview copyright and trademarks, analyse the theories and policies behind IP Law (utilitarian theory, labour-desert theory, anti-competition, spirit of sport...), break down sports moves into their constituent categories (let's see now: basic building blocks, unique developed moves / techniques, routine-oriented performances, distinguishing features...) and apply all the law and theories to each category. And then I need to synthesize it all into a workable spectrum of moves that increase in complexity and prove that applying IP law in the higher end is justifiable.


*We interrupt this programme for a special Ah Lian spew*

Siao boh. Wa mai tak chek liao. Wa eh lao beh gong, na si mai tak chek, then come home lah! But hor, wa nang si Singapore eh nang, buay sai suka suka become "Quitter". Na si wa nang eh Senior Minister gong eh. Also, wa nang diang diang an neh qio gua: "there was a time when people said that Singapore won't make it, but we did". Ai sai eh, you all don't see-me-no-up.

*end Ah Lian spew*
*We now return you to scheduled programming*

Oh good glory. I just typed an either paragraph in CLASSIC Singlish Hokkien. I love Singlish, but this frightens me. Will stop reading "Talking Cock" from now on. Better yet, never listen to that "Zhng My Car" Podcast ever again. That came out so spontaneously it wasn't even funny.

Anyway, here are the usual mix of random ramblings:

1. Suddenly discovered an appetite for Trip-Hop. Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek" is an awesome song. Yeah I know none of back home have heard of her - she's the voice of Frou Frou. The O.C. soundtrack? Garden State Soundtrack? Ring any bells? Oh, fergeddit.

2. I got the Lion King Soundtrack! And sent the sing-a-long bits to a grumpy Vicki last night. She thinks I'm nuts. She usually does. Out of sheer En Ying-ness I also downloaded the movie script. Is fantastic, the fella transcribed all the animation directions and a good bit of the cinematography. Qiong says I should act it now ("Now! Now! Go! Go!"). I told her she was psychotic. smile

Eh, remember the night at Chelsea Hostel in NYC... the night of Kiat's birthday when he was manifesting severe allergic reactions to the Coronas? And when we were singing Disney songs and (ok, fine, I was) bellowing the African lyrics to "Circle of Life"? Tzo's "OMIGAWD, EN YING..." expression is still seared firmly in my mind. Anyway, I've one-upped myself again. I now know the CORRECT African lyrics:

My previous mutilated version of the song

"MAAAAAAAAA, je-viet-NIIIAAAAAHHHHH habba-BEET-chee-baba
Sita-hooommm weng-yem-mah
Weng-yen-baba haka-ba
[repeat to form background to English vocals]

What I know now are the right lyrics

"Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama
Siyo Nqoba
--> there's actually a *click* in this word, if anyone remembers Russell Peters ("!Xobile")
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala..."

(I actually think I wasn't too far off the mark. I got about, um, all the vowels correct.)

What that gibberish really means

There comes a lion
Oh yes, it is a lion
There comes a lion
Oh yes, there comes a lion
It is a lion
We are going to conquer
It is a lion
It is a lion and a tiger...

Hey, but seriously, it's one of my alltime favourite songs... and the accompanying visuals of the animals gathering round while Rafiki presents the new prince Simba to the crowd... it's just beautiful.

3. I'm watching American Idol again. Chris Daughtry is intense, in a good way. I still don't like the idea of rockers on Idol, but whatever. And I am annoyed they got rid of my sweet little Kevin Corvais. Stupid America. And Pickler is the most adorable dumb blonde I've ever seen. While we were watching it last week, Stirling was this close to drooling - which allowed me to hijack his guitar. *chuckle*

4. Seth and Summer on the O.C. are the most hilarious couple ever. And I will start taking bets that Marissa and Ryan will be back together by season four, and Volchok and Sadie will find some convenient reason to exit the scene, only to come back in season five in some absurd twist. Alternatively V and S will end up getting together (did anyone else see the writers setting that up during the Johnny's funeral eps?).

5. The YMCA Salamie Thief is getting more and more daring. He has taken...
- Susann's salami, 1 entire box.
- David's salami, 1 entire box.
- Salleh's salami, 1 entire box.
- Salleh's bread, half a slice (HALF A SLICE! Thief put the other jaggedly torn half back.)
- Jessika's bread, indeterminate amount.
- Alex's milk, 2 full litres.
- My egg, 1.


6. No research gig for me in Halifax this summer. I now need to find alternative ways to fill my time. I refuse to do anymore law internships in Singapore as they're a bloody waste of time - not unless I can just do pure volunteer work at the Legal Aid Bureau, which was such an inspiring internship last summer. In the meantime I have sent in a couple of applications for funny things like being a show presenter in the Zoo / Bird Park, a DUCKtainer for DuckTours, a front office assistant at Zouk (got free suppers and they drive you home, I think), and a freelance graphics designer for Wealth Mentors. None of which I am particularly strung-up on getting. The other alternative is running around Italy, Turkey, Greece, Prague and Frankfurt with Dage and Erge and my 60kg of luggage (which is heavy enough to be another person of its own). And then I need to worry about when Zenith might come to Singapore. Oh, and I found all these volunteer things to go to safaris in Africa to count wildlife, or to conserve Pandas in Xi'an. Who's got 5000 bucks to spare?

7. Speaking of which, Sara's coming to Singapore!! For REAL. She's a classmate of mine in Dal. She got her confirmation from Dal today and messaged me about it, which is fantastic. So she and her boyfriend, Chris, will be arriving in January and I get to do the whole tourguiding thing. smile It's a pity she'll only be there for the winter term, otherwise I would have made her go for Fright Night at Sentosa. She'd scream like crazy.

Ok, that's enough now.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 09:53 pm
[5 photographs developed.]

Sunday, 26th March '06

I Look Like Kim Jong Il. Yay.

Found this link off JY's blog... since it told her she looked like Magic Johnson, I obviously couldn't resist giving it a whirl. Ok, maybe not so obvious, but look at it in light of the fact that I've been at home stoning at my major paper research all day. I think I deserve a break.

So what this "My Heritage" thing does, really, is to compare your facial structure with it's existing database and see if you look like anyone in the database, in an effort to trace your roots. By uploading a number of photos, you'll get a bunch of results generated and if certain people keep popping up, you're probably related by your great-great-great-great-whatever. It's probably one of those efforts that's as much bullshit as truth, but using its celebrity database tends to produce some oddball results.

Whatever it might be, it beats more Quizilla quizes.

And here are the results:

Round 1

I always knew I was unique (just like everyone else), but this is taking it a bit far.

Round 2

You have to understand that my results as shown above didn't quite appear like that at first instance. I jsut composited the pictures for convenience. They actually come out one at a time. So when I first saw that I look 72% like BoA, I had a bit of a mixed reaction. I don't suppose that looking like BoA would be a BAD thing, but having links to a cutsy Japanese pop star? Hmm. Now I know you guys are laughing already - me and cutsy Jap pop stars don't mix, I know.

(She IS a cutsy Jap pop star, right? I know next to nothing about Jap music.)

At least Ayumi Hamasaki's hot. The only reason I know this is from the humongous posters of her that used to hang in Orchard MRT's Popular branch... that one where she has nothing but her hair covering her boobs.

And Michelle Yeoh kicks ass - quite literally too.

Naomi Campbell I'd pass on; would much prefer Tyra Banks, but I guess one should know one's limitations wink.

Round 3

Ayumi Hamasaki and Maggie Cheung again. Maggie Cheung is also cool. Great. I suppose Mary-Kate aside, these are respectable results.

Round 4

Haha... Sammi Cheng. I remember those facial mask ads - what was it that she said now? Something about "zap zap zap! All the spots are gone!"? I think I like the fact that I might be related to Kim Jung Il the best. Woohoo.

[Additional note: suddenly realised that all the men I look like are damn taukua bin lah. Good grief. If my son has a taukua bin I think I will shoot myself. Taukua bin being a word that Mum uses to describe a certain "soft" sort of look in a man. The idea being that his bin (face) looks like, um, taukua (dried beancurd).]

Oh, and just out of interest... that last photo was taken together with SHAUN HO ZHIRUI. And the program scanned both faces at the same time. It says he looks like he's related to Henrik Larsson (68%), Hu Jintao (58%), Jim Morrison (53% - how cool is that?), Uma Thurman (52%), Carson Daly (49%), Jamie Cullum (48%) and Julia Roberts (46%).

Oi, suddenly my results macam not as intersting, one.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 07:36 pm
[2 photographs developed.]

Friday, 24th March '06

The Hokkien Speeding Song

Ahahahaha... found this off Mr Miyagi's blog. Someone left him a tag saying thanks for putting up this little treasure, and how Singaporeans overseas need stuff like this to get a taste of home. I agree, though - it's crass and all, but it's pretty nostalgic.

*please play it* Hokkien songs are too annoying for the autostart to be set on "true".

-- "The Hokkien Speeding Song"

*sings along happily*

Wu lang speeding, wu lang doh ban ban so
Wu lang jit chiu wa chia jit chiu ga
girlfriend po
Wu lang kwa za bor kee long dio lao ah por!

Ai jip CBD tio beh dua - bus lane le doh zai SIAM!

AHAHAHAHAH... my Hokkien (it's a Chinese dialect) really isn't advanced enough for me to understand the whole thing, but those lines tickled me no end. They pretty much mean: "Some people speed, some people drive slowly / Some people steer the car with one hand while they hug their girlfriend with the other / Some people look at chicks walking by and drive their car into an old grandmother... When you want to enter the CBD [my Hokkien fails me] remember to run away from the bus lanes!"

I think I should play this for Dad when he's driving.... haha. We'll then go into one of our usual silly laughing fits in the car. Heck, I know Mum and Dad are going to love this song, so I'm going to email it to them anyway. Mum especially... man, if I could just find her a REAL "Tee Oh Oh" recording.

Digression aside, here's the Mandarin rap at the end, just because I'm putting off working on the major paper and because well... because:

人说马路如虎口 交通规则你要遵守
红灯停来 禄灯走 黄灯一亮就别踩油
宁可迟到几分钟 不要急着把命送!

Alright. Nose back to grindstone.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 01:07 pm
[2 photographs developed.]

Thursday, 23rd March '06

'Tis the Season...

Was in the midst of teaching Chris (LeFort) Singlish - hey, if he can learn Chinese he can learn Singlish - with the aid of the Coxford Singlish Dictionary, when I ran into this.

A rather old format, but actually quite challenging. It's (quite obviously) a varient of the old whack-the-gofer games, but featuring good ol' JBJ (Joshua Benjamin Jeyeretnam, errant politician and father of a senior partner of the law firm I interned at last year) as the unfortunate gofer, and the player as the humble Singaporean citizen wielding the People's Action Party's logo and zapping him with the red lightning bolt that's (curiously enough) supposed to depict "action".

Mmmph. rocks, sometimes. Try it yourself! (Click the picture.)

JBJ is a lot more deft than one might have expected.

My first score was 9/25. The result:
"WALKOVER! You must try harder to be a good citizen."

Second score, 18/25:
"WALKOVER! You are a proud grassroots follower."

Third score, 23/25:
"WALKOVER! Would you like to run for MP?" The best part is that Minister Mentor Lee's face appears next to the score.

Talk about inane, addictive online games.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 12:30 am
[3 photographs developed.]

Wednesday, 22nd March '06

A Final Hit

That's it. I'm officially a MUSIC ADDICT. You know, with the advent of broadband and peer-to-peer software and ourTunes and Senuti and ridiculously large in-built Powerbook harddisks and iPods with storage space more than Mum's old desktop... music has kind of lost it's capacity to last.

What I mean by that is that when you can get virtually any song you want without paying for it, it's so good for your music education, but so damn unhealthy too. It's like having that itch that you can't scratch. You get so hopping mad trying to find it, get at it, satisfy that craving to attack it with your nails for all its worth. But the fact is you can't reach it. Same with the music itch I got hit with today.

Somewhere in between the utilitarian theory of copyright law and how that may or may not be a workable model when it comes to the protection of athletic movements, I got hit by that itch. I don't know what I was playing on the iPod at that particular point in time... but whatever it was, it wasn't doing it for me:

"Panic on the streets of London; Panic on the streets of Birmingham
I wonder to myself - could life ever be sane again ?
The Leeds side-streets that you slip down
I wonder to myself...

Hopes may rise on the Grasmere, but Honey Pie, you're not safe here
So you run down to the safety of the town
But there's Panic on the streets of Carlisle, Dublin, Dundee, Humberside
I wonder to myself...

Burn down the disco; hang the blessed DJ
Because the music that they constantly play
It says nothing to me about my life

Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ... HANG THE DJ!"

-- "Panic", the Smiths

So then I went scrolling through the iPod and iTunes for something to satisfy the craving. NOTHING. Not funny, ok. 4217 songs at my disposal and I couldn't find ANYTHING that would do it for me. Sitting in the cosy Second Cup trying to focus on reading what my major paper research had turned up, I was fast turning Mark Renton to this Trainspotting-esque situation:

"I need to visit the mother superior for one hit, one fucking hit to get us over this long, hard day."
-- Renton (v.o.), Trainspotting

Very disturbing, a disabilty to find the one song to satisfy yourself with is. So much so that you start talking like Yoda, it seems.

But you see where the Trainspotting analogy is going? First you start with a little download, then because you get hooked on the rush of having full albums at your disposal at the click of a mouse, you start to need more. Heck, you become a veritable music monger, and eventually you reach a point where you have your blueberry-brothers literally turn up at your doorstep with a mother-big external hardisk (like 160GB) to hijack your music folder. Like how Allison went to Renton for hits. And then you find that getting the shit on your own steam isn't getting anywhere fast enough, so you start bumming the stuff off your friends with iPods via Senuti or off iTunes users who stream music on your LAN via ourTunes. All those "mother superiors". And then eventually you think you'll board yourself in, take a last hit and get over this downloading madness. You book yourself into a rehabilitation facility like the YMCA with an over enthusiastic firewall that blocks all P2P connections. And like Renton's attempt, that fails miserably. An addict will find a way back to the old ways. This writer found the Dalhousie Wireless Internet connection and the free-of-charge broadband at Uncommon Grounds.

Quitting isn't easy in a country in which P2P software is legal.

The point is, eventually having 4217 songs in your playlist isn't even going to be enough. Which was the miserable state I found myself in today. The usual suspects weren't even getting the job done. Normally I could scratch the mounting itches with a little John Mayer, Maroon 5, or some of those songs that I have already set down as "perfectly arranged pieces" - stuff like "Hero" by Chad Kroeger / Josey Scott, or U2's "Walk On", just to name two.

Didn't Work. To carry on the heroin metaphor, i just couldn't get the high.


Well, to cut a long story short, the only reason I'm here typing this entry and am not currently a drooling mess on the floor (or screaming and writhing under my bedsheets as I hallucinate about dead babies crawling on my ceiling) is that I eventually DID find the hit. You'll never guess what it was.



*is too embarrassed to show face in public ever again*

And, O, the IRONY in the opening lines of that song:

"Everybody's looking for that something
One thing that makes it all complete
You'll find it in the strangest places
Places you never knew it could be."

-- "Flying Without Wings", Westlife

I always knew God had a twisted sense of humour.

And if you thought that was the end of it... ohnonono. The boyband obsession continued. It's STUPID, but I suddenly actually started paying attention to the lyrics of - get this - O-TOWN SONGS. Unfortunately, Max Martin (if it's still him who's churning out these things like nobody's business) manages to write these completely superflous songs that STILL end up tugging at my heart strings.

Sample this:

Standing with the wallflowers wishing you would've stayed at home
You kick yourself for coming when you're standing there all alone
The centers of attention are busy making all their moves
While all the guys are lookin at them, I got my eye on you
Only you

You might think you're nothing special, you might be losing hope
But baby don't you realize how beautiful you really are

Shy girl, it's written on your face
A mermaid out of water, feeling out of place
Shy girl, trying to hide a blush
Caught you looking for a second, felt my heart rush
Don't run away, don't be afraid, don't be shy girl

I'm moving in closer, slowing trying to break the ice
But it's hard to get a lock on your downward glancing eyes

You might think you're nothing special, but I'm about to lose my heart
Baby don't you realize how beautiful you really are

Now I'm standing right in front of you
I confess I'm nervous too
Girl you know there's something going on
And not to give it a chance would be so wrong

Shy girl, it's written on your face
A mermaid out of water, feeling out of place
Shy girl, trying to hide a blush
Pretending that there's nothing between the two of us
Don't run away, don't be afraid, don't be shy girl

-- "Shy Girl", O-Town

What kind of self-respecting, almost-22-year-old still listens to this stuff? Die lah, regression into a teenybopper.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 09:25 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Tuesday, 21st March '06

Time's A-Wastin'

I don't even know why I'm blogging. There's nothing good to say. There's only major paper research to avoid reading. So here are a bunch of completely random things that invaded my mind tonight:

1. What to Do During Summer?

No news on the Research Assistant gig. Am mildly antsy about that. But then there are three options thereafter: hang around here (Halifax) and get some summer (which is cool 'coz all the summer things open only around mid-may), go travelling (Heng's got this whole Europe thing planned out. UK, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Prague... now question where the money's going to come from), go home early and attempt to get a job (or worry about pupillage applications). With all the pubbing and clubbing done here, it has suddenly occured to me that I would make a good door bitch. Really, rowdy Singaporeans are nothing.

Sitting here typing I also realise that the scars of St Patrick's Day are not washing off. That Lower Deck stamp has some powerful ink.

2. Tiger Beer. Really?

Ahmed (guy who lives across the corridor from me, he took over Zenith's room) stopped by for random chitchat today. Which is cool, he's a nice fella. It's damn funny lah, he left me a random message in his post-St Pat's drunkenness - a message so badly scrawled neither of us has been able to figure out what it says with any degree of certainty. So we were talking about that, Singapore and BC (he's from Vancouver) and other oddball things and then eventually he pulled out a bottle from his room and was like: hey, I have to show you this!

Whaddya know. A Tiger Beer bottle. HAHAHA. It was kinda funny; he was telling me how much he liked it, how you can only get it from this exclusive little wineshop above Pete's (NOW I know), and how cute the trademark was (tiger under a palm tree) - and honest to goodness, Tiger Beer was the last thing I thought I would ever be proud of Singapore for producing, but there was a surprisngly little tingling in the cockles of my Singaporean heart.

I always knew I had patriotic tendencies.

And the bottle he had was brewed by Asia-Pacific Breweries (we all know this), but at ALEXANDER ROAD. So it's DIRECT FROM THE HOMETOWN. I guess this would not be a good time to bring up the horrific "Tiger-Nation" adverts.

3. Chuck Norris can touch MC Hammer.

This must be a mark of how random I'm feeling today. I'm making it a point to look up at least one current affair / pop culture icon in Wikipedia everyday. Today I have sucessfully read up on everything from the Taiwan independence movement to Chuck Norris' biography. No one gives a rat's ass about him back home (although I do remember watching Walker: Texas Ranger eons ago), but there were so many references to him here I had to find out what he was all about.

Frankly, the man himself is not much more than a nothing. It was the "Chuck Norris Facts" that spawned the huge cult following, and I have to admit I'm now hooked. They're side-splitting and so inane... Qiong, you'd like it - though admittedly you'd have to be a bit of a pop culture buff. They're simply a collection of phrases of describing Chuck Norris' absurd "superpowers", and you'd be surprised to find out how many exceedingly stupid but at the same time clever ways of depicting the man's super-human strength, killing / maiming ability / virility etc.

Some of my favourites (that had me laughing like a nutjob):

- Chuck Norris can believe it's not butter.
- Chuck Norris always knows the exact location of Carmen Sandiego.
- Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
- Chuck Norris gave Mona Lisa that smile.
- Nothing can escape the gravity of a black hole, except for Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris eats black holes. They taste like chicken.
- Chuck Norris smells what the Rock is cooking... because the Rock is Chuck Norris' personal chef.
- The original draft of The Lord of the Rings featured Chuck Norris instead of Frodo Baggins. It was only 5 pages long, as Chuck roundhouse-kicked Sauron’s ass halfway through the first chapter.
- Simply by pulling on both ends, Chuck Norris can stretch diamonds back into coal.
- Everybody loves Raymond. Except Chuck Norris.
- Chuck Norris recently had the idea to sell his urine as a canned beverage. We know this beverage as Red Bull.
- 握虎藏龙. The translation from Mandarin Chinese reads: "Crouching Chuck, Hidden Norris".
- Chuck Norris knows the last digit of pi.
- Chuck Norris is allowed to talk about Fight Club.

Ok, now that I've settled down a bit... not so funny. But entertaining nonetheless.

4. Zoolander

Yeah, finally got down to watching it. Was feeling in a rebellious mood after reading all that Singapore Elections news (it was banned in Singapore, and our analysis here is that the only reason this could be so is because the plotline involves the assaination of the PM of Malaysia). It's actually surprisingly funny for a Ben Stiller flick - I don't usually put much stock in slapstick comedy but this one had some gems.

5. Singapore Elections

Is the time again for the all the politicians in Singapore to go around shaking hands in coffee shops, wearing Vanda Miss Joaquims around their necks and otherwise being all smiley and friendly. Is also time to anticipate my Public Law professor writing another intriguing and anger-inducing article about gerrymandering and other Consitutional violations.

In the meantime, I'm just hoping that I get to vote this time. It's so ironic... in countries where there's actually a chance to vote, they have to beg the citizens to go down and do it. In my country, the citizens are begging to vote, and despite the techically democratic society, we never get to because it's a walkover in just about every constituency. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I won't vote PAP - because they're doing such an excellent job and really, if it ain't broke... the point is that I want the OPTION to not choose them. The excellent thing is that I think 57 out of 84 seats this year are estimated to be contested, and as far as AsiaOne's online news goes, my East Coast GRC might actually have an opposition team set up - for the first time in... oh, I dunno, the history of Singapore?

And then I came across this article - which just about caused me to splutter helplessly at the computer screen: PM Lee says PAP aiming to win all wards in upcoming General Election. I love you, Hsien Loong, but DO YOU NOT SEE THE PROBLEM WITH THIS?! Does it not chill the very marrow of your bones that the ENTIRE PARLIAMENT CONSISTS OF ONE POLITICAL PARTY? As it stands we have to have PAP backbenchers play-acting opposition; MUST you highlight this glaring glitch in our Westminster system for the entire world's benefit? It's not masak-masak, I also say, and I really don't expect you to be giving anyone any chances - but for heaven's sake, don't say it like it's a GOOD THING. It's almost embarrassing. All I want is that you RECOGNIZE that it's a problem. Ah doi.

Ok, that's it for the random ramblings. Night, all.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 12:41 am
[2 photographs developed.]

Saturday, 18th March '06

Irish for a Day

-- "Boondock Saints Theme"

Funnily enough, the first thing that struck me about St Patrick's Day was the fact that Lucas just left Ireland to go back to Singapore / Malaysia a few days before the big day. But then I guess he's seen enough of it over the past years. Gimme a shout if you see this, bro. You've been so delightfully MIA lately.

So St Patrick's Day came... with all the fanfare and anticipation one could have wished for. Chris (LeFort) was right when he said St Patty's was bigger than Christmas - there was certainly a lot more planning and excitement leading up to it than I've seen for any holiday so far! The reason for this, obviously, was the fact that St Patty's is the ultimate drinking holiday. As the song goes, "Lord bless Charlie Mops, the man who invented beer beer beer, tiddly beer beer beer..."

Of course, the holiday also involves all sorts of other alcoholic beverages of Irish origin - the Guiness and the Bailey's etc etc.

Oh yes, and I think it's also supposed to be the Catholic Church's celebration of the day of Ireland's patron Saint, and something akin to National Day there... but no one in Canada really gives a crap about that.

For my part, I was quite happy to soak in the commerical, party atmosphere of it all. We all know I'm not much for the drinking on a normal basis, but when a Full Day is set aside for it and drinking is the entire spirit of the holiday, not even I was going to let that pass. Bring it on, I say. Alright, perhaps I didn't embrace it as fully as the boys in Ann Arbor, Michigan - Jem says he got drunk enough not to remember patches of last night, which is still normal for the guys here, i think - but hey, I had my fun with the GREEN BEER. More of that later. Overall, it's an adorable holiday, we should stake out the Dubliners at Dhoby Ghaut next year, Smubs.

Back to the photoblog. The pictures do speak a thousand words, and it was one of the most fun nights I've had here.

My involvement with St Patty's started at 3 in the afternoon at the Grawood. Though none of us started the boozing at that point, there were a whole bunch of Canadians already in full swing. Chris was already hosting his beer party at his place, in any case, and every table at the Grawood was full of people in green hats, shamrock tatoos and other green things getting some "green" into themselves. And the SMU Germans, left to their own devices, were turning the Gorsebrook Lounge into something of an Ocktoberfest starting 2:30 pm - green hair, green T-shirts, and beer all over the place. I saw some of Susann's pictures, haha, it looked a bit like a soccer match.

Bert, you would totally have loved the greenness of this holiday. The tradition goes that if you don't wear at least one item of green clothing that day, you can get pinched / punched / bodily injured in some other way.

Anyways, this is us:

Yeah, Rob borrowed a hat off someone and we decided to do portrait photos.

We lost Mick, who couldn't be bothered to stick around if we weren't going to drink. Haha. So the Grawood bit was just sitting around and people watching. Interestingly enough, Rob and I met a Canadian who lived in Malaysia for a few years - so he started talking about Nasi Lemak and Teh Tarik and Kacang Puteh and started making me hungry...

And then we left the Grawood and split up from there.

My next part involved catching the Germans for a change of scene. We (Susann, Freddy, Pierre and I) started walking down from the Y at around 6:30pm, catching the French Fries (Clo, Solene and Simon) there and the picking up Andre from Macs. Once again, En Ying being the only non-SMU, non-European. One gets used to this.

On to the Rogue's Roost. It's a nice sort of bar... a little classier than the St Patty's style, so it wasn't serving green beer and there weren't green-clad undergrads jumping around. It was more a place for yuppies to chill at... an impression of high-classness I got of the place sustained from Sara's (a law classmate's) birthday party there. Cool place, but we were looking for St Patty's spirit. We let the Germans catch a beer and moved on.

A bit of a walk later, around 7:30pm we ended up at Cheers. Ok, I admit, I was on something of a mission and had a one-track mind. Green Beer? Ok. The best part of Cheers was that the Green Beer was DIY! We were given a shot glass with some colouring in it, and a straw. Haha. I got a bit trigger happy with the food dye.

This is Clo carefully dyeing the Keith's. I don't have the pictures of me doing it (Solene's cam) but I basically got tired of doing it drop by drop and started tipping the shot glass of dye right in. Lingwei says the Green Beer looked like wheatgrass juice. Haha. I made sure mine looked even grosser. smile

A green-stained thumb (licked it clean under Andre's goading) and therefore a few green teeth later, I ended up with Keith's the same colour as my jacket. Whoo!

[picture to come]

And here are the girls at Cheers:

Cheers was alright, I guess. The French Fries thought it was too dark; I thought it was too sleepy and bit too quiet. The one-man live band playing was playing celtic music, but the slow-going kind. And at one point a Korean dude got up to sing a Korean song and for some reason everyone expected me to know it. plain

Hung out there just sitting and drinking and chatting for a couple of hours, before the French Fries and I decided we needed another change of scene. This was turning into something of an unplanned pub crawl. The French Fries knew a bunch of people from their MBA programme at SMU who were going to be at the Beer Market, so there we went at around 9:30pm. The Beer Market, by the way, is an adjunct to the famous Lower Deck, and one cover gets you into it all.

So that's where we went to do the partying for the rest of the night. It was a heck of a lot of fun... this was the place with the true St Patty's spirit - green and silver streamers with shamrocks dangling from the ceiling, green hats with "Irish for a Day" printed on them, people with "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" shirts, green bobbly-shamrock hairbands, antlers, beads, kilts... you name it, someone there had it. The band was awesome too... playing everything from the Killers to the traditional pub songs. And this time there were enough people singing along, dancing and banging beer mugs to make it fun. So cool.

More pictures, now:

Me and French girls, Clo on your left and Solene on your right.

Me and French boy, Simon.

Go green: typically dressed-up "Irish" man and lady.

Simon and Solene.

With a bunch of the MBA people. Guy in the middle there is Tom, who might have been the most out-of-control drunk I've ever seen. At the time of the taking of the picture he was drunk alright, but still standing. Yet, he was drunk enough to be buying everyone drinks - and who am I to say "no" to free Coronas? satisfied Decided to stay away from the green dye this time.

But by the time we decided to take our happy selves to the dance floor (there was a sort of a subsidiary disco area where they were playing generic R&B Hiphop things), Tom was blind drunk. Completely unsteady, completely in the mood to force every available female to discofox with him. He particularly set his sights on Clo and the poor girl was fending him off the entire night. It was damn funny lah, when he started to try to Riverdance and do that Russian kicking dance thing, but at some point he began to drag people down with him, and it just got annoying.

But by that time it was almost 1:30pm and I was about to keel over anyways. No party stamina, this one. wink And alcohol makes me sleepy. So we just bummed around the Beer Market part again before deciding we were going to go home.

So yeah, that was the end of the St Patty's partying. It was loads of fun, when everyone saves up their partying energy for one night... totally beats the normal weekend mandatory partying, in my opinion. Maybe I only know how to have fun for an occasion, but this was wonderful. rolls eyes

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 06:49 pm
[5 photographs developed.]

Monday, 13th March '06

Fire Burn and Cauldron BUBBLE!

I couldn't think of any other cheesy bubble-related quote, I apologise. But (due to popular demand, *chuckle*) I have to blog this before I forget to.

International Night at Dalhousie today... it's this event organised by the University in which they get students to perform cultural items from their home country, and the rest of us less-enthusiatic folks get to sit around and satisfy our cravings for being mean and sarcastic. About the performances, of course. Although if you're the legendary grumpy David you could also be mean and sarcastic to plump Tim Hortons waitresses in Moncton, to the dopehead who stole your salami and to the unsuspecting Rogers salesgirl who should not be able to live with herself, and gleefully repeat those stories 8 times a day.

But anyway. I haven't done serious reviewing on this blog since... Brian Wilson released "SMiLE". I'm not about to really waste effort on the performances today. Some were enjoyable, mostly the African dances - well, it wasn't spectacular but they had fun and for the most part I think the audience did too. Some had some admirable effort put in - a trio of ballet dancers seemed to do ok. Some were downright awful.

Man, the PRC girl who did a "Classic Chinese Modern Ballet" solo? I get SO ANNOYED when people like that put their work up for show and do something that completely doesn't reflect our people. Please don't go up in front of the world (as it were), and claim to be doing Classic Chinese Dance when you're waving your arms around like... well... I can't find anything comparable, but I know both my 80 year old grandmother and my 11 year old niece could do better than that. And the Modern Ballet part... I wish Tzo were there with me, we would have torn her unpointed toes, costume choice and general blah-ness to pieces. And this has nothing to do with my being anti-PRC.

And the Pakistani dude who sang something that I'm sure wasn't reflective of his culture either... it was like watching a bad scene from American Idol, except that Simon was not around to make us laugh at the end of it. It was like listening to the stuff the mosques at Arab Street blast at noon on Fridays - but without the tunefulness, richness of tone or, really, any sense musicality whatsoever. Rob quipped something about this being the song of the hundred dying cows... that was about right. People started getting up and going to the bathroom just to have somewhere else to go. And business at the alcohol table suddenly got brisker. Hell, if he had gone on any longer even I might have needed a drink.

So the performances were a disappointment, but the food was pretty decent. We really should have done the tupperware thing and took some home, but *shrug*.

And given the lack-luster performances, the entertainment highlight of the night was undoubtedly the poor ol' Bubble Boy. See, sweet little Armando, upon returning home blind-drunk last Saturday night, discovered a large-ish blister on the top of his foot. Or "bubble", as he insists on calling it. Of course he doesn't know how it got there (hence the emphasis on blind-drunk), but the real kicker is the fact that he's NEVER HAD A BUBBLE IN HIS LIFE. Never. I don't even know how that's possible. I've had blisters from inline skating, figure skating, writing too much, simply just walking in new shoes, sewing, playing guitar... and Armando is on His Virgin Bubble. It just blows my mind. sleepy

So Rob promised him it would be gone by Monday. Without the benefit of hindsight, I would have said the same thing. Tueday, tops. Heck, just burst the damnned thing with a sterile needle. Gone in 60 Seconds. In the days I was picking them up like they were free after each Sunday's skate, I used to just snip them with a nail clipper (needless to say Mum wasn't too happy about that).

Did Armando's precious bubble burst? Oh no no. Heaven knows what he was doing, but tonight, the next Sunday (read: 9 days later), the abomination was still on his foot. Apparently he likes to stroke it, caress it, pat it, because it's nice and soft and smooth. The little perv. Even so, he must have been feeding it royal jelly and ginseng or something because BLISTERS JUST DON'T LAST THAT LONG.

And if you thought that was enough to enter Bubble Boy here into Ripley's Believe It or Not's Hall of Fame, you will not believe how sincerely concerned his was about how the bubble would impair his future health. You'd think the silly bubble was on his prostate or something, the way he carried antiseptic everywhere he went for fear the bubble would burst. Oh, how he worried about infections that could set in when it eventually burst. What should I do about it, he asked in all earnestness.


So the dinnertime bubble-related conversations went something like this (and I may take some artistic liberties with the actual words used, but you'll get the drift): -

Bubble Boy: What do I do about the bubble? I still have the bubble. I like to touch it 'coz it's very soft...
David: Burst it.
Rob: Drink the pus. It's good for you.
BB: Really...?
David: Piss on it.
BB: What? Really?
David: Yeah, you know. Urinate on it.
BB: Yes, I heard pee was good for treating some things... I just didn't know if it would work for the bubble...
Rob: Yes, yes. This is one of those things. Pee on it, it's very good for it. Kills the bacteria.

BB actually sits there and seriously considers the option.

By now I don't know whether to laugh at Armando's utter lack of knowledge about the simple blister, or to tell him the two cocksters have been pulling his leg. I am already imploding in my efforts to suppress my laughter.

BB: Maybe I should go to the doctor.
Rob: Yeah, you should. Get the antiseptic for it. Go, go to the doctor tomorrow.
BB: But I already carry the antiseptic everywhere I go.

It is at this highly opportune moment that the Bubble Decides to Burst. Armando's eyes widen and his eyebrows shoot up into his hairline.

BB: It just burst.
Me: You gotta be kidding. Now?!
BB: What should I do?
Rob: It's ok, don't worry, you can see the doctor tomorrow.

Armando hobbles out of the dining hall, presumably to attend to the bubble's funeral and recite a eulogy in the privacy of the men's room.

Me: Is he serious about never having had a blister before? Why's he so serious about it? Does he REALLY not know it's JUST a blister? Maybe one of you should go check on him.
David: Nah, he needs some private time alone with it.

Armando returns from dealing with the bubble. Unfortunately for him, he comes to rest with his foot on top of a few water sprinkles on the parquet.

David: Stop it. You're leaking all over the floor.

And Armando actually looks down at his feet in concern.

That was the straw that broke this camel's back. As far as I'm concerned, if someone honestly doesn't know ANYTHING about something as commonplace as blisters, he really deserves no mercy. So the next time Armando brought up the same question about what to do with the blister...

Rob: Really, just piss on it.
BB: You really think I should do that? Will it work?
Me: Just, whatever you do, don't pull off the skin. If you do, you'll cry [I'm actually being serious here, if he knows nothing about blisters he could very well make that mistake and regret it for the next week.]
David: [obviously not half as kind] Rip it off.
BB: What...?
David: The skin. Over the blister. Just rip if off.
BB: [some unintelligible comment about antiseptic again]
Me: Forget antiseptic. Try some salt. [feels minorly guilty because if he really does peel the skin off and put salt on it... OW.]
BB: Salt?
Me: Yeah. Osmosis; it kills the germs, you know...
Rob: That's how the urine works too!
BB: But I'm afraid of the grains. What if they rub against the skin and scratch it...
Me: ... [thinks: you have got to be KIDDING. He can't seriously think I was giving him real advice.]
Rob: Not grains of salt! Like salt water!
BB: Oh, ok.

I know this is being read by non-Singaporeans, but I have only one word to describe my ensuing response, and it's not really translatable:


And if you thought that was all the silliness that Armando could bring to the table for one night, think again. It was time for us to be introduced (well, kind of) to Pasqual. I may not spell Pasqual right, but that's how it sounds.

What happened was that Dave, Rob and I were having some conversation about something - I forget what - and none of us had spoken a word to Armando for a good length of time. Suddenly he laughed. OUT LOUD. At nothing in particular.

Rob: What? What are you laughing at?
Armando: Oh, he told me a joke.
Me: He? Who's he?

We're the only 4 people at a table that could have sat 8. Which means that to Armando's right are nothing but empty chairs and excess cutlery.

Armando: He! [Gestures towards the empty chair to his right.] He told me a joke.
David: Who is "He"? Where is "He"?
Armando: My friend! [Continues to wave his hand in the direction of aforementioned empty chair] My friend here just told me a joke.

Rob, David and I stare in bewilderment at the empty chair that "He" is supposedly sitting on.

Rob: Your friend... just told you a joke.
Armando: Yeah!
Rob: [Looks from Armando to the empty chair and back to Armando again.] Is "He"... um... _here_?
Armando: Oh yes yes, he's here.
Rob: Armando, there's no one th...
Armando: I NEED A DRINK.

Armando shoots up from his chair as if shot, and makes a beeline for the alcohol table.

Me: WHAT?!?
David: What is he talking about? There's no one there. There's no one sitting on that chair.
Me: He's kinda confused...
Rob: Is it because no one talked to him for some period of time? So he sort of laughed to get attention? As in to bring attention back to him? And that it's his friend that told him a joke - is that the joke? Is that what he's saying?
Me: ...
David: Or he's just schizo.
Me: Could be.

Armando returns with his second vodka and tonic.

David: What's up, Russell?
Me: More like... John Nash. *Note to self: is bad state when starting to understand David's slightly random pop culture references.
Rob: Armando... [gently] do you have... an imaginary friend? An imaginary friend who told you the joke?
Armando: My friend told me a joke, so I laughed.
Rob: Yes, but you friend is he HERE. Right now?
Armando: [completely oblivious to our mounting confuzzlement] Yes yes he's here.
Rob: Right here? Sitting next to you?
Me: What's your friend's name?
Armando: Pasqual. He's my friend from Mexico. We went to school together.
Rob: And he just told you a joke?
Armando: Yeah, when I laughed just now, it was because he told me the joke.
Rob: ... and Pasqual is sitting on that chair next to you? [Eyes directed towards gloriously EMPTY chair next to Armando.]
Me: I swear, if Pasqual is another name for "Little Armando"...
Rob: Armando, WHAT is going on? [We all stare at Armando with puzzlement written all over our faces.]
Armando: I think YOU NEED A DRINK.

Anyways, to cut a long story short, Pasqual (whom we never actually saw) was not an imaginery friend. He was a physical human being whom Armando studied with in Mexico, and by sheer coincidence ran into again at Dal. He had actually walked past our table while Rob and Dave and I were talking and whispered a joke to Armando as he past, such that by the time Armando laughed and we looked around, he was gone. The whole thing was just so absurd... we spent so long trying to figure out if Pasqual was a real person - simply because Armando just couldn't come out and say it properly, and after the bubble debacle, we were quite ready to believe any stupid thing Armando did.

Sigh. Ok, getting really sleepy. Off to bed now.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 12:46 am
[1 photograph developed.]

Friday, 10th March '06

You Know You've Been in Singapore Too Long When...

Just stumbled across this when I was surfing a number of websites (everything from ChannelNewsAsia to in an attempt to do my very infrequent finding out about what's going on at home. This was on Mr Brown, who now has his own podcast by the way. Anyway, I've probably blogged too much, but the following was so damn reflective of Singapore I couldn't help reproducing it.

Some are the usual chewing gum type jibes, but the observations about the COEs (certificates of entitlement), road names etc are still funny.

36 signs you've been in Singapore too long:

1. You've lost your sense of irony, sarcasm, and cynicism.

Explains our blogosphere, then.

2. You don't know what's lame and what isn't anymore.


3. You think there's nothing wrong with putting chili sauce on everything you eat.

Heard that, Dad?

4. You wait for instructions from people in authority before doing anything. Always.

That kinda sucks, but it tends to be true. Since I've been here the number of times I've see someone do something and thought to myself "like that also can ah?" is frightening.

5. You join queues without knowing or caring what the queue is for.


6. You know what "queue" means!!

Doesn't everyone?

7. Your idea of a good night out consists of having dinner at a hawker centre, drinking beer, and then going to another hawker centre and eating again.

Don't you be dissing my Blk 85, foo.

8. You've lost your ability to criticize people in higher positions than you, even if they're wrong.

So they would hope. Wink.

9. You think it's okay to have only one meaningful choice on a ballot.

You've hit a nerve.

10. "Crossing the country" means taking the MRT to the end of the line.

All the way from Changi Airport / Expo to, um, good grief, what is it now? Jurong West?

11. You have a high tolerance for nagging.


12.Most or all of these acronyms make sense to you: NUS; NTU; ERP; SDU; PAP; MRT; LKY; GCT; PRC; TIBS; SBS; SMS; JB; JBJ; AMK; AYE; PIE; ECP; ISD; ISA; 5 C's; CPF; CHIJMES; SPG; CWO.

I know it's geeky, but I can't resist trying:
1. NUS = National University of Singapore
2. NTC = Nanyang Technological University
3. ERP = Electronic Road Pricing
4. SDU = Social Development Unit (I still like "Single. Desperate. Ugly.")
5. PAP = People's Action Party
6. MRT = Mass Rapid Transit
7. LKY = Lee Kuan Yew
8. GCT = Goh Chok Tong
9. PRC = People's Republic of China
10. TIBS = TransIsland Bus Service (I think)
11. SBS = Singapore Bus Service
12. SMS = Short Message Service
12. JB = Johor Bahru
13. JBJ = Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam
14. AMK = Ang Mo Kio
15. AYE = Aya Rajah Expressway
16. PIE = Pan Island Expressway
17. ECP = East Coast Parkway
18. ISD = ? (Internal Security Detention?)
19. ISA = Internal Security Act
20. 5 C's = Cash, Car, Credit Card, Condominum, ??? (Children? Chiobu?)
21. CPF = Central Provident Fund
22. CHIJMES = Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (oh my word, I actually cannot complete it!)
23. SPG = Sarong Party Girl
24. CWO = Corrective Work Order

13. You use too many acronyms when you talk, or you create new ones.

KNNBCCB, for instance? Not that I've ever use that phrase, but I unfortunately know what it means. I don't even think the English language has swear words (or phrases) that graphic. Which perpetuates the crude-Hokkien stereotype, I know.

14. You think that nothing makes a girl or guy more attractive than to dress exactly like hundreds of thousands of othe girls and guys who all dress exactly like girls and guys in malls.


15. You think that S$100,000 [= US$ 57,000] is a reasonable price for a Toyota Corolla and S$1,000,000 is a reasonable price for a bungalow, but S$5 [= US$2.85] for a plate of fried noodles is a barbarous outrage.

But that's TRUE! It's all TRUE! Seriously lah, bungalows aren't even that cheap.

16. You believe that not being able to get decent roti prata outside Singapore is enough to keep the best and the brightest people from leaving.

Shit. See lah, now you make me think of Jalan Kayu.

17. You see nothing wrong with forming committees of select elite people to deliberate and study ways to stimulate creativity and spontaneity.

Would you believe this is what the interviewer asked me about in the Columbia interview?

18. You justify every argument with the phrase "in order for us to be competitive in the 21st century."

Singapore 21. What could possibly go wrong?

19. You think everything should be "topped up."

SIM card, M card, EZlink card, Cash card... yeah, you got it.

20. You see nothing unusual about an organization of trade unions spending more time owning and operating supermarkets, parks, drugstores, amusement nightclubs, and financial services than planning the next strike.

Hahaah... it's something I've tried to explain to people here a number of times. And they just can't fathom it. Ironically, I can't imagine things being done anyother way. What would we do without NTUC Fairprice, Downtown East or NTUC Income?

21. You believe that a lack of land is enough justification for the goverment to do what it wants.

What do you want me to do about it?

22. You wear winter clothes indoors and summer clothes outdoors.

Guilty as charged.

23. Durian and belachan no longer stink to you.

Durian shiok, ok?

24. You like to have fun, but not too much fun, since you need to correctly gauge the amount of fun necessary to achieve the optimal result. Any more fun that that would bring shame to your family and your country.

AHAHAHAHAHA, I LOVE THIS. Exactly me lah. Now I have an excuse when people here tell me I think too much. It's a national disease.

25. You're not confused by a street naming system that locates streets like Clementi Road, Clementi Street, Clementi Crescent, Clementi Lane, Clementi Drive, Clementi Way, and Clementi Avenues 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 all within walking distance of each other.

Did anyone watch the Amazing Race when it came here and they had Phua Chu Kang tell the poor contestants to find a HDB apartment at Yio Chu Kang, not Lim Chu Kang or Chua Chu Kang?

26. You get irritated if you don't see a sign telling you how long your wait's going to be for a bus, a train, or the expressway to take you where you want to go.

We're just too good lah.

27. You're certain that Holland Village is for hippie bohemian artist types and not for overpaid yuppies.

Don't insult my Wala Wala's.

28. When you cross the border into Malaysia, you automatically and deeply fear for your life and your wallet. Especially your wallet!!

Absolutely true.

29. No matter what you're doing at the moment, you'd rather be shopping.

Actually our shopping is overrated.

30. No matter how miserable you may be here, you thank God you're not in Indonesia.

Yeah, I do.

31. You're impressed by high-rise apartment buildings with actual lobbies instead of bare exposed pillars on the ground floor [such as are found in much government-built housing].

They're called void decks, friend. Bare exposed-ness is the essence of the word "void".

32. You forgot what chewing gum tastes like.

Alright alright, I admit it. Sigh.

33. You're sure that the best way to change social behaviour is through consistent and comprehensive government-sponsored campaigns that permeate as many aspects of daily life as possible. And when they don't work, you never speak of them again.

Sort of like, let me see:
- The Courtesy Campaign?
- The Speak Good English Campaign?
- The Speak Mandarin ("Use it or lose it!") Campaign?
- The High on Life Campaign?
- The Low Crime Doesn't Mean No Crime Campaign?
- The Have Two Or More If You Can Afford It Campaign?
- (and my personal favourite) The Romancing Singapore Campaign?

*sees all the government-types cringing*

34. You agree that what the government thinks of your personal habits and lifestyle should determine whether you get a condo and how much you pay for it.


35. You've become a fan of either Arsenal, Manchester United, or Liverpool when you barely knew what soccer was before you came to Singapore. And you don't care that none of these teams are Singaporean!

You didn't HONESTLY expect me to be a fan of Geylang United, did you? Or the Tampines Rovers? Or the Ballestier Tigers? For Heaven's sake.

36. You think a bus is incomplete without a TV.

Well, when you take a 2 hour bus ride to NUS, TV Mobile can be a pretty good friend...

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 08:17 pm
[6 photographs developed.]

Smub 2006

I don't want to leave Halifax just yet, but when Bert sent me this, my heart melted just a little. Haha. Dude's making us into this huge Blockbuster.

That photo was from my 21st Birthday, by the way. I'm honoured it's the official Smub 2006 poster. Whoo!

I love our Summer Reunions.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 05:51 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Rain City

"Almost too much for my heart, when it rains
Oh tears my soul apart, when it rains
It rains so slowly
In the city where I'm from."
-- Turin Brakes, "Rain City"

No no, it's not a melancholy entry. It was just that my iPod started playing it and given the "4 degrees Celsius. Overcas. Light rain and fog." state of Halifax weather, it's a befitting-enough opening quote. Turin Brakes ain't half bad. Time to surreptitiously acquire his latest album - which will entail me spending a couple of hours hanging out at the Computer Science Second Cup (a good enough thing since that means I'll be reading some Family Law, or Entertainment Law. Or not).

Now we all know that when I start voraciously blogging with this level of frequency it means that the other ways in which I should be more meaningfully spending my life are also piling up. By that I mean the school work is reaching healthy pre-exam levels and I should really be starting to write the major paper if I want to have anything left of a birthday at all. Having a birthday in April starts to suck once you realise that that's peak uni-work time, bleugh. But my point is that the more work I should be doing, the more I end up blogging. It just seems like a more legitimate excuse to procrastinate than, say, watching my 7th episode of Desperate Housewives in the past 3 days. *shrug*

So here are the updates for the week:

"How's things on the __ front?": I know Babs and Dage understand this sentence structure. No updates, man. Gerri I have told the story, and Tzo... sorry I had to cut it off so abruptly. Will MSN you next time!

The Importance of Being Earnest: So, I finally got round to watching this adorable Oscar Wilde comedy... a number of things struck me at the time, first and foremost the absurdity of the Susann-mix up. Sigh. What a mess, and such an "all for the want of a horseshoe nail" situation. But that aside, it's hard to believe this was the same man who wrote the Picture of Dorian Gray. The script was so endearing, so funny and yet so true. Quotes to come. And I was pleasantly surprised by the enjoyable nature of a "night at the theatre" - even if the SMU theatre consisted of a bunch of plastic chairs in what looked kind of like the RGS Hall. My point being that I really haven't experienced the joy of a nice school play since, oh I don't know, ELDDS? Oh yeah, there was "Scared", but somehow that wasn't quite the same. There was all that modern theatre, Necessary Stage style, and all that Dance Ensemble things that I did, but again, not the same. There's something special about letting students put their own spin on something timeless like "The Importance of Being Earnest" or "The Mousetrap" and seeing what happens. Of course it wasn't impeccable, off-timed sound cues and missed lines were a-plenty, but the whole package was very acceptable.

Oh, and you know, the atmosphere of the audience of friends and proud, smiling parents, it's sweet in its own way. I guess the kid-performer in me misses that... moving on to the next level of more (dare I say it) "professional" work with the TFYE and DE, you don't get that quaint small-time atmosphere anymore... you perform in the UCC Hall that seats 1300 at a time, or you perform in the BlackBox but you have newspaper-worthy directors like TC screaming at you (ok, ME. Haha). You get to mess with budgets of 30K, you hire Stage Managers and Lighting Designers and your work at your craft until you blister; you do magazine interviews, worry about Inkpot reviews, you want to bludgeon the CFA, whatever... it's so rewarding but it's so... stark, in a way. It's not warm and fuzzy and "family"-like, it's work and "adult". I'm not saying I don't like the progression from "small time" stuff - it's the growing up, after all - but it's nostalgic.

Ok, too mushy and rambly. Um, what's next?

Talkie-Talks: It's also been a week of attending guest speakers' talks. Possibly because Don McGowan of Microsoft is such an alluring speaker and says such useful things, I ended up 3 of his guest lectures consecutively. Lecture on "Identity Theft: On the Internet Nobody Knows You're a Dog" (see why I say alluring speaker?), panel discussion on work in the law and technology industry, and lecture on tips for finding a job in the US. Didn't hurt that there was a free flow wine and cheese reception after. The white was really quite decent.

Major Paper: Nothing doing yet. Took two books out of the library today, and with luck I will not succumb to naggings to go to Pacifico. Must be mugger toady. *ribbit*.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 05:40 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Tuesday, 7th March '06

Here I Go Again

I really thought I got over these silly Quizilla-type things, but to follow will (I warn you first) a long list of quizes that I came across on Limin's blog. I then started to do them because someone else beat me to the TV room and I can't watch American Idol, and I really don't want to be reading about the Child Support Guidelines. Any excuse to escape work, really.

And before I start, here's a shout out to Robert Daley. Ok, you made it to the coveted position of a mention on my blog. wink

Oh yeah, and just covering my ass so that I don't suffer any Salem Witch Trials when someone hears it from someone etc etc, the Smub girls / 401 girls can MSN me about my "exciting life" on Saturday. I'm not going to blog it, that's a bit too much information even from me. Qiong was there for the before and after lah, I suppose she's mightily amused because by the time I came back from that spontaneous, uncharacteristic expedition to the Dome (which was like a nicer, "cleaner" Phuture - you'd like it, Kai and Jem) I couldn't resist MSNing her at some insane time in the morning. The convo was full of Mr Google's (i.e. O_o) and amused smiley faces. Haha, it was probably a good sign that I was still smiling the next morning because it was all so cute and sweet and nice, but don't get your hopes up yet. We'll see what happens, although sweet and nice is quite important, I'd say. cool eh?

Girls' night on Sunday with Clo, Solene, Susann and Franzi was nice too... it's was an interesting twist getting into the ol' "SATC mode" (as we call it when Tzo gets into it) with girls from vastly different cultural backgrounds and different age groups (note to self: must learn to resist the urge to tease Susann). Gives one some perspective, but none of the observations made that night were to leave the table, and none will. In the interests of truth, given the size of Halifax, we did eventually end up meeting the whole bunch of boys at the Lower Deck. I (jokingly, of course) blame Susann for gravitating there after what was supposed to be a random stroll down the waterfront. I should have known she couldn't leave Freddy for just one night. crazy But on that note, watching the live band performing Billy Jean was worth it. They did it as a birthday gift for one of the guys... at least he was high enough to enjoy it, while criticising the reticence of the other Europeans. Italians are different - they have passion, he says.

Yeah anyways. I have dragged out my time-wasting long enough. Spent the last hour alternating between MSN, iTunes and typing those last two paras. So here are the quizes as promised:

You Are a Daisy

You see the world with an artist's eye.

Finding beauty is easy for you - even in the dullest of moments.

You notice all of the colors of the world, from fresh grass to sunsets.

You are a total optimist and hedonist. You love to drink life in.

At least it's my favourite flower! You lily-limins can kiss my ass. smile

Your Spicy Score: Mild

You may not make the hottest first impression..

But you're definitely the type of girl that sticks in a guy's mind.

You prefer to play things cool. You know that good things come to those who wait.

And the amazing thing about you is that you get hotter over time!

Mild? I'm more like... frigid.

You Are Raspberry Chocolate Lip Gloss

You tend to approach life as a fun game - being playful at every turn.

You're a flirt with flair, and your the type most likely to surprise your date.

But you're popularity doesn't stop with guys... you've got a great group of girlfriends too!

You're fresh, aggressive, and more than a little sassy. The tangy taste of raspberry and watermelon goes great on your lips.

There's a thing I realise about these girly quiz things. They never ever say anything bad about you. I mean, they'd never rate you as "Pistachio-Sardine" lip gloss that tastes like crap and no guy ever wants to go near, even if it is true, would they? *dismissive snort*

You Belong in New York City

You're an energetic, ambitious woman.

And only NYC is fast enough for you.

Maybe you'll set yourself up with a killer career

Or simply take in all the city has to offer.

Actually, no.

Your Scent is Lemon

Vivacious, tangy, and lively

You are one gigantic ball of energy!

They actually got it right! Citrus rocks. But right now it's more woodsy-grapefruit.

You Are Skinny Heel Boots

You always look great - from your styled hair to your sleek boots.

Ouch. Mighty uncomfortable.

You Are a Coy Flirt!

You're not so much a flirt as the type of girl who draws flirts in

While you look like you're just relaxing, secretly you've got your game on

A little look here, a little wink there... you give men the encouragement they crave

And in return, they flirt up a storm with you - while you just sit and smile

Hilarious. I couldn't tell a flirt if it hit me on the head with a broomstick.

Okie, back to work.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 10:56 pm
[2 photographs developed.]

Monday, 6th March '06

Outside is Raining But Inside is Wet.

My word, I can't believe I found these babies again. By "these babies" I mean the RJC MASS DANCE MOVE LISTS. Hahaha. I was so insanely excited when I found them I started literally bouncing, jumping and doing "Running Mans" (I don't think the plural is "Running Men") all over my little YMCA room.


I'm seriously a bit high now. *floats away*

YEAH. And Kiat and I just made a pact to go back and DANCE in the Summer. I feel young again. Haha. Can you believe the last time I danced this stuff properly was January 2005? And no one but SWEEEEETTT TIANG (heh, Jem.) totally remembered. gosh. They played the "Ecandus" music in front of the bonfire and the bazillion J1s and J2s turned to look at the old, fat J5s (now J6s!) who panicked and shoved Sweet to the front. Sweet is DA MAN. He can still do the full-on Inyxeus. Shit. I think I was next to Beanie and we were like... ok... whatever embarrassment that will follow will follow. Right now we just have to pretend like we remember how to do our own mass dance. Haha... Cannot let the hoards of little ones down!

And now that I've been away for a while and gained perspective on the way the rest of the world works... it's almost UNBELIEVABLE that we used to THAT cool. That we'd just bounce up in front of the GENERAL PUBLIC and dance until someone threatened to called the police (read: Suntec City 2002). I think I was there with Charybdis and doing Rain Dance and then someone was like "they called the police!" And then we were like... maybe we should leave... and OH MY WORD, DO YOU REMEMBER 20TH FAREWELL?! When we were dancing on the street outside Ana's house. WHEN THE POLICE ACTUALLY CAME. *falls over laughing*. I was this close to freaking out - Kai and I were Oi/cs somemore. And Sean Wat and Dex had to go talk to them and convince them we weren't hooligans trying to disturb the peace. I swear my friends here in Halifax wouldn't dream of doing anything near that without having drunk enough to have alcohol spilling out of their ears. I guess I like it that we did all these stupid-ass things completely sober, so that we remember every moment of it.

Next January I'm going to join the young punks dancing around the fountain at Suntec City or whichever attention grabbing public place they pick. Sheesh. Has it really been 5 years since we were the stupid J1s unable to do 5-point and making glorious fools out of ourselves in front of Singapore's whole shopping district when mass dancing at the field behind Wisma Atria? The reason we were at the field, if I remember right, is that the shopping centre people chased the few hundreds of us out of the shopping centre itself. I should have think they could have prosecuted us for illegal assembly. And then by the time we were in J2 the better part of us (except for the Teks and the Dres who ran off everytime) could do all that Flip Fantasia stuff without batting an eyelid.

How shameless we could be. The first time I went to Zouk with the twins they played That Thing You Do and Jer and I started doing the OH Dance in the middle of the dance floor. Hahah. Memories, yeah. I miss Ivan though... haha... Never truly dared to do the Salsa lean with anyone but him - not since Henghwa nearly dropped me on the floor once.

Oh and thanks to Kiat, Charlotte, Limin, Jem, Jer, Henghwa, Bert etc who either shared the joy or helped in various ways in sending me the requisite music. WOOOOOOO.

Sorry. Incoherent with excitement.

I'll leave you with the amusing lyrics from the song used for Areeba - my latest lyrics box discovery is pretty cool too, don't you think? big grin


en ying snapped a shot of life @ 11:21 pm
[5 photographs developed.]

Saturday, 4th March '06

Brokeback Mountain

I know the title is corny. I needed to RANT, anyhow.


What kind of BLOODY IDIOT are you? Huh? WTF were you thinking?! If you were thinking at all. Happy happy go and JUMP OFF A FRIGGIN' SKI RAMP on your FIRST SKI TRIP OF YOUR LIFE? You stupid or what? Kaoz. I want to SMACK the living daylights out of you lah. Hantum you upside down.

*seethes in frustration*

Winner lor. See small kids jumping off the ramp then think you clever clever also can. See lah, gei kiang. Orbi good. Now bang balls already. MORON. I seriously catch no ball lah, what was in that pea-brain of yours?! Where did you go and find a jumping ramp anyways? Black diamond right? There's a reason you're called a BEGINNER, you COCKSTER. Kids may be small by they have a few years experience under their belts; YOU HAD NONE.

Lagi best, break one tailbone not enough, go and break one more vertebra. You think what, God give you bones is for breaking is it?

Even I'm not that dumb lor.


So they pump you full of morphine for the first few days. Shiok right? *GROWL* Next time *choichoichoi* you kena something worse cannot walk already, don't come and find me.

And now you please ah, go and find a way to tell Caroline. May she EAT your sorry ass.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 04:00 pm
[12 photographs developed.]


Probably a rather incoherent entry that's one of the few I do for me, and not for a wider audience. So you will pardon the rambly, train-of-thought nature of this post, and the hopelessly Singlishy style of writing - yeah yeah, Guojian says my hidden Ah Lian streaks are surfacing. 他妈的. wink

Possibly the only thing I find discomforting about Halifax is the lack of variety. 可能我应该用华文来写以下几行。在说一偏,我的华文真的好烂,请多多原谅吧!该充哪儿开始呢?也许是这个 sem 的开始吧,因为我突然间变成了这儿唯一的女生, 每天和男生同学在一起。。。 有时候真的感觉很 sian。也不知应该如何恰当的形容他们的所作所为。。。偶尔使我感觉到我的朋友很。。。“浅“。(direct translation please, I CMI lah.) But my point was... 这几为朋友,不是整天脑里想着喝酒,疯狂, 就是找女孩子和他们上床。有时候和他们在一起聊天也使我感到有点不自在。It's like,ok,我们现在已经有够朋友了,有什么话可以直接说,不必什么 paiseh already - 但是我还是不想知道 Halifax 里哪一些女生有够 hot,哪一些女生有够性感, 或者你要跟谁上床。和我新加坡朋友比较一下, 偶尔发觉这里的朋友有点恶心, 有点。。。um。。。贱。In a way I have these "TV flashback" moments where I think 这种事只能在电视上发生. It's a situation I always seem to get into, where 我不知不觉交上了一群朋友,然后发现 that they're too “酷“ for me. And 认为自己好“酷“的人。。。tend to be rather nasty in their private comments about those that don't meet their standards. The sneaky balance of it all is this: 在表面上他们是我的朋友,但是我根本不知道他们在我背后在说我的什么坏话。

So I had this long MSN conversation with Han (NUS Law dude right now living it up in Stockholm) - interesting since we've never been all that close but we had a pretty good run at a long convo; our thoughts just clicked at that point, I guess. We agreed it was damn shiok to be exchange students abroad, still it could also be damn sian (repeat: SIAN. SIAN, SIAN, SIAN.) at times. And the lagi jialat-est part of it is when you've done the out of comfort zone thing and discovered that now 我闷了。When it's become 每个人只是为了要喝醉而喝酒, and 一天过一天,一个星期过一个星期,都是一样豪无意义的过着,你开始发觉这些人的生活方式太 sad 了。At least, those were Han's words, not mine. What I said was more along the lines of "futile". And futility didn't sit all that well with either of us. 浪费钱,浪费时间。。。 He was saying something about he'd forgotten the pleasures of bumming and talking cock, the daidee and the mahjong games etc... It was funny because I knew EXACTLY what he meant. Here, we'd inherently be boring people. *chuckle* smile At least, 我的这一群朋友会这么认为。

So today was macaam a breath of fresh air... the Pink Panther, while being a rather dumbass movie of the Steve Martin breed, was just the kind of silly, simple, straightforward fun I needed. It was also great meeting up with Alex (the German, not the Georgian) and Dominic again - Alex lives at the Y but is a phantom of the finest kind, and Dominic is known for pulling Houdini acts everytime his girlfriend comes to town. The number of times I've had conversations with them I can count on my fingers, but both are really nice, friendly, straightforward, funny guys that are so easy to talk to that you'll never have to stop and think about what to say next. The whole Pink Panther thing was Alex's last minute idea - and I was honestly amazed at Franzi's "Superman" act of getting dressed in like 2 minutes flat. Jessika and Kristopher (other Germans) came too, but I just somehow never get a chance to talk to them properly.

So bumming at the Father's Moustache was cool... everything from Dominic's stories of the 13 year old Marshall (who apparently I'm supposed to meet tomorrow just so he can be told that a girl wants to meet him. The kid does sound intriguing, though. I loved it when Dom told the story of how he started to give Dom fashion advice, coupled with Dom's incredulous expressions and resigned head-shaking.) to vehement criticisms of how the silly Americans portrayed soccer in the movie to Alex's "1.FC Koin" beanie. For some reason I was reminded of a mild version of the 401 post-movie hangout sessions at Lido - remember? Remember? Hahah... basically watch finish movie, sit and talk cock and laugh yourself stupid for hours on end. Shiokness. Of course, if you're with Germans, they don't call it talk cock sessions, they call it "getting a beer". Well, a rose by any other name...

There's a certain joy to simplicity without futility.

(Whoo. As promised, that entry didn't make any sense at all.)

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 01:02 am
[3 photographs developed.]

Thursday, 2nd March '06

Deferred Blogging, Part IV: Battle of the Bands

Alright, this is the last deferred blog. Finally. Took me half a day to sort out all the photos and get this done. *phew* At least now the last thing that I have to blog on is Spring Break, but I think I'll take a break for a few days before getting back to that.

Please read all the Deferred Blogging entires in sequence, Part I to Part IV, just for the sake of getting them in chronological order.

Anyhow, the Battle of the Bands is this Dalhousie-wide live music competition, and while it was decent, it wasn't spectacular. It didn't quite meet the doubleyellowline standards that I'm used to (Local Music Lives! as they say), and there were no Elephant Indian Chinamen (the first place I'll bring anyone in Singapore is to watch EIC at Wala's, man), but they DEFINTELY beat the poor excuses for bands from SMU (St Mary's, not Singapore Management Uni) at the Gorsebrook hands down. Those Gorsebrook bands were laughable lah. Dominic, Susann, Ulrike and I were just giving each other snide looks the whole time.

But back to the point... the Grawood was pretty decent all round. I like it quieter, though... when it started to fill with young punk undergrads I got a bit annoyed, but the last band (a K-Os, Kanye West styled group) was really good and made up for it. At least, it got the people beyond the potheads moving.

The rest of the food aspect of it I've blogged before in the "Fast Food Nation" post, so I'll just do the photo thing and be done with it. Not even going to bother with the captions now because I need to leave the computer and get a life.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 05:49 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Deferred Blogging, Part III: CrashBangOwww.

Another 5 days or so after Chinese New Year I had another big FIRST. After all that TV-watching and lusting after the romanticism of flying snow, the exhilaration of rushing down the hill on a board, jumps and grabs and 360s performed by charismatic (and if you're lucky, cute) boarder boys, dangling my legs off a ski lift... it all culminated in a day out at Mt Wentworth with the boys. It was a Munro Day (in celebration of a rich dude called Munro who made his fortune from infringing copyrights and pirating books who then eventually gave a huge amount of money to Dalhousie and save it from the brink of bankruptcy only to ask for a holiday in remembrance of himself) and the Student Union had planned us a trip out, all day, for a mere $30.

So it started out with me having an enormous amount of anticipation, but frankly, way more questions than answers. This was me, having only fathomed the concept of snow in December 2005, now dealing with the ideas of boards, boots, goofy or regular (i'm regular figure skating, but how the heck should I know if i'm the same boarding if i've never boarded?!), ski passes, rope lifts (riding them forwards and backwards), ski lifts (how to go on and off?). Hell, I didn't even know if i was wearing the ski pants the right way round - it felt so puffy and awkward anyway.

And of course I didn't need reminders of the excessive amounts of time I should be prepared to spend on my ass. I think everyone, EVERYONE I've met in Canada spent time telling me how hard it would be to get on the board and stay there, how I shouldn't be discouraged about falling, how it's a good thing you don't need to wear short skirts in winter so the bruised knees wouldn't matter etc etc.

First, a bit of a breakdown of the crew. Starting from the lowest-level scum, there was me and Armando. Skill level closer to the negative numbers, as we were seeing snow for the first time, yada yada. No idea how a ski resort even worked. A little further up, but not much better, Mick, who tried skiing and had put on a snowboard before and at least knew how to work the infrastructure of a ski resort. Then there was Rob, who could functionally board. And then David and Zerk, the double-black-diamond boys, which essentially meant that they had frolicked in the snow their whole lives and would be messing around on ski runs where angels feared to tread.

So while the cooler people went off to start the fun right off, the motley crew of Armando, Mick and myself went for a snowboarding lesson. This is where I'm thankful that when I'm learning something new I have absolutely no shame. As boring and slow as the lesson was, it at least provided a starting point. And when someone properly tells you the right way to go about something, it's surprising how easy it can be. I was told before coming to aim for about 10m. Haha. I can do better than that.

And the day passed pretty quickly. After a while we all kinda split up and met other folk to hang with along the way. Mick got tired of waiting for Armando, who was having some teething problems (with a very blunt "he's too slow"), and I completely lost Armando after one of the runs, and decided to go try to learn to ride the T-bar with a Norwegian chick and Daniel, a Scottish guy. Let's just say I didn't just fall off the T-bar. I got my board caught on it and was dragged about 20m up hill on my back before the guy in charge of manning the station realized it and stopped it to let me off. Dangerous, I suppose, but ironically at the time I was thinking "well, that's ONE way to take the T-bar to the top!"

The rest of the experience could pretty much be summarised in a long Mary Poppins-like phrase:

And then repeat until too tired to go on.

I think the funniest thing that happened that day was when I ran into Debbie. It was... as Ryder puts it... very physical. Essentially I was coming down the end of a run going faster than I could handle (as usual), when out of the blue popped these two skiers. Now remember that I cannot control where I'm going and the land was kinda sloping towards those two skiers and I'm frantically trying to swerve so I don't hit them. Of course my negative skill levels don't allow for that, and come crashing (and screaming) down the ice (yeah that bit was more like ice and therefore painful), bumbling and sliding and tumbling until I skid to a halt RIGHT at the feet of the two skiers. I dunno how I did it, but I ended in front of them. And then I look up to apologise for that uninvited interruption and one of the skiers, the littler one, all swaddled in huge padded winter clothes has really fair skin and pretty rosy cheeks. There's only one person in the world I've seen that on, but it's hard to tell when the rest of the person's body is lost beneath winterwear.

Me: Hey.
Skier: Hey!
Me: HEY!! *brain works frantically because I'm still a little stunned from the crash, and trying to decide if I knew this skier or not. In the aftermath of the crash I couldn't even remember her name. I knew I knew her, but I didn't know WHERE."
Skier: HEY!!!
Me: Heeeeeeyyyyyy... DEBBIE!?
Debbie: FUFU?!? (A nickname which, thanks to Vicki, Debbie has picked up.)
Me: Debbie! Baba! *still too disoriented from the crash to be very articulate.*
Debbie: Fufu! I didn't know you could snowboard...
Me: I CAN'T. What does it look like?
Debbie: Oh yeah.
Me: I didn't know you were coming today...

It is at this point that Mick came whizzing down the hill, chanced upon the heap of tangled En Ying on the ground, and ploughed straight into it. So that's two casualties in the snow.

Me: Hey. Mick.
Me: Um, meet my friend Debbie.
Debbie: Hi Mick...

It was all rather confuzzled and hilarious, but in the end Debbie's friend (Chris, I think his name was) got me disentangled and half-dragged me back on the run proper where I proceeded to slide back into the gutter. Anyhow, that was the last I saw of the Baba until Vicki called the next day to say "you met Baba!". Hehh.

So enough of the talk, I know you guys want pictures. The photos from that day were very nicely shot, but I can't take credit for them because they aren't mine. Anyways, here they are. I doubt Zerk's gonna mind if I display his photos:

The double-black-diamond boys, David and Zerk, a.k.a. people who actually knew what they were doing.

I love these two in sequence. There's Rob all nice and happy, and then another one bites the dust.

And that's the ski lift.

Armando, Mick and I, a.k.a. the people who didn't have a clue what they were doing.

All gathering for a bit before some of us board down and some of us tumble down a blue square run.

The ride home. $30 was a really good deal.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 05:13 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Deferred Blogging, Part II: 初一

Having failed spectacularly to drag Vicki out on New Year's day, I was reduced to bumming around and enjoying some quiet time. Probably a good thing, because I woke up pretty damnned late and had (perhaps overambitiously) decided to cook for a good 10 people just to have an excuse to make a full-on, proper Chinese meal. See, I hate cooking purely for myself, and I really can't be arsed to put anything together nicely if I'm the only one whose going to eat it. So I get to cook and they get to eat. Cool.

It all started out well enough. Having shopped on New Year's Eve for all the required ingredients (and realising what a booming trade the CaHoa Chinese Grocery was doing for the festive season!) I was all ready to cook up a storm. And everything was going pretty decently... here's a breakdown of the menu:


I completely screwed up the soup, I have to admit. Potatos, carrots, golden needle and onions were all doing fine until I clever-clever go and add in BAMBOO SHOOT. Wah liao eh. You will not appreciate the frustration of not being able to read the packet's instructions because they're in bloody FAN TI ZI. In anycase, I didn't realise the blasted things were pickled in brine. And dad tells me the next day that to deal with the brine situation, one needs to boil the bamboo separately and throw away the water from that before adding it to the whole mix. Kaoz.

So my soup was disastrous by my stringent standards, although some of the folks ate it anyway. *Shudder*.

Charsiew Chicken

big grin Huge grin on this one. I found the charsiew marinade in the grocery and decided to just whack. And it whacked out fantastically, if i do say so myself. About 11 people finished off the whole 20 chicken thighs, so I think things went well. My word, the smell of charsiew chicken baking in the oven drives me nuts.

Stirfried Greens

A tribute to Dad, this one. Kailan and siaobaicai stirfried in oyster sauce with fresh prawns and squid. Totally Daddy's type of recipe. smile Later on someone told me that she didn't normally eat seafood, but she ate it and enjoyed it when I cooked it this way. Yay!

Deep Fried Wantans

This was a situation that made me super - if you'll excuse the bad language - DULAN for the next half an hour. DULAN. There was no other word to describe it. SIBEH DULAN.

I've mentioned the cranky YMCA fire alarms before, haven't I. In case I haven't, they go off on some psycho ringing frenzy every once in a while despite the utter lack of a fire. So there I was, setting some of those nice wantans from the CaHoa Grocery in a pot of boiling oil, right? And I completely forgot that the YMCA kitchen is NOT A CHINESE KITCHEN. Which means it doesn't have a hardworking cooker hob above the stove.

And all you readers out there that have tried deep frying wantans without a cooker hob (yes, all two of you) know what's coming next. Great big billows of SMOKE. Grease smoke. By this time, Freddy and Susann had taken over the wantan frying - and it was damn cute seeing the tall giant Freddy fiddling with the teeny wantans and the hot oil, but that's another story - and it was getting so smoky in the kitchen it was beginning to look like a club in Quebec. Add to that the fact that the kitchen has a grand total of ONE window which looks a little something like this:

See that little hole in the wall at the top-right corner? That's all there is for the window.

Needless to say, everyone else who was in the kitchen mucking around immediately beat a hasty retreat. Out of the the kitchen door. Out of the kitchen door which had A FRIGGIN' SMOKE DETECTOR OUTSIDE IT.

And the alarm goes off!

In quick summary:

Everyone sighs heftily.
Everyone looks dulan-ly at En Ying.
En Ying sighs heftily.
The old laojiaos at the Y (basically me and Zerk) know what happens next.
The rest of the newbbies don't know.
Zerk goes down to try to stop the inevitable from happening.
It doesn't work.
The inevitable inevitably happens.
The entire YMCA International House evacuates.
We evacuate.
En Ying doesn't know where to put her face.
The firetrucks roll up in all their siren-wailing, lights-flashing glory.
The firemen pour out.
The firemen carry their equipment into the Y.
The firemen's equipment includes dramatic-looking props like rolled up fire hoses and axes.
Nice German girls tell En Ying not to worry.
En Ying is not worried; En Ying is laojiao enough for that.
En Ying is, however, freaking dulan.
En Ying kena diao about cooking skills or lack thereof.
Firemen discover there's no fire; that's what we SAID.
We all go back up.
En Ying discovers there are about 5 uncooked wantan left.
En Ying decides not to be an idiot. Those wantans can go and Suck It. (Tell me why I'm using BenKoh vocabulary all of a sudden?)
Those wantans go and suck it.
Still dulan.

The Eating. Finally.

Yeah, so we all go up to eat and I'm a very crabby state of mind. I mean, it'll make for a good laugh the next day, but right at that very moment... anyhow. I grab a pot of rice and we're ready to go. The rest of it was just good bumming, talking cock and sharing stories and getting to know each other - most of the people who came were new, so we had sometime to find out a bit about them, which was nice.

I don't have all the photos from this event, owing to the Y's awful Internet connection and the fact that it keeps aborting photo transfers, so we'll make do with what we have. This might be the first you get to see of the new exchange students, actually.

From left: Zerk, Armando (Mexican), Mick, Rob (Aussies) and Anna (Swede) getting food. If you look closely at Anna's plate you can see my little pride and joy - the charsiew chicken. (And I don't need any chicken jokes from you, Bert.)

Me. My turn.

Rob telling one of his many stories of the night. Me and Anna. Zerk on what looks to be his second round of chicken.

Lingwei (the other Singaporean), Jess and Ulrike (Germans).

Armando, Mick, Susann and Freddy (Germans too).

And by the end of it all we were too sleepy for the Lower Deck so we all just went home. satisfied

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 03:35 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Deferred Blogging, Part I: 团圆饭

Contrary to my plans to actually start doing some work, here I am. Blogging. Whee. I guess there are a number of very much belated blogs to be done, and I might as well get it over with before Limin comes breathing fire down my neck.

Where does one begin with a mammoth recount like this?

Chinese New Year. An event approached with a rather unusual take this year. Let’s put it this way: when you’re in a country like Canada with a sizable immigrant population, you WILL see bits of CNY paraphernalia around. People selling decorations and inverted “福” signs in school, the funny looking little cheongsams and things like that in Park Lane Mall, but nothing with the same gusto of the Chinatown rush back home… or the Chingay parade or the River Hongbao.

I was also extremely fortunate to have Vicki, Debbie and their awesome family around to have tuan yuan fan and lao yu sheng with. It was amazing, really, how they managed to make everything themselves from scratch because you really can’t find all the pre-made ingredients anywhere in Halifax.

Doesn’t that just make you hungry? It’s the yusheng, and all the raw meats for the steamboat. And the droolworthy egg taohu. You should have seen Vicki coaching Ryder on how to pronounce it – being a white boy doesn’t give him any excuse. Oh wait, you can see it! (My apologies for the cutesy tone of voice in which this turned out.)

And that was Baba (Debbie) in the apron and Ryder looking a wee bit lost.

Now we cut to the chase. No more just LOOKING at the food.


Me and Vicki.

All fed and happy. Check out the huge bowl of cool whip in the second picture, which we actually manage to demolish by the end of the day.

Vicki eyes the dessert…

Andrew, but you should really also turn your attention to the kuey in the bottom-right corner. I forget what it’s proper name is. Andrew is Vicki’s half-Chinese, half-Norwegian (did I get that right?) friend from school, whose Chinese is “about as good as his Swahili”. He’s a friggin’ hilarious guy, and when him and Ryder get together… I think that was the hardest I’ve ever laughed this year. Poor dude was also kinda caught in the middle when the racist jokes started flying.

Ervin tries to hide his embarrassment in being just about the last person left in that cheapshot party game.

Well yeah, that's about it for tuanyuanfan... I had a fantastic time of just simple hanging out in a family setting. Was a bit sad about not being home for the season - especially with all the messages from the Smubs telling about the fun they were having back home and hearing all the noise in Ah Ma's house when I rang back, and having Mum tell me about the angpaos she was collecting on my behalf... haha... oh well.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 02:14 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]

Wednesday, 1st March '06

The Royal Bum

Boo! Back from Spring Break. A total of 8 days on the road, and around 2000km more under our long suffering driver's belt. That's 50 times across the length of Singapore, from Changi to Tuas, to aid your imagination.

And I know I always ALWAYS promise blogs to come describing the big trips, but I never get round to it. So I'm not making any promises this time, and it might just happen. Whoo.

The funny thing about this whole exchange experience is this: I'm on a perpetual holiday, but it isn't really because I still have to go to school. I just work about half as hard as in Singapore, spend time procrastinating with a vengence (what do you think I'm doing now, hmm?) and from the looks of it, get better grades anyway. Meeting up with Kenneth, Sandra and Micheal in Montreal, we've realized that sort of thing is why they don't let us count our exchange grades in Singapore. Our education system really is far more challenging.

But perptual holiday aside, the breaks / vacations are even more tiring because you go on these long jaunts to maximise the time you have overseas - New York and the latest Quebec / Montreal trips being cases on point. I had a good bit of fun on both, but was not rested whatsoever. And now that I'm back in school, I still have absolutely no wish to do any work. Man.

Other than that, I had a decently productive day: laundry (still unfolded, dammit), Sobey's, organised some photos, cooked (I came up with a new recipe involving onions, jalapeno peppers, chicken breast and hoisin sauce! Also did a re-run of Susann's spinach salad with Japanese vinegrette recipe. Yummy.) and watch American Idol. I think I'm going to stay in most of this week and recover a bit. My system is also screaming for real food after a series of Macs / Tim Hortons meals on the road.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 01:31 am
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]