Thursday, 30th June '05

Damned Korean Keyboard!

So here's the problem: Currently I'm at this AUS$2.50 per hour Internet Cafe somewhere along George Street and near the Star Bar eating place (good value, I must say, though it's obviously a Planet Hollywood rip-off) an I'm trying (admittedly in my classic stressed out way) to make the most of this rather expensive Internet experience - ONLY 40 minutes left! ARGH! - and I get stuck with keyboard that not only takes a massive effort from my fingers to hit the keys, has more Korean key-strokes on i than alphabets. Beats me why, but that's the way it is. Very dodgy.

And that brings me to the special word that has becom quite the catchphrase for this trip - DODGY. Bert started it, as all little brothers are prone to do. I believe it began on the first day that we dumped our bags in the (slightly dodgy-smelling) dorm in Maze Backpackers, grabbed a "Discount Map" from the counter, and left to hike down to Darling Harbour. At some point in time we got close enough to the world famous Opera House to see that what appeared in postcards to be its gleaming white sails were actually kind of... yellowed. It's like that colgate advertisment a few years back, with the teacher asking the children what the colour of grass was (green!), what the colour of the sky was (an enthusiastic "BLUE!") and then what the colour of her teeth were. Vis: -

Teacher: Sydney Opera House shi shn mo yan se?
Andre: Mmmmm.... dan huang se...
En: Errr... mi se...
Bert: lao shi, Sydney Opera House bing bu shi bai se de ma!

And much as I feel very lucky to have been able to see one of the world' great sights (and it IS still rather beautiful), I just also am rather thankful that the government is willing to spend all those thousands to wash our two spikey durians, you know? Basically, the SOH looks a little dodgy close up.

In other news... we decided against the Harbour Bridge climb because of our shoe-string budget. Aforementioned budget is also beginning to cause serious problems food-wise; living in the CBD area has major repercussions for your breakfast, although, incidentally, we found a gorgeous, mouth-watering continental set (bacon, eggs, toast, any coffee) for AUS$6.50 at the AstiCafe. Needless to say a good lunch costs twice as much.

And speaking of food, we found Limin's "famous" Pancakes-on-the-Rocks. So famous, indeed, that the concierge at the Maze Backpackers had never heard of it. He must have thought we were insane, asking for iced pieces of panfried dough. The Rocks, actually, is a coastal location near the Opera House. The pancakes (I haven't a clue how we stumbled upon them) looked yummy, but I didn't try them. Let's just say Bert and Andre didn't find them as satisfying as Limin had. Dodgy pancakes!

*ack, Internet Cafe is fast taking on the smell of FEET. Someone must really be getting comfortable*

After I explored a shop selling nothing but overpriced but really pretty beads that played 3 John Mayer songs in a row followed by one Pete Murray, we had some pizza and then went to scout out the Sydney Observatory. After getting lost at the back areas of the Metcalfe Arcade, and walking through this (dodgy) tunnel, we reached the Observatory park. It is frightening, that place, at night. We took some night photos and I'll show you. For now, suffice to say that the main gate reminded me of the "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" MTV and the Observatory building itselfe glowed in a way that made me feel like I was entering the Bates Motel. But the place was already closed, so we hung out in the grounds and got a spectacular view of the Harbour anyway.

Other than that, we made a quick trip to Kings Cross, the red light district, to satisfy the boys' needs *wink*. First thing out of the train station and they got accosted by a large angmoh who told them (ignoring yours truly, of couse, since I have no suitable appendages to stick anywhere) the best "ones" were across the roads. Big angmoh gestured in the direction of a particularly garish red light neon sign bearing the words "Love Bites" while Dre and Bert valiently just keep swimming... just keep swimming...

We've really covered quite a bit of ground in the past few days - even though we took it easy today, just getting the local feel. We woke up extrodinarily late, mooched in Starbucks and people watched for a couple of hours, befor hunting down some shopping - not that we really found anything to buy, seeing as everything here in the City Central looks like the upper floors of Takashimaya or Paragon. We took a train out to wonder around the suburbia in Strathfield, but there wasn't much open since it was already past six.

So that's more or less it... I'll leave the Starcity Casino and Harbour Cruise stories for another time. In general, Sydney feels so much like Singapore, and we've been moving and seeing so fast it hasn't quite felt like a holiday yet. Perhaps the more relaxing time will come when Limin arrives tomorrow morning. I miss female company, really I do.

Till the next time, g'day mate! (They do actually say "mate"!)

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 09:01 pm
[1 photograph developed.]

Tuesday, 28th June '05

Now Don't Say I'm Not Blogging!

Here I am, dutifully blogging on a tiny micro-mini laptop (that makes dear Gianni Franco Zola look like an elephant) in the middle of the Changi Airport transit area. Turst me this is a painful experience as my fingers keep hitting the wrong buttons and I actually have typed thia lla out before but the session timed out on me because I took so long to correct the damned spelling mistakes.

Gah. Never buy a Panasonic Toughbook. This free internet access thing is supposed to be an advertisement for the book, but looks like it's working miserabaly.

On a less cranky note, it's happening! It's happening! smile The Smub pact is finally taking off and we're going to Australia in exactly 2 years after we made the pact. Amazing. Thanks to Chris, Ben, Limin (of course!), Heng, Qiong and Jov for sending us off.

Heh, and right now I'm feeling sufficiently cool and rugged... typing away like a seasoned angmoh tourist and carrying my backpack and sleeping bag. *grin*

Will be back in two weeks! Till then, jiust pray I don't murder Andre and Bert. plain

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 12:03 am
[3 photographs developed.]

Thursday, 23rd June '05

The Kind of Morning That Lasts All Afternoon

It's been a ridiculous day. It's been the kind of dumbass day that started the night before, didn't start well, became a whole lot of fun in between, became damn confusing midway, the morning kind of lasted all afternoon, like John Mayer says, and then became absolutely frustrating, and then now I'm just this drained shell sitting here wondered what became of a perfectly good Thursday. Lots of thoughts whirling around at the same time in my head, listed here, sometimes cryptically, for your reading pleasure:

1. A preliminary generally floating above everything else thought: quarterlifecrisis looks dangerously close again. People coming back to Singapore, catching up is in order, time to see the wonderful things other people have done in life, and convince myself all over again that I've done a heck of a lot too and really, I did choose this path in life for me. Enjoy a commercial break song (because I don't think I've actually - amazingly - blogged this song before) now: - by the way, Jer, if you thought "No Such Thing" was good, this is a million times more thoughtful.

Why Georgia
-- John Mayer

I am driving up 85 in the
Kind of morning that lasts all afternoon
Just stuck inside the gloom
4 more exits to my apartment but
I am tempted to keep the car in drive
And leave it all behind

Cause I wonder sometimes
About the outcome
Of a still verdictless life

Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why Georgia, why?

I rent a room and I fill the spaces with
Wood in places to make it feel like home
But all I feel's alone
It might be a quarter life crisis
Or just a stirring in my soul

Either way I wonder sometimes
About the outcome
Of a still verdictless life

Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why Georgia, why?

So what, so I've got a smile on
It's hiding the quiet superstitions in my head
Don't believe me
When I say I've got it down

Everybody is just a stranger but
That's the danger in going my own way
I guess it's the price I have to pay
Still "everything happens for a reason"
Is no reason not to ask myself

If I am living it right
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why Georgia, why?

2. Kai is a cheapskate bugger. I'm sure she's at home and just wants me to call her back for free incoming. I REFUSE.

3. Administrative people are devil spawn. Except for one administrative director who is quite a darling and is pretty understanding of my company's problems.

4. If this idiot boy hurts my friend I will poke his eyes out. I don't care how charming he's going to be about it. Geez. I don't know why I feel so strongly frustrated about this - normally I don't care for other people's relationships, but when the friend getting hurt is this close to me and the other go-block hurting my friend is someone else that has also significantly fast-forwardly barrelled into my life (through no fault of his own) and I was in the midst of assessing exactly what I thought of him... it throws me out of whack to realise what an idiot he could be. Idiot. plain

5. Yay, Ningz and Qiong are the best! blush By this time tomorrow I will have Adobe Photoshop again! And maybe even a proper Mac FTP client! *bounce*. Sometimes I wonder why I bought a powerbook.

6. JnJ have stolen in one night what took me about 3 years to accumulate. Happily chucking my files into their 40GB harddisk, they were. And if they ever tell you they're not hungry, you'll have to buy bak chor mee for them because they will end up eating yours if you don't.

7. I didn't know Kai had THAT much of a phobia of sleeping with Limin. *chuckle*

8. The new blog in town: Rabbisaur's. Damn hot property, these days. Let's just pray no naked pictures ever find their way there.

9. HOW DID I LEAVE THIS PART SO LONG?? I created a photo section for the blog FINALLY. All the links should be working, except for the one's about Ah Ma's birthday. Mich? I need the pics. To elaborate on the credits due: all the Kai's birthday photos were Kai's, as were the East Coast Park shots. Between the devil and the deep blue sea shots were Siti's too.

10. One of the scariest things that can happen to you early in the morning is to wake up, get Shaun busy beating eggs in the kitchen, mix up some pancake batter, and hope to return to your bed for a short snooze... and find this little bogeyman hidden under the covers:

11. Feeling a bit guilty about not going for bible study with Limin last minute. But logistically it would have caused so many problems for about 3 other parties. *sigh*

12. STILL feel like strangling a few administrative people.

13. Oteam chalet! Whee!

14. Thank God Zaini's going to mail me the cast list tonight. Mel: I have a new scheme for catching Zaini in the middle of the day - call Bryan about something rehearsal related. Accidentally on purpose mention something about needing to call Zaini next and hoping he will actually pick up the phone. After which, nice kind Bryan will hopefully go "oh! He's right here! Want to talk to him? ZAAAAAIIIINNNNIIIIIIEEEEE!" - Mission Accomplished.

15. Uploaded stayover photos! Shaun is still... shaun. cool eh?

16. I'm amazed. This pancake turned out pretty chio! (Yes, chioness of the pancake is quite important.) Considering who the chef was (read: not me):

17. The line in a song "it's the least you could not do" is a beautiful line.

18. Just because I haven't put up a picture of Limin yet:

19. OK lah. Qiong is complaining this blog is taking too long. Just want to end off by saying that it was a pretty decent stayover-breakfast and that was the good part of the day. Really wish the rest of the Smubs could have been along. It's been a while since we had a good old-fashioned night with Bert, Heng, Luk, Ben, Gnet all along too. But work and other committments have to be attended to, I guess. So for the guys who missed it *sniffle, I missed you!*, here are some concluding photos:

For more, go Hammer on the Camera!

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

Monday, 20th June '05

Make You Banana Pancakes, Pretend Like It's the Weekend Now.

Jack Johnson just inspired me with breakfast ideas for Thursday, but I figured I'd better not make any rash decisions. Experiments don't always turn out well in my kitchen - if anyone remembers the time I made durian omelettes. Oh wait, no one should, because I should have been the only one who suffered from that little failure. Rest assured it won't happen again.

Nora's birthday was a blast - because the birthday girl was one of the best hosts I've ever seen, because the company was excellent; because the phantoms like IVAN HUANG KUANG XIN graced us with their presence, because ElephantIndianChinaman rocked as usual (ARGH, Jack still can't get the right key in "No Such Thing"); because my favourite person of all time, Kai drove me home; because Jem did not make aformentioned favourite person laugh and drive the strange way she did before.

In other news, things are once again getting exciting in Dance Ensemble-land. I just sent out a half-neutral, half-scolding, half-funny long rambly mail... a really long one questioning people on their committment. And I feel so odd doing that because this time last year I was pretty much an MIA bugger myself - so to some extent I feel like I don't deserve this big opportunity and responsibility that DE gave me, nor do I feel like I deserve half the encouragment and pats on the back that the seniors and alumni give me. Oh well, just keep trying, I guess.

Mel was damn pleased with the bit I wrote about people even suggesting that the Comm should call people down personally to tech class. I mean, the seniors were SO bighearted to intercede for missing juniors on that grounds! I believe I replied with something in the vein of "You BIG lah. Diva lah. You think the Comm doesn't have phonebills, homework, jobs or perhaps even a life like you? You BIG, you very very BIG." Haha, that was much inspired by the "Dajie BIG meh?" jibes I've gotten from a couple of blueberries recently - so credit must go there. sleepy

But digression aside, the point is that I'm increasingly having trouble understanding the passiveness of the younger generation. It's like there is no drive, no discipline anymore. Huang Zheng put it quite clearly when she said that the way she was brought up was that if there was a class, there was a rehearsal, you just turned up. It was not an excuse that you didn't have friends, that you felt intimidated by the fact that you were the worst dancer there, that you felt lazy... you just got your ass there and did what you had to do because that was the only way to improve and learn and get the job done. I know the Government has been going on about the youngsters getting softer, and now I think I know what that means. It's like they've been raised with a completely different set of values... values that involve things being handed to them on a silver plate. We had to go bug our seniors to tech us things we didn't know, and we had to practise to get things right. We didn't expect them to come to us! Heck. Even if you want to be a diva, you've jolly well got to earn the right to, innit?

I'm not angry about it... I'm just confused mystified.

Also, tech class has lately gotten a bit more interesting, what with Zaini starting to put his own spin on the Luigi choreography. And it's great having Bryan around at tech to give me serious looks and nag me to plie slower and battment tondue higher than him (though at some point I suspect he was just diaoing me for fun). Otherwise it's too easy to settle into some sort of complacent going-through-the-motions routine. And it just shows that if you are willing to learn there are always people willing to show you the way.

And lastly, in a cyptic turn of affairs... I just need to remind myself to pray for her. I've been through a general anasthesia operation before, and I know how scary the whole thing can be. Prayer has always worked its own strange magic before, shouldn't fail now!

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 10:59 pm
[3 photographs developed.]

Friday, 17th June '05

Psycho Future

Good grief - I just can't ever seem to get down to finishing that last entry. Probably because I've told my internship stories ad nauseum over and over in my fits of mad enthusiasm - so much so that I now have no energy to TYPE them all out. Oh well. See if I get into the writing mood soon, otherwise just catch me in person. I never get tired of gushing of LAB and the glorious, blessed time I had there.

In more recent news: the Powerbook (still nameless as of now) is happily online. Wireless 1500Kpbs rocks. Have the last Season 2 O.C. episode and lots of Desperate Housewives for company now.

But nothing beats the company of hanging out with old friends... watching Star Wars with Qiong was a blast. I might just write a good long entry on how the only thing that made Star Wars such a mediocre movie at the end of the day was George Lucas himself. Everyone else did a brilliant job, and Hayden Christensen would have done way better with a stronger directorial vision. But that's all I'll say for now.

The EIC concert with Kai, Limin and Jem was awesome too! I am absolutely sold. Their major influences are U2, Dave Matthews Band and John Mayer. Now you know why they are totally my kinda guys. Their originals are completely heartfelt and impeccably structured too. My only grouse of the whole night was the fact that lead singer Jack kept missing the high notes during their cover of "No Such Thing". I always thought it was a hard song to sing, but now... hmm...

But in REALLY REALLY recent news (and I'll just leave this to your own interpretation), I've been worrying about stuff recently. Always comes up in certain conversations. Still, the point is that everytime this topic comes up, a single disturbing song loops iteself in my head. You can try surrepetitiously acquiring it to see what it's like, and it IS a rather creepy piece of work. Much like the topic that brings it to mind, honestly speaking. Even the band name is half-apt.

"Psycho Future"
-- Girls Against Boys

There's love in your future
Love in your psycho future
There's kick in your future
There's kick in your psycho future
Cool memories - can you give it to me
Cool movies - just show me

Can you send it out - the information
Can you send it out - the entertainment
Can you send it out - the information
As entertainment
Send it out

There's fear in ya future
No fear in ya psycho future
There's kick in your future
There's love in your psycho future
Cool memories - can ya talk it to me
Set the tone - just show me

Can you send it out - the information
Can you send it out - the entertainment
Can you send it out - the information
The entertainment

Can you send it out
Can you send it out

Cause I've been waiting a long time
In the here and now
And I've been waiting a long time
In the psycho now
I wanna get out
In your psycho future

Can you send it out - the information
Can you send it out - the entertainment
Can you send it out - the information
As entertainment
Send it out

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 01:41 am
[2 photographs developed.]

Saturday, 4th June '05

The LAB Rat

Alright alright, Limin, here it is. A good long blog, probably going to be written in various stages because there are SO darn many stories to tell. So this particular entry will change as the days go by and I manage (with a lot of pleasure and pain at the same time, I suspect) record the highlights of the past 2 weeks.

Where does one start on a whole new experience like that? It's not like I've never worked before, but this was the first time I was going to go to work as a LEGAL PERSON. Not like I'm qualified or anything, but it was the first time stuff I studied was going to make a difference in the real world, and you've got to feel excited about that! The anticipation was completely different from the kind of anticipation I had when starting work at the retail shop in Parkway or gave tuition. Those things were isolated incidents in that way. But this time I was about to find out wher 12 sloggy years in Pri / Sec / JC just to get into Law School, and then 2 years of ass-busting work was going to leave me once out there.

And don't get me wrong, I was rather nervous as I arrived on the first day. Don't forget that the Official Secrets Act, s. 5 was hanging over my head, and I was also wondering if I would screw up my very first job (imagine the nuclear fallout if, say, I processed a document like an affidavit, and it was bad and some dude would up being hanged??). It was kind of like starting at a new school in a way, too, worrying if people would like me, if I'd wind up lunching alone for 3 weeks, if my potential dumb-assed jokes would result in me never being able to apply to any Government job again. What it, heaven forbid, some mild remark I made got construed as anti-PAP sentiment?

Turns out that was all pretty much unfounded. Oh, what a relief. Working at the Legal Aid Bureau (LAB, for short) has got to be the best internship in the world, and I mean that with every degree of sincerity I can muster. Arguably I haven't much of a frame of reference, but compared to what I hear from friends in the private sector, I've gotten a pretty good deal.

And where does one even start waxing lyrical about the joys of being a small fry member of the LAB? The amazing people with their indefatiguable spirit, jovial natures and endless patience? The fact they're all pretty brilliant but gave up higher paying jobs to do work they felt was meaningful? The way they manage to explain and teach us so much yet all the while treating us like equals and adults (which, obviously, we aren't). And about the atmosphere - the family-like vibe that permeates every aspect of the workplace, the clownish jibes at each other (Senior Deputy Director Mr Louis being the major perpetrator of this) and the corresponding raised eyebrows from the most frequent victims, legal officers Jen Tse and Royce. Our eternally composed and patient mentor Sandra. The Head of the Legal Execs, Gesan, who I trouble with questions about 20 times a day, and who yet always tells me not to feel sorry for interupting, and who gives full detailed answers to EVERYTHING. Sharinah, another legal officer who specially looks out for interesting new files for us to read - this lady knows what it's like to want to see something new! She gave us our first opinions for the board, our first investigative opinions, my first Summons-in-Chambers to draft... between her and Gesan I've never had so much intellectual stimulation. And Lynette, another LO with whom we watced our first video link conference with chambers. So much good stuff with so many good people.

So now that the general things are summed up, I suppose specific incidents are in order.

DAY 1: Let's start from the very beginning...

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 01:24 pm
[8 photographs developed.]

Thursday, 2nd June '05

Black Suits Coming...

Nod your head!

Don't you find it absurd that I can even think of a cheesy, Will Smith rap song to go along with my internship experiences at the Legal Aid Bureau? I do. blush

In any case, it's about 8 minutes to the start of work proper, and here I am blogging rather mindlessly. Cassandra, my fellow intern, is working on her morning prayer, so the not-so-pious me is left with nothing to do but to amuse myself (and hopefully my kind readers) with my foggy, sleep-deprived ramblings. And I thought, what the heck, if I don't start the blogging now then the chances are that I never will. After all, I started this job - which, I might add, is THE COOLEST INTERNSHIP IN THE WORLD - more than a week ago and somehow never yet got down to it.

Oops. Time to start. Gotta go.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 08:37 am
[1 photograph developed.]