Wednesday, 28th June '06

This is SO a Procrastination Blog

Ho hum. One last ditch attempt to put off working on the pupillage applications. Apart from the obvious fact that working out a cover letter requires a substantial effort, I think I'm just trying to avoid even THINKING about the lifetime of drudgery this heralds. Apparently 9pm work days are considered early for the average pupil. 2am is more the norm. In between you get blasted by grumpy mentors and partners. Meep.

So instead of getting right to those applications, I decided to blog the more interesting things I have discovered over the past few days.

1. It's nice to be dancing again, but losing Sunday afternoons and Saturday evenings and soon to be Sunday mornings is not fun. sad My own fault lah. Haha. The Next Wave's on 15-16 September, hor. All you people who know who you are please keep the dates and about $20 free, thanks!

2. In a related discovery, the parents' ultra hard wooden board-like mattress causes much pain to knees already bruised from Zaini's latest throw-oneself-on-the-floor choreography.

3. Shanghai is the worst place in the world to break your heart. This coming from a rather inane conversation with Qiong, in which we contemplated the top cities in the world to break one's heart. For the record, I pick Paris - because you can stand at the top of the Eiffel Tower and contemplate a free fall to the end of all pain. In Shanghai I think the best you can do is stuff yourself with jiaozi, and feel fat and miserable thereafter.

4. Never NEVER record a home video in MPEG-1 format. I think it completely precludes compression of the file, unless you want a compressed file that has no sound. Kind of dumb when the file you're trying to compress is from a music concert.

5. Don't trust Andre to be on time for anything. Even if you're watching a $30 arts show at the classiest theatre in the country, and there's no intermission so they won't let you in at all once you've missed seating. For that matter, even if you forget the first lesson, don't wear heels that prevent you from making a mad dash through the Esplanade Mall to get to funny little blackbox studio at the back.

6. It is a sign of how long we have not played basketball when Bert and Henghwa and Kiat are willing to come to Bedok CC to play with me.

7. Any team I support in the World Cup will end up being kicked out - by the REFEREE. Ok, that's not entirely true since Germany is still in. But I'm still annoyed they didn't get a chance to have a REAL victory, seeing as the ref was being rather biased. And then Italy-Australia? I nearly threw the remote control at the ref when he awarded that ridiculous penalty. For the health of my television screen, I chose instead to hurl ah lian-ish abuse that went something like "you think penalty free one, issit?". And I'm also annoyed that Brasil, that country of diving clowns, knocked out Ghana. *grr* To take this frustration out on something, I might go sit on Kai. And Spain? *shakes head*

8. You can lure anyone to your house in ulu Bedok to watch the WC with the promise of a bakchormee supper. Also, that bakchormee and prata are the Singaporean equivalents of Pizza Corner, except that they taste good when you're sober.

9. Europeans probably have their flag colours permanently painted on their faces.

10. Emirates is right, we really DO all speak football. If every MSN conversation I've had with anyone in the world has involve WC ramblings. As exemplified in the point below.

11. Qiong can make slash out of anything. I sent her this photo...

...which I thought was pretty damn funny just because of that priceless expression on Crouch's face, and she sends me back this:

qiong - a dash of eternity said:
en you have to blogthe crouch wp hahahahahahahaha

en ying "chinese financial statements make my head spin" said:
i just love the way the crouch pic
has him CLEARLY with a fistfull of the dude's hair
the man of the match pics are actually all quite bad
now that i look at them (i never really bothered looking)
the first match
there is also a damn priceless look

qiong - a dash of eternity said:
yah the fistful of hair, that look like he just hit some climax, and the strategic placement of the other guy's head

en ying "chinese financial statements make my head spin" said:

qiong - a dash of eternity said:

en ying "chinese financial statements make my head spin" said:
i didn't quite think as much


qiong - a dash of eternity said:
(well you dun read fanfiction so of course you're relatively untainted when it comes to guys on guys *lol*)

en ying "chinese financial statements make my head spin" said:
erm, thank heavens i don't

For the record, the MOTM wallpaper for Klose looked like this. How flattering:

12. That any advertisement with a good premise and a multitude of football stars will be an awesome one. Right now I think the world is in love with Jose and Pedro. As we speak I'm receiving a great big 12Mb file from Jem and I just know it has something to do with Jose +10 again.

Oh and the audition tapes are hilarious:

The latest Pepsi ad with the football-juggling Bavarians is also too stupid for words. In a good way. Da da DAA!!

And Steven Gerrard is so heart-meltingly gorgeous in this Carlsberg Bottlecap ad, it should be criminal. If you could put a "make En Ying melt into a puddle on the floor" offence in the Penal Code.

And one more for good measure. Oye Roberto, pass the Pringles! They should not let Gerrard talk lah. Stand there look pretty can already.

13. Chinese financial statements are too much. Most of the stuff I read yesterday I wouldn't even understand in English, I don't think.

14. If you park the car and get out to check if you're in the line and don't close the door, your father will construe that as a plot on his life. Like: "You want the exhaust to kill me or what?". Man.

15. That I'm a pretty good tourguide when I want to be. I just hope all the stories I told Zenith when she was here for the past week were accurate. Haha. Thanks to Zen, I have also discovered that if you can't eat chilli, fish, or seafood, we don't have much to offer you in the way of food here. *sad*. I was particularly crushed that I couldn't offer her fishhead curry, drunken prawns or charkuayteow. sad

*Later addition, 16. Just when I thought it was IMPOSSIBLE to see anymore of Jose and Pedro, Jerald blogs this:

Once again, impossible really IS nothing.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 10:54 am
[11 photographs developed.]

Saturday, 24th June '06

Silent Hill

Whoo. I love being back in Singapore with my horror movie buds Kai and Andre, but Silent Hill was really way too much. I think I'm going to download all these movies from now on. It wasn't remotely frightening, the plot was daft and for the better part it was downright cheesy.

Some key scenes:

1. Woman insists on bringing sonambulistic Daughter who screams "SILENT HILL! SILENT HILL!" everytime she sleepwalks to abandoned (beacause of coal fire outbreak and fires still burning underground) ghost town called (you guessed it!) Silent Hill. Against the better judgment of her Sean Bean (!!) played husband. And against all semblance of logic and reason, if you ask me. Along the way discovers Daughter has been drawing pictures of burning firey demonic things.

2. Along the way she finds out from people at a gas station that the road to Silent Hill is blocked off and "don't go through no more". No matter, she decides to crash the gates blocking the road. The jeep she drives is miraculously unscathed.

3. Random Policewoman in impossibly tight uniform and gorgeous leather pants (ok, she was hot) follows Woman and Daughter.

4. Woman arrives in Silent Hill but crashes jeep (how convenient), KO's and later wakes to find that Daughter has gone a-walking again. Woman gets very agitated. Ash starts falling like snow from the sky. Woman searches town for Daughter. Sometimes sees a Daughter-like Figure scampering around on streets in front of her. She yells Daughter's name and Figure runs faster. She runs after Figure. Generic Figure chasing through the streets ensues.

5. Along the way Woman runs into several horrors. Such as...

6. Dissolving walls.

7. Creepy baby-like creatures that look vaguely humanoid but have the skin texture of charcoal embers. They wail, walk and claw. Hereinafter known as "Charcoal Babies". After a moment of being assaulted by Charcoal Babies and screaming to great effect, Charcoal Babies start to evaporate. Like their ashy bits start to fly away. Woman is so traumatised she faints. She wakes the next morning to the opening strains of (DOO-doo-doo-doo-doo-DOO-doo-DOOOO!!) Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire". What a way to carry on the fire theme. Can anyone say "cheesy"? As Cash's drawling baritone drones on, the Chinese subtitles start to make sure that everyone in the cinema understands that love is a burning flame, and it makes a firey ring, and that Johnny-Boy fell into a burning ring of fire and as he went down down down, the flames went higher, and it burns burns burns, the ring of fire, the ring of fire... I am unable to restrain self from singing along, and then fight a losing battle against an uncontrollable urge to giggle.

8. Witchy Woman with impressive dreadlocks, who tells Woman that unidentified They hurt her daughter. Both ladies discover that their respective daughters are the splitting image of one another. Skirmish ensues. Woman runs away.

9. Policewoman, who helpfully handcuffs Woman. Despite obvious creepy, supernatural nature of town.

10. Pulsating sack on two skinny knock-kneed legs, shambling down the streets. Sack is also vaguely humanoid in shape, but not much else. Pulsating sack is blasted to bits upon a few well-placed bullets from Policewoman's oversized pistol. Pulsating sack spews bloody bits that dissolve everything they touch. While Policewoman is thus engaged, still handcuffed Woman runs away from the only non-creepy companion she has.

11. (At a school bathroom which Woman is lured to by little Daughter-like Figure), a strung up cadaver on barbed wire sitting on a latrine. Cadaver has "Dare you, Dare you, Double dare you!" scrawled on wall behind it.

12. (As a siren sounds and toilet walls start to dissolve), various ugly humanoid creatures. Most notably, a couple of huge man-shaped things with veiny, slimey skin and their legs tied behind their head with barbed wire. Like in a Hieronymous Bosch painting, if anyone's read Conelly's Bosch books. They creep along on their bellies howling and in general, looking menacing. Also, large gladiator-type giant with no visible head, but huge metal pyramidal looking helmet. Carries a big fucking knife (I mean the knife is bigger than the protaganist), which it proceeds to plunge enthusiatically into a door which Woman, now joined by heroic Policewoman are cowering behind. In the process, creates big fucking hole through which countless ugly cockroachish creepy-crawlies pour. Creepy-Crawlies surround the ladies until they start to evaporate again.

13. Large gathering of church-y Puritans, led by some sort of starchy looking Priestess. Tells Woman to find Daughter, she must face the Demon. Takes Woman to the Demon's lair - the Hospital. But not before Puritan Henchmen don spacesuits that look like they came from the movie "Outbreak". For some inexplicable reason, they need protective gear to face a Demon (it's not a virus, dude). Priestess seems to think ugly spacesuits will throw off her groove, and doesn't bother with them. Tells Woman that Demon hides in ward B151. Just before sending Woman to Demon's lair in an elevator shaft, Priestess has a change of heart, and tries to have both our heros captured. Policewoman saves Woman and sends her into Demon lair while fending off Henchmen herself.

14. Shambling zombie Nurses in cleavage-bearing nurse uniforms. Think a cross between Elle Driver in Kill Bill 1 and nurse suits you find in kinky sex shops. They are drawn to the flashlight that Woman carries and do a spastic, jerky shuffle towards her. She turns off light, and they stop. She turns it on, the shuffle continues. Shuffle is so awkward it would have made Michael Jackson and the cast of Thriller look like ballerinas. Woman decides that if she turns of the light she can ease through Slutty Zombie Nurses. This is followed by a few tense moments where she holds her breath and tries to wiggle her way between SZNs. I am forcefully reminded of B-grade Chinese 僵尸; movies from the late 1980s. You know, the ones in which the white-faced bouncing dude with the peacock feather in his hat can't find you if you hold your breath.

15. Woman makes it to Demon's lair. Turns out Demon is the essence (or the personified hatred) of a little girl burnt at the stake by the Puritans 30 years ago. Something about the good part of little girl being sent away as Daughter such that she was later adopted by Woman. Story is all a little bit iffy and makes very little sense. Barely anything explains the emergence of all those humanoid uglies. Along the way a pretty nurse factors into the story and Andre is smitten. Later on pretty nurse is revealed to have had her face sliced such that she now bears great resemblence to a Chucky Doll. Andre is disappointed.

16. Woman helps Demon get her revenge. Which includes Demonic kid with the face of her Daughter fusing with the body of the Woman and a dramatic rising of a hospital bed carrying grown-up burnt girl through the church floor. If none of this is making sense here, don't worry. It didn't in the theatre either. Hospital bed shoots out a mother-lot of barbed wire tendrils which snare various Puritans and tear them apart in large, bloody massacre. Think Xiaolongnu's (Condor Heroes) uglier cousin. Tendrils decide to make a particular show of Priestess, twining around all four limbs and lifting her, spreadeagled, into the air. Then, a collection of about 4-5 tendrils shoot up her skirt and presumably popped her juicy cherry because bloody sprays everywhere. Massacre continues in similarly gruesome fashion but it's more boring than horrifying.

17. Woman and Daughter are left alone by tendrils and go home the next day. They walk into house and stare at sleeping Husband but he wakes up and they're not there. And on that incomprehensible note the movie ends.

No more paying $9.50 for horror movies ever again. plain

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 11:42 am
[2 photographs developed.]

Friday, 16th June '06

C'mon David, Bend It Like Beckham! / Catching Tales

Good night, yesterday. rolls eyes Excellent EXCELLENT concert by Jamie Cullum - aren't you glad I dragged you along, Gerri? Wish you were there, Qiong, you would have loved it muchly. Just about THE most enthusiastic crowd I've seen in Singapore. But then half the crowd were expatriates anyway. A good number of English girls screaming at poor Jamie too. Followed up by chilling at Oscar's with the Smubbois (excuse the cutsey spelling) Dage, Dre and Bert and Kai and Gerri. We watched the England vs Trinidad & Tobago match and there was a rather excited, English supporting crowd there too. Poor dude sitting oppposite us got so frustrated when Lampard missed one of his many shots, he broke a glass. Loudly. Gave the whole pub a bit of a shock.

Last night I also lost a bet to Henghwa because England won - dammit. Tonight's bets are on how many red and yellow cards Shamsul will give Mexico and Angola. Yeah, behold the sad state of Singapore soccer. We have no teams to support so we bang it all on our one referee. It's kinda funny though, Armando left me an MSN message saying Shamsul had better look after his team. And I was like: err, I'll be sure to let him know that. Dad's now wondering if Shamsul will have the balls to referee properly if he's doing a Muslim country's match. It's a thought to ponder.

It was also a good game for the many quotable quotes that it spawned. Everyone (everyone watching the game in English anyhow - this is a dig at you, Qiong. *snigger*) heard the commentator go "C'mon David, Bend It Like Beckham!", to an eye-rolling response from most of us. But the best comment of the night had to go to Andre for his side-splitting "There goes Trinidad's star defender - CROUCH."

Anyway, gotta blog Jamie Cullum. Now that's a little dynamite on stage (gosh he's tiny!), and he's got such a personable style that the whole crowd felt so together by the end of it. And it was a wicked mix of people who turned up too. You had the odd uni students like me and Gerri, a good number of mid-twenties to early-thirties yuppie types in corporate clothes who came right after work, a sizable expat population especially English people who hollered with much gusto each time Jamie made some comment about England going to win the match that night and who stood up to jig around in the more upbeat songs, and there were even TODDLERS whose parents must have thought it was a good idea to expose them to alternative jazz at a young age.

Speaking of jazz, Jamie Cullum's got to be the only jazz musician who managed to turn a roughly high-class affair (Suntec Convention Centre, fully assigned seating concert) into a big party with a mosh pit. Oh yes. Yuppies in corporate clothes in a mosh pit. The best part was that by the end of it, the price you paid for your ticket really didn't matter at all. *chuckle* It might have pissed off the $128 and $98 people, but the $58 people like me were happy that it all came down to your ability to squeeze to the front. Muahaha. By the end of it, Gerri and I were about 2 arms lengths from Jamie and Gerri's got the photos to prove it.

You gotta love a guy who...
- Starts a concert by saying he loves your country's Tiger Beer,
- Drinks it throughout the show,
- Waxes lyrical about England's going to win the World Cup,
- Breaks the grand piano in his second song,
- Falls off a chair,
- Climbs the grand piano,
- Does a hilarious Norah Jones impersonation,
- Turns Kanye West's "Golddigger" into a jazz piece,
- Makes self depreciating jokes about how he learnt to play the guitar because girls wouldn't otherwise want to snog a short fella like him, and how he soon realised that in love, "the currency of music is high, and it still pays its dividends today". Great quote.
- Takes off his band's shoes,
- Turns the White Stripes "Seven Nation Army" into a vaguely jazz-like piece,
- Drapes himself in an England flag,
- Finishes off by yelling: Everybody! Come down to the front, we don't have much of this left! Security, you'll let them through, won't you? (And security actually listens to him.)

Seriously lah, I wore a SKIRT to this show. I ended up having to climb chairs.

Thanks to Gerri for all the media enhancements. smile

This was where we started out. We were so early to arrive he was still warming up and doing the pre-show tuning when we went in. Check out how proper the setting looked then, and how far back we were.

The Golddigger Segment.

This is where we ended up. Gerri's awesome shot.

And here's a huge 151 Mb file, an entire video of Radiohead's "High and Dry" as performed as the closing song. Gerri's arms were aching by the end of this, so give face and watch it. Heh.

Techincality-wise, Jamie was amazing. I was really quite impressed by the showmanship of it all and the fact that the stage antics didn't distract from the quality of the performance. Fun songs were fun, but he never missed the tenderer moments and the subtext of the deeper pieces. In each song his voice was full and rich, and he attacked the piano like a mad thing. I read somewhere that Jamie Cullum was an artist who always reminds you that the piano is really a percussion instrument, and that was probably the best way to describe it. I'm so glad they got him to give a masterclass to the Singapore Idols; he had this way of fully fleshing out every piece - its meaning, tone, modulation and all.

Good stuff.

And this is a really beautiful song:

-- Jamie Cullum

Her name was written on the photograph,
Right next to her red, sunburnt face,
It all had happened in that long tall grass,
About a mile from her old place,
I can't remember how it started and if it lasted that day in the sun.

We said that we were going to study hard,
We held our books instead of hands,
She held a blanket over cans of beer,
I can't deny I was so full of fear.

It's just another story caught up in another photograph I found.
And it seems like another person lived that life a great many years ago from now,

When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.
when I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.

And there's the first time that I tried that stuff,
I think I looked a little green,
I remember throwing up behind a bush,
And I found it hard to use my feet,
And who's that easily-led little boy who's really off his head?

It was the same night that I kissed that girl,
The tall one with the auburn hair,
I remember laughing 'cause to kiss me,
She had to sit down on a chair!
--> (Aahahaha. He really IS that short.)
And she tasted like the schnapps she'd drunk,
And the cigarette she'd stolen from her mum.

And it's just another story caught up in another photograph I found.

When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.
When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.

When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 01:12 pm
[9 photographs developed.]

Thursday, 15th June '06

A la la la la la la... Life is Wonderful

I dug out this Jason Mraz album again after hearing some contestant on Singapore Idol try pathetically to wail "Geek in the Pink" last night. I am officially traumatised by the poor excuses for Idol contestants (the guys, anyway) that we've got this year. Last year's lot could all at least hold a tune by the time we hit the piano show, and by the finals they were, save for one Daphane, pretty decent.

This lot is still somewhat off key. There's only one dude who might be vaguely passable, but for every one of him, there are about 11 others that try way too hard to inject eye-squeezing, fist-clenching, stretch-arm-pleadingly-towards-audience emotion into their singing, only to muddle up lyrics, hit wrong notes and generally look rather ridiculous.

Doesn't help that to go along with that they pick really intense, rangey songs like Elton John's "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word", Air Supply's "Goodbye" and Seal's "Kiss from a Rose". Even Sylvester did better than the Tengku who did it this year.

I also have not mentioned that this year's clowns include the Tengku with the Eyeliner (yeah, his grandfather was some sultan of somewhere or other, so he officially uses the Tengku title), who, well, thought that having eyeliner would help him bring out the intensity of "Kiss from a Rose". For heaven's sake, all that explanation did was make me choke on my pomfret. And then there was the Primero Ang (PRIMERO?? What kind of screwed up parents call their kid PRIMERO? And what kind of screwed up CHINESE kid actually uses that name in public?). By the time he finished slaughtering Elton John, I was busy shaking my head and telling my dad he could only be Primero if we were counting from the bottom. And that's fine, seeing as that the better part of Singapore wouldn't have much Spanish exposure and hench would not know what Primero means. But the dude goes and tells Gurmit (and therefore the rest of Singapore) that Primero means Numero Uno. Here is where I resolve never to let any foreign friends see Singapore Idol. EVER.

If I go on any longer I might just CRY.

So. Extensive digression aside, this is what I really meant to blog. It's a very... karma / reincarnation / the world's timeline is cyclical sort of thing.

"Life Is Wonderful"
-- Jason Mraz

It takes a crane to build a crane
It takes two floors to make a storey
It takes an egg to make a hen
It takes a hen to make an egg
There is no end to what I'm saying

It takes a thought to make a word
And it takes some words to make an action
And it takes some work to make it work
It takes some good to make it hurt
It takes some bad for satisfaction

Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la life goes full circle
Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la

It takes a night to make it dawn
And it takes a day to make you yawn, brother
It takes some old to make you young
It takes some cold to know the sun
It takes the one to have the other

And it takes no time to fall in love
But it takes you years to know what love is
And it takes some fears to make you trust
It takes those tears to make it rust
It takes the dust to have it polished

Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la life goes full circle
Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la

It takes some silence to make sound
And it takes a loss before you found it
And it takes a road to go nowhere
It takes a toll to make you care
It takes a hole to make a mountain

Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la life goes full circle
Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la life is meaningful
Ah la la la la la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la la la la la life is.. is so wonderful.. oh!
Ah la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la-ah
Ah la la la-ah ah-a ah-a

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 04:08 pm
[3 photographs developed.]

Tuesday, 13th June '06

Nick Lazzarini! *drool*

*sigh* Has anyone got full "So You Think You Can Dance" episodes to lend me? Thanks to my juniors, we spent half of the DE Cast Party last night watching the grand finals. And ever since I've been kicking myself for missing the whole season. I don't know if it was all as exciting as the finals, but that was some kick-ass dancing.

The girls were amazing. The judges were right when they said that jazz piece to the Police's "Message in a Bottle" demanded a man's level of techicality. It looked freaking tiring.

But of course, it was the winner, Nick Lazzarini, who totally stole all our hearts - girls and guys alike. This might be the first time America got it right. His versitility is scary. (This competition not being about being fantastic in any one genre, but about being the most versatile.) Check this out, quick, before Dick Clark Productions makes youtube take it down:



Too lazy to figure out how to embed it, so click here


Ballroom (Paso Double?)


And the one that really got me jumping because the Jazz Boy came off even more Hip Hop than the Hip Hop Dude.

Let no one ever say that male dancers are not hot.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 03:20 pm
[8 photographs developed.]

Sunday, 11th June '06

TNT, I'm Dynamite!

The song's been going around in my head ever since the Trinidad & Tobago vs. Sweden match started. Because of initials of Trinidad & Tobago, of course.

I'm getting a wee bit bored of the game right now. Half time and no goals. Nothing like the Germany vs. Costa Rica match last night where the presently-in-Singapore Smubs camped out at the Robertson Walk Courtyard with a couple of hundred other supporters and poor stressed out part-time Tiger Beer promoters. Promoters who I'm still mildly annoyed with because they didn't give our table any of those nice noise-making clapping balloons. So what if we didn't order Tiger? It... wasn't... time. *hurhur*

And I cannot BELIEVE how prices shoot up during the world cup. I'm talking about the bloody EIGHT DOLLARS a Coke costs when you want a table to watch the game. Also, the NINE DOLLARS a beer costs. Most of all, I'm still amazed the Tiger dude tried to sell us a EIGHTY-EIGHT DOLLAR "Lighted Shuttle" (3 jugs). Do we look like we're MADE OF MONEY to you?

Sigh. At least it was a fun game to watch and the crowd was pretty good. I was rather amazed by the enthusiasm of the Costa Rica fans in the crowd. And the one big German guy who came all decked out in his jersey and jumped up and waved proudly everytime they scored. The bad thing about watching with Singaporeans is that we have no real emotional investment in any of the teams. Only football betters like Henghwa have something to be concerned about.

So the only real emotional investment I can squeeze out of the WC is coming in the form of Shamsul Maidin, our solitary referee who's right now causing Henrik Larsson to "pout like a petulant child". Well, the commentator is at least funny.

Game on again, nothing too big going on...


(In the interests of truth, it was a double yellow card. But still.)

Dad: "... and Shamsul goes down in history!"

Mum: "... don't play with my Shamsul!"

Me: "... Shamsul fierce, man."

Dad: "Shamsul, see Tobago small country, that's why he dare."

Me: "Wah. Tomorrow sure headline big big."

Boy, that Wilhelmsson can STARE DAGGERS, he can.

Ok, this is getting a bit too exciting. Back to the game. Must remember to read the papers tomorrow.


Results, 0-0. Hurhur. Shamsul was pretty trigger happy. We're all quite amused. Hislop is causing us a lot of amusement too. Mum thinks there is voodoo involved in all those saves. *chuckle*

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 01:12 am
[2 photographs developed.]

Thursday, 8th June '06

"The Boys Are Way Too Cute For My Liking"

I go away for NINE MONTHS. I think I'll come back and love this country to bits. I do love this country to bits. I am very pleased with all the food and the fact that I can speak Singlish again and make references to local events.

AND THEN I AM FED THIS SHIT. Watch it. It tries so hard I actually feel PAIN watching it.

An advertisment by the National University of Singapore's Business School.

I thank the HEAVENS I do not go to the NUS Business School.

I thank the Heavens TWICE that the NUS Law School doesn't have to stoop this low.

*someone KILL ME NOW*

Nevermind that an astute observer already pointed out that the letters from Harvard, Sloan and U-Chicago were clearly rejection letters (anyone who's applied to a US Uni knows that big envelope good, small envelop BAD). Nevermind that the whole "western world" set up with the standing mailbox and the bungalow house looked entirely edited and the soft screen Days of Our Lives texture combined with the tinkling soundtrack makes your goosepimples rise. Nevermind the valient (but not very successful) attempt to poke fun at our own chewing gum laws. By the way, let this returning exchange student tell you that there is nothing we are more famous for, and that it barely requires us to poke fun at ourselves - the entire world is doing enough for all of us. Not that I object really, I quite support the gum-ban.

It's the final statement, the blatent LIE they put in right at the end:

Cute boys in NUS BizAd?

Excuse me while I *ROTFLMGDMFAO*.

And oh, for a much better example, see here. Thank goodness this ad does a much more credible job. (Read: It doesn't make you cringe or want to stab youself with a shank.) The little kid played the part to perfection!

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 11:35 am
[2 photographs developed.]

Wednesday, 7th June '06

The Things I Do For a Diving Trip

OK. Going diving in Perhentian in August. Let me tell you how complicated it is to get to that little island:

1. Take NiCE bus from Singapore to Old Railway station in Kuala Lumpur. (S$55)
2. Take commuter train from Old Railway to KL Sentral. (maybe S$1?)
3. Take KLIA Ekspres from KL Sentral to KL Airport. (S$1)
4. Take Air Asia flight, hopefully costing a cool RM2 (!!!), to Kota Bahru Airport. (S$1. Whee!)
5. Take taxi from KB Airport to Jetty. This part I leave to Tzo coz I'm getting a bit confuzzled already. (???)
6. Take little motorboat to P. Perhentian. (Probably part of the package.)

And I thought the Singapore --> Tokyo --> Detroit --> Halifax was exciting.

All this for one diving trip. My parents think I'm mad, of course.

Anybody want to come? Leaving Singapore on the morning of the 2nd August (or maybe night of the 1st) and coming back by evening on the 8th. Any company would be much appreciated, if only to ensure I'm not going to get lost in the complications of a transport system fully signposted in Malay. Right now I can read "tandas" and "perumpuan" and I hope that's enough. Maybe telling the ticket dude "satu orang" could be done without too much embarrassment.

Oh and Emma! Dad came up with this random idea to go to Australia soon. Goodness knows why. Maybe I should push for Brisbane. Heh.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 11:02 am
[2 photographs developed.]

Tuesday, 6th June '06

Chronicles of the Cheena Pok Part I

They read all their books but they can't find their answers.
-- "No Such Thing", John Mayer

Whee! I just had the most inspirational Chinese class of my life. Heh. Of course I had Xu Ruixing (you know him better as Benjamin Koh Swee Heng. I've never had to call him by his Chinese name in the 6 years - or 9, if you count the IRC/ICQ years - I've known him, so even that was vaguely amusing) sitting next to me making me laugh at every inappropriate moment.

I think we both agreed this was our first ever Chinese class in which we weren't dying to get out or praying for a meteor to fall from the sky to save us from our misery. I've complained time and again about how the Ministry of Education's Chinese classes are about the WORST way to teach Chinese, and I'm more convinced now than ever that I'm right. Why the heck should we be memorising 150 chengyu when we could be reading about the deals between OCBC and Allianz and feeling incredibly proud of ourselves for being now being able to say "blue chip stocks", "put / call option", "financial quarter", "audit" etc all in the course of reading one article.

I think what I liked about it was the background the instructor went into. He said something last night that gave me pause (Chinese teachers have NEVER given me pause at any point). I can't transcribe it verbatim, but he said something like: 当人家笑你的华语讲得不好,他们不是笑你不懂得华文词汇, 而是笑你不懂得华人的文化。That was maybe the most enlightening thing I've heard in a while, and that really is exactly it. That's why I've never felt like someone who's supposedly been a Higher Chinese student for 6 out of 10 years of Chinese education). Think about it - Higher Chinese students are supposed to be people who can take "Chinese as a first language" - i.e. I'm supposed to be as proficient in it as in English, but anyone who knows me well enough knows that's very far from the truth. In fact that's probably true of most Higher Chinese students. And then you have the students who take Chinese as a second language, but can actually use it to get around in life. Why? Because they LIVED the freaking language. They have their dinner conversations with their parents in Chinese, they watch the news in Chinese and they even speak to their friends in Chinese. So when the instructor asked me if I took Chinese as a second language and I said no, I was a Higher Chinese student, and he then asked me which school I was from, and I said "Raffles", he nodded at me like I was Everything Wrong With the Singapore Chinese Education System.

Which, of course, I am.

Every little bit of Chinese I know is effectively self-taught, vocabulary memorising. And that really came out when he made us read a couple of finance related articles out loud. I could pronounce just about every single word in that article - because the 10 years of mugging saw to that. You know, like "this symbol means you make this sound". But he complained I couldn't read it in any fashion that made sense. I think what he meant was that little speech and drama thing I can do so well in English. To read the passage like it means something and it's not just a collection of words. To modulate and add pauses. Which was also right because sure I could read the whole thing - I just didn't have the foggiest idea what it was SAYING on the spot. Reading it a few more times might do it but certainly not the first round.

And then there was problem that I call "working in reverse" - 10 years of Chinese, even by my standards, means something. So usually when I look at a certain vocabulary in Chinese I know what it means in English. I just can't look at an English word and tell you what it is in Chinese. I couldn't tell you "spinach", "pasta" or "certified public accountant" (haha, Ben). So you get how understand how inspirational it is to suddenly be taught the Chinese equivalents of "ExxonMobil" / "General Electric" / "Microsoft" / "Honda" / "Toyota", the real world ways to talk about percentages (say, the subtle differences between 打九折 and 九十巴仙 and 九&#25104wink, and what the hell 吃饱了没有 really means when you ask someone that.

I'd take that anyday - I REALLY never needed to know phrases like 对牛弹琴 or 画蛇添足, if you see what I mean. It was just so great to finally meet a Chinese teacher who saw the systemic problem with the way I've learnt Chinese all along and had finally taken the effort to develop a method of teaching that recognised and hopefully addressed the problem. And that he recognised that persons like us wanted a Chinese education that would be useful anywhere in the world, so he'd take care to explain the differences in usage of certain terms in China, HK, Taiwan and Singapore.

And he didn't have that fear of digression that seems to limit school teachers. They're so afraid of leaving the syllabus. That was something I loved about Canada, and this dude seems to get it too. Lastly, he didn't have that aversion to English that all Chinese teachers in school seemed to have. They'd never let you learn translations in English during Higher Chinese, but this guy told us not to worry about expressing an idea in English if we couldn't do it it Chinese - which is really the whole point, isn't it? We want to be able to express in Chinese this idea that is essentially one that I learnt in English - how can I do that if you don't let me tell you what I want to say in English in the first place. The student starts to shortchange on the idea or say something else just so that the Chinese part sounds right. But that's not effective communication because you really just DIDN'T say what you should have said. So it was with such relief that when Ben wanted to explain the concept of Class A (Chinese nationals can invest) and Class B shares (only foreigners can invest), he let him do it in some English-Chinese mix and then taught him how to say it properly in Chinese. Becasue the whole point is that we learn these things in English, and there are very specific accurate ways to put the idea across.

As Ben said, we should just make him the bloody head of the MOE Chinese Department lah.

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 10:57 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]