Sunday, 30 April 2006

Breaking news

Kel wants to be a porn director! Auditions are open to weird people only cos he has weird fetishes..

mf rolls her eyes

Years back, the different races in Singapore communicated with each other in a smattering of languages. Even among the same race, people spoke in different dialects. I think we did the right thing for language, like promoting Mandarin among the Chinese, using English as working language, having a bilingual education system.

Now that the initial problems have been solved, we seem to be facing another one. While our bilingual system (ie English and mother tongue, be it Chinese, Malay, Tamil or others) has produced a handful who are proficient either way, it's pretty sad that it has also led to two other outcomes: people who can't speak either well enough, and people good in only English since that's the medium for all subjects. Even for Chinese, the primary kids are learning romanised hanyu pinyin before the actual Chinese characters.

I'll put myself in the first category though I'm not confident of technical terms in Chinese. But I can communicate with my PRC and Taiwanese friends, and that's enough.

Now I'm steering away from above topic, which has actually resulted from the following: someone thought one of my environments was too cheena, lacks energy, too quiet, too slow etc.

You know what I never like? Chinese using the term "cheena". "Cheena" is a derogatory term, I repeat, DEROGATORY.

Nvm if you've been brought up in an English-speaking environment or educated overseas, nvm if you think the Chinese language is difficult to learn and nvm if you're simply not into Chinese culture and stuff. You don't have to use it and no one is forcing you. But I do not agree to anyone thinking it inferior because it's not. I don't believe in an inferior - or superior - language or culture; there are only people who are lacking in taste and respect.

mf writes

I like. That's why you're seeing entry after entry this Sunday!

Last Thurs, I finished a paper. Last Friday, I finished another. It was a record for me to write difficult stuff that fast but it wasn't by choice; I had to deliver. But I did make a choice - I chose to just do it instead of staying pissed at the circumstances that led to me writing two instead of one by Fri. Have no idea if they make the mark but I shall see.

While I'm not too confident of my content, I'm quite at ease with my language. Written :p I think the strength of my writing is that everyone can understand me without ever consulting a dictionary. I don't use difficult words I barely comprehend. My weakness, as you probably know, is the length :p and some level of obscurity that I guess only some closer friends or the more perceptive ones may understand.

Which reminds me of chatting online. I often have typos cos I try to type faster to catch up on the chat. But I seldom correct my typos cos they mainly look like these:

Eg 1: don't knwo what you're talkign about!!
Eg 2: hate discussions, nobody understands what i sat"

Eg 1 is clear. In Eg 2, I obviously mean "say" since "t" is next to "y" on the typical qwerty keyboard, but I do sometimes get replies like "sat? (is that a typo?)" These are invariably the people whom I msn with but have never met - not too smart.. Strike one. Not interesting? Strike two. Too eager for coffee? Strike three and I DELETE!

Back to topic.. I'll correct serious typos like these:

Eg 3: then they are saxvebgres!
Eg 4: but think you can be more hotmail

Yes, these are really the "huh, what?" type of typos. Eg 3 is positively dyslexic plus bad typing (I mean scavengers) while Eg 4 happens when a random word enters my mind and I just type that instead of the intended :p

5th kind, not really classified as typos..

Eg 5: jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj

That's when I'm dozing off and my finger exerts too much pressure on key :p Thankfully I've never hit the send key while dozing!

Oops, I've digressed.. Another weakness :p

mf gets tired

Despite what you think and what I may seem to portray here, I'm an introvert. Fact.

Latest revelation: I'm being drained by extroverted people around me. I'm certainly not anti-social, or I believe I'm not! But being with overly bubbly people drains me. It is as if my energy is being sucked right out of my core. And I already don't have much energy these days.

Or perhaps I just can't match the amount of enthusiasm shown by these people. Or I couldn't understand what their enthusism is all about ie we are simply of different frequencies. Or perhaps I'm too used to KLK and Hup they all.

I decide I don't like to entertain people like this anymore. I don't need to.

I'm getting restless at the comp. Shall move on to next activity: ironing.

mf laughs

Sometimes, if you sms me something funny (better if it's totally incriminating!), I'll like share with everyone here!

1) Sito owed me a few bucks and offered *sexual favours* as payment in kind. Then I saw from bank statement that the VAT for dance shoes had come in so..

mf: Guess what? I now owe you twenty bucks! VAT for shoes is in..
Sito: Ahh that's just your excuse to offer me sexual favours right? I'm sorry I'm not so easy!

Er, I don't know about you but for me, the only cashless transactions are done through online banking!

2) Kel: I have to point out this irony. In church we no longer hold hands during the saying of Our Father prayer to try to minimise contamination by HFMD. But the election candidates are shaking everyone's hands. And those who shake candidates' hands are like touching a few hundred others'.

*A few more sms later*

mf: Thinking of jogging, feeling fat. Want to jog in park?
Kel: Pls don't be silly. Now bo jeng hu, no government, not safe for you to jog at this hour. I'm very comfortable in my air-conditioned room.

Oh yes, theretically there's no government now :p Have received my polling card yesterday, my very first :)

XY is married!

Went for her church wedding and dinner yesterday. Congrats! :) So cute, they actually put the ring on the wrong hand at first! And so funny, in a reading of the bible, the person went "the man leaves his wife" instead of "the man leaves his father and his mother"! Of course she made a joke saying to keep the audience awake :p Then the pastor was another story; he was just rattling on and on without a focus, gee.. Saw some old friends at the church, and many more familiar faces, including colleagues from a couple of places - small world!

Went to the office for a while before going for the dinner. Had to write summary of a study report cos the report written by the research company totally couldn't make it in terms of presentation and grammar! I sure won't use them for my work anymore..

So, dinner.. I was talking mainly to the people around me ie CW, Hup and Sito. You know, when a bunch of civil service people sit together, topics cannot stray far from work.. But then Hup realised that Sito was saying some really random things.. Hey wait, but *I* am the queen of randomness! *Fumes* [After-thought: make that "princess" - there's no king]

No one was going out so I went back to sleep. Perhaps I was too tired over the past couple of weeks, I went back to sleep after my alarm rang this morning - and missed my jogging time. Now it's too hot and I'm not going! Lately my only exercise has been just dance and squats - been doing the latter a minute a day since I have to hold my nose treatment solution under my tongue for two minutes and I take only about a minute to pin my hair to wash face.

Which reminds me of three things:
1) Instructor at Amore Fitness - "Lower! Wider! You want beautiful legs?! Lower!" That was her instruction in her aerobics class, a most satisfying workout though a bit tough due to the hand weights. I miss those sessions.. But no money, sighs..
2) My nose seems to be getting happier. Is it the treatment working? :) Still get some runny nose sometimes, especially when I'm in the house. But no more Rudolph!
3) My hair is getting longer!! :) Yes I know I said I would like it short for a while.. BUT, it's just too troublesome! Was looking at a photo of myself (no doubt!) with not a strand of my long and artificially straight hair in place. Someone commented I looked like Lin Dai Yu with long messy hair in JC. That was good mess that required only a sweep of the hand to tame. Or an elastic band. The current mess on my head needs 3min of flat-ironing every day. Think I'll be Lin Dai Yu anyday! Perhaps in a couple of months, I'll try a little perm to spice things up while it grows.. I'm bored, so I play with my hair :p

Ktv today has been cancelled as CY has a last minute assignment. Which means sans any interesting character knocking, I'll likely take my time to blog, iron the week's laundry, eat prawn noodles that Mother is cooking now, then shower and huddle up with Meh and my book. Need the rest.

Saturday, 29 April 2006

I spent quality time with a cat

I was brushing my teeth at the window. Cat was sitting on the concrete block outside, watching me brush my teeth.

Before I went to shower, I talked to Cat a little. Cat seemed to understand and meow-ed in reply. After my shower, Cat was gone.

Hope to see Cat again.

Friday, 28 April 2006

Motion sickness?

"The SHIP for Southeast Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP) is an annual programme sponsored by the Japanese Government and supported by the ASEAN countries. The SSYEAP aims to promote friendship and better understanding among youths from the ASEAN countries and Japan."

Boss: Interested?
mf: No thanks, I'll focus on my dance (and I get seasick ~.~)
Boss: all that twirling and spinning, and you get seasick??
mf: It's.. different! Eg I've never puked on the dancefloor *.*

Siok went for the one last year and it was a great experience for her (see her blog). I'm not sure if my personality will help me to survive six weeks on a boat with people I don't really know but I'm very sure I'll get back to square one if I don't dance for six weeks AND I simply can't commit myself to two months of orientation on week nights (no rest) and weekends (no social life)! No!!!

Thursday, 27 April 2006

Feeling like a student once more..

Cos I'm in McDonald's now, just finished some work. Well, far from finishing but the productivity is amazing - I could never achieve this in my bed! Was hungry at 7pm so left office to grab some chow and do some work. Effective though slightly ex and sinful cos I had a full extra value meal (no upsize) plus a McFlurry *guilty*

Leaving now, battery is running dangerously low..

Tomato Town heating up!

I wasn't expecting this but for the first time in twenty years, Tomato Town is being contested in the elections, which means I GET TO VOTE! Yes, voting is a privilege of the citizen but it's also a privilege because not every citizen has the chance to exercise it. CY, let's go queue together? :)

Tuesday, 25 April 2006

CD-PRO2!

Was looking for a link in my fav folder when I found an old link I saved some two years back. I remembered it didn't work after a while but I clicked on it anyway and got lucky - it now links to their new server! Downloaded all the Infernal Affairs spoofs again cos the old desktop died on me. If you know some Mandarin and/or Hokkien, go watch cos it's damn funny! Really!

http://www.shoda.com.tw/

Monday, 24 April 2006

I saw a bird bathing..

.. right here in the little hole in the slab on concrete right outside the kitchen window!


But I couldn't capture the scene fast enough, sighs..

And Kel called me a voyeur *.*

An update on the upgrading works, Mother said the concrete were there cos the foundation for my room had been laid by this horrible looking thing - picture taken the morning I got back from NYC.


Well I don't know anything about construction, just very happy that my room is manifesting itself bit by bit! :) Oh, and I'll move in with Grams and Aunt once they start to knock down the kitchen walls..

Hmmm, quite ugly pictures so far, so here's something better: had lunch with Z at the City Link Sakae yesterday, looks yummy right? (Okok, both friend and food :p)


On the way up just canteen just now, thought I smelled the good old Maths Institute.. I don't know if I should feel nostalgic or disgusted..

Saturday, 22 April 2006

Random thought of the year

"Before I officially enter spinisterhood, I shall confess to every non-bf guy I've once liked and tell them that!"

Ok, spinisterhood is not a word of choice - it came with the thought that crawled into my head somehow! But this thought is quite cute so I think I'll do just that! :p Of course a couple of friends would already know who but the men themselves have no clue man! As Tok once said, I'm either smiling or expressionless *.*

Oh wait, I must define the deadline.. Hmmm...

Love of my life

I cannot decide what that is - singing or dancing.

And at Burn the Floor yesterday, I was treated to both - powerful female vocals that I could never attain in a million years and superb movements of the body I could only dream of executing one day a long while down the road.

I love the big band jazz section with foxtrot and jive and quickstep - the jive was so energetic! And the beautiful waltz and Viennese waltz.. Ahhh! I wanted to dance so much but Na was home and Hup just stepped out of Amara when I sms (and he wasn't going back) so I pranced around in front of the shops outside Swensen at Marina Square, admiring the swing of my pretty flowy skirt - ya, for once, I wasn't admiring me myself but my skirt!

Didn't want to go back yet after supper but we didn't know where to go. Imagine all that adrenalin from watching the show wasted, dissipated into thin air! Sighs.. So when I stepped into the house, I had a thought: I'll go walk around Tomato Town armed with some music and my personal alarm! It was a cool night and it would be just like that HV-MacRitchie walk last Fri but on my own :p But as I turned away from door to put down my stuff, I heard a swish and a swash and when I turned around, it was pouring outside.. It was destined that I should sleep!!

Haven't been to KTV for a while so I'm going with CY next Sunday when Sito has a camp ie we have no lesson. Had a thought on the way to work some time this week: I'll really love to sing in a band! But I can't play any instrument, not even guitar which I've long neglected. May be quite useless in a band with only a vocal range of an octave and a half, or about two including falsetto =/

Oh, saw YQ at Burn the Floor last night - he was working as a stagehand. But I couldn't really be sure if it was him when he appeared during the interval, even though he was facing the audience! But it was him la, I called :p

PS: I know! The love of my life is both singing and dancing - it's music!! :) Wa, revelation..! :p

Friday, 21 April 2006

Burn the Floor!

www.burnthefloor.com.sg

In case audience gets a chance to play, I'm going with my black dance shoes :)

(And Sito and Dan :p)

But now I'm feeling quite stoned.. MZ woke at 430am to go to work early - nuts! Bro came back at 5am (some part-time job) and Mother had to wake and go nag at him! Totally insane! I didn't have a good sleep from 430-630 *.*

Thursday, 20 April 2006

What a wondrous thing it is!

Two of us walked out of the pantry with snacks. As we separated, Siok happened to turn and started staring into the space between us. In a moment, she grabbed me to the pantry window and "Look! Rainbow!"

Ahhh! Office was aroused from its pre-6pm sleepiness as the news spread. It was a minor arc but nonetheless a lovely display of all seven distinct stripes. Ahhh...

I think it's a good day today :)

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

Quiz time

The Five Love Languages
My primary love language is probably Quality Time with a secondary love language being Physical Touch.

Complete set of results
Quality Time: 10
Physical Touch: 9
Acts of Service: 6
Receiving Gifts: 3
Words of Affirmation: 2


Information
Unhappiness in relationships, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, is often due to the fact that we speak different love languages. Sometimes we don't understand our partner's requirements, or even our own. We all have a "love tank" that needs to be filled in order for us to express love to others, but there are different means by which our tank can be filled, and there are different ways that we can express love to others.

Take the quiz

Dan thought the test quite amateur, but still, play for fun la :) I wait to hear your results..

Actually.. I didn't understand "acts of service" until the results came out. Had thought words of affirmation were important to me. Then I realised, those were only words that couldn't be compared to a squeeze of the hand.. I'll have the latter any day!

Read this in a newsletter at Essential Brew the other day: time spent wasted is not really wasted. I must say that I've never thought of it that way.. Wa, I spent a lot of quality time with KLK leh :p

Saturday, 15 April 2006

Bitter mf?

This place is crap. My Juicy shirt was spoilt after only the first HAND wash. Both my socks were lost after I put them at the laundry basket. I need a washing machine so I can wash my own clothes and ensure their safety. I'm contemplating allocating a bit of my new room for my own washing machine, cos Mother simply refused to trade the current one for a new one even though I offered to pay.

And the bitch is completely mental. I was asking if she took my socks by mistake cos she had a pair where I put mine. She had to shout in reply! I know, it must be because I interrupted her watching her beloved Korean drama! I hope her eyes pop out of their ugly sockets.

How to be happy here? No wonder I want out. NOW!

To think that just a couple of hours before, I was having happy thoughts of the pig cushions that Mother made when we were very young, pigs with black beads for eyes and triangular bits of cloth for ears, complete with a wiggly tail.

I just showed Mother a lovely dress I bought on the way back, I thought I could dance in it. But she just said I had only been wasting money on dancing, not earning money or gaining anything from it.

There has always been this constant lack of familial support since young - except where it concerned my studies. Even ECAs, it was a waste of money to buy my Girl Guide uniform. And no, I shouldn't join the choir even though I loved to sing. Netball teacher thought I could play netball with my height, but "go to school study, play what ball?" Or why am I organising outings for my class, why so kaypoh? And when I first started work, "what kind of lan sai work you do, come back so late?"

Why can't she be more supportive??!

Recalling my chat with friend about the decision to have kids, I have to add that unless the couple can be a responsible father the kids can respect, a supportive mother the kids can rely on, and provide a family and home for rest and peace, then pls don't have kids.

Looking back, there was a period of my schooling life when I really envied friends with a decent family and home. Doing better than them in school became some sort of a cheap "consolation". Just glad that I've since ceased to need to top exams to feel less worse off; there are better things to do than mugging text, and I've learnt that doing well in school is not everything.

So it's an affirmative to subject line. I thought a lot of unhappiness could have been avoided. But then everything could be perfect with hindsight.

I know it's impossible for me to shake off these unhappy memories but I've decided that it's ok; it helps me become stronger by reminding me of potential mistakes and pitfalls I could avoid so that when I make mistakes, as I'm sure I will, I do not make those that have already been made.

A very Good Friday indeed

Congrats to me: I slept until 130pm today!! So yes, once again, I didn't jog. Feeling quite bad now cos I had supper again last night..

During tea, XY and beau whipped out a Sentosa Island Guide and asked everyone at the table if the girl looked like mf. NOOO!! But CW and Hup agreed with them, only Sito had some disagreement. It wasn't that she wasn't pretty - she was prettier! And looked more Eurasian than Chinese - while I look so Chinese! Or Jap or Kor but you get what I mean!

Once saw my face in a photo taken at some house party. But that wasn't me! So resemblance IS possible but that Sentosa girl just didn't look like me la..

Went shopping after tea but it wasn't for me; Sito wanted a new perfume. And once again, we witnessed Hup's prowess - must grab him to go shopping next time! We tried so many perfumes. My fav remained Acqua di Gio, not least cos my ex used it!! Haha! No no, I like it before him :p

Met KLK at Holland V for dinner and drinks, with a visit to Sasa in between :p Kok and Kel were looking at things for panda eyes but didn't know which was good.

HL: Go google for reviews and comparisons?
Kok: No la, we work so hard, we don't use 58.80 for such things..!

Oooh, the implications.. Guys ~.~

Two more girls are getting married soon! Then our class will be quite bi-polar - either married, or single and unattached! :p Congrats, and I send SZ's regards from NZ too :)

Na had to put more parking coupons at one point. Kok walked with her to the carpark and both were gone for some time as it was quite far. Then Kel was thinking along his one-track mind again..

Kel: Are they testing her car's suspension system?
YX: Must be! Just now Na was telling Kok to get an Altis (Na's car) instead of Vios cos bigger!

Na gave HL and YX a lift, and Kok went to his bus-stop - our walking directory always knows how to get home by bus even at midnight though he has been less sharp since his demanding job. Kel, Moh and I didn't know where to go, so we just started walking..

Walking, walking, along Leedon Road where we saw a sign that said "I can get to the gate in 3 seconds, can you? Warning: strange dog", along Queen's Rd which was parallel to King's Rd, passed Prince Rd, then Farrer Rd. Finally we reached Adam Rd, and headed for supper :p

After that, it was another walk down Adam road until we finally got into a cab at MacRitchie reservoir. While walking along the nature reserve, we kept hearing this sound, like someone was squeezing air out of a rubber ball - psst psst psst! What was that? Does anyone know??!

We left HV at midnight, got into cab at 330am. It was a lot of random chatting in those 3.5hours. But a large part of the conversation turned to me, naturally, cos I am, after all, "perfection" :p I didn't proclaim that ok, but Kel had claimed himself as perfection. I shall not judge but I suspect we're on parallel planes :p

Am I perfect? I highly doubt so! So cut that crap ok! Don't want to start feeling "lonely at the top" *.*

Must go now, meeting Hup and Sito for a dancing show Take the Lead. Not going to miss it cos we missed Mad Hot Ballroom!

Friday, 14 April 2006

Happy mf

1) Cos last weekend was spent recovering from jetlag and the one before I was working. I haven't had a proper weekend for a while! This is the first and a long one to boot!

2) Presentation went quite well yesterday, phew! A mad rush since Mon cos I couldn't bring myself to do it over jetlag weekend. Can do other outstanding work now..

3) Went to Union last night after a long absence! Warmed up after a while and enjoyed myself very much! Went for prata after that with Na and Hup - yummy! Must try to go a bit more often.. I mean for salsa, not prata :p Me gusta salsa! :)

4) Missed my jogging cos I woke at 1030am but well, I had a good rest :p

5) Looks like a lovely day outside - I better get my weekend going.. Have fun this Easter weekend! =)

But they keep me warm!

Dan resumed Wed class after a long break due to injury. Three of us ended up chatting at the side after practising for a while, when I got tired, as usual.. Arms outstretched, I was complaining about my dry skin since US trip when Sito gave an exclamation.

mf: Huh? *Is my dry skin so scary??*
Sito: You're hairy..
Dan: You have more hair on your arms than I have on my legs.. *pulled up trousers*
mf: Oh no! Ya, mine very dense..
Guys: And you know what they say about hairy women..
mf: Ya..
Dan: What do they say?
mf: That they are horny?
Sito: So, are you?
mf: Yes..
Guys: *Snigger*
mf: Isn't that what you want to hear? *.*

Recall that one day in lecture - it was LT1! - I was just concentrating on the lecture when I felt something on my arm.. I turned and guess what? Dennis was holding a RULER to my arm, or more specifically, my HAIR, which was standing up in the cold LT!

He: Heh heh, trying to measure!

Gaaar!

Positive mf

Colleague: How long have you been working?
mf: 2.5 years or so..
Col: You know you've just revealed your age?
mf: Ha, I don't mind, I'm young!
Col: How old are you?
mf: 26! I'm young, I am young! *smug*
Col: *Pause* Has it occurred to you that you're on the wrong side of 25?

Kek?! Must think on the brighter side..

Wednesday, 12 April 2006

Boiling inside

Don't be surprised if you catch me staring at my laptop screen looking as if I'm going to scream and explode in a mess of bloody brains and bones and fats any moment.

MY LOTUS IS FUCKING SLOW!!!!

It's still opening a 20kb email.. This sucks..

Yes, this is one woman with little patience.. But it's totally wrong that it's taking long enough for me to write this!

Saturday, 8 April 2006

Clouds are black at night

A strange realisation this early morning at 5am as I looked out of the plane.. Recall my science lesson: everything is black if no light is reflected off it.

Slept a bit on the 18-hour flight. We were lucky to get fire exit seats so had plenty of leg room. The seats for the direct were also slightly bigger than the usual economy seats so quite comfortable. Got off the plane, very very happy to be back! But met with two irritating incidents on way to arrival hall:

1) An auntie was queueing in front of the toilet cubicle when I walked out. She was about to go in when this Indian girl called her and said she had been queueing at the edge of all the cubicles before her. Auntie let her go in first and as the door closed, I heard her mumble, "I thought you're the cleaner." How mean! For the record, the girl looked nothing like a cleaner! The auntie was just trying to cover her faux pas (with another!) - rude!

2) Was walking briskly on the travelator. Foreign couple in front heard my footsteps and gave way to me. As I passed, the man said to the woman, "I don't understand why people walk on this thing and rush." Kek?? Apparently, the travelator is a time-saving tool for some but to others, it's only a substitute for leg muscles. I walked on, couldn't be bothered with people hogging both lanes of the travelator!

Was shocked to see a huge machine stuck in the ground behind my kitchen when I got back - they're drilling the foundation for my room!! :)

Unpacked by 730am and guess what? I went to jog! Actually I walked quite a bit :p But I did work up a good sweat - happy :) Should really - REALLY! - make jogging regular.. CY, on? :)

Slept 5hours straight and went to dry clean my coat and do foot reflexology. Very sleepy now but must keep awake until at least ten..

Friday, 7 April 2006

Second work trip

I suspect I'm allergic to a) SQ blanket, b) cabin air, c) my lip balm, or d) all of the above! I was overcome during the flight into NY. Slept through lunch so I felt good enough to get to the mission to recce the event room, test the equipment etc. Grabbed some food on the way back to hotel, ate and promptly fell asleep, skipping an arranged dinner with colleagues and missing the super good weather, sighs..

Kimberly Hotel was fantastic! But I remember only the bed :p Somehow I was given a twin room for myself (and perhaps my evil twin? But that's a separate story - will come to that..) so the room was quite roomy. There were six pillows on each bed, SIX! Slept only on one side of the bed, on two pillows so soft I just sunk right in, oooh.. I think I'll want a pillow for my room next time :)

Felt much better the next day, when I woke at 5am to catch the 8am domestic flight to Boston, took all of 40min in this small plane of 39-person capacity. Thought it ridiculous that there were no clear signs for checking in. Record for future read: we were shuffled here and there by staff until we just decided to use the self-service machine in front of us to check in. We waited to be called by name to the counter in front to tag our baggage. Then we moved to another counter to deposit our bags. What a hassle! That was LaGuardia Airport. Took us 15min and $25 to get there from midtown, cheaper compared to the (flat) $45 from JFK to Manhattan the previous day, tolls and tips excluded.

Left the
hotel which was very near the Common, and went walking around town. Bought a working skirt with a really good fit before meeting some undergraduates for lunch at Top of the Hub, Prudential. That was cool, both the meeting and the place. Quite a different bunch from the Londoners. And most importantly, I wasn't bored at all! :p The restaurant was at the 52nd floor, could see most of Boston, super clear day, very happy.

But just as I thought this time was different from spring 2003 when MS, YS and I were there cos it was so sunny and lovely, I was sadly proved wrong towards the end of our guided tour of Boston University by one of the students - rain clouds descended upon us without warning and within minutes, it freaking rained! Gaaar! No wonder it's New England..

And the rained didn't stopped until 7pm or so, though that didn't stop us from shopping! Bought a cute tee that cost almost as much as my skirt but it was cute! .. It was! *defiant* Day ended with a trip to the supermarket to get some bagel and yoghurt, which I divided between dinner and breakfast the next day.

First item on the itinerary for Sunday was - guess what? - service at an evangelical church!! You know me personally, or through earlier posts: I'm simply not the religious type! But this guy invited us, so ok la, I went with my colleague, a Catholic. Couldn't sing the songs at all but I was lucky the pastor was interesting and his sermon wasn't difficult to understand, on Jesus and the samaritan woman at the well.

Went on to Chinatown for chit-chat over dim sum brunch - trolley dim sum! Had a nice time talking, this time with postgraduate students from Cambridge (MA, USA). Had the same food for lunch when we met an elderly couple who worked in Rhode Island. Liked them, thought they were really passionate people who hosted foreign students, largely SEA and Singaporean, in the Boston region for some 15 years.

Went on to meet with the postgrads again, with some additions. Saw a familiar face - met her at Cambridge (UK) when I went for Kel's convocation. Short chat before a totally meaningless trip to Harvard, led by one of the postgrads. Not too keen cos I was there before but well, I was at work, right? Just couldn't understand why we went all the way up only to chat as we walked around aimlessly on the streets and through the campus without so much as looking around at the place! In a super foul mood by then.

Luckily, it was soon time for dinner. Joined some of the postgrads we met earlier for dinner at this seafood grill place. Yummy corn cake :p My colleague and the Harvard tour guide carried on their conversation while I finally struck up a much more interesting thread with the others.

Went back to NYC on Monday to prepare for the Tues event. Was feeling quite tired but had to go for a dinner with some people. It was raining - oh, told them NYC was rainy the last time I was here and they attributed the crap weather to me! - and yellow cabs were hard to come by so we hailed a limo from the hotel to get to dinner place. But it was the cabbie's side-job so he dumped us unceremoniously five blocks away from the hotel when he received an official job via radio! Took us a while before a cab came by, so cold! Freaking rain..

Dinner was a
wayang session at Old Homestead Steakhouse. First the food: very good! But I couldn't finish my petit fillet mignon; the rest who had non-petit cuts fared worse than me.. Now the company: honestly, I was quite bored and was glad when it finally ended and the dessert place the hosts recommended was already closed :p

Was supposed to go for the morning meeting but we decided that someone had to see to big boss's arrival - heh, less one wayang meeting for me :p "Highlight" was checking the internet connection in his room; had problem logging on and after 40min on the line with the technician, we realised that the light switch powered the modem as well and I didn't switch on the lights cos it was still bright in the room! Argh!

Went to the mission on my own to set up the registration and information tables, grabbed a Jamba Juice along the way for lunch, yummy :) Back to the hotel to rest a bit before heading out to the mission for the event with the rest. Event was attended by some 100 people - good. Refused to shadow the big boss this time! Instead, I talked a little with colleagues, and spent a long time talking with
Clare Yeo's mother about their settling-in into NYC.

Didn't have a bite but the same folks from the steakhouse took us out to dinner at
Barolo. Had a risotto, very happy cos the last time I had one was in Oxford!! I know how to cook it but it's difficult with one freaking hob and a mother who doesn't want to change the stove..

Internet access was complimentary at the Omni Parker House, but it cost $10 per 24-hour session at Swissotel. By the time I got back, my 24hours were up. Didn't want to pay again so I went to bed. But guess what? They told me they waived my charges when I was checking out - should have logged on! Campus Inn in Ann Arbor did not allow me to run my secure tunnel thing for my work email, and here at the mission, just didn't feel like logging on for work - feel so unconnected to work.. Did some work on paper earlier but my head hurt.. Better to blog :p

Event at Michigan was great fun, cos attendees were all students - I find it easier to get myself to talk to them. We were chased out as the auditorium had to be locked up. So got in by 10+ to rest my poor feet - were on them the whole day.. So when I got back to NYC today, I bought a pair of socks to pamper them :)

Had been hanging around in the mission since then. Freaking tired! It's one thing going overseas for leisure or for longer-term stay, and quite another running everywhere for work! Arrived in NYC last Fri, off to Boston on Sat, back to NYC on Mon, next was Ann Arbor on Wed, and now Thurs, I'm about to catch the direct from Newark to SG! I'm so dead this weekend man..

Thursday, 6 April 2006

Birds

No, not the Alfred Hitchcock one. That was super scary; this isn't..

Two birds were obviously having some kind of an unfriendly stand-off on the kerb. One bird humphed and hopped off the kerb onto the middle of the road. It stared about for a while and for that three seconds I was very glad no car was coming! It hopped off after that, further away from the kerb while the other bird stared blankly at its back..

The next day, called out "eh eh, bird!" mid-sentence when the same type of bird - mynah I think - was hopping about right in our lane! Bird hopped away in time, phew.. The
dead skunk is obviously still haunting me one year on..

Birds are just stupid. And this one here is a silly cow :p

Random split personality in mf: Hey, but how can a bird be a cow?!

*.*

Anniversary of the cherry blossoms

One day in late Mar on the way to work, bus passed by this tree full of white blooms - really resemble sakura..

Should be 8 Apr last year when Na arrived in Tokyo and we did the hanami at the park. Reminisce and be happy :)

Sunday, 2 April 2006

A kaypoh mf at Qing Ming

Almost every year around this time, I will go to the 3rd floor of this columbarium and stand around for a few hours in the simmering heat, waiting for the whole family to gather, make offerings and take our turn to pay our respects to the ancesters. This year, I was finally smart enough to bring my folded fan!

The actual Qing Ming festival falls on 5 Apr, also 8th day of 3rd lunar month, but there's a period of time when people will go pray-pray.. And of course, the famous poem for this season:

清明时节雨纷纷
路上行人遇断魂
借问酒家何处有
牧童遥指杏花村

We were among the first to arrive. The first had always been Eldest Uncle since he is, well, the eldest? :p People with food offerings had to go up by another stairway cos no food offerings were allowed at the niches. But we had a family house - no idea how else to call it - with space for food.

People going to the niches had to make their offerings at a common area


We hung around the usual corridor for a while waiting for the rest to arrive


While waiting, I looked at all those urns and could recognise only my Gramps and his parents. Had to ask the elders to figure the whole line.. The top-most urn - oh, don't worries, no photographs of urns here! - contained the ashes of my Gramps' granny. Next to that was some stone plaque of people so senior no one actually knew them. One shelf below were my great grandparents and their first son and daughter-in-law. Next shelf held my Gramps and his two younger brothers on his side. The remaining shelves were used as an altar for offerings..

Oh, I remember some years back, the elders said they kept a key for the gate inside the family house on one of the shelves, "so that they may unlock the gate to come out and stroll if they wish to!" Gaaar! But this year, I saw no key..

Also asked this uncle whom I'd seen before but had absolutely no idea whose son he was! So I asked and realised that he was my Gramps' younger (ie 3rd son) brother's son. Then he also realised that he took me for Eldest Aunt's daughter! Wrong! See la, too many of us and some of us see one another only once a year..

Still waiting, so I took pictures of the cutest boy:


And my sweet cousin, the boy's sister:


And even my bro!

Ok, bad shot, he doesn't look so bad la (but of course, I'm the best looking one among us three) but he wasn't kind to me:

mf: Eh this place is called 碧山亭 right?
YQ: No no no, 你家后院!
MZ: 你家啦!

Then my dear Grams arrived with an entourage of cousins and food! Took many pictures of her as she laid out the offerings but most were badly taken - of her back(side) but this is a nice one showing her glimmering white hair


Then Grams initiated the pray-pray..


Then the rest started queueing to get to the altar


All done! See the bunch - really, bunch - of incence sticks and the abundance of food


More waiting awaited us cos the incence sticks must finish burning before the elders could take the incence paper to burn downstairs in this, well, burner.. Again, I remember that some years ago, we had to write the unit number of the family house on each stack of incence paper so that it would reach the correct family :p 23-14 - 4D, anyone?


While waiting, the older cousins said they used to go to the tombs for Qing Ming until the land was redeveloped and the remains exhumed to current location. I don't think I've ever gone for the tombs. Anyway, that was so long ago that even if I had, I wouldn't have recalled a thing! I go ask Mother later..

At first, I wasn't sure if I attended last year as I could be in Japan/US. Then, towards 1230pm, Eldest Uncle called all of us to the altar and signalled for all to put our palms together. I was quite bewildered but followed suit. Then he started saying some blessings and stuff, and ended with three bows to the altar. In my astonishment, I didn't take pictures of the whole affair. That signified the end of the session and the cousins started walking away while the elders packed the offerings to bring back. Heard from cousins that Uncle did that last year too, which meant that I didn't attend last year else I could not have forgotten this!

Walked back to Grams' house via the Braddell-Westlake schools. The school compound (wah, haven't used this phrase for ages! School compound!) held so much memories! We used to walk around before or after dinner, play at the fitness corner, gawk at gor-gors playing soccer in the field (haha!), play silly beer games (without the beer, more of soda and packet chrysanthemum tea) sitting on the hard concrete floor.

Passed by this gate and was instantly reminded of the mf gate story.. Err, nvm..


See cute little Hui chasing a butterfly..


.. just before we reached the flat!


Found our flower pots on the ground and I didn't know why..


Anyway, the elders with the key were walking behind us. We were always so smart, never asked for the key! But nvm, we took a few more steps and reached Eldest Uncle's unit on the same corridor where we rested our poor feet, especially me, so active with my camera and asking questions that I didn't sit at all!

When the elders arrived, we went over to have lunch - the food offerings that we brought back! I left for ballroom and returned again for dinner, same food but smaller portions, supplemented with fresh cooked food by Grams.. Yan also joined in for dinner, which was nice :) This must be the most enjoyable Qing Ming - learnt a lot and also had something to do (photographing) finally! :)

Saturday, 1 April 2006

It's still 340pm, 31 Mar..

Cos I'm in New York! Arrived this morning with a bad nose. Checking email in colleague's office now. Be back in a week! :)
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