Monday, 27 August 2007

夏祭り

Went for my very first 夏祭り last Sat! I went as a volunteer with the 日本語を話す会 but had a lot of fun too!

First, we filled ketchup bottles and poked satay sticks through hundreds of sausages. Then we had 弁当 dinner before donning these lovely aprons and head scarfs...


There were sufficient volunteers so each shift lasted only an hour. We took the earliest shift, during which I bent over yummy grilled sausages and packed them for the never-ending queue for sausages - we were a hot favourite! :)

I was quite an expert, squeezing ketchup and/or chilli and/or mustard over sausages for uncles and aunties and little boys and girls, all the time speaking minimal Jap..

"一本?ソースは?"
”ありがとうございました!”

:p

Sito was one of my customers :)

Psst: It was so warm we broke the fan

So many were in yukata! Though many guys looked like they just walked out of an onsen cos their yukata looked like the pyjamas type :p

But the girls were pretty! See this 帯!


We got お好み焼き and found a spot to sit down, watched a couple of performances by local school groups


This reminded me of the 花見 Na and I went for in 上野公園 two years ago...


Us!


We walked about after the food and even went for the 踊り - did some folk dancing, and one of them to Chan Mali Chan!! The other song was more fun cos the whole group actually moved forward in a circle as we danced, something that went ドシタドシタ! :p

Passed by little plots of land; sign says plot belongs to grade 1 group 1 :)


Another reads チアラージ.. Challenge? Well, the plant in that plot was a single stalk of sunflower that was taller than us!


Next was 金魚すくり!


結果は失敗だった!残念だけど、we wouldn't know what to do with the fish even if we had caught any!!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Singapore Day 2007

In New York!



Ok, picture was taken back in office; mf poses :)

The preparation

By the time I got to NY, the advance team had already been there for a week and quite washed out; they sent emails at unearthly hours. Hadn't hit me yet that the rest of us would suffer the same fate.. Lots of things cropped up, starting from arrival; our meet-&-greet didn't show up. That was only the beginning of ground transport woes..

The first day after arrival was benign. Then the rest of the week just went by in quite a blur.. I forgot what I did on some days.. And being late in recording this was only part reason!

I was supposed to be doing logistics for staff and crew, excluding the events company staff. One day quite early in the week, I went on a recce trip to Queens where we rented a kitchen for our hawkers to prepare food. Took the train there and a cab back - the train was cheaper and jam-free but the 20min walk from the hotel to the right platform might result in a few stray cats, so we stuck to coach arrangements. Gratefully, Makansutra organised the hawkers such that they had no problems at all with the coach. Can't say the same for other groups though; some people kept having trouble with ground transport!

Throughout the whole ground transport ordeal, I was glad for DC's company and guidance. A few times, she and I had to go to the hotel where our partners were staying (we stayed at different places; can't remember why) to make sure they arrived and got checked in. She dealt with the divas while I liaised with the coach company and our travel agent in Singapore. There were so many people with different transport requirements!!! At night, I wasn't doing my papers as I had hoped.. Had to deal with a lot of excel files with a lot of names and flight details and arrival dates and room-sharing details that didn't tally *.*

When our freight arrived after some customs issues, we unpacked those boxes and started packing 5,000 goodie bags.. 5,000!

There were tens of such boxes..


Finished products


The damage


It took all 11 of us, some 10 from the event company, and some 10 volunteers three hours of madness.. Some of us never passed over the chance for a Kodak moment..

That's me, long hair over face :p




After just one hour, I decided while I would love to do some brainless job sometimes, I just couldn't do this kind of brainless job - the packing was driving me mad – crazy and angry!

In fact, I wasn't the only one going mad. AA kept repeating "It has been a great honour working with you.." - cranky!! Emotions were also high with the mounting stress as the event drew nearer and as unexpected events kept unfolding. Friday was very bad for me; at some point I seriously felt like crying =( That night, I made a trunk call for some much needed TLC at 6am when I crawled into bed.. Slept for only one hour before I had to wake for the real thing.

But we had some 苦中作乐 time as well..

E.g. 1: Playing with goodie bag items


E.g. 2: Eating instant noodles


Day event

We were all in our orange "uniforms". I had once jokingly said I looked better in the sweater teamed with just underwear but I walked out with exercise pants in the end :p

The setup involved everyone moving the registration stuff from storage to the terrace... At one point, one of the hired hands asked TO: Are you paid by the hour too? :p

DC and LH


Queues started as early as 10am (I think, cos I was dashing about) although the registration was supposed to start at only 10.30am.


The queues for the food were overwhelming - chwee kueh and chicken rice were the first to sell out.

Yummy sambal... But we only had a few mouthfuls of leftover carrot cake at the end of the day...


The Wollman Rink in Central Park, and that's the stage behind..


I had no defined role as I was on standby for any issue on ground transport. And man, were there issues! Some people couldn't walk a few steps to the coach parked at another building exit (of an apparently not-so-idiot-proof square building) so the driver had to turn round and round given New York streets to reach them, with me remote controlling both parties - the people and transport company that used radio to reach driver. Time loss = one freaking hour.

Despite the delay, was glad that the concert managed to open at about 1pm. The audience seemed to be having great fun despite the heat - it was raining all the way until a couple of days before when we started setting up the place. In his opening address, the Man said we brought SG weather to NY :) Oh, TO and I were Vanna Whites - we carried lucky draw boxes :p

After my brief appearance on stage, I started my long journey to transport 200-300 goodie bags to the dinner venue - NYPL. It was a really painful process; I had been trying to do that since about 11am but couldn't find anyone to help. The two hired hands were hopelessly lazy, showing me black face all the time, especially the older and lazier one. We got two waiting staff to help carry the second batch and they were so charmingly helpful despite the weight and distance, and they were supposed to be dealing with food, not goods.. Attitudes, my friends, attitude..

Got back from the library in time in the van to fetch the Boss and the group doing reception at NYPL cos the day event was over. So I didn't get to watch the concert but saw from webcast later that people were swaying to the songs, ahhh...

The rest of us picked up some loose ends and left the park for good. But not before another group shot :p


Night event

No point getting a cab and getting stuck in NY traffic so we walked back to the hotel with just enough time to change for dinner. In the van, bosses said they met a couple who said they knew me. Turned out to be the old couple SF and I met in Boston last year. So I found them during cocktails and had a chat with them..

Somehow was plucked from my assigned table to sit at RQ's table. Was dreading the pressure to "mingle" but it turned out to be quite fun - had some mutual friends with some people at the table as they were quite young :) And one of them was from my sec school!

Had to help out at the reception halfway through dinner. Chatted with the people there. The events guys were quite dazed by then and they were saying that this was the most siong event ever! I could hardly agree more..

Went back into the hall when the concert started. It started late!! Cos they didn't want to start until all dishes had all been served, and all lights must go, etc etc.. By the time it finished, it was so late! In fact, a few guests had filed out before the concert ended.

We cleared the library pretty quickly and had a debrief (or two?) in the hotel. Said I would never be a tour guide; had enough of divas who couldn't handle transport and hotel!!

Post event

The next day, had to attend a thank-you lunch for our volunteers, during which LY seemed especially “friendly” with RQ! Haha! So we got her to ask him if we could leave lunch earlier - and we did! LY, LH and TO went shopping while I carted myself to the Met where I roamed for two hours. Bought a poster - Spring - to hang in my room =)

There was a Greek parade along 5th Ave, for Greek independence day, which was delayed due to the rains in March/April.


Talked to a few Greeks and they were so friendly! Struck me that they might be born in the US and have an American accent but they still had deep ties with their country.

It was a lovely day so I walked 40 blocks (!) to the hotel, checked out the ladies' shopping kills and showered before leaving for the airport. Bought myself a man's scent - yes, for me! :p Did some inflight shopping too - blusher..

Was so tired I was suffering fatigue for the next few weeks.. Didn't help that we had to table papers at the meeting quite immediately after Sg Day.. Second bout of stress that made me feel like crying - twice in two weeks! I've never been so freaked out in my 3.5 years of working.. Seriously hope that this won't happen again, and if it does, that I have learnt to deal with it better..

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Happy National Day!

I didn't watch NDP :p

Watched The Bourne Ultimatum instead :p

Our first movie at AMK Hub!

Oh, but I'm listening to the NDP songs now, check out the first link! Already did my "NS" this afternoon, and last night - no more work until tomorrow! Suddenly remember watching this commercial about NS coming to 40 years this year, and found a website for it.. Actually I like the Singapore story, didn't use to appreciate it much during history lessons 13 years (omg!) back though.. Maybe that's why I love watching NDP live, being in the thick of the celebrations! But couldn't get tickets this year..

But I digress...

Wandered into the arcade while waiting for admission for hall number four. Found that I actually had the tap card for this arcade! Bought it ages ago for the one in Jubilee. It had some credit left so got Sito to beat the moles! Got 35 tickets and exchanged them for three stickers and a cute badge - happy :)

Material things, like my iMac, make me happy, but the mundane things make me happier :) E.g. I'll be happy when this pimple goes away! Going to remove the purifying mask putty now - wish me luck..

Sunday, 5 August 2007

End of adventure

After many late nights, I've finally finished Book 7! My mind couldn't leave the plot. I would think of it on the way to work, on the way home, while taking toilet breaks, etc..

The one thing I kept thinking of since the end of Book 6 was whether Snape was on the bright or dark side.. Snape always seemed so sinister and was mean to Harry they all while being friendly with the Slytherins. Yet, Dumbledore had always insisted on his innocence, that he was a double agent. So I looked back..

There were instances that suggested that Snape could be a good person, e.g. he shielded the trio when Remus Lupin turned into a werewolf in Book 5, and he stopped a Death Eater from torturing Harry as they were escaping Hogwarts in Book 6.

But why would he stand up against Voldemort, whom he once revered? Soppy mf could only think of one reason for him being truly on Dumbledore's side: he loved Lily Evans, but inadvertently caused her death at the hands of Voldemort. At one point, I realised that while he was always scolding Harry for being like his father, he had never once badmouthed Lily Evans. That was pure speculation until Book 7, when just before he died, he told Harry to look at him - cos Harry had his mother's eyes!

I think I'm like Dumbledore - my guesses are good :p

Happy and satisfied! But JK Rowling really killed the series for sequels man, with that last chapter saying that the scar hadn't hurt for 19 years.. I would miss this adventure for sure...

Alright! Now that I have no more compelling reads, I can now scan the news more diligently and do some blogging at night.. Normalcy commences..
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