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Saturday, 31 March 2007

Still awake II

My best friend, Min called from Sydney in the afternoon and we spoke over the phone for 30 minutes. Hope you will find them useful. It's nothing, really. But if you insist, you can pay me back by taking me SHOPPING when I go over to Sydney! SOON, I HOPE. Hahaha. Hey, Min, do you realise we have been BEST FRIENDS for over 20 years?! That's a LONG time. Take care!

I didn't realise that I was so mentally exhausted after the workshop. By 3:30pm, I couldn't take it anymore. I needed a nap. I slept despite the girls playing games (noisily) on their father's laptop right next to my bed. I was that tired.

I woke up feeling very rested but I did a double take when I looked at my clock. Can't be right?! I slept for 4 hours!! That's the longest nap I have ever taken and I have gotten my much needed rest. But NOW, I am wide awake. It is going to be a long night again.

Anyone online? MSN me!

Parenting workshop

This morning, I was at a parenting workshop. A total of 145 parents signed up but I didn't expect all the parents to turn up. Yet there was a huge turn-out of 100 parents! The topic of the workshop was "My Daughter and I: Connecting with your preteens and teens". It is a good sign, it means that parents are interested to get connected with their children and that parents are now more aware and pro-active.

We had group discussions as well as mini lectures in between. I thought the parents really enjoyed the group discussions. I could see the high excitement level when they were discussing and sharing their experiences and tips with one another. On the whole, the workshop went well: parents were nodding and smiling at the points said, laughing at jokes made, etc. Several parents stayed back after the workshop to ask questions. It gave me great pleasure and sense of achievement that I was able to help some of them with their problems. I really enjoyed interacting with the parents and I am glad to be able to share my knowledge with them.

Oh, by the way, I was the presenter for the parenting workshop.

"Children are our most valuable natural resource. - Herbert Hoover"

Still awake!

I have to be at a workshop by 9am. I want to sleep but can't. I hope I can wake up on time in the morning for the workshop. Maybe I will try to hypnotise myself:

"You are getting very sleepy, your eye lids are closing, you are almost asleep. On the count of 3, you will be asleep. 3, 2, 1. You are asleep."

Am I asleep? Rats! no such luck.

Thursday, 29 March 2007


Remember on Sunday when Marieann gave me flowers? I had said that "I think I have better chance of striking Toto than to get a bunch of flowers from him (husband)". And on the very next day (Monday), I did strike Toto. I had forgotten all about it until a good friend brought it up. What a coincidence! Hmm...if what I say comes true, I better be careful in what I say/ wish for. Hahaha. Now, I wish for ... ... ... ...

What did I wish for? Shhh... it's a secret. If I tell you, it may not come true. ;)

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Kopi Tiam Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

I take my breakfast on days that I work. (On days that I don't work, it will depend if I feel hungry or not.) My breakfast usually is just a piece of bread and a glass of Milo. But I find myself getting hungry again quite fast. Friends have said I have a bottomless stomach. Hahaha. When I was young (primary school to JC), I used to have oat porridge as my breakfast. Now that's really filling. I remembered not feeling hungry at recess times and thus, saving alot of money in this way. When I went to uni in Brisbane, I didn't have the time to cook my oat porridge breakfast but I found the perfect substitute - Weet-bix! Those of you who have studied in Australia would know what I am talking about. With Weet-bix (which is a high-fibre wheat cereal biscuits), it is either you love it or you hate it. Of course, I loved it. I would take it with Sanitarium So Good Soy Milk, usually Vanilla flavour and I would often add raisins for more chew. Since I started working, I have gotten lazy. I still eat breakfast but I no longer take the effort to make sure I have a good one.

Today, I finally had a breakfast that's comparable to my oat porridge of youth and Weet-bix of adulthood, in terms of the filling and sustainability factor. All thanks to a bet I won. Thanks, Friend. Hahaha. It might have been very common to some of you but I never had it before - the kopi tiam breakfast. (It could be because there are no kopi tiams near where I used to live.) The breakfast set consists of two soft-boiled eggs, toast (with butter or kaya) and tea/ coffee/ Milo. It is really good! I never felt so full. Actually, I was still quite full when my colleagues and I had lunch at 1pm but I must uphold my reputation of being a bottomless pit. Shhh... don't tell anyone. Hahaha.

So if any of you wants to have a kopi tiam breakfast, just give me a call or sms or msn. I will join you. Yes, even waking up earlier for it! =)

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Pre-school Fieldtrip to Singapore Discovery Centre

Today, Marieann's and Julaine's pre-school organised a family outing to Singapore Discovery Centre. I jumped on the chance to accompany my girls on this fieldtrip. No, it's not because I haven't been there before. In fact, I have been to SDC but it was a couple of year back when I was teaching in school. I have been thinking about going back (you'll know why later). This opportunity came up so I just grabbed it.

In school while waiting for the transport to SDC

There were 3 busload full of parents and kids. We arrived at 9am+ and were immediately taken on a SAFTI Military Institute bus tour (a 20 min tour). This is new to me. I don't remember bringing my students on a bus tour around SAFTI at my last SDC visit. Trust me, I would remember if we did because there is a A4 Skyhawk on the grounds of SAFTI. (In case those of you still don't know, I am into aircrafts, especially fighter aircrafts.) But I do remember the A4 that's outside of SDC, it was there the last time too. We saw the Parade Square, SAFTI Tower (which all those who have been through NS and reservist would be very familar with and "fond of", hahaha), Officer Cadet School, Ceremonial Hall, SAFTI MI HQ, SAFTI Entrance, etc. The bus tour was nice, especially seeing the A4 (the aircarft, not A4 size paper), the tank and guns. But I found the whole thing very propaganda-ish. (NB. There's nothing wrong with your eyesight, so quit rubbing your eyes. That line was meant to be tiny! Why? Just to be safe than sorry, you know what I mean?!)


A4 Skyhawk

Next, we went back to SDC and were ushered into the iWERK theater to watch "Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag". When it was announced during the bus tour that we were going to watch this movie, I almost flipped with joy! I think from that point on, I was more happy and excited about the whole fieldtrip than my daughters were. The movie was about an air-force pilot's intense training programme at Nevada's Nellis Air Force Base. I could name all the aircrafts on the movie: there were A10, F15 Eagle, F16 Falcon, F18 Hornet, Tornado, F117, B2, and E2C Hawkeye, etc, etc. The dogfight scenes (here it means the airborne combat), the roars of the aircrafts, ... The movie was so cool! I could feel my adrenalin pumping too. Something funny: a parent overheard me when I was naming the aircrafts and explaining to my girls the techincal bits of the combat, he asked if I am working in the Air Force. Hahaha. I will take that as a compliment.

We had a quick lunch. I went through the SDC exhibits quickly with my girls, as we only had 30 minutes left before meeting at the bus at 12pm. I really wanted to try my hand at the Shooting Gallery, using real SAR 21 rifles but there was just no time. (I think I tried something like that that before at Paya Lebar Air Force Open House and had lots of fun.) Another time perhaps. Before we returned to the bus, I dragged my girls somewhere for 1 photo shoot. No prize for guessing with what. Yes, I dragged them back to the A4 we passed by, outside of SDC. Hahaha.

The girls posing with A4 Skyhawk

Juliane and I (Marieann was asleep) on the trip home

All in all, it has been a very good day. I got to spend time with my girls on an outing and as an added bonus, I got to see my aircrafts in a fighter pilot movie.

Oh, another good end to the day. I won Toto! Hee hee. It is just a very SMALL amount lah.

A message to a good friend: ORH! I know how! Can sleep tonight. Hahaha.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

I received a BUNCH OF FLOWERS!

Today, I received a bunch of flowers! I was really, really HAPPY. No, NOT from my husband. (I think I have better chance of striking Toto than to get a bunch of flowers from him.) My older daughter, Marieann gave me the bunch of flowers. Ok, you may say my husband had to pay for it (anyway, the flowers were from Cold Storage for $3.50). BUT it was my daughter who HAD the thought and ACTED on it to get the flowers for me.

I was really surprised to see Marieann running up to me with the flowers, with a big smile on her face and saying, "Mama, this is for you". I can't quite describe how I felt at that moment. It was like there were flowers blossoming in my heart, happiness just burst forth and resulting in the biggest smile ever on my face. I am happy, not because Mariean gave me the flowers but because the flowers is an expression of her love. No, I don't need presents from my daughters to show that they love me. It is the thought, that's behind the action, that counts ALOT!

Thank you, Marieann. With or without the flowers, Mama loves you. That goes for you too, Juliane.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

An Eventful Saturday

This morning, my mother and I brought the girls to the Botanic Garden again. The Botanic Garden is a really good place to educate the girls about nature. Thank goodness, I was a Science teacher before, could at least explain things to the girls. The girls were thrilled to see the swans, a lizard, a family of squirrels, dragonflies, and different flowers up close.

Guess who is the real McCoy?

The top pic is the reverse of the second pic (actual pic)
Reflection of the sky and tree from the pond

In the afternoon, an old family friend and us (my mother, my girls and I) went to Orchard Hotel for Afternoon Tea. The international spread was quite good. The girls became a little high after munching on all the sticks of marshmallows. Hahaha. We were there from 2 pm to 4:30 pm. No need for dinner! Hahaha.

In the evening, we said Farewell to an old friend, my father's car. It was a dark blue Citroen Xsara which has been with us since November 1998. It has served us so faithfully all these years, seldom having any major problems. Thank you, old friend. May you Rest in Peace.

Farewell, old friend! Rest in peace.

We also said Hello to a new friend. It is a dark silver Toyota Yaris which arrived today. Welcome to your new family!
Hmm...maybe it is about time I learn driving again since there is a brand new car at my disposal as my father is often not in Singapore. Hahaha.

Hello! Welcome to the family.

Friday, 23 March 2007

What's the SCARIEST movie you have seen?

A friend asked me today, "What's the best horror/ scariest movie you have seen so far?". It's a no-brainer for me. (No-brainer means anything requiring little thought or effort; something easy or simple to understand or do. It is NOT an offensive word and definitely not used to offend the person who asked me the question. Just suddenly remembered how a politician used that same word and was bombarded by the public.)

To me, the best horror/ scariest movie I have seen so far is "ALIEN". I can still remember its tagline: "In space, no one can hear screams". I first saw it when I was in Sec 2 (I was too young to see it in 1979 when it was released in the cinema). My father had just bought the LD player and the "Alien" LD, and I invited my friends over to see it. The scary factor went up with the superb B & O surround sound system, which connected the B & O hi-fi system to the B & O television. It was almost like in the cinema. The action of "Alien" was onboard the commercial starship Nostromo: just lots of dark, narrow, confined spaces, and ONE alien. That was all that it took to make "Alien" a great horror movie, oh yeah and the "horror" music, of course.

The others in the "Alien" series - Aliens, Aliens 3, Alien Resurrection, Alien Vs Predator are not too bad but none compared to "Alien" in terms of the horror factor. By the way, there are rumours of Alien 5 coming out in 2008. We shall see...

The best horror/ scariest movie I have seen is "Alien". So what's yours?

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Ponder on these...

Only one thing is certain -- that is, nothing is certain. If this statement is true, it is also false. - Ancient Paradox

Quemadmodum possums scire utrum vere simus an solum sentiamus nos esse? (Latin) - How are we to know whether we actually exist or only think we exist?

Hmm...a real paradox then. Everything we know and believe will be thrown into Siberia, limbo, ...

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Why do PhD?

"Why are you doing a PhD?", many a friend have asked me that. Some even told me point blank that I was the person they least expected to do a PhD. (Hey, that stings a little.) But know what? Me too. Really. Serious. I never expected myself to be doing a PhD too.

I did apply to do a PhD for all the wrong reasons - out of fun and out of curiosity just to see what it takes to get in. (Ok, some of you may be swearing at me for making light of doing a PhD, like Dennis. Sorry.) I NEVER expected myself to get in BUT I did! Well, I am not a quitter so I went through with the PhD. But I must say I have been quite or rather VERY LUCKY in the course of my PhD. By LUCK (more, if I haven't used it all up yet), I should be able to do my oral defence BEFORE the end of this year and GRADUATE. ALL MUST HELP PRAY FOR ME, OK?! In case, you all start to think that I am having an easy time doing my PhD, it is NOT like that all the time. I do suffer from the usual baloney of doing a PhD - writer's block, agony and stress ("WHY am I torturing myself like this?!") ...

However, as I continued on this PhD journey, I have gained much. Not just knowledge, I also gained a better insight about myself, that I have determination, perseverance, strength, courage, faith, patience, .... Most importantly, I learnt that I can still LEARN.

Some quotes that I like:

Taking charge of your own learning is a part of taking charge of your life, which is the sine qua non in becoming an integrated person. - Warren Bennis

Learn to live, and live to learn, Ignorance like a fire doth burn, Little tasks make large return. - Bayard Taylor, To My Daughter

Learn what you are and be such. - Pindar

Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning. - William A. Ward

Education is a social process ... Education is growth.... Education is, not a preparation for life; education is life itself. - John Dewey

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you. - B.b. King

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. - Henry Ford

Monday, 19 March 2007

Nature walk

Despite being unwell (Yes, again. It's that bloody flu bug still.), my mother and I brought the girls to the Botanic Garden. I thought the fresh air might do me some good too after being cooped up in the house for two days. (Actually, there was another reason: I wanted to eat the Butter & Sugar toast at the food court because today is veggie day and I get hungry very fast. Hahaha.)

We started off at the new extension, Tanglin Gate and made our way to the big pond and then back to Tanglin Gate. We saw the white swans at the pond. Are they the same white swans that I have seen during my younger days? Can't be, right?! Then my mother told me swans can live up to 30 - 40 years. Ok, I learn something new everyday. But then where are the ducks? I remembered seeing some ducks before they renovated the pond. We didn't see them today. Maybe they are in hiding somewhere as I said before they look good as roast duck. Hahaha. On the way, as my mother looked after the girls, I took some photos of nature - flowers, trees, water, ...

After looking at greenery and breathing in fresh air, I did feel better. Or maybe it was the toast after the walk...... Hahaha. :)

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Wedding dinner gathering

Last night (17 March Saturday), I attended a former colleague, Snow's wedding at the Orchard Hotel. We used to work together at the centre. He invited quite a number of us who are still working at the centre as well as those who have left the centre. In all, he invited 13 of us - me, Clara, Christine, Wengao, Kin Meng, Yee Zher (those who are still at the centre) & wife, and Winnie, Li Ching, Tze Jan, Shine, Yen, and Seng Eng (those who have left). He managed to squeeze 11 of us at Table 29, with the exception of YZ and wife who were seated at another table.

At our table, we had fun catching up with one another, updating each other on what's happening in our lives. It was a 2-in-1 event for us - Snow's wedding celebration as well as our gathering. Hahaha. I love social events like these. It is a chance for us to catch up with each other as well as to have fun. I think it is easier for people to forge/ strengthen their friendships at these sort of events, where it is NOT about work, where it is just about having fun, merriment, laughter and good times! The dinner/ gathering ended at 11pm. Most left at 11pm while a few of us (Winnie, Seng Eng, Kin Meng and I) hang around. No, we didn't stay behind to sabo the bridal couple or to attend the post-wedding party. We were there just to congratulate him and my MAIN purpose was to see the suite. It is an interest of mine, to see the suites of different hotels. Hahaha. (So far, I have seen Conrad, Four Seasons, Fullerton, Hilton, Hyatt, Mandarin, Regent, Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-la, and of course, my own wedding suite at Raffles Hotel 7 years ago.) As usual, there were a lot of photo taking to remind us of this joyous occasion.

Wengao, Kin Meng & Tze Jan

Clara, Christine and I

Winnie and I

PS. Those of you who have taken photos, please send me my photos. Thanks.

Friday, 16 March 2007


I am SO POOPED today!

I had a whole day of workshop for the teachers in my project, from 9:30 to 4:30 pm. The teachers had a fruitful day (I would like to think so!), completing what they were supposed to within today's workshop. Everything was a breeze, chicken feet, child's play, duck soup, picnic, piece of cake, no sweat, small potatoes, ... (need I say more)... or so I thought until I got home. I hadn't realised I was so mentally and physically wound up for the workshop. I was totally exhausted, spent, beat, whacked, drained, sapped, knocked out, taxed, zonked, ...(get the picture??!!??)... I can't even remember if I had dinner before I dropped dead to the world in my bed. Those of you who know me, would know that I love eating, to have missed my dinner, meant I was that TIRED! Of course, receiving a certain letter about the possibility of enbloc did NOTHING to elevate my weary spirits.

What means this heaviness that hangs upon me?
This lethargy that creeps through all my senses?
Nature, oppress'd and harrass'd out with care,
Sinks down to rest.
Author: Joseph Addison Source: Cato (act V, sc. 1)
And rested I did for 3.5 hours. I feel energised, refreshed, revived, ...
Now I have another problem. I am WIDE AWAKE!

Thursday, 15 March 2007

To live life as a Tai-Tai?

As I mentioned before, it's the 1-week March school holidays. I didn't have school counselling so I am relatively more free as compared to usual, although I still have to work at the centre (part-time as a researcher). Since I have always wanted to experience being a tai-tai, why not try it out now while I am free? So what did I do on those free days?

On Monday, I went to see "300" in the late morning. Went for lunch at a Japanese restaurant and had grilled salmon (still couldn't stomach raw fish). Went to Borders and bought a few books. Shopped a little more at Isetan Scotts. Had afternoon tea at Mariott Hotel. Rented a James Rollins book from Sunny Bookshop, Far East Plaza. Finally went home at 5pm.
Today (Thursday), we - my mother, Juliane and I (Marieann was in school) went to the Post Office in the morning as we had parcels to send. Mother sending her parcel to my nephews in UK and I sending my parcel to my best friend, Min in Australia. (Oi, Min, the parcel is on its way, you should be able to get it by next week.) Went to develop some photos for Juliane's portfolio. Had lunch at a Korean restaurant. After that, we went to the Private Sale at Isetan Scotts (it's an exclusive event for Isetan Cardholders and guests only, it's a really good deal for the cardholders at these events). Lots of people! Thank goodness, we already knew what we wanted so we zeroed in on the Kipling bag and Clarins skin care products. We got home about 3pm. A family friend came over for tea and chit-chat and left about 4pm+.

So what's my verdict about living life as a tai-tai? Let's see. Over the 2 days, physically: I've spent several hours "exercising" (but only my feet); emotionally: I felt happy and good (until I saw my bank statement) and financially: there is $450 less in the bank account. Do I want to be a tai-tai? I am someone who needs variety, who needs to be doing something constructive and meaningful in my life, like work. (No offence to the tai-tais out there. It's just me. I prefer to work. I think I hear my hubby heave a sigh of RELIEF. Hahaha.) Thus, I am doing research work, counselling &/ psychological assessment and PhD studies all at the same time. I get bored easily if I only stick to one thing, like being a tai-tai. So no, I think I am not cut out to be a tai-tai. Sigh.

But on second thoughts...

I think I am okay being an occasional tai-tai. ;)

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Retreat at Jurong Bird Park

Today, I had my centre's retreat at the Jurong Bird Park. It has been ages since I went to the Bird Park so I was looking forward to the retreat, for once. Actually, most of us were as I discovered I was NOT the only one armed with a camera at the retreat.

Our retreat was at The Lakeview Room which faces the Flamingo Lake. We had a very nice view of the flamingoes at the lake. However, I think it were the flamingoes which were enjoying watching us - this bunch of people who were supposed to be listening with rapt attention to the presentations but some were dozing, some were doddling and some were sms-ing. Hahaha. We had presentations in the morning. We were given a lunch break of 1hr 15mins. We had buffet lunch and each of us were also given a free complimentary panorail ride ticket.

My group of friends (C, KM, BR, E, and a few others) had our lunch quickly and we set off on the panorail ride. While on the ride, we really behaved like tourists! We all had our cameras out, snapping photos here and there, exclaiming excitedly at the lovely birds that we saw on the way, such as scarlet ibises, crowned pigeons, pelicans, and flamingoes. We gave the Lory station a miss and went straight to the Waterfall station as we didn't have enough time. We had a walkabout at the Waterfall Aviary. It was really nice to see the birds flying around and the tallest man-made waterfall. We had several group photos at the waterfall. We were a lucky bunch too as we got back on the ride, it started raining. When we arrived back at the Main station, we saw more of our colleagues going off on their rides and it was almost time to return to the retreat. So we decided to take one more last photo shoot with the Caribbean Flamingoes, those really bright orangy-pink ones or is it pinky-red or.... never mind, it is just a nice bright colour which looks really nice in photos. Hahaha. Oh, I also made a trip to the sourvenir shop to get something little for the girls. Yes, I know. My friends were rolling their eyes and laughing at me. Well, since already behaved like a tourist, so what's one more behaviour of tourist - shopping for souvenirs.

In the afternoon, we had group discussions and sharings. It was actually not as bad as I thought and quite enjoyable. The retreat ended right on time at 5pm. Before we left the Bird Park, we went to one last place.
We went to see the penguins at the Penguin Parade. We were behaving like little kids, "oh"-ing and "ah"-ing at the penguins "flying" through the water. Again, cameras were out in full force for the photos and videos. I don't think you will see a more touristsy bunch of "tourists" than us. =)

Overall, it has been a very enjoyable day, the first ever for the centre's retreat. I think what made it so enjoyable was that we had time to bond with our colleagues, not at the presentations and sharings but actually at the ride, the walk-about, etc. It was during those times that we got to know each other better as we were all relaxed. I think the centre should have future retreats at tourists' attractions. SO where next - Zoo? Chinese Garden? Sentosa? Haw Par Villa? Museum? Centre, please kindly CONSIDER?!

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Another movie soon?

It is only during the holidays that I can watch movies at the cinema. Any parent would know, once you have children, it is rather difficult to watch a movie with your spouse, unless you can leave the children with your parents or in-laws to look after for 2-3 hours but I feel bad doing that. (Maybe it is just me.) So I like the school holidays because I don't have counselling and I can go for a movie while the girls are at pre-school.

When younger in secondary school and JC, I found that I often relented to friends' choices when I watched movies with them. Slowly, I discovered it is actually easier to watch alone because I can watch what I want, without having to compromise the choice of movies. I love horror, thriller, action, science-fiction, fantasy and mystery. Not many gal friends I know like horror, science-fiction, fantasy and action (like "300"). So it also gets abit difficult trying to get gal friends to see the movies with me. Not a problem though with guy friends but sometimes, I just want to hang out with gal friends. Once, I went to see "The Matrix" with a gal friend. I ended up having to explain the whole show to her TWICE after the movie because she couldn't understand the whole concept of the matrix as a simulated reality and the agents as computer programmes... Although my hubby and I have fairly similar tastes in movies, I still find it is easier to just watch movies on my own at times. Sorry. Also because I don't have to share the popcorn. Hahaha.

So what movie should I go for next? The Messengers? Primeval? Hannibal Rising? Or maybe 300 again. Yar, I will do that.

Monday, 12 March 2007

300 - Prepare for GLORY!

I went to watch a movie today. My hubby was like "Alone?". Yar, and then?! He is getting old, he has forgotten I used to watch movies on my own. My record was 4 movies in 1 day, yes, at the theatre! Anyway, I digressed.

I saw "300". I think it is one of the best movies I have seen. Before you all start sniggerring and winking away, I went for "300" because of the story - in 480 B.C., Spartan King Leonidas and his 300 men fought against the Persian soldiers under Xerxes at the Battle of Thermopylae. Fine, the fab abs on the bods of those hunks in 300 is just an added bonus, ok, a BIG BONUS! Hahaha. I have always been interested in the history and legends of ancient civilisations - Egypt, Minoan, Mesopotamia, Mycenae, Phoneicians, Greece, Rome, China, Moche, Maya, Byzantine, Anasazi, Aztec, Inca, Anglo-Saxon Britain. When "300" opened here, I went for it.

"300" is a very well-made movie. However, it is not for the faint-hearted or those who will faint at the sight of blood as there are very graphic and vivid scenes of blood and gore. The fight scenes and fight sequences are GREAT! And they are paired with great rock music and slow-mo effect (think Matrix). It was like watching a beautiful dance. (Ok, by now, you would have realised that I like violence, but only in movies. I do NOT advocate violence in real life.) I think "300" is going to become one of the great classics, one of the epic movies in the new millenium. Not just because of the fight scenes and sequences in "300", more because of the values that "300" is advocating, the Spartan values which are still applicable in today's society - duty, discipline, determination, loyalty, respect, honour, courage and strength. I watched the movie this morning and the scenes from the movie are still re-enacting in my mind and the message from the movie still reverberating in my mind. Such is the power of "300" on me.

Dark skies forebode in Warner Bros. Pictures' 300 - 2007 (Source: Yahoo! Movies)

Warriors take their places at the front of the deadly Spartan phalanx in Warner Bros. Pictures' 300 - 2007 (Source: Yahoo! Movies)

Narrated at the end of "300":

"Go, tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie."
Epitaph of Simonides at Burial Mound of Spartans at Thermopylae

Epitaph at Thermopylae (Source: Wikipedia)

I would strongly encourage anyone who is into history, action, and drama to watch "300" on the big screen, digital too if possible, to get the full effect of "300". Forget about watching it on DVD, the effect just won't be the same.

Here's the trailer for "300"

300 - Trailer 2

Oh, if anyone wants to watch "300", give me a call. I am up for watching it again, anytime.

PS. Those interested to know a little more about Sparta, Leonidas, Battle of Thermopylae can find information in Wikipedia.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Friendship II

Let's continue on this theme of friendship, specifically in the projects that I am involved in. I have been involved in the projects since I started at the centre in July 2004. I have met many nice people in the projects and some have become my very good friends. We share lots, both good and bad. We encourage and support each other through the bad times. We celebrate and laugh together through the good times. Through these processes, we gain strength from each other and we all grow stronger as a result.

A sad thing: many of these good friends have left the projects and/ or the centre in the last 1.5 years. SE (Dec '05), W (Mar '06), LB (Jun '06), T (Aug '06), C (Sept '06), S (Oct '06), J (Nov '06), Y (Mar '07). A good thing: We still meet up every now and then to talk, to laugh and to give moral support to those remaining. To those of us still remaining, we are not alone, we still have each other. So keep our chins up and SMILE!

PS. It has crossed my mind if there is something wrong. How come I am still here when so many have left? Someone joked and said that I should be getting the Long Service Award for being in the projects the longest (I'm almost the last original team member left in the projects since they started) and I'm still there. YAR, I should be given the LSA! Hahaha.


I met up with 2 good friends for dinner last night. They used to be my colleagues at the centre. We haven't been colleagues for very, very long. I have only known Winnie since November 2004 and Theresa since July 2005. We were a very good team and we also became very good friends. It was very sad for me to see Winnie and Theresa leave the centre in March 2006 and August 2006 respectively. However, as their good friend, I am really, really glad that they made the move. They are so much happier now in their current jobs.

It was really fun catching up with both of them. We could talk and laugh like nobody's business and we could say anything to each other, knowing that we would not offend the other person and that we would not be judged. That's what and how true friends are!

So we are going to meet up next month? ON!

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Hi, Godma Evelyn and Godsis Pippa from Marieann

HI, Godma Evelyn and Godsis Pippa!!! It is so wonderful to hear from you! How's everything in Dubai?? How's work, Godma and how's school, Godsis? How's Oma in Germany? I haven't seen all of you for so long, since 2005.

I would love to go to Dubai to visit you, and my mama would love to go SHOPPING in Dubai but after meeting up with you, of course! :) Unfortunately, I won't be going overseas in the near future cos my papa has sworn never to take my sister, Juliane and I overseas again until we are OLDER! (The 2005 Brissie trip aged him by 10 years, hahaha) Hmm...I wonder what he means by OLDER. I am already 5 years old, isn't that old enough?! My mama asked why don't you attend another conference in Singapore like you did in 2005, then we can all meet again. The place where my mama works is having another conference in May. Think about it, won't you?! Both of you are most welcome to stay at our place. Now that I am older, you can teach me to speak German. It would be fun! Oh yes, my mama has a message for you. She said to tell you that she also misses learning from and working with you in EP work, workshops and trainings. She said it was such fun days in HQ, with Martin, Lucy, David and "Uncle". Hahaha. Well, she hopes there will be an opportunity in the near future to work with you again. =) We will all hope and pray, yar?

I, no, we all hope to hear from you again SOON. All the best in all that you do. Take care!

love, Marieann

Coughing, coughing away

It has been nine days since I started coughing and there is lots of phlegm. It gets quite bad, especially at night. It is like there's something tickling you in the throat and then you starts coughing non-stop. It's that kind of cough that will keep you awake at night. I have been coughing so much now that my chest hurts and there is shortness of breath at times. The shortness of breath gets worse when I am at the research centre as there are a zillion stairs to climb. Hahaha. Ok, I exaggerated a bit but there is this LONG flight of steps that I need to climb to get to the nice canteens over at NTU and to get home. I don't like medicines because I have to be very careful as I am allergic to some very common chemicals/ ingredients in them. But maybe it's time I see a doctor about this cough...

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Pa, Take care

My father is leaving for Xiamen tomorrow. I feel sad that he is leaving again so soon. Yes, I am a daddy's girl. My father dotes on me. When he is in Singapore, he would often fetch me to places, regardless of rain or shine. And sometimes, he would drop what he is doing just to fetch me. Whereas my husband will probably just ask me to take the public transport or the taxi. Hahaha. (Ok lah, my husband sometimes also fetches me to places lah.) No, I am not feeling sad because I have one less person to fetch me. I am feeling sad because he is my father and he is always there for me. Although we tend to quarrel quite a bit because both of us are so similar in temperament - hot-tempered and impatient, I wish we can spend more quality time together. Growing up in a traditional Chinese family (father Chinese and mother Taiwanese), we often do not openly express our feelings to each other. Although I do not show it/ say it at all, I do care a lot about you, Pa.

So Pa, next time you are back, I will try my best to hold my tongue. I will try to be less hot-tempered and impatient. Meanwhile, please take good care of yourself.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Yuan Hsiao 元宵 Gathering

Today is Yuan Hsiao (the 15th of First month) which is the last day of CNY and it is also known as the Chinese Valentine's Day. We had another gathering at our place, a smaller one. My parents' goddaughter and her mother as well as my mother-in-law came over for dinner. This year, due to my parents' trip to UK, people had missed our usual custom of serving our Hockchew Red Wine Chicken Soup with Mee Sua on the 2nd Day of CNY. Since my parents are back, people have started asking when they could come over for our famous Hockchew Red Wine Chicken Soup with Mee Sua.

Tonight was the first of many more "Hockchew Red Wine Chicken Soup with Mee Sua" gatherings to come. People love our Hockchew Red Wine Chicken Soup with Mee Sua because our mee sua are hand-made and are brought over from East Malaysia to us, by my relatives. As for the Hockchew Red Wine, my mother brewed it using a secret Hockchew recipe, following a real secretive procedure. Me, have I learnt how to brew the red wine? Nay, I am too lazy and besides, I am allergic to alcohol. Hahaha. My girls have been watching their grandmother brewing the red wine. I guess the baton of brewing red wine would be passed onto them. Hahaha.

Not to worry, people. Our Hockchew Red Wine Chicken Soup with Mee Sua is available all year round, not just during CNY. As long as you inform us 1 day in advance, it is a 100% guarantee that a delicious bowl of Hockchew Red Wine Chicken Soup with Mee Sua will be waiting for you the next day. You are welcome to 2nd and 3rd helpings too! SERIOUSLY.

See you all soon.

Our Annual SCGS CNY gathering

It is that time again for our annual SCGS CNY gathering. We always look forward to this festive gathering during Chinese New Year. Hsiao, Karen, Steph, Chung and I have been friends for many years since primary and secondary school. I better not say how many years, otherwise people will know our age. Age is a woman's secret, right?! =)

It used to be just us, the 5 gals at the annual gathering since we met again in 1996 for the first time after we left secondary school a couple of years before. Then slowly (due to the different milestones in life), the husbands got included and now the children are involved too. It gets more and more crowded each year but fun, nonetheless.

This year, we had the gathering at Steph's place in Siglap. We had potluck: Karen and her delicious (but spicy but still yummy) mee siam and chicken wings, Hsiao and her fish cutlet (also spicy but also yummy), Steph and the famous Joo Chiat Tao Gua Bao and finger food, Chung and her Yu Sheng from one of the Japanese restaurant, and I and my potato salad. Sorry, gals, I just love potato. Hahaha.

It was the usual food and wine, talking and laughing. Though we only meet up 3 - 4 times a year, with the CNY gathering as the first for each year, we are always able to pick up from where we left off at the last gathering. It is as if no time had passed! That is how strong our friendship is. I am, and I think I can safely say it for all of us, we are proud of our long friendship. By the way, the husbands [the SCGS husbands(?) Hahaha] and children are not neglected, they are also becoming good friends with one other.

A toast to our friendship!

Hey, Gals, as usual, I had a great time! So when are we meeting up next? Let's line up some dates now. Can't wait to see all of you again and soon. Take care.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Pre-Yuan Hsiao Gathering

Ah, life is back to normal. The usual gatherings at our place are finally back! Hahaha.

My mother organised the first gathering since they came back from UK. Tonight, my cousins and a friend of mine were invited over for dinner. My mother cooked her famous Taiwan 扣肉包, braised duck, braised beancurd, stir-fried string bean, chili padi fish and chicken coconut soup. Yummy! During dinner, the girls were entertaining us with Chinese New Year songs. I think we have heard enough of CNY songs to last us for the next year. Hahaha. After dinner, we had her Pu'Er tea to help with the digestion. It was nice catching up with my cousins and friend over what has been happening since they were last at our place before my parents left for UK in Dec 2006.

My cousins and cousin-in-laws

Juliane enjoying her tea

I just love the gatherings at our place, so full of life, fun and laughter. Here's to more gatherings at our place. :)

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Happy Birthday, Juliane!

Today is Juliane's 3rd birthday. She knows it is her birthday and she has been singing "Happy Birthday" to herself the whole day. It was funny listening to her break into her singing whenever she remembers. However, we couldn't celebrate earlier as we wanted to wait for her father to get home. Since 7 pm, she changed into her new clothes and waited patiently for her father to come home which he did at 8:15 pm. We got her a peach & longan cake. She simply loves peaches. She ended up eating only the peaches but not the cake! Guess who had to eat her left-over cake?! No prize for guessing correctly. That's what Mothers are for. Hahaha.

Photo with Ah Gong and Juliane thinking, "When can I blow the candles?"

The family photo

Her elder sister trying to be funny

The birthday girl posing with me

The birthday girl

HAPPY 3rd BIRTHDAY, Juliane! May you grow up healthy and wise.