making it easier to keep in touch with family and friends

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Worried Sick

Have you ever been worried about something or someone, sometimes to the point of being sick?

We all worry, fret, brood about something(s) or someone(s) to some degree at one point of time or another. It is our human nature. We are the only species on earth (so far but there could be some unknown species yet to be uncovered :P) who have the ability to think about the future. However, this thinking ahead ability is a double-edged sword. It is both an advantage as well as disadvantage - the realisation that things could go wrong and thus, worry or anxiety is born.

I am no exception. I have been worried sick about something(s) and someone(s) before. Today, actually, lol. I was really worried about my dissertation. I was really worried about a good friend. My worries had stemmed from my feeling of vulnerability and my sense of helplessness. Glad to inform all, everything is fine now. I am very much relieved and smiling again.

But maybe because I was so highly strung with worry today, even when the "fight" response was deactivated, it was too late. I have already built up too much worry that I have got a headache now :(. In other words, I was literally worried sick. :P Definitely can't do much tonight. I guess I will have to sleep early tonight. Nothing like a good night's sleep to restore my energy, lol. :)

Monday, 30 July 2007

Traditional Rice Dishes

Today, my mother prepared yet another two of her speciality dishes - Yam Rice and Ma You Fan. She woke up early in the morning to start preparing the rice dishes.

For the Ma You Fan, she first sauteed each of the ingredients separately - the dried shrimps, pork slices, sliced dried mushroom and uncooked rice (washed). She then stir-fried all the ingredients together before putting the Ma You Fan into the bamboo steamer to steam. While the Ma You Fan was steaming, she suateed a separate set of dried shrimps, pork slices and sliced dried mushroom together to be used as extra garnish for the Ma You Fan.

For the Yam Rice, she decided to make it vegetarian for a vegetarian family friend who was going to visit us. First, she cut up the yam into little tiny cubes and gently fried them so that they would not break up when in the rice cooker. She also sliced up mock ham and dried mushroom for the yam rice. With seasoning, she put the fried yam pieces, sliced dried mushroom, sliced mock ham and the rice into the cooker to be cooked. For garnish, she deep-fried the finely sliced tao pok which would be put on top of the yam rice.

A good friend got to try these rice dishes. When asked if I could cook them, hmmm.. Well, in theory, I know the procedures and such but in practical, I have not tried cooking them myself. Maybe one of these days, I will try, yar? Lol.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

A Simple Meal

Today, we had my dentist friend, Hoon over for lunch. My mother prepared for her the chicken rice that she has been craving for since she last had it here at our place. We first tasted this chicken rice dish, an appetiser at Hyatt Hotel years ago at its Western restaurant, which has since closed its doors to make way for Mezza9. My mother has since refined the dish and it is now one of her signature dishes at our lunch/ dinner parties.

My mother also made her famous Tea Leaves Eggs. (She has promised to make them for her friends.) Since 8am in the morning, she started cooking the 120 eggs (hard-boiled and shells cracked) in a broth made from quality tea leaves (NOT tea bags!), quality Japanese dried mushrooms, quality black soya sauce, rock sugar, star anise and sze chuan pepper. The longer the eggs are cooked in the broth, the more fragrant they become. Minimum 10 hours for the egg yolks to be infused with the fragrance of the tea leaves.

Hmmm... this reminds me of "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble." Macbeth (Act IV, Scene I). Hahaha. Looks like, right? Hahaha. My mother will kill me if she knows that I said that of her broth in which the tea leaves eggs are in. LOL. Shhh... don't tell her :P

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Rainy Day

When I woke up this morning, it was a gloomy day. If I laze at home, I would surely sleep and then tonight I won't be able to sleep again. Lol.

When I took Juliane out in the late morning, the sky was overcast but the sun sometimes peeked out from behind the clouds. We went to Centrepoint for a walk-walk. I was really good, didn't shop at all. We were there more to see what to have for lunch. Hahaha. Juliane decided for the both of us when she wanted spaghetti. Too lazy to walk far, we went to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on the ground floor of Centrepoint. Lol. As I had a late breakfast, I ordered a Tomato & Herb Linguine for Juliane and a Tropical Passion Tea for myself.

Juliane went first for the cheesy bread that came with the linguine. I stole a bite of her linguine and found it a little spicy. Maybe I happened to take that bite with a lot of pepper in it. But we realised the linguine was too spicy for Juliane. Juliane couldn't take it so no choice, I had to finish it. I was so full. :P

We took a taxi home as it was raining. When we got home, I continued with my reading of The Relic. So far, the book is a little different from the movie but better than the movie. SA was right, the movie didn't do the book justice.

PS. By the way, I did fall asleep in the afternoon. The weather was just too nice, wasted if not slept in. Hahaha. Yar, excuses, excuses. :P


I think yesterday's DUCK adventure took a bit more out of me than I realised. LOL. Fell asleep about 8pm and didn't wake up until 11pm. I tried my best to keep awake, knowing if I slept, I would be awake in the wee hours of the morning. But in the end, I lost the fight to Sandman. Now I am wide awake. Hahaha.

Maybe I will read a book. Before I went home today in the late afternoon, I dropped in at Serene Centre. Actually, I was hungry and wanted a little snack from Mckkies. I saw a book shop there which is holding a closing down sale. All books are going for only $2. The books were all over the place, in piles on the floor and on the shelves. It was like a treasure hunt, looking for hidden gems of books that lay hidden among the mess. Lol. I bought 4 books at one go: James Clemens - Wit'ch Fire, Preston & Child - The Relic, Preston - Mount Dragon and Clive Cussler - Treasure. A real bargain. Hahaha.

Now, my problem is which book do I read first??? Lol. Any suggestions? =)

Friday, 27 July 2007

What an Adventurous Outing!

Today, there was a family outing organised by my daughters' pre-school - DUCK and Aerophile (DHL) Balloon Tour. I swopped a working day in order to accompany my girls since I have heard good comments about the DUCK tour and the hot air balloon ride. What an adventure this outing turned out to be! Hahaha. Read on... :)

We left the pre-school around 9:15am in two coaches (about 30 children and parents in each coach). Our coach went to the Aerophile Balloon Tour first while the other coach went to the DUCK Tour. Our coach got to Tan Quee Lan St. around 9:30am. But the strange thing is the Aerophile Balloon tour office was still closed. There seemed to be some sort of miscommunication. Half an hour and several phone calls later, the teachers told us that the Aerophile Balloon tour operators were not ready and we would go to the DUCK tour instead and come back for the balloon tour after that. Aiya, wasted half an hour waiting for nothing... the sky was overcast... looked like it is going to rain... Touch wood.

We arrived at DUCKtours @ Suntec around 10:10am. The children and parents from the other coach were waiting for their turn to board their DUCK. Our group of children and parents joined them in the waiting queue. While waiting for the DUCKs to come, it started to rain. What a bummer! I can't take photographs for sure in this weather and I thought there goes the hot air balloon ride too. Hmm... outing not going well. Wasted half an hour and no air balloon ride and now the rain. Let's hope the DUCK will live up to its name!

My girls and I boarded the second DUCK, Darcy. Both Marieann and Juliane were thrilled. "Hello, girls and boys, if you look to the right, you will see the Fountain of Wealth...", went the DUCK tour guide... "And now, we are going into the water...". Splash! DUCK Darcy was in the water. The kids all started cheering and clapping. See this DUCK go. Lol.

As it was raining quite heavily, they had to put down the plastic covers to prevent the rain from coming in. I couldn't take photos at first because of the plastic covers. Then as if my prayers were answered, the rain started to let up. The guide drew up the covers and I was snapping away like nobody's business. Actually, I was the only parent who was snapping photographs, no not just of my girls but also of the scenery along the Marina Bay. Lol. The guide was giving away those things that make quack sounds (whatever you call that) as prizes. A good friend who knew my girls and I were going on the DUCK tour smsed me to answer the questions. Hello, this is a kiddie group. The guide was asking the kids to sing kiddie songs and for those who did, would receive the duck quacking thingy. NO WAY, am I going to sing for it. Hahaha.

When DUCK Darcy made the turn and was heading back to land, it started to slow down. At first, I thought nothing of it, thinking it was part of the routine, slowing down for us to snap photographs. Then the engine went "splut, splut, SPLUT" and the DUCK really slowed down, like 5km/hour. After a while, the engine died totally on us. See this DUCK die. Lol.

We were one stranded DUCK! We were just drifting there with the flow of the tide. We became "Ladies and gentlemen, on your right, is a stranded DUCK" to the other DUCK tours. As the other DUCKs went past us, they were taking photos of us and waving at us as if we were a landmark too. Hahaha. They didn't radio for help until half an hour later. During all that time, the rain got heavier again and we were drifting aimlessly. With each DUCK that passed us, we bobbed up and down even more... there were some who were getting seasick... thank goodness, my girls and I were fine, lol. It was quite funny, the whole situation. Soon, our rescue came. It was another DUCK. They were going to transfer us over to the other DUCK, Orleans, over the water. So FUN. Hahaha. I was the only one who was definitely snapping photos of the transfer from stranded DUCK to the rescue DUCK. Hahaha. After 45 minutes of being stranded, we were finally back on land. However, the rest of our DUCK tour was also cut and we went straight back to Suntec. Not fair! It was close to 12pm. The hot air balloon ride was gone-case. We took a quick lunch at Toastbox before the coaches arrived to take us back to the pre-school at 12:45pm.

Off we go!

Waiting for our DUCK

Our DUCK Darcy


The Rescue Mission: Transfer from DUCK Darcy... DUCK Orleans

Bye bye, stranded Darcy

Yeah! We are on the move again

Nothing comforting like FOOD!

It was really an adventure today. It seemed nothing was going well. But it was indeed an experience to remember, a funny one I guess, maybe for me only. Hahaha. Yes, I have been told I have a weird sense of humour.

Thursday, 26 July 2007


24. That is how old I "am" to the girls I am counselling.

At counselling today, one of the girls suddenly asked me a question. There is nothing wrong with the students asking me questions. In fact, I do encourage them to ask questions as it would help them in the counselling process.

She asked me how old I am? I always thought it is apparent how old I am. Using Gestalt style, I threw the question back at her and asked her how old she thinks I am. She replied, "24". I figured the expression on my face must have been pretty weird. She repeated her response again. Next thing, I knew, I burst out laughing and gave the girl quite a shock. She must have thought, "Oh no, my counsellor has gone siao liao". LOL.

Now I don't normally lose control of my emotions like that, especially not during counselling. But I was so tickled by the girl's response. Hahaha. When I told her my actual age, she couldn't believe it. Lol. And girls being girls, she started asking how to keep looking young. Hahaha.

Well, the truth is I really don't know what the secret is to looking young. I guess I am lucky, born with the right genes, etc. (My younger brother has always been mistaken for my older brother, lol. Sorry, bro. By the way, the parcel is on the way to UK.) So for that, I am really thankful. But if I do figure one day what is the secret to "eternal youth", I will share it, definitely. =)

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

A Spectrum of Emotions

Today, I went through a spectrum of emotions.

I received a letter and the draft CSA from the property agent which is supposedly representing my estate in the enbloc attempt. I am so disgusted with these people who only care about how much money they will have in their pockets by selling our homes. They would do anything for money, probably sell their souls for it. I really hate these people.

Am I going to lose my home? I have stayed in this particular district almost all my life. I am so familiar with the places, the environment, the community, everything. I have so much attachment to this area, so much memories,... sigh...

I was at Coffee Bean to take my mind off things. A former student of mine came to greet me. I was really surprised and happy to see her. I was her form teacher in P4 and now she is in JC2. Time really flies. I am very happy that she remembers me. It is nice to be remembered, lol. We chatted for a while and exchanged email addresses. Will definitely keep in touch.
She is not the first student to come up to me when on the street. At least, that means I was a nice enough teacher for them to remember me and to be willing to greet me first, isn't it?! Lol.

No one is going to take my home away from me! I am going to do all that I can to stop this enbloc madness. Don't worry, I will do it through legitimate means , of course. Not going to murder anyone but I can dream of it, right? Hahaha. Turning my anger into strength... They better watch out...

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

New Note, Accident, Age

Have you seen the new $20 polymer note? I have and I have one. Actually, I didn't know anything about it until today. After we had lunch, two of my friends went to the bank to line up to get the new $20 polymer notes after lunch. They asked for our (another friend and I) help to get the new notes as each person could only get 2 pieces. At first, I thought my friend was joking and didn't really pay attention to him. Lol. Sorry, friend. We waited in line for almost 20 minutes and then we each had to fill out a form with our name and IC. no. before we could exchange the new notes. Wah, really strict. While walking back to our office, friend decided to let me have one since I lined up to help him get the new notes. Hahaha. Ok, I only like the yellow orchid on the note. Lol.

Today, while waiting at the bus-stop for 105 to return home, I witnessed an accident between a truck and a taxi less than 10 metres away. I happened to be looking in the right direction and saw it occurred. First time I ever saw an accident right before my eyes! Thank goodness, no one was seriously hurt. It was the taxi's fault. The taxi was actually in the wrong lane and he tried to cut into the truck's lane. I think the taxi assumed the truck would give way to him or would move to the next lane. Wrong assumption! Next, I knew there was a sharp screech of metal against metal for several long seconds which was really jarring on the ears. The taxi and the truck were still there when my bus came 10 minutes later. They were probably waiting for the police? Sigh, with drivers like that, should I take up driving again? Hahaha.

When I went to see a movie recently, I was asked for my IC to verify that I am above 18 years old. Hmm... wondering if the guy was trying to be funny or not? I mean if I look in my twenties, ok, it might still be plausible, lol. But me under 18?! Ok, that is too far-fetched, even for me! Hahaha. Yes, I have been told by many that I look younger than my actual age. Well, I guess I am flattered when people think I look younger. Shouldn't complain, huh? Better relish the compliments while I can still receive them. LOL.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Noisy Noise

Huh? What am I talking about? What noisy noise? Noise is noise, where got noise not noisy wan? Lol. Well, my next door neighbour has just started renovating today. Yes, with all the usual drilling and hacking. That is noisy noise to me! It is very difficult for me to think, let alone write. I can't concentrate with all that noisy noise. If it is white noise, I can still handle it but drilling and hacking, I can't!

No choice, had to run outside to do my writing. Decided to try Mckkies today... Ok, not too bad lol. I like to do my writing/ work outside. I can get my caffeine and sugar fix - tea and cake. When tired, I can day-dream but yet, I won't fall asleep. And I also get my work done. So it is not a bad deal for me. Hahaha.

Farewell, Harry Potter!

At the stroke of the witching hour, I closed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with a heavy heart. I have finished reading the 7th and last book of the Harry Potter series. It is a bittersweet moment for me.

I started reading Harry Potter when I was teaching back in 1998. It was in rage then and almost all my students were reading it. My curiosity was whetted. One of my girls lent me the 1st Harry Potter book. From then on, I was hooked on Harry Potter! =) I sometimes had discussions with my girls about Harry Potter despite some teachers' disapproval of Harry Potter. To me, it was a golden opportunity to instill the love of reading in them. What better opportunity and time than that to show them their teacher is also reading and enjoys reading :)

I really enjoy reading Harry Potter. I remember waiting patiently for the Harry Potter books to be released. I was thrilled when I happened to be in UK visiting my brother and his family in 2003 and 2005 which coincided with the release of HP5 and HP6 respectively. I bought my HP5 in UK (2003) and lugged it all the way back to Singapore. Lol. But for HP6, I pre-ordered it in Singapore, too lazy to lug it from UK back to Singapore again. Hahaha.

I am happy that I finally knew all the answers about Harry Potter but yet at the same time sad that Harry Potter has ended. It is a bittersweet moment for me. I may need some sort of closure lol... There is going to be a void now for me. What book series should I wait for now?

I think I am going to read Harry Potter 7 again for old times' sake. Lol.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Enbloc, Garden, Harry Potter

Our estate had an enbloc presentation by a certain agent recently. Upon attending the presentation, we realised that they had self-invited themselves to our estate, WITHOUT permission! These people were actually walking around our estate, coming into our blocks, ringing our doorbells at night, all WITHOUT permission. This is truly how low and greedy people can get. I definitely feel very angry and especially violated by them. I can't even feel safe in my own haven, without thinking if the next ring of the doorbell is another unscrupulous agent trying to sell my home. Sigh.

A good friend sent me this link to the mrbrown show (25 June 2007). Listen to it if you can. It is really funny but it also reflects a social problem that could become very REAL in the near future - A half-way home for enbloc victims.

Botanic Garden
It was a cool afternoon so we went for a walk at the garden. It was crowded as usual being a Sunday and I think the cool weather also encouraged more people to be outdoors. We walked around and we saw the Illawarra Flame Tree with its red flaming flowers. But according to my mother who saw it last week, before the news of it came out in the papers, the tree was much more beautiful then, unlike today's which seemed to be nearing the end of its blossoming period.

Harry Potter
Knowing my reading speed and the interest I have in it, I would have finished Harry Potter by now. But I am now reading it very slowly. As I was reading it last night, it hit me that this is the LAST Harry Potter book that I will ever read again. NO MORE Harry Potter. With that dreadful realisation in mind, I slowed my speed in reading it. I am savouring the pleasure of reading Harry Potter and trying to prolong that pleasure as long as possible. However hard I have tried to draw out my reading of Harry Potter, I would finish it by tonight. But rest assured, my friends, I will not be posting my review of it so soon, I would wait at least another few days so that you would have a chance to read it before I spoil the story for you.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

World Book Release: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I had initially planned to line up at Borders at 6am in the morning but then decided to go with a very good friend instead at a later time, 9:15am so that we won't be too bored waiting in the queue. At least, we would have each other to talk to, lol. However, I didn't manage to wake up until close to 9am when very good friend smsed me that he was on his way to pick me up to get Harry Potter at Borders. Ah, panic. Hahaha. Lol. But I managed to get ready in 15 minutes.

When we got to Borders, we could see that some people were already reading their Harry Potter book at the Coffee Bean cafe and many people leaving Borders with a orange coloured Harry Potter paper bag . I WANT MY HARRY POTTER TOO!! I almost half ran to the queuing line. LOL. Thank goodness, the queue wasn't too long, only up to the entrance of Wheelock Place (the side facing Shaw Lido). I waited in line while very good friend went to "scout" around for a shorter queue. Apparently, there were two other lines inside the shop but both were equally as long as the queue I was already at. Time passed quite quickly when you have company.

After half an hour, we both managed to get our Harry Potter! As I pre-ordered my book, I also received a Beanie Hedwig snowy owl. Now I have two Hedwig owls. The first one was a gift from an ex-MOE HQ colleague after I won first prize at the Best Costume competition, MOE Workplan Day 2003 . She was both tickled and impressed by my costume. I was dressed as a female student of Hogwarts - complete with the red and yellow striped tie, grey long-sleeved vest and the robe with the Gryffindor House badge! LOL. Actually, most then-colleagues said I won the competition hands-down, "No fight aready lah, see you in that". Hahaha. Yes, I was a BIG Harry Potter fan then. I still AM a BIG Harry Potter fan NOW!

We were hungry so we went to get a quick breakfast. Very good friend couldn't resist and started reading Harry Potter, from the BACK! LOL. Had to remind him to read SILENTLY as I do not want to know the details. I much prefer to read it for myself! Hahaha. So if you know what has happened in the book, DON'T TELL me! Lol.

I will update again later...

Updated 21 July 2007, 8:52pm
My family went to lunch at an old family friend, Ah Ma's place. I call her Ah Ma because she's elderly and she watched me grew up from a baby. Now my girls call her Lao Ma (meaning great grandmother). We had popiah lunch. It was really fun to make and eat your own popiah creations. Not to mention Delicious too!

After lunch, I had a long nap from 2pm+ to 6pm+. Well, the cool rainy weather was extremely nice to sleep in and I also had a purpose. I needed to sleep then because I intend to do an all-nighter to read my Harry Potter tonight! Yes, I will be up all night to read it and I hope to finish come Sunday morning. Hahaha. Then maybe I will review it on my blog. LOL. So my friends, don't be surprised if you still see me online in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Ok, I better get back to my Harry Potter, onto Chapter 3... gripping...

Friday, 20 July 2007

Tooth Fairy

Today, Marieann lost her first baby/ milk tooth - the front tooth on her lower jaw. Well, it didn't fall out on its own, instead she needed to have it extracted. Reason being, her permanent tooth erupted directly behind her milk tooth, even before her milk tooth started to loosen and fall out. Hmm... gave her too much milk, cheese and yoghurt to eat when she was younger. Too much calcium. Lol.

My mother brought her to see my dentist friend, Hoon. Both Hoon and I thought that there might be some problem extracting Marieann's tooth because she was quite resistant at her last visit to Hoon for a simple clean-up. Anyway, I talked to Marieann last night about her dental visit today and she seemed okay. We thought we shall see today.

Surprisingly, it was a breeze for Hoon to extract her tooth. Marieann didn't protest and didn't shed a single tear. Apparently, my mother psyched her up too before the dental visit. But for a 5-year old to be able to sit still in the dental chair and have her tooth extracted, it is a big deal! I think some adults have trouble doing that. I know because I have that problem. Sorry, Hoon. Hahaha :P

Well done, Marieann. I am so proud of you! You are such a brave girl. Remember to place your tooth under your pillow tonight before you sleep, tomorrow you will find a little something from the Tooth Fairy. =)

PS To read more about the Tooth Fairy, click

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Enbloc "Panadol" - Development Charge

What a piece of good news!

On the front page of today's Strait Times (19 July 2007) is the article "Property charge hike may cool en bloc fever". Finally, an enbloc "panadol" has appeared. Our government announced yesterday that there would be a development charge for the developers who want to enhance the use and value of sites by building bigger projects. The tax payable will now be levied at 70% and this change took immediate effect as of yesterday (18 July 2007).

Although some property analysts say it might be a knee-jerk reaction and not likely to derail the property market boom which is supposedly to continue way into 2008, I think there will still be some effect on the enbloc market. Developers will now be more cautious and not rush/ badger/ harass/ pester/ hassle/ hound owners into selling their homes, especially if their homes are on super prime land, like maybe near the Botanic Gardens or something because of the higher tax they have to pay the government.

This is indeed good news for some of us who have been tormented by the thoughts that we might lose our homes because of human greed. Now with this "panadol" (development charge) , the feverish and rampant enbloc market will at last be "cured" (kept in check). I sound too hopeful? Well, hope springs eternal in the human breast.

Sorry, if today's post seems a bit too serious, no-nonsense, prim and proper. Just have to get this off my chest. Tomorrow's post will be in a lighter mood, I promise. =)

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Friend, Dinner, Ramen

I met up with a good friend, whom I used to work with, for dinner. Since we wanted something not too heavy, we decided to go for ramen. Friend recommended going to Ken Japanese Noodle House. Why not? I haven't been there before. Off we went.

We managed to get a table before the dinner crowd started streaming in. We both ordered Char Siew Ramen and shared a plate of gyoza. The Char Siew Ramen was really good. The soup was really fragrant and tasty and best of all, no MSG! Heard the soup was double-boiled for hours. No wonder, it's so tasty. Accompanying the ramen, were three huge pieces of char siew, seaweed, some spinach and bamboo shoots.

By the time I was three-quarters through my ramen, I was quite full. But because the ramen and the soup were so good, I finished it all. There goes my "I don't want something too heavy" plan. Lol. I think we were both very full by the time we finished dinner. Lol.

Hey, Good Friend, it was great that we met up for dinner. Let's do it again soon. =)

It is definitely double the joy when one is spending time with a good friend over a good meal.

Black Order by James Rollins

I think this is the longest I ever took to read a Rollins book. Not because it is uninteresting, NO, it definitely is not that. Just happened I kept having things cropped up so I couldn't finish reading Black Order at one go which I usually like to do.

Black Order is Rollins' third book featuring the Sigma Force so there are familiar characters such as Gray Pierce, Painter Crowe and Lisa Cumming is a character from another of Rollins' book. Because I am already familiar with the characters, it is a very nice feeling when I was reading Black Order. It was like being with family and friends. I actually feel a lot more for the characters now in Black Order than when in Sandstorm or Map of Bone (the 1st & 2nd books respectively featuring the Sigma Force).
(NB: Not to worry, it is not necessary that you have to read the Sigma Force books in that order. Rollins has done a good job of allowing the books to be stand alone too.)

There is again non-stop action in Black Order. What do you expect from Rollins?! =) You have two stories running parallel to each other at the start of it. This means you have double the action from Gray and Painter. Black Order takes you places: from Poland to Himalayas to Nepal to Copenhagen to South Africa. Mysterious events surround both Gray and Painter at their respective locations and before long, pieces start to fall into place for you. You will find yourself getting more and more intrigued, trying to discover what is the century-old plot that threatens to destroy the current world order... I can't say too much without containing spoilers. That will spoil the fun of reading Black Order for those of you who are interested to read it.

Rollins combines historical facts, scientific technology, the occult, the runes, and the scientific theory on quantum mechanics seamlessly together to create a heart-stopping, gripping, and intriguing novel. I really like the twist in the novel. The Quantum Evolution that is instrumental to the novel is most thought-provoking! (Hey, Rollins managed to make me become interested in physics. That is an achievement lol.) Rollins managed to use science (quantum theory) in his novel without it being too heavy-going, instead it gave an edge to his novel. I personally think this is one of his best books to date. =) Now I can't wait to read his latest novel, The Judas Strain, another Sigma Force book. LOL.

Updated 18 July 2007, 8:37am
The Judas Strain is out in the shops, at least, at Borders it is. Not sure about the NLB, might want to check before you head down to the library to borrow it.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

A New Day

I have an early morning meeting at 9am so I thought I would come into office earlier. I left for work at 7am. Yes, I got here on time. In fact, I was a whole hour early. But it is okay, I am the only one in the office. I like it this way, quiet and peaceful. I like the solitude.

On my way to work, I saw the sun rising. The sun shining, with its morning glory, from behind buildings, trees, ... Since picking up photography again, I found myself looking at things differently. What I would normally pass by without a glance, would now earn a 2nd or sometimes, even a 3rd glance from me. I start to see the play of colours and light in things... The beauty in life...

I was msn-ing with a good friend late last night, actually it was past midnight. (So considered a new day already lol.) It has been fun catching with good friend. We haven't had the time to chat as we did since quite a while back as we are both busy with work. It is most important to keep in touch with friends. To me, friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious (St Thomas Aquinas).

"Thank You Friend I never came to you, my friend, and went away without some new enrichment of the heart; More faith and less of doubt, more courage in the days ahead. And often in great need coming to you, I went away comforted indeed. How can I find the shining word, the glowing phrase that tells all that your love has meant to me, all that your friendship spells? There is no word, no phrase for you on whom I so depend. All I can say to you is this, God bless you precious friend." (Author: Grace Noll Crowell)

A new day has come.

Updated 17 July 2007, 3:26pm
Taking a break now from my transcribing. After a long while, your ears start to go, can't hear the words properly lol. NO lah, not sign of old age! LOL. You try transcribing for say, a stretch of 2 hours, tell me if you can still hear the distinct words, then we talk. Maybe I can let you take over my transcribing work. Hahaha. Hmm... I do know someone who is supposedly the expert in transcribing. Maybe I can try to do a 1-for-1 exchange with him, I go to his school visit while he does my transcribing lol. Think it would work? Lol.

I will be updating this post throughout the day as and when I need a break :) ...

Updated 17 July 2007, 9:40pm
Could have finished reading my Black Order last night but I was in no mood to read after being handed a letter by the 2nd sales team from my estate. I managed to finish reading it tonight. Will give my review of it in the next post. Here are the photos I took this morning of the sun breaking through the cloud cover. I experimented with the different lighting when taking the photos.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Writing, Die Hard 4.0, Enbloc

I managed to do some writing today. I think I am pretty happy with my chapter 2. I have added in new articles, polished up my theoretical framework, presently all to my satisfaction. Was working hard on my writing last night until 3:30am this morning. But I didn't sleep immediately as I thought I would read Black Order to relax. I was wrong, the book was really gripping until I had to force myself to drop the book and sleep at 5am. When I woke up at 8am, I continued my writing. Strike the iron while it is hot, while the ideas are still in my mind lol.

Decided to reward myself after my hard work as well as take a break. Went to see a movie in the afternoon. I saw "Die Hard 4.0". Hmm... it is an okay film if you just want a time-filler. It has all the usual stuff or rather the same formula that comes with all the "Die Hard" series - one really macho man-hero that saves USA/ the day from an evil group who didn't know what they were getting into when they faced off with him and when they held his family hostage. It has become very predictable and repetitive lol.
One saving grace of the movie was the aircraft, F-35. Really cool! =) Yes, there are really F-35s out there, it is not just a creation of the movie. F-35 can do what was depicted in the movie. I think that one is most likely a F-35B which is the STOVL (Short Take Off, Vertical Landing) variant. Ok, to be fair, another saving grace of the movie, the action was quite good. Lol.

Two men came round to each household about 8pm+ giving out a letter. They are the 2nd sales team for my estate. WHAT?! They really know how to pick a time/topic to spoil my otherwise happy and perfect day. Hmm... it seems these people have gone ahead to form another sales team and they are proposing one-for-one exchange versus the other sales team's enbloc collective sales. They said there will be a meeting this Friday, "It's just a survey, you can ask questions", they said. They went on to say they also have a buyer. HANG ON!!! WHAT?! A BUYER?? I rebuked them what rot is that about having a meeting on Friday to do a survey when they already have a buyer on the side, actually 2 buyers when I "interrogated" them further. I hate the lack of transparency, what do they take us, the residents for?? These people are not going to get it easy from me... I HATE ENBLOC.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Sunday Japanese Dinner

Since my mother is back and she likes Japanese food, we decided to go out for dinner tonight at Minori Dining & Sake Bar, UE Square. Again, we had the A La Carte buffet. Between the five of us (3 adults and 3 children), we managed to sample 21 different dishes: sushi, sashimi, temaki, teppanyaki, yakimono, agemono, nimono, itamemono, etc. Didn't take any photos of the food because it is standard Japanese fare.

For dessert, my mother had a Sesame ice cream, Juliane a Vanilla ice cream, Marieann and I both had Yuzu Sorbet. The sesame ice cream was fragrant but I still prefer my Yuzu sorbet which was refreshing with its sweet and sour taste. I also ordered a Green Tea Cheese Cake to try. It was good! It wasn't cheesy like the usual Western cheese cake. This one was really smooth and light. The top layer was like tofu cheese mousse, very light; the second layer was red bean, just right in its sweetness; the third layer was green tea (cheese) mousse with its taste of matcha just right (not too bitter and overpowering and not cheesy too) and the fourth layer was a very thin slice of sponge cake. Together, the four layers created the perfect combination of taste! The Green Tea Cheese Cake is well worth a try if you ever go to Minori, as well as the Yuzu Sorbet.

Happy faces after desserts.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Look, "Harry Potter"!

That was what Juliane shouted excitedly this evening while pointing out the window. NO WAY, it can't be Harry Potter! He's just a fictional character. As I walked towards the window, there was a noise in the air. Ah, I understood. She had meant "Helicopter". Hahaha.

It is the 2nd NE show today. Two CH-47 SD Chinook helicopters, which were bearing the Singapore flags, flew past where we live and each Chinook was flanked by two AS 332 Super Puma. I managed to get a few snapshots of the aircrafts. There were also F-16s which flew past but those were mighty fast and too far to get a good close up photo. The girls were pretty excited to see the aircrafts. Maybe they can catch a glimpse of the aircrafts again as the 3rd NE show is on 21 July.

Writing, Blogging and Reading

Present time: 14:39pm
While supervising the girls on their writing of Chinese characters, I am also blogging away. Thought I might as well make use of the time to blog. But of course, I keep an eye on them, just in case they make mistakes, I can correct them in time.

3 Hours Ago: 11:35am
I bought some pre-school Chinese Write and Learn books for the girls as well as for my nephews in UK just today before lunch. My elder nephew, Abel will be starting his Chinese lessons soon so my brother asked me to get some Chinese writing books and send them over to UK. I might go look for more Chinese books for the boys since it is difficult to get such books in UK. Hey, YM, when will Abel be starting his lessons? I will try to send the books over soon.

2 Hours Ago: 12:30pm
After I bought the books at Popular Orchard, I met hubby back at Wheelock Place and we had lunch at Big O Cafe & Restaurant. Since it is vegetarian day today, we ordered a Side Salad with house dressing, Roasted Mushrooms with Herbs and a Crispy Fried Tofu & Portobello Mushroom Burger. The Crispy Fried Tofu & Portobello Mushroom Burger, which came with a side salad and a light sour yoghurt sauce/dip, was fantastic! The "buns" were two huge Portobello mushrooms and the "meat" was the crispy fried tofu. It was light, tasty and not oily. It was, surprisingly, full of flavour and it was very refreshing. You get your potassium and protein too. Good for those on diet, lol.

Hubby ordered a Spike D for dessert - it is a durian mousse-cake coated with a layer of chocolate. He said it was really good. Sorry, no photo to show as I do NOT fancy durian at all. As the durian smell was too strong for me to take, I left the cafe first. Instead, I went to Haato for my dessert fix - a double cup of Milk Tea and Tiramisu ice cream. Heavenly. =)

Present time: 15:01pm
I am going to log off now. I have to get back to my Black Order. It is calling me. Coming, dear. Sorry, folks. Talk to you later.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Friday the 13th II

Just realised that it is Friday the 13th again, the 2nd and last one for this year.

Nothing unusual happened, nothing unlucky happened. As I have mentioned in my earlier "Friday the 13th" post (April), it is just like any other ordinary day. It is your perception that will shape the way the day will go. Not just for Friday the 13th, for any other day too. If you want a happy and lucky day, perceive it as such and you will have one happy and lucky day!

Believe me. It works. Today has been one happy and lucky Friday the 13th for me. :)

Rollins' Black Order has been most gripping. As usual, it is fast-paced and action-packed! No, I have not finished reading it yet. Rest assure, if I finish the book, you will know. I will be writing a review on it. =) I shall continue my reading of Black Order after I put up this post. So I should be up quite late. Lol. Friends who want to chat with me online, you know what to do. Lol.

By the way, Rollins' latest book, The Judas Strain is out. I saw it at Borders when I was there yesterday night. So those of you who are Rollins' fans, you have a new book for your reading pleasure!

PS. Hmm...just wondering if SA knows about The Judas Strain being out in Borders. Wonder if SA would borrow from the library or buy it. Lol.

Updated 14 July 2007, 1:33am
Ok, going to let my laptop rest. I will continue to read my Rollins from the comfort of my bed. lol. Good night. Talk to you later.

Joys in Life

A good colleague, D and I decided to visit Sharmila, our colleague who gave birth yesterday at Gleneagles. We went to visit Sharm and her bundle of joy at lunch time. Coincidentally, another group of our colleagues decided to visit her too. I guess, great minds think alike, lol, everyone had the same idea of using lunch time to visit Sharm and her baby. So there were a total of 12 people in the ward. It was really lively.

Sharm's baby is really adorable. She has the most gorgeous smile, with a little dimple on her right cheek. She also has such lovely double eyelids which some of us would be most envious of. Sharm wanted us to have a turn at carrying her baby and she was happy snapping our photos. Some of us were a natural carrying a newborn while some needed serious coaxing to carry the baby. LOL. Despite being a mother of 2, I needed major coaxing, actually, I was "forced" to carry the baby. Boy, was I scared. Newborns are so frail. I am really fearful of breaking something. Lol. Ok, glad to say I wasn't the only one who was scared about carrying a newborn. Hahaha.

Once again, Sharm, congrats with the arrival of your new bundle of joy!

After dinner, we decided to have dessert at Tong Shui Cafe, Zion Road (opposite Great World City) since we have a $10 voucher. Hubby was still hungry so he ordered a Thick Toast with Baked Beans, Ham & Egg and a Iced Combi Coffee & HK Milk Tea. Marieann decided to follow her father and ordered a Thick Toast with Butter and Honey. I ordered a Hot Honey & Lemon and a Mango Pomelo Snowy Mountain for dessert. The girls both ordered a Strawberry Tutti Fruitti. Hubby's Thick Toast was not too bad, quite tasty while Marieann's was pretty normal. But quite disappointing was today's desserts :( , nothing spectacular in taste. Definitely not getting these two desserts again.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Life's Surprises: Farewell & Welcome


Today, I rushed back to office after my counselling for a colleague, Poh Hoon's farewell lunch.

I have known Poh Hoon since I started work at the research centre in 2004. I remembered how she managed to get me to do a book review of a really thick book on my 3rd day of work! Lol. Of course, I wrote the book review for her. I am such a nice person. Hahaha.
Poh Hoon is an easy-going person. She is really easy to talk to and easy to get along with. She doesn't seem to have any temper. I have yet to see her blow her top. =) I think she would have been a great person to work with. Unfortunately, we have been in different projects.

Poh Hoon, May happiness, good fortune and success be yours in life's continuing journey. You'll be missed. Keep in touch!


A colleague of ours, Sharmila who is expecting, went to Gleneagles today for her weekly check-up. She was asked to stay for observations. Her delivery date is supposed to be end of July. Looks like she might deliver her baby early. Usually, 2nd babies come early. They can't wait to see the world! Lol. My Juliane came a whole month early!

Just got news that Sharmila has given birth to a little princess at 6:30pm! Her little bundle of joy weighs 4.27kg and measures 52cm in length.

Sharmila, Congratulations on your latest addition to the family!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Current Favourite Songs (some)

Here are some of my current favourite songs from the movies: Transformers, Spiderman3, Lord of the Rings, etc. There are more songs/ themes but they are 30 sec reviews so I thought it's not shiok to share with all of you if you can't hear the entire song/ theme. Right?! Lol. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007


At different times today, different colleagues happened to ask me about counselling. A coincidence perhaps.

What is counselling? – noun Psychology. (Source: Unabridged (v 1.1))
- professional guidance in resolving personal conflicts and emotional problems.

I have met people who have the impression that counselling is an easy job. Well, sorry, it is not! Counselling is a lot more than just talking. It also involves listening. Counselling is not an easy job. It is both mentally and emotionally draining because I have to consciously detach myself emotionally from my client's problems. That's why I can't counsel or see more than 8 clients in one day. As much as I want to take on more clients, I can't as it would be too much for me to take. I have to detach myself from my client's problems and emotions so that I can maintain my objectivity in order to give the appropriate guidance, help and support to my clients.

Although it takes a longer time to see the effects of counselling, I enjoy my counselling work very much. It gives me a sense of achievement and fulfilment when the clients trust me, when they finally open up and share their problems with me, when they finally take the steps to help themselves, when they no longer need to see me.

Counselling is not just a job. Counselling is a great responsibility. Counselling is a calling.

Transformers the Movie - Music Video

I really like this song, What I've Done by Linkin Park in the Transformers movie. Here is the music video of the song. It is a clever mix of clips from the cartoon and the new movie. Sure brings back fond memories. =) Enjoy.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Transformers 2007 - More than Meets the Eye

I couldn't take it anymore. I just had to see it, the 80s cartoon of my childhood, now being remade into a motion picture. Regret it, I did not! Only why I didn't see it earlier. Lol. Yes, I am a Transformers fan. (Used to watch other robot/ mecha kind of anime too, like Macross, Patlabor, Gundam, Neon Genesis Evangelion, etc. Yes, I know I have very different tastes from the typical girls lol.)

Caution: May contain Spoilers.
Transformers is about Earth being the battleground for the heroic Autobots (led by Optimus Prime) and evil Decepticons (led by Megatron), after their planet - Cybertron has been destroyed, for the control of the Cube - the Allspark (a talisman that grants unlimited power). Sam, a high school boy, is embroiled in the battle between the good and evil robots when he bought his car, Bumblebee which is actually an Autobot... I shall not say anymore.

Just to refresh our memories of who is who (I think two or three of them are not in the original cartoon but I may be wrong too, saw it long time ago):
Autobots - Optimus Prime, Jazz, Ironhide, Ratchet, and Bumblebee
Decepticons - Megatron, Starscream, Barricade, Bonecrusher, Blackout and Devastator

I really love the visual effects - the transformation of cars, truck, tank, aircrafts, etc into robots - AWESOME!! The CGI and live action just fit so seamlessly into each other, you would think the robots are actually real and interacting with the actors. The sound effects are FANTASTIC too, complement the actions very well, making them even more exciting. (I think I was at the edge of my seat most of the time.). There is lots of fast-paced action and I am NOT complaining. Lol. Humour is present too in the movie. Bonus. Although Bumblebee and Optimus Prime look different from the original cartoon, I could live with the changes. Just took a bit of time getting used to their new looks. I also really like the song by Linkin Park, What I've Done in the movie. It is the only one not too "screamy" and hard rock. Lol.

Transformers 2007 definitely did not disappoint me. In fact, it blew my mind, it was beyond my expectations. Really GLAD that I watched it. Can't wait for the 2nd and 3rd movie of Transformers to be out!

For those of you (Transformers fans) who are going to watch it, make sure you stay right until the END of the credits, there is something to see...(that's what I heard after I saw the movie). I left too early... so going back again to see it and for the action. LOL. Definitely need to see Transformers again just for the action. For those of you (non-fans), just go watch it with an open mind. Who knows, you may be the next generation of Transformers fans =)

Here is the trailer for Transformers 2007:

Transformers movie trailer (final)

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Arrival at Terminal 2

My mother came back tonight from Taiwan on SQ871, 6:45pm. She was away for a month to visit her family and friends. We thought we might as well have dinner at the airport and maybe let the children view the airplanes from the viewing gallery. However, we went to the airport late, arriving only about 6pm, so we only had time for dinner.

Hubby chose to have dinner at Tong Shui Cafe because it is so HK, his most beloved place on planet Earth. We shared a Gold Fish Dumpling Soup, Nissin Noodles (Dry) with Sunset Egg and Luncheon Meat, and a Baked Spaghetti with Chicken Chop in Red and White Sauce. For dessert, hubby had a Steamed Egg with Gingko Nut; I, Bukor Hitam Mango topped with Ice Cream; Juliane, Mango Tutti Fruitti Pudding and Marieann, Ice Cream with Mango.

Since we were still having our dessert, hubby went to pick my mother up from the arrival hall to join us for a hot drink at TSC. The children were really happy to see their grandmother! Me too. Got good food to eat from now on. Hahaha.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Saturday Performance

Marieann has a performance at Tanjong Pagar GRC Fiesta, Ngee Ann City for GOH, MM Lee, at 6 pm. She has to report to her kindergarten by 4:30pm for make-up and stuff. So we decided to go for an early lunch and let her rest a bit at home before bringing her to kindergarten.

We went to a Japanese place, Minori Dining & Sake Bar at UE Square. We had the A la Carte Japanese buffet. The buffet concept is a good one. You can get to taste different dishes and the portions are small so you won't get too full with just a few dishes. Between the four of us, we managed to sample 16 different dishes and we also had Sorbet Yuzu for dessert. If you like Japanese food, this is a good place to go. If you are feeling a sense of deja vu about this place, that's because the owners of Minori used to be from Hanabi Japanese Restaurant, thus the same buffet concept.

We brought Marieann to her kindergarten at 4:30pm and we adjourned to Ngee Ann City. Since we had to pick her up at 7pm, we might as well wait around the same area. My plan was to do work at a cafe while hubby goes shopping at Best Denki with Juliane. Unfortunately, the little one fell asleep. So I took her with me to Coffee Bean. She slept on my lap while I tried to do work. Work didn't get very far as it was too noisy. I ended up reading a graphic novel which a good friend passed to me, Revelations. Lol. It was pretty intriguing, along the line of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. I managed to finish reading it in time to return it to Library@Orchard along with J. Butcher's Dresden book before we went to pick Marieann up at 7pm, after her dance performance.

My Moroccan Mint Tea

Marieann (in her costume) & Juliane

Since we were still quite full (from lunch), we decided to call it a night and went home.