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Sunday, 31 May 2009

Day Zero: Welcome Reception

Day Zero: Welcome Reception of our Conference 6:30 - 8 pm

I arrived at the Lobby of Admin Block of our institute where the welcome reception was to be held around 6pm. For the conference, I was in charge of the keynoters and their respective buddies as well as the invited panelists and their presentation needs. I would take care of the keynoters and their presentation needs and to convey messages to the keynoters via their buddies. I am a buddy to one of the keynoters, a Finnish Prof Hannele N. However, I have already received phone calls from keynoters who aren't buddy-ied to me hahaha. Maybe they don't need their buddies. :P Well, they instinctively looked for me as I am the one who has been in contact with them since the beginning, starting a few months back so they know me in a way.

Tonight, I met up with the keynoters and the invited panelists as well as to hand them their conference dinner vouchers. It was exciting as I finally met all the keynoters (who are really big names in Education) and some of the invited panelists whom I have communicated with via emails over the past few months and a lot more frequently in the past few weeks leading up to our conference. It was extremely nice to hear them say to me that they finally meet me in person after the months of communication and assistance I have given them prior to the conference. :)

After the welcome reception ended, a colleague and I went to pick up my Prof Hannele from her accommodation for dinner. She had arrived too late for the reception. I thought it would be nice though to take her out for dinner. Indeed, she did enjoy the Chinese dinner we took her to. :) We sent her back to her accommodation before 10am before heading home ourselves as we all have an early day tomorrow.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Presentation Preparation

For the coming conference, I have two paper presentations and both are on the 2nd day. On one hand, it is good as I can get both presentations over and done with on the same day. On the other hand, I will be doubly stressed! Oh well, we will see how it goes.

The presentation on my previous project is already done. I am now working on the presentation on the findings from my PhD study. Getting stressed as it is taking longer to prepare than I had expected. :( I only hope I can finish it by tomorrow afternoon latest.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Proposal Budget

I am working on a new proposal budget and budget justification. They seemed to be easier to work out this time round. Maybe it's because I have had the experience, having work previously on three other proposals. But still they took time to work out as I have to make sure the amounts all add up.

Thursday, 28 May 2009


On hand now, I have a number of tasks to work on simultaneously.

1. Finalise the list of conference keynoters and invited panelists for the limo pick-up service
2. Send out final "Things to Note" email to conference keynoters and invited panelists
3. Work out the proposal budget and the justification of budget for a new project
4. Work on conference presentation slides on my PhD work
5. Trying to stay sane amidst all these craziness

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Singapore's First Case of A Flu (H1N1)

I was at counselling when I received news that Singapore's first case of A Flu (H1N1). Finally, I thought. Well, ever since Malaysia had its first case, it was only a matter of time that Singapore would get its first case of A Flu (H1N1) too. It happened today.

There was no real panic in Singapore because she has been preparing her citizens for the eventuality of a possible outbreak here as well as educating her citizens on how to be socially responsible. The SARS which happened in 2003 has certainly been instrumental in raising our awareness in the current prevention of the spread of A Flu.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Kid's Performance Arts Concert

I attended my older girl, Marieann's performance art concert in school. Her class performed 2 items - Chinese Dance and Chinese Speech and Drama. She looked quite natural up on stage and seemed to be enjoying herself. Well, she is no stranger on stage as she has been performing since she was in N2. I took videos of Marieann in the dance item as well as the speech and drama item so that Juliane can watch her sister's performance. Juliane certainly enjoyed watching her sister performed and also wanted to perform lol. :)

Monday, 25 May 2009

What Type of Transportation Are You?

Interesting. I used to love riding the bicycle really fast so that I can feel the wind blowing through my hair lol.
You Are Bicycling

You are an energetic, driven person. You try to live a good life.

You are industrious and determined. You happily and willingly do hard work.

You are deeply philosophical. You are concerned with doing things the best way.

You love freedom to explore and experiment. You don't like rules.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Night at the Museum 2

As promised, I brought the girls to watch "Night at the Museum 2". The girls enjoyed the 1st one so I thought they would like the 2nd one too.

The main characters in the first movie are back such as Larry Daley, Teddy Roosevelt, Jedediah, Octavius plus a few more new interesting characters such as Kahmunrah, Ivan the Terrible, Al Capone, Napoleon, Amelia Earhart, General Custer, etc. Like the first movie, The Smithsonian Institution at Washington DC, where the exhibits from the American Museum of Natural History were shipped to, comes to life at night because of the Tablet of Ahkmenrah. Funny antics result as Daley went to Washington to try to rescue his friends.

I enjoyed the movie, maybe more than the girls for the laughs it provided. The baddie, Kahmunrah is pretty funny. There were quite a few hilarious moments. I enjoyed the moment where Kahmunrah was deciding if Darth Vader and Oscar the Grouch were evil enough to join his team. My favourite moment was where Jedediah and Octavius, each with a sword in hand, did a 300. That had me laughing real hard. The camera zoomed in on Jedediah and Octavius who did a fight scene together in slo-mo just like in 300, slashing, piercing, hacking at the feet of the baddies. The next scene you see are the baddies hopping on one foot each and going "Ouch! Ouch!". Hahaha.

Night at the Museum 2 is an enjoyable movie, good for laughs, suitable for the family. :)

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Flushes and Chills

Hmm, I am feeling a little under the weather.

Feeling flushed and yet getting the chills too at the same time... :( Wondering if it is due to lack of sleep worrying over the proposal budget (or maybe playing too much game lol :P)... Have been keeping myself warm with hot tea... Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow as I promised to take the girls to a movie. Crossing my fingers.

Friday, 22 May 2009

New Addiction

I used to be pretty addicted to Pop Cap's Bejeweled 2, playing it every night lol. But now I only play it once in a while. :P As I was playing Bejeweled 2 recently, I saw a new game, Plants Vs Zombies. Sounds like a really silly game. Nonetheless, I took a look and a go at it.

Oh gosh, I am hooked now! Hahaha. It is pretty good fun, killing zombies with various plants but at the same time, needs a fair bit of strategising lol. :P Ok, going to kill more zombies now before they eat my brains hahaha. :P

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Mad World by Adam Lambert

I caught the odd performances here and there for AI8. I first noticed Danny Gokey during the try-outs and thought he was pretty good. :) I always thought it would be a show-down between Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert. But once Danny Gokey was voted out, it seemed there is already a clear winner - Adam Lambert. I was shocked by the results! :O I guess that's show biz, so unpredictable.

Anyway, here is the song "Mad World" by Adam Lambert. Love the haunting feel of the song.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The Aftermath

I have been trying to do office work using my personal notebook. It is a struggle for me because my personal notebook uses Microsoft Office 2007 which I am NOT very familiar with. :( I also have to create a separate folder for my office work. I am already missing my old notebook. :(

I have no idea when my new notebook will be coming in. Sigh. Guess I might as well use the time now to get familiar with Microsoft Office 2007 as new notebooks nowadays mostly have it installed on them.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Crashed AGAIN!

My office notebook has crashed again!!! I was just complaining about my notebook making strange noises again to a few colleagues last week. Sigh.

It crashed once early last November and this afternoon, it went kaput. I was quite upset about it crashing on me. But thank goodness, I happened to back up all my data in the notebook in the morning. PHEW. At least I still have all my important data intact. NOW I can only use my personal notebook while waiting for my new notebook to arrive. The order was put in in late March but now I am still waiting for it... :( Where is it??!!!


Monday, 18 May 2009

Conference Frenzy

is slowly but steadily building up with our centre's coming conference in early June. Another 11 days to go. Everyone who is involved in the conference organising committee is very busy with each of our own duties and sometimes, we help each other out too. Although busy, I am enjoying the whole experience. :)

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Waraku de Gohan

My girls and I wanted to have Japanese food. Since I wanted to go to the Esprit at Centrepoint, we decided to try Waraku de Gohan at Cuppage Centre. The decor is not too bad, quite cosy. The pricing of the dishes are reasonable and they also serve teppanyaki dishes.

Juliane ordered a kids' meal ($9.80) and she was more interested in the free toy gift. Somehow she has learnt to read the words "free toy" and she alerted us that she has a free toy with her meal lol. Marieann ordered a mini Asari Ramen ($9.80): littleneck clams ramen with wafu base soup. The serving was just nice for her and she finished everything, including the soup!

I had the Chicken & Kani Cream Croquette Wazen ($17.80): chicken, crab cream croquette, veggies on hot plate, udon, rice, chawanmushi and potato salad. It was okay.

The girls' father had the yakitori set and the shishamo (forgot to look at the prices) to go with his beer.

Although the food seems average (but maybe it's because we haven't/ didn't order the really nice dishes), the service was very good. Oh yes, Juliane got her free toy. Seeing that Marieann was without one, the manager went to get her a toy too. :) I think the great service is what will entice us to come back again.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Lotus Flower

I don't know why but I have a thing for lotus flowers. If I see any, I would take pictures of it. Lotus flower is an important spiritual symbol of enlightenment in Eastern religions because it grows from the mud yet its petals bloom pristinely above it all. Maybe there's another reason why I like the lotus. That's a story for another day. :)

Friday, 15 May 2009

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

It is a breath of fresh air, The Majesty's Dragon. It is fantasy, adventure, and history (alternate history, a kind of parallel dimension/ world if you like) all rolled into one. The dragons are what gave life and essence to the story. The dragons have their own personalities, characteristics, thoughts, ideas, ... The dragons are no mere side-kicks but the main characters too like their human counterparts.

In story of The Majesty's Dragon, dragons are well and alive. What we know as the Air Force in this history is known as the Aerial Corps, in the alternate history during the 18th Century, in The Majesty's Dragon. Instead of fighting aboard aircrafts, the pilots or the aviators as known in the story fought on the backs of dragons! The aerial combats and maneuvers by dragons with thinking abilities are definitely a lot more exciting than those executed by aircrafts. :) (No offence intended to aircraft lovers out there)

The Majesty's Dragon is a joy to read. I think folks who read books by Dale Brown, David Hagberg, Stephen Coonts who write about military, action, aviation stories might find Naomi Novik's Temeraire series interesting if they give this genre (fantasy, adventure, history) a chance. :) I am now reading the second book in the series, Throne of Jade. :)

Thursday, 14 May 2009


I really dislike it when people volunteer my help to others without my permission. It is not exactly doing me a favour. I much prefer to offer or volunteer the help myself as I am in the best position to judge if I am able to help. How would they feel if they come to me citing that so-and-so said I can help them when in fact I can't help and have to turn them down? I feel bad turning people down. It is not a nice thing to do to them and to me.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


My boss is very nice. :) While asking me to look out for conferences in which we can present our project findings, he has asked me to let him know if there is any conference that I am interested in. Well, I may just consider attending another conference, maybe end of the year hahaha. See how. :P

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Mom's Away

My mother left for Taiwan this morning. She has gone back to visit her family, in particular my grandmother, and her friends. I think she was looking forward to spending time with her family and friends and perhaps taking a break from my girls and I?! Hahaha. Yes, we still give her cause for worry. You know how mothers are like. They never stop worrying even when their kid is as old as I am. Haha. :P

I hope she enjoys herself in Taiwan and that she has a good holiday.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Star Trek 2009

It is a day off for me today so I decided to catch Star Trek 2009 on the big screen. :)

I am considered a Trekkie, I suppose haha. :P I have watched every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series and its spin-offs such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise. The only spin-off I have missed is Deep Space Nine. I have watched all the Star Trek movies starting from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, The Voyage Home, The Final Frontier, The Undiscovered Country, First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis. For me, the most memorable movie with the original cast is The Wrath of Khan and the most memorable movie with The Next Generation cast is First Contact. :)

I came out of the cinema all SMILES. Star Trek 2009 went beyond my expectations. I am amazed how the new cast managed to "look" like the original cast in terms of mannerism, their essence and looks too: Spock, Dr "Bones" McCoy, Kirk, Uhuru, Sulu, ... I am really happy that Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock reprised his role as the elder Spock in the movie. It was just amazing to see the younger (and new) Spock along side the elder (and original) Spock. They look uncannily alike! The action sequences were really great and kept me off my seat. :) I can't wait to see the next Star Trek movie and "to boldly go where no man has gone before" with this new Star Trek cast. :P I think with this new Star Trek movie, there will be a new generation of Trekkies. :) Here's to Trekkies, "Live Long and Prosper". :)

Here is the trailer for Star Trek 2009.

Here are my favourite pieces from the Star Trek 2009 OST

I specifically looked for this when I was at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, USA. :)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Happy Mother's Day 2009

It's Mother's Day today. We gave my mother a treat: Mother's Day Brunch at Lawry's The Prime Rib, Paragon. Well, it's a treat for me too lol. :P

For the kids' set meal, the girls had Fish & Chips ($25.90) as their main whereas Juliane had the salad as appetiser and Marieann had the Soup of the Day: Mushroom Capsicum. Their kids' meals came with juice and dessert which both ordered ice cream. Sorry, no pictures.

The only difference in the adults' brunch was in the choice of entree. We all decided on the same entree. We first had the Amuse Bouche: Tiger Prawn with fresh fruit salsa, followed by Lawry's Famous Original Spinning Bowl Salad and Soup: Mushroom Cappuccino. Our entree ($59) was Atlantic Lobster: steamed baked lobster tail covered with tomato bacon cream sauce topping with melted cheese paired with toasted croissant with chicken chipolata and scrambled egg, served with assorted vegetables and pesto spaghetti. For dessert, we had Mango Sorbet with strawberry coulis and I had Peppermint tea and praline chocolate to end off my sumptuous meal. I really enjoyed the lobster tail which was really succulent and juicy and the rich cream sauce that went with it. :)

After our satisfying meal, we went to Muji to get some stuff for my mother's trip to Taiwan before heading home for a afternoon catnap lol. :P

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Happy Vesak Day

It is Vesak Day today where all Buddhists celebrate the birth, life and death of Buddha. It is a joyous occasion and the temples would be packed with devotees.

The girls saw the surprise I asked my friend to get from Korea. They were thrilled. :)

Don't they look adorable in their hanbok, the Korean traditional dress? :) Now I wish I had gotten one for myself too haha. :P

Friday, 8 May 2009

They Are Back

My colleagues and friends are back from their Leave of Absence. :) It was such a pleasant surprise to see them. HRD called them in the morning and told them they are cleared to return to work as of today.

I was really glad to see them. One, the office will be much more lively now. Two, I have got pressies lol. The friend who came back from America, got me postcards and magnet from Grand Canyon. :) The friend who came back from South Korea managed to get me what I wanted for my girls. :) I can't wait to see my girls in them.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The Temeraire Series by Naomi Novik

I recently started reading His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik. It is the first book of the Temeraire series: a fantasy series set in an alternate history during the Napoleonic era. The story has dragons in it as indicated in its title lol. His Majesty's Dragon has been really addictive and the action sequences are unbelievable. I would never have guessed that the air battles between dragons could be so much more interesting than dogfights between combat planes! Haha. :P

I will write a book review of it when I am done reading it. :) Hopefully I won't be too overwhelmed with work to do that. :P

Wednesday, 6 May 2009


There have been thunderstorms during the past few nights, actually during the wee hours of the past few mornings like 3am in the morning.

I don't mind thunderstorms (just minded the extreme humidity that happened before the change in the weather). I thought it is interesting to watch lightning and I enjoyed trying to figure out where the lightning might appear next. It is easier to do that when the thunderstorm occurs at night like for the past few nights. Unfortunately, no one in my family shares my fascination with lightning lol. My girls are both terrified of thunderstorms, especially the thunder. One day when they are older, I would like to show them the beautiful artwork that nature creates with lightning across the sky.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

My New Friend, Abby

I have a new friend, Abby and she lives in America. :)

I "met" her through my blog lol. :) Abby happened to read my blog about my (then coming) trip to America and left me nice comments and wished me safe travels. That was so sweet of her. After my conference presentation, she again left me comments and congratulated me . It was really nice of her, especially when I was alone in a foreign country. I enjoyed reading her comments. Unfortunately I hadn't realised that Abby left comments for me and I couldn't reply her in time before she flew to Singapore for a vacation.

Abby is back in America from her vacation and she wrote on my blog. Now we are friends on Facebook. :)

"Hi Abby. I hope you don't mind that I am writing about you on my blog. :P I am really happy to have made a new friend. Let's hope we can meet up one day. :) Meanwhile, keep in touch and you take care."

Monday, 4 May 2009

A Flu Alert

A flu alert. No pun intended. It is a flu alert and 'A' flu alert. :P

My organisation has gone into full Flu A alert. Two colleagues were supposed to return to work today but they were told to take Leave of Absence for 7 days and stay home. One just came back from South Korea and the other, from America. My boss, who was supposed to be in America and UK for work, was also told to cancel his trip. My boss said I was lucky to have missed the home quarantine and I was closest to Mexico when in USA haha. :P
It has been a week since I returned from Anaheim, California, USA. I haven't developed any flu symptoms and my body temperature have been consistent at 36.2C, plus or minus 0.2C. I am in the clear. :) I was packing some stuff at work today. As I am allergic to dust, I took my antihistamine and also put on a mask... I never had so much fun haha. :P I could see the panic or alarm in their eyes when other colleagues saw me donning a mask. I know I am evil. Muahahaha. :P

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Gathering at Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant

It has been a while since we last met with Juliane's god family and our mutual friend, KL. Since I am in the clear (from flu symptoms of any kind), it would be nice to meet up over a hearty meal. :)

We met for lunch at Brotzeit, Vivocity.
The girls had Mckkies breakfast earlier so they were still full. Marieann had a Soup of the Day: German Potato Soup ($8.50) and Juliane had a Potato Salad ($5.80). I had a taste of both the soup and salad and they were yummy! :) I simply love potato lol. :P

I ordered Geselchtes ($21.50): smoked pork loin served with mashed potato and sauerkraut. The pork loin which were thick slices of ham was only okay. :( At least, the mashed potato and sauerkraut had more bite and flavour.

The girls' father had Narurschnitzel vom Huhn ($20.50): grilled chicken breast on mashed potato with sour cream sauce and mixed salad.

Juliane's godmother and godbrother shared a Platter for 2 - Gebackenes ($32.50): crispy prawns, dory, chicken fingers and potato wedges.

KL had Currywurst ($16.50): German pork and curry sausages with mashed potato and sauerkraut.

After food, the adults chatted while the kids played with one another. We only left Brotzeit around 2:30pm.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Wonders of Nature

I chanced upon this rainbow which was already fast disappearing into the evening sky. I quickly took shots of it before it disappeared completely from sight.

Updated 3 May 2009, 1:54am

It was very humid and I couldn't sleep. I could hear the thunder rambling in the distance. Soon, the thunder got louder, signifying it was nearer. I decided to try to get shots of lightning.

I was lucky to catch the lightning. :)

Friday, 1 May 2009

Day of Rest

It is literally a day of rest for me.

There would be lots of people outside as it is the May Day public holiday. With the concern about swine flu, I thought I had better stay at home. I did nothing but rest and relax. :)