making it easier to keep in touch with family and friends

Sunday, 28 February 2010


After my staff lunch yesterday, I brought my girls over to my friend's condo for a swim. Since they didn't know how to swim, I bought them each a swimming float to use. I thought I could just explain it to them how to use it. Alas, they didn't understand how to use the float. Both of them ended up "swalking" in the children's pool. They were pushing and walking the float around in the pool, thinking that they were swimming! Sigh. I didn't bring my swimsuit so I couldn't demonstrate to them how to use it. It would have to be next time. Despite only "swalking", the girls had fun playing in the pool. :)

Saturday, 27 February 2010

"Lucky" and Lucky

Updated 2 March 9:46pm with more photos from colleagues. :)

Our institute is having its annual lunch (with a "Going to School" theme) today from 11am to 3:30pm at Orchard Hotel. I was there on the spot at 11am because I stay really close by lol. I qualified for the early bird door gift haha. :) There were 3 pre-lunch fun activities - glamour shot, fun button and tattooing. I was only interested in the photo shoot and fun button. I managed to get both done without the hassle of queueing up since I was early haha. :)

By 12noon, most of my table-mates have arrived and we were seated at Table 10, which is my lucky number lol. For once, all 10 of us were able to make it, again my lucky number lol. The director gave his speech, followed by the presentation of long service awards and buffet lunch! :) After lunch, there were some activities. I was "lucky" and got sabotaged by my table-mates to be the "class rep" for the first fun activity. I, like 72 other "class reps", had to stand on my chair and provided much laughter to my table-mates as I had to do things like put coins into my ears, tie a napkin round my forehead, wear 3 men's belts, etc. I have to admit, it was quite a funny experience haha. However, we didn't win this activity as we didn't have some of the items required by the emcee lol. There were also performances and one of the performances was actually a repeat of the performance at 2007 staff dinner. Those who were at the 2007 dinner immediately remembered it and started gesturing to me. Why? Because I was "invited" on stage for the same performance back in 2007 lol. Yes, I tend to be very "lucky" like that lol. :P

After the performances, came the highlight of the lunch - the lucky draw!! Hahaha. It was the draw for the top 10 prizes, starting with the 10th prize first. Most of us stayed till the end of the lunch for this moment lol. As it got closer to the top 3 prizes, I was thinking to myself it was okay not to have won anything as I really enjoyed myself this year with the great company. When all of sudden, I heard my name being announced! WHAT?! I had won the 3rd prize, a Sony 40" LCD TV!!! Goodness me!! :) :) :) My colleagues were happy for me too and clapped really hard, especially those from my Table 10 as I went on stage to collect my prize from the director. Told you, 10 is my lucky number haha. :)

Table 10 group photo before Director's speech

3 beauties queueing for food haha :P

Still eating my dessert even though being sabo-ed and standing on the chair for the activity haha
Ok, what else you want me to do? Bring it on! Haha

Listening attentively, one of us might be the next lucky draw winner! OH, that's me!! haha :P

Photos with friends and colleagues :)

Final group photos before "school" is dismissed

More photos with friends and colleagues before we parted ways :)

I had lots of fun at the staff lunch because of the great company. It was an excellent time to catch up with one another, out of the office environment where everyone could let down their hair and just have fun. :) Ok ok, I also enjoyed the lunch because I won a prize!! Hahaha. :P

Friday, 26 February 2010

Dry Spell

According to National Environment Agency, this February is possibly one of the driest February ever recorded in Singapore. February is usually the driest month in the year and the El Nino effect is now making it worst. The dry spell has also seen an increase in the outbreak of grass, lallang and vegetation fires, 92 cases in this month alone! :( That would account for the perpetual burning smell lingering in the air for the past two weeks, especially prominent during the nights.

People with weak respiratory system or suffering from existing respiratory problems are at risk from the haze. I have been affected and so were my girls. :( I am praying hard for some rain soon!

Thursday, 25 February 2010


I usually check my mailbox once a week because I hardly receive any mail except for brochures and newsletters.

I found my new contract in my office mailbox. Thank goodness, I checked my mailbox today. If not, I would have missed the deadline for submission which is today! Apparently, a few of my colleagues were in the same boat too, not realising their new contract was sitting in their mailbox. I am a little upset that we were not notified about something as important as our new contract. The HR department should have sent us some sort of notification, the easiest being via the email. What if we were out in schools doing observations as some of us have to? Who is to blame if we missed the deadline for submission??

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Eye Check

Marieann went back for her eye appointment at NUH. She is in the clear. She still has to wear her glasses (for astigmatism) but only when reading or working on stuff. She is also past the stage of developing lazy eye. :)

Juliane also had her eye appointment at the same time. So far her eyesight is perfect. :) However the doctor discovered something with her right eye. It is not too big a concern now but we have to monitor the situation. She will be going back for another check in 6 months' time.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Bejeweled Twist

Remember I used to be addicted to bejeweled 2? :) Now I have a new addiction, Bejeweled Twist! Hahaha. It is similar to Bejeweled 2 except you now have to twist the jewels to form rows. There is a bit more thinking involved as it is no longer just a straight forward moving of the jewels left, right, up or down. Sometimes to get a row, you may need to twist the different jewels a number of times. It is really challenging! :)

Excuse me, I am going to play Bejeweled Twist now. :)

Monday, 22 February 2010

Crunch Time

It's crunch time.
We are in the midst of preparing a presentation for some people in MOE tomorrow. Have to go through everything to make sure all is in order.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Carousel Buffet Dinner

I don't understand why the girls, especially Marieann loves buffet. I mean they don't really eat much. After a while, I realised it is actually the dessert that they were after haha. :)

We went to Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts for buffet dinner after much pestering from Marieann. The spread was quite good and I think the theme tonight is Seafood. There were plenty of seafood dishes. :)

PS. I think the girls had too much dessert. They are still awake! And they have school tomorrow! :( I better go, going to knock them out. :P

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Animal Print

I would rather be caught dead than to wear animal print. However, since this is only a quiz, I don't mind it lol.

You Are a Tiger Print

You are glamourous and confident. You stand out in a room, and you tend to keep to yourself.
You are highly independent and even a little mysterious. People know right away that you're very powerful.
Hmm, I am not so sure about glamourous and confident but yes, I am quite independent and I do tend to keep to myself if I can.

You are highly sensitive and highly intuitive. You are good at staking out what you want and then pouncing to get it.
You crave adventure and challenges. Your life is constantly changing, and that's exactly how you like it.
Yes, I am quite sensitive and intuitive but not sure if I can always get what I want haha. Yes adventure and challenges I crave very much for and I can't stand being stuck in a rut.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Arab Street, Suntec City and Changi Airport

I hit those 3 places within 3.5 hours. :)

A Finnish Professor who was a keynoter at our conference last June came back to Singapore for a Roundtable conference. She contacted me and we arranged to meet up. Due to an impending threat of strike by Lufthansa, she was forced to take an earlier flight back to Finland tonight rather than on Sunday evening. As such, my plan to take her out on Saturday had to be abandoned. But not wanting her to go home empty-handed, I decided to take her to Arab Street before her midnight flight as she had mentioned that she hoped to buy silk fabric for her daughter.

It was both our first visit to Arab Street. We were both amazed by the large number of fabric shops there! We tried to bargain but failed miserably haha. :P Regardless, we were fast shoppers and the Finnish prof managed to get her silk fabric within 30 minutes. :) Another colleague came to meet us and we went to Suntec City for dinner.

After dinner, we sent the Finnish prof to the airport. We arrived at the airport just before 9pm, with plenty of time for her to check-in.
We were really happy to see each other again. We hope we will meet up soon again, either in Singapore or in Finland.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Level 26 by Anthony Zuiker with Duane Swierczynski

I read a novel, Level 26 by Anthony Zuiker (the creator of CSI, CSI:Miami, CSI:NY) with Duane Swierczynski. It is a crime novel but it is revolutionary in that it went beyond a simple novel. It is a whole new experience to reading a novel.

Level 26 is a digi-novel, the world's first at that! After every 20 odd pages of reading, you have the option to watch a cyber-bridge which is a short motion-picture footage which links one chapter to the next chapter visually. Level 26 not only has the movie footage (20 footage) within the novel, there is also an entire social community created, where Level 26 readers or Level 26ers can connect with each other, watch behind-the-scenes footage, get production stills, meet Zuiker and the cast, partake in contests, participate in forum discussions, and even contribute ideas for characters and plot for Books 2 and 3 of Level 26! Level 26 is not just a novel, or just a movie or just a social community, it all three combined into one that makes it such a unique way of experiencing a crime novel. :) However, there is a downside to reading Level 26. You need to have a notebook around so that you can easily access the cyber-bridges or the movie footage. Of course, you could still read the novel without looking at the footage but the footage make the reading experience all the more richer.

If you love reading crime and thriller, if you love watching crime and thriller and if you love forum discussion, Level 26 is it! You will never read crime novel the same way again. :)

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Back to Work

It's back to work today for most people after a long Chinese New Year weekend.

In a way, I am glad that I am going back to work but at the same time, I could use more rest haha. :P Both Marieann and Juliane didn't have school today so they got to enjoy another day of rest of which they were really happy with. However, they were disappointed that we have to go back to work today. At least, their grandparents were around to keep them company and even brought them out for CNY visiting. For the girls, visiting = collecting Ang Baos hahaha. :P

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Bonus Day of Rest

Usually, there are only 2 days of holiday for Chinese New Year. Since the 1st day of Chinese New Year 2010 fell on a Sunday, we have a replacement holiday today. I think most Chinese are glad for this extra day of rest. I know I am haha. :) What about visiting today? Well most Chinese don't go visiting on the 3rd day because the 3rd day is known as the day for the God of Blazing Wrath and it is accepted as not very good to socialise or visit family and friends. Definitely not good to start a quarrel at the beginning of the new year. :P

I was able to catch up on some rest and read a novel by the creator of CSI, Anthony Zuiker. A real interesting novel, very different from the usual format. :)

Monday, 15 February 2010

CNY 2010: Day 2

It is another long day lol.

For today, we stayed home as people came to visit us. We had relatives who came over for lunch and dinner. It is slightly less tiring than yesterday, the 1st day of the Chinese New Year because we didn't have to go out visiting but still tiring nonetheless.

I am so looking forward to my bed lol.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Chinese New Year 2010: Year of the Tiger

Happy Chinese New Year, Dear Family and Friends!
May Good Health and Good Fortune be yours throughout the new year.

We were up and out of the place by 8:15am. We first went to the temple to give thanks for the new year, followed by visiting of our family, the oldest and most senior members and family friends. I don't have many family here as most of them are either in Taiwan (maternal side) or in Malaysia (paternal side). But there were still quite a few families for us to visit. We managed to get home just after 12:15pm because Marieann wanted to watch her TV programme "Cafe 13". TV addict haha.

We got a bit of rest before visitors started coming to our place for visiting. It was one family after another from 2pm until 6pm. We went over to my aunt's place for dinner and visiting and later at 8pm, we went to an old family friend's place for visiting.

By the time we reached home and settled down for the day, it was close to 11pm. It has been a long day, tiring but nice as I have been able to catch up with family and friends alike. :) I better sleep soon as tomorrow will be another long day lol.

PS Happy Valentine's Day as well.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Chinese New Year's Eve

It is the eve of Chinese New Year. For most ethnic Chinese, it is the culmination of the preparation of the past few days (and weeks even!). There has been lots of spring cleaning, buying of new clothing items for the Chinese New Year, buying of Chinese New Year goodies for family and friends (and for home), preparing the Ang Baos (红包) and preparation of the reunion dinner.

In the evening, we had our reunion dinner at home. My parents believe that we should always have reunion dinner at home and not at a restaurant. They feel it is more meaningful this way so they didn't mind the trouble of buying the ingredients and the cooking of the dishes. This year, we didn't have steamboat, instead my mother prepared and cooked dishes such as fish, chicken, prawns, double-boiled shark fin's soup with abalone, and various vegetables.

After the reunion dinner, I was buying preparing and packing the Ang Baos (a traditional practice) for my parents, my girls and for children when we go visiting during the Chinese New Year period. I gave the Ang Baos (红包) or also known as 压岁钱 (Ya Sui Qian) to my parents and my girls for good luck in the new year. We watched some of the special programmes celebrating Chinese New Year. There is a Chinese traditional practice called 守岁(Shou Sui) (usually practice by Chinese in China and Taiwan). It occurs when members of the family gather around throughout the night after the reunion dinner and reminisce about the year that has passed while welcoming the year that has arrived It is believed that children who Shou Sui will increase the longevity of the parents. I have no problem staying up past 2am lol. :)

Tomorrow is the First day of Chinese New Year. We will be going visiting. It is going to be a long day. :)

Friday, 12 February 2010

Taking the Stage

Marieann told me this morning that she would be going on stage in school. "Why?", I asked. "I won an art competition in school so I am going to get a prize," said Marieann. "You did?! That's great!" I exclaimed. With a puzzled look, Marieann said, "I anyhow draw and I won. So strange." "You won because you are good in drawing. It is not strange," I explained.

Marieann has a flair for drawing but she doesn't realise how good she is. Having enrolling her in Art Club, I hope her artistic skills can be further enhanced and developed.

I am very happy that Marieann enjoyed her art competition experience. I am really proud of you, Marieann. :) I hope you never lose your interest in drawing, in art.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


I just love surprises! :)
I skipped my lunch to work on a last minute notice on the budget. While I was hard at work, the RAs from one of the projects I am overseeing gave me a surprise. The four of them came up to my workstation and gave me CNY goodie! It couldn't have come at a better time as I was becoming stressed and I was HUNGRY! Haha. Their warm gesture immediately perked me up. :)
I enjoyed reading their well-wishes in the CNY card and I enjoyed the cappuccino love letters (egg roll)! It is delicious! :)

Thanks, Ladies for the CNY well-wishes and goodie. :) Likewise, I wish all of you a wonderful break during the long CNY weekend.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Fire Drill

I was in counselling with a student today when a loud "RRRIINNGG" interrupted our session. Although I had been warned by the school that there would be a fire drill today at 9:05am, I was still shocked out of my skin. :( I told the student to join her class first while I grabbed my handbag and switched off the electrical appliances before assembling in the field with the rest of the school.

It was interesting watching the fire drill as an observer. I was previously involved in fire drills when I was a school teacher so I was right in the buzz of things. Now I can actually take a step back and observe what's going on with the teachers, school staff, and students. It was interesting noting everyone's reactions - excitement on the students' faces, stressed out looks on the teachers' faces, indifference on the school staff's faces. As for me, an intense look on my face as I try to read everyone's facial expressions lol. Occupational hazard! :P

After half an hour, the normal school routine resumed. I went back to my counselling but now the fire drill became a topic with the rest of the counsellees as it was the most exciting thing of the day haha. Oh dear, what happened to "learning is exciting"?? Ok, ok, another occupational hazard, once a teacher always a teacher lol. :)

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A Moral to Share

I received a chain email today. Usually I do not bother reading chain emails but this one attracted my attention because it was written in Chinese. I was touched by the story and its moral. I thought I would share the moral of the story here with everyone.


Below is my translation of the above for those who can't read Chinese. Please bear with me if I make mistakes in my translation (but I hope not as I once took a translation course and did pretty well for it lol).

"There is only one truth in this world but in the eyes of different people, the truth changes. Why is that so? Actually, the reason is simple. It is impossible for anyone to take a truly objective stand when looking at things. But more or less, we put on coloured glasses, using our own experiences, our likes and dislikes, and our moral standards to judge. The result is - we see an erroneous perception of the truth."

The moral is really meaningful and has jolted me into thinking. I am guilty of such erroneous perceptions of the truth at one time or another. :( I am apt to be quick in jumping to conclusion, in forming my impression of someone, some matters. I shall bear this moral in mind to learn more before jumping to the conclusion.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Glimmer of Hope

Remember the bad news I received last week? I am beginning to see glimmer of hope for both matters after having a talk with close friends. Dear friends, don't worry. I will press on with both matters no matter how daunting it seems.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Coconut and Spices

We had dinner at Patara fine Thai cuisine, Tanglin Mall. Juliane pick the venue tonight. She missed Thai food lol. :)

We ordered a Patara recommendation - Kong Nung Ruam ($15): Chaw Muang, handcrafted purple flowers with minced pork; Sakoo Moo, sago balls filled with minced pork and ground peanuts; Pan Krip Sai Pla, petite dumplings filled with minced snapper. I liked the dish. Interesting combination, especially the sago ball with minced pork.

The girls shared a Ka Poa Pla ($17): fish maw soup with crab meat and quail eggs while I had Tom Kha Gai ($10): mild coconut and galangal soup with chicken. Both soups were full of flavour. The fish maw soup was light and fragrant while the coconut and galangal soup was rich and fragrant. Yummy. :)

We ordered Kor Moo Yang ($24): grilled pork collar with spicy chili dip and Gang Keaw Wan Gai ($22): green curry chicken with baby eggplants and sweet basil leaves to go with our Khao Phad Saparot Talay ($17): Pineapple fried rice with seafood. All the dishes were delicious! The pork collar was grilled just nice, not too tough and the green curry wasn't spicy as we asked the chef to really tone down the spiciness lol. :P

For desserts, Juliane ordered a scoop of ice cream ($5): Mango ice cream served with sweetened sticky rice, peanuts and condensed milk; Marieann had Lychee Sundae ($12): coconut and passion fruit ice cream with sago, lychee and berries and I had Coconut Panna Cotta Milk Custard served with palm sugar syrup ($9). I loved my dessert which wasn't sweet. It was great on its own without the syrup. The coconut lent the dessert a really refreshing taste and the milk custard was milky enough without being cloying. :)

Overall, dinner was great. The food was delicious, the service was wonderful and the ambiance was great. :)

Saturday, 6 February 2010

CNY Goodies

This is the last weekend to buy Chinese New Year goodies. Well, next Saturday is possible too but it is the eve of CNY so it will be a very busy day for most ethnic Chinese. Juliane and I went to Takashimaya Square B2 to buy more CNY goodies for home. My father had already finished 2 tins of loveletters lol. Marieann has started on the pineapple tarts. Better replenish the CNY goodies stock at home lol.

There are so many stalls selling CNY goodies at Takashimaya Square B2. It is kind of overwhelming for the senses, the colours and the smell lol. As we were there early around 10am+, there weren't many people so it was easy shopping and walking around. After an hour and many sampling of the delicious goodies later, we left with two shopping bags full of CNY goodies. :)

Friday, 5 February 2010

Upsetting News

When it rains, it pours.

After yesterday, I am on the receiving end of another piece of upsetting news today. :(

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Uneasy News

I received uneasy news in the mailbox today. :(

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Mom's Back

My mother came back from Taiwan yesterday after two months' stay. Once she is home, she has had family friends calling her, all very happy that she is back! The girls are most happy to have her back too because it meant their grandmother will be cooking their favourite dishes for them, taking them to the garden, etc. :) The girls are happy too because their grandmother brought back lots of Taiwanese snacks and goodies for them. I am very happy too. I miss Taiwanese snacks! Haha. :P

I really should considering bringing the girls back to Taiwan for a visit. I still have my maternal grandmother, my various relatives and cousins whom I have not seen since 1998. That's really a long time ago. Another trip down memory lane perhaps. :)

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Clean Up

I have two data sets - one on student interview coding (completed by the RAs) and one on artifact coding (completed by me). I have to do some cleaning up of the data so that it is easier to run data analysis later with SPSS. Cleaning up is tedious work, much worse than data entry lol.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Annoying Ads

For those of you who have blogs, do you sometimes find these annoying adverts appearing in the comments section of your blog posts?

Of late, I have found quite a number of such annoying ads, usually advertising for medicine, for investment companies, for online marketing, etc on my blog, at least once a week. They can appear anywhere, in recent posts to posts as far back as 1 or 2 years ago! It is really annoying as I have go back into the posts to delete the ads. It's really wasting my time. Argh!