Saturday, April 29, 2006
2nd worst birthday ever
While at the docs, a little girl took a shine to Baby J and gave her a sweet and a sticker. Baby J turned around and gave the sticker to Kiddie E, and tried to get help from me and E to open the sealed sweet wrapper, but we told her no.
The little girl gave a sweet to another boy who had his parents duly unwrapped for him, and.... Baby J went straight to the boys parents to ask them to open her sweet for her!!! so cute but so embarrassing!!!
anyways, Baby J had a bad case of the strep and was to go on another 3 days on the week of antibiotics she already had. Kiddie E had bronchitis. E has worst case of what Baby J had.
we got home, settled them for a nap, while i ran to my company doc, and found out that i too, had bronchitis.
too sick to get out of the house again, we stayed in and i took care of all of us.
Happy Birthday to me.
(oh what? why 2nd worst? the worst was when i spend it in hospital while carrying Kiddie E ;) )
Friday, April 28, 2006
E had a coop out by paying for a long sleeve shirt and vest i chose.
Leng bought me a glorious set of mouth-blown glass sake bottle with 2 cups, hand carried all the way from Japan. Beautiful, i'm gonna have to blog about it another time properly, this short note doesnt do it justice.
Dont have sake at home, maybe can try it with choya? kekeke.
right... shopping for sake after i finish the course of antibiotics.
It actually did get worst
It was interesting but a little sloppy as in some loose threads were not tied up clean enough, like the part of King finding out that Remmy liked her coffee with a dash of jim beam from a tissue he used to wipe her spill, but there was no mention of the spill anywhere. Otherwise it was an ok read, lots of things going on but easy to follow.
Anyways, today's different. I couldnt even sit up straight, the cough did come, and my head was pounding like crazy, had to take the prescribed paracedomols AND to from the stock of migraine medicine that i've stashed away for an emergency. Then i was effectively drugged out most of the day, couldnt even read the newspapers much.
Thankfully CNA's coverage of Singapore's nomination day was entertaining enough. What with the thinking-of-sacking-No-i-wasnt-aware-No-such-thing flip flop over CSJ. Disgrace. To the party, the opposition cause and the country.
Labels: to Despair
sick sick sick
Kiddie J and my cough are getting worst too.
All us will have a family outing to the doc this weekend.
Labels: to Despair
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Just when both girls have more or less recovered, I've fallen sick, the whole works, chills, cold sweat, blocked AND running nose (i didnt even know that it was physiologically possible), full body aches and a fever.
Went to the doc and asked for MC for a day, and he gave me 2 days, adding with a smile that it will get worst since the coughing hasnt started.
faintz. It is still gonna get worst???
Labels: to Despair
Thursday, April 20, 2006
20% birthday discount at Times
Took advantage of 20% birthday discount at Times The Bookstore and went crazy. Bought 4 books for S$150 after discount of $37+. All were expensive books that i will read, keep and reread. No point buying cheap fiction, read once, shelved and never again, right?
Mrs Lee's Cookbook - I cook, but more often i read and salivate at the pics and recipes ;)
The Little Red Dot - A memoirs of Singapore's diplomats and foreign service. I'm gonna read it to get a sense of how we got here, what tricks we pulled, what mistakes we made and learn from them.
How to Talk to Anyone - I'm in the middle of this now, snatching time in commute and just before bed for readings. VERY INTERESTING! I've not been accused of being a boring conversationalist (yet!), but there are times i wished i had the tools to probe more, build a better image and leave a longer lasting impression. This book gives very interesting insights, and almost step-by-step instructions of how, what and what-not. Highly recommended.
The Big Book of Me - Self-coaching. I'm in sorta cross roads, with varied work/ business opportunities before me, and too little time, and not good enough work-life balance (family, eating, exercising, health etc), and this might help. IF i do plough through the whole time and take time to work out the exercises.
Labels: to Read Think
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
i must be growing up
Was boarding the train towards home and as i stepped into the train and made towards a corner seat near me, a fat balding sweaty angmoh boarded from the next door entrance and made towards the same seat. I saw him and decided to take it since i was nearer and i was too tired to look for another seat. besides, almost all the seats that row were empty.
Lo and behold, he continued his way towards me and i could feel him keeping his eye on me.
Then he spoke,"Dont worry, dont mind if i take that seat next to you?" and he sat down next to me, still staring at me, and taking up more space than a single seat.
Now that he is nearer, i can smell stale beer on him, and he had beady blood-shot eyes, a beer gut extending from under his breasts and the body was enclosed with a sweat-drenched short-sleeved shirt that was probably the largest size available but still too small for him.
i stared back at him, and several other passengers were eyeing the spectacle, probably calculating what they'll do if i needed rescuing.
He talked again, leaning towards me "dont worry, i just want to sit next to you"
This time, i see the drop of sweat hanging off his nose, but not dropping.
In my younger days, i might have sat there and see what would/ could have happened and thought "hey! I got there FIRST. and you fat angmoh dont think you big hor, you are a guest in my country! i'll kick you in your balls if i have to."
Now, i looked him in the eye and with a wrinkle of my nose, told him "i dont like the smell of alcohol" stood up and went the next section where there were seats, i guess to the relief of everybody there.
i must be growing up.
Monday, April 17, 2006
KL 12-13 Apr 06
woke up at 4:20am, having slept at 2:30am to ensure that i've got everything covered. got to airport at 5:00am to queue for 6:30am shuttle. thank goodness, we got on without much hassle.
interestingly, i met a long long long time ago friend (from party days) on the plane. Havent met Albert since my wedding day (i think), we've both aged, i suppose, but he wears the look better than i, i think but i hope he disagrees ;)
WORK WORK WORK. meeting with procurement arm of oil major in KLCC, signing of MOU with their new CEO next week if their legal dept gives the go-ahead on the details.
Quick lunch near KLCC, curry fishhead was FANTASTIC. but i suspect that they have given us larger than usual portions + premium quality so that they can charge 4 px at RM178. faintz.
WORK WORK WORK. Then interview and evaluation of 4 companies for joint venture potential. 2 looked promising, old and stable vs new and ambitous. In the end, we went for the former, the latter being too expensive and possibly difficult to control. Will need to return next week to do due dilegence.
Dinner at THE SHIP cos i've never been there. BAD BAD BAD food.
- the servers were all dressed up in sailor and captain costumes, and all of them seemed to be either Indians or Pakistanis.
- they seated 6 of us at a table for 4 + 2 (corner seating), and there wasnt enough space to hold all the glasses of drinks and food we ordered. what? see us no up ah? Surely a bad omen?
- chipped ice ON raw oysters, tasteless liao.
- watered-down oxtail soup (and it was supposed to be their speciality)
- red wine that had not been stored properly and gone to vinegar, pity the Penfolds 306 and 407 that we had.
- Funniest part was when we demanded a change of glass with the change in wine, they offered a set of desert wine glasses. And when we protested, they offered Irish Coffee glasses cos they've ran out of red wine glasses. But when i looked around, NOBODY else were drinking red wine!
- Flattest Fillet Mignon I've ever had, possibly pounded to its death to "tenderise" it.
- and to think their tag line is "Serving the Best Steak in Town"....
- more drinks and talk at hotel lobby and room. estimate 3 of us did away with 4.5 bottles of red wine.
Funniest thing i found in my hotel room:
a mini-stepper. after that awful dinner and those drinks? and at 3am? NAH....
Bah-kut-teh Breakfast at Jalan Imbi. just what we need :)
Tidied up loose ends and left for KLCC with little to spare. Sped all the way, and arrived just 65min before boarding. A bit of time to makan at Kris Lounge. The spread was alright, but the mushroom soup was surprisingly good, even better than those in THE SHIP.
was so tired i fell asleep almost immediately after take off, even without adjusting the seat (it is too much trouble to fiddle with all that stuff when you are only in the air for 45min, dont u think?). and i jerked myself up when i subconciously realised that i was leaning dangerously close towards my neighbour, a rotound Hongkie who was snoring with his mouth hanging open... heng~*
Labels: to Travel
Monday, April 10, 2006
Grrrl. Gonna have to camp in Airport for shuttle flight
reservation confirmed on 1005am flight also no use since we will never make it on time even if no flight delay and we take the train into the city. Now even the 630am also kenna waitlisted liao.... GROAN.
Will have to reach airport at 5am on 12-Apr morn when the shuttle counter opens and snap up 1 of the 30% shuttle tix.... I*#*($*(+*^@!!! stupid stupid major stupidity.
Labels: to Travel
Hokkaido... land of brrrlll...
Leng has left for Hokkaido where it is still snowing. Leng, she who is afraid of the cold and she who feels cold in air-con places... I hope she's well bundled up or her cough will start acting up again.
We dont talk everyday or ym each other everyday, but it comforts me to know that she's just a ym, meal, or shopping therapy away. And this time she'll be gone for almost 2 weeks to Hokkaido + Tokyo, and then to KL almost till the end of the month.
Be safe, be warm and be back soon.
Labels: to Travel
change change change change
Major screwing up my calendar on alllllll the rest of my life big time, hair-cut, chiropractor, picking up laundry, buy new home phone, shopping for Kiddie J's birthday stuff, using up some of my birthday vouchers just to name a few. The family have to be attending a niece's birthday party this weekend too, will i even be around?
The only good thing is i get some reprief in polishing my analysis and proposal, but that means I cant get rid of it yet. ARGH.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Shanghai 24-28 Mar 06
1 day at work and off to Shanghai!
Anticipating that it will be cool weather, i borrowed a cool beige trechcoat thingie from Leng. It was supposed to be for above 10 deg C. but weather there was supposed to be between 6 ~ 16 deg C. errmmm... wear more layers?
The trip out.
Yewch. no movie on demand on the SQ flight i took. the movie was already into 20mins when i settled down. watched "Aeon Flex" anyways and took a nap.
Shanghai airport was huge, and more modern than i expected, but then again, this IS Shanghai, not some back water like like like, are there anymore backwaters in China ;)
Clearing customs took almost a full hour, in stuffy heat. 3 forms to fill. Customs, embarkment and a health declaration form. Fill them all (both sides) on the plane so that you wont be delayed.
i took mistakenly that the weather was turning warm until i stepped out for a cab (after avoiding the taxi touts).
Taxi's are called taxi in english, but 自租车 "zhi-zhu-che" as in "self-rented vehicle" in chinese. Meter starts at RMB10. The locals call taking a cab "打的" (pronounced as “Da-Di”). Ask for a receipt, and it will state the company, taxi number, date, start/end time, km travelled. And if the driver doesnt give you a receipt, you are entitled to NOT pay a single cent, AND then you can call the taxi company to complain, ensuring that he will get a fine and even dismissal.
i look into the cab in the queue to confirm that there is a real working meter before allowing my luggage to be loaded in the boot. The driver threw away what was left of his cig before driving off. AND CULTURE SHOCK. there is absolutely no rule on the road! it was a case of
1. any police?
2. who's bigger
3. who's faster
4. who's got the bigger balls.
not to mention the liberal use of the horn. Borrr-BORRR-BORRR! to warn cars ahead that you are charging up and not to change lane, to make slower cars give way, to warn the next car not to think about changing lane before you are through.
AND the spitting out of the window.
Traffic is chaotic. firstly, they are left-hand drive. on every road, they have bicycle/ motorcycle lanes running parellel along the road, whether the road for car is a uni or bi-directional. So if you cross the road on a uni-direction road, look both sides just the same cos you may still be knocked down by an motorcycle going the "wrong" from the cars. And they have absolutely no regards for the traffic rules, unless they are trying to CROSS the road, and in which case, they will rush ahead before the light turns against their favor, whether cars or 2-wheelers. PLUS they have unspoken turn left/ right on red on every single corner. Pedestrians, you have been warned.
Stayed at New World May Fair Hotel 上海巴黎 for the first nite at S$255...
Very nice hotel owned by HongKonger. Very new at only about 2 years, and contemporary decor if you like ostensious wood and white and gold. CableTV in the room too ;).
Generally good fawning service from all. but for that price, they'd better be. even a cup of coffee costs RMB48++, where in the street, a local Budweiser only costs RMB10, a decent noodle RMB6, and a bun only RMB0.60. There are lots of shops around the hotel, good shopping and food, whether in proper shops or just muchines. There is a chain of dumpling shops called 大娘 "Da-niang" as in Big-Mum's. good stuff at cheap price but no tea. A Big Mac meal is RMB10 (we popped by to take a look but didnt try)
We went to Astor House (Pujiang Hotel) 埔江饭店 the next day at S$133 nett for a superior room.
It was a little creepy due to its long history, since 1846 but rebuilt in 1857, with lots of famous pp like Einstein, Bertrand Russel, American President Grant and Charlie Chaplin having stayed there. The place was high archs, dark wood, dark creaky floor boards, high ceiling, old style picture windows. Our room had a locked door that led to dunno where next to the bed, and i absolutely refused to sleep on THAT side of the bed.
Location-wise, it was GREAT, less than RMB12 to the finanical district or Beijing Road areas, and walking distance to the Bund, and only about 10~15min walk to Beijing Road (Peace Hotel). otherwise immediately around the hotel has little to offer as it seems to be smack in where pp live and worked (and not play)
Itininery-wise, we went to a few places while there (not in order):
YU YUAN 豫院
Historical garden of a resort garden built by an Emperor aka 400 years ago. It was chaotic getting there, it is not remote or that it was inaccessible, but that it was so so so commercialied all around it, and the area was built up to such an extent that you need to pass through a mass of businesses (they actually call it the YuYuan Bazaar..), shops, foodstalls, shopping kioks before you can even get to the front gate (to buy RMB30 tickets).
But once in the Garden, it was huge, and with beautiful architecture featuring bridges, false mountains, nooks and cannies, studies, halls, hallways, stone walks, some parts of the Garden had original carvings, statues, decorations, furnitures. The effect was at once majestic and breathtaking. Just think! The pp from 400 years ago were able to conceptualise such elegant living, beautiful homes and surroundings. Such imagination, vision and wealth! The most amazing thing for me, personally, was being able to finally understand the scale of architecture and style of living as described in the Dreams of Red Mansion. love it love it love it.
Unfortunately reality set it when we stepped out of the Garden, a little reluctantly as it was getting dark and about closing time. There we stepped amidst thousands of pp all shouting, shoving, pushing, spitting and general mayhem.
"Queueing = shoving and pushing". We tried to get some muchies, and the pp were crowded 3 men deep at every kioks with no queue system. Every man for himself, and each surges forward to take the place of the man who had paid and received his goodies, preferrably by elbowing the next man out of your way. E was stuck for a good few minutes trying to get a toehold in.
The next culture shock was the prevalence of pp spitting out phelgm every which way. "AAAHHHEEEM... PHEW!" left right and center without as much as a glance to see that they dont spit onto someone's shoes. It was not just the old men and women, but the man in suit, the lady in high heels and mini-skirt. Even when they were eating roasted pigeons, "bite-chew-bone-spit". Left over cup, spoon, stick from the muchines, dropped it on the floor and walk away. It took a whole army of cleaners who constantly sweep at pp's feet to keep the area reasonably clean of debris. Imagine the army that sweeps your HDB block in the morning is here working 16 hours a day and each person in charged of just the area in front of your mail box....
This, from the supposedly most commercialised (and therefore modern) city of Shanghai. I wonder, do they spit at home too, and expect whom to clean up after them?
Shanghai Museum 上海博物院
Several of the exhibition halls were not open, but we chanced upon a Bonus of a small seasonal exhibit on Jing-Gong (Qing's Dynasty Palace Artifacts) , that and the array of furniture, porcelin, silk road, costumes, weapons, jade, paintings and calligraphy etc took our breaths away. Especially when you look at things that were made 2000 AD, and you cant help but exclaim "zhong guo ren, zeng xin!" or "fellow china men, well done!" Pity we had only 1.5 half before the museum closed.
I bot a small souvenir of a zhang bangqiao painting of bamboos, it was RMB150, and a reproduction, but i wanted it, and was happy to get it.
The Bund 外滩
You are basically walking along the Pu Jiang river, and one side (across the highway), the old financial hub of China, with all the old architectures dressed up in lights. imagine 20 buildings of our Fullerton style in various sizes and heights in a row at night. And on the other side (across the river) the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the dazzling neons, and cruise ships.
We decided not to take any of the cruises and instead took a Ferry (used by locals) across Pu Jiang - only RMB2 per way. Buy a token at a booth near the station, and insert to turnstil and hop on. It was over in less than 7-8 mins to get across. And on the Pudong size, there was nothing except a convenience store and a bus depot. We had wanted to go near to the area where al fresco dining and drinking were, but there were no cabs in sight. so we hastily beat a retreat to PuXi on the return ferry, at another RMB2 each.
Shanghai Book City 上海书城
Fu Zhou Lu - Book Street! My kind of heaven, a whole street of book shops, all varieties and sizes and prices.
We only had time to go to one, and we went to the largest Shanghai ShuChen (Shanghai book city), all glorious 7 stories. . They have different departments for every subject, even a whole section on Hong-Xue or study in the Dreams of Red Mansion. There were even trolleys for pp who buy a whole lot of books at one go.
Everything was CHEAP! IIRC, there is a different pricing policy in China and the rest of the world. The same book is often priced 1/3 to 1/2 its counterpart in say Taiwan, HK or Singapore, I suppose it is to cut down rampant copies and in view of the HUGE market there.
I had to bite my lips and not succumb to buying everything in sight, not only becos they were so cheap, but the sheer variety! In the end i bought 9 books in less than 45min for only RMB142 (less than S$30). The only reason i didnt buy more was becos i ran out of time and couldnt carry more... ;)
Xin Tian Di 新天地
Kinda like our boat quay but not anywhere near a quay... LOL. ok, it is a square where a huge expensive modern shopping complex stands at one end, and a couple of streets of al fresco dining + coffee + ice cream palors + disco + pub + wine bars + shopping + fine handicraft shops etc are located in 2-3 storey buildings. Only prob is there is absolutely no segregation of the various establishments. So you may be eating a scope of ice cream or having a hot chocolate al fresco, and be assaulted by loud music blaring from the pub next door.
While it was hailed as the entertainment area for the younger set, expats and tourists, some pp from rural china and old pp do come and walk around.
We were at a disco frequented by locals at HuaiHaiLu 怀海路, they play top 40 stuff, a DJ console, strobe lights, pole dancers and b-boys too. The music was very very loud. And only if you guarantee to spend a certain amount will you be allowed to take a table. We ordered 6 bottle beers + 6 bottle alcoholic cider for RM360.
The fave game there seems to be dice games. Strange.
Interestingly, it is the first i've seen a pole dancer using classical ballet moves (or were those chinese ethic dance moves?) and being so unsync to the techno music. shudders.
We went to an Irish Pub which was walking distance from one of the Song Sister's mansion which was her dowry. The customers there were 98% angmohs, and the waiters insisted in speaking English with us tho the 4 of us (1 local, 1 Malaysian + 2 Sinaporean) were Chinese as can me, which resulted in the following order:
- We would like 4 kilkennys, 2 large and 2 regular, and 2 serving of fries
- Yes, fries.
- Oh! You mean FLENCH Flies.
They later vacated us from the table where we were seated saying that the area was reserved. We didnt want to move as it was facing the TV showing a live EPL match. They said the area was reserved and they made a mistake seating us there. We moved. 20min later, the same crew was sitting there having his supper...
They had a pool table which was crowded with a group of ang mohs who played terribly. When E went to challenge (ok, asked for a turn to play), they played their last 2 games agonisingly terribly slowly, not becos they wanted to delay, but they were bad, and then ALL BUT ONE left! And apparently he was the best undrunk player of the group. E had 2 good games with him, and they made friends, exchanging namecards :) i just love that man, he makes friends so easily :)
Zhu Jia Chun 朱家脚
kinda like a little su-zhou with rivers for roads, but very very commercialised.
XiangYang Market 湘阳市场
- The great imitation market, to be closed down in June 2006. Where the starting price is often 200% if you are a foreigner, 300% if you are not chinese.
Peace Hotel 和平饭店
- THE peace hotel, there were 2 facing each other across the road, 1 being 100 years old, and the other 80 years.
Shanghai Financial District
Magnetic Train 垺磁 to airport
- RMB50, RMB40 if you have paper ticket. Top speed 485km/hr, over in 8 minutes.
Labels: to Travel
Bangkok 20~22 Mar 06
Was there to check on accounts, and act as negotiator, peace maker, broker and messenger between the local guy who ran the show and the guy (from SG) who invested. Allegations and threats (both legal and illegal, even in BKK) gallore and the local guy wanted out from investor's company, but he held the customers base and majority of the local business connections, we had to give him a separate subsidiary to run.
The lesson i came away with is, know about the business and get your hands dirty, otherwise you're just letting the other guy hold you by the balls.
was in the office when the local pp rushed into the conference room with news of the 4-faced buddha (some stupid news agency said it was a 4-HEADED buddha *groan*) being smashed up by some mad mad, muslim no less. uh-oh, bad omen for Taksin there...
especially understanding that the 4 faces stood for "Peace & Health", "Good Relationship", "Fortune" and "Protection against Evil", and yup, the same buddha whom devotees danced naked in front of as part of their thanksgivings when their wishes were granted.
Interesting night at one of the top karaoke. Unlike in SG, the girls there are cordial to all guests, guys and girls. i had 1 sat with me, her name is Noong. Long flowing hair, a little bit on the bah-side, but great smile and big round eyes, and only 19 (or so she says), i didnt take her pic, but if you insist, she looks a little like Victoria, not Posh, goodness....
She poured drinks for me, brought the cup to my hand, feed me peanuts with a spoon, and sang. One of my favorite songs from time passed, "Zombie" by the cranberries. If i were a guy... She must have read my mind, she looked into my eyes and asked me,"Half-half?" I hesitated for a moment, then shook my head... i'm married.
Have been to BKK so many times that this time i only bought muchies. like my fave deep fried pork skin, something i picked up from Changmai originally. yum.
On the return flight, we were offered dinner on the SQ flight. My companion and I both sat at aisle seats, separated by the aisle.
The SQ girl brightly (as in cheerful, not bright) informed my companion that it was Fish with SPA-gee-YAH-tee or ChickEN with LICE. I knew what came with the chicken, but what came with fish? my companion chose the Fish and i took a peek when she opened the package,
oh... Spaghetti= spa·ghet·ti = spa-get-tee, Hard G since gh how to pronounce italian from BBC, no less
Labels: to Travel
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Another Sat burnt
- too much travelling in March,
- too many big meetings (BOD was here in mid March, trying to secure distribution rights of missing link in our product range in early March, Auditor OF (not FROM) HQ in Japan here next week)
- too many unexpected stuff, MOM case for workman com on colleague's accident,
- too many staff turnover + new recruitment (i shifted over 600 resumes, and have in mind to post a "DOs and DON'Ts when applying for a job" soon)
- and still waiting for colleague to come back from Maternity, thank goodness she'll be back next week... i think...
alrighty, still owing 4 blog posts:
- BKK trip/ local office politics
- Shanghai trip
- DOs and DON'Ts when applying for a job
- Shoes and Bags fetish
(just reminding myself of what i want to get off my chest, not a firm commitment to post wor...) :D
have a good weekend ahead, you all.