Sunday, July 30, 2006

That's Not Right!

Tampines Mall And The Moon
After Maghrib prayers, I set off with my son to Tampines Mall to have dinner out and buy accessories for my "other children" at home... the baby hamsters.

By now, a month old or so, they are pretty much like teenagers... in hamster years.

I have to separate them after 3 out of 6 of them went missing from the "Big House," and now found, the rest of the siblings do not accept them to cohabit anymore. Hmmm...

Why? That is a long story, another time perhaps.

Anyway, we ate dinner at MacDonald's... yes my son's choice tonight, where he gobbled down a Big Mac up-sized meal with Ice Milo.

I had the same, but I could hardly finish it with the last few bites, but my son surprisingly finished his meal after he had Chicken Rice an hour before at home!

I though he just wanted a Milk Shake and some fries to munch, but a whole meal was truly impressive. He is a light eater, so tonight was astonishing!

We then went to the Pet Shop in the basement; the reason we went there for. Fortunately found the water bottle for $6.20 and hamster wheel for $13.90 that were perfect to fit the plastic container, formerly "housed" my son's Red Eared Sliders before. Perfect!

Well that is not the highlight of this post.

Calbee Potato ChipsWe next went over to NTUC FairPrice supermarket at the basement for some groceries to top up the fridge and for some foodstuff.

That is when I saw at isle 14, a teenage couple tearing open a packet of Calbee Potato Chips, left it wide open and ate its content off the shelve discreetly.

That's not right! Did I just witness that?

I was shocked but unsure if the packet was their brought into the supermarket, but before I could turn away to continue shopping, the guy went a few steps over and tore another packet!

This time, he opened a packet of prawn crackers.

Oblivious to other shoppers, the couple did the same way. With the packet laid wide open on the shelve, they helped themselves with a few mouthfuls. They would have finished it if they had not realized that I was watching them.

Calbee Prawn CrackersAs though looking for other items, they walked away casually, but their eyes stole glimpses of me from time time.

Suspecting that I saw them, I walked away to the other isle, pretending that I was unaware of what they were doing.

I frantically walked in all directions trying to find a security officer, or at least NTUC's staff, but neither was nowhere to be seen, except for the rows and rows of busy cashiers.

Hmmm... That's not right! Strange.. where are the authorities when you need them.

I just had to make another trip to isle 14 to be sure of myself.

True enough, the couple was there again "finishing off" their snack of potato chips they left a while ago. I would think some people may have seen them, but chose to turn a blind eye.

That's definitely not right! My heart was boiling hot then!

NTUC FairPrice LogoI made another round again and finally met an NTUC staff. I told her about the young couple, their description and what they are doing now at isle 14.

The lady thanked me, but I felt she looked uneasy to take action. I followed her until before she turned the corner at isle 14 and waited. I would have offered to be a witness if she wanted me too.

She appeared again from the isle and looked and me, smiled and thanked me again as she nodded.

Ok... maybe she will call the security or something, I can go about my business now...

Yikes! I then remembered my son! I think I left him several isles down!

"Ayah! Where have you been?" he quipped as he finally caught up with me.

"Will you please stop moving around everywhere so fast!" with a bewildering yet frustrating face.

"I cannot get past these people with this shopping cart, you know!" he nagged at me.

I could only say I was sorry and told him that I would explain everything as we moved to the checkout counter.

"So what's the matter?" he asked, almost demanding an explanation why he was abandoned with the shopping cart. I could not help it but just laughed inside.

Shopping Cart AwayI explained to him about the whole matter teenage couple I saw and I would think they had been caught, or something. My son pushed the empty shopping cart back while I waited at the exit.

To my surprise, the couple went out of the check-out counter, still smiling to each other like they were in a lover's heaven, as if nothing had happened. A daring act accomplished?!

That's definitely not right!! My jaw dropped to the floor.

Well, guess it was their lucky day. They got away with it.

As far as I was concern, I think I did the correct thing. That is life for you.

The couple was a lovely match. They both were pleasant-looking.

The guy was good looking and looked like a smart young man; and the girl, pretty and demure. You would never have thought they could do such a thing.

They make an ideal partner... in crime!

Sadly, their inside did not looked as good as their outside. Teenage dare, or "when you are young, you do stupid things" garbage, I think...

That's not right! In fact, I think that stinks!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mom's 7th Physiotherapy

TTSH Mom Undergoing Physio
This morning was a calmer journey to fetch Mom and Dad for Mom's 7th physiotherapy at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Simply because her appointment was at 10:30am instead of the rush-hour 8:15am.

Both my parents and me have time to wake up later than on weekdays, and take our time for breakfast and be ready for the hospital.

As promised, Mom and Dad was already waiting at the usual covered walkway entrance to their block in Woodlands Street 13 at 10:00am.

I got a Union Red Cab from home to fetch them. The traffic was not bad at all, and fortunately, the cab company has yet to consider raising the fare as the other cab companies in Singapore had already done so.

I could have taken a hour-long journey bus ride Service 168 directly to Woodlands Regional Bus Interchange, but I traded it off for a workout I squeezed in before I got ready instead.

I made a good choice. It was invigorating to start off a busy Saturday.

Tan Tock Seng Hospital AtriumI have to attend to the 2 most important women in my life, Wify and Mom. Morning... Mom, and afternoon Wify!

And what a fantastic Saturday it turned out for me personally!

We reached the hospital 5 minutes before the appointment started and registered.

There were more people than we use to at the waiting area, but our queue number 0040 was called less than 5 minutes after we sat down waiting.

Therapist, Ms Fong Lin was there to attend to Mom.

First off, to the Exercise Hall, where Mom had her series of questions to answer. She has been feeling better after the previous session.

I guess the prone position traction she had the first time really works.

She had to do more varied exercises this time around with the exercise ball, the elastic band and weights. She had to do them with 30 repetitions each but she did more.

She is really psych to get well, and the determination expression on her face just made me proud of her.

I saw Dad was very pleased with Mom's energy... he quipped "... so you are also into weights." Mom just smiled as she continued her side-pull exercise with both knees attached to a 1Kg pulley.

Like routine, next was to Nurse Doreen for traction. Always a delight to meet this chirpy lady.

TTSH Mom Undergoing Traction
Though Mom did not really like to have it in prone position, as she felt kind of breathless that way. It worked for her the last time. so she decided to endure it anyway for the sake of recovery.

30 seconds traction at 24Kg, 10 seconds rest at 10Kg for 15 minutes. This time using a rather newer traction machine Digi-Trac 900. The pulley was at the top as compared to the older machine with its pulley on the front.

She was rather quite doing the traction, I was not sure if she felt uncomfortable and pain or just breathless in the prone position. She said she was fine a few times when I asked her.

I went to the counter to pay for her treatment as she had her hot compression on her spine. It cost about S$58.00 for the 1 hour 30 minutes session, but paid only S$14.09 after a government subsidy.

Her next appointment will be a month later, on Saturday 26 August 2006, at 9:15am. Noted. Phone calendar appointment set!

Then, for the interesting part of the visit, lunch at TTSH Kopi Tiam!

All 3 of us had Yong Tau Foo. Both Mom and Dad cannot resist the sweet sauce, while I had the red-hot spicy sauce.

TTSH Traction Machine DT900 Aiding MomThe food was good, but the conversation that came after that was my favourite. Catching up with the both of them and never fail to reminisce.

I think I had memory blockout for some reason sometime ago, for I could not really remember many things from my past.

Today, I got my memory refreshed with Mom's help, that I had 3 other siblings that has passed-on while they were very little.

I had an eldest sister who did not get to full term. It was Mom's first pregnancy. It was quite devastating to her as she recalled it. She had a miscarriage at 4 months into her pregnancy.

Both Mom and Dad could not remember if they had given her a name.

I had another elder sister, the 6th who passed away when she was a few months old. Her name was Fatimah. She did not tell me exactly how old she was and what happened to her.

And the last one, a younger brother, just after me, the 10th in the family who was about 1 and half year old, who died from a syndrome called Baby Blue.

She did not know what that was, but it had to do something with his heart. His name was Zulkifli.

I do not remember his face or ever having a younger brother, other than my present one who already has 1 son of his own and a girl on the way this October.

Tan Tock Seng Hospital Kopi Tiam CafeteriaHmmm...

And today too, I get to know that Mom had only attended a few months of Primary 2 class before the Japanese decided to bomb Singapore in World War 2.

The most interesting thing part of it all, is that she is literate!

Having attended only a full term of Primary 1, the start of a child's education, since kindergarten was unheard off then.

She managed to taught herself with reading and writing the Malay language, Jawi and read the Quran.

She is able to do simple maths to get herself by and, understand and speak a some English since she was a teenager.

All this, while under the Japanese occupation!

One tough and resourceful lady with a bright mind!

I have no doubt if education was at her disposal then, she would have been academically successful. A career woman, maybe.

Anyway, she has already been successful in her life as a compassionate person, a great mother of 8 surviving children and a wonderful wife to Dad.

That's my Mom... Mariam!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Fooled Me Twice... July to August Meteors WatchOnce bitten, twice... duped!

Yep, that is right.

Too much enthusiasm, very harmful...

I am talking about getting all, so excited even though I know there was something familiar about the email on planet Mars being closest to earth this August. This August 2006!

With excitement, I forwarded the email to both Wify and my son, "Time to take out our telescope to assemble it, because we are going to witness 2 moons this August!"

Great! Taken-in again.

It was about the same email I received last year and about the same time from the same person, I believe.

No, no, the person is nice and I know meant no real intention to dupe anyone, he merely forwarded the email he received to all his friends.... again.

No, I hold no grudges. I think he was duped himself again too.

I had to be sure, so today I surfed through tons of NASA and Space.Com related sites about Mars and sure enough, Planet Mars was closest to earth on 27 August... 2003!

The same date I saw when I checked the website last year and about the same time. What a sucker I was!

I never can forgive myself then, and still cannot believe that I had actually missed the most phenomenal occurrence in space, that we could actually see Planet Mars up close. So close that it was as if we had a second moon. PLanet Mars Closest To Earth in August 2003!
I am still wondering how in 2003, I could missed such astronomical news of this event, oblivious to the ads, the big news that must have been circulating at the time prior to the phenomenon.

Mental note: Once bitten, twice already been duped, 3rd time August next year I will be a confirmed dufus to be taken-in again.

Sigh... I must be getting old, but oh, I so want to see it in this lifetime...

Hey, but you know what?

Every year this time... from today 28 July to 19 August, we can look forward to witness Perseid Meteors and chances are, we will be seeing twice as many shooting stars in predawn hours than any other time of the day.

Anyone gazing a the clear night sky will likely to spot a shooting star, even for a short length of time. Read on from Space.Com

There is after all, something beautiful to look out for in the heavens.

May the force be with you!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Frying To Communicate

Sony Ericsson K610i 3G Phone
Or was it trying to communicate?...

Since my son totalled his Sony Ericsson a few months back by accidentally dipping it into sea water off Sentosa Island, Wify and I have been quite restless not being able to reach him whenever he is out of the house.

Though Singapore is a relatively save place to live in, and public phones are scattered all around, we still are quite anxious to have the one direction communication - him to call us to update where he is.

Just like a watch, we felt awkward when he does not have a cell phone on him.

I guess we would feel safer if this era was still on pagers or beepers too, because that was the best bet then, we just wish for him to be able to call us immediately and vice versa. We feel safer with a cell phone on him anyway.

Hmm... that makes me wander, do doctors use beepers anymore in Singapore? Maybe hospitals will just text to their cell phones nowadays.

Anyway.. coming back to my son having a cell phone...

Sony Ericsson K610i BlackWith that said, my quest since then have been to look for an affordable cell phone to replace the corroded one as soon as possible.

Promos after promos came and went, ads after ads; even second hand phones were considered, but nothing suited what I had in mind for him, until Sunday.

An ad from Carrefour hyper-mart selling cell phones without a contract which is quite affordable. The models on promotion were the ones I would consider buying my son for.

A Sony Ericsson K510i selling for S$298.00. Brilliant!

Cool deal, so my son and I headed to Suntec City to hopefully get one quickly before the stocks ran out.

The deal was good, but with a catch...

I guess I never learn. Nothing is too good to be true these days. You can buy one at the stated price but you have to buy a second set of third-party battery that costs S$58.00, with a warranty of 6 months.

Argh! Sigh...

That would total to S$356.00. With such a price tag, it was not worth to buy anymore... considering that this phone has only 28M memory with no memory expansion slot!

I do not know about anyone else, but I hardly open and close my hind phone cover to slot-in and out batteries. The covers will wear off and come loose. I charge my phone directly and I guess so does the whole world.

My son was clearly devastated! Something so near he could taste the radio waves, but it was not meant to be.

We shopped for groceries at Carrefour instead... with my son dragging his feet in sorrow. Even its popular Chocolate rainbow-sprinkled donuts could not cheer him up... though he ate one right at checkout.

We ate dinner at Sakura Family Restaurant at Capitol Building and a take-out for Wify.

Sony Ericsson K610i 3G PhoneThen rushed to M1 Shop at Tampines Mall to check out a weekend promo I saw in the newspaper this morning before it closed for the day.

I was not too eager to go to M1 initially because I thought my son's 2-year phone plan had still a few months left to go, so buying a phone will require an additional S$100.00 on top of the advertised phone price.

I was fortunately wrong! Never been so glad to be wrong before!

With his plan already expired, we were able to buy the phone at the stated price, so long as we renew the contract for another 2 years. No S$100.00 top-ups. Yes! Worked for me!

Instead of K510i, the choice of other models and brands were opened.

Being a Sony Ericsson long-time fan, we stick to the same brand and found the new K610i was the best value-for-money choice.

The latest 3G phone with a 2 Mega-pixel Camera and another integrated video conferencing camera on the front side.

Of course he would not be using the latter feature anytime soon, but heck, it comes with the phone and the features are latest to last longer before being obsolete for service in a year or so.

Sony Ericsson K610i 2 Megapixel CameraWith the phone, came a good promo to buy a Bluetooth Earpiece to go with it. A Motorola set was recommended as one of 2 brands that are good... forgot what the other brand was.

My son does not really need a hand-free wireless earpiece. He is not a busy executive who needs to talk while driving

He does not even use the cell phone as often as I do, but I have this lingering concern on cell phone radiation. The latest was in my post Techno Cooking Your Brains? of a demonstration on cooking an egg with a pair of cell phones.

Every time he uses the cell phone I felt terrified and guilty inside that the radiation emitting from the cell phone is frying his brain cells. Of course the concern is still being debated in the scientific world as far as I know.

I think I should have one too! I wish to save whatever brain cells I have left for longer. Maybe from my next pay... definitely.

So to put my mind at rest, the Motorola Bluetooth earpiece was the ideal solution. I bought it for him at a promo price of S$68.00 together with a screen protector for $9.00.

The whole purchase worked out to be S$306.00. Wify will flip when she finds out that I have splurged too money on our son.

Tough living in a connected world. You just need to.

Finally! My son is contactable

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Cooking Your Brains?

ULEAD's DVD Movie Factory 5
I received an interesting, well... rather disturbing one from a colleague last week.

Thought I post it here for my own reminder.

It is about 2 Russian journalists, who did an experiment on radio waves emitting from cell phones that can actually cook an egg.

They placed a raw egg in between 2 cell phones.

Call from one cell phone to the other and left it in talking mode for over 2 hours.

The place the radio in front of the phone to simulate or trick the phone to stay in talking mode.

The egg was reported to become warm after 15 minutes, very warm after 1 hour.

Pipping hot after over an hour and finally cooked on the 65th minute.

Imaging that is your brain receiving radiation off of the cell phone when you talk for hours on end.

Wander what will happen in the long run. Of course you do not talk to yourself with 2 phones, one on each ear for 2 hours.

You should have been committed anyway before you actually try talking to yourself like that.

Then again, the debate is still on, depending on which party has the most interest at stake.

For now, cell phones are so very convenient to have on and use, but the side effects are still unknown as far as I am concern.

Cooked & Ready to EatThe best bet now is to use it with Bluetooth earpiece, where you do not have to place the phone anywhere near your brain.

Then again, you would not want to leave it in your trouser pocket when you talk for hours either, you would not want to fry your "family jewels"... as the email stated.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Itching For Money

ULEAD's DVD Movie Factory 5
Every race, culture would have some old superstitions about things that will happen in the near future, indicative from things or situation that is happening now.

Like my very superstitious Chinese friends, in fear of bad things befalling unto them, Malays have tons of superstitions too from the old days, that are still somehow passed down from generation to generation.

I believe some superstitions from the old generation are meant for you to be good, but what is bad about it is that it makes a bogeyman out of anything imaginable.

It thus restricts and hampers the process to explore things, be curious about things to find out more and thinking out of the box, especially for impressionable children. It retards their thinking and character growth from its possible full potential.

I do not like it and am against it.

Starhub Digital Cable TVThese kinds of superstitions revolve around the "scaring tactics," meant to control people from misbehaving - children from leaving the house so that parents can keep their eyes on them, teenagers with raging hormones from doing stuff outside that will shame the family name...

And maybe from granny or mother-in-laws to their sons' housewives to stay home all the times so as to avoid misunderstandings that could churn out gossips amongst the villagers, especially of extra-marital affairs or worst, adultery... not sure about the husbands though, but I am pretty sure there are scary superstitions to not stray.

Of course I am speaking from my lack of knowledge about my own old-time Malay culture. Living in cosmopolitan Singapore, there a few chances of learning or practising the old traditions in depth.

Anyway, these are what I think they are meant for... prevention.

Unfortunately, somehow they are more destructive and than from their initial... maybe good intentions. Humans.

Fortunately, these superstitions are totally not allowed in Islam. It is The Almighty who decides, not bogeyman, monsters and demons.

Having said that, not many people, me included, are superstition-free. I would like to think I am, but somehow the repeated coincidences of things happening cannot escape my curious mind to question could it be true.

The Singapore Dollar Windfall
You know... one time, my Mom was scratching her left palm, she casually remarked that money was coming her way as she questioned why the itch came and went that particular day.

"What?" I asked curiously. "What do you mean money coming in when you have your left palm itching?"

Mom smiled and answered "yes, left hand money comes in, right hand money goes out... that was what old folks said..." she paused, "old superstition, that's all."

From that day onwards, I tend to be a little sensitive to my itching palm to "verify" if this could be true. Of course I do not believe it, I should not, but it is just interesting to find out this myth.

Firstly, when my palm is itching, I would look out for any dry skin, dirty palm... anything clinical that could cause the itch. None? Alright step two.

depending on which palm, left or right, I will look out for a few days of something monetary that may be lost or gained.

Just like yesterday, I had an itchy left palm at work. I scratched it and checked for skin problems, I just commented to my friend of the superstition and that money was coming in for me jokingly.

AIA Insurance SingaporeToday, when I opened some letters I got from the mailbox, I received not one, but several good... no, great gains.

For the insurance I took from AIA, I got a check for S$1,500 as cash-back for no-claim bonus.

Another home-insurance from another home protection insurance ACE, had already banked-in S$133.90 into my account as bonus.

I was pleasantly surprised.

AIA Insurance SingaporeEcstatic to receive something unexpected because I had no idea these "gains" were coming in at all. I may have forgotten about it when I first took-up the plans, but I had no clue of the returns date. Coincidence, may be.

As if that was not enough for me, Starhub Cable Vision sent a note to inform that they will be adding on 3 more HBO channels for free on top of the present HBO movie channel I subscribed.

They are reducing the charge for Cinemax monthly by $4.20 from August 2006 onwards. Awesome!

Thought everything was all great, until I opened a letter from CR Media. I have started subscribing from it PC Magazine from last PC Show 2006. I have won a ULEAD Movie Factory 5 software in a lucky draw I took... sceptically.

Never really won anything from a lucky draw before. Always the first time.

Never really itching for money, but what a good premonition to know money is actually coming in when your left palm itches. Of course after you checked that the itch is not medically related.

Nonetheless, I am thankful for the gains I received to The Almighty, regardless of superstitions... call it coincidental, call it physiological, call it anything, I am just ecstatic for these great gifts... made possible from Above.

Mental Note: Try not to have the right palm itching...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Rice Made Fantastic!

MacDonald's Rice-Made-Fantastic Burgers
Being Asian in this region, rice is normally our staple food.

Personally the younger and modern Singaporeans are already westernized. Me included to a certain degree.

My family and I are fortunate enough to be born and live in Singapore that is clean and modern, continually progressing, but more importantly, peaceful above everything else!

Getting back to rice, I wrote something in my Sunday post Shop For Sunday that prompted me to actually show what a western food joint had to do, to blend into the Asian psyche.

Comes the Rice-Made-Fantastic! promo of a Beef or Chicken Fantastic Rice Burger from MacDonald's.

I tried it once and it was great with the first few bites, but felt full and had difficulty finishing the whole burger.

It is not my favourite burger, nor my son's, but Wify loves the chicken version of it. Thus the little incident last Sunday. Kudos to MacDonald's for their service standard!

Amid much not-so-good publicity of high-cholesterol food that MacDonald's serves, I do not think anything bad about it. It still comes down to personal choices.

But what I am happy about MacDonald's, is the ever evolving zest to top itself every time.

So much so it has become an unofficial benchmark for the rest of the fast food and even retail at large, for its distinctive restaurant environment which is very clean, always-cheerful and up-to-date deco, and especially its service!

Notwithstanding the constant and consistent ads it has in the mass media, these attributes, if I can call them, in my opinion, seem to push up the ante for Singapore's local fast food restaurants and eating places to go with the program.

That is why even my toddler son then, recognised MacDonald's and insisted to eat there when he was still 3 years of age. He is still a MacDonald's fan. So are his friends. Period!

When I say I am somewhat westernized, my son "manifests" it the most.

Firstly, being a Malay, he has a hard time speaking the his mother-tongue language. We speak English at home with a mix of Malay now and then. He speaks English period!

He has to have tuition class for Malay, it is not spoken at all, so it is tough on him. We are to blame somewhat.

He is not alone though, this is the difficulty the children in Singapore at large are facing nowadays. Whether Malay, Chinese or Indian, chances are these children will have extra classes for their mother-tongue.

He is the opposite of me when I was young. I scored "As" for Malay Language anytime. Wify and I will settle for "Bs" for our son's Malay Language tests and exams.

Coming back to our Asian staple food... we must eat rice at least a meal in a day, but he will never touch it. We longed for rice when we were away in the US and Europe for extended periods.

Our son thrives and lives on burgers and pizza, pan cakes and muffins, with the exception of noodles. Oh, not rice noodles, but made of flour.

No rice, even if it is "made-fantastic" in the form of a burger. As far as my son is concern, even MacDonald's cannot disguise rice in a burger.

What my son and I can agree upon is that, both of us will stick to traditional burgers from MacDonald's and Burger King. Rice burgers just tasted... weird.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ghosts No More

Ghost Whisperer Pilot Episode 101
Episode 101: Pilot

Date: September 23, 2005

Synopsis: Melinda Gordon has a gift. Ever since she was a girl she possessed the ability to receive messages from spirits that have passed.

These spirits use Melinda as a conduit to pass messages to the living. . . sometimes this information is too intense and scattered to understand.

This leads to skepticism by the living and confusion for Melinda. But when she is able to aid both the deceased and the living Melinda realizes this unearthly talent is gift to human kind and that it is her calling to help all those that have passed connect to those that have survived.

Pilot Description: Melinda is channeled by the spirit of a soldier who doesn't know he is dead. After researching this man, Melinda learns that he died 30 years ago in Vietnam. Melinda gets in touch with the soldier's son to help them find closure.

Ghost Whisperer Jennifer Love HewitMY TAKE: This wonderful new series that Singapore's Channel 5 has started showing every Friday night at 10:00pm is really enchanting, above anything ghostly.

Spooky, yes creates the excitement of a ghost movie it seems, but more of people finding closures with the things and dreams that had gone unfulfilled when their time was up.

The same too for the people they left behind. The show is warm and has a good plot for the pilot. Jennifer Love Hewit is still as attractive as ever. Love Hewitt.

My son watched it at the beginning with a ready-pillow to cover his face.

The passing shadows, the weired music and the expected in-your-face ghost pop-ups never fail to scare the wits out of my son.

Wify will have a ready-pillow with her too, not watching ghost movies though, but serial killer-type of movies.

Guess my son has to learn that humans cause more harm to each other than ghosts ever do in our daily lives.

Do not really know why he is so "ultra-terrified" of ghosts. Understandably I was a child once and yes, I was scared too, but both of us as parents try very hard to not make him scared of ghosts, but he just is.

Maybe from the many ghost movies we watched on our home theater system. Maybe when children talk amongst themselves. The bogeyman out to get them. I just do not know. Hope it is phase that will go away as he grows up.

I noticed he did use the "ready-pillow" at all during the entire show. He however cried when the soldier and his son found closure.

I was surprised that he identified with the longing, the resolution both the living and the dead seek, and he actually cried! He was totally embarrassed.

I acted as if I did not notice. I have to admit the scene was very touching... sad, wish-could-turn-back-time kind of feeling, but finally closure... warm, satisfied... the best way, given the circumstances they were in.

Hello Boy Movie Poster
Alright... for now Ghosts No More! as far as my son is concern, I think. He is actually looking forward to watch next week about a little boy who does not seem to understand that he is already dead. Interesting.

Now stories with demons it totally a different issue altogether. Sigh. Have to get through that with him somehow. Wonder if there is any good show... Hell Boy?... no, good show....

Heck! For me too sometimes, when I watch scary movies alone at night. Fortunately my fear fades quickly after that, because The Almighty is where I seek my strength... is where he has to seek his strength from too.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Shop For Sunday

Bugis Village World War 2 Shop Houses
Would be great if I could shop a Sunday and own it for life.

Today was a beautiful day outside. Hot though, but just beautiful.

The skies were blue, people about shopping, hunting for bargains. Children holding hands walking with the parents, happy faces everywhere. Heaven.

In the morning, I managed to complete a small project to house the 6 baby hamsters, the product of Puffy and Buddy after several months together.

Bugis Village DHL Ballon Over Parco JunctionThe present cage was getting a little too crowded they started to fight for personal space.

Went to Marine Parade Promenade shopping for a larger hamster cage last evening. The only one that fit my choice was a... bird cage.

Yep, a Canary cage to be exact. A 2.5 by 1.5 feet and 1.5 feet high mansion for the hamsters. Perfect!

The bars are narrow enough just like the hamsters, the large space with high ceiling was ideal to make a double decked home for the babies.

With the leftover of the plastic corrugated plastic boards from Wify's shop project, the cage was ready with all the items hamsters would need in the cage in an hour's time. Yes!

My son had the honour of introducing the babies to their new home, while Wify watched with glee. Everyone of us was excited and so happy for the babies.

Their parents now have more private space for themselves. Yikes! More babies?

Chic Couture with Azi at the Helm
We had lunch at home and it was time for Wify and I to go to the shop for some last few changes before we call the shop revamp project as completed.

To aid her to retrieve replenishment from storage when items are sold, I have bought her individual plastic bins to place on 2 rack.

Segregated items in dedicated bins will lessen, if not eliminate the time to search for it. Counting stocks will be less of a hassle as a result too.

A few more touch-ups with the fixing of under-lights between display racks made the shop seemed a little less narrow-looking and bigger.

Bugis Village MacDonald's Nice GestureI had to take some photos of the new revamped display. Looks good for a D.I.Y. Looks good a little start-up shop.

Mission accomplished in 3 hours. Yes!

Ready to go home first, but before that, I went out to buy Wify MacDonald's for dinner.

The day was so beautiful and bright that I had to take more photos of the bustling Bugis Village.
Fantastic crowd! Wish they would go upstairs and find our shop.

The day was even nicer when a little inconvenience turned pleasant.

My order was short of one Rice Fantastic Chicken Burger when I realized it after getting back to the shop.
I had to go back to MacDonald's to inform the staff of the shortage.

Bugis Village MacDonald's Nice GestureWithout any question, the staff apologized with a sincere smile and offered an extra McChicken Burger as a gesture for the inconvenience they would have caused.

"My apology again, Sir. Have a nice day," he said with a smile.

A nice day I had indeed. Beautiful Sunday.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Mom's 6th Physiotherapy

TTSH Dad Helping Mom Exercising
This weekend is going to be quite a ride for me.

Ride, I mean, I will be travelling here and there, helping out as much as I can accomplish within these two days. There goes my workout at the gym Sunday afternoon, it seems.

This morning was a dozy for me to start of my list of chores to do.

I had to take Mom for her 6th physio session at TTSH. The appointment was set at 8:30am, but I woke up at 7:30am instead of meeting my parents at the usual place for the pick-up.

TTSH Mom Doing 1Kg Resistance ExercisesCalled them immediately and they were late waking-up too. We had to shift the pick-up time to 8:00am instead.

I had the shortest bath time and lightning-fast dress-up time, I would have been proud off myself, just to leave home as early to catch a cab and pick my folks up at 8:00am in Woodlands.

Sure enough, getting a cab was a breeze since the fare hike. The traffic condition was ideal and I reached the pick-up point in about than 15 minutes, then off to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

The total cab fare was $$28.90, a jump of about S$4.00 extra from our usual fare. Something that I cannot help to avoid commuting by means of a cab, with Mom and her wheelchair.

We were 10 minutes late for the appointment, but there were still not many patients.

Mom still experienced cramps at her right pelvic region, though lesser in frequency, but still occurring.

The attending Physiotherapist Ms Fong Lin, was concern that Mom was not recovering as fast as she had hoped, so Mom had to undergo some additional form of exercises to strengthen her pelvic region with weights and resistance now.

TTSH Mom Doing Resistance ExercisesWith rubber band strips for resistance and doing pelvic thrusts using a big ball, she had to exercise a bit more strenuously now.

Though is was taking her time to complete, this time she actually perspired much.

She had to go through the traction today in a prone instead of the usual supine position.

This nice and friendly attending nurse was worried as some patients have experience breathlessness and nausea in the prone position.

She was concern with setting-up the traction in this position for Mom, she had to confirm the written traction slip with the Physiotherapist was correct.

It was the right instruction, Ms Fong Lin had to try a different method on Mom.

The prone position was quite awkward and at times painful for Mom, but she persevered, all for the sake of recovery. She wants to get better badly.

She wants to be free of this condition and go touring along with me and my family like before.

She is motivated. I can see that in her. I am happy and proud of her.

TTSH Mom Undergoing Traction in Prone PositionThe last routine is the warm compression for 10 minutes as she sat in her wheelchair. Today's bill amounted to S$14.90 after an 80% government subsidy.

And like routine, we ended the session with an early lunch. Today I had Thai Fried Rice set while Mom and Dad both had their favourite Yong Tau Foo with noodles.

It was nice to catch up on things they do and some relatives that had come by to see them and how they were doing. Some serious topics too, but just too private to write down.

My folks had a surprise for Azi when I sent them home. This time, they had a set of 4 beautiful Soup Bowls they already bought from Shing Siong supermarket in Woodlands, for us to use.

The bowls were too "pretty" to use, but better as decorative pieces in the kitchen instead as Wify puts it.

Before, that I stopped by my Sis' place at Woodlands Avenue 4. She requested that I stopped by to give some Chocolate-chip cookies and Eclairs she baked for us.

Woodlands Avenue 4I had to take Service 911... "not with "E" you know, as it terminates at the Bus Interchange before you actually reach there" as Dad's stressed when I asked him for directions.

Oh great, my favourite Bendy-Bus! Just like the kid in me still, I like to ride on it very much.

She loves to bake cakes and cookies and have been taking orders to cater for special occasions like engagements, weddings and festive seasons.

Very talented baker, this lovable Sis of mine. Closest sibling to me.

We chatted a little at her home, with her two cats purring and busy at my legs trying to get attention from their guest.

It rained heavily as my service 168 from Woodlands left the bus interchange. The ride home was quiet and cosy. Always looking forward to this ride home.

Like always, the humming of the bus as it traveled on the SLE and TPE highways was just therapeutic to me. I am allowed to get lost in my thoughts for the length of the journey.

Looking out the window while my MP3 player played my favourite songs. Some lyrics hit home as I take the ride home. Has been quite a pleasant day as it turned out for me so far.

Life is good.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Freaked Me Out!

You Are 20% Control Freak

There's no way you're a control freak. You're totally laid back - and able to take life as it comes.

While you definitely have a healthy mental attitude, don't get suckered into letting someone control you.

The result is quite accurate, but the picture that came with it is a lady. Did I just take a Lady's Personality Test?! Yikes! Not a control freak but it freaked me out nonetheless!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tried And Tested

Alright now... what I said yesterday about my will to stay strong, was tested today.

I had an early conference call with our US customer this morning, so I had to be at work before 8:00am to get my stuff and be at the conference room in time.

Left home and was at the bus stop at Tampines Avenue 9 by 7:30am, but missed the bus instead. I saw it left as it turned the corner to Avenue 10.

It was already 7:39am when I looked at my watch. I was going to be late for the concall, definitely. I had to take the cab for today.

There were at least 2 empty cabs easily, crusing the road when I decided to switch for a cab.

Knowing that the fare has already risen, there are now ample empty cabs for these few days to at least a week while people get adjusted to taking alternative transportation.

Else they just "close an eye" and start taking the cab again. As long as you are willing to fork out the money, nothing really matters anymore.

I got Mr. Sahat Mohamed as my cab driver this morning. As if encouring people to take cabs again, he was jovial, chatting and... the first time in my cab-taking, morning-rush hour life had a discount of S$1.00 off the metred fare.

That was incredible for a cab driver to give such offer at his own expense.

The fare turned-out to be S$11.70 from what used to be about S$9.60. A S$2.00 or 20% increase for a trip to work with no delays, jams, etc included yet.

Too rich for my blood. A better income for the cab drivers, but not from me.

Guess I will go public after-all and as a perk, save on money.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I'm Going Public

SBS Service 72 Morning Trip
Yes, I am.

No, no, not about any scandalous or juicy matters. Sorry to disappoint anyone.

Well... it is just about me taking the public bus to work again, after years of taking the more "private" cab daily. The trip from Tampines Avenue 9 to Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5.

The reason is simply because the cab fare has risen starting today to curb "overuse" of the cab service as some newspaper columnist said, or maybe to stabilize "demand over supply" as some may have put it.

Then again, maybe simply because it is already time for a "correction" of the fare being the last adjustment some 12 years ago. It very well be a combination of these reasons altogether.

So, to curb "overuse" of the service by yours truly, and "over-use" of my money on my monthly transport allowance, I have decided with great might to wake-up earlier and take the public bus Service 72 from home to work.

It is fortunately a one direct bus route to and fro, which is really, really convenient for me, but my laziness got the best of me.

I had to fork out about S$10.00 daily per trip of 11km from home to work for 22 days per month that works out to be about $220.00 before extras when I had to call for one which is about $4.00 each call during the peak hours.

Going back from work has always been by bus, which is about S$1.60 per trip or about S$35.20 per month.

So my transport expenses monthly have been hovering between S$250.00 and S$300.00. Still cheaper than owning a car, but way too lavish if compared to taking the bus.

Now it is only $3.20 each a day or works out to be S$70.40! A savings of about S$230.00 per month if I wish to sacrifice sleeping time. Well... not really, I can go to bed earlier.

Guess it really boils down to will power. There is always a way!

Hope the "way" will stay and I can better spend the money I will be saving on something I important or even simply saving it altogether.

SBS Service 72 Morning Trip At Hougang
What I am not willing to spend more on, I am willing to make amends by waking up an hour earlier for. On the revelation side, it proves to me how lazy I am every morning. I am ashamed.

Well... cab drivers need to earn a living too. I figured it was a win-win situation then, until the fare adjustment... I will lose.

Before today, peak hour surcharge was S$1.00 added onto the step-in metered fare of S$2.40. Starting today, peak hour surcharge is now doubled with the step-in fare an extra 10 cents.

The distance chargeable is now shorter for the meter to jump 10 cents each time, which I care not to elaborate. It is just too expensive for my blood.

The bus takes 35 minutes on the journey alone excluding waiting time of about 5 to 10 minutes, while the cab takes 15 minutes, if you can get one.

One is slow and the latter is fast. One is with a definitely frequency, the latter is random... luck is sometimes a suspect?

And what a will to change! I mean... it takes the government to make me save on money! Guess it works on on citizen, whatever the reason for the fare hike according to everyone may be.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Guess I'm Eric

Muhd Imran, you're like Eric

Welcome to the basement.

Like Eric, you're a welcoming and friendly character people call when they want someone to talk to, some advice, or a comfortable place to hang out.

You've got a good heart and a good head on your shoulders. A cool pad wouldn't hurt either.

With your practical nature, you don't get too carried away with pie in the sky ideas or fantastical notions like aliens and UFOs.

You've got your feet on the ground and your eye on the future. And your finely tuned funny bone leaves people in stitches.

So keep inviting people into your life. You'll be sure to have plenty of uproarious good times. Awesome!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Year Wiser

Today is a special day, just like yesterday. No... I did not double-posted my entry.

Today Wify has turned... another year wiser. Just a day after I turned 40.

Happy Birthday!
To my dearest wife, my partner in life's journey, and my date in heaven.

She is a daughter, a wife, a mother, a home-maker, a business woman... all in one package, holding together beautifully. A heaven sent.

It was unfortunate that I could not wish her Happy Birthday this morning, since I had to leave home very early to accompany my Mom for her 5th physiotherapy session at TTSH.

I left at 7:00am while she was still asleep from the late closing hour at the shop last night. It was wonderful business for her last night because Customers started to come in "queue numbered-like," one after the other and actually made purchases, that made her closed the shop way after the closing hours.

Knowingly yesterday was payday, and the Customers who came browsing the last few weeks came back decided and made purchases of the ones they had eyed for.

The sale was surprisingly great, way beyond our expectations. It was like a her birthday gift.

So, to the love of my life... I wish you joy and happiness, I wish for your good health and prosperity in abundance. I wish you love for the every-women you are...

Happy Birthday
I Love You