Sunday, December 31, 2006

Salam Eidul Adha

To All Muslims In The World,
Have A Blessed & Enlightened Day!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Wear To Countdown?

Siloso Beach @ Sentosa Island Resort Beach Party
So! After I left the office at 7:00pm this evening, I am looking at 4 days of no-work bliss!

Well, I would have gone home earlier if not for the year-end Physical Inventory that I had to be "a leader" for. So, only when all the counting tags were accounted for and the discrepancies not to alarming a variance, we were "released" to go our separate ways into the festive fun of a long weekend... returning to work only on Wednesday, 3 January 2007. Yes!

And yes, the end of 2006 is so very near!

New Year's Eve @ Expo Singapore MamboHolla PartyTo mark this year's end, there are now so many venues to choose from to celebrate the countdown to 2007... evidently due to the booming economy.

Let me see now... which to choose from... indoors or outdoors...

Wait, indoors need cover charge and more to dancing and drinking... parties for the "yuppies" and the young like NYE@Expo.

Then, there is the teenagers bopping with their heart-throbs in a live concert at VivoCity with local as well as overseas celebrities.

And then there is one on top of Mount Faber where the cable car tower to Sentosa starts. There will be man-made snow fall at the stroke of midnight at the Jewel Box just like on Christmas eve.

Err... too high-class for my blood. More suitable for the elite group with lots of cash to spend while merry making with their families and friends.

There is a more casual and fun countdown at Sentosa Island Resort's Siloso Beach where there will be celebrations with MTV VJs and parties... foam parties for the tanned and toned youngsters, maybe.

Nah! Too young for this old man. Besides, it will never pass Wifey's stringent requirements for an approval on family fun.

Jewel Box @ Mount Faber Cable Car Tower
So the winner, the one at the top of my choice list is Marina Bay! An outdoor event with the largest fireworks at the stroke of midnight as promised come rain or shine... moon-shine that is...err minus the illegal brewing of course, since the fireworks is going to be at midnight.

There will be outdoor celebrations at the heartlands too, with mini fireworks and fun-fairs... a more neighbourly and hassle-free celebrations. A convenient venue since you will not have that much a difficulty to get a ride home on public transport after the celebrations.

For Imran's Family outing, we have to be prepared for the Marina Bay Fireworks!

Countdown Fireworks @ Marina Bay
This year, thousands of lighted-sphere are floating in the bay with written wishes from the many who actually had the chance to write them on the spheres, before it was led to the bay for the synchronised lights extravaganza.

Promised to be visually stunning, with accompanying music while the fireworks light up the city skyline in the hope of having a good 2007 for everyone. A musical celebration afterwards.

That answers where to go for the countdown... now what to wear for the event?

Not that I am vain or there is a dress code, but just to be practical and be prepared for to be as comfortable for that evening. So, light clothing is good as there will be thousands of people congregating around the bay.

Lighted Wish Spheres @ Marina Bay
Then again, the weather can turn wet despite the weatherman's prediction of a dry weekend. So a windbreaker jacket is good to be in the bag standing-by. Oh, yes... a spare T-shirt each for all 3 of us, just in case the rain decides to drench us wet.

A few pieces of hand towels too... check!

Ahh, some snacks and bottled water, since we would not want to move once we got a good spot to watch it from.

And yes, definitely a large umbrella so that I can still keep snapping pictures away in the rain while keeping my previous Lumiz FZ10 camera as dry as possible. Nothing for lightning though, hope there is no rain or lightning... that would be bad. Nasty even.

We expect the trouble of getting home after that, but a small price to pay for a good outing. We can take our time going home since the next day is after all, a holiday.

Lighted Wish Sphere @ Marina Bay City SkylineAll that, after we visited my parents at their home in Woodlands for Hari Raya Haji in Malay or Eidul-Adha in Arabic celebrating their triumph after their pilgrim to Mecca several years ago.

Wonder if my parents want to tag along... and since there will be other family members, maybe they would want to join us at Marina Bay.

We will have a large family gathering outside till the wee hours in the morning, enjoying everyone's company with hot drinks, reminiscing favourite old stories and tired laughter while ushering the new year.

Ahh... The thought is just wonderful. Even greater if every could come.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

My Singapore Rediscovered

I have been following the second week of the edutainment show called Explore Singapore!

The main reason is to provide Singaporeans as well as tourists alike about the rich cultures and heritage this tiny island holds with its more than 80 museums and libraries.

There seem so much to learn about the yesteryear from when Singapore was discovered by the Temasek Prince who gave the island its name Malay name Singapura or Lion City in translation... known today as Singapore, to the Japanese Occupation years, the handing-over back to the British... to the day it became independent from Malaysia... and beyond.

The museums and libraries spread throughout the island have so many stories to tell... just waiting especially their natives to visit these places.

This show ignites my curiosity to arrange for outings with my son to a heritage trail. Rediscover our island's past, the nation building to where it is today and beyond. A good and easy way to know where these places of interests are, is by clicking onto the map below.

I have joined the second contest after the show and are gearing-up for more until the end. It would be great if I could win something from taking part in the contest. If not, at least I learn a whole lot about my homeland.

A noble effort by the National Heritage Board, The National Library and Media Development Authority to let the busy Lions get to know our roots in a den at the southern-most tip of Malaysia.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Shakeup And Breakup

World Undersea Telephone & Internet Cables
At The Workplace

Like any other day, I would normally turn on my PC in the office and get on with the daily rituals of emails, charts and analysis.

Like some days, the Windows Live Messenger would not let me sign-in because of heavy traffic or some form of server maintenance.

Email was fine, so most of the correspondences were done without a hitch. More, so when there are actually not many emails flying about because of this festive season. All was great.

Still it was strange how sluggish surfing the Internet was felt, with some US sites with "...not able to be displayed" messages. Some colleagues from the next building were not able to surf the net at all!

Hmm... never really thought much of it until someone told that our local Internet Provider was declaring disruptions to their overseas lines, but did not indicate the reason why as they were still investigating... major virus attack?

The Taiwan earthquake? Could not be... maybe? Hmm...

Blogging was not possible at lunch time today, so I had to push it till I got home.

At My Den

Still, tonight... Blogger was "down" or sometimes too sluggish to display the Dashboard Page after signing-in. Blogger was not responding well and neither was my iTunes all my favourite radio stations!

The two most important past-time rituals was not to be tonight, when my writing urge was over-flowing in me. I had to resort to writing it first in my PC Notepad and transfer it to Blogger once the Internet was good again.

"Ayah! Come here and look at the TV screen!" My son shouted out from the living room excitedly.

The Hallmark cable channel was displaying a white screen with a message announcing that the channel is experiencing disruption due to the Taiwan earthquake!

Wow, only then that the pieces fall into place.

Channel News Asian or CNA reported that most part of East Asia are affected by the Taiwan earthquake. The undersea cable was damaged which led to the virtual blackout of the information superhighway from East Asia to the US.

All efforts were under way to reroute the Internet line via Europe instead, while they had to repair the cable, which would take several weeks.

Home surfer like me have no qualms with such inconvenience due to natural disasters like this. I am glad that this is the only "damage" we sustain here, unlike south of Taiwan where the earthquake epicentre was trashing them out of their homes on Boxing Day with a 7.1 Richter scale shake.

The Insignificant Us

The saddest part is when this natural occurrence coincided exactly on the same day the earthquake hit Indonesia resulting in the 2005 Tsunami that killed 220,000 people across many coastal regions.

Ironic it seems, as they were mourning for the tragedy, it struck again. This time a tsunami alert was sounded, but fortunately none occurred.

All this amid the monsoon rain that has flooded many parts of Malaysia and Indonesia and displaced more than 60,000 and 990,000 people in these countries respectively.

We in Singapore could only donate and help-out as volunteers to assist local Mercy Relief, Red Cross and other charitable organisations here rushing to provide humanitarian aids to these affected locations.

Another devastating earthquake occurrence could very well cripple the already slow recovery rate these area are experiencing from the 2005 Tsunami.

Praying For Peace

Praying hard that year 2006 will end with the human spirit triumphant... prevailing and uniting amid the calamities, when we help one another across borders and oceans instead of being lost in greed and destroying one another during good times.

I finally got through to Blogger almost midnight. Phew!

Thought I wrote this post instead... LASIK surgery can wait.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Koel-ing Out Loud!

Female Asian Koel Photo from
Found it! I have found what my Mystery Guest Couple is now.

From my previous post Squawking A Mystery! these are Asian Koels or Eudynamys scolopacea from a website I googled called

As suspected, the incandescent blue-back plumage is a male, while the chestnut brown with distinctive white and light brown stripes is a female. Both have blood-red eyes and a not-so-nice way of procreation method, termed as a brood parasite.

True to the cries of the crows, the males would call onto its female companion to lay a single egg in empty nests. They prefer crows nests, while the crows are not home.

These will trick the crows into rearing their young alongside the crows own chicks, since the size between these Asian Koels and Crows are about the same. The hatchling is not known to compete with its adopted siblings to survive and will sound just like a crow for a while until its instinctive personality kicks in.

This bird species is not in any immediate danger of extinction. This is a good thing, considering the parents' lack of responsibility on their young.

To view more stunning photos, I came across an impressive photo gallery from a local pro photographer and an avid bird watcher called NatureStops owned by Paul Huang.

Another interesting local site with personal narrative is called Easy Bird-Watching Guide by John Lynn.

This combination of talent and a love for nature has resulted in a website that makes me happy that Singapore is still alive with beautiful and colourful birds surviving free in the wild, amid the small land mass shrouded with concrete jungle.

Yes. I am at peace now that this mystery is solved... until something else comes along, flying by or whatever, I am enjoying myself as much either cuddled on the sofa watching our movies or listening to the rain drops as I blog. All made possible by the monsoon season.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Squawking A Mystery

The Mysterious Squawk Couple
For the past 2 weeks, we have been haunting by a mysterious sound.

It came from outside our bedroom window, quite early every morning. Haunting is mentioned because will sound spooky if you were to hear it at night. Fortunately it is heard only when the sun is rising every day.

It sounded like a child-crying hysterically... like from being beaten senselessly, but the sound travels from one spot to another, almost like a fixed pattern, repeating every morning.

One good thing is that no one is beating a child senselessly. Phew!

As suspected, it turns out to be a kind of bird that I have never heard of before. Its species is also unknown. A second such pleasant surprise visit after the family of Black-Naped Orioles came by a few months before.

The Loud Conversation View From GymRoom
This time the sound was not lovely, it was a noisy course, crying squawks. Much like a parakeets or a crow... but I am familiar with these two sounds. This one is entirely different.

We always spot a couple of dark birds perched on the tree outside out bedroom window, but just too far to get a good view of what kind of bird these are. Loud squawks that usually wake me and my curiosity up too.

The flight path is always from the big tree in front of out bedroom window, onward to the tallest tree in the centre of the courtyard in front of my gym room, and off to who knows where.

The Squawk Couple Gazing Each Other
Our son spotted it several times from his bedroom window and thought the plumes looked like a female peacock, which made me even more curiosity to find out. I just needed enough time, maybe on the weekends, and have a chance to spot it the next time the couple comes around.

Today was a great day. Since it is Christmas holiday here, the couple came around, showing off itself and announcing its presence with the loud squawks. This time around however, the couple stayed for longer, perched on the tree at the centre of the courtyard.

Enough time for me to snap pictures of them resting and pluming their feathers, while making loud conversations.

The Male Squawk Up-close
One looked like a crow... all blueish black, which I believe is a male, while the other looked like a cross between a large version of a Eurasian Sparrow and a mini Hawk... with its striped tail. This one is believed to be a female, as it moved around, the black bird kept following.

Searched through my son's "A Guide To Common Birds Of Singapore" book to find out its name and species, but the bird's picture was not listed in it. Could have been an escaped pet, but then again, which pet owner would like to listen to loud noisy squawks every morning?

Or, maybe once the pet owner found out how loud this birds are, he set them free. Hmm...

The Female Squawk Up-close
Anyway, the mysterious sound has a face now... well, plumage and all; and a relentless research has been initiated to find out exactly what species our noisy guests are.

I somehow cannot rest my mind until I find out what these birds are. The Internet is my prime resource for a photo look-alike to identify it, but maybe someone out there with some bird-watching knowledge can help by telling or leading me to find out about our flyby guests here.

Season's Greetings Everyone!

Happy Holidays with your family & loved ones.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Letting It Go

Peace Be Upon You
My Mom called me last night confirming our date for an outing.

I have been meaning to take both her and Dad to VivoCity, but somehow we never get to do that. So today should be an interesting outing with the intention to buy a larger hamster cage for my parents' 7 "adopted children."

Like the other 3 occasions, this time is no different.

Mom called me this morning to inform that a relative had passed away in the early morning today. She called to tell me the news and to cancel the outing as we had to attend the funeral instead.

In My Memory

I remember him from my childhood days in the village. He name was Pak Asan. It was not of a happy memory for me. It was a bad one which I cannot forget until today.

I remember I was about 10 or 11 years old or so. I had a silly quarrel with his eldest daughter, for name-calling my parents . No punches or hair being pulled, or anything like that. It was more of a "mouthful" confrontation.

She was on top a tree then when I confronted her. Good thing though, or else it would have turned out with punches. I was the brave and angry child who would defended my family's honour. Till this day, I still think it was so silly then.

Pak Asan came to know about it and went to the tree to stop the fight. Without him knowing what it was all about, he stopped it by grabbing my arm and slapping me on the face.

It was a rude shock to me and my elder Sis, who was with me when we confronted her. It was a child's silly quarrel, but he intervened with uncalled physical punishment.

In My Eyes

As a child then, I knew it was not right of him to slap me. In fact, I felt he had no right to do that. He should have brought me to my parents and inform them about it or something, but not slap me. I was not his child.

All Is ForgivenI do not remember the rest after that. Neither do I remember my parents ever talked to me about it.

I was not sure if I was right or wrong for doing what I did then. I did not hear any news of his daughter being punished the same way he did me.

So I figured he did not tell my parents that he had disciplined me on their behalf. I was sure he was defending his daughter as a father would.

Still I just felt then that it was an unjust verdict on his part. Parents can sometimes not able to exercise objectively, but protectively instead.

I understood that when I became a parent myself. I would not want to interfere with my son's squabbles unnecessarily since they would fight today and ending up playing together the next.

I grew up in that Kampong hating him, not speaking or acknowledging him when we crossed paths in all those years. He disregarded me just the same. It kept going on until we all had to move to the city when the village was taken-over by the government for redevelopment.

In My Past

Years passed by. It was only until I was older and married that I got to see him at a relative's wedding and awkwardly pretended nothing was wrong, everything was forgotten, forgiven. It was in the past, a very long time ago. It should be forgotten, forgiven...

Today, I was at his home in Tampines St 91 with my Dad, my eldest Brother and 2 of my Brother-in-laws paying last respects to him. I was not feeling justice was done, instead I felt guilty for still harbouring anger from an old wound.

I can only pray for him to be safe and in peace in the care of The Almighty.

I should say I should bury the hatchet forever, but it ended-up sounding like a vindictive pun instead. I am not a mean person. I want closure for my own conscience.

I have forgiven him a long time ago. I even have forgotten that I forgave him altogether. I hope he had forgiven me too... even better if he thought nothing of it at all. I just needed to have closure for what happened in my past, so I write this post as a way out.

That is all. It ends here.

And Peace Be Upon Him

PS: After that incident, I somehow became best friends with his daughter all through high school. So close that people in the village thought we were an inseparable couple, ending up marrying each other someday.

We did not, but we are still good friends with children now. Ironic, how things turned out sometimes.

Just a moment ago, she called me on the phone and we talked for a while. She needed to tell about what she went through until his last breath. He succumbed to liver cancer. Undetected until about a month ago when he experienced unbearable pain in this abdomen and had jaundice.

It was terminal and he was given 9 months to a year. He was in hospice care suffering in pain for less than a month... but not any more. He was 66. May Pak Asan rest in peace. Amin.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I Am Humbled!

I have been too busy with work I have no checked my blog for several days filling-out for those who are away, clearing their last year's leaves.

It was however worth the wait, for when I was actually able to blog, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was awarded 2006 Eddie Award for The Best Foreign Blog!

Winning the award is already awesome, but the special mention was the best part... from a well known celebrity.

Thank you Dirk Star for this honour.

I wish I had his autograph engraved on the award before the trophy is being shipped to me, but I guess he is too busy now with the Yuletide preparations and all. So I will settle with this.

The year has been quite a ride for everyone. Mine was not as dramatic or fatal as the ones I read in blogosphere and even the newspapers. In fact mine was lame, thus my surprise for the award.

Thank you again Eddie Academy of Bloggers.

Wishing everyone peace and harmony with oneself and the world.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

For Three Days...

Yio Chu Kang Road Morning Rain
For 3 days and 3 nights... it rained and rained heavily since Sunday morning, it rained relentlessly in heavy downpour... reduced to a trickle for a few minutes, only to rain heavily ever more.

For 3 days and 3 nights, continuously it rained in dark weather, felling trees smashing into several glass windows as the inhabitants inside their homes, cuddled for warmth were awoken from their slumber.

BuangkokGreen Road Morning Rain
For 3 days and 3 nights, the rushing water flooding parts of low-lying areas in Singapore... stalling the never-stopping nerve of traffic in its path. Burning hot engines doused in cold flood water, the relentless rain claiming its days.

For 3 days and 3 nights, the rained poured with flashes of lightning and drumming of thunder from afar. With some loud bursts of roar, resonating the nick-knacks off my shelves and shocking me with loud surprises. My heart skipped a beat.

Sengkang East Road Morning Sun
For 3 days and 3 nights... no more! This morning I awoke with the birds singing, the sun peeking through the clouds, blinding my sleeping eyes. Ah, warm light is here at last. A welcomed sight!

Sunshine to greet everyone. Everybody is out and about with no shields required. The rain cleared the dust off the leaves, off the road and off the air. The trees are bent no more. See how new things are now. The greens are even greener. Breathe...

AMK Avenue 5 Peeking Sun
Oh, another 3 days and 3 nights ahead? Weatherman, what say you? A breather?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday Was Swell!

Tooth Anatomy
And swell it did.... painfully.

I am talking about my gums. Alright now, this post is only for me figuring out a stupid question on how I was able to let my gums... you may want to click on any of the links listed in my Brilliant Blogs category on the right. No need to read this further.

Fine! Either you will have a lingering disgust on why I need to post this or knock your head onto your keyboard falling asleep reading it. You have been warned.

Yesterday was a great family-reunion sort of day. This morning I felt like crap! Pardon the word used, but I really felt the painful crap in my gums.

For several days now I thought I was getting mouth ulcers around the lower-right gum. I was prepared for it as I get mouth ulcers so often, it would not surprise me if I had a mouthful bursting like popcorn. Yes, the excruciating bursting ulcers.

I know I get them when I do not get enough rest or do not sweat out enough during my workouts. I have to rid my bodily heatiness out to avoid getting one. That is another story altogether.

The affected area was especially tender these few days, but was a little more intense the night before with a bit of swelling. Woke up this morning to a painful attack just to open my jaw, I even developed two tender "lumps" under my right jaw.

I reported sick for work today and only gotten a dental appointment in the afternoon. Knowingly so, when everyone are rushing to claim dental fees before the privilege lapses for the year.

Tooth Abscess Toward Critical StageDr. Razalley confirmed my suspicion of gum infection on the 3rd molar, but with abscess. You mean with pus? Yikes!

Eew! I have never had an infection before... now I have a pool of bacteria in my gums!

He asked me to brace myself while he "burst" the abscess along the gum-line as he did the general cleaning. How disgusting was that?! No, not the dentist, my gum! Though I am sure he was disgusted with me. Where have I gone wrong with my oral care?

He pierced the gum-line with a short, sharp pain and soon enough I felt the pressure from the fluid-filled swell subsided. So did the pain. Phew! Dr. Razalley, my hero.

I was told... yet again, that I brushed a little too hard, but with all my zest of trying to clear off stubborn plague, I was still unable to clean the hard-reached places effectively. Thus the infection... and timely enough within the six-monthly check-up too.

I was fortunate that my tooth is still "alive" and the abscess was along the gum-line and not in the pulp or I would have my wisdom tooth pulled out or a root canal to save it.

Double Yikes! I need all the wisdom I have left to stay within me. My weak memory is not helping me at all. I am of course joking here, but no joke about tooth decay, though.

My dentist gave me Amoxil for antibiotics, Tolpa to stop the swelling and Poustan to take, if I still feel pain. The medication amounted to S$30.00 while the general cleaning was another S$40.00. Too bad I had already claimed the whole S$100.00 dental care for the year in June.

A good thing I enjoyed eating lots of good food yesterday. For the next few days, I will settle for lesser, picking only soft food to chew on the left side until the swelling is gone.

What a swell time today has been. I have to rethink how I should brush my teeth again after 40 years or personal oral care. Braun electrical toothbrush could note help me...

Hey, you are still awake and actually read this far. Impressive! No nauseating sensation, no regret wasting time reading this post. Thanks for indulging me.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Raining Through Sunday

Brave Boy Zayan with Aniq on Hari Raya Bus '06
Sunday is Rain Day.

It rained and rained heavily in fact through the day and into the night.

It did not make my job to take my parents - especially my Mon on wheelchair to my eldest Sister's place in Jurong West Street 24 any easier.

Sis was having a simple, family get-together in celebration of her youngest son having had circumcision done at KK Hospital last Monday.

Getting a cab was not an easy and dry affair even while you are under the walkway cover. The wind and mist soon make us wet, not drenching wet, but wet enough to shiver in the air-con cab anyway.

It rained terribly heavy as if Sis' open windows looked like it was made of frosted glass. We could not see the trees across open field. We could not even see the field at all.

The boy of the hour was doing well and most happy to see all his cousins there to greet and accompany him for the day. All his aunts, uncles and gandparents handed him a "reward" for his bravery. Usual in a form of money in a green envelope.

CK Tang The Marriot TowerStaying on the 7th floor, it was interesting to see lightning strikes across the field. And lots of bright white crack-like lines pierching down to the ground. There were so many lightning strikes that a famous landmark tower in the tourist belt area - CK Tang Marriot Hotel got one too many.

At first it was thought that the Christmas lighting were the cause, but the facade was burning while the lights were still on. The tower was hit by lightning and ignited the Chinese tiled roof.

No panic was reported as the Civil Defence Force put out the fire. The shoppers inside still continued their Christmas shopping. An exclusive news from our niece who was working near the building and reported "live" to us over the phone.

On a more mouth-watering note, the food spread done my Sis was extra-special!

Home-cooked meal of traditional Malay dishes abound. Rice with Ikan Asam Pedas gravy, side dish of Ulam Raja and cucumber eaten raw, Chinese Chop Choi and salted fish... the Kampong style dish was just nostalgic.

Time flew by so fast when we enjoyed each other's company. Before we knew it, it was time to leave. It was already late for me as I had to take my parents back to their home from one end of the island in Jurong West, to the other in Woodlands and then back to Tampines.

Just thinking about going to work tomorrow made me sick to my food-filled stomach. Need to sleep it off and then work it off with gym workout tomorrow morning. Sigh.

Hey, for now, one of my favourite time is to sleep on a cold rainy night. Cuddled in bed as the rain drops tap me to sleepy land. Ahh, heaven.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Breezing Through Saturday

Saint Hilda's Primary School Entrance
Well, it was a good weekend for both Wifey and me.

She came back smiling after her long hard day at the shop. Business was brisk, knowingly so since Christmas is fast approaching. She has been talking excitedly about her day at the shop and interesting people she met. It went nicely for her like a breeze.

So weekends are left with just my son and I.

It would be great if we could spend it together, but as long as the activity is not as exciting as gaming with friends from Briton and the US on XBox Live! or competing in a Japanese Anime Dancing Competition online on with his cousins and his Japanese friends on his PC, then I am left alone to find something to do. Sigh, can never compete with that level of energetic fun.

So, the normal chores.... maintenance cleaning of HamsterVille after breakfast and then thoroughly cleaned ourselves after that. Phew!

Headed off to St. Hilda's Primary School to buy school books and other stuff for my son's Primary 6 schooling next year. The last year in a primary school.

Primary 6 School Books Purchases
I was mentally prepared to persevere through the crowds of parents rushing for books purchases... long and arduous queues after queues, but it was entirely not so. It was a breeze instead.

Within 30 minutes, I was able to complete the purchase of his school books and accessories, onward to purchase 4 pairs of his school uniforms ans socks, and lastly 2 pairs of his white school shoes.

Let me see... S$94.85 for the books, S$42.20 for the uniforms and S$30.00 for the shoes... a total of S$168.00 to start school for one child. Imagine having 3 or 4 children at school-going age. It will cost a bomb here!

Had our lunch at the new KFC branch in Street 82 and was ready for Courts's Superstore Opening Guest of Honour, Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child at Tampines Avenue 10 at 6:00pm... my date for the evening.

As expected, my son refused to go with me to check out the place, he already had plans with his Japanese Anime online friends, so I was alone with Kelly... and a few thousand of shoppers and her fans when I reached the place at about 6:30pm. Yikes!

Courts Superstore Tampines Opening 16 December 2006
Hundreds queued to go into the concert venue and thousands more were queuing to go into the Superstore. Fortunately Singapore Idol - Hardy Mirza was his usual fantastic singer self, as he bellowed-out his signature song when he won the competition.

It eased the madding crowd there. That dude can really sing very well... flawlessly. It is good to know that my investment by voting for him was well spent. Thought it was only S$40.00 initially, but turned out that my son had chalked-up S$68.00 when the bill came.

I made one big mistake to check the store for a while when the concert had a little break in between. By the time I came out, Kelly had sang her songs and left the stage!

I stood her up! Was not a very nice thing to do to a very pretty and talented lady. Not sure when she will come back in Singapore again. Sighing loudly! Oops! Not too loud though, Wifey may hear it all the way from Bugis Village.

So I have to drown my sorrows with songs from the CDs I bought there... U2 18 Singles Singapore Edition for S$11.95, Rick Astley Greatest Hits for S$18.95 and Robbie Williams Greatest Hits for S$9.95.

Man! I still cannot believe it. She came and went, like a breeze...

Oh yes, the superstore is definitely super-sized with super bargains. The gym sets were too expensive with no special offers though. Nonetheless, I think I will breeze through there again to check out the Techno stuff next.

Friday, December 15, 2006

As We Grow

Our Son At East Coast Beach Park September 2005
Well, it is time again for a buying spree that is a must.

I will be going over to St. Hilda's Primary School tomorrow to shop for school books, accessories and uniforms for my son.

Apart from the books needed, I certainly need to buy him a few pairs of his dark blue school shorts. The ones he has been wearing this year have been receding upwards so much through the days as he grows taller, like a bean stalk.

He has been complaining that his white school shoes are now much tighter. Expectantly so as his feet outgrows the oh, so smelly beaten-up shoes. So an added item on the shopping list for two pairs of school shoes and white socks.

Wow, time flies like a supersonic jet airplane nowadays.

I still remember I got to be a child for longer, but children nowadays are prepped to be high achievers when they become adults, so the rush to grab that life's security makes the time flies so fast, you thought you had jump into the future... with the in-between, a blurry past.

Before you know it, your children is almost as tall as you are... deciding for themselves what clothes to wear, would rather stay home or be with friends than tailing their parents; having their own opinions and standing by it. Sigh.

Definitely more to come, as my son grows older and into his teens. The age of uncertainty, the age when a child searches for his or her own identity; the phase in his life I would not want to miss but guide him and provide him with as many pointers as I possibly can for him to figure things out for himself.

Oh, my boy... I remember you as one active toddler, now going to the last stage into Primary 6 and studying for your PSLE exams; then onward to high school the year after.

I have to learn to grow with you. Wow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The World Turns

I see two bags full of Peter Bear Christmas mugs before me at my desk.

Like every year, during this festive season, I will buy a gift each for all the charges under me. A gift from me to say thank you for the good job and the support given to do the good job.

In fact, I give gifts on festive periods like Lunar New Year and Deepavali to my Chinese and Indian subordinates respectively. It warms my heart to see the smiles they exchange for the gifts when I handed to them a little something as a token from me, that they matter to me.

As I was peeling the price tags off of each gift boxes, intending to wrap them later, I cannot help but think of the recent post I read that still troubles me. It saddens me deeply.

I am awed by the conviction of a post I read but at the same time perturbed by the image that came with it at the end. The conviction was rightfully the writer's own, however, the image was unfortunately not. It was in very bad taste, even for the writer.

My flaky mind lingers...

Religion: The definitive guide to honest existence. The honest truth being figured out while the world turns.

It unites people of all races in all the land... it divides people of its races and all the land. The way the world turns from light to dark.

Humans. One day a great soul healing the wounded, and the next, an angry and vicious weapon attacking the very soul. That is just how the way the world keeps turning from beautiful to brash.

Human evolution through time and opportunity. The subjective ways humans treat one another since the beginning of civilisation. The way the world continues to turn under one's perception of normalcy...

As modern as the thinking, as ancient as the compassion... regardless of the existence of religion.

Wait a minute! What nonsensical babbles are these?

I wish I knew. I was not myself for a moment. I am only an oblivious human, still figuring out the ways of the world...

Time to wrap it up... I mean, the gifts.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

And Two Makes...

VivoCity Facade
Darn it! I know that is not the word I should start my post with, but... darn it.

I thought we had separated them all between the two genders, but somehow, a couple slipped through the cracks of my policy as Mayor, of abstinence. Oh, I am talking our citizens of HamsterVille.

We just had babies a few days ago. Fortunately there were only 2... which makes out to be 41 permanent residents in a little town not far away from home. In fact HamsterVille is in our home... at our service balcony.

The same thing happened to my parents adopted "children" too. We thought we had paired the hamsters to be both females, but then 5 "little cuties" as my Mom puts it... she does not know what coming; came out to greet my parents.

And then there were 7! Yikes!

I felt guilty when she broke the "happy news" to me over the phone. My parents will now have an infestation of hamsters looming in their home. Oh, man!

Pet Safari At VivoCity Opening
So, this Sunday, I have made a date with my parents to accompany them to buy a larger hamster cage to accommodate these 7 cute beings, and eventually separate them into their respective genders.

The father has to be separated first. The children will be next when the babies are old enough.

Since we have to deal with the population explosion, we might as well enjoy the ride. So, enjoy the ride we will. I intend to bring my parents to the newly opened Pet Safari at VivoCity.

My Mom wanted so much to see the newly opened shopping mall. The roof-top garden with the very large wadding pool overlooking the Harbour Front Bay should be especially interesting to them. We can have Yong Tou Foo for dinner there. I am sure my Dad would love it.

My son will definitely enjoy the wadding pool like before, making more new friends since it is still the school holiday. Wifey will be at the shop as always. Makes we sad she will miss the outing again. Sigh.

VivoCity Rooftop Deck Overlooking PSA
I always feel guilty when my son and I have fun together without her. I need to go over to help her out at the shop this Friday after work. get dinner for her and at least spend some time with her outside the house. She should be happy.

Anyway, it is thrilling just thinking about the great time we will have this weekend. Hope it does not rain, though.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Courts Your Attention

Courts Megastore Tampines Opening 16 December 2006
For sometime now, residents in Tampines have been buzzing excitedly about the 3 mega stores that are to sprout along Tampines Avenue 10.

IKEA Tampines has successfully lured crowds of thousands every weekend since its opening on 30 November 2006.

Following this, will be Courts Megastore which will open its doors this Saturday, 16 December 2006. Just wonder if the same sensation is felt with its opening day as with IKEA, since its merchandise are wide-ranged; from furniture to electrical goods, from car accessories to health equipment - my personal favourite and a must see.

Courts Megastore Tampines Entrance
Being a Courts member... registered to get a further discount when my Mom bought her two 32 and 20 Inch LCD TVs at Courts Causeway Point in Woodlands, I received an invitation letter to be the first few guests to have a preview before the opening between Wed and Friday, 13 to 15 December 2006.

With it, one will get to enjoy up to 70% discount on purchases and maybe the elusive hamper worth S$88.00 for the first 300 guests.

I have absolutely nothing to buy!

No reason to have anything replaced or added to this home... except maybe a few plates of rubberised weight-plates for my dumbbells.

The ones I have now make too much of a clanking noise when I do my workout early in morning... waking up my light-sleeper son most times and must have definitely woken-up my tolerating downstairs neighbours too.

Yeah, yeah... excuses, excuses...

Promised to self not splurge exceeding S$80.00. Scouts honour... wait, I was never a scout. Guess that did not count.

Courts Megastore Tampines Food Court Wonder what the other residents of Tampines will spend their money on this weekend.

If there is still money left to spend, by end of December - with the 13th month bonus being given to many, the third megastore will open. Adjacent to IKEA Tampines and across the carpark is Giant Hypermart.

This is personally the most practical convenience for me.

It would be near enough to get to from my home - a mere 2 bus stops away, shopping for food provisions, with its specialty of Malay foodstuff from neighbouring Malaysia, it will be the most frequented place.

Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child LIVE!I can pick up a few stuff on my way home from work and have dinner there at its food court now and then.

Thankfully, the convenience is getting better by the day. We once again feel we chose the right place to set-up home in Tampines.

Oh yes, on exciting thing I almost forget to mention, I have a date with Kelly Rowland from Destiny's Child.

Unfortunately, so do thousands of other fans of hers when she makes a guest appearance on 16 December there.

We count our blessings. Life is good. I'm a survivor, I'm a...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Roller-Coaster Goat

Genting International - Sentosa IR
I mean, Roller-Coaster Guy.

Alright fine! This old goat is still very much excited about thrill rides.

Bungee jumping was on top of my list but was shot down as quickly as it went up by Wifey. I did not get a blessing, instead I was prohibited by her to give it a try as soon as the two sites were officially up and operational for the thrill seekers in Singapore.

So, this poor soul... who is not getting any younger settled for roller-coasters rides instead. My 40 year old heart may not be able to take it anyway... Sigh

I have always liked riding the roller-coasters. The once famous Singapore roller coaster with the Lion's head in front was my first ever ride I took. It was the most tamed one as compared to the rides these days, but nonetheless the most popular ride... being the only one in old Singapore.

Since then, I took rides in travelling fairs and even the more recent one at Downtown East. The most exciting one Wifey and I have taken was in Las Vegas, on top of a casino building, plunging down. Extreme! Cannot remember what building it was, though.

Kerzner - Oceanarium Attraction
Wifey's legs turned to jelly after the ride, so I had to help her down and walked back to the casino. Awesome!

The rides found here and the one at Sunway Lagoon in Malaysia are considered tame when compared to the ones shown on TV in the US theme parks. I can feel the thrill just by watching it, you would pee in your pants...

I want to pee in my pants!

It definitely is worth the while to get totally embarrassed and to clean yourself after the adrenaline rush. I want to ride those extreme roller-coasters... triple loops, swirls... whatever pants-peeing thrill they can come up with... bring it on! I want to ride them all!

Alright now... now that I have calmed myself down, I can continue with what this post is about.

Theme parks!

Eighth Wonder - Volcano Land Attraction
Target: To ride roller-coasters and survive to live another day by age 45.

Yes, the second IR or Integrated Resort bid to be built in Singapore has been won by Genting International against rivals Eighth Wonder and Kerzner with Harah Entertainment. The resort will take about S$5.2 billion to build and generating 22,000 new jobs, adding S$4 billion of value-add to the economy.

With its win, it will bring along the International Cruise and Universal Studios to Singapore shores! Universal Studios will cover half of the resort land area.

Universal Studios! My family had been to one in Los Angeles, and it was terrific! In 4 years time, we can go there in 1 hour instead of over 20 hours of flight and thousands of dollars of airplane tickets for 3.

It will be built in our resort island Sentosa, connected by Sentosa Rail due to operate in January 2007 from VivoCity. What a family outing experience it will be to be so close to those roller coaster rides! There will be 22 of them, 16 will be new and especially made for Singapore.

There will also be the world's largest oceanarium, with 700,000 species of ocean life and coral reefs. I will be able to view them without having to venture out into deep waters. You know how weird I am of deep waters.

Marina Bay Attractions In Progress
The first of the IR will be built on the mainland in Marina Bay area, called the Marina Bay Sands, the place where The Singapore Flyer is being built and integrated when it becomes operational first by March 2008.

The Las Vegas Sands have clinched the deal to invest US$3 billion to build the resort-casino meant for MICE - Meetings, Incentive, Commercial and Exhibition people, among its other attractions. It will generate about S$2.7 million in our GDP, while creating another 30,000 new jobs here.

Sands Las Vegas - Marina Bay IR
It will be ready by 2009, so I guess my family will be visiting and taking roller-coaster rides here first and at Sentosa the year after that. Sweet!

Target: To keep whole family healthy to be fit enough to enjoy the rides.

Who knows, I may be able to get a staff-price working there when my services are no longer needed in my present workplace. Till then, I hope I will be able stay employed and be able to afford the rides.

Else, I will just be contented to be a porter at Spaceport Singapore. Yeah, yeah I sound corny and like an unpaid ambassador for Singapore Tourist Promotion Board.

Forgive me, I just cannot curb my enthusiasm even at 40. Too passionate about life. That sounds familiar...

Hey wait! Wonder if I can get staff price for that ride to weightlessness... That will be the ultimate ride of my life! This old goat can always dream on...