Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Shrek's Our Third

"Let's go out for dinner tonight" I told Wifey over the phone spontaneously.

It was almost 4:30pm, a hour before I knock-off from work... early by my standards, understandably so, because it is the eve of a Vesak Day holiday.

After some suggestions and brainstorming, we decided to have dinner at Bhat Thai Restaurant at Tampines Mall... but before that, we made the dinner out a little more exciting... we decided to watch Shrek 3 at Golden Village Tampines at 6:30pm. Yes!

Third week in a row... first it was Spider-man 3, then it was Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End and tonight, Shrek 3!

Silly as it may sound, I enjoy Shrek movies more than the other two, simply because of its CGI, but most importantly its wits... just innovative; a-laugh-a-minute story. Awesome!

This time around, Gingerbread Man is most memorable to me when he had a nervous breakdown at sword-point; his life flashed before his eyes and he started singing to himself. That was hilarious!

There is more brain in that wooden head of Pinocchio's after all. He almost saved the day by not divulging Shrek's whereabouts until one of the Three Little Pigs "squealed."

I was quite disappointed with the ladies though...

Snow White was flaky and uncaring... passing out one of her seven dwarfs as nanny to Fiona, an expectant mother until she was back in her element again... calling all the forest's animals to help her with her trademark singing.

Sleeping Beauty was always in her dream-world, that is forgivable. Guess it was the side-affects she was experiencing from having a bite off the poison. The kiss from the prince was not all that was touted to be.

The high school scene was the innovative one. The most prominent was the yellow school bus... I mean, school... coach?

Gwen's nose was just too high at that age... that would be quite damaging to her image as we have known her all this while. Lancelot was a classic school jock-cum-bully jerk. Excellent imagination!

We had so much fun watching the show that it seemed to end too fast than we really wanted it to. This time around, I wished the show was a little bit longer just because it was very entertaining... totally at the opposite extreme end when I watched Pirates... I was "... At Wit's End" then.

But alas, even in fairy tales someone has to die... the frog... I mean the King did, which was how the search for a successor became a quest for Shrek himself.

Oh, yes... whatever happened to that deceiving Rapunzel with her golden extensions, anyway?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Our Saturday Spin

It has been quite a long time since Wifey and me had time alone.

With our son having his last Malay tuition before the June school holidays, the whole day was ours to spend.

We were at our Son's Malay tuition centre this afternoon to enroll him on in a Malay language enrichment camp to better prepare him for his final PSLE exam in November.

He will be going to high school next year, so fortunately, only his mother tongue needs assistance. Wow! How he has grown.

Well, since Wifey had always wanted to shop at VivoCity, it was her time to shop there to her heart's content. Knowingly so, after being stuck at our shop for so long, she hardly went anywhere but commuting between home and the shop.

I had been there countless times with our Son and my parents, but today was the first time with Wifey. It was a great day with her.

The journey to Vivo was so much better when we took SBS Service 30 double-decker bus instead of the underground North-East Line or NEL train line.

The view from the bus was quite refreshing. Many once familiar sights have now been replaced with newer, more organized and modern sights. A definite change for the better... it has been that long since we last took that route.

The stark change was around Mountbatten Road with its food centres, the blocks of flats and the pleasant landscapes have totally changed from the old 1970s architectures.

Something totally new was when the bus went up the Benjamin Shears Bridge and passed the Singapore Flyer. Still in construction, but wheel is already intact, ready for the 28 capsules that can hold 30 people each will be an interesting sight later on this year.

Just yesterday, the news reported that it will start operation and open to public on 14th February in 2008... on Valentine's Day. The tickets have been booked solid for the next 3 months; at a price of S$29.50 for a 37-minute ride.

It is said that at 165 m high... on a clear day, one would be able to see the whole of Singapore and as far as the Indonesian islands. Something to look forward to with Wifey and Son next year.

The stretch of Port of Singapore Authority or PSA is always an amazing sight to see. Such a small island... almost not visible in the world map, but is the largest and busiest shipping port in the world!

We spent time at the new Republic Foodcourt with its old Chinatown charm setting.

Wifey surprisingly had Ice-Kacang or shaved ice with red beans, cocktail fruits and topped with different types of syrup. Lots of sugar.

I, on the other hand, just had my first Pepsi Max... you know, the one with that "Bad cheetah... that's why I have a hamster" advert... zero sugar, was it?

We spent some time at the rooftop overlooking Sentosa island... soaking in the breeze from the bay.

It was quite sad to see the Sentosa Ferry Terminal, the resort island's icon building had already been torn down to make way for the new Sentosa Integrated Resort or IR.

We had some sweet memories there while we were still dating. Nonetheless, it will be an awesome sight to behold in 2009 with Universal Studios Singapore coming our way. Yes!

Like all responsible parents, we could not help but stop by Pet Safari to get some lavender-scented sand bath packs and new food bowls for some residents of HamsterVille.

That was after Wifey spent a whole hour shopping at Daiso, a Japanese $2.00 discount store.

A wonderful day spent together alone; just talking and enjoying each other's company. It reminded me of when I was still courting her at the same spot before the old place called World Trade Centre was torn down for VivoCity.

The spin of things... the weekday was so fast to come and today was as fast to end. Before long, it was time to go home and clean HamsterVille. Yes, that time again... all 12 cages of it.

What more can I tell, but I love the weekend, cages cleaning and all.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A-rrr Twisty Tale

Photo Off STOMP! By A.Hafiz

Today was definitely an interesting day, besides being a Friday, and being the prelude to the two most favourite days of the week... Saturdays and Sundays, it is the weekend again!

My colleague and I were at our Customer's place in Changi South Lane at about 3:00pm. Excitedly our Customer showed us what she had captured with her digital camera out of her office window, just before we arrived.

It was a large waterspout off Marine Parade... the largest I have ever seen, though it was known that our island would experience such natural occurrences several times a year. This, is the second one that I know of from last year's August encounter off Jurong Island.

I have actually seen such waterspout twice in my life time, but they were both oh so puny, nonetheless were incredible. Nothing close to the often destructive twisters the large plains in the US are experiencing every year... good thing that these waterspouts will dissipate as it nears land.

It was like a prelude to something weather-related... Calypso to be precise; as I was to meet both Wifey and Son after work for a Pirate of the Caribbean - At World's End movie at Tampines Mall.

Yes, another movie just after last week's Spider-man 3.

The happenings on Friday was great. The movie was another story altogether though. I have never come out of a movie bewildered like I was after watching it. The story was so "twisty" I lost interest three quarters of the way and almost fell asleep.

I just did not get it... maybe I was too tired out after work to concentrate on the movie.

My son was so thrilled to watch it just because it was after all a pirate movie. Wifey has Johnny Depp and that cute, slap-stick of a monkey...

I was very interested on the part of the western perception of Singapore being geographically still, somewhere in China despite it being in the equator... in the Malay Archipelago... and the surprised take that it was the centre of a Chinese pirates' haunt of an island, history wise.

That's Hollywood for you!

At least both Wifey and Son enjoyed the show very much. I enjoyed the popcorn and soda... and yes, the CGI was impressive... once Calypso was released.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Last Time

So, finally today... the last remnants of the office that made-up the sister company to HQ is gone.

With the last 4 of us vacating the Engineering Office on the ground floor to reside on the 2nd floor marks the end of an era personally for me after working for it for almost 15 years... 15 years! Yikes!

The planned fusion of us to HQ was final today when the lights were switched off for the last time as I looked back and closed the door behind me. The same feeling I had when we shifted from Kallang Avenue to AMK; but this time, without the many familiar faces that went along to AMK.

With the last few people left and the disintegration of the various departments to fuse into HQ's own, sister company is no longer but an account name on the balance sheet.

I have to admit the new office environment is better than the last one, I have my own cubicle now instead of a desk... but the people there have yet to get use to us... as we have to get use to them.

Many faces, many smiles without eye contact... for the sake of courtesy is good for now. I cannot help but feel that we are invading their turf.

Always have this feeling of us being second-class citizens since we moved to HQ, but maybe that is just me... then and for now, I hope. A normal unsettling feeling until I get comfortable with the place in time... for the last time.

Tomorrow should be a better day.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

TICKLE Me Purple

Click The Pictures To Enlarge & Read

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Spider-man (For) 3

Booked online and ready to watch Spiderman 3 at GV Tampines cinema this evening.

Since Singapore is such a fine city, there is always some kind of standing rule. Golden Village has its GV House Rules themselves... well, at least some of them are for the benefit of their paying customers such as no smoking or using cell-phones rules while the movie is showing.

Click Picture To Enlarge & Read

Planned to meet our Son at Tampines Mall after his Malay language tuition class; three of us will have dinner at Century Square halal foodcourt on the 3rd floor before the show starts at 6:30pm.

He should be very happy to receive my SMS to him this afternoon as he has kept reminding me to watch the show since before its island-wide release.

This is going to be a fun family outing today. Yes! I love weekends.

Friday, May 18, 2007

iLove My iMac

The many reasons why I love my iMac.
It can do so many things except that is does not work on 114,000 viruses... sigh.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Mother's Day

Yesterday was a special day meant for all mothers.

A day to celebrate and mothers to be acknowledged for being angels to their children... besides being a wife, a daughter, someone's best friend.

The Newspaper

Guess not all mothers are able to celebrate it when I read the news in the Sunday Times yesterday. This mother lost both her husband and her daughter in a motorcycle accident.

Riding pillion with her 70 year-old father, a retiree, who was sending his daughter to work in the morning. They both did not reach their destination when their motorcyle collided with a lorry at 6:30am.

The daughter, a mother herself with 4 children did not get to celebrate it with her own children either. A breadwinner to the children and aging parents, this single mother was providing for the whole family, working overtime on a weekend.

Pictures of the distraught mother and both the deceased accompanied the report. So unfortunate... was my thought after reading it yesterday as I turned another page.

Closer Than Expected

Today, I realized that the daughter was actually working in the same company as I am. In fact the same department after the merging, but on different floors.

I have not personally met her, nor have I noticed seeing her around before, but the email from HR announcing her untimely death shocked me.

It is just unthinkable that within a blink of an eye, one's life can drastically change... or end.

You read the news, you see the picture of someone unknown to you, you think it was just an unfortunate news, until you realize it was closer than you think. Just unthinkable.

I had lost a few friends myself...

I Say A Prayer

One was a good friend from the army when I was serving national service in Seletar Camp. I used to hitch a ride home on his scooter quite often, since we both lived in Tampines.

A few years after we completed our service and went our separate ways, I learnt from an army buddy about his death from an accident while riding his scooter.

A group of us went to his wake but did not get a chance to see him one last time. He was a good person, a gentle soul who excepted everyone for who they are. He was his mother's favorite son.

He was a good friend to me and I will say a prayer whenever I remember him.

A Good Friend...

Another was a colleague from my second job. She was heading the IQC department. A feisty lady who stood for her right and nothing less.

Unknown to her, nor the doctors who had treated her for her symptoms, she succumbed to what it seemed to be the elusive lung cancer while she was carrying her unborn child for 8 months.

Both mother and child died. Her husband hugged and cried on my shoulders for a moment in distraught when I came to her wake. He told me that she regarded me as one of her good friends who excepted her for who she was, knowing that she was a difficult person.

Till this day, I just cannot comprehend the magnitude of pain he must have felt to have lost both his futures and where to start picking up the pieces.

My Resolve

That is why, I always make it a point to spend as much time with my family and parents. I make it a point to say goodbye and see the last of my son's glimpse as he goes down the stairs every morning.

I will look at my wife's face and smile as she waves me goodbye, and as I go down the stairs myself to go to work.

I will look at my parents face bidding me goodbye as I leave their home and turn the corner for the lift down.

Just because, if fate has it... if anything were to happen to any of us, at least we had seen each other's last smiles and we left each other in peaceful terms.

That is enough for me... for we can always plan, but The Almighty decides.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Love You Mom!

Motivator, Mentor, Mom
Love You

Saturday, May 12, 2007

HamsterVille New Homes

It is the weekend again and I come to life again from my zombie-like state of mundane work-at-the-office routine.

From the hint of what the wind has blown into the living room, it was time again for HamsterVille town clean-up. Has it been 2 weeks already?

This time around, Wifey and I had a go at it right after breakfast. This time around the clean-up was much easier and quicker. With the new corn-cob bedding, the homes can stay clean and fresh for a week longer come to think of it. Oh, it has been 3 weeks since!

Wow! We have finally found the perfect bedding for this little residents comfort as well as saving some of our elbow grease.

This time around, after changing their homes from single to twin sharing and discarding their little plastic homes with the fluffy bedding which they seem to like sleeping outside now, the number of items to clean are greatly reduced.

Four hours later and were were done. Taking care of 24 residents in 12 separate homes is a great feat to have them all cleaned and freshly apple-scented.

To further speed-up next clean-up and bring order to HamterVille row of homes, I forked out more than S$100.00 buying 2 more new twin-homes to place the singles together for them to at least interact without fighting or getting kinky with one another as each home has a partition in between.

Now HamsterVille looks orderly from the outside and inside, the singles can now interact and mingle responsibly in their studio apartments. A win-win situation. Phew!

Now... for the Mayor and his Missus to enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Finally To Infinity

Since I switched to iMac, I had the longest and arduous task to hand-down my Windows XP Acer Aspire PC to my son, and re-condition his Windows XP PC to hand over it to Wifey.

Wifey's slow Windows XP PC will be used for our shop. Re-conditioning this last PC was a doozy.

The hand-me-down shuffling took longer than expected... more than two weeks, as I did bits and peaces when I had spare time albeit all the excitement after getting my iMac.

Finally, after migrating my all important emails, work and personal finance files, tons of photos and edited vacation videos to my iMac, my Acer Aspire PC was ready to receive my Son's data.

He did the transferring over himself. Since these PCs were connected wirelessly, it made the whole migration exercise all that easy.

The physical carrying the PCs from one room to another sucked, but it gave a chance to clean-up its vent holes and cables from accumulated dust.

Interestingly, my Son has more data to transfer than I have. A lot of power-point presentations, short movie clips and worksheets from his school projects, lots of downloaded articles on animals, nature, how stuff works... anything science-related, his interest.

The most time consuming for him was the numerous PC games he had accumulated over the years, with some over the internet. He did the whole installations and online updates over several days... the focus of his new PC use, I guess.

Finally, was his comment when the PC was placed on his study table and the latest games was played. I have to admit that the graphics was indeed great with no lagging when played. He was ecstatic, though I just hope I will too with his final term examination results... I just have to control his time playing those PC games.

Finally. Yes, after migrating Wifey's emails, documents, merchandise catalogs and photos, spreadsheets from the old Pentium 2 Siemens PC to our Son's Pentium 4 Acer Aspire, Wifey now does not need to wait longer than she has to launch her Excel worksheets.

She is happy to play her MP3 songs on iTunes while working on her new PC.

Finally I can breathe a sigh of relieve when the old Siemens PC was finally working and its Windows XP OS updated to the latest once reformatting was done.

The tedious job of installing Windows XP was not the installation itself, In fact, it ran quote automatically for most part of it. It is the incessant updates after another and reboots after reboots to have it to the latest secure OS... for now that is, like all Microsoft products are accustomed to.

No, I'm not blaming Mr. Gates here, it is just that his products are so popular... to attacks.

After the discovery that this PC was not compatible to install Windows Live OneCare, a 3-PC Home Package I bought online, almost ritually, I had to download the two most important free security software - AVG Antivirus from Grisoft and Ad-Aware SE from Lavasoft, both from CNet Asia Download website.

The PC is ready for the shop... when we find one that is. Sigh. That is another story altogether.

Finally... phew! Now I can relax and experience my iLife on my iMac and do some blogging... yes blogging.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

We'll Meet Again!

My Nieces & Nephews, Grandnieces & Grandnephews
It was just wonderful!

Everyone came to our Ryzz Danial's 2nd Birthday Party. I saw everyone was having a great time. Mom and Dad were already there when I reached our youngest sibling's home in Woodlands Drive 6 at about 6:30pm.

There were two birthday cakes on the coffee table - one with the photo cake I helped created the picture for them and another was a brainchild of his mother. A traditional glutinous rice with minced beef in curry... the first time I saw it made into a birthday cake. Creative indeed.

It was a surprise that my second brother's mother-in-law came to the party too. She joined my family camping at Changi Beach Park a bout two months ago. She has always been very chatty with Mom and she likes chatting with me too. A very nice lady.

Mom On The Left, Cik On The Right
Like any old lady with a warm and beautiful personality like Mom, my heart warms up to them and I would began to treat them just like my own Mom. Like my mother-in-law whom I love so dearly. These are special ladies in my life.

I do not know exactly why, but I always enjoy their company, their warmth and those funny old stories they tell when we sit around to chat.

The birthday boy had an extra tank of jet fuel last night. Well past his bedtime normally around 8:30pm, last night he was the life of the party, the most excited amongst all my nephews and nieces... and his nieces and nephews too.

Yes, I have become a granduncle according to Malay customs as my nieces already have children of their own... better stop here, I feel old just talking about it... the word grand is not that grand to me after all. Sigh... the denial.

Dad was just happy, kept laughing while watching all the little ones playing... and fighting among each other for toys. It was quite chaotic with the children, the happy-occasion-kind of way.

Get to meet a few of my nephews who have clearly outgrown me in height as they towered above me now. Some have already been in the army serving a mandatory national service for 2 years... as all the male citizen has to.

Birthday Boy Cutting His CakeA simple thank-you prayer was said, and it soon was time for the birthday boy to cut his cake. The event he had been anticipating the whole evening... probably because his photo was on the cake!

After several of his professional poses for the cameras , he finally got to cut his cake, already excited upn hearing his "happy birthday" song and rousing claps.

Then the most anticipated time began for me... the food gala began. Lots and lots of food and deserts. Ahhh, the life... the glutton in me.

I was so hungry, I forgot to take a snap at the buffet table, just because it was so interestingly colorful... the cakes, deserts and fruits.

I am tired of hearing this, but this is true... time flies when you are having fun. We stayed, mingled, talked, reminisced and joked all night long, and before we knew it, it was almost midnight.

We had to bid goodbye until next time...

Sounded it is going to be a while, but that next time may only be a few weeks away as there will be another birthday celebration... on the 20th of this month... at a chalet in Changi Beach maybe... awesome!

Until we meet again, stay wonderful and happy everyone.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Happy Birthday Danial!

Happy 2nd Birthday!
May You Grow Up Strong & Smart
Ever Ready To Take On The World

Congratulations to
Ryzz's Mom & Dad

Friday, May 04, 2007

Prelude To Weekend

Food Republic VivoCity
Thank God It's Friday!

Since I was near VivoCity after getting off work from a customer's office, I had the chance to finally grab my oh so late lunch at Food Republic located at the rooftop of this giant of shopping mall.

Being the first time in the food court, I was impressed by the old-charm prewar-themed deco once stepped in.

The background music of old Chinese yesteryears song completed the ambiance of the old days, older than I can imaging. Very interesting feeling... I felt as if I was zapped back in time... in the 1930s and 40s... of how my parents saw their surroundings while they were growing up.

I had Chicken Beryani, a North Indian dish, made famous by Malays as they will definitely serve their guests lunch with. The food tasted so good, simply because I had my lunch at 5:00pm!

Yes, I was that hungry... skipping lunch for last minute changes to the presentation slides with the latest updates that we got from production.

And yes! Talking about food, the HamsterVille residents only eat happily from one brand and one brand only... the elusive Prestige Hamster Nature food. Island-wide, hamster owners have been scouring every pet shop for this brand just because it has the best combination and still-fresh food the little people love.

I have tried to give them several other brands like Menu, but they simply reject it by not touching it much for several days. That made me very worried, so I have to stock up and leave orders at Pet shops when new stocks arrive.

Being Mayor of HamsterVille is tough... big power comes big responsibilities.

Pet Safari VivoCity
So stopped by Pet Safari after "lunch" and bought 4 packs, the only left and 2 more Hamster Wheels to replace those old, worn-out and noisy ones and 4 more Hamster Bath Houses.

That set me back about S$70.00. Sigh... all for the love of family.

Oh yes! We have been invited to my younger brother's son's birthday party tomorrow afternoon. This should be fun with all the family members congregating together.

I can picture how great a time we all will be having at the party!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

TICKLE Me Psychic?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Labour Of Love

Yesterday was a good day for me.

Call it Labour Day or May Day, but a public holiday on a Tuesday nonetheless and I made the best of it with family by stretching it longer with dinner out on Monday, right after leaving work. Sweet!

Do nothing, but doing our labour of love with Wifey and Son... let me list the ways...

1. Food! Eat and be merry.

  • Met Wifey and Son at Courts Megastore at Tampines Avenue 10 and had a big sumptuous dinner.
  • Wifey had its Weekly Special comprising of Laksa for entre, Red Bean Soup for desert and a soft drink.
  • Son and myself both had Fish & Chips with Cream Cake for desert.
  • A jumbo Thai Salad side dish for 3.
  • Wifey is trying to figure out what the sauce comprised of to maybe recreate it at home. Yes, it was that good!

2. Music! Listen & de-stress!
  • Off to the IT & Electrical Department after dinner where we bought 4 music CDs of our current favourite singers... Andrea Bocelli's Amore, Christina Aguilera's Back to Basics, Beyonce's B'Day and Nelly Furtado's Loose.
  • Once home, I wasted no time to rip the CDs on my iMac and loaded into everyone's MP3 players.

3. Knowledge! To the future and beyond!
  • We had quite a busy day yesterday. Instead of doing nothing, we had an 11:00am appointment with our Son's Malay Language tuition teacher from ECC.
  • Mr. Rani enlightened us with what to expect for our Son's August Oral and September PSLE Written exam formats and the strategy to choosing the correct secondary school.
  • We have seen vast improvement in our Son's command of the Malay language which is his weakest subject. Mr. Rani is expecting him to score an A for it. Hopefully.
  • We had a very satisfying Mee Kuah for lunch at a Indira Coffee Shop in front of Masjid Kassim. Delicious! I will come for more.

4. Pets! Love thy neighbours... HamsterVille.
  • Hopped on the MRT and to Eastpoint at Simei and shopped for a new cage with a partition in the middle for the feuding pair,.
  • 3 sets of "thread-wheels" to replace the worn-out ones from various homes since these residents are so... health conscious.
  • And giving a try with the new corn cob bedding for them, since these are recommended to be even more absorbent and longer-lasting.

5. Shopping! Groceries after pay-day.

  • Then off to NTUC Fairprice at the basement for our monthly grocery shopping and then to the 5th floor for Banquet Foodcourt for our packed dinner... and able to actually reached home, in time for Wifey's favourite Korean "I love my wife..." whatever show.

A good holiday for everyone here. A great day even, when you're doing it with and for family.

Oh yes, short work-week this week. Yes!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Happy Labour Day!

Have a great day today
Just because... it is a stress-free
Labour Day!