Friday, November 30, 2007

Gift From Us

As promised with his good PSLE results, our Son now owns his first notebook.

He proudly owns a Packard Bell EasyNote MX36-U-044 notebook, a starter machine for what will be an essential tool for his studies in the secondary school and his passion of computer programming.

We are fortunate that the SITEX 2007 PC show is timely and that prices of electronic gadgets are slashed and bundled with upgrades and free gifts, the stuff you normally will not get outside such exhibitions.

For a 15.4 Inch screen, Intel Core Duo 1.73GHz T2080 with 2GB memory and 120GB harddrive, multilayer DVD burner, and installed with Windows Vista Home Premium. The extra dedicated number-pad keyboard and built-in web-cam and microphone are welcomed features.

All that for under S$1,000.00 at S$998.00 net! A good starter kit.

Having a website registered to his name where he is able to freely create and control his web pages and forums from the hosting server, the WiFi-enabled notebook lets him connects and administers his website remotely... another of his dreams come true.

Guess he will be away for the vacation with us, but not entirely away from his computer because he is lugging it with him tomorrow when we leave for Cameron and Genting Highlands for our 8-day away-from-everything relaxation.

It is going to be fun. I need this break...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Returns, Shall Be

With the good results that our Son has gotten for his PSLE, it is time for him to reap the benefits of hard work and dedication.

After much discussion, well before the actual exams itself, it is now time for his rewards... the saying, "work hard, play hard" holds true today.

As he requested, I have registered for him a Domain Name - and website hosting for USD8.90 for a year and USD39.95 respectively today as a bonus for his exceptional achievements.

The original reward for the hard work was a Sony PlayStation Portable 2000. That has changed for the better, I think. He has requested for a notebook instead.

I would definitely reward him with a laptop than a PSP simply because he can do so much more than just play games and listen to MP3 songs.

Since he would rather stick at home in front of his computer doing his passion for computer programming than going outing with us, having the laptop will enable him to still stick his eyes to his passion and at the same time be with us outside the home.

So, timely as it seems, the quarterly-held PC show - SITEC 2007 will be held end this month at Singapore Expo from Thursday, 29 November 2007 till Sunday, 2 December 2007.

A small, but a window of opportunity to scout for the best offer for a laptop with the best price range and bundled gifts on Friday night and latest Saturday afternoon to get a deal before we are off on vacation to Cameron and Genting Highlands and then off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for 8 days!

Life is good to me. Thank you.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Congrats My Son

"Ayah! St. Hilda's Primary tops the nation for PSLE!" Wifey sounded excited over the phone, "It's a Malay girl. Her name is Natasha Nabilah..."

I was excited to receive her call at noon as the PSLE or Primary School Leaving Examination results were out today and braced myself to hear to news of our Son's results.

I switched the handset from my left ear to my right... silly, I know, but I wanted to hear good news with my right ear.

"... so you want to know our son's results now?" Wifey asked; almost teasing me, I felt. My heart raced as I listened intently.

"3 As and 1 A-star for Science!" Wifey sounded pleased as she continued, "His aggregate is 234."

"Thank The Almighty..." I replied with relief. Just then I realized that my right hand was cramping-up. I was gripping the handset too hard.

The Malay girl, Natasha has an aggregate of 294 with distinctions on all 4 subjects , an almost perfect score for any PSLE sitting to date, I believe.

Thanks to her, this year's T-store has now risen to 260 from 230 the year before from the 49 thousand-odd students who sat for PSLE nationwide.

Well, that is totally great and all, but our Son did several personal bests that made us just as proud as Natasha's parents should be right now.

He managed to score all As for the 4 subjects - English as First Language, Malay as mother tongue language, Mathematics and Science.

That is already awesome by my humble standard, yet he managed to score a distinction for his favourite subject, Science. The best he did was to score A for Malay, his weakest of subjects!

I am so proud of him!

His efforts were as great as Wifey's who had monitored him closely. She put her business interests on-hold early in the year to fully concentrate on our Son's studies and well-being for the PSLE.

I am proud of her too.

I feel so blessed to have two wonderful people in my life today together, for our tomorrows.

Monday, November 19, 2007

T3 Open House

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'll Be Back!

Check-In Hall high yet interesting ceiling

We had a family outing to see T3.

No, not the movie Terminator 3, it would have been years ago since it came to theaters in Singapore.

I would be living in the past then... well, I have been for much of the time anyway, come to think of it. Never mind...

I am talking about the new Terminal 3 of Changi International Airport Open House.

To be operational come 9 Jan 2008, the place is huge! As big as 63 football fields, this 380,000 square metres airport has two distinct features I quickly noticed when I first stepped into it.

We took bus Service 34 from our home, and alighted right at T3 underground bus terminal after a 15 minutes ride. Awesomely convenient for our frequent overseas travels!

Once at the Check-in Hall, one cannot but notice the huge interior with high ceiling.

The two most distinctive features of this airport to are the light and heat regulated ceilings and the Green Wall.

With its hundreds of plate-like reflectors, the ceiling is computer controlled for the correct amount of natural light to pass through the entire hall but with minimal heat.

Distinctive 5-storey high Green Wall creepers

The Green Wall is huge, at 300 metres long and 15 metres or 5 storeys high, this imposing feature wall will not escape any body's attention, especially with 26 types of creepers that will flower from time to time.

When it opens, it will have Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, Qatar Airways, Jet Airways and China Eastern to operate their international flights from and gradually add on more airlines there.

Able to handle 8 Airbus A380 superjumbos amongst the many gates, the place is plush yet minimalistic with its use of glass, steel and timber... and lots of foliage. Tall palms to be exact.

Paid S$3.00 each for a 45-minute guided tour of its facilities including the restricted area, it was quite a let down when my Son and I learned that we could not go to the automatic baggage-handling conveyor system that can handle 10,000 luggages in an hour.

Arrival Hall with biometrics immigration for Singaporeans

The airport actually encourages people to come and check-in early... several hours early in fact as there are just too many things that one can do, like shopping, watching free movies, free internet access and computer games.

Sports fans can watch free sports channels on big and plush couches in front of a large screen LCD TV. There are clusters of such facilities found interspersed within the restricted departure hall.

To seek some solitude there, a large indoor Koi pond is there to gaze and lost in thoughts, though the inhabitants are just not there yet.

A large outdoor butterfly sanctuary is situated next to the Koi pond will especially interest the children, when they bring in the insect to call it their home. Else the children can spent their energies at several of the children's playgrounds there.

Arrival Hall with variety of ferns first to greet the visitors

There are endless specialty and branded shops as there are pubs and sit-in and fast food restaurants. There are hotels and spas there for transit passengers too. It is like a city within a departure hall without ever the need to leave the airport.

And if you do get bored while on transit, hop on for a free city and shopping tour if you have several hours to kill.

Though still sparse, it will be a great place to spend some indoor family time when it actually opens early next year. I would have spent a longer time if not for the tired pair of legs from all the walking.

I will be posting more photos from the visit. I will be back!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Vacation Up North

Singapore Expo Hall 6 Tower

Tis the season to be jolly.

Well, Christmas for the Christians, but vacation time for this Muslim family. Neighboring Malaysia is this year's destination.

Since we forked out a tad too much for our Hari Raya Eidulfitri celebrations which had recently passed, there was very little fund left for a long and far-away vacation.

After much contemplations with possible destinations we could afford, Malaysia was the obvious choice.

This time being the peak travel period for both Malaysians and Singaporeans, with the school holidays just starting this very weekend and working adults forced to clear last year's annual leaves and all, we were still hesitant to confirm our booking after the numerous calls with the various tour agents for the past weeks.

Visit Malaysia 2007 Exhibition

Fortunately for us, Tourism Malaysia held its Visit Malaysia 2007 exhibition this weekend right at our doorstep in Singapore Expo, a stone's throw away from our home in Tampines. There is no perfect timing than this.

There, we found the free-and easy tour package we wanted. We get to go where we want, stay at the good hotels we know, extend a few nights stay, and get the transport back home arranged on another date.

So, come Saturday, 1 December evening, we will leave for a 4-Day, 5-Night to Cameron Highland, Genting Highlands and the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

We will get to visit and extend another 2 nights stay in Selayang, Kuala Lumpur with Wan, Wifey's Mom after a year-long apart.

Since she did not come back to her West Coast home in Singapore this Hari Raya, we figured, we visit her instead.

So near and yet so far...

Visit Malaysia 2007 tour agent booths

Except for Kuala Lumpur, it will be my first time to Cameron and Genting highlands. It should be exciting... a relaxing time at Cameron Highland with its tea, strawberry and vegetable farms, then the fast moving resort theme-park Genting Highlands and shopping at Kuala Lumpur.

A good time to spend some quality time with Wan, especially for Wifey and Son and catch-up on things. This is going to be great!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

You'll Be Loved

HamsterVille before recent adoption in Nov 2007

My PDA beeped with a new message received yesterday.

No... please let it not be from work!

Phew! Alright, not from work.

It was from an unknown cell phone number with a text message that read "I saw your ad. Do you still have hamsters for adoption?"

Darn it! I should have stopped the pet adoption advert I put up in Pet Lovers' Corner website already! With the numerous adoptions we have gone through, we were left with 20 hammies in HamsterVille.

Bear, the big and lovable hammie

There is a part of me that wished to keep all 20 since we have been with our hammies for more than a year already, except for May... she was the last one born in May this year before we were successful in preventing completely separated the two genders from breeding.

Then again, taking care of so many in 10 homes took quite an effort when the fortnightly time came to clean the 10 households. It had been quite an elaborate house chore.

"Yes, but no babies left. All r adults above 1 yr old. White-Winter breed lifespan is 2 yrs. Still interested?" was my message back... hoping for "no thanks then" reply.

"OK. Adoption free? How many can adopt?" was the reply instead. Sigh...

I told Wifey about the request. Her face lighted-up and was quick to answer "Great! As many as they want!"

My heart sank.

I was hoping she would be as reluctant as me to give anymore away... being attached to the hammies after all this time. Yes, we have talked about this. It is the sane thing to do and reclaim our lives back. After all, we have been giving them away to only pet lovers.

I have to learn to let go.

"K. Come by my home to choose with my wife..." I replied. The rest is history once the 4 cages left our home the same late afternoon.

Home of Mr. & Mrs. Smith

A 16 year old girl, Esther and her friend came over, chose and we bid goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Smith in one cage, Mr. and Mrs. Thames in another, and Buttons and Bear in 2 separate cages.

"Thk u. Be assured we will take care of the hamsters." was the text message on my PDA 10 minutes after they left our home.

Goodbye hammies!

You all will be taken care of properly, we know it. You all will be alright...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Marina Bay Colours

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Celebrations Continue

Little India Deepavali Light-up 2007 along Serangoon Road

Today marks the end of Syawal. Hari Raya Eidulfitri is now over after a month of festive celebrations by Muslims around the world.

Within this 700 sq km island of Singapore life where 4 million people call it home, Chinese being the predominant race here making up 75% of the population, while native Malays... ancestors from the then mainland Malaysia, make up about 15%.

Geylang Serai Hari Raya Light-up 2007 along Sims Avenue

Indians being the third major race making up about 6% while other races complete the multi-racial mix we have living here today.

With the many races, so too are the cultures each ethnic people bring and religions they practice... and much needed public holidays!

Chinatown Mid-Autumn Light-up 2007

The Chinese has 2 days for Chinese New Year early this year and 1 day for Vesak Day.

The Malays have 2 days... one for Hari Raya Eidulfitri that was on 12 October 2007 and has just ended its celebration, while another is Hari Raya Eidul-Adha which will be on 20 December. Yes!

Christmas Light-up 2006 along Orchard Road

Christmas is another major public holiday... a very neutral day and is celebrated by practically everyone.

Simply because the whole island becomes a shopping haven for gifts and great bargains for seasonal shopping tourists as far as Indonesia and Mauritius. I guess it has become so much commercialized than anything but a religious event in the eyes of a non-Christian, like me.

Little India Deepavali Light-up 2007 along Serangoon Road

Deepavali is celebrated by Indians who are mostly Hindus.

While the rest of Singaporeans get a public holiday last Thursday, 8 November... most took leave off work on Friday for a 4-day long weekend, Indians in Singapore celebrate their most important religious event as with the people in India where the legend came from.

Deepavali is an Indian word for "row of lights." Earthen oil lamps placed in a row at their homes on this day to guide the descended spirits of their ancestors to the next word.

Legend has it that an oppressive ruler, Narakasura was killed by Lord Krishna symbolizing triumph of good over evil, lightness over darkness, thus the celebrations of lights, of bright new beginnings.

Little India Deepavali Bazaar in Serangoon Road

Hindus in Singapore woulds celebrate it by going to the temple for blessings, giving offerings of sweet meats to and placing lavender garlands on the altar in their homes. It is also known to be a good time to buy new items for the home as some Indians from other Indian precincts regard this day as their new year.

Indian businesses too will celebrate it by opening on the day to let Lord Krishna visit and bless their business for a profitable year to come.

If I am not mistaken, Hindus in neighboring Malaysia would bathe themselves in oil, blessed from the temple or their home altar... another variation of celebrations coming from a certain part if the vast India.

The most popular spot for Indians in Singapore is definitely Little India in Serangoon Road.

Geylang Serai Hari Raya Light-up 2007 along Changi Road

Like the Malays have Geylang Serai and Kampung Glam to congregate for purchases at the Raya Bazaars, Indians have their treats with the stretch of road in Little India lit with multicolored lights and ethnic Indian decorations to get the festive shopping that much uplifting.

An atmospheric feast as well for other natives here and tourists alike to enjoy.

Chinatown shops with lanterns & mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival 2007

Born and growing up here, this is just the tip of the iceberg... in a tropical setting, melting in the pot of varied cultures, deep in traditions and religious practices that I myself have yet to uncover and understand a little more, given time... as we live harmoniously together.

Harmony amongst various races and religions is a luxury.

It has to be nurtured, respected and requires effort to not be taken for granted because it is delicate and sensitive as it is beautiful.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy Deepavali

Wishing all my Hindu friends
A Very Happy Deepavali
The Brightest Of Celebrations
To Life