looking for baudrillard, boorstin, or eco?

dare to hope for what is good
instead of what is merely good enough.
Dead in sin | Saved by grace | Living in hope | Walking by faith | Surviving on a prayer

+ sola scriptura + sola gratia + solus Christus + sola fide + sola Deo gloria +

mardi, mai 31, 2005

 Watch this and die with glee

Store Wars!

[Watch this and die with glee]
Sngs Alumni @ 31.5.05 { 0 comments }

lundi, mai 30, 2005

 those beautiful stringed instruments

It's been a while since I picked up the guitar on a regular basis. I used to handle the music for most of the youth bible study sessions, and that meant at least a 1/2 hour finger workout every week on a classical (read: less painful) guitar.

Suddenly, I've been playing for two days almost non-stop - camp worship practices, and I was leading worship in the Sanctuary today. I was having fun planning the singing for the Sanctuary worship: I had a grand piano and three guitars: a 6-string acoustic, a 12-string acoustic, and a 6-string classical. The sounds that can be produced with a good rhythm and a beautiful chord: gorgeous! Plus I tried something which I wanted to do for a while - start a song on a higher octave, and continue the song using just simple arpeggios. For some very, very strange reason, it's very hard to get pianists to just play the arpeggios without "filling in" more notes in the middle of the silences (not just you, A., but referring to ALL that I've worked with.) I'm guessing it's a mixture of musical pride (you don't get your Grade 8 or higher just by playing chords!) and a fear of silence. Andy's got it right: the congregation especially fears silence, and always jumps the gun when it comes to the space between verses. Sometimes, whole beats are lost with the transitions!

Anyhoo, the strings sounded great over the P.A. Poor TW had to set up all three monitors because I was so paranoid that Ade and I couldn't hear each other AGAIN, which would have been horrible (and would have been the last time I would ever lead worship again in the Sanctuary.) D. got to do the cool thing by switching over from the 12-string to the 6-string classical for the songs in E minor. Even though I wasn't switching guitars, I was pretty gleeful at FINALLY being able to use the double-headed guitar stand.

I was having fun just with the preparations for this service, but I got an even higher kick when camp practice started: enter SX's TAMA drums, which were bought at a steal for S$200, and stashed (with permission, of course) in church. This practice had one bass guit, one electric guit, one acoustic guit, one keyboard, and drums. Talk about sounding awesome. It's the first time I've played with the drums, and oh man, now I know why some people get totally addicted to jamming: it's hypnotic, the state that you sometimes get into, just playing and playing and playing. And it gets more fun when people are more creative and just start playing ... stuff. Time just gets away from you like that, magically.

This is totally, totally cool stuff. Except that I'm re-growing the calluses on my left fingers, and that, my friends, is never a painless (nor pretty) task. But damn! We sound pretty good! (At least, recorded on Ben's phone we do.)

[those beautiful stringed instruments]
Sngs Alumni @ 30.5.05 { 0 comments }

dimanche, mai 29, 2005


After speaking with that CEO, I decided to give the available downloading websites a try - this, after spending $60 buying FFH's "Still the Cross", Caedmon's Call's "Share The Well", and Rob Thomas's "...Something to Be".

After browsing through the selection at soundbuzz.com.sg , I was a mixture of impressed and let down.

- Popular songs are available.
- Songs are an OK-price- S$1.99 for each.

- Music is downloaded in protected WMA format - this means no iPods unless you want to do the time consuming burn-and-re-rip thing. I have (so far) been unable to find something which lets you do the WMA to MP3 conversion.
- Music is HUGE! The WMA file that I downloaded was good quality, but it was 6MB LARGE! Imagine the disk space needed for a couple of albums.
- Only people who are on PacNet, or have credit cards can buy music. So much for students complying with legal standards.

Mr Edward N. is a very convicted man - he truly believes that people should pay for the music that they download because "it's not fair." I agree with him, but definitely only in part. We chatted a little about P2P filesharing and illegal activities, and he agreed that three years ago, the excuse of "I didn't know it was illegal" was still valid, but not anymore now. Three years ago, when there were no song downloading portals such as Starhub and SoundBuzz, the excuse "I only want to buy one song" still stood. "But not anymore," he declared. The word has been out on the streets and there could be no more excuses about "I want to pay but there are no avenues online for me to buy music."

I conceeded that fact to him, but when asked about television shows (something I have a personal stake in), he hedged and changed the argument. I told him that I think the battle for higher moral and legal ground in downloading music and movies has been settled, but what about television shows? There is no way I can buy them online currently, and as none of the TV network execs are currently talking to the press about a brilliant new business plan to sell these shows, I assumed that there were no plans in the pipeline to earn my money. Mr Edward N. changed the argument from a "no more excuse" argument, to a "it's just wrong" argument. I'm not sure how much I agree with this.

Sngs Alumni @ 29.5.05 { 0 comments }

vendredi, mai 27, 2005

 Play with Darth Vader!

Go here: http://www.sithsense.com/flash.htm

The game is to think of a non-specific object (like say "computer" instead of "Dell Laptop") and let Vader ask you 20 (or sometimes more) questions to uncover what it is that you're thinking of.

Although it looks like some hokey online game by burger king, it's VERY accurate - it's rather scary actually! Vic, you should try this... AFTER your thesis is done.

Oh, and the meeting with the CEO today went very well. I'm such a worrywart.

[Play with Darth Vader!]
Sngs Alumni @ 27.5.05 { 0 comments }


I've got this important meeting tmrw, garnered in part because I sent the abstract page of a report I did to this organisation. It might turn out to be nothing, just a chat with their CEO, but it might turn out to be an offer to be part of a project, to work for them, to do something with them etc. The trouble is, the abstract page of my project is technically the school's, not mine. I say technically because all the research I do is supposed to belong to the school - even more so since I'm on scholarship.

I'm rather worried because maybe, just maybe, the school won't look very kindly upon me sending the abstract page without their permission to an external organisation. I think that if something were to come out of the meeting, it would mean good publicity for the school, but I've noted a tendency towards bureaucracy within the administration - more so than the other school that I got my B.A. from. So I'm worried that IF something were to come out of this meeting, they might ask me why I sent the abstract in the first place.

Self-glorification? A feeling that the material would be wasted if I let it rot in my pile of papers? A sense that it would be interesting that they knew about the results? Just being kaypoh and wanting to find out where I could take the research I've already done?

I don't think it's wrong that I sent the study to them - after all, I only sent the abstract to them, but maybe they won't look on it the same way. Perhaps I'm not supposed to have initiative at all in this school, and just sit quietly in my little cubicle and read books which have been pre-approved by my supervisor. I'm nervous about what could happen if they don't look kindly upon this.

Am I worrying too much?

Sngs Alumni @ 27.5.05 { 0 comments }

mercredi, mai 25, 2005

 Kingdom of Heaven & Revenge of the Sith

(For $5 a show, you'd do two movies a day too.)

Kingdom of Heaven was a letdown. It tossed and turned and meandered almost aimlessly, trying not to offend Christians and Muslims alike. It almost succeeds - I say almost because it doesn't offend either party, but that made the treatment of the film rather clinical. Facts from both sides of the story were presented, and nothing really made any character particularly sympathetic. Orlando Bloom (Balian) spends most of his time with a perpetually furrowed brow, and all the other knights look pretty much the same, so I can't really tell who's who - and therefore can't really care if they die or not.

I'm not sure how much I liked the points of view presented - I like that it showed the sheer madness of how wars are waged because "God wills it!" - both God and Allah want bloodshed? - but I'm in two minds about Balian's giving up of Jerusalem for the lives of people. On one hand, Jerusalem is a holy place to both Muslims and Christians. On the other, it's also just that - a place. I feel like this conversation between Balian and the Muslim Saracen General Saladin.
Balian: How much is Jerusalem worth?
Saladin: Nothing. (strides back towards his army, then turns back with both fists clenched in a boxing stance) Everything.
I felt really depressed after watching the show. All those wars, the crusades - it's part of history now, but it actually did happen. "Killing infidels is a pathway to heaven!" some priest cried out at the beginning of the movie. Dramatised, but I think that was the sentiment of the day, and it's depressing, how cruel Christianity and Christians were. I should really do more reading on this.

After that depressing movie, I decided that I would go two for two and watch another depressing movie, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Natalie Portman was truly sad in this installment - I was expecting a stellar performance from her, but all she got was five lines, a belly, a birth/death scene and a grand funeral where she looked her prettiest in the movie. And while I obviously feel a lot more sympathy for Anakin/Darth Vader now that we know the whole story, I (again) feel really sad that he didn't find out that Padme Amidala did not die at his hand in Return of the Jedi.

One of the best parts? Yoda. He's short, but he packs a punch! And he took on the Emperor! And he pushed those red guards flat against the wall with his Force! I wonder why he called Palpatine "Emperor" when fighting him. Shouldn't he just have called him "Senator", "Palpatine" or best - "Pal"? (I thought that Ian McDiarmid played the evil-weevil amazingly. He's totally creepy as Palpatine!)

Ewan MacGregor was also amazing in this installment. Granted, he had the best material aside from lousy wooden Hayden Christiansen (who seems headed for Mark Hamill obscurity if he doesn't buck up!) but he made the most of it, which is more than what we can all say for Hayden C. I hope he makes more movies! But without the beard and the moustache, thanks. I think it was to make him look more lik Alec Guiness, but... no. Leave Ewan's face alone!

The surprise of the movie for me had to be Jimmy Smits. After NYPD Blue, and then seeing him as Matthew Santos in The West Wing, I thought I'd be in stitches seeing him in Star Wars, but no, he was actually pretty good - the acting wasn't overdone, and yet he made an impression. I thought he played this to perfection. And the last part, where we find out that he raised Leia? I thought that was such a lovely touch.

I was discussing it with my brother - who once got into a hissy fight with me because I forgot to tape The Empire Strikes Back when it was showing on tv a few years ago! - and we both agreed that this show had a LOT of stuff packed into it - the plot just travelled on a relentless trajectory toward the conclusion we already know: Anakin = Darth Vader. I thought that he was good that the movie had so much plot in it, KM thought it was a little too much, and could have been spread out over the first two episodes. He thought it was so-so to sucked, while I think it stands on par with Episodes IV, V and VI. I thought that more could have been done with the Wookie battle, but that might have turned out to be the equivalent of the Ewok battle in Ep VI, which got a little tiresome, like the stupid pod race in Epi I.

For better or for worse, tonight, 30 years of cinematic history ended for me once those credits rolled.

[Kingdom of Heaven & Revenge of the Sith]
Sngs Alumni @ 25.5.05 { 0 comments }

mardi, mai 24, 2005

 Where to next?

I had dinner with D. after I came home yesterday, and made an offhand comment to him: "So, where do I go next?" He said that he felt the same way every time he returned from a trip - he just came back from exploring the whole of Italy, plus Nice and Monaco (France) with his girlfriend, and we spent about five minutes talking about the possibilites that were out there - the countries unexplored and the people not met. I told him about all the aunties and uncles who had gone on this trip with me - regrettably, it was a package tour, but Egypt isn't a place for two inexperienced girls to go wandering about on their own.

The aunties and uncles were your usual ah-soh and ah-pek suspects - except that they weren't. These were super powerful people - there was this bunch of four ladies who always travelled together, and they've been all over the world! The last place they were at was Australia, and they said that they just rented a car and drove around by themselves! No doubt, Oz isn't exactly a dangerous place, plus everyone speaks English, but think about it - these aunties were in their 60s and 70s, and they're going strong! One among the group had actually gone to India for a week with another group of friends a couple of years back!

Another auntie-uncle duo co-own a kelong at Tanjong Pinang, and we were invited there to give them business. They too, have been all over the world, and they've been married 40 years. They spent the whole trip bonding with everyone else, and were so jolly it was beautiful to see their optimism.

When I told my mom this, she told me of a friend who had shown her a world map with marks on all the places she had been. "I don't know where to go next," she told my mom. I want to be this woman.

[Where to next?]
Sngs Alumni @ 24.5.05 { 0 comments }

lundi, mai 23, 2005

 Sphinxes at Karnak Temple

Sphinxes at Karnak Temple
Well, this was interesting - trying to blog using flickr, but backwards, so that the pictures would come out in the correct order on my blog. I have about 602MB worth of pictures, which is too much to show everyone online, so here are some highlights from my trip.

Where I went:
Day 1 - Travel
Day 2/3/4 - Luxor, Edfu, Kom-Ombo, Aswan on a Nile River cruise ship (temple after temple)
Day 5 - Aswan (boats and boats!)
Day 6 - Abu Simbel + overnight train to Cairo (temples, boats and dams)
Day 7/8/9 - Giza, Cairo (pyramids and museums and perfume essence shops)
Day 10 - Travel

This pic of a row of Sphinxes is from the first temple we visited - the Temple of Luxor.

[Sphinxes at Karnak Temple]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Luxor Vendor

Luxor Vendor
I love how the colours stand out in this picture. He was sitting there, and my carriage stopped in front of him.

[Luxor Vendor]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Spicy Stuff

Spices sold by a Luxor street vendor.

[Spicy Stuff]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Luxor Galibrean and Sheesha Bongs

Luxor Galibrean and Sheesha Bongs
Galibrean clothes and sheesha bongs.

[Luxor Galibrean and Sheesha Bongs]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Egyptian Viagra

Egyptian Viagra
Kom-Ombo temple was rumoured to have had a reputation for being a fertility clinic. Here, you can see an example of a "before/after" advertisement. The one with less drops is obviously "before", and the one with more is "after". No, they aren't very shy people. I wonder who the carver was.

[Egyptian Viagra]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Milk Bath?

Milk Bath?
In Kom-Ombo temple, this was supposed to be Cleopatra's bathtub - which was filled with Nile river water, milk and honey.

Cleopatra apparently sailed to Kom-Ombo once a year to have this bath. (I don't know if it was her ONLY bath for the year.)

[Milk Bath?]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Make bricks without straw!

Make bricks without straw!
Moses's Pharoh got pissed off when Moses kept bugging him to let the Israelites go (see Exodus in the bible - it's the 2nd book in the whole bible), so he told the Israelites that they had to make bricks without straw. I've always wondered how these bricks looked like - now I see.

[Make bricks without straw!]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Nile Sunset

Nile Sunset

[Nile Sunset]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Rush, Rush

Rush, Rush
Moses was dumped into the river to be discovered by Pharoah's daughter, while Miriam (his sis) hid in the rushes. I'd like to think that she was hiding somewhere that looked like this.

The scenery along the Nile during our three-day cruise was just magical to me. At any one time that I felt like it, I could open my window and be treated with the sight of palm trees, or banana trees, and rushes. I love the rushes.

[Rush, Rush]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Hot Philae Temple

Pic removed by me :)
Hot Philae Temple
At Aswan's Temple of Philae. Again, 40degC heat, but it was interesting to see the markings on the wall which show how high the Nile used to flood in older times. This temple also saw a sharp transition between the Egyptian and occupation periods - in between hieroglypics you would suddenly see Roman numerals, or a French inscription.

[Hot Philae Temple]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Felucca Footsies

Felucca Footsies
Now I'm actually IN a felucca paddling in the Nile River. One of the highlights of my whole trip, I felt. The water is green and cool, there are no crocodiles (or so my guide tells me), and everything's just perfect.

[Felucca Footsies]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Feluccas at Aswan

Feluccas at Aswan
Sailing back to Aswan - these boats are called Feluccas. Sailboats, they are small, very pretty, and they move very gracefully through the Nile. It's quite calming to watch them sail, or bob up and down when moored.

[Feluccas at Aswan]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Abu Simbel Temple - 5 hours journey

Abu Simbel Temple - 5 hours journey
For this optional excursion, we woke up at 2.30am in the morning, and took a bus that was part of a government convoy to this temple. They only let 2000 people visit the place every day, so we were part of the 2000 that thronged the place at 8am in the morning. The drive took about 4-5 hours - I'm not too sure because I was forcing myself to sleep as I didn't want to puke (I was ill plus motion sickness, which left my stomach recoiling).

The temple was actually dismantled and recreated over a period of six years, with the help of the US government and UNESCO, I believe. It was going to be covered with water when the dam was built. It's apparently a remarkable feat of engineering: built to let the sun shine in the inner temple sanctum only on two days: 21st Feb (King's birthday) and 21st Oct (King's coronation day.) After they shifted it, they could only get it to coincide on the 22nd Feb and 22nd Oct: a miss by a day.

There's another temple dedicated to his favourite wife, Nefeteri. She apparently didn't bear him any kids, but was the favourite nonetheless. These two temples were apparently the southmost point of the ancient Egyptian empire, and are the only temples which are hewn directly into stone. The others are free-standing structures.

[Abu Simbel Temple - 5 hours journey]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Lake Nasser

There used to be a great pic of
me standing here. It was really
great. My hair's awesome. But
it had to go away. Sorry.

Lake Nasser
After seeing Abu Simbal, the next best thing was to take pictures at the huge lake Nasser, which looked so nice and cool beside the temple - and its corresponding 40deg celsius heat.

There was a very, very cute ABC guy waiting to get up on this little plateau that we were taking these pictures on. I wanted to get him to take our pictures, but Ade was reluctant, so I let it slide. Darn. Now I can't say that I have lived without regrets, because hot damn! I should have asked. You should have seen his dimples!

[Lake Nasser]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }


Oops. You're too late.
I thought the Sphinx would have been larger! I was rather surprised to see that she was just... a very large statue! I had thought that she would be as large as the pyramids, if not larger. Behind me you can see the remaining limestone cap of one of the pyramids.

Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Pyramids - finally!

What took you so long
to get here? Pics went
Pyramids - finally!
That's me in front of the largest pyramid. Built for (and by) King Khufu, it was completed around 2550BC. It's got about 2.5 MILLION blocks of stone (each taller than most people, and some weighing more than 15 tonnes!) Each side of the pyramid (the base is a square) is about 230m in length, and the whole pyramid is about 140m in height. There used to be an outer casing of limestone for the pyramids, making it smoother in look, but apparently the pyramids were stripped of these to build some of the early building in Cairo.

[Pyramids - finally!]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 See the pyramids!

Another quinessential "I was there" shot. Three pyramids! I went into the 2nd largest one - the corridors are 1m by 1m in height and width. Very scary - thank God most of them are air-conditioned, or the heat and suffocation would kill us all. It's pretty interesting because the sarcophagus (coffin) inside the pyramids are larger than the openings and passageways, which makes no sense because that would mean that the sarcophagus would have to be inside the pyramids during construction. But considering that construction of each pyramid took a couple of decades each, it's a mystery how the ancient Egyptians put the sarcophagus into the pyramids. Secret passageway perhaps?

[See the pyramids!]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Khalili Dubious Drink - Part 1

Khalili Dubious Drink 1
I had no idea what this street vendor was selling (he has a big bottle of iced drink on his back), but I was thirsty and I wanted to try. So I drank - it was some sort of tea with cinnamon (perhaps) in it. A little bitter too. Adeline was rather horrified that (1) I wanted to try the street vendors, and (2) I had no idea what the drink was and still wanted to drink it, and (3) I finished the drink.

[Khalili Dubious Drink - Part 1]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Khalili Dubious Drink - Part 2

Aiyah, cannot let you
see this pic. Too late!
Try again next time!

Khalili Dubious Drink 2
Here I am, making a face at the taste. The guy was very sporting, and didn't mind me taking the picture. He spoke no english.

[Khalili Dubious Drink - Part 2]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

 El Khalili Khan market

this pic was really
interesting - exotic and
very indiana jones-ish.

El Khalili Khan market
Although full ot kitsch, the market gave out a slightly more authentic "Cairo-feel" than most of Cairo that I had seen: all built-up with high-rise apartments, balconies full to the brim with laundry and a huge satellite dish. Harassment was common in the market, with local street vendors grabbing your hand inappropriately and hitting your butt with string.

[El Khalili Khan market]
Sngs Alumni @ 23.5.05 { 0 comments }

dimanche, mai 22, 2005

 Pyramid Preview

Well kids, I'm back! A little too dizzy from the flights to do anything with the pictures right now, but here's a preview from the phone:

The Trio of Pyramids at Giza!
The trio. I made the trek into one of the
pyramids - rather creepy. Definitely not for
the claustrophobic.

sailing along the nile
Sailing along the Nile River

More pictures and the travel diary once I get my shit together. Gotta put together my first year proposal ASAP!

[Pyramid Preview]
Sngs Alumni @ 22.5.05 { 0 comments }

jeudi, mai 12, 2005

 kan u unnerstaan mi?

Merlyn just typed out a few lines from the secondary school essays that she's marking.

"She conceited defeat."

I'm trying to get my church to understand that it's a combineD youth camp we're holding, not a combine youth camp, but nobody seems to be understanding why there is an extra "d" at the end of "combine". "It's not past tense what, the camp haven't come yet," they tell me.

I'm reading eleven essays from NUS undergraduates, and the quality of writing is not much better. And no, these are not foreign students.

Is the art of good writing dead? Some communication theorists are of the opinion that as long as we can understand each other, why should anyone bother about how we do it? Literature buffs will clutch their hands to their hearts in horror, and bemoan with the art buffs that beauty (in language, in painting, in art) is priceless, and cannot be let die so easily. But in the age where the SMS and chat window rule, is there any space in the future for good writing?

I think I write in a very straightforward manner - no flowery language, no deep thoughts behind my words that create convoluted sentences. And yet, some of the younger generation find my language "cheem". Izzit juz bcoz i dun rite lyk dis?

I wanted to try to link the content of this post to NewSpeak (1984), but I'm expending all my brain power trying to finish that stupid journal article (which I'm sure will be rejected - first by my sup then by the journal!) before I have to leave at 5.30am tmrw. Wish me luck. I'll post a picture of me on a camel when I get back. If you want to pray, pray that I'll meet a Matthew McConaughy lookalike (like in Sahara!) who's crazy about me. (Seriously though, I'm falling very, very ill. Pray that this illness DIES NOW.)

ETA: I've FINISHED the first draft. Huzzah! 2500 words written in 12 hours - probably incoherent babbling, but here's praying (hey, there's another prayer request for you!) that my sup will find it okay. I HATE IT because it's not GREAT, but I've got a headache, I'm slightly woozy from the too-much-thinking and lack of sleep thing that I've been doing to finish this article, I'm leaving the house in two hours, and beggars really, really cannot be choosers.

[kan u unnerstaan mi?]
Sngs Alumni @ 12.5.05 { 0 comments }

mercredi, mai 11, 2005

 My (old) office workspace

For those of you who have heard (offline) about my travails with my office partner, rejoice! For I have moved to a new office. I feel bad about how the whole situation turned out, but I have to say that I really did do all that I could to prevent any unhappiness from occurring... it's not my fault that the office grapevine in the school is so active! I didn't know that confidential data could get passed about so unprofessionally.

Ah well, you live, you learn.

(I'm also testing out flickr, in preparation for Egypt photos. Leaving on Friday! And I'm SICK NOW!!! Angry.)

[My (old) office workspace]
Sngs Alumni @ 11.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Being called to the principal's office

Because I did such a totally kick-ass class assignment on the P2P downloading, with an equally kick-ass sample size, I asked Millie what to do with the results - let me tell you, some (not all, but definitely some) professors in my current school have no visions whatsoever - and Millie told me to perhaps contact some journals to get it published, or speak to the IPOS or the RIAS. So I sent the abstract over to the RIAS, and now, I have a meeting with their CEO to "discuss further the survey."

Considering my online activities, I feel like I'm being called to the principal's office for ratting our my fellow drug-users.

On the other hand, this is the first time in a long time that I've felt energised from doing research. The research on PR is such a drag, I am seriously considering dropping out of this programme and returning to that other programme I came from.

[Being called to the principal's office]
Sngs Alumni @ 11.5.05 { 0 comments }

mardi, mai 10, 2005


You Are Reverse Pocky

Your attitude: rebellious and clever
Non-conformist, but curiously a trendsetter
With you, up is down... and it's a wild ride!

Sngs Alumni @ 10.5.05 { 0 comments }

lundi, mai 09, 2005

 Terrible Dream

I was nervous (again) about meeting my supervisor today, and I think it affected my sleep so much that I had a nightmare about taking examinations which I wasn't prepared for. I dreamt that I was going to be taking Maths, Physics, and Chinese (!) examination this week, and that I was so lazy that I procrastinated and procrastinated, and in the end was going to take the exams without studying. I remember thinking (in my dream) that I wished that I was taking English or Literature instead, but apparently those exams were over, and only the horrid ones were left. I think I freaked out so much that I woke up and fell back asleep... only to continue the same dream, which shows you how nervous I was.

My supervisor describes my progress as "satisfactory". Is that ok? Is that normal? Is that pH7? Or more acidic? Am I overthinking things too much?

I also applied for leave (!) to go to Egypt. I didn't know that I had to. Officially, I can NOT come to school for a week and nobody would bother, but my sup thinks that it's better to be above-board. I realise that I'm a very unethical person.

[Terrible Dream]
Sngs Alumni @ 9.5.05 { 0 comments }

samedi, mai 07, 2005

 Dissertation Snafu

Today I couldn't get out of my house to go to school because it was pouring cats and poodles, horses and elephants and other cattle for two hours, non-stop. The choice was between being completely drenched (even with an umbrella) and zapped to death by lighting, or emailing for a re-meet. I was scheduled for a discussion of my dissertation with my supervisor, and I'm freaked out because the whole thing's just fubar. The re-meet's on for Monday.

[Dissertation Snafu]
Sngs Alumni @ 7.5.05 { 0 comments }

vendredi, mai 06, 2005

 British Humour's the best

Having grown up on a regular diet of very American shows, I've occasionally found myself in the very embarrassing position of quite nearly axphyxiating after reading something native to the British vernacular.

Like today. Reading Jamie Oliver's website on a lark (because I think his "Feed Me Better" anti-crap school lunch programme totally rocks the house down), I came across gems like:

"Don't let anyone pee into your cornflakes."
"I'm not the brightest banana of the bunch."

I love it!

On a slightly different note, the pictures on Jamie Oliver's website look extremely scrumptious! Even the salads look appetising! I feel like getting my maid to prepare them, but I think I'll have to shop for ALL the angmoh condiments, which is too much of a hassle for one dish. I don't mind going out shopping for a few condiments, but not all. Oh well. Looks like I won't be eating The Easiest, Sexiest Salad in the World for a while.

[British Humour's the best]
Sngs Alumni @ 6.5.05 { 0 comments }

 Buffets all around

Yesterday, Ade and I went to People's Park Complex for a tour briefing and to finish all the administrative stuff we had to do for the trip to Egypt. (Yep, I'm heading to Egypt for about 9 days.) I'm a little boggled by the fact that a lot of old people want to go on this kind of trip (it's EGYPT man!) and also a little sad that we're going on a seriously package-package tour, but it's Egypt, and unless I've got a hefty boyfriend that loves to travel that I don't know about, looks like I'm stuck with package tours when I want to go to the off-the-beaten-track places. (Although on the upside, there aren't cases of snatch-theft and violence in Egyp;, it's more rip-off trade than outright violence, which makes me optimistic about a solo return trip if this one goes well.)

After we had paid off the balance, bought insurance and collected our surprisingly not-gross travel bags, we went to eat dinner at the food court they had. After sitting with another older couple on a shared table for a while, the couple left, and we continued our discussion on who-would-bring-what, like toothpaste and moisturiser etc. A sudden movement caught my eye. This man sat beside us, and started wolfing down the food on the plates beside us. At first, I didn't think that it was anything out of the ordinary - one old guy looks the same as the other to me. But I found it strange that he would leave with his wife, then suddenly abandon her to come back and swallow the rest of his food. The speed and ferocity that he was attacking the cabbage was rather disturbing, to say the least. I tried to continue the conversation - Ade was trying to tell me about a good deed she witnessed that day involving an Indian scholar and someone who bought him lunch - but this guy suddenly stood up, and sat at another table, and starting eating that food too!

My eyes opened really wide, and I think I must have interupted Ade's narration quite a bit, but it was a really disturbing sight, seeing someone feed off the leftovers of others. He was dressed quite well too - a shirt, long pants, a belt, loafers with dark socks - he didn't look destitute or smelly or unwashed. We wondered about him - was he lost? Really hungry? Forgot to bring his wallet out that day? Mentally unsound? Where did he stay? Did he have family? Did the hawkers know him? So many questions, but no answers. After that second plate, he went roaming around the (very small) food court, looking at plates and cups that had been abandoned.

I guess I'm very naive or underexposed or something, but this brush with society's less fortunate at home was really... shocking. It would have been less distressing if he had looked bad and smelled bad you know? Looked the part of the destitute person? But this guy looked normal. Has our desire to not "lose face" resulted in the creation of facades that hide our true state in life, no matter how desperate?

[Buffets all around]
Sngs Alumni @ 6.5.05 { 0 comments }

lundi, mai 02, 2005

 Labour Day Holiday 2005: Pulau Ubin

So we kind of went to Pulau Ubin today. If you think "kind of" is "really did", you're right. We went to Pulau Ubin today and got baked - broiled actually, since it wasn't fantastically sunny, but it was still really hot, and the humidity was.. certifiably, Arkham Asylum insane.

We met at 10:30am at Tanah Merah MRT and took the number 2 bus over to Changi Jetty/Changi Village. Of course, it was lunch time, so we ate first. Which means we got to the island at the scorching hour of... 12:30pm. I think. Somehow, time doesn't make a lot of sense when you're about to get browned.

we kind of took a trip...we kind of took a trip...
LEFT: Walking shoes! RIGHT: My first look at Pulau Ubin in 10 years.

We met at 1030, had lunch at Changi Village, and finally got to the island by bumboat. Charges are $2 per pax, $2 more if you bring your bike. The first person we see when we get there is Samuel. WL: "Hey! Leaving already?" Sam: "Yah, we got here at 9am, so going back now." Smart lads. It was about 12:30, and we were cooking. Broiling. Browning. Whatever. It was HOT.

Sam was there with his cell group. We were there in a big bunch, 16 people strong, made up of Tat's teevee ministry people, and a couple of crusaders. Linked by a twin threads of commonality called Tat, and Jesus.

...and there...and there
got back into the bumboatand splashed our way back to the mainland
Gorgeous day! But hot. And humid. But no rain!
Some amazingly kind soul(s) had gone ahead in an advance party and borrowed bikes for us. They've been on the island since 10:30 waiting for us. We had NO idea about this. After sorting out the punctured tires and adjusting seats and gears, we headed off! After about 5-10 minutes of cycling, we got to... the CENTRE of the island. No kidding. It's THAT small. Some people wanted to see Chek Jawa, so we headed in that direction.

Lots of slopes and hills, though luckily nothing went over 30m above sea level. We went the wrong way once, which ended up at the toilet (which was a stroke of fortune for those who had to go.) We took a break there, and then headed off again, in pursuit of the Chek Jawa trail. Not as easy to find as you might think - there are paved trails, and there are dirt trails - the trail leading to Chek Jawa was a dirt trail.

After about another 10 minutes of cycling and pushing our bikes up hills (followed by the exhilarating downhill scream of fun as you hurtle along at 50m an hour), we reached Chek Jawa. The picture's on the top of the blog, but you can see a larger picture here.

Josh and WL at the scary bridgewl and some girl

It was... underwhelming. It really was just a marshland, but I guess in land-scarce Singapore, it's a gold mine. A really seaweedy, smelly one. With nothing to do but to sit and feed mosquitoes, we decided to explore a little, and hiked over to the abandoned jetty bridge, which was quite an exciting thing to do, since we had to walk over a single plank to get onto the bridge, which had broken off somewhere in the middle, and had large, scary cracks all over. Josh started jumping up and down halfway anyway... mad boy.

We got down and walked further, where we saw sea cockroaches, a whole bunch of small crab-holes, crunchy seaweed baked in the sun, and a German man studying for his basic theory driving test on a boulder overlooking the sea. No kidding. It's in two weeks' time, and he's confused about our road signs. He thought that Ubin was a nice place for a getaway, and provided some nice scenery for studying ambiance.

Tat also caught an eyeful of a couple making out. Or so he says. Hee hee.

After hanging out at Chek Jawa for about an hour, it was time to let the mosquitoes find other targets, so we left in search of our new holy grail: the cold soft drink. Our bottles were mostly empty by this time, and I, for one, was starting to feel the lack of sugar and salt getting to me. Water just wasn't quenching my thirst anymore.

So we cycled back, which brought the pleasant surprise of passing Joel along the way. Cool huh? I commented that our Ubin trip was more happening than a stroll down Orchard Road, and Josh said that he's never met anyone on Orchard Road. I have, but I think the frequency of coincidentally meeting someone there is lower than the frequency that I meet people away from town.

After returning the bikes, and sitting around for about half an hour downing approximately two canned drinks each, it was really time to leave.

then we lefttired, scratchy, itchy, fun!
LEFT: Leaving... RIGHT: Tired, burnt, smelly. Fun.

We got back on the bumboat and left. Taa-daa! That's the end of the Pulau Ubin trip. I highly reccommend it for people who are stuck in a rut with what to do during the weekends: it's fun, cheap, and healthy! Bring sunscreen, though, and plenty of water and small change - nobody wants to break your big $50 note over there.

There is an epilogue to this tale, of course, but since I don't have pictures of what we did at dinner - which was a totally different genre of outing anyway - I'll leave you with pretty, pretty pictures of... the bum of the bumboat. :-)

total funin the sea
Last looks.

[Labour Day Holiday 2005: Pulau Ubin]
Sngs Alumni @ 2.5.05 { 0 comments }

dimanche, mai 01, 2005

 XXX 2: Ice Cube is... boring

Ice Cube is boring, but the rest of the movie is really good shoot-em-up, kill-em-all stuff, which is always good after an exam. Which you were almost late for. Anyway, moving on.

XXX2. Was. Fun. Not as fun as the original XXX, which I only watched after I caught XXX2, breaking my rule about watching sequels before the originals. After watching the original Vin Diesel XXX, I realised that I had missed quite a number of rather sly inside-jokes referencing the first movie. Case in point - in XXX, Vin Diesel is ... offered a woman when undercover. Obviously, the bastard smirks, and says, "The things I do for my country." Ice Cube is offered the same thing (somewhat), and then he says "The things I DON'T do for my country." I didn't get that when watching XXX2, but it made sense after XXX.

Plot-wise: the National Security Agency (NSA) needs a new super agent to find out who's behind some bombing or other (the movie started 5 minutes early!! UNHEARD OF!!!) and Samuel L. "Gibbons, like the monkey?" Jackson (aka Hideous Scarface, or Coach Carter, depending on which movie you liked), busts Ice Cube out of prison. At 12.06pm in the afternoon. (How are all their watches synchronised? Dialling 1771 like in Singapore to get the weather and time? I used to set my watch by the "Time, by Raymond Weil" thing before the 9pm news, until I realised that SBC's clock was kind of screwed up also.) Because the whole project's renegade, cos the NSA didn't want to spend no more money on no stinkin' filthy lowlife who will save their ass, the project's renegade, and Gibbons and gang are forced to rely on Ice's buddies from the 'hood.

Who's the villian? Why, it's none other than your friendly neighbourhood Spider-man Green Goblin, William Dafoe! You know, Sarah Chalke from Scrubs also makes an appearance as a TV anchorwoman delivering a news report on Samuel L. Jackson's apparent death, and - get this - Felicity's Benjamin Huffman, or rather, Scott Speedman is an NSA agent. Or CIA. I don't know anymore. The X-Files popularised the cross-dressing bureau the Federal Bureau of Investigations, then Ms Sydney Bristow made the Central Intelligence Agency cool, and now, it's probably the NSA's turn in the hollywood spotlight. Anyway, the point is, I was confused by too many personalities mushing together on screen. I half-expected Scott Speedman to cut his hair and talk angty-ly to a tape recorder, starting his sentences with "Dear Sally...". And William Hurt to bare his teeth and hiss evilly at someone. Or Sarah Chalke to... do something stupid. This movie screws with my entertainment personality categorizing system in my head. Now these people have to get their files copies and entered into the "movies" archive. Bummer.

Anyhow, the Green Goblin. He wants to kill the President of the United States, Secretary of State, and a couple of other key heads in the US government (who knows how they run?) so that he'll be next in line to the throne be the POTUS! So Ice tries to stop him. All the time while wearing nothing on his face but a frown. Ice Cube does NOT perform here. He doesn't. He can't, because all he can do is frown. I can frown - does that mean I'm the new XXX? Which I'm SURE WILL BE A GIRL BECAUSE OF ALL TE FEMINIST AND EQUALITY B.S. THAT'S ALWAYS FLYING AROUND. Structure, people. Eternally and always less upper body strength. Plus, you know, the whole having a womb thing. WOMEN CAN'T BE MEN. GET OVER IT. Except maybe Jennifer Garner. You can take her. She's scary. She's... Electra!

Maybe 2.39am in the morning is not such a good time to be typing this.

So they're all going off to see DC, the wonderful DC of Washington! State of the Union address is underway, lights go off, shooting happens, high speed car chase with a beautiful car which looks like another souped-up GTO, and... nothing. All's well that ends well, let's just say. I don't know, my evaluation of this movie (GREAT! Go watch!) could be impaired somewhat (or a lot) by the fact that my exams are over, so do temper your reading of this rather bizarre review with a dash of end-exams-hysteria. There's a dish by the door. Don't forget to wipe off your socks before going home.

[XXX 2: Ice Cube is... boring]
Sngs Alumni @ 1.5.05 { 0 comments }

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