Saturday, July 02, 2005

ahh...back to blogging after procrastinating for a few days...

yesterday, it was charmaine's 18th bday so Ying yi, Jiahui, Allen, her and me gathered at Orchard MRT. the time was supposed to be 12 pm but as you know about singaporean punctuality, i arrived at 1215, and some of the others later. so we started walking towards takashimaya shopping centre at 1245.

we got a seat at crystal jade pretty easily. its not too bad on a friday afternoon...compared to the weekends...where u have to get a queue number...similar to those u get in hospitals and clinics. i ordered century egg porriadge, ying yi had chicken wanton noodles, and we ordered the usual prawn things in the wooden baskets, xiao long bao, chicken feet, egg tarts...etc. sumptuous. i haven't really checked out much tim sum places in melb. gotta make a trip to boxhill someday. i hear its good there.

after that...we hung out at kinokuniya for a bit....didn't have much to buy so i ended up getting some gifts from the stationary section. they've got all those nice jap stuff with nice designs on em.

allen was patient enough to follow me to make a pair of prescription shades at capitol optical in lucky plaza. its a haven for filipinos and indian nationals! there was this indian guy in the shop bargaining so loudly with the lady boss...he was like, "PLEASE...PLEASE...!!! SELL TO ME AT THIS PRICE!!" I've never seen anyone bargaining with such passion and fervour! Serious! He sounded like he was very desperate to buy the pair of oakley shades. According to the lady, these people from India are kind of loaded, but unfortunately for them, many of these products are not available in India, hence, when they come here on shopping sprees, they really shop till their heart's content.

which leads me to the conclusion that if i were loaded, i'd very much prefer to stay in singapore, than, let's melbourne's great, with lovely weather, but there's more stuff to spend your money on in singapore. lots of great restaurants to check out, lots of shopping areas, lots of imported goods, its a haven for electronic goods and computers and IT products too. u hardly get such a wide variety in melb.

jonathan aow was kind enough to give me a complimentary ticket to this musical put up by Singapore Management University (SMU). He was playing the keyboard in the orchestra. It was the opening night and the guest of honour was Claire Chiang. I must say the standard of acting was really impressive in view of the fact that this was a university production! The music was apparently composed by an external source but the actors and actresses really did put up an outstanding and convincing performance!

Met alvina during the reception. It took me a while to recognize her! wow....its been almost 3 years since i last saw her! She's still that elegant, eloquent and classy young lady with the makings of a future businesswomen. I can just imagine her in those business suits making presentations to her clients, at them with that set of piercing eyes. She left me her name card, which looked pretty impressive...President of SMU Broadcast Entertainment. and in return, i left her my contact on a piece of scrap paper, or flyer.... see what 2 years of NS has set you back by!

George, Jon and I headed over to Bugis Junction for a drink and to chill out. Its been a long time since we did so. We wanted to sit in the lounge of Hotel Intercontinental and enjoy the jazz band but it was full house. So we just settled for a dogdy cafe in Parco. George was telling us about some gruesome operation that he extracting the kidneys from a brain dead woman with internal cerebral haemorrhage. Apparently, organ extraction is a messy and tricky business and not nearly as simple as a layman would imagine it to be.

I got home at 1230 am and had to walk quite a distance thanks to my missing the last bus. Thanks to my voracious appetite for food, I was so hungry i just couldn't go to bed and did not relish the idea of satisfying myself with instant mee since i have heaps of that in melbourne. So, jiawei, being the only person on MSN at that time, and I agreed on going to Geylang! Yes! Geylang! The red light district of Singapore...for some good beef hor fun!

Monday, June 27, 2005

went for yum cha with some relatives today at Furama Palace at Furama Hotel.
it was pretty good....the tim sum was of a pretty high standard. had a great chat with my cousin....who has just returned from tokyo after a really long stint at the singapore embassy there. he's really having a good time. meeting japanese diplomats, bringing the singapore ministers around to the best restaurants in tokyo, going on holiday at various cool places around japan. in the foreign service. he brought back lots of cool stuff like sake and immaculately wrapped boxes of chocolates for us. it looks so well wrapped that i can barely bring myself to tear it open!

my cousin is pretty much an inspiring story. though he wasn't a scholar or anything like that, he joined the foreign service and through sheer hard work and willingness to learn, rose through the ranks pretty quickly and even got his tour of duty on the japanese posting extended. he picked up japanese through interest while he was in NUS and went on to get his Japanese Language proficiency test level 1, which is apparently the highest level. now, one of his tasks is to make sure that the transcripts between the jap and singapore officials are consistant after being translated from jap to english and vice versa.

had a great chat with an old friend from JC on MSN just now...she's studying medicine in HK. what started off as a casual conversation ended up in a serious discussion about the HK govt and the problems HK is facing in the next 20 yrs! wow! how heavy going! never knew she was into politics! but yea...its always nice to find someone who shares a common interest and who engages in some intellectual sparring with ya.

apparently the housemen in HK earn about 30000 HKD a month! that works out to about 6000 SGD per month which in my opinion is crazy! nowander the HK hospitals are not making money! that kind of pay is even slightly higher than in australia. and considering the fact that the cost of living in HK is only about the same as singapore, how can HK doctors be paid about more then double what singapore doctors get? ridiculous!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

being back here for almost 2 weeks, i can't help but feel that i'm being sucked back into some of the viscious cycles or mindsets that i have tried so hard to free myself from while i was overseas.
all the stereotypes, all the expectations of the society, all the invisible hierachies and pecking orders that quantify us and judge our worth as a person. its awful sometimes...

went back to RJC on saturday morning to play floorball with the guys from our batch. there was shaun, jon, ben lo, william, wenzheng, linus, john wu, candice, kaixiang, jerald and jeremy, wenduan, and a couple of others.

talked to some of them and caught up with the latest happenings of the who's who in our batch in RJ. some of them are doing pretty apparently Mira in Northwestern uni has got herself an internship with Goldman Sachs. Nikolaus is in Wharton school of business, Shiming is on the Harvard debating team, etc...etc...

that's the thing about RJ, people are always quite preoccupied about talking about who's who...and who's with who...etc etc... it never ends and it seems to be quite a hot topic and a staple of conversations. it just seems that u're not part of the "in" crowd if u are out of touch with these happenings.

was on the bus with william on the way to orchard when we just happen to start talking about the state of the country now. he's a PSC (government) scholar and is gonna be off to Duke university in the states in a couples of months time, and will be serving for 6 yrs in the government upon graduation. he also feels that though the GDP has been growing steadily recently, it is very much due to the higher income brackets increasing the share of their wealth.

as for the lower income brackets, wages have been depressed. LKY is always talking about keeping basic wages low and linking the variable component to the company's performance and profit. According to him, this has worked well for Singapore Airlines and PSA. Its crazy....if this happened in western countries, there would be massive protests as union leaders fight for the workers' rights.

I have to agree with him though that as low end jobs shift toward china and india, the average factory worker is gonna be earning less and might even lose his/her job. yea....wages are can't be helped....but the big problem here is that cost of living in singapore is going up! transport fares are going up, cinema tickets are more expensive...just to name a few. I was kinda surprised when i came back and found that shopping areas like City Link and Sim Lim Square are no longer as crowded on a sunday afternoon as they used to be before i left singapore. its a reflection of the state of the economy and how consumer spending is just going down.

woke up late today again and missed church service! i really wanted to go to church today for reasons that are not convenient to discuss on this blog! but yea....that's all right...there's always next week.

gave tuition to my younger cousin in the afternoon for 2 hours. i'm pretty lucky to land this temp job for the that i can at least say that i spent some time in the hols trying to earn money....which puts me on the moral high ground sometimes. that i try to earn some of my own pocket money instead of riding on the coat tails of papa and mama's bank accounts all the time.

for tea...i stuffed myself with the famous katong 328 laksa...the one with superb gravy and is apparently the stall which supplies many of the other outlets islandwide.

i was just reading through the sunday times and new paper today and there's this big hoo ha over the girl a.k.a sarong party girl who took nude pictures of herself and posted it on her blog. and i couldn't help but wonder to myself..."WHAT IS THE BLOODY BIG FUSS OVER THIS?" I mean...whatever way a girl chooses to live out her deepest fantasies is really none of anyone's business...and besides...since the blog is hosted on a server in the US, she's under no obligation to take down the pics!

its such a pity that she took down those photos....and i'm not saying this just because i'm a hot blooded male who could do with a little appreciation of divine female beauty. but i'm saying this because i think the reporters here are just making a mountain out of a molehill.

frankly speaking...i think the newspapers are getting increasingly crappy. they dedicate an entire page to all these unimportant and trivial matters. for example, there was this full page feature on whether guys are being sissy by carrying their girlfriends' handbags. i mean...who really gives a damn about these things...?