Friday, December 19, 2008
I'm the lucky bastard with 2.
My dear Sister, who's always giving me advice and actually being the saner of us 2. And my hard working Mum.
We have moved apart since 5-6 years ago. The thing about staying together as a family is one doesn't appreciate them much. We are more than happy to see each other on our time off from work, when even having a smoke break and bitching about customers counts as quality time.
My Sis remembers details that are very often sketchy in my head. Like how I used to coach her after my kindergarten classes, so that she has a head start when she starts. Or how I made condensed milk on bread when no one is at home (this one I totally do not recall...). All this she put down in an interview with a local free magazine.
I do remember cleaning the duapehkong altar with her, my Mum's idea of playtime (very clever, she). This was whilst my elder brothers, all 4 of them, were out selling otah-otah/kueh kuehs, playing football/brawl, and honing their mahjong skills. I was deemed too young to join them, but old enough to take care of 小妹.
Mum always had a plan.
She's taking life easy now, my Mum. It was difficult for us to make her stay home, rather than go try her hand out at running another hawker stall. She always says she wouldn't know what to do with so much free time. We always said don't slave yourself over a tiny income, when our allowances can provide for her.
Now we can't keep her from participating in every activity that the local senior club organizes. Karaoke seems to be on the top of her list, though I've asked her to try those that are more active, like dancing. They do take sort trips away from home, and she just loves to take photos. Still has some trouble adapting to the digital camera we bought her some time back, but she keeps clicking away nonetheless.
Recently she sprained her foot whilst getting onto a bus. Poor lady continued the trip home on the same bus with no assistance from other commuters (bastards!). She only called me when she realized that she couldn't put her weight on it the next day.
After several hours at a local hospital, and 3 X-rays, it was determined that she did not have any broken bones. Plenty of rest is required, and a walker. She passed up on the walker, instead opting to purchase the x-rays for reasons unknown to both of us.
End of the day, she still seem apologetic about being unable to help out at my coming Wii party!
Silly, silly woman...
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
So it be Christmas soon.
I just came back from my buddy's place and was roped in to dress up the family's Christmas Tree.
After some half an hour, we put together a decent enough looking tree to rival those $3000-odd ones at the shopping mall.
Is it another expensive excuse to party the night away? In some neighbourhoods, it has become a showcase of one-upmanship amongst residents. Maybe it has to do with the shopping. Or the hope of receiving a nice gift.
The season of giving, they call it.
I used to work at a retail store. I once had some office gals asking me to gift wrap toothpaste for the office party, in which all had to play secret santa and buy a gift for another colleague. Toothpaste, all 4 tubes of it, bundled in a themed gift wrapping paper. If she was gonna give a gag gift, she could've done better with some packs of condoms.
She might have thought that the toothpaste was cheaper. I decided that the toothpaste was worth more than her...
So it is that I have been scheduled to fly off to Hong Kong on Christmas eve. Hence a few gatherings with different group of friends have been planned at my humble abode. No fancy tree, no "Secret Santa", no Christmas ham, no carols.
Just a shite-load of alcohol, some local finger food, and the Wii...
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Only got up at 20mins before end of the match.
Still I turned on the computer and click on my favourite "watch-football-for-free-so-don't-have-to-pay-those-bloodsuckas" channel.
A quick and sublime free kick on the 86th minute by newly (deservedly too?) appointed Captain Cesc Fabregas up the field picked out an advancing Nicklas Bendtnar to score the only goal that takes Arsenal to the top of Group G.
I didn't see how the match was 75minutes before this, but am damn glad I still climbed outta bed to watch 15 minutes of football...
Monday, November 17, 2008
Taking a long walk from Arc de Triomphe to the boardwalk of Champs Elysees in the crisp chilly air was nice. Unfortunately my batteries in the camera died on me, even the one in my mobile phone, so photos are limited at the moment.
Had a nice meal of mussels in a pot, and even learnt a new handy way to enjoy the meal, without the cutlery. The conversation flowed, peppered with a lot of general knowledge from the seniors. Lunch was a long one, naturally, but it felt like a breeze.
We parted company after a nice cuppa. I continued my trek along Champ Elysees, marveling at the manicured trees along the boulevard. The leaves have turned golden brown, and stalls were being built for the coming Christmas.
Made a few turns before arriving at the Eiffel Tower, a giant behemoth of steel amidst the concrete monuments that dot the city. It goes that night shots of the Tower are no longer allowed, if you make a profit from the sale of the image. Had a cancer stick at the park bench before making my way to the nearest Metro station. Turned back to have a lingering look at it before disappearing underground.
Paris definitely cannot be covered in a short stay. For now though, this will have to do.
Monday, November 10, 2008
The prawn fishing was fun to watch, although from what I read on their plurks they all cannot out-fish the uncles across them. Practise makes perfect, I say. Vandalin, who was strumming some tunes when I got there, brought a nice bottle of Muscat wine which went quite well with the grilled prawns
Then it was off to AMK for a proper dinner. We helped ourselves in opening up our own tables near stacks of beer crates. I must say I did a good job of clearing the dirty dishes left behind--occupational hazard. Such a big S11 with so few cleaners, they must be tired and hassled the whole night.
The air was so warm that I had to pop into a nearby 7-11 in the midst of dinner just to cool down.
After a satisfying meal we decided to go to the AMK Hub to enjoy free air-conditioning. I wondered aloud if residents at AMK don't like to watch weekend TV, cuz the area was teeming with people!
So what did a group with a combined age of 200+ do? We went to the arcade. Mind you, this is not a place where they have LAN games and all that. It's back to Daytona Racing, Time Crisis, Basketball Hoops, and the groups favourite, Bishi Bashii.
Cow already had a pre-paid card with him, so he kindly tapped in for many of the games we played. 大坏人 also went to get himself one, and attempted to set a new record for fastest fingering (his own words). The accolade of Arcade Lian went to this young lady codenamed 1121. She could do it with both eyes closed, if she chose to, really...
It got pretty late, and the loud ringing and flashing lights were getting to some of us. We went on our separate ways, and hope that there'll be another eating/drinking/gaming session soon...
Sunday, November 09, 2008
The papers? Well, they would do anything to sell a few extra copies, by appealing to the lowest common denominator. So called "local football analyst" spouting
Interestingly, a friend observed that there were less followers in their club colours than ours. Guess it goes a long way in distinguishing between the pride of a staunch faithful and one who chose to go with the blinking masses.
All huddled in our home ground, with wings flying and beer flowing, we chanted the club's tune over and over and over again. Every move met with either gasps or cheers, every decision met with derision from us.
In the end, we came out tops and laughing. Many did not want to leave, hoping the 90-odd minutes will be replayed over and over again.
This was a night for the faithful, for the believers, for the Gooners...
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I remembered when I first set my eye on the Playstation(1st Gen). It was such a gleaming new toy that I didn't stop playing it for hours on end, most times into the early mornings right before work. I learnt the rules of American Football on it, understood the scoring system of Baseball with it, got interested in Golf because of it.
Then they had to come up with newer and faster machines. And games that confounded the tiny, lateral brain of mine. Final Fantasy was a series of games that I never mastered. I think strategies and plots are not my forte. I suck even worse at driving games, which reinforces the wise decision not to learn to drive, evar!
The gaming bug bit me again not long later, when I got my hands on a PSP. Great. Here's one I can carry along for work, and it saves my music and photos too! No need to zhng at all, I already have difficulty getting to the last level of the racing game that came with it, let alone play more the 3 games at any one time.
I left it alone for a while, passing it to friends who cleared all the levels and won new characters in the games for me. They win liao lo...
A gameboy micro I gave away as a present a while back found its way back to me, and I am having trouble bringing Mario back home everytime!
I fawned over the PS3...not only for it's gaming functions, but it's aillity to play blu-ray; the champagne of entertainment these days. Still, I thought it required a lotta solitary patience when it came to conquering the games that they put out.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you...
Most people, including gaming idiots like me, can just straight pick it up and play.
And play we shall...
Friday, October 24, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Maybe it's cuz I need to dress myself up without going through so much of my wardrobe.
Or could it be that I'm just being vain?
Whatever the reason, I have been contemplating it back and forth. I've surfed the sites, spoke to friends, looked myself in the mirror.
I wonder, is it the best way to define myself?
Monday, October 06, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The presentation slide was staring back at me, the words daring me to repeat them back to the floor. The fonts challenging me to a battle for the attention of the audience. It was threatening to turn into a borefest.
A friend sits me down to tell me as much during the rehearsal. I had 30 minutes before the real thing starts. It was counting down to the last 15 when it struck me.
Tell a story. One that I know well, where I know the characters inside out. One that would engage them, and tickle their funny bones at times. One that would inspire them, lift them out from the mundane dribble that was 10 minutes worth of slides before me.
I told them the story of Arsenal Football Club.
Fitting it into my presentation got much easier as the minutes went by. I was not reading from an index card, I didn't have to regurgitate boring facts. My audience were not dozing off.
Best of all. I was enjoying myself. At the end of my presentation, I got approving nods from my important guests, and rousing applause from my classmates.
Thank you Arsenal FC. You saved my ass.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
She didn't like the way I gave her the "Duh!" look.
Then in front of the others, plus some juniors within earshot, she subjects me to her vitriol.
I was taken aback.
Not that I was being shouted at.
But how would I look in front of those Juniors?
Now I am frustrated.
Should I let sleeping dogs lie?
Or go down to her level, and give back as good as she gave?
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Sunday, September 07, 2008
I had my trepidations, not knowing how drunk I will get. The nice people from CowBoyBar were ready to unleash up to 3 "waterfalls" on me. The others from Arsenal Singapore and Batam Cable Ski were not gonna let me off lightly either.
Or so I thought.
The evening got off well enough, I started off with a Kilkenny to calm the butterflies in my rotund tummy. Ed was first to arrive and I promptly got him to chope the next table. Allen was next, so he sat at the table next to mine. Good, 3 tables of merrymakers.
The rest of the gang streamed in before the first set kicked off, with most of them escaping the downpour outside. The 1st of 2 bottles of whisky was ordered and I stuck with that for the rest of the night. Then I was roving around the 3 tables like a 小姐 at Kabuki KTV, sans tips...
From what my friends tell me, I was quite steady for the most part of the evening. At one point, when my dear Sis was singing her band's version of I will survive, I stayed in the wash room till she got over the verse where she mentions something about her brother when he was 3. Other than that, I think I was pretty steady throughout the night.
I abhor the dearth of birthday cakes when people celebrate at Wala Wala, so I was beaming when I came back to find a very nice one with a candle waiting for me. Someone told me that I was skilful slicing up the cake after the birthday song. That's cuz I was still sober while cutting it, I told her.
So all in all, I came out at the end of the night pretty unscathed. I was not reduced to a longkang fairy, I didn't start any fights, or go around hugging strangers. The gifts I received were wonderful, and my Sis didn't have to tsk tsk at me throughout.
I only just scrapped my knee at the end of the night. Even that I only have sketchy details. Think it involves me dashing across the road...
Thank you to all who were present, and also to those who sent your well wishes via emails/sms. Pictures of the night will be up soon on the left of the page.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Thursday, September 04, 2008
"Who are you, after you stop What you do?"
Below is an original, unedited entry from my buddy, Shai.
BIRTHDAY BOY…. SAY CHEESE
I’ve known Jeff aka ‘Ah Tiong’ for about more than two years through the Arsenal Singapore Supporters Club. This club is amazing and I’ve amassed some good friends there. Jeff is one of them. Naturally, we became closer and of course with alcohol involved. Who would not like him, he is such ‘nice’ guy… Through him, I got to know his sister, Shirlyn. She ‘rocks’ my world. Hmmmm….
One of the highlights I would like to share is the Bangkok trip with Jeff in Apr 2008. It was fun and I had a different perspective of how Jeff is. Sometimes, you never thought what and who your friends are until you go for an oversea trip with them. You’ll definitely learn something from each other. And no, we didn’t have bang cock sessions there. We were there to attend a wedding. During the trip, I found out he likes to take long walk and public transport rather than taking the taxis (even though it is damn near and the cab ride was crazily cheap). In the end, I followed his propensity and I had a wonderful insight of Bangkok, which I have never experienced (I was there in 1996). In the end, I enjoyed the walking and the train rides, feeling so touristy and everything. What an experience!
Jeff is really a great way to fly. He is a mixed of a ‘Hokkien peng’ and a down to earth person. I can only describe him as ‘what you see is what you get’. He has no qualms about expressing what’s in his mind and heart. Though sometimes he may be misunderstood by people, he has no malice intended. He is also one charming man and he takes action smoothly. I do not know how he operates though, but I envy him in some way or another. But above all, he is a giving man….
Today, is Jeff’s special day and I would like to dedicate this post to him. Happy Birthday dude! Wishing you all the best in your life and career and many, many more birthdays to come. Have a great celebration…
Saturday, August 30, 2008
I will be joining the maddening masses during the morning crush on the bus, on a 45 minute journey, give or take an armpit in my face, in order to reach my final destination.
The commute I can take.
The challenge, indeed, is in getting up early enough so that I have ample time for the commute and then settle down for my lessons. I don't own an alarm clock loud enough that'll wake me and the neighbours 2 floors up and down (seriously, I've heard those ones before!) . All I have is my trusty k810i, with snooze function.
Have to, nay, GOT TO resist hitting that snooze button.
On the brighter note, I should be able to make it to the many
Which brings me back to the problem of waking up early enough.
And the need for that loud alarm clock.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I've always resisted from printing players' names/numbers on the back of the jersey. Not only does it add to the already pricey garment, I find that my allegiance is to the Club, and not a player.
Sure, I will always have something to say about one player or another. However, the contracts they sign are as worthless as paper towels as soon as they are suckered into a huger payout somewhere else.
Which is why I am not over the moon with Adebayor's "commitment" to the Club with his newly-signed long term contract. The guy who got himself in the news for all the wrong reasons during the off-season. The guy who can't figure out how to beat the offside trap. The guy who can't control the ball effectively. The guy who fancies himself to be the next Henry of Arseanal ( and tries to emulates his moves, but FAILS!). The guy who lets his agent runs roughshod over the Club that gave him a chance.
I'd much rather take a closer look at RvP's return to fitness, look forward to Eduardo's rebirth, Bendtner's partnership up front with any other striker, the fringe players that Arsene's gonna put on the field ...
And this guy
Thursday, August 14, 2008
No. Not the Olympics, but the English Premier League!!
Regular service will carry on from here on. Weekends will be spent following my Arsenal, topics with the boys (and some girls) will revolve around the play of the week, Arsenal fan sites like Arseblog, A Cultured Left Foot, and our local Siren will be refreshed countless times.
Obviously, the season will focus on Arsene's non-spending during the summer break. His stubborness not to spend on big names, whether its due to finances or not, has given many a young faces a place in the first XI that are most would not dare to dream of in other big European clubs.
To recap, I didn't start following Arsenal because of the trophies it has picked up in its long history. I am a visual person. And when I first saw TH14 bring a ball, seemingly attached to his feet, all the way from his own half to the other, and calmly slot in a goal, I was hooked.
I was to find out, 3 years on, that the beauty of Arsenal's football has a lot to do with one person's philosophy, his altruistic vision, and knack for spotting unknown, unproven talent when they are young (and spitting them out when they are past their prime!) .
I have visited the hallowed grounds, spent a small fortune watching their matches, and even swallowed my pride to sit in the away section once. Memorabilia of the Club is slowly filling up one of my room in my flat.
Come on Arsenal!!
Monday, August 11, 2008
This machine has served me well for the past 5 years or so. Sure the control knob has fallen off, and yeah, I use a flat-head screwdriver to open the front when I load in my laundry. Overall though, it has done its job of making sure I have clean underwear to wear to work everyday.
I had initially wanted to get a brand new one, but then balked at the prices when I perused some at the home appliances department. They cost upwards of $800!!
After googling around for a self fix-it, I came upon this site that pretty much teaches one how to DIY repair just about any household appliance in the home.
I chickened out halfway when I heard strange noises coming from the launder monster.
Oh and what caused the clog??
Thursday, August 07, 2008
No blogging. Little TV. Some discovering. Much to catch up.
Some people come out of it raring to go. I must say I am still crawling out of bed slowly, even if I don't start work till National Day.
观音庙 at 四马路 is also somewhere I had never been. I stood in awe of the diety drenched in gold inside. I watched curiously as followers prayed intently and shook the bamboo sticks that may give them a glimpse of their future. I heard a story of how a monk transformed himself to look tubby (but jolly) as his previous handsome self attracted the wrong kind of attention.
As well as old friends, some more are getting in touch with me soon as they found out about my move up in my job. I myself am getting in touch with my seniors, asking for guidance. In the service line there's always more than one way to deal with a thorny issue. Hopefully I can manage most of them when I put on my new tie.
The next 4 months looks like it will be a jolt to my senses. Hopefully it won't be too jarring and I can report on happier, albeit inane stuff.
Now then, where can I buy a dozen pieces of office attire for my training without hurting my pocket.
Can you say, Mustaffa?!
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I will be taking the "go-there-just-to-lim-jiu" package. Which means whilst the rest are doing stunts on their wakeboards, yours truly will be kicking up his heels with a large cup of whiskey in his hand.
Not that I haven't tried my hand at it, the wakeboarding that is. Just that I always get slammed into the water when the cable starts to yank me off the platform. After my 4th try, I was bleeding from the nose. Thus ends my dalliance with an extreme sport.
It's safer on land, I gathered. Whiskey in hand, preferably.
Shai, however, takes to it like a fish in water. Now this guy not only likes it, he's got the skills to prove it.
I remember the first time I met this dude. There was something different about him, I couldn't place my finger on it at first.
Then it hit me, his hair was straightened. Rebonded. Yeah that's what they call it.
He even tried to convince me to do it. I looked back at him in disbelief and mouthed "WTF?!"
A Gooner supporter too, it was not that difficult to get friendly with him after a while. Always dressed in his best, even on casual days, it would be safe to call him a fashionable guy. On my trips overseas it is not unusual for me to help him look out for his favourite tees and/or footwear. Sibei hiao...
Always doing his best, I have had him help me out on my community projects in Arsenal Singapore on different occasions. He's done so well that the committee is asking him on board to do more for the Club. I am sure he will be able to excel in his new position.
There's no one better to rock out at Wala Wala than with this guy. He knows most of the rock classics there is, and then some. People around us are mostly amused when we start jumping up and down rocking it out with The UnXpected. He cheekily mimics those around us, who prefer to sit still and nod politely along while the band is belting their hearts out on stage, by cupping his hands under his chin.
I get a good laugh from that, but I tell ya Shai, someday you are gonna get into trouble with that.
Happy Birthday, Shaiful!!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
For me, it all started from some emails that I sent time to time from my yahoo email account to a group of friends. I felt that since meeting up with most of them at different times will prove to be difficult (but not impossible), a nice sincere email would do to keep them posted on ahtiong-land.
Then I discovered blogging. It was a great tool for me to just write out as and when I like, without having to email it to a significant number of people. Still, my comments to my blog are not that high, which I can live with. This is not some form of popularity contest. My friends, those with some time on their hands, do read my blog. It's just that they prefer to keep some thoughts about the post to themselves, or are too shy to share it with others. They do tell me when I meet them in person though.
Another form of networking I signed up with was Friendster. I remember how colleagues around me started
Then came Facebook. Till today people are surprised that I am not already on it. They send me invites; people see my photo in someone else's profile; the conversation swings over to "are you facebook-ing?", etc. I have the view that it is a more advanced version of Friendster, which only got it's break to come up with so many 3rd party apps and advertisers because it gave in to the big money.
And no, I do not own a Facebook account.
Twitter was another application that I ignored for a bit. It's like mini-blogging, touted by a few high profile bloggers in Sg land when it came about. I signed up, then bochup it for a while, made some new friends, added them in, and added the widget at the top of my blog.
The nice people at CBB are quite the social animals. Other then a healthy forum, with chat function (great for mudane days in the office) , many already have a blogging platform in one format or another. These people do not just hide behind the screen online, many meet up regularly to continue the conversation/discussion/bullshite that started online. A good number of them organizes "deathmatches", though I've yet to puke my guts out the few times I met some of them. Perhaps I have just not met the 掌门人 yet. Maybe then I could become one with the longkang...
Many of them have made the switch to Plurk , the next-gen social networking tool, from Twitter. Again, a few are asking me to hop on board. Till now, like Facebook, I have decided to stave off the temptation to jump on that internet bandwagon. They still do some twittering, or have some sort of app to feed their Plurks over to Twitter. So other than not being to cued into their cliques, I'm good with receiving random updates here and there.
Other than all of the above, nothing beats having some fantastic crabs at Sin Hoi San, eh Dude?
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
I was tasked to come up with a jersey for my team's dragon boat race recently.
Admittedly I did not do a good job at it. Firstly, 2 people who were supposed to work with me on the design was a no-show throughout. Then I didn't know that I could have outsourced the designing/graphics to a 3rd party and charge the club for it.
The jersey I came up with was bought in a retail store in London. It was white cotton. I designed the very basic graphic by myself.The printer did a bad job.
I am guilty on all charges.
So I emailed the Club, determined to come up with something better, at my own expense. Mind you this is not a small amount.
Then, probably over a jug of beer, this chap comes up and says he can do a better job at it. 2 persons, albeit the 2 most important persons in the committee, decided that it would be best to ask members to pay for another jersey (for one last event of the calendar year) than to do a redo of a jersey that would last the whole year instead, at no more extra cost to them!!
Plus they asking him to design the new Official Club polo tee too!!
I remember objecting strongly when they first mooted the idea of using a branded polo from A&F and stick a Club patch at the back just under the collar (WTF??) . I went and bought an Old Navy polo instead and stuck the patch where it rightly belongs; on the left hand pocket.
So now they want a 2nd Official polo. Or is it a new one for every year??
So in one fell swoop, with my only recourse denied to me, I can no longer hold my head up when I go for training. In fact, if not for the fact that there are always not enough rowers for the races, I doubt I'd still be involved at all.
Screw them. It's "Me" time from now on.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Good time for a review of half the year gone so far, one would think.
Started the year telling myself to be, well, myself. It's not easy though, not letting what others think/say/feel bother me. Many times I feel I have to be apologizing for things that are beyond my control, knowing that any reasons I come up with would just sound like lame excuses.
Like tiny darts aimed at my back, it is starting to hurt a little. I feel I have to be proving myself to others, just to get this itch off my back. Then again if I did that, it'll just land me back at square one, wouldn't it?
So can I bear the pain and forge on ahead?
Check back on me later this year then.
Till then, it's "ME" time!!
Friday, June 20, 2008
And even then, the huge demand for resources from countries such as China and India will keep prices high in the foreseeable future.
Food prices have shot up that even the humanitarian agencies are not able to afford to feed everyone there, only able to save those that are critical and could die of they do not get some food into them there and then.
The smart people are scrimping and saving whenever, wherever they can; driving less, cooking at home more, watching the Euro '08 through "non-traditional" sources...
Some are taken in by the "cheap/clearance sales" that's taking up most of the mass media ad spaces. Spend, and you save now!
How soon before they raise fuel, food, services, etc prices up again, to catch up with your "savings" during the "sales"?
We live in a city where we are accustomed to comfort. How many of us will change our habits for the new, less optimistic economic environment?
Better question, how soon will it impact the people in their high towers before they make a policy that will benefit the people that "voted" them in?