Thursday, April 27, 2006





After the euphoria of the Champions League Semi Finals between Villarreal and Arsenal, I'd come to realise that I've misplaced my digital camera, most probably left in the cab on the way home.

Though I've reported the loss to LTA (as it's those private yellow top taxis) , I'm seriously doubting that I'll be getting it back.

Most of the photos inside have been uploaded onto my PC, EXCEPT those I took at SG Grove that morning. Camera gone I can take it, but those photos and video clips....

Lessons from this incident:
  1. Always ask for a receipt after your taxi ride, you never know when you might need to trace the same taxi back for misplaced items, complaints, compliments etc
  2. Label your valuables. A small sticker with a name and contact should suffice. Any kind hearted person will attempt to find owners of lost items.
Still feel so guilty about the photos... Sorry Gooners :~~(

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Parle vou..Francais?

Yes, yes, YES!!

We made it into the Finals of the Champions League!!

Another morning out at Singapore Grove, and the energy was very charged up. As usual it started with us ooh-ing and aah-ing at classic goals shown on the official DVD set. Deep down we were all hoping to get the match underway.

Finally the Singapore Gooners gathered, just in time for kick off. The match had its nail biting moments, but the one where a penalty was awarded to Villarreal takes the cake. Such an obvious act of simulation, yet the man in black didn't see it. Requelme stepped up for the dubiously awarded penalty...

Lehmann saves!! He saves it!

With 1 min of extra time left, I counted down to the moment the referee blew his final whistle. The Grove erupted into whoops and loud applause, followed by some good 'ol Arsenal songs. I whipped out my camera to record the precious moments. If I get things right I'll even upload a clip or two onto this space.

I'm sure too that sggooner will be giving you a blow-by-blow in his write up.

Well done Gunners, we'll see you in Paris!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Villarreal v Arsenal, Champions League 2nd Semi-Final.

Anticipation; [ to look forward to, await, expect, wait for ]

I'm tingling all over just thinking about it.

Villarreal v Arsenal, Champions League 2nd Semi-Final.

Having just started my fascination with this London club a few seasons ago, I must say I'm not exactly the know-it-all when it comes to the long history of this football outfit. It has, over the years, grown on me though and I am glad that I've found some like-minded individuals to feed my enthusiasm.

Tomorrow morning at 0245 I'll be parked at fellow Gooner Kevin's place gunning for the, well, Gunners! This could be the match of the year for them. For the first time I'd be one of their ardent fans cheering them on, being there for them spiritually. I'll cheer, I'll shout, I'll sing, I'll will them on to the Finals in Paris.

Go Go Gunners!!!


I'e never been good with money. I almost always spent what I earned when I started work during my younger days.

I'd thought that I'd matured somehow when it comes to money matters after all these years. However, the need to spend, spend, spend just keeps rearing it's ugly head at me!

Not that I'm a spendthrift, no. Far from it, I think I'm quite careful with it. To a point where I almost seem too kiam siap! Recent events have made my savings take a hard right upper-cut, and I'm only trying to recover from it when I'm dealt with a powerful left swing.

Let's see.

I had just came back from a week's holiday, so that has to be paid for upfront. I just spent a bomb on a match ticket between Arsenal and Spurs, which any hot-blooded male will say is worth it so no arguments there. I'm making my way to Penang next month for a race so there's a small fortune to be spent. Now I've to pay the air-con guys about $500 so that I can sleep in comfort at night! All this and my latest credit card bill which runs into 4 figures. ARRGHH!!

My plan to save up a tidy sum is going up in smoke...

Cannot, must go back onto the rightous path. Sort out my bills, put off purchasing that new LCD screen, wine fridge and perhaps eat at more chup chai than zhi char stalls. Drink at home, rather than at the pubs (switch off lights, turn on some music, same atmosphere liao mah!). Watch my DVDs instead of paying up to $15 for a movie plus popcorn.

Not yet extreme measures, but good way to start off la hor?

Monday, April 24, 2006

North Bank Lower Tier Block 8 Row Y Seat 188

Finally! A dream come true! To visit Highbury, better yet, watch my Arsenal in live action from the stands! Egged on by my new found Gooners, I made the trip to Highbury on a bright sunny Saturday. I was so excited the night before I couldn't sleep too well and woke up 9am on matchday. After changing into my Arsenal jersey, I ambled my way to the station to take the tube.

I counted down to the stops to my final destination, Arsenal. Even the tube station here pays homage to a great football club by way of murals on it's station walls! I was early, but so were the market stall holders who were already setting up their wares. I decided to take a few photos first, then headed into the Arsenal shop. I was dumbfounded at first at all the merchandise in store. Should I get a scarf or two? Should I buy some more t-shirts? Oh how about that mug? And pin, and badge, and...

I had to step out before I blew my credit card to smithereens. By that time the streets were crowded with fellow Gooners, all in their jerseys and scarves. Young one, little ones, they'd all come to watch the finest club in football. Police presence were high, with some mounted on horses to keep the crowd in control. Not that they were rowdy. In fact, it was almost festive, with many tv and radio stations descending onto Highbury to suss out how the supporters felt. I should say we were very, very confident of getting 3 points that afternoon.

Initially I'd wanted to part with GBP150 max for a ticket to watch the match. After seeing how it is a local derby against Spurs, I mentally revised it to GBP200. It was easy to have people walking by me, who looked very touristy, and whisper ,"Ticket? How many?". One guy wanted GBP300 which was way too much.
I was walking towards the atm machine when this young fellow approached me.
"Mate, tickets to the match? How many of ya, mate?"

"300. I get you one with good seat."

"200? Nah mate, it's Arsenal v Spurs, last derby!"

"k mate, 250 ok? 250 I find you nice seat."

In a matter of minutes, S$750 changed hands for a ticket to the last local derby at Highbury. I rue my lack of bargaining prowess, but quickly told myself that it'd be worth it. I couldn't resist the official merchandise anymore and went into the shop. My credit card had a light workout, keeping in mind my most precious purchase, not 10mins ago.

Kick off was gonna happen anytime soon. I made my way into the turnstiles, had my bags checked and there I was, in Highbury. The warm sunshine bathed the small but historically rich stadium in a nice glow. I went to look for my seat. All around me as I walked into the stadium, the fans were in a upward mood. I found my seat and sat in awe of the pitch. I was seated about 20 rows up from the corner flag, so had a good view of the infamous narrow pitch. I asked a nice gentleman next to me to take a few shots of me, before settling down in anticipation of the whistle.

Now, whatever niceties that the fans brought were thrown outta the stadium the moment the referee blew the kick-off whistle. They were cursing, swearing, and fingering the visiting team and their travelling fans. Some were directed to the home team too, as they were not playing their best for a good part of the match. Throw in some very loud chants and songs, and I was sure my GBP250 was well spent. These were not armchair critics sitting at home with a beer in their hands, these were true-blue(red) Arsenal fans. As the match went, I found myself singing the songs, shouting the chants and feeling very Arsenal indeed. Such passion, such veracity, such venom!

These were Gooners!!

As you all know by now, due to some dubious circumstances which will be talked about till the season ends, it ended one a-piece to both sides. I saw from the opposite end that the visiting fans were taunting a group of Gooners after the final whistle in the stands. A whole bunch of stewards then had to form a 3-deep line between them, and managed to clear them out of the stadium with no incidents.

I took a short walk to admire the new 60,000-odd seats Emirates Stadium that was under construction, and wondered when I'll be able to come watch Arsenal play their hearts out in front of their adoring fans again... Till next season then.

Arsenal till I die~~~

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Band of Gooners

As some of you might know, I enjoy watching football as much as the next person in the kopitiam. Therefore I should have a favourite team, a team that I believe plays one of the most beautiful football in the modern game, a team that I would stay up till the wee hours of the morning to watch.

That team is Arsenal.

For some time I've trawled the local forum groups, message boards, chat rooms to find some local boys who are not already supporting Man U, Liverpool, and Chelsea (pui!) . There I was just googling about, when I chanced upon . Before I knew it I was posting messages on the board and even sending PMs to some of the members. I was given the affectionate title of 'Goondu', in light of me being the newbie.

Well as things turned out the forum is a very active one, with a core group updating members on the ins & outs of the club. It was through one 'Centurian Gooner' that I was able to watch the 1st leg of the Champions League Semi-Finals in the early hours of Tue morning together with fellow fans of Arsenal.

I showed up at the door, a dozen cans of guiness in hand, with a some amount of trepidition. All that was dispelled when I was warmly received by the lady of the house. My host has just woken up from a nap, and after introducing ourselves by our nicknames in the forum, we sat down to get to know more about each other. My host, a friendly guy called Kevin, often wondered why he didn't get to know some of the other fellow Gooners more, other than the obvious fact that they just luurve Arsenal to death. That's the thing with men and their football isn't it? It really binds them together, regardless of their race or titles.

Anyways, more Gooners arrived as the match drew near. Soon I was treated to a slice of Arsenal history from all sides. Most impressive was a guy who doesn't look a day past 25, who's rattling off all the statistics of all the players that ever played for Arsenal, and throwing in li'l anecdotes like the weather for that day, how the goals came about etc!! He was quite literally a walking encyclopedia for Arsenal. They should really put him on a sports gameshow...or have they already??

Watching the match on the very nice plasma TV, the atmosphere was electric. There were shouts, moan, cheers and jeers. Beers were flowing, chips were passed around, and infectious banter punctuated the air. On more than a few occasions, they even broke into songs/chants, which I am still trying to learn, therefore I just hummed along. It ended well for us, a 1-nil result is something that is useful to work on for the 2nd leg.

One by one, the Gooners trooped back home. While bidding our goodbyes, I was rest assured that I'll be welcomed into the 'clubhouse' at the pub. I returned the kind gestures with a huge smile on my face, and promised that I'll be there for the next, and last match against Wigan.

Oh yeah, and I made Emirates Gooner. That's a good thing.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Return of the amazing Blob...

I've put on a few pounds over the last year. Friends, even my hairdresser says that my face is getting rounder. I cannot fit into my pants too well, and I walk around sucking in my gut the whole day. I feel it's a combination of ho jia, ho koon and pure laziness. This is despite me being an active member of the dragon boat team. However while the rest of the team makes efforts to stay in shape on their own time, yours truly is slowly rotting away on the sofa. It's the same when I'm in school; everyone plays basketball till the cow comes home. But when the rest of my schoolmates get home they study, while I just crash onto my bed...

I think the biggest muscle that I have to work on is my brain. It just totally switches off when it comes to any form of physical effort. I can't finish another lap, can't do another rep on the bench, can't get off my back for another sit-up. Too much desserts/chips/beers and too little exercises. With the way I'm going pretty soon I'll look like my Dad, or one of my Brothers with their pot bellies. Eww.

I came across a blog where this gal posts her progress of her fight from flab to fab along with photos. I am not gonna do the same, for fear of hurting my readers' eyes. I will however, post li'l successes along the way to motivate myself.

Desserts are off my menu now, and instead of snacking while watching TV, a large bottle of water has to suffice roped in a good friend for Sunday evening runs, and will endeavor to make full use of my company gym membership. After my Ko Samui trip, I feel a close affinity to water too, and will put in some laps at the local pool.

Often when I make these promises in the past, I wanted to see results fast. That was a mistake. I have to be patient and know that slowly but surely, my body will start it's rebuilding process.



Ko Samui has a tiny place in my heart. I was introduced to this island many years back by a good friend and have been going back ever since, on a yearly basis. At first it was a large group outing with like-minded beach bums to soak in the hedonistic nature of the island and to partake in it's world renowned Full Moon Party. Since a couple years back, our numbers have dwindled and only 4 (plus a toddler) made the trip this year. The activities are more sedentary, and road trips to the outskirts of the island was not possible with my lack of driving skills. Still it was a good break from city life.

I feel though, that Samui is almost losing it's charm. I see too many upmarket restaurants/pubs sprouting up across the humble local provision store, the noodle stand charges different prices between tourists and locals, and the shopkeepers with their mountainous merchandise don't give you a hoot when you walk in to their stores. Most prices have gone up by maybe, 30%.

Still there's the beach. With it's white, hot sand and warm water, it's always a good bet if one wanna escape the hustle and bustle of Chaweng street. One can quite literally stay on the beach the whole day, with some small change for the food peddlers that go up and down, and a large bottle of suntan lotion. In fact I had a friend who once went with the shirt on his back! Talk about traveling light!

Beach..Nice. Commercialism...Bad!!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Leaving on a Boeing 717

Well today's it.

I'm off to Ko Samui for a week.

Will try to post some updates here from time to time.

Be good till I come back ya?!