Thursday, November 24, 2005

man united 0 villareal 0

on watching "8 simple rules" and seeing them celebrate Thanksgiving, I suddenly remember that indeed tonight, 4th Thursday of November, is thanksgiving in the US. and suddenly all the memories flood back to 23 Nov 2004, where I spent thanksgiving in my Singaporean friend's Singaporean friend's apartment, 10 minutes walk from Chinatown in Manhattan, New York, where there was both the traditional turkey and the traditional mee siam and chicken rice (traditional here is used in 2 senses of the word). and i remember how my friend had invited the clique of us 3 - as a group of 4 - to her fren's place - later the group of 4 became a group of 5 - and we also met her other singaporean friends, many of whom were working and living in new jersey and had made that drive to new york.

sigh. so fast 1 year has flown. on that night, i was so happy because the moment i stepped into the apartment, with its asian decor, smell of singaporean food, and the singaporean accent, even with the turkey and red wine and everything, it was like coming home to a nice 4-room HDB flat, what with its TV-set, and seeing a catered buffet on the table waiting for you. that night i was happy because it was the first genuine singaporean night i had had since being in the US for almost 3 months by then, now, exactly a year later, i reminisce about the US experience; at that time, the weather had started to get quite cold, and the milestones came at the end of each month, end of October was Halloween, where the 4 of us (but mi fren got lost because there was a crowd of 20000) donned on masks, me of a duck, my friend with a vampire's cape, and another fren who dressed up as a skeleton bride - and walked about 2 km along 2nd Avenue from 8th Street to 23rd Street, and we saw all kinds of costumes - from 1 who dressed up as a terrorist with an airplane stabbed into his costume, to people walking on stilts, to people who dressed up as animals, to cross-dressers, to people who dressed up as John Kerry and George Bush, cos Halloween 2004 happened to be just 2 days before the presidential elections.

the presidential elections was spent watching TV at another friend's place, where we had a cookout, and i also invited my irish american fren along. And then the next milestone was Thanksgiving, the end of November, then Christmas. Christmas Eve was at my friend's place. We had gone to Chinatown in the morning to get all the food, and then the afternoon was spent watching the movie Phantom of the Opera, before we gathered at my friend's amazingly beautiful hotel-like apartment, on 66 Street (Lincoln Center), where New York's equivalent of the Esplanade in name, but superior in grandeur, is. amazing that she paid only about US$100 more per month for the rent than I did, and that includes internet and utilities! And we had a great christmas eve dinner, of chicken, vegetables and rice, and we guys didn't do the cooking so we washed the dishes, then after that the 7 of us went out into the cold (it wasn't snowing, but i remember last year the snow came late, and we waited until the morning of Dec 21, 1 pm, before the first mound of snow fell on New York). We took the subway down to 59th street, (Columbus Circle), and walked down 5th avenue, 7th avenue all the way to 55th street, to look for a church where we could attend Christmas eve service. The service lasted till midnight exactly, Christmas Day, and then my friend asked me to see her home, all the way back to 66th street, and we went into her apartment and sat down there and talked for 5 hours. A guy and a girl sitting in a hotel apartment lobby on Christmas morning, having a rendezvous for 5 hours! (don't worry, she's got a bf). Ironically, across the Pacific, 13 hours ahead, the tsunami was just about to strike.

The next milestone was late January, where I went to my friend's place to bake cookies, and stayed the night there, while there was a snow blizzard out, and we ordered chinese takeaway, part of the american culture, and the university had warned that they would close school if the snow blizzard did not let out, and after dinner we spent the night talking about how we could use cosmetics to improve my appearance. then chinese new year, when at my hostel we gathered at the 3rd floor to have steamboat, but it was steamboat with 3 singaporean chinese, 2 taiwanese chinese, 1 mainland chinese, 1 indian, 1 cameroonian, and 1 moroccan. then the end of february, when we had my birthday dinner, ordered malaysian takeaway, just the 4 of us, and ate cheesecake at midnight in my room. oh, how the memories come flooding back! i have no fotos, cos i'm not a foto-taker, but such things are not so easily forgotten.

heidegger says that the objects around us help us acquire a sense of identity. this is true. we cannot forget even those mundane objects that we come into contact with every day, and they become more significant when we move away from them. the hostel i stayed in, the room number, walking up and down from 110th street to 118th street, the school buildings, the subway at 42nd street, 110th street and 116th street, chinatown, the shop where i bought all the 叉烧酥 and egg tarts, the US$4 barber shop that also played mahjong along the quiet chinatown street, the dirty chinatown market, the elaborate new york cinemas, the beautiful theatre where i watched the first musical - 42nd street, the lousy theatre where i watched Avenue Q, in which mi fren and I won the lottery to get 1st-row seats at 1/2 price and which pushed Phantom of the Opera from 2nd to 3rd place with les miserables rooted still in 1st place. According to Avenue Q, when the guy says, "come", the girl takes the "e" out and insists on "com-mitment." the addition of "mitment", with the hard and cutting "t" sound takes the bite and excite out of the short and sweet allure of the monosyllabic and flat "come". the classrooms where i received my stress, the chinese lecturer who 1st rejected my thesis proposal and later took a foto with me when i graduated (Prof 卢小波), the kitchen where i learnt that you can boil chicken to cook it, then leave it in the pot to roast without adding oil to give it taste (and save oil, money and fat), the gym where i lost 9.5 kg by going 2-3 times a week, the pull-up bar machine in the gym...

reached singapore singapore time may 20, it has been just about 6 months since i've come back, where i've begun my next phase of life in Singapore, how, my dear self, do you think these 6 months have been? 4 aspects - conscription liability, finding pple to teach, finding a church to settle in & a new group of frens to belong to, and doing my part in the family - how far have I come? life is now something to remember. wish that those who still have it to experience will cherish it. when reality transits to memory, does it really move from tangible to intangible? No, I carry them with me, so they still remain steeped in reality, an inseparable part of me, rooted in my identity?
  • fren's posting
  • Sunday, November 20, 2005

    chelsea 3 newcastle 0

    既然是华人, 就应该多用华语. 目前, 正在我思潮起伏时, 有两片棉巾塞进了嘴巴右边,助止拔牙后的血流和疼痛. 记得两个月前, 23 岁的我, 还有父母亲开车送我到医院去, 在动手书的床上, 我不由自主地不停地颤斗, 医生护士难相信我是大学毕业生. 这次, 我自己去, 督促自己不可以怕, 男子汉大丈夫, 不应该怕, 何况有打麻, 有止痛药, 又有经验. 问题是动手术时你还醒着,虽然看不见, 但你能听能感受他在做什么, 你知道医生在用力, 血在溅. 护士说她认得我. 咳! 过了两个月, 病人进进出出, 她却认得我. 我很惭愧. 我紧闭眼睛, 回念老歌词:

    draw me close to u, nvr lemme go
    i lay it all down again to hear you say that i'm ur fren
    u r my desire, no 1 else will do
    cos nuttin' else can take ur place, or give the warmth of ur embrace
    help me find the way, bring me back to u

    u're all i want, u're all i ever needed.
    u're all i want, help me noe u r near.

    霍 然间, 我似乎听到5 个字: 神与你同在. 这是我很年幼时就接触到的真理, 一来, 脑里深明, 心里却少处真正领受到. 这次, 医生又快又粗, 我却心里疏畅自然, 毫无惧怕. 一转眼就完了. 在正场, 我要显得成人懂事, 在心目中, 我宁愿做上帝怀里的赢儿.

    I have stilled and quieted my soul. Like a weaned child is my soul within me. Put your hope in the Lord now & 4evermore. Psalm 131:2-3.

    Monday, November 14, 2005

    liverpool 1 chelsea 4 (lampard 27 pen, duff 43, cole 63, geremi 83)

    my mother is a good mother. i came back with my two brothers from dinner at NYDC to see her cleaning all the toilets and the kitchen sinks. i was quite tired, but i asked her if i could help. she said no, i've had a long day, i should go and watch "Everybody loves Raymond," "Becker," Married to the Kellys, etc etc. Basically she did everything by herself. I am not a good son. I do want to help her although just watching her do the housework makes me feel tired. I told her that if I do help her I don't have to go to the gym, but she keeps telling me to go and rest. that's how good a mum she is. also she purposely chose the day when i came back late (and she doesn't need to cook) to do all these things. so I got her to promise not to wash my clothes for me tomorrow, i'll come back and do it. i suppose that's the least i can do. i realise that she gets joy out of doing those mundane housework again and again, which brings no reward, comes to no end, and is often taken for granted. she is probably less joyful if I help her, cos she gets worried that i'll be tired. and i'm not really 1 for doing housework. when i hang the clothes i'm quite eager to quickly get it over and done with. and when i wash dishes i usually try to minimise the dishes used during cooking and eating so i dun have to wash so much, whereas my mum will use a fresh spoon for everything. can i be blamed? Hanging clothes out to dry isn't exactly the same as watching chelsea thrash manchester united 5-0. and i gave up doing ironing after my father showed me that it's a hobby for him, not a chore. anyway, I had a long day! 2 months ago it was storytelling national education at a hotel, this time it's a MOE national education seminar (ie, a seminar to help teachers be effective in communicating national education) at a country club. if u're wondering wat dat means, it means dat the seminar was held in the grand ballroom (where the air-con is London weather at the moment), breakfast is meegoreng and soon kueh (with extra chilli), lunch with a buffet spread of rice, beancurd, fish, chicken, vegetables, nonya kueh, sichuan soup, coleslaw, there's a free shuttle bus to the MRT station, my travel to the country club and from home is reimbursable, and i get to listen to talks on national education! Congrats to my long day, which finished off with dinner with my brothers at NYDC. I told them about interpersonal skills, their importance in life and success, and my lack of them (which my brothers must learn to be better than me at). Interpersonal skills and entrepreneurship are key to success, not grades. It doesn't matter if ur grades are not good, and it doesn't mean much if ur grades are good, cos when u go out to work, it's ur interpersonal skills, ability to learn on the job quick, entrepreneurship (doing conscription in _____Office), and ability to accept failure. I hope it registered, cos carl's junior and NYDC burnt a hole in my pocket, and on top of it all, I postponed my guitar practice with the T2T guys to catch up with friends and we ended up watching Exorcism of Emily Rose. My first horror movie. It wasn't exactly a horror movie, but luckily it wasn't, cos if it had been something like The Ring I wouldn't be typing this. It was a good movie. It explores concepts like justice, morality, science, superstition, religion, choice, psychology, ambition and reputation. and Laura Linney is really good. a completely different character from the 1 she created in Love Actually. but was I supposed to watch it? Movies cost $2.50 more on weekends, and I was supposed to teach the guys Amazing Grace. now i've postponed it to next week, but i still feel a bit bad about it. I was a bit worried about the guys taking me for granted. But if I'd taught them, I'd have obeyed God, and it wouldn't have cost me a cent!

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    man u 0 chelsea 3 (dec 2001)

    excuse the language, but I really must share this:

    anyway, went to play pool, and i managed to get both the white ball in one hole, and the black ball in the hole diametrically opposite when I wanted to get the orange ball in the hole. not many pple can do that. So I made a rather high-pitched noise, "ha...ha...ha...ha" to express the satisfaction at myself. my frens have and 1 of them said, " sound just like an orgasm leh."

    i knew this was sthing humorously stupid, so I said, "yah, it takes practice lah."

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    man united 1 chelsea 3 (may 7 2005 score)

    I can't change my nick this weekend. If you don't noe wat I'm toking about, don't ask. If u r a ger, u may also have read about an infamous score on Sunday. everyone's toking about it. dun mention it! I adopt this title for want of a better one. and I forgive those people who copy my nick-style on msn.

    took leave today. and guess wat I spent it on? yeah, i brought my 2 brothers out. and i was sad when i heard that my youngest brother hasn't been to Bugis Junction, to Jurong Point, to City Link, to Marina, and he hasn't eaten at Subway, Nooch, NYDC, Carl's Junior, all those great places that I always hang out to eat wif frens! i really need more time & money to bring him out. but anyway i brought them to carl's junior, where they have great burgers of which the size and quality put BK and Mcdonald's to shame. BK has been a disappointment ever since I came back. last time I bought a Chicken sandwich for myself but had to share it with a friend. Now when my fren and I bought a chicken sandwich to share, he decided to eat it all by himself.

    at carl's junior my brothers ate the bacon beef burgers and I had the super star. it's real good, beats BK's whopper any day, although the BK has better onions. wish I can go there more. but then must watch weight. Anyway, the lunch there was a good opportunity for me to tell my brothers about motivation - how motivation should come from your inner self - about having an aspiration, knowing it and focusing on it, and then channelling all your energy and resources and short-term goals (ie studying for exams) towards it as the ultimate. It's also about realising that that aspiration is diverse. my bro wants to be a writer. i told him that sitting at home and writing novels is not too realistic and narrow - there's magazine writing, advertisement writing, script-writing, research, market research. there's graphic design, layout, editing, publication, etc, etc, so many opportunities and areas he can venture into - he can explore the Polys, La Salle, and the private universities, he should try for JC since that's what he wants but if not the Polys offer a great diplomas and after that he can still go for a degree. Then he'll have both a degree and a diploma! i'm glad had an opportunity to tell him this - wasn't easy for me, had to pray before the lunch, cos I was afraid he won't listen, but i think he registered. thank you God for giving me the strength. It's taking a lifetime for me to learn that when you obey God, you unlock His power. I told him also that as a student he should study to honour God then God will honour him back.

    after that we went to watch Flight Plan. when we found out that Exorcism and Just like Heaven opening tomoro, we were v disappointed dat we were a day early, and I din't noe anything about Flight Plan. but it turned out to be a great movie, although under scrutiny the story doesn't hold water, cos it's technically not possible to pull off such a conspiracy, everything is too neat, and it doesn't cast the state of US aerial security in very good light. But Jodie Foster was great in the movie (I think she is Irish American, she has blue eyes and that Irish American look. by that kinda look, Helen Hunt should be Irish too. and both of them look like my Irish American fren) the movie turned out to be really great, really exciting, but it also reminded me that I haven't been in a plane for quite some time. Sigh. Can identify with esther there.

    well. will try to scrimp a bit more on lunches at Mindef and bring them to NYDC to eat the baked rice next time. and there are gd movies coming up. Aeon Flux. Harry Potter. Just like Heaven. Lion, witch and wardrobe.

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    既然是华人, 就应该尽量用华语,所以就尝试用华文写网记吧! 上个周末, 父亲为了鼓励跟启发成绩欠佳的弟弟, 就为了一次关于发挥潜能的专业演讲而要我们全家人去听. 我觉得父亲已经下定决心让他去, 但是因为过于奢侈, 家庭经济不是很好, 父亲也太沉迷于弟弟学业上的表现而似乎忽略了一家五口的收入三餐, 所以不肯去. 父亲便讲说演讲的内容因为谈到个人的人际关系能力和信心, 劝我去, 我更不满, 不肯改变主意. 后来听母亲不停地称赞演讲员和他所发扬的价値和概念, 就觉得羞愧, 而苦口婆心地劝弟弟去. 然而, 始终对钱的问题感到惴惴不安. 哼. 如果我可以不每次为了资金而烦恼, 那该多好!

    Sunday, November 06, 2005

    portsmouth 0 wigan 2

    everyone ponder the qn and give a frank but fair opinion:

    Am I fat? overweight? above average in size not amounting to overweight?
    Are my looks above average? average? needs much to be desired?


    Friday, November 04, 2005

    lille 1 manchester united 0

    i'm very disappointed with 2 people. because 1 of them insists on having his/her own way, makes his/her own decisions, expects everyone to fall in line and see things his/her way, and hurts everyone in the process. in such folly i fail to see how he/she can set an example or gain the trust or respect of anyone, give anyone security, both financial and emotional. the 2nd person i am very disappointed with because he/she fails to see the effort i put in into trying to spend time and build relationship. in building a relationship it takes 2 hands to clap. but he/she doesn't seem interested, and i seem to be the 1 putting in all the effort. a lot of times i just want to take the easy way out. i've done my part. if they dun want to listen or contribute, so be it. it's not my burden to worry about or to fret or push. but y must they be like that? if only they learn that the simplest ways are the best, and the simplest treasures are the most precious. but no, they must lead a complicated life.

    m very happy to see younger brother graduate, even tho didn't go for his graduation, had conscription liability, and he didn't seem to want me to go. in fact he didn't even want my parents to go, tho they still went. he received this very nice certificate, he got a plague for his team coming in 1st in inter-house chinese chess, and he sang his batch song & sch song. takes after me, cos i remember those songs. wish i had gone for graduation, my parents couldn't come for my graduation. but i'm glad to see those results, which to me are realli impressive, even tho my mother said he told her that many subjects are actually below average to his peers. also saw his report for project work. last time in secondary school i had no project work, but he does. well, he got an A grade, and the project work assesses his portfolio, his attitude and personal skills relative to relating with his partner, accepting criticism, his resourcefulness, the quality of work etc. wonder if i could ever do this, even now. 1 thing my university experience did not have was project work - group project work. we were not given team research projects, especially with external affiliations. every piece of work was individual research & essay, there was little practicality about it. well, my brother has things going a lot easier for him - he gets to enjoy benefits of circle line, changi terminal 3, new Bayfront, new Orchard Rd at a younger age, greater secondary sch facilities than me, O Level exemption, new state-of-the-art JC facilities, 6 months shorter NS. but his work is also a lot harder. he thinks i'm better than him, but actually his work is a lot a lot harder. i'm proud of him. the third brother - i'm proud of him too. he's got his own web forum, he taught me how to burn CDs, he burnt a CD for me, he taught me how to use an ipod to download & store music (yes!!). but he needs to build character and values.

    had a good stay at my aunt's place, where another aunt taught me all about investments and budgeting. learnt about low, moderate and high-risk investments, hedge funds, unit trusts etc, and about regular but diversified investments with some level of risk to bring in the most profits in the long-run. she's a successful financial consultant and insurance agent. i used to be v greedy about money. i still wanna make my money grow. but then i have heard nasty stories about people making big losses cos they invest in high-risk trusts. sigh.

    Tuesday, November 01, 2005

    chelsea 4 blackburn 2

    having a good time with my brother in his room - largest room in the flat which is actually master bedroom and toilet ensuite, listening to his music from his speakers and new ipod, and he uses the air-con liberally so enjoying it too. We went to west mall to check it out and bought Bread Talk to eat, and they had a promotion, so we had an extra sandwich and gave it to mum! also checked out the Sembawang CD shop and popular there. now that i'm back, he actually showed me how to crop a photo on Paint, post it on the web using imageshack and then upload it onto my blog. i've taken it to increase privacy cos freedom of speech is enshrined in singapore's constitution. He says it's very basic, but really to me, it's not english, and i'm so glad that he's there to teach me. he also told me about burning CDs, I didn't even noe my lappie has a CD-rewriting facility, will go and buy CDs and burn some movies cos frens had asked about it the other time and I didn't know anything about it. if can't burn, he will burn from me. i'm also looking at the collection of my old books which now forms his mini-library in the room, and taking them out to re-read. thanks to him, and hopefully the relationship will continue to get better. wish i could love him more, but sometimes i find it hard to love him. this is less his fault than mine, for bible says, if you claim to love God but can't love your brother, you are a liar. soon i'll have to teach him again, when holidays start, that's hard cos it's a commitment, and he's weak, and i'm going to need to draw strength from God to do it. also promised to take leave from conscription liability next week to bring him to Subway and Carl's Junior - can't blive he's not been to those places to eat - actually I'm so privileged and I really need to share my blessings with him more. 2nd brother just sat for O'level Higher Chinese, says compo is too short 2.5 pages - and is worried - well, my ENglish compo at O'level was only 3 pages - it's the subtance, not the length, hope he does well. only needs to pass then he can quit doing chinese at A level (in my time it was B3 and above), but i noe he wants to do well. believe he will, cos prayed for him b4 the paper, and i'm glad he gave me the chance to pray for him the night b4. need to learn how to love, and keep loving, it's not a one-time effort, but a lifelong thingee. it's harder for brothers to love than sisters, cos Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, harder for guys to relate unless there are things in common that they can do, my brothers are computer-savvy and play computer games that to me are Greek, but they dun like soccer, and sometimes i have to act like a disciplinarian when i see unbecoming behavior, that spoils the relationship i know, sigh, but i also need them to know what is right and wrong.

    hope my brothers noe i love them.