Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Gen Y Soldiers

I don't know if you have been following the buzz recently about the army boy who was caught with his maid carrying his full-pack... it's created quite a stir on the internet...

The picture which was uploaded to Facebook was picked up and placed on STOMP

Then these hilarious photos surfaced and were placed on STOMP again

today the mainstream papers carried a report with regard to the first picture and apparently, "A Ministry of Defence spokesman said in response to the report in The Straits Times that "the SAF takes a serious view of the conduct of its servicemen in public" and that it will investigate and take the appropriate action." ~ STOMP

Ever since the publishing of the photo, people have been branding Gen Y Soldiers as "soft", "spoilt" and "pampered". The TNP interviewed some NS men and among other statistics reported is this: out of 23 with maids, only 1 washes and irons his uniform. there was also a parent who insisted that her son is not "soft" because he is very "fit" and that the training is tough. OK lady, "fit" is not synonymous with "not soft". It is possible have a muscular, fit guy who crumbles under pressure or a flabby/scrawny guy who holds up under severe mental stress. Chris says it's about mental strength, resilience and discipline, nothing to do with whether one is physically fit.

I have never been to the army so I shouldn't criticise but I do agree that the first picture does not put the soldier in a positive light. some on the internet are speculating whether he has a shoulder injury. poor guy... if SAF ever found out his identity, he is so screwed... i wonder how many extras he will have to sign and the nasty names he will be called by fellow NS-men.

the story has been reported in an overseas Chinese news segment... oh dearrr... this is beary bad...

I am just waiting for Mr Brown to pick this up and perhaps write a hilarious song or Leticia from the Noose to say something about this.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Idea + Square = Origami

This guy's talk is really interesting... it's so awesome how Math can be applied to something seemingly unrelated.

I checked out his website and guess what I found among other cool stuff? Folded from 2 full pieces of US$1 bill.

After watching his video, I am so amazed that I am speechless... If I can get my hands on one of his books... I'd like to explore the Mathematics behind his work.

Monday, 21 March 2011

@ Punggol

Wa, there is a new hip and cool hangout in Punggol, very near Punggol Plaza. If taking public transport, get off at Riveria LRT station and walk towards the temple. Enter Tebing Lane and follow the road. It appears very ulu but once you hit the carpark of @Punggol, wa, you'd think the entire Punggol is there! LOL

We checked it out on Saturday night but it was too dark to shoot anything... except some pics of the supermoon with my i-Phone.

then I went there for a jog on Sunday morning without my phone -.- so we had dinner there this evening =)

Try to reach by 6:30 if you wanna be able to find a parking lot. Reach by about 6pm if you wanna check out the promenade and Lorong Halus Wetland before dinner. I already checked out the wetland and Chris was hungry plus we felt a few raindrops so we turned back after we reached the bridge to hit the restaurants.

Chris wanted to eat Popeye -.- so I tagged along and boy did I regret it. The fish fillet in the sandwich is so over-fried that it was so hard and dry. I don't mind fast food once in a while if it's worth the calories... like MacDonald's fillet-o-fish... but this??? =P and it's not cheap. At $7.60 for a meal of sandwich, fries and drink and $5.60 for a la carte sandwich... ouch! But the fries and onion rings are not too bad la. there are currently only 3 restaurants but I read that a 4th Japanese restaurant is opening soon =)

It's a nice place to chill with your family and friends =) Protect your kiddos with anti-mozzie stickers just in case ;)

Check out the video I made with my phone =)

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Bonding Bunnies

Since West's demise, we have been seriously considering finding another companion for Claire because we are worried that she will feel lonely while we're at work. We found a suitable candidate, Inkie, a Netherland Dwarf who has the same colour as Claire. Inkie is about 3-4 years old and lives with Claire's nanny. She is a very inquisitive little bunny who will hop around sniffing here and there... very very cute =)

Claire seems fine to have her as a friend but not to "share her house". On the first day, I return home from the office (had some clients to meet) and to my horror, there was pee and poo all over the enclosure! We initially thought Inkie is not toilet-trained but later realised that the culprit was Claire! bunnies pee and poo to mark territory. She must have been really upset to have someone in "her territory". West used to be quite a bully and she was sad for a few days after he was gone but became kinda more lively and happier that the tyrant is no longer around LOL so perhaps she is afraid that Inkie will be another tyrant.

So for the time being, we a cage in the enclosure for Inkie so they can have contact yet they each have their own space. (Note that when keeping bunnies in a cage, it is important to place a resting board in the cage because prolonged standing on wired flooring is very bad for bunnies' soft paws. Unlike dogs and cats, bunnies do not have padded paws so may get a condition called sore hocks).

This seems to have solved the problem of Claire feeling the need to mark territory. It's going to take time for Inkie to gain Claire's trust so that we can put them together =)

chris: hm... Claire seems so docile.... didn't expect her to be so territorial.
me: You bring another woman home lor, see if i will be territorial...
chris: -.-??? (a bit cow head not match horse mouth...)

This afternoon, we found them grooming each other which is a wonderful sign! Bunnies groom each other when they feel comfortable =) It's kinda like humans. Our sphere of personal space decreases as we become closer to the other person. We will sit closer to people we like and even touch, hug them etc.

Let's hope for the best! Claire and Inkie, FIGHTING! *(^_^)*

Genpatsu Kun

The Japanese are still so Japanese despite the recent tragedy... Their analogy is so cute and if you understand Japanese, you'd find it quite humourous too...

Saturday, 19 March 2011

My Brother the Charmer

I don't know how my brother does it but he always manages to get free stuff. Free drinks don't say... yesterday we wanted to eat chocolate fondue at the Haagen Daz near their house which they frequent. he chatted with the waiter (waiter hor, not waitress) whom i think he knows. then the waiter suddenly gave us this fondue set.

he touched my brother's arm and said it's free... i was amazed...

me: *to Chris* wa, my kor 出卖色相 to get free stuff... dear, you also let the waiter touch your arm la, maybe can get another one LOL
chris: -.-
kor: yaya, touch thigh got even more free stuff want? -.-

haha... i think my kor just has good PR skills. i may be able to get good grades but he is the one who can get free drinks, free stuff, discounts etc with his mouth (ok, that came out wrong LOL). i mean he is very friendly and can make people like him. he has friends everywhere  LOL now with my nieces in tow, it helps even more cos people find them cute so will give free cookies, free marshmallows, free drinks etc. LOL

but yesterday my poor nieces can only eat fruits cos kirstyn is coughing so she can't eat ice cream. and since kirstyn can't eat, gwyneth also can't eat otherwise when kirstyn sees gwyneth eating, she will want to eat too and start her diva thing then we'll be the target of stares from everyone else.

chris: they come to haagen daz to eat fruits? so cham...

so we had to pretend that the chocolate fondue was super spicy LOL

Daddy/Mummy the Chauffeur

I don't know about you but I grew up in a generation that believes it's very rude to sit at the back of a car with only the driver in front if the person is not a taxi-driver or your chauffeur. But it seems that this is a common sight among school-going teenagers. Every morning/evening, you'd see these parents driving their princes/princesses to/from school like they are the chauffeurs.

I personally feel that it's very wrong and I will never sit in the back-seat of a car if the front seat is empty and someone I know is driving. Even if my dad was a taxi-driver, I'd still sit in front when he gives me a ride. It's called respect.

Unless of cos, they really ARE the chauffeurs then I have nothing to say...

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Why is there NO Looting in Japan?

... but I'm not at all surprised.

Chaos and looting is a common sight in countries that have been struck by disaster. However, news reporters are amazed at the patience and orderliness displayed by the Japanese victims in the Sendai earthquake catastrophe that hit Japan last week. Why is there no looting in Japan? they ask, with pictures of Japanese forming lines to buy/collect food despite severe shortages.

So here's why I'm not surprised:

We have been to Japan 9 times not just because the scenery is great and the food awesome but also because of the Japanese culture.

The Japanese have a great sense of social graciousness and are generally very honest people. They place a lot of emphasis on "not inconveniencing others".

We can place our luggage at the end of the train carriage or on the ledge above our seats, fall asleep and not fear it getting stolen. In some countries, we'd probably have to hug it and grab the handles. On rare occasions when we take the taxi (taxi is super expensive in Japan), we are quite certain the taxi-driver will not try to go round and round in order to charge us more. We certainly don't have to haggle. In some countries, you have to negotiate and agree on the price before boarding.

When shopping, we are assured of the quality of the products. If something is expensive, there must be a reason: either the quality is superb, the workmanship is exquisite or it is rare or difficult to cultivate. We can buy the same item at different places and it's the same price. When shopping in Japan, we NEVER bargain because we know they don't con people (it is v v rare). In some countries, you're not even sure whether the tea you buy is indeed tea leaves or just some unidentified plant.

When we dine in Japan, we are usually assured of the quality of the ingredients. In some countries, you wouldn't even know if the chicken they say is chicken is really chicken *shudder*

Japanese streets are generally very clean despite the lack of bins. Japanese also sort their garbage everyday into glasses, paper, cans, combustibles. It is ingrained in their culture. Not doing so will be "inconveniencing others" (such as the person who has to then sort your garbage for you). Public toilets are generally very clean, even at the most remote train stations. In a European country we went to, the subway underpass reeked of urine. In another Asian country, toilets in rural areas are not for the faint-hearted. Modern Japanese toilets even have a button that creates a flushing sound so when you're doing a Hiroshima in your cubicle, your neighbour or the person waiting outside will be spared from hearing the unpleasant audio effects. 

In trains, they refrain from talking loudly or using their phones so that they do not disturb other commuters. Phones are set to silent mode and if they need to make a phone call, they'd go to the area between carriages. Before the train arrives, they form 2 lines which part like the red sea to allow other commuters to alight before boarding. They always stand on one side of the escalator so that those who are rushing for time can then jog through. They are so disciplined that all trains and buses arrive one the dot.

At fast food restaurants, they clear their own tables and do try to sit at the bar if alone so that tables can be freed for groups (unless of cos the restaurant is fairly empty). At buffets, they take only what they need. At supermarkets, they don't press the fish or meats packed in clear wrap cos that will leave an unsightly dent which will of course upset other patrons. They also don't tend to dig dig dig and select the packet of milk that is right inside. They just take what is displayed in the front. When they take food for guests at a table, they'd turn the chopsticks around so that the guests won't have to eat their saliva.

They take great pride in what they do and give their best, even if it's waving a rod at an infrequent train at the most remote station (we enjoyed chatting with that uncle while waiting for the train), cleaning the toilet etc... In Japan, the person who collects garbage is Japanese, the construction worker is Japanese. You get the drift. In Japan, there are volunteer tour guides who take you around for FREE (you only pay for transport, parking fee and admission charges) because they just want to share the beauty of their country with tourists. In Singapore, no one will work for free.

Before SARS and bird flu in Asia, Japanese were already wearing masks when they have the common flu, so that they will not spread the illness to people they come into contact with. They cough with their hands covering their mouths and refrain from sneezing and blowing their noses in public (there are, but rare).

The only other Asian country I know that is quite close to Japan in terms of social character is probably Taiwan. Read our story here and here.

So, am I surprised that there is no looting in Japan and people Q up for food despite severe shortages? 

Not at all. It is the true reflection of the beauty of the Japanese character, which the rest of the world should try to learn from.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Our Short Getaway to Sentosa

We stayed at Capella, a 6-star hotel and a member of Small Leading Hotels of the World, of which many of the GHM hotels (such as The Chedi Club, The Chedi Chiang Mai, The Legian etc.) and Banyan Tree are members.

Room rate: $549++ per night for a garden view room with complimentary buffet breakfast and English afternoon tea as well as everything that's in the fridge. Complimentary parking (overnight parking costs $50) and re-entry pass if you leave Sentosa. They upgraded us to a seaview room.

The WA! moments:
+ the lush greenery with free-roaming peacocks, peahens and chicks =)
+ the nice seaview
+ they upgraded us to a seaview room because we told them it was our 9th wedding anniversary  =) (yes, 14th Mar... 3.14... get it? haha)
+ high-tech touch-screen panel that controls all the lighting, air con, curtains and blinds in the room
+ complimentary drinks (which includes san pellegrino, coke, juices etc.)
+ nespresso machine! (ok, i don't drink coffee... but it's a nice touch)
+ Gryphon tea (Earl Grey, Pearl of the Orient, English Breakfast)
+ bose speakers
+ i-Phone dock
+ v nice range of Abahna toiletries from UK (white grapefruit and may chang)
+ large bath-tub with nice view =)
+ they gave a free bottle of wine (ok, we don't drink but we brought it home to give to someone who does) with schott zweisel glassses
+ when u r at the pool, they serve you Fiji water. They also served us a very nice mango juice with blueberries and raspberries
+ nice English afternoon tea with Waterford Wedgwood fine bone china
+ good service (although we do find that some of the local staff speak with an irritating fake accent)
+ our bathroom/shower area flooded after I took a shower. But they did rectify it when we called and the housekeeping team came to clean up the place pretty fast.
+ Auriga Spa is a very nice spa. the massage was so good i fell asleep when i was face-down and i drooled LOL woke up in time to slurp it back into my mouth LOL make sure you go early to enjoy the spa facilities. there is a hydrotherapy pool, aromatherapy cold mist, warm tropical rain shower and herbal steam bath room. we went for the "capella celebrates" promotion where you get a 1-for-1 signature treatment if you stay for one night. We did the 2-hr waxing moon treatment (U.P. $280 per person) which included a rose and sugar scrub, rose mud wrap, body massage, facial massage and head massage. i'd say for the 1-for-1 price, it's very worth it =)

The WA LAO moments:
- the food is super expensive and not worth the money. do not, i repeat, DO NOT pay to eat at the knoll's restaurant. chicken rice is $28, nasi goreng is $30, beef kway teow is $34!! ouch. we did and boy did we regret it haha... it costs 10 times more than at hawker centres but the taste is not as good. The beef in the beef kway teow is supposed to be wagyu beef but they clearly over-cooked it so it was not tender at all. quite disappointing... good quality ingredients but i think the chef didn't do justice to them... you're better off driving out to vivocity for your meals (which we did the next day haha).

Will we go back?
Maybe... for a special occasion and if they have the 1-for-1 again. Otherwise, we feel it's really extragravant.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Telling a Story

Accepting his 2007 TED Prize, war photographer James Nachtwey shows his lifes work and asks TED to help him continue telling the story with innovative, exciting uses of news photography in the digital era.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Japan - sad... ='(

Very sad... haiz... see the video taken from Sendai airport... super scary after 0:45

And there MAY be nuclear leak too...


Friday, 11 March 2011

Busy Bee

If you look at the frequency of my posts (or rather, lack of), you will be wondering what happened to me. Well, I have just been swarmed with work. Have been working late almost every work day and sometimes bringing work home over the weekends ='( I start at 7:30am and since the beginning of this year, leaving the office at 6-7:30pm is not new.

Very tired and very stressed =( that there was a recurrence of some old problems of mine, gastritis and insomnia =(

A much needed break is here but #@%$@#$#@$ still have loads of more work to do >.<|||

The Age of Innocence