Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Holiday Today, Gone Tomorrow



Had a case of the blind leading the blind today - me on bus feeling lost, directions-provider on phone feeling blur (i gather).

In any case, there goes the holiday. Didn't manage to do everything I charted out to accomplish, but at least I cleared out my room and had quality family & friends time.

Courtesy of VideoEzy, watched Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, The Brothers Grimm and Corpse Bride. The 6 degrees of separation really weren't intended but coincidentally, the movies involved macabre dark humour, Johnny Depp & Helena Bonham Carter (whom my bro claims are good friends) and all 3 were situated in fantasy worlds in which reality holds no bounds.

If I were a cartoon character, I'd be Roger Rabbit - rubbery dude with a license to be crazy.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Memories Mem-mem-mem-mem-mem-Memories

What does one do on 2nd day of CNY with nothing to do at home? Why, spring-clean, of course!

While clearing out my desk, I came across:

Photos from another life
- 2004: NUS Commencement graduation photos (univ days seems so far away)
- 2001: NUSSO tour to Sydney & Melbourne (that nightmare concert at the Opera House…)
- 2000: BRC fun day out at Sentosa’s Fantasy Island (lotsa dunking involved) and boy do we look innocent & Guardsmen fit, haha!)
- 1999 – 2000: NS pics of buddies & me sweating blood during various overseas trips
- 1998: BMT Mohawk coy photo (i.e. coy = company)
- 1997: ACJC class photo (boy was I a geek and oh, there’s our favourite butcher maths teacher whom we all loved to hate)
- 1996: Photo of JC classmate whom I had a crush on (not telling who)
- 1996: Caricature done during ACJC band tour to Japan & South Korea
- 1994: Horn sectionals during band camp (boy do we look geeky & innocent)

Knick knacks
- A declaration from Jared, my hornie hubby (don’t ask)
- Leather strip from days of making grip-guards for the French horn (man, those stupid colour combi’s we used to choose)
- Coins from Singapore (old ones), Malaysia, Brunei (during NS), Germany (during ACS band performance tour), China (work trip to Beijing in Oct 04)
- 3 molars from wisdom teeth extraction (now where did the 4th one go?)

Paper-based
- 2005 Straits Times National Day supplement (a true collectible)
- Cook books - 2 Italian & 1 all things chocolate
- Personal namecards from Computing Club (2002/3) and APRU (2004)

Bai Nian

Visited paternal grandparents this morning. Great fellowship, great wine, great photos.



'nough said.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chicken Egg Cake



Another Annual Traditional Bake – name’s literally translated, of course.

Ingredients: Flour, Eggs, Sugar & F&N Orange

What the Bleep?!


Click to visit website



Quantum physics (wave-particle duality) explained a la children's programme: See trailer

Hot & Steamy

T'was a hot & steamy night - yup, reunion with immediate family a la steamboat galore! Promfet, prawns, shitake & golden mushrooms, egg-beancurd cubes etc... washed down with a smooth glass of Malbec 2002 - after which mom & bro turned lobster red. In middle of dinner, dad remarked tt we must do this every month and mom suggested a herbal soup one next time. With 3 birthdays coming up (dad, mom & bro), this brand new steamboat's gonna be quite well-used.

Watched Charlie & the Chocolate Factory on VCD after that *chirp* "Willy Wonka! Willy Wonka! The amazing chocolateur!" Johnny Depp's amazingly versatile, must say - completely becomes the quirky role. Morale of the story: kids, just be good & say the right things at the right time and all will be right; ppppp-parents, raise your kids right and it'll pay for itself.

This morning, visited my parents' church since I'd already attended mine this week. Lotsa hand-shaking, mouthing CNY wishes while explaining "Edmund, not Edwin." Not quite used to hearing preaching in mandarin either. One great testimony about how one man was touched by his son's faith-filled response to God's financial blessings. One touching reading of Pastor George Ong's heartfelt CNY card from his daughter. Wonderful to see what God is doing elsewhere.

Before the service started, Dad's friend blurted, "Your dad praises you quite often. Says what a good son you are."

My stupid retort, "He never praises me in front of me."

Happy CNY! May your mobiles be inundated with countless CNY sms greetings in Chinese.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Junk-Food Fiend



Courtesy of Runners World

You eat whatever you want because you believe running will keep you fit and trim.

Sure, there are runners who live blissfully ignorant of their nutritional blunders, but then there is the Junk-Food Fiend. Painfully aware of his poor food choices, but unable or unwilling to change, he has convinced himself that he can get away with eating anything and everything. "It's true that distance runners need a lot of extra energy to fuel their exercise," says McQuillan. And if your diet is otherwise healthy, she says, go ahead and eat some cookies or a bag of chips--even every day. But even high-mileage runners can't exist on junk food alone, since vending machine fare will never provide all the important nutrients needed to properly fuel runs and promote recovery.

Breaking a bad junk-food habit can be incredibly difficult, says McQuillan, who studies such addictions. "Once you develop the habit you may start to eat the same food at the same time every day or under the same circumstances," she says. "Certain foods are then used to 'punctuate' an event. So if you eat a chocolate bar after every run, you won't feel your daily run is complete unless you end it with chocolate. That's a tough connection to break."

Ed Gears Up




I did it - signed up for Sprint category. Here goes!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

V is for...

VICTORY TARTS!

Managed to cajole my reluctant mom into making her pineapple tarts this year. Despite her protests about lack of time and energy, she eventually gave in when I promised to help her.



Step 0 was to procure and prepare the necessary ingredients. Mind you, these wholesome, homemade tarts are made from scratch - no ready-made, preservative-laden pineapple paste was used in the process. I had some wild idea to incorporate cinnamon into the pineapple jam but mom desisted.

Step 1, dice and process pineapples into rough puree. Then add brown sugar and cook in wok till sufficiently but not overly dry and sweet - tarts taste best when tart :)



Next, sift flour to introduce air for ultimate pastry fluffiness, then dump in yolks/butter and mix. For a guy, I'm pretty ginger with the dough mix.

"Why so slow? By the time you finish, it's daylight already lah," Mom chided.

Mom informed me tt during her very first lesson in making pineapple tarts in class, each student was given only a few spoonfuls of flour to make a couple of tarts. I asked her whether her school's still around.

"Why, yes. De Ming is a very good school, you know. That's why I got kicked out when I failed English. Back then, girls weren't encouraged to study anyway. Instead they said tt a girl only needed to find a rich husband."

Operation Playdough completed around 2300hrs.



Day 2: True enough, I couldn't run away from my domestic duties when I wanted to go swimming instead. Was therefore summoned to return for homebody obligations. Maybe I should have fibbed that I had a date arranged...

Mom was already halfway preparing the tart bases and was in a bit of a temper. Ignored me when I asked her to go eat dinner first.

In typical mom fashion, when I asked what she needs me to do, she retorted, "Can't you see what's missing?"

Quick-thinking Ed gets straight down to filling the tarts with the paste, except he didn't know how. Mom practically grunts, except she didn't.

After dinner, mom cum supervisor pops by to inspect. "Why so slow? By the time you finish, it's daylight already lah."



I notice mom topping the tarts with a "V" and after 26years, it only just occurred to me to ask why. "Because it means victory!"

Wow, my mom should join the motivational industry.

Ed-with-itchy-fingers couldn't resist a slight modification to the "V".

"What you doing? So ugly!" Mom exclaimed.

While I added the finishing touches of glazing the exposed pastry with egg white, mom washed up. As she dried her traditional Chinese matrimony tray, she pointed out tt it's 1 year older than I am.

When I ask her whether she regrets not having any daughters, she says yes, because a daughter would keep her company. *scratch head*

Operation Victory Tarts was a success, although we only had 1 tupperware full.

When I asked dad who happened to be in the kitchen to check whether the tarts had cooled and to store them, he promptly popped one into his mouth. Mom and me promptly protested.

Happy Chinese new year, all!

View slideshow here.

Monday, January 23, 2006

V is for...

VICTOR'S SECRETS



Pardon the questionable sub-title. Chuckling CK jokingly offered tt discussion about what to offer on our web portal.

Incidentally, I caught Victoria's Secrets on TV. Commented to Lucid Maxima tt the models with their svelte figures and golden blonde locks look like barbie doll clones of Heather Graham. Except for Her Royal Well-Endowment, Tyra Banks.

Very well put-together fashion show, I must say :)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I, Geek



D, cellgroup mate, blurts while I sheltered her across the road with my trusty umbrella "Don't worry, I won't fall for you, 'cause I don't like geeks."

"Erm, I'll take that as a compliment."

Stars



Switchfoot

Maybe I've been the problem
Maybe I'm the one to blame
But even when I turn it off and blame myself
The outcome feels the same

I've been thinkin' maybe I've been partly cloudy
Maybe I'm the chance of rain
And maybe I'm overcast and maybe
All my luck's washed down the drain

I've been thinkin' 'bout everyone, everyone you look so lonely
But when I look at the stars,
When I look at the stars,
When I look at the stars
I see someone else
When I look at the stars, the stars
I feel like myself

Stars looking at our planet,
Watching entropy and pain
And maybe startin' to wonder
How the chaos in our lives could pass as sane

I've been thinkin' 'bout the meaning of resistance
Of a hope beyond our own
And suddenly the infinite and penitent
Began to look like home

I've been thinkin' 'bout everyone, everyone you look so empty
But when I look at the stars,
When I look at the stars,
When I look at the stars
I see someone else
When I look at the stars, the stars
I feel like myself

Everyone, everyone you feel so lonely
Everyone, ya everyone you feel so empty
When I look at the stars,
When I look at the stars,
When I look at the stars
I feel like myself
When I look at the stars, the stars
I see someone

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Something New, Something Exciting



Everyone keeps telling me how fit I am. But to paraphrase today's cellgroup message: excellence is relative. I'm no Ben Pulham, that's for sure (btw he's only 25). Well, running's just running - pure, physical exercise.

Biathlon training update: Right after cellgroup today, I zipped off to SAFRA Yishun & swam 22 continuous laps. Woohoo! 8 more to go, to pass SG biathlon swimming trial. But after ZH pointed out the finer points of the challenges a biathlon presents, am still apprehensive. One month more before I decide whether to sign up or not.

Spotted the 25m wall, proudly standing in Yishun sub-urbania. It beckoned to me and so did the sports climbing gear shop. Checked out the climbing shoes, tried to ask for recommendation for reasonably priced one - the cheapest was $100. But am determined to pick up this sport.

This year, I resolve to do something new, something different, something exciting. The rest of you can either just stand aside and watch or come along for the thrill. WOOT! :)

Questions & OB Markers

In yesterday's Straits Times (20 Jan, Review section), I thought Catherine Lim presented a rather honest & perceptive commentary about Singapore as a political state. Particularly, "The Experiment" with which she ended her exposition, while superficially amusing, struck home in me what feels like a sense of dread.

Now, I'm no lunchtime political critic, but am definitely discerning enough to notice the invisible but undeniably-existent blanket of fear which Catherine Lim describes. Including acknowledging that I myself is guilty of the apathy and ignorance most Singaporeans are accused of.

Just the other day, a colleague spotted my "I Love Singapore" decal stuck on my cubicle window and then dug at me, "What? You love Singapore?" To which, I non-hesitatingly smiled and replied, "Yes, I really do." For the next hour, internal ripples of self-questioning follow - what do I really love about Singapore? Immediately, political stability and economic prosperity came to mind - didn't bring much comfort though.

Much credit has been given to LKY for bringing Singapore thus far, most saliently, in terms of economic success and a determined political will (readTime magazine: The man who saw it all, Economist.com: suggested readings about Singapore). And much has been said: that Singapore, a small island state with limited resources, can ill afford to ignore the winds of change, blowing hard.

While surfing for info, I stumbled upon this article Singapore: Life is NOT a bed of roses. Courtesy of ThinkCentre.org, "the internet portal of Think Centre, an independent, multi-partisan political non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Singapore. First registered as a business (RCB) on 16 Jul 1999 and today as a society (under ROS) on 20 Oct 2001, the Centre aims to critically examine issues related to political development, democracy, rule of law, human rights and civil society. Think Centre's activities include research, publishing, organising events and networking."

Playing the Cash Flow game last night did make me realize the meaning of being caught in a rat race and making ends meet. Now what does life in Singapore truly hold for me and what dreams to pursue?

Questions, questions, but G's zipping over to pick me up for lunch. Till next time...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Wait



Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts. For he who finds me, finds life and obtains favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 8:34-35 NASB)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Running, Seeking, Waiting

Right after I reached home, I zipped out for a run in the light rain, hoping it would clear my muddled mind.

It didn't. The same thoughts just kept running through my head.

Where's the assurance I had just a few days ago? Has faith been overtaken by doubt and uncertainty?

Tried praying but can't find the peace I so desparately need.

Wait. That's all I can do.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Online Feedback

After hearing about them, finally visited these websites:


http://www.feedback.gov.sg: Not much activity and nothing interesting caught my eye.

 

Ice Red: Colleague claimed to have found meaningful discussions, esp. abt SG politics. But couldn't find.

uZap, iZap





Courtesy of Kenny Sia.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Wart the?



Saw my friend's foot wart yesterday - suffice to say tt just looking at this illustration already gives me the shivers. Brrrr! And to think there I was, feeling sorry for myself for a minor case of foot fungus.

But still swimming on! Albeit with slippers in the swimming pool toilet now.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Almost Crushed, Miffed, Still Hopeful



While I was washing the dishes, mom suddenly blurted, "This Chinese New Year's eve, we'll be having our own reunion dinner. Because Grandma's not celebrating her birthday this year." (in chinese)

HUH?!? I was crushed. Almost. "How come??"

To cut the long story short, my grandparents must be taking yet another step towards ultra-legalism in not partaking of traditions & customs deemed as non-christian - that's right, no birthday, no CNY, no family reunion.

My mom, being only the messenger, couldn't answer my insistent queries. I immediately sought my dad out, who seemed nonchalant about it. "Yup, this year not celebrating."

Year after year, our entire extended family (ah kong had 10 children, so go figure) comes together on CNY's eve for a reunion lunch a la steamboat, with red wine (& accompanying teasing about folks who turn red easily) being a recent welcomed addition. I even got a colleague to get me a Malbec on his recent trip and I've been eager to let everyone try it.

Needless to say, CNY eve family reunion's a deeply meaningful Chinese tradition which upholds love & unity in the family. In our case, it manifests itself in the annual family portrait, with smiling faces immortalised - Uncle Patrick always has to do the same mad dash before the timer goes off while his 3 daughters squeal in shrilly excitement.

Seeing my little cousins get bigger year after year is quite a joy for most of us. Then there's the grapevine-updating about who's doing what. The older men comparing waistlines & diets, with wives following up with mock admonishing. The occasional kid falling accidentally, silently scrunching his/her face before the awful cry for attention...

Suggested to dad tt as an alternative, we ask eldest uncle to open up his house. Dad agreed. But it just won't be the same without my grandparents and the usual birthday cake & song routine.

Miffed, I am. But still hopeful.

Else, Bintan beckons. Or KL, Phuket... whatever.

Brian Gothong Tan



SHM Presents Soul to Soul Remixed by Brian Gothong Tan.

Exhibition till end of Jan, anyone interested?

14 Jan 06



Exactly 2 weeks of 2006 have passed.

Nothing accomplished yet. No good! Shucks...

No matter, for today matters! Must do what matters today :)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Nu Gospel



While surfing for radio channels on BBC, stumble upon this: 1Xtra Vibrations by DJ Fitz, bringing you "the best in nu gospel sounds across the genres".

Couldn't find any write-up about Nu Gospel music, but did find some recommended Gospel albums. But still a fan of Hillsong & Planetshakers :)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I Don't Wanna Grow Up



Videos of top 3 winners of Stop Motion Clay Animation Short Film Contest inspired by W&G.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Lifebuilder's Creed



Today is the most important day of my life.
Yesterday with its successes and victories, struggles and failures
is gone forever.

The past is past.
Done.
Finished.
I cannot relive it. I cannot go back and change it.

But I will learn from it and improve my Today.
Today. This moment. NOW.
It is God's gift to me and it is all that I have.

Tomorrow with all its joys and sorrows, triumphs and
troubles isn't here yet.
Indeed, tomorrow may never come.

Therefore, I will not worry about tomorrow.
Today is what God has entrusted to me.
It is all that I have. I will do my best in it.

I will demonstrate the best of me in it -
my character, giftedness, and abilities -
to my family and friends, clients and associates.

I will identify those things that are most important to do Today,
and those things I will do until they are done.
And when this day is done

I will look back with satisfaction at that
which I have accomplished.

Then, and only then, will I plan my tomorrow,
looking to improve upon Today, with God's help.

Then I shall go to sleep in peace . . . content.
~ Dale Witherington

Monday, January 09, 2006

New Social Media?



Read CNN money: Yahoo's new gamble with social media. One up for Internet parlance: Flickrizer.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

To Grow Old & Die

Read in today's Sunday Times, Confessions of a new senior citizen by Richard Lim. The article brought on a faintly familiar sentiment, because I used to tell others tt I fear growing old - of a gradually decaying body and all its accompanying ailments till ultimate death.

But it also brought on stiff disagreement - for I've realized this life holds a wonderful future and a hope - and a tinge of sympathy for the writer. Of course, being old & unable to do the things tt one used to enjoy is a state no one desires. But some do age gracefully; my mom once commented how the wife of General Chiang Kai Shek still looked so beautiful even in her later days. More importantly, we can choose to live our lives meaningfully towards an envisioned end state and eagerly anticipating the life after.



Courtesy of BBC News

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Google Takes on the World... Again



Read Fosfor Gadgets: The Google Cube & GooOS.
"Imagine Google shipping out millions of cheap, small Google cubes (cost is rumoured to be under $200) - that instantly can be connected to your existing TV, computer, stereo or other systems you might have in your home."

Friday, January 06, 2006

Attachment



*spoiler warning*

Just caught on VCD Birth (2004, directed by Jonathan Glazer). With an interesting twist, the film speaks of the profound emotional attachment that a person can have for another, even when he or she has long passed on.

Thought the accompanying minimalist music - with an identifiable electronic bassline & trinkling sounds - made for a cool soundtrack. Only Kidman, with her screen presence and emotive acting, could have made for such a character with such a believable set of complex emotions.

Most bizarre scene: 10yo kissing full-grown woman.

Cowabunga!



Courtesy of Lucid Maxima

A Belated Pic