Friday, September 30, 2005

singapore getaway 2

Remember when I said I might go down Singapore to talk to the IUJ reps? Well, by making the holiday trip, I could kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

IUJ's website was pretty informative, and I was already in contact with the admissions dept. Most of my concerns were promptly answered. However, I wanted to show them I made the effort (to gain admission), and to clarify some other issues.

After having a quick lunch with Dusty at the NUS campus (which reminded me of UM + they have subsidised food even in their own McD's and Genki Sushi!), I went off to the city in search of Raffles The Plaza.

Got a bit lost at first when I came out of the MRT station and saw Swissôtel The Stamford. Didn't know they were connected and it wasn't shown on the map! Anyways, after asking around the concierge, I finally found the ballroom where the MBA tour was being held.

Managed to locate IUJ's booth and met up with the dean of their Business School. He personally attended to me while I explained to him my predicament.

1) I need to get a letter of acceptance from a Jap uni in order for me to be shortlisted (yes, it's still not over!) for the scholarship. Announcements will be made by the embassy in February.
2) But, deadlines for the IUJ's admission is in February as well. Admission results will only be released in March.
3) One of the required documents is my TOEFL/IELTS test results, of which I have none. As terror as my Engrish is, I am still not exempted from taking it. But, the dean was pretty impressed with my qualifications and wished he could exempt me.
4) All these Engrish tests ain't cheap! If I'm not mistaken, IETLS costs almost RM400 and it's only valid for 2 years. (By the way, which test is more universally accepted?)

He encouraged me to submit my documents by this year and perhaps they might be able to process my application (and find a supervisor) in time for the embassy's deadline. Hmm... write essays, register for Engrish test, prepare transcripts, etc.. oh boy, looks like it's gonna be a busy end of the year for me!

Well, with my questions answered, I took the MRT back to Red Hill to take a short nap. Must get enough rest, looking forward to the much-talked about Night Safari. And that, ladies and gentlemen, will be a story for another day. :)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

singapore getaway 1

It was a pretty good break, even if it wasn't purely break per se. It was a trip of sorts - to visit my brother, catch up with friends, see how Singapore evolved over the decade, and since my mum decided to tag along - to have holiday with her as well.

First stop - Jurong Birdpark. Dusty, the durable tour guide came all the way from JB. Must thank him for taking the effort despite not really knowing his way around! I was quite excited about the birdpark because Uniquely Singapore's website was promoting a "hearty breakfast beside a flock of pink flamingos". But when we got there, there was no "show", explained the officer in charge. The flamingos would still be there, and we can still order their breakfast set, but apparently, no breakfast with the flamingos.

me and some flamingos
Posing with little flamingos

We paid about SGD20 for 2 different sets and had a really lovely American breakfast under the shady raintree. We could see flocks of flamingos at a pond just below us. I was already feeling destressed - the greens, God's wonderful nature, and having nary a worry in the world. If I had the money, I'd build my home like this - wooden and filled with warm lights, trees and colourful flowers everywhere (even in the bathroom), ponds and streams, animals roaming... Err, that sounds like living in the jungle!

lush greeneries and flamingos
Lush greeneries - soothing to the soul

We were being the typical tourists, exploring every trail and snapping pictures everywhere we went. It was just refreshing being there. People are wondering why I'm doing all these touristy stuff instead of shopping. After all, it's Singapore. Well, sad to say, it wasn't sales season. But, it was a good time actually - no school holidays, no shopping sales, no hassle fighting your way through seas of people.

solo pelican
So hard to get a shot of this pelican being still - it kept moving about cleaning its feathers

solo swan
Graceful looking creatures, these swans

solo duck
One of the most exquisite birds - the colourful mandarin duck

While I was soaking in the atmosphere and enjoying His creations, I received an SMS from Malaysia - of all people, my boss. Something about rescheduling a website meeting. And suddenly, the stress came back. Not much, but the thought of work and anything related was enough to spoil the mood. Goodness, what was she thinking sending me something like that on a cheery Saturday morning??

I must remind myself to scan through my messages when I'm on holiday. Anyways, I pushed that thought away and went around admiring the birds again. Seeing them and their simple ways made me wish I was a bird flying in the sky!

emu like creature
This cute li'l fella was trying to peck at us, not an emu but looks like one

the action penguin
The sole penguin who was posing for us while its fellow tuxedo-ed friends happily swam around the aquarium

ang moh girl feeding a lory
Ang moh charboh trying her hands feeding a lory bird

It was a morning well spent. I had to rush off to Raffles Hotel to meet the reps from the IUJ after that. And that, ladies and gentlemen, will be a story for another day :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

while i was away...

This happened while I was overseas last weekend. Not that I'm a fan, but I wondered if my vote(s) would've made a difference...

Saw this in the newspapers after I came back. And I thought I heard wrongly while watching the Mandarin news in Singapore - thought they said Katrina had struck the US again...

To think that the police have to resort to this, one wonders if there is justice in the system that is supposed to uphold law and order, and if those who pay their fines on time are being short changed...

What is the world coming to??


Will post something about my mini break later. Though I can't control the above, things at work need my attention. :D

Friday, September 16, 2005

insider information

I found out I have more kepoh concerned friends than I realised. While calling me up to remind me about yesterday's music practice, this lady from church decided to take the liberty of asking me about my love life. Being modest honest, I implied that there was no one in particular. She proceeded to list down some of the eligible guys in church and asked me what I thought. She didn't give up when I told her there was nothing between me and any of them. If not for the fact that my parents are holding certain positions in church my family background, I might just have asked her to buzz off haha!

Then she went on to ramble about "101 ways to snag a guy", or something to that effect. She even offered to help "pull strings" should I require any. I politely tried to tell her if there was no chemistry or interest on the guy's part, whatever I do will not work. Now, I must tell you this, I'm happily living my life as a single. With all the things I'm occupied with, I hardly have time to date socialise. My belief is that if God has someone for me, He will bring that special person at the right time and at the right place. If it happens, it happens.

I must also tell you this, she's at least 10 years older than me, and still single. I'm not doubting that her methods might work. But I was quite amazed at the fact that while I hardly know her, she was really insistent concerned that I get hooked to a guy as soon as possible. To emphasise on that point, she said that it's easier to give birth while still young. (Yes, I'm aware that there are a lot of things which are better done while you're still young!)

Since I was busy at work, I did not have the luxury of explaining to her my principles, the fact that some people are better of as singles than being married, and that God has a unique plan for each and everyone of us. But I did point out that the matter is being prayed about. At that, she quickly requested that I include her in my prayers as well!

This must be the most "private" matter I've ever blogged about. I've held back from posting on anything remotely related to my thoughts on BGR as it's quite a personal issue for me. But because there has been an increasing number of nosy people caring individuals who have brought up the issue of why I'm still single, I hope this clears some stuff ya. Heck, even my own mother does not ask me these questions!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

occupied in october

1st October seems to be everyone's favourite date. I have the following in my organiser :

1) A mini island break in the Pearl of the Orient - Penang Island. Since I had to forgo the Perhentian trip, this is the closest I have to a beach holiday. With all the things that have been going on, plus I haven't had a proper break for the whole year, I really need this.

2) The x-CFMMU community is planning a reunion at the 'Spring Garden Restaurant', Crown Princess Hotel, and thereafter a trip to the spanking new Aquaria KLCC. Lunch buffet costs about rm40, and to see whales n sea creatures in a confined area, rm38.

3) An email came in this morning about an outing for Jr Church workers. Plan is to have fellowship and do the canopy walk in FRIM, and then lunch plus a movie (FlightPlan) at 1Utama. Sounds fun, since it will be outdoors and I have not been to FRIM. Cost only rm5.

4) A virtual wedding invitation arrived this afternoon, inviting me to celebrate the union of Warren and Siew Siew. The ceremony will be held at the church grounds in the morning, and dinner at the Holiday Villa Hotel. Looks like another angpau to prepare!

So, pembaca-pembaca yang dikasihi, what should I do??

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

funky chords and orientation session

We learnt to pluck using the pick in guitar class last Saturday. Our regular teacher, AC was away in Hong Kong, so his substitute came and taught us. We must've turned the class upside down when we tried to have an "orientation session" for SH.

SH : So, do you guys usually start with a prayer?

Me : Ya, our teacher says the opening prayer...

Mel : .. and the closing prayer also!

(When in fact, each of us take turns to pray)

*Opening prayer by SH*

SH : Alright, let's see if our guitars are in tune.. (looks at us, waiting for us to tune our own guitars).. Er, how long have you guys been in this class?

Mel : This is our 2nd semester already.

SH : Oh, so should be able to tune right?

Me : Our teacher usually tunes for us (but pretends to tune the guitar anyways)

SH : Hmm, your guitar is a bit out of tune, let me try.

*SH exchanges his guitar with mine*

SH : Who tunes your guitar?

Me : Well, usually it's AC. (I conveniently left out the fact that, that morning itself, AlvinK who was at my house for a discussion actually retuned my guitar)

SH : Ah, I think I know what's the problem. See here, your third string is not wound, that's why bla-bla-bla (actually I lost him when he started spewing guitar jargons. And inside I was thinking, but my fren AlvinB told me this were branded guitar strings).

Me : Oh... (that was all I could muster)

SH : You may have to change your strings.

Me : (What??!) But this is a new set of strings... (Think he lost me because he was busy tuning my guitar and pointing out the 3rd string which was not wound)

*SH hands me back my guitar*

SH : Alright, let's begin. So what did you guys practice last week?

*Class proceeds as usual, or so we thought*

While we were playing Light of the World, he noticed we did not use conventional fingering for some of the chords. Mel and Uncle Chan who already know most chords, therefore giving us unnecessary pressure who were supposed to be in the intermediate class were playing bar chords, while Shu and I used the shortcuts AC taught us. He was surprised to see our versions of Bsus and F#m, and a funky G#m in place of E. So intrigued was he that he separated the 2 groups and tried to teach us the right fingerings.

Needless to say, Shu and I left the class feeling disillusioned as everything we have been learning all these while seemed to be wrong. But, I take comfort that even if it's not the traditional fingering, it's still ok as long as it sounds right. I know, we're supposed to be drilled with the basics and getting that right first. But I guess, if we're playing in a band and funky chord's the way to go, I'm all for funky chords!

Friday, September 09, 2005

here we go a-learning, tra-la-la

Oh dear, what have I gotten myself into now?

As if 4 ministries ain't enough, I've just enrolled myself into Japanese language classes! Guitar lessons are enough to keep me occupied, now I have weekly Jap class to contend with.

So who wants to join me in learning a new language? I'm starting next week in the ICLS Subang school. Sorry ya, apart from ministries and classes, I'll be quite pressed for time. So if you want to date/treat/hang out with me, please see me at the above venues :p

Ta-ta, have a great weekend :)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

i've been tagged!

Note : This post was actually written halfway on 17th June, with plans to continue the weekday after that. However, due to an unexpected event which fell during that weekend, I had to postpone this. BUT, I've finally managed to complete it :D


Er, I usually don't care much about memes, but since John and I made such a pair being pinky and the brain, I will give this a shot.

Total number of books owned
Hmm, lots actually. More during my childhood days when I used to buy at least 1 book per week. I guess I have slightly less than 100 altogether, coz books ain't cheap nowadays!

Last book I bought
Can't really remember coz the ones I'm reading at the moment are either the ones my parents bought or those I got as birthday presents. But the one book that I remembered is Max Lucado's Traveling Light.

Last book I read
That would be LaHaye's Why You Act The Way You Do. An insight into why certain people act, well, the way they do. While going through the book, I found myself going "Oh, no wonder he's like that..." or "That explains her fascination for..." Instead of stereotyping them into categories, it helped me understand the various blends of personalities.

5 books that mean a lot to me
1. The Case For Christ, The Case For Faith and The Case For A Creator by Lee Strobel. These are the very books that fuelled by interest in apologetics. Have always wanted something that I could refer to when friends ask me difficult questions about Christianity.

2. My Life On A Plate by India Knight. A wonderfully quirky book which revolves around the thoughts and headaches of self-deprecating housewife Clara and her suburban family. British humour and refreshingly honest.

3. Gift Wrappings For Every Occasion by Gill Dickinson. The absolute manual for turning otherwise plain looking items into presents that look a thousand bucks!

There's actually 5 books already, but since item 1 can actually be classified together, I'll list 2 more :

4. Change Your Life Without Getting Out Of Bed : The Ultimate Nap Book by Sark. Printed in colourful handwriting fonts, it is the embodiment of my favourite hobby - napping! It even has a section extolling the pleasures and benefits of napping, pages dedicated to the various types of naps and nap excuses, plus vouchers which you can fill up should you feel like taking a nap!

5. Can I just name all my comic books - Asterix & Obelix, The Adventures of Tintin, Dilbert, Beano, Archie?? :D

Monday, September 05, 2005

noon dip

Went swimming yesterday with Chernie. Aahh, it really felt good to do some physical exercise. Have been itching to do something sporty for a loooonnng time. But never really got down to it.

After all, she did extend an invitation to jump into her apartment pool, so I decided to take up her offer. It was so so good, no one was around, we had the pool to ourselves. Maybe because it was 3 in the afternoon.

But who cares? It was shady, and there was that balmy afternoon breeze. Ummm, just nice. We didn't swim long enough to get sunburnt. But I'm glad I still remember my freestyle, breast stroke, and back float, heh. Next time must see whether I can still do the butterfly...

Friday, September 02, 2005

tis the season to get married

The 2nd half of the year seems to be a good time to get married. Everyone's telling me they 'kena saman' for back to back weddings. The last weekend was my 2nd, and I foresee going for 2 more in the coming months.

Mei Ching's wedding-thanksgiving-thingy last Saturday, which wasn't an actual one was a decidedly simple affair. The ceremony proper was held on Merdeka day, and only her relatives were invited. I heard it was a garden wedding. Hmmm, would have been lovely.

i also kena saman lor
Since she took the effort to give me a handmade card, I thought I'd give her something personal as well :)

The wedding theme was soft purple. Pastel purple. Or lavender, or whatever proper colour name it's supposed to be. The backdrop was sweet, with fairy lights giving that warm glow at the stage.

lavender was the colour of the day
Mei Ching and Weng Chuan being given a prayer of blessings by their pastor.

I've never been to Canaan Baptist Church before, but the size of the church sanctuary made the event an intimate one. Even the proceedings was informal, with a surprise performance thrown in by Mei Ching's group of dancer friends from the church.

couple sitting on top of purple luggage bag, waiting to be eaten
This must've been the cutest wedding cake I've ever seen!

The couple later went up to give their speech express their gratitude to the multitudes of people who came to be a part of their special day. Weng Chuan spoke like a Hongkie, with dashes of English in his Canton tongue. I could see that he certainly had a sense of humour, everyone was laughing at his self-deprecating jokes.

we see the edible couple again
The real couple holding the edible couple

Out of the other ex-classmates she invited, only 4 of us made it. It was good to see the grrls again. Even though I haven't seen some of them for donkeys' years, it was amazing that we just picked up from where we last left. There's just something about being Assuntarians!

assuntarians unite!
(L-R): Pau Boon, Sook Ping, the pwetty bride, me & Kher Shin

The rest of the night was spent catching up with each other - we really had a lot to talk about. I wouldn't be surprised if the next time we meet up, it will be at another ex-classmate's wedding! I think we were one of the last few who remained till the end of the dinner. When we said our goodbyes, the caterers were already cleaning up the place and packing up their utensils.

Once again, congratulations to Mei Ching & Weng Chuan. May His excellent love envelope the rest of your married life together :)

floating tealights
Tealights floating amidst rose petals make great wedding decors