Wednesday, December 29, 2004

i pod


i pod
Originally uploaded by thelanguishingcat.
To share the prettiness of it all with the world. :)

Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:11

0 thoughts...

Windy Heights

It's extremely cold this morning. The fans in my apartment are spinning on their on volition and everything's being blown around. According to Weather Underground, we're about 25 degrees today but it feels slightly chillier than that with the wind. We can't call it wind chill here because countries like Canada and well, most of the Northern hemisphere, would laugh at us. But it is chilly.

Haven't had the time to blog since before Christmas. It was a mad rushing around to get everything bought and wrapped- I have come to the conclusion that presents should be able to come self wrapped! It's such a back breaking chore for me, especially since I married someone whose idea of wrapping involves taking the price tag out and giving it to you in the paper bag it came in. For this Christmas, it was the box it came in. I got a baby blue mini IPOD!!!! It's so pretty. And then W and K , gave me Ipod socks to keep my Ipod warm and toasty. Thank you thank you thank you!

That was my favourite Christmas gift this year.

The suckiest one, I think not just for me but for all in South East and South Asia and some parts of Africa were tsunamis that made the ones in the Day After Tomorrow look like a splash in a pool. While I know that there can be many more ways of gaining profit from such a situation that are far worse, I could not help but feel slight outrage at the Australians rushing down to Margaret River in Western Australia, where there the tsunamis tapered off into tidal surges,to catch the waves and surf. Nothing wrong with that actually, but it just sounds incongruous to the tens of thousands of people who are being washed up on shore, dead and bloated and the ones that are going to suffer in the long term because everything round them's been destroyed.

It could be worse I guess. We were talking about responding to the clothes and medical supplies appeals that have been going round. But there is hesitation. There is fear that these are the ploy of an enterprising rag-a-bone man trying to make an extra buck or two out of those who really need help. That it happens, is deplorable. That we are so cynical that we believe it will happen, is sad. I don't know which is worse.

Of course the conspiracy theories have begun to germinate. Indonesia secretly testing nuclear technology on the sea bed near it's most troubled region is one. I'm sure the Church would have their own interpretations as well and most likely along the lines of being smited for something the collective WE have done.

Whatever it is, the death toll leaps by the ten thousands each day and it's been a harsh Christmas for them and it'll definitely be a suckier New Year.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:18

0 thoughts...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Teachers Make the Worst Students

I came to the conclusion that I really shouldn't have set holiday homework for my kids, except for the fact that I was expected to do so.

Why?

Because I can't stand the thought of having to do my own holiday homework. What more these 17 year olds who I'm sure have more distractions around them than I do? Each person in my department is expected to use the holidays to actually create a lesson package based on a particular theme. This means, exercises, articles, all that jazz.

I spent the entire day doing one article and its related exercises and I should do at least one more and maybe come up with some introductory lesson for the topic. And I am reluctant to do so. The adult and teacher in me chides me for not having done it earlier, but earlier meant the month of November that was filled with invigilation and budget proposals and all that rubbish for next year. So, that only leaves December and I was out cold with the horrid flu for a week and another week, I was in Bali, so that leaves now, the week before Christmas where I'm frantically trying to complete Christmas shopping as well as churn out this lesson package.

So, how do I expect my kids to not hate their holiday homework? The rationale is that they need to do it because they need to keep up and get themselves into the right groove for a very very short year. But the other argument then is, shouldn't they then spend some of this time enjoying themselves because next year is really going to suck on so many levels for them?

I really question the wisdom in piling on the holiday work. One of the kids I tutor laments the fact that the only time she gets out of the house is when she has to go for tuition. Any other time is spent doing her holiday homework for all the various subjects and I'm thinking poor kid! Plus I'm also exasperated that she doesn't go out at all and therefore has no idea what the Esplanade looks like nor the former Westin Stamford- when I tried to explain to her the etymology of the word skyscrappers.

And I recall having a sinking feeling in the pit of my tummy when I thought about all the homework yet untouched and I still have that now, the the different kind of homework that I have due.

Somethings don't change. As a kid, we dreaded Mondays and complained the weekends were too short. Same thing now. I guess we just never realised as reluctant students that teachers were human too and they were equally reluctant to spend their time cloistered within the four walls of the school. Except, for the teachers, we have bills to pay and have no choice, really.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 18:12

0 thoughts...

Friday, December 17, 2004

10 more things

To make light of the semi serious previous post, here's yet another list.

Ten things that one MUST do in Bali (Refer to Dan's Blog for full account)

1. Hang out by the Hard Rock pool
2. Have a Seasons in the Sun no matter How Sweet It Is
3. Have dinner at Jimbaran Bay (Pick your own seafood and have it grilled and served as you sit and watch the sun go down)- And this is coming from someone who does not eat seafood
4. Try an Indonesian Lulur- it's an Indonesian Massage that ends off with a scrub, a cold yoghurt body mask and a milk bath to follow.
5. Buy $1 dvds
6. Take a metered cab that ends up costing the same amount as one of them dvds
7. Walk along the beach by the water's edge in bare feet and feel the sand disappear from underneath when the wave recedes
8. Try babi guling- just don't look at how they prepare it.
9. Go to Tanah Lot at low tide- it's like the 12 Apostles but in Asia.
10. Rent a private cabana by the pool or the beach- it's well worth the 10 bucks for the entire day- plus if you do it by the pool and you order food, they serve it right at the cabana so you don't have to eat with the plebians...- off with my head...heh

10 things NOT to do in Bali
1. Believe that Prada or Furla can cost SGD$100 even if the stores look real
2. Drink water from the tap or ice for that matter
3. Forget to save 100 000 rupiah per person for airport tax or they won't let you into the departure hall
4. Wear anything more than a tank top- Dan lost about 3 kgs just in water weight
5. Buy sun tan oil from the hotel (it costs twice as much as the surf store down the street)
6. Not bargain (everything is marked up about 50%)
7. Assume they're Muslim just because they're part of Indonesia- they're hindu hence the aforementioned babi guling dish
8. Go out without sunblock (read No. 4 and proceed with caution with No. 5)
9. Expect to order, eat a meal and get the bill in half an hour. These people take the meaning of resort meaning to its most extreme.
10. Wait for the traffic to clear before crossing the road because if you did, Christmas and New Year would pass before you, or the chicken got across the road. Just put out your hand, close your eyes and hope God isn't averting famine, earthquake or something that day. :)

Ondine tossed this thought in at 23:49

0 thoughts...

Fuck Terrorists

No, I'm not being rude. Well, actually....

Anyway, that's the title of the T-shirt Dan bought and is most proud of.

We're back from Bali with more than a touch of sunburn, full of American food and loads of cheap clothes, including the aforementioned T-shirt. It was a really good holiday. The Hard Rock Hotel had a huge pool, a beach within the pool- it's quite an experience swimming in chlorinated water but putting your feet down into sand. It's quite the experience getting sand stuck everywhere but not being sticky from the saltwater.

And to have dinner metres away from the surf, with the sun setting and your chairs sinking into the soft sand? Priceless.

So, everything was beautiful. We're well rested, we had the most wonderful drinks in the world- anyone going to Bali will have to find a way to get into the hotel and try our two favourite teas and our biggest extravagances (at SGD$3 a glass- they're relatively expensive when you compare it to a 1.5 litre bottle of mineral water for SGD$0.50). My personal favourite was How Sweet It Is which was tea with ground lemon rind and honey- yummy, especially when I was nursing the tail end of the sore throat and cough. Dan's fave was a honey concoction with freshly crushed peppermint leaves, cornily named Seasons in the Sun. We had about four glasses of those every day. Each!

We arrived in Bali, fully prepared for the chaos and mayhem that everyone warned us Bali was about. But we saw none of them. When I told people we were staying at Kuta Beach, we got disdainful looks because it was crowded, dirty and dangerous (pickpockets). But we saw none of that. The beach, with ocean as far as the eye could see, with a sprinkling of surfers, looked empty save for touts. We were met with the same sight along the streets where all the stores were. The shops were mostly empty and the famed crowds that were supposed to be able to rival Bangkok, not there at all.

I didn't think much about it until we met this driver who took us around. He talked about the Bali bombing and how, before that, he worked as a receptionist in one of the five star hotels along Kuta beach. And at this point in time, he was driving a van, offering to take people like us to the many tourist attractions in Bali illegally (outside company time) just to make an extra 25 000 rupiah which roughly comes up to 5 bucks. It was then that the full weight of the Bali bombing hit us. It wasn't just a terrorist attack on a tourist destination. It was an attack on a people who were heavily dependent on it being a tourist destination to survive. No doubt 88 Aussies died in the bom (as they call it), but how much did it really impact the gormless followers of the great Ameriacn foreign- slash in the name of national security- policy? Not much impact except to deny them an excellent escape from winter spot. But I must commend the Aussie and Kiwi government for a job well done in that aspect. When we were there, we found out that people back home were worried about us because yet another travel advisory had been issued against Bali. So, they avoid Bali like plague. I don't blame the individual traveller for doing that. After all, Bali did get attacked.

But that's the from the individual standpoint of the tourist. I never thought about it from the point of view of the shopkeeper or our driver who got laid off because some bastards decided the two pubs along a busy road in a caucasian dominated tourist area in Bali was a brilliant place to detonate some explosives all in the name of freedom. And from where the locals are standing, they're the ones who got the raw end of the bargain. The driver told us 202 people died that day when the pubs got blown up. And then he added an incredulous figure after, saying about a million people would die from the after effects. It puzzled me for a second since it wasn't some atomic/nuclear/radioactive device that went off. Then he went on to clarify that 90% of the Balinese population's employment depended on tourism and the fact that there has been almost no high season for tourists in the last 2 years and is most likely to stay this way for another 5, has impacted the population so badly that people will die from it.

It really sucked to hear all that, but in a way, I'm glad we did. I think both of us came away respecting these people a whole lot more. They're a resilient people, who will by and large survive this crisis. You see it when a little girl comes up to you and sells you post cards, playing up her puppy dog eyes or a boy with a toothless grin runs up to you and tries to sell you some beads. They do all they can to get by. But you sure go away wishing it didn't have to be so hard for them. You wonder whether their "Fuck Terrorists" and "Osama can Surf" T-shirts are their means of expressing an anger that they cannot afford to show.

And you sure as hell feel bad for being so wealthy compared to them and question slightly nervously if they resent you for it. You feel guilty talking about how the next time you go to Bali, you want to stay at the Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons. You suddenly understand why peasant uprisings occur and why Marie Antoinette's head got loped off when she offered the peasants cake.

But the thing is, no matter how pissed and indignant we felt when this revelation sank down heavily on us, there was and is so little we can do to help people like the driver we talked to. We can't help him build a better life for his 7 year old son. We can't help him find a hotel that would take him as a front office person. Much as we want to. All we could do was to wish him luck and leave him a tip that would triple how much he had hoped to earn that day. But at the end of it, we still felt impotent. We hadn't changed anything. Nothing was different just because we suddenly understood and felt an anger we could not describe.

So to express that helplessness, we went out and bought the T shirt- fuck the terrorists.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:34

0 thoughts...

Monday, December 13, 2004

Holiday Town

We spent the weekend at the Changi Village Hotel- No, it's not as sleazy as it sounds. It was a package where you bought 3 rooms for the price of two. So, all and sunder were housed there for the weekend. My brother and his family, plus maid, my mom, Dan and I. Mom bought the kids scooters so they spent most of the time, in their words "scooting around". I'm not certain it's the right word to be used, but it suits their purpose. And scoot around they did, everywhere, all the time.

I got a phonecall early Sunday morning from my bro- he couldn't ring the doorbell because I'd put on the do not disturb sign to prevent the kids from ringing the door bell incessantly and yelling out for us when we chose to ignore them- he wanted to know if the kids were with me because they couldn't find them.

So, when Dan asked me, half asleep, what was going on, I muttered that the kids were missing and fell right back to sleep. Of course, he thought they were really missing and insisted we get out of our comfy hotel beds to look for them. Well, actually, I get out of bed and look for them while he joined me in a bit (read: sometime late morning). Anyway, the kids were easily found, scooting around in their pyjamas and unwashed with their maid that looked like she was ready to crawl back into bed.

Well, the kids had fun. It was a nice place with the pool and a sun deck facing the ocean and board walk. It was also nice to walk out of the hotel and somehow feel you weren't quite in Singapore because there were no large malls in the area. The most modernised store in the area, 7-11. The most commercialised food outlet? Subway. It would have been more fun if we had managed to join the family on the beach for dinner on Saturday night, but I got a phonecall about a politicking kid in one of my broods and Dan had to ok plans for an upcoming proposal. We decided, small and cosy instead of crass and public. :)

That was the weekend. Restful. Last night, we went to the ballet, the Sleeping Beauty. Unfortunately, Princess Aurora fell on stage and apparently, it was her first principal performance, so poor her. I dread to think of the fallout that would have happened backstage after the show. It's been a while since I've gone to the ballet. I think I remember why. I've been spoilt by all the international acts I saw in Australia and while I know the SDT are pretty good by Asian standards, I'm still not too impressed. I've become a ballet snob unfortunately. That's why we need to move back abroad. Good ballet, good theatre actually. Here, big performing arts space, not so big on quality.

So, we did the hotel, we did some shopping- Timberland work shoes for $69!, we did the ballet and now,or in about half an hour, we're off to Bali for the next four days! Yay! Hopefully, my voice will catch up sometime during the week, but it should be fun. Sun, sand, cheap food, lots of rest. We're staying at the Hard Rock Hotel, totally campy and we're loving the idea.

To go and finish packing now. We shall endeavour to take the train to the airport. I like the idea and it's a short trip so we don't have samsonite oystershell bags to lug around. The perfect opportunity!

Later.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 13:41

1 thoughts...

Friday, December 10, 2004

Big Day Out

Being cooped up in the house for four days has left me itching and raring to go. So early this morning, I declare myself well enough to go out and buy bikinis for Bali next week. Relatively early anyway.

By the time we get out of the house at 11 am, I've got a headache and my stomach feels really gross. By the time we walk into town from Tanglin Club, I'm ready to go home and crawl back into bed- totally exhausted.

I recall what YM once said about overestimating her recovery and wanting to venture out after surgery only to quickly ask to go home in a cab. Same thing, except mine wasn't so serious.

I'm home now, totally flat out. But we did manage to buy $30 bikinis, Hazelnut Kit Kats (which I can't eat till I stop coughing), Spearmint shampoo (for that tingly chewing gum sensation), Romaine lettuce ($1.59 for a bunch- very reasonable!) and cough mixture that is likely to make me sleepy, so I can't take it yet. Hack hack hack.

It's weird being so sedentary for the entire week. Because of the ankle and then this horrid flu bug, the most active thing I've done so far is carry the groceries from the car to the house. And I don't like it. It's like I have all this nervous energy inside me and no where to put it. From running 20km a week to 0 is too drastic for my body to handle and it's not liking it very much. So, I end up feeling like those white tigers in the zoo, pacing up and down the enclosure.

Will attempt to nap now. That's never successful, but perhaps, I could be rested enough to venture out again later.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 15:36

0 thoughts...

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Good and Bad

The good thing about having been sick and cooped up in the house the entire day? I got an entire class of tutor comments done- You're familiar with the concept...so and so should try to put more effort into her work...so and so is capable of better work but is often distracted in class... those ones.

The bad thing?

I am so bored I want to run the 10 km again! I'm having withdrawl symptoms from running. I think I'm just having withdrawl symptoms from the world.

Need. To. Get. Out.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 19:06

1 thoughts...

Flu-ey Fun

So, I blog about my life and make it as entertaining as possible but right now, I'm not certain how to make my cold funny except to say I'm phelgm-buoyant!

But really, nothing funny about a cotton woolish head, a stuffed up nose and a forehead you could fry eggs on. So... Sigh...

Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:00

0 thoughts...





You Are a Life Blogger!



Your blog is the story of your life - a living diary.
If it happens, you blog it. And make it as entertaining as possible.


What kind of blogger are you?

Ondine tossed this thought in at 09:57

0 thoughts...

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Breakdown

I think all those weeks of running between 3 to 5 times a week culminating in Sunday's run has really made my body go on strike. First it was the ankle and 4 toenails out of commission. Last night, I had a strong suspicion my throat was protesting.

This morning, I had the confirmation I needed when my throat felt like there were thousands of hot needles doing a little dance in there.

Now, I'm hot and sniffy.

So, all in all, I have one busted ankle, four bruised toe nails, one yucky throat, a drippy nose and a partridge in a pear tree (It's Christmas!)

All I can say is Bring it On!

Ondine tossed this thought in at 16:27

0 thoughts...

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Update

Pain Update...

My brother went out and got me an ankle guard and I almost blacked out from the pain trying to put it on. The pain's making me miserable because even when I'm sitting down, it hurts. Its got a life of its own right now.

Dan could walk to the carpark and back to the flat twice before I manage to make it through the front door of our flat. And by the time I get to my destination, any destination, I'm all sweaty from the effort. Now I need a bath, but taking off the aforementioned ankle guard causes one to want to swear in words unsuitable to be uttered by a girl.

I think it's going to bruise and look awful tomorrow. I think I'm going to have to learn how to use crutches tomorrow.

I think I'm in severe need of painkillers tonight. Of all nights, when I'm in need of a orthopaedic guy to look at my foot, my doctor brother who is doing an orthopaedic rotation at this point in time is on call.

What's the point of having a doctor in the family when he isn't around to prescribe painkillers that will send me into my happy bubble?

Ondine tossed this thought in at 23:40

2 thoughts...

Pride Goeth Before the Fall

Today was the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. Dan, my bro and I, ran it with Al and Luce. And the great thing, everyone completed the run. I'm so proud of Dan who only runs at Botanic Gardens when he feels the need to detox and my Bro, well, he hasn't really had that much time to run in the last couple of years, with the kids, his brain surgery and all. So, very very proud of them.

Me? Well, I ran it last year so it wasn't a question of whether I could complete the run. Plus, all those 6-7 km runs I was doing at the beach had to come in useful sometime. Only problem, there were certain parts of the route that were really narrow and we ended up running on pavements, grass, slopes, everywhere. That and the fact that everyone was throwing bottles of water everywhere after the water stops, was just a disaster waiting to happen. And I ran headlong into it.

After the 6km mark, after a water stop that I decided I wouldn't use, I stepped on a full bottle of water. Had it been empty, I would have crushed it like a cockroach :). But it wasn't so, my foot rolled over it, causing me to trip and tumble and trip and stumble and trip and crumble. All this because I didn't want to hit the ground and get scrapped all over.

As a result, I have no outward bleedy war wounds but a seriously twisted ankle probably exacerbated by the fact that I didn't stop running. We were always taught that if you twisted your ankle, walk it out a little bit to realign the tendons and stuff, so I took it one step further and actually just continued running. It took about two minutes of limp, hobble hobble run run, to work the pain to a minimum. Why didn't I stop? I didn't see any first aiders around so I figured I was still going to have to make my way back to the finish point and I also figured, if I ran, I'd make it back faster and would be able to get some ice on it. Warped logic but that's me. Anyway, after a while, the adrenaline kicked in and the pain subsided. But, I think the most important reason why I didn't stop was because I didn't want to say I ran the 10km but didn't finish it because of a busted ankle. It sounded too much like an excuse to me.

So, because of all that pride, I can't walk now. It was all right for a few hours after, I mean, it was painful, but I could still hobble. Now, I'm glad I don't live in a double storey apartment like my parents. It took me a good ten minutes to climb up and down 15 stairs and I'm using my shoulders to swing myself around just to keep pressure off the foot. It refuses to bear any weight at all.

Now I understand why Dan was given crutches when he went to hospital for his busted ankle. They will come in mighty useful. For now, I'm moving around in my brother's office chair. Only way to do it. How I'm going for dinner in half an hour, I really have absolutely no idea.

OW!

Ondine tossed this thought in at 17:13

2 thoughts...

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Dan's birthday


Dan's birthday
Originally uploaded by thelanguishingcat.
Dan's birthday cake featuring chocolate mousse cake-lets as eyes, 3 brown chocolates for the eyebrowns each, a soft marshmallow as for its nose and 8 brightly coloured M&M peanut candies to give the smile and extra bright tinge.

All products were not tested on animals and no animals were harmed in the process of the creation of the cake.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 16:31

0 thoughts...

Christmas wreath


Christmas wreath
Originally uploaded by thelanguishingcat.
Last year, I decided that having a live Christmas tree was too much of a hassle. So, my mom and I went out and bought wreaths for everyone. I got one for myself too and it was pretty cool because it smelt really nice especially when you lit a candle- a good use for those Eternity candles you light at your wedding!

Anyway, it was such a waste to throw the wreath away so I carefully dried it and stored it.

Yesterday, without my mom this time, we repeated this new found ritual. We went out and bought wreaths for everyone and once again, I bought a wreath for myself. When I settled down to decorate it, I was reminded of the dried one in the cupboard, so I took it out and used what decoration I could find and made this! That meant, my live one for this year is barely decorated...

My mom would be so proud of me considering the fact that I resisted any lesson she tried to teach me on by artistic, stylistic or creative. I even remembered how she said that a Christmas wreathe hanging on a door should have its decoration more on the bottom and the decoration doesn't necessarily have to be symmetrical.

So, all the years of ignoring my mother have finally paid off.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 16:21

0 thoughts...

Friday, December 03, 2004

Feng Shui

Both YM and I came to the conclusion sometime back that the 2nd easiest place to get cabs in my part of the island (the first being the cab stand opposite where I live) was on Bukit Timah Road outside ACS (Barker). So, today after pilates, I decide I'm not heading to YM's to wait for Dan as W had announced rather gleefully to me earlier today that it was going to be a serious LAN gaming session.

I had over to the nearby Cold Storage at Chancery Lane to get some dinner although it's now sitting in the fridge, uneaten and untouched- I've been strangely put off by food lately. I'd buy it, take a second look at it and decide I don't want to eat it...but that's a story for another time.

Anyhow, after that, I decide to take a cab home because there's no way I'm going to cross the vermin filled walkway that I would have to take if I bussed home. And as if to reconfirm what we already knew about the cab situation, 6 cabs wihzzed past me as I tried to cross the road to the side that would actually be heading in the direction of home.

Now, the other side of the road is divided from this cab-in-abundance side by a huge huge huge canal, that used to flood all the time when our drainage system wasn't as advanced as it is now, and a couple of traffic lights (one set that really led no where- you cross at the light, walk to the end of the path and realise you're still in the middle of the road, right by the canal that used to flood and there are no lights on the other side, so you're really stuck, unless you jaywalk one way or throw yourself into oncoming traffic and hope they don't hit you.) By the time I get myself across to the other side, I realise the cabs all passing me are all taken.

And for another 20 minutes, there are no cabs! It was almost like an alternate universe. I mean, this was technically the same main road, just that part of it would get you into town and the side I was standing on would get you into Johor. So, same road, different sides, totally different situation when it comes to cabs. How is this possible? How can half the road be filled with cabs and the other half, NOTHING.

Strange and a mystery worth an unravelling. Maybe it's the air or the direction that causes no cab to come from the direction of town. Whatever it was, it puzzled me and annoyed me. It also made me wonder if I should have crossed back and paid another $1 to loop round to the direction I needed it to go. But then again, we all know what happens the minute I decide to do that and cross back... ALL the cabs will migrate to the 'toward Johor' side and once again leave me stranded.

The stars of cabs are not in alignment today. Oh Well.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 23:39

1 thoughts...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Some Brains

Taufik won.

-Disclaimer-
I am no idol fan, but since Dan actually got flamed on his blog for actually comparing Singapore Idol to the democratic process in general by a girl who really needs helping with reading comprehension.

Plus, we thought that our nation of SMS-sers would be voting for the androgynous one with rebonded hair so when a pool for it opened at dinner, we decided to put $2 on the flat haired one even though from what we'd seen, we prefered the other dude.

So much for trying to make the system work for us.

Never underestimate democracy...

or

The fact that the gods were tired of cringing since August.

Whatever it is, I'm glad Ruby Red lips has more time to work on his diction.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 01:28

0 thoughts...

" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"