Tuesday, August 28, 2007

goodbye muffin

We cannot expect things to stay the same. While it is nice to savor the memories, at times like this it may be wiser to do something about it.

A long silence means the end of a chapter.
I've heard all I wanted to hear, already.

A long silence means I just need to be alone for a while.
To think about stuff. To reflect on everything. You know.

After all that has been said and done, I realised that perhaps, I care too much and this brings the downfall of an otherwise happy 'working' relationship. I couldn't ask for more (and I won't, so...) Celebrate Life.

Sometimes we are better off standing at a certain place and watching the world go by.


Because of the recent turn of events I find myself shopping incessantly. Well, at least I 'palm' down all my expenses immediately so that I can see how much I've spent within a day. But actually this doesn't work as I don't feel guilty about it at all. It's just a number. Like how I've spent a three digit number on sunday and a two digit one yesterday. Retail liberates.

But for other things I've been quite penny pinching. So it should all work out just fine. For those who have the shopping bug, though here are some new tips from me. And also a 'note-to-self'.

1. If you absolutely have to be at a shopping centre,
(waiting for a friend, eating dinner etc)... go to a bookstore, or a supermarket. Not much unnecessary splurges there - unless you are like me, I never buy one book alone. Must get a 'friend' for it, too. =(

2. Don't bring 'too much' cash, you will feel rich, too rich. Don't carry credit. Just a debit one. It does work.

3. Bring a small branded bag so you won't feel tempted to buy any clothes...

4. Eat full. Somehow when you are hungry you will buy more things. Also when it's raining.

5. Make a list of what you need and don't deviate from it. Then again, make sure your list is not too long.

6. When in suburban areas, don't feel tempted to check out the shops on the second level up. The best places not to shop at are level one and the basement floors.

7. Only buy certain things on sale. I absolutely only buy underwear and footwear and bigger ticket items like cameras, big bags, handphones etc on sale. That way, I feel that it's more justified and can afford upper scale brands for the former.

8. Always save more than you spend. (Tough, but stick to it and you'd be rich one day.)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A new generation...

I am inspired. Hearing today about the New Generation youth movement that is widespread around Europe reaching youths for Christ in schools. The concept is simple. Just share with your classmates about your faith. Tell your friends!

And I'm going to play a part in making it happen in Singapore. With God's grace. I am so excited in my Spirit that I know instantly God is wanting me to do this.

Next door to Norway, New Generation started in Sweden, at a youth conference in 2001. With the encouragement of New Generation leaders from Norway, the Swedes ran quickly with the concept, growing in under two years to 3,400 members from every denomination in 230 groups in 19 of 21 Swedish counties, and more than 10% of all schools. Lundqvist says the growth continues. Across Scandinavia there are now more than 13,000 members in just Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

“Our goal in Sweden is to take present Jesus to every student, every year.” he says. “School is where everyone is. The whole coming society is there. New Generation is just now in one out of every ten schools. Our goal is to see New Generation in every school."

And it speaks to me also because I have a heart for Sweden. Swede youths, too. =)

Please read it even if this is the only website you go to today.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Taken by my colleague Huntley at The Office's event.
For those who wanted badly to see the fireworks this year, but missed it, like me.
Next year, Muffin? =)

ts eliot

Liberty is a different kind of pain from prison.

In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

Love is most nearly itself when here and now cease to matter.

You are the music while the music lasts.

We do not quite say that the new is more valuable because it fits in; but its fitting in is a test of its value -- a test, it is true, which can only be slowly and cautiously applied, for we are none of us infallible judges of conformity.

1888-1965. Thomas Stearns Eliot. American-English poet, playwright, literary critic, and editor, a leader of the modernist movement.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Trying to Forget
short story

There comes a certain point of time in life when you realize that everything is just a façade, that nobody really cares if you have enough of yourself to last the whole month, or that if that fifty dollar bill in your wallet is supposed to take you through.
And while you can subsist on that, you listen, again, to your parents quarrelling, and tell yourself you will not let yourself get to that stage in your life.

But, perhaps, you already have.
And you lie in bed at night, tossing, turning, wondering if all the past sins you have done in your short life will come back and haunt you one day, or…or, not. And you weave dreams that can almost be believed in, if you did not have to wake up eventually and go to the monotony that is work, the next day. And the next , and the next. Until it is the weekend, again. So you weave dreams. You are not just an ordinary man trying to thrive in an environment that does not distinguish your abilities as worthy of value. For in this island the only value is the ability to make money and nothing else.

There are always ups and downs in life. I pray that when you are on an uptrend, you will not forget me. People are fickle, I know. I am, too. After all, we only seek out our friends when we need help, when we need to confide in them, or when we are bored. Sad but true, the schedules we adhere our lives to does not make room for the possibility of cultivating love between people. Only cultivate emotional bonds during downtimes. During uptimes, we forget, too easily. We forget that we had the fever, once and laugh at people who fall sick too easily. We forget that it takes more than a listening ear to bond with another person. It takes an open heart. And out of spite, or maybe pride, we fail to give the ones in our life who matters most our love, and our time. And then somehow later, we miss them. We wonder what has happened to us. Sure, we have more than a few fifty dollar bills in our pockets now. Maybe even enough to start thinking of getting a car, or a cute little minivan that is diesel powered.

But when you lie in bed at night, you know. You remember, somehow. Something that reminds you of them. Maybe you coincidentally come across their name in the Bible. Or you bump into someone who looks like them. So you tell yourself, it is up to you. That you have to try. No matter what it takes, all humans hearts have the inherent capacity for love. Give more of it, realize that you have even more left. If you want to do something great for God one day, start small. Believe in yourself. That no matter how difficult it is, you can thrive.

I am just an ordinary girl. For all my life, I had wanted to blend in. Not to be outstanding. Just average. Doing a simple job, having a simple life. I understand why people want to be outstanding. But do you understand why I want to be average?

I try to be funny sometimes, to make people laugh because I believe there is too much sadness in the world. So why add on to others' troubles, their issues, their complexes. I try, to understand the human psyche. Sometimes I think I know it very well. Other times I just can't be sure.

I appear incoherent at times although I am fully aware of my thoughts and feelings. Well, maybe not as fully as others with high emotional intelligence. I think it is difficult to surrender to God's will. Like William Wiberforce, I struggle at times. I have deep intellectual debates in my soul. And my expression takes on the world-weary, the haunted look of those fighting for their survival. How I wish I can just skip through life blithely, knowing God loves me and I Him and all is well within my soul. My blitheness at times is not a front though, I am truly at peace when I leave my mind at rest. Do you understand the turmoil within my heart? That now, I am letting go. Not because I don't care. I care too much. Is that a crime? To you it probably is. But to me, i identify with it more because of what happened before. But I've learnt from before. That letting go means staying free. It is not as if I do not care about the outcome, but to me, the outcome is not as important as what lies within. I scare myself with the intensity of my emotions. Its so much of a torture that many times I ask God to take it away from me. Not my will. Not my heart. And to release others who are in the same predicament.

To live in the will of God is more than what I could ask for. I think its important not to give up on yourself, even though you have failed in the areas you most wanted success. For me, maybe I gave up a long time ago. And I was not able to pick up the pieces, just trying to forget the pain.

It's never easy to look back at life and realize how it is, how he has blessed me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

letting go allegra

holding on and letting go.

Allegra realised that she had been holding on to a piece of Mark for too long. After all these years. She had heard an urban legend earlier in the week. About how saying the person's name over and over, again and again, would expel the person's presence in her life. She had no problems over saying the name of her previous paramour. Xerxes. Xerxes. Xerxes. Allegra did not feel a thing. So in this way she realised that she had been healed of her affilation with him. However, while doing the same, trying to say Mark's name, she paused. And that pause, that slight nuance that only the keenest person could distinguish; that pause; it spoke volumes. About how she had let her feelings keep her from being healed, all those years. How she had kept a skeleton in her closet; or a nail in her door that prevented Allegra from being truly Allegra, truly free. Free to love wholly. Free to live, a life without this darkness enveloping her thoughts.

Gideon, her only trusted friend, told her that she sometimes had that dark, pensive look in her eyes. So Gideon realised it too, but was unaware of the torment she inflicted upon herself all these years. It had affected her friendship with him, too. He was the closest friend in her life at this chapter who could give her back her self-respect; but she had unwittingly treated this friendship ambiguously, and it was causing herself and him so much frustration.

So Allegra knew. She knew that by letting go, she has a shot in life to live, love, and be happy which was what she always wanted. She decided to meet Mark. There was no point in avoiding him anyways. She had nothing to lose but the skeleton in her closet.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

kuala lumpur, melaka

Travelogue. KL-Melaka, August 2007. 4 days and 3 nights. On assignment, filming a pilot for my new business venture,

Was glad to revisit the places I knew and liked from my first backpacking trip almost 5 years ago. Felt like a black and white mood, so here are some shots of the place, from my perspective. =)

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Petronas Twin Towers was once the tallest building in the world. By Argentinian architect Cesar Pelli, it really brightens up the whole city skyline. You have to see it at night, really beautiful and I think Malaysians have every right to be proud of this building.


We took the train from Tanjong Pagar Rail Station (S$34 for the normal ticket), directly to KL. Was fun at first because I've never taken a train out of the country before. But the long journey was tiring and I think taking the bus would be a better option.

Almost like a boutique hotel, the Number Eight Guesthouse on Jln Tingkat Tong Shin is such a wonderful respite from the dusty roads and broken pavements of the busy KL city. A night here is just not enough. Love the artsy decor, and the black and white phoots on the wall. Inspired.

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Having breakfast at a Roti Canai shop near the guesthouse. I have fond memories of this place as 5 years ago, I was traveling on a shoestring budget, with my best friend, and we sort of under calculated our food and transport budget. So, poor us, we had to eat prata for breakfast every day. This place has the best banana prata. I don't really like banana food thingys but the sweet and juicy, overripe bananas matched with fresh roti canai really makes a mouthwatering breakfast. I wish I had more appetite to try all the food, but was having a horrid throat inflammation. Same roti canai, the way it was 5 years ago. Some things never change, especially in not-so-fast growing cities. That's one of the things I like about Malaysia especially Melaka, there is a sense of familiarity as you visit places you remembered in your childhood. Because they don't just knock down things or change management. And I like that, having a sense of nolstagia in the places you visit. There was a construction site having about 7 storeys already built up when I was last here. Now, it's... ...still a construction site. We saw several uncompleted projects while traversing across KL. We will definitely never have this situation in Singapore.

Reading the Lonely Planet "Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei", current edition. I must say that Lonely Planet is great for travellers to South East Asia. We stayed at two places they listed and it was exactly like it described. I think I will buy the guide to Thailand next...

Nice, CLEAN beds. This is not a 'posed photo', like all my other shots, candid. The glasses were really placed there by Travel Buddy. I thought that this shot was quite interesting.

We had an infestation of bedbugs in the first guesthouse, The Green Hut. Usually, for hotels, if you spot a bedbug, you can scream at the management and they will give you the night free. But our guesthouse was full, though we changed rooms. However the other one had, too. Travel Buddy was seriously bitten all over with more than 20. I however, got only one or two currently (Maybe my reaction time is slow, I'm giving it a few more days.) Most of the time we won't encounter these, but twice in KL is rather unfortunate. Most Singaporeans don't understand my horror when I see bedbugs, it looks like a cute, small, brown critter... But the bites are horrid. Looks and feels like mossies at first, they itch lik crazy for 2 weeks or so and will leave some black marks on your skin that doesn't fade for months. We caught one that 'had its fill', it was round with Travel Buddy's blood. Killed it and the blood just oozed out. I'm not as terrified by leeches or bees but bedbugs are really not good. Worse, when we went to the second guesthouse, we found at least a couple following us. So I'm not sure if we infested the places we went. Bedbug carriers.
There is this urban legend that I believe that if you don't say bedbugs and don't talk about it during trips they don't disturb you. Well, Travel Buddy made me talk about bedbugs for the assignment which I really didn't want to talk about it. Bleah. And look at him now, covered with bites. We talked to some European backpackers, none of them had it while in KL. So there.

One of my 'comfort foods' in Malaysia is at Secret Recipe, we saw them in KL at almost every shopping centre and some even had more than one. I have to have the black pepper lamb pie here. Also, the cheesecakes. Cheap? Yeah, RM $5.50 which is less than S$2.50 (our exchange rate is GOOD). We had like 6 slices... Not in a single day, of course.

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Pasar Seni or Central Market is also a place to visit in KL. I am happy with the postcards I found there. Yay! Saw this pushcart selling tees with local themes, I found it amusing. Especially, 'Keep Malaysia clean, Throw your rubbish in Singapore.'
Eh, some sort of subliminal propoganda?

Went to Bangsar. Nice watering holes for angmohs there, sort of like a Singapore Holland Village. I love the squarish look effect and gunmetal colored tiles (my current favorite color) of their ladies' loo, and the mirror gives it an additional oomph.

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Walking on the way back to the guesthouse, took a fancy to this stone lion and the numbered house along Jln Tingkat Tong Shin. I love old, colonial-esque buildings like these. Always wanted to live in one. Big and airy. Full of old school charm, I like!

In a taxi along Jln Alor, this is a food lane walking distance to our guesthouse; almost any kind of street food available till late, usually chinese style like stir fried sweet potato leaves, cereal prawns, etc. Yeah a lot of savvy Singaporeans know about this place as well.

One of the best parts about this trip for me (Yes, besides the upside down rollercoaster ride in Berjaya Times Square) was going up the Menara Tower. We had a little time before the bus to Melaka, and walked with our backpacks (no easy feat)there. Did not plan to go up initially, but in the end we did! And it was VERY worth it! Can see the skyline view from the windows, spot the outskirts like Cheras, PJ, etc, and all the places we went to earlier.

Enroute to Melaka. A random obscure village.

Melaka has one of the best varieties of food available. Here is nyonya laksa and penang laksa. Yum.

The decor of this cendol place is amazing, and so is the cendol. Along Jonker Street. Cendol is ten times better than the best ones you can find here in sg.

One of my must-visit places, 15th century Dutch church on St Paul's Hill.

At Geographers' Cafe, situated in the heart of Jonker's night bazaar. It's a nice place to cool down after a long days' work.

The start of the night bazaar.
That's all for now.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Another 'curse' of the highly intelligent.


One of Spiritedly's theories is that highly intelligent people don't need to sleep a lot, that is why, more hours awake means they can read stuff, watch tv and just expand their brain matter while they are not in dreamland...

Which means Spiritedly is not really highly intelligent because, eh, I need to sleep a lot. Hey my job is not just about drinking frappes at Starbucks and showing people photos of land, okay. It's tiring to talk all the time and walk from place to place. A full day gets me really exhausted. Yup. I sleep at least 8 hours to make up for it. Sleeping more makes you slimmer too. You don't eat as many meals and you don't get as hungry. (I don't think that correlates to highly intelligent people being slightly fatter, but hey, that's a thought worth socioeconomizing.)

Actually sometimes it's fun acting dumb. =) Sometimes, its fun when I'm not acting, too. See how many times Muffin can roll his eyes at me.


I believe in intentional oblivion.
It seems simpler sometimes not to keep asking God, "Why!?!" (Sometimes I ask God, "WTH!@#$$!%%!" heh heh) and be in the Doris Day mode. Que Sera Sera. Whatever will be, will be. So it will be.

In Singaporeanized terms. "WHY LIKE THIS? WHY LIKE THAT?" "LIKE THAT, LOR." With an air of nonchalance that the 'lor' permeated explains everything, neccesitates all semblances of questions to a minimal sense of being like the woody texture on a tree, or that newspapers are always sized newspaper size. Like that, lor.


If we keep questioning things, we will one day go crazy, or else find that our heads are consumed by thoughts that we no longer seem to be in this world.

But sometimes when feelings overwhelm you, it's good to keep questioning. Yes! Keep on doing it, in a godly manner of course. Contemplate why do we have such desires or strong emotions about certain people, certain places, certain situations. A well-thought out life is a better life.

And sometimes I think my thoughts are all written on my face. I think I show a look of guilt at times if people can read my mind. Heh. Not that I am a sexual deviant or something, I just think hilarious thoughts about people and situations and people being in situations sometimes, I just snigger to myself. Or laugh out loud, if I am in a generous mood.

But if we think about too much things, it makes us worrisome as well. Like what's the next step. Am I doing it right this time? What do I say next? And... I think, it somehow makes us lose our sense of self. It's far better to just relax and enjoy the simple things in Life, sometimes. Debates are for philosophers. Internal debates are for people with deep thoughts on their mind, like me. Haha!

I really want to ask God, how would I know whether a feeling is real, that it will last, and whether it's mutual or are we all just playing a game, showing a facade, refusing to let ourselves go because it seems the more mature and godly thing to do?

Some feelings last a long time but it seems the wiser choice to let it go.
Still, one can't help but wonder, 'what if'.

Life is too short to have too many 'what ifs' to contemplate. That way, we are not really living, only thinking. The story plays out in our minds, but it is a sad story if it does not beckon reality to envelop it.

So I wonder. And wait. And pray.


What the age needs is not a genius - it has had geniuses enough, but a martyr, who in order to teach men to obey would himself be obedient unto death. What the age needs is awakening. And therefore someday, not only my writings but my whole life, all the intriguing mystery of the machine will be studied and studied. I never forget how God helps me and it is therefore my last wish that everything may be to his honour.

– Søren Kierkegaard, 20 Nov 1847.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

long line photos


Going through some photo blogs and found one with an interesting concept, "Long Lines".
The objective of this is to photograph photos with a line in the middle and crop it into a square.
Well, sifted through some old photos I took and here's one of a Long Line.

See the rest of some interesting Long Line shots at www.flickr.com/photos/steffe/sets/765607/detail/
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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

allegra and mark, the neverending saga

Allegra saw Mark again. Just a glimpse of him, that all-too familiar blue shirt, sort of like the ones he always wore... Come to think of it, she never saw him wearing anything else other than polo tees and short sleeved shirts with buttons. She averted her gaze and did not even glance at him, wishing fervently that he had not seen her, did not want to talk to her again, or catch up with her. She had been in a moody sort of way recently. No, not like the other girls, always wanting to talk about their love lives, their romances, flings and likings. Allegra did not want to talk about it.

Why did something that could have brought so much joy also bring so much pain? Yet how come some people seem so happy in love, and when they fall out of if, easily find another paramour of their desires?

No one really understood what went on between Allegra and Mark. Not even Grant, blessed with high emotional intelligence and the innate ability to perceive people's complexes and issues at first meeting. Perhaps, not even Allegra herself understood. Because she had thought that she would have never liked Mark. Not even have the slightest inclination to talk to him at a social event. Mark looked bored, uninspiring, sure; he had a promising future and was rich to boot. But unfortunately he looked staid and unimpressive, with languid bearish eyes that seemed sad at the sides. But it was also those sad eyes and staid looks that drew her to Mark. At a time in her life when it seemed that all she had worked for was not really what she had wanted, and her life was in chaos, he seemed to be the only semblance of normalcy in her whirlwind. There he was, offering to just spend time with her, following her around happily, as if it was his delight to do so. She didn't realise that by allowing him to do so, she had unwittingly allowed him into her life.

And seeing Mark reminded her of the missed shot at love that they had both not allowed each other to have. Now, facing the same situation, would she have the guts to tell the guy she really wanted him...would she dare to say that she was sure about this one?