Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu Pandemic - Bloggers let's do our part to help !

I hoped everyone is paying attention to Swine Flu Pandemic that is rampaging around the globe. The pandemic has to date taken many lives in many countries including a 23 month old baby in the States.

There are also many rumours about Swine Flu like one would contact the disease by eating pork etc. To debunk those myths, there is this interesting article on Health MSN on “Top Swine Flu Myths Debunked”. I encourage all to read it up for reference.

Also, in case you all did not know, there is actually a Singapore government website – which has a lot of information on various kind of flu varieties and measures which people should take in various situations.

I think as bloggers, we can try to help out in this situation. Since there is considerate amount of readers reading our blog everyday, we should help to publicise our government's flu website in this difficult time so that more people will be aware of it.

Let’s us pray that all will be well soon.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Strong Wind in Singapore Was Due To Tropical Storm !

I guessed everyone felt a sudden strong gust of wind sweeping through Singapore on Wednesday night (22 April). NEA had informed that the strong wind was caused by tropical storm.

I was at home then, online when suddenly I heard a lot of noise coming from the kitchen. The heavy duty cooking pan, which was hanging on the window grill, had a hard time keeping still. It was blown off the window grills by the strong wind and kept hitting the window grill when the wind slightly receded.

I looked out of the window and it was a scary sight. The sky was red in colour lined with thick rainclouds. The trees and shrubs looked as though they were "high on drugs" or something. They were swinging madly in all sorts of directions. Though strong wind was common sight before heavy rainfall, but I have never witnessed anything of such magnitude.

The wind was roaring as I tried very hard to close the window for precaution sake. It was difficult as the power of the wind was so strong. I closed the big windows and had left the small ones open for ventilation. The sliding windows rattled as the sound of the wind coming through the small windows continued to shriek. There was sound of things falling apart or breaking off down in the street and things were flying in the air like plastic bags, leaves breaking off from trees etc. In fact, few leaves flown into my flat. I was living on the highest floor!

Then, it started to rain. The strong wind blew them into the flat from the small window, something which had seldom happened. As the rain continued to fall, the power of the wind weakens gradually. Soon, rain stop and everything was back to normal. The next day, I saw a lot of “debris” on the path and many people mentioned about the sudden strong wind in facebook and forums.

NEA revealed that the wind speed on Wednesday night had hit 83 KM/Per hour and was the strongest Singapore had experienced in nearly 9 years. It was caused by storm called “Sumatra Squall”. As the name explains, Sumatra squall usually developed overnight in Sumatra and the Straits of Malacca before sweeping into Singapore between midnight and daybreak. They usually occur between April and September. NEA said there might be one or two more of such storm, but it is unlikely to be as powerful as the one we experienced on Wednesday.

The experience reminded me of the movie "Twister". I was so worried that the cats get harmed like they will be blown up in the sky or something... Scary... But I checked the next day, Mimi is fine. :)

Reference taken from CNA news:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Russian Doctors Found Fir Tree in Patient's Lung !

This is a real story. A Russian man had been complaining of extreme pain in the chest and have been coughing up blood. Doctors dignosed that he might have lungs cancer and performed an operation on him.

Surgeons investigated the tissue on the affected areas and was shocked to discover a tiny fir tree sampling growing inside the body. The staff believed that the man had somehow inhaled a seed which sprounted into a small fir tree sampling inside his lungs. The coughing of blood and pain was caused by tiny pine needles piercing blood capillaries.

I remembered there is a similar Chinese drama or movie. The man had a tree grown out of belly button because he was cursed by a Chinese witch doctor and later died. Who would have thought that such thing would happen in real life?! Scary... Be careful what you breathe in next time...

For full story, read here!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Azabu Sabo - Hokkaido Ice-Cream

Weather is hot again after days and days of rain... What better way to cool yourself down than to have a scoop of ice-cold creamy ice-cream?

I am not referring to any ice-cream, but those made with dairy cream from Hokkaido. In Singapore, Azabu Sabo is one of such ice-cream palour. I introduced before about Asabo Sabo, the dessert palour before, but they actually has counter selling Hokkaido ice-cream. One of them was located at Plaza Singapura.

It was a hot day too. Thus, I brought two flavours - Green Tea with Red Beans and D24 Durain. Both flavours tasted so good! I like how the flavours are rich, but yet the ice-cream is not too sweet. It is light and smooth, with no oily after-taste. Especially the durain flavoured one, it is as though one is eating mouthful of frozen durian flesh!

Must try!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Looks Matters. But It Does Not Equal To Talent…

Not that I am surfacing old news, but please click and read on. I bet everyone would have already seen British Got Talent - Susan Boyle’s footage. For the benefit of those who did not, Susan Boyle is a 47 year-old unemployed Scottish woman. She took part in the British Got Talent competition and surprised the judges including notoriously critical Simon Cowell.

The first impression of Susan was not pleasant. She is not beautiful. In fact, she looked haggard and also behaved eccentrically. Before she stood on stage, she told camera that she wanted to make the audience rock. Simon Cowell asked her what the dream which she answered that she is trying to be a professional singer. When asked why it has not worked out, she said she have not been given a chance before and hoping that this competition would all change. Audiences rolled their eyes, sniggered and laughed at her when she replied that she wants to be as successful as Paige.

Then the most amazing things happened… She opened her mouth and sang the first verse, the crowds went mad and they were rocking to her singing. The judges all looked shocked as she had a good voice and had sung really really well.

Pierce commented that her performance was the biggest surprise he ever got. He remarked that Susan had irritated everyone at first with the cheeky grin saying that she wanted to be Paige. Everyone was laughing at her then, but no one was laughing at her after she sang. The lady judge said that everyone was being cynical and her appearance was the biggest wake-up call ever.

I agreed with her especially the line “Biggest wake-up call” indeed. It is human instinct to want to see beautiful version of things. We are so used to seeing beautiful people performing. They may or may not sing well, but most importantly we tolerated them. Whoever thought that a person looking like Susan Boyle would have such an amazing voice? The fact that the camera shot so much of audiences’ disbelief footages was to actually prepare to showcase Susan for laughs that she had not sing well… She had thrown everyone off guard.

Looking at her, I saw some of my reflection. I thought I could sing pretty well (that is to be humble), but I have never won any Karaoke competition. My friends knew that I could sing. I have participated in Singing competition twice. Once was during Secondary School times, the other one was during Polytechnic last year. I never make it on stage.

I was partly at fault for the secondary school competition. I have chosen Kit Chan’s 喜欢你。 I forgot some of the lyrics nervously, but I completed the chorus well. The panel had three teachers, one of which is my choir mistress. Not only did not I make it on stage, the other friend who sang quite well never did too. I was quite surprise when the finalists were revealed. Most of them were NPCC cadets. I guessed the HOD who managed the NPCC had a bigger say among the panel of judges.

My friend and I later complained jokingly to a teacher about it that those people can’t sing as well as we did. The teacher thought that we were sore losers. One day, our class was rehearsing for a teachers’ day performance at the assembly area. My friend and I were lead singers. After we finished on the way up to class, the teacher walked up to us and said “You know, I think you are right. You sing better than they did.” He was having P.E class nearby and had happened to hear us sing.

The polytechnic one was more hilarious. I think I chosen a wrong song and had entered the wrong category. I entered myself into the English category and chosen to sing “Top of the World”. English is not my forte. You can laugh, but it did not appear to me that Top of the World was a kiddy song. I thought it has a nice melody.

Anyway, the judges were three lecturers. There were some students helpers in the room. My poly best friends were very supportive and had waited for me outside the room. Nervously, I only managed to sing “Such a feeling… “and then it went mute. There was no sound from the microphone. The student helpers took the microphone and test it out and ran outside. My friends all looked surprised that it was over so soon. One of them asked what happened and the helper replied “No batteries” I remembered hearing her scream “What?! No Batteries?! "

Soon, the batteries were replaced and I have another start. I sang and I think I did quite well, though nervous. I guessed I impressed all of them in the room and there were students helpers coming up to me saying that I sing really well.

On both competitions, I thought I could get in the Secondary School’s one because the competitors were not strong. However, I anticipated that I would not get it for the polytechnic one. I believed that there are better contestants. I took part in the competition as a confident booster. I just had changed my image then and was still suffering from low self esteem. I want to impress people with what I do best, which is to sing as I believed that I can sing quite well. I did achieve that, thus I wasn’t feeling sad.

Honestly, there were times when I looked back and think that if I wasn’t big and looked better, will I get a chance to sing on stage? I have impressed many people, but I want to have a taste of winning an award for it. I just hoped that someone would organize a purely Singing competition for people like me to take part.

Looks matters, I am not going to argue about that, but it does not necessarily meant talent!

Susan Boyle at British Got Talent

Thursday, April 16, 2009

CD Exploded in CD Drive

Was listening to my favourite Faye Wong CD when suddenly it exploded... I saw a small bit of plastic spattered out from the drive and landed on the table. The next thing I know, the DVD drive tried to eject the CD, but the drive shelf could not be opened. It was stucked.

I managed to pull the drive shelf open and dug out the following remains. The drive shelf unfortunately was unable to retract back, though the computer is still working.

It was a rather precious CD, given by a friend with common interest. The CD shattered into million pieces...just like the memory we once shared.

Why Can’t Andy Lau Just Get Married?

News of Andy Lau finally tying knots with his reportedly long-time girlfriend Ms Carol Zhu appeared last year when Andy reportedly asked fans in a concert if he could get married. Fans of course gave an favorable answer “Yes!”.

More concrete reports surfaced in Entertainment section about Andy’s marriage in recent months. There were first rumours that Andy will make a surprise visit to Malaysia in April to distribute wedding cards to relatives and guests from Ms Zhu’s side of family. Then, just weeks after tabloid revealed the news, Andy again poo-pooed the news that it was not true and was a no-show in Malaysia on the reported date. Well today, news of Andy Lau postponing his marriage (whether or not with any truth) to a later date spread in newspapers and online.

After the entire buzz, I cannot help but wondered why can’t Andy Lau just get married?

Of course I do know that Andy is an idol. To those who did not know, an idol is supposedly better-looking artist who attracted majority of fan by charms and looks. However, Andy had showed people that he is more than the face and chest. He is a music icon in the 90s and was one of the two voices which men love to impersonate in Karaoke (the other one being Jacky Chueng). He acted in many profitable films and even won Best Actor in Taiwan’s prestigious Golden Horse Award for his performance in Internal Affairs 3. He is not exactly talent-less and given his current age, I am sure loyal fans would have understood on why he is getting married and will still support him.

It cannot be possibly that he had hesitated for the sake of privacy. Of all people, I thought he would understand that artists of his status would have little or no privacy at all. That is a dilemma and woes of being a public figure. You can try to be low-keyed, but paparazzi and sometimes fans would do whatever to dig out information about you, so much so that your family life, your love life and sometimes intimate moments are laid out for all to see.

I especially felt for Mrs Lau-to-be. She had reportedly waited 20 plus years for his commitment. It is an amazing feat. I probably would not be able to do it. I mean waiting for a man to commit for 20 years… Wouldn’t she at a point doubt that he does not love her? I would. If a man really love you, why wouldn’t he want to marry you and make you his wife?

Just recently, I heard some of my friends relating stories of how their female friends were still not married after dating for 10 years and more. During the earlier years of dating, they often quarrelled with their partners over commitments issues. The man usually cited reasons like they don’t want to settle down so soon, they want to concentrate on their career first, they like the current arrangement or simply give all sort of reasons (except the real one) to divert the questions. As years goes by, they got used of their current situation and decided to stay status quo. Sound familiar?

While some of the men really want some time to achieve what they want before settling down, I would think some of them never did. Those selfish men probably want to have a companion on hand, but actually waiting for someone better to come along. I believed all women knew what is going on and whether their partners really love them. I guessed they continued with the unhealthy relationship because they are not sure what to do if they were alone. Imagine you are no longer young and suddenly alone, what are you going to do ? It will be a traumatic experience.

Back to Andy Lau, I am not suggesting that he is one of those guys.

Perhaps fans and paparazzi should just give Andy a break and let him finished what he ought to do...

So Andy Lau's fan, would you still support him if he were married? If not, why? Are you all attracted to his exterior or his talents?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Personality Test - What's Your Ideal Career?

Fresh Grads, are you at a crossroad? Not sure which line you should go into after graduation? Think no more, take the personality test from Blogthings - What's your Ideal Career? to get some sense on what suit you more!

Here is my result:

Your Career Type: Artistic

You are expressive, original, and independent. Your talents lie in your artistic abilities: creative writing, drama, crafts, music, or art. (I guessed some of you would have know that I am rather good with such things...)

You would make an excellent:

Actor - Art Teacher - Book Editor
Clothes Designer - Comedian - Composer
Dancer - DJ - Graphic Designer
Illustrator - Musician - Sculptor

The worst career options for your are conventional careers, like bank teller or secretary. (Yawn...)

Sights of Singapore 2 - Loyang Tua Pek Gong Temple

I wrote about Waterloo Street Kwan Im Tong Hood Cho Temple earlier on - a popular worship place where Buddhists/Taoists will go praying. There is another famous temple in Singapore where Taoist would go praying. It is the Loyang Tua Pek Gong Temple (洛阳大伯公). Loyang (洛阳) is a Singapore street name. It is located at the extreme east of the island (after Pasir Ris).

It is a very popular temple and often very crowded during the first and fifteen of lunar month. During Chinese New Year, people would also go there to pray for good luck throughout the year.
Usually, Chinese temples used a lot of wood craving designs as main decor. The elaborate cravings are usually plants and animals like bamboo, chinese dragons, birds like stork and swallows etc which were considered as auspicious by Chinese. The decor would also include Chinese idioms phrases. On the left were 国泰民安 which meant "Country would prosperous as People will be safe", on the right were 风调雨顺 which meant "in hope for good weather". The Chinese characters in the middle were the name of the temple which is 洛阳大伯公。

I am not very sure how best to explain what/who Tua Pek Gong is. “Tua Pek Gong” 大伯公 is Hokkien pronunciation of a Chinese deity. The literal translation of “Tua Pek Gong” is Great Grand Master. According to Wiki, Tua Pek Gong was a pantheon of Malaysian Chinese Gods. He was a Hakka (one of Chinese dialect) man named Zhang Li who landed on Penang accidentally after his Sumatra bound boat was struck by wind. I guessed he must have done a lot of good deed in Penang because after his death, people worshipped him and even built a Tua Pek Gong temple after him. Tua Pek Gong was so revered among the Chinese community that it was being worshipped not only by Malaysian Chinese but Singaporeans Chinese as well.

Actually, these photos were taken by my brother. He went there during the Chinese Year to pray for good luck. Because it was the year of Ox, Loyang Tua Pek Gong temple "hired" an ox for people to pray! Quite clever marketing idea once you got past of the idea of praying to an ox. Don't worry animal rights people, the ox was not there as a sacrifice. It was there for people to pray at only, with lots of food, water and space provided.

So tourists, the next time you are in Singapore, do visit the fame temple and get to know more about Singapore Chinese culture.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Perhaps, I am not destinated to drive...

I predicted this long ago. For the first time in my life, after having passed Final Theory twice, I failed my third attempt. This along with twice failed driving tests led me to believe that I am perhaps cursed and not fated to drive.

I am depressed beyond words. Driving is something which I have so much confidence in, something which I thought I did quite well, but I just keep failing. I felt so demoralised… It should not be like that. I do not deserve this.

The time to wait for another round of test is just excruciating. The whole series of driving misfit is just so humiliating. I have seen worst drivers on the road, but they are there driving and I am not. The repeated failing of driving related tests as if inferred that there is something wrong with my intelligence.

Thank you for ruined a person who is trying to pick herself up... So so so, humiliated...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Apples and Pears Soup – 南北杏果梨汤

Hot, hot and hot. I am not referring to the S-factors girls (they are not really hot anyway), but rather the weather. I do know Singapore’s weather is hottest starting from end March to April during the Qing Ming period, but the searing warm did not recede even at night. At times like this, one might not have appetite and can get sick very easily.

Fret not! Here’s a Chinese soup recipe to beat the heat! Light and Soothing - Apples and Pears Soup (南北杏果梨汤).


Apples – About 2. Cut into chunk
Pears – About 2. Cut into chunk
Lean Meat – 300 grams


To measure water - One bowl of water per person and one bowl of water for the pot.


Sweet and Bitter Apricot Kernels (南北杏) - About half a tablespoon
Dried Figs (无花果干) - 3 to 4 pieces


Salt to taste
To Note:

You can use solely apples or pears for the soup. If you are following my recipe, the apples and pears ratio should be 1:1.

Instead of using fatty cuts, it is better to use leaner meats for this soup.

Sweet and Bitter Apricot Kernels or 南北杏 (pronounce as “nan bei xin” in Chinese) can be purchased from Chinese medicinal store. Dried Figs – 无花果干 can be purchased from Chinese medicinal store or dried provision store.

Medicinal Purpose:

Apples are good for expelling heat from body. It nourishes the lungs and aid digestion.

Pears also have cooling effect and are good to cure cough.

Sweet and Bitter Apricot Kernels or 南北杏 is good for cough. However do take cautious when using this. I wikied and found out that one should not used more than 10 grams of it as it contained mild poison.

Dried Figs also expels heats and has disintoxication properties. It dissipated phlegm and dehumidified the body.


Refer to my first recipe on how to prepare the meat. It should slightly pre-boil to rid excess fats and drags.

Apples and pears should be cut up into large chunks. Dried figs should be halved so that the sweetness can be easily defused into the soup.

Boil water. When boiled, put in the meat first and wait for it to come to boil again. Then add in the dried figs and sweet and bitter apricot kernels. When it boils, add the apples and pears.

Let it simmers for about 2 hours before serving.

This is a perfect soup for hot weather. It has a slight sweet and sour taste. Very light, which is good for hot summer day. It cools your body down, nourishes your organ and also aid digestion.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

There's Something Unusual about This Cat...

It was very late, rather cold and windy that fateful day. I was out, preparing to start my nightly hour walk when I noticed this strange animal. Just as I was warming up, out of no where, I saw something with stripes hopping past me. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me and took a closer look and had a shock... Immediately, I wiped out my camera phone and took photo.

My first thought was that somebody had lost their rabbit and it was wandering around in the neighbourhood carpark... But no, it was a cat! Did you noticed what is unusual about this cat?

What? Eyes?!

Nah, the eyes looked like it emited lights because the eye lens reflected flash lights from the camera.

Look closer again and see if you noticed what is unusual about the cat...

To clarify, I did not photoshop the photo.

The cat has only three legs!!! One of the fore-legs was missing but there were no visible wounds or healed cuts. It looked like it was borned with three legs. I hope it was not a victim of human abuses. Because of missing limb, the cat could not walk normally, but rather hopped it's way around. Surprisingly, it can hopped rather fast...

Also, looking at it's condition - clean fur and sturdy size, I supposed someone else had adopted it and is taking good care of it. I hoped it would live to a ripe old age and not let it's disability affect it's life.

Stay strong, Kitty! I hope you would have a good life ahead!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dream a Little Dream of Me (French) - Les Yeux Ouverts

I finally managed to watch "The Devil Wear Prada"! It was quite a good movie. In one of the Paris scene, there is this beautiful song which I thought it was very romantic. I googled and found out that the song was titled "Les Yeux Ouverts". It was the french version of "Dream a Little Dream of Me".

Listen to it and tell me. Can the song get more romantic than this version? French plus Dream a little Dream of Me is the ultimate love song. Awww... The version which I like was the cover by British Band - Beautiful South.

Beautiful South - Les Yeux Ouverts

Ce souvenir je te le rends.
Des souvenirs, tu sais j'en ai tellement.
Puisqu'on reva de jours errants.
Pas la peine de changer trop...

Ce souvenir je te le prends.
Des souvenirs, comme ca j'en ai tout le temps.
Si par erreur la vie nous separe,
J'le sortirai d'mon tiroir.
J'reve les yeux ouverts.

Ca m'fait du bien.
Ca ne va pas plus loin.
J'vais pas voir derrierePuisque j'aime bien.
Vivement demain.

Un dernier verre de sherry.
Du sherry mon amant quand je m'ennuie.
Tous les jours se ressemblent a present.
Tu me manques terriblement...

English Translation:

This memory I'm giving back to you.
These memories, you know I have so many.
Since we dreamed of passing days
No need to change too much.

This memory I'm taking from you.
Memories like that happen to me all the time.
If life mistakenly sets us apart, I'll get it from my drawer.

I dream with my eyes open.
It feels good.
It does not go any farther.

I don't look back
Since I feel good.
I wish tomorrow would come quick.

A last glass of sherry.
Sherry, my love, when I feel sad.
All days look alike to me now.
I miss you so terribly.

Translation: Professor Jacques Bereaud Cornell University
Compiled by: