Greetings from Canberra/CBR

30 Nov 2009 –  Last day in Nov

CBR, Australia is actually the capital; looking forward to explore it tomorrow. Arrived Sat via Brisbane/BNE and believe it or not, had to pay A$5 for the train from BNE International Airport to the Domestic Airport (just 1 stop). Connected with QantasLink to CBR. Bought back memories from late 1980s when I worked in Orlando/Florida for Delta Commuter/ComAir.

But all worth it to see grand-niece Kiera CHUA at the airport. Patricia LAM & Albert CHUA now lives in CBR where he is SIN High Commissioner. Such an honour to be their guest. Ivy is also here visiting and had a wonderful weekend. Sat: dinner at and Italian restaurant Mezze Lire*** Sun: fantastic shopping at Old Bus Deport Markets set in an old industry building with a variety of hand-crafts & gourmet food and fresh produce. Lunch at Lambert Vineyards** poor service, food & wine so-so; but when in the good company of family, anything else are minor issues!

Happy Turkey Day!

26 Nov 2009 – And so much to be thankful for…

Thanksgiving dinner with Amy RASHAP, who recently had knee surgery. Made pumpkin soup instead of pie. Grand daughter Katy loves pumpkin pie but not me. When Linn & May were home, there would be two pies, a pumpkin and a chocolate. Tonight, just chocolate cookies! The Beaujolais Nouveau/2009 was refreshingly fruity with Cornish hens + all the trimmings. A turkey will be too much for two; left-overs are not permitted on the plane to Canberra/Australia tomorrow!

Gokusen** Yankumi, a high school teacher who tries her hardest to teach a class of delinquents not just about Mathematics, but about lessons of life. She is also the next in line to head the family business. However, her true passion lies in teaching. Her upbringing happens to give her the strength and the experience to reach out to her students… another fairy tale and feel good movie in Japanese for the younger generation!

A Christmas Carol*** Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of an old miser who must face the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet-to-Come, as they help bring kindness to his otherwise cold heart. Interesting effects. Another fairy tale but it is still one of my favourites around the holiday season. Bill Murray as Scrooged/1988 is the one I like best… so far.

Coexistence, what the farmer does with the turkey… until Thanksgiving – Mike Connelly


24 Nov 2009 – Visitors from USA

Gilbert CHAN is visiting from Florida. The last time I met up with him was nearly 20 years ago when he moved from California to Florida. It was great to catch up. His daughter, Mercy was less than a year young when I moved to California. Now she works in SIN and hopefully will get to meet with her and her mother Cindy before Gilbert & Cindy returns to FL. Gilbert’s father CHAN Yuen Onn worked for Kwong Lee Bank as far as my memory can recall!

Will post pictures when I get to meet the family. In the meanwhile, some creative displays when Charles CHONG and I took a walk from The Esplanade via the underground City Link to City Hall today. He has never been to that stretch where all these temporary displays are and he has lived in SIN for over 6 decades!  A year ago, there was another good display with Crocs. The school holidays have started and it was delightful to watch the young generation break dancing.

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift – Albert Einstein

SIN Ireland Fund

22 Nov 2009 – The Singapore Ireland Fund/The Ireland Funds

Guest of Les & Ivy at a black tie charity Inaugural Gala Ball@St Regis last night. This international network is dedicated to raising funds to support programs with a charitable purpose.

Took pictures of the people at our table before the speeches. During dinner I asked Marc VELAN to take a picture of me. After that I took one picture when the Guest-of-Honou Ho Ching received the cheque from Stanley QUEK/Chairman of Ireland Funds and an old friend from Dublin days. Guess what, all the previous pictures must have been accidently deleted 🙁 except for this last one I took. One is better than none 🙂

Les donated 3 bottles of 1995 Lafite Rothschild, one 1970  Mounton Rothschild and one 1990 Mounton Rothschild which were auctioned for over S$5,000 and he won the bid, a golf trip to Bushmills and Classic Irish Links Golf/Ireland for 4, S$31,000. An elegant evening with the rich and famous; a successful event which raised $$$$$$ to a good cause, the Eden School/students with autism.

Got up on the wrong side this morning! Forgot that red wine and whisky is not a good combination for me, on top of Guinness and champagne!! Could have handled it in the 1970s when there was a bottle of Guinness in the bedside table at the Rotunda Hospital/maternity hospital in Dublin. Hmmm… those were the yesteryears!!!

Havoc weathers reported- Bk Timah Rd/SIN (floods), Beijing/China (heavy snow), Cork/Ireland (floods), Cockermouth/England (floods), Palingon/Philippines (still submerged in water from Sep storms). Water water everywhere, what is happening?

Water is H2O, hydrogen two parts, oxygen one, but there is also a third thing that makes water and nobody knows what that is – DH Lawrence

Family from Canada

20 Nov 2009 – Family gathering

15th uncle LAM Tin Cheong, cousin Edith and her friend James are visiting from Vancouver. Wonderful to catch up and thanks to Les & Ivy, we had a small family gathering@their house on Thu with 4 generations, ie nieces, nephews & their kids. Appreciations to cousin Ken & Cynthia for hosting a sumptuous seafood dinner@Ming Kee*** Macpherson Rd, famous for its crab bee hoon=rice vermicelli/noodles (Asian crab pasta!)

The Architect*** Architect Georg Winter is persuaded by his wife Eva to attend his mother’s funeral in the isolated mountain village where he was born. His two grown-up children, Reh and Jan, accompany their parents unaware that they will be dragged into the mysterious past of their father.

Clara*** is the wife of troubled composer Robert Schumann. An accomplished concert pianist, she is reduced to household duties when her alcoholic, mentally unstable husband takes a musical director’s post in Düsseldorf. Her life changes when she watches young composer Johannes Brahms play. Entranced by his brilliant talent, she is drawn toward him emotionally as Robert’s condition worsens. Clara struggles to reconcile her heart with her sense of duty and loyalty. A treat for classical music lovers.

That concluded 2009 German Films for me. The struggle between conscious and emotions can sometimes complicate life! Had a delightful visit from Ting today; she commented that my blog is informative and interesting but not much emotions. Perhaps life experiences have taught me to enjoy a simple life 🙂

A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent pleasure. I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them and to dominate them – Oscar Wilde

Makkoli & Whisky with Vodka

16 Nov 2009 – A guarantee hangover for the 3 to mix!


Grandson John W in USA was having a 103 degrees fever; flu and strep tests were negative. His father is away working in Honduras for the week but thank goodness grandma Cindy from Florida is there to help. Times like these, I wish I living nearer. He is now feeing better and hope that he will get his appetite back. Vivid memories of how worrying it was when the children were sick.

HanSang****Korean Family Restaurant@Novena Sq is one of the best in town. Owner Miji San has done an excellent job to the food and ambiance with as much authenticity as possible. Read about the rice wine Makkoli, which has overtaken Japan’s production in exportation. Unlike the clear rice wine, this is cloudy with a slight sweet yogurt favour and is good on ice. The Korean women consider this a health drink and I can see why! Thanks to Les & Ivy for introducing HanSang.


Whisky with Vodka***(German Film Festival) is a clever movie that sends up the fakery of the movie industry while musing on thespian insecurity, romance, age and death. Otto, an alcoholic womanizer aging actor is forced to raise his game when the producer of his current movie, ‘Tango for Three’, hires younger actor Arno to double-shoot his scenes.

Amelia****after becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, her global fame encouraged her belief in flirting with danger and standing up as her own. Summer of 1937, she set off on her most daunting mission yet- a solo flight around the world. Hilary Swank did a good job as Amelia and so did Richard Gere as her husband.

A hang over is when you open your eyes in the morning and you wish you hadn’t – unknown

2012 – This Is It

Friday 13th Nov 2009 – Happy Bday Euphemia LEUNG

On this wet cloudy Friday morning, SIN welcomes and wishes all the Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ministers & Distinguish Guests a safe and productive Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation/APEC Leaders’ meeting. Security will be tight and traffic bumper to bumper this weekend- best to stay home.

How infuriating, no English sub-titles for Alle Anderen/Everyone Else, the first day of the German Film Festival and my knowledge of the German language is good for nichts 🙁 Cathay Cineplex compensated us with 2 passes. The senior citizen discount S$4 for Mon-Fri before 1800hrs is a better deal. Those passes will be used after 1800hrs or weekends. So it is fated that I do not get to watch Everyone Else!


2012*** How much did these destructive effects cost? Fascination in the Maya and Inca civilizations for me dates back to the early 1960s. Drove around parts of the Mayan trail/Mexico in the 1980s to see and touch the sites. The ancient Mayan calendar calculated that the 21st Dec 2012AD ( in the Long Count), represents an extremely close conjunction of the Winter Solstice Sun with the crossing point of the Galactic Equator (Equator of the Milky Way) and the Ecliptic (path of the Sun), what they recognized as the Sacred Tree. This is an event that has been coming to resonance very slowly over many thousands of years. It will come to resolution at exactly 11.11hrs GMT.

Norway has already built enough facility for their entire population to go under ground. Maybe that is the time to move back to Norway! Sweden is working with North Atlantic Treaty Organization/NATO and has created an underground seed bank. If planet earth started with a big bang, will it also end with a big bang? Hope that I will not live to see that!

The Mayan calendar does not end in 2012 at all, that it is like the odometer on your car, as each section of the odometer reaches 9 and then clicks over to 0, the next number to it starts a new cycle, so that when all the numbers again reach 0 all the way across the odometer the last number will change from 1 to 2 and the new cycle starts all over again – Astronomer Philip Plait


This Is It*** Anyone who can sing and move like MJ is certainly talented even when I am no fan of his and do not really like most of his music. No story-line but with good messages of spreading love and taking care of the environment. The effects were so-so but worth watching this great talent for the few pieces of music I enjoyed, I’ll Be There & I Can’t Stop Loving You.

This was it for MJ in 2009, but will 2012 be it for Planet Earth?

Eggs & Sperms

11 Nov 2009 – Kome


Appreciation to Les & Ivy for introducing Kome Japanese Fine Dinning**** at the Kepple Club last Sun. Compliments to chef Lawrence. Was actually not hungry due to a late tea that day. Accompanied with champagne and a white wine, the miso soup and salad were delicious. The fish sperms were out of this world, tasty and smooth; the salmon roe/eggs were juicy bites. Reminded me of when I was at the mountains in Norway when we just ate the trouts’ roe right after we fish them from the lake.


Sebastian CHOW and I celebrated his bday with tea earlier that Sun. Met Seb 10 years ago when I first returned to SIN and he was in his late 20s. It is amazing that 10 years have gone so quickly by and watching how people have developed over a decade is another learning experience. Seb used to like his drinks but has now given that up and the amount of money he saves… $$$$ per annum. Unfortunately he still smokes. If only he could give up smoking instead and just drink less! At present into photography…  two of my favourites from his albums.

Football is a fertility festival. Eleven sperm trying to get into the egg. I feel sorry for the goalkeeper – Bjork



10 Nov 2009 – Movie Buff’s Ratings!

The German Film Festival starts tomorrow and I have tickets for 4 shows. Here are my personal ratings for below:

Coraline (animated 3D)** A young girl explores her new home and stumbles upon a mysterious secret door that seems to lead to an adventure which turns dangerous. Interesting 3D effects but for me, a headache at the end of the movie. The previews for A Christmas Carol (3D) seems good, but do not know if I can cope with another headache!

My Sisters Keeper** Tear jerker! Anna was brought into the world to be a genetic match for her older sister, Kate, who suffers from leukemia. When Kate goes into renal failure at age 13. Knowing that she will have to donate one of her kidneys to her sister, Anna sues her parents for medical emancipation and the rights to her own body.

The Song of Sparrows**** Iranian movie about Karim, a man who works at an ostrich farm outside of Tehran. He leads a simple and contented life with his family, until one day when one of the ostriches runs away. Karim is fired for the loss. He travels to the city to repair his elder daughter’s hearing aid but finds himself mistaken for a motorcycle taxi driver. His generous and honest nature changed with this new profession.

Love Happens** Widower Burke, whose book about grieving turns him into a phenomenon. Reinvented as a charismatic self-help guru, he falls for Eloise at a seminar and is forced to confront the fact that he hasn’t come to grips with his own loss.

Capitalism*** This documentary explores the root causes of global economic meltdown. Michael Moore described the corporate and political shenanigans as ‘the biggest robbery in the history of this country’ – the massive transfer of US taxpayer money to private financial institutions.

The Adjuster* (SFSociety): Noah is a sensitive insurance adjuster who takes care of the psychological and physical needs of his clients. Hera, Noah’s wife, is a film censor who secretly records the pornographic films that she rates in order to show them to her older sister. Got rather lost among the dysfunctional people!

Have a Smiley Weekend :-)


Here is one for Sat 🙂

A man moves into a nudist colony. He receives a letter from his grandmother asking him to send her a current photo of himself in his new location. Too embarrassed to let her know that he lives in a nudist colony, he cuts a photo in half and mails it.

The next day he discovers that he had accidentally sent the bottom half of the photo. He’s really worried but then remembers how bad his grandmother’s eyesight is, and hopes she won’t notice.

A few weeks later, he receives a letter from his Grandmother. It says: ‘Thank you for the picture. Change your hairstyle… it makes your nose look too short.’ Love, Grandma

And another for Sun 🙂 🙂

In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom. One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said, ‘Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students, Plato…?’

‘Wait a moment,’ Socrates replied. ‘Before you tell me, I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Test of Three.’

‘Test of Three?’ ‘That’s correct,’ Socrates continued.

‘Before you talk to me about my student let’s take a moment to test what you’re going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?’

‘No,; the man replied, ‘actually I just heard about it.’

‘All right,’ said Socrates. ‘So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?’

‘No, on the contrary…

‘So,’ Socrates continued, ‘you want to tell me something bad about him even though you’re not certain it’s true?’

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed. Socrates continued, ‘You may still pass though because there is a third test – the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?’

‘No, not really…’

‘Well,’ concluded Socrates, ‘if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?’

The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more. This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

It also explains why Socrates never found out that Plato was sleeping with his wife! 🙂 🙂 🙂