Another Earthquake

28 Feb 2010 – Last day of Feb

Feb has been quite a month ending with a 8.8 magnitude quake in Chile… where and when will the next tremor hit? Was listening to the internet BBC & CNN news and it was said that earthquakes do not kill people. Buildings etc which collapsed are what kill people. If you were in the middle of an open field, the chances of you surviving a quake is pretty good. Called cousins in Hawaii and good to know that the tsunami warnings were quite unnecessary but always better safe than sorry. For SIN, it has been the driest ever recorded with only 5.3mm rain recorded compared to 18.7mm last year. Staying in my quiet AC environment is the only place for me at present… not looking forward to receive my next electrical bill!

Busy busy busy weekend. First, an entertaining movie The Greatest Wedding On Earth/南北一家亲*** (black & white from the 1950s free screening by SIN Film Society) with AmyR at China Square. Yesterday, lunched with my blogger friends (Lucy, Ting & CH) followed with the best Lo Hei/撈起 by Ivy’s cousin. Thanks to Jessie & Frank for the 28 different ingredients Yúshēng/鱼生 dish. Abundance of fish, ikan parang/wolf herring which is what should be the correct ingredient and NOT any other fish. The Chinese calligraphy is for por-por’s 90th bday and the last sentence is so suitable to end the CNY celebrations for the LAM Heritage: LAM descendents good good good… a literal translation.

Met up with cousin CHEN WengKei & his wife today. We met for the first time over 2 years ago in Auckland/NZ and they are now visiting relatives in Borneo, Malaysia & Singapore. WK is from paternal grandmother’s branch CHAN/CHEN and he immigrated to Christchurch/NZ over 40 years ago. Do not have the capacity to cover that branch, just documenting that grandmother, CHAN Swee Ngor is one of 8 siblings. WK’s paternal grandfather was one of her siblings and he has info and has documented that  branch. Since it was the only day we could meet, Orchard Rd was the best place for them. Most who know me also know that I avoid going anywhere on the weekends but of course there are exceptions and this is one of them. Lucky Plaza on Sun is Philippine town! Tonight Chinatown will be having fireworks to mark the last day of CNY celebrations, the 15th day of the Tiger year. The thought of being there with the crowd and heat gives me a headache. Will decline the invitation and return to my quiet AC studio apartment…

Civilization exists by geological concept, subject to change with notice – Will Durant

Orcinus Orca

26 Feb 2010 – Keiko

Captivity and cruelty to the defenseless innocence and animals upset me to the degree that is not healthy for me. The habitat of wild animals should be out in the nature and not in captivity to be ogled at or to perform tricks for humans. The movie Free Willy**** (1993) brought me to tears; like the first and only time I watched a bullfight in Spain (1966) with my father, not realizing then what it involved! He was embarrassed about my emotional outburst and I received a lecture and a scolding later that evening. He even complained to my older siblings who also gave me another reprimand.

The six-tonne orca, Keiko from the movie died in a Norwegian bay (2003) age 26years where he had been living out his days since his release from captivity. 30-50years is the normal life span of orcas in the wild. In real life, Keiko was a captive whale in Mexico sparking animal rights campaigners to raise funds to release him. He was eventually brought to Iceland, thought to be the orca’s birthplace, for rehabilitation and training for living in the wild. When released in 2002, Keiko headed for Norway’s west coast. Although he was moved to a more remote spot, it appeared he liked the attention of humans and no wonder, especially when he was captured and tamed since a baby!

Yesterday’s headlines… Whale kills trainer really irks me. Should it not be the other way round? Trainer provokes whale to self-defense. In the case of killer whale where killer is not even the appropriate word for these mammals who belong out in the ocean, have their own level of intelligence and are able to communicate among themselves. These whales, the orca (Orcinus orca), is the largest member of the oceanic dolphin family.

Please enjoy and see these magnificent wild creatures or any wild animals as they are, ie in their habitats, and the only time to lift your fingers is on to your camera. Have a good weekend.

Power is no blessing in itself, except when it is used to protect the innocent – Jonathan Swift

Another Curry Murder

25 Feb 2010 –  Murderers & Soul!

LONDON- 12 Feb 2010: A woman whose secret lover of 16 years was preparing to marry a younger woman on Valentine’s Day last year poisoned his curry.

Mr Lakhvinder ‘Lucky’ Cheema, 39, died hours after eating the chicken curry which contained one of the world’s deadliest poisons, aconite. His fiancee, Ms Gurjeet Choongh, 21, became violently ill but survived as she had eaten less.

Lakhvir Singh, a 45-year-old mother of three, faces a life sentence after a British jury found her guilty on Wednesday of Mr Cheema’s murder and of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to his fiancee.

The court heard that Mr Cheema became engaged to Ms Choongh in November 2008, after his family began to suspect his taboo affair. He then decided to get married and settle down.

Singh left for India at that time but returned a month later, having made up her mind to poison him.

In the weeks leading up to the murder, she sent text messages to Mr Cheema in which she veered between despair – ‘there is no cure for lovesick persons’ – and self-pity – ‘sometimes I feel you have forgotten me, but my heart says that you cannot forget me’, the BBC said.

Chanced upon the above article when I was surfing to see when will be the next CNY day falling on the same day as Valentine’s Day. The other curry murder story happened in SIN in 1984. (posting 13 Aug 2009/The Curry Murder). Moral of these two murders… do not eat curry!

Came upon another interesting well-written blog, It’s a Frae World- where a young writer asked the question ‘Have we Lost our Soul?’ A good question but the answer is blowing in the wind. And here is an answer from an unemotional cynical elderly blogger who was at a wake last night! So many sole on the ground, but no soul to be found anywhere.

You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body – CS Lewis

Happy Hump Day

24 Feb 2010 – Not what you think!

An American idiom for Wednesday is hump day, a reference to making it through to the middle of the work week, especially after this CNY celebrations, it is really getting over the hump!!

Sun- met with AmyR at the ACM. Somehow one can never get enough of these treasures from the Mughal empire. We have decided to meet monthly to discover more treasures. Mon- great to see cousin ChengEn who will be heading back to Shanghai. Tue- at the Tanglin Club with old family friends from another life time ago! Richard LEE emigrated to Sydney/Australia in 1966 and I left before him. Met Richard and his wife Judy at HongSze’s daughter’s wedding a year ago (23 Feb 2009/Weekend). But did not get the chance to chat. Appreciations to HongSze, we had such a blast reminiscing about our early adolescence. Gossips are now up to date! Safe journeys to all who will be heading back to their homes after the CNY celebrations.

Have stopped buying books for a long time and usually borrow from the library. MPH bookstore at Raffles City was having a 90% renovation sale, the selection was very limited but could not resist these two. The Return of the Prophet (2008) by Hajjar Gibran, a descendant of Kahid Gibran who wrote The Prophet (1923), one of my favourites. Curious to see if Hajjar writes as well as Kahid. The Devil in Me (2005) by David Kraal, a local writer ex journalist who I have enjoyed reading. Here is a collection from 1997-2002 in the local newspaper The Straits Times where he revisits the SIN I remember so well.

Up the Yangtze*** screened by SIN Film Society, this dramatic documentary film features a luxury cruise boat motors up the Yangtze navigating the mythic waterway which is about to be transformed by the biggest hydroelectric dam in history. The Three Gorges Dam contested symbol of the Chinese economic miracle  provides the epic backdrop for this award-winning film about a family displaced by radical environmental and economic change.

A Serious Man** is a black comedy which tells the story of an ordinary man who is exploring questions of faith, familial responsibility, delinquent behavior, dental phenomena, academia, mortality and Judaism. Struggling for equilibrium, Larry seeks advice from three different rabbis to find balance and understanding of the world. Can anyone help him cope with his afflictions and become a righteous person?

Some CNY random shots instead of a quote!

Modern Day Daughter-in-law

22 Feb 2010 – From a friend in Goa

Enjoy and have a modern week ahead 🙂

It is a myth that when a son gets married and a new daughter-in-law arrives in the family, everything changes.

Some daughters-in-law are well-trained and well mannered. They don’t come to change the family, they are here to…

The new wife (progressive Indian woman of today), was being welcomed at the husband’s home in a traditional manner. As expected she gave a speech;

‘My dear family, I thank you for welcoming me in my new home and family, firstly, my being here does not mean that I would want to change your way of  life, your routine. ‘No,I will never do that, never in a million years.’

‘What do you mean my child?’ asked the father-in-law.

‘What I mean dad is (looking at her in-laws);

Those who used to wash the dishes must carry on washing them.
Those who used to do the laundry must carry on doing  it.

Those who cooked should not stop at my account,  AND

Those who used to clean should continue cleaning !!!

‘And what are you here for?’ enquired the mother-in-law.

‘As for me…


Marriages and relationships might work out better if that is the case… just a thought!

A Week of Celebrations

20 Feb 2010 – Happy Bdays to Jay WONG & Henry LIM

How to die(t) with a whole week of celebrations!  This is the first time I saw a lion dance leaving four numbers with the mandarin oranges at the tyre shop across the road from my place, amazing! Lunches and dinners with family & friends who are visiting locally and overseas. Yesterday’s lunch was at Banana Leaf in Little India with cousin Wilki & his wife Patty from Hawaii/USA. A little green bird told me that it will be a good year ahead for health, wealth and romance… 🙂 🙂 🙂

Last night’s 90th Bday dinner celebrations for Madam WONG Swee Ming (Ivy’s mom- this is the first time I have seen her name, otherwise known as por-por to me) was at Tung Lock Restaurant****/Orchard Parade Hotel with her family from Canberra/Australia, NYC/USA and KL/Malaysia. The flaming suckling pig is one of my favourite dishes, but first time I have seen it on top of a real fire. With 5 piglets, just as well the smoke alarm did not go off but smoke got into Les’s eyes, especially when he saw Ivy! And test-tubes juices to wash down the meal is another new experience. Just messaged Ivy to remind her to take pictures of her whole immediate family before they all fly off in different directions this weekend. Thank you again to Les & Ivy for getting the family together. Even without the complete family and with a couple of good family friends, we were over 50 people at the restaurant.

There were many new experiences the past few days. Hopefully the week ahead will bring more exciting experiences but less eating. Still have to catch up with cousin ChengEn before he heads back to Shanghai and to pay respects to my parents at the crematorium.

To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living – Henri Frederic Amiel

Common Sense & Self-Censorship

17 Feb 2010 – Dignity

The following blogs are read regularly by me as I enjoy these well written and informative blogs.

Met blurting at one of my AT Talks and we became friends. Singaporegirl is an ex-journalist and a friend of a friend who help to set up my blog and now a friend of mine too. Both are writers from SIN. Evolvingexp bought my book and is an Australian writer who used to lived near the AT in the USA but has recently moved back to Australia to be with his aging mother. Blurting mentioned that I am not emotional in my blog and she is right about it.

Experiences over the decades have taught me that being emotional can result to unintentional actions or words which might hurt others. The purpose of my blog is to update happenings in my life and for acknowledgements to family & friends, not the place & time to be emotional. Therefore the need to excise common-sense and self-censorship is my priority. One of my post, Aug Special Dates/1 Aug 2009 where I commented about 2 movies,  A Frozen Flower & Lust Caution has been most active. Probable reasons- the word lust is mentioned, an example how misleading certain words are!

Yesterday a conversation with my god-sister, Pat LIM (a writer) about the teething problems with having to adapt in a new country and culture were discussed. I voiced my sentiments about even returning to one’s roots can have similar problems with adapting when one has been away for extended period of time. She commented that she did not think that I needed to adapt as I always did what I wanted to do and she also has a point there. I do what I want to do as long as there are no intended premeditation to hurt or harm anyone. Hopefully some of us do take certain consideration to our family & friends as we do not live on a deserted island. Living a life to only take consideration of others has never been or ever will be my choice. Some people thrive on being needed or of service to others and that is admirable.

Thoughts about the movie The Painted Veil**** where a nun was talking about how she fell in love with her religion in her younger years. She explained how her duty to her faith was not an easy journey but in her later years, she learnt that dignity is with you when duty & love becomes one. How many of us are so blessed and fortunate to have that dignity? How often do our actions and words reflect on our commitments, duties and obligations but how often do these commitments, duties and obligations truly come from the heart? Hmmm… profound & provoking thoughts for the Tiger Year 🙂

Your hearts know in silence the secrets of days & nights – Kahlil Gibran

Gone Are The Days…

15 Feb 2010 – Happy Bday Guri, god-daughter in Norway

Gone are the days when we used to run around the foothills of Mt Faber throwing fire-crackers, playing 5cents black-jack with cousins & uncles (somehow the uncles never fail to lose to us kids!), home-made CNY goodies which the grand-mothers have prepared weeks in advance and the innocent excitement of receiving red-packages made from red coloured-paper filled just with coins. Many pairs of red-hands due to the red-dye on the paper… is that where the expression caught red-handed originated from? Such colourful & wonderful memories to have. Those were the days my friend, we thought they’ll never end…

In the delightful company of family & friends with fantastic food and fine wines for the first CNY day. With Kat & Greg back from NYC, Yasmine & Andrew back from London/UK, Bern & Kiat visiting from Melbourne/Australia, we have more or less the world visiting! Thanks to Kat, we managed to gather the family for a Kodak moment (24 in the photo, 63 is the total count for LAM Tin Yue‘s branch at present). In this picture, the only complete family present is Steven & family (10). Will there be an opportunity to have a family photo of us all together? Probably not, but good enough if all my siblings are able provide me a shot of their complete family for the future LAM Heritage book. Appreciation to Les & Ivy for hosting all the family functions. Looking forward to por-por’s (Ivy’s mom) 90th Bday dinner on Fri.


13 Feb 2010 – Chinese New Year/CNY happenings

Yusheng , yuisang or yuusahng/鱼生 is a raw fish dish usually consisting of strips of raw fish, mixed with shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments, among other ingredients. Yusheng literally means raw fish but since fish/鱼 is commonly conflated with its homophone abundance/余, Yúshēng/鱼生, interpreted as a homophone for Yúshēng/余升 meaning an increase in abundance. Thus yuisang, considered a symbol of abundance, prosperity and vigor; this delicious dish of Lo Hei/撈起 is a MUST for SIN CNY. The salad is mixed by tossing all the ingredients as high as possible, without spilling too much (a large plate is recommended) and at the same time words of good health, luck etc are voiced clear and loud.

Being without my immediate family in SIN, invitations from my siblings’ reunion dinners were extended to me. This year it was a coincident that they were on different days. Started on Wed at Jo & family as PatLynn & family had to drive to Klang/Malaysia to David‘s mom for their reunion dinner there. Last night Fri was at Steven & family and got news and grand-nephew Stanley will be swimming at the SIN Sports School’s competitions next month. Looking forward to cheering him on. Tonight, Sat at Les & family- Kat & Greg are back from NYC for the CNY celebrations. She told me that the last time she was in this part of the world for the CNY was 12 years ago.  For Greg, it will be a new experience. Thank you all for including me and as always my appreciation to my whole family.

Valentine’s Day*** Big names acting as intertwining couples and singles in Los Angeles break-up and make-up based on the pressures and expectations of Valentine’s Day. Perhaps the movie has something in common with the holiday’s ever-present candy hearts that entertain with silly messages. They’re cute to have around and will give you a quick sugar rush, but in the end, they’re just empty calories, unlike the reunion dinners 🙂

The origins of Valentine’s Day- see 14 Feb 2009/Happy Heart’s Day. 2010 first day of CNY and Valentine’s Day fall on the same day, tomorrow 14 Feb. This happened in 1953 and the next time around will be 2048. So twice in my lifetime is good enough! 2010, the Gregorian calendar so far has been the best, Jan with family & friends in the USA, friend from HKG and more new learning experiences. 2010 Lunar calendar, year of the Tiger can now roar its way into my heart who is wishing each and every one of you-

A Happy Valentine’s Day and  A Healthy & Prosperous Year of the Tiger


12 Feb 2010 – Treasury of the World

Last night’s opening at ACM with Guest-of-Honour HE President SR Nathan featured more than 400 dazzling  jewelled works of art from Mughal empire/India (1526-1858), one of the wealthiest and most powerful dynasties the world ever known where the rulers were renowned for their lavish lifestyle, love of beauty and collection of precious objects.

Was bedazzled and speechless to see such exquisite jewelled works of art from the al-Sabah Collection/Kuwait in the company of nephew Clement and Kenson. Anyone who enjoys jewelry and other ornaments of emerald, diamond, gold, jade, pearl, ruby, sapphire, silver and turquoise should not miss this. The thought that the tiniest speck of anything in these show-cases could feed a family (somewhere in the world) for the rest of their lives kept going through my mind. My idiot-proof camera is not the same as seeing with your own eyes but some pictures are better than none!

The gratification of wealth is not found in mere possession or in lavish expenditure, but in its wise application – Miguel de Cervantes