SIN City to Sex & the City

29 May 2010 – Off Again and hopefully it will be safe!

SIN is the airport code for Singapore not be be confused with SEX, airport code for Sembach in Germany! Had to watch the 2nd Sex and the City even when it meant that I had to pay for a full-price ticket, S$10 as yesterday was Vesak Day/Buddha’s Bday and a public holiday (normal days S$4 for seniors). Otherwise do not know when I will get the chance to sit down for another movie. Heading to Thailand bright & early tomorrow for 2 weeks.

Sex and the City 2*** fashion, friendship & fun whisks the women away from NYC to one of the most luxurious and exotic places on earth, Abu Dhabi. It’s an escape that comes exactly at the right moment for the four friends, who are finding themselves in – and fighting against – the traditional roles of marriage, motherhood and more. After all, sometimes you just have to get away with the girls. And here they also get to know themselves a little more and perhaps to understand a different culture regarding fashion and sex! No surprises but still entertaining and an enjoyable chick flick.

Roman Polanski: Wanted & Desired****a documentary about what happened to this famous director when he was charged of having sex with a 13yrs old girl (both parties went into it mutually, thus not a case of rape). Interesting for me to actually feel for this Polish person who has gone thru’ life with so many issues. The girl at that time was 13, she certainly did not behave or looked 13 as shown here. And I also question how it is that a mother would permit her 13yrs to be alone with someone who supposedly had a not-so favourable reputation with young girls? Was this really a case of abuse or a case of kiss & tell when things didn’t work out in her favour ie she did not get into Vogue Magazine or any parts in his films???

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it – Buddha

May Movies

27 May 2010 – Happy 21st Bday to grand-nephew LAM Sui Chang

The Ghost Writer***based on the Robert Harris novel. A ghostwriter hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister Adam Lang. As the ghostwriter works, he finds clues suggesting his predecessor may have stumbled on a dark secret linking Lang to the CIA—and that somehow this information is hidden in the manuscript he left behind. While trying to uncover the information, he puts his own life in jeopardy. There is adultery, mystery and politics to keep the suspense in the movie!

Snow-Prince***Japanese movie about Sota with his grandfather and Chibi, his pet dog in a small snowy village. Sota cannot even afford to go to school, but however hard the situation is, he never holds a bad feeling against anyone around and keeps his dream alive to become a painter. He has been friends with Sayo, a wealthy girl and in spite of the difficulties he faces, Sota manages to complete a painting which he gave to Sayo on a snowy fateful night. Another tear-jerker… bring enough tissues!

Mother & Child****three women’s lives share a common core: they have all been profoundly affected by adoption. Karen had a baby at 14, gave her up at birth, and has been haunted ever since by the daughter she never knew. Elizabeth grew up as an adopted child; she’s a bright and ambitious lawyer, but a flinty loner in her personal life. Lucy is just embarking with her husband on the adoption odyssey, looking for a baby to become their own. Great acting and thought-provoking.

Ice Kacang Puppy Love/初恋红豆冰***kacang=red beans, ice kacang is shaved ice with red beans. This is a straightforward and conventional flick mainly in Mandarin but mixed with local lingo. An enjoyable and entertaining story that mixes a little bit of drama and comedy, the movie is set in the early 90s in a small town in Malaysia about love-at-first-sight and puppy love stories from an early childhood. You couldn’t help but to play along with the cast on a swirling emotional journey of a the young man. It is a funny yet touching tale of friendship, romance, family ties and life in this little village.

Views of SIN

24 May 2010 –  From the Beginning to the Top!

Sun: VivoCity/怡丰城 opened in 2006 is the largest shopping mall in SIN/posting 28 Dec 2009. This area never fails to trigger childhood memories as this is the area I was born in and spent the first 15yrs of my life here/picture of Vivo under construction 2005, all the green background was my childhood playgrounds! Todays Resort World and Universal Studios are opened and I have still to really venture into those territories, again fear of the crowd and heat! The only reason I would go there is to see Dale Chihully’s glass sculptures. The two students went wild with their shopping while we, the older generation! found somewhere for a quiet drink to solve the future generation problems 🙂

Bugis again for the young people and being decadent, we chilled at the Intercontinental Hotel. Talk about fate, the young waitress who served us is from the Philippines is studying Hotel & Catering Management and doing her 6 months internship here. LaiLane ( HCC student with Philippines origins) and her chat to discover that they are related and even has the same last name! They got connected and exchanged contacts.

How many times do I have to convince and persuade my relatives that the SIN Flyer/posting 24 Nov 2008 & 20 Feb 2009 is well-worth a round, even at the cost of S$29.90 for half an hour ride to have one of the best SIN views? Especially when it is ranking the highest flyer in the world and that will not last for long, but still a better deal than betting in the two new casinos! Cousin insisted that if I do not go into the capsule with his group he will not be in it. For me, a SIN senior citizen S$23.60 is better than no deal!! This is my 3rd round but it still gives me a thrill to see how fast, not the ride but the skyline have changed since the last round. A French student commented that he was here 3yrs ago doing a semester at the U and these changes are too impressive for words. Somehow all these changes remind me of this quote:

Do not confuse motion and progress, a rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress – Alfred Montapert


Cousin & HCC

23 May 2010 – Happy Bday to niece Yasmine

Cousin David WONG, his Japanese friend Akira and two young female students, Jennifer & LaiLane from Honolulu Community College arrived Fri night, the smallest group for his last tour as he approaches his 70th bday. He claims that he will retire after this trip but will believe that when it really happens! They had one night lay-over in Taipei/Taiwan to ease the jet-lag. It is always a pleasure to show SIN off, especially to first time visitors. Am I just getting older or do the students seem younger nowadays?? 🙂 David who lectures at the HCC has been taking groups of students to visit different parts of SE Asia and China as far as I can remember. Was fortunate to be included in his 2004 trip which was an educational experience and fun to be with some of the students. Huang, Kim and Lisa are still in contact with me and whenever I am in Hawaii, we meet up and have a great time.

Met this small new group early yesterday by the SIN River, walked to the Fullerton Hotel, Merlion Park, Esplanade, City Link and Bugis. Thank goodness for the grey sky and the light rain. Left them to do their shopping after lunching@Bianco Court Prawn Mee**** on Beach Rd. The Sat shopping crowds would have caused my life or someone else’s life if I had to go along!! Dinner@No Signboard Seafood Restaurant**** in Geylang, the red light district. The restaurant that proudly proclaimed the ‘No Signboard Seafood’ brand story that when they started out at Mattar Rd, they were so poor then that they could not afford a signboard. As the popularity increased, people would come around looking for the ‘no signboard restaurant’. After a while, the name stuck.

I would gladly do it but I am suffering from social phobia. I cannot manage being in a crowd of people – Elfriede Jelinek

Follow up: Taxi Driver from SIN

21 May 2010 – Correspondence with the Land Transport Authority

Subject: Complaint against SHB 8952U
Date: Fri, 21 May 2010 10:25:40 +0800

Dear Ms Lam,

We refer to your feedback regarding an incident involving the driver of SHB 8952U that took place on 19 April 2010.

We have concluded investigation into the matter. After careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, a written warning was issued to the driver of taxi SHB 8952U for the offences of ‘Failing to behave in a civil and orderly manner’ and ‘Failing to ensure safety of passenger’. He has been cautioned that stern actions would be taken against him should he fail to comply with the rules and regulations in future.

We regret the unpleasant experience caused, and thank you for taking the time and effort to inform us of the incident.

Yours sincerely,

The LTA asked if I wanted him suspended. Told them that I am NOT the one who is in the position to break anyone’s rice bowl but the driver needed to know that he cannot go on behaving this way and get away with it.
Subject: Complaint against driver of taxi SHB 8952U

Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2010 10:34:43 +0800

Dear Ms Lam,

We refer to your feedback of 19 April 2010.

To enable us to investigate complaints thoroughly and fairly, we would need to hear from both the complainant and the driver concerned, and obtain statement from both parties. In addition, we also require your undertaking to testify in court. This is because court action will follow if the driver disputes the offence and does not compound the summons issued by LTA.

In this regard, we would like to interview and record statement from you. We would appreciate it if you could call at the Land Transport Authority, Bus & Vocational Licensing Division, Level 3, 10 Sin Ming Drive, Singapore 575701 on together with your witness(es) and fare receipt, if any.

If you are unable to come on the appointed date and time, please contact me at telephone no. 6553 5851 for an alternative arrangement. If we do not hear from you by 4 May 2010, we will take the necessary departmental action on the matter.

Thank you for bringing the matter to our attention.

Yours sincerely,

The Last Song***

20 May 2010 – Safe journeys Paul

Paul flew back to London yesterday. Let’s hope that the skies will be cleared so that he can land safely and in time back to his wife and his sweet two and a half years daughter. We finally managed to catch up with 7 years of news over a few dinners and lunch. Plans to stop by in London this Sep to meet with Lillian & Annabelle.

Mon: 17th May Norway’s Constitution and National Day with fond memories of the children’s parades, hot-dogs, ice-cream and sodas. Celebrated ten 17th Mays in Norway and enjoyed all of them/posting 17th May 2009. Here in SIN, it was an ordinary working day, unless working in a Norwegian company! Was at Ikea later to pick up some Norwegian salmon and mustard sauce to get in the mood, but somehow just could not feel it. Instead went to check out on nephew Clement‘s HDB which he just bought. Good location and more than enough space for a single guy.

The Last Song*** chick flick and a real tear jerker, have your tissues ready if you are planning to watch it! Beautiful scenes from Tybee Island in Georgia/USA and the first movie shot there. A cute comment between a young son and his father… son: Mom says its because she has PMS. Father: Do you even know what PMS is? Son: Of course I do dad, I’m not a little kid anymore. It’s the Pissed At Men!

Yesterday at the National Dental Care to get the gums removed around a molar which is chipped and to be crowned… ouch, both physically and financially 🙁 but better than losing a tooth and cheaper than an implant. And it has taken much energy away for the day. Today still on the tired side. Somehow age seems to wear and tear down every part of the body and it is not going to be easy but hope that the healthy living will at least slow down the process and with less pain. Eventually we all have to go, but please let me go with grace and dignity!

You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing – Michael Pritchard

Butterfly of the Moment!

16 May 2010 – What is this about?

Fri: strange incident with a green butterfly on my door step. Living on the 7th floor in a concrete HDB jungle, butterflies are a very rare sighting. This is the first time since I moved here 10yrs ago. The butterfly seemed weak, still alive but could not fly. Thinking maybe the rains have weighted down the wings, I carefully placed it on a dry spot and left for work.

It was still alive when I got home after work, so took some leaves and water and placed it there. Later in the evening, it was still moving but just about. Took it indoors and the next morning it was lying down flat. Why would it use its final energy flying up to the 7th floor? What is all this about? Decided to keep it in memory of Kelly Xuan.

Sat: Singapore Chinese Opera Museum/新加坡华族戏曲博物馆 opening and is located in the rustic tourist spot in SIN Kampong Glam. The exhibits in the museum revolve around the development of Chinese operas in SIN since the time Southern Chinese set foot on this island. The exhibits span over a hundred years. Chinese operas include the Cantonese, Teochew, Qiong, Hokkien (Xiang Opera, Li Yuan Opera and Gezai Opera), Yue opera. It is a tiny location and we had to wait outside for the VIPs. Decided not to wait for the official opening as I was feeling faint in the heat. Bian’s Cafe*** serving western and asian cuisine. Their steam and fried dumplings were so so and the beef slices were quite tasty. The cafe is located at the museum and it was good service with a smile.

Paul KRAUSE arrived from London yesterday evening. The last time we met was 7 years ago. Welcome back to SIN. Food Opera@Ion Orchard and a drink@Hyatt Hotel (both over-price places) before sending him back to his regular hotel/Royal Plaza on Scotts Rd where the Ikebana are having their display of their flora arrangements. Looking forward to catching up more over his couple of days stay but he needs to rest after over 13hrs flight on top of the jet-lag!

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop – Vita Sackville-West

Lily of the Valley

12 May 2010 – And The SIN Shawl

It is quite a humbling experience to be standing 6hrs at The CentrePoint Robinsons with memories of odd summer jobs during university days popping into the mind when not busy. The first one being an au pair in Dublin/Ireland in 1966, a true eye-opener and learning experience never to be forgotten!

The most enjoyable summer job was in Tromsø/Norway at a toy & flower shop and the only summer job I did for two summers and one week during a Christmas holiday. In my teens/early 20s then, ignorant, immature, naive, etc this incident stuck in the mind. A very pregnant young woman came to order her wedding bouquet in Dec and she chose Lily of the Valley for the whole bouquet. Tromsø where I lived for 5 yrs is located above the Arctic Circle and Lily of the Valley is a delicate, beautiful fragrance white tiny flowers which grows wild in spring time but are cultivated for gardens too. All parts, including the berries, of the lily of the valley are highly poisonous… a typical case where looks and fragrance can be most deceiving!  Anyway I explained that we will have to fly them in from where ever I could find them and it would be quite costly. To my surprise she looked at her stomach and replied, han skal betale for det=he shall pay for it!!!

The most exquisite and expensive SIN Shawls have both Swarovski crystal and jade embedded onto the beautiful material. So here I am thinking if such an incident will ever happened in SIN, ie with some pregnant person buying this shawl to wear for her wedding dinner… even if it happens, she will want the real diamonds embedded, not just crystal 🙂

And leaves of that shy plant,
Her flowers were shed_ the lily of the vale.
That loves the ground, and from the sun withholds
Her pensive beauty, from the breeze her sweets – William Wordsworth

Happy Mother’s Day 2010

9 May 2010 – Supplements

Looks like weeds but taste so sweet, the only natural sweetener is the species Stevia rebaudiana, commonly known as sweet-leaf is widely grown for its sweet leaves. Have been using this dried leaf over the years but to only recently discover that it s not common knowledge. So here is to share with whoever is interested. More recent medical research has shown promise in treating obesity and hypertension. Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, even enhancing glucose tolerance therefore, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to diabetics and others on carbohydrate-controlled diets.

The availability of stevia varies from country to country. In a few countries, it has been available as a sweetener for decades or centuries; for example, stevia is widely used as a sweetener in Japan where it has been available for decades. In other countries, health concerns and political controversies have limited its availability; for example, the USA banned stevia in the early 1990s unless labeled as a supplement, but in 2008 approved rebaudioside-A extract as a food additive. Over the years, the number of countries in which stevia is available as a sweetener has been increasing.

Besides the tablet form supplements, the other natural daily supplements for me are:  a tiny square of 99% dark chocolate and is bitter when not used to the taste. Somehow when you get used to that taste, all chocolate are too sweet. One teaspoon of black sesame paste, and I love it but too expensive for me to take more than one teaspoon daily. One tablespoon of blueberries and one of strawberries. Just want to be healthy to live life fully. So please do not wish me a long life, unless both my physical and metal state are as they are and not on the decline!

These supplements do help, especially when I have to be on my feet 6/7hrs daily at Orchard Rd/CentrePoint’s Robinsons for a week at Shelly’s SIN Shawl. With one salesperson down, the Mothers Day weekend and the SIN Great Sale/SGS next week, was asked to help out. Interesting to see for this time round if the so-called supervisors/posting 7 Apr 2009 will be telling me that I am not supposed to chat with the other staff even when there are no customers on the whole floor or that I am not allowed to take pictures of my own counter!

From one mother to all mothers, Happy Mother’s Day, not just for today but for everyday 🙂

Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever – Author Unknown

Cinco De Mayo

5 May 2010 – Biko/Mexico City is 46 on World’s 50…

Cinco de Mayo=fifth of May is a holiday celebrated in the USA and primarily limited to the state of Puebla Mexico. The holiday commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on 1862. Cinco de Mayo is not an obligatory federal holiday in Mexico, but rather a holiday that can be observed voluntarily. It is not Mexico’s Independence Day which actually is 16Sep, the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico.  While Cinco de Mayo has limited significance nationwide in Mexico, the date is observed voluntarily in the USA and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Happy Cinco de Mayo to my Mexican friends in Mexico and around the world, especially to the Korkowski family!

For chocolate lovers- the word chocolate originates in Mexico’s Aztec cuisine, derived from the Nahuatl word xocolatl=bitter water. Chocolate was first drunk rather than eaten. It comes from the fermented, roasted, and ground beans of the cacao or cocoa  tree.

CNN: World’s 50 best restaurants. Danish cuisine reigns supreme, according to the some of the planet’s most prominent eaters.

S. Pellegrino’s annual ‘World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ list was released on Monday at a celebrity-chef-studded event in London, England, marking the ninth edition of the much buzzed-about (and hotly debated) catalogue of the international culinary landscape.

No. 1 spot goes to Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark. The restaurant, helmed by chef René Redzepi, ranked No. 3 in 2009. The Guardian newspaper’s restaurant critic Jay Rayner — better known to U.S. food fans as a judge on ‘Top Chef Masters’ — agrees with the judges’ decision.

Writes Rayner on The Guardian’s food blog, ‘Is that the right result? Allowing for the fact that I think the rankings are far less interesting than the list itself, I would say, yes. Redzepi, the 32-year-old chef at Noma, pursues a regional, seasonal agenda that is right on the cutting edge: if it isn’t available in the Nordic region, he won’t cook with it. The result is a very idiosyncratic style of food that speaks to concerns about the way a global food culture turns our eating experiences a uniform beige.’ – Sarah LeTrent and Kat Kinsman

SIN’s placing out of the 50…

28) Iggy’s (Singapore)

39) Jaan Par Andre (Singapore)

46) Biko (Mexico City, Mexico)

The Norwegians told me that the Danes live to eat while the Norwegians eat to live… so true 🙂

If the first grape you eat is bitter then you will not bother eating grapes again. If the first grape you eat is a sweet one then you will be willing to eat a lot of bitter grapes in search of another sweet one –