New Air-Conditioners

28 Oct 2013 – Another Fire!

Now that the new furniture is in their place, the air-conditioner is a must when one lives in the tropics. Just goes to show how spoilt and blessed life is!


Sat: the old AC has seen their days after nearly 15yrs and has been having a gas leak in the compressor for the past couple of years. Time for the Mitsubishi inverter and was told that they are energy-saving, app up to 40%. Time will show!

Am totally paranoid with a fire across the road this morning. Full blast of sirens made me nervous with a combination of the smell of the welding from the AC workers! Read in the news that a 60yrs blind man did not survive the fire. Condolences to his family

originalThe Butler****tells the story of a White House butler who served eight American presidents over three decades. The film traces the dramatic changes that swept American society during this time, from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond, and how those changes affected this man’s life and family.

Good movie inspired by a true story and a good cast, even when some appear only for a few minutes.


Sun: Happy 89th Birthday to one of the most remarkable ladies Ellen HALD sr, Norwegian grandmother of the children. Pix from 1973/Møsvann, 1974/Nesøya with Linn her first grandchild then and 2010/Nesøya with Linn & May. Ellen was in her 40s when our paths first crossed.


Appreciations to nephew Clem for a delicious lunch at Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine/Marina Bay Sands****Peking Duck, one of my favourites. Decent food but poor service! Safe journey back to the US to Larry and good catching up with Chesper. This piece of cake is good but not worth S$10 at Au Chocolat! That price can give 3 dinners of rice with 2 different kinds of veggie and I meat in my neighbourhood market!!

It was luxuries like air conditioning that brought down the Roman Empire. With air conditioning their windows were shut, they couldn’t hear the barbarians coming – Garrison Kellor

In With the New

25 Oct 2013 – Out with the Old…


And only with things can one do that! If nothing works to cheer me up, this will do the job. Got my contractor Vincent to give me quotes for a world map screen + other odd jobs to tidy the place. Whoever wants the futon (minus cushions), a coffee table and 2 easy chairs are welcome to collect them.


Tue: shopping day at IKEA with nephew Clem (green T-shirt) was success and dinner at his parents, my bro Steven and family. Thanks to 4th sis-in-law for home-made dinner. Pix from 2011 when May was visiting. So difficult to get the family pix nowadays! Good to catch up with niece Judy (next to Clem) and grandnephew Darrly (next to bro Steven) who has grown taller than me (in blue with his school mates in a recent pix).


Thank you Aileen for arranging lunch with Yulis. The last time we did that was in 2011. Somehow when we meet up there is much to catch up that we need more than the lunch hour! Your 3 lovely children are into their own world and soon will be living their own life. Yulis is as charming and beautiful as ever and now even more so now, inside out with a future addition. Appreciations to the first friends after moving back to SIN over a decade ago. Glad that we can remain friends in spite of the age differences 🙂


Saw this sign on the bus yesterday and really had a craving for durians but will have to wait as the stomach is not quite up to being a glutton yet 🙂 🙂

For my overseas friends, Durian is the King of Fruits in this region. The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour that is strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as pleasantly fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and revolting!


TGIF and a wonderful weekend to all. Took 4hrs to put an IKEA sofa bed together with many oops and ‘huff da’, must be out of practise!! Hopefully the coffee table and 2 easy chairs will be a breeze… 🙂 🙂 🙂

Durians Smell Awful — But the Taste Is Heavenly

Family, Friends & Food

20 Oct 2013 – And an Acer Aspire S7



Mon 14 Oct: energy level at 0 and after sleeping most of Sun and the evening, but still feeling worn-out and missing the family tons. Morning errands and local food at Parkway. Evening, met with Larry who is visiting from the US and with Richard from Australia who are only here for a few days. Not sure what went on, always good to catch up as who knows when the next time will be???


Tue: tkx to Les&Ivy for delicious dinner at Crystal Jade/Paragon**** Yummy celebrations with niece Kat&family back from NY and Patricia’s Bday. Top of the menu was the Mahseer Fish / Kelah / Empurau / Wang Pu Liao / 红吉罗 / 中華猛魚 and only Les could have pull this thru’ bringing his own fish and telling the chef how he wants it prepared! Being a fish lover, this is still one of the best tasting fish for me! Fresh water fish from the rivers in Borneo with a diet of fresh fruits is one of the most expensive fish in this region.


Thu: appreciations to Sebastian for helping with laptop shopping. Decided to go with the Acer Aspire S7, main attraction is that it weights just above 1kg and also used to have an Acer. Raymond from at SimLim Sq gave me a decent price of S$1,420 (priced at S$1,590). Going back to Windows after 5 months of Mac is not that easy, oh how old habits are so difficult to change!



Sat: first visit to Turf City, a trendy place for food lovers. Appreciations to Les&Ivy for family lunch at Han Sang Korean Restaurant***This location brought back childhood memories where father used to have race horses and was even at the Grand Stand’s finishing line watching the horses racing in! Not too pleasant memories for one who likes horses…


but family, friends and fabulous food make this life journey worth the while!

News from on NSW bushfires: State of emergency declared ahead of worsening conditions. To family and friends in NSW/Australia, plx take precautions. Thoughts and prayers are with you all for rains! And Happy 40th Bday to the Sydney Opera House.

You live longer once you realize that any time spent unhappy is wasted – Ruth Renkl

New Laptop

17 Oct 2013 – Hello CA Cousins


Tue 8 Oct:  the last time here was in the late 1980s when Linda & Alfred TAY moved into their lovely villa. 36mins flying time from CAE to ATL with a 2+hrs layover in ATL and 4+hrs from ATL to SNA ( John Wayne Airport-Orange County/LA). Thank you L&A for meeting me at the airport.



Wed 9 Oct: what a luxury to be staying in their 8,500sq ft villa with pool, tennis court and fruit trees orchard. Lunched at China Gardens*** and dinner at Sam Woo*** in Irvine. Appreciations to uncle Yat Meng/Richard, auntie Helen, cousins Amy & Andrew for taking time  to meet and for taking us for dinner. Amy will be getting married in Feb and Andrew in May 2014. Trying to be there in May 2014 after Linn’s big 40th and the Boston Marathon!

Thu 10 Oct: interesting to catch up with family gossips, stories and news. Auntie Keng (father’s cousin and Linda’s mom), 101yrs has a good memory and still in decent health. How wonderful! Auntie Keng and mother used to play mah-jong when Linda and I were in our childhood bliss 🙂


Fri 11Oct: first time meeting with cousin Colleen, Linda’s only and youngest sister. Appreciations to L&A for their graciaous hospitality and for driving me to LAX via Long Beach! Uneventful 17+hrs flights to SIN via Manila (2hrs layover) on Philippines Airline.

Arrived SIN Sun 13 Oct, rested for a couple of days and finally got my act together to get a new laptop with the help of Sebastian. Thanks bro! More about the Acer Aspire S7 in the next posting, too tired and frustrated now to go into it 🙂 🙂

Whoever said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks has a point 🙂 🙂 🙂

Oct’s Special Dates

3 Happy Bday CHONG Siong Yin

4 Happy Bday Berit Lisbet EGGEN

6 Happy Bday David WONG

7 Happy 70th Bday Leslie LAM

8 Happy Bdays Larry LAM, Audrey WONG and KONG Heng Sun

12 Happy Bday Karen SCAF-BENHAM

13 Happy Bday David YUNG

16 Happy Bday Patricia LAM

21 Happy Bdays Steve LAM & Dee HALL

27 Happy Bday Ellen HALD sr

29 Happy Bdays LAM Kwok Lock & Kiera CHUA

31 Happy Bdays Adeline LEE, Mark BOROWSKY and Happy Halloween

Lost for Words

6 Oct 2013 – Smoke gets in the eyes


2 above pix credits to Irmo News 26 Sep 2013

To watch your house burning down is a nightmare. The feeling of helplessness is overwhelming. Woken Fri 20 Sep fateful morning by the alarm and smell the smoke. First thought was, did one of the kids forget to turn off the toaster as Fri morning is Pop Tarts day?

2009-caeIMG_0779Pix from 2012

As I was staying above the garage, the stairs lead me to the kitchen, away from the other rooms of the house (pix from 2012). Ran down stairs to open the door to the kitchen which was full of smoke. Saw out of the kitchen door to see flames engulfing the blinds and the couch in the living room on fire. Ran from the kitchen thru’ the dinning room, shouting for Linn and out of the main entrance to see the rest of the family on the driveway by the mail box. Did a quick headcount to make sure all the kids were there.

The kids were all crying and we hugged each other telling them that everything is OK and that we are all safe and unharmed. Gator was then mentioned and more tears. Ensured the family that I was the last one up to let Gator out to the backyard at 0100hrs as she seemed restless and was pacing up and down in the kitchen. Being a lovely evening out, I let her stay out, so she was not IN the house. Everything was calm and quiet when I was on the back porch then.


As we watched the fire grow, I got the family to move away from the driveway in fear of explosion (gas fireplace in the house). It was 20mins before the fire trucks arrived and that 20mins seemed forever as we saw the house being shallowed by the flames. Clothed with only our PJs and with no footwear, we stood to watch the firemen in action. Kind neighbours came with clothes, footwear and food for us. Nobody could get in or out of the Avalon sub-division that fateful morning.


By the time the fire was out, we just stood speechless and not having a watch, had no clue of time. Asked the firemen if there was any chance anything might have survived in the room where I stayed. A ladder was placed to the broken window and in they went. Described exactly where my passport was located (a backpack behind the door in the corner furthest away from the main house (pix from 2012 when I was packing then). Lo and behold, they fish out the backpack and threw down to the ground. The backpack was blackened with soot but all the important documents are in tact…




Sat 5 Oct: walk organised by Avalon Houseowners Association: the kindness and generosity of family, friends, neighbours, community, church, etc are just beyond expectation and imagination. They all touched me to tears. Met with the fire heroes from Irmo Fire Department who put out the fire on that long and sad day and got whatever was salvageable for me. Today they went back into the house to get more, to discover that Linn’s wedding dress sealed in a box is in tact, have not yet opened it. Chances are that it will be black in soot!! Seemed like the family passports, some important documents and some pix may have a chance.


IMG_0048Gator’s (2001-2013/12+dog yrs, 85+human yrs), funeral was last week when we all said goodbye to this loving family pet. RIP sweet dog and she will be missed. Laptop found in the mess, probably has to be buried but in the meanwhile, the IT from the fire department will check it out.

The family is doing well considering the circumstances. They are moving forward in search of a new house. Thank goodness for the full insurance coverage from USAA. Linn said, if you have to go thru’ a house fire, Irmo it the place to do it! Flying off Tue 8 Oct via LAX/CA and visiting with cousins for a couple of days before heading to SIN. Leaving with a very heavy heart and head, but know that they are OK with their positive attitudes, faith and surrounded by wonderful kind people.

Looking forward to seeing the whole family Spring 2014.

There is an art of knowing when, Never try to guess. Toast until it smokes and then twenty seconds less – Piet Hein

A Sad and Long Day/Edited

1 Oct 2013 – Night before the Fire

Edited 25 Mar 2014 with pix. Thank you to the CAE/SC fire marshals who managed to extract some of the data and pix from the burnt MacBook Air. It has taken time for them and even more time for me to look at them, not to say to load them 🙁


Thu 19 Sep 2013: celebrated this mid autumn by getting the grandchildren to draw a varieties of moons for the outdoor table cover. Bought 6 mini lotus seeds moon cakes and had Chinese take-out and been running around picking up all  these. The lanterns from Toronto/Canada are still intact which was used last year at Sugar Mts. This festival has a long history and have many  legends associated with this the various foods. Most important that the moon is full on a cloudless night so that all the beautiful lanterns can shine!

Jeff was on call and there is a patient with some complication, He did not get back for dinner until pass 1900hrs. We had to start without him. By the time the food was served and consumed, and  with 5 children where food and drinks had to be filled and refilled, there was no chance for the camera to be in action. Glad that they all had good appetites and enjoyed the dinner.

IMG_7270IMG_7274Not a fan of moon cakes, but will eat a bite of the plain lotus seed ones to mark the celebration. Thus a fusion plate of sugar and chocolate chips cookies by Blue Flour. The grandchildren are good to try a piece of the mini moon cakes and JohnW liked them. They had to get to bed early as it is a school night, so the lanterns (paper lanterns without candles), have to be just for decoration tonight. Did not even get the pix uploaded on this blog, could hardly keep the eyes open then. Thus both laptop and camera was on the floor by the bed.  Thought that I have lost these pix.


Thu 19 Sep 2013 – last pix of the house in tact during my walk in the neighbourhood to see the moon.

Fri 20 Sep 2013 0530hrs: no postings or pix as L&J’s house burnt down completely with its contents. Was loading pix on the laptop the night before the fire and now both laptop and camera are gone to the fire.

It has been over a week since the fire and the family are going thru’ some difficult times and decisions to make as to buying another house or otherwise. Thank goodness we are all safe and uninjured and the house is fully insured including contents. The coverage also covers living expenses for up to a year if they decide to rebuild. Will write more when the mind is calmer, and after getting a new laptop and camera.

Sun 29 Sep 2013: condolences to Cindy Chan and family. Fond memories of Gilbert in 1985 when we moved to Long Beach/CA then. Am glad that we took the time to meet up again in SIN a couple of years ago. Sad that he lost the battle to cancer and may he now RIP.