October 31, 2003

oct 2003

[071003] from some forum: I cried because I had no shoes - until I saw a man with no feet

[141003] from a conversation this morning:

I feel as if I spent my two years in JC helping e principal to achieve e school ranking she wanted for e college....two years of my life wasted, that could have been better spent elsewhere....learnt nothing, only enjoyed my ECAs

sounds so sickeningly familiar. too often people always tend to miss e wood for e trees, & students end up as mere generators of results that e school administration needs so badly to trumpet & win accolades from e 'higher ups'? some people need to be taught how to put e interests of students first. big fat *FISH* to those policymakers who keep chanting e familiar robotic 'it's for your own good' mantra....

[141003] PhD research can be so much like playing snakes & ladders....except that it feels like one BIG FAT endless ladder with overgrown snakes lurking at almost every single rung, ready to send you right back to e start. what more, these snakes aren't e kind that can be eaten =P there are days when you lose your sense of direction & have no idea if you are climbing upwards or downwards, days when a sense of 'zero displacement' hits you, & days when you wonder if you could ever fall any harder than you already have. & these are e times when you are so glad to know people who will pick you up & help *KA-BISH* a snake or two, especially when e boss seems so clueless when it comes to dealing with reptiles. so grateful to MUI - meeting up on 091003 helped sort out so much stuff cluttering my mind. too bad you have to return to Berlin yet again. & also grateful to e Swiss postdoc in my lab for being e driving force in e lab & her genuine concern for my work. e weekend of 111003 will go down in record as e time when hope was renewed, & monday 131003 shall be remembered as e time when inspiration was again found =)

[151003] found a pic of e original text after so many years:

[161003] e counter on e index page has jumped by hundreds since e guestbook was last signed on Halloween 2002....wonder who are those who have been 'clicking in & out' & yet refusing to leave any trace? some tell me that they have 'tried to help their friends' by referring them to certain quotes or passages on this particular page (thoughts.html)....well would be nice if others have found it of use to their lives?

[291003] yesterday, this engineer who came to fix e live imaging microscope system walked into e lab & asked me if I had a lighter or matches. showed him a sensor/foot pedal-operated fireboy. told him that it was e only flame source permitted in e labs by safety regulations, & that he could use it if he wanted. should have seen e look on his face when he saw e 10.9 litre BP propane-butane gas cylinder connected to e fireboy. & yup it was only then that I realised e lighter/matches had nothing to do with fixing e microscope - he just wanted to SMOKE....

[311003] redid e angelfire travels page cos I found a long-lost page on e 1999 Oz trip that was done years ago but forgotten about. last bit of e 2003 California trip photos have yet to be developed....& it's been 1.5 months since I got back!

[ filed under: thewonderingstraycat + 9_lives_2003 + labrat + art1 ]

October 17, 2003

thai silk

[171003] have been fascinated by Thai silk since I was a little girl. e 2003 calendar at http://www.royalthaisilk.net has wonderful pictures of it, especially my favourite yok cloth (pictured in April, July & December). spent my primary school holidays in Bangkok, helping out in a machine embroidery factory in Sukhumvit. it was full of migrant workers from Isaan (northeast Thailand) & e Thai-Burmese border regions, girls who seemed as young as 15 years & kept e factory running around e clock. it was housed in a few shophouses that were linked together & had wooden floors that creaked with each step. all of us lived on e second floor of e shophouses & ate, slept & lived with e constant drumming of e factory machines that made e floorboards vibrate.

also helped out in a shop along an alley in Yaowarat, Bangkok's Chinatown area, that sold machine embroidered iron-on patches produced by e factory. plus another shop near Saphaan Khwaay (Buffalo Bridge?) along Pahonyonthin Road that sold buttons, textiles, lace, wool, thread, pins, thimbles, needles & all sorts of other stuff needed by e seamstresses & tailors that came to us. they would bring along little square pieces of cloth samples & standing on e bales of cloth, we would search for a colour & texture that matched & cut out e desired length. this was where I learnt how to cut & tear cloth, sort buttons into bags of 144 plus 2 extra (to ensure that you never undercut your customers), custom-make cloth buttons & belt buckles, speak rudimentary Bangkok Thai to customers, & count & handle more money than I ever had seen in my life. was about 6+ years old when I first started helping out, & still remember e time when Jiim's mother held up a 1000 baht note & asked me if I'd ever seen a piece of paper worth that much before. at today's rates it is worth around SGD44, but to a 6-year-old, 4 digits was like e biggest number ever =)

[301003 update] another thing I loved as a kid (& still do):

phuang malai are garlands of fresh jasmine flower buds & roses, chrysanthemums & other flowers painstakingly threaded together & used as offerings in temples & spirit houses everywhere in Thailand.

[ filed under: thewonderingstraycat + 9_lives_2003 + art1 + thai1 ]

October 15, 2003

cat friends

[081003] two damn attitude cats on St John's Island:


The greatness of a nation and its moral progress
can be judged by the way its animals are treated

~ Mahatma Gandhi

e cats that had names:
  • Tommy was Andrea's good-natured & fat ginger & white tom cat that ate chocolate & lazed around e letterboxes of Aquamarine Tower in Bayshore Park before he passed away.
  • Kopi-o, Milk Tea & San1 He2 Yi1 are e black, ginger & tricolour black+brown+white kittens that were born in e garden, named by my sis, but have since disappeared.
  • Bumpy was e grey & white KE7 tabby cat that hung around B & C blocks of East Wing, came into my room at night & walked all over my notes on my desk, & was fed by Chiew Boon next door.
  • Meow meow is e affectionate white tabby cat with a few black & brown patches & blue eyes that was named by my mum & sis, used to sleep on e rug outside e front door, & was adopted & taken away by Jasmine when she moved out of e neighbourhood.
e cats that had no names:
  • e fragile ci2 dun4 ginger kitten that was born in e garden, appeared to be deaf & dumb & oblivious to e roar of car engines, runt of e litter that had to be fed milk, that died before dawn & had its tiny stiff body placed (before we rushed off for school) in a Teva shoebox for burial, but was thrown away by e time we got home from school.
  • e black & white cat along Telok Kurau Road that followed my sis so closely after she patted it that she freaked out & I had to carry it away.
  • e black & white cat along e alley linking Martia Road & Jalan Tamban, that freaked my sis out in e exact same way.
  • e black kitten with yellow eyes that hid from e rain by sleeping under my dad's car or on e towel outside e front door.
  • e too-cute-for-its-own-good white kitten with sapphire blue eyes that was born in e garden, attracted so much attention from everyone who walked past e house - was kidnapped & never seen again when a car suddenly stopped by e gate & a pair of hands reached out to pick it up before zooming off.
  • e friendly brownish-grey mother cat that led me to her 4 kittens in e longkang along Martia Road.
  • e grey & white 'bus stop' cat that always crossed East Coast Road using e overhead bridge.
  • e grey & white kitten that followed my sis & I home on our way back from e Shell petrol station.
  • e quiet Russian Blue cat with yellow eyes that invited herself into e Bayshore house one night as we were preparing dinner & toured e rooms & stopped to admire herself in e mirror.
  • e friendly brown & white, black & white, tricolour black+brown+white & ginger kittens that lived along e alley linking Martia Road & Jalan Tamban & in e garden of e corner house & drank Cream of Campbell's oxtail soup.
  • e kittens that used to play in e old tables of NUS Science canteen.
    countless other cats & kittens that have come up to me or were spotted from e bus on long bus journeys.
[ filed under: cats1 + thewonderingstraycat + 9_lives_2003 ]