April 29, 2005

Laguna hill

parents used to bring me up e hill near our Lagoon View block to fly a red-butterfly-with-black-stripes kite. should have been around 2-4 years old at that time & climbing e hill was a challenge. but I loved e wind up there even if it threatened to blow me off, & e view of e sea stretched on forever =) e ECP & first terminal of Changi Airport were just completed in 1981 (when I first landed in Singapore e civilian airport was still at Paya Lebar), & places in e east like Simei were still jungle/ex-plantations/construction sites, so traffic noise was non-existent.

& then they chopped e hill.

at 4 years of age I didn't know that a perfectly symmetrical conical hill covered with neatly trimmed grass & zero trees was an artificial hill meant to serve as a base for e expressway flyover. from e 10th floor apartment I watched hungry earthmovers eat away my hill, & e kite went into e cupboard to collect dust instead of wind in its wings. think I spent hours sitting on e balcony floor, peering between e railings & witnessing incidents such as e time when a pickup overturned on e slope of e construction site, & when a SIA plane veered dangerously low & close (enough for me to make out e individual windows) when its tyres burst during e landing approach. in 1984 e concrete tombstone of my hill was completed & named Laguna flyover.

happened to talk about e hill with my parents last night, & they finally learnt (~21 years later) why I used to spend so much time gazing out from e balcony, watching birds, clouds, lightning, planes, ships & e sea =)

[ filed under: thewonderingstraycat ]



upper left: spare pair of glasses for e blind cat + dark-coloured sarong (kooning on lower bunk - hang as curtain to shut out light; thousands of bloodthirsty buzzing insects - shawl to cover head, neck & arms; bunch of loose items to carry - wrap them up Japanese 'furoshiki'-style; questionable pillows - use as pillowcase; waiting for unpredictable transport in hot sun along rural road - tie to branches above & hide underneath for shade; village with open bathing area around standpipe/river - berkemban; rural highways/forest with no toilet - for privacy; 1001 other uses)

upper right: slippers (dunno why but cats trek & climb best in slippers & TEVA sandals, not shoes nor boots - methinks Puss in Boots is fake one)

bottom left: S-shaped hook (hang things from bamboo poles, traditional Akha house roof, fences, doors etc), double clip (seal open packets of food, money clip, clothes peg), rubberband (seal plastic bags, compress/bundle up clothes/towels for packing, tie around pen/pencil/torch/etc - help frozen/wet fingers maintain grip, tie ponytail, tie up large teak/banana leaf containing food to stop it from unfolding, etc), Shokobutsu (can foam in hard water - tested in California & rural Thailand), swiss knife (have always been carrying it, even in my JC uniform skirt pocket =P over e years e tweezers & e maroon plastic parts have fallen off from wear & tear, that's why it is now 100% silver), ballpoint pen (let kids have fun drawing pictures for you), toothpaste, eyedrops & maglite, all on top of a Nunclon 92X17mm tissue culture dish ziploc (rescued from being discarded in e lab, not easily ripped & perfect size for organising loose items in bags).

bottom middle: OFF! mosquito repellent, Cadbury peppermint eclairs

bottom right (top half): Olympus mju300 spare battery, set of 3 padlocks (all can be opened with e same key), Cuticura hand sanitiser (repels certain bugs & some leeches) & cable ties (secure backpack especially for US-bound flights that do not permit cargo baggage to be locked - security can just cut it open if they want, hang things), all on top of sleeping sack (kooning on airport floors, questionable hostel beds, bamboo platforms etc).

bottom right (bottom half): Lisu applique pouch (for foreign currency, bought from Don Muang 8 years ago, can hang around neck & hide beneath sweater), hansaplast, watch (free gift that came with my camera, still set to Thailand time =P with backlight for places with no electricity + alarm) & safety pins (pick simple padlocks, secure sarongs, alternative to clothes peg, etc), all on top of backpack raincover.

other important items (depending on destination) include maggi mee chicken flavour soup packets (make soup when in e land of zero chilli-free food, sprinkle on leeches, primitive oral rehydration for bad diarrhoea, add flavour to rice for a whole bunch of Akha villagers & Singaporeans), rough paper, masking tape, permanent marker, lighter, Nalgene bottle (from Angeline & her other half, one of e best & most useful bday gifts ever!), parafilm, plastic bag (for collecting own trash, catching lizards/insects to release away from terrified people who would otherwise *piak*/*stomp* them), foldable umbrella (for rain, sun & incontinent bats), wire clothes hanger,etc....

why so many strings attached - to e money pouch, watch, maglite (keys & camera too)....so that they can be hung around e neck (free e hands, & won't *weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee* fall thousands of feet down into e valley of irretrievable items-that-once-belonged-to-careless-people below while climbing or taking photos at e edge of cliffs, drop off into e world of cannot-be-seen when in e dark, fall through e gaps in e floorboards of a traditional Akha or Lahu house to be pecked at by chickens, or *splash* become fish food when climbing in/out of boats), secured to shoulder bag (foil less skillful pickpockets) or backpack (no prob if everything falls out when a pocket is unzipped), so that this scattered-brain cat won't lose them so easily, & so that they won't fall off to e ground & kena roti prata-ed by big fat stomping feet while riding big fat elephants or land on fresh elephant pie!

seriously, elephant-back multitusking (pardon e pun; simultaneously taking notes + trying to translate + taking photos + dodging thorns & tree branches + riding elephant) has driven home e importance of securing everything, & made this cat glad for using notebooks with plastic covers - can write notes in between using it to push aside thorny plants that can tear e paper. elephants forget that their passengers are not as thick-skinned as they are & tend to barge their way through ANYTHING =P

[ filed under: thewanderingstraycat ]

April 26, 2005

signal lah!!

SDX2779A dunno how to use signal don't anyhow cut people's lane *bish* you think ONE metre is a safe stopping distance when doing 90kph on e expressway overtaking lane?

somehow have never comes across such driving in Thailand even though many I know drive for years (even decades) without a license, & some drive when high on yaa ngo/yaa baa (methamphetamines).

hope many many crows will adopt SDX2779A as their carpark loo *evil grin*

[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 ]

April 25, 2005

[240405] sunday

[240405] along Still Road South: anyone knows what this creeper with pink flowers is called? was way beyond my reach, more than ~2.5m above at e top of e hedge, which I think is e reason why my mum hasn't kope-d any home to plant ;)


240605 UPDATE: name is Antigonon leptopus aka. 'chain of love', 'coral vine'; native of Mexico

e hedge:


same kind of hedge lines e perimeter of my primary school field. Xinying & I used to play catching & our own variation of e 'police & thief' game with e class boys in e hedges, running & crawling in e space between them & e fence that e boys referred to as a 'secret tunnel'. e space was also a good place to hide from e prefect on duty & e vice-principal - even if e latter spotted us in there he couldn't crawl in to get us =)

think I can tell which neighbours along e street are my mum's friends - in their gardens they will have clones of my mum's plants, grown from cuttings that they got from her, especially this hibiscus with big fat yellow flowers. but then again, there are also sneaky people who 'help themselves' to her plants when they think nobody's looking, pulling out or breaking off something & then making a fast getaway in their car, like how they kidnapped a tiny too-cute-for-its-own-good white kitten with blue eyes from our gate....

Grand Hotel along Still Road South:


e part of e building that used to face e beach, before e beach was 'moved' when land was reclaimed to build Marine Parade & e ECP:


e other creepier half of Grand Hotel, on e western side of Still Road South. think it was separated into two halves when e road (Still Road South) was cut right through e middle of e property?


close up of e section adjoining Katong Park, which was once by e sea:


at e other end of Katong Park, what used to be e first of 4 kindergartens that I attended:



e field at e front of e old church building that housed e kindergarten has been concretised into a carpark. there used to be Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus, source of vinblastine for Hodgkin's disease & vincristine for leukemia treatment) growing at e school gates, which we kids would pluck:


~21 years later at e Ban Huay Mae Sai school in Mae Yao, e Ban Apa kids would pluck periwinkle flowers from e plants growing along e school corridor & stick them in my hair, transporting me back in time & space =)

[160405] yet another visitor to e house


290405 UPDATE: e Still Road/ECP interchange completed in 1984 that split Grand Hotel into two; on e left of e photo are blocks 30-something of Marine Crescent.

[ filed under: nature1 + 9_lives_2005 ]

April 24, 2005

curse of e navy blue pinafore on wikipedia

so tickled by this line in this wikipedia entry - see e 'Uniform' section: '....consists of a knee-length dark navy blue pleated pinafore over a white collared blouse. Students customarily fold their sleeves, following in a time-honoured school tradition.' (cue laughter from e man-maid)....

didn't know that it was a 'school tradition', but then almost every girl did that? think I started doing that after I ruined a shirt when e unfolded sleeves kena stained irreversibly with bright Richardsonian blue fabric paint during an Art lesson & made my mum real mad that I had wasted a perfectly good non-secondhand shirt.

like many mums, mine had insisted on buying school uniforms one size larger so that they could be used until they were worn out rather than grown out of (a waste), especially when my mei ended up in a different secondary school & could no longer hand down her old uniforms to me like she had done for 5 years in primary school. hence e sleeves that threatened to cover my elbows. unfortunately my mum overestimated my ability to expand, & at e end of 4 years e uniforms were still too big for me. my shirts could actually be mixed up with my kors' shirts in e laundry if not for e lack of any front pockets on mine, & e youngest of my kors is 3 years older than me. maybe that is what inspired him to swim laps of e butterfly stroke & pump iron in e gym *lol*

didn't think much about upsized uniforms though, until e first 3 months of JC when my guy friends told me that I looked 'lost somewhere in there'. & then one guy offered to rent one of my pinafores for $10 during e uniform-exchanging craze, 'to feel what is it like to wear one' - he thought he could fit into mine....(for e record, no I did NOT let him try, even though $10 was one week's allowance).

in that seaside JC I was taught e term 'e curse of e navy blue pinafore'. there were only 26 of us navy blue pinafores in e 96/97 batch, but guess we made our presence felt? some of us felt sort of relieved to switch to e JC uniform after e 1st 3 months....an end to e 'curse' - all e associated stereotypes (e.g. schoolmates are shocked that you can speak more Hokkien & Teochew than they can) & blown out of proportion expectations (e.g. this chem tutor who blasted a fellow navy blue pinafore with 'you are from XXX how come you can't do this?)'....but many of us continued to fold e sleeves of our JC uniforms out of habit. didn't realise that others noticed this little detail until some buddies pointed it out to me. was even more shocked when e man-maid mentioned this....even he knows when I don't think he has ever beo-ed girls from my alma mater before *lol*

from e same wiki entry, e navy blue pinafore song....still recall my reaction (lua3 cheem1....how to remember e lyrics when I can't even remember my home phone number?!) when first confronted with it during secondary 1 orientation sitting on e bare concrete floor of e Jalan Kuala school hall =P

From High Olympus flows to us the glory
On us the sacred fire descends.
Rise, sisters, rise, the world is all before ye
Fear not to grasp what fortune sends.

Sisters in learning and sisters at heart
Life lies before us,
Here's luck to the start.

A little while the sun shines high above us
And youth's elixir fills our veins.
The magic fire, that moves the gods to love us
The fire by which the will attains.

Repeat Chorus once

So heart to heart we'll scale the heights of learning
No mean desires our days shall shame.
Whole-hearted, true, with pride and ardour burning
On sisters, on to life and fame.

Repeat Chorus once

but much better than e silly 'obedient-serf' lyrics of my primary school song '....we will always obey the school rules....' zun4 boh2 - LIKE REAL =P felt damn silly singing that in e mornings before breaking e rules & being punished after recess together with all e guys by being made to 'stand in e sun until your sweat dries' on e school driveway. all it did was to strengthen our friendship, steel our resolve to create even greater havoc e next recess time, give us a nice tan, & allow us to say 'sek guan liao' (习惯了) & give e vice-principal (incidentally e brainchild behind those lyrics in e school song) our best smile e next time he threatened us with similar punishment *lol*

[ filed under: thewonderingstraycat ]

April 22, 2005

mizoguchi hajime + secret garden

when my mind wants to float away on music that flows, like a petal that parts with its tree & spirals down towards e babbling brook below....

by Mizoguchi Hajime 溝口 肇, cellist + composer

Angel (from 人狼 Jin-roh soundtrack)
Grace (from 人狼 Jin-roh soundtrack)
人狼 Jin-roh main theme
オードリー main theme
天国のkiss main theme

from his Beautiful Life soundtrack (2000):
silent clouds
sun rise
night run
残されたもの nokosaretamono
thousand sky
Angel - Beautiful Life main theme

there is just something about e deep mellow voice of a cello that speaks to e soul =)

by Secret Garden

Dreamcatcher album (2001):

(search amazon.com for sample audio)

[ filed under: music1 + japanese1 ]

happy earth day!

what is your ecological footprint?

National Environment Agency's Singapore Clean Card 2005

[ filed under: nature1 ]

wushu lesson: how to *PIAK* a mosquito

2 advanced techniques for killing any mosquito that disrupts your training session, as demonstrated by e Big Fat Whale.

N.B. e usual basic kicks like dan1 pai1, wai4 bai3 & li3 he2 can be used to *PIAK* any moquito that flies at a lower height.

[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 ]

April 21, 2005


not for purchases with a value above SGD2000 (those who work within e public sector will understand), but by Carl G Jung:

"Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside awakens."

"That which we do not confront in ourselves we will meet as fate."

"It is often tragic to see how blatantly a man bungles his own life and the lives of others yet remains totally incapable of seeing how much the whole tragedy originates in himself, and how he continually feeds it and keeps it going. Not consciously, of course, for consciously he is engaged in bewailing and cursing a faithless world that recedes further and further into the distance. Rather, it is an unconscious factor which spins the illusion that veils his world. And what is being spun is a cocoon, which in the end will completely envelop him."

e third one applies to some people whom I've encountered in this life. humans can be so adept at self-delusion?

[ filed under: thewonderingstraycat ]


two uncles, referred to as 'uncle C & uncle I' by J & me, made a difference to our (& countless other students') undergrad life.

uncle C = "what have you learnt today?" (even if it was ~7am in e morning)
uncle I = "what questions have you asked?"

uncle C let me into SPS, which was pioneered by uncle I & him + another prof.
uncle I gave J & I a vacation job in his lab, which was followed by a half-year project, & allowed me to audit his honours year class in symbiology.

in SPS, I met others who loved Science, got addicted to Moorhuhn, learnt to be a 'professional end-user' of linux, got inspired by both seniors & juniors, hopefully inspired a few others too, planned how to go to Mars, & learnt something about how to do Science & communicate Science.

in uncle I's lab, J & I spent our vacation running glutamate & ammonia assays, washing Misgurnus (weatherloach), changing fishtank water for toadfish (Opsanus), catching Monopterus eels for ammonia tolerance experiments, (another J & me) catching 14 African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) about e size of my entire arm, washing & drying glassware & even yellow & blue tips, & learnt something about how to do Science.

uncle C & uncle I became e 2 'wise men' whom J & I consulted when making major decisions concerning our academic life e.g. choosing future labs & courses, & when battling e university admin. they were not 'answer dispensers' - we first had to present our 'cases' & dissection of available options & their respective pros & cons, & then they would usually respond by throwing us back a question. uncle I would also offer us extremely frank opinions & share lessons drawn from his years of experience.

J & I joined e university at a time when e faculty was introducing academic mentorship, where undergrad students were matched to a faculty mentor. not sure if it ever took off? many students didn't feel that having an academic mentor mattered, while many of those who did & tried to contact their mentors encountered unresponsive profs who didn't see any point in spending time on students who were not slaving on projects for them. guess J & I were really lucky =)

a quote from uncle I:

"Between medicine and biology, I decided to pursue the latter when I was in America. Studying biology provides me with an understanding of my own place in the scheme of nature, and to appreciate the diversity of life and the interrelations of all creatures. It also provides me with an understanding of the human body, its structure and function, and the biological basis of many of the problems and procedures in medicine, public health, agriculture and conservation. At the same time, I learnt to appreciate the beauty, drama, and tragedy of the living world. Through the study of biology, I developed an understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry. After joining [insert name of world class-wannabe varsity], I have been researching on the biochemical adaptation of several local organisms. A unique feature of biology is regionalism. Chemistry and physics, for example, are almost universal. However, the flora and fauna of Singapore do not resemble those of America or Europe. Many local organisms, e.g. mudskippers, provide me with the opportunity to discover unique phenomena in nature. When I look back, I believe the decision I made to study biology is a correct one."

(yar 7 years liao & people are still questioning my choice of Science over Medicine....)

[ filed under: thewonderingstraycat + labrat ]

April 16, 2005

[150405] family outing

learnt a new route from Biopolis to Orchard, via Commonwealth Ave - Commonwealth Crescent - Queensway....

finally saw e beautiful renovated shophouses at Emerald Hill that I keep coming across in architecture magazines & books =) but slightly less beautiful to e man-maid after he kena e parking fine? =P & also saw a tricolour cat, e black+brown+white type that my sis refers to as 'san1 he2 yi1' or '3-in-1'....

dinner at heeren lemongrass, with e big fat whale biting into not just one but TWO curry seeds (actually fruits?) from e kaeng khiaw waan kai at one go *LOL* + my favourite khaaw niaw ma muang =))

maid-style driving all e way to Kampung Lorong Buangkok (at this time of e night??!!), where e 5 family members polished off a pint of Haagen Daz macha ice cream while squeezed in a twincab....


cats from Kuching (left) & Japan (center) + fish from USA, from e family + jet lee + 'stiffen limb'....


e middle cat is Jiji....


a totally funny + entertaining cat from e anime Majo no Takkyuubin aka Kiki's delivery service =)

after e ice cream, a short walk along a path in Kampung Lorong Buangkok that ended where e trail was flooded....

big fat 10-Q to e family for all this, despite everyone being tired out from work & auto-generating 'scientific papers' =) never did I expect this eating macha ice cream in Kampung Lorong Buangkok at night combi, even though I remember mentioning to e man-maid last year about saving all e time & effort (hello kitty-ing a whalemobile & sewing prison garb for stuffed toys) by getting me Haagen Daz macha ice cream for my birthday =P

[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 + cats1 ]

April 14, 2005

i want to....

01. stand above e sea of fog blanketing e hills & valleys beneath at dawn, along e Ban Yafu to Ban Jator trail


02. watch e sun rise above e eastern summit plateau of Kinabalu....


from e western edge of Low's Gully


03. watch e sun set e clouds & sky ablaze in a riot of fiery oranges, reds & purples before sinking into e Andaman, from e base of Laem Promthep

(no camera on that trip =P)

04. go trekking again!!


photo credit: Keng Hua

[ filed under: thewanderingstraycat ]

April 13, 2005

ruak ruak

on e way to get lunch, spotted a white-breasted waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus aka ruak ruak) & its young (all black in colour) at e patch of grass beside e Portsdown road entrance to e Fusionpolis construction site behind e INSEAD campus.

third time in approx a week that I've spotted them at e same place =) like e rollerskating pandas in e KitKat TV advert, they will venture out only when e Fusionpolis site construction workers have settled down in e shade of e trees to nap after lunch, & dart back into e safety of e bushes at e first sign of a human waking up.

used to spot a pair of white-breasted waterhens on e slope of Kent Ridge behind block S2 when taking e stairs leading down to e Department of Biological Sciences 3rd floor aquarium on my way from KE7 hall to class or when walking from Arts to Science via Kent Ridge road. e slope behind block S2 was a nice quiet little green patch of NUS that reminded me of e surroundings of KE7 hall in e halcyon pre-PGP days =) haven't been back for quite some time, no idea if it's still e same.

[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 + nature1 ]

April 10, 2005


[070405] Four Leaves has good green tea cake with a satisfying layer of green tea mousse that actually tastes of macha powder (unlike e lousy BreadTalk version) - it actually meets e standard set by my sis, a green tea connoisseur who had us hunt down a specific brand of sencha powder in Singapore & send it to her in Palo Alto:


what was (not) used to cut e cake ;)


[ filed under: catfood + 9_lives_2005 ]

April 08, 2005

hir ii kway teow cham mee pok ta pao mai hiam jio kio jup pang keh

ordered kway2 teow2 cham1 mee3 pok4 from e fishball noodle stall @ e Holland Drive Blk 44 food centre, & e stallholder appeared stunned for a moment....but in seconds he had quickly worked out a solution & cooked e mee pok first before throwing in e kway teow last, so that e latter would not end up overcooked & soggy =)

later he took a look at my staff ID card & said, '你们这些做研究生的很有创意hor' (you researchers are very creative hor) *LOL*

next thing he said was , '你是本地人吗? 本地人不会想出这种东西来....' (are you a local? locals won't think up of such things)

* have had feedback from readers that they can't read/understand Teochew/Hokkien/Mandarin/Thai, or that they want to learn some Teochew/Hokkien, hence all e clumsy translations littering e posts *

title of this post is hir3 (魚 fish) ii1 (ball 圓) kway2 teow2 (粿条) cham1 (mix 参) mee3 pok4 (面薄) ta2 pao1 (takeaway 打包) mai4 (don't want 勿?) hiam1 jio1 (chilli 辣椒) kio2 jup4 (tomato sauce 茄汁) pang4 (put 放) keh1 (more 加?)

[ filed under: catfood ]

April 07, 2005

good morning teacher....

English teacher, by my mum & her classmates:

good morning sir-pent
according to my mum he really looked like one

Chinese teacher, by me & my primary school classmates:

lao3 shi1 zhao3 ang1 = teacher looking for husband (翁 ang1 in Teochew), a play on lao3 shi1 zao3 an1 老师早安

Bahasa Melayu teacher, by my dad & his classmates:

sii2 ah1 ma4 pa4 hi4 jia4 gu2
dead grandma hit that cow (死 ah mah 打那只牛 in dialect), inspired by someone's lousy pronounciation of selamat pagi cikgu

some things run in my family ;)

[ filed under: thewonderingstraycat ]

naga + hanami

it's e time of e year again for e third character of e straycat's name =)



those who are sniggering over e fact that I'm named after a PINK flower....*ka-BISH*

10-Q to Mae for correcting me about naga = dragon =) always thought it was more snake (in e biological sense i.e. no limbs) than dragon (always drawn with legs) because of e wood carving of e 'Saturday Buddha' that I have, where e 7-headed naga looks to me like a 7-headed cobra....

Thai Buddhists believe that there is a different Buddha image for each day of e week (2 for Wednesday). I was born on a Saturday, & e 'Saturday Buddha' is Pang Naga Prok (unsure of romanisation), where e Buddha is seated with a 7-headed naga 'hovering' over & protecting him.

http://www.thai-blogs.com/dayofbirth.php - check e day of your birth

http://www.usmta.com/Thai-Birthday.htm - check e corresponding Buddha image

while in Ban Apa, learnt that naga = telephone in e Akha language....think some of e villagers were quite tickled that Naga is e name of one of e guys in e expedition team! =P

big fat 10-Q to all who emailed, called, SMS-ed, MSN-ed & ICQ-ed 'cat day' greetings to me =) have never used my handphone so much in one day before sia =P

about time I start to appreciate it when hawker centre stallholders still call me xiao3 mei4 ;)

[100405] on turning 20, I set this target: to still be able to xia4 yi1 zhi1 ma3 (do a split) & do ce4 shou3 fan1 (cartwheel) when I'm 25....was still able to do both during training today, despite spending e earlier half of 2004 trying to regain flexibility after pulling my hamstring yet again =)

[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 ]

April 06, 2005


love e last 2 lines....from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran (1883-1931):

On Self-Knowledge

And a man said, "Speak to us of Self-Knowledge."
And he answered, saying:

Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always know in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.
And it is well you should.

The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."

For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.

[ filed under: thewonderingstraycat + art1 ]

Scheherazade + Russian Easter Overture

anyone knows if it is possible to find a CD version of e 1989 recording of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade & Russian Easter Overture by e Israel Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta?

no other recording by other orchestras or conductors that I've listened to thus far have come anywhere close to this....but what I have is an old moulding cassette tape =|

[ filed under: music1 ]

April 05, 2005

'family' movie

sometimes am reminded of e family in e weirdest of ways, this time by some movie trailer on TV mobile:


source: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/pacifier

this movie has a BIG FAT BABYSITTER (even if it's a SEAL & not a whale it's still a blubbery aquatic mammal, & e only difference is that whales are trained to operate in not just sea/air/land but air con as well =P) for a family that has a Romanian NANNY, a BABY & a deadly DUCK (well e trailer described it as 'deadly'), & is going to be released here in Singapore on e cat mama's bday *lol* can't believe this....everyone's actually accounted for in some way or other!

for e 2 guys in e family who are addicted to bubblewrap, pop all you want at
http://www.virtual-bubblewrap.com/popnow.shtml (though I know it can't beat e real thing) =P

[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 ]

April 04, 2005

[030405] beautiful sunday

beautiful music....

chanced upon a beautiful piece of music while listening to Pacific Moon Records label CDs in Gramaphone @ Peninsula Plaza. can't read Japanese for nuts but managed to get e title (hope I got e last character right):

武蔵 (メインテーマ) NHK 大河ドラマ[武蔵 MUSASHI]よリ

by Ennio Morricone - think it's from e soundtrack of a historical j-dorama on Miyamoto Musashi....guess e May 2002 Japan trip was good training in copying katakana, kanji, & to a much lesser extent, hiragana characters from subway station signboards, road signs, Japanese maps & guidebooks =P

once in a while a piece of music appears in your life, that sings to your soul & lifts it up to e radiant skies & makes you high =)

too bad I couldn't hog e headset for too long or I'd have listened to it over & over again until I can play it by ear =P


beautiful sky....

from e street outside my house:



temporary view from room window, before it gets wiped out again by e new condo being built:


[ filed under: music1 + 9_lives_2005 + nature1 ]

April 03, 2005

[010405] at Arts

maybe it's e 4 years spent in e Department of Biological Sciences - kena stunned when I saw e words 'field trip' here on e Old Admin block 4th floor noticeboard in NUS:


as we climbed down e stairs to e ground floor of e Old Admin block, this fella & my sis gave each other a big fat shock when she almost stepped on it:


a tiny little skink on e edge of a staircase step. e last time I'd seen a skink in NUS was when one dashed from e road, across my path on e pavement & into e grass verge one rainy night. e biggest fattest giant I saw was on a rock at Ton Sai waterfall in Phuket - e body was as thick as my wrist & e snout-vent length was longer than my forearm.

[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 + nature1 ]


took a walk along Kandahar Street past a little stall owned by an Indian man with a well-fed & contented beautiful brown & white cat, turned into Muscat Street & continued past Masjid Sultan....


where friday afternoon prayers were going on, hence e relatively empty streets. once read a tiny bit about Islamic architecture but as usual have forgotten everything =P also learnt about how climate has influenced Middle Eastern architecture, how e humid tropics have influenced e design of e traditional Malay house, & e significance of courtyards & fountains in traditional Arab homes in AR1722, & read some article by e Egyptian (I think? or was it his work that I read about that was located in Egypt?) architect Hassan Fathy....

wandered down Bussorah Street, which has been done up to become a pedestrian mall lined with little shops selling prayer mats, prayer caps, batik sarongs from Indonesia, beautiful headscarfs, plenty of Made in Thailand souvenirs (that seemed to have been brought in direct from Chatuchak market =P), & small cafes & restaurants. perhaps it was e brick-coloured tiles on e ground, or e instant (seems so) palm trees, but e place seems like it kena HDB-fied like some upgraded neighbourhood centre....

things seemed more natural on turning into Baghdad Street, & spent time exploring e textile shops along e section of Arab Street bounded by North Bridge Road & Beach Road, plus a little basketware shop at e corner of Baghdad Street & Arab Street, before meeting e family later that afternoon for yet another fish-eating session....


e maid brought back e portable & liquefied version of JS from Japan as a gift for e baby ;)


e family in e SBS superbus that has not budged an inch out of Orchard in e past few years....but it was e whale's first time in this bus so it isn't his fault =P

[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 ]

April 01, 2005

Eat Don't Burp & Nice Cheap Sardine Sandwich

yesterday, someone received e good news that she had made it past e final round of interviews at Eat Don't Burp. later that afternoon, 2 more job offers came in from Nice Cheap Sardine Sandwich, making it a total of 3 job offers in a day. not bad for someone with a general & non-Economics degree from NUS Arts who has yet to sit for her honours year final exams.

she was condemned by her own parents & kindergarten & primary school teachers for being slow & stupid, for not being able to differentiate 'b's & 'd's & tell left from right (she was actually dyslexic, but nobody knew what dyslexia was in those days), & for scoring cats & dogs for every exam. Lousy Pupil's Menace almost kicked out of her JC in her second year to prevent her A level results from endangering e school's ranking.

e turning point for her came in university, when she was finally liberated from e shackles of e education system & parents who had cut e slack (in a way cos they thought they had given up on her), & could create more opportunities for herself, even if it meant big fat fights with pesky people who kept harping on e fact that 'nobody/no Arts student has ever done this/been accepted before', & who else but our beloved world class uni wannabe admin. & yep, both of us shared our strategies & tips on how to crack e wor;ld class uni wannabe system - we even shared common foes in their Repository of Outcasts ;) glad that certain things that we'd fought hard against (all e way to e VC's office *evil grin*) have since been changed for e better.

am amazed by e sheer amount that she has achieved in these few years & am so proud of her =)

[ filed under: thewonderingstraycat ]

for e record

Your dad used to live along Orchard Road up till the age of 6, around e site of e erstwhile OG Orchard Emerald, opposite Specialist's Shopping Centre. Your grandfather & granduncle ran businesses in Chinatown. e family was rich, able to afford servants & a house in e Orchard area. Your greatgrandmother was a sinseh who would give free consultations, medicines & even angpows to e poor.

By e time your dad was 6, your grandfather & granduncle had gambled away everything. Singapore was also hit by recession after e Korean War. The family had to move into an attap house owned by your grandfather's friend in Hougang, near today's Blk 232 Hougang Ave 1 (where your maternal grandmother, her eldest son & his family were resettled after e government took away your mother's kampung land) in e Kovan area. There was no electricity or plumbing, & 10 households shared a well.

Your dad attended Pei Dao primary for half a year. The school was in a house owned by e female principal's mother, & e principal's bedroom would be converted into e tuckshop everyday when they sold ice cream & snacks from e room using e bed as a display counter. There was a temple nearby where wayangs would be staged from time to time. These were big events in those days & people would invite friends & relatives to visit them & play mahjong & enjoy e performances whenever there was a wayang in their village. Your dad's teacher at Pei Dao primary would ask e class monitor to declare a half-day so that he (e teacher) could go off to hold afternoon mahjong sessions before e night time wayangs started. e students would be more than delighted to run off & play & so they looked forward to e wayangs coming to e temple =P

One of your grandfather's mahjong & drinking kakis was Wang Zhenfu (unsure of hanyu pinyin, dialect name H|e|n|g C|h|i|n S|o|o), who would come to e house at night for mahjong sessions. He was then e principal (e second in e school's history) of e primary section of Sin Ming High School (today's Xinmin Primary & Xinmin Secondary), & that is how your dad got to transfer into Sin Ming for e rest of his primary school education.

Your grandfather was an alcoholic who could do nothing except gamble, & remained jobless. Your grandmother washed clothes & looked after kids from other families in order to earn some income. Your dad started working when he was 7, selling ice cream after school & earning 2 cents for each sold. In one day he could earn about 50 cents, which he would give to your grandmother, & she would give him an allowance of 5 cents for his breakfast. It was enough to buy something to eat (like 2 slices of bread with kaya jam) or something to drink, but not both. When business was good you dad would earn more & get 10 cents for his allowance (33 years later your mum would give you e same amount for your daily allowance, which would be enough to buy a cup of drink or 1/3 of a saucer of fried rice in e Tao Nan canteen, or 1/4 of a blue ballpoint pen from e Tao Nan bookshop run by your dad's Sin Ming schoolmate =P).

Your aunt (your dad's eldest sis Mang3 Lang1 - Teochew; other sisters are Mang3 Guet4 & Mang3 Siang1, unsure of all spellings) dropped out of Sin Ming when your dad was 9 to work in a factory, as the family could no longer afford to educate girls. She sorted coffeebeans, picking out rotten ones, earning 60 cents for each tin sorted (e tins are e rectangular metal ones that kerosene is sold in, like those industrial grade ethanol tins that you had problems tipping over to pour e contents out when making 70% swab alcohol in your honours lab). In one day she could earn about a dollar (much earlier on your mum had also mentioned about helping her to sort coffeebeans when your dad's family was desperate for money, but according to your mum it was 10 cents per tin sorted).

Your dad started to sell rambutans (years ago there was mention of he & his friends climbing fences & trees to pluck rambutans when Shin Min Wanbao interviewed him), chye tow kueh & other stuff to increase his earnings. At night, he & your uncle (Tong1 Kee4 - Teochew) would go round collecting condensed milk tins from rubbish heaps & wash them with water from e well before selling them to coffeeshops for 1 cent per tin. In one night they could earn 20 cents. Your dad would sleep early & wake up to study at 4am before going to school, & managed to stay within e top 5-10 of his class despite having to work both afternoon & night. When he'd saved enough he bought a bicycle for 5 dollars, which allowed him to cover a greater area & sell things in more kampungs. This also allowed him to travel as far as your mum's kampung (located around e site of present day Xinmin Secondary in Hougang Avenue 8) - at that time his eldest sis had already been married off to your mum's eldest brother, & that is how your parents got to know each other.

When your dad was 12, your grandmother had cancer. About 1-2 years later she passed away when he was about 13-14 (as your dad had told you before, & also recounted in e Shin Min Wanbao interviews, e family had no money to buy her a coffin & it was e school & teachers who chipped in with donations to help them out). From then on he would follow hawkers to e night market to sell things in order to earn more money, but with no time to study your dad failed secondary 2 & was ready to drop out of school.

recorded on 310305 evening on e way home

[ filed under: thewonderingstraycat ]