November 29, 2005


e cat is back alive, albeit extremely tired (from waking up every morning at 5+am = 4+am S'pore time) + frostbitten upper lip (4-16'C weather, 2'C in mountains) + bad (since upp sec time) knee that had it walking sideways down slopes & staircases + softer smoother fur (effect of 10% humidity that will disappear soon in e 65-90% humidity here?).


answer to those (almost everyone?) who wonder how 2 weeks could be spent on just Kyoto:

13/11: SIN > KUL > KIX

14/11: KIX > Osaka > Kyoto, Shosei-en aka. Kikokutei, Higashi Honganji, Kyoto Station Building

15/11: Kiyomizudera, Sannenzaka, Ninnenzaka, Ishibekoji, Nenenomichi, Maruyamakoen, Yasakajinja, Chion-in, Murin-an, Heianjingu, Shijo-Kawaramachi, Shinkyogoku

16/11: Kiyotaki, Atago-san (+924m), Atagojinja, Gatsurinjinja, Kiyotaki

17/11: Togano-o, Makino-o, Kozanji, Takao, Saimyoji, Jingoji, Kiyotaki, Tenryuji, Arashiyama chirimen museum

18/11: Ryoanji, Kinkakuji, Daitokuji, Daisen-in, Koto-in, Kitayama, Ando Tadao Garden of Fine Art, Kyoto Botanical Gardens, Sanjo-Kawaramachi, Shinkyogoku, Shijo-Kawaramachi

19/11: Kyoto > Tenri (Nara Pref), 天理教本部神殿, Yamanobenomichi, Iwagamijingu, Chogakuji, Emperor Suijin's kofun, Emperor Keiko's kofun, Genpi-an, Sai-jinja, Omiwajinja, Miwa > Tenri > Kyoto

20/11: Kyoto > Ishiyama > Momodani (Shiga Pref), Miho Museum, Momodani > Ishiyama > Kyoto

21/11: Ginkakuji, Daimonjiyama (+400+m?), Imadegawadori, Kyoto Univ campus & history museum, Gion, Sanjo-Kawaramachi

22/11: Nanzenji, Suidokaku, Konchi-in, Nanzen-in, Eikando, Tetsugakunomichi, Honen-in, Gion, Hanamikoji, Gion Corner, Kyouen @ Sanjo Keihan, Sanjo-Kawaramachi

23/11: Saga Toriimoto, Atago-kaido, Adashino Nenbutsuji, Hiranoya, HWY #50, Ochiai, Kiyotaki, Ochiai, Torokko Hozukyo station, JR Hozukyo station, Nijo, Kyouen @ Sanjo Keihan, Teramachi, Shinkyogoku

24/11: Kyoto > Hanajiribashi, 江文神社, Konpira-san rock climbing area (+???m?), Ohara valley, Jakko-in, Otonashinotaki, Sanzen-in, Ohara > Kyoto

25/11: Kitano Tenmangu, Kitano Hakubaicho, Arashiyama, Togetsukyo, Katsuragawa south bank, Okochi Sanso villa, Kameyamakoen, Rakushisha, Hokyo-in

26/11: Tofukuji, Sanjusangendo, Kamigamo-Ishikazucho, Meijingawa, Kamigamojinja, Kamogawa, Demachiyanagi, Higashi-Ichijo, Kyoto Univ, Imadegawa-Karawamachi

27/11: Kyoto > Osaka > KIX > KUL > SIN

OK so one day each was spent in Nara & Shiga prefectures, but still far more than e 'Kyoto at most 3 days' that most told e cat =P & there is still so much left to see in e area!

Sanjo- & Shijo-Kawaramachi is Kyoto's equivalent of Orchard, with all e food + shopping + main CD stores & where many bus services (including e 3 that lead to e cat's hostel) converge, hence e multiple trips there.

total cost = SGD2200 (including all CDs, omiyage & e kooning cat stuffed toy adopted from a toy store in Arashiyama)


met plenty of super helpful & kind Japanese souls & plenty of interesting Japanese, Thai-Australian, Thai-American, Taiwanese, American & Australian room mates & Japanese, Taiwanese, Thai, Malaysian & Romanian hostel mates =)

satisfied its addiction for tempura udon & pumpkin tempura & green tea ice cream & bento =)) how e cat wishes it could transport one konbini outlet each of LAWSON, ampm, Family Mart, 7-Eleven (Japan) & ministop back to Singapore =|

e cat saw blood red maple & yellow ginkgo leaves, stumbled upon e Arashiyama chirimen museum, watched shichi-go-san 'ceremonies' at Heianjingu & Omiwajinja, got followed by plenty of fat cats in e Nara countryside, watched 3 white-haired ah pehs doing technical rock climbing at Konpira-san, watched thousands of Tenri school students perform e 'morning prayer' chanting & hand movements in e 天理教本部神殿 before flooding out to head for classes, chanced upon a Shinto wedding at Kamigamojinja, walked straight into e rowdy Kyoto University's students' autumn fair, had Ryoanji & parts of Tofukuji all to itself, discovered alternative spots to enjoy e same scenery & autumn colours away from e massive crowds (e.g. opposite river bank/mountain slope/building), enjoyed e incredible view of e entire Kyoto city from Daimonjiyama together with almost a hundred kindergarten kids yelling banzai, met e homeless living (with their cats) under e bridges along e Kamogawa, watched Kyoto high school girls perform e balancing act of eating cup noodles while standing on e bus, had a Japanese obasan collapse on it on board e KIX-KUL flight, & said 'nihongo wa dekimasen' a few million times to e human Japanese who thought it was a Japanese neko (& who reacted with disbelief).

e cat has >2.5GB of photos (including all lousy, under/overexposed, out of focus shots) to sort through. so more on this trip later *yaaawwwwnn*

[ filed under: thewanderingstraycat + kyoto_2005 + japanese1 ]

November 13, 2005

京都 haikingu =)


something e cat has to do at least once a year in order to stay sane. not that it is very sane to begin with ;)

time (long overdue) for e cat to pack up & bring its little brain out of e lab & escape from e confines of this island, & let it run free & bounce around in mental s_p_a_c_e & be inspired again. e cat's mind needs a gooooood stretch.

come think of it, e asics duffel bag squashed at e side of e tatonka has served e cat & its family faithfully for more than 15 years & is still going strong!! hard to find things that are made to last nowadays, in a world where even e planet is treated as if it's disposable.

just realised that e cat's inability to lift much more than 15kg is a surefire way of ensuring that it doesn't exceed its airline baggage allowance =P

[ filed under: thewanderingstraycat + kyoto_2005 ]

November 09, 2005

humans *tsk tsk*

[081105] from

"Homo sapiens doesn’t seem able to cut himself off at the supply end. He’s one of the few species that doesn’t limit reproduction in the face of dwindling resources. In other words – and up to a point, of course – the less we eat, the more we fuck....

men can imagine their own deaths, they can see them coming, and the mere thought of impending death acts like an aphrodisiac. A dog or a rabbit doesn’t behave like that. Take birds – in a lean season they cut down on the eggs, or they won’t mate at all. They put their energies into staying alive themselves until times get better. But human beings hope they can stick their souls into someone else, some new version of themselves, and live on forever.”

Crake in Oryx and Crake by Margaet Atwood, 2003


e cat is amazed & delighted to read in e official gahmen mouthpiece ST this morning that someone as influential as MM Lee has voiced his concerns on sustainability & e state of e environment. now can we start doing more about it?


e wanton mee/shui2 jiao3 mian4/carrot cake stall named Jade Garden at #02-03 Blk 44 Holland Drive market/hawker centre has wonderful wanton mee =) perhaps its e gravy that appeals particularly to cats - it has a hint of fish in it - & e long queue of humans who want to join e cat in eating fishy catfood for lunch. lagi bestest, this stall encourages recycling =)

like many hawker centre/kopitiam/foodcourt stalls, Jade Garden charges 20 cents extra for takeaway orders. unlike many hawker centre/kopitiam/foodcourt stalls, it has quite a number of regular customers who bring their own tupperware/tiffin/plastic container + plastic bag & who do not request for plastic cutlery/wooden chopsticks. might be to do with e fact that such customers are not treated as if they're trying to cheat e stall of 20 cents, & e 'lack of fear' on e stallholder's part that customers will hand over dirty containers, kena food poisoning & then *horror of horrors* lodge a complaint with NEA to get their licence suspended. e cat has heard this 'don't sabo me' argument too many times when attempting to ta pao food from foodcourts using tiffin carriers, & asking bakery/deli cashiers to pack more than one bun into a plastic bag =|

so if you ever spot e cat walking out from its workplace carrying its food dish in a crumpled plastic bag (only dogs carry their food dish between their jaws), you can guess what e cat's going to have for lunch =)

[ filed under: thewonderingstraycat + nature1 ]

November 08, 2005

tua3 tai3 ji3

[081105 update] photos finally done!

[181005] e place that is called 'north' despite being situated in e west (OK lah e cat knows enough geography to understand e reasoning behind e name), behind e Ministry of Errors (in exam questions for 12-year-olds), is extra clean today.

as e cat was walking out of this place yesterday evening, cleaners & contractors were out in full force cleaning even e ceiling of e driveway of a building. lagi best, they were hurriedly repainting e ceiling of e lobby of one building. e cat didn't walk through any of e others so it has no idea if there were 6 other painters frantically painting away in 6 other buildings.

e cat thinks that this may have something to do with e totally frantic contractor & totally not frantic foreign construction workers rushing yesterday afternoon to finish up some work beneath 3 sculptures(?) that look like (to all who work in e place) 3 guys running to e loo.


yup, whoever designed e place used e same design for e 3 sculptures AND e signs that indicate 'Male' on all e doors that lead to every single guys' loo in all 7 buildings in e place =P good thing that e 3 sculptures that need to pee appear to be running away rather than towards e waterfall ;)


& e cat also thinks that this may have something to do with e summary execution of a whole row of colourful advertisement signboards that were strategically placed to be hidden by a whole row of less colourful (but far more beautiful) trees. one day e signboards were all felled & left lying on e slope as if they had been hacked off at e signboard-equivalent-of-ankles. a few days later e carnage was cleared, leaving behind e concrete stumps. maybe someone decided that they were far too ugly to have around despite e best efforts of e trees to shield them from public eye. e cat wonders what percentage of e $500 million that it took to build this place do these signboards constitute?

so much for all these (& a lot lot more). guess who's coming? ;)

(despite all e attention paid to ceilings, nope it isn't e tallest of them holding state office)

[071105 update] for e first time ever, e 'sky bridges' linking e buildings were actually used - when that guy came. they were incomplete when we moved into this place, & even after they were completed, remained sealed off. guess they were specially designed for his personal use. too bad for everyone else, we have to continue to walk through e underground carpark to get from building to building whenever it rains, & our dreams of watching glorious sunsets standing in e middle of one of these 'sky bridges' will just hafta remain as dreams ;)

[ filed under: thewonderingstraycat ]

November 06, 2005

that house....

seems empty again.

seems like yet another family in pieces.

seems to e cat that that house is cursed, & not just because e first owner always threatened to pour boiling water on any straycat that dared to wander in.

e anti-cat first owner lived there with her husband & two kids & a maid(s). 'maid(s)', cos they changed maids at least once. e husband slept with them (as in, e maids) all. first owner hated all those who were aware of this chou3 shi4 (lit. smelly matter), which was practically e entire neighbourhood. she also hated those who passed packs of instant noodles over e backyard wall to her maid(s) when her family went overseas, leaving e maid(s) behind locked up in e house without enough food & no $$.

suffer e maids.

after some time e husband stopped appearing.

first owner started to act really strange. standing up on chairs to look over her backyard wall into adjacent houses & shout at e neighbours, telling other maids that their employers were evil, picking fights with neighbours over where they placed their trash bins outside their gates & e direction in which water ran out of their driveways towards her gate when they washed their cars, calling e traffic police in whenever neighbours had visiting relatives/friends who parked their cars outside their (not hers!!) gates, pouring dirty soapy water (from washing her car) onto neighbours' plants, calling in NParks to complain about neighbours' plants growing too tall & obscuring her view & forcing them to cut them down, throwing dead lizards & roaches over e wall into neighbours' driveways & other peculiar stuff, apart from being nasty to e neighbourhood straycats. in one case e harrassment got so bad e case went to court a la E|v|e|r|i|t|t Road.

one day, first owner walked towards Marine Terrace & never came back. according to eyewitnesses & e Marine Terrace shopowners & e black straycat that lives at one corner of e Telok Kurau/Marine Parade junction, she threw herself in front of an oncoming SBS bus at that junction.

some of e neighbours didn't know about this till much later, when they came across an article in TODAY. all e while they just knew that e maid returned to Indonesia, that e kids went to Australia, & that that house was emptied out & put up for sale.

one night a neighbour found a police patrol car parked outside that house, & two police officers ringing e doorbell nonstop & shining torches at e windows, trying to see if anyone was at home. with them was a lady. e neighbour told them that e house had been vacant for some time, & that e husband had been seen moving all e furniture away.

some time later, e same neighbour was woken up one night by e incessant ringing of e doorbell. it was that lady, this time carrying a baby. she asked if anyone had any info that would allow her to track down e husband of e first owner. 'I am his mistress, & this is his baby.' she'd heard that e first owner had died, & thought that she could now come out of hiding after waiting in e wings for so long.

unfortunately, no one knows where he is. & no one knows if she is his one & only mistress, & if e baby is his one & only child out of wedlock.

suffer e children, who pay for e misdeeds of their parents. why do these people become parents?

meanwhile as that house stood empty, all e straycats in e neighbourhood turned it into their hangout & meeting place =P

until e new owners moved in, despite warnings from e neighbours to think twice about buying that house. e new owners were friendly to everyone, including e neighbourhood straycats. but unfortunately that didn't help them much. e family has been split apart, & that house has been put up for sale once again. but this time round e neighbourhood straycats seem to have lost interest in that house, even though it is vacant.

anyone wants to be e third owner?

[ filed under: thewonderingstraycat + cats1 ]

November 05, 2005

kampong glam 05 - misc




Bussorah Street

PB030120 PB030119


Arab Street


Victoria Street


Raffles Hospital lobby's take on 音無の滝 otonashi-no-taki (lit. soundless waterfall, name of a waterfall in Ohara, Kyoto) - e water flows gently down e rear wall, tracing out every groove in e tiles, before merging carefully into e pool below, taking care not to interrupt e thoughts of visitors contemplating e sculpture. which e silly cat was almost conned into thinking that it was made from titanium, before it saw e four (yellow, red, blue & green) spotlights above =P

interesting thing is, when viewed standing up & looking down, it seems as if light is slipping away with e water & ebbing into e darkness; but when viewed seated & looking upwards, e sculpture appears to be rising out of e depths of darkness up towards e warm glow of e light. water + reflection + unobtrusive music + sculpture + lighting + temperature + quiet make this a very calming place =)

[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 + architecture1 + art1 ]

kampong glam 04 - spider lily

Hymenocallis littoralis?

first & last are e actual photos, rest are cropped from e last one.







[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 + nature1 ]

kampong glam 03 - doors



'CMIO' (Arab Street); e mosaic tiles, blinds, square ceiling light, chalk green signboard, blue shutters & metal grille gate - from another time, & another place =) blue shutters in particular remind e cat of e provision shop along e dirt road leading out of e Yio Chu Kang kampung, & dust rising from e road behind e tiny stuffy beige van that was driven by eldest maternal uncle.


'CMIO' without e 'O': [L-R] Chinese, Malay, Indian (Bussorah Street & Arab Street)


modern Indian - artificial mango leaves that will never wrinkle up (Arab Street)


green door, brown door, blue door (Muscat Street)

[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 + architecture1 ]

November 04, 2005


Clithon oualaniensis 小石蜑螺

many years ago, e cat sifted through quite a bit of e 'imported' sand on e artificial beach that is East Coast Park, & found plenty of these tiny (~0.5cm) shells that once house tiny snails.

they have wonderful patterns on them, & no two shells are identical! e cat spent a lot of time admiring them & wondering how e amazingly symmetrical patterns form on them - what exactly controls how pigments are deposited (if pigment deposition is how e patterns are formed - e cat really has no clue) as e shells form & grow? there must be millions & millions of them out there, & millions & millions of different patterns. nature never runs out of ideas =) which is probably why it never runs out of ways to inspire =)

[composed on 300805 & abandoned till 041105]

[ filed under: nature1 ]

kampong glam 02 - mosque




[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 + architecture1 ]

kampong glam 01 - cats

[031105] Kampong Glam on Eid, before meeting fangus, MUI, Synn, sf, wh & sy for dinner at Nadezha Russian restaurant @ 140 Arab Street

kooning cat near Kampong Glam CC:


another heterochromia iridis, outside Nadezha:


Kandahar Street cat + kitten:



[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 + cats1 ]

November 03, 2005

guys in e lab

at one point there was only one guy in e lab, now there are seven! guys are useful to have around, because e cat can barely lift e 14.9kg GSA rotor, & it is totally unable to make e 21.2kg GS3 rotor budge from its place on e centrifuge rotor shelves, let alone lift it up & carry it over to e centrifuge & then lower it down into e chamber.

e cat resorts to spinning >250ml of culture by splitting it up into more than one bottle, or in batches using back e same bottles (so that e pellet accumulates in e same bottle). when it comes to e old giant models of ultracentrifuges, it has no choice but to call for help as it cannot lower e rotor into e chamber without setting off e alarm - by e time its front paws reach somewhere near e bottom of e chamber, e cat itself has disappeared almost halfway into e centrifuge =P

e cat figured out that 10kg is around e maximum that it can carry with its front paws & walk for a distance, when it had to fetch MQ water from another lab to its UROPS lab (literally tiao1 shui3) using 10 litre carboys. that lab (& e neighbouring ones) had no trolley, so e cat cheated a few times by kidnapping a lab stool with wheels when nobody was looking =P

honours year taught e cat that 1/3 of its weight is e maximum that it can lift with its front paws, when it ended up in a lab that had only 20 litre carboys! but that lab had a trolley, or e cat would have never made it from e 6th floor to e 5th alive. & e boss still had e cheek to ask it why it didn't fill e 20 litre carboy to e max *BISH*

e other females in e lab are happy with more guys around too, because they are useful for things like moving CO2 & N2 cylinders (taller than e cat!), carrying heavy things down from high shelves, & lifting up e xiao3 he2 dan4 (little atomic bomb aka. e liquid N2 transporter/dewar) to top up e liquid N2 biological storage tanks.

think e guy who used to be e sole guy in e lab (apart from e boss) must be damn relieved *hiakz*

[ filed under: labrat ]

telok kurau meow & singapura meow

[021105] fat cat met a fat fat cat:


fat fat cat's left ear is tipped, no idea why it's so huge? maybe this explains e 2 thin thin black cats down e road, which share food from e same feeder with this fella ;)


yet another new colleague today, crossover #2 from e institution of banana-engineering, which according to him, has already lost about 30 monkeys (including 6-7 alpha males) out of about 200(?) since e start of e year.

this monkey is from Segamat, adding to e diversity of e lab menagerie (Inner Mongolia, Johor Bahru, London, Hubei, Turkey, Kunming, Singapore, Jakarta, & 3 different parts of India - e Swiss & French have left). & e cat had to go through this yet again:

where are you from?

followed by:

you're local?

followed by:


happens at every introduction at work, seminars, conferences, trips abroad, whatever. now e cat knows just what it feels like to be a Singapura cat. nobody, including Singaporeans & Singapore cat breeders & cat fanciers, believes that you are from Singapore. except maybe for a few deluded American cat breeders who have never met a real Singapore cat on e streets here, & e even more deluded (since they appear to believe e Americans rather than e Singaporeans) Singapore Tourism Board.

in KE7, e Malaysian JCRC president & hon gen sec both thought that e cat was a fellow Malaysian, & wondered why e cat was appealing for master's list when it had 10 times e ECA points required for foreigners to keep their place in hall & was high up on e room draw rankings =P

oh you're not born here?

aahhhh no wonder

this seems to explain everything to these people, despite e fact that e cat has 100% Teochew & Hokkien Singaporean parents & grandparents. these people make pretty strong believers in e environmental component of genes+environment=phenotype. especially when e cat was imported into Singapore (no quarantine! =P) via Heathrow & Paya Lebar airports when it was just a months-old kitten *grin*

[ filed under: 9_lives_2005 + cats1 + labrat ]

November 01, 2005

heterochromia iridis

[011105] realised that e date of this post was accidentally set at 15 years ago (1990) & it ended up buried in e archives!


majority stare back at you like this:


minority that have heterochromia iridis give you a little surprise when uploading your photos:


more frequent occurrence in non-humans, e.g. Siamese & some Persian cats (e above is a some sort of Persian mix), huskies & even water buffaloes. think such cats are highly valued in Thailand?

[ filed under: cats1 ]