July 30, 2006


sorting through some old junk, found this photo from a hundred thousand years ago:

1998 aerospace

with colleagues at some Aerospace exhibition during post-A levels pre-uni days of working in a lab in DTTA. went as trade visitors on behalf of e bosses, not knowing what to expect....glad to have worn slacks, given e amount of climbing in & out of planes & helicopters that had to be done. e guys sweated enough to fill a swimming pool, & their long-sleeved shirts (no choice, trade visitor) became almost transparent.

also found a stack of flyers that exhibitors stuffed into our hands, approx A4-size with large pics of aircraft on one side & some specifications/write-up on e reverse. they look something like this:

gripen front
gripen rev

e cat is giving them away FOC. up for grabs are:

- F-22 (Lockheed Martin/Boeing)
- Joint Strike Fighter (Lockheed Martin)
- F-16A & B (Lockheed Martin) [2 copies]
- Nimrod 2000 (British Aerospace)
- Gripen (Saab/British Aerospace) [5 copies, pictured above]
- Hawk 100 (British Aerospace) [2 copies]
- Hawk 200 (British Aerospace) [3 copies]
- MB-339K (Aermacchi)

also one of MDD's Harpoon missile (few scratches), something from Airbus Industrie on A300/310/320/330/340 (dating from 1987 - they were giving out 11 y/o stuff?!), & a brochure each from British Aerospace (on training services & systems) & Evans & Sutherland (on visual systems).

for sale (name your price):

one copy (as good as new condition) each of issue #11 & #15 of Warbirds Worldwide, a magazine that has since ceased publication.

if interested, please leave a contact in e comments for this post.

July 29, 2006

jul 06 - 01

[010706] friend kooning in Bishan central:


[060706] super belated from baby:


who had already eaten half of e Estee Lauder lipgloss taste-alike (according to Pig-pig) Kit Kat! no need for cat mama to scold e baby for eating chocolate without permission, cos baby-in-law will! ;)

[070706] fragile beauty in suspended animation - HP's jasmine tea:


cat like ดอกมะลิ dok3 ma2 li2 flowers (& e light scent), especially when threaded into พวงมาลัย phuang1 maa1 lai1 garlands =)

[080706] Fort Canning Park has large old beautiful trees, with gnarled roots & boughs, & epiphyte-laden branches that form a squirrel highway network =) 10-Q for showing e cat this view.

[090706] for e first time since March 2005, managed to sleep till 5pm =)) heavy rain throughout e day put a stop to e construction work right outside e cat's bedroom window that has been going on from 7am to 11pm 7 days a week ever since then.

[100706] WXY's emotional thesis defence in e Matrix. probably one of e most well-attended, with many friends from other labs & fellow JRFs coming to give their support & wish her well, & she broke down at e end while thanking each & every person who had helped her in one way or another in this long journey =) husband & parents were all there - first time have come across relatives attending a thesis defence, & her dad gave out roses to her labmates!

been amazed by her tremendous spirit ever since VJ days & representing S1 in long jump & 4X400m together =) & won't forget how she whacked many many guys with her 8+min 2.4km timing in J2 =P together with MWN, that would make 2 PhDs from that particular batch from MacPherson Sec? wish her all e best in SF, so happy for such a wonderful girl =))

[100706] Sept 2001 honours field course frog team - from this:

photo by future groom, with e one he didn't know would be his future bride in foreground

to this:

frog team out of e jungle =P

still highly amused by e way things have turned out *grin*

tall frog catcher happily reprised his 'eh you look like you cannot finish, come let me HELP YOU' *reach over to take plate away from under your nose* act again & again, just like in e Phuket days =P but he & LTM still made sure e cat was well-stuffed - e next table had only 5 diners (including a vegetarian) & passed us all their leftovers, so there was more than enough to go around, even with e 2 bottomless pits sitting on either side of e cat.

caught up with LTM during e dinner & on e long bus ride home - for once, no battered station wagon =P he has been to Laos for survey work related to e Nam Theun 2 project (more on e impact of e proposed dam), & his brother has been to some really interesting place (that e cat has forgotten e name of!!) with interesting wildlife for missionary work. & he ta paos food home from e same Hong Kong Street outlet - keep forgetting that he lives (in a pond?) just one bus stop away.

[ filed under: 9_lives_2006 + cats1 + thewonderingstraycat ]

July 28, 2006

tuition teacher's birthday

[020706] another family face-stuffing session - dim sum at Harbour Front Dragon Gate restaurant to celebrate tuition teacher's birthday....e exact same place where man-maid kena Hello Kitty-ed by us in 2005 =P

view from Harbourfront carpark:


as a kid, used to wonder about e lack of seabirds in Singapore. in other countries there would be flocks of screaming terns, seagulls & albatrosses (& even pelicans, petrels, & gannets) diving into e sea & tonnes of bird poop all over e waterfront. e cat has spotted some seabirds on a few rocks off e Changi boardwalk, & that has been about it. is it due to e lack of undisturbed nesting sites & rocky cliffs for rookeries?

tuition teacher was made to change into his birthday gift (a T-shirt), & e shirt he'd changed out of was snitched away & kept safely from him to prevent him from changing back into it. e birthday gift has to be fully made use of, right?

[ photo credit: lau baby ]

& then e family piled into e whalemobile & ended up in Katong Settler's Cafe....

WAH LAU why bring e cat to a place with PINK walls?? *faint*

P7020187 P7020189

jenga....obvious that none of us can make it as civil/structural engineers. e top bit with blocks balanced criss-crossed was e cat's devious idea =P for e record, tuition teacher made it collapse. note lau baby's biologically-incorrect pig-hatching-from-egg T-shirt (pigs oviposit??).

switched to e sofas by e entrance to play pictionary - probably e only game e cat enjoys in such places:


man-maid + baby + cat mama vs. tuition teacher + whale papa. somehow tuition teacher ended up drawing a butt (that none of us could tell was one)....'right as rain' will never sound e same to any of us ever again. this kinda tuition teacher will 教坏小孩子 (bad influence on kids), should e parents still hire him....?

tuition teacher was made to sit by e glass panel entrance to show off his birthday gift:


how much is that ducky in e window?


close-up of e birthday gift - picture contributed by lau baby + wording by bigfatwhale using some online generator:


tuition teacher is supposed to wear this on his next trip back home to Kota Kinabalu, though e family knows that he'll probably do that only with a paperbag over his head =P once upon a long time ago, man-maid asked tuition teacher what Sabah natives refer to themselves as, & misheard tuition teacher's reply - Sabahan - as SABAHUNK =P

somehow we ended up in Eunos MRT station carpark in e whalemobile, cutting white hair from bigfatwhale's head:


SMU underground wushu:


not sure what kinda 八卦掌 (8 trigrams fist?) ballet man-maid is doing? *scratch head*


man-maid takes an invisible hit from whale papa - maid abuse?

whale too lazy to fly, hence e laziest 刮面腿 (scrape face kick?) ever:


wushu terms sound really strange (outer crescent/butterfly/tornado/lotus/etc kick? huh?) when translated for e benefit of non-Chinese & lousy-at-Mandarin Chinese friends....e cat has been extremely tickled by e literal meanings of e supposedly poetic names of certain moves that it has had to learn e.g. hundred cranes airing their wings (do they stink?), beauty looking at mirror (in dismay?) =P

[ filed under: 9_lives_2006 ]

July 26, 2006

jun 06 - 06

[220606] dinner at Liang Court Tampopo with e 2 Ks, former SPS 'room mate' Eff-neee & NYL - SPS 98/99 & 99/00:


Jimmy Liao's 《遗失了一只猫》 Missing My Cat & 《微笑的鱼》 A Fish With A Smile for e 230606 birthday of one of e 2 Ks:

got them more than a month ago after viewing e fiction@love exhibition at e Singapore Art Museum, where she fell in love with e smiling fish.

& then we were off to 72-13 along a rather quiet (world cup soccer season) Mohd Sultan Road to catch Play On Earth by Theatreworks....

interior wall of 72-13:


think this face is beautiful....each & every line has its story to tell - it is so much more than just a face =)

Play On Earth:


e concept just blows your mind....3 groups of actors from different theatre companies staging simultaneous performances in 3 venues on 3 different continents across e globe, connected by internet video links in real-time (plus a bit of connection lag). there was a large screen above e stage, split into 3 sections, one per continent, & a whole row of desks full of monitors & CPUs & more wires & cables than e mountain of spaghetti one would find in an Italian restaurant.

before e play started, e cameras were trained on e audiences & people who'd just had dinner in Singapore, lunch in UK, or breakfast in Brazil watched themselves on their respective sections of e screen, & had fun waving to e others on e other 2 sections & watching them wave back - everyone was visible to everyone else across e different timezones =)

each of e 3 different casts comprised of a lady in red, a man wearing a yellow soccer jersey shirt, & a second man dressed more formally, with e latter two fighting over e lady. plot-wise, nothing to shout about. at one point e 3 different casts even 'exchanged' languages, with e UK actors breaking out in Cantonese so mangled it had e Singaporean audience roaring in stitches =P

e amazing part was how certain scenes were coordinated....in a fight that appeared to transcend past, present & future, a punch thrown by yellow jersey man in one country landed on e other guy - in a different continent & timezone =P in another scene, e 3 groups of actors appeared to be seated together at e same table - made up of e 3 sections of e screen each displaying one third of e table at each venue....& a character in e middle section (UK) reached beneath to pick up a bottle of wine placed on e floor by e Singaporean lady at e left section, & poured himself some before placing it down again, to be picked up by a Brazilian seated at e right end....let's drink together, 4/7/11 hours apart =)

The Pier @ Robertson (left) & Double O (right) along Mohd Sultan Road:

P6220116 P6220117

Robertson Walk - one of e cat's favourite projects along this road:


foreign workers watching World Cup soccer:


no cover charge for sitting on e grass verge - happy that no one chased them away =)

[230606] from Three Teachings by Ven. Tenzin Palmo:

The whole of our Dharma practice is to reduce our Ego, not to increase it....it is not good to become a professional Dharma person, making sure that everybody sees we are very spiritual, we are such good vegetarians, we never smoke, we don't go to karaoke bars, we are not like those worldly people. we are professional spiritual people. we are very pleased with ourselves.

of course e Ego loves this. Ego really pets itself. 'look at me, i'm such a superior person to these deluded people around me, i'm so much more disciplined. i'm so much more ontrolled.'

....we have to be careful that in e Dharma practice our intention is quite pure. because our delusion & our tricky Ego can end up actually reinforcing e very problems which we are trying to eradicate. it just becomes another way for e Ego to sit back & feel very good.

....Singaporeans feel they must always be achieving. 'i must achieve something, i'm going to get something out of it in this retreat....got to do it.' that is very counter-productive . it just creates more tension in e mind, more stress. these qualities of mind of wanting to achieve, of wanting to get something, are tremendous barriers in themselves....

....we are not taking a business attitude into e Dharma realms. e whole idea of achievement is Ego, & we are trying to drop all that. 'i did a hundred million mantras, they did only ten.' we are back again to this quantity issue of 'i did this much, i accomplished that much.'

[230606] belated, from Pig-pig:


given at Ajitei on 010606.

from Action City:


[260606] found outside MPSH1:


more on this yellow-vented bulbul chick: part 1, part 2 & part 3.

[ filed under: 9_lives_2006 + thewonderingstraycat + catfood + art1 + nature1 ]

July 25, 2006

jul 06 - 02

[110706] discovered e French+German section of Kino. Kino vs. Borders: former more cat friendly - shorter shelves (most) = easier to search for titles....towering shelves in e latter gives friends one helluva time hunting for e hidden deaf-to-handphone katek cat =P & Kino always wins because of PageOne & e Japanese section =)

kingyo furin from Kinokuniya:


natsu 夏 + matsuri 祭 + paper scoops for catching goldfish before they (e scoops, not e fish) disintegrate + hanabi 花火 + watermelon + yukata + lanterns come to mind....

from Discovery Travel Adventures' Rainforests + another (forgot e title) book:

coqui, an ovoviviparous frog that skips e tadpole stage, with e young hatching from eggs as froglets....

Hawaiian 'o'o bird Moho braccatus, none sighted since 1985 & believed to be extinct (click here for e only footage known of it)....

e cliffs of Na Pali coast & Kokee State Park in Kauai (places e cat has thought of visiting one day)....

Golden Toad Bufo periglenes from Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica, last sighted in 1989 & also believed to be extinct....

Monte Fitz Roy in Argentina's Los Glaciares NP....

Chile's Torres del Paine NP in Patagonia (another place e cat dreams of visiting)....

tree kangeroos....

king bird of paradise Cicinnurus regius....

leaf tail gecko Uroplatus sp.....

giraffe-necked weevil....

such a big fat interesting world out there =)

[130706] biopolis sunset:


[140706] If you love Singapore too much, first it will break your heart, then it will break your soul - Alfian Sa'at

[140706] biopolis & one north park:


[160706] 2 Ks' world cup soccer bets - part 1 at tanglin mall mcDs:


still 2 X 5 pratas + 30(?) sticks of satay to go....=P

St Regis:


1 = Mr Lamp Head, 2 = Mr Armpit Sniffer, 3 = Mr Armpit Tickler, 4 = Mr Shoe Shine Man (let's not call him Mr Boot Licker =P)

Wheelock Place - one of e few architecturally interesting buildings along Orchard Road:



does anyone ever bother to look up too?

[ filed under: 9_lives_2006 + thewonderingstraycat + nature1 + art1 ]

July 23, 2006

e towel that never dried

LTS, hope you don't mind having parts of your post reproduced here =)

“gadgets” and other extras that made our good trip, fantastic!

1. my friend was robbed of US$300 at the jo’burg airport. because she had little pouches all over the place. i wasn’t robbed because i brought a $1.50 extendable cord that hooked my purse to my pants. this extendable cord also doubled up as a torch hanger at night. see how useful a simple gadget could be!

1. e cat has a tiny little bell (30-40 cents from handicraft shops) in its purse, which alerts it to pickpockets trying to snitch it. e purse (& keys & other important stuff) is also secured to its bag with a lanyard. lanyards/strings are also good for hanging digital cameras & torches around one's neck. useful if you like taking photos at e edge of cliffs or on elephant-back. in Phuket e cat never had to feel around e bottom of a waterfall pool to retrieve a fallen Maglite at night =P

2. in zimbabwe, the inflation pushed the price of a loaf of bread to US$20. i got my maggi mee, my friend stole a packet.

02. stray dogs stole & ate up e guys' maggi mee, which they had left on e shore before we waded out onto e mudflats. e cat had cup noodles in its backpack. unfortunately it had to be shared with e guys =| something that always happens to e extra food & water reserves that e cat carries....guys will always be more than willing to 'help' e cat lighten this load, offering to carry it in their stomachs. e Kinabalu climb comes to mind ;)

3. my friend suffered three days of bad diarrhoea and vomiting (suspected malaria). we almost checked her into a hospital, but i started her on my stock of antibiotics, immodium, febs, hydrolite pills. she was well again.

03. chicken-flavour Maggi mee seasoning packets that have been used as a crude form of oral rehydration salts for bad food poisoning, to flavour rice for half a village, & to remove leeches in Taman Negara.

when e cave we were camping in echoed through e night with e hacking cough of a colleague, Woods peppermint lozenges worked their magic to shut her up & allow e group a few precious hours of shut-eye before another full day of trekking through Taman Negara. unfortunately her coughing was what scared away e rats, & once she fell silent they came out in full force to help us lick our mess tins & utensils clean & raid our stuff =P

4. we had long journeys, our car broke down in the middle of nowhere. there was absolutely nothing to do, but wait. i had to share my MP3 player with her, and our sanity was kept intact.

04. no MP3 player =P fuchsia halcyon & e cat just asked locals to teach it how to sing e Thai 'elephant song' (chang2 chang2 chang2/nong1 khoey1 hen2 chang2 reu2 plaaw3), & learnt from hyper-enthusiastic kindergarten & primary school kids with super-power lungs how to sing/chant e Thai 'alphabet song' (kor1 kai3/khor2 khaay3 lit. 'K' for chicken, 'Kh' for egg)....totally earsplitting experience! =)

5. locals looked unfriendly. but upon showing them photos and videos on my digicam, everyone loosened up, and we enjoyed ourselves so very much.

05. showing locals e photos on your digital camera is indeed a great way to break e ice....& make a whole army of Akha preschool kids descend on you, shrieking with excitement:


it starts with a few bolder curious kids (above left)....& before you know it e cat has been buried in e scrum (above right)

digital cameras are also useful when you encounter important signs/notices in foreign languages that are too lengthy & complicated to copy down in writing:


snap a high res photo of it & hunt for someone (tourist info, hostel staff, local schoolteachers, university students, policemen, even soldiers) who can help you translate =)) above example from e cat's Kyoto trip - underlined in green are e only words/numbers that e cat could understand.

the irony is, she was the one using all the “extras” i carried.

HAHAHAHAHA this is so familiar!! =P has even reached e point where friends treat this cat as a DORAEMON with a magic front pocket from which you can pull out EVERYTHING, & tell one another to 'ask cat for this/that'....insect repellent, drinking water, food (see #2 above), plaster, panadol, soap, safety pin, compass, lozenges, swiss knife, plastic bag, rubberbands, pen, sewing thread, toilet paper, scissors, ziplocs, permanent marker, shampoo, masking tape, carabiner, even sanitary napkins (but this is where their luck usually runs out! =P)....a few lagi bestest, will just tell e cat that 'eh i took XYZ from your backpack just now - i know you sure bring one'....

& e towel that never dried comes to mind - an old towel e cat carries on trips in e tropics as it is thin & dries quickly. on that trip with colleagues to Taman Negara e cat was puzzled as to why this towel never seemed to dry. it would hang e towel out to dry overnight after bathing, but it would still be damp e next morning. until a French colleague said, 'by e way i have been using your towel because i forgot to bring one. hope you don't mind - i forgot all about telling you'....

jun 06 - 05

[200606] Boy stops over in Sg on his way back to Madison - hastily arranged (over phone, email, MSN & ICQ) meet up at Clementi McDonald's - weeeech's shifu mr doraemon, Indonesian penguin, LKY & wife, non-wushu QF, Boy & gf, & owner of 3 fat cats:


one PhD, 3 MScs, 2 PhD candidates, 1 MSc candidate....or 3 Physicists, 2 Mathematicians, 2 Biologists, 1 Statistician & 1 Musician-cum-'rice cooker' (poor Kuan, as usual Chemists are underrepresented), however you see it....but seriously, who could tell from looking? e cat is grateful for e company of & chance to learn from humble, unassuming fine minds =)

one by one each was made to update all on their current field of study/work in LAYMAN terms....non-biologists guessing what MALDI-TOF stands for, teratomas, e correct pronounciation of 'gamelan', e silly reason behind e 'lah' in quantumlah, Physics guy thinking that cytoskeleton refers to e 'internal counterpart'/'opposite' of exoskeleton =P talk about 'M.I.C.s', this is probably one of e ultimate! & which led to LKY floating e idea of organising a symposium for SPS alumni to share with one another their research....

& e usual tales - of e missing glass panel & handles of e mentors' room door, e white ghost with e vacuum cleaner, e utility room door, e 'you have been hacked' print job sent to owner-of-3-fat-cats' home computer & printer by Indonesian penguin from campus, etc - were told & retold....a lot of jokes & laughter & memories later, we parted ways at half past midnight.

[210606] ST Life! ran a feature on Singaporean poet Arthur Yap, who passed away a few days ago on 190606. like e cat, he was averse to e use of capital letters. one of his poems:

a scroll painting

e mountains are hazy with timeless passivity
sprawling monotonously in e left-hand corner
while clouds diffuse & fill e entire top half
before bumping daintily into a bright red parakeet
perched suicide-like on a beautiful gnarled branch
arched by e weight of fruit & one ripe peach
hung a motionless inch from e gaping beak

here is transient beauty
caught in permanence
but of what avail is such perpetual unattainment?

i know e stupid bird can never eat e stupid peach

- Arthur Yap (1943-2006)

think fangus will appreciate this ;)

[220606] from e Dhammapada:

What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind.

from 'Taking Good Care of Our Habit Energies' in All in One, One in All by Thich Nhat Hanh:

...e wonders of life are everywhere, within us & around us. cultivating e habit of recognising them, touching them is very important. e sky may be very blue, very clear, & very beautiful, but if you are caught in your sorrow, caught in your anger, you cannot touch e blue sky....

....a pebble, a cloud, a flower, all are wonderful, all are mysteries. it would be a pity if we cannot be with a leaf, with a flower, with a cloud, with a stream of water, only imprison ourselves in our sorrow & fear....

....there is only one moment when life is available: that is e present moment. your appointment with life is in e present moment. if you are not able to touch e present moment, you miss your appointment with life....

....learning how to go back to e present moment & to live deeply in that moment....

[ filed under: 9_lives_2006 + thewonderingstraycat + art1 ]

July 22, 2006

yellow-vented bulbul - 02

part 1

[050706] more of a tail:


had begun to eat mealworms whole, but only by grabbing them off tweezers inserted into its gaping mouth. 10-Q to little sunshine for e worms & soh tar pia advice =) also ate cooked rice & birdfeed pellets (for bulbuls, from Tanjong Katong Nam Seng bird shop) softened by mixing with a little water.

left it to deal with a whole banana - with skin peeled off one end & underlying flesh mashed up - & soon it learnt that not all bananas come on satay sticks & got e hang of pecking for food on its own. also discovered e joys of bathing. wasn't easy getting it to stop splashing around - never seen a bird happily get itself so soaking wet. afraid that it might catch a chill, e cat's mum towelled it dry....!

to get it to sleep at night, had to carry it into e fish tank, cover it with e lid, turn off every single light on e ground floor & then creep upstairs quietly in e dark, so that it wouldn't try to join us. on some nights it chose to sleep perched on a ceiling lamp or within a trophy cup.

with a longer tail & hours of living room flight training, it could fly up to e curtain rod, which became its favourite perch. also started watching cable TV with e cat's parents, staying up late, & flying upstairs to look for us whenever we went out. first thing to do on returning home was to hunt for it so that it wouldn't be stepped on by accident, given how well it could be camouflaged on parquet flooring. would find it sitting on e stairs, beneath e coffee table, in between Buddha statues on e altar, within a trophy cup, under e sofa, perched on leftover CNY pussy willow, on a clothes hanger on e laundry rack, etc.

[060706] taken to perching on heads:


as well as shoulders, nape & laundry rack:


safe only when it hasn't eaten for a while, so that it won't poop on us. quite a few non-biologists (including a doctor) have suggested toilet training e YVB, but birds simply lack anal sphincter muscles - any unnecessary excess payload is offloaded immediately to conserve energy for flight ;)

part 3

[ filed under: nature1 + 9_lives_2006 ]