Thursday, October 4, 2007

Life in the land of the rising sun

And so the first 2 weeks hava passed here in japan and well while in the main, things have been gg well, I muz admit i'm still adjusting to life here. It's the process of getting to know ppl again that I think is getting to me; the process of deciding who u are, how u should behave, who u should be. Don't get me wrong, the people here are really friendly, some even go to great lengths juz to make more friends and I think that's great. But it gets to me coz everyone's too busy trying to know more ppl, I can't seem to hold a REAL conversation. I mean I find myself having to speak in an american slang juz to make myself understood. When I speak in my singapore accent they either look at me dumbfounded or u can see from their expression they're finding it hard to understand.

There are some singaporeans here but only a handful. I'm the only one on exchange though, so it can be hard to strike up a conversation. Juz very different frequency. U get the feeling some of them are here becoz they hate our system, and with that they seem to hate those that accept the system. I dun get it. The only reason why u're even able to make it her in the first place is BECAUSE the system allows u to. Don't condescend me juz because I chose to bleed the system instead of fighting it. Sure it has its problems but no system is perfect right? I admire ur strength and courage in fighting for what u believe in and restarting ur life in a foreign place, but could it be that it takes even more courage to grind out a life in the oh-so-imperfect system that brought u up? Ur disdain for the system is understandable, I myself bitch about it all the time, but perhaps u should still respect the views of those who actually still like it.

The system here in japan is far from perfect anyway, but I shall be respectful and not badmouth it while I have such limited exposure. What I MUST bitch about is this STUPID japanese language proficiency test that I was made to sit. For all japan's famed efficiency, my school makes u do a shitload of waiting and queueing for something to get done. I went for my test at 1pm but by the time I was done it was oredi 5.45pm lah! I counted the actual time of me doing tests was about 2hrs MAX! The others was all waiting.

When I went there we had to WAIT for another truckload of latecomers before we could start. The test was a hiragana test which I finished in like 30 seconds. BUT I had to WAIT for the examiners to mark finish EVERY DAMN PAPER becoz those that passed had to take another more advanced test! What was worse is for all of japan's famed technology, the examiners chose to write every single ID number of those who failed the test on the BLACKBOARD (who the fuck still uses chalk and blackboard these days?) despite the availability of projectors and computers in the room. So we WAIT lor. Wait until all the ID numbers one by one write finish lor.

I was oredi sian 1/2 oredi neh mind. So finally I took the second test, and that was easy too, I finished it in like 3 minutes. THEN the process of WAITING START ALL OVER AGAIN! Coz again, if you passed this test you had to take another even more advanced test. And so it was I had to WAIT for EVERY SINGLE PAPER to be marked again, and WAIT for EVERY SINGLE PERSON who failed the test to have their ID number written on the blackboard again ONE BY ONE.

And if you think that was the end of my torture, far from it. The third paper had 2 parts, and we were given the vocab and grammer part to do first (which I sucked at, so I finished quite quickly). Then I had to WAIT for everyone to finish that section before going on to the next section because it was listening comprehension! To put the nail in the coffin, when the results were out a few days later, I was posted to the most basic japanese foundation class along with the jokers who didn't pass the very FIRTST test! Sigh… it’s even tiring to type all this out. Grrrr… the pent of frustration…

Another thing I shall bitch about is the unexpected startup costs I’ve been incurring. I love my mum so much now, because she takes care of so many things that are just IMPOSSIBLE to anticipate. You think cooking would be cheap huh? But what you didn’t think is you need pots, pans, spices and sauces just to make a decent thing out of a piece of meat or a bunch of vegetables. There’s only so far a friggin bottle of soy sauce can take you. And I sure learnt some cooking lessons the hard way, for example the first day I cooked rice, I realized I had no rice cooker, so I had to use a pot. And coz I was so scared that I would burn my rice, I took an entire 50 MINUTES juz to cook my rice. Oh and I managed to screw up my pasta (how the hell do you do that right?) and my chicken wings. Oh and did you know, oyster sauce can actually burn? It’s from there I learnt the beauty of a low heat fire. Patience is a virtue in cooking I guess. Now the beautiful question is, if I use my one and only pot to cook my rice, what am I going to use to cook my food then? Conundrum conundrum… Have a strong urge to buy a non-stick pan, coz mine is pathetic. It manages to screw up my omelet even after I put a shit load of oil on it first. Damn… See? Who would think non-stick pans are so important? So sidikit sidikit lama lama jadi bukit lah, I’m way overspending right now and trying desperately to bring down my expenditure. Maybe I really muz gain nirvana while I’m on top of this mountain…

That’s it for now, for photos, can go to my facebook (juz look for my name can le), coz the photo uploading system there is so much way simpler to use. Jaa, mata aimashoo!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lazy Blogger

*Ok I actually wrote this on the plane to Japan, and fell asleep at the end so it looks a bit incomplete. But I'm posting it up anyway.
Ok and so i'm a lazy blogger. My previous entry was like in july which was more than 2 months ago, even before I came back from shenzhen. Ever since I went back to singapore though it's been whirlwind. Got involved with campus tv's 2nd episode, the spoof episode, and that took up the bulk of deceit y time. Been furiously attending the different talks by the banks as well, and of course I went throug a 4 week intensive course on the japanese language.

And so it begins again, my exchange trip to japan. I frankly haven't been looking forward to it as much as my shenzhen trip though. Several reasons, but mainly coz I feel i've juz gotten back to singapore not long ago and nw I have to go again. But i'm approaching it philosophically. I'm gg on a trip to drastically improve my japanese which would hopefully give me a competitive advantage in the future. The linguistic experience that i've always wanted is finally here. Here's me keeping my fingers crossed that it'll all be worth it!

Since i'm nt really there yet, I shall update on what's been up between shenzhen and nw. Well for one the EPL season has started again! Soccer khaki Favian once said I should blog abt soccer on my blog coz my analysis of things are interesting, but I figured i'd give it a shot anyway for 2 reasons: I have a fantasy football team (which has juz only been average so far this season) and also i've started becoming a pundit for teekay's campus radio show (i think it's called the six-pack show if i'm not wrong, it's about sports and gyming which teekay is an absolute expert in). Anyway, this season has been extremely exciting for me for the fact liverpool have been doing extremely well! They came out of the blocks from the first whistle and have been gg strong so far. I swear rafa benitez made the team eat steroids before the 6-0 drubbing of derby. I hope the team doesn't rest on their laurels though, the first hiccup was oredi hear during last weekend's draw against portsmouth. But i'm philosophical abt it. Harry redknapp really strengthened during the summer with sulley muntari and john utaka looking like astute signings. No wonder david nugent couldn't get a game. With steven gerard and his broken toe and torres injuring his knee during the midweek international fixture, rafa put out a team which I half-expected. He's using the squad and I support him for doing that. I mean what's the use of paying crouch 20,000 pounds a week if u dun use him right? 20,000 pounds a week leh, u think what? Pounds is toilet paper ah? Convert to sing dollars that's 30,000 bucks a week leh, most people are lucky to earn that in a year! Then ppl say he didn't perform, but I think that's not fair to crouchy. He hardly kicked a ball since pre-season and suddenly he come back from internationals and he's expected to turn on like a 18 year old on viagra, cannot be right? So all u critics lay off crouch lah, hope he plays against porto tonite while i'm on the plane to fukuoka.

Ok for the sake of my non-soccer watching frens I better move on to next topic. I've been attending so many career talks by the banks, as yuhui aptly put it, it can almost be considered as 1 more mod man. My favourite was the BP talk and the macquarie talk though. Both gave me an insight of wat being a securities or commodities trader is like in a fun and relaxed way. Better than the suits of credit suisse and deutche (sp?) bank at least. Now I feel i'm willing to take either of those 2 paths. But are the companies willing to hire me then? The odds at BP were said to be 8 out of 3000. With a gpa of 3.5, maybe I shouldn't put my hopes too high lah.

I juz finished ctv's spoof episode and I muz say i'm really excited to see the end product this friday. I've always had high regard for ctv's episodes and i'm really glad to finally part of one! It has made me feel old though. I've seen the freshmen come in and listened to their baby woes of LTB, AS and CT, it really made me feel weary. But then again these freshmen gave me new hope for the club and I really think the BE camp gave us a good bunch of people we can work with. Nw if only the IS freshmen aren't so caught up academically. There's so much talent there we need.

Then there's the "LN, u haven't graduate yet ah?" comments. Wah lau fren, i'm entitled to a 4th year also ok fyi? Since 2nd year i've been hearing this oredi. Granted i'm now and OBS (old bird senior) but i'm really nt that fantastically old leh. But perhaps there's some truth in it. I've perhaps been ard for too long le. A new generation is emerging, and i'm more than happy to hand over the reigns. I juz hope the next generation takes ownership of what has been built at BE. The club is mine, and will always be mine, but it's everyone else's too. Do ppl see that? LN, jac jac, jasmine, jeremy, heyuan and yuhui can only be ard for so long. We can only hope another generation shares our love for the club.

Friday, July 6, 2007

2 more myths about China

My department had a confirmation dinner yesterday, coz 3 of my colleagues received their confirmation and a raise this week. From last night's dinner/KTV I found out another 2 truths about the Chinese, which links nicely with yesterday's post:

1) Some Chinese really can be ngiao poks
Of the 3 colleagues who received their confirmations, 2 were junior staff and 1 was a senior supervisor. Last week during our department meeting my manager told the senior supervisor to organize the dinner. In the meeting the guy told everyone he will come up with 400 bucks and everyone cheered. So my manager told the other 2 junior staff to come up 200 each. Yesterday when it came to paying the bill, the guy told the other 2 junior staff to give him their 200 each and he will settle the bill. However, we just found out that the bill only came up to 500 plus, which means he only paid 100 plus of his own money and the 2 junior staff paid more than him. Now, the 2 junior staff earn so little they barely have savings. I even had to lend one of them the 200 which he will pay me back after payday next week. Now this is a guy that has been having trouble commanding the respect of some of the more experienced junior staff. After this debacle I have no idea how the dude is going to recover from this career suicide man. Conclusion: Some Chinese can appear generous, but they can really be ngiao poks!
2) Some Chinese really have no sense of rhythm
My ears were almost bleeding at the KTV. I dun claim to be Pavarotti or have a good enough voice to criticize other people's singing, but seriously, yesterday I couldn't believe my ears. The 2 girls that were fighting for the mics singing one song after another were realy quite bad. Ok so they didn't go out of tune, but it was seriously out of rhythm man. You know how at KTV you're suppose to singalong when the words turned blue? These 2 girls absolutely didn't care man, they just sang all the words as soon as they appeared, like they were afraid the other girl would sing finish the words first. They made soppy ballads sound like a Jay Chou rap man. Sometimes, the words couldn't change fast enough for them and they had to wait. Some of us were trying to singalong and get them into rhythm, but these 2 simply were too much into their own world. I dun wanna be rude, because these 2 girls have been absolutely nice to me. But seriously, wassup with that man? Count dammit, count!
That's all folks! *Cue in Looney Tunes them*

Thursday, July 5, 2007

random thoughts

2 weekends ago was fun, coz I managed to go to a resort on the outskirts of Shenzhen where Suzanna's mum was staying and teaching English. The food was fantastic, the buffet and seafood was a good break away from from chinese fastfood which have been part of my daily diet here. And the awesome seafood was sooooo friggin cheap it made the meal so much tastier. Crabs and prawn porridge, am pan yong tau foo, shellfish and some fantastic rabbit fish for the three of us only cost 30SGD!!! Sue's mum is sure living it up there despite the hectic work! And the swimming was soooo utterly relaxing, it was really a good pick-me-up to get me through the remaining days here in Shenzhen.
Last weekend though was a bummer. I wanted to go visit the attractions here in Shenzhen but it kept storming and storming here, it was impossible to get out. What did I do? 1) Watch copa america. The football coverage here is second to none as long as you can stand the unexciting chinese commentary. 2) Watch Friends. I've been watching Friends from the beginning of season 1 and by the end of the weekend I was at season 3 already. I've never been able to catch Friends consistently in the past although I absolutely love the show due to time constraints and forgetfulness. But watching it from the beginning has been great because I now know some of the things Ross and Rachel have been through just to get together. I find it quite amusing at how everytime Ross walks into a room or Central Perk and then give that Hush Puppies face and a sappy "Hi" to everyone. His life always has something cocking up. And man his seeds are sure as hell potent. I guess the show was successful in the beginning because of how they openly joked about sex. But as the show went on season after season you can feel they always try to refresh themselves and take relevant dramatic directions rather than just becoming a one trick pony. I guess that's how you last for 10 seasons huh?
I totally missed that BE townhall meeting thing and I've been getting mixed responses about it. For those uninformed SMU Broadcast and Entertainment has been owning my life for about the past 3 years and when you put so much time and effort into something is hard to totally let go when your time is up. I still care a whole lot about the club even things haven't exactly been rosy. It's not a management fault really, but we really need more people to step up and pull together. It's a chronic problem not only for BE, but for most clubs in SMU that we have too many things to do and too little people. But one thing I know for sure, we're not a club on decline, and it's not doom and gloom like how some people on the outside make it out to be. We just gotta keep believing in the things we're doing and keep the family spirit we've tried so hard to build. To all you Be-ings out there, the light at the end of the tunnel is the incoming freshmen friends. Let's really try to bring 'em into the family quickly and really include them in doing things with us. We didn't do a very good job at that in the past, but we're in the position to change that. It's not a 6 week or 8 week thing where we entertain the freshmen and then forget about them. Let's get them helping us from day one, with or without training. And let's have more suppers and Citadel sessions together, we dun SAF (Serve And Fuck-off) right? My time with you guys is really going to be up soon, especially when I leave for exchange and when I grad. But I'll forever remember I have a family in SMU, and you are that family.
Ok I'm gonna attempt to de-mystify a few myths and revelations I've been having from my stay here in Shenzhen, so here it goes:
1) Chinese people can stink too
That's right folks, a lot a lot of chinese people here suffer from a chronic case of bad body odour. And most of the times it makes my bus rides really unbearable. Mostly I try to take individual seats, but usually I dun have a choice, and 95% of the time when someone comes to sit beside me, that person has bad body odour. And I dunno about you, I used to think it was impossible for girls to have body odour. I remember when I was younger a whole bunch of us would exercise together, badminton, jogging, bball etc. All of us can be sweating like pigs but the girls would still smell like they just came out of the shower. But tmd the girls here can look young and fashionable BUT STILL HAVE BODY ODOUR! I blame it on 2 things: Firstly, many Chinese people here dun bathe everyday. I can understand it if it's in the winter and you hardly break a sweat all day. But apparently it happens even in the summer. Secondly, did you know the Chinese here have no access to deoderants? It's so WTF unbelievable right? I didn't think it was possible too until my filipino friend Philip told me. Lucky I brought my own, if not I'll end up smelling as well. Conclusion: Chinese people can have BO too.
2) Chinese girls really dun shave their armpit hair
This is really WTF WTF man. There was once a female colleague was talking to me at my desk, so I was sitting down and she was standing up. In order to maintain eye contact I had to look up right? Then, she started tying her hair. In the process inevitably she had to raise her hands right? And since she was wearing a sleeveless top, two tufts of armpit hair was just staring me at the face and try as I might I couldn't tear my eyes off them. Another female colleague was worse. I was walking behind her and I suddenly realized that even with her hands down, hair was peeking out of her pits. Now guys, what can possibly be more of a turn off than that???
3) Just because I can speak chinese, doesn't mean I always understand what the Chinese are saying.
Sometimes I even think it's unfair. I wanna tell them look man, accents, articulation and speed all play a part ok? Sure sure, it's my government's fault for making the school teach us 标准 pronounciation. But dun lose your patience with me just because I need you to repeat or explain things to me what. Yes, I know there's a friggin queue, but I dowan to end up eating horse manure for my dinner just because I dun understand what the middle finger you're saying coz your tongue is so frigging lazy to move right?
All right, time to reply a few comments, coz for the life of me I can't understand why everytime I try to post a comment the page is not found.
To Ray: I miss you guys too. I'll be back soon ok dude, 2.5 more weeks nia!
To Seow Yee: Thanks for enjoying that entry! I'll be here until 21st July, and my hp no is on my MSN. Gimme a call if the timing fits!
Ok I'll try to put up a tagboard once I'm back in Singapore. Here is just impossible coz the internet is so unpredictable. I type all these in word first then paste into blogger, coz I dunno how stable the connection is. I dowan to type for 1/2 hour and then when I click post the page is not found, you can just want to kill yourself after that.
Ok cheers peepz, really looking forward to seeing everyone soon!!! 2 more weeks!!!

updates soon

Ok I know I haven't been updating and I'll do one in the afternoon, but I saw an article on today online that I felt really strongly about so I'm posting about it first. The NKF scum of a Chairman Richard Yong has been caught in Hong Kong! That's justice man. If I could I would've personally crossed the border and hoot the mudder f**ker. TMD the most bo ji fella I've ever seen. You have the guts to break the law and earn that big fat paycheck when thousands and thousands of people suffering from kidney problems need the money, but when things cock up you zao lor. Mudder never teach you properly ijjit you bloody one testicled swine! Hope you pick up the soap bar in a friggin gay prison!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

another trip to civilization

Ed and Ray muz be damn happy to read my blog coz it’s like I am giving them a pre-exchange recce from my trips to HK. I think I’ve really fallen in love with HK. But then again, that’s not hard considering I’ve been in recluse from civilization in an ulu part of Shenzhen.

Ok ok I know what many of you are thinking. “ULU? YOU CALL YOUR PART OF SHENZHEN ULU?” I can just hear my fellow intern Yi Yong, who is at Jiaxing, screaming into my ear. Chill chill, I dun mean recluse from civilization as recluse from people per se. I’m in the home of 1 billion people, trust me when I say there are more than enough people around here. When I say “civilization” I’m really referring to a more refined culture. In Hong Kong, the streets are clean (Susanna might think otherwise but dun bother about her, she hasn’t been to my side of PRC so she has no idea what she’s talking about…), the people are friendly, knowledgeable and can speak decent English/Chinese.

This trip I played my cards a little different from the previous one. Sue’s mum was in town at the same time so I didn’t think it would be nice to impose myself on her. Plus, my Filipino colleague, Philip, wanted to recce HK as well coz his relatives would be going there next month.

That’s me and Philip on the KCR to Hong Kong. We reached East Tsim Sha Tsui where the hostel we booked was at a tad early, so we decided to go for some breakfast at a 茶餐厅 (Tea-meal restaurant). The wanton mee we ordered was fantastic, and I got to chat with a family of Singaporeans as well. Listening to Singlish once again was like music to my ears, but I guess it’s just me. I didn’t bother to take pictures of the wanton mee lah. I mean come on, we have wanton mee at every hawker and food court, here was not very much dinner. Then again, it’s nice to have wanton mee again. I’ve been eating way too much Chinese 快餐 (fast food). Philip got a real taste of how expensive HK is. The bill came up to HKD$62 for 2 persons, when he thought it was HKD$26 – which is what we’re used to paying in Shenzhen. That’s the price of civilization I guess.

We then went to check in at our hostel which I managed to book online and here’s what it looked like:

Ok I wasn’t too disappointed. The mattress was slightly shorter than me, so Peter Crouch would’ve had a problem. Then again, if I’m Crouch then all the ang mos staying at the hostel were Yao Ming (more on Yao Ming later). And this is the toilet:

Ok the toilet is really small but I was oredi mentally prepared from my last visit to Sue’s place. At least it had hot water. Anyway, Philip and I had no intention to stay in the hostel much. We were only there for 2D1N and we wanted to make the most of it.

So after checking in, we immediately set off to Victoria’s Peak! I knew Madame Tussaud’s was there so I really wanted to go there. Plus it was the highest point of HK so it promised to have a wicked view. When we reached there we were quite shock at how long the tram queue was. After half an hour queuing half the way under the hot sun a lady gave us a pamphlet and told us if we wanted to go Madame Tussaud’s we could buy a combo ticket and could jump to the front of the queue. Great. Buay hiao zar gong lor (DUNNO HOW TO SAY EARLIER)! So we bought the ticket and I took a pic of myself and Li Ka-Shing!

So this is the dude that donated $10m for the SMU library huh? More famous people later. But first, this is how HK looks like from the Peak:

Cool huh? Ok lah, I wish the lighting was nicer, but then again I have a idiot-proof camera and not one of those fancy DSLRs. Even if the lighting was better my camera wouldn’t have captured it. You gotta be there to see it for yourself.

We came down and went to Madame Tussaud’s (side note: Ray-Ed-JH, remember the “Madame Tussaud’s” we saw outside Zouk in year 1? Hahaha…) Starting the ball rolling is Michelle Yeo!

The Jay Chou was damn disappointing. He didn’t even look like the real deal.

Here’s me acting like a wannabe with Jay’s Piano.

Me and Hugh Grant.

Leslie Cheung.

George W. Bush at his stupidest.

Saddam agrees with me.

And Albert Einstein thinks so too.

Here’s me acting all espionagey with Pierce Brosnan.

This is my favourite part. I was trying to be Tony Leung a la Infernal Affairs (insert your preferred number here).

Here are my mug shots.

Think Andy Lau was one of the best statues liao.

Then I started to get in the mood for love. First with Leon Lai…

Then with Bae Yong Jun.

I must miss my baby too much. Here’s my pathetic attempt on blocking Yao Ming’s shot. It was apparently his real height and I was already tip-toeing. The dude is about twice my height lah!

Beckham looked plasticky.

And I pretended to be Tiger Woods’ caddy. My dad would be so proud!

Me and Michael when he was still blackish.

Madonna’s boobs were asking for this pic.

I dinch touch it lah ok? Teresa Teng. She kinda looked like…

Miriam Yeung! I took this one for my baby, coz she’s such a fan.

And finally no Chinese Madame Tussaud’s visit would be complete without a pic with the legendary Bruce Lee!

We came back down from the Peak and admired the sky scrapers, but one particular one caught my eye:

It got me all nostalgic as I suddenly remembered watching TVB dramas and people bashing down doors shouting “香港ICAC!!!” Ok lah, dun mind me. Anyway, we were ready for some shopping, so we headed for Times Square. I figured if there’s a Times Square in the country you’ve got to see it right? So we went.

Times Square was disappointing. Let’s just say the shopping there is ssooooooo out of our range. You want original branded goods, Times Square is the place for you. But but but, all was not lost because we had KRISPY KREME!

After more hype than Shevchenko going to Chelsea I finally got my hands on some of their doughnuts. Honestly, I think they’re a little over-rated. Tastes like normal doughnuts nia mah. Except it’s got like fancy toppings. Luckily we didn’t have to queue AT ALL for it. Ok lah, they didn’t flop like Shevchenko. Maybe more like Ballack.

We decided we weren’t going to buy anything at Times Square unless we were Paris Hilton, so we gave up and went back to Tsim Sha Tsui. There we walked along Nathan Road (lots of shops there) and found our way to the Temple Street Market. Ok granted we were a little too early since it was a night market after all and when we reached it was 4pm, but there wasn’t really anything much for us and you sensed you had to bargain really hard to make any purchase worth it since it was all fake stuff. So we left for a late afternoon siesta back the hostel.
When we came back out, it was to meet Sue and her mum to watch the Symphony of Lights show at the Star Ferry Terminal. Here are some pics that I took of the night skyline.

The show was not bad, though it was a tad short. Basically the lights of the different buildings would light up in different colours and patterns according to some music. I think the STB could easily emulate it. Then again, that would be damn copycat, and I think their HK counterparts would be really pissed off.

After the show was dinner at this sidikit atas place near at the Ferry Terminal. Here’s a pic of me and Sue at the restaurant. Don’t ask me what she did to her hair. And dun ask her either lest you don’t treasure your life very much.
After dinner we headed down to the infamous Lan Kwai Fong for drinks. If you ask me the place had way too many ang mos and way too little locals. And the drinks were EEEXXXXPPPEEENNNNSSIIIVVEE!!! But ok lah, the company was fun and we played finger guessing games. Even Sue’s mum joined in! Cool hor?

Check out the number of cabs waiting for passengers.

When it was time for us to take a cab then I realized why. The cabs are EEEXXXXPPPEEENNNNSSSIIIIIVVEEE!!! Sigh the price of civilization.

We took the chance to sleep in that night, but I started stirring up earlier coz I was having a diarrhoea. In fact I was having it since Saturday early afternoon, so I think it must’ve been something I ate on Friday night. Nevertheless it was bearable, so we had our breakfast and headed to Mongkok for its 女人街 (Ladies’ Street). The shopping there was so much better than all the places we went the previous day. And the Espirit Factory Outlet is there, I can imagine why the ladies would go crazy when they are here. Gonna save up aggressively and splurge on the next trip there!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

inside joke

Ok, you'll probably only appreciate this post if you're a HR major. Then again, I'm sure if you did LTB or MPW you'll probably also have heard of it - Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. And for today's insider's joke, I present to the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs... IN CHINESE!!!

(Abraham Maslow,1908~1970) 马斯洛是美国著名社会心理学家。在他一生中,最为光辉的一页就是提出了人类“五大需要层次”理论。



I know what you're thinking - this is an absolutely WTF post. Hehehe... I somehow find this extremely amusing.

long time no post

And the reason for that is because I haven't exactly been doing anything much lately. I blame it squarely on the rain and the gloomy skies. The weather here is more unpredictable than Singapore man. Ok lemme correct myself. It's slightly predictable, like in a pattern of pour-blazing hot sun-pour-drizzle-drizzle-pour and then the cycle repeats. TMD how to go anywhere like that? It doesn't help that all the umbrellas in the villa I staying in all look damn faggoty lah. A house of all men and the umbrellas are pink and purple. I mean WTF right? Sorry, what is that? Buy an umbrella you say? Then you do not know me to well do you? LN comes with umbrella not included. Umbrellas are just plain troublesome lah, and I guarantee you 95% of the time I will lose it, the other 5% of the time I'll probably spoil it.

Anyway, I donated a 100RMB yesterday to a colleague whom I've never met who is suffering from cancer. I somehow felt compelled to donate because this poor lady is only in her 30s and has given her working life to the company. And what's her return for slogging her life away like this? Breast cancer. And the worst part is her family can hardly support the treatment. Being single, she was the key breadwinner for her family. I thought that that really has to suck man. Couldn't help but felt that what if this sort of thing happens to me, I'll just 跳楼自杀 lor. So my department started to ask for donations from the workers and the response has been disappointing. Some of the managers donate only like 5 yuan lah! KNN your pay how much? This is your dying colleague leh, she only worth 5 yuan to you ah? So ok lah, 20 bucks SGD, my conscience feels better. At least it goes directly to a sick person and not some charity that will give only 1% of my donation to the patient. And some CEO will not run away with my money either.

I'm listening to the new Linkin Park album, Minutes to Midnight. I have mix feelings about it. I've been an LP fan since their first album. I liked their music even before they got onto the airwaves - Hybrid Theory was ground-breaking at that time. Fans clamoured for more and hence came along Meteora two years later. Minutes to Midnight is not ground-breaking, but it is a transition for the band to a different sound. Granted, this is probably the most technical album to date - the band is exploring with different sounds and techniques of making music. This also comes from getting a new producer. But it also means they've departed from nu-metal. The album sounds a little confused honestly about what kind of sound the band really wants. I can hear influences from U2 here and there, but the "new" sound now means their music are not destressors, more emo-rock. Which begs the question - with Limp Bizkit also a thing of the past where do I go look for nu-metal music?

Reminds me of this Jay Chou interview that I read/heard about (can't remember). The press asked Jay Chou why does his music all sound the same, and his reply was that his music sells, so why should he change? True dat true dat. You buy a Jay Chou album, you know what you're gonna get. And contrary to critics' belief, some people actually do like to listen to him mumble to catchy beats. It's like I buy a John Grisham book I kinda expect to read a thriller about American Law. They are not the same, but they are essentially about the same thing. The reason he comes up with so many books is because he is doing the same thing in different ways - writing different law thrillers. Then suddenly he writes a book about baseball and living in a countryside and we fans get confused. This is what's happening to Linkin Park.

My company had a basketball game last night and I went to support the team at some primary school (It wasn't like I had plans anyway). I was quite surprised when I got there. This primary has 3 basketball courts, 10 ping pong tables, a track and an astro-turf for soccer. That was like what I had for my poly lah! Was it because of the sheer size of the school population? I've no idea. Anyway the game was a bummer - there was NO GAME. The opponents never turned up, so it was a walkover. I thought it was about to become a silly waste of time (of which didn't bother me because over here, I've got nothing BUT time), our bball team split into two and started to play each other (against, not with hor). So for 5 minutes me and a group of girly girls were watching this bunch of hunks show-off their basketball skills. Just as it started to get a little exciting, it started raining. So my initial thoughts were right, it was a silly waste of time after all.

We adjourned for dinner and things started to get a little crazy because 2 of the bball team members were celebrating their birthdays yesterday and today. There was an insane amount of food, some of which I've never seen before so here I'm gonna post some pics. The pics are not taken by my camera, hence the blur shaky hand look, so bear with me.

The first is some tzut tzut looking thing which I felt was quite yummy. I'm a sucker for shell-food lah. But it was damn hard to suck out the meat. You had to suck the head, the ass, and then the head again damn hard just to get the meat out. It was too much work, so we finally gave up and asked for toothpicks.

Then there was pigs ear. PIG'S EAR? The chinese really eat every damn thing do they? Together with the pig's trotters they also ordered, this is the ultimate combination of pure unadulterated FAT. Needless to say, the ladies steered clear of the dish.

This is a general pic of the food that was taken at my request coz I thought the food has arrived. Who knew, at this point it wasn't even halfway yet. I counted a total of 11 dishes altogether last nite.

Anyway, what's a birthday celebration without some alcohol right? There was lots of beer along the way, and they found out I was Singaporean. Suddenly I became their 干杯 target. So I hardly ate the whole nite since I was so bloated. But something about the beer - It bloats you, but doesn't get you drunk. I guess it gives people the impression like you can drink a lot but won't get drunk - good for entertaining clients.

Pic of two of my colleagues. They are as good-looking as it gets around here - which is damn sad lah. Needless to say jac jac should not feel a least bit threatened by the ladies here. And they are so young, one is '85 one is '86, and they have been with the company for about 2 years liao. We uni students should consider ourselves so lucky.
I'm a little du lan I haven't got my pay since I've stepped into the company. But it's "processing" so what you wan me to say right?
My jac jac is sick and the flu bug has been bugging her. Hope the NTUC doctor in school gives her an MC for tommorrow as well for some really well-deserved rest. The company of hers - Could someone do me a fine favour and burn it down? They've been bullying her and the people there are so incorrgible. It's the PR company in Shaw Centre, I have no idea what's the name, that's the one. If you're not sure, just burn down the entire building to be sure. Thanks in advance.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


Sorry for the lack of updates here. Honestly nothing very interesting has been happening including during the weekend, except for a KKNBCCB thing that happened which I will elaborate later. But first up, check this video out.

Honestly I only knew about it after going to to kaypoh kaypoh after a looooong time of not gg to his blog. (It can get a liiiiittttllleee bit boring here...) It's the most WTF thing I've ever seen man!

Ok on to the KNNBCCB thing that happened during the weekend.

I brought Philip, my filipino colleague, to 东门. We had our lunch and he mentioned he wanted to buy DVDs coz he got his new laptop that can watch DVDs. So ok, I brought him to the shop I usually buy from (Ok not, usually, coz so far I only bought Prison Break Season 2, but what the hell...) and he commented they were too expensive (AT 15 RMB a DISK TOO EXPENSIVE??!!) coz he can get cheaper in the Philippines. So ok, I asked him if he wanted to buy from the touts, because what happens usually after you walk out of a DVD shop is a whole bunch of touts will ask you if you wanna buy from them.

As expected, that's what happened and I asked Philip again if he was sure he wanted to do this. He thought what the hell right, we try it once and if it is no good we just don't bother the next time. So ok, I asked one of them how much per piece and before I knew it we were swarmed with aunties asking us to follow them. It took me a while to realize that they are all actually working together instead of competing with each other.

So fine, we followed them, but only because I thought they were going to bring us to a house where they keep their *ahem* DVDs, coz that's what happened in Chengdu when I was there with my mum. But instead, we went to the second storey of a building that had nothing. Instead of showing us DVDs, they showed us catalogues and we were supposed to pick from there, and they would go and get it.

I decided there and then I wasn't going to buy from them, but Philip wanted to browse the catalogue. As we were looking through the catalogue the whole bunch of aunties were crowding us and telling us to buy every damn show there was. Philip picked 5, and here comes the KNNBCCB part. When it came to payment again the aunties crowded us. He didn't have enough change, so he gave them a 100 bucks to change. They changed all right. They changed the real 100 bucks he gave them into a fake 100 bucks and claimed he gave them a fake one. Both of us never saw the swap, and so it happened again, and again, AND again. They swapped away 400 bucks without us realizing, finally I gave up and I said I would pay for him first. I gave them 50 and they gave me back the change.

All this time we didn't realize the money has been changed and what they gave him were fakes. To fast forward a little, we went our seperate ways at the internet cafe, but I got back first because I couldn't reach him on the phone and I was starving, and I didn't have enough money on me to buy dinner. I started to worry for him, but when he came back at about 10pm, he told me he tried to buy clothes with the money just now and the sales girl told him they were fakes. THEN it occured to him the DVD aunties crowded us to create confusion while they swapped the money.

When he told me the story I felt soooo bad coz it was my wise idea to buy from the damn touts. But Philip was nice about it saying it was he who wanted to buy DVDs from them in the first place. I still feel bad about it all, but it did give me a wake up call. In a city of immigrants like Shenzhen, the people will do anything to survive, even if it means to rob, steal, cheat or beg. Many come from farmland, seeking a better life in the city. And when they can't, they resort to immoral means. I don't blame them, but seriously I dun like to go through it either.

We learnt a lesson. Somehow, I'm already looking forward to going home.

Friday, June 1, 2007

writing on a high

I'm at work right now and I am high. I'm on some flu medication now, but the process of getting this medication was absolutely scary for me.

Everything was normal this morning and I came to work. After my morning routine of surfing soccernet and checking emails, I suddenly felt an excruciating pain in my left ribs. The bones were hurting so bad, like I got punched till my ribs cracked. I checked for bruising but there was none. And it hurt like hell when I breathed, coz the ribs kept moving as my lungs expanded and contracted.

I thought I could just tahan and get by it after a while. But the pain just kept coming and coming and I broke into a cold sweat. Zhao Yi Ming saw me in pain and said he would take me to the hospital. We walked past our manager and he took over. He brought me to the Lian Tang Hospital on a cab. I have the Chinese people to thank for really taking care of me.

The hospital here was surprisingly efficient. There was barely any waiting time, which is good for a person who was dying of pain like me. After an EKG and an X-ray, the doctor determined I had the flu, and it caused the nerves at my left ribs to 神经错乱. At first I was like what kinda crappy diagonosis is that? But he gave a jab and put me on a drip. And true enough, I was fine after that. I was back at work before lunchtime.

A flu can cause your 神经 to 错乱 meh?

Monday, May 28, 2007

what a weekend in Hongkong and Macau!

I spent one of the most wonderful weekends in HK and Macau with Susanna. I think the both of us have been having similar living/working environments in a sense we have been starved of REAL company. I don’t mean company as in meeting new people, I think both of us have had no shortage of that. I mean company as in real friends, real conversations, in a language we’re comfortable with.

The trip to HK was interesting. It didn’t take long to cross the border. The bus trip to the Lo Wu train station was only 30 minutes from my place, direct bus some more. Once I crossed immigration, I hopped onto the KCR East Rail. That was when the trip started to get long. I always thought HK was a small place, but the train ride to East Tsim Sha Tsui was about 1 hour or so. And quite ex, the train ride was 36.5HKD, which is about 7 bucks sing. I don’t know about you, but I’m not really used to taking a 7 bucks train ride. And when I changed to the MTR to Causeway Bay I had to buy another 11HKD ticket. All in all it made me feel traveling by train in HK is ex man. But on hindsight, 10 bucks to go to HK, cheap as hell. And it was really intuitive too, with plenty of signs all over the place.

HK is a world of difference from Shenzhen man. The streets are so vibrant, the environment is clean, the people don’t spit, they can understand English, there’s so much to shop and eat! I felt happy being there. It’s like getting back to civilization a bit. And I felt so safe walking there, like I didn’t have to worry about pickpockets and stuff. No wonder Sue wants to work there next time if she can. I can see Singaporeans fitting in seamlessly.

I met Sue after locating a public phone. Thankfully the station staff knew how to speak English! We went up to her room to put my stuff down, and man, her room is SMALL. It’s really cozy, but the floor space was the size of the bed and the attached toilet the size of half the bed. And that was it. But coz I expected it to be like that I wasn’t the least bit surprised. For 500 bucks a month, for sure she’s paying for the location more than anything else.

We set off again on the MTR and found ourselves a nice Mexican restaurant. The nachos and beef was excellently complemented with the jug of frozen margarita. The fajitas were great too, all in all for a reasonable price. We realized the locals we knew in HK and Shenzhen respectively didn’t really drink, so we were both happy to finally have a drinking buddy. Brings back memories when we used to chiong a lot in year 1, just that we’re a lot more chill than jumpy now.

The next day we set off to Macau. The boat ride was about an hour and it was totally comfortable. One thing about the transport throughout the whole trip is the vehicles are sooooo clean, I felt safe to put my bag on the ground. Try doing that in Shenzhen, you might get yourself a bout of rabies for all you know. We found out there was a free shuttle to our hotel, which was a pleasant surprise. As we checked it, we asked the front desk staff for directions to places of interest, and again, I was pleasantly surprised by their fluent English and how the lady was so informative. She drew on a map certain directions to the key shopping district and we were on our way.

Through no fault of the nice front desk lady, we got lost. The map was screwed. It had its orientation of buildings and stuff totally wrong. And we didn’t have a grasp of how near or far the places would be. But somehow after trudging along for a while we ended up visiting a cemetery and the St Paul’s Ruins, which is one of the major tourist landmarks in Macau. The place was nice but a little too “renovated” for my liking.

Found a nice 茶餐厅 for lunch. The portions were absurdly small, so small when both our food came I thought it was all for Sue. But soon we realized there was noodles in her curry, and the plate of dried noodles was mine. But at least the price was affordable. We almost ended up eating at a place selling 10 sing dollars fried rice. We then visited the Macau Museum which was again a little too commercialized. But I kinda liked it. I realized Macau is quite like Singapore because of its international influence. Macau was formally occupied by the Portuguese so you’d see colonial looking buildings next to Chinese architecture. So the museum looked a bit confusing at first, introducing European influences and Chinese influences at the same time, but after a while you accept it’s because the people have accepted both cultures as their way of life.

Both Sue and I liked the fact that we didn’t have to pay for a lot of things, you visit a place, you pay the ticket price and that’s it. Not the kind like “oh if you want to see this it’s another additional 10 bucks”. And most places were walking distance from our hotel, so transport was really cheap. We went back to our hotel, took an afternoon siesta, then headed out again for dinner.

I mean after all being formally occupied by the Portuguese we thought it would be an excellent place to try Portuguese food right? A Portuguese restaurant was harder to find than we thought it would be, but our perseverance paid off when we finally found a Portuguese restaurant called Cameos. We ordered a nice pot of baked seafood and Sangria! There was a mixed meat platter as well but that was disappointing. The Sangria – Wine with fruit cubes in it – was just simply excellent. We then walked to this open air bar to have a beer and to my surprise a band started to play. The band was excellent, better than the crowd deserved. The crowd was just simply unappreciative, but I really enjoyed myself a lot.
You don’t go to Macau without going to the casinos, and so that’s what we did. We visited the one at Hotel Lisboa, coz the pineapple (黄梨, ong lai, geddit?) loking building was just opposite our hotel. I took Sue through the whole casino, explaining how to play the different games, but Sue I guess is just not the gambling type.

I managed to irritate myself at the casino. I initially won enough to cover more than half of my hotel and ferry expenses, and should have called it a night there and then. But it was only 1am, and I figured I went all the way just to gamble right? So I stupidly went back and blew my winnings, plus another 200 sing. Lesson – know when to quit. Seriously.

On the second day in Macau, me and sue took the opportunity to sleep in a little bit, but woke up just in time for breakfast. We then went goodies shopping! The small cookies and tidbits there were so nice and fresh, you can literally feel the crisp when you bite down. I bought some 老婆饼 and peanut biscuits for my colleagues and I tried the famous Portuguese egg tarts. Ok lah, quite good lah. I can’t tell the difference between good and bad Portuguese egg tarts. But apparently I didn’t eat the famous one at Coloane. Maybe next trip after I get my allowance!

After checking out we decided there was still a bit of time so we wanted to check out the wine museum. Man, that was one silly museum. I thought they’d at least tell me what is good and bad wine, how to do wine-tasting, or at least how is wine made. But all we saw were some lame displays of wine making tools, with hardly any explanations. Quite a silly museum. But at least we tried some of the wine they were selling and sue bought 2 bottles of red. Damn cheap if you ask me. One of the bottles cost only 13 bucks sing. Go figure.

Shortly we braved the rain to catch our ferry back to HK where I simply knocked out for the entire journey. I think I’m just not used to late nights anymore after sleeping at about 12 and waking up at 7 on Mondays to Fridays. We spent the rest of the afternoon finding lunch/dinner and walking Mongkok. I bought myself a cheapo mp3 player coz I found the lack of music in my life absolutely painful to endure. 80 bucks for a 1 gig Phillips mp3 player. Ok lah, for a brand I recognize and won’t spoil after 2 times of using, quite cheap le ba.

I miss HK and Macau already. The atmosphere is just so much more happening/chill than Shenzhen. I think it’s a cultural thing as well. The people are just more fashionable and civilized across the border. Highly recommended to all who are thinking of going on a cheap holiday.