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 mrbrown.com 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?