Monday, December 31, 2007

there's something about ..... 2007

Every last day of the year, I would do a recap/highlights of the passing year. I did it last year in

This is a rather "boring" year where personal level is concerned. National Level seems exciting though.... but that is not the agenda here.

Top 10 notable events of 2007

10.) One of my post make it to Seewhatshow of Mr Brown. It was a movie review of 4:30 seewhatshow My blog is generally not a high traffic blog and no effort was done to make this any more prominent as it is. It's really for my own rants and muse. To know that someone like Brown come across this... it's like a nomination of Best Actor in Golden Balls.

9.) Another of my post make it to Mr Brown

8.) I finally watch a movie in the Cinema and it shows breasts and balls. It's been like 3 years since my last movie at a cinema, so you can imagine my excitment of watching a RA movie.

7.) This year is a frustrating year where traffic summons is concerned. They fine you for no good reasons. Yes you did commit a traffice "offence"( read link ) but you can't help it but feel that they are more for monetary gain than the true spirit of traffic management. I have yet to make a post on this, but my mum was caught Jay Walking not on Orchard Road where hundreds of people do that, but on a service road at the back of Junction 8!!! It was a road where you could reach the other side within 10 steps. But a sneaky Warden was hiding behind the pillar and bounced on you for $20 fine.

6.) A turtle crossing a 3-lane major road along Keng Lee Road, opposite a police station, and did not get fine for Jay walking! see link

5.) I have the most expensive Chap Chai rice at $7 over at Vivo City. What inflation due to GST nonsense?! Our Inflation is due to listed food court operator charging super-high-rent on foodstall owners and they in turn pass on the costs to us.

4.) I'm a super sports fan. There are only 2 sports which I don't follow. Baseball and Cricket. And I get super-excited over a climatic finale. So you can imagine I have the best F1 experience ever when Kimi Raikonnen beat Hamilton in the Final Race. Fabulous stuff!!

3.) Any holidays must be among the Top 10.

2.) My son was hospitalised over Children's day. It's the first time this ever happened and the virus was passed on to my wife who in turn got into a panic attack which shocks us.

1.) Dad was hospitalised due to sepsis. It was a dangerous thing that can happened to an elder and we are glad he is alright now.

It's been 2 years in a row where my top 2 events involve round hospital. This has to stop for good!!

2007 Resolutions

Let's see whether I have achieved any of my 2007 Resolutions.

1.) To Improve on my Business and hope for a breakthru year. In fact, this shall remain permanent.

This has indeed improved. But there is no surprise when the economy also improve and therefore you ride on it. But yes... I would say I have met this resolution.

2.) To catch up with my wife to be a good parent.

While I may not have match my wife's level, but the gap is narrowing. So I would say I have met this resolution.

3.) To lose weight. Ok.. let's be realistic. 78kg will be my target for this year.


4.) To find a new hobby.

hmmm..... I did start on futsol this year. ok lah... resolution met!

5.) To read more books with my son.

I failed on this. We started new classes for him and somehow we took it for granted and we read to him lesser.

6.) Be healthy. To cut down on visits to Clinic by half to almost zero in 2007.


7.) Can making babies be a Resolution, can.. ok lah...


2008 Resolutions

Carried forward:

1.) To Improve on my Business and hope for a breakthru year. In fact, this shall remain permanent.

2.) To lose weight. 78kg will be my target for this year.

3.) To find a new hobby.

4.) To read more books with my son.

5.) Be healthy. To cut down on visits to Clinic to 4 times a year.

6.) To strengthen my knees.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

there's something about ..... christmas and 881

It was a great Christmas Dinner at Coolcat's.

Somehow, this year's dinner fare is more varied, breaking away from more traditional Christmas food.

As a result of Chicken Wings and Chicken Rice, I'm down with a severe Sorethroat.. so bad that swallowing Saliva becomes a nerve-wrecking experience.

Needless to say, I have to endure 2 nights of lousy sleep, both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

My family Doctor must have been making good money. He doesn't work on Holidays as well as 3/4 nights of the week. I was only able to consult him this morning.

And just when I thought my Christmas can't get any worse, I decided to watch 881 last night.

You know that Royston Tan's hit and Singapore Top Grossing Movie of 2007 beating spiderman 3 in the process.

I'm sorry to those people who gave fantastic reviews of the show and sorry to those who spent money to watch it at local cinemas and have bought DVDs, but my borrowed pirated DVD from JB, did not give me much pleasure at all.

This is not a movie inspired by 歌抬, it's a movie inspired by 天龙八部. Those who have watched would know what I'm referring to. I mean... your movie is almost reaching greatness and you have to spoil it with your Laser-effects-coming-from-fingers? Upon searching the official website of 881, I realised the right term to use is "laser darts". The below para is taken from their website:

"At a confrontation, the Durians challenge the Papayas to a showdown. The stakes are high: whoever loses will leave the getai scene for good. The Papayas accept, and start preparing for the big day – new costumes, new songs, new dances. The movie climaxes with a dramatic musical battle. Both sides pull out all the stops to win over the audience, at first with their musical numbers. But as the fight becomes more intense, the Durians attack with their laser darts and the Papayas retaliate with their celestial powers. Who will triumph? Watch Royston Tan’s 881! "

The best part of the show is really the opening 5 minutes of the show. The first 5 minutes gave me so much anticipation about the movie that I must say the let-down was too great.

I wouldn't know if they have done the show without the "Laser Darts", whether I would like the show more... as I said, I wouldn't know.

It's disappointing. I was really looking forward to a good movie and a great Christmas. I got none.

Merry my foot!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

there's something about ..... travelogue 5: wine

This shanghai trip is part business, part pleasure. Almost every dinner is with business associates in some lavish restaurants.

Our very first dinner with them, I was asked if I drink "白酒".

Of course I do and I replied accordingly.

Just when I was expecting white wine like those over here from the western countries, I was given a rude shock.

It was really WHITE. Crystal clear white like Water. They pour it into a very small glass with each serving equivalent to a little more than a sip. For every toast, you are supposed to finish... I mean.. it's only a sip. You can't simply have half a sip, that would look silly and rediculous.

How bad can that be, I thought. The worse case could be like brandy, I thought.

On the very first toast, like everyone else, I gulp it in..... without thinking.


This alcohol BURNS!!!! I don't mean brandy kind of burn, it felt like drinking fire! Naturally I choked!

The chinese people got a good laugh. Nabeh!

I was told that this contains about 60% alcohol and the actual term is called "高粮". This is supposedly the best chinese wine ever. After each drink, you can feel the liquid going through your body down to the intestines. It's that strong.

And once you finished the first Gulp alive... these Chinese Businessmen expects you continue this drink with them for subsequent Toasts.

What price you pay for free dinners.

Moral of the Story.... Don't go China.

Friday, December 21, 2007

there's something about ..... travelogue 4: Car/Child

Shanghai is a Heaven of Imitations. They have imitated every possible thing they can, you name it, they imitate it to perfection.

They even imitate BMW but with a engine made in China. They even sell Thumbdrives with 32GB and 48GB. Seriously I'm out of touch with such things but I don't believe Singapore got such high capacities in thumbdrives.

They don't just stop there. They also imitate Singapore's car management policies. They have what we called COE in Shanghai.

Our Singapore very own COE is now available in Shanghai.

While COE in Singapore buys you a certificate that last for 10 years, in Shanghai, you bid for the licence car plate that last you as long as your car can last.

When I left Shanghai, the bidding for the licence Car Plate is about $58000RMB or about S$11000.

As a comparison, a Honda Oydessy there cost about S$70,000.

So the smart alec will say, I will then buy a car outside Shanghai and drive into Shanghai lor. Like Singaporean buying a JB car, except in China you would not have cross-province custom.

But while you think you are Smart, Shanghai Policy-maker also not stupid lor. Most major highway and major roads are out of bounds for non-shanghai registered cars. That way, even if you buy a non-shanghai registered car which is cheaper by $58000RMB, you would not be able to commute to your destination without much frustrations.

So while you get frustrated about bidding for a licence plate, you have a much bigger hurder before that. Getting a licence!!

They pay about $50,000RMB for a licence or S$10,000. So you paid over $2k for a licence in Singapore and you already complained? Thank god you reincarnated in Singapore and not in Shanghai.

However, they only imitate Singapore Car Policy and not our procreation policies.

They still have a One-Child Policy. When you give birth to your first Child, the government will assist you by giving you a few months of your salary. However, the reverse happens when you intend to give birth to a second child. The penalty is extremely high. Not only that, the second child may not be entitled to medical and education benefits.

To the very rich, they will just pay the penalty.

However, they have recently "loosen" the policy. If yourself and your wife have no other siblings, meaning both of you are single child, then you are allowed to give birth to a second child.

In any case, it seems this One-Child policy has zero impact on modern Chinese. Most could only afford 1 child and has no plan for a second child.

My Singaporean friends in China who are relocated there have more than a couple of children. And whenever they go out, they would be stared at. In fact, one of them was asked whether she is the mother for all the kids.

I can understand their rationale for One-Child policy. Singapore has gone thru such phases before.

However, I'm thinking... How come Singapore government never give me few months of my salary for my first Child??!?!??!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

there's something about ..... travelogue 3: flight meals

We took a SQ midnight flight departing from Singapore at 1.15 am. We thought it makes hell lots of sense. You save on one night of Hotel, you sleep in the plane, you wake up in a new city on a brand new day, you start your touring without missing a beat! Great planning!!

It was well-thought out except that we forgot we are Singaporeans. That means we are bloody Kiasu.

I was almost half-asleep when the plane was in the air just about 1.30am when my wife asked me why I'm sleeping so early.

Dumb question I thought. So I entertained her by replying "It's only a 5 hours flight, we need to catch some sleep."

She replied, "You don't want the refreshments?"

"huh? got refreshments? ok lor"

And so the refreshment came just about 1.45am and we finished that at about just after 2am. It took me a while before I finally slept.

Not for long.

We were all woken up at 4.30am....for breakfast. 4.30AM... BREAKFAST!!!!

Damn it!! I know Hari Raya is around the corner, but do we really have to break fast so early?!??!?

I struggled but decided that I should not waste the food (money). And so I ate breakfast half-asleep.

And out plane arrived at Shanghai at about 6am.

All of us slept for about 2 over hours. Needless to say, we arrived at Shanghai, not full of energy but full of sleepy bugs.

And we spend the whole afternoon sleeping at the hotel.


there's something about ..... travelogue 2: Taxis

We complained so much about our taxis in Singapore.

How they disappear between 11 to 11.59pm?

How expensive they are during certain hours?

How touting is bad for the image and unfair to most customers who queue?

In Shanghai, thank God, they do not have midnight charge. They do not have peak charges as well. It's so bloody cheap that we took taxis everywhere we go. It's like staying at Marriot Hotel and you wanted to go Raffles City.... take MRT? Nah... just take a cab. The meter never move and we still pay the same flag-down rate of 11RMB which is a little over $2 for 5 of us.


This is also where the problem comes.

In Shanghai, the demand for Taxis is extremely huge! You have tourists like us, coming from Singapore who felt the Taxi Charges are so bloody cheap.. can you imagine the Caucasians, both tourists and working there!! This become our basic mode of transport.

What touting?!?!? If there is word to describe what I did, the closest would be "reverse-touting".

We have boarded at least 5 Taxis only to be told that they do not know the place that we were staying. Only on one of the Taxi Rides did we learn from the driver that most Taxis would not want to send us back because the distance is too short and they wouldn't earn enough.

We decided to "bribe" them more. Each time a taxi driver refuses to take us, we offered them $10RMB more ($2) and they would pause a while and suddenly, they would know where we stay.

We consider this "bribe" as worthwhile. They do not have Taxi-Stands and it's like a War out there. Especially in the City and when it's raining.

We don't care if that sets the precedent, we were desperate.

In fact, I was involved in a "fight" over a Taxi.

We were in the City and it was raining, we were unprepared by the down-pour and we waited like 30 minutes under the rain. Finally, I saw a taxi stopping like 50 metres away from me as one passenger was alighting.

I ran towards the Taxi. Likewise, one local woman was also running towards the taxi but she came from across the road.

She reaches the cab before me, but she was asking the driver about a certain locality when I just boarded the cab and told the driver I would pay him 10RMB more. Naturally the local woman was furious.

She came over to the passenger seat where I was, open the door and screamed at me. She wanted me to get out of the cab. I told her that I boarded the cab first and she argued she saw the cab first. I told her that I was on the same side of the road and she wasn't. She continue to abuse me and ordered me to get out. I ignored her and she screamed "下流" before Slamming the door on me.

She probably didn't know where I came from. Otherwise she would have known that Singaporean are so bloody thick skin and we are almost immuned to such abuse of low standards that didn't involve my parent's genitals.

What she also didn't see was that I was grinning. I never have such an opportunity in Singapore and I was glad to be involved in such a "fight". It makes my day.

Don't blame the touts. They were touts because the tourists allowed them to have such opportunity. It's wrong. But really... the tourists wouldn't care. We didn't care as well in Shanghai.

there's something about ..... travelogue 1: luggage

Just came back from Shanghai. At the airport, I took a picture of the amount of luggage that I had and felt a sense of deja vu

And I realised that there were 4 other bags of alcohol from Duty Free that didn't make it to the Trolley.

5 Luggages

4 Hand Carriers

4 Duty Free

1 Stroller

1 Slave (that is me)

Given last year's experience, I have accepted my role during such holidays. You should have seen how we clear customs.

My elders have decided that they are old enough not to carry heavy hand carriers, my wife has decided that she has a bigger responsibility to hold on to my kid, and they have decided that I have the bigger responsibility to hold all the hand carriers. Without the hand carriers, they wouldn't be able to access things that they may not need during the flight and of certain importance should they need it.

It's so complicated.

This is not only a holiday, it's a fitness program. With the responsiblity that I have, it's almost like a ICT.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

there's something about ..... University of...

Sigh... I think I may have enter into a wrong course of study in my Uni. If only my parents had given me proper advice.

People go take some Bachelor of BarbeQue from Uni in Hong Kong and can come back and open stalls and become Millionaire... Me? Sigh.

Holiday for 1 week. Hopefully got more things to blog about when I returned.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

there's something about ..... fatherhood

It's been a while since I posted something. I was busy trying to clear my work before going on Holiday which is next weeek.

When you try to book a holiday in late November when the whole of Singapore Population already done theirs in September, you know you are unlikely to get choice destinations unless you feel like visiting Iraq or North Korea... and of course certain parts of China which is where I'm heading to.

Anyway, while trying to get ready for my tour, I decided to also become a slightly better father.

Jeff told me that I should bring my kid to watch Disney on ice. I probably would if they charged half-price for the kid or half-price for the accompanying adult or perhaps follow our local cinemas for having a cheaper ticket on a Monday afternoon. To summarise: I thought it was expensive.

But... wouldn't a smile on your kid's face be so priceless?

I struggled on that and decided to become a better father. I decided to bring my kid to see DORA at United Square yesterday. I didn't know what is Dora and boot but again.. it's not about what I know, it's about what my son knows and likes.

And there I go to my very first cartoon characters show held at Malls.

With the show starting at 7pm and us arriving at 6.30pm, and almost the whole Singapore Population queuing up or "chopping" their territory on the second floor as early as 5pm, you know you are likely to get a viewing gallery as ulu as Iraq or North Korea.

However, with a never give-up attitude or that determination not to disappoint my kid, we queue hoping that we are able to get into the sitting area. At the same time, I went to see if I'm able to get space on the second storey. At 6.30pm, you have better luck buying 4D for Saturday's draw than finding a space in the mall.

Just when we were very near to the entrance of the sitting area, we realised that we have queued for nothing!! You have to purchase $30 worth of merchandise before you are allowed to enter the sitting area!!! Ninabeh!!!

Hurriedly, we went into the merchandise area just to see if we can somehow buy something very last minute.

And I realised.. I could actually view the whole show just standing at the merchandise area which is much nearer to the stage than those kids standing at the back of the sitting area! I took the above picture without zooming and you could see how near we are to the stage.

The best thing is... I didn't need to buy anything!! Cunning!

Yes.. my son would not have that chance to take photo upclose with DORA ($30 include that picture), but I know that he was smiling so happily just being able to watch the show.

I felt peaceful with myself. No more quilt.

Like my son always say "I KNOW YOU CAN DOOO IT" (some phrase from Dora)