Sunday, April 26, 2015

Prayers for Nepal....

Shocked by the news about the Nepal earthquake.

First thought that came to mind was I hope the women, teens and kids the company supports through a partner foundation are all safe.
Prayers for Nepal.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Now at 73kg...

This was an unexpected surprise this morning.

Even though I went for Pump last night, I still managed to wake up this morning ahead of my alarm clock. I thought to myself that I meant to do a weight check. The main reason was to find out whether I have put on weight since I started WFH.

To be honest, I think that I don't get as much activity during the day now that my "office" is right next to my bed. But after this morning, I guess I still have enough activity after work that would allow me to say I have an active lifestyle. Hehe!

It's my first time in a long time to hit a 73.something weight. My main complaint before was that my weight is always between 74.4 to 76.6.

Hence, this morning was a nice once.

It was a good motivator for me to do a 30-minute run on the treadmill.

Next thing I need to do is check my body fat percentage (which I suspect is quite high). That is more important, I suppose.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekend recap...

The weekend was relaxing, but still productive.

Just a quick recap.

Friday night, hung out with @RKGreg, Chris, Ian, Richie and the rest of the guys at @RKGreg and @MkSurf8's place. The latter was not able to join us because of a trip to Manila. He was with us, however, in spirit. That's for sure. Hehe! Thanks again, @MkSurf8, for the intro to my now fave alcohol, Maker's Mark. I'm in love. It was an early night for me though as I had museum training the following day.

Saturday morning, I got up around 630AM. The museum docent training was at 930AM at Fort Canning. I wanted to have breakfast at home and relax a bit more before heading out to training. Thankfully, the training was quite fast. The lecture was done in 90 minutes. The rest of the time was spent for Q&A. The topic was on early artist impressions of Singapore. It was a very interesting module. I love that I learn more and more. Hehe! In the afternoon, I just had lunch at HV. There is a popular claypot chicken rice and I really love it. Afterwards, the rest of the afternoon was chillax time. In the evening, I headed to the gym for a cardio workout. I realised that I've been doing a lot of Pump, but not as much Combat. I should bring back cardio classes in my gym sched. The last agenda was just reading the March issue of Monocle, which was an issue special on Japan.

Today was also a relaxing day. The day started quite late. In the morning, I watched the latest episodes of Arrow and The Flash. After that, I prepared to go to Mass at St. Bernadette. The reason I went to faraway River Valley was because I wanted to go to the library afterwards. I reached the National Library at 130PM. As expected, it was full but I still managed to find an area where I could study and read. The next five hours were spent reading and studying. I read more articles on Monocle. I have to say I really love the magazine. It's my first time to read the magazine because I find it a bit pricey, but I have to say the articles are really well-written. The rest of the time, I was reviewing my Japanese lessons. I covered the first 5 lessons of Minna no Nihongo, the textbook that we use. This coming Thursday, my next Japanese course begins. Looking forward to it, though it's getting a bit more challenging. Haha!

The day, the weekend concluded with a relaxed Thai dinner with Richie at our favourite Thai place near his workplace. Hehe. Mon was unable to join us as he had a tiring Sunday.

Now, I'm just finishing this and I'm going to zzz in a bit. Tomorrow is the start of another week! Yay! Oh, tomorrow is also Tipz's first day at his new work. Yay! All the best, Tipz! I'm sure it'll be awesome!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sunday morning walk at the Japanese Cemetery Park...

Despite hitting the sack at 1AM on Saturday night, I still got up at 730AM the following day and left the house at 8AM. Lol!

Here's the thing, I keep on making morning appointments even though I have no idea what time the previous night will end. The past few weekends have been packed with activities. The next few weekends (and weekdays!) are also bound to be packed with commitments. Seriously, I've been wondering if I have too much on my plate. (I think I do!) Haha!

Anyway, going back to Sunday...

The reason I had to get up early was because I agreed to go with Mr. Lim on our monthly hike/nature walk.

Luckily, the place we decided to check out over the weekend was one that didn't require hours of hiking under the scorching heat of the sun. In fact, it was more of a leisurely walk while having an informal history lesson.

During my docent training on Singapore history, I learned that there is a Japanese cemetery northeast(?) of Singapore. Call me weird but I have always wanted to visit the place because of the history behind it.

When I told Mr. Lim about the Japanese cemetery, I knew that he would be just as interested. I was happy when he told me that He has always wanted to visit the place but always kept forgetting about it.

The Japanese Cemetery, now called The Japanese Cemetery Park, is located in a residential area in Serangoon.

From the hour or so we spent walking around the park, here are some of the very interesting things that I have learned:

1. It is the largest Japanese cemetery in Southeast Asia at some 29,000 square metres. There are about 910 tombstones. It was gazetted as a memorial park by the Singapore government in 1987.

2. The first Japanese resident in Singapore is buried here. His name is Otokichi. He arrived in Singapore in 1862. He was originally laid to rest at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery. The authorities were able to verify where he was buried. The remains were exhumed, he was cremated, and he is now resting in peace at the Japanese Cemtery. In 2005, a delegation of about 100 people from Otokichi's hometown came to Singapore for a religious ceremony and to bring back some of his ashes back to his hometown.

3. The land used for the cemetery was donated by a Japanese who was a brothel owner. Yup, you read that right. Brothel owner. A Japanese brothel owner, Tagajiro Fukaki, donated land from his rubber plantation to be used as a burial ground for young Japanese karayuki-san who died in Singapore.

4. Karayuki-san means "going overseas." In the Singapore context, the karayuki-san refer to the young Japanese women who came to Singapore to do the oldest profession in the world. At one point, there were about 2,000 karayuki-sans in Singapore and about 100 brothels. Like the rickshaw pullers, it was a difficult life for the karayuki-san. In the 1920s, Japan became concerned with its reputation to the world and started to recall the karayuki-sans. Some of them chose to remain in Singapore and died here. In addition to the karayuki-san, civilians, soldiers and convicted war criminals (Google Terauchi Hisaichi) were also laid to rest at the Japanese Cemetery.

Interesting Sunday morning walk, I have to say.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A very long Saturday with some good friends...

The past few days have been extremely busy.

That explains the reason behind the delay in posts. There have been quite a few things I've been wanting to write about. It is only now that I am finally able to sit down and face the laptop. Hehe!

Okay, let's begin...


Last weekend, two of my good friends, I-van and Moi, were in town. The former, a recent transplant to KL from Manila, had to fly to Singapura for work. Moi, on the other hand, was in KL for his holiday and he naturally had to go with I-van to SG. Two holidays in one. Yay!

The pair arrived in Singapore last Wednesday. However, as I wrote in a previous post, I've been unwell last week so it was only last Saturday that I finally got to meet up with them. I thought I'd make up for the missed Wednesday and Thursday night hohols by ensuring that I spend time with them as early as possible.

Thankfully, I-van is also somewhat a morning person like me. He was already at the hotel lobby waiting for me when I arrived a few minutes past 8. We started a bit of chitchat while waiting for Moi, who arrived a not long after.

We spent an hour having breakfast before heading to our first destination for the day - Gardens by the Bay. It's my second time to visit the tourist destination. I thought I would be seeing the same things as I did the last time I went there with Mom. To my pleasant surprise, there was a special exhibit that featured tulips from the Netherlands. I had a good time going around the Flower Dome admiring the beautiful flowers flown in from the Netherlands as it brought back beautiful memories of my favourite city in Europe (as of now). Hehe!

We skipped The Cloud Forest and instead headed to Plaza Singapura for an early lunch. Moi hasn't tried Tim Ho Wan yet, even if there is one in Manila. That made it easy for us to decide where lunch would be. Mon, who was also feeling unwell, arrived shortly and joined us. Yay! We ordered quite a lot. It was okay though because we managed to finish everything. Haha!

The next destination was the Peranakan Museum. Moi has been going around the previous days visiting some of the museums. I suggested we visit the Peranakan Museum since he and I-van enjoyed the Baba and Nyonya House in Malacca. Unfortunately, we couldn't join a guided tour as we were pressed for time. I think the Peranakan Museum should be visited with a guided tour. That will help one have a better understanding of the very interesting and unique Peranakan culture.

The final stop before heading back to the hotel was Kinokuniya, where Jon met up with us. I-van wanted to look for a particular book, Dana Thomas's Gods and Kings. Not only was he able to find a copy of the book, he was able to purchase a copy autographed by the author. How awesome! I was initially tempted to buy it as well, but decided to probably just get the Kindle version. I really should stop accumulating all these heavy books! Lol! It will be a nightmare transporting the books once the day I move to another country comes.

Tired from all the walking, we had a quick dessert at Ion before going back to the hotel. Moi and I-van then headed to the airport for their respective flights to Manila and KL. Meanwhile, I went with Mon back to his and Richie's place for siesta and to wait for Richie to come home so we can all have dinner together.

It was a long day that started at 6AM. I reached home past midnight. That was because I went back with Mon and Richie to their place after dinner so that we can watch a few episodes of Looking season 1. Hehe!

What a happy Saturday it was! Tiring but I'm glad that I was already almost fully recovered and more importantly, I got to spend QT with friends I have known for more than a decade.

As this is already a lengthy one, what happened on Sunday deserves another blog post ...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cough, go away...

I've been dealing with cough with sticky phlegm since Sunday(?). Lol, sorry if it's too much information.

The sore throat and the fever were gone by end of last week. Now, it's the cough. This has been my curse for as long as I can remember. Every time, there is some drastic change in the weather, my body goes nuts. Usually, I say that I don't feel my age. But since last week, I've definitely been feeling the mid-life condition. Lol!

I haven't been to the doctor again since I just finished some 10 tabs of paracetamol last week and some sore throat tabs. I wanted to avoid taking any more meds and just let the body heal naturally. Besides, I've been drinking ginger tea. Aunty (the mom of my landlord) has also been giving me different kinds of tea. I have no idea what they are, but I just drink it. Hehe!

Hmm, I think it's time to visit the doctor again and get my meds for this damn cough with sticky phlegm.

Tonight, I'm missing the adobo dinner at Tian's and Ian's place. More than the yum adobo, I'm missing the gathering with the guys. It's been awhile since we had a hohol (was the last one during RKGreg's birthday?). Sadly, I had to skip tonight's gathering not just because of the cough but also because of a work deadline I have to turn in tomorrow morning to my US colleagues.

It's a somewhat busy week. Work will be busier this week and the following weeks as it is the end of our financial year. I am expecting an email soon from the bosses motivating us to hit our targets and maybe some more this April. This week will also be busy because one of my close friends from university is in town and because I-van and Moi are flying in from KL.

I'm trying to get as much rest as I can so that I can fully recover.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Short long weekend...

The long weekend is too short. Lol!

Friday and Saturday were both spent away from home together with friends. It was mostly good and a bit not so good. It was good because time with friends is always fun and enjoyable. It was not so good because I still have not yet fully recovered from being unwell and here I am tiring myself with all these activities. Lol!

My sore throat is gone. It has now turned into dry throat with sticky phlegm. Lol. Too much info?! I haven't gone back to the doctor. I think I'll go again tomorrow just to get meds from the throat. There has been no fever since Wednesday. That's good.

Anyway, so about the last two days...

Friday. Twelve hours in JB with Miru and Bernard. It was nice of them to invite me to tag along with them. Since it was a long weekend, I already expected that getting out of Singapore and getting past the Malaysian immigration would take hours. It did. About three hours in all. Thankfully, I was with the guys. We just chatted as the queue at Malaysian immigration moved at a glacial pace. Once we were out of immigration, we headed to KSL for a Japanese lunch. The good thing about JB is you get good food at half the Singapore price. Hehe! Stuffed from lunch, the guys went for a haircut while I chose to hangout at CBTL and waited for them. I brought them to Fizzio where we all had a good 90-minute foot reflexology treatment and back massage for RM80. Our last stop for the trip was City Square for dessert and dinner before heading back to Singapore. :)

Saturday. I had enough rest from my Friday trip and I managed to wake up in time to meet Mon and Ian at MBFC. We all agreed to go for Pump. I'm glad Mon asked to go to Pump. It would be cruel of me to ask him to go all the way to Westgate, so we just agreed to go for the Pump at MBFC. It was my first time at MBFC and the view was wow! I'm quite sure I'll go there again soon. Hehe!

After Pump, the three of us headed to Lau Pa Sat for lunch. Ian then did some of his errands while I went with Monay back to their place. He wanted to get some clothes for our second gym session for the day. Yep, Mon and I met up with Ian again at Cathay around 230PM. This time, it was for the 340 Combat class. Haha! I was sooooo tired after!

From Cathay, we went to Marina Square to meet up with Richie. Dinner was at the belacan fish place near Richie and Mon's house. It was a good meal to reward ourselves for the two crazy gym classes for the day. After dinner, we just walked over to Richie and Mon's and spent the next few hours chitchatting and having some drinks. It was a good Saturday.

Today was a rather slow and relaxed day. I decided I will not do much. I was successful in doing so. Aside from my one-hour Japanese lessons via Skype and church in the evening, I spent most of the day doing some other online errands and watching my series.

I wish the holiday could be much longer though. Haha...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Sore throat and fever...

I'm not sure if it was because I didn't get to shower and change into dry clothes immediately after being drenched in the rain last Sunday. Or maybe it was because of the freezing temp at the office last Monday.

But from the way my voice sounded last Monday night, I knew that sore throat and a fever were about to set in. True enough, I slept on a Monday night without AC nor fan because I wanted to perspire. The room also reeked of Tiger Balm as I kept on rubbing the ointment on my throat and chest. I had a scarf around my neck to keep my throat warm. Hehe!

Thankfully, I work from home. Yesterday, I still worked but I didn't have to think about getting dressed and traveling to the office and be in a freezing environment again. After work, I decided to stop self-medicating and walked to the clinic a few blocks away from my home.

Surprisingly, there was no queue when I arrived at the clinic. I was the second person. The doctor asked if I wanted antibiotics. I politely said no. He just gave me paracetamol, lozenges and another medicine for the sore throat. Thank heavens my company has a good healthcare card. I don't have to shell out a single cent for the meds nor for the visit to the doctor.

After leaving the clinic, I passed by the supermarket to buy a few things and then made my way home.

I slept early last night. I took a nap from 8 to 11PM. When I woke up at 11, I just went to the toilet half-asleep to brush my teeth and shower. Then I went back to my room, turned off the lights and slept again. Hehe!

Hopefully, I will feel much better today.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday starts early...

Today is going to be a long day.

Foremost on the agenda today is joining the nation as they bid farewell to the first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. I promised a few friends I'll join them wait for the cortege to pass by along Commonwealth Avenue before heading to Buona Vista CC to watch the State Funeral service.

But before that...

I'm up at 6AM on a Sunday, ahead of my alarm as usual (LOL!), because I'm going to Mass and then brunch. Today is also Palm Sunday. I expect the church to be packed and the service long. Hehe!

But before that... Lol!

I made the mistake of scheduling a 730 Skype session with a Japanese teacher via italki. Haha! I got home from a dinner and movie around 12 midnight. Because of the Skype session this morning, I also wasn't able to join RKGreg, MkSurf8 and iandarric on the impromptu nightout last night. :-/

In a recent post, I mentioned that I was thinking of trying out another language teacher aside from Harusan. The teacher I have a session with in 20 minutes is someone based in Nara. I've read the student feedback and it has been generally positive. I hope the session will be a good one.

This coming Tuesday is the last session of the Japanese language class. I decided to keep on going with the course, so I'll be registering for the next 10 sessions. Initially, I thought of switching schools. However, I decided to just stick with my current school. The fee difference between my current school and the other school is $140. Since I'm paying out of my own pocket, my resources are a bit limited. Lol! I'm hoping that the italki sessions would be good enough to supplement the once a week session in school.

I'm not sure what will come out of this language classes. I am planning to go to Japan later this year. At the very least, I hope that the language lessons will enable me to converse casually with the locals when I go for the trip.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Paid respects to LKY today...

Last night, I was supposed to fly to KL for a holiday until Monday. It was supposed to be my first time to visit friend I-van since he moved there.

But then, Monday happened and that made me think twice about going to KL. When I confirmed that I-van won't be around in KL this weekend as he is in Korea for work, I told him that I'll just postpone the trip. One, I really want to be in Singapore this entire week. Two, it doesn't seem to make sense for me to be in KL when the person I intend to visit is not there. Hehe!

When that was settled, the next thing that needed to be arranged was the visit to Parliament House to pay respects to Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. I knew Richie would want to go. Even before, he already said he hopes he would be in Singapore when the great leader passes on. He got his wish.

Today was the only day he can go to Parliament House. The same was true for me. I think Friday night and Saturday would be the time everyone who didn't get to go from Wednesday until Friday morning will try to go. Initially, Richie and I planned to go in the evening, around midnight. Later on, we decided to just go this morning.

I have to say you really have to give it to Singapore when it comes to efficiency and preparedness. The queue was orderly. There was free water, biscuits and flavoured drinks in packets. At the entrance to the Padang, umbrellas were distributed for use. Portalets were located in specific areas. First Aid stations were available. The volunteers even walked around giving cardboards for people to sit on on the grass. One Army officer came over to our group to brief us on the procedure. He explained that huge groups were kept in holding areas so that they won't have to sit, stand, move to next area, sit, stand, move to the next area.

Closer to the Parliament House, condolence cards and pens were readily available for the public to write their messages for LKY and/or his family. Even the style of the pen (black to signify mourning? Or am I reading too much into things?) was thought of!

Everything was so well-planned! Mr. Lee would have been so proud and impressed.

Inside the Parliament House, the mood was very sombre. Richie and I were at the hall where the great leader laid in state for under a minute. We just bowed down. I said a silent prayer and quietly whispered "Thank you, LKY."

On Sunday, I plan to stand along the street along with thousands of other people to wait for the gun carriage carrying his body to pass by. That will be the last time to say thank you and farewell to him.

So many articles have been written extolling the virtues of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. I also like this article and this article. I won't add another one.

Really, all I want to say is "Thank you" to you and your team for everything that you have done to make Singapore what it is today. It is truly remarkable. You will be remembered by generations to come, Mr. LKY!