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!

Saturday, March 28, 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!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


My Japanese writing practice for today. Lol.





Sunday, March 22, 2015

Equally busy Sunday...

Equally busy Sunday.

I've been all over the island once again. Haha! First order of the day was a nature walk with Mr. Lim. We headed to Bukit Brown. So much has changed in such a short span of time. We went for a walk for about 2 hours and covered almost 5 kilometres. During the walk, we discovered a new trail along Onraet Road. Some animals we saw were a collared kingfisher, an oriole, a few macaques and a lot of squirrels. Haha!

From Bukit Brown, we drove to the East for lunch and movie in Katong area. We watched The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Good movie! I enjoyed the first one. I enjoyed this one, too. Mr. Lim then dropped me off at Eunos MRT. I headed to One Raffles Quay to shower at the gym. Afterwards, I took bus 75 to catch the 530PM Mass at St. Bernadette.

Last agenda for the day was dinner with Richie at Korat Thai in Orchard Towers. Lol! It's been a long day once again.

Sometimes, or on most occasions, the weekend is more tiring than the entire work week. Lol!

Good weekend it was!

Busy Saturday...

Started the day with Pump at Westgate. Headed to the National Museum for volunteer shift. Big group again - 4 Americans, 2 Australians, 2 British, 2 Germans, 1 Austrian, 1 Indian. I think I won't be doing any morning shifts from now on. Hehe!

Went to the library again to work on my Japanese assignment. Final agenda for the day was dinner and hohol at Mr. and Mrs. B's place. It's a good thing I didn't have lunch because the couple served Filipino food that had me going for a second serving of rice. Yikes!

Day started at 8AM. Day ended at 11PM.

Friday, March 20, 2015

About Friday night...

I thought I'd end the day by writing briefly about my Friday... in Japanese.

こんにちは。アンジェロ です。 げんき です か。きにょうび の よる です。なに を して います か。

きょうは いえ で はたらきました。しごとは あまり いそがしくない です。5じはんに しごと を おわりました。 それから としょかん え いきます。 6じはんから 8じまでに ほん を よみました。

ほんは すき です。よむは すき です。9じごろに としょかんに でました。でんしゃのえきに あるきました。でんしゃで うちに かえります。

きょうは いい です。いま、ねます。おやすみなさい。

I posted this also on so that Japanese speakers may comment/correct the post. I'll translate the above post, along with any corrections, when someone takes the time to reply to the post. Haha!

Good night!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Nice Wednesday...

Wednesday was quite a busy day.

The day started with waking up before the alarm went off, which is usually the case. Haha!

Since I had dinner plans, I thought of going to the gym in the morning. It was perfect because there was a 7AM class. It would be just like pre-telecommuting days when I did Pump before heading to the office.

The gym was almost empty when I arrived. In about 15 minutes though, more people started arriving. I walked over to the counter to ask for the registration sheet for Pump. The nice staff then told me that there was Circuit Training, but no Pump.

Strange because I checked the schedule and I was sure Pump was on schedule. Hmm, I just decided to hit the treadmill and run for 30 minutes. When I was already 20 minutes into my run, I heard the music coming from the Group Exercise room. I was sure it was a Body Pump song. I decided to stop the treadmill and rush to the GX room. True enough, it was a Pump class. Haha!

Thankfully, I'm quite familiar with the song. I've been doing Pump for a few years now so it was quite easy to follow the instructor. It was just a 50-minute class. No biceps and triceps tracks. It was okay because I had enough time to shower and head back in time to start work.

For lunch, I had my second session with Harusensei. The session this week was a lot tougher than the first one. I could understand 80% of the things he said. The challenge was verbalise my thoughts. At one point, the sentences were too complicated. Even Harusan though that the sentences were too long! Lol! Oh, I still need to improve on the use of the particles.

I'm thinking of trying out sessions with another teacher. Harusensei is good. I think he is best for someone who already has been studying Japanese for a year now, maybe a JLPT 5 passer? I like him a lot because he's very patient, very cheerful, and that I am forced to really listen and try to speak in Japanese. But maybe I need a teacher who can properly supplement the lessons I learn in class. Let's stick first to Kono kaban wa dare desu ka? Or Kore wa dare no kaban desu ka? Isshni tabemasenka? Ja owarimashou.

Let's see how it goes.

In the evening, I just went to Holland V for dinner, followed by coffee and dessert at a cafe named Baker & Cook. Late did it occur to me that I actually could have checked out The Monocle Cafe. I've been wanting to go and check it out.

Good start of the day and good end of day.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Work, work, work Monday...

Since the weekend was packed with activities outside of the house, it was only this morning that I got to do house chores and errands that I needed to do.

I got up at 620AM. There were a few things that I wanted to do. The top two were laundry and grocery. Realising that I still had a lot of time before the nearby Fair Price opens, I decided to dump my dirty clothes in the washing machine first before heading out to do the grocery.

Monday morning is perhaps the best time to do grocery. Everyone, almost everyone, is at work. There are no queues. Going from aisle to aisle is a breeze. I pretty much have the same list or I know the things that I need. So, it doesn't take me a long time to buy stuff. Even if there was no queue at the regular counter, I still prefer to go to the self-service checkout counter. Hehe! I kinda enjoy scanning the items I bought and bagging them myself.

From the grocery, I headed back. With enough time still, I cooked breakfast. Then, I went to my room and changed the sheets. Afterwards, I turned on my laptop and logged on to the work network. There was still a lot of time before the work day started. That allowed me to go back to the wash area to take care of my laundry. Hehe!

One good thing about telecommuting - one can do his house work before the office work. Haha!

The day went by. There isn't much happening with work, which is good.

By 6, I left the house and went to the Choa Chu Kang Library. I spent a good two hours just working on my Japanese language assignments and studying for the class tomorrow. Two hours is not enough. :-( The last stop for today before heading back is the gym. To be honest, I was tempted to skip the gym because I was rather sleepy. Thankfully, I reminded myself of all the sinful stuff I ate at the picnic. That was more than enough to get me to drag myself to the gym.

Now, I'm just resting a bit before calling it a night. It was a rather long Monday. Week started good though. :)

Thank you, Lord.

Happy weekend indeed...

Similar to yesterday, today was a rather long day. Haha!

The difference, the significant difference, is that today didn’t require as much brain work as yesterday. Hehe! :P

I still woke up at 530 which was way before my alarm (which was 645!). Haha! I stayed in bed for about an hour. The reason for that was a Korean friend whom I met more than a decade ago finally found the time to check his Facebook account and accepted my friend request. We ended up chatting on FB for an hour or so. Hehe!

The convo had to be cut short though as I needed to prep to go to church. Today, I went to the Blessed Sacrament Church at Commonwealth Drive. It was a rather nice church. The service was quite good.

Following Mass, I grabbed a quick bite at a nearby kopitiam before making the journey to the East.

If my activities yesterday were all centred around the city, today’s activities were all in the East.

First stop was Aljunied. I realised I have time to kill so I brought my Japanese school materials and did some homework and reading at the Geylang East library. It’s my first time at this library and I really like it. In particular, I liked the Quiet Reading Room. It was quite spacious and more importantly, it really was quiet. Hehe! I only had a little over an hour to kill. Uhm, I only managed to finish one assignment and do a quick memorisation exercise of verbs and adjectives. Hehe!

Close to 1PM, I took the train to Paya Lebar where I met up with PG Boy, his best friend and Mon for lunch. I suggested we try the Peranakan place at the new building at Paya Lebar. Seeing the building made me realise how long I’ve never been to the eastern side of the island. Haha!

The lunch was pretty okay. We had the bueh keluak, rendang, otah otah, ngoh hiang, chap chye, cendol, and bobochacha. The food was pretty decent. Hmm, I still prefer Ivin’s and the Peranakan place over at Joo Chiat.

Last on my agenda today was a post-birthday picnic for Mr. Lim. He suggested a picnic and our friend Des suggested to have it at Pasir Ris park. I will admit it. I thought it was very far and it is very far. However, I knew Mr. Lim would drive. Add to that the fact that the gathering was for his birthday and that I haven’t seen Des and Justin for quite some time. I invited Miru to come along with us and I’m glad that he was free to join us.

Mr. Lim picked up me and Miru at Lorong Chuan and drove to planet Pasir Ris from there. It only took us about 20 minutes or so to reach the place. While parking, Des and Justin already arrived since they live nearby.

It was a nice picnic. Des and Justin prepped chicken wings. Miru and I brought egg tarts, mini-pies, chips, and cupcakes. Mr. Lim brought a nice drink and some desserts.

The place was so relaxing because it was right by the sea and the park was not crowded at all. We found our spot and just sat there for a good two hours to eat, chitchat, and people watch.

I reached home two hours ago and have just been relaxing. Hehe! Thankfully, I can wake up around 7 tomorrow and still be on time for work. Yay!

Thank you, Lordy, for a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Tiring Saturday... again...

Today was such a long day. Haha!

I'll just write a brief post. Afterwards, I'll shower and turn in. Yup, I am that tired.

Day started at 630AM. I had three museum activities today. First was a lecture on history of art in Singapore. I then had to rush to the National Museum for a guiding duty. Immediately after the guiding duty, I headed to one of the function rooms of the museum for a lecture on the architectural history of the museum. Haha!

From the museum, fellow docent Lionel and I walked over to nearby Cathay for coffee and chitchat. Around 3PM, we parted ways as he had to meet up with another friend. I, on the other hand, planned to go to the gym for Combat. To be honest, I wasn't feeling very well. I felt like a fever was about to set in. Still, I went ahead with Combat. Haha!

The last agenda for the day was dinner with Ian and Jamieson, who was in town for a few days. Initially, I planned to go first to Mass before meeting up with them. Luckily, I was able to move around some other schedules for tomorrow. That resulted in a decision to just go to Mass tomorrow morning. Hehe!

So, close to 6PM, Jamie, Ian and I met up at Ion and then walked over to Far East Plaza. Ian brought us to this fantastic Japanese place called The Sushi Bar. Apparently, it is a popular food place. When we arrived, the place was almost full. We got a table just before more people arrived. Yay!

I had chicken katsu and chawanmushi. I realised that I haven't had a proper meal for the day with all the morning commitments and the gym. So, I really needed my rice tonight. Haha!

From Far East, we walked to Tang Plaza next door for coffee and dessert at Tiong Bahru Bakery. Good food + visiting friend + fellow OFW friend = great chikahan.

Today was tiring, but definitely a good one. Yay!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Good first time experience with italki...

Knowing that a once-a-week three-hour class is not enough to learn Japanese, I've been doing some things for me to learn more about the language.

The school gave us a book and a companion vocab book, which I both use for my classes. Of course, those are definitely helpful and my main sources of information. Every morning, I spend about thirty minutes writing the entire katakana and hiragana characters before I start the day's work. I can read the characters, I can write them in the correct order. The challenge is when I translate sentences in romaji (Hajime mashite. Watashi wa Angelo desu.) to kana characters (はじめまして。わたしはアンジエロです。) It takes me a second or two to recall the character. The other challenge is reading. I really should find more time to practice reading skills. Let's not even start with kanji. Haha! Oh boy, I still have a long way to go.

To supplement the class lessons, there are a few websites I regularly visit to gain more knowledge about Nihongo. That's the great thing about the Internet and Google, I must say. Type in the right search words and voila! you get a plethora of websites on learning Japanese. The ones I like are also language schools that have free learning materials for download such as hiragana/katakana charts, writing worksheets, and so on. Now, I have a bookmark folder labeled Learning Nihongo. Hehe.

In addition to reading and writing, of course, the number one skill I want to be first good at is speaking. Yup, I can learn about particles, verb conjugations, sentence orders, and so on. Without speaking practice, my learning will be more theoretical. Hehe!

Recently, I found a few websites where you can find a language exchange buddy. I had no idea there are groups like these. Again, Google has the answer. Out of curiosity, I Googled Japanese language learning or something like that. The Google search returned a few sites. There is one site where I found a language exchange buddy based in Singapore. We already met up once. I don't know if I'll organise a meetup again. The thing is I'm a beginner and on our first session, there was really no concrete structure how to conduct our language exchange session. For the first hour, he taught me basic Japanese. For the next hour, I spoke to him in English and gave pointers on what to improve on.

Thanks again to Google, I stumbled upon this site called It's an online language service where one could find language teachers from around the world.

What are the good things about italki? One, you can find a real language teacher from various parts of the world. Two, you can practice the language with native speakers. Three, because it is not free, you are sure that the teacher would ensure that you get something out of the session. Four, all you need is a good Internet connection and then you can already start learning.

So, I decided to sign up and searched for a language teacher. The search results gave close to 100 individuals teaching Japanese. I decided to go with a teacher named Haru. He has good feedback from students. He has quite a number of students. He has conducted more than a thousand sessions. He really seems to be in demand because when I checked his available schedule, he is booked for almost the entire day almost every day. That gave me the impression that he must be good.

I found a convenient schedule so I went ahead and booked a 30-minute trial session with Haru-san. On our agreed time, I received a Skype video call. For the next thirty minutes, I was able to practice some of the lessons I've learned from my class. In addition to that, I've learned a few new words and a new grammar structure (making comparisons). Haru-san was very patient and very cheerful. Believe it or not, we spoke very little English throughout the call. He can speak English but he spoke in Nihongo 90% of the time. The good thing about this is that I was forced to think and speak in Japanese.

The cost for the 30-min session was just $8. A 60-min session is $15. Not bad, right? The fees vary from teacher to teacher. I think Haru-san's fees are very good.

So yeah, that was my first time to learn language online via italki. I've been on the Internet since 1996 and up until now, I'm still amazed by technology. I'm in the comfort of my own home in Singapore. My teacher is in his own home, in his own room in the Kanto region in Japan. With a few mouse clicks, taps on the keyboard, I am able to enter into a learning environment in cyberspace. How awesome is that! Hehe!

Anyway, I think I'll schedule another session with Haru-san next week. We'll see how far this new project will go.

Random Tuesday night post...

Just a random post for the day.

Not much happened at work today. In the morning, I had to attend a presentation via WebEx. The presenter was in Australia, I think. I dunno where all the other participants are from. Still, I found it cool that technology allows us to have such activities. I remember we used to talk about such possibilities back in university. Now, it is actually happening.

After work, I just headed to Raffles Place for my language classes. The course will be ending soon. Three more sessions to go. I want to try another school, but let's see. Hopefully, the schedule will of the other school will fit into my schedule. Then, there's that level check that I need to go through with the school I want to get into. :-S Anyway, let's see how it will go.

Tomorrow, I'm going to have a some sort of session to augment my language learning. Hmm again, let's see how it will go. I'll definitely blog about it in the evening.

Right now, I'm just sleepy. Haha! おやすみなさい!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happy birthday, RKGreg...

The past two Saturdays are quite an achievement for me. The achievement is that I went to a hohol and I stayed waaay past midnight. Hehe!

Last week, it was a casual gathering at MkSurf8's place. This weekend, it was a birthday gathering for RKGreg.

I knew that the gathering would be an all-nighter. Hence, I didn't make any plans for Sunday morning. In addition to that, I attended the Saturday sunset Mass just to be sure that I've fulfilled my Sunday obligations. I also took a power nap on Saturday afternoon to ensure that I will be able to stay up all night.

RKGreg booked a room at St. Regis in Orchard. It's my first time to see the hotel and wow, just wow! The lobby is impressive. What really caught my attention were the numerous art pieces found around the lobby. In fact, art pieces already welcome hotel guests even before they reach the concierge. There's an Anthony Poon sculpture by the dropoff area. At the lobby, I saw a Frank Gehry and two Cheong Soo Piengs. How awesome is that!

Going to the party, Mon and I met at the lobby around 930 before going up to the party venue aka Room 311. The room is just nice, just nice! There was a table on which plates of chicken lollipop, hotdog and marshmallow sticks, lumping shanghai, cheese sticks, meatballs awaited guests. The one that excited me the most though was the biko! Haha! Dunno why RKGreg thought of biko but seriously, I was so happy to see biko!

The party started with just about 7 people, including me and Mon. In less than an hour, the number was close to tripling. Hehe!

Because it was RKGreg's birthday, I had an excuse to have a few more glasses of alcohol than I usually have. I was armed with my pain medicines in case I get a gout attack the following morning. Recently, MkSurf8 intro'd me to this wonderful whiskey named Maker's Mark. It's the best! I really, really love the taste. I've gone a long way since university in terms of the alcohol I drink. Haha! From San Mig Light to Vodka Sprite to Vodka Cranberry to Mojitos and now, whiskey/bourbon. Hehe! I still avoid wine because it really triggers the gout. Hehe!

Along with the fanatic food and drinks was of course, fanatic conversation. From 930 up until the time that we left (around 430AM), everyone just kept on talking and taking photos (of course!) and eating and drinking. Hehe! I really enjoyed myself!

Thank goodness there was also neither hangover nor gout the following day. Yay!

Happy, happy, happy birthday again, RKGreg! Hope this year will be even more awesome for you! Btw, I used the app you showed me for the photo above. Hehe!

Friday, March 6, 2015

FaceTime Friday...

What a nice, relaxing Friday.

It's mainly because I got to spend a good time chatting with my best friend in Manila, Tey and best friend in then-SG/now-Syd, Tipz.

Thank goodness for living in a country with very fast Internet connection. Haha! The FaceTime sessions with both Tey and Tipz had very good quality.

When Tipz called, he was at the beach sunbathing. When I called Tey, she was having dinner at JT's Inasal. Two things I also miss - the beach and chicken inasal. Haha!

I'm staying in tonight. It'll be an early night. Tomorrow, I have to leave the house early again since there is a training I have to attend. After training, I'll head back to take a nap before going to Church and then dinner. After dinner, I'll have to head to town for RKGreg's birthday party.

Weekend's already looking packed. And it certainly started on a good note thanks to nice FT sessions with two of my closest friends.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bless me with patience...

Just got back from the gym. Thursday nights are for the Pump class led by my other fave instructor Rae aka the partner-in-crime of Bae. Haha! For some reason, tonight's class was not full. In fact, there were a few boards that were still available. I wonder if it has something to do with today being the last day of the CNY celebration.

Anyway, while queuing for class registration, I was chatting with my best friend in Manila, Tey. We don't get to chat as much so I try to send messages when I can or on moments that I realise that I have some free time.

Earlier, I was telling her about how I'm getting a bit impatient with my plans. Aware that I am turning さんじゅろく さい this year and that my work pass will be up for renewal again towards the end of the year, I can't help but find myself having an unsettling feeling once again.

I told Tey, "I want something more permanent. I want something permanent." Permanent residency in a country/city other than my motherland where I can finally settle down. Permanent partner and a relationship. Permanent job (at least for the next 5 or 10 years?). One can only go on for so long in the state that I am in.

I do have plans in my head and written down on another journal. By this time, do this. If this doesn't work out, do this. Otherwise, do this.

Planning is not a problem; execution is the challenge partly because I have no control over things. I can have the best plans on paper but if the stars are not aligned, then there is that possibility of heartbreak. I believe in the saying, "Life is what you make of it." That is true. But for some reason, one can still plan and the world will still screw him/her over. Haha! When I pray, my fervent prayer is, "Lord, show me your will; your will be done." Okay, I'll start with "Lord, this is what I want... but still at the end of the day, your will be done." I also ask for some sign to show me that I'm going the right way. And sometimes, I will notice something and I'll wonder if it was a sign.


So, right now, I'm in some sort of waiting game. I'm waiting for certain periods to come and then I'll decide what to do next. To be honest, I have nothing to complain about - my work is doing okay, I have a job that pays the bills and allows me to live relatively comfortably, I am able to bring my Mom on a holiday, I can afford to go on holidays; I am doing other things besides work - museum volunteering; I'm enriching myself with the Japanese classes; I'm healthy; I'm single but I do try to put myself out there; I'm surrounded by friends who love me.

At the moment, things are very well. There is much to be thankful for. But like I said, I'm ready to move on to something more permanent, something bigger. Hopefully, prayers will be answered soon...

And if not, please bless me with patience. Haha!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Nice quote from TKAMB...

Last Sunday, I finished the last few pages of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

It was an easy read filled with simple life lessons that are worth abiding to for an entire life.

The book first came into my radar back in university. I was a sophomore then. One of my professor friends told me I should ready Harper Lee's work. Hmm, I'm wondering now why it took me this long to pick up the book and start reading it.

It had to take a recent news article that a sequel to the book will be released later this year for me to be pushed to get started with the book.

Well, I'm actually glad I finally got to read it.

It may have been published in 1960, but the values to be picked up from the book are still relevant until today and I daresay, will continue to be relevant in the next 100 years.

Above is one of the quotes that I like from the book.

I firmly believe in this quote. When I was fresh out of university, I handled a volunteer program whereby students were sent to far-flung areas in the Philippines. The students would stay with a host family for two to three weeks. The aim of the program was simple: live the way of life of the host family/community.

Prior to deployment, I had to go visit the communities/families, as well as our local partner group, and assess their readiness to adopt the students. Most communities took a whole day's journey on rough roads and the most uncomfortable modes of transportation. In some cases, it even involved a hike, crossing streams/rivers, and so on. Naturally, there was no electricity. There was no Internet. The mobile phone signal comes and goes.

In these areas, far from the four walls of the university, were life lessons waiting to be learned.

The most basic of these is this: for one to be able to better serve others, one needs to understand how their way of life is. This completely echoes Atticus Finch's words in Harper Lee's work, doesn't it?

Years after I've left that volunteer management work, up until today, I still believe in that premise that putting oneself in another person's shoes is one of the best ways to understand that person.

Think about it for a moment. One will understand why.

On another note, I'm glad that I finished a second book for 2015. I should start on a new book for March. Hmm, which title to read, eh?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Monday is almost here...

You were a nice ending to the weekend. :)

Following Bae's tiring Pump class at Paragon, it was a great idea to walk to the other side of Orchard for a dinner of green curry and pad thai. Then, a scoop of mango yogurt and a scoop of tiramisu gelato were the perfect closure to tonight's dinner. Lastly, the walk from Forum to Tanglin Mall, the walk from Tanglin Mall to the bus stop at Gleneagles were just nice, just nice.

This weekend brought along a few surprises. Wow.

I can still stay up all night for a hohol...

Oh, what a night!

Earlier last week, MkSurf8 messaged saying he was organising a post-CNY dinner at his place. His message included a "No Cinderella exit, okay?" portion. Hehe! Thankfully, Module 2 of the volunteer training hasn't started yet. And because I knew last night's gathering was going to be an all-nighter, I reserved Sunday morning for recovery. Also, I already attended the Sunset Mass yesterday because I knew that I most probably would not have time for Mass today given my other plans for Sunday afternoon.

Last night started at close to 10PM. It started with a bottle of whiskey paired with Coke regular, three kinds of cheese, a bowl of chips, french fries and chicken nuggets. The night ended with I'm not sure how many bottles of white wine and red wine, several opened bags of chips and cheese blocks that were less than a quarter of their original size. Hehe!

It was a good thing I took a one-hour nap yesterday afternoon. Otherwise, I wouldn't know how I would be up all night. Or maybe, and I'm quite sure of it, it was the company that kept me going. We were a small group composed of the usual suspects I hang out with when I moved to SG. Chris was the only one MIA since he is overseas. Mon and Richie, who I thought would miss the gathering since the latter is flying out tonight, surprised us when they said that they'll be going to MkSurf8's place. One of the girls from MkSurf8's harem also joined us last night. It indeed is a small world because the girl's Mom and Mon's Mom are friends.

So 10じから 4じはまで です, it was just non-stop conversation about almost every topic that came to mind. The conversations are one of my favourite things about the gatherings. I can't drink as much anymore since I don't want to risk getting a gout attack. It sucks but what to do, yeah?

I reached home close to 6AM. I was up at 9AM, went back to sleep for an hour, had brunch, and now typing this post. I wish to write more but I have to get going for Sunday afternoon plans.

Thank you, MkSurf8 and RKGreg, for organising the hohol last night!