Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Miss Orh Lulu

On the first day of the new lunar year, I woke early to see Lulu still asleep. Roused from her sleep, she leaped up onto a chair and wanted to continue her sleep.

Decided to snap a few test shots because I was going to take an extended family portrait later that day.

Her she is, distracted by my dad, hence looking away from the camera. The focus is soft because I was in such an awkward angle and totally unprepared for the shot. Moreover, the shutter was opened for a while because I wanted to use the natural rays from the kitchen windows.

This shot is much better composed and I took about 5 of these and 1 came out just right. A little forlorn but still very adorable. She's completely docile in the morning.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Desert Island Discs Part 2

......continuing from yesterday's post about the yellow car that got stuck, here's my take of the driver's DIDs:

the tracks in Red are the DIDs of the driver while the tracks in Blue are the DIDs of the other drivers who witnessed the incident.

  1. Accident by Rachel Yamagata
    :: From Safety To Where? by Joy Division
  2. Behind The Wheel by Depeche Mode
    :: You Ain't Going Nowhere by Counting Crows
  3. Hard To Concentrate by Red Hot Chili Peppers
    :: Have You Met Miss Jones? by Robbie Williams
  4. Help Me Please by Hard-Fi
    :: Can't Stop Now by Keane
  5. Where Do I Go From Here? by The Carpenters
    :: Nowhere Fast by The Smiths
  6. Try Again by Aaliyah
    :: Time And Time Again by Counting Crows
  7. Getting Scared by Imogen Heap
    :: Before You Cry by Camera Obscura
  8. Say What You Want by Texas
    :: Somethin' Stupid by Frank & Nancy Sinatra

  9. and as a bonus track to the normal 8 DIDs....

  10. Will You Still Care? by The Crocketts
    :: Is It Wicked Not To Care? by Belle & Sebastian

I saw on Plastique Monkey's website that Feist did a special clip on Sesame Street singing 1-2-3-4 and enjoyed it tremendously. Decided to find more of such musical gems that appeared on Sesame Street.

Feist's 1-2-3-4 being reworded and still retaining the uplifting vibes. It's the tune really.

Norah Jones with "Don't know why Y didn't come". It's hilarious! And it's recorded off Mediacorp's Kids' Central.

The muppet version of Kate Pierson (of the B52s) who sang Shiny Happy People with the REM appears spot on. REM (without drummer Bill Berry) changed the words too and the Sesame Street version is Furry Happy Monsters. And we have Michael Stipe telling the monsters "We can be Happy!" hahaha...

This is the Goo Goo Dolls singing the Sesame Street version of Slide. Seeing Elmo rock out at 2:14 into the video is worth everything.

And finally, we have Mr Johnny Cash. He appeared several times but I like this one best. Tall Tales.

Sesame Street

Sesame Street was a staple in my childhood years.
Not wanting to distract the content with my verbal diarrhea, here are my top 3:

Ernie's Imagine That was such a fun song. Wimpy dragon and all.

It's A Rainy Day is a song I still hum sometimes when it rains. I think auntie might have asked me about this before. So glad for youtube, if not I wouldn't have been able to track this down.

This is THE Classic Sesame Street song. Bob McGrath singing about the people in the neighbourhood (drop the "r" if you are American). It's so good that they're are still making Bob sing it these days. Like in a special with Martina (the tennis player) below:


Joining the ranks

In a bid to have the last and final word on the whole fracas, Mr Peter Ho, Head of Civil Service, wrote in to the forum page of AssTee and the letter was published in today's papers.

Should we rank Mr Tan together with Mr John "Merrill Lynch" Thain who spent US$1,400 for a waste paper basket in his brand spanking new office and subsequently was removed, the excutives of AIG who had a St Regis resort holiday after a US$85 billion bailout or the Big 3 US carmakers who flew to Washington in private jets and begged for taxpayers' money?

Sensitivity is an art. You cannot learn it from being an SAF Overseas Scholar. They have yet to offer this subject in University of Cambridge. It may have been included as part of a module in Public Administration at Havard Business School but still, it's not a passing requirement.

But in the university of life and school of hard knocks, you will never forget this lesson when the class is over.

I have nothing against Mr Tan Yong Soon for spending his own money on a Le Cordon Bleu. In fact, I thought it was blown out of proportion. It's very different from the cases in US where public funds were used to bail the companies out. No doubt Mr Tan was a public servant and his pay is indirectly drawn from the nation's coffers but it is not as if the regulars in SAF, the police in SPF and blah blah aren't. The key thing was that he is in a senior leadership position.

Is this a reminder for the government that many of our leaders are not voted in? That they have not been through the "crucible of struggle" but they are as good as we can get?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Desert Island Discs

If you don't know what DIDs are....

Anyway, the acronym is short for Desert Island Discs which is a music programme on BBC Radio 4. Essentially, guests are asked to name 8 pieces of music after picturing themselves stranded on, you guessed it, a desert island.

This was a picture taken by a forummer on hwz (the fantabulous EDMW sub-forum). It's at Toa Payoh Lor 6, near the HDB Hub.

The yellow sports car appears to be stranded. On an island.
I wonder what music will the driver bring?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

French Food

Not gonna talk about the Perm Sec in MEWR x Le Cordon Bleu issue. So Mr Y. S. Tan got chided publicly. BFD. I was more interested in the news on how the total annual salaries at the MR4 grade will fall by 18% to $1.57 million and salaries at the SR9 level will fall by 12% to $353,000. SR9 is the entry level of superscale Administrative Service Officer. They are in their early to mid 30s. My annual pay is no where near $353,000, which works out to be more than $29,000 a month. In fact, I am so far from $353,000 that I don't even belong to the same neighbourhood, street, estate, postal district, GRC....... The SR9 grade officers can see their salaries drop by another 50% and still be getting more than me. I need to constantly remind myself of this whenever I think I should work late. Oh poor them. Having 12% of their salaries shaved off. Woe.

Enough about that.

This is about the good fortune I enjoyed when I was in Paris for a working trip late last year. I had foie gras on 4 of the 7 nights I was there. So besides staying at the Hilton, Paris, there was good food all round. Ok, so the forced fed geese weren't so fortunate. My fortune was further diluted by the fact that I don't really love foie gras.

I'm more of a tee kwa (pig liver) in the minced pork and mushroom mee pok dry type of person. Especially the powdery type done easy.

The cool way to name your restaurant when you have made it is easy. Name it after yourself.
Not your surname. Use your first name. Preferably with your maitre'd name as well. Just to debunk the critics from saying you are ego-centric. Even if you are.

George V is the area to look for French fine dining. Sandwiched between the Eiffel Tower and The Arc D'Triomphe, an avenue off the Champs Elysees, it is easily located.

On the second night, I had my first french fine dining experience in this place called Philippe & Jean-Pierre. Good thing I had late dinner that evening. So the bulk of the dinner crowd had already left. Thus the few of us had a fantastic night of relaxed conversations, fine food, good wine and a very interesting cheese board.

The third night was the exhibition's opening gala held in The Paris Navy Museum which is the west wing of the Palais de Chaillot (or Trocadero). Most who have been tp Paris would have been to the compounds as it provides one of the best vistas in Paris - that of the Eiffel Tower standing resplendent on the opposite bank of the Seine river. I just wanted to note that Singaporeans are not the only kiasu (afraid of losing out)/tumjiak (greedy - taking alot of what you like) /gianpng (greedy - taking alot of what you like AND whatever else is served). There were foie gras served in a myriad of ways and freshly shucked Mediterranean oysters. And buzzing around these stands were representatives from various countries. I saw this particular man slurping down more than a dozen of the oysters. I think I had 2. Damn. Not only am I earning way less than the local elites, I am also not being kiasu enough as the local uncles/aunties.

The next night was at a restaurant famous for the seafood and specialities from Provence - Marius et Jeanette. Although pricey, the eatery was filled with casually dressed patrons and as noisy as a pub. Except that no pub music was being played. Only the sound of conversations in French and English (our table).

The last of the George V restaurant I dined in was in Pershing Hall. The restaurant is part of the Hotel Pershing Hall and is one of the place in Paris to see and be seen. Below is the menu (the only place I had taken note):

Fine tart of Cod, olive oil and lemon dressing, caviar of tomato
Pan fried sea bass filet, stewed garlic and caviar of eggplant
Figs roasted with citrus, rosemary sherbet

[errors intended]

Figs as dessert was common because they were in season. So many of the desserts I had were fig-based. Even for lunches.

Ok, getting quite tired. Will stop here.

Boring entry.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Solving a Rubik's cube

I bought a Rubik's cube from the Toys "r" Us in Vivocity sometime in late 2007. I had huge ambitions. Wanting to solve it within minutes. Blind folded perhaps. Single handed?
Never got round to solving it until about 1am this morning. And when I twisted all the faces in place, I never knew I had solved it until I turn the faces all round and realised that there was nothing left to do. Except be bewildered by the solution. The initial face was the hardest. After that, it was just mechanically identifying the patterns & applying the solution.
I might have solved the Rubik's cube but I don't know how the solution works.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

British Pounded

UK not in recession yet. Technically.
So if you are looking to find the dip in the Pound so as to buy it while it is low, may want to wait.

I am so glad I still keeping my student bank account in Barclays. Can transfer money, to prepare for future holidays!


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Things to decorate with

Fresh from Armin. Technically, I was there. But he's yet to spin. But the crowd was already too overwhelming for me. goes.

Ok, first up would be the only original in my collection.


Nocturne 10073 by Lin Bao Ling. I might be his biggest fan. Supported him since way back when I saw his painting at Mandarin Hotel in the Marina area. That might be 2004 or so. Met him a couple of times and will also take a look whenever he has a exhibition locally. So far he has had about 3 local exhibitions.



Next are the Audrey Kawasaki prints.

She Who Dares (limited edition of 200. Mine's number 108) and Mizuame (edition of . I am still waiting for my Two Sisters. Don't think it will arrive until sometime in late Feb. I always have interesting stories surrounding how I get her prints. My first was Mizuame. I had to use gprs to get online while on duty in base to log onto the internet and bought a piece. Thank goodness it was time limited edition, meaning she will process every single order she gets in an hour. There were 790 orders globally during that hour. The second was even more interesting. I realised that my workplace is able to go online but not access her website. Hence I had to call auntie, while on duty the night before, to get her help. This was crucial because instead of an hour, I had only precious seconds. There were only 200 put up for sale of which 85 were already sold at an exhibition. The piece that I am waiting for was also a time limited edition. This time the total global orders grew to 1060. I asked Lin Bao Ling about sharing his art in giclee print before. He considered but remained envious of the US art community.


These are the Yuka Yamaguchi prints. I had wanted to get another but it was sold out. So I settled for these 3 - New Heartbeat, I Didn't Do It and I Can Wait. The other that I wanted to get was There You Are! She is also known as Plastique Monkey and keeps a blog. Currently busy with her baby boy. I like the whimiscal nature of her works. Even for the toys she made for her boy Elijah, they are totally out of this world.


This was a gift from a friend in Uni. She was enjoying her holiday in Italy and decided to get this for me, knowing I like art and that my work is related to maritime activities. It's by a street artist somewhere in Rome.


Ok, this is from the museum shop in Reina Sofia. Flensted mobiles are quite popular. Many of the DSTA meeting rooms in the Science Park building has got one. I had wanted to get it the first time I was in Madrid back in 2001. But being a student, couldn't afford it. Hence when I was back there in 2005, I grabbed it. And now I feel like getting another.



These were from a street peddler in the Vietnamese city of Hue. Only USD1 each. Cheap cheap. I just wanted to get some and if I remembered correctly, I gave some away.



Prints by Tom Purvis. Like the style he adopted for himself while designing for LNER. He's art prints are quite popular with those who collect railway memorabilia. The top prints were bought while on a holiday in the Lake District. The bottom prints were gotten from an online shop. The quality sucks for the smaller prints. I liked these two because they come in a set of 6 and form a continuous panaroma of some locations in Yorkshire.

That's all for now~

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Created a new album on facebook to tag all the "decorations" I bought for my imaginary house.

Will upload them here tomorrow or this weekend.

Angry Indonesian Muslim students attacked American Colonel

US is perceived as an important ally of Israel.

Israel attacks Gaza.

Indonesian students are angry.

They attacked an American Colonel.









Colonel Sanders.

The link to the news article from Channelnewsasia here.


It's time for KFC. Hot and crispy and original recipe.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Slow start to the new year

I am told to start training for this year end's marathon.

But secretly I am thinking about the Gobi March in 2010.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

My Best of 2008 (draft version)

I don't know if I should rush out a "traditional" entry on my favourite songs in 2008. Also the forecast for 2009.

Let's see if I do feel so inclined.

Ok, so I do.

Pace Is The Trick - Interpol, Our Love To Admire
Slow Hands - Interpol, Antics
"You women you have no self control" kinda just sums up why I like this song in the very early part of 2008. And I really started listening to Interpol after watching the music video of Slow Hands on mtv. Such a great album which I refused to listen to although Yugin recommended it to me years ago.

Small - Portishead, Third
Ah, Portishead. My musical saviour since 1994. Releasing their third album finally.

The Start Of Something - Voxtrot, Raised By Wolves
First heard this in mong's car. Thought she said the name of the band was Raised By Wolves, which is the name of an actual brand in Australia. Sounding like a modern day The Smiths, but not to be lumped together with the next band below.

Long Division - Death Cab For Cutie, Narrow Stairs
Such clever lyrics, how to not like it's wit. Admittedly, the latest album by DCFC is a little weak by comparison (blah blah blah...oh, I liked DCFC so much better before The OC and them selling out, releasing on a major label....blah blah - goes the comment of a music snob). I don't quite understand the entire pitchfork media top albums of 2008 list. I know none of the bands in their honourable mention list. Elitist!

Human - The Killers, Day & Age
With everyone raising their eyebrows over the line "Are we human? Or are we dancer", The Jacques Lu Cont/Stuart Price/Thin White Duke/Les Rythmes Digitales produced track had trancers locked to the dancefloor though I have never heard it being dropped in a dj's set. Ah well....

Ready For The Floor - Hot Chip, Made In The Dark
Do it do it do it do it do it do it do it now. Say it say it say it say it say it say it say it now.
It's this year's Young Folks for me. Matched Young Folks' whistling part in its ability to remain in your head.

A&E - Goldfrapp, Seventh Tree
What a brave departure from her previous efforts. Lush sounding, like walking in the enchanted woods, straight out from Enid Blyton.

Tell Me What It's Worth - Lightspeed Champion, Falling Off The Lavender Bridge
Ok, it was the over-sized frames that won me over. And the oddly funny/sad music video (read all the signboards please!) that made me get out and buy his album. Non-R&B music from black people rock! Like, stay cool and funky.

To Start Anew - The Perishers, Victorious
A weepy. Boring. But essential. Slightly embarassed to have this track lurking in my 2008 list.

Elephants - Rachael Yamagata, Elephants......Teeth Sinking Into Heart
Finally! She was all secretive about this new album when I asked her if her new one was coming out anytime soon. This album missed 2007 summer's deadline. But everyone who was at her concert in Singapore at The Esplanade must be glad it's finally out! A double disc!

Only This Moment - Röyksopp, The Understanding
This song, I remember listening to it and liking it very much while seated on a bus, on the way to a friend's place near Goodman Rd. Ripped the album from Pin.

Glam Bucket - Underworld, Oblivion With Bells
The only instrumental track in this list.

Maps - Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever To Tell
Old old track. From 2003. I never knew that YYYs wrote such brilliant stuff. And the music video is so "let's jam".

2008 most wanted to listen album (but failed to) - Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes
Songs In A&E by Spiritualised and The Seldom Seen Kid by Elbow.