December 31, 2007 Leave a comment
December 31, 2007 Leave a comment
While we party and bid farewell to 2007, we overlooked the majority of our kind. And it is not too difficult to spot them. They are just around the corners in every city. You find unfortunate ones not doing as great as what the newspaper reflected. While we are partying, they worked behind our shadows, making life easier for us. The bus drivers, the shopping centres loo cleaners, the construction workers, the domestic helpers, the trash-cans collectors, the 24/7 factory workers, the poor child beggars of 3rd world countries, the soldiers at frontline and those who are desperately finding ways to make a humble living.
I always ask myself if it is possible to achieve a fair system in food-chain of economy. The rich and powerful ones at the top made use of the poor and helpless ones below. One used his lifetime to enjoy the wonders of life at the cost and expense of another’s life and time. Production workers slaved all their life producing "luxury items" for the ones above. A cheap price indeed. Rich nations outsource dirty works to poor nations. Risky and dangerous jobs are given to those sons and daughters whom we never regards as friends or families. Do we care if a maid fell off the window in the course of her chores? Nope, the employers just get a new replacement from the agency.
Some people explained their daily life in measurement of dollars and cents. While others measure in their own standard of "passions" and "satisfaction". And many do it in the name of "you-know-who" (for my dad, for humanity, for Him)! It is all but justifying the doings of oneself. That at least give us a purpose to do things…a reason to progress. In whose words…in ours, I supposed. I wonder if a man would do something so right and meaningful for himself without all these justification.
To many, it is just "Time" – a natural progression of things. Time to study, time to get marry, time to retire and time to punch-card and go home. We have created a world system, a society that remotely rally the world and mass to run a common path. There will never be a world of only leaders and no followers. Likewise, there will never be a world of salves and no master. It is a strange way of ruling nature and getting the system to work. And yes, this food-chain of economy will imprint everyone of us with a heavy price-tags. Of course, I am always challenging these rules. Why let time stop your path?
The wonders of this world were built by the poorest people and you will never know their names or face. Only the masters’.
It is just making a living. Not a lot though. Perhaps just enough for them to elevate to the next level of the food-chain. The only pity is they may spend the next 80% of their lives doing just that. What about the idealogy of "exploring the world and enjoyment of life"? I guess such idealogy only exist at one level of the food-chain.
Happiness and health is the only fuel I am asking for. It doesn’t matter who you are and where you are. Happiness comes from many sources. As long as one is happy and healthy, life remains a miraculous journey that let one search for the answers he/she is seeking.
Start create beautiful memories. Cos’ nothing is real and stable. Not the value you see in RMB or USD. Or the fame and status you are holding.
There is only one true "Currency of Life" – that currency is call "Happiness".
December 30, 2007 Leave a comment
Elkan was just 10m away from the beastly lions and tigers. Of course, he was sitting in the comfort of a mini-bus – watching the wildlife outside the windows.Yesterday, we decided to visit the infamous wildlife zoo at NanHui, Shanghai. It was famous for its blood-shed incident when a visitor was eaten up alive by its wild exhibits (lions!). Before we enter the premise, I was feeling quite nervous. Man, this zoo is almost 13 years old – and I have little faith on its facilities. Nevertheless, this is exactly what we need – a little risk, a little imagination and fear. It helps to fuel the excitement of a “Kenya wannabe” ride.
This place seems to lose its origin glory. There was sign pointing to a grand Chinese restuarant but the building is empty. The animal rides and games stalls at the entrance were rusted out. Tall grass grew along the gaps of the cement ground. It was pretty empty and quiet – I can really count the number of visitors. Less than 50, I am sure. Maybe it is winter…maybe they get better crowd in summer.
The entrance tickets plus the wildlife ride aren’t cheap either. It is about S$20/adult and S$10/child. The 20-min wildlife ride is S$30. The cab fare from our house to the zoo was S$60! And the journey there took about 1 hour. So, it isn’t a cheap excursion. For experience’s sake, I will not recommend to serious zoo-lovers. This place is only worth 4 out of 10.
Still, there is always an excitement, experiencing a “first”. Like in the movie “Jurassic Park”, our transport took us into “high-fenced” terrains where wild animals run freely. We came face to face – with tigers, lions, bears and zebras. Elkan was excited. Tracy was eager to get down to shoot. I was chatting non-stop with the driver and Felicia was trying to “belt” Elkan still on his seat. Elkan was banging on the glass and roaring at the beasts outside. (In Hokkien, it means “bay jai si” – don’t know what death is!).
It looks like we are more wild inside than the place outside.
December 30, 2007 2 Comments
"This is likely to be my last Shanghai visit" said Joanne. She has been here for almost 4 times! And with her, Sherane is my 50th visitor!
It is so strange to meet Joanne and family in Shanghai. Afterall, we just met in Singapore less than a week back. Joanne and I were dining at Caffeine Christmas lunch and now we were drinking red wine at Xin Tian Di. It felt like a walk around the corner. The memory of flying 3800km never occur in my mind. Man, now I remember my flight from Hong Kong to Singapore. The feeling of flying home is truly great. (Sigh…now I am back in Shanghai once more.)
Anyway, I had a fantastic night-out with the ladies. The 2 crazy wanted to dine outdoor at Xin Tian Di. With strong wind and temperature as low as 1, Tracy and I have to endure their crazy demand to sit outdoor for 2 bloody wee hours! (Good thing Feli and Elkan were spared from this torture). The 2 crazy girls were of course enjoying themselves. They were giggling, hyper-active and super cozy friendly. Many men walked past our table, thinking I am a pimp…trying to "sell" of these 3 sexy girls. (Seriously, Xin Tian Di is a whore street at night. You got "desperate" ang mohs and chin-nas everywhere!)
The story is I got the best of night! We drank, hugged and laughed. From 12am to 5am, we explored many drinking spots - from Hengshan Road to Park97. I brought them to Guandi and realised it is under construction! Then, we went to Xin Tian Di to drink. At 3am, we popped by BabyFace but Joanne couldn’t breathe, so we ended up singing and drinking at PartyWorld. (Anyway, I am the only one singing…Tracy and Sherane slept!)
We took many huggy photos…so the girls can used it to make their men jealous. Opps..my wife is not going to be very happy about this. Heee..sorry.
December 27, 2007 Leave a comment
Looks like I am going to feast and feast this Christmas. I am going to put on more weights around my belly. I am going to match Santa’s size. No, I am not on a mission to gain weight. But it looks like this is the only fun activity around Christmas season. It is food, more food..and more food. Man, I really wish I can see snow this year.
God has been kind to me and my family & friends. I am always with good company of loved ones during this time of the year. Even when I am so far away from home, the spirit of Christmas never left me. Especially for Elkan, his presents occupied the entire floor! My Christmas tree looked so tiny in the presence of his many gifts. Young and popular, my son is certainly taking over me. I have to beg for a decent gift this year. (And I have to fight for a kiss from the Santa Gal during my Christmas Lunch with my cousin Yei and girlfriend Summer).
Joanne and ex-SQ cousin (50th & 51st Visitors) are in town this week. Feel so strange – I thought I just met Joanne 2 days ago in Singapore and now she is right here with us (at my house!). All of them (Juli, Kalinda, Joanne) have been here at different timing of the year. Imagine if I can have all of them at the same timing – that would be a really big Wahbiang Gathering at Shanghai Hotel 16.
Joanne’s leaving for Singapore this weekend. Francis is throwing his new year party this Sunday. Still 4 more days to celebrate before 2008 kicks in.
December 26, 2007 Leave a comment
This year, Wahbiang celebrated their 2007 Christmas 5 days before the big day! Jimmy and Serene played host to another great party. The food was great, the venue was ideal. Our party was getting more eventful. Kids were crying, parents (MC & Charlie) stranded at home, adults working the next day, lost handphone woes and old friends just touched down Singapore.
This year, folks in Shanghai (Felicia and Tracy) added a new item in our Christmas Party. We organised the 1st Wahbiang Awards (maybe the last – cos we do not want the same people winning every year!) The voting received 90% of the participation. And the award voting was fair and open. Karen Loo was our Guest of Honor for the night and she gave out all the awards.
Here are some of the winners:
Busiest Man of the Year: Jimmy Teo
Best Supporting Role: Wang Meijie
Best Male Singer: Gareth Tan
Best Female Singer: Kalinda Low
Worst Singer: Huang Yifu
Most Popular Female: Felicia, Lusia
Most Popular Male: Duuk, Meijie
Best Couple: Duuk and Juliana
Fighter of the Year: Juliana
Best Comedian of the Year: Gareth Tan
Single of the Year: Wang Meijie
Flirt of the Year: Joe Chua (I hid the award..so no one can “swan” me that night)
Best Christmas Party: Kalinda’s House 2004
Newcomer of the Year: Kaylene
Naughtiest Kid: Elkan
Top Winner: Wang Meijie (3 medals)
As the night was getting late and parents-with-kids were leaving. We broke our tradition of “gift-exchange” games and did a quick gift-exchange. Lusia was very sporting that night. She encouraged the games to go on. We played 3 rounds of “really funny” games.
December 9, 2007 Leave a comment
Back in June 2003, Yifu and Wendy had a huge email wars over the definition of “Wahbiang Clan”. Yifu was very upset that he saw many new unfamiliar faces in the clan (people from DCS, Lasalle – well, he was fine with the babes from Temasek though!). Wendy tried her best to make him accept the newcomers. And Jimmy and gang also joined in the debate. Sounds like building a very complicated cult. This big debate lasted only a week. Life has to go on. Eventually, “Wahbiang” has its own unwritten membership rules. And that works very well for the past 5 years. There were of course “members” being ruled out by Mr Dictator Joe and “members” who went missing after they found love & money. In fact, “wahbiang” has its share of regular guests (Karen Loo & Charlie, Scott, Bettina, Hovman, Francis Goh, Jasbir, Bishan, Kendrick, Manfred).
The clan is growing at a super-speed (with new inclusion of marriages – Serene, Lilian, Ernie, Echo and those babies). The spirit of “wahbiang” is very strong. Despite my “super absence”, a new group of leaders took over and organised gatherings for the group. There is no need for voting or internal politics, every one has such great bonds and come together. I am touched, really.
Guofeng messaged me 2 weeks ago about Christmas 2007. He expressed his concern about this year’s Christmas party. “Where got people?” he messaged. Yixi is stuck in Australia for training. Tracy, Echo, Francis, Felicia, Joe and Joanne will be in Shanghai for god-knows-what. It is so similar to Christmas 1998 when Yifu, Meijie, Jimmy were all overseas studying. Where is the crowd? Like Guofeng, I miss the old golden days (like Xmas 2004/2005). Those are really the golden days of our clan – Meijie even had a girlfriend!
Every year, without fail, all wahbiang friends will get a special xmas card (special theme). To many envy eyes, we are a super-connected clan of people (outside church/temple groups). Our unity is special and the bonding is always unique. (We do have wars and fights). Wahbiang Xmas Party is beyond the biggest Wahbiang gathering. We used to drive a donation drive for the poor. Boh Tien Home for the Aged has been receiving goodwills from our clan since 1997. We have stopped this practice in 2004. (Man, we got to renew our Operation X Mission).
The nominees are out! Check your email link to take part (Tracy has picked a smart system – you can only vote once!) If you aren’t nominated, dun feel dry and sad. You be the audience and you see how we ”sabo” this winner.
Watch out for the date and venue!
December 8, 2007 Leave a comment
Auntie Amy and Cousin Chester (my 48th-49th visitors) popped by town last Monday. And it was just a short stay. By Thursday, they flew back to Xiamen (before coming back to Singapore).
Along with them, they brought Elkan’s "really expensive" food supplies (enough to last him for 2 months). They were over-weight by 13kg and fined an extra of S$200. Those killer milk tins are really heavy! I had a hard time "carrying" them home too.
Wish I could spend more time with them. Took 1.5 days off, accompanying them to the Bund, Hyatt 50th floor, Toursit Tunnel, Tai Kang Road, Yu Gardens, Huai Hai Road, Xu Jia Hui and massage at Taipan. Brainwashed by both Felicia and myself, both of them took a last-minute trip to Yiwu on Tuesday night. And silly me, I booked the worst class ride for them (3-hour train ride on wooden seats!) Must be a painful ride for them.
Singaporean just love the cold dry weather. Auntie Amy enjoyed it so much! Cousin Chester wanted to test his luck with the infamous Shanghai Cold. He wanted to show off his macho-ness by wearing one poly-tee inside. Of course he cannot tahan the cold. Still, the warmth he got from those young girls at Taipan compensated the cold spell. Man, those girls in the massage place wanted to have a piece of him. "Wow, you have nice body" commented one of them. "You are so handsome", "You look like one of the F4 boys!"…… Man, I nearly died in disgust and jealousy. I never get such treatment there.
Elkan attended some real home-schooled training – conducted by grant aunt and uncle Chester. Life must be really hard for him. Imagine having 4 mouthful of commands "No, you must ask and say ‘excuse me’ first" or "No, you cannot jump/move around!"… I bet Elkan is happier when they left. Feli on the other help, felt helpless again – she is going to deal with super-smart Elkan alone once more.
(p/s: Chester: Please drop me a link to all the photos you have taken! Thanks)