January 28, 2010 Leave a comment
January 24, 2010 2 Comments
Having been through a couple of these sessions (and getting Elkan’s recent report card), I wasn’t as nervous as our first session. However, yesterday’s session was rather embarrassing to us – if not, horrific for any parents. This was what his teacher said to us:
"Elkan is performing very well in his class and he speaks very good English – compared with the rest of his classmates. He is more mature and behaves slightly beyond his age. There were a couple of INTERESTING INCIDENTS when Elkan surprised me. I was teaching the class ABC. And by the time I came to the letter "F", he yelled loudly that the "F-Word" is a bad word. And not to mention about the "S" word too. Another incident was when I was teaching the class about the names of the fingers (Thumb, Index, Middle, Ring, Baby). And when the time I was about to introduce the middle finger, Elkan yelled, stating that that was a "bad finger". Of course, in both incidents, only 2 of us were able to relate what was going on. The rest of the class weren’t in the know of such stuff."
You cannot imagine the look on our face. We were totally speechless. We never expect such a feedback from his tutor. And we weren’t very sure how to react to that. For a moment, I thought we have taught him the right things. At least, he was aware the "negative" bits of foul language. But we just not so sure about his guts of telling his teacher off in class on those "meanings". (Anyway, the review about Elkan is excellent and his teacher loves him a lot!)
Guess what Elkan said to all our visitors and friends lately:
2) To 3rd Uncle – "Why are you putting that thing in your ears? Can I play?"
3) To Alicia – "No, I prefer my girlfriend to be in pink or orange dress. If not in these colours, I will be happy if she is not wearing anything!"
4) To Chee Bin – "How come your breasts are so hard?"
5) To Harshad – "Wow! Why your one is so black!"
Certainly, kids say the darndest things! Despite all our discipline and reformative trainings, I am still very worry what he is going to say next.
January 23, 2010 Leave a comment
This is also the week when I received the most visitors! (76th – 81st) Desmond, Chen (Taiwan), Randy, Cousin Chee Bin, 3rd Uncle and Auntie, Alicia and Chern Hui were all here! Friday to Sat was another non-sleep 24-hour, starting from Friday 6pm to Sat 12am. Cousin Chee Bin and I were having our round of fun in Macau from 6pm to 7am. And at 9am, I joined Felicia and Elkan in the school for "Meet The Parents Day". And at 2-4pm, we met Cousin Tao and his parents - 3rd Auntie & Uncle. It has been 4 years since we last met in Singapore! They flew in from Canada the night before. At right after the lunch, we caught up with Alicia Gan (from Shanghai) at Mongkok and later in the night, the usual HK Clan joined us for dinner and movie at my place until 12am!
Surely, it has been a really packed, back to back itinerary for me. Not so bad… I still look fresh in these photos! Hope this isn’t the norm for me in the year 2010. Come next week – More visitors! Here comes Wendy and Echo…and maybe Kalinda…who knows.
January 11, 2010 Leave a comment
January 10, 2010 2 Comments
After dinner, Scott brought out his new mahjong table and mahjong tiles (yes, brand new!). Alex taught the group (and Harshad) how to play "HK-Style Mahjong". The rules are less complicated than the ones that we played in Singapore. And the HK-wining rates are far more generous than ours. One of the best rules is: Only the person who gave out the winning tile has to pay. The other two need not to pay. (So nice!)
Guess who won? It is not the Hongkies… not the Singaporeans or the Malaysians. It was the 1st-time player, Harshad – who won us all! Talk about beginner’s luck! It certainly exists in this world! (Let’s hope he is not addicted to this boring game of tiles)
January 9, 2010 Leave a comment
The first 3 things that came to my mind was work, work and work. I have a site-visit in Zhuhai this coming Wednesday. I have an installation work in Macau next Sunday. And I need to be in Tokyo end of the month. I left a quick memo with my clients, suppliers and my boss. I felt so useless and helpless.
For that moment, I realised how important my passport was to me. More than just a pass to get over the border, it is my work, my life and my personal travel-recorder. Inside those pages, it left me wonderful impressions of all my journey and destinations. It is a log-book of my travel. It has lots of sentimental values.
Come Monday, I have to start from scratch – a new blank book. My new passport will be coming in the next 2-4 weeks’ time. I will be embarking a new journey with a brand new identity (number), a new biomentric function and a new headshot. Surely, this is not one of those "New Year Fresh Starts" that I am looking forward to.
January 5, 2010 Leave a comment
Since we can’t beat the world in height (also fear of Osama crashing planes into skyscrapers), perhaps Singapore should build the world’s deepest building. And then we can have our own world records - like the world deepest Kopitiam Shop, the lowest and fastest free fall elevator drop, the deepest hotel/zoo/barbershop/temple/ERP of the world. If not.. we should attemp the world’s longest building (linking all 42 lorongs of shophouses in Geylang!) Let’s think big, long and deep.
Enjoy the spectacular opening ceremony!
January 4, 2010 Leave a comment
After 7 back-breaking days in Japan, our holiday is coming to an end. Mentally super-satisfying. Physically super-tiring (backache, cracked dried lips, blisters on toes, dried dehydrated skin, flu etc). Financially? Surprisingly, we didn’t spend a lot. All my colleagues and friends told me to prepare more yen (they estimated SGD6,000 = Y400K for the family). Guess what, I only spent 20% of that amount. For the 7 days in Japan, Felicia, Elkan and me spent SGD1,300, mostly on food, entrance tickets and transport. We didn’t spend much on shopping as we aren’t shopaholic.
This is a great trip for us. And it is good to have Tracy and Harshad with us – especially having them with us counting down to 2010! (The more the merrier, isn’t it?) The itinerary is excellent – we have good time for each location. We have covered 95% of the "hot-spots" on our list. My only regret is that we skipped Kyoto and all those notorious kinky joints. Most importantly, we managed to meet up with 2 groups of friends (my Secondary School friend, Sharon Yap and Polytechnic friends, Martin, Doreen and their partners!) Mmmm…speaking of that, Kitty (my ex-colleague in HK) who stayed in the same hotel as us just went MIA. We were supposed to meet in Tokyo.
Toyko is the city of many world records – both previous and current. (World’s Tallest Steel Tower, Busiest Subway Station, Fastest Train, Longest Escalator etc). It is no wonder why so many of my friends love this place and made so many return visits to this colourful, intriguing city. And I have faithfully uploaded all those beautiful shots onto my blog in the past 2 days. And here are the key highlights of our Toyko Journey! Enjoy! (We will be flying home in the next 5 hours)
Here are our Top 9 favourite Moments in Tokyo:
NUMBER 1 – MOUNT FUJI - 富士山
I regarded this as the tourist attraction of the 70s. But it is a must-see for those who are in Tokyo. It is a short 2-hour scenic bus ride from Tokyo city. Along the way, you get to see the "country-side life" of Japan. The tallest mountain in Japan and last erupted in 1708, Mount Fuji is spectacular…it is well-balanced 360, beautifully sloped and toned.
NUMBER 2 – SHIBUYA - 渋谷区
Coined as one of the "Fashion Centers" of Japan, Shibuya is often remembered by its massive wide 4-intersection pedestrian-crossings (as shown in the movie "Lost in Translation" and the reality show "The Amazing Race"). This is one of the most popular shopping spots for the young Japanese people and the tourists. Also, do check out one of the infamous street of Shibuya – Dogenzaka – it is an alley of love-hotels that comes with really creative-looking rooms – some are decorated in the "Hello Kitty theme. The image of "love-hotels" changed drastically over the years. Patrons and visitors are looking for novetly than just sneaky sex. For those who want to take a break (after hours of shopping), you may want to bring your lover here for a quickie recharge (at SGD20/hour)! If not, just come and look around.
NUMBER 3 – SHINJUKU - 新宿区
It is a major commercial and administration center of Tokyo city. It has a mix of everything (shopping, gaming, sex-clubs, IT-Malls etc). Yes, this is where you find Tokyo’s red light district, Kabukicho. Mmm..maybe this is also why you find the world’s busiest subway station - over 3.5 million passengers with over 200 exits! According to Wiki, Shinjuku has the highest numbers of registered foreign nationals of any community in Tokyo. As of October 1, 2005, 29,353 non-Japanese with 107 different nationalities were registered in Shinjuku (majority are Korean and Chinese). In a nutshell, 1 out of 10 resident in Shinjuku is a foreigner. Clearly, Jackie Chan’s last movie "The Shinjuku Incident" didn’t really do justice to this place, it is certainly larger than some mere Chinese-Taiwanese street/chop-off hand gang fights. Jackie failed to mention about the Koreans and 100 over nationalities.
NUMBER 4 – ODAIBA - お台場
An artificial island built in the 1850s as a defence fortress to guard the coast, Odaiba is a great spot to view the spectacular "Rainbow Bridge" and a replica of the "Statue of Liberty" (which was erected in 1998 in commemoration of "The French year in Japan"). It is also the home of the Fuji TV Station (you see fans waiting outside the gates) and a big mall – the Aqua City Shopping Center.
NUMBER 5 – UENO PARK - 上野
Ueno is home to some of Tokyo’s finest cultural sites. Over here, you find a high concentration of museums and Japanese temples. It is incredible how a small area like this can accommodate so many cultural buildings, including a zoo! We also saw a couple of old homeless people sleeping in the park. (According to Wiki: The Ueno Park and Ueno Station are also home to a large percentage of Tokyo’s homeless population. Though nearly invisible in other parts of Tokyo, the homeless population in Ueno can be found sleeping or communing in large numbers around the "ike" (ponds) of this district.)
NUMBER 6 – GINZA - 銀座
The Orchard Road of Japan – this is one of Tokyo’s most expensive real-estates. Here, you find all the flagship stores of many international posh brands. It is also home to the first Apple Shop in Asia. There are a couple of interesting landmarks that you must see. Discover for yourself!
NUMBER 7 – AKIHABARA - 秋葉原
Akihabara Electic Town is a geek’s heaven! This place is well known for its streets of endless IT Gadgets, Anime, toys, robots, games, cosplay and erotic toys! Buildings after buildings, floors after floors – it is THE PLACE for geeks like me! One of the main attractions here is the "@Home Cafe" – a cosplay-theme cafe where you can have lots of fun with the "cute, sweet, kinkyless maids". It is more for the fun experience and certainly not for the food (it sucks).
NUMBER 8 – TOKYO TOWER - 東京タワ
The Tokyo Tower is the world’s tallest self-supporting steel structure and it is 13m taller than its more famous cousin, The Eiffel Tower of Paris. Despite being taller than the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower is 57% (3,000 tons) lighter (due to the advance in steel manufacturing and construction technology). It is more than just a "observatory tower", its main function is transmitting TV/Radio signals (a total of 24 broadcasting waves) to the residents of Tokyo.
NUMBER 9 – IKEBUKURO - 池袋
The final spot goes to the place where our hotel (Hotel Metropolitan) was. Ikebukuro is the 2nd busiest train station in Japan and houses several extremely large shopping centers and entertainment streets. It was also once housed the world’s tallest building, longest escalator and biggest shopping mall. The only record which stands today is The Sunshine International Aquarium – it is the world’s highest aquarium (sitting on the 10th floor of the Sunshine City building).