Saturday, April 29, 2006

No mood to write

I am having not much mood to write of late. What would you folks like me to blog about? But then again, maybe it should not be about what people like to read about. It should be more about what I would like to write about.

Many thoughts are running in the mind, but perhaps writing about these thoughts may not be the best outlet of expression. Nobody seems to have indicated the ability to read through my lines.

Meantime, I shall just find a trivia subject to blog about. If I continue to fail to find the mood to write, we might see a vacation message on this blog soon.

***

This test seems to be quite popular among my circle of fellow bloggers. Pinkie and JY have done this test. I might as well do it for the fun of it. Who's the Capricorn?

Your True Love Is a Capricorn

Why you'll love a Capricorn:

Hard working and driven, a Capricorn will work overtime to win your heart.
Be prepared to get wined and dined, even once you're convince that your Capricorn is the one!

Why a Capricorn will love you:

You don't rush things. You know it will take a while for a Capricorn to trust you, and you can wait.
Social and outgoing, you can introduce normally shy Capricorn to a great circle of friends.

Friday, April 28, 2006

D5

Tired,
Yet mind too heavy to sleep

Aches,
When would they go away?

Future,
What could be installed?

The sense is
Full of ambiguity.

Not Holland












This is not a windwill found in Holland. It is found right here in Singapore, in this area known commonly as the Holland Village.

I found a link that gives a nice overview about the Holland Village in Singapore: Click on this link

This site has a rather interesting photo gallery of the Holland Village:
http://www.landseer.com.sg/hollandvillage/

For your reading pleasure.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I am dangerous?

A headache has been bugging me for a while. The hip pain is back. Anyway, to help bring some relief, I decided to do the following test. Hmmm....I don't know if I should believe in the results though.

You Are Lightning

Beautiful yet dangerous
People will stop and watch you when you appear
Even though you're capable of random violence

You are best known for: your power

Your dominant state: performing

Value for money

Thursday has been my music theory day. While I personally do not go to Toa Payoh (the name of a housing estate in Singapore) most of the time, I could be found there on Thursdays because the music school in which I take my music theory classes is located there.

I realised that I often have my dinner at Koh San Japanese Food located at Toa Payoh HDB Centre's Koufu food court on almost every Thursday evening before the music theory classes.

Firstly, I admit I have a fancy for Japanese food. Secondly, I like sashimi, and it is one of those Japanese food stalls in a food court that sells reasonably good and well-priced sashimi. I think it has a very competitive and value-for-money price for its nice sashimi. The sashimi is sliced with care and with skill. Thirdly, for a food stall located within a food court, it has a nice and interesting stall layout. If one were to sit nearby the stall, one could even watch the process of the sashimi being sliced, and the making of the sushi and handrolls. I find that interesting.

By the way, if I remember correctly, this stall has been voted to be the number one in culinary skills among the many stalls of that food court.

The service is also attentive. What more to ask for? If one has a fancy for a value-added Japanese set meal and wishes to keep within a budget of S$10, this is one of the great places to patronise.

It is of no surprise that I had my dinner there again this evening before my music theory class. Ah...I am still savouring the taste of today's serving of sashimi, even after the dinner.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Along Boat Quay



There is something interesting that you can find in this picture. It is not the picture that is interesting. This picture somehow captured something that one might not expect to see along the shophouses of Boat Quay, Singapore.

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See if you could spot it.

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I was only able to be aware of the existence of the Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy) sculpture on the beam of one of the shophouses when I went for one of the Original Singapore Walks, By the Belly of the Carp - A Singapore River Walk (view post).

Now the close-up of the sculpture:


So if you happen to be at Boat Quay, Singapore, maybe you would like to try to look out for this sculpture?

If you wish to know what function it serves as, you could find this out if you were to go for this walk.

Practice on 26 April 06

Today, I took time off from work so that I can take a short nap before the dinner. That did not quite help to lift the spirits up though.

However, at the very least, I was less tired after the nap, and able to help the strength to practise on the double bass. Practising on my husband, the double bass, seems to have the power to help make one feel more refreshed.

This evening, I spent some time practising the first and second movement of the Marcello's Sonata in G minor. My playing did not sound the best this evening, but it was recharging to simply play on the double bass. Hopefully, with time, I could be more proficient in playing this sonata.

I also practised playing the minor scales. Playing minor scales is so much more challenging than playing major scales. Admittedly, I was feeling a little discouraged with this evening's playing of the minor scales. So, I decided to end the evening's practice with the playing of the f melodic minor scale slowly. It was certainly much easier to play f melodic minor scale than g-sharp melodic minor scale on the double bass. I reckon I should do myself a service by ending the practice with a scale that I can better manage.

With more practice, I should gradually get better with the playing of scales, but I am still quite worried about playing the Contemporary piece from List B of the ABRSM syllabus. I have yet to decide what to play.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Dark skies


Near Cathay Building, Singapore.


Skies, turning dark
In a crazy world
That can kill
And rob one of the necessary
But neglected sense of solitude
Letting hopelessness seep in

Monday, April 24, 2006

Good night post

Good night
Maybe I shalln't write
There is an ache on a spot of the right palm
Possibly due to too much strain?

Good night
Shalln't post much
Blogger probably is crying for a rest
Its speed is a little too slow to bear

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Chinatown Night Walk

As promised on one of my recent posts, I shall post about the tour (Secrets of the Red Lantern) that I have went on recently.

**
When Kunstemaecker was visiting Singapore last December, he had the pleasure to visit Chinatown. As such, I suppose some of the scenes that I would share later may not be unfamiliar to him.





Prior to the tour, I went to one of these shops to try a bowl of dessert. My friend, Mystic, told me it sells pretty good dessert.



Meantime, maybe Simple American could read on to decide if the tour was indeed as "romantic" as its name would sound. *winks*

**

The Secrets of the Red Lantern very much unravels why Chinatown was also known as Bu Ye Tian (in Mandarin) – The Place of Nightless Days.

To quote from the publicity material for the tour:
In 1887, the brothels in Chinatown were as many and as close together as the teeth of a comb. Combine that with the proliferation of opium and gambling dens, it was sin city.


If you would have guessed it right, the tour is a heritage tour that lends us insights to how life in Chinatown was like in the past, with a focus on what was quoted earlier.

To respect the copyrights of Journeys Pte Ltd and Singapore History Consultants who have done painstaking amount of research to put together the tour, I shall not share the juicy stories and interesting facts that I have heard during the tour. Afterall, these are meant to be "secrets". If you can't resist the temptations of knowing these secrets, one simple way is to join the tour. The schedule can be found here: http://www.journeys.com.sg/singaporewalks/tours_redlantern.asp

***
The meeting point for the tour was outside Exit A of Chinatown MRT, on the side of the escalator facing Pagoda Street. Some of you might be aware that Pagoda Street got its name from the Sri Mariamman Temple located at the corner of the street. (View Reference.)





Sri Mariamman Temple. In the day. Taken in December 2005.



The tour-guide for the night happens to be the same tour-guide for one of the Original Singapore Walks that I had attended previously.

The tour is part of the Original Singapore Walks. However, most of the participants on the tour that evening were from overseas. The participants from Singapore were greatly outnumbered by the participants from overseas. I think Singaporeans will enjoy this tour just as much as the friends from overseas, but I suspect that it would take some shifts in mindset for the folks from Singapore to believe that heritage tours can be interesting and fun?

There is a lot of walking needed for the tour, and wearing a pair of good walking shoes would help.





Chinatown, Pagoda Street.



***
I remembered that the very first stop of the tour was outside the Chinatown Heritage Centre. The guide said that she recommends visitors to visit this centre to gain a better understanding of life in Chinatown in the past. I concur. (You could read June's post titled Cubicle Life to find out about her visit to the Chinatown Heritage Centre.)






On the right, the Chinatown Heritage Centre.



***
We were also brought to one of the backlanes behind the shophouses. The backlane did not look like a very glamourous place to bring our dear overseas friends to. Yet, the backlane has many interesting stories of its own to tell. Could anyone guess what functions these backlanes used to serve?





One of the backlanes.







Shophouses at Chinatown.



The tour guide also went on to share with the group how living conditions in Chinatown were like in the past.






This shophouse used to be a coolie house. You may make a guess of how many coolies were housed in here during those days when the coolies trade was thriving.



***


On the tour, one also gets to hear trivia that nevertheless make up part of the social fabric. I was not aware of the existence and significance of the flag (see above) until the guide pointed it out to the group.

The guide also spoke about the believed effects of certain traditional Chinese medicine that could be found in the area. Interestingly, these medicine can be classified into two categories: to be consumed by males; and to be consumed by females.

***
Night falls.



Smith Street in Chinatown offers a good variety of hawker food.

At the corner of Smith Street and Trengganu Street is a building built in the style of a tea house. Notice its interesting architecture. It was formerly a Cantonese Opera House, and was known as Lai Chun Yuen. (Source: Uniquely Singapore, Chinatown Walking Guide.)





Formerly Lai Chun Yuen.


***
The tour also took the group to the present-day Red-light district within the Chinatown area. How did the term Red-light district come about? The tour guide gave us an account of the origin of the term during the tour. We also learnt how to distinguish those units that were in the trade from those that were not.

Please excuse me that there will be strictly no photograph of the operators and service-providers in Red-light district posted for viewing. Shouldn't we respect the privacy and confidentiality of those in the trade? Anyway, no photography on this aspect was allowed throughout the tour.

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If you have yet to figure out one of the previous functions of the backlanes of Chinatown, this photograph that you would see below may lend you a little clue. No prize for those who have made the right guess though.



***
One of the last stops of the tour was at a Barbequed Pork Shop at Keong Saik Road. It was quite fascinating to be given the chance to catch a glimpse of the workshop in which the barbequed pork slices were made. We did not get to see the manufacturing process since most of the production has occured earlier the day. However, I heard that nearing the Chinese New Year festive season, the production could go on for 24-hours round-the-clock.

The tour guide concluded the tour in a very nice fashion. This tour is likely a heritage tour that contains information that we would hardly get from our regular history textbooks. Overall, it was an educational night walk for myself.

Once again, the tour details can be found here: http://www.journeys.com.sg/singaporewalks/tours_redlantern.asp

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Though I like Dark Chocolate

You are Milk Chocolate

A total dreamer, you spend most of your time with your head in the clouds.
You often think of the future, and you are always working toward your ideal life.
Also nostalgic, you rarely forget a meaningful moment... even those from long ago.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Now it is a test on red colour

I am feeling rather tired from the week. Maybe I have done a lot of walking this week in hope to relieve the stress of worklife. Now, my feet are aching.

Earlier this evening, I went for the tour titled Secrets of the Red Lantern conducted by Journeys Pte Ltd. It is an interesting and enriching tour. Let's hope I could find time to blog about it soon enough.

Now, for the test on red colours.

You Are Crimson Red

Down to earth and warm-hearted, you instantly make everyone feel at ease around you.
And while you have an understated passion - you lack the uncontrolled passion of most other reds.
You prefer to sit back and enjoy every situation life has to offer. You put an optimistic spin on everything.
And even when things are going well, you don't get too amped up. You prefer to keep your emotions as steady as possible.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A lesson on Melody Writing

It is Thursday today. My music theory classes are scheduled on Thursday evenings.

The earlier part of today's lesson was spent going through the Two-part writing homework that I have done over the weekend. There were a lot to be learnt from the mistakes I had made. It was quite insightful. Now I realised how I can tell which notes are passing notes that do not require to be harmonised, and which are the notes that need to be harmonised.

Thereafter, my tutor covered about four chapters from W. Lovelock's Melody Writing during the second half of the lesson. Some of the materials from these four chapters were similar to what I have learnt earlier from First Year Harmony by the same author.

For example, "avoid augmented intervals".

There seems quite a number of technical rules to follow that I think good composers ought to deserve sufficient recognition for their abilities to compose good music intuitively. I said "intuitively" because my tutor claimed that some composers can be so good that they can just write a good melody without being conscious of the rules. Very likely, these people could have a good inner ear to tell what makes a good melody? Surprising, the melody would just fit well into the rules, and more importantly, it would sound great.

Maybe everyone has a gift of his/her own? I wonder what is mine?

What Time of the Day?

If the headache and cramps today did not affect me in getting the right results, then I was told that I am "sunrise".

This world seems to be getting too fast for me. Is it just because I am living in a rather fast-paced country? Or is it that the world is somehow moving too fast than is humanely possible?


You Are Sunrise

You enjoy living a slow, fulfilling life. You enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.
You are a person of reflection and meditation. You start and end every day by looking inward.
Caring and giving, you enjoy making people happy. You're often cooking for friends or buying them gifts.
All in all, you know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

For all who travel to this blog

I was trying to update my own website when I chanced upon a file that I have created about two years ago using my limited knowledge and skills in Macromedia Flash MX: http://www.geocities.com/oceanskies79/break.swf

I would like to share it with all of you who passed by this blog. Hope it would bring some simple delights.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Striking that balance


One of Ju Ming's works.


I saw this sculpture when I was walking about last week, before my music theory lessons. Somehow, Ju Ming's works are rather appealing to me. Enjoy the form and the lines.

How does one see?



It is a black and white picture
All greys and no colour
How could one see
The blessings behind the dark shades?

Walked alone

Had needed a long walk
To release those pains that stifle
Even if the feet would ache
And the hip pain comes back

Under the dark skies
One walked some favourite places
Quieter places
In hope to unwind

Occasionally stopped
To catch glimpses of the night
Only that there's melancholy
In most frames one saw

But the night was a magic
Not that beauty could be found easily
But that it took one away
From the noises temporarily

Monday, April 17, 2006

Let some music in

Let some music in
Steer the noises off
Lend some vents for self-expression
The music shall creep in to soothe the soul

A weariness that can collapse a person

I am feeling very tired now, and it is just the beginning of the week. What is install ahead? Would I wish to carry myself through to see?

When one is tired, maybe all sensible thoughts would be robbed? Say bye to all the rational thoughts then.

Wishing to recharge but it is plain noisy. Too tired to do anything about it. Surrendering to all around me. Give me a white flag, I might really wave it.

I hate to give up. Yet I have no clue of obtaining any respite from this world.

Please invent for me a impermeable bubble that could protect me from the energy-sapping noises.

Wilderness in the city



Soles hurt
Yet not enough walks
Walked until the city
Felt like a large wild land:

No life
All bare
Dark clouds
Imminent rain

Crying out
For a tinge of hope
This city seems filled
But is actually a land of wilderness

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Colourless world



Robbed of colours
Would the world still be the same?



(The above picture was taken nearby the Clifford Pier, Singapore.)

A read on Easter Day



Noelbynature has written quite an interesting post on yesterday.sg titled: The mystery of the Easter church-hoppers.

Noelbynature observed that in Singapore, the Catholics have a practice of visiting different churches on Maundy Thursday night. As such, he went on a mission to find out more about this practice.

Join him by checking this link out: http://yesterday.sg/detail/the_mystery_of_the_easter_church_hoppers/


(For more information about Maundy Thursday, you could check out: http://www.thisischurch.com/christianinfo/maundythursday.htm)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Eating alone

Having time alone is sacred.

Good company who can spend good time together in silence can be hard to find. Yet, with just some practice, someone like yours truly who has a stronger need for peaceful moments can easily find delight in having time alone. Time away from the noises and taking time to treat one's ears with peace can be rejuvenating in some ways.

Eating buffet meals alone can be quite a pleasant experience.

On one of the afternoons earlier this week, I took time off from work and left the office early enough to catch a weekday lunch buffet at Kuishin Bo, a Japanese Buffet Restaurant. I just found out that Kuishin Bo (pronounced Kweeshin-Bo) means gourmet in Nihongo.

I pretty much like the idea of being able to help myself to as much soft-shell crab and sashimi that I could reasonably eat. Of course, I tried other items available. The ambience of the place was pretty nice with its soft-lightings. The best thing to yours truly was that it took me away from some noises.

I quite enjoyed the selection of food at Kuishin Bo, and won't mind visiting it again. There's still quite a number of items that I have yet to try when I was there earlier the week.

***
Eating one set of buffet meal in the week seemed to have led yours truly to crave for yet another.

Yesterday, I decided that staying at home was pretty unpleasant. As such, I set off and eventually decided to treat my tastebuds to the buffet lunch at Baccarat Restaurant (please see this link for a short brief about this restaurant). I have heard that this restaurant serves sashimi and was tempted to try its buffet lunch when I was walking past the restaurant yesterday. Perhaps one might have guessed that I have a liking for sashimi. The sashimi from Baccarat Restaurant is delightful. I found myself taking several helpings of the sashimi when I was at the restaurant yesterday.

One thing that added to the overall pleasant experience of having lunch there yesterday was that I was being seated at a corner of the restaurant quite away from where the dining crowd was. Although that meant that I have to walk a slightly longer distance to get my food, I didn't mind. At least, I could have some quiet time. That corner was also quite pleasant because some sunlight shone through the glass and gave a refreshing change to the restaurant's generally soft lighting.

I have had a book with me yesterday, so my time at the restaurant yesterday was spent doing the following: walking about the restaurant to view the food, eating the food, reading the book and just watching time pass by. Approximately, I spent about close to three hours in the restaurant just doing all of these. Having buffet alone can be quite enjoyable, for I could just do things at my pace. It also gave me time to read through quite a fair bit of the book. I had actually read five chapters from the book while I was enjoying my dining experience in the restaurant.

Back to the food. The noodles in herbal broth was just right. It tasted good. I was also quite delighted by the selection from the salad bar. It served sunflower seeds.

The oyster that was air-flown from Canada was an interesting item on my plate. I don't really have a keen liking for oyster, but it was a nice break away from my regular diet to try the fresh oyster.

The restaurant offers an Italian selection. One could choose from a selection of different pasta, and different pasta sauce. The pasta I had ate tasted nice. But somehow, I felt the Bolognese sauce a little too salty for my tastebuds. Nevertheless, the pine seeds (if I have gotten the name right) that I had sprinkled on the pasta dish helped to make the dish palatable enough for myself.

The restaurant also offers tortilla. I felt that it helped lend a slight element of novelty to my lunch yesterday. I had tortilla with cheese and tomato. A warning, if you were there alone and you are a very small eater, you might end up wasting food if you were to order the tortilla. The tortilla is normally served in a portion sufficient for 3 to 4 persons to try.

I felt I was not quite into the Oriental dishes yesterday. Firstly, on those occasions when I walked past the Oriental selection, there were limited servings left. Maybe the customers yesterday preferred Oriental dishes more to sashimi? Secondly, after sampling a few items from the Oriental selection, I felt I would still prefer the sashimi and the sushi. The Oriental dishes were alright but did not taste exceptional enough to me.

The dessert selection had quite nice variety, though it was a little sweet for my taste. But what am I to fault, aren't desserts often sweet?

After the lunch, I went to visit the nearby Singapore Art Museum. There wasn't any particular exhibit that had caught my attention yesterday. A few of the galleries were closed for the installation of new exhibits when I was there yesterday. Nevertheless, it felt nice to be in the museum for its architecture somehow has had a comforting effect over me.

Time alone, somehow has helped restore some sense of peace to my life. Eating alone can be a delightful experience.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Two part Writing

My music theory lesson has progressed from four-parts writing to two-parts writing. It seems like my tutor is an avid supporter of music theory instructional books written by William Lovelock.

According to Chapter Two of William Lovelock's Two Part Writin, the essential approach to two-part work is similar to that for writing three or four parts. However, certain modifications are often preferred to compensate for the absence of the inner parts.

If I understood correctly, the perfect fifth interval between the two parts is less desirable in two parts writing because it often may sound bare. One thing that came to my mind is that I have not much clue how that bareness would sound like. How does bareness sound like?

***

Last night, I heard from my tutor that ABRSM will be awarding 50 pounds to students who have obtained a distinction in Grade 6, Grade 7 and Grade 8 music theory. I am not fully certain of the credibility of this information, but it seemed believable. Maybe we could infer that music theory is deemed as important as practical musicianship?

Those noises again

Peaceful times
Such a luxury to get?

Those noises again
I don't wish to be their friend

Thump Thumb Thumb
Irritates me again

Even the ear plug
Can't save the day

I just want to be out
Yet my foot is hurting from a sore blister

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Singapore Before I was born

Special thanks a few of the Friends of Yesterday.sg, I came to know of this site with great photos: http://www.singas.co.uk/.

In particular, this URL, http://www.singas.co.uk/HTML/singapore_in_the__60s.html, contains pictures of Singapore's landmarks in the 1960s.

Check this link and compare it with the photo below. You would see how different the Singapore River is right now compared to how it looked like in the 1960s.



How would the river look like forty years later?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Lamp


Taken somewhere near Merchant Road, Singapore.


It's bright day light
The lamp's light seems of no relevance
But lost not its spark
In darkness, it matters

Monday, April 10, 2006

List B

I am trying to choose a suitable piece from List B of the ABRSM Double Bass Grade 8 practical exams syllabus. List B of the exams syllabus comprises of a list of contemporary works.

I tried to sight-read Lament and Conversation Piece from Christopher Benstead's Four Episodes. Afterwhich, I sight-read Bryan Kelly's Caliban and Ariel. Somehow, I felt it very hard to relate to any of these pieces. Contemporary works seems to pose a challenge to me. I could not quite appreciate the rhythms that was required of me. I am feeling discouraged. I don't seem to be getting anywhere.

Was I too ambitious to aim to sit for the Grade 8 practical exams this year?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Last Song

A song with no tunes
Yet filled with anguish
Where there is no verse
Everything is left unsaid

Played but not understood
The song could only sank deeper
Into darkness and void
How would anything ever matter?

Could the shadows sensitise the nerves?
So that the song could finally be heard?
Then it might survive
In the world external.

If not
Let's bid farewell
To that last song
Maybe it would never be heard

Feeling the pain

The hip pain seems to still come on and off.
The cough doesn't seem to fully recover.
Can't these just end?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Kunstemaecker was there



I read this post titled Tea in a temple by June on yesterday.sg. It is a post about Fu Tak Chi.

It reminded me that our fellow blogger, Kunstemaecker, was there about a few months ago. I remembered walking into Fu Tak Chi Kunstemaecker on his very first day in Singapore, before we headed for dinner with Misti and Msfeline. I can still remember one of the staff asking Kunstemaecker and myself if we had wanted a cup of tea.

If you are trying to imagine how Fu Tak Chi looks like and what it is, it might be easier to just click on the following link to read the post:
http://yesterday.sg/detail/tea_in_a_temple/


Singapore may be small, but there are still a lot of things to experience right here. Now, the question is, will Kunstemaecker and the fellow overseas bloggers who visit this blog visit Singapore in the near future? *winks*

Good-bye ferry


Clifford Pier, Singapore.



Taken from one of the webpages from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore:

With the commencement of the Marina Barrage construction by the Public Utilities Board in March 2005, operations at Clifford Pier will be affected.

Please be informed that as of 1st April 2006, operations of ferry and launch services at Clifford Pier will be relocated to Marina South Pier...


To read my account about how Clifford Pier looked like without the ferry services, please check out Saying bye to the ferry services at Clifford Pier on my other blog.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Take a peep into the Police Heritage Centre



June wrote a post of her visit to the Police Heritage Centre. The post gave me an quick glimpse into the history of the Singapore Police Force.

If you can't wait to read it, please visit:
When Policemen wore shorts

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A mini collection of photos

I have tried to create a collection of some of the photos that I have taken of the Singapore River. Out of curiosity, I have made a Flickr badge too. Photos are taken by yours truly and all rights are reserved.

To view the Flickr badge, please scroll down and look below Archives on the right-hand side of this blog.

I shall have the Flickr badge being put up on this blog for a trial period.

To find out more about Flickr, click on: http://www.flickr.com

Headache strikes again

The headache strikes again
Maybe it is merely a minor ailment
Let it pass then
It is still bearable

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The nose that can tell the festivals

My nose is sensitive. My throat tends to get irritated when my nose smells smoke or things burning.

Perhaps the title of this post is simply an exaggeration. However, if people practised traditions to an extreme, my nose might really be able to tell the Chinese festivals. This conclusion is of course largely based on my personal impressions.

I have been working in an office that is based in a residential estate. Working in a residential estate, one could often bear witness to how the people conduct their day-to-day living. At times, one could see children carrying their school bags to proceed on their way home. At other times, one could see housewives carrying bags of groceries from a nearby market.

In that residential estate that my office is located within, I seem to experience irritation on my nose on the first and the fifteenth day of each month on the Chinese lunar calendar. I probably have to apologise that the act of burning incense (with or without offerings) never seem to strike a chord with me. I don't seem to wish to adopt the act of burning incense as a way of celebrating significant days on the Chinese calendar.

However, there are definitely people who think very differently from me. I noticed that many Chinese folks would burn incense and incense paper on the first and the fifteenth day of each month on the Chinese lunar calendar.

Actually, it is not the act of burning incense that I find bothering. What I have found bothering and irritating for my nose and my throat are the smoke and the burning smell from the burning. Maybe one of the next greatest invention that I would appreciate would be the invention of incense and paper that don't give out soot and smoke when burnt. Aspiring inventors, please take note of this idea. Thank you.

Today is Qing Ming Jie, which literally translates into Clear Brightness in Mandarin. One of the ways that the Chinese celebrates this festival is to make offerings to one's ancestors. Part of the ritual involves burning incense, if I have understood properly. (Obviously, you could see that I am lacking much experience celebrating Qing Ming).

Since it is Qing Ming Jie, I thought I should do some investigations as to how the Chinese celebrate this festive. Hopefully, I might chance upon alternative ways that the Chinese could celebrate this festive without having to burn incense. I greatly need a smoke-free environment.

Below is the result of my small-scale investigation. Read the following URLs for more information on the festival:
- http://www.c-c-c.org/chineseculture/festival/qingming/qingming.html
- http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/Festivals/78319.htm
- http://www.china.org.cn/english/2001/Apr/10256.htm
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qingming_Festival


Well, I think I won't mind if Qing Ming was celebrated flying kites, or sweep tombs.

Where's hope?



Where's hope?
Things look bleak
The skies look empty
Lines seem to lead nowhere

What's hope?
How is it defined?
The skies wear itself with colours
And the lines are flowing to infinity


(I was walking along the Esplanade Bridge on a Sunday, and I took this photo using my camera. Somehow, I was inspired to write a poem on the subject of hope.)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Which way?



At a crossroads
Choices abundant
Which is the way?
How is one to know
Which is the answer of the heart?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Another night of attack by noises

Strangely, the construction site nearby my place had continued with the works until close to 9 p.m. today. Maybe it was my ears, the works sounded quite loud today.

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If you were to live in a communal setting, could you please consider to turn your television set to a volume that is audible enough, but not too loud?

In the end, don't be surprised to find the volume of the television set suddenly turned down.

My question is: Don't people know that long term exposure to loud volume may cause damage to the ear?

I just don't know how to reverse the process of the damage for the people who claimed that they can't hear properly unless the volume of the television set is at a particular level.

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To distract myself from the noises, I decided to take my husband out (from the soft-case) and play on him. On a hot day, practising on a double bass can make one sweat. Afterall, I did mention that practising on a double bass can be like a work-out. It not only exercise one's musical faculties, one's mind but also one's physique.

Practising helped a bit. It helped make me stay a little more sane to withstand the attack by the noises. Now, I ask: When are the peaceful times going to come?

Restricted material

Fancy that someone would write such a test. Maybe this test is only meant for adults?

I am clueless what attributes blue underwear have. Try this at your risk.

Your Lucky Underwear is Blue

You are caring and extroverted. You've made relationships your number one focus, and your lucky blue underwear can bring some balance to them.
You thrive in one-on-one situations. You are a good listener and a natural born therapist.

Sometimes you let the concerns of others become too important in your life, leading to stress and worry.
If you want more balance, put on your blue underpants. They'll help you take care of yourself first.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Cookie distractions

Whatever it is. I quite like oatmeal raisin cookie.

You Are an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

On the surface, you're a little plain - but you have many subtle dimensions to your personality.
Sometimes you're down to earth and crunchy. Other times, you're sweet and a little gooey.

I need Noise Canceling Machines

Earplugs don't seem to work
Would noise cancelling headphones work?
Maybe I need noise cancelling machines
Or a place of my own?

Take me away

Please take me away from this world
Its noises are too harmful for me
I wish to hide
But I have no space to hide
All spaces have been intruded upon
I could hardly breathe now

A palate for Turkish food

Lately, I have been trying to exposing my palate to the not-so-regular tastes. Maybe it is my way of trying to humour myself.

Several days ago, I tried out Burmese cuisine. Maybe I have chosen the dishes that did not suit my palate, for some reasons, I did not quite enjoyed those dishes I have chosen. I did not like the salad that I had chosen. I don't think I have eaten that kind of vegetable before. I just could not get used to its taste.

Thankfully, the dessert saved the day. The egg pudding was nicely made and brought some nostalgic feel. Somehow, it reminded me of custard pudding that I used to eat when I was a child.

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This evening, I tried the Turkish cuisine from Deliturk Turkish Restaurant-Cafe located at Suntec City Mall. Turkish food seems to suit my tastebuds much better than Burmese food. I know I am biased. I like food done in certain way.

The sliced lamb was nicely done and it went very well with the yogurt. I like the pide bread that came with the sliced lamb. The texture was just right.

The waiter from the Turkish restaurant recommended me one of the desserts and it tasted great. I like the texture, it was superb. I have not eaten a dessert like that before. The uniqueness of it made it score good marks from me. The only criticism was that it was a little too sweet for my tastebuds, but sipping some plain water has helped lessen the overly-sweet feeling.

Please pardon me, I must have been too engrossed in my own world. As such, I can't remember the name of the dessert. If I were to dine there again, I shall try to remember the name of that dish.

I want to say bye to nasal spray

The doctor prescribed me nasal spray and said that while I may not notice its effects of alleviating the cough that fast, it will do the trick if I were to finish using the entire bottle of nasal spray.

I have been on the nasal spray for about three weeks, and I can sense that I do not cough as often and as violently as I used to have several weeks ago.

But I don't like the nasal spray. I often left me with a funny feeling after I have applied it. Many of the times, I would feel my head feeling heavy soon after the application. If I have the choice, I would rather say goodbye to the nasal spray, and hopefully the cough too.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Sitting and looking up


Inside Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay. Singapore


I sat and looked up
What's there to be seen?

The world has its moments of beauty
My eyes could see
Yet I wonder if these were meant for me?

For in those glimpses of beauty
One could see the shadows of darkness
For beauty often shines out better
When contrasted against that tinge of sadness

Who could truly read me?

To be more familiar with him


My husband, the double bass  Posted by Hello


He has been named as my husband, but I realised that I could have been more familiar with him if I had spent more time practising on him.

Yesterday, I attended a double bass masterclass and got to hear four different players playing. They each seemed so much more familiar with the instrument than I am. They could reach notes on the higher positions so confidently. This is not within my ease of reach as yet. That reminded me to spend a bit more time with practising on the double bass.

Maybe I have found comfort in my husband because he has understood me well enough? That while he is my husband, he understood that if I were given the freedom to be true to myself, he could not expect my fullest devotion to him. As much as he has an important place in my heart, I would need to be given enough space of my own to find myself.

The surrender took place here


The boardroom. In this boardroom, the British surrendered Singapore to Japan on 15 Feb 1942.


Sometime ago, I wrote a post that the former Ford Motor Factory would be opened to the public from 20 Feb 2006. I made a visit to the place sometime last month. If you would like to read about my visit, please check out: A Place of Historical Significance. Comments are welcomed.

The URL below offers an account of the British Surrender. Watch the video clips too for a glimpse of the historical surrender.
http://www.s1942.org.sg/dir_defence6.htm

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Alternatively you may read: http://yesterday.sg/detail/a_visit_to_memories_at_old_ford_factory/
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