Thursday, November 30, 2006

The fatigue bug

The bug is here
That of fatigue
Perhaps it may lead one closer to death?
Or would it make one's life more complete?

If this were the end of my life
Is there anything I have missed?

Double bass video

Many thanks to Jason Heath for noticing several double bass videos on YouTube. I quite like Rachmaninoff's Vocalise by Jacy Cobalis that Jason Heath has put up on his recent post.

Rachmaninoff's Vocalise



Enjoy the music. If you like Jacy Cobalis' rendition, you can leave a comment for him here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRqgkR1_eLQ&eurl=

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Would you like a Postcard from Singapore?

Empress Place, and Victoria Memorial. Singapore.


I read about Project Postcard 2006 on the newspaper yesterday. The catch for this project is that one can get a chance to win a holiday to Singapore! Though the chance to win doesn't seem very high, but there's at least a chance to win the holiday to Singapore through the two monthly draws.

To qualify for the draw, all postcards and electronic postcards must be sent by 5 January 2007.


The Grand Prize: SIA (Singapore Airlines) return economy class tickets to Singapore for two, 4D3N hotel stay at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, IndoChine restaurant and Retreat Spa vouchers, complimentary tickets to the DUCKtours, DHL Balloon rides and the HiPPO Bus tours.


Who would like a postcard from Singapore? This is reserved for my blog-friends who are residing outside Singapore. You know who you are, so if you are keen, please email me your email address and full address before 5 Jan 2007.

(Note: As there is a lucky draw for this, I foresee that the physical postcards would only reach my intended recipients after the date of the first or the second draw. I ask that you be patient if you don't see the postcard arriving soon.)

Visit http://www.visitsingapore.com/projectpostcard for the details.

Awfully tired. Who to listen to?

I am feeling awfully tired. I had intentions to practise on the double bass this evening. Yet an hour ago, I lie on my bed merely intending to temporarily rest my physically tired body, but I ended up in a hour of slumber.

Tomorrow will be double bass lesson. I wish to practise a bit more of Dragonetti's Solo in e minor on my own so that tomorrow's lesson would be more productive.

I am now placed at a dilemma: Should I listen to my mind and its good self-disciplined intentions or should I listen to my tired body and its cries for a rest?

I wish to choose the former, and I keep my fingers crossed that my awfully tired body will soon not feel so tired after the one-hour slumber that I have had earlier. But I realised that even if I do practise this evening, I need to learn to go easy on my body. The body is sending messages that it is hungry for a rest.

Reading for today

K. Pinto points me to this article : Thinking out of the box coffee with Architect William Lim .

The paragraph below from this article made me ponder for a while. I think there is some truth in it. I find this 'cleaning up' phenomenon happening in Singapore. The building of the secondary school that I had studied in has been demolished. The same goes for the building where I had attended primary school. Would the places in my memories continue to exist two years later? I don't know.

I agree with (Dutch architect) Rem Koolhaas, who said once you have that habit of cleaning up, you will do so again and again, and the country will have no memories, no sense of your heritage, of your culture.

- William Lim

Double bass methods

I particularly like this post by Jason Heath: Rabbath Versus Simandl - a comparative study

I have not exactly learnt the method of Rabbath, except perhaps, the crab technique, which Emily told me was devised by Rabbath.

My double bass tutor from the orchestra started me on Simandl's methods, and he said that this would help prepare me to play better in an orchestra. I would agree to much extent.

Anyway, here's thanking Jason for the insightful post.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Today's results of my colorgenics test

I wanted to write something better than this, and yet, I have allowed my brother to use the PC that I usually use, for his gaming purposes. Some of the information that I would require for my initially intended post are stored in that PC. Meantime, I wonder what makes online gaming so appealing?

Anyway, I am posting using my brother's laptop now. I tried the Colorgenics test with a different set of colour-choices, and yield another result. Maybe that is why pinkie thinks the test is not very reliable? The results simply changes with time!

You are seeking an affectionate relationship, offering fulfilment and happiness. You are capable of powerful emotional enthusiasm. Deep down, you are a kind loving person, always helpful and willing to adapt yourself if necessary to realise the bond of affection that you desire. But you need the same consideration and understanding from others and it is this need that will sometimes hold you back... so let go, trust and you may pleasantly surprised at what happens.

You are working extremely hard - perhaps even above and beyond the call of duty. You are preparing for the future and therefore trying to build a firm trouble-free foundation upon which you may base all of your dreams and aspirations.

Everything seems to have gone wrong and the situation at this time is such that you are not quite sure which way to turn. So it would appear that you are 'holding back', re-consolidating your position and relinquishing all fun and games for the time being.

You are frustrated and stressed. You appreciate the finer things in life but at all times you appear to stay aloof, critical of everything and everyone about you. You will not be carried away by your emotions and you refuse to trust anyone or any situation unless genuineness and integrity can be absolutely vouched for. Therefore, you keep a strict and watchful control on your feelings as you must know exactly where you stand at all times. You demand complete sincerity as a protection against your own tendency to be too trusting.

You are inclined to be too trusting and you feel that you need to be on your guard against the possibility that your endeavours and actions may be misunderstood. Too often you have been taken advantage of and you have been mentally abused. Now you are seeking a relationship which can provide peace of mind, where you can be yourself and not have the need to put on a false front.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Colorgenics test

I found a link to a Colorgenics test on Emily's blog.

Here's what my results say:

At this time you are feeling 'uptight' and you are urgently in need of rest and relaxation; but perhaps even more than that you need to overcome that feeling that you have been 'hard done by' and treated with a complete lack of consideration. Maybe you have, but whatever may have been the cause of your inherent anxiety, you regard the situation as intolerable. You are, however, sufficiently competent to turn that situation around - you have overcome similar problems in the past, and really this one isn't too different.

All of your dreams and hopes have not materialised and consequently you are unsure of which way to go. This uncertainty has led to considerable stress but you have sufficient 'strength of mind' to overcome this state of affairs although it will take some time.

You are confined and trapped in a distressing or uncomfortable situation and seeking some way out. Whatever you seem to do to resolve the problem hasn't worked out. Fortunately you are able to gain some aspect of relief from someone close to you.

You are experiencing considerable stress which is essentially the result of on going rejection and hostility. You are in the unpleasant position where offers of trust, affection and understanding are being withheld and you are being treaded with a degrading lack of consideration. You feel that you are being denied the appreciation that you deserve, which is essential to your well-being and self-esteem, but you have to face up to the situation because as matters stand at this time there is little that you can do about it - you feel that you are getting nowhere and the continuous struggle is a lonely one: all difficulties and no encouragement. Whatever you try to say or do is met with continuous hostility and no matter how much you protest you are consistently misunderstood. You need to escape from the situation but you are so perplexed that you cannot find the strength of mind to make the necessary decision.

You are inclined to be too trusting and you feel that you need to be on your guard against the possibility that your endeavours and actions may be misunderstood. Too often you have been taken advantage of and you have been mentally abused. Now you are seeking a relationship which can provide peace of mind, where you can be yourself and not have the need to put on a false front.

Age is never the excuse



Age is never an excuse when it comes to whether one is suitable to blog. In fact, Chun See's recent post seemed to suggest that the folks with the more life experiences are in better positions to have more interesting contents to blog about.

Here's a post by Chun See following his talk, Blogging For Senior Citizens, at one of the libraries : Why Seniors Should Blog.

Brewing's Walk the Clubs



Brewing has put up a post titled Walk the Clubs on her walking tour about Club Street. I quite like the architecture of this street, I must say.

To see more of Club Street, Singapore, do check out Toycon's post: On a little street in Singapore. In Toycon's post, one can uncover how Club Street got its name.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Making time for the double bass

I realised that I have to learn to make time to practise on the double bass. There is no short-cut to learning to play a musical instrument. It is simply practice and good practice. A good tutor helps to guide one in learning the instrument in greater depth, but at the end of the day, it is practice and listening that helps.

The challenge of being an adult learner is that there are often competing demands in one's life, so the time to practise never seems easily available. Apart from setting aside time to practise, I realised that it is far more important to set aside some time for one to rest a bit (after work and all other commitments) and to recharge. This is necessary so that one doesn't have to practise one's instrument feeling awfully drained and tired from the day.

I don't know about other adult learners, but I find it more productive to practise on the double bass when I am not feeling too tired, and when I am able to focus my attention.

I shall give myself a pat on the shoulder for making an-hour-and-a-half to practise on the double bass tonight. Much of the time was spent practising Dragonetti's Solo in e minor. I have managed to work out the fingerings for the first movement, but the greater challenge was to get the rhythm right. Even more challenging was to play the music, not the notes.

Later in the night, I also practised a particular section from the second movement, and it was an even greater challenge to get the rhythms. The section requires one to play semiquavers and then switch to triplets. I was playing in a very slow tempo of 18 beats per minute just to get the rhythms in my mind. The tempo direction actually marks Allegro on the score.

Whatever it is, at least I have accomplished something tonight. I hope I would not be too tired to practise tomorrow after work.

Ideas for Christmas: Year-End at Joo Chiat

I don't celebrate Christmas, but I chanced upon the Joo Chiat Community Website and found out about the Year-End at Joo Chiat event.

Pardon me, Joo Chiat is a place of Singapore that I am not that familiar with. I hardly visit that part of Singapore as I find it fairly inaccessible from where I live. But after reading about its rich cultural heritage, I decide that I shall visit Joo Chiat soon.

Check out the history of Joo Chiat here: http://myjoochiat.com/history-intro.htm

Something to look forward to: National Museum of Singapore's Opening Festival



This is something to look forward to in the month of December. It's the National Museum of Singapore's Opening Festival. (2 - 31 Dec 2006)

Looking at the way the opening festival is being packaged and publicised, I see that there is a lot of hope for the National Museum of Singapore to attract more people to appreciate heritage and history.

I wonder if I would have the privilege to be there to witness the opening ceremony. I shall keep my fingers crossed.

Best wishes for the couple

Yesterday, I was privileged to attend the celebration wedding dinner of one of my good friends. The bride's my friend. At the wedding, I got to find out that yesterday happened to be Thanksgiving Day. I like the way the wedding dinner was organised. It was simple yet full of graciousness.

Here's wishing the couple marital bliss.

A word of thanks to my good friend, T, for giving me a lift to the venue of the wedding dinner and back home.

Preparation of the Feast

(Hainan 2006)

The Thanksgiving ritual seemed to be a good reason for relatives of the family to travel from where they are to the village. I was told that I would get to see my other relative later after the ritual, and there will be a feast prepared for the relatives who turn up.

I found out that a number of my relatives live in parts of Hainan fairly far from the village that I was staying in. One of my cousins who had came for the feast had to travel three hours on the lorry to reach the village.

While waiting for the relatives to turn up, I was treated to a simple meal which I considered my breakfast for the day.



In Singapore, when people eat chicken, it is quite common for people to dip some chilli sauce to go with the chicken. The chilli sauce would usually be made from chilli, garlic and the fatty-oils that have oozed out from a cooked chicken. In Hainan, I realised that the folks do not usually eat chicken with chilli sauce. Instead they use a sauce that comprises of the following ingredients: sesame oil, garlic and a kind of vegetable which has a fragrance similar to that of cooked chicken meat. The sauce was a novel to me that I kept helping myself to the sauce.

After the meal, I figured that I shall make myself seem like a ignorant city-dweller in the village by taking photographs of the preparation of the feast.







Ginger. I was fascinated to hear that the ginger was grown by my relatives.









The kitchen






The end result of all the preparation was food on the table, enough for quite a number of households.

One thing that struck me was that the villagers were in a way very self-sufficient. I was told that most of the vegetables that I saw at the feast were grown by my aunts on a plot of farmland. The plot of land may not be big, but it allowed the villagers to be self-sufficient. As long as the land is fertile, it is unlikely that the villagers would go hungry even if they don't have much cash on their hand.

I would infer that in this village, the villagers are dependent on their efforts and the fertility of the lands to be self-sufficient. So long as they can grow enough crops to meet their needs, they can survive. In a city like Singapore, I would infer that the way to gain self-sufficiency (since there is hardly any land for growing our own food) would be to have a relevant skill and/or knowledge that can bring in sufficient income and to spend within one's means.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The ritual



Following my last post, The story of the mountain goat, here's more about the rituals. Please bear with my limited knowledge of the ritual. While I had witnessed it, asked a bit about it, it is just something quite remote to me as I do not practise it myself.

After the chicken and the goat were slaughtered, they were brought to the altar. I could also see crabs. My uncle had to travel all the way to the nearby town to purchase these crabs. I was told that for the ritual, three kinds of animal would be required. If I had understood correctly, these three kinds of animal are: animal that has feathers, animal that walks on land, sea-creature. But I think I could be wrong, so I hope someone could please correct me if I were to be.








I remembered it was fairly early in the morning. I could still feel the dew in the air. That was not the end of the ritual. The offerings on the altar were later moved to a table in the house.

In the house, I saw my uncle burning incense paper. I was feeling quite worried when I saw him do that. There was no fire-extinguisher I could see nearby, and I was quite worried what to do if the flames were to get too strong. Anyway, thank goodness that my worries were unfounded. Maybe I should suggest that my parents get fire-extinguisher for home-use when they visit the village in the future.



In the above photo, you would see how the offerings were laid on the table, in the house. The ladder leads to an altar that was meant for us to worship our ancestors.




This was not the end of the ritual. I later saw my uncle taking a small portion of each of the various offerings out of the house. He then laid them on a bench. More burning of incense paper followed. Firecrackers were also lit after that. I have no idea of the significance of all these steps.









That was probably all that I can remember of the ritual. Anyway, if the ritual could give the persons who want the ritual to be performed a good peace of mind, it then has a purpose to exist, I suppose?

Hainan 2006: The story of the mountain goat

mountain goat

I caught sight of a goat when I was at Hainan earlier this month. I was told that the goat was a mountain goat. This goat did not like taking photographs. It tried to shun away whenever I release the camera shutter.

Anyway, I managed to steal a shot of the mountain goat. This photograph has been digitally enhanced. This is necessary so as to brighten the image. The reason is that I realised that the mountain goat was afraid of flashlight, and I had to refrain from using flashlight.

When I used flashlight to take a photograph of this mountain goat, guess what had happened? The mountain goat's reflex action was to pee. My mother told me this had happened because the mountain goat was frightened by the flashlight.

I have a feeling that this mountain goat is probably a male goat? Could anyone help to confirm this please?

Warning note: The story of the mountain goat shall start after this paragraph. However, if you are an animal right activist or cannot bear to witness scenes of an animal being slaughtered, I ask that you refrain yourself from reading any further. I am writing this post from the point of an observer who has in some way, participated in the story.

****








This mountain goat was tied to a tree trunk when I had first caught sight of it. Do you know why it was found at the village? I was told that it is a rare thing for the villagers to eat mutton or beef. Then why is the goat there?

It was meant as a sacrificial item for a ritual that were to take place before dawn of the following day. I was told that the following day (10 Nov 2006) was a good day for the ritual. I think it must have been a Chinese traditional belief that a good day must be chosen for such special occasion.

The ritual, as I understood, was meant as a Thanksgiving ritual. This ritual was to pray to the ancestors and to the goddess, Ma-zu, to thank them for the safe arrival of my parents and myself. It was also meant to pray and ask for a safe journey back to Singapore. The ritual is considered quite a big affair because after the ritual, the meat of the goat would be distributed amongst all the households in the village.

***
It was probably about 2 or 3 a.m. of 10 Nov 2006. I was awaken by the sounds of firecrackers. My mother told me that the ritual was to begin soon.

Here's yet another digitally enhanced photo. Here's what I saw at the wee hours of the day:




I did not ask much questions. I was told that the goat would be slaughtered very soon. Before the goat was slaughter, I saw my uncle pulling the mountain goat to an altar. He got the goat to bow at the altar for three times. The man whom you had seen in the photograph right above would chant some phrases. Afterwhich, the goat was taken to slaughter. I heard it crying sounds of resistance. I decided I shall not witness the slaughter. A chicken was also slaughtered at about the same time as the mountain goat. My mother asked that I take photographs of the slaughter of the mountain goat. I decided I shall not.

Later, I decided to muster some courage to witness what would follow next.

After the goat was slaughtered (but I did not witness it), I saw a male and a female removing the goat of its hairs. I was told that the male and female persons that I had seen were specially engaged by my relatives to slaughter the goat. The male and female persons were related to each other as husband-and-wife.

In the process of removing the hairs from the goat, hot water was used. The male and female persons also used their hands to pull the hairs off the slaughtered goat. In addition, razor-blades that looked like those used to shave hair was also used. The skin of the black-haired goat was white, I discovered.



After a while, the goat was skinned. It was then prepared to be used for the ritual. I shall warn my readers not to read on further unless they are open-minded enough to accept that what one is going see following this sentence is one custom that is being practised by a group of Chinese to pray for safety. While it has not much of a significance to me, it has a deep significance to those who subscribe to practising the ritual. My uncle told me that he felt a sense of peace of the mind and heart when he had the ritual performed.




The leaf-looking thing in the mouth of the slaughtered goat was papaya leaf, if I had remembered correctly. It was meant to represent something like prosper of one's offsprings. The round circular flat item just next to the slaughtered goat was its blood coagulated to form a circular block.




I just could not fully appreciate and comprehend how the sacrifice of the goat was necessary to pray for one's safety. Then again, I am aware that there are religions whereby the sacrifice of goats is being practised for one reason or another.



Maybe not-wasting is a virtue to the villagers here? After the goat was slaughtered, even the internal organs were not thrown away. Look at the photo right above and you would see the internal organs (stomach and etc.) of the goat.

I shall not attempt to write much about the ritual here. This post is afterall the story of the goat. Sometime after the ritual, I saw a man trying the prepare to cut the meat of the goat into smaller pieces. This man was engaged to cook the meat of the goat. Another man helped out later. I was told that this other man is one of my distant relatives.







I beg your pardon, that was probably my first time witnessing the preparation of mutton.

I was told that the meat of the goat was being placed in the pot that you would see in the photo below. To make mutton-stew, I suppose?



Several hours later, this was the Hainanese mutton stew that I saw on the table for lunch that day. I ate some of it. This was how I had participated in this story: part of the mountain goat was assimilated by my digestive system. The meat was very fresh and tender and had a nice mutton taste to it. The stew was full of nice flavour. I guess it would be difficult for me to get to eat mutton that fresh in Singapore?





Before the trip, I had heard about pig brains, but I did not have any awareness that goat's brain can also be eaten. One of my paternal aunts offered me a small portion of goat brain after she had passed a bowl of goat brain to my paternal grandmother to eat. According to my aunt, the goat brain is soft and does not require much chewing. I tried, and it was. The goat brain was cooked together with quite a fair amount of rock sugar. As such, the yellowish white syrup that you see in the photo below was actually very sweet.



That day, I can better appreciate this saying that the Chinese would turn anything to a delicacy so long as it has four limbs.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Ups and downs of studying music theory

My music theory tutor seemed quite worried yesterday when I had scored only 50% of the marks for Question 4 and 5 for one of the Grade 6 Music Theory Year 2002 exams papers that I had attempted for this week. I was rather inconsistent when it came to my scores. On good days, I can score close to full marks; On not-so-good days, half of my answers were wrong.

Hopefully, practice would make perfect. I seem to have inconsistent performance when it comes to deciphering which key a particular section of the music is in. I also appear to have a difficulty in getting the right answer if I were to be presented with an abstract of a score and asked if it were written during the Classical or Romantic era. My ears are quite good in telling the difference, but my eyes don't seem to differentiate well.

On the good side, transposition appears a component where I can score. I can also identify the chords accurately if I have managed to determine the key that the music is in for a given section.

There's three months before it is music theory exams. I hope I brush up on music theory so that I can pass when I sit for the exams next March.

My tutor commented that there's a difference between a young child who is studying music theory, and an adult who is studying music theory. What do you think?

I would like to interpret it as a young child will tend to learn music theory by finding time to read and study what the theory guide books say. The adult understands music theory by comprehending the concepts and learning to apply the concepts. I don't find myself spending much time to read and remember the definitions of the numerous musical terms or the books. I also often struggle to find time to do my music theory assignments due to other competing interests and demands.

Anyway, here's presenting the ups and downs of studying music theory.

Clothes to cover

Maybe it is self-consciousness, for the past few days since the mosquito-bites affair, I have been wearing more long sleeves and I would make sure that I don't go out of home in shorts. The lower legs, wherever possible, shall be covered.

I decided that I shall not even attempt to put up photographs of my lower legs which is now full of red-looking blotches. A few days ago, those spots were swollen. Now they are not as swollen, but they are turning to the colour of flesh red!

The Atarax did not seem to wean off its effect on me when I woke up this morning. As such, I was feeling a little drowsy and sleepy in the morning. That applied when I was in the office the morning. Thank goodness that I have survived. It did help in some way, I did not feel as itchy as I had yesterday.

My lesson learnt from this itchy affair: mosquito bites and sensitive skin like mine do not go well with each other. Together, they can disfigure one's skin, just temporary, I hope.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

One bite gets multiplied

After my double bass lesson today, I went to see a doctor for the mosquito bites. the bites are making me feel itchy. The swelling has yet to subside and in fact, the swells are getting more red.

The doctor told me that my skin is sensitive, and many of the swells that look like mosquito bites are actually a reaction to a mosquito bite. As best as I understood it, it means that even though a mosquito had bitten me at one particular spot of my skin, this bite can trigger a reaction that would cause swelling at our part of the skin. Gosh, no wonder I cannot remember seeing so many mosquitoes around but yet I have so many mosquito bites.

Now, this is what I would call the multiplying effect.

As such, the doctor prescribed me the following:
Gentamicin 0.1% cream + Betamethasone 0.1% cream
Cefuroxime (antibotics)
Atarax (to relieve me of the itch)

I was told that the Atarax can make me feel very drowsy. I was to take it in the night time. Let's hope I can survive it.

Most likely, I would have scars from the bites since I have been scratching the swollen areas every so often. Anyway, I hope I'll heal soon from this itchy affair.

Itching and scratching

I wish I don't have to get love-bites from the mosquitoes. I realised that there are fresh new mosquito bites on my arms and lower legs. Now my arms and legs are full of swollen mosquito bites. New bites and the previous bites from Hainan. I am feeling so itchy that I cannot help but scratch.

Can anyone please share with me how to relieve myself from the itch? Are there remedies to help me heal faster from the mosquito bites?

Now I am not sure if those are mosquito bites or insect bites. I don't remember seeing the mosquitoes except the mosquito that I had seen yesterday at the office.

*Scratch**Scratch**Scratch*

WWII in the civic district




Walking towards the Singapore Philatelic Museum


Tym has blogged about the World War II Civic District Trail. Do check it out: http://yesterday.sg/detail/world_war_2_in_the_city/


I have also went for this same trail and have put up a post on my experiences onboard this trail. Please check out: Beginning with Stamps: WWII Civic District Trail


If you have missed the above trail and are keen for heritage-related activities this few months, please check out http://www.yesterday.sg/explore/museum_events.html

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tired and itchy

I am feeling exhausted and itchy now. Itching from the mosquito bites. For some reasons, the mosquitoes in Hainan must have decided to want to give me lots of "souvenirs" to bring back to Singapore.

Since they have no money to buy me gifts, they must have decided to use give me their prized bites as momentos. Actually, could anyone please communicate to those generous mosquitoes that I don't need and care about their precious bites?

Anyway, I am feeling so dead-tired that I can't help trying to find something entertaining to help lift my moods. Jason Heath has a nice post on his blog on the Legendary Schubert "Trout" Quintet documentary. This documentary features a group of legendary musicians. This is one way to soothe me to dreamland...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bishan today and yesterday



Acroamatic has put up an informative post about Bishan, one of the housing estates in Singapore. I recommend that fellow folks in Singapore take a read of it. It just struck me how much Bishan has changed in a matter of two decades.

Here's the URL: http://yesterday.sg/detail/bishan_two_zero/

Monday, November 20, 2006

Buried

Latent they are
Expressions buried in my world
The one and only
So few have the access to it

What has been heard
Are mere fractions of the entire
All else
Buried

Perhaps a loner?
Or more so
I can't be bothered to say any further
In this superficial world

Give up trying
The world may hear
But have yet to listen
The buried expressions

Sunday, November 19, 2006

9 Nov 06: Trip to nearby town

After my lunch on 9 Nov 06, my third uncle took my parents and I to a nearby town of Wencheng (if I remember the name of the town correctly).

We hired a private car to the town and the journey took about fifteen minutes from the village. I remember myself feeling so tired that I was closing my eyes throughout most of the journey to the town.






At the town, I spotted red-coloured three-wheels vehicles that I have not seen before. When I peered closely at these vehicles, they appeared to be a cross between a motorcycle and a two-wheel sedan. Such vehicles can take up to two passengers at the back, and I heard that in this town, they function like taxis. One unanswered question that I still have at the back of my mind is that where are these vehicles assembled?





Our first stop at the town was the Clan association. This clan association serves people with the same surname as mine. At the Clan association, I saw many photographs in frames. These were to give recognition to those who have made contributions or have donated to the association. I read the names and brief profile of the people whose photographs were put up and found that a number of them were overseas Chinese. It reminded me that overseas Chinese have made a number of contributions to China even if they are miles away. At the association, I saw the personal computer that my father has sponsored too.


View from the balcony of the Clan Association



The next stop was a traditional Chinese medicine shop. My third uncle recommended that I consult a Chinese sinseh (doctor) there for my cough problem. The sinseh diagnosed me and prescribed me the medicine. As such, for the next few days at the village, I had to drink the Chinese medicine that my paternal aunts so kindly brewed for me.

I felt quite tired and was having a headache that day. As such, we called for a taxi to take us back to the village. One thing that I have observed is that the folks in this part of Hainan seem to have to call for a taxi or private vehicle if they want to take one. It appears not too easy to hail for one on the roads. However, it appears fairly easy to hail for one of those red-coloured three-wheels vehicles.

If you had guessed it correctly, I was catching up on my winks on the way back to the village. I was tired then, you see.

Heritage this week



This morning, I have attended the World War II Civic District Trail organised by the Singapore Philatelic Museum. It was a very enriching trail. Hopefully I can find the time to blog about my experience on this trail soon.

Meantime, this week on Yesterday.sg, there are several noteworthy posts to check up:

Remembering Beauty World.
The original post was written by Lam Chun See.
I recommend that JY could check this post out since some of the places mentioned on this post should not be unfamiliar to her.

Ford Factory's Fantastic Fiesta
I had missed this. The folks who had went for the Ford Factory Fiesta on 18 Nov 2006 just seem to have so much fun that I am now full of envy.
I recommend this post to anyone who likes to find out more about games that were played in the past.

Heritage Sneak Peek
The original post by eatzycath has some great photographs of Fuk Tak Chi Museum and Wak Hai Cheng Bio Temple. I love the way the photographs show some intricate designs of Chinese temples.
I recommend that Kunstemaecker could check out this post. He had made a short visit to Fuk Tak Chi Museum when he was in Singapore last December.

Professional Sacrifices Define the Lives of Orchestra Musicians

One of Jason Heath's posts points me to an article by Douglas Fisher, titled Professional Sacrifices Define the Lives of Orchestra Musicians.

Here's an excerpt from Douglas Fisher's article:

..life as a professional orchestra musician is filled with unique sacrifices. When I compare notes with close friends in other professions they are amazed that in some cases we must spend as much as a full years’ salary to buy an instrument and sometimes spend thousands more each year to supply and maintain it. The thought of having to buy and maintain their own computers along with the business related software they need to do their jobs horrifies them...


This is a post to read for aspiring and existing orchestra musicians.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

No word to express

G I E A S D R
U W E I U
O X E N
P N O D N N
R G P V C F
U C
E T A I N

They plough the fields

Sighted at the Hainan Village that I went to.


Bulls or buffaloes?
Apologies for my ignorance
Great helpers they are
They plough the lands

I heard that they leave for the fields
Early in the morning
Working hard in the day
Return just before dusk

Heard that a few households would share one buffalo
A prized animal
It has the strength of five, six men
Working the fields to cultivate the lands

The story of the house



When I was in Hainan earlier this November, aside from visiting my paternal relatives, one of the activities that was to keep me occupied in Hainan was taking photographs.

I suspect that the folks at the village must have thought that I was very deprived of rural life. I would take photographs of everyday-events and even the architecture of the building where my paternal grandmother and aunts live. I would even take photographs of the chickens running wild on their own. Even meals on the table became subjects for my photoshots. All these items that might seem to be mundane to the villagers but I would like to capture them on visual medium to record the moments of my trip.

One of the subjects for my phototaking endeavour was the house where my paternal grandmother and aunts live. I heard from the folks that my late paternal grandfather had worked hard in the fields, farming, so as to earn enough to pay for the manpower that is required to build this very house. My paternal grandmother, had helped out by making the bricks that were required for the entire house. More than sixty years later, this house still stood for the younger generations to appreciate.






I seemed to have an affinity for the design of this house more than the affinity that I feel for the HDB flat unit that I have been living in. Perhaps it is because of its simple yet intricately beautiful design. Furthermore, it somehow struck me that every single part of this house was made possible because of the blood and sweat of the generations before me. I would think that much patience, pride and perserverance must have been put into building the house.

At the back of my mind, I wonder what were the materials used to make all those bricks. What have made the bricks so sturdy that they can withstand the test of time?




















On my second day at the village, my third uncle shared with me about the geomancy of the house. He shared how the measurement of each items of the house, the length and width of the doors, the position of the beams, the length and width of the windows and so forth actually matters. With the proper ration and measurement, I was told that it would give visitors and dwellers of the house an overall pleasant feeling of the house. If the length had been too short or long, a door may end up looking awkward and unpleasing.

Third uncle shared that one of the doors was designed in a way which represents "Yi" (justice and duty). Another door represents "Wealth". It was interesting to listen to my uncle share about such topics.




I was told that a family of swallows would fly to this house, lay their eggs and raise their young. Can you spot the bird nest in the photo above? There must have been something about this house that the swallows like.





In the photograph that you would see above is the structure of the main gate of this house from the inside. My father told me that when he was young, he would climb up to the storage area above the main gate. I heard that there is a good view up there.





I shall end the post here. Enjoy the photos.