Sunday, December 28, 2008

A meet-up with ex-classmates

Hokkien Mee.

A friend and ex-classmate of mine, SM is in Singapore for a short stay. I was lucky to learn about her return and managed to have the pleasure to meet up with her and a few of my ex-classmates from my Junior-College class last evening.

Time flies. We have known each other for at least slightly more than a decade. We went to have our dinner at Food Republic, at VivoCity, and it was quite a good choice, for there was a range of local food to choose from.

Hakka "Thunder Tea" Rice.

We have had some nice time catching up with each other. It has been a while since the four of us got together. There were quite a bit of updates from each of us ladies, and we had the pleasure to browse through the photographs of WL's son.

We took a couple of photographs together. These were considered rare since it has been a while that we took photographs together. Many thanks to the kind lady who has helped us take two photographs for us.

After dinner, we settled for treats to ice-cream at Ben & Jerry's. I indulged myself with the Chocolate Therapy flavour ice-cream. It was an indulgence since I was advised to avoid eating cold food where possible. Anyway, it tasted good. It was not too sweet, and yet there was enough doses of chocolate flavour in it.

Here's to wish SM a meaningful stay in Singapore.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A lovely Christmas eve exploring and chilling out

National Museum of Singapore. Photo taken by RL.

Christmas eve 2008:

The original plan for Christmas eve was to visit the Singapore Flyer with one of my friends, RL, in the afternoon, after work. However, the Singapore Flyer met with technical glitches on 23 Dec 2008 afternoon and its flight operation was deferred.

Photo of the Singapore Flyer. Taken on 15 Nov 2008.

Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that RL and myself that we could not take a flight onboard the Singapore Flyer on Christmas eve. We ended up, on a rainy day, visiting one of my favourite places in Singapore, the National Museum of Singapore. It was an enriching trip for me even though I have already visited the museum for umpteen times. The fascinating thing about visiting museum is that each visit is a unique learning experience. I am very biased. I think a short visit to the National Museum of Singapore is far more enriching than a flight onboard the Singapore Flyer.

Here are some photos that I had taken of the National Museum of Singapore quite a while time ago:

The Rotunda Dome.

The Glass Passage.

The Glass Rotunda and the escalators leading to The Canyon

There are a number of worthwhile exhibitions that are currently held at the National Museum of Singapore that I would recommend visitors to check out. I shall not attempt to write about these exhibitions unless the museum invites and grants me the permission to write and blog about these temporary exhibitions. Meantime, there are already a couple of good online posts that have featured these worthwhile exhibitions.

Here are the links, do check them out please:

Voom Portraits: Robert Wilson
by Simply Jean.
Doubleness: Photography by Chang Chien-Chi by Simply Jean.

In addition, I recommend that visitors check out the Singapore History Gallery and the Singapore Living Galleries of the National Museum of Singapore.

Here is a relevant post that readers may wish to browse:
Tales From The National Museum by Weichong.

During my visit to the museum with RL, I have learnt from my dear friend and companion about "Access Audit" and some of the criteria to look out for so as to determine if a building is accessible to everyone, including people who are physically challenged. I've learnt that the toilet doors of the toilets in the National Museum of Singapore which are meant for the people with physical challenges are too heavy to be opened with ease. Try it for yourself and you will agree with me too.


After our visit to the museum, we continued walking about Singapore. I was impressed with RL for her keen interest and stamina in walking from places to places instead of taking public transport. It looks like I have found my match when it comes to walking about Singapore.

While we were deciding on a place for dinner, we walked past a number of interesting buildings:

Previously the MPH building.

Stamford House.

Capitol Building. Singapore.

The Peranakan Museum.

For our dinner, we ended up, partly because of the weather, at Capitol Building and we treated ourselves to Hainanese Chicken Rice and other food from Hainanese Delights.

After dinner, we continued walking, and I insisted that RL take a view of the Singapore River from the Elgin Bridge. If it had been a clear night, the view would have been awesome.

View from Elgin Bridge at night. Taken in Aug 2007.

Afterwhich, we tried to look cold and uninterested when walking past the entire stretch of Boat Quay that ran parallel to the Singapore River. We had to look cold so as to attempt to deter the staff from the restaurants from asking us questions such as "What would you like to eat?", "Want to have something?" etc. However, we somehow seemed to attract a lot of such questions.

After a hearty stroll, we reached one of our destinations, The Fullerton Hotel. It was here that I have had a lovely and relaxing time chilling out with RL. Surprisingly, there were fewer people than I had expected at the hotel's courtyard. That meant good news for me since I prefer to be away from the crowd. Throughout the night, we were treated with live background music provided by a pianist as well as a choir.

Fullerton Hotel and Cavenagh Bridge

One thing I love about chilling out at the Fullerton Hotel's courtyard was that I was just sitting right below a lovely air-well! Please pardon me, I have a special liking for air-wells and tall ceilings. Maybe it is my love for spacious environment at work, subconsciously.

Courtyard of Fullerton Hotel. I love the air-well!

RL and yours truly indulged ourselves in the Fullerton Dessert Sampler. It was quite a treat to have on a Christmas Eve. The dessert sampler was thoughtfully presented, and one of the staff patiently introduced us to each and every item on the sampler. The service at Fullerton Hotel Courtyard was excellent. It was a lovely time chilling out, and I was glad that I have made time to chill out with RL.

Fullerton Dessert Sampler.

After chilling out at Fullerton Hotel, we headed for the Merlion, and the Esplanade Bridge. The satay-club that had used to exist just below the part of Esplanade Bridge near the side of the Merlion Park was no longer there. It was replaced by a Starbucks Coffee outlet. We continued our walk until we reached Anderson Bridge. I personally think that there was a pretty nice view from Anderson Bridge. It would be a good place to be standing on and to sing one's worries and sadness away.

Merlion, Singapore.

Anderson Bridge.

There are things on my mind that I have yet to have the answers for. I simply hope that those things that are out of my control would somehow work out well by themselves. If there are still things that are within my control but I am ignorant of, I hope somehow I could be enlightened.

My words of appreciation to RL for lending me company to explore Singapore and to chill out on Christmas eve. It has helped me spent the day meaningfully, taking me away from worrying about things that are beyond my control. I am thankful that I have found a friend in her. Here, I shall dedicate a post to RL one again to thank her for the most appreciated company on Christmas eve.

Here, I wish that everyone who reads this post will enjoy a peaceful and safe festive season. Keep safe please.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Managing fears: I have conquered a bridge

On 20 Dec 2008, I was thankful to be able to be onboard a special trail. The trail to explore the old Jurong Line.

I had first seen a section of the old Jurong line, i.e. the bridge over River Ulu Pandan, and the bridge over Sunset Way, more than a decade ago, and had kept wondering why I did not seem to see any train running along the railway tracks. I did not even know that the railway tracks on those bridges were part of the Jurong line. During my recent tour of the old Jurong line, I learnt that the old Jurong line was officially closed in the year 1993.

More than a decade after I had first got myself acquainted with a section of the old Jurong line, I read about the old Jurong Line from the blog Good Morning Yesterday. The post on the lost railway line did not interest me until I saw photographs of the railway bridges that ran over River Ulu Pandan. On Good Morning Yesterday, Peter Chan wrote two posts about his memories of the old Jurong Line. The links to these two posts can be found here: Ulu Pandan Heritage Trail (9) – The Lost Railway Line: Part 1 (by Peter Chan) and Ulu Pandan Heritage Trail (10) – The Lost Railway Line: Part 2 (by Peter Chan).

Subsequently, another blogger, Icemoon, wrote about the old Jurong Line in two of his posts: Old Tracks, New Trail (1) - The Bridge on the River U.Pandan and Old Tracks, New Trail (2) - In Search of the River Pandan Railway Bridge. I was similarly just attracted to a particular segment of the railway trail simply because that short segment of the line was familiar to me.

It brought me great delight and pleasure when blogger, Chun See, initated a tour of the Old Jurong trail. It meant that I could explore a part of Singapore that was relatively unknown to me.

I will probably blog about my tour of the old Jurong line in another post when schedule permits. Meantime, I hope to share that I have conquered a bridge that stretched across the River Ulu Pandan. It was a railway bridge that I had often seen on my bus-trip to the university, if I had paid attention to the sceneries around me.

Please visit this post by Icemoon titled Old Tracks, New Trail (2) - In Search of the River Pandan Railway Bridge to get a glimpse how this bridge would look from a distance.

Admittedly, I was feeling afraid when I started crossing the bridge. After I had covered the first one-third of the bridge, I had to walk the next one-third of it without any railings to hold on to. I had to be careful. I do not fear death as much as I fear dying for nothing, without a good cause. The next thing was that I have a fear of heights especially when I were to be high above the ground with limited support. Yet, I realised that if I do not manage my fears well enough, they would cripple me from enjoying the walk across the bridge.

The gentlemen who were on the old Jurong line trail with me were encouraging and urged me forward. I used talking as a way to distract myself from my fear of heights. The walk across the bridge became a practice for managing fears, and being courageous to take steps forward, one at a time. Eventually, I am pleased to share that I have walked the entire length of the bridge, from one end to the other.

The next time that I would have to cross similar bridges again, I hope that I would be able to cross with greater confidence. More importantly, I hope that in future attempts, I would be able to feel at ease to enjoy every single part of the scenery along the way, than to simply focus on getting safely to the other end of the bridge.

Anyway, at the very least, I have made a first step in managing my fears. Cheers!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A tour about Chinatown with RL

18 Dec 2008 (Thu)

Photo taken by RL

Many thanks to my friend, RL, for setting aside time to meet up with me while she's back in Singapore. She has been a lovely company to check out some parts of Chinatown with me. I felt a sense of nostalgia visiting Chinatown and touring it like a tourist.

Our meeting point was at Chinatown MRT station. After we left the station, RL showed me where one could get interesting fashion wear in Chinatown. There were quite a lot of things that I had learnt from my lovely companion and friend that day.

On our way to a hawker centre to try local food, we passed by Sri Mariamman Temple, which is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Singapore. I suggested visiting the temple so as to have an appreciation of how a Hindu temple would look like. The truth was that I have already visited that temple many times. I had thought it might be an interesting exposure for RL to visit a Hindu temple for a while. I now keep my fingers crossed that I did not come across as an overly zealous tour-companion. Hopefully the visit did not leave my dear companion with headaches and cries. Whatever it was, I was doing my best to point out to her parts of Singapore that she might have otherwise overlooked.

Sri Mariamman Temple.
Singapore's oldest Hindu temple, founded by Naraina Pillai.

Our stop for good hawker food was the Maxwell Food Centre. Patricia Schultz wrote in the book 1000 places to see before you die - A traveller's Life list that one of the places that one must see is the hawker centre in Singapore. Good food at reasonable prices. Different cuisines are available from one single hawker centre. A visit to a hawker centre is definitely a "gastronomic and cultural experience".

Photo taken by RL.

Photo taken by RL. Peanut soup and red bean brown rice soup, which I believe was from stall number 75 of Maxwell Food Centre. Yummy!

RL generously gave me treats to peanut soup, red bean brown rice soup, watermelon juice, vegetables and bee-hoon soup. I was very well-fed with great food that afternoon. Many thanks to RL for her treats, though she needn't have.

Nearby the Maxwell Food Centre stood the URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) Centre, and I suggested that we could spend some time taking a look at the Singapore City Gallery. I have visited the Singapore City Gallery a couple of times, and am still fascinated with the three-dimensional models that can be found there. I personally think that the Singapore City Gallery is worth a visit for anyone who wants to get a quick appreciation of the Singapore city within less than an hour.

Photo taken by RL. Singapore City Gallery.

After our visit to the Singapore City Gallery, we eventually ended up at Telok Ayer Green, nearby Amoy Street and Telok Ayer Street. We did not explore the part of Telok Ayer Street that was near Thian Hock Kheng Temple. If anyone insists on getting a glimpse of how that part of Telok Ayer Street looks like, please refer to one of my past posts titled The Original Singapore Walk: A Chinatown Walk

Sculpture at Telok Ayer Green

Nagore Durgha Shrine. 140 Telok Ayer Street.

That afternoon, we walked along a section of Amoy Street and then walk towards the part of Telok Ayer Street that was where Far East Square stood. We came across a traditional Chinese pastry shop, Tan Hock Seng. I have learnt from RL about a kind of sweet that was made from glutinous rice. I tried some of it, and it was yummy. I wish that Tan Hock Seng will continue to enjoy good business so that it will stay strong and steady many decades later. Otherwise traditional pastry shops like Tan Hock Seng may one day become a part of history only.

Tan Hock Seng Cake Shop: 86 Telok Ayer Street, #01-01 Far East Square.

We also made a short visit at Fuk Tak Chi Temple. This site first began as a temple for the Cantonese and Hakka immigrants. They installed a shrine of the deity Tua Peh Kong at the current site of Fuk Tak Chi Temple sometime between 1820 and 1824. Subsequently, the site underwent a series of changes. It was later redeveloped into a street museum and re-opened to public on 19 November 1998 (View source: Singapore infopedia).

Below is a model of how the vicinity near Fuk Tak Chi Temple had looked like in the distant past. I believe that the model showed how the vicinity had looked like before land reclamation took place at that part of Chinatown. I am rather curious to learn about how Telok Ayer Street had looked like before the land reclamation, so this model that you see below is probably one of my favourite exhibits at Fuk Tak Chi Temple.

Photo taken by RL, at Fuk Tak Chi Temple.

After walking kilometres and kilometres, we treated ourselves to beverages at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. If I could drink cold beverages without a single care, and if I could tolerate the caffeine from coffee (without ending up with sleepless nights), I might have been sold to RL's recommendations and become a fan of one of her favourite beverages, the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's Ultimate Ice Blended. Anyway, I had double hot chocolate with marshmallow instead. I have learnt that I should have chosen the small-size version and not the regular-size version. Nevertheless, in whatever outings and meet-ups, it was the company that matters most, not the food.

I thank RL for her friendship and her most appreciated company that day. Meeting up with her has helped me get in touch with my love for exploring places in Singapore. It's lovely to find peers who find pleasure in exploring Singapore. I am thankful to RL for her kind patience and understanding when I had to attend to a couple of phone calls and texted-messages while we were exploring the Chinatown. She also kindly lent me a listening ear, when I needed to remind myself to stay composed and calm to handle a particular situation more effectively. Thanks RL.

This post is dedicated to RL.

I wish her joy, every moment.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mission Darkstar: Heritage Gaming Redefined

National Heritage Board (NHB) has launched its first online gaming competition entitled Mission Darkstar – Heritage Gaming Redefined

Divided into two stages, the competition invites members of the public who are keen to produce online games to submit their detailed proposals to NHB in the first stage. The top five proposals will each receive S$4,000 seed funds to execute their projects. In the second stage, the top three teams who produce the best online games as judged by a panel along with votes from the public, stand to win a total of S$13,500 worth of cash prizes. Visit to find out more!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Passing forward a good will

I am thankful for the goodwill and kindness that others have showered on me. All these goodwill and kindness are constant reminders for me to count my blessings, and to continue to pass the goodwill forward to people around me. Perhaps one day, the world would soon be a kinder and better place?

Last month, I published two online posts related to an exhibition titled "The Legacy of Tan Kah Kee & Lee Kong Chian". The posts were:
Deeply moved by "The Legacy of Tan Kah Kee & Lee Kong Chian"
What legacy can we leave behind?

As a result of seeking permission to get photographs for my two online posts, I have got to know the Project Manager of the exhibition.

I am hereby privileged to share that she gave me a copy of Selected Manuscripts, Speeches and Letters by Lee Kong Chian, Compiled and translated by Jane Wee & Ina Zhang. Published by National Library Board Singapore. Printed in Singapore by Chung Printing.
ISBN: 978-981-08-1843-2 (pbk). There are only limited copies of this booklet, and I felt privileged to be able to have a chance to read it to get a glimpse of Lee Kong Chian's outlook on various things.

After reading this booklet, I decided that the best way to respond to the goodwill was to pass it forward so that more people could enjoy the booklet. As such, I passed the booklet through a good friend to the library of one of the non-profit organisations in Singapore. I hope somehow it would be of use to some researchers there one day.


By the way, The Legacy of Tan Kah Kee and Lee Kong Chian, “承前启后 继往开来:陈嘉庚与李光前” is held from 18 Jul to 31 Dec 2008, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Closed on public holidays).

Exhibition website:

Venue: Level 10, National Library,
100 Victoria Street
Singapore 188064

Free admission.

Do check it out soon!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Doing good well

One of my good friends has very thoughtful got me a copy of the book titled Doing Good Well: What Does (and Does Not) Make Sense in the Nonprofit World authored by Willie Cheng. Here, I would like to thank her for her thoughtful and kind gesture. I am feeling very blessed to have a friend in her. This post is dedicated to her!

I had only briefly asked her for some details on the book, and numerous weeks later, she told me that she has gotten me a copy of the book. Many thanks to this friend of mine for keeping me in her thoughts.

Briefly, this is what the book is about: "Doing Good Well is a thinking man's guide to the nonprofit world. It surprises and challenges even as it seeks to explain charity-specific issues such as charitableness, bridging the rich/poor divide, informed giving and social entrepreneurship."

Here is a book review on this book:
October 04, 2008 in Knowledge@SMU

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Whet your appetite

A couple of days ago, I have the honour to celebrate Carcar's birthday with her at Paulaner Bräuhaus.

Carcar has a natural flair of taking good photographs of food. All readers here are in good luck to be able to take a peep at some of the photographs that Carcar has taken during our recent Sunday Brunch at Paulaner Bräuhaus. I thank Carcar for graciously shared her photos with me.

Feast your eyes, and whet your appetite.

Note: All photographs on display in this post are taken by Carcar.


Here I am writing a post as early as 5.47 a.m. Singapore time. I am asking for good luck, kindness, wise guidance and wisdom. Your good-wishes will be very much appreciated. Thank you in advance. I wish you a day that is enriched with care and blessings.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Karl is on a mission. Help him.

Karl Blog, a blog that is connected with self-development and inspiration, is one of the blogs that I would now check out on a regular basis. In fact, I am following this blog.

Karl is now on a mission. It is a mission to increase the popularity of his blog.

Karl Blog is an inspiring and energising blog to read. As such, I hereby recommend you to check this blog out. This will also help Karl get a step closer to his goals and mission. Thank you.

I am hoping that with more people reading Karl Blog, it would somehow help make this world a slightly happier place. Cheers!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas concert at Esplanade Concert Hall

I saw these at Esplanade and was looking at them with wonder and delight.

There was a performance put up by saxophone players at the Esplanade Concourse before the start of the concert by SSO.

Once again, I am thankful for having won a pair of tickets to the CIMB-SSO Christmas Concert held on 12 Dec 2008. Many thanks to my friend, RL, for being gracious to take time to attend the concert with me and for being very kind to offer me her most appreciated company for the entire night.

It has been a lovely concert to catch. The concert opens with Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28. The Singapore Symphony Children's Choir has put up a commendable rendition of the work. My eyes were on the harpist, delighting in how different textures and colours of sounds could be produced on the harp simply by varying the way the harpist pluck the strings of the harp. It was lovely.

I realised that music that has been arranged do not quite appeal to my ears as compared to original compositions. Nevertheless, Bruce Chase's (arr.) Christmas Favourites, Paul Bateman's (arr.) Christmas Medley and Mykola Leontovich/ Richard Hayman's (arr.) Carol of the Bells still brought a bit of cheerful festive mood to me, even though I do not celebrate Christmas.

Esplanade Concert Hall.

My favourite was Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker: Suite No. 1, Op. 71a. I was not listening particularly to the orchestra's rendition of the work. I realised that my ears were tuning in the marvellous work of composition that Tchaikovsky has written. I was listening out for the various composition techniques and tools that Tchaikovsky had used to make this work sound so interesting and lovely. I think Tchaikovsky is a genius in his own right as a composer. I am glad that I have found delight in listening to his works.

Here, I have my friend, Emily, to thank. She has inspired me in many ways to listen to music. I thank her for one of her gifts: Aaron Copland's What to Listen for in Music. While I have read chapters from this book during my university days, when Emily presented it to me again as a gift, I have found myself reading it again and more motivated to be an active listener.

Another work that I like at the concert was Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride. I do not know why, but I think it was well written. I was listening to it with a sense of wonder and delight.

Worth mentioning was the Carol Sing-a-long at the end of the concert. Members of the audience were invited to sing along, as the orchestra plays the accompaniment. Many sang, and the mood in the concert hall was pretty high. I was listening to the orchestra's accompaniment. I concluded that I have more interest in accompaniment than the melody. Singing the melodies of the Christmas carols did not interest me. I could find not much interest and delight in them, at least not that night. It was in attempting to harmonise the melody, internally, at the back of my mind, that delighted me. I am glad that Western music heavily utilise the concept of harmony.

Whatever it is, the conductor has been pretty encouraging and even told all members of the audience that after the concert, they could go and tell their friends and loved ones that they have sung at Esplanade Concert Hall!

By the way, I have found the programme booklet for the concert to be well designed. One of the pages of the booklet was of good quality card-paper which when 'punched out' from the page, could serve as both a Christmas card and a mini calendar for the year 2009.

Last but not the least, I thank RL for giving me a lift back home, and more so, for being very kind to bear with my rants that were probably results of a mind that was not functioning anywhere near its optimal because of the time of the night. I thank her too for kindly obliging to my many requests. In addition, many thanks to RL for her gifts, photo and for sharing with me donuts from Krispy Kreme which she had brought from Australia. It is the thoughts that came with these that I am deeply thankful of.

I appreciate the kindness that she has shown me. I wish her fulfillment and happiness.

Last but not the least, I am deeply thankful for the many blessings and kindness that I have received, especially during the past few days. Many thanks to my friends for the wishes of good-luck and good-will that they have sent me during the past few days. I am deeply grateful.

Friday, December 12, 2008

People to be grateful for. Part 4

This is the fourth post of this series.


Thank you XS.

I am grateful for your friendship, which I deeply cherish. Perhaps unknown to you, you have helped shape me to be a better friend and person. I have learnt about ways to choose and experience happiness. Thanks to your guidance and pointers.

I have also learnt that there is beauty in impermanence. The best of our friends do not have to be physically with us most of the time. I have learnt from the years that we have lost contact with each other, that true friendship can withstand the tests of time, emerging stronger with time. I am deeply grateful for having gotten in touch with you, even if it may just for a while, as I could finally experience for myself that our friendship is strong enough to withstand the tests of time. Appreciating that things are impermanent makes me learn to better cherish each moment.

There are many things I have to thank you for. I shall leave most of them unsaid. Maybe the best thank-you messages are best experienced with the heart and the soul.

Perhaps you did not realise, that my experiences of our friendship has in many ways helped me to evolve. Thank you for accepting whatever idiosyncrasies that I may have. Thank you for the intangible treasures of wisdom that you have pointed me to.

More importantly, thank you for the many precious memories you have given me.

I wish you happiness and good dreams come true. You have my blessings, wherever you are.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sharing good luck with you

Life has been gracious.

I have learnt that the best gift that Life has given each of us is the power to be enthusiastic, about anything that we care about. Thank you.

This morning, I was listening to the 92.4 FM classical radio station. I have been hoping to win a pair of tickets to the upcoming Singapore Symphony Orchestra's Christmas Concert. One of my friends, RL, is back in Singapore and I thought it would be a good way to welcome her with a treat to a concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall. The issue is that Christmas Concerts usually have their tickets all sold out by this time of the year.

Thank goodness for good luck. I called in this morning. There was only one last pair of tickets to the above-mentioned concert to be given away. I have made four attempts to dial the hotline number, and at the fourth attempt, I happen to be lucky enough to have my call picked up. I have won a pair of tickets to tomorrow's CIMB-SSO Christmas Concert, and am pleased that my friend would be free to catch it with me.

There have been a lot on my mind of late, yet I am thankful to have the pleasure and the opportunity to share my good luck here with everyone.

May good luck be you. Wishing you enthusiasm and happiness.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Deeply thankful, and I say thanks.

I am feeling deeply thankful, and I would like to say "Thanks".

Today has been an eventful day.
I was put to challenge by events out of my daily routine.
I am thankful that I have acted with enthusiasm
Despite the trials that Life has presented to help me grow stronger and wiser.

I am thankful for a humble chance
To be of some service to a good friend of mine.
And through the experience,
I have learnt
That when life is lived with enthuasiasm,
Every moment is worth living for
No matter what the outcome may be.

I am thankful to learn that there are kind souls in this world
Who will lend kindness when it is needed.
Who dutifully serve.
My thanks to them.

My thanks to the taxi driver whose vehicle was right in front of another taxi
He stopped by, but when I told him my destination,
He told me it's too far and he refused to take me there.
For that, I missed flagging the taxi that was right behind his taxi
I thank him for pointing to me a precious learning point,
That when one is not prepared to commit to a task at hand,
One oughts to give clear indication that one is not,
And be mindful not to give mixed signals.
Mixed signals often make oneself and others lose precious time.
It was just a brief moment with this driver,
How interesting that he had somehow got me to learn something important.

I thank the taxi driver who eventually took me to my destination
He dedicated himself to drive me where I want to be
Safely and as fast as possible
He even taught me routes that would help me
Avoid most of the peak-hour jams

I thank my senior colleague
For granting me urgent half-day leave
Within such short notice
I appreciate her prompt action and kindness

I have a client to thank
For agreeing to reschedule a meeting
It may seem a simple gesture
Yet it has helped me in significant ways

I thank another colleague of mine
For helping to notify me when my phone rang
Otherwise I may have missed that important call
Every second do count

Life can be sweet
To add some simple pleasures
To bring cheers to the tired soul
After completing my task at hand,
I saw lovely works of art
That are full of inspirations, made with love and care.

I thank many people
For being so lovely to send me greetings and wishes
Via Facebook and MSN
They have made my life brighter with their thoughtful wishes.

I say "Thanks" once again.
I am humbled.
I have learnt a lot today.
Life has been gracious.

I wish you safety and happiness.
Life is gracious.

Read: Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist

It has been a while ever since I had felt so compelled to read a book after being recommended one. I am glad that I have acted on the recommendations within less than 48 hours, and bought myself a copy of Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. I delighted myself to have finished reading it within three days. This is commendable considering that I would usually take longer time to read fiction books, and I usually don't read fiction books.

As mentioned in a synopsis, The Alchemist is "the magical story of a shepherd boy who dreams of travelling the world to seek the most wonderful treasures known to man." It is a beautiful book that is worth one's time reading.

There is one particular quote from the book that I would like to share, because my dear friend who has recommended me the book mentioned it very briefly on one occasion. It goes, "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."

As I was reading The Alchemist, I was also reflecting over the possible meanings that may be embedded in this inspiring story. I would rather not attempt to write a book review on it because many of my experiences reading it cannot be put to analysis. If you would like, do get a copy to read.

I am inspired by Paulo Coelho's writing that I have gotten myself another book by him.

Here's the URL to Paulo Coelho's official website:

Monday, December 08, 2008

The kindness that Life has given

Life has been kind to me.

A couple of days ago, I dropped my mobile phone by accident while I was on a bus. I am grateful to have good luck to recover the item. What happened was that just before I had alighted from the bus, I realised that my mobile phone was not with me, so I walked back to the seat which I had sat on, and thankfully, found my mobile phone there.

I am thankful for the kind friends and strangers whom have came to my life along the way. I have learnt a bit more about life from them, in some ways. Thank you.

I wish everyone who reads this post good luck, kindness and happiness. Best wishes.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Best wishes

I write a post to send you my warmest blessings.

If Life should guide you
To find your destiny miles away,
I wish you safety and lots of wonderful strangers and friends
Who will help you along the way
Soar, if you need to
I will wish for you freedom and joy.

May you find happiness every moment.
May there be beautiful flowers that you can stop by occasionally to wonder.

Even if the world may at first sight
Seem deadly and dark,
I wish for you the wisdom and compassion
To see the light of hope and kindness
That often hides itself
Just waiting to be found.

I wish you integrity
So that everything you sow
Reaps you wonderful and beautiful things.
Then good luck will naturally come
Because the entire universe is on your side
To help you achieve each of your dreams.

I wish for you good health
So precious that money cannot buy
It will help you steal time
Because each step you make
Will be faster
Simply because you are healthy

I send you my best wishes,
Preparing for the day
That I would soon bid you Bon Voyage
And I shall find joy because you have found happiness.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A concert that brings nostalgia

29 Nov 2008: Many thanks to MY for inviting and treating me to a concert by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. That night, they put up a concert named The Butterfly Lovers Legacy.

I reached the Singapore Conference Hall pretty early. Prior to the start of the concert, I walked about the area. It brought me some good memories. When I was a teenager, I had attended concerts at the Singapore Conference Hall occassionally. I recalled one occasion whereby my friends and I walked from the Singapore Conference Hall to Lau Pa Sat (which sells food) in the night, after the concert. Being at the Singapore Conference Hall also reminded me of the times when I had performed at the Singapore Conference Hall.

Back to the concert, the programme for the concert was as such:

Yii Kah Hoe's Bayang for Wayang Kuilt and Chinese Orchestra.
Wang Li Ping's Dream of the Red Chamber Suite.
He Zhan Hao's and Chen Gang's Butterfly Lovers (Chinese Orchestration by Yan Hui Chang & Ku Lap Man.)

It took me a while to start to appreciate Bayang for Wayang Kuilt and Chinese Orchestra as it was the first time that I had heard music of that nature. It was quite an interesting experience to hear a Wayang Kuilt ensemble play together with a Chinese orchestra. The use of spatial separation effects was fairly apt and added interest to the work.

Dream of the Red Chamber Suite was the work that brought me lots of nostalgia. I had performed some of the movements from this suite a couple of times when I was a teenager. Back then, I was fairly active playing in a few Chinese Orchestra. As I listened to the work, memories of the past just came to my mind. My favourite movements from this suite were Sighing for the Red Chamber and Burial of Flowers.

The Butterfly Lovers Legacy is one of the favourite pieces of music of my friend, MY. For me, it brought back nice memories of myself playing this work when I was in Aberdeen to perform for the Aberdeen International Youth Festival 2005. That time, I was playing the original version that was scored for the Symphony Orchestra. The version played during the 29 Nov 2008 concert was scored for a solo violin with a Chinese orchestra. The original version and the arrangement for the Chinese orchestra has its own merits. Personally, I prefer the former. Consider me biased please.

At the concert, I met a sister of a friend of mine, and am grateful to get the news that the friend of mine will be in Singapore for a short stay soon.

Many thanks again to MY for her invitation and her company. She gave me a lift back home and we have the pleasure to catch up with one another that night.

Wishing you positive memories each day.