Thursday, September 30, 2004

Youth in America

Youth in America

Today I was surfing around Blogger, and I chanced upon this blog that I found to be rather insightful. This is a blog on youth issues, in America. Although I am living in Singapore, it is interesting to note that youths across the two different countries could be similar to some extent.

Allow me to encourage you to check this blog out:

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Rehearsal Break

I play in a university orchestra as an alumni member, and tonight we played one of Tchaikovsky's symphonies. I shall have to practice a little more, and work on my rhythms. I like the zest and vigour in certain parts of the Symphony.

Even though I don't sit for any university examinations, many of the members in the orchestra do. As such, tonight will be the last rehearsal for the term, and subsequently, the orchestra will be having a rehearsal break at least till end of November. I will miss playing with the orchestra for quite a while. Playing solo on the double bass is often not as exciting and inspiring as playing with the orchestra. I very much enjoy the interactions between every member in the orchestra. We play music, and we interact through music. This is certainly interesting and amazing how so many people could come together for a common purpose, to play a piece of music and sound together.

Until my orchestra starts rehearsing again, I suppose Wednesdays will be spent either practising on the double bass, or going out. Otherwise, I could use the time to read or while it away by idling. Idling can be good for one at times if done moderately. So does playing a fair amount of music.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Smoky Dark Night Sky

The Chinese readers of this post are likely to know that today is the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is common practice for many Chinese to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival by carrying lanterns while strolling under the moonlight, and by eating a confectionery called mooncakes.

My nose is rather hyper-sensitive, and I can't help but attribute my sudden increase in coughing tonight to the smoke emitted from the candles found in some kinds of lanterns. I also observed people have been celebrating the festival by lighting candles up without the lanterns, and by lighting up sparklers which can create a mini-version of a fireworks effect.

Tonight, as I returned home from a very long day at work, I saw that the night sky was smoky and dark. Visibility was lower than usual. I secretly wish for a clear sky without the smoke.

Mid-Autumn Festival isn't quite fun for me at my age. To begin with, I don't quite like most kinds of mooncakes. Furthermore, I don't quite wish to bite on mooncakes after my recent wisdom teeth removal. At the same time, I know my nose will get sensitive, and I will cough badly if I have carried those lanterns with the candles. I think I won't enjoy carrying battery-operated lanterns even though they are smoke-free and more safe.

So, even if I am aware that there are many people who are trying to celebrate and make a joyous occassion out of the Mid-Autumn Festival, I don't feel much involved. I could only practice understanding and tolerance, and hope that by tomorrow, the celebration will be over. No more smoky dark night sky, but a clear night sky with fresh air to enjoy.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, anyway.

Monday, September 27, 2004

How to comfort yourself when you are ill?

I realised I have yet to write an article that could be deemed as being interactive, so this is an attempt to do so.

Personally speaking, I feel it is often quite hard for me to operate at my optimal when I am feeling ill. For the past few days, I haven't been feeling well. As such, I realised my thinking gets a little slurred at times, especially when it comes to making decision. Sounds that were usually tolerable start to feel like nuisance. I start to feel tired more easily and have no mood to talk unless necessary.

I went to the doctor today, and the diagnosis was that I have UTI. Temporary condition, and now I have to be put on a course of antibotics. I feel relieved to know the condition isn't a chronic illness, but at the same time, I feel dispirited: it doesn't feel nice to be sick.

I noticed it helps to relieve the discomfort from the illness (more so psychologically) a little if I could comfort myself and say these words to myself "It will be fine. I will be alright....", and so forth. The discomfort becomes more bearable. I also feel better if I gave myself a gentle pat on the arms.

It also helps when I give myself the permission to slow down a bit when I am feeling ill. The comfort comes because I will then tend to subject myself to lesser of the hassle and bustle of everyday's life.

Now, I have finished writing what I have to say, I would like to ask you for your responses to my question: How do you comfort yourself when you are ill?, or rephrase, How do you help yourself to feel a little better when you are feeling ill?

Meantime, please take good care. Health is precious.

Flash drive - Flashy and Convenient

After about two months of consideration, I have finally made the mind to buy a flash drive for myself just yesterday. If I were to sound as if I am showing off my flash drive, please forgive me. Maybe I have an unintentional need to attention-seek when my health is not good.

Anyway, I shall announce, without a single sign of unbashfulness, that I have finally gotten myself a personal flash drive for the sake of trying to keep a little more in touch with the latest development in technology. More important, I hope the flash drive will offer me a convenient, light and 'trendy-looking' way to store my data, and to facilitate convenient and fast transfer of data.

I shall dedicate a paragraph of this post to show my words of appreciation to my youngest brother for helping me rectify the problem I have had in using my new flash drive. For some reasons, my Personal computer on a XP operating system could not add the new flash drive as a hardware, and my dear brother has so kindly took the time to help to resolve the problems that have arisen. To my youngest brother, I say "Thank you".

This morning, I have tried using my newly acquired flash-drive to store and transfer the data for a presentation. I must say a flash drive is handy to have, reasonably fast in transferring files, and it feels 'hip' to have one.

That is all for my personal experience with the device. Mine is an Imation flash drive. If you should wish to read a possibly slightly biased account of how flash drive has an advantage to other storage device, please go to:

Friday, September 24, 2004


Blank. My mind seems to have blanked out several times lately. Losing focus. I had forgotten to do something that I had volunteered to do, and tomorrow, I will have to ask someone else for the favour to do it on my behalf.

Blank. There seems to be no idea that I find worthwhile enough to publish on the blog. I sense I am just typing away to fill up the empty spaces. But it is....perhaps, content wise, blank...empty.

Blank. Seems like there's no clear direction ahead. For the past few days, I have a feeling of being rather directionless. No path that lies in front, no clear destination. I have no idea where to go next, it feels. I suppose if there were to be directional signs lying in front, they would have been all blank ones. Perhaps life is itself blank, one plays the part of walking out the paths for oneself?

Blank. This blog has not received much comments . Perhaps there has been no reader reading this blog at all? But then again, a friend of mine told me she came to read my blog to give me the support. I suppose it isn't a blank, futile effort to write.

Blank. If you were to see a patch of white on this blog, maybe it isn't blank afterall. I understand that the seven colours of the rainbow when spun at fast speed, can be perceived as blank white colour. Perhaps it is time to look beyond the blank space. (?)

It's morning. Something seems missing.

It's morning time, and I am able to afford the time to type this message at this time of the day because I have taken time-off from work this morning.

Strangely, I feel something seems missing. Today's morning seems to be lacking in something. I remembered in the past, I could hear the chirpings of blue before 8 a.m., but I can't seem to hear them. I miss the morning breeze that makes it worthwhile for me to wake up by 7 a.m. I did, today, but there doesn't seem to be a breeze.

Perhaps these few days the weather hasn't been as fine as it used to be. I am now looking out of the windows, and I could see that the air is pretty 'hazy' looking. It is definitely not a fine clear day, I would suppose.

What else could I do, but to be hopeful that the weather would get better, and that I could see a lovely blue sky when I look out of the window the next morning. Anyway, good morning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Yesterday Once More

This is one of the songs sung by the Carpenters. How nostalgic the song feels. The good old memories start to play back when one listens to the song, and yet there's an element of melancholy, that melts one's heart.

Karen Carpenter sang the song so lovely, and I love Richard Carpenter's arrangement. My CD player is playing a compilation album of some of the Carpenters' greatest hits.

I guess I am feeling a little melancholic at this moment, such that I could relate to some of parts of the lyrics found in their songs such: Rainy Days and Mondays, I won't last a day without You. And somehow, I love the arrangement written for Goodbye to Love, it's so beautifully melancholic. I love the long guitar-and-vocals fade at the end of this song, I can't stop myself from harmonizing with it everytime I hear it. Just right for me who has the craving for melancholic tunes at this very moment.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

It has been raining cats and dogs for at least the past half an hour.

I am in my office, still relatively dry, albeit my shoes being a little wet from my going out for lunch about 15 minutes ago.

I am trying to be hopeful that the rain would soon go away. In about an hour's time, I have to leave my office to travel to a place about 3 bus-stops away, and it would be good if the rain has stopped by then.

Somehow, the rain reminds me of the song titled "Rainy Days and Mondays" by the Carpenters. It gives one a gloomy feel at times.

At times, however, the rain reminds me of a sense of renewal. After the rain, the dirt and dust get washed away. The sun returns, and perhaps a rainbow would appear to delight one's day.

Anyway, if it helps to make my little wish come true, I shall be happy to hum the Nursery Rhyme tune of "Rain, Rain, Go Away" in my mind. Have a pleasant day anyway.

Monday, September 20, 2004

When Intuition Strikes, Listen

I am not sure if it is always a good thing to listen to every single intuition that I should have. Sometimes, having my intuition right all the time can be scary to myself and others.

Anyway, sometimes, it pays to listen when one intuition's strikes. I was helping to proof-read an article written by a friend yesterday, and my five senses told me that there shouldn't be any glaring mistake or typo-error after my final round of proof-read.

Guess what? Early this morning, I woke up, and my intuition just urges me to turn on my personal computer, check the softcopy of my friend's article (she had saved it in my P.C. yesterday), and look at one particular section. It bothered me enough for me to listen to it and to take it seriously. (For your information, nowadays, I don't usually turn on my P.C. first thing in the morning. So to do something I won't usually do, I reasoned that the urge has to be reasonably forceful enough.)

And yes, my intuition was right! I spotted one major typo-error when I reread that particular section. It has puzzled me how my intuition could have given me such a good signal. I have had no prior clue that a typo-error had existed in that section, I just felt I had to check it anyway.

With the knowledge of the typo-error in hand, I informed my friend via page and email. Thank goodness it wasn't too late to inform my friend about the typo-error. She had yet to submit the article, phew!

What amazing things intuition could do for one. So perhaps the next time if you have a strong signal from your intuition, at least please take some moment to listen to it before deciding to ignore it. It might do you some good?

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Hippotours: Go on a Topless Bus

Readers of my blog: This is a retrospective article, I would say. If you must demand for an answer why I post so many post in a short moment of time, it is all because 6 days of not being quite able to do much things (because of my wisdom teeth removal) has spurred me to possibly misplace my energy in writing.

I shall write about the Moonlight Hippotour that I went on sometime late August with one of my good friends.

To give some background, Hippotours are open-top bus tours. These buses are double decker buses, and they are topless. In Singapore, there is two kinds of HiPPOtours available during the daytime: the City HiPPOtours & the Heritage HiPPOtours. In addition, there is a Moonlight HiPPOtour that is available every evening from 6.30 p.m.

It was quite an experience being on the HiPPOtours. We set off from Suntec City (a shopping mall in Singapore) to the Sentosa Island (an offshore Island that has been linked to the Singapore main island by a bridge) at about 6.40 pm. I was sitting on the top (yes, it's topless) of the bus with my friend, and I have a 360 degree of the views around me.

Excited to see the Esplanade, Theatres on the bay (this is one of the latest performing arts centre in Singapore), I did a quick sketch of it. For the rest of the journey, I was trying hard to find subject matters that appeared interesting to sketch. I am pleased to report that I had completed 7 sketches during the entire journey.

Travelling to the Sentosa Island via the bridge that linked the island with the Singapore main-island has been a fun experience. I could remember the breeze passing by, and how sitting on a topless bus gave me a sense of 'freedom', as if nothing will be blocking me. At the same time, I was trying hard to grab tight of my sketchbook in case it should fly off the bus while I was doing my sketch during this part of the journey. I did a quick sketch of the cable cars, which are one of the other modes of tranport that one could use to travel to the Sentosa Island.

We were told by our tour guide that we should check out the show at the Musical Fountains. So me and my friend did, together with a friendly guy from Mexico whom we had just gotten to know on the tour. Well, the show at the Musical Fountains was so-so. I like the very last part of the show most. The other parts were barely acceptable, but I decided that I should try to enjoy them anyway, perhaps from the perspective of a curious young child, and so I survived the great part of the show.

The bus also took us to places such as Bugis Junction, Chinatown, Clarke Quay and Orchard Road, and it made approximately 20-30 minutes stops each at Bugis Junction and Chinatown. I must take my hats off our newly acquainted friend from Mexico, he requested for a short stop at Clarke Quay, and he tried the reverse bungee!

And when the bus was travelling from Orchard Road back to Suntec City, I remembered I was totally drained...probably from the concentration required to do quick sketches, and from my incessant babbling at the beginning of the tour. (I must have been too excited. Anyway, I am thankful my friend who was with me was still very patient to bear with my initial babbling, and my great contrast in energy level before and after the tour.)

If you were to ask me if the tour was worth going for. I shall leave the final decision to you. At the promotional rate, I felt it was worth going for. Perhaps if it was at its usual rate, I would expect a bit more research to be done in the tour contents. I would prefer to receive more in-depth historical knowledge about the various places (e.g. Chinatown, Bugis Junction). Anyway, if you are willing to be charged for the tour, there's no harm trying the HiPPOtour for its novelty and the fun of going on a topless bus.

So I shall end here with some information about the HiPPOtour:


Contact number: (65) 6-33-86877

The Sounds of Birds Chirping

It's a Sunday evening. I stay on a high-rise flat. There's a nice breeze today. Just less than half an hour ago, my friend and I were chatting away in my room, and we heard birds chirping. How lovely to hear them at this time. It gives the evening a sense of warm-hearted feel. How nice it would have been for the birds to return home after a long hard day! Gradually, the birds chirping reduced in intensity, as if signalling that our dear flapping friends are adjourning to their good night of rest. Ah! How relaxing this sounds to me.

The Merry Widow

There is a touching and enchanting tune that is being broadcasted on 94.2 FM. It is the tune from the Merry Widow.

The Merry Widow is an operatta in 3 acts. The music's composed by Franz Lehar.

The tune reminds me of the time that I was playing with my orchestra to accompany for the operatta (Merry Widow) produced by the Singapore Lyric Opera. The tune still rings in my mind every now and then.

For a synopsis of the operatta, please click here.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Bach Unacompanied Cello Suites, performed on Double Bass

As I am typing this blog, I am listening to Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suites, performed by Edgar Meyer, on the Double Bass.

How I wish I could play as good as him, or my double bass tutor.

I play the double bass, for your information. I cannot call myself a professional player. Could I say I play the double bass as a hobby, out of my love for music-making? One of the greatest joys of playing the double bass is when I work with other musicians to present a work of music. I enjoy listening to how different instruments relate with one another, and with the double bass.

To reach my goal of playing the double bass as good as a professional player, I shall find time out of my schedule to practise scales more often, play more studies, and if possible, find a tutor to help me brush up on my aural skills and theory knowledge. Please give me your encouragement and support. Thanks in advance.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Changi Museum

The Changi Museum is dedicated to all those who lived and died in Singapore, in particular the Changi area, during the dark years of World War II. Through the documentation of significant events of the Japanese Occupation, the Museum also serves as an important educational institution and resource centre. As for the Prisoners-of-War (POWs) and their families, it is a site that allows for closure of the many emotional scars inflicted by the war years.

I have made two trips to this museum, and I must say it has been a humbling learning experience for myself.

These exhibits have left a deep impression on me. I suppose the guides who had given me the guided tour to the museum have also done a very good job in relating the stories behind these exhibits to me. (There is a fee for the guided tour, but please believe me, it will be value for your money. Rarely do you get a guided tour that is backed up by extensive research, at such an affordable amount. )

The drawing entitled “Two Malarias with a Cholera” drawn by Mr. Ray Parkin.

There is a touching story behind the drawing, and I think it illustrates one of the positive sides of humanity. The spirit of self-help, that is. To my best recall (please correct me if I were to be wrong), this is a story of two POWs who had collapsed with malaria in a rural area, and could only shuffle with great difficulty. Then there's another POW who had cholera, and could not walk, and needed treatment badly. When the artist, Mr Ray Parkin, saw this, and wanted to help bring them back to the POWs' camp for treatment.

He asked the Japanese Corporal if someone could help them. The Corporal said, "none: the other sick could do it", but not Mr Parkin who was healthy. So Mr Parkin got the two POWs with malaria up and then got the POW with cholera between them with his arms around their necks. Mr Parkin asked if the two POWs with malaria could try get the POW with cholera to a cave about 500 yards away, leave him (POW with cholera) there and go to the camp to ask for help.

Slowly, the two POWs with malaria dragged and staggered along the cutting, with the POW with cholera in between them, until they reached the cave. Later, the stretcher team came and picked the POW with cholera back to the camp for treatment.

Replica of the Changi Murals

The Changi Murals were drawn by a man named Stanley Warren, who was incarcerated by the Japanese. Despite being ill, Stanley Warren began drawing the murals in October 1942. During that time, materials such as paint and brushes were not readily available.

Despite all these difficult conditions, Stanley Warren persisted and completed the murals. I think the story behind Stanley Warren's drawing of the murals to be a good demonstration of how one could find strength and meaning despite the very harsh conditions.

The murals at the Changi Museum are replica of the originals. The originals are in Changi Camp Block 151. (There is estricted entry to the site where the original murals are found.)

For more information about the Changi Murals, you could read this book: Stubbs, P. W. (2003). The Changi Murals - The Story of Stanley Warren's War. Landmark Books. ISBN: 981-365-84-2

There are more exhibits that have touched me, but I shall not elaborate further. If you happen to be in Singapore, and if you are keen to know more about WWII history of Singapore, this is a museum you should really consider.

Its location: 1000, Upper Changi Road North, Singapore 507707

Its website:

Review: The Art of Possibility

For ardent readers, I certainly hope you might somehow find this post to be useful. I am making a humble attempt to write a book review. If I succeed, please rejoice with me. If I don't, please give me your kind patience.

Book Review:
Title: The Art of Possibility
Authors: Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press. Boston, Massachusetts.

In short, I could say that this is quite an interesting book. For those of you who enjoy anecdotes, you will grow to like this book. Benjamin is an orchestra conductor, and Rosamund is a family therapist & landscape painter, and they both contributed interesting anecdotes to illustrate the different creative practices that could guide one to live a life of greater possibility and fulfillment.
For me, it has been a joy to read this book. The style of writing is fun, spontaneous, and with a wise sense of humour.

Here are some of the chapters from the book which I find interesting: Being a Contribution, Rule Number 6, Lighting a Spark, Being the Board, Creating Frameworks for Possibility.

If you were to prefer a technical, conventional style of writing, you may need some time to grow to like its style of writing. I could share that the more I read the book, the more I find it a joy to read. Enjoy. If you believe me enough to pick up this book.

Writing frees people with preference for Introversion to express

Please excuse me if you should disagree with the above title. I wrote this article purely from my own personal point of view.

For those of you who are familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), you would probably understand what I meant by "People with preference for Introversion". And please do not worry if you have yet to be acquainted with MBTI. I shall make an attempt to explain some of the characteristics of "People with preference for Introversion". And then, for those of you who are interested to find out more about MBTI, you could refer to these websites for more information:,

Characteristics of People with Preference for Introversion
Alright, please bear with me for my short coverage of the key characteristics of "People with preference for Introversion".

People who prefer Introversion tend to be attracted to the inner world of thoughts, feelings and reflections. They tend to have to make an effort to meet new people. They tend to be perceived by others to be quiet, reserved and hard to get to know. Very often, people who prefer introversion tend to become drained more easily with people (particularly strangers). They often tend to need more time to gather their thoughts before speaking. They tend to reflect and think before acting.

Of course, please allow me to qualify that based on the Jungian Theory which the MBTI was based on, everyone of us do "extraverted" and "introverted" things. It is just that we do not do them equally well. Each of us has a preference for one over the other.

If you are interested to know your MBTI profile, you could check out: There is a fee for the assessment though. Yours truly also happens to be MBTI Accredited, but I shall not attempt to advertise here.

Writing frees people with preference for Introversion to express
Please allow me to get back to the main topic of this article. I shall declare that I am a person with a preference for Introversion. In my younger years, before I am aware of this, I had often struggled why it was so hard for me to tell people all that was going through my mind. There was thousand and one or more things being processed in my mind, but I often feel this need to think through and only say what is absolutely necessary. In the end, I probably end up saying only a mere less than 10% of what went through my mind. So, I used to think there could be something wrong with me! Then I got to find out, that it is just because people are different. Some people prefer Extroversion, and others (like myself) prefer Introversion. What a relief to know this!

Talking my thoughts out and making small talks are certainly not my forte. Though I must say, I could do them if I am willing to risk feeling drained after the whole affair.

However, strangely, as opposed to talking, writing gives me the freedom and the space to express the many thoughts that are going on in my mind. Many of my friends has given me feedback that I am clearly more expressive when I write than when I talk. I also take comfort that I type reasonably fast, though my writing can prove a little illegible at times if I only intend to write for myself.

I suppose space is what people with preference for Introversion greatly appreciate. Writing allows one the space to think through before putting words down. For people who are visual like myself, it is definitely more assuring to see what one has communicated in writing, than to attempt to visual what one has spoken.

Do you happen to have similar experiences like myself? As in, that you find yourself more able to express yourself better and more freely when writing than speaking? You are welcome to share your experiences through your comments.

And then I shall conclude by saying that every one has his/ her own gifts. People with preference for Extraversion have their sets of gifts, so do people with preference for Introversion. Maybe it is worth the effort to take pride in whom you are. One needn't pray to be someone else. Just be oneself.

Somehow, this quote came to my mind, let me share it with you before I close this article. Have a pleasant day, and happy writing.

There is a vitality, life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

-MARTHA GRAHAM, quoted by Agnes DeMille,
Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Getting Wiser? Finding company in boredom.

People usually get wisdom tooth when they are in their teenage or adulthood years. I have my share of having wisdom teeth. Could I say I am getting wiser? Afterall, when one gets wisdom tooth, he/she has probably gained a relative amount of life experience.

Wisdom teeth don't usually give problems so long that they aren't impacted. When a wisdom tooth is said to be 'impacted', it is obstructed from erupting fully into the mouth, by the tooth in front of it or the surrounding bone or gums.

So much so for the technical explanation. I found out that two of my wisdom teeth are impacted, and my dentist suggested that they be removed.

So I did. I had two wisdom teeth removed surgically recently. It wasn't as painful as I thought. I take comfort that I have a good dentist who is skillful enough to ensure that the removal was done properly with care. I'm feeling the inevitable discomfort from the swelling of the jaws though. No matter how good the dentist is, the dentist can't prevent the jaw from swelling. Afterall, mine isn't a simple extraction of the wisdom teeth. It is actually the surgical removal of two wisdom teeth, found lying deep in the gum areas, on each side of the lower jaw.

So here I am, on medical leave till this weekend. Feeling bored stiff. Both sides of my face is swelling because of the swollen jaw, and I could not speak quite clearly. I wish to go out, but it will be a hassle. I can't eat anything but soft food, and what's more, it isn't quite easy communicating with others when one can't speak clear enough. I know sign language (Signing in Exact English), but that won't serve to be any useful unless the people whom I wish to communicate with knows the language.

Then again, I should look at the positive side and find company and comfort in boredom. Hardly does one have a stretch of five days to do nothing but rest. I guess it's time to catch up on my rest. These few days, I spent my time listening to music, surfing the internet. I find comfort that I can type well even though I can't speak clearly for the moment.

So well, now you could have a sense of what boredom could do to a person like me. It gives me the time and space to type and type away. And before I know it, I have an essay!

Please wish for me that I will heal soon. Thank you in advance.