Sunday, October 31, 2004

Scales Work-out

I am pleased to share that I have been playing scales on the double bass ths evening. Here I take this chance to thank two of my fellow bloggers for sharing with me several helpful tips on getting motivated to play scales.

Mistipurple: I must say that the playing one octave scales has indeed helped take away much of the resistance. I finished playing all the scales for Grade 5 Double Bass (in Grade 5, most of the scales practices are only at one octave) earlier this evening. Hopefully, I could get better and move on to the Grade 8 scales soon enough. When I get to play the Grade 8 scales, I will have to play at least two octaves. By then, I think your suggestion of a weekly timetable for scales will come in very handy. The Grade 8 scales practice is at least 9 pages long!

Waterfall: Your suggestion of getting my scale practice from certain pieces came useful. I had a kind of scale work-out when I tried to play one of the sonatas by Marcello. It was rather difficult to play in tune though, because it was more than scales. There were a lot of minor third intervals, and a lot of jumps to be made to play this piece. Now I figured I have to look for other pieces that will be more suitable for the purpose of scale practice.

As usual, after playing my scales, I was more happy to play pieces. I think I still have to work on my intonation. I believe my dear friend who had accompanied me on the piano during my recent music exams will nudge me gently to work harder on intonation if she were to hear me play this evening. For goodness, she is blessed with perfect pitch! Bearing in mind that she often always put things to me so nicely, I will be happy to be nudged a bit by this friend of mine, for my own good.

Many of the times when I practice on the double bass, it always feel like I have had a work-out. It takes me some time to unpack my instrument from the instrument bag, and to carry it to one of the rooms to start practice. I would need to set up the music stand, and take time to tune the instrument too. My dear double bass is almost standing at 2 metres tall, and it does take some effort to play. Whatever it is, most of the time playing on the double bass prove to be recharging for the mind and the body. Indeed, this evening I not only had a work-out on the double bass, I had a scales work-out. Hopefully, in time to come, my playing of scales will show improvement.

Back to Back Meetings

Tomorrow is the start of November. Tomorrow will also be the day that my office starts work at 8.45 a.m. every day. In return, we will work only one Saturday every month. I have no idea how the roster for the Saturdays would be for the month of November, it has not been announced yet. My goodness, November is starting in just one more day's time! Let me keep my fingers crossed that things will turn out fine.

There seems quite a lot to be done tomorrow. I have scheduled many meetings tomorrow, mostly with my clients. The meetings were scheduled back to back, one after another. I think I have to try to write my case recordings during the sessions in order to keep up with my recordings, and not have any outstanding by the end of tomorrow.

My mind has been thinking over the matter of whether to hold a talk for parents at an external venue. Timing seems to be an issue of concern, so is the size of the crowd. Furthermore, there would be cost involved to organise this talk, even though the rental of the venue would be free. Maybe I should just let me mind rest, and then when it's recharged from the rest, it may give me some intuitive insights. I am trying to come up with a plan before my superior goes on her two-week long vacation in a week's time.

But I suppose the reward of having work so hard is that in two day's time, I will be flying off for a leisure trip to Penang. Please be patient with me for the week as I foresee I won't be contributing any post since I will be away for vacation. In return, I shall share with you about my experiences in Penang on my blog after I return. Meantime, thank you for your kind and greatly appreciated support. Have a good weekend.

(For today, I will try to find time to practice scales this afternoon, and try some of the tips my fellow bloggers have generously offered me.)

Ringing in My Ears

Perhaps I am beginning to love the song just like one of my colleauges have been, this song has been ringing in my ears for the past week. It's a pretty nice song, to my opinion. Let me share some of the lyrics from this by the Carpenters (though I think it is actually the tune that goes so well with the lyrics that make the song nice and meant for Karen Carpenter) :

Day after day I must face a world of strangers

Where I don't belong. I'm not that strong

It's nice to know that there's someone I can turn to

Who will always care, you're always there

When there's no getting over that rainbow

When my smallest of dreams won't come true

I can take all the madness the world has to give

But I won't last a day without you

- I Won't Last A Day Without You
Produced by Jack Daugherty
Written by Pauls Williams, Roger Nichols
Published by Almo Music Corp. (ASCAP)

*Grin*, I haven't found a person whom I could last a day without, but I do hope I could have the power to take most of the madness that the world has to give. Life just has too many of such madness to be faced each day as challenges.

Whatever it is, I am loving the songs by the Carpenters more and more as I listen to their songs. Their songs are so nice to harmonise to. Karen Carpenter can really sing and connect with her listeners.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Music's in the Air

Tonight, I attended a concert by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra at the Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay, Concert Hall.

Here is the programme:
  • John Sharpley's Symphony No. 1 (World Premiere)
  • Frederic Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21
  • Johannes Brahms' Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op 73

Perhaps it was due to greater exposure to Romantic music, I found myself more able to relate to the compositions by Chopin and Brahms. The first programme played by the orchestra was a world premiere of the first symphony of the orchestra's current conductor-in-residence. My general impression of this piece of composition is that it has interesting musical texture. However, I must admit I have yet to find a way to be able to relate to this piece of work. It was so much easier for me to relate to Chopin's second piano concerto, and Brahm's second symphony, as compared to this piece of contemporary music.

I suspect that if I were to have been able to attend the pre-concert talk, I might be able to understand tonight's world premiere of the contemporary music, and then I would have been much more able to appreciate the core essences of the world. Such is a pity, but inevitable. It was quite difficult to rush to the venue in time for the pre-concert talk that usually starts at 6.30 p.m. Anyway, I do not have the slightest idea whether there was indeed a pre-concert talk this evening.

Whatever it is, it was pleasant to listen to music by one of my favourite composers (Brahms), but somehow, tonight's experience wasn't any where near the better concert experiences that I have had. Tonight's experience was simply average. Maybe it was because I was feeling rather tired mentally tonight?

For the evening, I tried to find pleasure in taking snapshots of the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, using my digital camera. The previous time I was at the Esplanade, I mistook my pair of binoculars for my digital camera, and ended up not having my digital camera with me. Finally, I have gotten it right this time, and had the digital camera along with me. I shall post snapshots of the Esplanade. May it brings you to look at it from different perspectives. Good night.

Esplanade. Theatres by the Bay. Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Five-Days Work Week

The organisation that I work in is proposing to support the idea of having a five-days work week. At the same time, there are concerns that the organisation should continue to provide services to the community at large on Saturdays. Somehow, it is perceived that there are people who may find it more convenient to visit a family service centre like the one I am working in on a Saturday.

For your information, the proposal for a five-days work week is intended to be a family-friendly practice, so that staff could have more longer weekends to spend time with loved ones.

So to strike a compromise, the final decision was for every staff to work one Saturday a month. Currently, each staff has to work on every alternate Saturday. What still remains is that the centre will continue to open every Saturday. This means that there will be fewer staff on duty in the centre everySaturday.

I think I am having mixed feelings about this five-days work week. I did not rejoice to the news when I heard about it. I do not know if I should. I have no idea how it would feel like to work one less Saturday per month. It didn't quite matter to me that we would have to start work 15 minutes earlier each day because of the switch to the current five-days work week, but I have concerns whether we would be as effective in serving our clientele with the much reduced staff strength on the Saturdays to come. I could say that with the five-days work week arrangement, we would have about two or three staff only every Saturday. From what I understand, we are expected to handle phone calls, attend to walk-ins, have sessions with our clients, handle intakes and so forth even with two or three staff.

Maybe my worries might be unfounded. If we have not tried the new system, we would not know how it would turn out to be. I just keep my fingers crossed that things would turn out to be fine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Missing Rehearsals

It is Wednesday. Usually on a Wednesday evening, I will be attending orchestra rehearsals. However, not today. It is currently the period of the orchestra's rehearsals break. Some of my fellow orchestra mates are probably now mugging for the examinations.

I am missing rehearsals. It is fascinating to be able to play and make music together as a team. Now that I have to miss it, there is a feeling of emptiness. Something is missing! The best I could do is to tune to the classical radio station and to listen to how others make music together. Otherwise, I could play on my darling double bass and enjoy the fun of playing on a musical instrument.

It brings me to confess that I have been procrastinating on working on scales. I would prefer to play any musical compositions than scales. I suppose I have to find a way to coax myself to start to love scales. It is after my music exams that I realised how important scales can be. Will I find that motivating factor to encourage me to play scales? Whatever, I better find a place to start working on my musicmanship.

Then when my musicmanship improves, I will be able to contribute more substantially towards the rehearsals that are to come. Meantime, I shall just learn to handle the feelings of missing the rehearsals.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Sleep Tight

This evening, I was supposed to be on duty at work till 9 pm. It has been a long day. I admittedly felt rather sleepy in the evening, so I chose to do task that demanded less of my concentration level. It worked, I got through the night, accomplishing some tasks, without overstraining myself.

It is night time, there is a nice mouth-watering smell of baking hashbrown from the oven. I am tempted to try it. Anyway, I shall resist the temptation. I want to go to this place call "Dreamland" soon. Eating at this hour isn't indeed for my digestive system, I would suppose.

"Dreamland"- it is not as if I would remember every single dreams I had there, but this is what some people called it, so I shall borrow their terms. Rest is a must, perhaps, in order to recharge. I look forward to have a good night of rest. If I have made you wish to doze off with this post, perhaps it was truly intended to be so. The night, and the moon are my collaborators to work with this post to put you to a sleepy mode. So is a continuous playing of soothe, calming music. Sleep tight, sleep well, and Good Night.

Antibiotics is Back in my Life

My greetings to antibiotics again. The doctor had requested for a laboratory test to be done and found that I was resistant to the antibiotics that she had prescribed to me.

It was not misconduct of hers that she gave me that type of antibiotics, it took about three to four days to get the test result, and she had to give me some form of treatment. So about six days ago, I was given a type of antibiotics that should be able to have effect on at least 50 - 60 % of bacteria.

It was unfortunate that the bacteria that had infected me was resistant to the antibiotics I was given. But the test showed that the bacteria could have been cleared, as there is not clear signs of the infection. To play safe, however, the doctor put me on yet another dose of antibiotics. Based on the results of the laboratory test, the bacteria that has infected me is sensitive to the antibiotics, and should be eliminated by this course of antibiotics.

Once again, antibiotics is back in my life. Well, I hope to complete my course and then soon not see this friend for a while.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Quarter-life Crisis

Yes, it is my hunch at work again. Not that I am dependent on my hunches to live my life, it is just that they can get quite closely accurate at times. My hunch have been sensing and telling me that many of my peers could be going through a quarter-life crisis. Not one or two, but many.

After reading related articles found on the web, I must admit I could be showing some symptoms, though I have yet to reach that of a crisis whereby I go into the "down-times" I had been. So maybe it won't hurt much to write a bit on this. Writing can serve as a means for me to connect with myself, so hopefully writing about quarter-life crisis could be a form of therapy for myself. Even if this may seem a wishful thinking on my part, I shall write anyway. Writing about things energises me more than talking about things.

But I am not any expert. I haven't lived beyond the quarter-life! So, I shalln't act like an expert. Instead, I will share a few links to some articles which I could somehow relate to. For me, reading about the experience of quarter-life crisis is a relieving one, because it normalises the occasional feelings of uncertainty and insecurity I have been feeling from time to time. Maybe it is not just because of my INFJ profile that I had no idea what I really want to do for my life, it's could be partly a quarter-life crisis? Mine was probably a mild but persistent one.

If you have read my blog carefully enough to decipher the meanings behind, I am searching....searching for that purpose of mine in life. There is many things I wish to achieve. I have gained, to some extent, the ability to generate my own income to feed and clothe myself. There are still so many things I have yet to achieve, and I have no idea what lies ahead. I am not sure how exactly I want my life to be. So I am still searching. It is not that I am not contented with the present state of things. I just fear being overly contented would led to stagnation. And more so, I believe there is more beyond the current state of things.

Maybe I am walking my journey of life. The nature of it is that of a transition. New challenges in the world of unknown. I just have to remind myself not to sull into depression or self-pity. It does not feel nice to stay down for too long...speaking from experience. So I shall walk the journey, and take comfort in this thought that even if I haven't been walking as fast as I would like to, it is merely because I was given the benefit to stop and smell the flowers along the way. And if there were detours, well, it is because nice flowers are hidden in special unknown spots which necessitate detours.

These are a few of the articles I have found online on quarter-life crisis, hope some paragraphs may shed some insights on you:

Pleasant reading meantime.

Rainy Day Again, so be it

Today's another rainy day. I must be glad that there was no heavy downpour, else it would have been difficult to travel around comfortably without getting too wet.

So be the rainy day again. I have no control over it. Early this morning, I made a home-visit to the home of one of my clients. It did put me off a little that I had to travel with an umbrella. Thankfully, it was only a drizzle, so while it wasn't the ideal weather to travel, it was bearable. I would like to thank one of my colleagues who had kindly agreed to come along with me to make the home visit this morning. She is so nice.

Then in the afternoon, I had to travel to the university library to return some books. Along the way, there were drizzles now and then. My hope to have a dry day could not be realised. Well, then I have to take the second best: No downpour, only drizzles.

I was on time-off this afternoon, so I took some time to visit my maternal grandmother. Nice to meet up and catch up with her, even if it was for a while.

When I am on the way home, I am thankful that there was no rain! The pathways were a little wet, but well, maybe I shouldn't be so fussy during a rainy season. So be it, if it were to be a rainy day again today. I just hope it will be a good weather tomorrow, and the days to come.

Fly Plane Fly

I live on a high-rise flat, and if I were to look out of the windows that face towards the east direction, I could see the vague silhouette of the control tower of the Singapore, Changi Airport (This is provided that the weather condition is good and the skies are clear of haze).

Just a few moments ago, I was glancing out of the window that faces the east direction and I saw this silhouette of a plane flying up in the skies. It must have taken off, and will be heading towards its destination.

In retrospection of human's history, it took quite a while before mankind knew and acquired the ability to travel through the skies. It must have taken quite a lot of years of accumulated knowledge and skills, and a lot of perspiration and hope, for human to travel through the skies. Here, I shall pay a humble tribute to the sung and unsung heroes/ heroines who have made air travel possible for mankind.

Possibly, by now, the plane which I had saw is getting closer to its destination by miles or more. Fly Plane Fly. I have no idea how it would feel like to maneuver a plane, but the concept I had in mind is that the plane is soaring up the skies, trying to reach its destination, a dream-land perhaps. It may lose track along the way, but with determination and the right set of skills of its pilot, it is likely to reach its destination.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

What's Playing

It is yet another rainy looking day. I am playing a compilation CD of some of the greatest hits of the Carpenters. Just some moments ago, I was listening to I Won't Last A Day without you, and then For All We Know.

I am feeling tired to do anything much. Perhaps it could be the recovery from the infection, perhaps it could be the weather. So for the time being, let me listen to what is playing from the CD player: Songs by the Carpenters. Music with nice harmonies and arrangements often always seem to appeal to me.

How long is the journey

Life seems to be getting routine for me, and I don't enjoy this feeling. Not that I wish for changes everyday, but I fear that routine may lead to stagnation.

I like to think that I am slowly, but surely, walking towards the purpose that I was meant for in my life. Sometimes it is however, not as ideal as I would have like things to be. Perhaps it is because as human beings, I am fallible and vulnerable, there are many times I could not see a light at the other end of the path. The feelings could be those of frustrations and uncertainties. The best thing I could do if I have managed not to keep myself down, is to really search hard in the darkness to find that slight dim spot of light, and then grope my way towards it. Yet, I am no super being, and I am susceptible to fall into the trap of staying down. With years of experience, hopefully I have built a sufficient foundation of resilience to keep me from staying down from too long, if I do fall.

Yet the journey, is so uncertain. Perhaps this is the beauty, the excitement and the adventure. Then again, I suppose it takes a lot of faith to walk the journey? I have no idea how long the journey would be. I just hope the process of walking the journey would be a meaningful one.

When this entire is post is not to be taken literally, I wonder who could relate accurately enough to the post to fully appreciate and decipher the complexitiy within. Such is a complex journey!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Near the mouth of the Singapore River. Posted by Hello

Singapore River

There are some new postings on my other blog, titled: Places. (

Meantime, I am waiting for an invited friend to register as a blogger's user, and help to contribute some ideas to my "Places" blog.

Museum Spree

Today's a relatively rainy day as well. There was drizzle in the late morning, and early afternoon, and it was raining in the mid-afternoon. Thank goodness that there wasn't a heavy downpour today.

It must have been a spur of the moment that I decided to tour five different museums today. Here's outlining the five museums that I have been today: Singapore Art Museum, Asian Civilisations Museum (Armenian St), Singapore Philatelic Museum, Singapore History Museum, Asian Civilisations Museum (Empress Place). My main purpose is to see if there's any new exhibits since the last time I have been to the respective museum.

Among the museums, my most preferred is the Singapore Art Museum. I simply love its architecture, the lighting, the courtyard, and the general ambience of the place. It was also easier for me to relate to the art works. I have to thank to my ex-teacher who had taught me Art History in my secondary school years. The Art History lessons gave me a foundation to start me in my journey of art appreciation.

The Asian Civilisation Museums (Empress Place) is full of interesting insights about the Southeast, South Asia and West Asia region. There is so much information, I must say that I have yet to fully digest everything that is available.

I must say I am looking forward to the new museum building of the Singapore Art Museum. I am aware that there is many good historic artefacts that are not being displayed at the temporary site of the Singapore Art Museum. This is such a pity. Nevertheless, I must applaud the museum personnel for cleverly putting up a history museum based on the theme of the river at its temporary site. This is definitely appropriate since the temporary site lies along the Singapore River.

As for the Asian Civilisation Museums, I came on the wrong day perhaps. There were changes of exhibits going on at various spots of the museums, and I ended up not having much new things to view.

Perhaps my trip to the Singapore Philatelic Museum would have been more fruitful if I could have an ardent stamp-collector with me to guide me along. I realised I spent the least time there. There appears not much for me to view. It is perhaps because I had difficulties relating to stamps.

So here is my day, I did quite a bit of walking, I would suppose. I must say that the museums in Singapore are interesting, and it would be ideal if Singaporeans could patron our museums more often. So if you are interested to find out more about the above-mentioned museums, please click on this link:

Meantime, I must figure out how to renew my existing museum pass (a kind of annual membership card) as it is going to expire very soon. Till my next post, please take care and enjoy your weekend.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Season of the Rain

It is a rainy day today. This afternoon, it was pouring.

It can be interesting to listen to the rhythms of the raindrops falling down. It is like a new genre of music. Raindrop music? The raindrops even have unique pitches!

Melancholy is the mood that the rain has brought. Yet again, there's a sense of renewal. But I suppose today's rain is an inconvenience.

Too much of the rain may spoil the day. I have no heart to return my library books today, because the rain has left the skies a little less bright, and the paths wetter. Besides, it will be an hour-and-a-half journey to travel to the library, which is in the West of Singapore. I have no mood to go any where in this weather. I just hope to rest, and I better do.

I just hope the weather would be kind to me tomorrow. I prefer a dry, breezy, cloudy and fine weather.

But the weather isn't under my control. The best I could do is to find some ways to make the most out of it. So I did, I went through the Inbox on my office's email browser and deleted about 700 unwanted emails. Of course, I did more than that. But I highlighted the deletion of the unwanted emails because it took me about more than 8 months before I had actually sat down to get it done today. Hopefully, there is less junk in the Inbox from today. Well, maybe the rain did help afterall?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Another Blog: Places

News! I have created another blog. It is titled Places. As the title suggest, this blog is about places, in Singapore or overseas.

Hopefully, I could share with you some interesting posts along the way.

Antibiotics: Friend or Foe

For some reasons, I have been on antibiotics on and off since early September. First it was the infection of the tooth area. Later, I had to take antibiotics after the removal of the wisdom teeth.

Today, the doctor 'awarded' with yet a course of antibiotics. Not the infection of the jaw or the tooth. It's UTI again. The doctor suspects that the bacteria the previous time has not been fully eliminated, so now it strikes agin.

Antibiotics, I am not sure if they are friends or foes. They help me fight the bacteria. In the ancient days when there are no antibiotics, I would suppose many could have lose their lives because antibiotics were not available to fight bad infections. Then again, it is rather cumberson to make sure I complete the course of antibiotics without having to miss a dose. It is a regime that takes self-discipline and a fair bit of memory.

Whatever it is, I suppose I would get better soon. I hope.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

It's time to take a break and to rest.  Posted by Hello

Not as bad as I would imagine

I gave an external presentation this afternoon. If you had read my post last night, you would have an idea of the kind of pressure I had subjected myself to. This lady who is writing this post has admittedly, a fear of not being good enough.

It went well. And yah, it is such a nice feeling to have completed the presentation without any major hitches. Maybe I shouldn't have given myself so much pressure. I could remember how nervous I was, almost trembling briefly while waiting to be asked to enter the presentation room. Good thing was that there was a short period of refreshment time for the audience just before the talk. I made use of this time to ground myself, calm myself down, and to make brief eye contacts with the audience who are at that time, enjoying the refreshment.

So all went well in general. There were some areas I wished I could have done better, but anyway, it's over, and I shall give myself a breather.

Many thanks to my friends and colleauges who have lended their ears to listen to me ventilate about the pressure that I am feeling. Thank you for your support and encouragement.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Hope all goes well

Tomorrow I am suppose to give an external presentation. I heard that the audience I would speak to are heads of home and one of my ex-university-lecturers would be present too. I think I am feeling the pressure. This is possibly one of the few times that I present in front of such an experienced group. I would think many of them have more experience than me, be it life or work. This is itself a pressure. I fear I may not live up to the expectations...

I hope I won't have to care and be bothered. Actually, there is really no reason why I should be feeling pressurised. Afterall I have prepared for the presentation, did a trial run with my supervisor, and I am more or less familiar with the topic of the presentation. I just keep my fingers crossed that all would be fine.

I think I dread having to socialise with the audience after the presentation. It is possibly considered basic social courtesy to do so at this part of the world, but this can prove to be more draining for me than giving the presentation.

Anyway, I shall coax myself that things will go fine. Afterall, I have prepared sufficiently well for it. It's my imagination at work, making me feel the pressure. And I am trying to keep myself contained. Hope all goes well, please keep your fingers crossed for me. Thank you.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Avoiding the Crowds

Yesterday, my mother informed me that there is a sale going on at this particular departmental store, and the next day would be the last day of the sale. It so happens that I needed to get myself a suit as part of my working attire, so I decided to check it out.

For those who know me, I hate crowded and noisy places, and today, the last day of the sale, is a Sunday. It can prove to be a stressful experience for me to be in that part of Singapore (Orchard Road) on a Sunday. The crowd usually starts coming by noon time.

To work my way around this, I left for Orchard Road at 9.20 a.m. in the morning. I have no problem waking up early, even if it is a Sunday, so I am thankful for this. By the time that I reached Orchard Road, the store has yet to be opened for business for the day.

So, tempted, I got myself breakfast from a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf outlet. Well, it is affordable, and the toast and the apricots are relatively nice. But I think the eggs, the sausage and the preserve could be better. I think I would still prefer the breakfast at Dome. It taste much better for just about $2 more. I like the Dome outlet at the Singapore Art Museum. Nice ambience, and nearby one of my favourite places.

Back to my point, I find it is so much less crowded to shop on a Sunday if I were to shop before noon. Actually there was already a relatively long queue at the changing rooms of the departmental store starting from 11.30 a.m. I might have bought more items from the store, if I had not noticed the long queue and the coming of the crowd. Well, it should have been less crowded to shop on a weekday morning, but well, I would have been in the office on most weekday mornings. So here is an account of how I avoid the crowds.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

After a hard day. Rest. This sculpture is by Ju Ming. Posted by Hello

Boat Quay at night. Posted by Hello

Anderson Bridge, along Singapore River. The building on the extreme right is the Fullerton Hotel. I like the branches from the tree.  Posted by Hello

Place for Music & Theatre. Victoria Memorial Hall, Singapore. Along the Singapore River. In this picture, you will see the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of modern Singapore. Posted by Hello

Friday, October 15, 2004

Release Oneself! Relax and Play!

I think I have worked hard this week. Maybe not 24 hours a day, but I had worked rather intensively for the past few days trying to see my clients, write social reports, draft reports to get funding for this group programme which aims to enhance children's self-esteem. Phew, and the work week is going to be over soon.

I am starting to realise that working too long hours may not necessary mean high productivity. I suppose it is trying to find the balance between how to stretch oneself without having to drain oneself. I suppose this is what is termed as "self-care". Admittedly, being someone who prefers closure, I have a tendency to want to work my way to complete everything that is possible. And I am trying to! But well, I shall learn to release myself a little, when it is time to relax and play.

I must say I have been feeling a little deprived lately. I haven't been going anywhere other than work, home, and the vicinities near work and home. This has been the case since Saturday. I think the infection of the jaw affected my mood to go outdoors unless necessary. It just feel tiring to go out when one does not feel well.

Well, well, I am pleased to report that I went out of this constraining routine this evening. Not work, not the vicinities near work or home. I did returned home at the end of the day, but I went out to walk along the Singapore River, and the Art Museum this evening prior to returning home. My newly acquired digital camera has been my companion this evening. And it is not unusual for me that I took delight this evening with my very own company, and of course the company of the digital camera. It is sometimes nice to be with oneself, and to learn to be comfortable with oneself as the one and only company.

Gosh, I have a feeling that I might be bombarded by some of the readers with statements like: "You call this relax and play?". Yes, at least I find it enjoyable to go out and walk along a few of my favourite places. This is probably my way of recreation and leisure. We are all different in perceiving what are deem to be fun, I suppose?

For now, I am feeling a little more relieved and pleased to have had some time this evening to just idle my time away, and to relax and play in my own way. To my readers: Have a good weekend!

My Penpal

The morning before yesterday, I received a letter from my penpal who lives in USA. It's such a joy to get a letter from my penpal. This is his first letter to me. I think he is a nice person, though I have never met him before.

I wrote back to him, and included a postcard of the nightview of the Esplanade. The Esplanade is one of the landmarks in Singapore, and it is intended as a place for art and cultural activities. I hope he will receive my post soon. There is an early birthday greeting for him in my mail to him.

I wonder if my penpal might have a blog of his own. Then again, I ain't sure, he is half my age, and still younger. When I was at his age, I had yet to lay my hands on what people called "the Internet". But sure, times might be different.

If he does chance upon this blog (though I have not told him the address of my blog), I wish him a "Happy Birthday, and Many Happy Returns".

Thursday, October 14, 2004

"I don't know what to do with my life"

I read this article from the INFJ Handbook:, and to much extent, I could very well relate to the article, and I agree very much to it.

The article suggests that:
A common refrain among INFJs -- of EVERY age -- is "I don't know what I want to be when I grow up." Another variation is, "I don't know what to do with my life."

This I would agree. I had a hard time trying to decide what courses and which streams to take in my Junior College years, and university years. It is as if that if I don't make a wise enough choice, I would have spent my time to meaningless waste.

There is this section in the article which I had found insightful, and I shall share here:
One of the most profound changes of the last decade is that each person today is now the architect of his or her own career. You can no longer rely on a corporation to take care of you and accept responsibility for your long-term success in your work life. Recent studies show that the typical adult now changes careers between 5 and 7 times during their lifetime -- a dramatic shift away from the sort of career path we were encouraged to follow as recently as 20 years ago. As a result, you must think and act for yourself, and act as if you are president of your own personal services corporation. Self-help experts insist that you are always self-employed, no matter who signs your paycheck -- and the biggest mistake anyone can make is to suppose that they work for anyone but themself.

So I shall leave you to ponder over this article. Hopefully, it may give you some insights to the inner struggles that I often experience (I shall assure that the struggles bothered me less than it used to be, and I am managing it better). Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Dedication to a friend

Should this friend of mine visit this blog in the near future, I hope she would find some encouragement and comfort from this post. This is a post dedicated to this friend to cheer for her during this busy and hectic period. In this post, there is a hidden message to encourage her and give her support. Yet it is meant to be a hidden message, so there is some deciphering to be done.

Hopefully, my friend won't be too stressed, and with a reasonable degree of composure and intuition, she would be able to decipher the hidden message. I understand that she has been supporting me by trying to read my blog whenever she is free. Well, I haven't seen her post any comment ever since her last one on my Hippotours, but I guess I could call her a supporter who supports quietly.

Understandly, I suppose this is one of those times that she is swamped with responsibilities, work loads, presentations and social commitments. I wish I could give her a cheer in my complex yet sincere way by composing this post.

Yes, for your information, it can prove to be tricky to try to write a post to comfort a friend while trying to include a hidden yet encouraging message in the very post.

I must admit I am keeping my fingers crossed that this entire concept would work out well. Maybe it is my way of showing friendship, but truely, I ain't sure if my writing this post would give my dear friend the encouragement that this post was intended to. Anyway, I am including a line of stars in hope to brighten her day, and night.


Just in case this friend of mine does not know where to start deciphering and uncoding the hidden message, allow me to give her some clues: Each paragraph on this post will help give her a letter. But I suppose she would really have to squint her eyes unless she has heard about the concept of "first thing first". Then if she were to string all the letters together, hopefully she would have found the embedded message.

I shall plead here that if you were to decipher the hidden message, please do not post the answer on my blog. It is meant, a hidden message, so please let it be. Thank you. Of course, if you were to think that my clues haven't been clear, you are welcome to help me refine my clues. Just please, no answer, would you?

Anyway, the writing of this post does require some careful planning and thought. It brings me to wonder whether my friend has been drained by all the planning and thought required of her for her presentations. I just hope she would find ways to recharge.

Yesterday, I spoke to her over the phone, and she did sound very bored with how things have been. I would say there is an element of lethargy in her voice. Maybe I was just sensitive.

Over soon would be, this time of challenges. Yet again, life often presents us with one challenge after another. Life, I suppose, has its ups and downs, and there will be no moment whereby there is no challenge to face. I just hope that time will tell, that despite all these challenges, my friend has the strength to move on, and survive them all. Perhaps this is what people term as growth and development?

Unusally it may seem, I have not even mention my friend's name at all in this post. But hopefully, she would be able to tell from my clues that this post was meant for her. Finally I would end this post with a message for her: Hang on there, dear. Things are likely to get better. Warm wishes, p.y.

Playfulness. Parent and Child. Taken near Paragon, Orchard Rd, Singapore. Posted by Hello

The view from my window. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

A picture speaks a thousand words

There was a saying, if I have remember correctly, and it goes: A picture speaks a thousand words.

Maybe this saying is a reminder that it is high time to put up some pictures on this blog. Furthermore, I have recently gotten myself an average digital camera. This camera will aid me in taking snap shots of the visual world around me. Without it, I probably won't have sufficient resources and capacity to put up pictures on this blog. Hopefully, I could do the camera some justice. My photography skills are merely that of a layman, I must profess. I shall try to improve as I go along. Please bear with me for the moment.

Thank goodness that I have managed to download the Hello software using my brother's laptop. I have had difficulties doing so on the personal computer that I usually use. That should help start me off with the task of uploading pictures onto this blog.

Having said all these, please be kind and patient with me and the photos that I would be sharing on this blog. I must say that though I may appear to be strong, hey, I can really have a "fragile heart". ^_<

Me and the double bass. We are in the orchestra pit of the University Cultural Centre. Posted by Hello

Monday, October 11, 2004

Guide to Understanding an INFJ

Reflecting upon my experiences, I think what could hurt me deep enough is to be misunderstood. And I suspect that when I feel misunderstood, I get so upset that I needed time-out to work through and process internally. At times of feeling misunderstood, my first instinct is to cut off with the external world.

At the same time, one thing that could make me pissed off is when I sense that someone is not making any attempt at all to try to understand me. I tend to have an instinctive reaction not to wish to communicate further. I think I needed time-out to process and wait for the time when I feel it is worth the effort to communicate again. Well, admittedly, I must say I ain't someone who can be understand easily.

My MBTI profile states that I am an INFJ. Of course, there is some slight chance of error, but until evidence points otherwise, it does appear quite an accurate profile.

This is a humble attempt to list down some resources which discuss the characteristics of an INFJ. While I don't necessary agree with all of the things that have been stated, the general characteristics of INFJ do appear to be a good start to understand an INFJ. I don't necessary possess all the characteristics in full degree, I suppose that is what MBTI terms as uniqueness within the same MBTI type.

Meantime, thank you for bearing with the technicalities on this post. Hope you could gain some insight to the personality of an INFJ like me.

And for your convenience, here some characteristics of INFJ taken from:

  • private
  • sensitive
  • quiet leaders
  • great depth of personality - intricately and deeply woven, mysterious, and highly complex, sometimes puzzling even themselves
  • introverted
  • abstract in communicating
  • live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities - part of an unusually rich inner life
  • artistic (and natural affinity for art), creative, and easily inspired
  • very independent
  • orderly view towards the world but within themself arranged in a chaotic, complex way only they could understand

For those who know me personally, please do give me your comments as to how far you think the INFJ profile fits me. Thanks.

Infection. Again.

Sigh. I am down with infection again! The right side of my lower jaw has been swelling. It has been 4 weeks since my wisdom teeth removal, and it started swelling yesterday. Perhaps it has been swelling a few days earlier than that, but I had only noticed the swell yesterday.

I am not too sure if the swell could be attributed to my attempts to chew on the regular food. I have been on soft diet for 3 weeks after my wisdom teeth removal even though my dentist assured that I could go back to regular food from the sixth day after the removal. I guessed even if I could be faulted to be a little paranoid, I would rather go on soft diet for a few more days because it is admittedly harder to brush certain areas. But a week ago, my cautious side gave way. I went back to regular food now and then.

Today, I went to visit my dentist after work. My dentist told me the infection is likely a result of the fermentation of bits of food which got themselves stuck in the cavity of my jaw where my lower right wisdom tooth used to sit. He said there was pus when he had tried to inject the anaesthestic. He helped clear the pus. I am glad and relieved that the pus has been cleared. And now, I am once again on a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

My dentist shared with me how to clean the affected area so as to reduce the chance of another infection. I hope I won't have to go through another infection anytime soon. It just doesn't feel nice to be ill.

I suppose it is at those times when one is not at a good health that one appreciates the value of health. At other times, I think I would have taken health quite for granted. Maybe I must learn to internalise the maxim that health is precious.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Boring Sunday

It's Sunday. A boring Sunday, it seems, today. My jaw seems to swell a little. I ain't sure if it was due to the removal ofwisdom teeth that I have had about 4 weeks ago. There seems to be no mood to go anywhere. There is a sense of general tiredness, perhaps as a result of an overwhelming week that has just passed?

I went out to buy lunch an hour ago, but I don't have any intention to go anywhere beyond my neighbourhood. The air outdoor has not been fresh, and that has killed any slight temptation to go outdoor for longer than half an hour. So, here I am, back at home, writing this post.

Well, the good side of it is that this morning I have managed to more or less complete the slides for a presentation due about a week and a half later. This gives me a slight sense of accomplishment.

No clue do I have of how to spend the rest of the day. It is one of those days whereby my mind just hate to make any decision. Perhaps it is time to just give oneself the permission to idle, both mentally and physically? Yet, secretly, a part of my mind keeps nudging me with this thought: "Hey, it's Sunday, can't you go out and spend it more fruitfully? It's so boring to stay at home!". I suppose part of the mental fatigue that I have been experiencing since this morning could be attributed to the battle between these two different schools of thought that exist within one single person's mind: to idle, or to pack it with activities.

This could be the real dilemma of this seemingly boring Sunday. Who could be wise enough to determine what entails a fruitful day? I won't dare to say I am. Truly, I think I am feeling lost. What could I do? It is a Sunday.

(Anyway, hang on there, I told myself. It isn't that bad, and it will be over soon enough.)

Friday, October 08, 2004

Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto, Live!

It is a pleasure to listen to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra play the Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto this evening. The best thing is that it is a live concert!

Playing on the piano for the concerto this evening is Dmitri Alexeev. While I wish the sound of the piano could be a little louder in volume so as to penetrate clearly through the sounds of the orchestra, I should say I pretty enjoyed the pianist's rendition of the Piano Concerto. Somehow, I have a special liking for this piano concerto. Perhaps this could partly be attributed to my positive experience playing this piano concerto with the NUS Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Konstanti Scherbakov. It is so fabulous to listen to this concerto live, I must say. A live version beats the recordings, in my humble opinion.

Somehow, I ain't sure if it is an issue of personal preference, I did not enjoy the Shostakovich's Symphony No 5. in D minor that was also featured in the same concert. Perhaps I don't quite know how to relate to this particular piece of symphony. Whatever it is, I am glad that I have caught the Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto live.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Tonight I play...

Tonight I played on the double bass. The one that is rightfully mine, kept in the premises of my own home. It has been a while since I have played on this double bass.

It feels nice to be able to play on it. Yet again, I secretly wish that it could have a more richer and "open" sound just like the double bass I have been playing on in the University orchestra. I am contemplating if I should keep playing on it and hoping that one day this double bass would be seasoned enough to give that rich, seasoned and "open" sound I have long yearned for. If my skills had been much much better, it may not have mattered what kind of double bass I am playing on. Anything will sound just as great. Of course, admittedly, a good instrument produces a good sound with less effort. Then again, skills of the player do play a part too.

I am not sure if I could wait that long. There is no guarantee that the more I play on this instrument, the more likely that it will sound the way I wish it could be. I often find myself entertaining the thought that one day I would find another master for this double bass, and I could find myself another double bass with a sound closer to what I wish to hear. I hope for a double bass that could produce a clear, rich, seasoned and open sound with minimal effort. Such is a double bass that could motivate me to practice longer and more effectively.

Now I just have to pray hard that I could find another double bass that would please my ears, and my playing. At the same time, I pray hard that I could find someone who is willing to then acquire my existing instrument for a good price. Keep your fingers crossed for me, please?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Penang: Pearl of the Orient

One of my good friends and I are planning for a trip to Penang later this year. I am looking forward to it. Perhaps with me tied down to work of late, I am looking forward to have a recharging vacation there. The trip is also meant to celebrate my pal's entry into the first quarter of a century. Hopefully, this will be a pleasant entry into the next phase of life for my pal.

Partly because I am largely visually-inclined, I had made sure that a map of Penang was purchased to help with navigation. Truly, I hope the map could have been more comprehensive. There wasn't much details about how to get places beyond Georgetown, capital of Penang. Maybe it would be nice if I could find a more comprehensive map there. But Alas, it is likely to be in Malay language, and then, it means that I will need to a Malay-English dictionary to help with the translation.

I wonder where are the good spots to go to when one is in Penang. My first instincts will be to check out the museums there. I heard that the Penang Hill is worth a visit too. Articles on Penang also seem to suggest that Penang is famous for its local cuisine, and one should not leave Penang without having sample some of these cuisines.

I shall invite the Bloggers community and all readers of this post who have been to Penang, or have sufficient knowledge about Penang to be contributors. Could you please help contribute some ideas about where could be worthwhile landmarks to visit in Penang? You are also welcome to contribute information about Penang that would be helpful in the planning of this trip of mine. Thank you very much for your attention and contributions.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Finding Balance in a Busy World

Lately, I have been feeling overwhelmed with work. There seems so many things to do, and yet there's only so much time to spare. I can feel my mind swirling at many times of the day. A sign of feeling overwhelmed and overloaded with too much thinking and work.

I suppose my best bet now is to find a way to attain a level of balance in this busy world that I am living in. Too much work, it can tire a person and may lead to insanity. Yet again, too little work, it can lead to boredom, a lack of satisfaction and a lack of good sense of purpose in one's life.

I am trying to reflect if I could have been more effective, and then working on the little steps to become more effective. There is a need to be productive, yet again, there is a need to bear in mind that time spent trying to do work is not equivalent to productivity. In fact when one tries to still stay in the office when one is feeling dead tired, thére's usually no productivity, but perhaps a false sense of security that one is trying hard to do something! Being wise to know when it should be time to stop and rest can help one find the time to recharge, and to continue to be productive the next day.

In such times when there is so much to do, I must be more conscious of my own MBTI profile. Being a "J", I must admit that I can have a tendency to wish to reach closure in the external world. There seems to be a tendency to wish to complete things in order to find a sense of relief. At such times, it helps to remind oneself, "Work can never be really done. More just keeps coming.", we are human beings, not human doings. There is certainly more in life than to complete the work at hand. Of course, it does not mean one should be irresponsible and not to do anything at all. It is simply a shift in focus that there is more to life than work, and well, we often need to lighten up a bit, and learn to accept that we can't do it all. So I have to consciously learn: When it is time to work, work; When it is time to play, play.

Maybe this blog is meant to be a pep talk for myself. I needed some encouragement and support admittedly. Some things just have to be done, but somehow it seems that I have been feeling out of sync because I feel that I am a little behind the pace that I have set for myself. I am not sure if I could have been too hard on myself, but I must admit I have more backlog and work on my hands than I could handle with poise.

Balance, learn to find that balance. I guess for the moment, I just have to hang on there, and hopefully, time will help, and things will get better slowly but surely?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Capturing good scenes: A quick press on the camera's button versus 10 minutes of quick sketching

Yesterday I went out and walk around the Esplanade and the Singapore River, and I have the pleasure to have a good friend as a company. It was nice to be out, I haven't really been to that part of Singapore for quite a while, ever since I had my wisdom teeth extracted. I was secretly thankful that my friend didn't utter a single word of complaint when I had to stand under the hot scorching sun (and she had to stand with me as there was no shelter nearby) to sketch a scene of the Fullerton Hotel.

Technology has certainly make the pace of life much faster. What could have used to take hours to complete, may take just a few seconds with the latest technology. In the long past when there was no plane, travelling from one country to another can proved to be an arduous journey, be it by foot or by marine vessels. With the advancement of science and technology, travelling across continents have become so much more easier than ages before.

I am a little envious that the camera has this power to capture a scene within a mere few seconds simply by pressing the button to trigger the camera's shutter. I was walking nearby the Esplanade and I wanted to sketch this scene of the Esplanade's famous "durian-like" dome with cladding. The process of starting a sketch will involve taking out my marker pen, flipping to a blank page on my sketch book, observe the scene, plan the composition, visualise how I would want the final product to look like, and then, start sketching.

Just when I had started sketching for less than a minute, a tourist walked near me, saw the pleasing looking scene, took out his camera, turned it on, chose a composition, made sure the lenses were focused on the right spot, press a button on his camera to release the shutter, and there he had a quick shot of the scene in less than a few seconds. Then he moved on. But I still had to stand where I was standing, to complete my sketch.

For the next five to ten minutes, I had to continue to complete my sketch of the scene. I had to constantly look up to see the Esplanade's dome, then look down onto my sketchbook to work on my sketch. What had taken the tourist a mere few seconds to capture using his camera, took me about ten minutes to do so by sketching.

Technology does do some wonder and add in some convenience. Yet again, sketching can be fun in itself despite it being a little more time-consuming. I find that by sketching an object, it forces one to observe and to concentrate. A good sketch could usually come only when the artist finds a way to connect with the scene, and then delivers the scene through his/ her sketching skills onto the sketch book. When I sketch, I find myself becoming more conscious of the lines, the curves that the scene chosen presents. I usually become more aware of the relationships between the various shapes and elements present within the chosen scene. Having to concentrate on the task of sketching and to attempt to find a way to connect with the scene, I often find myself more aware of some of the thoughts and feelings that passes through me while I am sketching. To some extent, I find that sketching can be rather therapeutic for myself. It allows me to direct my energies into something creative and constructive, and somehow urges me to find a way to connect with the environment I have chosen to sketch. I find that it is a nice experience to feel connected, and to be in touch with myself.

Do you have a similar experience to share?

At the same time, I am also tempted to try to learn photography at the advanced level. It is not that I want to stop sketching, it is just in hope to extend the range of medium that I could use to present some of my ideas through a visual manner. If you happen to have information about how to take good photographs, especially of night scenes, please keep me posted. Thank you in advance.

ART Z Scraps

ART Z Scraps

I chanced upon this blog that has several links to art-related website. I find some of the links to be rather informative.

I understand that the owner of this blog happens to be an artist with her own websites. To support or to view, click on this link:

Friday, October 01, 2004

I Passed ABRSM Grade 7!

Early this morning when I was still half asleep in bed, my mother who is going to leave for work uttered to me in my room, "Does this letter contain information regarding your exams results?". How could I be expected to jump up of the bed when I am just only half awake, and there isn't a life and death situation involved? So I thanked her and told her I will have a look at the letter when I am more awake.

I think I was quite interested to know the results anyway, so it took me just about ten minutes to get myself out of bed, and clear-headed enough to read the letter. Perhaps I wasn't fully awake when I first read the letter, I had difficulties knowing where to start. Then again, perhaps it is because this is the first time I ever took the ABRSM Exam and received an examination mark form.

I passed. For the ABRSM Double Bass Grade 7 Exams that I had taken about a month ago. This was a relief, I thought I might end up failing because I felt I had fared very poorly during the exams in the scales and arpeggios section.

I was right, I needed two marks more before I could pass for the scales and arpeggios section. The examiner commented in the mark form that "the playing wanted more fluency and accuracy". This is a clear lesson for me to take that I should spend more time with scales and arpeggios to be more ready and fluent in playing them. I have procastinated. I have yet to start on practising scales and arpeggios since the end of the examinations. I think I needed some kind of pep talk.

My best performed piece among the three programmes that I had played in the exams was the Marcello's Sonata in G minor (For String Bass and Piano). Possibly, one of my friends could be right: The more one likes a piece a music, the more one would practise it, and the better it would sound. It seems that the moral of the story is Practice makes Perfect, and Play the music that you like if you want to play better?

Then again, I think there are still areas to improve on for the Marcello's Sonata. According to the examiner as indicated on the mark form, in the Largo section, "the tone wants to keep flowing more readily thoughout the phrases to give a more shapely, expansive line". As for the Allegro section, it "was energetically presented, not always focused in the one, but rhythmic and finding some lively shaping".

For the Jacob's A Little Concerto, my friend who played for me as the piano accompanist during the exams was right, somehow I haven't done as much vibrato as I could have. This friend of mine certainly learns fast. I think she has picked up the ear to listen out for vibrato on the double bass after just two practice sections with me and my double bass tutor. Whatever it is, I am very very thankful for her kind help in playing the accompanient for me. She is an encouragaging piano accompanist who listens and accompanies well, and yet will dare to strict enough with me to make sure I work on my rhythms and pitch.

Credits also go to my double bass tutor. I think he has taught me well, albeit I still have a way to go in achieving all the suggestions he has had on how I could better play and deliver the three programmes and the scales. Many thanks to him for his kind patience and inspiring guidance.

For the sight reading section, it was a borderline pass. This is one other area for me to work on with more effort.

Strangely, though I thought I may fail for the aural test due to the limited aural training that I had prior to the exams, I passed. Well, I supposed the few days that I had spent just before the exams to work on the aural did help afterall.

Last but not the least, while I was pleasantly relieved and pleased to pass, I couldn't help but to think that if I had done better in the scales and arpeggios and sight-reading with more practice, I might have passed with a merit. Oh well, maybe it is human nature to wish for more. The best I could do is to be contented with the results and put in more effort in practising the double bass. Only then, could I play good music, and enjoy the music-making process.

So much so on my ABRSM music exams results. Hopefully the certificate will be on its way soon.