Friday, December 31, 2004

Disturbances in the Earth

I came across the above-mentioned article when I was reading Waterfall's blog. Waterfall has put up a link to the article, and I read it. It is worth a read:

Disturbances in the Earth. By PEGGY NOONAN. Thursday, December 30, 2004 12:01 a.m. EST.

The biggest story of the year happened just as big-thinking journalists went on vacation after filing their "Ten Biggest Stories of 2004" pieces. Life has a way of surprising us...

Updates of Tsunamis Disaster

For the past few days, there have been news about the tsunamis disaster. It is saddening to know how a natural disaster like this could take away so many invaluable lives, and uproot countless of homes.

In my capacity, I contributed a donation to the Singapore Red Cross Society, specifically to help the victims of the Bay of Bengal earthquake and tsumami waves. Hopefully that could help the victims in a small way.

If you are keen to lend your helping hand, there are many ways that you could help. You could check out these sites to find out how to help: Channel News Asia - How can I help?, BBC News - Asian disaster: How to help?

An acquaintance from the U.S. was sweet to write an email to find out if I was affected by the tsunamis. I shall update that I am safe and sound. Thank goodness to the geographical location of Singapore, the tsunamis has not affected the country of Singapore. Yet, I could not remain indifferent to this disaster that has brought severe destruction to several regions. It often brings sighs to know that the death toll keeps getting higher each day.

If I were to look at a positive side of this disaster, perhaps it is that we could see the good side of humanity. People all over the world are doing what they could to help the victims of the disaster, and to offer help to rebuild the lost homes. Hopefully, mankind would better appreciate the value of compassion and that of mutual help.

There are serveral online sites with quite good news about this recent tsunamis disaster. I shall end this post by listing a few:

And last but not the least, I thought this article was worth a pondering upon:
World helps - but will it forget?
By Paul Reynolds World Affairs correspondent, BBC News website

30 Dec 2004

Just a few hours ago, I was having dinner with my friends cum ex-classmates. One of them will be leaving for Chicago to take a PhD programme in one of the universities there. Here's wishing her all the best.

Nice to catch up with friends, even though I was admittedly tired from the day. I cope by not talking much. Too much talking, I realised, can be draining for me when I am tired. So I just listened to the conversations that went on during the dinner.

I took a few photographs with a few of them. I had taken out my camera a little too late, and a few of my friends have left for their next destination. Anyway, I was thinking of where to upload the photos and I thought of Kodak's Ofoto. I have been quite pleased with the quality of the photos taken on my Kodak digital camera, and the quality of the prints (of the photos) on Kodak Royal Paper. As such, I am rather pleased to promote Kodak without charging Kodak a single cent. Kodak's value for money for the quality and user-friendliness it gives to digital camera users like me.

Now I wonder when I would have a chance to take up a post-graduate programme. Then again, I have no clue what kind of post-graduate programme to take. Should it be one in social work? But I quite like to venture into fine-art. Music is nice, but maybe not at post-graduate level, I am not even anywhere near diploma yet.

Before I continue to ramble, I shall try to end this post by saying good night. Late nights can make me ramble nonsense without any realisation.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Crowded Orchard Road

I went for my walk, but it was not anywhere close to being a silent walk.

I had a purpose in mind this evening. So I was at Orchard Road (a shopping and commercial area of Singapore) to get a gift. Today's just a few days from New Year, Orchard Road was very crowded with people. Then again, this could have been a perception on my end since I have a low tolerance level for crowd.

So I did not walk too much. It was not pleasant to walk too much today with such a crowd. Anyway, I quite like the gift that I have gotten. Hopefully, my friend would like it.

For now, I am counting down to year 2005. Perhaps by then, the crowds would slowly disperse.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Silent walk

A silent walk can often help me put things into better perspective. The world outside is not quite a fit, but the world inside has to be steady to withstand the external misfits. A silent walk, then, helps me to gain strength from within.

Hopefully, I need not have to travel along crowded streets when I go for my walk. Neither do I fancy deserted paths. A silent walk is perfect when I have music that matches my moods, and sights that comforts me with the beautiful side of Nature. A silent walk is perfect when I need not have to explain myself, when I could just be me without intrusion, and when I am given the space to feel my deepest most feelings. No questions, and no answers from the external. So the internal world is beckoned to come alive with its own unique but true expression.

Maybe it is that solitude nature of my preferred silent walk, I fear inviting others even when some support is needed. Not everyone makes a good silent walk companion. So I shall not attempt to ask, and perhaps this post would just be an indirect way to find out whom I could count upon should I need a silent walk companion.

Patience tested

It has been a frustrating day at work. I am beginning to feel that my patience is tested for the past few days.

There is so many reports to clear of late as it is the year-end. While I would have preferred clear instructions on how to write one of those reports, it was quite the contrary. Furthermore, truly, it is not quite the job-profile of a social worker to work on accounting related issues, but well, I shall just take it part of life. Get it done and over with. Afterall, it takes me no more than two hours to do it sufficiently.

Well, perhaps that is the less abstract way to take about how my patience has been put to test. The more abstract way to describe it is that I could feel my head spinning, my privacy and space being intruded upon, and feeling not well understood. It can make my heart cry when I feel not well understood when I needed to be.

Perhaps it makes matter worse that I do not wish to express myself verbally when I feel that there was not enough space given for me to do so. My preference is to deal with the world that is internally, not externally. When a mind thinks on a different level than others, I just felt my mind was hard for others to catch up with when I have already seen what others have seen. I could only beg that time would give them the chance to catch up. Hopefully others could finally do. I have not much motivations to slow down to show others exactly what goes behind my processor, unless they could offer me the abundant space that I would need.

Certain things aren't worth me frustrated upon for too long. It is just that I am aware I am frustrated, and I needed to find a way to express that. For now, I just want space to reflect. I would have love a company to just walk silently with me. That could help me feel understood. But I could not muster the strength to ask for one, and that makes me a little sad. So meanwhile, I shall just be painfully aware of my frustrations and hurts, and then soon they will pass like all feelings, just temporarily.

I shall just ask that if you would like to write any comments, make it short and sweet please. I do not think I have much patience left to do your comments justice as a reader. I needed time to top up my patience again. A little quiet walk may help. I shall do that tomorrow, or tonight - in my dreams.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Destructive Tidal Wave

Taken from The New York Times:

Untold Numbers Are Missing in 6 Countries
Published: December 27, 2004

The world's most powerful earthquake in 40 years erupted underwater off the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Sunday and sent walls of water barreling thousands of miles, killing more than 13,000 people in half a dozen countries across South and Southeast Asia, with thousands more missing or unreachable.

The earthquake, which measured 9.0 in magnitude, set off tsunamis that built up speeds of as much as 500 miles per hour, then crashed into coastal areas of Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Indonesia, the Maldives and Malaysia as 40-foot-high walls of water, devouring everything and everyone in their paths.

Its force was felt more than 3,000 miles away in Somalia on the eastern coast of Africa, where nine people were reported killed...

This is news for this part of the world where I live in. I just feel so powerless and small compared to the powers of Nature. This earthquake seems to be a destructive one. Even though it erupted underwater, its mighty forces could be felt over various countries. This is so because the earthquake has generated a series of tidal waves whose forces are mighty enough to bring destruction to the coastal areas of several countries.

I feel sorry for the victims, who were probably caught by the tidal waves by surprise. So sudden. It must have been quite an anguish for one to have lost his/ her loved ones and home because of these destructive tidal waves. And yet, the fact seems to be saying that no matter how intelligent human beings are, we remain at mercy to the mighty forces of Nature.

At the same time, I am very intrigued by the phenomenon of Earthquake and the movement of the Earth's plates. It is so amazing that despite being a planet largely made of molten material, Earth could manage to provide the environment for countless of living things to thrive. Perhaps then the price to pay for life, is to bear with the fact that we live in a constantly changing planet where we will remain susceptible to the destructive forces of nature. I ain't sure. This is just a thought that came as I typed away.

For now, maybe the best I could wish is that the resilience in mankind would be strong enough for us to withstand and overcome those inevitable destructive forces of Nature.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

My double bass

Double Bass which I call my very own.  Posted by Hello

My "husband". This photo was taken with no flash, just natural light. Posted by Hello

Its "true colours" under flash light. Posted by Hello

Orchids for you

Orchids for you to brighten your day. Posted by Hello

I was at the National Orchid Garden this morning. Visiting it earned me a stamp on my "Tourism Passport", and it got me my final tenth stamp. There are some other photos posted on my other blog. You could check them out at:

Mission Accomplished: My Tourism Passport

Terry the Tourist Posted by Hello

Terry the Tourist, is one of the soft toys from the Pride of Lions Limited Edition collection. To be able to own and take home one of these limited Pride of Lions collectibles, one would need to collect ten different stamps on his/ her "My Tourism Passport".

Basically, there are 39 listed participating attractions or tours. When one visits one of these listed Uniquely Singapore attractions or tours, one will get a unique stamp. Collect ten different stamps on one's "My Tourism Passport", and one receives a limited edition Pride of Lions soft toy.

There are five versions of Lions, and I chose Terry the Tourist. Now, I wonder what to do with it. My nose is a little allegic to soft-toys, so putting it for display in my room is quite a no-no. I may have to consider putting it up for adoption if I cannot find any other ways to do justice to it.

It took quite a while to collect the ten stamps. I think I had received my very first stamp in late August this year. I was taking the Hippo Tour with a friend of mine. No wonder the lady who was serving me at the counter when I was redeeming the soft toy had commented that I had perserved to visit ten attractions. Possibly, if I had been a tourist of Singapore, it would have been easier to collect ten stamps? Being a local, I was limited by time to tour those attractions or take part in those tours only on my non-working days.

I think I must have been quite a loner, or in a positive sense, a person who can be terribly independent. Except for the Hippo Tour, I had went on all other tours and attractions alone by myself.

Well, I did get acquainted with a few tourists when I was participating in the Original Singapore Walks - On the Forbidden Ground, but truly, I had went for it alone, without having any friends along. So if no one else had turned up for the walk on that day, I would be the only person on the tour other than the guide. Of course, this would happen rarely.

Perhaps it is me. Well, while I lament that no one is truly motivated to share my world, I had few motivations to put in effort to bring people to share my world either. Yours truly probably fears intrusion of privacy more than time alone. Would this be an irony for someone who seeks to be understood and be connected?

Anyway, it is a day of accomplishing a mission. I have completed collecting ten different stamps on "My Tourism Passport", and my prize is Terry the Tourist. Here is a description about Terry:

The Well-travelled local who changes his passport evey year.
He roars "I love you" in 39 different languages.
He aims to travel on every single budget airline that lands in Singapore.

Terry's not quite like me. But he can be considered a source of pride for me today.

By the way, there is a Grand Lucky Draw to all participants who have completed their collection of ten different stamps. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I could get the first prize. Then I can get some nice gifts for family and friends.

For now, showcasing Terry.

For adoption? Posted by Hello

Smiling Terry. Posted by Hello

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas Eve and Day

Yours truly has been feeling tired on Christmas Eve, and that I had no programme whatsoever for the Christmas eve. It was gracious of my organisation to grant us half-day work on Christmas eve, so myself and my colleagues are knocked off from work by early afternoon.

I had wanted to go to Botanic Gardens on Christmas eve's afternoon. Then, it proved not quite a good idea because the sun was scorchingly hot and very bright on Christmas eve's afternoon. Furthermore, when I noticed how crowded the trains were when I was taking a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train towards Orchard Road, I came to conclusion that I would be happier if I were to shelf my plans to go to the Botanic Gardens aside. So I did not go to Botanic Gardens eventually.

When I got home, I received an email from the coordinator of the Pen-pal Project which I am taking part in. My pen-pal has received my mail just recently, and he was excited. I'm happy to have cheered someone's day with a mail. I wonder what exactly had made him excited? Was it the map of Singapore that I had included with my letter? Or was it the picture of Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay that I had drawn in my letter?

I had wanted to practise on the double bass, but I was too tired to practise on Christmas Eve. Instead, I spent time listening to an album by The Carpenters.

I am glad that I did not go to Orchard Road or town area on Christmas Eve. I saw on the news over the television how crowded those places were on Christmas Eve. My cousin was at Orchard Road on Christmas Eve. He told to me this morning that there was practically no public transport available from Orchard Road on Christmas Eve. So my poor cousin had no means to return home last night, and had to spend the entire night and dawn at Orchard Road, without taking a single wink.

On Christmas Day, I woke up slightly later than usual. Feeling a strong sense of mission to find something special for my good friend's birthday, I decided to go to Orchard Road to buy a birthday gift for her. Many shops were closed on Christmas Day, anyway, the shop that I had in mind to get the gift from was opened, so I shall count this as a blessing. It took me a while to select a gift which I thought might be suitable. Now, I just hope my friend would like it. Buying earrings aren't quite my cup of tea, really. Strictly speaking, yours truly has yet to buy any jewellery for myself. (Though I have learnt some basic ideas how to make certain kinds of jewellery and to design them.) Most of the jewellery you see on me are gifts from my grandmother, mother or others. And personally, it does not get me excited to receive jewelleries as gifts. But I think my friend shall be happy with the earrings I have gotten for her, I keep my fingers crossed.

For now, I shall end this post soon. My grandmother will be coming to my home to have lunch with us. So I have to get away from the monitor and keyboard, and help with some of the preparations. Meantime, have a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2004

My World

Lately, I have been quite into taking such quizzes and tests. For the fun of it.


Your World (Part One): What is your world made of? [girls]

Your World (Part Two): Your social world [girls]

Your World (Part Three): How do you see your world [girls]
brought to you by Quizilla

What Kind of Soul Are You?

I tried this test and below is my result. Does it sound like how I am to you?

You Are a Retrospective Soul

The most misunderstood of all the soul signs. Sometimes you even have difficulty seeing yourself as who you are. You are intense and desire perfection in every facet of your life. You're best described as extremely idealistic, hardworking, and a survivor.

Great moments of insight and sensitivity come to you easily. But if you aren't careful, you'll ignore these moments and repeat past mistakes. For you, it is difficult to separate the past from the present. You will suceed once you overcome the disappoinments in life.

Souls you are most compatible with: Traveler Soul and Prophet Soul

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Festive Greetings

I found a Christmas card generator, and here's a card for all readers of this blog.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Warm wishes.

What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?

Here's the results that I have got for this test:

Your Dominant Intelligence is Spatial Intelligence

You've got a good sense of space and how the world around you looks. You can close your eyes and "see" images. You have innate artistic talent. An eye for color and shapes, you're also a natural designer. Since you think in pictures, visual aids and demonstartions help you learn best.

You would make a good navigator, sculptor, visual artist, inventor, architect, interior designer, or engineer.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Last Rehearsal for 2004

My orchestra was rehearsing the Yellow River Cantata tonight. The double bass section was loud and strong tonight. We have a strength of six double bassists playing. Against seven first violinists, about six second violinists, three violists and three cellists. I suppose the orchestra has had a very strong foundation tonight because of the existence of a proportionally large double bass section.

Tonight was the orchestra's last rehearsal for the year 2004. Our next rehearsal will start early next year. Tonight's rehearsal will be the last time that we play at our regular rehearsal venue before it undergoes a major renovation. I heard that the renovation will start very soon.

I wonder what will happen to the orchestra's double basses? Although I have my own double bass, I will use the double bass which is under the orchestra's property whenever I go for my orchestra rehearsals. It is just too inconvenient to have to carry my own double bass around every week when I do not own a vehicle. I can't drive either, I have no valid driving licence.

The orchestra double basses have been kept in one of the stores at the site of our regular rehearsal venue, but now, with its renovation, I wonder where the double basses would be shifted to?

I think I will miss the rehearsal venue. For four years of my undergraduate years, I have been practising there. Subsequently after graduation, I have continued to have orchestra rehearsals there. Some of my more happier times in the university were spent there.

Now it is time to say parting words to the rehearsal venue, I do not know what to say. I have not felt a sense of lost or grief yet. Perhaps it is because it is the time of the night, and I am too tired to grief. Then again, fond memories of the rehearsal venue will continue to live within me. I shall just treat this major renovation as something that would be positive. Perhaps the renovation would enable the rehearsal venue to serve the musicians better in the years to come.

For now, one question that has yet been answered is that of where the orchestra would practise in early year 2005? I have no idea, and I am just waiting for further updates from the orchestra's committee.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Christmas Party

Tonight, my office threw a Christmas party for the staff of our department. Special thanks to the two staff-in-charge who had planned for and organised this party.

Half-way the party I was already feeling drained. This must have been the result of too much accumulated tiredness from the day. Yours truly has a weakness of being easily drained by excessive interaction with the external environment, especially when there is limited quiet time to recharge.

I think I was not born to party. I would rather have sat there watching people play games, eat and be merry during the party, and then thinking why people were motivated by such activities when I was not.

For me, a good Christmas party at the office is when I could have peace and quietness, enjoy nice Christmas songs which have wonderful harmonies, and have more intimate interactions with my colleagues in small groups or one-to-one (to get to know them better). This is possibly a reflection of the preference of an INFJ.

For now, all I wish is a silent night to recharge.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Martha Graham

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all 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 it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.

- Martha Graham to biographer Agnes DeMille in Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham (New York: Random House, 1992).

I had came across the above quote in two books, but I have yet to read Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham.

I interpret it as a call for one to get in touch with one's true self, so that one could be free to express one's true uniqueness, and be congruent with oneself.

Quite a liberating quote to urge one to be more congruent with one's true self. Yet, it takes lots of practice to master this state of congruence. The society, the external environment and one's culture is inevitably placing expectations on oneself. Even if expectations may be a form of guide to help speed us in finding our roles and positions in life, if we were to follow expectations too blindly, we might risk steering further away from our true selves.

I feel lost, and puzzled. What is the unique expression that I have for this universe? How could I be more aware of the urges that truely motivate me? How do I keep my channel open?

Perhaps for now, I shall just allow myself to be more in touch with my inner self, even if it speaks a different voice than the expectations of the external world. For the moment, I shall listen, so that I could hear the voice of my inner self, if it were to speak.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

SSO Subscription Concerts

The Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) has an efficient team of ticketing officers, in my opinion. It was only last Saturday that I had post by mail my subscription order form to subscribe to a number of the SSO's concerts scheduled next year. According to the notice, it would take about two weeks before I could get the tickets sent to me by post. Faster than I had expected, I received my SSO tickets last evening. This means a processing time of less than a week.

Since I attend quite a number of the SSO's concert each year, I have found that it was much cheaper to subscribe to the concerts instead of purchasing the tickets individually from the ticketing counters.

Some of the repertoires that I look forward to hear next year are:

  • CHEN GANG/HE ZHANHAO- Butterfly Lovers Concerto
  • MENDELSSOHN - The Hebrides, Op. 26 "Fingal's Cave"
  • BEETHOVEN- Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73 "Emperor"
  • BRAHMS- Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90
  • BEETHOVEN- Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral"
  • BEETHOVEN- Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61
  • RACHMANINOV- Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op. 43

Friday, December 17, 2004

Exhausting week

This week has somehow been exhausting. I was feeling tired every day after work. There must have been quite a lot of work that was done the past few days of the week. I could sense that my mind was racing much faster than I would have preferred. The negative result: I felt as if my mind was swirling, and this left me feeling it was hard to keep focus at times.

Perhaps if I did accomplish quite a lot of things this week, I would have rather wish that I could slow down a bit. I would have preferred to have more time to sit down and reflect, than to race to keep up. So I see what dilemma I put myself through trying to want to have private time to reflect at work (over how to work with my clients on their issues), yet trying to rush to be on schedule to get things done. Maybe it is a sign of overload?

What an exhausting week! This Saturday I am not working, so I hope I could find some time to recharge. Not quite likely, perhaps, because the streets would have been crowded with people celebrating the festive season. I recharge better when I am away from the crowds.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Delightful Cards

Tonight has been a tiring one. I was already feeling rather drained from work and the daily routine. Furthermore, I had a minor accident and had a cut on one of my toes. I must have been prone to foot injuries, that is why. It was a small cut but it hurt quite a bit, such that I had to limp some of my way back home from rehearsals.

It is therefore nice to receive a Christmas card from one of my good friends, Jing, when I got home tonight. It may seem simple, but the thoughts that came with it were great enough to brighten the tiring heart of mine.

This reminded me of a few other Christmas cards that I had recently received from a few of my other friends. They sure delight. Actually, it wasn't quite the cards, but it was the well wishes that came from my friends that matter. By the way, I have a habit of collecting and keeping cards from friends, so I suppose these cards will remain with me for quite a while.

Meantime, "Seasons Greetings".

Examined and Passed

After about two months from the release of my ABRSM music exams results, I could finally lay my hands on the certificate issued by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. There is a long way to go for me in terms of playing the double bass, but passing the Grade 7 Double Bass exams marks a step forward for me.

There is definitely a lot more to work on the scales and aural section, and I shall bear this in mind so that I won't be complacent about this little achievement.

Meantime, I take some pride to read the prints on the certificate:

This is to certify that (pei yun) was examined in Grade 7 Double Bass and passed in 2004.

And I would like to thank many people, especially my tutor and my friend who played the piano accompaniment for me, for without them, this humble success may not have been made so possible.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Rehearsals Resume

Finally, orchestra rehearsals have resumed for the double bassists, after a period of examinations break. Some of my fellow orchestra mates have started rehearsing about two to three weeks ago because they were involved in some performances requested by external organisations, for example, the grand final of the Singapore Idol. Perhaps it was a blessing that the double bassists had no music part to play, and were hence not involved. I don't think I would have enjoyed being one of the performers in that kind of situation.

I was not sure whether to attend today's rehearsals. Today's rehearsals is meant as a preparation towards this concert titled: "Yellow River Cantata". The concert will be held to commemorate the 100 years birth anniversary of the Composer, the late Mr. Xian Xing Hai. It will be sung by a 300 strong choir comprising of members from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, accompanied by NUS Symphony Orchestra. If I understood correctly, the Echo Philharmonic Society has invited the orchestra to play the accompaniment for this concert. If I were to attend today's rehearsals, then I would be expected to consider if I would play for this concert.

However, there is quite a number of rehearsals involved, and I fear I may not be able to commit to every single one. I would probably have to miss some of them. Furthermore, I felt it might be tiring to juggle tight rehearsal schedules, with work and personal life. Yet again, it is a rare chance to perform the Yellow River Cantata, and it is even more rare that our orchestra could perform in the Esplanade Concert Hall. Being a university orchestra, it would have been most reasonable that all our annual concerts would be held at the university's cultural centre. So it would have been a pity if I missed this rare chance to play in the Esplanade Concert Hall, and experience what it feels like to be performing there on its beautiful stage.

The music reminds me of the time when I was playing Chinese music in the Chinese orchestra, as a double bassist. I think I shall play for it anyway despite such a tight schedule, provided that I could be excused for a few of the rehearsals so that I could have some short moments of breaks. Now I am feeling tired. But somehow, playing music has this lifting effect on my spirits which can help allow me to stay up a little longer than I usually could.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Reading Time

I had bought this book title: The Inner Game of Work by W. Timothy Gallwey more than 2 years ago, but I have yet to finish more than half the book if I recalled correctly. Yesterday, I thought of this book, and picked it up. I read the Preface and the Introduction last night.

I quite like the book: The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green with Timothy Gallwey. There was some inertia trying to start reading this book, but when I read one-fifth of it, it proved to be easy to relate to, and useful in helping me be more relaxed and less self-conscious in my playing of the double bass. So you bet I have finished reading the entire book.

What was pleasant surprise for me then, after I had finished reading the book and was practising some of the strategies, was that my conductor commented that he observed that I have become more relaxed in my playing of the double bass. And he meant it in a positive sense, because being more relaxed, I had sounded better and natural. That is certainly a delightful feedback for a music instrument player to receive.

Now I just hope I can do the same with The Inner Game of Work.

I shall make time out each day for the rest of the week to read this book. This would mean that I will spend less time on the internet, and on blogging. Soon it will be my reading time. Yes, I will be reading The Inner Game of Work.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Swirling Mind

Today, I felt like as if my mind was swirling. It was hard to focus. I find it hard to make decisions, sometimes even simple ones. It was as if my mind was being blocked.

I went through the day's routine, and I felt I was did not accomplish anything of value for today. Until just before the official knock-off time, at about 5.20 p.m. did I find myself getting a momentum to focus my attention to work on a report that I had wanted to. So I stayed behind to try to finish most of what I could do with it. The office was quiet, and someone the silence recharged me. So the momentum kept me going and by 6 pm, I was done with whatever I could write for the report then. One of my friends applaud for me over the MSN. There was still a small section that needed me to gather some further information, so I shall deal with that another day. The reason being that I could not gather it by today anyway because I was waiting for an "informant" to provide me with those information.

I just hope my mind does not swirl again. This swirling sensation makes me lose my concentration and I could become more irritable. Perhaps a sign that I could be going faster than my mind and body could manage, or that I needed to recharge?

Botero in Singapore (Photos)

"Head", Bronze, 1999. By Botero. Catch the most comprehensive survey exhibition in Asia of the works of Fernando Botero. 9 Dec 2004 - 27 Feb 2005. Posted by Hello

Botero's "Leda and the Swan", Bronze, 1996. Catch it at the Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay. Posted by Hello

"Reclining Woman", Bronze, 2003. Now at the Esplanade Park. Posted by Hello

Botero's "Man on a Horse", Bronze, 1999. Try to guess where this is from the background. Posted by Hello

Gloomy weather

Dark skies of 12 Dec 04 Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Striking balance

Sculpture now exhibited outside Orchard MRT station, by Ju Ming. Taichi Series. Notice a sense of balance in the forms. Posted by Hello

The sun must have been on a strike

Perhaps the sun had been on a strike, there was not much rays from the sun the large part of today. There was just enough sunlight peering through the dark clouds such that one won't start to think that a solar eclipse has happened.

I left home in the late morning to try to get a breather. Actually I wonder if it was a good choice or not, because I felt drained trying to mingle with the crowds on my day out. I suppose I only felt most at home at the Singapore Art Museum, because there was less of a crowd for me to bear with.

I took a Mass Rapid Transit (in Singapore, we call it "MRT") train to Orchard as I wanted to check out the Kinokuniya bookstore. Perhaps I wasn't feeling well, many of the nice books did not appeal to me as they would have been. After checking out the Kinokuniya bookstore, I walked all the way to the Orchard Meridien Hotel. I quite like the Korean food stall at the foodcourt of the hotel's basement, so I had that for lunch.

After lunch, I walked to the Singapore Art Museum to catch the blockbuster, Botero in Singapore 2004, so that I could stay a little more updated with the exhibitions at the Singapore Art Museum. I am not a fan of Botero, but some of his works that I have managed to catch a glimpse of did left an impression in me. There is quite a distinct style in Botero's art, and I wanted to gain a little more understanding to his art style, and his philosophy towards art. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

I am rather drained and tired now, so I shall beg to be spared from sharing what little I know about Botero. If you would like to know more, please visit the Singapore Art Museum and the various spots where the monumental sculptures by Botero are exhibited.

After making one round around the Botero's exhibits in the Singapore Art Museum, I went to wait for the museum's guided tour to start. I have often found attending the guided tour to be helpful in giving me a overview of the exhibitions, so I definitely won't miss attending one of the guided tours of the Botero in Singapore 2004's exhibition. It proved to be helpful in giving me more insights to Botero's style of art, and his philosophy towards art.

What I found was rare was that I had a male Asian museum guide today. Most of the times, my art museum guide were female, and very often, non-Asian. I was tempted to ask my guide today what had inspired him to be a volunteer museum guide, but to conserve energy, I did not.

I must have been conserving my energy to walk to all the way to the Esplanade and the Esplanade Park under the drizzling rain to view more of Botero's works. The weather had remained gloomy and wet, so it was no surprise that some raindrops fell on me along my journey. It must have been that streak of stubbornness in me that got me moving from the Singapore Art Museum to the Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay, through the wet pathways of the Esplanade Park to the Anderson Bridge. I was searching for a moment where I could be connected with myself, and I felt I had only found a few seconds of such moment this entire day.

I could feel I had been withdrawn to a world of my own the whole of today. The crowd had been draining me, and so I was trying as best as I could to avoid all unnecessary human contact with strangers and acquaintances. And I think that I would have tried to avoid all friends if I have seen them on the roads, except for those whom I know would allow me to not speak a single word and would spare me from their talking, and yet would still be able to connect with me. Ironically, despite windrawing into my own world, I had so little a moment that I could connect with myself. Perhaps it was because my moods had swung when the sun had went on a strike. Even my nose is sneezing to join in the protest.

Get myself out

It is 10.50 a.m. and the sun has yet to chase away the rain. I am now listen to Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto. It is one of my favourite piano concertos, but I must have been too built up with frustrations that I could not appreciate its full value.

My head is giving me aches now and then since the day before yesterday. Certainly unpleasant.

It looks like, as it has many of the times been, this world has never been meant for me. I feel like getting myself out of this world to take a break, then hopefully I could reconnect. Even if such could be short-lived.

It is raining, and I am just healing from my infection, but I think I better get myself out of my flat. It may seem comfortable place to be in, away from the rain and cold, but I think if I would risk losing my sanity if I were to continue to seek comfort in a flat unit with only four walls. What seems to be comfort may often be an illusion. I shall not be deceived by the illusion. Even if I were to be on my own out in the rain and cold, I have the company of the trees, the skies, the rain clouds and rain drops.

Maybe the air outside the four walls would soothe me a little.

Rainy Sunday Morning

It is Sunday, I had woke up at about 6.30 a.m. I wonder who would have woke up at that hour of the day? Afterall, it is a Sunday, and a rather rainy morning which makes it quite a good weather to continue to remain dozing in one's bed.

I woke up anyway. What a rain! I had wanted to go to the Esplanade and the area along the Singapore River this Sunday morning to take photographs of sculptures. Now it looks like I may have to shelf my plans aside. I am not feeling well enough to go out on a rainy day, but I won't have mind going out if the weather had been a fine one. I just can't imagine having to go through my day just like I have done the day before.

Hopefully, the day will get some sunshine later this morning.

So, for now, I shall listen to music by The Carpenters.


XXII - This refers to one of the chapters from The Little Prince.

The little prince was speaking to a railway pointsman, and at that moment, an express train arrived. The little prince saw people in great hurry, and asked "what are they looking for?".

Yet another express train with thousands of passengers arrived. And then a third one. Curious as a non-inhabitant of planet Earth, the little prince asked the railway pointsman "Are they chasing the first passengers?".

He got a reply, "They are chasing nothing at all. They are asleep inside there, or else yawning."

I am not skilled in literature to truely interpret the works of Antoine de Saint-Exupery. So I shalln't. This chapter just strikes in me that there is a possibility that one may risk being busy chasing nothing at all when one does not know what he's looking for. I fear I might be one of them.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

Christmas is around the corner. Strictly speaking, I do not celebrate Christmas since I am not a Christian. At the same time, I quite like listening to Christmas songs. I like the way that many Christmas songs are harmonised.

I was surfing around for a site on Christmas songs. I found this: It is a site of Christmas Songs by

The first Christmas song that I clicked on was one titled: I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas. It reminded me of a time whereby I played this song as part of a double bass quartet. I quite like the way the song goes, it feels quite nostalgic somehow.

Playing breathes some life into me

It has almost been a boring, lifeless day for me. Today is a non-working Saturday for me. I have been feeling too tired to wish to travel to some of my favourite places in Singapore, so most of my day was spent sleeping, staring in the air, surfing the internet at home, and taking some time out of my flat to have lunch and dinner. How unfascinating a day!

Just a moment ago, I decided I shall play on the double bass anyway. It did prove to take quite a while to set it up and tune it, prior to the actual playing. Anyway, I managed to coax myself into go through all these hassles and before I know it, I was playing on the double bass.

My double bass must have known that I have been feeling rather lifeless, so it surprised me with a rather warm sound, which is surprisingly produced considering that the player was so lifeless.

I played scales, one octave, and that as usual allowed me to complete all the scales listed on the Grade 5 scales book. This one octave scales playing is quite useful to help get me started on scales. I have mistipurple to thank.

I played some other tunes, and wished my pitching could have been better. Anyway, for the evening, the double bass was not an object to demonstrate my showmanship and musicality; it was my friend that was there to allow me to pour my woes and anguish on. And somehow, playing on my dear double bass has breathed some life into me. A miracle that a non-living instrument could create. Then again, it is as good as a living friend to me. A friend who will unconditionally be there for me, and so kind to bear all that reckless and insane playing from me. I wished I have something nice to give back to my dear double bass: lovely music to show it off. But I fear, I have yet any.

Elgar's Cello Concerto

The radio was playing Elgar's Cello Concerto, with Jacqueline du Pré on the cello. It is moving, and adds a touch of lament to the morning.

According to this internet source: , "Elgar wrote the concerto in 1919, just after the Great War. Appalled and disillusioned by the suffering caused by the war, he realized that life in Europe would never be the same after such destruction. The Cello Concerto was Elgar's lament for a lost world."

War, I think, is cruel. Before the World War One, who would have thought that war could be more destructive than one could imagine. Somehow, the leaders who have led the war have failed to see the miseries and sufferings that war could actually bring. A single human life is more valuable than one thinks, because as humans, we are interdependent and interconnected. For now, I start to think of social psychology, and the danger of conformity, displayed by human beings. It is alarming how one could lose himself/ herself when one conforms as a social being. My stand is that confirmity and blind obedience may not necessary be worth encouraging, especially when the authorities abuse its powers.

I suppose Elgar's expression of his lament through the Cello Concerto has been an apt one. Many of the times when I hear the concerto over the radio I could sense an air of anguish, despair and grief. Somehow, there was a cry for the miseries and sufferings of the people to be heard. Possibly, it is a way for one's despair and anguish to be expressed and to be heard.

Listen to the cello concerto if you would like to, perhaps you may have differing experiences? Last but not the least, the same internet source mentioned earlier gives quite a detailed and complete guide to the Cello Concerto (coordinated, edited and largely written by Frank Beck), and if you are interested to find out more about this concerto,

Friday, December 10, 2004

Vincent van Gogh

Somehow I start to empathise with the plight of one of my favourite artists. He has a deep passion for nature, and all things beautiful that nature has to offer. He has a deep passion for arts. Yet, it seems that many of the times, he was not well understood. His only confidant is his younger brother who gave him support despite all difficult times.

I wonder where I could get the song track for Don McLean's Vincent? It is somehow ringing in my mind. This site (The Vincent van Gogh Gallery) has a page with the lyrics of Vincent: Yes, admittedly, I am quite a melancholic person many a times, to be able to find sadness in a song like this.

Anyway, to side-track, The Vincent van Gogh Gallery is one of the most comprehensive website around on the art and life of Vincent van Gogh. Do support it:

For now, I shall just write to myself, and hopefully, writing will be the best therapy.

I hate to look forward to an uneventful weekend

Sigh. I am getting more and more grumpy. I have been feeling so tired from the infection that I don't know if I should be going out to sketch or take photographs this weekend. I had wanted to go to view the Botero's sculptures which are found along parts of the Esplanade, and the Singapore Art Museum this weekend. Then again, I fear I might not be too tired to travel around.

It looks like this weekend might be spent at home. Rather tired to wish to play the double bass. It is my "husband" and I would like to give it my best playing, so not this weekend. I just hate to have to look forward to an uneventful weekend. I think I will only have the company of my dear double bass to count on.

Now, it looks like I have to put up a sign that says: "Highly irritable blogger. Beware."

So hopefully, there will be an invention that would soothe this highly irritable blogger. I keep my fingers crossed. This will be one of the greatest invention for me now.

Feverish...needing a break

It must have been the infection. I have been feeling feverish of late. Infection sure gets one tired. I wish I could have taken the medical certificate that my dentist had offered. I had declined because I had several appointments the next day, and I had thought that the jaw infection was minor.

Now I think my moods are swinging, and going low. I am looking forward to weekends to get a break. Yet, it is boring to sleep my time away at way, even though I have been feeling tired of late.

For now, I just hope for an imaginary assistant who will help me handle the mundane things that the world has for me. Then, I could have time and the peace of mind to heal from the infection. Now, I just need break.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Roller coaster going down

Going through life seems quite like taking a roller coaster. There is its ups and downs.

It takes effort for the roller coaster to go up, against gravity. It is often an upset of equilibrium to go down suddenly from a seemingly stable point.

I think my roller coaster is going down. I find it hard to fit. The trails aren't the correct measurement for me. I hate to mould myself to suit the trails, and I am simply tempted to derail. Skid off the trail, so be it. Anyway, the fixed paths of the trails aren't meant for a roller coaster like me.

It is possibly getting crazy: The world where the roller coaster lives in seems too harsh to be worth living in. And what keeps it steering against all gravity, is in hope to find some touches of nurturance that could soothe the melancholic spirit within it.

The roller coaster, with its streak of rebelliousness, wishes to set a trail which has not existed, that would set it free from the shackles of the fixed trails. It has a vision of its destination, but its cry is that it did not know where it should go to get there.

So ups and downs it shall travel. Who knows what is install? For now, it feels like crashing into a wall, and simply have an excuse to take a break from its crazy world. Then it shall start again when it has healed from the self-inflicted wounds.

For now, it shall sing its melancholic tune to bring sadness to the air around it. Weep with it, and lend it support, and hopefully one day it gets a lift up, and its tune turns from a minor key to a major one.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Missing Images

I wonder why, I have been having several missing images on my blog. I wonder what has happened to some of the images that I had posted on my two blogs.

Since yesterday evening, I have observed that there are quite a number of "empty rectangles" on my blog. All the result of the missing images. I would be happy to reward the first person who could tell me why I have missing images with a heart-felt "thank you".

For now, I would just have to make do with missing images.

Jaw's swelling, yet another infection

My right lower jaw has started swelling since Monday. I had been contemplating whether to see the dentist. I don't have a fear for dentist, possibly because I have been visiting a dentist quite regularly since my teens because I had to wear braces in those years. I was hesitant to see a dentist more because I was quite concerned whether I was making myself seem quite a paranoid, which admittedly I could be at times. I had visited him in early November because of a sharp sensation at the jaw area, only to find out nothing is really wrong. It is just because the jaw bone is growing, to fill the cavity left by the extraction of the wisdom teeth.

For your information, I had extracted two of my wisdom teeth sometime in September this year.

Just when I was rather undecided whether to visit the dentist, two of my friends urged me to visit him anyway over the MSN. So I went this afternoon, and I am glad that I did.

The dentist examined the affected area, and he said there was pus at the affected area. There was an infection, so he helped cleared the affected area of pus. To do so in a painless way, he had to give me injection of local anaesthetic. This had the lower left side of my face and mouth rather numb.

He said because there was a rather deep cavity left by the extraction of the wisdom tooth on the right side of the lower jaw, and because there was a tiny "pocket" where food particles may seep into the cavity, that is why the infection had occurred. My best bet is that the cavity would be filled up in time to come by jaw bone. If I were to have another infection within the next six months, we may have to consider filling up the cavity with synthetic bone to reduce the risk of further infection.

I just hope that my jaw would heal soon.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Married to the double bass

Perhaps it is because we have spent a reasonable amount of time practising on our instruments, and because we do our best to take good care of our instruments, I am aware of a number of my fellow orchestra members (and other music-instrument players) who often refer their instruments as their "spouse". It is, for me, a way to add a twist of humour to how I am rather attached to my instrument, especially during those times when I am preparing for a concert.

Sometimes, when I speak of my instrument in front of others, I would often refer the double bass as my "husband". I am proud to share that my "husband" is about 2 metres tall. He has a shapely figure, and a nice deep voice (though I would like him to be more resonating). He is a great listener, and he does not argue nor talk back. But it did bother me when his voice goes nasal because of too humid a weather. He is nice to hug, and generous with lending his shoulders in times of my need. He is quite nice to dance with, and I often enjoy the music he sings to me. If I had not given him my "company" for quite a while, he is understanding enough not to complain. I think if I were to go on, I would be guilty of over-personifying "him".

I am quite proud to announce as an instrument player that I am "married" to the double bass. I wonder if I could find anyone nicer who could replace its place in my heart? Probably not, certain things are hard to replace.

Talking about marriage, I have been receiving a few cases that are related to marital issues. This means that I get to see the couples to work with them on their marital concerns. For me, I don't do group work with several couples. I would usually see one couple at a time, and work with each couple on its marital concerns.

This brings me to also recall a seminar on family life that I had attended earlier. There were quite a number of discussions about marriage and how to sustain and enrich a marriage. It seems that marriage is quite a social institution in itself, I had gathered. At the same time, it is rather personal and unique to each couple. Somehow it seems that there are many challenges, at the same time, blessings in trying to keep a marriage going and alive.

For your information, I am not married (except to the double bass), so it does take a lot of humility and a drive to wish to learn to work with married couples on marital issues. So it is likely I would be discussing quite an amount with my supervisor so that I could be able to be more effective in working with the couples. And for an INFJ, reading up helps too. Please don't ask me more, I am not to divulge any information about my clients as these are strictly confidential.

In sheer jest, I should say, it might have been lucky for me that I am married to the double bass. I would probably not have to face the same kind of issues that married couples face. Then again, I am not sure if I am free from problems. I would probably have my own set of challenges to face with the double bass. For one thing, it can't move around unless someone carries it around! Anyway, it is hollow actually, so with skill and a bit more stamina on my part, that should not be too much of a problem.

For now, until there is a very eligible human husband to grow old with, I shall delight in the company of my dear double bass, so ever steady and solid.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Tiring day

Today is quite a tiring day. I had wanted to play on my double bass after work hours, but I am now too tired to set it up and carry it to the room where I usually practice on it.

My right jaw is feeling a little swollen, and I am just keeping my fingers crossed that it isn't an infection at the site of the removed wisdom tooth.

In the midst of this tiring day, I am delighted to receive my pen-pal's letter to me. It came a little later than I had expected, but it delighted me nevertheless. I am pleased to say that I have finished writing my reply to my pen-pal about half an hour ago.

Well, aside from the delightful letter, I guess today's quite a tiring day for me. Today happens to be a rainy Monday, and coincidentally, I have been feeling a little down. "Nothing is really wrong....", anyway, just a tiring day and I am hoping I could get recharged soon.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

A Lovely Brunch at Father Flanagan's

I have my friend to thank for being obliging to my request to have brunch at Father Flanagan's. At the same time, I am sorry to her if I had been a little harsh on her unintentionally over her being late and over the issue of returning me a heavy book so untimely today. Lately, I have been so frustrated with things that I find I needed more effort to be patient and kind. How draining it can be, to be continuously subjecting oneself to matters of frustration. Anyway, this is the Little Prince's rose's way of apologising.

Anyway, we had brunch at Father Flanagan's. I had wanted to get the Brunch Set, but I feared it was too heavy for my appetite, so I settled for the Morning, Noon & Night Fry Up. It consisted of Pork sausage, bacon, tomato, mushrooms, baked beans, fried eggs, chips and thick-cut country toast. It tastes nice, and filling enough for brunch.

I quite like the cosy ambience of Father Flanagan's. I guess I shalln't describe much of it, for it might be better for you to go there and experience it first hand. Anyway, Father Flanagan's is suppose to be designed and built in typical Irish pub style, so this may be sufficient to set you imagining how it would look like.

There was quite a number of folks this afternoon when I was there, mostly non-Asians, who were also enjoying Brunch at Father Flanagan's. We were fortunate to get to listen to an artiste who sang and played on the guitar while we dine away. I quite like his singing and playing, the songs that he performed had been pleasant to listen to. When I asked, I was told that he would only perform during the Sundays of the Christmas season. So for folks who love listening to live music when brunching, please consider going to Father Flanagan's one of these few Sundays.

Hopefully, this lovely brunch will cool me down from my frustrations, and start me on a good note for this week.

Before I end, here's the address of Father Flanagan's: Chijmes, #B1-06; Tel: (65) 6333 1418

  • Opening hours: Sunday & Monday: 11 am - midnight; Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: 11 am - 1 am; Friday & Saturday: 11 am - 2 am. (Happy Hours: 11.30 am - 8 pm)
  • Sunday Brunch from 11.30am to 3pm

The Forbidden Ground

I am thankful that I managed to stick to my plans of going for the history tour of Fort Canning Hill. It has been an enjoyable and informative tour.

If I had gotten it correctly, my tour guide for the tour was Jeya.

It was quite a scorching hot day. Our tour started from the Singapore Philatelic Museum, and we walked up the Fort Canning Hill. I like the tours by The Original Singapore Walks, as they are very informative, and backed up by good historical research. The best thing is that the information is usually easy to be digested even by the lay-person. I think it's wonderful to be able to share one's love for history with others. I wonder what I would need in order to be qualified as one of their tour guides? Anyway, I was to shy to ask Jeya this question. If you happen to be on one of their tours, perhaps you could find this out for me, please?

Fort Canning Hill used to be called the "Forbidden Hill" in the past, because it was a hill for the royalties. It has been interesting for me as a participant of the tour to learn about the rich history of the Fort Canning Hill. I thank the history researchers for taking so much effort and time to uncover the richness of our past.

We visited what was known to be the Keramat of Iskandar Shah, and learnt about ancient history of Singapore that dates back to the 14th century. We also visited the Archaeological Dig Exhibit. I remember that Jeya told us that the different layers of soil "belonged" to soil from different periods of time. It was at about Layer 3 that the archaeologists found a good number of artefacts from about the 14th century, hence supporting that there was already some forms of civilisation in Singapore since that time.

Perhaps it was because I had just returned from a vacation in Penang a month ago, I was quite interested to see how a Pinang tree looked like. So, it didn't surprise me that I was very eager to take a picture of the Pinang tree when Jeya pointed it out to us. During the tour, Jeya pointed to us some other common plants in this region, and gave us some insights on the significance of these plants in this part of the world.

We also went to the site of the old Fort Gate on Fort Canning Hill. Jeya explained to us how the Gate was designed to make the Fort "easy to defend, difficult to attack".

We had also a chance to visit one of the first Christian cemetries in Singapore.

At the end of the tour, I felt more enriched in terms of my knowledge about Singapore's past. I am glad that I took time to come for this tour. It's a tour worth joining if one is interested about the history of Singapore, from 700 years ago to WWII. For more information, do check out: (

On Fort Canning Hiill Posted by Hello

Posted by Hello

Gate of Fort Canning Posted by Hello

Site of a archaeological dig on Fort Canning Hill. Note the different layers of the soil. Posted by Hello

Display of some of the objects discovered from the archaeological dig. Posted by Hello

Pinang tree. This was the tree that Penang was named after. Posted by Hello

Posted by Hello

Posted by Hello

Fort Canning Centre Posted by Hello

Updated on 8 Dec 2007: This tour is now available as a private walk.