Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Elephant's on my mind

After yesterday's lesson, the tune of The Elephant has been ringing on my mind intermittently for today. I keep my fingers crossed that all would go well when I play this double bass solo in Aberdeen in one of the ensemble performances. Afterall, it would probably be one of those few times when I would play double bass solo in front of an audience.

I think about more than five years ago, I had played The Elephant in front of an audience. However during that occassion, I knew most of the audience who heard me played and watched me performed. It was supposedly a music competition, and most participants were members of the Chinese orchestra which I had participated back then.

In that competition more than five years ago, I remembered that one of members from the audience broke into giggles when I played The Elephant. I was up on the stage performing, but I had no clue why this gentleman broke into giggles. I had to remind myself not to be self-conscious, and then continue to play. After the performance, I had spent time reflecting if I had done anything wrong during the performance, but I could not find the answer.

Anyway, I did not believe it when I won the award for "Best Stage-Presence" (which means "Zui4 Jia Tai2 Feng", if I had translated it correctly. In that Chinese orchestra that I was in, Mandarin was the main medium for communication.) I thought it was either there were too few participants vying for the awards or the judges had been too kind.

I did well for The Elephant but I had also played Saint-Saen's The Swan. I must be honest to tell you that I did not play The Swan (written for the cello) too well on the double bass. I could only manage to complete performing both works without a major hiccup, though I was almost at the verge of stopping my playing of The Swan halfway because I had difficulties reaching a particular series of notes. I have learnt that it was a bad move to play something that was beyond my standard then. The judges had feedback to me after the competition, but they said given that I could still continue despite all, they were willing to consider me for the award.

So I have learnt not to be too ambitious and over-stretch myself too much. Of course, I must admit that at least before year 2004, I may be guilty of not being confident to attempt playing works that could have been within my abilities with much practice. Strangely, having a Grade 7 pass could boost my confidence a little, such that I was more willing to try. I guess I have realised that if I don't try, I may end up too old when I wish to try. Furthermore, life can be short, and we would never know when our days would be due.


If you would like to know why the gentleman mentioned earlier had giggled half-way during my playing, I was just as curious. So I asked him. He was one of the friends of one of the participants. He said something like this: "I could visualise a elephant in my mind, when I heard you playing The Elephant, so I was amused and laughed."

Should I take that as a compliment?


Looking back, my interpretation of The Elephant had changed, especially after yesterday's double bass lesson. I began to view this work in a slightly different light. I am more confident in my playing than before, I would suppose? Yet, there are still some slight bugging thoughts whether I could perform just as well in front of an audience. I guess to curb that, I would have to play in front of an audience more often. I could start off with playing to a few close friends. Next, I could play to a larger group.

I think "the elephant" depicted in my current interpretation would be a much larger and better developed elephant than the one that I had depicted more than five years ago. The elephant depicted more than five years ago was probably a skinny, tiny and young elephant who could dance fast, but did not dance with maturity. It seems like "the elephant" has developed over these years, and became more mature in its "dancing".

This time in Aberdeen, while I prefer not to be complimented with giggles from the audience, I would hope that some of them would swing and dance away with the more developed and matured "elephant". It would be fun and pleasant to see people dance away with my music, I think.


This title of this post is meant to be deciphered. Read it in the reverse direction. This is what I have been feeling at the work place. Too much work seems uncleared. I could only learn to be kind on myself by reminding myself that my in-tray will still not be empty on my last days, and that I need to care for myself in order to run this marathon race of life.

Who hears my cries anyway?
I guess I have to count on the readership and moral support of fellow bloggers who visit this site.

Anyway, it still hurts my ribs to cough. The only consoling thing is that I have been trying to cough in a way that may not bring as much pain to the ribs.

It helps to bring some relief to my life to embrace myself in the arms of the double bass. This afternoon, I had double bass lesson with my double bass tutor. It has been interesting and inspiring to have lessons with him.

We went through Saint-Saens' The Elephant. He showed me ways to interpret this piece of work, and the different characteristics of the various passages. I felt more confident after lessons to play this work in Aberdeen. Must thank my tutor. He said I could try to imagine an elephant dancing. Then he said I could think of one of the passages as the elephant turning (like a merry-go-round). Those words did make some sense. Maybe I should go and visit the zoo to see the elephants, and observe how they dance and turn.

Then I decided I should do justice to practise the studies from F. Simandl's New Method for the Double Bass Book II, so I asked my tutor to enlighten me on how to play the harmonics on the the double bass. Not the usual harmonics that we would get to use when we are playing orchestra works, but those harmonics that might be rarely used in playing orchestra works and yet would be often used when playing double bass concertos. Learnt quite a bit. He shared about the physics behind the production of harmonics.

Later, had dinner. Then had double bass sectionals. We played the fourth movement of Tcahikovsky's Fifth Symphony. I quite like the trill of playing this movement. It was embarrasing that I discovered that I had been playing one of the notes wrongly all these while. Nevermind, at least I know now, and I had corrected my mistake.

Orchestra rehearsal was spent playing the Butterfly Lovers Concerto. The violin soloist was not around, but we had two members from the first violin section who took turns to attempt to play the solo parts. I am impressed at their memory. I think they managed to play the solo parts from memory. I need to work on playing music from memory.

Together as an orchestra, we also went through the first and second movement of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. I hope that one day we would be able to play the entire Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony from the first to the final movement. I am looking forward to that day, and to playing the symphony in Aberdeen.

So while I did feel "demlehwrevo" (to be deciphered) at work, life has been more fruitful and meaningful with playing music. Playing music can be such a joy. So here, I hope for my readers that they would too find something that would bring simple joy to their life.

Finding some simple important element that would help me steer through the ups and downs in life.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Life seems to head for an end?

I am getting morbid. Likely.

This afternoon, I was scheduled to attend to all walk-ins to our centre. I had to do a suicide risk assessment for someone who had made enquiry at our centre. No further details to be released here. I am just sharing a glimpse of some of the work that I do as a social worker. So, to broaden your knowledge base, please click on this link to get some insights on what to do when someone you know might be suicidal.

My cough persists. Now, when I do cough, my right ribs hurt. I don't know if I should cough or not. If I cough, it hurts. If I don't, my throat feels awfully irritated and in need to be cleared. It feels as if I am suffering, though not intensively yet.

JY told me over the MSN of a story of a friend of hers who coughed till there's a crack in her ribs, and had to stay at home for two weeks. Maybe this would be the way for me to get my well-deserved rest? Maybe I would rather not have such kind of rest? I have better things to be done.

I am not sure if I would be patient enough with doctors to go through the entire check-up routine once again. So for now, I shall be reluctant towards seeing a specialist. I think I would rather suffer in pain than be put through the frustrations of going through all medical examinations. Those frustrations can make me cry, silently to myself.

I wish I could wake up tomorrow to find that pain in the ribs going away. Maybe it would end up to be a wishful thinking on my end?

Monday, June 27, 2005

Sunday and Monday in one

I do not know if it is a good thing to have an sensitive nose cum respiratory system. For the past few weeks, I have been coughing. Firstly, with such sensitive system, I would take longer than usual time to recover from flu and coughs. Next, when I am exposed to poor air, I start to cough too. Furthermore, my coughs are generally forceful ones, and lately, my chest has been feeling the impacts of my forceful coughs. It tends to hurt when I cough.

I could only hope that the cough would get better.

Yesterday, we had orchestra rehearsal. The double bass section was made up of an all-female team yesterday. We played "Dance of the Yao". Playing it reminded me of the times when I played this work in the Chinese orchestra. The modern Chinese orchestra also uses the double bass as a lower-string instrument. It was, to the best of my knowledge, to replace the (diyin) "ge-hu" which looks similar to the "er-hu" but is much much bigger. Imagine how much area of snake skin would be needed to make the relevant part of the ge-hu. Click here for more information on the ge-hu.

The rest of the rehearsals was spent predominantly on rehearsing the Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. Anyway, I like the symphony. It suited my melancholic moods. We started with the second movement. It was moving, in my opinion. Next was the third movement. I wished that we could have played the fourth movement, but we did not.

After rehearsals, I left to have dinner at the Soup Spoon. I quite like Soup Spoon. I am a soup lover. I tried the garden salad and a soup with lots of vegetables. I am more a vegetable-lover than a meat-lover. Maybe I had better eating experiences with vegetables than with meat?

After dinner, I headed for the Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay. For Swan Lake.

I had my double bass bow and bow case with me last evening, and had to place it at the baggage counter. The rule by the Esplanade is that no bulky items would be allowed into the theatre and the concert hall.

The staff tried to show me exactly how they would place my bow case. It was fine that they left it on the top of the shelves. But when I tried to claim it after the entire performance, I saw it was left on the floor below the table. Gosh, I cannot imagine what would happen if some animal were to crawl on the floor, or someone were to kick it by mistake? I could only give the Esplanade's staff the benefit of the doubt that they had feared that my bow case would fall down from the shelves, hence the change in where the bow case was placed during the collection time.

I decided that I shall not place my bow case with the baggage counter. I shall insist that it is a valuable and that since the Esplanade does not want to be held responsible for any damage of the item, it better allow me in with my bow case. For goodness sake, the bow would cost more than $500. More than my digital camera. More importantly, it is invaluable, I have been using the bow and it now gives a nice seasoned sound when I bow it across the double bass strings. This is not something that money can easily buy.

Yes, Swan Lake is lovely. I like the dances. The female lead was spinning all on her own during one of the acts, and for about one minute. This must have been a feat. I especially like the dances where the "swans" danced in flocks. The choreography is splendid.

The best part is that there is a live orchestra accompanying the dances. I love it. The dances were scored to the music of Tchaikovsky, and my only comment is that the music is nice. Having live music sure beats having recorded music. No wonder that I enjoyed Swan Lake more than the Rite of Spring from the Stravinsky Dances. The Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra had played well. It was a great treat to be able to see the dances while listening to the music. The music simply comes to life, and makes more sense than if it were to be played alone.

By the time I reached home, it was close to midnight. I only went to bed at about 1 a.m. So it seemed that Sunday and Monday have become one long day.

When I woke up this morning, I was feeling the Monday blues. I wished I had more time to rest, and I have to learnt to be realistic that I must pick myself up to face the week ahead.

I tried to clear some work but there are still more to be done. I doubt I have been inefficient, so how on earth do you get a fairly efficient person to do more work than he/ she could manage, on the pretext of increasing efficiency? I think the best way is to just believe that if one could do that, the efficient person would have been dead very soon. So I shall learn to pace myself in appropriately ways. I am happy to be productive, but I can get overwhelmed if I get too much work than I can handle. Who would empathise with me?

Most of the afternoon was spent attending a briefing. So this meant that I had less time at the office to clear my paperwork.

I am hoping to write a testimonial for someone. Would anyone like to share formats for well-written testimonials with me? You might be doing this someone a good favour.

Meantime, I just hope to recharge for the day ahead. I am trying to keep myself going.

World's Shortest Personality Test

After much contemplation, I chose the image found below, and here are my results:

You are dependable, popular, and observant.
Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.
In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.

You are unique, creative, and expressive.
You don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.
And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Declaring a break

I am feeling very tired. It is Sunday, and my weekend for the week will soon end. I have not have enough chance to recharge myself. I am just keeping my fingers crossed that the orchestra rehearsal later this afternoon would help recharge me.

I just played The Elephant by Saint Saens on my double bass about 40 minutes ago. I am contemplating whether I should ask the strings to accompany me to play this work in Aberdeen during one of those ensemble performances. It is a Grade 5 piece, and I should be reasonably competent to play it despite having limited time to practise. I am still undecided. I don't know if I would have enough time to practise with the accompaniment. The only consoling thing is that the accompaniment parts should be relatively manageable. The best part is that I have the original scores. I am trying to do my part to use original scores and respect copyright materials. Yet, I must admit, it can be an inconvenient and expensive affair at times. Despite playing on the double bass, I did not feel recharged. I must have been too tired. Yet, I could not say that playing on the double bass had not been at all fruitful, at least it brought me some companionship this morning.

In addition, I am keeping my fingers crossed that I won't end up half-awake when I catch the Swan Lake production later this evening. I am looking forward to listen to the dance production. Yes, listening. The dance by the Royal Ballet will be set to Tchaikovsky's music. The Ballet will be accompanied by the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, one of China's most prestigious orchestras, under the baton of Russian conductor Valery Ovsyanikov. So if I cannot understand the dance steps, I can still enjoy the music.

Dear fellow readers, thank you for your support and readership. For the next fornight ahead, I may not post everyday. I need some time to rest and to catch up on my rest. I seek your kind understanding. Meantime, please feel free to read my previous posts saved in the archives.

Of course, I have a feeling that my need to write so as to express would make me end up writing almost everyday again. Nevertheless, I doubt I would truly post everyday for the next two weeks. As such, I declare slowing down where blogging is concerned.

Meantime, please take good care too. I know for many of you, you are also facing tight deadlines and loads of work. Please know that you are in my thoughts. Even though I am slowing down in the blogosphere, I will continue to be cheering for you and giving you my moral support.

Draw a Pig

I found this test from JY's blog.

Click on this link to view my drawing for this test. It sure was challenging to draw with a mouse.

The analysis:
You drew the pig:
Toward the bottom, you are pessimistic, and have a tendency to behave negatively.

Facing front, you are direct, enjoy playing devil's advocate and neither fear nor avoid discussions.

With few details, you are emotional and naive, they care little for details and are a risk-taker.

With 4 legs showing, they are secure, stubborn, and stick to their ideals.

The size of the ears indicates how good a listener you are.
The bigger the better. You drew medium sized ears, you are a good listener

The length of the tail indicates the quality of your sex life.
And again more is better! You drew medium sized tail

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Locked myself out

Here goes what I would describe as a freak incident. I locked myself out of my office this afternoon.

The worst thing was that I was the only person in the office and no one else was inside the office to help me open the door. I have no mobile phone with me, and my memory did not contain any trace of any of my colleague's phone number. None.

You bet I was at a lost of what to do. I could only remind myself to stay calm to find a way out.

I had thought of finding a locksmith to help. But I don't even have a wallet or any cash to pay him. My belongings have been locked up inside the office. I don't even have a single cent on me then. Anyway, I figured that I could pay later if I had managed to get the locksmith to open the door.

Then again, my office's main-door operates based on the use of access card. Unless one has the proper access card, forget about entering. Well, unless someone inside the office is nice enough to open the door for one by using the access button found inside the office. The best part was that I did not have my access card with me when the door unintentionally closed and locked itself. I had wanted to pull the door-shuttle down but I did not realise that the main-door had closed and locked me out. I had left the card on my table.

Surely there must have been a way out. I went to the neighbouring shops to ask for a locksmith. I was pointed to a hardware shop but it had no locksmith. So I came out of it. Yet, two men sitting nearby the shop pointed me to the same hardware shop, so I decided to go in and ask again. Again? And get the same answer? Anyway, I tried.

The shop did not have a locksmith, but when I told them my plightful encounter, the female boss allowed me to use the shop's phone to call for help. I saw that the male boss had been to my office on a few occassions to help us service some of the appliances in the office. I suppose he could recognise me and believe in my story?

Think of it again, even if I did find a locksmith, it may not be of much use, because the main-door operates with the use of the access card. So I figured that I must somehow find a way to get hold of one of the access cards held by any of the staff in the organisation.

The trick is, I don't remember any of my colleague's phone number. I had never commit phone numbers to my memory ever since I started using the mobile phone. The only number I could possibly remember at the tip of my fingertips are my home's number, my office's number and my grandmother's number. Maybe a few emergency number like SOS hotline, police hotline, ambulance hotline. Look at how technology has made me complacent in not remembering phone numbers. Then again, look at how technology has saved my memory from too much work.

So I took the chance to call home. I was lucky, I think. One of my brother was at home, and he picked up the phone. I have a feeling that if I had called him a little later, he might have left home. Anyway, I asked my brother to search a few places where I think may contain the contact numbers of my colleagues. His first few attempts were in vain, and he could not find the contact numbers in those places. I really had to keep my cool to try to remember the possible places that I could have left the contact numbers at home. Actually, I had kept the most updated contact list in my bag, and it was locked up in the office. If I could find any contact numbers, those would be from an old contact list.

I felt a little embarrassed that I had to bother the shop and its owners to allow me to use the phone. At the same time, I don't know what else to feel except a tinge of embarrassment and lots of gratitude.

Finally, after some search, my brother found the contact list. It was an old one. Some of the colleagues on that contact list have already left the organisation. Anyway, I asked him to list down the contact numbers of those who are still in the organisation and are in Singapore today (Two of my colleagues are now overseas for vacation). The shop owners were kind enough to lend me use its pen and paper.

After writing down the contact numbers of my colleagues, I started calling. First call was to someone who lives near the office. She does not have a handphone so I called her on her residential phone number. No response. I supposed she was not at home.

Next call was to a colleague who lives in the estate, but much further. I cannot believe that I had actually volunteered to walk to where he stays to get the access card. I had no cash on me, and if I were to walk there, I think it might take about 30 minutes just to get there and I have no idea how to get there. Anyway, he shared that he was on his way to a relative's place. The good news is that the relative's place was still within reasonable walking distance from my office. So we agreed to meet him there. By the time I reached the meeting point, he had just reached there (I suppose?). Thank goodness I could get his help to get a access card.

With the access card, I travelled back to office. Imagine, it was past office hours this afternoon and I had stayed back in office to clear my piles of work. Unexpected to me, I locked myself out of my office. At the back of my mind, I wonder if I had been torturing myself by staying back in the office. What a way to repay someone who decides to work hard by clearing work on a Saturday afternoon which was outside the official office hours. Anyway, the access card works wonders. It opened the door!

So I could finally get into the office (without breaking the glass door), gain access to my belongings, and continue to do my work.

I am thankful to these people for helping me out of this situation of being locked out of my office. They are: the shop owners mentioned earlier, my dear brother, and my colleague who lent me his access card. Thank you very much.

What a fright I had when I found myself locked out of the office. Anyway, I guess the moral of the story is that stay calm and keep one's cool, the solution is likely come, somehow.

Prince Charming

If you were to ask me, my prince charming will be my dear double bass. He looks so solid and sturdy. If you doubt my words, please click on this link to take a look at my dear double bass.

Work has been busy and for the past week my health has not been good. I seem to be losing time to spend with my prince charming. When I do practise on the double bass, I ended up spending more time practising on the double bass belonging to the orchestra. That is yet another prince charming. I could only be very thankful that the two prince charmings are unlikely to be jealous with each other. They are devoted and loving instruments, aren't they?

Anyway, last night, I spent about 45 minutes with my prince charming, that belongs to yours truly (and not the orchestra). I attempted to practise and work through the first few pages from F. Simandl's New Method for the Double Bass Book II (Edited and Annotated by Lucas Drew). Book II is more challenging than Book I. I am hoping to work through more pages of Book II.

It was pleasant to spend time with Prince Charming, otherwise referred to as my husband. He brings me some joy after a very long and tiring day. Actually, I was so tired that I had not wanted to spend time with him initially. Anyway, I was glad that I did spend time with practising.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Destination Europe: A European Odyssey

Today, I received an email from the Singapore History Museum, and I was notified that there will be a photography exhibition held at the Singapore History Museum from 8 – 31 Jul 2005.

Here is the synopsis:
See Europe through this photography exhibition as James, Jonathan, Jeremy, Willy and Triston share their journey through Europe from the Ardennes to the Bosphorus in a selection of 30 images

Admission: Free

Address of the Singapore History Museum: 30 Merchant Road, #03-09/17, Riverside Point Singapore 058282.

Tel: (65) 6332 3659 / 6332 5642 / 6332 4075 / 6332 3251

For more information, please log on to
There are several nice photographs on the blog. Do take a look at the blog.

I am hoping to catch it to get some inspirations and insights into taking photographs of Europe.

Meantime, I wish I can take nice photographs like the photographers participating in the exhibition.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Encore Galore

Yes, I did the case presentation, and it went on better than I had thought. I had managed to gather some invaluable contributions from my colleagues, and I suppose this would help me work more effectively with that client in concern.

I still have yet to clear my work to a level whereby I am only left with a manageable amount of backlog. I have accepted the fact that having some backlog might be inevitable. However, not too much please.

There are a lot of case recordings to be written, and I could only manage by delaying to complete the case recordings. Thank goodness that I have scribbled sufficient case notes for me to write the case recordings a week or two later. Else I fear forgetting what had transpired in the session.

If I could afford it, I might consider hiring a cheering team to cheer me on during this time of heavy workload. I am trying hard to clear as much work as possible so that I have less work-related things to worry about when I go to Aberdeen this August.

I attended a concert by the Chamber Orchestra "Moscow Virtuosi". The artistic director and Chief Conductor of this chamber orchestra is Maestro Vladimir Spivakov.

Maestro Vladimir Spivakov was the violin soloist for the Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in E minor, F.I. 37 (RV 278). I like the tone, he was able to produce a clear tone on his violin. He also was one of the violin soloists for J.S. Bach's Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043. I prefer his tone to the other violin soloists.

For this concert, my ears got quite attentive to Bela Bartok's Divertissement. The chamber orchestra played pretty clearly and musically, and somehow my ears which did not have a preference for 20th century music were also captivated by the interesting rhythms and textures.

Concluding the published programme for the concert was Haydn's Symphony No. 45 in F sharp minor, Hob. I:45 "Farewell". The history behind this symphony goes like this: Hadyn was a court composer, and was in the service of Prince Nikolaus Eszterhazy. At the prince's summer house, Hadyn and his musician were expected to perform to the prince's pleasure, often incurring long hours and many weeks away from their families. In 1772, Hadyn composed this symphony to remind the prince subtly that the musicians needed their rest too.

So Hadyn wrote the symphony in such a way that at the final movement, the music got slower and slower and the musicians were seen to depart from the stage until by the work's end, there were only two musicians who remained. So I got to witness the visual display of the orchestra gradually diminishing in its forces. (As if to bid the patron "farewell") How ingenious. So the story goes that the prince took the hint and granted the musicians and Hadyn a well-deserved break.

Now, could anyone grant me mine?

Encore galored following the symphony. I think the orchestra must have played at least four encores. I can't remember what encores it had played, but I like the way that the orchestra played the encores. I felt that the orchestra musicians enjoyed themselves and were more spontaneous when they played the encores.

The encores ended my attendance of the concert in a pleasant manner. For the first half of the concert, I was only half-awake due to a tiring work day. I think I truly became fully awake to enjoy the concert towards the end of Hadyn's Farewell Symphony's final movement and also during the encores.

Personality Test again

I saw this on JY's blog, and I did this test:

If you care to wish to try for the sheer fun of it, you may. I don't quite agree with the fifth statement. There must have been some error?

Anyway, here is the analysis,:

1. You are a very serious person. You tend to be quiet and well behaved, and you don't have a great deal of self-confidence. You prefer to be alone rather than with friends and that could make you a little less interesting to certain types of guys. You are very attractive in an individual kind of way, and this means it can take people a little while to get to like you.

2. You really care about other people's feelings and are quite serious about the issues that affect your life. You are sincere, and your concern for the well-being of others makes many people want to be your friend.

3. You are a bright, cheerful and bubbly person. You are thoughtful and considerate, and like to have fun. Everybody feels comfortable around you because of your pleasant nature. When you walk into a room, people's eyes are likely to be drawn to you because of your charm.

4. Guys see you as being a thinker and a careful person. They will be really attracted to this quality in you, but you need to learn to speak your mind, otherwise people will find you too shy and quiet. Learn to relax and lighten up--it's okay to have fun sometimes. When you learn to develop your fun-loving side, guys are going to flock to your side.

5. Your boyfriend thinks that you are a real doll but this is not a totally positive thing. Sometimes you can be a bit too sweet, and come across as being helpless. If you're like this too frequently, your boyfriend and other people are likely to get tired of you having to rely on them all the time.

To take the test, please visit:

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Presentation tomorrow

I had just reached home about 25 minutes ago. From orchestra rehearsals. Playing music in the orchestra has been fun.

Today I had double bass sectionals with my section-mates. We played Mendelssohn's Fingals Cave, and also Chen Gang and He Zhan-hao's Butterfly Lovers. A good one hour session.

Then there was orchestra rehearsal. We played Chen Gang and He Zhan-hao's Butterfly Lovers, Mendelssohn's Fingals Cave, and finally part of the first movement from Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5.

I have to present a case to my colleagues during tomorrow's case presentation. I have yet to fully prepare for it. I have tried to, but still could not finish it when I was due to leave office. I did not want to be late for the double bass sectionals, so I made it a point to leave office by 4.30 p.m. I was, by the way, taking some time-off from work this afternoon.

For now, I keep my fingers crossed that the presentation tomorrow would go on fine. I have only about less than an hour to prepare for it tomorrow morning. Wish me luck and send me some support. I would greatly appreciate all your warm wishes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Meme: 5 Things I Miss

Lora tagged me with this meme. Permit me to attempt this then.

First, the procedure:
Remove the blog at #1 from the following list and bump every one up one place; add your blog’s name in the #5 spot; link to each of the other blogs for the desired cross pollination effect.

1. The Cerebral Outpost @
2. JustaskJudy @
3. Loose Leaf @
4. Black Currant Jam @
5. Pei Yun @

Next, five things I miss about my childhood:

I miss the time when my father would bring myself and my brother to various places of interests upon my request. We have been to places like the zoo, the bird-park, museums etc. There were time when we went almost every Sunday.

Come to think of it again, it might have been a luxury. Admission charges for some of the places can be not too cheap considering that my father has to pay for himself and the children. Furthermore, there are costs involved eating out and getting to the places by public transport. Yet my father still took time to take us there.

Maybe I must learn to be more appreciative of his way of showing love to us children. I tend to feel that while my parents may love me but they don't quite know how. But I guess I have to gradually learn to receive their love in the way they best know how to give?

I miss the time when my maternal grandmother would cook various dishes for our meals. She used to live with our family, and was the caregiver for me and my brothers. Now she is living in a different household, I do miss her cooking and her concern.

I miss having to show off my drawings and artworks to my grandmother after I have completed them. Please know that I have a huge craving for praises and positive attention. By the way, I think I should have drawn relatively well to deserve some praises. And of course, I did.

I miss being able to find interest in tagging along with my mother when she goes shopping. I remember she brought me and my brother to various shopping centres in Singapore at least once a fornight. Then when we were out at the shopping centres, myself and my brother would try to amuse ourselves by going to the children's corner (if there was any), or going to the children's section and try out the toys. If I were to tag along with my mother now, I fear I might be bored from shopping, or I might be stressed by having to bear with the crowds.

I miss the time when I go out for excursions organised by the school or the Social Studies Club that I was participating in. I like outings.

Finally the tags
I am asking if the following people might wish to respond to this meme:
Mistipurple (when she is very free), Emily (when she needs a break from music), JY (if she won't mind sharing) and Crazy Cat (when she feels like it).

Thanks for responding, if you have decided to.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Could I survive it all?

Tiring day.

There seems to be heaps of work at the workplace. I shall remind myself not to take up more than I can do. Yet, it seemed like that while I try to close my cases, I end up opening more cases than I have closed. So, it seems, my workload has only chances to increase.

The only consoling things are that I closed a case today, and contacted a few clients whom I had not been taking initiative to contact because I was held up by other work. Then I managed to send a social report out. At least the efforts put into work today won't be too wasted.

Cough remains bad. There's more blood in the phlegm this morning. I could only be thankful that there was no more blood in the phlegm in the later part of the day. For the past day, it seemed as if the blood in the phlegm only appears in the early parts of the day. I keep my fingers crossed that I would get better from the cough. My voice is obviously getting weaker from too much coughing.

My supervisor was thoughtful to get me to try a cough syrup for me. I tried it. Then again, I am not sure if I should drink it tomorrow if she were to offer me that again. I just saw the Chinese traditional medicine doctor this evening after a late session and long day at work, and I was prescribed a new medicine. It may not be advisable to take two different medicine from two different sources. I have no idea how my body may respond to two different treatments for cough.

Stretched is the word, probably. I am trying to be effective, yet my health could not support me to work too hard. So I could only remember this fact and slow down.

I do not like the idea of too much work outstanding. At this rate, before I resign to my fate, I shall consider seriously whether the profession would be for me. Maybe I might be happier trying to pursue my hobbies, i.e. photography, music and visual arts? I needed space, flexibility and room to grow. Work can be satisfying, but too much, I would start to feel overwhelmed.

I can't help but to think that life is indeed one with its sets of pains and tragedies. So I changed my MSN nickname to something that reflects the tragedy side of life.

What I could take comfort in is that the intensity from the tinge of sadness has been reduced. I thank those of you who have left me your well-wishes and concerns. Thank you very much.

Actually, not surviving well, I seemed to be. I just want to hang on there, and have faith that things would improve for me.

Maybe I shall take some breaks here and there from blogging. Then again, I should say that blogging is in itself a therapy for me. It helps to have a space to express oneself.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

It's Sunday

It is Sunday. The tinge of sadness that I felt seemed to continue to lurk within me, although its degree is less intense as compared to yesterday.

So I spent a part of the morning listening to Chinese pop music that sounded melancholic. I have a liking for melancholic tunes, it seems.

Disciplined, I must have been. I took time to practise on my dear instrument, the double bass in the morning. Practised A major scales and arpeggios, and this took about 20 minutes. I shall take comfort that I have managed to find a friend in the double bass, he brings some comfort to ease that tinge of sadness in me.

At noon, I met one of my good friends, E. for lunch. The lunch was meant to celebrate her birthday in advance. It has been quite a while since I last met her.

It was rather unexpected that E. had prepared a gift for me, though I think she shouldn't have. It looked nice, and I appreciated the warm thoughts behind. Now I have to figure when I could wear it. Thanks for the gift, E.

We had lunch at one of the restaurants at Holland Village. Holland Village is supposedly extremely popular with both locals and expatriates. It offers one a good selection of shopping and dining.

Lunch was nice especially when there was company from a good friend. The food was satisfactory. We spent time catching up over lunch. Also presented my birthday gift to my friend. I hope she would like it and find it useful. Lunch was nice despite that it could not be too long. I had to attend orchestra rehearsals after lunch. Nevertheless, despite being short, it has been a heart-warming meet-up this afternoon.

My friend was kind and thoughtful, and offered to drive me to the isolated rehearsal venue. I'm thankful for the ride, at least I could have a little bit more time to spend with my friend. Wishing her good health, speedy recovery, a Happy Birthday and dreams to come true.

So after I parted with E., I went for orchestra rehearsal. We started with the Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto composed by Chen Gang and He Zhan-hao. It sounded better. I felt a little challenged by some of the passages that contain less common rhythms. Yours truly is not as strong in rhythms, and I have to work more on it.

After the short break, we played the fourth movement from Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. You might have guessed it that I like playing that symphony. Somehow, it reminded me that life can have its tragedies, and yet there will be moments of triumphs.

We played Mendelssohn's Fingals Cave thereafter. I shall still continue to work on it at a slower tempo when I practise this individually. It is a difficult piece to play given its much faster original tempo. I could only have faith that practice would make perfect. Also, I should learn not to scare myself. It may be difficult to play, but it can be achievable with practice.

After rehearsals, I travelled home via bus. Prior to getting a public bus home, one of the orchestra mates and his mother have been nice to offer a few of us a ride to the bus interchange. I was quite tired such that I was sleeping during the bus journey home.

Just a moment ago, I was trying to select the concerts that I would like to subscribe to for the concerts performed by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

In the evening, I was just trying my best to rest and relax. The week ahead sounds like one with loads of responsibilities and things-to-do. I shall try to hang on.

To see a specialist or not

When I met up with Mystic yesterday, she made a request if I could see a specialist soon for my bugging cough.

I must have been awfully tired of visiting the specialists and the doctors. The past few times that I saw the specialists, they had no clear diagnosis to my cough problems. Somehow, cough seems to be plaguing me since I was young. It often takes ages for me to recover from cough, and I cough very badly most of the times when I do get a cough.

The last time I saw a specialist, I was prescribed Flixonase, a nasal spray containing an amount of steriods. I had to go through examinations and tests.

I must say, I am resistant to the idea of seeing a specialist. My experiences with specialists have not been fruitful enough for me to consider it as an early option.

Yet, sometimes the cough can get quite bad. Today, I found strains of blood in my phlegm. I must have coughed too badly and heavily.

I am still resistant to seeing a specialist. I have kind of lose hopes in curing the cough. Maybe to the point that I am resigned to the possibility of dying from it. Then again, I learnt to have faith that life has much pleasant affairs installed for me despite its ups and downs. I should at least give a serious consideration about seeing a specialist despite my unwillingness. There are still much to be explored in this short lifetime.

For now, I am contemplating. But please do not push me into it. I hate to be pushed into doing things, terribly.

What I look for in a friend?

I remembered Mystic asked me this question and I was sorry that I had not answered her then and there. I needed time and space to verbalise my answers.

So I try to ask myself what I would look for in a good friend. Here are some of my thoughts. Not in order of priority. :

1) A respectful companion who would remember that I tend to get overwhelmed with noise and too much activity in my external environment.

2) A friend who would be patient with me. I can get indecisive, irritable, insolent, unwell and/or unpredictable at times.

3) A friend who would remember to respect my need for space, and quiet time to reflect. I needed lots of space.

4) A friend who would try to seek to understand me and my idiosyncrasies. Despite me being hard to be understood many of the times.

5) A friend who would be willing to allow me to express myself in writings than verbally. I feel more comfortable expressing myself in writing.

6) A friend who would be willing to spend occassional time walking about places with me. Many of the times, I needed to soothe those feelings of sadness, hurt, uncertainties and disappointments that life may present, and walking helps to soothe many of the times.

7) A friend who cares to share part of his/her world with me. I care to listen and to seek to understand.

8) A friend could have differing outlooks to life than me, and I value these differences because they expand my view of the world.

9) A friend who would recognise that I do not enjoy answering questions verbally and would not pursue or pressurise me if I were to choose not to answer.

10) This is what I value quite a lot: A friend who lends encouragement and support whenever needed.

11) Show me his/ her concern when needed. I can get touched easily, even if I don't show it openly.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Journey of Faith

Emily asked me if I would like to go for this. Sure, I definitely would.

For those who are in Singapore or will be visiting Singapore between 18 June to 9 October 2005, check this out.

Journey of Faith
Art & History from the Vatican Collections

Venue: Asian Civilisations Museum,
Empress Place
18 June to 9 October 2005

Explore the resplendent collections from the Vatican Museums. Fascinating artefacts include a papal tiara and throne, badges worn by pilgrims during the 15th century, and works of art by famous Renaissance painters such as Raphael, Veronese and Guido Reni.

Opening Hours of the Museum:
Mondays : 1 pm to 7.00 pm
Tuesdays to Sundays : 9.00 am to 7.00 pm
Late Night openings on Fridays : Till 9.00 pm

Admission Charges: Please click on this link.


For more information, please contact the Museums’ front desk at Tel:6332 7798 (ACM,Empress Place).

My Love Type

I was prompted to try this test when I saw it on one of my friends' website. Furthermore, Mystic was trying to sound me out to go for this activity organised by the Social Development Unit. She said she read that there will be an activity for singles to visit the art museum and urged me to go. I am really not sure if the Social Development Unit does organise such kinds of activities. I am not a member of it, and I do not quite wish to be one.

Actually, I would prefer not to visit the art museum in big groups. I find it difficult to view the exhibits at my pace when I am in big groups, except if I was going on a guided tour. I think I could make a potential museum guide.

I shall rather just be happily single for now. Love may come when one least expect it? For now, I have my dearest instrument, the double bass, as my most faithful friend and companion.

Maybe the test below reveals why I think the double bass is still my best friend, and beloved "husband".

Your #1 Love Type: INFJ

The Protector

In love, you strive to have the perfect relationship.
For you, sex is nearly a spiritual experience, a bonding of souls.

Overall, you have high expectations for any relationship you're in.
However, you tend to hold back a part of yourself.

Best matches: ENTP and ENFP

Your #2 Love Type: ENFJ

The Giver

In love, you give your all and feel guilty when relationships fail.
For you, sex is not separate from love and caring.

Overall, you are humorous, giving, and motivational.
However, you tend to be over-protective and critical of your partner.

Best matches: INFP or ISFP

Lunch with Mystic

It has been a while since I last met up with Mystic. After much contemplation on my end, we finally settled for lunch at Kenny Rogers'.

Mystic must have been extremely patient with me to bear with my indecisiveness in the choice of a lunch venue. So I'll thank her. I guess she must have been tolerating with my weird sense of humour throughout the time we had today too. I think she probably may not appreciate my sense of humour at all?

I am actually feeling a tinge of sadness today. That tinge of sadness started bugging me in the early afternoon.I do not know if this has any relation with what I had wrote in my previous post. If it has, it must have been unconsciously making me feel the sadness.

I suppose life simply has its pains which challenge us to find ways to strengthen ourselves against these pains?

Lunch was good. I have enjoyed Mystic's company and her friendship. I thank her for allowing me to talk about issues that could boost up my ego. I thank her for her presence and respectful companionship.

But I do realise I might not be doing her justice as a friend for I have much difficulties sharing with her my world and to let her gain some access to my sacred inner self. Yet, I guess for me today, it was just simply rather painful to share my world verbally. Even if it was any other day, verbalising that inner world of mine is a feat for me. I guess that is why I could end up being hard to be understood?

After lunch, Mystic was nice to lend me her company to get a birthday gift for one of my friends (but not the one mentioned in the previous post).

For me, I tried to go along with Mystic to window-shop in some of the shops of her interests, but I had probably failed miserably in my attempts. I had not much mood to shop actually. I could not make sense of that tinge of sadness in me. There seemed no reason for its presence. I could just cope by requesting to walk aimlessly about places. Walking often helps to soothe.

I was hoping that Mystic may not see through my act of vulnerability and question it. At the same time, I was hoping I could have done enough of the walking before Mystic and I have to part for the day, so that I don't have to face that bugging and unknown tinge of sadness alone.

The day is not one full of sadness actually. I heard one of my clients thank me for my work with her. I felt appreciated, and at the same time, I must say that she deserves a lot of credit too for moving to where she is now. In fact, she owe it all to herself. She reminded me that despite being vulnerable, we as human beings, do have the strength to deal with life's challenges and the pains that life may bring. I thank her for reminding me of this invaluable insight.

A friend's birthday

Today is the birthday of one of my friends. Happy Birthday to this friend.

But sadly to say, I had no blessing to keep and maintain the friendship. Somehow, some years ago, it just went away like a bubble blown into the air, and "pop" it goes. Despite attempts to save the friendship, it seemed it had to end. I was upset and disappointed, but I have learnt to respect and allow my friend to make the choice.

So I just have to learn to move on with my life (and continue to make friends with others) and send this friend of mine my blessings and wishes.

I suppose I owe my friend an apology for I could have been too ignorant of how to be a good friend, at least to this friend of mine. I have my failings.

Having written to this point, I think I might have owe countless of apologies to many of my friends in some ways or another. While I hate to think that I could have disappointed or hurt some of them at some point in time, but I guess this could be very possible. So if you happen to be one of those people whom I owe an apology to, "I am sorry".

If you would value our friendship, could you please let me know how I could be a good friend to you? I may simply not know.

Who's the true you?

For the sheer fun of it, I did this test. How far do you think this would describe me?

The True You

You want your girlfriend or boyfriend to be more relaxed, calm, and composed.
With respect to money, you spend carefully and save your pennies.
You think good luck doesn't exist - reality is built on practicalities.
The hidden side of your personality tends to be methodical in your ways - with trouble adapting to the rules of society.
You are tend to think about others' feelings a lot, perhaps because you are so eager to be liked.
When it comes to finding a romantic partner, you make opportunities to interact with many people through club activities or a hobby, then select someone you like.

Friday, June 17, 2005

In His laps

The work day has been a long one. There was no night duty for today, but I only left my office at 8.40 p.m. Is that a demonstration of the plight of a social worker who has so much work to do that she cannot leave office even when it has passed the official time to knock off?

Anyway, I stayed back on my own accord. There were indeed loads of work to be attended to. Since I have no concert to catch this evening, I figured I could just stay in office and enjoy the tranquility of being alone in office to do work. Cleared some work, and that brings some relief to an overwhelmed lady. At least by the time I left office, I did not have a heavy mind. I guess I managed to know when to stop for the day before my mind goes into explosion.

On the way home, I realised I have been missing time with my dear double bass, otherwise affectionately known as "my husband".

Today, when I got home, there were still some work at the construction site, but it was not as noisy as yesterday.

After settling down at home and washing up, it was about 10 p.m. when I decided to spend time practising on the double bass. I am falling short of time. With work taking much time, the construction site affecting my practice schedules, and my need to slow down to rest, I have been spending less time practising than I had been doing about two months ago.

When I was practising, I felt I was in the "laps of the double bass". Somehow it felt comforting. The consoling part was when he still did not sound too bad despite my spending time with him. But I know the more I spend quality time with him in the world of practising, the more "he" would be likely to produce beautiful tone and music to please my ears. If there were to be a time that I do not spend enough quality time with him, I fear he may just be unable to partner with me to make beautiful music. By then, I have to take the responsibility of not spending enough practise time with him.

Since it was getting dark to practise after 10 p.m., I chose to use a practise-mute halfway the session. It damped his tone, but allowed me to spend a little more time with him without bringing too much irritation to my neighbours. I love his resonating sound and vibration.

So I spent about 40 minutes in his lap playing He Zhan-hao and Chen Gang's Butterfly Lovers and also selected passages from the fourth movement of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony.

He brings me comfort and confidence that I would still make a good partner to him afterall. If I have over-personify him, it is because he is to me more a friend than an instrument.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Construction works nearby

*Sounds of machines drilling the soil*

*The floor trembling* (Mind you, I could even feel the tremors when I live more than twenty-storeys high.)

*The air is vibrating heavily* (My ear-drums are disturbed by the vibration.)


There are construction works nearby where I stay. I believe it is now at the stage of doing the piling. I don't know, for I know nothing much about contruction works. Anyway, it is 9 p.m. Singapore time, and I cannot believe my ears that the machines are still drilling, and that the construction site is still making so much noises.

The sounds from the construction site are music to my ears. I love the sounds from the orchestra and the double bass better.

Let it be for the sake of development, that my ears have to suffer the noises for the next two or three years. A shopping complex and a air-conditioned bus-terminal will be built at the site of the construction nearby my home. Similarly, for the sake of development, my nose will have to suffer more dust. What else could I do but to avoid being around at home when the site is making noises and dust?

The noises are not that loud yet, but they are disturbing. Sigh.

I had wanted to play on my double bass, but the sounds seem to be too overpowering for my ears to be comfortable with practising on the double bass. If the sounds from the construction site continue for another half an hour, I would start feeling that my world has fell apart!

I thought I could have a recharging time at home when I am back from a busy and overwhelming day at work. Well, I guess I have to be more realistic, don't I?

I could only try to look forward to the shopping complex. Actually, I don't know if I would care if there is a shopping complex nearby. Shopping complexes tend to bring in too much crowd then I could bear. Anyway, for the sake of the convenience of having one nearby in the future, I shall try to think positively.

Is this how people see me?

I took this test, and here are my results. So, is this the way I am being perceived by others?

Slow and Steady
Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy.

They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder.

It'd really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment.

They expect you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then usually decide against it.

Plagued by Cough

There have been a lot of things done on 15 Jun 2005. I could say it was a busy day. I could not dare to say it was a day of achievement though.

In the morning, my superior requested for some amendments to the presentation slides which I would be presenting in the late morning. I must be thankful that I had the skills to learn how to make those amendments within such short notice. Yes, I am thankful that I know how to change a pie chart to a bar chart within no more than 5 short steps. If not, I would have spend ages trying to come out with at least six bar charts from the scratch. Anyway, making the amendments was not a great issue, thank goodness because I had the know-how to much extent.

I did the presentation in the late morning. I think my cough has been so bad that my voice went very bad towards the end of the presentation. I started out with my voice loud and clear, and by the end of the presentation, it was coarse and somewhat feeble. I was trying hard not to cough during the presentation, for sheer good manners. But now, when one is sick, good manners are hard to maintain, and need not be. Anyway, the presentation should have went fine for at least I managed to complete it without anyone throwing rotten eggs at me. Neither did anyone sleep through my presentation.

Afterall I had a counselling session with a client. Then after the session, I went on to follow-up on several phone calls awaiting for me to return call.

I took some time to observe a children's day-camp which was held at our centre. Those children are extremely creative, I saw their works and I was very impressed. I also got to observe the social work intern (whom I was supervising) conducting an activity wih the children. I think she had done well, so here's some deserving praises for her put on record. (Not that I think she would read my blog. I don't usually give away my blog address to anyone. I expect people to find it out by themselves.)

I took time-off from work at the later part of the afternoon. A pity that double bass sectionals with the double bass tutor was cancelled at the last minute. Anyway, the good side is that I could take a more leisure time to travel to the university for the orchestra rehearsal.

We played Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto composed by Chen Gang and He Zhan-hao. It is quite an interesting piece to play. The orchestra was practically sight-reading it. Anyway, we went through the entire concerto, and I could not believe that we did. Certain passages were really fast and not easy to play as an ensemble. I think we did fine considering that we were sight-reading this work.

If you like to listen to us play this violin concerto, you may like to know that we will be playing this for our concert at the Singapore Botanic Gardens sometime in early September this year. free admission. Furthermore, you will be treated to music and the beauty of nature at that concert. Stay tune to this blog for more details. I will post the details when I get hold of them.

Trying to distract my attention by playing on the double bass had not seem to help stop the cough. I was coughing even during the rehearsal, and at one point, I was hyper-ventilating and had to excuse myself from the rehearsal room. My conductor said it could be because the air in the rehearsal room was bad. It probably was. I must admit I have sensitive nose. Sigh, at this rate of my coughing, I fear I may not live beyond my thirties. I am being pessimitic, I think. I could only hope for good health to come, slowly but surely.

Anyway, it was fun to play Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. We played the fourth movement today, and that was exciting. I guess I needed an outlet to express that emotional pain I was experiencing?

Somehow, it felt like that this world has its dark side, and its pains. Nothing has made me sad today, but somehow, there had been this invisible key that had opened me to get in touch with some of the pains that life has presented. If you call it growing up pains, let it be.

I am also feeling discomfort from being plagued by cough. How I wish it would soon go away. Don't come again another day even.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

12 Jun 2005: Exploring Singapore like a tourist

Musical fountain, show time. Posted by Hello

Spectacular sights? Posted by Hello

Let me start this post with two photographs taken at the Sentosa musical fountain. Sentosa is Singapore’s premier island resort getaway. Its name "Sentosa" means peace & tranquillity in Malay language. I was told that Sentosa is a must-visit destination for tourists and a popular recreational playground for local residents.

On Sunday, one of my friends from overseas, Jo., came to visit Singapore. She came with a tour group. As we all know, tour groups have tight schedule. My friend, Jo. will only be in Singapore for the afternoon and evening of 12 June 2005, and the afternoon of 13 June 2005. There was not much possibility for me to take leave from work on 13 June 2005 as I have meetings with clients scheduled on that day. So, I was left with 12 June 2005 to attempt to catch up with her.

I got to know that Jo. would be visiting Sentosa on the evening of 12 June 2005. Her tour guide was kind enough to allow her to contact me, and we confirmed a date and place to meet up while her tour group was visiting Sentosa.

It has been a while since I last visited Sentosa. I was early and her tour group had yet to reach Sentosa, so you could have guessed it, I went around taking some photographs. Not my best photographs. I wish I had taken out my newly acquired tripod that day. This is to announce that I have just recently brought a tripod. I don't suppose it is the best in the market, but I think it should generally be able to serve much of my photography needs. Anyway, I did not bring the tripod out on 12 June 2005. I figured I wanted to travel light, and to focus on catching up with Jo. and not on photography.

To view the photographs that I had taken, please visit my post titled Travelling like a tourist: 12 June 2005 found on my other blog.

I waited for quite a while before I got to meet Jo. at the ferry terminal of Sentosa. Her tour group had reached Sentosa just in time for the night show at the musical fountain which would start at 7.40 p.m. I did not speak much when we met. As you would probably have figured out, I do not like making small talks. Yet, it was nice and heart-warming to meet and spend time with a friend, though actually I do not know Jo. for a very long time.

I caught the show with Jo.. There is not much to do at that part of Sentosa than watching the show at the musical fountain. Afterall, I was told that the tour group would leave Sentosa at about 8.10 p.m., which is approximately the time that the show would end.

I had last watched the show with Mystic when we took up the Night Hippo tour. That time, I remembered there were some technical faults so the images did not come up the way that they should be.

When I caught the show on 12 June, it seemed that there were no technical faults, so all images looked better. So scroll up to the top of this post to view a few of the photographs which I had managed to take towards the end of the show.

After the show, Jo. managed to get the tour group to give consent for me to join them on their bus. The bus would take the group to the Sir Stamford Raffles landing site. I felt a little awkward being the very few Singapore citizens on the tour bus. I think probably only the tour guide and the driver were Singapore citizens? It felt as if all attention were on me! Maybe that was my imagination. Anyway, I guess I have to be thankful. Being on the bus meant more time to catch up with Jo. I got to know that almost everyone in the tour group knows one another.

Jo. took the bumboat ride from the bumboat pick-up point nearby the Sir Stamford Raffles landing site. I waited. We had some time after her bumboat ride, so I showed Jo. and one of her relatives to take photographs of the Supreme Court.

Next stop was intended to be eating time to experience Singapore's foodfare. I went along and treated Jo. to satay. I guess that was the least I could do as a host?

I think the tour guide has been nice. He shared humorous stories on the tour bus. I suppose the folks in the tour group like him for his hospitality, service and sense of humour. They broke off into laughter on several occassions, and many thanked him throughout the journey.

I parted with Jo. when the tour bus took her to her hotel, after I showed her up to her hotel room and tried catching a little bit more with her.

So it was a kind of short meeting up with Jo. and I ended up feeling as if I was exploring Singapore like a tourist.

Sometimes, I have thought to myself that I won't mind being a tour guide to share Singapore with the rest of the world. I do know too much talking and interaction with people may drain my energy. Anyway, if I do end up a tour guide, please bear with me for being a more reserved one, but engaging too.

Lastly, here's reminding you to view more photos at: Travelling like a tourist: 12 June 2005

Monday, June 13, 2005

Life has its pains

Not quite a good day. I was experiencing quite a lot of pain and discomfort physically today. Maybe life has its sets of pains?

Maybe the pain is meant to remind me that the way to move forward is to slow down?

Sometimes it would be nice if one does not experience pain and discomfort. Yet how dangerous it might be if one is numb to bodily sensations, and does not feel pain at all. If we don't feel the pain, we would lose the ability to respond to risky and dangerous situations which are pain-inducing. If we do not feel pain, we may turn blind to the fact that our body are not as strong as we thought.


Anyway, enough of life being one with its set of pains. I am feeling a little tired. I think it must have been due to my sleeping at 2.30 a.m. for the night. I had ended my MSN conversations much much earlier, but someone the programme on the National Geographic Channel last night captured my attention, such that I stayed up to catch it. I did not catch the entire show for I reckon I needed to turn in by 2.30 a.m. or I would be very tired the next day.

Last night, National Geographic was featuring a programme that attempts to uncover the mysteries behind King Tutankhamun's tomb. I wish I could have stayed till the end of the show. Now I still don't know the answer to the mystery behind King Tutankhamun's death. Oh well, I have to learn to bear with the feeling of not knowing.

A game for you

I found the link to this game: Bauns from Lora's blog.

If you like the game, thank Lora. If you don't like it, you can give me your feedback and since I don't know what to do with your feedback about the game, I would read and then move on.

Like Lora, I find that this game can be addictive.

The URL:

Little Sister Grass

One of my friends, Peifen, shared this fiction titled: Little Sister Grass with me.

Quite an insightful read especially to the young and youthful ones.

The URL is:

Hope it brings some insight to the day.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

*London's museums

Emrah wrote in one of his comments that the admission to all the museums in London is free. What better news to a museum-lover who prefers to be prudent in her budget than this?

Of course, I guess I might still spend quite an amount in order to get myself to participate in as many museum guided tours as my budget would allow. My previous experiences of visiting museum tell me that a good museum guided tour completes the museum-visiting experience.

I got to know from the Insight Fleximap: London that I have gotten yesterday that Insight has published a Insight Fleximap: London Museums & Galleries specially written for anyone who wishes to visit London's world class art galleries and museums. I hope I could lay my hands on it. I still have not spotted Insight Fleximap: London Museums & Galleries when I was at a few of the major bookstores and the libraries.

Anyway, in preparation for my short trip to London after the trip to Aberdeen, I shall write about a few of London's museums in this post.

British Museum

This was founded in 1753. According to The National Geographic Travller: Great Britain, the British Museum is one of the world's great museums.

Here are some of the highlights of the British Museum according to the same above-mentioned travel guide:

  • Room 25: It holds the celebrated Rosetta Stone, which is a stone carved with three scripts - hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek - each recording the same decree of a council of priests in 196 B.C. The discovery of this stone in year 1799 enabled scholars to decipher Egyptian hieoglyphics for the first time in modern history.

  • Room 61: This is filled with ancient Egyptian mummies with elaborately painted cases.

National Gallery

The National Gallery is London's premiere art gallery. It is closed on Sunday mornings. There is a charge for special exhibitions. The nearest tube station is Charing Cross.

I was told by The National Geographic Travller: Great Britain that in order to make the most of my visit there, I should spend my first half hour with the gallery plan and catalog, picking about 30 paintings or artist that I would really like to see.

I think I would wish to see the following:

  • Leonardo da Vinci's The Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist and St. Anne found in Room 51 (I wonder if it is still in the same room, anyway, I could check it out when I am there).

  • Works by J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). I like his landscape paintings.

  • I don't think I would miss Room 43, which is packed with works by the Impressionists - Degas, Manet, Pissaro, Money.

Tate Museum

This is located at Millbank, SW1P. The nearest tube station is Pimlico. It is noted to contain the best of British paintings from Tudor times to the 20th century. Works are exhibite in chronological fashion from the 16th century round to the present day.

This gallery also holds the definitive collection of the works of J.M.W. Turner.

Natural History Museum

Situated at Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7, the Natural History Museum is a long-time favourite with children. The nearest tube station is South Kensington. The museum is free on Monday - Friday from 4.30 - 5.50 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday from 5 -5.50 p.m. I guess I shall pay the admission rate so that I could have more time in the museum, but I must figure out how much the admssion rates are.

I would love to see the dinosaurs related exhibits. I was told that the vast Gothic edifice is an awe-inspiring attraction in itself. I shall remember to take a photograph of the museum building.

I would like to see the Ecology section which would explained how different life systems interconnect.

In addition, I would love to visit the Earth Galleries. I read that the Power Within exhibition would do a stimulation of the rumble and roar of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. That sounds exciting.

Theatre Museum

Just along Russell Street is the Theatre Museum. It is supposed to house costumes from famous productions from Alice in Wonderland to Shakespeare. It also houses the handprints of showbiz and theatreland celebrates. It is closed on Mondays. Nearest tube station is Covent Garden.

Victoria & Albert Museum

I was told that I should not miss visiting this museum. This museum can be considered the world's greatest museum of decorative arts.

It has exhibits from all parts of the world, from all periods and in all styles. This is what I find a little confusing, I was told that this museum also houses the National Art Gallery and the Raphael Gallery. Either there was some misinformation on the travel map, or I was awfully slow in understanding London. If you could please help clarify, I would appreciate.

Anyway, the Victoria & Albert Museum is closed on Mondays, and admission is free from 4.30 - 5.45 p.m. except on Wednesdays. It is located at Cromwell South Rd, South Kensington.


Meantime, this is all for my post today on London's museums.

Now I have to seriously consider whether I want to pay more money for hotel stay, or if I should check out the hostels. I have emailed to the relevant hotel and hostels for quotations and information on rooms availability, and I am now waiting for the replies. I would really like to pamper myself, but that would mean spending twice or thrice more if I were to choose a hotel over a hostel stay. If I could save some money on accomodation, I could have more to spend on other things (e.g. admission charges and sight-seeing) during the tour. What a dilemma.

Your Daily Art

I chanced upon this website: Your Daily Art when I was visiting Reflections in d minor.

Your Daily Art reminds me fondly of the times when I studied Art History during my secondary school years (I was studying Art History as requirement for taking Art. I took Art as one of my core subjects when I was 13 - 16 years old.)

When it comes to my taste for Fine Arts, I prefer works from the Impressionism period. I also like the works of Vincent Van Gogh.

Meantime, if you would like to be exposed to the world of Art History, please visit Your Daily Art at this URL:

Saturday, June 11, 2005

An attempt to go with the flow

I think I must have been sick of being too planful, I tried to go without a concrete plan today. Just go with the flow.

I woke up at 7.10 a.m. The biological clock must have woken me up. As if there is nothing else to do in life except reading the newspapers and surfing the internet, I did exactly these two things after breakfast. Then my body told me that I was feeling tired and I started taking an hour of nap from 10 a.m.

When I woke up from the nap, I felt like going to the library to return my library books and perhaps borrow another travel guide, so I did. There was an attempt to go with the flow. But it seemed that thereafter, I started attempting to make some vague plans. I figured that I should first return my books before going for lunch, so the plan was as such.

I returned the books, both of which were travel guides. Then I borrowed a travel guide titled The National Geographinc Traveller: Great Britain.

I was at this shopping centre named Ngee Ann City. I saw rice dumplings on sale and was tempted to take photographs of them, but I withheld myself. I reckon that the stall-vendors may not be pleased if I were to take photographs without buying any of the rice dumplings. I did not have the appetite for rice dumplings today so I did not want to buy any.

Instead, I felt like eating vegetables for lunch. Non of the food stalls at Ngee Ann City seemed to entice me, and my heart told me I could try this eating place named Marche, so I did. The vegetables were nice and fresh. I requested that they be cooked with oyster sauce. Oh, Stephanie might be pleased if she gets to know that I ate cauliflower for lunch. The cauliflower did not have the green leaves, unfortunately.

After lunch, I browsed around for maps of London, and I got myself one. Also went around looking for a luggage case, and got one which is navy-blue. It comes with two hangers. I thought that it would suit my needs when I go to Aberdeen. I needed to hang the clothes required to be worn during the performances.

In the evening, I basically just lazed and watched television. It was quite an unusual way for me to spend the early part of the evening. Television tends not to get my attention as much as other affairs. Then again, maybe I was really drained from the week such that I wanted to drown my senses with the boring television.

Later part of the evening, I spent time practising on the double bass. That took about 45 minutes. Playing the double bass feels much more stimulating physically and mentally than watching the television. It also gave me much more level of satisfaction, and a greater sense of achievement. The only difficult thing is that I needed to overcome the initial inertia of starting to play the double bass. Afterall, my dear double bass is normally kept covered with a double bass bag to protect it from the dust. So it means that I would have to uncover the instrument from the bag in order to play it. Practising would also mean that I needed to centre my mind and prime it for practising. That way, I could better concentrate.

I started out playing certain passages from Mendelssohn's Fingals Cave. Then I went on to play certain passages from Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. With Emily's urging on Wednesday, I tried playing the first twenty bars from Berkeley's Introduction & Allegro. I did not go beyond those bars. I simply have no confidence on how the bars thereafter should really sound, even though I had heard Emily played them earlier this Wednesday. I think I needed to work on my aural skills. I still have no develop a good inner ear to be able to hear the music in my mind simply by reading the notes with my eyes. I usually would play those notes on the piano (belonging to one of my brothers) to be aware of how they would sound. This is especially so if there are accidentals and unusual intervals.

So now the day is close to an end. I really can't say that I was living the day spontaneously, but I tried not to overplan.

*Whisky and more

I read from Fodor's Exploring Scotland that Whisky is one of Scotland's top exports. Interestingly, I managed to find a Malt Whisky Trail website which writes about Scotland's Malt Whisky Trail. The URL is:

Taken from the Malt Whisky Trail's website:

Initially whisky, the name of which evolved from uisge beatha (the Gaelic for "water of life"), was lauded for its medicinal qualities, being prescribed for the preservation of health, the prolongation of life, and for the relief of colic, palsy and even smallpox. It became an intrinsic part of Scottish life - a reviver and stimulant during the long, cold winters, and a feature of
social life, a welcome to be offered to guests upon arrival at their destinations.

There are two main distinctions of whisky: malt whisky and grain whisky. Malt whisky uses only malted barley. Wheras grain whisky may use malted barley and other cereals, for example corn.

Malt whiskies are broadly classified by the experts into Highland, Lowland, Islay and Campbeltown types. For more details, you can refer to Fodor's Exploring Scotland or other travel guides.

It sounds like no trip to Scotland would be complete without tasting a sip of whisky and understanding the process of whisky-making. I read that the process of producing whisky is closely monitored by the British government. The production of whisky is strictly commercially licensed and takes place only in Scotland's distilleries.

Here's a link to the Malk Whisky trails if you are interested:

Fodor's Exploring Scotland has even stated that no tour of Speyside would be complete without taking a trip to at least one of the whisky distilleries.

The Speyside Cooperage and the Glenliver Distillery caught my eye. The former specialises in making casks, if I understood correctly. The latter produces single malt whisky.

The Strathisla Distillery also seem interesting to visit. I read that to get there, I can take a train or bus to Keith. The railway station is about 600m from the distiller and the bus stop is about 500m from distillery.


I should figure out where the Moray Firth is located. I saw from the map that it is located within the Northeast region of Scotland. According to Fodor's Exploring Scotland, the Moray Firth contains the largest inshore colony of bottle-nosed dolphins in London. Bottle-nosed dolphins otherwise tends to favour offshore waters.

Leaping dolphins can be seen anywhere at any time in the Firth... The bottle-nosed dolphin can be recognised by its uniform gray with a paler under-belly and a tall dorsal fin.


This place seems to pop up whenever I read about Aberdeen. Stonehaven is a coastal town in the North East of Scotland, about 15 miles south of Aberdeen. Fodor's Exploring Scotland notes that Stonehaven was originally a fishing settlement.

I read from this website (Stonehaven Folk Festival) that the picturesque town of Stonehaven offers many tourist attractions, such as Dunnottar Castle.

Dunnottar Castle looks nice. It was a stronghold of the Earls Marischal of Scotland. Unfortunately, I read and found out that the castle is only opened to the public from November to February. Since I will be in Aberdeen in August, I would been missing the chance to visit the castle. The best I could do is take pictures of its exteriors.

By the way, I chanced upon this site: The Stonehaven Guide


That is for now.
By the way, I decided to mark the posts that give information on Scotland, Aberdeen and London a "*", simply for easier identification.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Singapore Arts Festival Closing Celebrations

If you happen to be in Singapore during the below-mentioned dates, you may wish to check this out:

The Stroj (Slovenia)
Date and Time: 24 - 26 June 2005, 8pm
Venue: Open field at Boon Lay (next to Boon Lay MRT Station)
Admission: Free

The performing group comes from Slovenia. Enjoy the sounds of percussion, and be touched by the energy from rhythms. This part is what I would like best: the fireworks!

For details, check out:

I am disappointed

I got to know that this Sunday's orchestra rehearsal has to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. How disappointing. I had wanted to play Tchaikovsky''s Fifth Symphony this weekend.

I could only comfort myself by telling myself that with the cancellation of the rehearsal, I could have more time to catch up with a friend who is visiting Singapore on Sunday. This friend of mine would only be here in Singapore for a short trip. Actually, I am not sure if I would have any chance to show her around. She came to Singapore with a tour group, and my impression of tour group is that the tour schedule can be pretty tight.

Another friend of mine is supposed to meet me tomorrow. Probably it is poor foresight or sheer lack of care, she only realised almost at the last minute that it will be Dragon Boat Festival (Duan Wu Jie) tomorrow and her personal commitments would require her involvement to celebrate the festival. As such, we shall not meet. I felt disappointed. How I wish my friend could have more diligent use of a planner to keep track of appointments and commitments so that the chances of such slip-ups could be reduced. Of course, I should have been more aware that I cannot expect everyone to be as planful as me. Life would not have been fun if it does not have any moments of spontaneity. I know I live more comfortably in an outer world of predictability, and yet it is just one way of living life.

The better side of it means that I would have more time tomorrow to play on the double bass. I have been out of touch with my dear instrument kept at home. It has been a week since I last had its company. Also, I would have a bit more time alone by myself, though it wasn't what I truly need at the moment. Then again, that introvert in me does need some quiet time in order to recharge. My life felt as if it is in a messy state. I simply felt out of sync with the world and with myself.

As for my friend, maybe she would have a bit more time to spend with family and relatives, and to recharge from the hassles and loads of work?

Yet, there is an indisputable fact. The fact is that I tend to experience disappointments very easily. I could only cope by trying to keep my feelings in check so that I try not to over-react. At the same time, I could only remind myself that disappointments are often inevitable. Perhaps it isn't too bad to feel disappointments? Those feelings coud remind us of what matters?

I am disappointed with myself. I had strive to complete several things today, and could only manage to do some of it. Then again, I should learn that if I had insisted on getting all of these things done, I would probably have dropped dead by tomorrow. Maybe I have been expecting more than I could realistically do? Maybe I have forgotten that I need to give myself extra time allowance in completing a task so as to factor for the unexpected that would simply take up time, and a lot of it? Maybe I need to learn to slow down and do less?

For now, when a disappointment strikes, I shall remind myself that there is likely a brighter side to it. That should comfort.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Before the world turns dark

Sunset, between beauty and gloom. Posted by Hello

Before the world turns dark, we make the best of the beauty that could be found. Perhaps beauty and darkness are simply part of one same cycle. Without darkness, beauty cannot happen on its own. Vice-versa.

When it feels like life is lost

I feel drained.

I thought I had done my best and yet I cannot finish the accumulating load. This is so demoralising for my soul. It saddens me terribly. I thought I have been working very hard, and yet I still could not catch up with backlogs and the present load. If life is forever like this, I might rather forsake it and play symphonies that speaks of the pain and sufferings in life in the land whose name starts with "N".

Energy lost, and it felt like life is lost.

If there is anything that keeps me going, I think it is the kindness that the world has showered on me. I could only beg in despair that I would be clear-sighted to see enough of what would keep me going.

But for now, I feel overwhelmed. The world out there, will it be meant for me at all?

The cough is bad. If it continues at this rate, it would feel as if I would end up losing at least 30 years from my lifespan.

Maybe life is meant to have its set of pain? And in exchange, we could feel appreciative when we get to be showered with the kindness that the world offers.

For now, I shall urge myself on.

Pledge in Chinese

Emily wrote briefly in her post dated 9 June 2005, about her saying the Singapore's pledge in Chinese when she was in her secondary school years. It reminded me of my days in my secondary school when we would say the Singapore's pledge in Chinese on every alternate week. So for one week, we would say the pledge every morning of the school-day in English; for the other, we would do so in Mandarin.


Playing music is fun

Emrah might be right to say that I should consider myself a lucky person because I have experienced the bliss of playing music.

I was awfully tired when I left office this afternoon. I took time-off from work to go for double bass sectionals and rehearsals. When I was travelling on the cab to the rehearsal venue, I actually feared that I would be too tired to play well. My brain has been working very hard since the beginning of the week. The social worker job is quite a mentally demanding job requiring not "a big heart" but more, a mind that reflects and thinks critically. Nevermind about the job, I just wanted to stress that I was very tired that I took quick short naps on the cab.

I sat in for Emily's double bass lesson with the orchestra's double bass tutor. He is simply one of the most inspiring tutors I have encountered. When Emily played the Introduction & Allegro before the lesson, I heard it and I could make no sense of the music at all. When I sat in to listen to Emily having her lesson, and listen to the tutor trying to guide her on the work, Introduction & Allegro just simply started to make more and more musical sense. I wish I could have Emily's better sense of rhythm, I often struggle on rhythms during many of my double bass lessons and practices. Anyway, I shall also honour that I should have my own merits in some ways.

When it was turn to have sectionals, it was probably a good choice that our tutor decided to work on Mendelssohn's Fingals Cave. I had practised it several times, yet there is just simply more practice and work needed. It has demanding passages for the double bass. My tutor spoke about how we could play certain passages so that we could sound more musical. We had one hour of sectional. Sectionals and lessons with our tutor have always been enriching. Cheers to our tutor. I think by the end of the lessons and sectionals, our tutor must have been dead tired. His lessons are always so intensive. So were today's. Anyway, I am thankful.

MC sounded obviously better. I wonder if he had practised over the weekend? He also seemed more willing to play certain difficult passages than he had used to be. Maybe his lesson with our tutor just before the sectionals had helped? Keep it up MC.

After sectionals, we have orchestra rehearsal. Strangely, I had not feel as tired when sectionals started. Sitting in for Emily's lesson had also allowed me time to recharge my tired self. What good things music can do. I think I should say, playing music can make miracles.

We played Mendelssohn's Fingals Cave. I still have difficulties with the last few passages. My left hand's fingers did not seem to meet up to the demands of the challenging passages as yet. More to practice. I shall start at a slow tempo when I practise on my own. I hope to spend more time practising on my own. The fun thing about playing Fingals Cave is the challenge to reach what seemed quite impossible, at least I had never played the entire Fingals Cave without missing a few bars due to the passages being too difficult.

For the past week, I have not been practising much on my own due to poor health. While I no longer have the runny nose, but my cough has seemed to worsen. No sign of me recovering from the cough. In fact, I was coughing and coughing at various points of the rehearsals, and well even after the rehearsals. Do I blame it all on my sensitive respiratory system, or the irritating phlegm in my throat?

During the orchestra rehearsals, we also played the first, fourth and third movement from Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. Playing Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony felt very satisfying and fun in that playing it allowed me to find an outlet for creative expression. Tchaikovsky's must have had a painful and sad life. I felt pain and suffering listening to his music. Yet, I suppose it provided an avenue for me to find a way to express and get in touch with some of my own pains and hurts that I have felt in my life? All that expression being done in the name of giving life to music and creativity. Then what seemed negative forces are now turned to much bigger, positive forces: Music and creativity. Maybe that was why I actually felt touched at certain points while playing Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony?

Playing music must have been so fun that it kept me awake at this hour. It is actually 12.50 a.m. at the point of writing this sentence. But I shall sleep soon. My eyes are now tearing from tiredness.

I heard the orchestra might have a concert coming up later this year at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Do come and listen to us if you happen to be Singapore. I will post the details when I get hold of them.

Meantime, may you find things in life that will bring life and joy to you.