Tuesday, July 29, 2008


It has been a long long time since I last had fever. I had almost forgotten how it felt. And for the first 7 months of this year, I had been healthy, not even catching a cold or flu. Then today is the day, that I am down with fever.

First, I consumed quite a few packets of peanuts :), then I over exercised over the weekend, swimming 1.5km each day in an ice-cold pool (because weather was cloudy), followed by yesterday's consumption of beef & walking in an air-conditioned place for almost 2 hours wearing only shorts & t-shirt.

The doctor gave me two days of medical leave. That's good. I can drink that cough syrup and sleep soundly for the whole day :D

Sunday, July 27, 2008

This is called "low cut" :D

I simply couldn't stop laughing after I read this at STOMP, so I would to share with you guys here.


The guy in the picture really 'pushes boundaries" to the new limit and making a loud fashion statement, may not be in the good way though.

I have questions to ask.

1. How did his front hold up? The back had slipped till so low, how could the front hold position then?

2. Did he feel cold or chill with his 'full moon'? Especially considering the air-con in our MRT trains is really cold.

Ahhh...Never mind, he provided lots of entertainment to people who saw this, free entertainment somemore, so don't complain....:D

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Change of Address

Title: Change of Address
Author: Lee Langley
Publisher: Mandarin Paperbacks 1995

It is a story of a mother and daughter, set in the background of the first half of the last century, before, during & after WWII in both India & Britain.

There are two interesting aspects of this book.

First, the historical background of the story. It was a time when the British empire went from the empire of never setting sun to a sun set. With Gandhi leading the independence movement in India, British were finding it less & less to rule this colony. More and more violence against the British. Eventually, as everybody also knows, the British left this Asia sub-continent and returned to their home land. The author didn't depict the events directly, but rather, through a little girls eyes, and mouth, uttered out what life was like for an ordinary British family in that country, at that time.

Second, the book, in great detail, describes a mother who is lazy, over-spending, over-zealous, a woman of no honour, ignorant, negligent about her duty as a mother.

As a whole, I don't like this novel very much. It is a bit boring, not something joyful to read.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ebene Bio-ray Knee Guard

Since I started to lead a more 'active' life a month ago, what I feared most happened again. My knees. There are pains in them again. I thought my knee pain had been cured but it obviously was not true. Those so-called 'joint food' don't seem to have much effect on me at all. So this time, I decided to try out those new bio-ray knee guard.

Bought a pair on Sat at the price of S$69.30. It is said to have the following efficacies:

1. Stimulate blood and oxygen circulation in knee & leg
2. Promotes metabolism and enhances energy
3. Revitalizes cells, and strengthens bone & soft tissues
4. Relieves knee problems
5. Eliminates water retention in knee & leg

I don't know how actually it works, but for the 5 stated benefits above, I can testify 1, from my 1.5 days experience. It seems like it does stimulate the blood circulation. My knees feel warm (but not sure whether because I have an extra layer of cloth around them) now.

The product also claims guaranteed results after a few minutes, and in 7 days, relieve knee pain. I am only into the 2nd day, so still 5 more days to go before I can tell you whether it really relieve my knee pain. What I can say now is it does help a bit on my knees. They don't feel so cold as before.

By the way, my $69 investment can only last me a mere 9 months. After that, I have to get a new pair. So, within these 9 months, I must make full use of the pair. Hopefully I can also let my mum try. She has worse knee problem than me, so the effect should be more pronounced.

Stay tuned for the results....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hellboy II - The Golden Army

Watched Hellboy II today at Cathay Causeway Point.

The movie is not bad. It has all the ingredients of a pop movie. Love, romance, emotions, conspiracy, magic, and of course, lots of fighting. It provides lots of entertainment and will not bore you out.

With such a nice movie, you would expect me to enjoy it very much, but to the contrary, I didn't. Not because the movie is bad, but because people are bad.

10 minutes into the movie, I suddenly smell some bad odour. At first I suspected it was my friend who was sitting right next to me. Then after a while, my friend moved from the seat on my left to the seat on my right. He said the couple behind him had bad odour. After that, I asked my friend to move to the right by one more seat so that I could move too. After all these movement, we could still smell the odour! Finally we moved to another row, seperated by the isle.

The smell was like someone having bad breath, or the smell of vomit. It was disgusting.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Double Exposure

Title: Double Exposure
Author: Carol Smith
Publisher: Warner Books (Reprinted 1999)

Carol Smith obviously has a keen eye for modern life, urban life of the singles above 30, to be more precise. In her novel, she softly describes what those people's life is like to great details.

The apartment was still and as silent as she had left it, the morning
mail strewn across the breakfast counter but no friendly message light
winking to welcome her home. ..... What sort of a life was this, working
all hours yet with nothing to come home to?

Does this lament of Merrily, a high-flyer at Chase Manhattan Bank, sound familiar to you?

What a pathetic pair we are, to be sure, she sometimes reflected as she
microwaved her solitary supper while she watched EastEnders. Working
ourselves into an early grave, letting real life pass us by.

This is another description that I like. Realistic reflection of the modern urban life.

The story started with Jo, a junior medical doctor having holidays alone in a West Indies island. She got to meet news friends Vincent, Lowell, Jessica, Merrily, and mother & daughter Cora Louise & Fontaine. They hit off with each other well, and a tradition began for them to meet one week before Christmas at the same island every year. As they got closer with each other, they started to visit each other's home and had gatherings in different parts of the world.

Just when you think everything is rosy & cosy, a murder mystery had already been woven into the story seemlessly. First it was Vincent, then Jo's ex-boyfriend, Sebastian, was murdered. Merrily was cheated and was fired by Mother Chase. Bad things happened to the group. Hints were given along the way, but the murder was only revealed at the very last chapter of the novel.

I must say this is well-written story.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bottle Tree Restaurants

We had a farewell lunch at Bottle Tree Village at Sembawang the week before. The setting is not bad. Facing the dirty and smoky Strait of Johor, located deep into the jungle :) You won't be able to reach there unless you have your own transport or by Taxi. Outside the restaurant fence, you can see a sandy beach, with police post setup there, I guess ever since Mr Selamat's runaway.

In terms of food, they serve the typical Singapore style kampong seafood, which means prawns, chilli crab, etc. The typical stuff. One special dish maybe is their fish steam boat, with charcoal. However, I was not very pleased with this dish. The fish is fishy.

Then today, I went for a wedding lunch at Bottle Tree Park at Yishun. The setting is also the same rustic feel with fish/shrimp ponds around to entertain the customers at a price. It is a nice place to spend a lazy afternoon with family & friends fishing shrimps or fish or whatever you can catch in their ponds.

The wedding lunch was buffet. The food seemed to have been prepared long before our arrival and everything was cold. Food quality is acceptable but not fantastic. You can go there for the 'feel' but not really a place where you want to entertain your big account customer or your darling on important dates.

Overall, I can only give 3/5 to these two eating places.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Gay is fashionable

Fashion trends are set by 'far-sighted' people who want to make themselves rich. In these age of gay fashion, everybody wants to make some bucks out of it.

First it was the last emperor of China - Henry Puyi. Ah, everybody knows he didn't even touch his empress or concubines his whole life, which led to the tragic life of his empress Wanrong and his royal concubine's divorce case. This is at least fair.

Then things get more interesting. Some 'cultural' person wrote a book claiming the Chinese poet Quyuan, the one who we remember for during Duanwu festival, was gay. The poet committed suicide because his secret love of the King was not reciprocated. His disappointment with the King was the reason for his death.

As if this is not enough. Another 'cultural' person came up with theories that the early emperors of the east Han Dynasty were all gays, including the famous Emperor Han Wu. It was said his love for his general Wei Qing was the reason why he made Wei Qing's sister empress.

Looks like our 'cultural' people need to dig out gold from the dead. Once a report claimed that Napoleon IS (note: this is present tense) still providing a living for many many people, including those researching on the truth of his death.

There are thousands of ways to make a living. Mysterious death of famous people, some ambiguity, some grey area, some creativity will last you a long way....


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

First $28 EL Sales at ShutterStock

Surprise surprise, when I logged in my Shutterstock account this morning, the stats page says I have 5 downloads so far for the day. Not a very exciting number. Then I looked at the photos downloaded, and saw some red characters in bigger fonts beside one of the photos. I rubbed my still sleepy, blurry eyes, guessing what kind of error message it would be, then I read "Enhanced license sale"!
I never expected this photo will get an enhanced license sales. Beautiful sky, crystal clear water, wonderful architecture, indeed, but there are also so many half naked tourists sun-bathing, sun-tanning out there.
Anyway, this is my very first EL sales after they raised the EL payout from $20 to $28 in May. A positive surprise, happy! ^_^

Monday, July 7, 2008

Traveling between Hong Kong & Guangzhou

Traveling between Hong Kong & Guangzhou is pretty easy and comfortable these days. From Guangzhou East Rail Station, you can choose either the direct train to Hong Kong which will bring you all the way to Hong Kong's Honghum Station in downtown Hong Kong; or you can take the express train to Shenzhen's Luohu checkpoint. Elsewhere, you can also choose to take a coach up. There are plenty of choices.

The direct train journey is about 2 hours from Guangzhou to Hongkong. It only takes one hour from Guangzhou to Shenzhen's Luohu checkpoint, but it takes 45 mins from Luohu to Honghum. The railway in the Hongkong side is too old for the trains to run fast.

In mainland side, the railways had been upgraded. The train speed had been raised significantly in the last few years. The trains are also different. The old KCR(Kowlong-Canton Rail) trains are just as old as the company itself. On mainland side, the train Harmony, gives you those seats as you see in areoplanes.

Interior of KCR Trains

Interior of Harmony Train in Mainland China

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hong Kong - Deja Vu?

Some wise men say life comes in circles. Ten years ago, when I first visited Hong Kong, I was greeted with a Level 1 Typhoon Warning on the day of my arrival; and a Level 3 Typhoon Warning was my farewell gift.

Then when I visited Hong Kong this year, again I was greeted with a Level 1 Typhoon Warning; by the time I left the territory in the evening, I was again given a Level 3 Typhoon Warning as my parting gift.

Ten years ago, I prayed at the Temple of Heaven Big Buddha on Lantau Island in stormy weather; ten years later, I again prayed at the Temple of Heaven Big Buddha on Lantau Island in stormy weather. History repeats itself almost to exact detail.

Ok, enough about stormy weather. Let's talk about food in HK. We had our lunch at the food court at the shopping mall at Tung Chung MTR station. The name of the food court is Food Republic. Sounds like it is from a Singapore chain of food courts. I ordered a beef hor fun. The taste is not too bad, but not too fantasitic either. Total damage? HK$32.00. (S$1.00=~HK$5.70).

We had dinner at 池记。It is a small little shop (茶餐厅) at 84, Percival St. Causeway Bay (Tel: 2890 8616). The crowd seem to be mainly mandarin-speaking Chinese. My friend told me this store had been mentioned in many travel magazines, so it is a very popular place.

The food there is not bad. We ordered Beef String Rice, Wonton, Pork Rib noodle, & deep-fried fish-ball.

Beef-String Rice


Pork-Rib Noodle

Deep-Fried Fish-Ball

The Beef string is done nicely, but the catch is at the rice. The rice is no plain rice, but mixed with vegie & herbs. When the rice is presented on table, you can smell the fragrance. The Wonton is tender, but not as good as the ones that I had in Hualian, Taiwan, the one that CKS' son used to patron.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Traveling to China...Before the Olympics

Visited Guangzhou and Hongkong last week. With Beijing Olympics opening in 40 days, the security obviously has been tightened at the borders.

At Guangzhou's Baiyun International Airport, Chinese custom in the past only conducted random checks on passagers. Majority of the passengers can just walked past without any hassle. This time round, all luggage must go through the X-ray machine, including hand-carry luggage.

At Guangzhou's East Rail Station, Chinese custom officers conduct more frequent random checks on passengers boarding the direct train to Hongkong.

At Hongkong side, the security has obviously been tightened too. The custom officers didn't check on passengers' luggage in the past, but now, every luggage must go through the X-ray machine.

You can feel the higher level of security checks, but so far everything has been smooth. Nothing major incidence for me, yet.

Singaporeans, from 1 July 2008, must obtain a valid entry visa to enter China. Previously, Singaporeans did not need a visa if the duration of stay is within 14 days.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Today I share with you two common scams in China. And those scams seem to have gone global with the globalization :)

Scam 1:

Some finance company calls you up offering easy loans to you. Being trusting, you call up the company a couple of times, and voila, your application for loan from the company is approved. You receive an SMS from a bank informing you that the money is already in your account, and you can check your account balance by calling a certain phone number. You call the number, check your account and glad to know the money is already in your account. Happy. But when you go to the bank to withdraw the money, you find that the loan amount has never been credited into your bank account. In addition, all YOUR money in your account has been transferred out to someone else's account and your money just vanishes!

This is a very common scam. The trick is in the telephone number you call to check your account balance. The SMS informing you about the number may appear to be a valid bank phone number, but actually it is not. There is software available out there to make SMS 'appear' to be from some number other than the actual sender's number.

Once you call up the number, you will be duped into believing you are accessing the phone banking system, whilst it is not. You are actually entering the scammer's fake phone banking system. The scammers are waiting for you to enter your PIN number! Once they get your PIN, they will immediately transfer your money out of your account to their own account. And from one account to many other accounts, and from those many accounts to even more accounts. When the sum is small enough in each account, they will quickly withdraw your money from the many accounts they have.

Scam 2:

This is a dumb scam, but somehow it works perfectly. The scammer will send tens of thousands of SMS'es out. In the SMS, the scammer will give you an account number, and ask you to transfer money to that account.

Don't you think this scam is dumb? Who in the sane mind would transfer money to someone you don't know? Yet this scam works!

It works because sometimes people arrange to borrow money or whatsoever that involves money transfer from account to account. It happens that the person who is supposed to transfer the money receive the SMS after his/her conversation with the other party. If he/she is not careful enough to check and ensure that the account number is for the intended party, he/she may just transfer the money to the wrong person! And the scam works!

So next time, when you need to do a money transfer, make sure you verify the account to transfer to is correct.

You may wonder how much money the scammer can gain. How much? Make a guess? The scam was discovered only when the scammer used the money to buy a couple of gold bars. So you go figure.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Trading Competition

CMC Markets is organizing a trading competition. Participants will compete with each other for the grand prize of S$5000. The criteria is really simple, the one (oh, sorry, not one, but the top ten) with the highest return-on-investment will win.

Sounds fun, doesn't it? Then when I look at the terms & conditions, I almost fell of my chair. The one condition is that you must have a live trading account with CMC markets. What does it mean? It means you must trade with your own money, real money! And you have to pay the normal fees & commissions.

The organizer must think Singaporeans are idiots! Come on, the fees & commissions generated from the transactions done in this so-called 'trading competition' will be a couple of times of the prize money. There are winners & losers among the participants, but for sure CMC markets will be the winner, sure winner.

People are getting more and more creative in convincing people to surrender their hard-earned money to make some shady characters the new millionaire.

Oh, yeah, just a reminder to myself. Tomorrow I should write about a scam that is rampant in China. This scam happened to some in Singapore too. In fact two scams. Just to warn everybody.