OinkOink!WoofWoof!

Schooless and jobfree – Part 1

I have a new camera! I’ve decided to name it Hugh. I wasn’t paying tribute to Huge Jackman or something, but I tend to name my things the first name that I think of. Hugh fits! Hugh lives in a long stripey zebra sock.

View from my house in old-town Ang Mo Kio

The view from the window of my old house : Huey’s first landscape shot. Good job! This is the new view from my new window.

View from Hillbrooks

I’ve been moving house, it’s my favourite hobby. I used to be in the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio heart, and now I’m somewhere in the  Bukit Batok ear of Singapore. It’s not a half bad analogy. Orchard, as the stomach, digests all the retail and investments and tourism; Shenton Way, Clarke Quay – the digestive tract and liver. Indispensable, and collectively congested. Bukit Timah? Maybe the face of Singapore. Wealthier citizens and larger, more opulent houses, sort of like how you put make up on a face.

Travelling from the ear of Singapore is hard, and I’ve been complaining to all my tuition students about the commute from my house to theirs. Also, I’ve been insisting that my friends come up to my place, instead of me going down to the city area, for meet ups. Hugh and I have been meeting up with lots of people.

Mature folks :

Camp at SAFTI. Rabid mosquitoes.

More maturity:

Red Land!!!

No maturity: 

Kumar, Kumar, Kumar, Tong Kai, Jeevan acting cool, and Tong Kai. Ian and Gangwei were mature so they didn't make it into this photo.

The Weeny Tadpole. What do tadpoles grow into?

Littlebro, can you share your toy with bigbro? You're reading after all.

Hoi!

I’m learning German, so from now on I’ll randomly insert Deutsch in an effort to retain the new language. Ten days (Zehn Tag) till I leave! It’s been forever and a day since I left Malaysia for well and good and came back to Singapore, but in three years (drei Jahre), three years minus two days later, I’ll be leaving Singapore for the United States. I’m still vacillating somewhere around mid June (Juni), when I just found out that I actually would be going off. As in, off. To the land of liberty, guns, booze, bears, and everything inside and outside and in between. I’m still waiting for it to hit me that I’m going off so that I can start crying or jumping or something like that. My tear ducts have never been very cooperative… I cry when I’m not supposed to, like when I’m laughing about something retarded MJ has said.

Wilntyt : How are winters in the US going to be like?

MJ : Like, cold. The woman at the embassy said I’d be snowed in up to my chest!

Elven : But, lemme tell you, the air is damn sex!

MJ : Yeah, like you breathe in –whooo- and then you start orgasming! Like you imagine when it starts snowing and people everywhere start orgasming –

I laughed so much I that I had to use two hands (zwei Hand) to wipe my tears away. The lot of us from 3N (Shaunee, and wife 1 and 6 and Wilny) and an outsider (Au:slander) from 3O, Shu, visited my house (mein Haus), which is miles from the middle of nowhere. You see it’s at one end of the train station (der bahnoff!) and then, depending on a variety of factors, such as the stock market, the weather and my astrological signs, it’s another 20 minutes to an hour for the bus to get to my house.

This is when we had lunch at a restaurant. Hugh has a bit of an inferiority complex, you see how he focused especially on Shu’s huge ass camera? His screen displayed an erroneous message when I first switched him on : ‘memory card error. Format memory card : yes/no?’ Er… It took a few restarts before he could look at Shu’s camera in the eye without shorting out. Well Hughie, I’m afraid that size does matter where cameras are concerned, but I’m perfectly happy with you! If I had one the size of Shu’s, I’d probably leave you at home, and it’s better to be small and useful than be big and unused.

We got to my house after, and my houses all tend to be slack palaces. I have loads of innocent furniture, but that bean bag is just gobbling MJ up.

Das ist mein Raja! Ich liebe ihm.

So I checked back in a day (last photo), and yeah, Raja’s all that’s left.

The Tan family, Mom, Angel and Adora

Juxtaposition of heights. Love from the '95ers. Tomato Pokeball and Pikachu cheese.The Tan family, Mom, Angel and Adora

  This is Bio RA.

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Bajanklees

My goal by the end of this week is to go through the whole box of plasters! Yay for feet blisters and terrible work shoes. If I go through the entire box I treat myself too…..running barefoot through mud!

Funny Flash:

Keefam : damn this Iphone autocorrect. It can’t even recognize my own name.

Me : I thought it learns. You type it often enough…

Keefam : Yeah like I spend my whole afternoon on the toiletbowl typing “Keefam! Keefam! Keefam, dammit! It’s K-E-E-F-A-M. And blood thing keeps autocorrecting “me” to “mr”! I mean really how stupid can it get?? Everyone uses “me” more often than “mr” … like look lemme show ya…bloody thing…

K : I don’t get that on my iphone.

Keefam : hey waitaminute. Oh I just found out that the letters ‘e’ and ‘r’ are side by side…


Day-in-progress

No names shall be mentioned for privacy purposes.

Another quick one today. I snatched a nice maroon notebook embossed with ‘Singapore’ from my friend’s directorate. That was after I spent the morning at a climate change seminar covering the successes and failures of the Copenhagen and Cancun summits with regards to Singapore’s foreign policy. The very reliable speaker recapped already known points with a greater focus on Singapore’s position on climate change, and it was interesting to see potential-future-policy-makers in action with their questions and opinions.

Climate change has been covered to the death by experts far more appropriate to speak than I. The Economist has a decent analysis of the 2009 and 2010 summits, with another good commentary on the diplomacy involved. Interesting to see how long the established framework will last and how it will move on from there – watch out for South Africa’s conference at the end of this year, guys.

There was also a visit by Kuwaiti students and a few government staff today, and I sat in on a presentation of Singapore’s foreign policy, given by our SMS…with whom I nearly sat beside, but I swapped seats with the REAL FA representative … thankfully. A very eye-opening experience, given the frankness of the visitors, who gamely discussed ‘touchy’ issues about our diplomacy and foreign relations. I wanted to take my nametag as a momento but instead I ended up with one that says “ABDULLAH AL-FAILAKAWI”. Failakawi sounds nice. It rolls of your tongue!

Lunch today was at ‘NTU Bus Stop Canteen No. 2’. But the food at the Kuwaiti reception was good. This internship keeps me very well fed physically and mentally. Back to work now…cross my fingers and hope for the best.

 


Damdamdeedam

Hoohoohoo just a quick one because I’m interning right now. Just had lunch. Guess what?

With Udders Ice Cream for dessert :

 

 And this was lunch yesterday :

At Tetsu, Tanglin Mall. Would have blown a hole in my pocket but somehow I ended up paying nothing…thanks for spoiling me rotten, guys 🙂 Lunch conversation centered around people’s postings to Vienna, Geneva, Washington DC, BeiJing. Whoa.

And now I oughta get started on some work…at least I’m happy and satisfied. Whoo!


Happy fat-land coma!

My mom turned up with barrels, and I mean barrels, of home-made Chinese New Year goodies! BARRELS! Peanut Cookies! Pineapple Tarts! Roasted Cashews! Kuih bulu! Barrels! Barrels! Barrels! I am going into a coma of fatty-ness! Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!

Kuih bulu

Pineapple Tarts

It was like I opened the door to and WHOA! I stumbled upon treasures! Speaking of which, I was tasked with CNY decorations, which is tough with a house like this and a budget like mine – but I bought chocolate gold coins for fun and the effect was pretty cool! Gold ahoy, mateys!

Pirate's treasure


The fourth animal to arrive was the cautious Rabbit…

Well scuppers! but I was sure 2011 was the Year of the Rat. Luckily I checked it online before cutting a rat out of my one and only MeiZhenXiang bakua delivery bag.

Not bad for a 4.30am-er, is it? Quite something, actually, when you consider that I failed art and craft all the time. Spiffing bunch, the zodiac animals. Brings some novelty in our Lunar New Year decorations, keeps things a little fresh for product design and consumerism.

For all the multiple-of-twelve-year-olds : The Rabbit Horoscope.

Rabbits don’t look cool, as a rule, but I found some admirable exceptions.

And then of course who could forget the uncomparably slick Bugs Bunny!

Enjoy Chinese New Year, guys! The holiday, the food, the family, the bunnies, the fun, the money, the gambling, the national-service-t0-come, the ra-ra-ra and bla-bla-bla! GongXiFaCai!


An element’s love letter

Dear Astatine my love,

I am writing to tell you that I can’t marry you. I’m breaking our engagement. I guess that you want to know why, so let me explain. I’ll start at the beginning.

It all started when I was born the daughter of Actinium-227 by alpha emission. I not only grew up unstable, but my psychiatrist recently diagnosed me as a paranoid schizophrenic and said that she had a problem telling my 20 isotopes apart. The sad truth is that 227/88Fr, my longest lived isotope, has a halflife of about 21 minutes, after which I decay into that awful 223/88Ra! And my 221/87Fr isotope has a halflife of only 4.8 minutes! So you see, there’s no use continuing our relationship when I won’t be around for long.

I was a quiet child. When my existence was finally discovered in 1939 by Marguerite Perey at the Curie Institute in Paris, I was thrilled! They named me Francium after the country in which I was discovered. They introduced me to my sisters Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Rubidium and Caesium. Soon I learned that, as members of the Alkali Metal family, we had a lot in common. We all had a value of one, we tarnished in air, had low melting points and reacted vigorously with cold water. Not only that, we generally had soft crystals and were commonly found as halides and as aluminosilicates and combined vigorously with other elements.

Father said that the strong similarity between my sisters and me was the arrangements of the electrons in our atoms. Father always had an explanantion for everything. I asked him once why he liked Lithium best. He said that he loved us all equally and that I was only being my unstable self. But I kept bugging him, and finally he admitted that he liked Lithium best because she was used in the treatment of steel parts and was making something of her life. He said I had no meaningful purpose that he could see. Then he looked me up and down and grunted that I should do something about my atomic weight. I ran to my room in tears and looked in the mirror. My atomic weight was around 223, more than anyone else in my alkali metal family.

Astatine, I just can’t bear it! You saw how futile my attempts to diet were.

Sitting in the Earth’s crust the way I do in tiny amounts (never more than one gram), I have a lot of time to think. It isn’t so hard having a melting point of 27 degrees celcius, and my changes of phase add some excitement to my life. But something has been bothering me. Even though I was discovered more than 60 years ago, my sisters still leave me out of everything. The Alkali Metal family has always been famous, but nobody knows the real me! Why I remember that in Inorganic Chemistry, R.T. Sanderson said, “relatively little is known of this element except that a close resemblance to Caesium has been recognised.”

Caesium! He compared me with Caesium – my sister who hangs out in a mineral called Pollucite! No one would ever catch a weighable amount of me in that trash! I’m sorry – there I go being unstable again.

Did you hear that people are actually cloning me? It’s true! What they do is bombard Thorium with protons, and they’ve got some instant artificially made Francium! Neat isn’t it? Who knows? Maybe some day, good old atomic number 87 will find her niche in society and I will be accepted for what I am. But until then, I know we could never be right for each other.

Astatine, I’m really sorry. Please try to understand. I will always love you and will never forget our half-lives together.

Love Always,

Francium Alkali

*(From a worksheet in my chemistry file. I bear no responsibility for inaccuracy of information, incorrectness of grammar or any other flaw. Thank you.)

Oh, the wonderful teachers who do anything and everything to promote learning as it should be to us bratty little ingrates. I once had a teacher who rewarded my class with a trip to a Lord of the Rings exhibition. She taught science, but she knew the value of fantasy and imagination. Another chinese teacher of mine encouraged me to read by giving me –giving- me Chinese classics with wonderful illustrations. I still have the books. And another one once said :

“Now that I’m no longer your teacher, I don’t have to act appropriately in front of you! HA!”

To all who still see your teachers daily, do appreciate those relentless, determined, big-hearted imparters of knowledge and creativity, and remember them, whenever you can, in your prayers and thanksgiving.

 While I studied overseas for two years I requested from my ‘would-be’ teachers the materials my would-be classmates recieved, so that I might not suffer from gaps in different curriculums when I returned. My chemistry worksheets came to me in a ring-file, slotted into plastic folders according to date and topic, clipped very nicely together and labelled “for (my name)”. I supposed I was touched by the gesture but, I wasn’t one to dwell in this sort of thing then. I sort of took my good teachers for granted until I schooled at a place where dedicated teachers were the exception… I seem to be stockpiling fragments of memory alot these days, sitting around on the earth, like useless Francium like I do now, currently, approximately all the time – albeit in increasing amounts. 

Wherever these teachers are, I hope they remember all they have done for the students. I hope they know, somehow, that even those who no longer keep in contact do appreciate their efforts in years to come. I hope they never stop trying to do their best for their students. I hope…I suppose I ought to visit them and thank them. I don’t know why I dislike that idea. I only know that recalling the past is painful. To enter a world so vivid that you long endlessly after it, knowing it is forever in the past, is to lose the present moment. Yet one cannot relive the past if the past has not, in its own present, been fully lived.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” – Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby

 

Boat on a river