Saturday, December 29, 2007

city of angels.

i know it's almost the end of 2007 and i'm still halfway through my travelogue of my fantastic summer vacation across the united states. yes. procrastinator, i am. ironically, these last few days of the year, i've been surprisingly free. the past 3 weeks of madness FYP and church and christmas events left me tired but happy. so now i'm grateful for free time to catch up on sleep, nurse my cold, and reminisce about the good ol' times of 2007. i can hardly believe that 1 year ago i was starting my new life in seattle. battling the cold winds and washing my own clothes.

good times.

anyway the first shot of los angeles. i felt quite disoriented on the way to my motel. LAX is a good 40-50 minutes away from where i stayed, west hollywood on sunset blvd. and traffic in LA was BAD. and coupled with the lack of sleep from the night before, i wasn't feeling chirpy. but finally my mini-van arrived at the more happening towns of hollywood and i quickly perked up, hoping to see some big star in a big black limo. haha.

anyway LA is a big city with many many people, and a good proportion of them are immigrants from mexico. so spanish is not unheard of. and LA is also literally very big and covers many many towns and their major roads, like sunset blvd, runs for miles and miles through the city. connecting the inland towns to the beach-side towns! and i would only know these trivia because i scruntinized the map while figuring our way in our rented car and driving around the city.

so after checking in and settling down to our modest motel, (p.s already a rung up from our measly hostel in NYC), we ventured out and explored west hollywood on foot. this has almost become my habit when travelling. first day after check-in, if nothing planned, walk around the vincinity of the hotel and explore on foot. with a map of course. and lonely planet/tourist guides.

so where else to go but the famous hollywood walk of fame? just 5 minutes by foot away from my motel.

so the entire sidewalk, on both sides, of hollywood blvd here, is covered with stars. with names on it, honoring the past and present stars, both local and abroad.

one of the first we saw was tom cruise. and since i used to like him a lot when i was younger, so i took a picture with his star.

along the street we saw kodak theatre, one of the majoy huge theatres used by major award shows like the academy awards/oscars. and when that time comes in march, the entire street is filled with limos and lined with red carpet and endless paparrazzi. nice to see it now, like a normal theatre, without the glitz. beside it is the famous chinese theatre.

and i arrive at the front doors of jimmy kimmel live studios! jimmy is clay aiken's good friend. but i couldn't get tickets to his show. darn.

we walked and walked somemore, until at 7.45pm, i saw a familiar name - pantages theatre. and i realize it's where wicked was playing! and on impulse i went to the box office and asked if there were last minute tickets (since curtain up is traditionally at 8pm and people were entering the theatre at said time.). turns out there were and they weren't very expensive! and since linda agreed, i was SO excited and we bought tickets and watched it then and there!

and the photo above is one that i snucked just before curtain up. strictly no photography. but i can still remember the musical and how much i loved it.

outside the theatre, where merchandise is sold.

and i bought the CD. people! it is very very good, please watch it if you get a chance. wicked is playing in new york, LA, chicago and london.

the next day, we decided to dedicate the entire day to universal studios. and off we went to universal city. very accessible by their metro system.

everyone gets the red carpet treatment, even if you're in a polo tee and berms.

we first headed for the studio tour because guide books tell me they get very crowded later in the day and its impossible to get on the tour. and its free!

so here we go. the universal studios theme park is actually built on their lot. with huge studio sets and stages. the theme park then uses the stages to incorporate roller coasters and rides. more on that later. so the studio tour takes you into their actual working sound stages where they shoot tv episodes, movies etc.

likes stage 27 is used for heroes sets. i can imagine primatech housed inside the sound stage. and also lots and lots of blue and green screens for CGI work.

out onto the lot for outdoor locations. all these buildings are fakes, or facades. they are hollow and empty, though some of them are production offices for producers and directors.

the stuido tour also takes us on a lesson on special effects in film. like exploding cars.

underwater scenes shot in big tanks. you know those titanic and poisedon scenes.

the old set of the mummy returns. whatever the script calls for, they can build it.

the real wisteria lane. actual outdoor set of desperate housewives. we were shown lynette's, susan's, edie's, bree's houses. it was pretty cool.

i'm pretty sure other shows reuse the sets since they look like the model american suburban home.

actual outdoor set built for war of the worlds. remember tom cruise and dakota fanning? where aliens could reduce everything to dust, literally. here it is. amazing really. it all looks so real.

the view of universal city. the big sound stages and smaller ones.

it's time for rides! we sat almost every ride. this jurassic park ride got me SO wet.

a view of burbank, where a lot of studios are located. where the writers are now picketing and striking. SIGH when will it end? anyway people are also striking outside universal studios.

you know i haven't sat on a scary roller coaster ride in ages. that's part of getting old. the fear of breaking your bones. but i decided to the brave afterall and went to sit the scariest ride here. it's a roller coaster, as can be deduced from the long list of warnings and not-suitable-for signs. but it's an indoor one, house in a former sound stage, where it is dark. so i had no way of knowing if there's a giant drop in altitude, 3-4 upside down turns or what not. but i did it anyway and it turned out to be SO exhilirating we went for a second time. haha. (:

who could resist a photo-op with spider man and captain america?

more rides here. terminator 2, one of my childhood movies.

fake street signs.

i quite like the movie notting hill but i cannot stand the characters sometimes. especially that line julia roberts' character says to hugh grant's. "i'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her." oh man.

production schedule. (:

animal show. a major plug for evan almighty, a universal studios movie that was going to come out.

a shopping arcade outside the theme park. quite a cool concept. the park closes at 5pm so you can hang out here till you go home. the shops are pretty interesting too.

for dinner we settled at a wolfgang puck cafe/restaurant. food was SO good.

and of course, pictures. this was our complimentary bread. so stylo and expensive-looking right.

and my rosemary roasted spring chicken with something. it was SO good. yummm.

and while waiting for the shuttle to take us back to the metro station, the sun sets. it was beautiful and getting really cold.

and that's all in a day's work my friends. don't you just love travelling? i can't wait for my graduation trip. after some research on finland, i realize i cannot pronounce ANY of the finnish words, town names, festivals etc. haha. (:

happy new year everyone. have a blessed 2008.

Friday, December 28, 2007

another year has gone by.

december is the craziest month of the year. on top of FYP there was many things going on in church, the frantic shopping for christmas presents and learning many truths and lessons from the Lord's word and being nourished and fed spiritually. in a way, preparing for the year that is to come, and more.

this christmas meant so much more to me, partly because 2007 was, this being a gross understatement, a year filled with much joy and also much pain and trials. it was a year where so many things happened, both good, bad and ugly. but all these lessons have led to the same conclusion - that my God was and is always with me. His presence is felt through all things good and all things bad, and that through His grace and mercy, that i have come out of this year still sane, a little wiser, a little more mature, and a heart full of appreciation, gladness and joy.

(anyway i just received my exam results and i just have so much to thank God for. i'm quite pleased with the results and i'm just so thankful.)

this joy was amplified at christmas. and it was great fun singing at christmas concerts, at carolling night, on sunday morning's worship service and at christmas morning service. even though that meant staying off chilli, chocolates, chips and all things heaty for 2 weeks. (: it was also nice to make more new friends at choir and bond with the younger ones, and the slightly older ones too. and all of us saw the Lord's hand in guiding us because we were still making mistakes during rehearsals. but everything turned out beautiful and we all had a great christmas.

"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. "
- Isaiah 9:6

on christmas morning at shangri-la, pastor shared from Isaiah 9. the words of Isaiah the prophet clearly states that "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son was given." and as i pondered the words "For unto us" and "given", i can't help but be amazed once again at the magnitude of God's love for us. and that my response this year would be to try to return that love. to love God with all that i have, and to be obedient and to be conscious of His presence through the days.

2008, i predict, is going to be just as tough as 2007. there will be my final year project in full swing, a mad rush to finish my thesis, graduation and convocation, a graduation trip to europe/scandinavia and maybe taiwan with the sbs peeps, a new year at NIE, a new year of serving the Lord and learning. (:

Friday, December 14, 2007

in His presence.

so FYP has started. and i'm slowly getting adjusted to new surroundings, new people, new things and new experiences. everyday i learn something new, i make mistakes, i achieve small victories. like screwing up a gel electrophoresis 2 times, only to get the 3rd one right. and that my RNA extraction and RT-PCR did work. and found something very intriguing too to drive my project forward. i did refresh my memory about working with instruments and lab protocols and learn new techniques too. including dealing with zebrafish embryos and whatnot. to all you fish lovers out there, i did kill many embryos and young developing fish already. but it's all in the name of research right? don't worry, we employ very very humane ways of killing them.

ok this just reminds me of the great debate of pro-life and pro-choice and women's rights and roe v. wade. oh ethics. at least i guess its less tricky than embryonic stem cells.

i signed a confidentiality clause with IM*CB so i really gotta be careful with what i say around here. and if the *s bother you, sorry its just a precaution. (:

well many people in church have asked me how work has been coming along. it's tiring in fact. though it's just my first week, my supervisor has me doing experiments and more experiments and teaching me and supervising me. she has everything planned out and she tells me everything and quizzes me. and i'm thankful for her because she's a good teacher and she has direction for my project, even though she has a million projects on her plate already. but everyday from 9am-6pm, and my latest 745pm on my 2nd day of work! but i did get friday off 'cos she went on leave, which i'm SO thankful for 'cos i'm just tired after 4 days.

maybe i just need to get used to it. and that's probably why i won't be a scientist afterall. i can't imagine myself cooped up in the lab doing experiments and reading journal papers the entire day. 9am-night. when i leave the lab, people are still around. and no doubt its exciting to be at the forefront of research really. to see your hard work get published in journals. and a successful experiment leaves you so happy and high. still, i think that kind of joy, i can get from somewhere else. and i do really believe you need a strong passion for research, science and discovery.

speaking of joy, something that tr. liyen shared at thursday's evening session chairing stuck in my mind. he was sharing with us about how, to the world, he is a successful man. he has a degree, a great job at a bank handling billions of dollars, people that treat him like a king because of his position, a lovely wife (which none of us can have, (: ), 2 adorable children, a home, a car. and yet nothing that he has now has given him the joy that he gets from knowing the Lord and accepting Jesus and serving God. and i'm very encouraged by his words and it reminded me again, what this world offers can never compare to the joy that God offers. that the things of this world will come to pass, and material things, money, work, fame will fade away.

and it also reiterates the lessons learnt at youth conference'07. that His presence is with us, He will be with us through everything. and this new covenant is established for us by Jesus' suffering, and i was thinking to myself, ohmygoodness how wonderful is that. that God's promises and His glorious blessings are sealed in this covenant and He, unlike men, will never ever break His promises. i've learnt so much more, but it is my prayer that more people will come to know of the Lord in this coming year. about His goodness, mercy, grace and His promises. (: it's quite amazing really.

"Fear not, for I AM with you.
be not dismayed, for I am YOUR GOD.
I will strengthen you
yes, I will help you
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

-Isaiah 41:10

Thursday, November 29, 2007

a tribute.

i remember 3.5 years ago i stepped into the great unknown of university life. i accepted my offer to study biological sciences at NTU after NUS rejected me for medicine. their loss.

but in retrospect, i'm quite thankful that i came to NTU. there were lots of firsts for me. and this huge sprawling campus at the siberia of singapore holds too many fond memories.

i remember moving into hall 7 and making new friends. i remember louisa was my roommate and we had a great time sharing apples and oranges, watching tv with our neighbours and gathering in our friend's room to talk rubbish and sing songs.

it was the first time i was living away from home. and the feeling is both scary yet liberating at the same time. and that same feeling came again when i left singapore to study in seattle. it was a city in land of danger aka USA and it was 18 hours away with the huge pacific ocean separating me and my loved ones.

this 6-month stint overseas was enough to teach me about life, because so much was experienced and my eyes were widened so much. it was also the first time i was comfortable being alone and not feel lonely. that's my most independent experience so far.

it was also the first time i experience the fear of living in a country where people are allowed guns and tragedy strikes. not once but twice. and another time my roommate heard a gunshot in the middle of the night, woke me up and for the first time, i was afraid for my life and went to pray immediately for like 15 minutes.

(anyway too many things can be said about my trip overseas, so that's a story for another day.)

well school held many fond memories. i have the greatest bunch of friends and i really love my cohort for being so funny and spontaneous and noisy and free-spirited. being continuously fascinated by the intricacies of biology and God's work is something we share in common. that and those endless nights of studying and cramming and memorising. whether in our beloved old resource room or the new one christened "diamond", or in the libraries of HSS, NIE, library 2, canteen B (complete with prata and teh peng), or at starbucks eastpoint or burger king.

outside of school we had that usual fair share of gatherings, BBQs, steamboats, orientation camps, inter-school games, jam band sessions, trawling the flea markets and bazaars for cheap earrings and clothes, our favourite "i-scream" yoghurt with blended fruits. not to mention that one year of carolling during the christmas season.

my hall friends from hall 7 are the most eclectic and weird mix of friends i have ever. because we all have different majors, and we come from different backgrounds and have different personalities and interests, the things we do together are the silliest but nevertheless, memorable.

those nights of mahjong, drinking, playing silly orientation camp games, the infamous birthday celebrations consisting of soy sauce and a whole range of condiments, detergent, kiwi shoe shine and LOTS of water, lots of chasing and running and screaming. followed by the more subdued and mature cake cutting, photo-whoring and drinking and chat sessions. there were also nights of silly short-film-making, pretending to be soldiers infiltrating the girl's rooms, climbing the walls of our block, pretending to be back in NS and doing pushups. and the usual parties, steamboats, playing in inter-hall games, hall production rehearsals late into the night, watching the actors go through their lines till i can memorise them, carolling around town, late-night suppers, trips to sentosa for beach volleyball and frisbee.

well hall 7 was also where i met my first (and only, so far) boyfriend and it's strange that 3 years ago this day was THAT day. you know. and while it has ended a few months ago, i don't really know what to say about it except. yeah i don't really know what to say about it. of course it has been the one thing that has taught me the most about myself. the way i do things, say things, handle things, and my relationships with other people, and ultimately God. yes and i don't know what else to say.

(that must be the world's most incoherent paragraph.)

then there was my CCAs outside school and hall. welfare services club was a big part of my NTU life. we did so many projects. and we helped so many people. yes i'm sounding pompous but WSC does a lot of good. we reach out to so many different underprivileged/less fortunate people in singapore and overseas and i'm very proud of her achievements. working with the boys from singapore boys hostel was a great learning lesson, for me as a person, as a volunteer and as a teacher and i'm thankful for that experience. those miscellaneous committees i joined enlarged my circle of friends and taught me valuable life skills and lessons. being in the 11th and 12th management committee has also taught me those things on a much larger scale. the people i've worked with are amazingly talented and smart and i do believe that they are on their way to achieving great things in life. because they have that compassion. (:

and yes i did enter the Istana for the first time to receive the Singapore Youth Award medal of commendation with my friends for WSC's work. met ronald susilo and minister teo chee hean and other dignitaries. also made friends with eunice oslen (though i'm sure she doesn't remember me now), got interviewed by local press and so much more.

well, the students' union was also something i was kinda involved in, and i was thrusted into the mess of politics in the union and that also exposed me to the harsh realities of student government politics. like back in JC, running for students' council was a simple affair. this was a whole new different ballgame and it was a good thing i merely stood at the sidelines and observe people trashing and backstabbing one another without having fallen into that mess. but still, it taught me good lessons which will be applicable to the future working world of dog-eat-dog.

i'm sure i missed out many many things. but i was feeling sentimental 'cos my exams are finally over and i won't have to take anymore of it in my final semester and so this is the unofficial end to actual going-to-school-and-study-for-exams. so this is dedicated to all my friends from the school of brewery/biological sciences.

carlene, edward, champ, andrea, renchun, lanpei, huimin, angeline, samuel, weiliang, fish, gerald, fidelia, lauretta, kristin, saheen, kelvin, nikolay, weiqi, vincent, engel, tingfeng, wani, juni, ilda, kah suan, and ohmygoodness i cannot think of other names but there are so many more! but everyone from SBS class of 2008, this is a song for you. read the lyrics and listen to the song. you'll always be remembered.

For Good
Wicked OST
Original Broadway Cast
Kristin Chenoweth & Idina Menzel

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you:

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend:

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you:
I have been changed for good

And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done you blame me for

But then, I guess we know
There's blame to share
And none of it seems to matter anymore

Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes the sun./Like a ship blown from its mooring by a wind off the sea.
Like a stream the meets a boulder halfway through the wood./ Like a seed dropped by a bird in the wood.

Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
I do believe I have been changed for the better.

And because I knew you:
Because I knew you:
Because I knew you:
I have been changed for good.

a video of the song sung by the original broadway cast in NYC. (: click to go to youtube page.

another video, tracking the rehearsals for the musical. a better hearing experience. click to go the youtube page.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


it's thanksgiving in the US. and yesterday night as i was studying, i thought about what a coincidence it was. that i was feeling immensely thankful to many things and it happened to be the season of thanksgiving. not in my country but does that matter in our globalized world?

i think the funniest thing about thanksgiving, which is something i learnt from the west wing, where in season 2's thanksgiving episode, 2 turkeys were set loose in CJ's the press secretary's office and it turns out she had to choose the more photogenic and people-friendly of the 2 to receive a presidential pardon. now when i watch that episode again i can't help but laugh nonstop 'cos the entire idea is just quite silly. and CJ was so funny, she went all soft-hearted on the other turkey who didn't receive the pardon 'cos it means he ends up on someone's dinner table at thanksgiving. and insisted the president pardon him too. (:

well with a little googling i learnt that the president does pardon a turkey at every thanksgiving. and the backup turkey and the pardoned one gets sent off to disneyland and live a long long life. apparently its a tradition in the white house. you can go see hilarious pictures of bush pardoning his turkey.

p.s. in the west wing, the president did save the life of the other turkey, by writing a cheque for it for the original owners. whom i'm sure framed the cheque anyway.

so anyway, i was saying that thanksgiving came at a special moment in my own life. and not just individually, but as i looked onto the world torn asunder by war, genocide, civil unrest, political unrest, strikes in france and US, climate change/global warming, nuclear power, cyclones, ongoing terrorism, children with no access to healthcare, the growing divide between the rich and the poor. where people are split down 10 different sides and perspectives on urgent issues, where no compromise and consensus can be reached, i keep wondering if the end times as written in Revelations is drawing near.

so where's the things to be thankful for? sometimes it's hard to think about problems of the world and still see things we can be thankful for. but i've seemed to learn an important lesson through these years of growing up.

patience. and waiting on the Lord. and sometimes, we can be thankful for those little steps that have been taken to solve the bigger problem. i'm glad that now when i refuse a shopping bag for my packet of sweets, the auntie smiles at me, says thank you and says to me, saving the environment right?

well, there's also the matter of looking around you and being thankful for what you have. i've had 4 terror papers in the past 1 week and so many people have made this one week more bearable. and most importantly, i wouldn't have made it, really, without the Lord. it's hard to admit your weaknesses. but this kind of pressure, well self-inflicted pressure really, really leaves you short of breath and on the verge of freaking out. having the Lord just a prayer away makes everything smoother. like sandpapered wood.

yeah, we can't exactly travel through time and space. saying "save the cheerleader, save the world" and history can be rewritten, and perhaps, the mistakes made would be rectified and the world would have a lighter burden to bear on its already broken back. as mr. kaito nakamura says, "we have been given the power of gods, but that doesn't mean we can play God." wise words from the father indeed.

p.s. i really don't know how my post ended up with heroes lines. but the latest episode was just so wonderfully written and shot and executed. i was amazed at its beauty really.

anyway i could wax lyrical about more thanksgiving ramblings, but i just have a blog to recommend on the Huffington Post. a website i discovered that is so info-laden and thought-provoking. the blog by jon robin baitz, creator and exec producer of brothers and sisters writes about issues close to his heart. and i love his take on thanksgiving. click.

oh yes. and some new pictures of my vegas trip (a continuation from a long time ago) can be found here. click.

happy thanksgiving/holidays/studying. (:

edit: i just read this hilarious but really quite true blog entry on the huffington post by bill maher, a political/social/religious satirist (is there such a word) and commentator and comedian. this sets a great contrast to the blog post by jon robin baitz. click.

Monday, November 19, 2007


*spoiler alert for brothers and sisters season 2*

i was watching episodes of brothers and sisters online. late in season 1, tommy and julia lost one of their twins. and when my sister got hooked on the series and saw that episode, she sms-ed me after that episode and told me she couldn't stop crying, seeing how julia went through IVF and lost one of her twins due to complications following a premature birth.

now in season 2, kitty got knocked up before actually getting married, although she was engaged to a republican presidential candidate. and when she miscarried the following episode, my thoughts went back to my sister again.

it's amazing how drama mimicks life. or life mimicks drama. since the writers of B&S said the inspiration for that story arc came from some of the crew members themselves.

my lost-nephew/niece had a weak heartbeat but he/she didn't grow as fast as what the doctors would like. and the pain is fresh again. not just my own, but the pain i feel for my sister. and the pain i feel for my friend's sister as well, who also miscarried around the same time as my own sister.

i watch how kitty felt. and calista flockhart is a great actress. her pain was so raw and inexplicable. and yes her situation is definitely much more complicated. being her fiance's communications director of a nation-wide presidential campaign, and the father running for president. it felt so painful. and i couldn't begin to imagine how my sister felt when she heard the news.

Kitty: "I just found out I’m pregnant. And do I get to jump up and down, and be giddy, and call my mother and call my fiance and call my friends? No. Do I get to go out and buy booties, or whatever? No. No, because I have to worry about your campaign.


Kitty: You think it’s hard running for president? You should try being engaged to the guy who is.


Robert: I don’t know what part of me is more furious, the fiance who was the last person in the room to know, or the candidate who just got sandbagged by one of his senior staffers, who incidentally may or may not be getting sick backstage while I try to debate."


God really does bring us through the worst experiences. and i've always believed such things makes us so much stronger. both emotionally and spiritually. and even when my sister hasn't come to know the Lord, i pray that God will still watch over her nevertheless, till the day she comes to know His greatness and grace.

anyway as i said, the cast of B&S have really matured through out the season. their acting is getting good with each episode. with sally field's emmy win last season, rachel griffiths, calista flockhart, dave annable have been SO good in season 2. and i would give anything to be comforted by rob lowe. (: looking more gorgeous than ever in a white shirt and tie.

and i'm glad (in a twisted way) that rob lowe's character, senator robert mccalister, is not a saint afterall! he just revealed a bigger flaw, way bigger than the accidental hero/white lying story in season 1. and i just want to punch him for lying to kitty about wanting more kids and she being more important than his campaign when he ranted on and on to his campaign manager about how he's the most ambitious man he'll ever meet and firing 1/3 of his staff. argh you idiottt! but aside from the lying you can't really blame him for not wanting more kids at this point of his life. (no wonder people only run from presidents when they have grown children). he's beginning to see what his life is going to be like and i'm sure he's scared of what it'll do to his 2 kids from his previous marriage.

Robert: "My fiance and I lost our baby less than 24 hours ago, and we just cancelled our wedding. I have to fly to New Hampshire to talk to the Family Taxpayer’s Associations. I haven’t had a minute to think about what just happened until I was in the hospital waiting room. You know what I was thinking? That I never wanted the baby. I have two kids of my own already, and I thought I was done. And I never told Kitty. And I can’t tell Kitty. And I don’t know if God is giving me what I want, or punishing me, or both. So Isaac, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to ignore your advice, I haven’t quite reached your level of sober pragmatism. Before I can spin what’s just happened to Kitty and I, I’m going to need just about two hours to feel like crap."


Kitty: "You really want this too, don’t you?
Robert: Yes. There’s nothing more important to me than you, not even this campaign.
Kitty: And unlike politics, trying to have a baby might even be fun.
Robert: Think globally, act locally, I always say."

but you know what, i think he won't get the presidential nomination. in this real world. divorced, gay brother, crazy family, neurotic fiancee/communications director, young, moderate republican, crazy future-in-laws, liberal democrat mother-in-law, gay brother-in-law in a relationship with gay brother, drug addict war vet brother-in-law, cheating husband brother-in-law, illegitimate sister-in-law, divorced sister-in-law, hushing his war hero story, kitty not telling robert about blackmail, robert not telling kitty about not wanting more children. oh no. i hope they work out. no need to be president lah. spend more time with kids and kitty. (:

yes you can see i love this show. anyone up for family drama should really watch this show. ask me for video streaming links, since tv-links is now down. apparently the guy got jailed or something. i shall do my part to discreetly promote such sites now. (:

back to genetics. and don't ask me how cell biology went. i almost went mad.

Friday, November 9, 2007


"But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth."
- Colossians 3:8

i've learnt to stop myself from saying all kinds of swear words or words that are blasphemous or phrases that use God's name in vain. and i consciously try, although i do fail sometimes and i let slip. then i have this sudden urge to slap myself. but that's beside the point.

i didn't go for a 1-hr class on tuesday.because my prof. (the naggy one) is not really going through important exam stuff. just going through the quiz that we had which was kind of easy (that's a story for another day).

the next day i was in school studying with the usual gang - fish, fern, wei liang (all of whom is dangerously addicted to the traveler's IQ game on facebook, till the point WL actually drew the entire map of africa and its major cities just so he can score higher! that's really at the brink of obsession) and edward. then i was told of the big HOO-HA that happened on tuesday.

without revealing too much, one of my peers from year 4 sent an email (hate mail more like it) to that prof of mine, ON BEHALF OF ALL THE YEAR 4s! ok back to that later. the email was to tell my prof that he's lazy and unprofessional for being a little slack and casual about our quiz and the nutshell is that, the email was very harsh and full of malice.

i do admit that i have expressed negative feelings for this prof, because he can get quite condescending and naggy and anal about things and treating us like little children. and he disgresses a lot in lectures, time which can be saved. but hey, i do still respect him, i still smile at him when i see him in the hallways, not because i'm 2-faced, but i'd like to think that's only respectful and right. ultimately, i'm still the student and he's my teacher. and he's a good teacher! i don't agree with some of his perspectives and views. and i'm certainly not gonna go write him a hatemail voicing my displeasure. and here's where i wonder, why do people do that?? isn't there a better way to get your views across, for example, the semesterally-carried-out teacher evaluations! and why must people do it so maliciously? what happened to peaceful and constructive criticism?

and i also thought that the way the person signed off his/her hatemail, as a representative of my cohort. helloooooo unless you're the president of my school club and you have consulted each and everyone of us and everyone is in agreement with the contents of your email, you have no rights or grounds whatsoever to sign off like that! it's just frustrating. and i heard the episode and i do feel bad for my prof. for having to read such an email and thinking that it was the unanimous decision and point-of-view of the entire year 4 cohort.

:( i don't like such people. and we all have our suspicions about the identity of the culprit.

anyway this just reminded me of the whole repeal s377A hellabaloo, and the NMP who received hatemails and death threats from 2 people now. and i'm so ashamed that one of which came from a person who studies in my university. so what? now people aren't allowed to have differing opinions that death threats must be issued? i'm sorry but i really find that ironic (what freedom of speech?) and totally uncalled for. and there is no apology or excuses that can reverse these. and people should really think twice about speaking horrible things or writing horrible things about one another. because with every action, there's a consequence.

"Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."
- Galatians 5:19-23

Monday, November 5, 2007

beeees and revival.

quite a lot of good movies to watch lately. i caught moliere with melody 2 weeks ago. it was surprisingly good and funny! i never thought a french film can be that funny. it's something about the french language and their overwhelming passion and occasional stuckup-ness that makes me think that humor isn't in their genes. all that plus films like a very long engagement, which was really a very long (movie) engagement. moliere was based on the real-life french playwright who was great at writing funny plays. it was a poignant take on his life and how life mimicks drama and drama mimicks life.

just now my nokia sister had free VIP passes to the preview of bee movie. which was HILARIOUS. ohman. i'm so glad i got to laugh so hard and not care about the guy beside me who was merely chuckling at some of the movie's greatest moments. i could draw many many parallels with ratatouille. because these days cartoons are all chip off the old block. the same formula. just a different animal. one's a rat, now it's a bee! but still i enjoy it a lot. and i appreciate the mountains of spoofs and satire and spin on issues and social norms of us humans being reflected on bees. and humans being big-hearted enough to laugh at ourselves. (: haha. some parts were so funny, like the appearance of sting, and a mosquito being a lawyer ("i'm already a blood-sucking parasite and now i'm just doing it with a suitcase!") and the police shooting winnie the pooh with a tranquilizer as he tries to eat his honey while piglet watches by the side, stunned.

and many other movies coming up. including the R21 release of lust, caution, stardust, the meryl streep/tom cruise lions for lambs, the tom hanks/julia roberts/aaron sorkin-written charlie wilson's war, the john cusack grace is gone. anybody interested in any of the above call me!

as i think about it, i do really support the writers with their strike, hoping that this drastic measure will drive their supposed employers to pay them their dues. because without these talented writers, there wouldn't be movies like these. there wouldn't be those great tv shows that we love. and it's not really the actors that play the most significant roles. and hollywood has some of the greatest and most underrated writers around. just look at the amount of publicity the emmy awards get compared to the creative emmy awards or the writers guild awards.

why am i still ranting on and on instead of studying? after 3.5 years as an undergrad in singapore, this is the final lap of exams. and i have less than 2 weeks to the start. i know somewhere down the road i'm gonna miss this. probably when i'm sick and tired of working and being an adult with tons of responsibilities, that i'd miss being a student again. but right now, i just need to focus. focus. focus.

i'm quite upset that i'd be missing YAG retreat. the pre-retreat message on saturday was very very uplifting and insightful. pastor preached from Psalm 143.

Hear my prayer, O LORD,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.

For the enemy has persecuted my soul;
He has crushed my life to the ground;
He has made me dwell in darkness,
Like those who have long been dead.
Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart within me is distressed.

I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your works;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
I spread out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.

Answer me speedily, O LORD;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.

Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies;
In You I take shelter.
Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.

Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake!
For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
In Your mercy cut off my enemies,
And destroy all those who afflict my soul;
For I am Your servant.
- Psalm 143

it's sometimes amazing to hear messages and lessons that are derived from one psalm. and lessons are in its entirety and insightful and practical. and it really takes a trained eye, ear and heart to pick out these lessons. because i know i can't do that when i read the Bible.

this psalm speaks about how David, as king, encountered both external and internal problems and afflictions. and how he was distressed and overwhelmed by those mounting problems. and he prayed to God for revival of his spirit. but as you can read from the Psalm, he only prayed for revival at the end.

and before revival, he prayed for God to hear him.
then he remembered how God delivered Him and he meditated on God's works.
he subsequently prayed for deliverance and God's leading and teaching.
and after all these, he then prayed for revival of his spirit. and this revival is for His name's sake! again! i mean, God revives our spirit and makes us stronger to face the problems of this world for the sake of His name and not ours! He has this higher purpose for us and we have a place in His will.

and it's wonderful to learn how prayer is not the answer to everything, and i can totally relate to that because that's how i feel sometimes. and in order to learn how to pray properly for His guiding hand and to pray for strength and everything else, pastor has taught us from a new perspective about prayer and revival.

and guess what, this is just the tip of the iceberg. and i'd be sure to grab the mp3 recordings.

on a concluding note, i'm getting really excited about christmas. with the sense of urgency of practices for choir and actions to learn and songs to memorize. not to mention the diverse musicality of our concert this year, spanning so many different genres and styles. but more importantly, i'm getting really happy about celebrating christmas this year after a year of SO many happenings and being away from Bethany half of the year. and thinking about what christmas means to me this year and what next year entails. (:

Friday, November 2, 2007

of cheap thrills, strikes and music therapy.

so yesterday night i drove on the spanking new KPE while giving louisa a ride home. mel lou and i had a nice yummy dinner at manhattan fish market to celebrate lou's-starting-work (hence her treat (: ) and mel's-turning-22. my 2 dearest friends.

KPE was a great improvement from the old way to bedok reservoir from plaza sing. although i did go on 3 expressways, it was much faster and easier. a zip from ECP to KPE to PIE and voila! KPE is brand new and the roads are great, smooth and straight and you can listen to the radio underground! although the big ventilation fans at the start of the tunnel freaked me out a little cos it reminded me of the movie total recall.

anyway it was a cheap thrill 'cos i was kinda excited to explore the new, albeit short, expressway. so silly right. my only grouse is the speed limit. 70km/h is kinda slow, y'noe what i mean?

speaking of strikes, i'm so wishing that the writers of hollywood movies and tv shows wouldn't go on strike, 'cos if they do it means a delay in the programming schedules and it's not good news for a tv addict like me. it looks like all the big name shows will be affected 'cos the strike involves virtually ALL writers in hollywood.

well, that constant struggle for money and power just brings out the worst in people. as usual right. but i do want to see the talented writers of my favorite tv shows get paid the amounts they deserve, because i know that they work super hard to churn out episodes after episodes week after week. and i know that those network execs and production companies are just greedy. as seen, so aptly, in studio 60 on the sunset strip.

well, the ideal situation would be to resolve this difficult issue. pay the writers their dues because networks have to depend on them for their income. the writers go back to what they do best, and what they love doing, and we the lovely fans and audience get our weekly dose of television.

and my song of the week is spelt out below. i can still remember when i first got the daughtry album from shianchi who bought it on itunes store when we were in US. and for a long time i was putting the album on repeat, and in particular the songs Home and Over You. just 'cos they were so catchy.

and just now, in a bid to keep myself awake while i study more muscle biology, i put the daughtry album on and i listened to the lyrics of this song. and it contrasts very nicely with the chinese song i put up a few posts ago. that was so sappy and melodramatic, and this is so strong and determined. and so catchy too. so this song shall be my song of the week.

Over You/Daughtry

Now that it's all said and done,
I can't believe you were the one
To build me up and tear me down,
Like an old abandoned house.
What you said when you left
Just left me cold and out of breath.
I fell too far, was in way too deep.
Guess I let you get the best of me.

*Well, I never saw it coming.
I should've started running
A long, long time ago.
And I never thought I'd doubt you,
I'm better off without you
More than you, more than you know.
I'm slowly getting closure.
I guess it's really over.
I'm finally getting better.
And now I'm picking up the pieces.
I'm spending all of these years
Putting my heart back together.
'Cause the day I thought I'd never get through,
I got over you.

You took a hammer to these walls,
Dragged the memories down the hall,
Packed your bags and walked away.
There was nothing I could say.
And when you slammed the front door shut,
A lot of others opened up,
So did my eyes so I could see
That you never were the best for me.

Friday, October 26, 2007

engineering consent.

immunology quiz was a terror. it felt as though it was the actual exams already. and the count-down timer edward wrote on the resource room white board is starting to freak me out. 21 days to my first paper and i barely touched the lectures other than immunology.

welcome to year 4.

just this afternoon i peeked at this girl using the resource room computer and surfing a very familiar website. and i realized it was the university of washington school of medicine website.

she was finding subjects to do subject-matching!

well that certainly brought back a huge flood of memories of a year ago. where i was fretting over my insane 6-module-workload and exams, visa applications, MOE things, air tickets, accomm stuff. and i thought about everything i went through for the sake of my exchange, and everything i gave up for. somehow on hindsight now, it seemed like things could have been very different if i had stayed. or they may have been exactly the way they turned out to be.

it's common knowledge that things we do have repercussions. things we say too (today's incident involving my gd girlfriend and another friend of ours is a good example of that). my exchange has taught me so many things, and given me memories which i'd treasure for life, and opened my narrow-minded mind to so many cultures and places and perspectives. but there's always the sacrifices we make. the times i lost with my loved ones. the things i could have done as WSC's vice-president. the worrying that my family went through would be greatly reduced.

shoulda, woulda, coulda. why does "on hindsight" make it so much more difficult to move on?

anyway, i keep lamenting about how much fun i had in US studying. and for old time's sake i like to read through the things i've learnt or the work that i did over at UW. (: here is an example.


Qn: Discuss the origins of and the key figures behind the philosophy of "engineering consent". What is the underlying view of the public in this philosophy, and what are the best arguments for and against engineering consent in a democracy?

The key figures behind the philosophy of "engineering consent" are Sigmund Freud, Walter Lippmann and Edward L. Bernays. The origins of this philosophy came mainly from Freud's psychoanalysis of the human mind and the human condition. Lippmann and Bernays then concluded that the public opinion is not rational (as though in previous decades) and cannot be swayed using facts or reasoned arguments. hence the public can only be reached through its emotions, where images, symbols, stories that are relatable to the public and are able to stir up emotions. With these techniques, public opinion can then be engineered according to those who are able to come up with images that reach out to the public most effectively.

Engineering consent of the public restores order in a chaotic society. This is one advantage. It also puts the power in a selected group of people that have the knowledge and ability to engineer consent in a way that is "best" for the society, rather than let the power run in the hands of the middle class, who are irrational and uninformed, and hence incapable of making wise decisions. This is the argument put forth by democratic realists.

However, from a democracy standpoint, the philosophy of engineering consent is no longer democracy, because the power and rights are no longer in the hands of the masses, but the elite few who hold the power to sway public opinion.


you know i wouldn't rule out going to grad school after my bond ends and study communications or political science or something. i did get the best grade for this class on media, society and political identity, better than all of my other subjects i took. even in singapore. haha.

now it's back to the science. which i love learning it, but certainly not the memorizing part.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

the one where i fell in love with grand canyon.

can hardly believe it's approaching november soon, and my summer trip was back in june! and with november comes exams. and after exams is youth conference. and after conference is christmas! after a long string of not-so-good events, i'm looking forward to christmas and turning my focus back onto the Lord and remembering what it means to celebrate the birth of Jesus and what christmas means to me this year. (:

ok so here goes. another day rises in las vegas and we headed out to eat some yummy buffet lunch at the Bellagio. very posh hotel with a great buffet lunch to boot.

here are some samples. i had like 5 or 6 rounds. the most i've ever eaten in a buffet. normally 2 rounds of mains and 1 round of dessert and i surrender. but the food was too good here. plus we sat there and chatted and lazed for almost 4 hours. (:

ohmygosh i must say something about their desserts sections. it's really something. huge variety and every one of it is good! ok i'm not that crazy to try everything.

2 satisfied girls. please ignore the tummy.

the sidewalk beside the bellagio fountain. where they shot ocean's 13 and probably 11. ahhh ge*orge cloo*ney.

sights around the vegas strip. just roaming around after a huge meal. yes there's nothing much to do in vegas if you're not a gambler or horny person. just eat and walk and shop.

and go watch cirque du soleil! (: we managed to get tix to watch mystere, one of the 4 cirque shows playing in vegas. the others are ka, zumanity and O. i wanted to watch ka and O, but our schedules clashed. hope they come back to singapore soon. when that happens, please go watch it! mystere is actually the original production and it was jaw-dropping good. i really never seen anything like it. it was visually stunning and the original music was so good. the lights, visual effects and performances and sets and props and costumes just all came together. and this is the only picture i managed to sneak.

after the show we walked somemore.

and i saw the bellagio fountain again. 3rd time. this time at night. so beautiful.

how lucky is ian. haha. me ian and linda posing in a shaky slow synchro flash photo.

the gambling table at mgm grand. this is probably for blackjack.

the next day we got up at a wayyy too unhumanly hour to catch our bus to grand canyon. we joined a one-day tour thing and reporting time was 5.45am. and ian and his friend very cleverly overslept. they rushed down to the meeting place in a cab and thankfully got on the bus in the end. boys.

on the way to the grand canyon! it took us about 4 hours to get there. we passed the nevada/arizona state line. and here is a beautiful huge lake in the middle of nowhere.

crossing hoover dam. yayyy transformers!! (: and hoover dam is really as magnificent as what you see in movies like transformers and the old superman movies.

part of the dam structure blends into the surroundings.

a brunch stopover somewhere in arizona. the middle of nowhere.

good morning arizona!

on the road.

and after a stopover for lunch just outside the grand canyon nat'l park, and a Imax movie on grand canyon... ... we're here!

i still get chills when i see my photos and imagine myself perched at the edge of the cliffs. the feeling of sitting on a bus for 4 hours and then getting off to see this beautiful sight, it's so amazing. i almost want to just linger there till dusk (because that's when the canyon gets SO beautiful) and go stay in one of the little inns overlooking the canyon, and waking up early to catch the sunrise.

and you can this renewed sense of awe of God's creations and just how wonderful He is. i remember being kinda speechless and just thinking to myself how wonderful and lucky i was here seeing these. and witnessing the canvas of God's work over the years. literally.

me and ian. he, being the gentleman, stood on the outside. but i amazed myself by being not afraid of heights. whereas linda was so terrified, but we managed to get her to conquer her fears. haha. (:

so i'm now the one protecting her!

just how amazing this is. i thought this was much more beautiful than niagara falls. it's definitely more spectacular in terms of size and depth and age.

more photos will come soon. right now i'm battling immunology and watching episodes of heroes, grey's anatomy, brothers and sisters, private practice, pushing daisies, big shots and some reruns of the west wing, sex and the city.

and i so need to study. reading my sister's facebook note on tokyo didn't help. ahh i wanna travel!!!