Thursday, July 31, 2008

scotland's highlands.

edinburgh, with snaps of the scottish highlands.

on calton hill. a lonely tree stands.
calton hill was a great place for my melancholy shots.

here, nelson's monument again.

and the national monument.

everyone, meet hamish, the highland cattle.
actually, hamish is a generic scottish name.
much like tom, dick, and harry for americans.

hamish here is absolutely hilarious and adorable. (:
and highland cattle are native to the scottish highlands.

a hybrid tulip growing in a farm where hamish lives, near perth.

for the entire day's drive, this is what we see.
just mountains, green pastures, rivers, lakes and the occasional castle.

as much as i wanted to, i can't remember the names of these places.
they offer sweeping views of valleys and mountains.
and the vastness of it all just reminds me of the vastness of God's love.

"For I am so persuaded that neither death nor life,
nor angels nor principalities nor powers,
nor things present nor things to come,
nor height nor depth,
nor any other created thing,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
- Romans 8:38-39

anyway, i can tell you that we headed north out of edinburgh,
to Dunkeld, a small town in a region called perth.
passing by the Forth Bridge, filming locations of the famous BBC tv drama,
"monarch of the glen".
we passed many lochs (say laww-kks with your throat),
including loch laggan.
lochs are lakes, in gaelic,
the ancient language of scotland and ireland.
we also passed fort augustus, a small town by a huge loch.
very charming and pretty and quiet.

love the nature. (:

the commando monument.
built to remember the soldiers of the elite force
who trained in this part of the highlands during the 2nd world war.
they were established by sir winston churchill
when britain was at the losing end of the war.

the mysterious and famous loch ness.
on board our cruise was sonar and don't-know-what-other-fancy-gadgets
to try and scan the depths of the lake for the mysterious monster.
i really don't know where to stand.
to believe or not to believe.
much like bigfoot in america.

anyway the equipment allowed us to see the depths of the lake,
was pretty cool to see that the lake plunges several meters
deeper in the center than its 2 sides.
did i mention i love physical geography? (:

other than the monster, which last reported sighting was a few months ago,
the lake was so beautiful and quiet and vast.
it's unthinkable that a beast would lurk in these waters.

alright, we also went pass fort william, a bigger town, but still very pretty.
and ben navis, the highland's highest mountain.
and glencoe, the town where a huge massacre took place in the 1600s.
which was also a filming hotspot for many movies,
including harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban.

speaking of which, the famous bridge where harry almost fell out of the flying car trying to catch up with the train to hogwarts in harry potter and the chamber of secrets.
the bridge is in the scottish highlands.
but too far away for my tour to go to. :(

alright, we also passed the rob roy country and the stirling castle,
a very important castle of the kings of scotland in the past.

and then we headed back to edinburgh.
tired but a lot smarter on the history of scotland. (:

p.s. i still find the scottish accent hard to understand when they talk really fast.
which happens a lot.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

the intangible.

Jesus said to him, “Thomas,because you have seen Me, you have believed.
are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;

but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

- John 20:29-31

it's refreshing to be reminded once again.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

wicked news. (:

for all wicked lovers out there,

this is absolute joy!


it's a rainy day and i'm at the NIE campus. i need some time to settle myself down and prepare for classes all over again next week. the cycle of lectures/tutorials/group projects/GESL (don't ask.)/2500-word essays/research has descended upon me again.

welcome to NIE.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


disaster strikes on a new day in scotland.
my camera was drowned in water.
hence pictures here were taken with the Nokia N95 8GB camera,
5mp with a carl zeiss lens.
edinburgh is a beautiful city.
it's old, so rich in history and culture and music and traditions. stories and legends.
its people are friendly, laid-back and the city has a relaxing vibe to it.
they celebrate their history and embrace their traditions.
the love the tartans, bagpipes and legends. and the whisky.
do NOT spell whisky as whiskey in scotland, for you will get frowns and disdain from the scots. they hate american whiskEy. (:

scott momument; edinburgh city center, along princes street.

princes street gardens. good day to chill in the sun and read a book.

along royal mile, the scotch whisky experience.

a museum showcasing all about the scotch whisky (no E!)

the mills of the tartan factory. the exhibition also shows the different tartan patterns of the different scottish clans, including the macDougals (ie. SATC fans, charlotte's ex-husband) and many other scots we know in hollywood.

edinburgh castle guard. protectors of the castle, in klits.

a canon fires at 1pm everyday. it used to inform the army and navy of the time, back in the days without watches and clocks. and firing at 1pm, instead of 12pm, will save them a lot of money. how smart.

a young canadian guy asked my guide,

"so what time is the 1pm gun salute?"

"oh, it's 30minutes after 1230pm"

"oh ok." guy replies, very satisfied with my guide's answer.

the royal mile, runs from the castle for a scottish mile (1.8km)

overlooking the train station from a street near the royal mile.

the scottish parliament building, with its cutting-edge,

hard-to-understand avant-garde architecture.

outside the parliament building. the plateau/hills, called Arthur's seat, was part of an ancient volcano that edinburgh is sitting on.

and people can climb up and admire the views of the city.

a sweeping view of princes street gardens.

calton hill. i love this photo a lot. (:

partial view of the city on calton hill. part of Arthur's seat.

edinburgh city.

flowers bloom in spring.

a peek at Nelson's monument on calton hill.

nelson's momument.

for admiral horatio nelson, commander of british fleets during the napolean wars, the battle of trafalgar.

part of the inscription writes,

"...not to express their unavailing sorrow for his death; nor yet
to celebrate this matchless glories of his life; but, by his noble example, to
teach their sons to emulate what they admire, and, like him, when duty requires
it, to die for their country."

a peek at the (unfinished) national monument.

the national momument, looks suspiciously like the parthenon in athens.

built for the people who died in the napoleanoic wars.

Monday, July 14, 2008

dripping with satire.

everyone is in uproar over the cover of the latest new yor*ker cover.

(AP/new yorker)

well, only in america, can such a picture run on the cover of a well-respected magazine. the first ammendment can really be a pain. in sharp contrast, singapore takes you to court with its best lawyers and sucks you dry.

anyway, most people took it the opposite way that it was intended. even the oba*ma campaign. disgusted by the radical protrayal of the rumors and myths and lies that ob*ama's (right-wing and far-right-wing) opponents have tried to spread, disguising it as political satire; with the message of the politics of fear being used by his opponents, that oba*ma is muslim, anti-america, pro-middle-east, and even dragging michelle oba*ma into the cauldron of fire.

and one article on huffington post i read, praised the courage of the new yo*rker staff, for raising the standard of public debate by bringing the issues surrounding the elections and oba*ma himself up 1000 levels. by throwing this cover into the world, everyone is commenting, blogging, with the 24-hr media news cycle going at it, providing a platform for the issues to be raised and cleared of their doubts and truths be surfaced and lies banished. political commentators are forced to re-examine the facts and truths and separate them from the lies myths and rumors. in a way, if the hand if played carefully and correctly, it could well work its advantage to the obama campaign.

judging by the number of articles on the this very subject everywhere in the news (well, everywhere except the str*aits times), i'd say this huffpost writer is spot on. and i incline to agree, with apprehension. i do hope it plays well to oba*ma's advantage, and that despite the cover, americans can be trusted to look beyond the surface (well, after being offended and closing their jaws) and consider the candidates in a truthful light, not as painted by the media. and vote wisely!!

anyway i went on to read the very long article in the new yor*ker about bar*ack oba*ma. it's a good read, with plenty of ancedotes and quotes and insights into his life, before and after he was senator and presidential candidate. and i love this.

“Some people who knew of my activism in the community asked me would I be
interested in running for that office,” Obama said in Ames. “And so I did what
every wise man does when confronted with such a decision: I prayed on it, and I
asked my wife.”

speaking of obam*a, there's this cute interview with the obama* family, with their 2 daughters and is available on youtube. the daughters dish embarrassing stories about their dad and it's really sweet. (: link here.

alright. i have more time on my hands in school than you can even imagine. hence the increase in blogging, and surfing news websites. (:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

scotland's princes and castles.

i start my journey at london's king's cross station,
looking for cheap lunch and platform 9 3/4
and boarding the train at the wrong coach. (:

my train journey was greeted by fatigue from the long flight,
hunger from the reluctance to spend precious pounds on food,
heavy backpacks,
and the beautiful scenery outside.

little huts, cows grazing, sheeping chilling,
fields of endless yellow flowers,
daisies, perhaps.

the reservation slip peeks out behind my seat.
all ready for my 5 hr train journey from london's king's cross to scotland.

the flowers start blooming in spring.

the ruins of st. andrew's cathedral.
it's a little haunting, quiet, yet strong.

a sidewalk in the small university town at sunset.

the campus in the day. physics and astronomical sciences.

the beaches of st. andrew's at sunset.

there's something lovely and romantic about
such inscriptions on benches.
this bench faces the sea, and it's just serene sitting there.

part of university of st. andrew's campus.

st. andrew's cathedral and the cloudy sky.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

this beautiful world i know.

Has our conscience shown?
Has the sweet breeze blown?
Has all the kindness gone?
Hope still lingers on.

I drink myself of newfound pity
Sitting alone in New York City
And I don't know why.

Are we listening?
Hymns of offering.
Have we eyes to see?
Love is gathering.

All the words that I've been reading
Have now started the act of bleeding
Into one.

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below.
And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down.
'Cause it's the world I know.

It's the world I know.
- collective soul

many insights to education.

and it's comforting that i see the work of selfless individuals,

working to change lives, one student at a time.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."

- Deuteronomy 6:6-7