Sunday, December 27, 2009

who is this man?

on the day after Christmas, i happened to chance upon a program on discovery channel. a documentary titled 'who was Jesus?'. it was fascinating as 3 academics from universities in the US and Jerusalem went on a discovery around Jerusalem to all the sites. among many things discussed (largely from a scientific point of view), they talked about how Jesus would have looked liked according to physical anthropologists, excavated skulls and skeletons and the genetic pool of the people who lived 2009 years ago. archaeologists were also interviewed as they unearthed sites like Pilate's home where Jesus was sentenced to be crucified etc.

more than that, they also explored the process of the crucifixion, and what the body went through as the process was carried out. no doubt Jesus was the Son of God, but he had a mortal body and he went through pain and suffering too. so scientists now subjected bodies that were donated to science to the crucifixion process, plus a single evidence that was found - a heel bone with a nail driven through it.

MRI imaging shows that the nail is driven into the heel bone as it was the position that would have hurt the most, because of the intricate network of nerves that resides there.

i was greatly moved when i tried to imagine what Jesus must have gone through. the pain, suffering that was upon Him as He died slowly on the cross. tears came. and this christmas season, i'm once again reminded of who Jesus is. and how my wretchedness and sins have been washed away. and how i can be reconciled with God and receive the forgiveness that is so richly undeserved.

You laid aside your majesty
Gave up everything for me
Suffered at the hands
of those You have created

You took all my guilt and shame
When You died and rose again
Now today You reign
In Heaven and earth exalted

I really want to worship You my Lord
You opened up my heart and i am Yours
Forever and ever
I will love You

You are the only One who died for me
Gave Your life to set me free
So i lift my voice to You
In adoration

Monday, December 14, 2009


i'm pretty sure the state of drunkenness and what it brings are the manifestation of everything that is wrong with man.

my friends know that i drink alcohol. my house has a big cabinet stocked with most hard liquors - several bottles of vodka, whiskey, rum, gin, martini, brandy, XO etc. and we have a fridge stocked with bottles and bottles of red wine, white wine, rose, champagne and beer.

at home, we have wine with dinners. we pop champagne when there's a special occasion (like my 21st party). and when friends come over, we mix some cocktails and chill. alcohol with the right mixers, alcohol with the right food, alcohol cooked with the right ingredients, can be a great delight and an art form to appreciate.

today i saw in the newspapers, photos of people passing out - dead drunk - on the beaches of sentosa from zouk out. the article reported that even when puke was everywhere, a guy was quoted, saying what's a party without drunk people?

how is randomly making out with some guy, or waking up with puke-stained clothes fun and exciting?

through my stay in hall and elsewhere, i've witnessed just about everything that's wrong with mankind. ok not everything. but i've seen excessive amounts of alcohol breaking up relationships, tarnishing reputations, and causing otherwise-sane-and-nice people to fall into the clutches of the evil one and sinning.

it all becomes real when the worst happens to someone you love - falling down a flight of stairs, a pool of blood around the head, skull cracked, 2-day coma and a life changed forever.

and the more insidious thing about this - is that our society thinks it's ok. it's ok to consume all that alcohol in the name of having fun, relaxing, or drowning one's troubles. all that peer pressure is the devil's way of ensnaring us. his ways are subtle, inconspicuous, and disguised in the name of innocence and fun.

as i grow older (and grow in my faith and knowledge of the Lord's Word), i see the depth of the words of life, i see how it applies to my life, and how uplifting it is. some time ago at ypg, pastor mitch challenged us to memorise 2 verses, out of which 1 is this one below. it really amazes me how the same verse can mean different things to you at different points of your life.

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,"

Hebrews 12:1

and now that this verse is in my heart, i shall resolve to lay aside the sin which so easily ensnares us, and to run the race of life looking to Jesus. and my prayer for all to do the same, and not let these sins rule their lives. excessive alcohol included.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

created in His image.

a good time to be reminded once again. this verse shall carry my weary soul till next year.

"Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;
let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air,
and over the cattle, over all the earth
and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in His own image;
in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.

Then God blessed them, and God said to them,
“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it;
have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air,
and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”"

- Genesis 1:26-28

Saturday, November 28, 2009

the travel itch.

A part of Lake Crescent
Olympic National Park
Washington, USA
Summer, 2007

itching to travel again, but too many things going on in december.

i miss road trips. i miss my crazy road trip days in US. where i can have a crazy idea, hop out and rent a car, plan the route, drive to safeway to buy food, pile into the car and just drive. and within hours, i'm surrounded by amazing views, a thousand and one things to see, do and explore.

when you live on an island of a small country, this is what you yearn for.

well anyway, thoughts this weekend:

#1 - new moon the movie was much better than i had anticipated. and the movie is 1000x better than the book, which i hated. so there it goes. sister and i were hoping we wouldn't run into our students in the theater. :)

#2 - just finished watching CNN heroes, the tribute. as always, anderson cooper is too cute in his head of silver-white hair. but more than that, the inspiring stories that showcase how amazing and how far a single person or a group of persons can go to reach out to those in need.

orphans in east timor, the homeless that go hungry in new york city, children in need of prosthetic limbs, iraqi children in need of wheelchairs, women and children in zimbabwe that are raped at 6 years old by 18 HIV-positive men, women without health insurance that need mammograms and SO MANY MORE.

this beats the nobel peace prize.

#3 - choices. and choosing wisely.

#4 - and recapping:

"I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable to God,
which is your reasonable service."
- Romans 12:1

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

say cheese!

oreo cheesecake for dad's birthday

decided to post up my oreo cheesecake recipe after sam requested for it all the way from perth. :) since i have the soft copy, might as well share the joy right. christmas is coming is coming afterall. and i'm celebrating by listening to old bethany christmas concert songs and reminiscing about the good old days. and looking forward with much excitement and joy to this year's musical, and honouring the Lord and His tender grace upon me this year. :)

i had trouble looking for a reliable oreo cheesecake recipe - my usual suspects (nigella, hummingbird bakery, jamie oliver, and i even checked anthony bourdain! knowing full well he wouldn't have one in his les halles cookbook) didn't have one. so i decided to use nigella's new york cheesecake ('cos it was so successful everytime) and invent my own oreo crust.

Enjoy! :)

a 70th birthday oreo cheesecake

Ingredients for the base:
250g oreo biscuits, without cream (estimated)
150g unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons caster sugar (reduced sugar version: 2 tbsps)

For the cake:
23cm springform tin (from phoon huat)
250g caster sugar (reduced sugar version: 175g)
2 tablespoons corn flour
750g cream cheese
6 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (i usually put in 1 more teaspoon cos i love vanilla so much)
150ml double cream
150ml sour cream (can be replaced with another 150ml double cream)
½ teaspoon salt (just pinch)
zest of 1 lemon
icing sugar for dusting
strawberries, raspberries or blackberries to serve/garnish

The Baking!
1. Mix together the crushed biscuits, melted butter and 3 tablespoons of sugar
2. Press into the base of the springform tin
3. Leave in the fridge for ½ hour

4. Preheat oven 170 degree celsius
5. In a large bowl, mix together the caster sugar and corn flour.
6. Beat in the cream cheese, egg yolks, vanilla either by hand or electric beater
7. Slowly pour in both creams, beating constantly
8. Add the salt and lemon zest
9. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then fold into the cheese mixture.
10. Scoop onto the chilled base
11. Bake for 1-1.5 hours without opening the oven door, until the cheesecake is golden brown on top.
12. Turn off the heat and let the cake stand in the oven for 2 more hours.
13. Open the oven door and let it stand for a further 1 hour.
14. Serve chilled, dusted with icing sugar. Garnish with fresh fruits.

Serves 12-14

as always i would reduce the sugar amounts dramatically.

the first 2 times i followed exactly, but this time i was tired of having left-over sour and double cream. so i experimented doing away with sour cream and replacing it with double cream. so i used the entire 300ml cup of double cream, plus reducing the sugar a little more to combat the sweetness and it turned out well.

step #9 is something that nigella says will ensure that the cheesecake is less dense and light and fluffy. so be sure to whisk till stiff peaks. it really makes a difference!

I know the baking procedure sounds super troublesome. but i never questioned it, and following the steps ensured that my cheesecake turned out awesome.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

ray of sunshine.

rays of sunshine
view from the top of the spanish steps
rome, italy

*Sometimes the sun shines on other people's houses and not mine
Somedays the clouds paint the sky all gray it takes away the summer time
and somehow the sun keeps shining upon you while i struggle to get mine
if there's a light in everybody, send out your ray of sunshine*

i want to walk the same roads as everyone else
through the trees and past the gates
getting high on heavenly breezes
and making new friends along the way

i won't ask much of nobody
i'm just here to sing along

and make my mistakes look gracious
and learn some lessons from my wrongs

Sometimes the sun shines on other people's houses and not mine
Somedays the clouds paint the sky all gray it takes away the summer time
while the sun keeps shining upon you while i'm kindly standing by
a little light never hurt nobody send out a ray of sunshine

Ohh if this little light of mine combined with yours today
how many watts could we 'luminate
how many villages could we save
well my umbrella is tried of the weather wearing me down
well look at me now, look at me now

you should look as good as your outlook
would you mind if i took some time

to soak up your light, your beautiful light,
you got a paradise inside

i get hungry for love and thirsty for life
but much too full on the pain
when i look to the sky to help me
and it often looks like rain


you're undeniably warm, cerulean
you're perfect in design
i hope you hang around

so the sun it can shine on me
and the clouds can all roll away
and the sky can become our possibility

'cause there's a light in everybody
send out your ray of sunshine
- jason mraz

Monday, October 5, 2009

say a little prayer.

today, tears fell as i talked to 4 of my girls. 3 of them openly teared uncontrollably, and i had no heart to tell them to stop. so instead, i stopped talking and let them cry.

later the 4th one admitted, she thought it was weird to cry over the stresses of school work. so she cries at home, where her sister is around to lend her a shoulder.

what started off as a extended-remedial session turned into an impromptu do-not-despair-there's-still-hope session. i experienced first hand how important my job is, fearing that the inability to cope with stress could drive my sweet girls to horrible consequences. i drew on past experience to help them understand the things they are going through. and i hope i did something right - and helped them to strive to cope with the demands of their school work, exams, and everything else. to be resilient. so they can be better prepared for what life brings.

but i also realised it's hard not to bring in God and His strength and comfort. looking back, He has blessed me during my times in JC, even when i turned away from Him, even when i did not seek Him. i don't remember being unable to cope with the heavy demands of 4 A level subjects, students' council, band and everything else. retrospectively, i can attribute these blessings to God's invisible hand in my life.

as i spoke to my girls, i'm fighting the urge not to bring in the comfort that God brings - because i know my limits of teaching in a secular school, and that i was talking to my students in school. i know God's power and His grace will be a source of comfort to them in this difficult time. but i know just about the only thing i can do is to pray for them, and to be there for them. and that's a start.

I've always treasured verses like these, from Deuteronomy. this week's memory verse:

"You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you."
Deuteronomy 3:22


last week during bethany's mid-autumn festival celebrations, pastor and i bonded over the simplest of things. tea. and it came out of nowhere, but inexplicably it brought a great sense of joy to my heart. strange.

pairing different chinese teas with different cuisines is just like pairing different wines to different meats. a certain tea (long jing) is good for sweet desserts - like mooncakes. and pastor and i very excitedly discussed why this is so. or rather, i told him how the taste went and it was right on the money! then later, he brewed another pot of a different tea (tie kuan yin), came over to the group i was chatting with, pulled me away and got me to try it. :) pastor's so cute. and i went away learning more about teas, making sure to ask him about teas more often, and making a mental note to buy him chinese teas when i travel to china.

i've always treasured pastor and His ministry and service to the Lord as our pastor. of late, i've realised how precious this fact is. from seeing how other pastors from other churches conduct funeral services, and realising how pastor takes the effort to tailor each message to suit the subject (funeral, wedding, baptism etc.) and the audience, how he makes an effort to get to know the youngest of children to the oldest of our brethren.

and just last weekend, how he strives to do the Lord's work despite his health. on friday, i received news of pastor's condition (bell's palsy) that rendered half of his face paralysed. after much prayer, i thought he would be resting at home, receiving treatment and medication. but i saw him in the lift on sat evening, leaving church. and i was stunned. pastor came to work just a day after his diagnosis. i thought he wouldn't be preaching from the pulpit on sunday - but he did. i thought pastor mark/mitch would be teaching us in catechism class on sunday afternoon - but he came in and taught us from Philippians 2, on humility. and i was struck again and again by his utmost dedication. plus the joy that is so evident when he is serving the Lord.

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant,
and coming in the likeness of men.
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death,
even the death of the cross."
Philippians 2:5-8

in Jesus we have the example of true humility - and despite the fact that Jesus had EVERY reason in the world to be proud, (and we, as humans, have NO REASON whatsoever to be proud), He humbled Himself, became a servant, and was obedient to the point of His death on the cross. and pastor really conducts himself according to his faith. and he is the example for us all. and that's why he and his ministry are so precious to me. and i'm sure, to many of us. :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

that summer's moving on.

beach, facing the north sea
st. andrew's, scotland

How the time passed away
All the trouble that we gave
And all those days we spent out by the lake
Has it all gone to waste?
All the promises we made
One by one they vanished just the same

Now it all seems so clear
There's nothing left to fear
So we made our way by finding what was real
Now the days are so long
That summer's moving on
We reach for something that's already gone

*All the things I still remember
Summer's never looked the same
Years go by and time just seems to fly
But the memories remain

In the middle of September
We'd still play out in the rain
Nothing to lose but everything to gain
Reflecting now on how things could've been
It was worth it in the end*

- September, Daughtry

longing for the carefree days of summer.
travelling and seeing the world.

time just seems to fly.
but the memories remain.


Monday, July 27, 2009

the bonds of gratitude.

dusk at marina barrage

's been a long time since i was here. it's been a flurry of activity starting work and all. coupled with stealing time off to have a family picnic, or the birthday celebrations with all my dearest friends. work can be quite crazy but somehow, i enjoy my busy days. it's a love-hate relationship.

though there's always a time everyday that i hate my job. the first 10minutes after i force myself out of bed. working 10-12 hour days everyday, 5 days a week, is no joke.

but with the Lord's grace and strength i will make it. :)


well normally when i'm feeling bored, or when i get the travel itch, i'd come here, post a pretty picture that i took during my travels, write a bit and go back to what i'm doing. nowadays, apart from work, i go out or i try and finish my mammoth 4-season marathon of House.

as a result, this has been empty for awhile. and only something thought-provoking would bring me here.

via mr brown's twitter, i came across an article posted on a local e-journal of sorts. and being a sort-of scholar myself, i took it to myself to read the entire article, which was very very long. you'd think the author, a published author, writer and english major in northwestern many years ago and ex-teacher, would appreciate concision and some form of structure and organization in her essay.

anyway, she laments about her not making an informed decision when she signed on that dotted line when she was 19years old, and later being confined to the red tape of bureaucracy, forced to conform to government protocols, ideals and concepts.

later, she muses about how an overseas college education can profoundly change a person. and in that process, she had changed. and she resented her bond period, but still dutifully executed her responsibilities. she was the 'reluctant stayer', even when in her heart, she was a 'quitter', at least according to our PM.

don't think this summary does the article justice. so go read if you're interested.

my points. i agree with many points of view. and disagree. i'm sure many scholars would whole-heartedly applaud. but i do beg to differ.

1. at the beginning of it all, we made the choice to sign on the dotted line. we had all the time, the reasoning, the brain that God has given us to exercise free will. and whether we have made an informed decision or not, the onus lies with us to live with our decision.

if we were ignorant of the consequences, the job that awaits us or if we haven't given serious thought about the 6-year bond period or the 6-figure liquidated damages awaiting us should we quit, then the fault lies with no one, but us.

2. i'm one of the firm believers of quality teachers vs quantity. it's part of my idealistic nature, but the cynic in me says it's impossible. even with scholars, even with the best grades and the most amazing CVs, when your heart is not with teaching, you are not suitable. period. and for a scholar who resents that bond period, counting the days, i'd rather see your students in the hands of someone who has the heart for teaching.

3. fact of life - you can never escape politics and bureaucracy. it's everywhere. enough said.

4. i agree with all my heart, a college education changes one in ways that may still be invisible to us. years spent in classes, labs, project meetings, FYP madness, hall suppers, late-night production rehearsals, inter-school/hall games, illegal bbqs on school property, organizing events, midnight birthday sabo parties, mahjong sessions, cooking and drinking parties.

but having said that, the privilege of receiving a college education is not something that is available to all. some work their butts off to get into university. and for someone who has had the silver platter handed to (me included), shouldn't we be just the least bit thankful?

5. which brings me to my final point - on gratitude. without my sort-of scholarship, an award actually, i would never had been able to save my parents from footing my tuition fees AND give me allowance. my parent's money can be put to better use. i wouldn't be exposed to teaching attachments to reaffirm my decision of becoming a teacher. and i wouldn't have to look for a job in uncertain times.

and more importantly, i wouldn't be able to get an allowance top-up when i went on exchange, and enjoy my time in the US that much more. :) haha. and this 6-month stint in seattle did change me, widen my perspectives and made me realise - i have so much to be thankful for.

jason mraz is one of my favorite singers in the world. he's super talented, has a great voice, writes songs amazingly well. while i don't always agree with some parts of his lifestyle (eg. eating only raw food, argh; his spiritual beliefs are kind of strange etc.), but something i've always appreciated him for, is his continued reminders to be thankful. thankful for the people around us. for the world around us. to show gratitude for things that you have taken for granted.

from my perspective, i thank God for His grace and faithfulness. He has created all things, cared for all things, and abides with me everyday. When i was contemplating about accepting the award vs appealing into medical school, He allowed me to make an informed decision through prayer, meditation and placed people in my life who fed me sound advice. even as a very young Christian who was so far from being perfect and sinless, His faithfulness never faltered.

and because i was at peace with my decision, signing on the dotted line was easy. it was the best offer ever - to get paid to do something i love. even in the midst of difficulties, emotional turmoils, neverending work, horrible students who refuse to listen, i know my decision was right, and i know God will be there to strengthen me for the things to come.

and that is why, the next 3 years of my bond period should fly by pretty quickly. and i stick to my choice.

Friday, June 26, 2009

old english town.

flowers along lake road
windermere, britain

love spring and summer. flowers bloom. blue skies. the sun shines and yet the temperature hovers around 21C.

back to reality. of temperature screenings, work emails, admin, unpacking, getting rid of jet lag, editing photos and whatnot.


highlights of london'09
  • watching ethan hawke, rebecca hall and company for a 2nd time this year, in the 2nd play of the double bill production by the old vic. i watched the winter's tale (shakespeare) in singapore for SGD123, and the cherry orchard (chekhov) in london for SGD20. ok the seats were crappy but i had no choice. theatre was full. nevertheless it was good, but i think the winter's tale was more gut-wrenching and emotional. although a plus point of cherry orchard is that ethan had a more meaty role. :)
  • hanging out with the sister, after so long. we had our own marks&spencer dinner in her cosy apartment after cherry orchard when everyone else had fallen asleep. some yummy meatballs, salad and red wine.
  • shopping was fabulous. the pound exchange rate was favorable and i shopped like a crazy woman at H&M. also bought lots of presents and stuff at harrods, whittard of chelsea, gucci (sale!), absolute vintage etc.
  • watched wicked for the 2nd time with the sister, cousin-in-law and niece. ahhh sister and i were so deliriously happy after the musical. (and before too). i remember why i love the musical so much. and it was good to hear the witty dialogue again. also bought some merch (don't care if it's super ex!).
  • the sister's cosy apartment with 10000 cable channels, pretty flowers, wooden floors for the living room, carpet floors for the bedroom, nice toilet, endless supply of wine, whisky, ginger ale, snacks and a well-stocked kitchen. :) we watched movies and tv shows on cable almost every night.
  • taking the red london buses everywhere. i realise i should take buses more often when i travel rather than the tube/subway/metro/trains. they go underground and you can't see the sights and hear the sounds. with the bus i got to see the sights around london, saw how londoners lived their lives.
  • exploring nooks and corners of london on my own. enjoying the beautiful weather. not a foggy day in sight!
well more highlights to come.

speaking of london, MJ was due to hold 50 concerts in london next month. and i remember lamenting not being able to afford/attend/get tickets for the concert. and i woke up today to sad news of his death. while i was supicious about his alleged accusations of child molestation and whatnot years ago, i can't deny his great influence on pop music and dance. that influence lasts till today and will continue through the years. his music and songs, often filled with socially-conscious lyrics (see Man In The Mirror, my all-time favorite; Heal the World, another favorite; Black or White, another favorite; Will You Be There, also another favorite).

as i tweeted earlier, my 1st memory of MJ is rocking out to the beats of Black or White. that was probably in primary school. and my 2nd memory of MJ was listening to 'Will You Be There' at the end of Free Willy the movie. and falling in love with the song.

i leave you with some lyrics to Man In The Mirror. :) respecting a great pop legend that paved the way for music that will inspire and transcend through the generations.
As I turned up the collar on
A favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin' my mind
I see the kids in the street
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind
Pretending not to see their needs


I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change.

Monday, June 8, 2009

the case for the single 20-something girl.

on top of Calton Hill
edinburgh, scotland

countdown to europe'09: 4 days

i'm dreaming of the sprawling views of lake district in britain now, and shutting out pre-trip jitters, troubles, unhappiness.

at the risk of sounding like a spoiled brat, note to self: do not offer to plan back-to-back trips with the family, free-and-easy. it's a thankless job that should be done once in 2 years (at least).


at the 2nd risk of sounding like a materialistic girl - i recently discovered something. i'm sure this stemmed from my 2nd sister, but being single in your 20s is a great thing.

meeting up with old friends, some of the conversations have shifted course. we're now in the territory of weddings, HDB flats, engagement parties, diamonds and such. at first i was kinda taken aback at this shift, because i was still thinking that we should be talking about jobs and money and repaying our tuition loan and promotions and stuff. but the whole picture of marriage has secretly crept in.

as i listen to my friends forking out $10,000 and above for HDB downpayments, scrimping and saving for their wedding dinners, looking at renovation costs, wedding dresses etc., i can't help but smile at my own freedom from all that.

well, no doubt, i can't deny the comfort of having someone you love to provide emotional support in these turbulent times of transition and change in our 20s.

but i saw the better side of singlehood. the freedom of my days to spend with family and friends instead of running off to meet the BF. to cultivate good relationships with friends and colleagues and inevitably - network - with people that may come "useful" in future.

and the ability to enjoy the finer comforts of life. after struggling as a poor student for so many years, now it's time to spend those hard-earn cash at pampering oneself with nicer things. you work hard, and play hard right?

i've been able to wine and dine at nicer restaurants with nice food, buy clothes/bags/shoes that are slightly more expensive and a little more often than usual, bake more often and let my friends reap the joys of home-made desserts, go for awesome concerts, gigs, plays, movies (monsters vs aliens and terminator salvation back-to-back), buy CDs/DVDs, zai zai lens for the DSLR, give a little more back to God and His Work, and most of all, travel and see the world.

of course, material things should not replace love. and i'm not advocating that.

my point is: i've seen many strong women in their 20s and 30s who are single and loving it. not in the i'm-pretending-to-love-it-so-i-won't-look-pathetic way. but for real. and i know that they are as confident and complete as any woman who is happily attached or married. these women have great relationships with friends and family and are happy with their lives. and more often than not, they are walking rightly with the Lord.

well, as and when my white knight comes along to sweep me off my feet, i will patiently wait and think about saving money for my wedding (hopefully i'd earn more money then, so the burden's not so great, heh). and meanwhile, i can pamper myself and do more things with the little money i have and the little time i have for myself, that is my own. without worries, for now.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

missing japan.

colorful japanese trinkets on sale
asakusa, tokyo

yesterday i watched a youtube interview of jason mraz. he (and toca) was asked of all the cities and countries that he has visited, which one was his favorite? (p.s. toca's favorite was sydney, australia which i think is a boring response. heh. but i still like toca)

my immediate response was japan, though a tiny part of me hoped he'd say singapore (but that's quite impossible). and after some thinking, he said JAPAN! :) :) it's amazing how japan captivates. caucasians and asians alike. not china, not korea, not taiwan, not hongkong.

i am looking forward to going back to japan and exploring hokkaido, nagoya and the small towns. maybe i'll drag a friend-fluent-in-japanese and backpack all over. i don't care if it's expensive. :)

today i went into tampines 1 for the 1st time (yes i know i'm falling behind on trends), and went into uniqlo! it's quite big but not much variety. don't really like the layout. messy. but the quality of clothes still typical japanese. love the carpeted changing rooms and the take-off-your-footwear in the changing rooms concept. very very japanese. service staff sorely lacking in japanese hospitality though. i still love the uniqlos in tokyo. :)

i miss japan now. gotta go look at my japan pictures.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


the coast of eastern UK, dotted with sheep
somewhere between london and edinburgh
may 2008

i'm counting down to the day i leave for london. 14 days. after much research and many changes, finally decided on a side trip to lake district, which apparently has been called england's answer to the swiss alps.

it seems so long ago that i was on my grad trip around western europe. a trip that i've learnt so much and saw so much. i want to do trips like that every year. :)

today i played the guitar again, after many years of not touching it. and my wrist and fingers hurt. heh. :) but good to play and sing to songs.

tomorrow i'm going to attempt to bake successfully the new york cheesecake, after my first attempt of lemon cheesecake.

days like these just don't come anymore.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

summer is here. :)

before tp started; horsing around with photobooth

after tp, life's been good. we keep saying it's our last chance ever to relax, chill out and have fun before we are released to schools to bear to brunt of working life and horrible students.

summer is here early and it's hotter than ever. coupled with fieldtrips to sungei buloh wetland reserve, labrador park rocky shore and macritchie nature reserve, makes for plenty of heat rashes, mozzie bites, sticky skin, cold drinks, air-con blasting.

time has been mostly spent with my crazy nie friends. my other friends are all working in the day. so gatherings, dinners, lunches, movies, east coast park, badminton, weddings (indian temple, catholic church, zoo reception) etc. have been spent with them.

we have eaten everywhere in singapore. we have travelled everywhere in singapore. east, west, north west, northeast, south, central. from city center, traffic jams to the most ulu parts of singapore.

i'm reminded that love is all around. :)

i have started baking again. :) to which i'm very happy about.

i have learnt a lot about plants, sea creatures, animals and birds.

i'm falling in love with my new DSLR and lens. awesome photos.

i love the american idol finale. i love both kris allen and adam lambert. i love the 10,000 performances for the finale show. i love that some kind souls on the internet have made the m*p3s of the performances and studio versions of the songs available. :) and i like the music education i get from american idol.

i realized that kris allen's cover of bob dylan's to make you feel my love, makes me cry.

i have learnt that hope in God's promises is what drives me day to day. and i have to be conscious of His promises so i do not lose sight of what is important in life. that i don't drift from event to event, job to job, day by day. and to see His creations so diverse, creative and lovely, however small and insignificant they may be.

sea anemones
inter-tidal zone of labrador park rocky shores

Sunday, May 10, 2009

a parisian dream.

pont des arts
paris, france
june 2008

i'm pining for paris. again.

the slow strains of a lone accordion.
the melancholy sounds of a violin.
the artwork on the walls of the train station.
the stories of the french revolution, wars, tour de france, napoleon.
the french's obsession with 'genderizing' every inanimate object.
the girl in black, knee-high boots and black eyeliner.
cracking the caramelised top of my crème brûlée.
sipping a glass of red wine with some marvelous duck confit and onion soup.
donning my beret, in an effort to be french-chic. :)
the massive hallways of the louvre.
the looming grandeur of the eiffel tower by day, the sparkling diamonds by night.

one more month to britain/france'09. :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

thrash it out.

i like it when issues come into my head. from lively lunch conversations to blog posts to facebook notes to twitter 140-character muses to long op-ed pieces online to song lyrics.

i like that there's diversity in opinions. i like it when i'm challenged to review my own mind, my own stand, my own opinion of these issues. from the aware saga, to global warming, to the H1N1 pandemic, to the civil service and what it means to be a public servant, to my own knowledge of God's word and how to apply His word correctly and appropriately to our lives here on our temporary home, a tent if you like (1 Cor).

when i read/hear contrasting views, i remind myself that pluralism and diversity in our world is good. it forces us to re-examine our own set of beliefs and values. not only that, it also forces me to admit my own sinful nature (which i thoroughly despise myself for) and judgmental ways, and reminds me along the way that i'm in no business to criticize others and be self-righteous. that God has given each human being his/her own free will. and how we exercise that right to choose will ultimately determine our own fate and affect our walk with God.

just some thoughts i don't want to forget before going to bed.


adam lambert is awesome! and though i was a fan of danny gokey, he has become so cocky and over-confident. and he totally screwed the last note of 'dream on'. i think kris should go into top 3. but danny fans will be voting in full force. oh well.


i'm getting chills from the most unlikely songs.
  • chris martin on the piano singing 'have yourself a merry little christmas' (yes i listen to christmas songs all year round).
  • jason mraz on the guitar, plucking etta james cover, 'at last' in the beginning of 'sleep all day'.
  • stars, the haunting song 'barricade'.
  • rachael yamagata and the harmonies on 'duet'.
  • mairi campbell & dave francis's version of 'auld lang syne', on OST of sex and the city movie.
  • jack johnson, sings english and spanish on 'belle'.
  • death cab for cutie, 'transatlanticism'.
  • jewel and sarah mclaughlin, beautiful melodies on 'song for a winter's night'.
  • jason mraz and piano, unplugged 'mr. curiosity' as heard at singapore concert 2009
did i ever mention how much i love music and how i can't live without it? :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

overheard from house.

house: "trans-tracheal aspiration."
foreman: "that's practically waterboarding!"
wilson: "that's pretty radical."
hallucination-amber: "that's a great idea."
house, ignores amber: "is it regular radical, me radical or me-out-of-my-mind radical?"
wilson: "somewhere between regular and you."
house: "so what's the problem?"

haha i love such dialogue in House. hugh laurie is really a genius at playing House, and wilson (robert sean leonard). my guy from dead poet's society. love them both.

anyways it's a sneaky way to get waterboarding into the dialogue. especially now condi rice is under fire for the bush's administration actions and policies. and i'm getting lots of such storylines. grey's this week featured an anti-deforestation activist who was flung off the tree she was staying in when they cut down that tree.

and i applaud the writers of House for not blowing the whole amber-in-house's-head hallucination out of proportion, like what grey's anatomy did with denny and izzie. i never appreciated the whole making-love-to-a-hallucinated-person, even when battlestar galactica did it. but the sci-fi nature of BSG and the subsequent ending kind of accounts for that possibility.

but grey's was just stuck in a rut. i'm glad it's getting better now. :)

but Lost ranks at the top with House now. it better not kill of daniel faraday for good. i know with time travel, everything is possible now. faraday's my favorite character from the huge ensemble cast.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

how to be (normal).

work at T is drawing to a close in a week's time. and reflecting on the past 9 weeks, i wouldn't say time has gone by in a flash, because it certainly doesn't feel like it.

i'm glad for the long weekend coming up. followed by one last week of madness. followed by another long weekend. followed by going back to NIE to see all my friends once again. followed by nonsense M*OE stuff for 2 weeks, and i can finally be on my way to london and paris! i'm starting my england road trip research and will be moving on to the france road trip research and it looks super exciting! :) :) i'm extremely glad for my job which allows for longer-than-usual travels without having to take no-pay leave.

last weekend ML and i caught the film 'how to be', as part of the Singapore International Film Festival. and i'm pretty sure 7/8 of the theater was filled with robert pattinson fans, who laughed at every silly thing his character does onscreen. and it got so annoying 'cos rob's character in the film is this socially awkard, almost asperger's syndrome-like young man who struggles with being 'normal'. so you know, many awkard things he does elicited giggles and laughs.


anyway the film felt long, and i can assuredly attribute that to the intricacies of the film. small, tight london spaces, emotional baggage and struggles, few characters, the popularity of self-help in our society (self-help books, TV shows, podcasts, motivational talks etc.), the definitions of the social contract, and a young man's desire and his journey to becoming a 'normal' person. these are some heavy themes. but it was expertly handled by the writer-director, oliver irving and woven into the plot.

after the movie wrapped, as with film festivals, the film's producer, justin kelly, was around to give the audience (those who stayed) some insight into the film-making process. and he called oliver irving on his cell and people got to ask him questions about the process. we also talked to the film's composer and 2 of its actors (no, not rob. he's filming new moon now.) as they were at a new york film festival. it was pretty interesting hearing stories from the set and how the movie came to be from script to screen. and learning what it means to shoot on location in london's famous tiny houses and rooms.

i think robert is a natural at such roles - and not so much to blockbustery handsome and drop dead (pun intended for both HP and T) gorgeous jocks like in harry potter and twilight. although if the next 2 movies of the twilight saga follow the books faithfully, robert will be able to show his acting-as-an-emotional-wreck-prowess as edward cullen.

the music was fabulous. and i may just get my hands on the soundtrack when it's released here in Singapore (from the mouth of justin kelly). robert, the tortured artist, contributes 3 songs to the soundtrack, which he played and performed in the film.

well the themes of normalcy resonated with my thoughts - thoughts that came about when i was volunteering at autism children's center a while back. that time, i read quite widely on the issues involving people with disabilities that are trying to integrate into the mainstream society. and some articles dealt with the idea of normalcy.

who defines what's normal. is there even a definition? if there's no clear cut definition, then why do we label people as being abnormal? i think that all of us are a little bit crazy. and if you're (or were) a biology student, you'd understand if i say normalcy is a continuous variation, controlled by many factors. an example of a continuous variation is height. and a discontinuous variation: presence of ear lobes. i'm sure you can tell what i mean by now.

i think there's no such thing as 'normal' and 'abnormal'. and to see people struggling with trying to be normal just because what they are and who they are are socially unaccepted is a warped form of discrimination. in the film, because arthur felt that he was so different and abnormal as compared to other people, and how his girlfriend broke up with him, all stemmed from a rough childhood and parents who were busy with work and had strange (lacking a better descriptive) parenting styles. and the emotional roller-coaster that he went through just to become 'normal' and to be perceived as 'normal' was heartbreaking to watch.

one point that justin kelly made during the Q&A - that children who grew up with super-liberal parenting or super-conservative parenting usually turn out okay, or even great. and those children with problems/difficulties are usually ones with parents who have inconsistent parenting style - switching between liberal and conservative.

and that's a point worth thinking about.

hokay. leaving to watch x-men origins. :) sayonara.

Friday, April 24, 2009

"he's kinda crazy."

while surfing around for news,

"It was like 10 o'clock. Everybody was asleep and we hear all this barking and jumping around," Mrs. Obama said. "The president and I came out and we thought somebody was out there. And it was just Bo. He was playing with his ball. And it was like there was another person in the house.

"He's kind of crazy, but he's still a puppy. So he likes to play a lot," she said.

The dog, unveiled last week after months of speculation, was a gift to Obama daughters Malia and Sasha.

"He loves to chew on people's feet," Mrs. Obama divulged to more than 100 children invited to a program marking the annual Take Your Child to Work Day.


haha all dogs are the same. :) i remember hugo growing up, chewing on slippers and rubber things and people's feet. and just about everything he can get his paws on.

well today was FJ benjamin's 30% storewide sale at banana republic, gap, la senza, raoul, guess. and taka had this big crazy shoes and bags sale. and i spend WAY too much money on a gap white shirtdress, gap striped work pants, enzo angiolini booties and calvin klein clutch. ARGH.

long week over. more thoughts coming up. too much that my brain is overflowing.

hokay time to sleep.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the solid ground.

" On Christ the solid rock i stand,
all other ground is sinking sand."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

pre-easter thoughts.

the insane week comes to a close. and what better way to end it. by celebrating the death and resurrection of my Lord and his work on the cross.

singing at easter's musicale, more than just a man, has been very impactful. i think the medium of acting and stepping into the shoes of a character is pretty amazing. to be a totally (ok maybe not totally) different person. and especially in this musical.

i remember distinctly a q&a sort of application/quiz that i did on facebook years ago. if i could go back in time, when would that be. and i remembered so clearly my answer was - to go back to the time where Jesus was teaching and preaching and performing miracles. and in this musical, i'm able to see uncle W as Jesus, teaching and healing and carrying the cross all bloodied and beaten and finally be nailed to the cross with all my sins. as a member of the crowd watching him, i could just imagine what a great privilege it was to be able to learn from the Master Teacher Himself. to hear Him speak and teach God's word. i catch myself being so mesmerized by the scenes that i forget my lyrics. :)

well, on a similar note, my prayers of late have been focused on being a good teacher to my students, and to learn from the Master Teacher Himself. always seeking to learn from His word and His ways and never to fall into the trap of being too-smart or too-proud or holier-than-thou or smarter-than-you.

today i taught my first integrated program class of sec 3s. it was daunting 'cos
1) chemistry is not my strength, forte, university major.
2) they are IP kids, supposedly creme of the crop.
3) my CT is the HOD of science, though he's a jolly good fellow, easy going and sometimes a bit insane.
4) having to plan and teach a 100-minute lesson for the first time in my life in chemistry.
5) my fellow practicum friend requested that she sat in my class, and i didn't want to turn her down because of my nerves. also because it'll be a good learning opportunity for both of us. so i had 2 people observing my lesson.

so i survived with loads of self-discipline to plan and research and come up with that lesson, 'stealing' ideas from the internet, periodic distractions of entertainment news and tv shows (HOUSE delivered a shocking suicide!), lots of music blasting in my ears (muse, coldplay, jason mraz, avalon, switchfoot, david cook), lots of teh-o peng and earl grey tea, escape-from-work lunch at old airport road and getting hazed by my own chemistry teacher who took my phone and hid it in his pocket,

and lots of prayers and more prayers.

well they all worked. although it was murphy's law galore during my lesson - i got generally positive comments from my HOD. and i thought the kids understood ionic bonding (crossing fingers).

ok the insane week actually continues into easter weekend. so it's all about planning and managing again. which i dislike 'cos my ideal easter weekend is filled not with work, but with the Lord and His people and His songs. but what to do.

ok i'm ranting. so i shall go back to my mountain of marking. and tomorrow i'll don on my jew costume and be a merry jewish girl celebrating the passover in jeruselum and hearing Jesus teach and rejoicing at His resurrection. Jesus is alive! :) :)


am i the only one who thinks that chris martin (coldplay) looks quite like hugh laurie (house). maybe it's the british guy look. :)

Friday, April 3, 2009

tales of long, hard winters.

so it's been almost a week since i last saw ethan hawke and heard him sing and play the guitar. :)

and i was so lucky to catch him outside esplanade theater's stage door, his guitar case strapped to his back. :) ahhhhh why didn't i just stop and say hi?

ok so the winter's tale wasn't all about that. in fact, ethan hawke's character, autolycus, is a supporting character in shakespeare's tragic comedic play. yes, a paradox there. bear with me while i remember the plot, which is super interesting and tragically shakespearean.

act 1

the play opens in the kingdom of sicilia. the king of neighbouring city bohemia, polixenes (josh hamilton) was visiting the king of sicilia, leontes (simon russel beale). polixenes has been in sicilia for months now, and they are enjoying one another's company. leontes has a beautiful and pregnant wife, hermione (rebecca hall) and a young son, mamillius (morven christie). polixenes decides to return to bohemia, anxious to see his son and wife, after being away for so long. but leontes, eager for his great company, tries to get him to stay for a longer time. after he fails, he sends hermione to persuade him, and quite readily, polixenes agrees. onstage, the chemistry between hermione and polixenes is undeniable.

so now, leontes slowly begins to get suspicious. why did polixenes agree so quickly to hermione's request, when he himself, the king, tried so hard and failed? then his mind, from now on, went into a downward spiral as he rants on and on in long monologues, about how sure he was that his beautiful wife was having an affair with polixenes and that the baby is not his. his thoughts and mind literally drove him to insanity and extreme paranoia.

so he orders the lord of sicilia, camillo, to kill polixenes, and threw hermione into jail, pending charges of adultery and conspiracy. camillo, instead, warns polixenes, and together they flee sicilia for bohemia and never returned. hermione gives birth to a baby girl while in prison, and leontes orders antigonus (another lord of sicilia) to dispose of the illegitimate child.

when hermione was standing trial for her alleged charges, she pleads innocence and asks leontes to be reasonable and see things right again. the judge brings in the 'oracle', a magical quill that will tell the truth. the oracle, of course, writes that hermione is innocent. but leontes was so consumed with rage and paranoia that is beyond reason and logic, sentences her to death anyway. at the next moment, they find out that their son, mamillius has died. upon hearing the news, hermione, already distraught over her husband's decision, was so overcome with grief that she died. leontes finally comes to his senses and promises to grieve over his wife and son for as long as he shall live.

meanwhile, antigonus (dakin matthews, the reverend from desperate housewives; the headmaster of rory's prep school in gilmore girls; and many other roles in tv and films) and someone (i couldn't get the name) comes to the edge of bohemia and sets the infant down in a basket with a box full of money. in a thunderstorm, antigonus was chased away by a bear (hilarious and totally out of point. i wonder if shakespeare is trying to be funny) and i can't remember what happened to his companion.

then, a shepherd of bohemia (richard easton) chances upon the infant, and the money. he and his son 'clown' (who appeared just meters behind where i was sitting at esplanade theatre stalls, and shouted something so loudly that i nearly jumped out from my seat) adopts the baby girl and takes the money.

time enters. 16 years has passed. leontes has spent 16 years grieving for his wife and son. the baby girl, named perdita (played by the same actress who played mamillius), has grown into a beautiful young woman, bearing a striking resemblance to hermione. she does not know of her heritage or that she was adopted by the old shepherd. and she is dating the prince of bohemia (polixenes's son) florizel (michael braun, who looks asian-american).

act 2

opens with autolycus (ethan hawke), a rouge and thief. autolycus is a guitar strumming wanderer who goes from place to place, meeting people to steal from. he is michievous and has the best and funniest lines, and he reminds me of puck from a midsummer's night dream.

autolycus comes to the town festival and entertains (or rather, charms) the crowd (with the shepherd, perdita, florizel etc. present) with his songs and selling his stolen goods. there was a song and dance item, and another outrageous dance routine featuring 2 round balloons tied to the girls' chests and 1 long balloon tied to the guys' crotches. and the dance is super laden with sexual connotations and imagery. (again i wonder, what's the link?!?!)

2 visitors with hats and big white beards arrive at the town festival. they join in the festivities and found out that florizel, the prince, is marrying the daughter of the shepherd, perdita. one of the men questions florizel, whether he is inviting his father (the king) to the wedding, but (i couldn't catch why) florizel is not. all he** breaks loose when the 2 visitors reveal themselves to the polixenes (the king himself) and camillo (his now faithful servant). polixenes objects (i presume because perdita is not of a royal parentage) and demands that they break up and florizel return to court.

*ps. wouldn't it be twisted if perdita IS the illegitimate child of polixenes and hermione, which will make perdita and florizel step-siblings* (ok i watch too much tv).

so naturally, the couple decides to elope to sicilia. with a little help from autolycus (who has been watching from the sidelines quietly). the shepherd and his son hears of this, and decides that he should tell polixenes the truth about perdita's parentage. they chance upon autolycus, who tricks them into believing that he is a member of the court ('cos he's wearing florizel's robes, having exchanged them to help the couple disguise while eloping). the shepherd tells autolycus everything, and autolycus decides to help them and help polixenes by telling them where the couple went.

arriving at sicilia, the couple meets with leontes and members of the court. leontes notices the resemblance of perdita with his late wife, but says nothing of it. till polixenes and his entourage arrives at sicilia, and the truth is finally set free. leontes tearfully and emotionally reunites with his daughter, albeit awkardly. and polixenes agrees to the union.

paulina, wife of antigonus and good friend of hermione, announces that that's a statue (or wax figure) of hermione that has been completed and is waiting to be revealed. so she brings everyone to the statue. leontes asks why are there wrinkles on the face of the statue, and paulina says that it's because the artist is so skillful that he is able to project how hermione will look like now. and you know how this ends.

by magic, the statue comes to life. everyone was so taken aback that they asked if she could talk and walk. in actual fact, hermione had not died and was hid away from the wrath of leontes, knowing that one day her name will be cleared (also 'cos the oracle said so) and she will be reunited with her daughter again. and it was these thoughts that kept her going these past 16 years. mother and daughter are now tearfully reunited and the play ends. :)


hokay that took a long time to remember and type. with the help of wikipedia, i managed to really grasp the finer (but not literary) details of the play. this play is clearly defined into 2. 2 cities, 2 kings, 2 people, 2 acts, 2 different emotional acts. act 1 was very dark and tragic. act 2 was lighter, funnier and easy on the eyes, though the last part of act 2 dived into the heavy emotional part again. but that sort of acts as a nice bookend to coherently wrap up the play.

one thing's for sure. having studied literature only for 2 years, when i was 13-14 years old, and only studying one play in depth (shakespeare's the merchant of venice), it is hard to make out the language and words of the play. you kinda get the gist of what's happening on stage, but not the individual words. it also didn't help that some of the actors bunched up all their words into a long continous line of sounds with no discernible breaks in between. like josh hamilton. even though he was speaking in his native american accent, ohman, i couldn't catch his words!!

so that was probably the only bad thing, which i can attributed the fault to my untrained ears and mind.

were all really awesome. i have to mention the following:
simon russel beale (leontes) is a well-respected veteran of shakespearean theater. and it shows, loud and clear. he easily dived into the insane, twisted and paranoid mind of leontes and his monologues were amazing. the depth of his emotional performance was astoundingly good.

rebecca hall (hermione) was surprisingly good too. i didn't think much of her, but i was blown away by her performance too. she was so heartbreaking as the wronged, innocence wife and when she pleaded her case in court to leontes, wow, i really wanted to stand up and defend her and punch leontes for accusing her and giving her a big hug. :) it was so heartbreaking, and not to mention she's so gorgeous.

ethan hawke (autolycus). why, of course. :) need i say more?
well he was good too! as the theiving roaming rogue, he was right in character. this man can play anything, just look at his works. this character reminds me a little of johnny depp too. his deep voice. ahhh. could tell he was not very confident with singing and guitar-playing simultaneously (or maybe i just watched 2 great men who can do that well: chris martin, jason mraz). but no mistakes. and his singing was niiicccee. raspy tenor. :)

sam mendes (director) did a fabulous job with this interpretation. though i can't comment much without a basis of comparison, i got it. a shakespeare play, with dialogue in shakespearean english and many tales, and despite being tired from a whole day of activities in church, i still managed to understand, appreciate and enjoy the play! the comic relief sections were a good welcome from the heavy tragedies, though through his expert direction, they were protrayed tastefully and not overdone in a big-bang soap-opera fashion. well i wouldn't expect anything less from him actually. :) just wished he'd taken a curtain call with the cast.

costume design
very wintry. that was my impression and i wonder if it was deliberate. there were long coats with details on collars. fitted corset tops with long flowing full skirts and deep colours. hermione had this deep purple empire cut floor-length dress that she wore when she's pregnant and it's so nice! the men were well-dressed in formal coats, blazers, tux and dress pants. perdita had this gorgeous green grecian dress detailed with flowers.

sets/lighting design
was so nice. :) act 1 in sicilia had a beautiful backdrop of candles suspended in midair, and candles on the ground. act 2 in bohemia had the town festival. with red, white and blue (oh america, oh america) helium balloons everywhere. lighting was good. as always. i'm always fascinated by lighting design and esplanade theater has an impressive set of lights. every lighting direction and position was executed perfectly and complimented the play well.

not too much. some handbells, chimes, violins (for act 1), adding accordians, cellos, EH's guitar, guitars for act 2. but is beautifully scored. and EH's songs were nice too! in a folksy, country sort of way. songs that tell a story.

heard from a friend who was at the opening night that the audience was horrible. she was at the 5th row from the front and had horrible audience neighbours. well M and i were quite blessed. first we were upgraded from circle 2 (3rd floor) to center stalls. of the stalls, we were 3rd row from the back of the ground level. and i was just so thankful for those $250-a-pop seats which i couldn't possibly afford. but those seats allowed me to enjoy the experience so much more, and actually see the facial expressions of each actor on stage.

and we had a great audience on sunday night! probably half of them were caucasians (much like the coldplay concert), but they were attentive, laughing at the appropriate parts and keeping quiet at the tragic parts. most of all, standing ovations are in order and the cast took another curtain call graciously. EH even clutch his right fist to his heart while he took a second bow. :)

hokay this is a long review. and i shall stop here for now. hopefully i can catch the other play of this double bill, the cherry orchard, in london. which will be played by the same cast. :)


well, friday is here again and i'm taking it easy. busy week next week. with my first chemistry IP class, lesson prep, tons of marking, event on (Holy) saturday, easter musical, easter lunch. shall unwind from this week with some saturday brunch, lazing with good friends next to horses. :) :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

feast your eyes!

edward cullen
just before he steps into the sunlight at volterra
courtesy: smirks_works at

aren't these gorgeous posters? they're not the official ones (apparently they are really ugly). however, it is some fine photoshopping and a great eye for art. it even follows the plot of the book. :)


bella swan
just before she jumps off the cliff at la push, setting off a huge chain of events
courtesy: smirks_works at

haha what a nice way to keep me company through a work day. :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

the awesomeness of march.

why march was such an unforgettable month.
  • caught jason mraz live. amazing.
  • caught many good movies with good friends (benjamin button, he's just not that into you, slumdog millionaire, marley&me).
  • had a great time at MH's. chilling to nice pizzas from serangoon gardens and a night of guitar hero world tour and good company.
  • had many catchup sessions with various friends from NIE, bethany, and all over, over good meals. always enjoying good fellowship and the fruits of our labor.
  • work was both satisfying and frustrating at the same time. which made for many laugh-out-loud moments at my silly students (and other teachers' silly students).
  • work-life balance quite easily obtained at my workplace (for now). the ability to work hard and play hard is something i hope to achieve when i start work for real.
  • the march holidays.
  • the many rehearsals and practices for the upcoming easter musical. and witnessing the tremendous progress made in just a few weeks, all credit goes to the ones leading the choirs, costumes, stage, props, AV, music, and the Lord's blessings and grace.
  • caught coldplay live, for the 2nd time. amazing x2.
  • bought my tickets to london for june. i'll get to see zeh, watch musicals and hopefully plays, and travel in UK and europe again! :)
  • caught the winter's tale. my first shakespeare play live on stage. seeing ethan hawke (and the rest of the pristine cast) on stage. hearing him sing and strum the guitar. hokay. the entire play was kind of amazing in a shakespeare way. more to come in another post.
  • caught sight of EH and several other cast members heading out the B1 stage door when i was turning out of the esplanade carpark. and for a split second i contemplated stopping the car and winding down the window to say hi. of course i didn't, and totally regretted it. till now.
all these joys and blessings come to me and i'm ever so thankful and grateful. :) i wouldn't expect any more months to be so filled and enriched, with songs and music, with art and soul, with praise and worship. but hopefully, with the Lord's grace, it can be, and will be.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

my funny friends.

on the way home from church,

discussing the WGA writer's strike some time back.

ML: oh i think the simpsons did an episode about the strike.
LY: yahhh parody and all.
L (note: this is NOT ME): oh (J) where do you watch the simpsons?
ML: channel news asia.

silence. then laughter all around the car. :) haha.

LY: you meant starworld.
L: starworld shows channel news asia??

silence. then everyone was laughing twice as hard.

L was going to say: starworld shows the simpsons?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

love(r)s in japan.

(spotted on montage of lovers in japan, coldplay concert 2009)

Kinkaku-ji (the golden pavilion)
Kyoto, Japan

the coldplay gig was nothing short of awesomeness. this year has brought many good gigs (stars, jason mraz, rachel yamagata, ethan hawke) and talented musicians to our sunny shores and i can live through this year a happy girl. :) i think i'm very blessed and lucky to have caught all these gigs and to have been to 2 coldplay concerts. to think that i just bought the tickets without anyone to go with (so in the end if i really didn't find anyone, i can sell them and make a decent profit). but J my concert buddy is a dependable girl for a rocking night. :)

well i really enjoyed this one better than twisted logic back in 2006. ironic, since chris has visibly aged, but still has that boundless energy. running everywhere onstage.

even though i didn't know lyrics to most songs on viva la vida and the EP (having just bought them not too long ago), i really like this album at the first listen, 'cos it's more layered, textured, melodious, soulful, meaningful and emo. the lyrics speak of deeper meanings and emotions, and you can see how the band has matured through the years, both in terms of the musicality and also the writing and arranging of songs.

so in a way, not knowing the lyrics allowed me to just listen to the music that is playing. to hear the words being sung. and to really enjoy the concert without screaming and singing. :)

12,000 strong crowd singing along to familiar favourites from all albums and EPs.
watching chris's hands work the piano as he delved into tortured-artist-emo state.
the giant screens flashed a super impressive live streaming of the stage, complete with effects and b&w, sepia and much more. it really looks like the end-product live concert DVD kind (after post-production editing and special effects added).
the impressive set design. the laser shows, the lights, the backdrops, montages.
the awesome jackets. :)
the coldwave aka mexican cellphone wave aka kallang wave with handphones in darkness. the twinkling lights were magical.
the acoustic 2-song set opposite us. damn those $188 seaters who can reach out and touch the guys.
the set done on our side of the stage. which includes my favorite part of all concerts - the stripped-to-bare-essentials the hardest part, feat. chris on piano and will on backing vocals. the harmony sent shivers up my spine and arms and piano-only postcards from far away.
the many piano-only interludes and intros and outros of life in technicolour - sounds so good live.
discovering that everyone in the band plays more than 2 instruments, and that will (the drummer) has an amazing voice.

and of course, the beautiful butterfly glow-in-the-dark confetti that rained down on the center block during lovers in japan, the montage featured sights of japan that i love so much (it was hard to focus my attention 'cos there's so much to look at!), chris going a bit nuts with the japanese umbrella. thanks j and d for saving us some butterflies. :)

Coldplay Live in Singapore!

Life In Technicolor
Violet Hill
In My Place
Glass Of Water
Cemeteries Of London
Fix You
Strawberry Swing
God Put A Smile Upon Your Face
The Hardest Part (Chris piano, Will)
Postcards From Far Away (piano instrumental)
Viva La Vida
Speed Of Sound (acoustic)
Death Will Never Conquer (acoustic - Will vocals)
I'm A Believer (Neil Diamond Cover - acoustic)
Viva La Vida (remix interlude including Coldwave)
Lovers In Japan
Death And All His Friends
The Scientist
Life in Technicolor ii
The Escapist (outro)

- photo: joshuachan28,

hokay. despite my fatigue from coldplay concert, lesson observation went as well as it could. my prof gives very good constructive comments. gotta work on it. and hopefully he doesn't come the day after rachel yamagata. :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

the cure for monday blues.

is your boss declaring no lessons after 10am, in the light of the stellar results of the class of 2008. :)

thinking about the high-energy jason mraz concert and the high-energy guitar hero world tour marathon at MH's on sat night. our very own rock concert!

singing my weekend away. at guitar hero, at easter musical rehearsals sat and sun. being able to sing for the Lord.

reflecting on the Lord's goodness and grace. and being challenged once again to hide His word in my heart always, in all wisdom. (colossians 3:16)

Friday, March 6, 2009

details in the fabric.

there are really no deserving words to describe the AMAZING jason mraz concert. but i shall attempt anyway.

the energy of the stadium, mostly standing right from the start.
the dancing during the fast energetic pieces. :)
jason's energy, and those amazing hips :) and dancing. very sexy.
his super-talented super in-sync 7-piece band. no scores. no wrong notes.
his flawless chemistry with his backup singer.
jason's many guitar changes. akin to a bride at the wedding dinner.

his effortless, 4-octave range voice. the round tone that is always pitch-perfect.
the operetta interlude in between mr. curiosity, stretching his vocals and falsetto. not to mention the stripped-to-the-bare-essentials of jason's voice and the piano. perfect. i was struck in awe and mesmerized, and he almost brought me to tears.
his emotions, so evident in his face, in his voice.
his funny impromptu sing-along competition in between i'm yours, bob marley's three little birds (every little thing's gonna be alright!)

his light banter with all 8000 of us. improvising on-the-spot, the audience doing a great job echoing and singing.
those amazing songs of his, not just from the current we sing, we dance, we steal things. and those crowd favorites.

i just went by jason's journal entry written when he was in japan (ahhh i wanna go back there!), and he wrote,

"haven't you ever listen to music that made you cry? it's like the melodies reach in through flaring nostrils and caress your skin from underneath, making all your hairs rise at attention, they too trying to listen. and then all the tingly sensations, the unnamed emotions, culminate at the dam on your eyelids until they fall from your body like a stream flowing over the top of a mountain."
(jason mraz official site)
mr. jason mraz, you have just described what your music does to me. :)

jason mraz live in singapore!
5th march'09
set list

the dynamo of volition
geek in the pink
you and i both/sleeping to dream
who needs shelter
live high
lucky (feat. joi chua)
only human

a beautiful mess

make it mine

i'm yours/three little birds (bob marley)

-superband interlude-

mr. curiosity (unplugged)
the remedy/wonderwall
no stopping us
i'll do anything

my 2 favorites from we sing - details in the fabric and love for a child - was not sung. :( but i'm so not disappointed with this concert (save for joi chua, who totally spoiled lucky with her shaky weak vocals, and the flat notes). and though jason has aged visibly (he was so young during mr. a-z times!), he's now well-built and no longer skinny and scrawny. :)

this is the best concert i've gone to so far. it tops damien rice (and damien is a hard act to top), the last coldplay concert for X&Y and rufus wainwright. i hope he comes soon. :) i have a sneaky feeling he likes singapore, having been here many times.