Tuesday, December 26, 2006

:: my x'mas ::

this has been a 2nd time in a row that i am 'celebrating' christmas in the netherlands...it didn't snow this year....unlike last year (even though it's just for one night of sheer white christmas)....

despite what i wrote earlier about non-gift-practice in the dutch christmas earlier, look what santa has brought me under the christmas tree...

From Blog Stuff

From Blog Stuff

- among others: bathrobe, dutch dictonary, bicycle accessories, chocolates, candies, truffles, photo frames....thanks santa! ;)

then, its time for christmas dinner with my new-found family here...

From Blog Stuff

- luckily there's good gun control here, else, i might be shot!-

the mistress of the house was waiting...she's 16 years old...really old for a cat! i hope my sumoki will live this long, even longer...
From Blog Stuff

what's the use of festivities without great food, my host is an excellent italian cook!

- guests are hidden to 'protect' the innocent ;)

and i returned home feeling very much like a santa....terribly full from all the food and drinks! which explained why the photo was blurry....hehe

From Blog Stuff

hope you had a great one too....cheers!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

:: merry christmas ::

From Blog Stuff

after a long 13 hour flight - which is not full for the first time from singapore to amsterdam, thanks to christmas holidays.

and waiting for longer-than-expected train schedule from schipol airport to the hague due to christmas eve (and sunday), i have returned to holland.

From Blog Stuff

it's quiet this christmas eve, which is expected here (more or less) due to the freezing temperature outside and its the time to spend quality time with loved ones.

and being heavily jet-lagged did not help, since my return to singapore last week.

and to all, happy christmas and enjoy the holidays!

aGent X!

Friday, December 22, 2006

:: where's my christmas gift? ::

Don't be disheartened by the lack of Christmas presents in the Netherlands, there is a hidden advantage to the Dutch version of Xmas.

even now i understood the 'harsh' reality of the dutch version of x'mas, this question suddenly appeared once more in my mind - as i battle the armies of christmas shoppers back home in singapore.

this article
articulated this idea well enough.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

:: always bring the weather with you ::

it appears that whenever i go, it always rains - whether its back home in singapore or in europe.

my memories of my return trips are often of the wet and dark clouds, nothing cheery.

just my luck, that of all the day for me to do my last-minute shopping downtown in orchard road, the rain has been non-stop for almost 48 hours (it rains more in the western part of singapore, where i live) - and it is a record of highest rain-fall over the past 75 years!

another part of history that i am not proud to be associated with, but at least, it could have been worst!

From Blog Stuff

Saturday, December 16, 2006

:: straight from airport, and on with a new toy ::

as i am back in singapore for just one week, now it is the time to stock up with my gadgets and christmas shopping, of course!

always the impulsive shopper, i could not wait for the samsung sgh-600i as the launch, i presume, will be way too late.

i have decided to invest in dopod c720w instead (aka HTC Excalibur and T-mobile Dash) - and while i could save the GST (just SGD50 though) by making a reservation at the changi airport (since i'm returning to holland again this saturday. i just decided to buy immediate, less than 3 hours after i finally reached home after a tedious and lack-of-sleep 13 flight from amsterdam.

i just have to say that i really like this new gadget of mine - the greatest appeal to me is its sleek and slick design, followed by its wi-fi capabilities.

i'm going to be a very happy man this christmas with my new toy....

From Blog Stuff

From Blog Stuff

Sunday, December 10, 2006

:: the making of a x'mas tree ::

in a land where REAL christmas trees are of abundance (and cheap too), it's hard not to put up a tree, even though i'm not a christian (i'm just being festive, so sue me)

1) put up a real tree, this one is about 2 metres tall

2) put up the lights,about 200 of them for this one

3) add up the balls (courtesy of the landlord)

4) and viola, here you have the tree....and nice scent of the real tree too...

happy christmas and enjoy the holidays everyone...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

:: seasons change ::

it's already been more than a year since i have been working/staying in holland.
what supposed to be just a 3 months' assignment, well, let's just say that i will be here a little bit longer.

perhaps the view from my apartment summed up the change of seasons here, so long summer, and welcome back winter...

summer 2006

fall/winter 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

:: sinterklaas ::

Sinterklaas or Sint Nikolaas in Dutch or Saint Nicolas in French, is a holiday tradition in the Netherlands and Belgium (both Dutch and French speaking parts), celebrated every year on Saint Nicholas' eve December 5 or, in Belgium, the morning of December 6. The feast celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children.

In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas' eve, not Christmas eve, is the occasion for gift-giving. The evening of December 5 is called pakjesavond ("evening of packages"). Traditionally, presents are ingeniously wrapped, and are therefore called surprises. Also, each present is accompanied by a poem from Saint Nicholas

more information

in OUR part of the world, the idea of christmas presents and red/white santa's costume (thanks to coca-cola ads). i was lucky to be part of this dutch tradition at a party hosted by dear friends.

here are some pictures to share...

it's great to know that some things never change, these twins still believe in sinterklass and his little helpers (black piet as known here)
From Blog Stuff

the gifts that we brought - 3 per person, but i ended up losing all in the game and went back empty handed :(
From Blog Stuff

what are festive parties without the gifts...
From Blog Stuff

ps: i will be back in singapore for a party on 22th, but no more losing of gifts, i'll tell y'all.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

:: a singaporean dreaming ::

i am back in holland once more.

and its strange that despite being back for almost 1 month, i really did not have the mood to blog at all. no need to share about my mundane and uninspiring reservist duties (george bush was in town, then), how the shopping experience in singapore has changed (for the better), and if there's anything that i miss back home (the usual suspects - loved ones and my cat).

perhaps its the bleak and gray autumn skies in holland that make me in better mood to continue blogging, oh well....drama-mama!

anyhow, one of the best things about flying SIA is the krisworld entertainment systems. i like to watch those art movies, ie: non-commercial-hollywood types, and i'm glad to say that i am really happy to have watched singapore dreaming.

i've watched it twice during the 13 hour flight to amsterdam, and i must say that this is the best singaporean film that i've ever seen.

it's real, authentic and moving- without the artsy-fartsy/drama-mama art-film wanna be directed by other singaporeans before.

it's the joy of real story telling, coupled with great actors and excellent job in marshing singlish-hokkien and mandarin dialogues. kudos to the excellent production team, directorship and scripting.

i love it! and i know that i'm late to catch it much earlier on - despite its excellent reviews.

go on...watch it and didn't say that i told you so.

cheers...for now

Sunday, November 19, 2006

:: what i want for christmas ::

i've been waiting for this smartphone (samsung SGH-i600) for about 2 months now...when will it be available god-damnit!

this will make my 2006 purchases complete and i will be one contended man.

Monday, November 06, 2006

:: thailand part II : bangkok ::

From Bangkok 2006

i guess i will give bangkok a miss (at least for the next 5 years) because:

- i got sick of all the haggling and barganing (just give me A price, a real price, can?)
- it's very commercial - halloween is huge(like in singapore, but at least they have more soul)
- FAKES/FAKES/FAKES (am i being snobbish with all the wannabes and their fake 'brand' products, damn it...it's an insult to my made-in-italy diesel jeans).
- chaos, congestion and pollution (even after many trips there, i never learn my lessons)

i love thailand, just guess that i will need to move away from bangkok, it's been like, 8 times within 5 years....it's a bit of BKK overdose.


Friday, October 27, 2006

:: thailand part 1 : krabi island ::

what does a guy do after the hari raya celebration in singapore?

off to krabi island and bangkok in thailand...

part 1 of pictures {click to see pictures and write ups}

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

:: home soon ::

for the festivities and holidays...the time is just right...cold winds are coming...

Monday, September 25, 2006

:: singapore idol 2006 ::

in the spirit of singapore idol..which i could not care less..until i got an msn message to inform me that hady has won....

ps: the 'original' song that was supposed to be sung by the winner of our first idol last year..is not so original at all....pff!

via tomorrow.sg

Sunday, September 24, 2006

:: de ramadan begint*::

* the ramadan begins (in dutch, duh!)

true to its cultural and religious diversity, holland lives up to the expectation.

other than being told in two head-hunted job interviews before that "we are seeking muti-cultural and diverse ethnicity within our organisation and no, you don't have to speak dutch, german or french - even though we ARE a European company, your good English is more than enough..." (hint-hint: singapore employees/companies that still seeking that 'particular' language" bullshit in job applicants).

holland, indeed, does not disappoint in her acceptance and embracing the non-typical dutch majority.

this is my second year celebrating ramadan in holland and, as expected, this year's ramadan is no different, and in the newspaper today, it detailed the ramadan calendar until 2010 - how long to fast because of the seasonal changes.

to all muslims - happy ramadan! there are no frills and food buffet splendour here - just a time for worship and be kind , and to be at peace with one-self.

i will be home, just in time for the end of ramadan - just to include in the material decadence of fat food and shopping - some things never change!

Friday, September 22, 2006

:: ode to summer 2006 ::

it would be ridiculous for me to talk about the summer when i'm back in singapore.

it is only because today is the last day that what-have-been a great summer in the netherlands, that i realised that i have been taking the tropical weather for granted - all those air-conditioning back home at full blast, staying indoors for lunch and avoiding as much sun as i could...

but still, i would not embrace the sun totally when i return home (remember to sun-block people).

enjoying the rides at the fun fair, dutch style!

dancing on the streets - to the salsa music from the dynamic duo...i love them!

so long berms and slippers.....and remember...it's all about the hips when it comes to salsa...

so long summer.....!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

:: a little bit of 'pe-sen' ::

i am not ashamed to admit that i LOVE fashion and shopping - even after the compulsive london shopping extravaganza that has left my bank account well, rather light and my credit card company happy.

so what have european fashion and shopping experience taught me? to start with....it all began with awareness of other european labels and how i have grown to love italian-made jeans.

casual men's labels like g-star, gsus, nudie, energie and diesel have become my perennial favourite but my only complain is that instead of usual size 30, i have to wear size 28...and that is hard because such pieces always come in limited quantities. it was good that the sales folks at http://www.menatwork.eu/chain nearby remembered this special 'need' of mine - and would always reserve a nice piece should i want them.

i must emphasize that i'm not a label-whole (but i do believe in made in italian/france/japan jeans are better in quality and comfort than made in china ANYTIME), and there's always a cheaper alternative in HnM, and Madonna with her recently-concluded crew became the model for this swedish chain, its hard to see why is it not having its stores in asia yet. the goods are cheap (made in china/bangladesh among others), and pretty ok (note: not high quality).

its also interesting to know that i can fully appreciate what autumn/winter collection is all about. with the summer's going away soon...it's time to get something really appropriate clothing (and much excuse to shop) to keep myself warm.

i realised that guess is a rare sight in europe and japan, and this label is already 25 years old! when i was 17 , the only thing that made me aware of this label's existence was anna nicole smith's bridget-badot look-alike poster for guess...and of course, my first introduction to designer's jeans.

i would not comment much about the fashion-sense of the dutch. i believe that singaporeans are not good dressers ourselves, but perhaps it would be a stereotype of mine that the french, italian and japanese are the best dressers that i've seen so far.

with less than a month for my trip home for deepavali and hari raya holidays...i must remember to make a trip to a guess store....and buy this nice pair of lawrence pants :-P

my nephews would be very lucky that i have so many pairs of jeans/pants to give-away...but only if they don't grow too fat.....

Sunday, September 17, 2006

:: a itsy-bitsy moment of home-sickness ::

just the other day, when i was taking a train ride from amsterdam (for a discussion on one of the possibilities of a new job) - something hit me.

i was feeling home-sick (just a tiny bit) since i first came to europe slightly more than a year ago.

and what even bothered me was 'the trigger' that made me home sick.

it was not the home-cooked food, family or friends, but it was a song that i was listening from my mp3, and the song was not even english or malay.

it was a JAPANESE song - which made me a song addict.

the idea of this song made me home-sick was worrying.

it reminded me of one of those lonely projects in eastern singapore where you were working all by yourself (without great and sociable team members to talk or hangout with), the long drive home and to work (because of the horrendous peak hour traffic jam at PIE, BKE and SLE) - and how this song, has made me to get away in all that...i even imagined how would it be like if i could direct the music video for it, and what would i do, should i ever get a chance to sing and perform to it....silly, i know!

i guess it transcended beyond that..i guess this song, and other japanese memories made me home sick because of the countless sunday nights of waiting to see japanese dramas over at channel8 and other events which practically centered around MY HOME.

and that made me home-sick! strange idea....but it really did.

and to relieve my home-sickness, i watched the music video of this song countless of times....that made it much better.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

:: SNA National Day Luncheon ::

Tabblo: SNA National Day Luncheon

On the same day that I was anxiously waiting to see Madonna in the flesh, the Singapore Netherlands Association (SNA) had organised a buffet-lunch-cum-lucky draw in conjunction with National Day celebration.

It was the first time that I ever attended an event organised by the kind people of SNA.

At the back of my mind, the following thoughts came to mind: “DIE liao…fellow Singaporeans, BUFFET, food, being not punctual, kiasu, snobs, ugly and unfashionable...”

And my mind did not disappoint me….it was all true.

I am not going to comment anything about it – apart, it was just NICE. and let's say i don't think i'm going to miss the fellow Singaporeans here that much though...
don't get me wrong, there were nice people and i guess its too early to say if we are going to share singlish together for a long time to go.
and i'm happy with my own sense of patriotism for my country... :-P

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

:: my confessions in amsterdam ::

let's face it, the photos that i took during madonna's concert will never be as good as those taken by the professionals - here are the official photos and other great pictures for the greatest event in amsterdam arena on 3rd and 4th september.

but what emotions! the moment she appeared from the gigantic disco ball - the deafening roar from her crowds, the flashes from cameras and mobile phones, the awe, the visuals and sounds...its beyond any description....

i am choked - i can't write as well as the numerous blogs out there, but i know how it felt - it was exhilarating and i have absolutely no regrets.

it was well above any expectations - it was worth it.

thanks madonna....it's a closure that i seek since i was 11 years....and that is my confession.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

:: tattoo anyone? ::

sorry...a bit busy now with my dutch classes, madonna's photos uploads and useless wifi (hijacked!) connection at home...

via tattoo parlour

Monday, September 04, 2006

:: post-Madonna concert ::


While I am trying to compose my photos for this...take a look of what this fabulous performer/entertainer/artist did to ENTERTAIN all of us, mere Mortals!

Saturday, September 02, 2006


i will be fulfilling one of my self-actualisation needs tomorrow.

you've read about it here, and how i have listened to her lyrics (ie: advise) here....

i am definitely hope not to be over-awed and ended up in a hospital..wish me luck!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

:: last nite in london ::

so long...maybe next time...our vibes will connect (other than your fabulous shopping grooves)

"promise #1: i will go to west end for (at least), les miserables "

"promise #2 : no more photos of london eye"

"promise #3 : not going to stare at St Stephen's Tower @ The Palace of
Westminister at wee hours in total darkness and imagining seeing things..."

Friday, August 25, 2006

:: why work and shopping don't mix ::

one of my shopping blunders so far this year was to window-shop under the influence of boredom.

sir mohamed al-fayed of harrods must be delighted with idea of impulsive shoppers as myself.

"fools...all these plebians..who can't resist the luxuries of my store"

with the bank holiday looming away on monday, the office was pretty much inspiring and quiet...with all my deliverables and work are completed - i decided to take some time-off in the afternoon to 'window-shop' at west end london.

bad mistake!

three hours of walking around and only about 30 minutes of real (unplanned and foolish)shopping, my feet were well-worn and tired....and my piggy bank became anorexic instantenously...

i had to seat down and looking at the london eye (again!) before making my way back to the hotel...wondering what to do with the bags and wallet that i do not need.

another lesson learnt : don't wear work shoes to window shop..(i wonder how women survived with the high heels)

:: tip #32 on how to attract foreign talents to singapore ::

have good variety of food - no, not just about the different kinds of cuisines and cooking style.

i am talking about food variations which people with all kind of faith and beliefs can eat.

what's the point of having fancy asian/fusion/european/african and alien eateries when your vegan or muslim or jew friends can't join in the food experience?

at my client's canteen (which is truly an international and global organisation), take a look of the menu of the week.

i wonder how many singapore food courts and government canteens can match this up.

only then, can we truly become a global city with truly talented 'foreign talent'....of course those who are not in the 'norm' food chain must also give-and-take once a while-lah!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

:: eye in the sky ::

i have a camera after all, even though its from a crappy LG800 mobile phone.

i think i have enough of the london eye - i see it everywhere i go....

on the way from work to dinner at SoHo (heheh..) .....every evening.

from my hotel room...

on the way to hotel room from work....every evening.

but i have to stay that due to its sheer size - it's hard not to ignore it.

and i am still not doing any further sights and sounds of london ..just work, hotel, dinner.
maybe i would have more motivation over the weekends before i return to holland