Monday, December 31, 2007

:: my closure and prayers for 2008::

in a few short moment, i will be busy deciding on what to wear for tonight's new year's party at a friend's house - and i will always end up feeling nostalgic and emotional.

there are many tragic incidents which need my closure for 2007 - and to move on to stronger and bolder year ahead.

however, this man's death - is the ultimate tragic event that has happened to me (even though not personally), and as if to complete a race, i have finally completed this book by 5.00am...and i would like to end the note of this year's blog entry with this beautiful poetry...

"i swear i will not dishonour
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace"

- school prayer - dianne ackerman'

have a good 2008 everyone, love you....x

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

:: pictorial : keerstborrel ::

the bar that i frequent always organise a boxing day borrel (drinks) with lots of pre-dinner snacks :)) i think they have outdone themselves this year on their christmas decoration, it was fantastic!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

:: merry christmas ::

:: st paul's cathedral, london, winter 2007::

sorry for the lack of updates - i have been too busy with the year-end activities, or rather social events like drinks/dinner/lunches, and yeah, i was away in london the last week.

the bad news is that my flight from heathrow was delayed by 6 hours on sunday! due to terrible fog, the good news is that the airline lounge was comfortable for quick naps and readings with free food and drinks, so i really can't complain but to wait.

had a wonderful christmas eve dinner last night with my foster family here, it was all worth the hassle and the drama from the trip home to holland from london.

hopefully i'll be able to update all the pictures soon...

have a good one y'all, x

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

:: dutch internet sensation is now in Oprah! ::

in less than 6 months, since i wrote about her being discovered in youtube and will become the next pop sensation, Esmee Denters has made it....very very quickly.

she was in oprah - and you can watch the show here

now, that's what i called the speed of light to sustained stardom...good luck esmee! but slow down with the brooklyn accent though..


Thursday, November 29, 2007

:: singapore's sexual revolution ::

another one from youtube.

as reported by Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley

another chicken & egg debate....and see the NMP whose famous quote that 'anal sex is equivalent to drinking water using a straw through water' or something to that effect...

:: blast from the past ::

as i was cycling from the gym tonight, suddenly a tune kept ringing in my was none other than the theme from 'the young and the restless' - also known as nadia's theme (after the ABC television network lent the music for Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci's performance during the 1976 Summer Olympics)

i remembered vaguely about nadia's feat in the olympics...i was so young then, but my sisters were raving about how good she was, how pretty and how much grace and strength she had as a gymnast. somehow these thoughts remained in my memory all these while, especially the tune.

so tonight, i have decided to review this tune and suddenly memories of the past came flooding back. it was all nice. just like this tune, it was beautiful, but a little sad at the same time.

we are always told never to look back to the past, but for me...the past defined who i am today. having come from a really large family and being the youngest, each of them has definitely influenced me in someway of another. i remembered that i entertained their friends who visited us by dancing on the table - that has definitely set the stage for me to dance on table in my growing up years....

so tonight, relax and watch this clip - and just remember the happy times of the 70s...and keep the gratitude of having that wonderful memory in your mind.

is this why older people like to talk about the past?

Monday, November 26, 2007

:: when kids are having more balls ::

as a trained anti-protester police personnel (well, during my national service days anyways) - i know what it is like to break a riot ...just in training, never real - hardly such opportunity in singapore anyways :P so learning how to use the tear gas, whack rioters with big and long batons, and arresting them was all but in theory and some practical lessons.


last weekend, i saw couple of PETA anti-fur campaigners...with their gruesome posters of animal cruelty in front of high-fashion boutiques (although escada seemed to be the main target). i am fully supportive of their cause as i avoided anything that is made of fur - fake or real - and fall/winter 2007 season which is full of fur this time didn't help either.

today, there is another round of many student protesters in front of the 2nd chamber (ie: dutch version of parliament). it's fun to see these kids protesting about the 1040 compulsory hours to be in school ...throwing eggs and stuff with few getting arrested by the way.

they sure learn young, these kids. their voices are crying out to be heard - and i think everybody heard them.

when will my country mates ever get such opportunity in their lifetime, back in the 'tropical paradise' of the lion city...i wonder? too much of comfort factor made many of our balls shrink, perhaps?

never cross any picket line...X

Saturday, November 17, 2007

:: sinterklass (and black piet) are in town ::

as a non-parent myself, i can safely say that it must really be nice to be a child in the netherlands. the dutch in general, i think are very good parents - and i have seen many instances where parents really have quality time with the kids. no wonder netherlands is one of the best place to raise a children, from a survey that i read somewhere sometime ago.

last week, accidentally i discovered that sinterklass (the dutch santa claus) is in town! read about the dutch history of this famous man in this article.

and you can click on the picture below to see the brief pictionary of the visit that day.

i like the Christmas festivities here, because it transcends cultural and religious beliefs - it's all about being good for kids from 1 to 92 ;-)

can't wait for year end holidays, x!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

:: i'll be lonely another day ::

if i am given a kiss everytime i have forgotten how cold the dutch autumn can be, i guess every inch of my skin will be covered - at least 100 times over!
as i was cycling home from work today, i regretted not wearing enough warm clothing - a prada-like overcoat which i bought in hong kong was indeed fashionable and felt and looked it, but it was not warm enough for this turbulent harsh cold wind in the hague.

feeling a lot of self-pity and cursing myself for not having my gloves with me (my hands were freezing and almost felt numb)....the music in my iPod (the same song that is imbedded here) didn't help in shaking this bleak, dark and hollow feeling inside me.

i suddenly felt.....very, very......lonely.

it was not yet 6 pm but the darkness in the streets was unbearable. the more i think about this loneliness, the more miserable i have become. despite the cold, i deviated the route home to my favourite take-away chinese dinner, and think about suddenness about this lonely-fear-factor.

i decided i must blog about this.

as i was going through my mind about this topic, i remembered that i wrote about 'is one really a lonely number?'

the more about i think about it, i realized i am feeling less and less lonely. i started to think about all those things that i have always wanted to do - like the books that I've bought, going to the gym, errands like re-arranging my wardrobe, etc etc.

it is strange. because when i first started thinking about it, i longed about having a companion tonight, someone who is real and warm.

as i am writing this, i do not see that need of having anyone tonight - when there are many other things that i can and will do - like reading my much overdue magazines which are piling up next to my bed.

i think i will do that, despite being a bit cynical if whether i am avoiding my inner emotion about being lonely.

i guess i'll be lonely another day, and will not turn down any coffee or drinks request from new friends that i am going to make.

ta-da, x!

Monday, November 12, 2007

:: back to the dutch workday ::

the first day of being back to the office is nothing short but non-stop activities - i officially ended my day at almost 5 am in the morning.

i met up with 2 new colleagues finally face-to-face. i have spoken and conducted job interviews with them over the phone before, and its good to finally put the face to the voice.

one of them turned out just as i expected - a big momma laughter, braided hair, english-african accent and full of joy to talk to - i didn't regret my choice and was happy to hand-over my job to her.

i had a 'team appreciate dinner' at a posh hotel in the hague - hotel des indes. the food was a bit pretentious for my liking and so was the dress code, but what can i say - the service crew were gorgeous and their attention to service and details were excellent.

the photo is blurred to protect the innocent, except me of course!

the irony is that i was the only non-team member of that particular team, but some sort of a guest (who used to be part of that team, but has been involved still in their projects - long story!) - so it was kinda odd as my group dynamic was not as 'tight' as compared the rest.

but i guess after much food and drinks, that doubt was all cast aside. as the only one who live in the hague, the rest of my colleagues wanted to party the night away (as they flew in from the UK that morning and hardly know anything fun about what to do in the hague). even though i am not dutch, but i felt as a 'host' to the hague, it was my responsibility to show them how to have a good time (as all my dutch colleagues have since gone home!)

undeterred, i brought them to one of the sleaziest clubs in the hague, but it was the only one that was opened until 4am and it has poles on an elevated dance floor..what more could you asked for?

and i have to say it that we all had a wonderful time, even though i was freezing my ass off cycling home at almost 5 am in the morning - with all my cough and cold still at bay!

and of course, with a perfect excuse to stay at home the next day :-P

i should stop doing late-nights...x!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

:: when being on a break really means otherwise ::

i have returned to The Hague - after spending 1.5 months in Asia which included some holidays to Macau and Hong Kong and catching up with families and friends.

the truth of the matter is that, even though it was supposed to be MY break, i didn't have much chance to do so.

with the hari raya festivities back home in singapore, the catching up with some work in Kuala Lumpur, shopping and Halloween in Hong Kong and not enjoying the 'casino country' of Macau. i guess the real reason for my long absence from blogging is that the fact that we have a real family tragedy.

the unfortunate and devastating news that my 19 year old niece is dying and the doctors gave her just 1 month left to live.

it was tough - i wanted to stay positive and provided as much peace and calm to her, making her happy - i wanted to remember the moments of her being alive, not to grief about the passing. after all, we are all dying by the day.

do you think this make sense? am i selfish to be away from home in another continent, another season?

i am still processing my whole emotions towards the whole matter, and returning to my cold and gray apartment in the netherlands didn't help either. i shall not go into the mode of depression, its not fair when someone who is so young and decent has been robbed of an opportunity to live. when those who are alive and well are not grateful of the wonders of life.

after all, miracles do happen. i believe in that, i really do...

god bless, X!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

:: doing a repeal on paper ::

last week, a lawyer friend of mine (who i met at a bar with another friend who was with his brother and sister-in-law-who happened to be in town for a night out) handed me a stack of documents about a petition to be addressed to the prime minister and parliament about the repeal of 377A penal code. i found out later (from the newspapers) that he is one of the main proponents of this 'movement'.

you have to write your name, identity card and address (all deemed rather personal particulars about something conservative like this issue) and signature at the petition.

surprisingly, i didn't hesitate..even though i didn't really read all the contents end to end (rather legal jargon sounding though :)) and i signed and included all my personal particulars. with all my heart and intention, i do support this petition - all i can only say is that "it's about time, really"....when will we ever learn and mature as a country if we keep sweeping these sensitive issues like this under the carpet.

i think being in the netherlands for the past two years have taught me a lot about respect, diversity and freedom of everyone. you could also joined this petition online by clicking on this website.

good luck to those who are working hard on this, you will have my support!

Monday, October 15, 2007

:: overdue bebel gilberto concert review ::

i have not been posting anything for quite a while because i'm simply tired and lethargic - being home with the tropical humidity and heat have made my coughs and runny nose worsen...let's hope i will be alright for my holidays in macau and hongkong in a week's time.

now, back to the concert...i'm not a good reviewer, so just read on what the straits times have to say about that (click on the right picture for more). they made one mistake though...she sang from all her albums...not just her first (tanto tempo) and latest (momento) but also from her second one.

she was MAGICAL, and even though she didn't sing my SONG, she sang my second favourite "simplesmente" and many times i wondered if she is really singing 'live' or recorded - she was THAT GOOD. two of my concert companions were also delighted by her concert despite the face that they have never heard of her at all, just based on their trust in my personal taste :) besides her remarkable voices, oh what showmanship! she is like an old friend who is truly warm and personable with truly magnetic stage presence....

I love love her, and I am blessed to be able to watch two of my favourite artists of all times - she and Madonna. what more could i have asked for? oh yeah..except for no more coughing and better health and fitness soon.

cheers, X

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

:: back home, beatches! ::

after the long and tiring flight from amsterdam - with a totally full flight (never seen it that full before and even more unhappy and tired SQ cabin crew members), yes..i am home (for now).

i am very tired and the anti-jet lag pills didn't help much...but i am still looking forward to Bebel Gilberto's concert tonight.

i hope that i am not getting any flu soon (i had nose-bleed while on the plane and my ass/seat was so hot due to my body temperature - even though i wish i had some hot ass myself :))


Thursday, September 20, 2007

:: dirty drawing? not quite.. ::

this reminds me of my college days when we thought that our school logo was 'obscene'....well, dirty minds will have dirty thoughts ;)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

:: slimmer thighs, hips and tummy in 30 seconds ::

just trust the quirky japanese...i love it...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

:: prinsjedag today ::

today is the day where the queen of netherlands delivers her speech from the throne to joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives.

but that is not the highlight.

the highlight is the procession of the golden coach and you can see the photos here...

you see, on the stroke of one, the Queen, normally accompanied by other members of the Royal House, leaves Noordeinde Palace for the Binnenhof, escorted by court dignitaries and a military escort of honour. it's a truly spectacular sight for the royal fans and admirers alike (like me).

but this year, i decided not to go, even despite the sunny but albeit cold weather today. i decided just to say at home in my bathrobe and watched it live on the television.

i had already seen it before, when i first came here in 2005 and the closest photo that i got then was the one shown below.

having lived and work in the hague for more than 2 years now, it's really nice to see so many dutch and tourists alike visiting this lovely and historic city for today's event.

i went to KFC after the procession (tuesday being my chicken dinner night) and i saw a lot of them are waiting for the ministers for the post-senate discussions, and this is just opposite the american book centre where i frequent on a weekly basis.

to me, its not an attraction since believe it or not, i have met so many of these politicians in the hague at the surrounding cafes and bars near to the binnehoft. and i think i am beginning to really feel like a local 'hagueian' after all.

i love it to be at the place where the queens and other important government people walk and move around freely. i even cycle so many times at the route where the golden carriage passes just once and year - and yet, i don't even know and see where my president and prime minister go to their daily office back home in singapore...and its sad.

how i hate the elitist government folks back home...i have seen so many of the government offices and monuments here than i have ever been in all my life back home. we should have a monument's day too...


Friday, September 14, 2007

:: grammar test, it's elementary my friends...::

You Scored an A

You got 10/10 questions correct.

It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors.

If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs.

As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human.

And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

:: happy ramadan ::

"Muslims usher the fasting month" (the headline on the left)

Happy Ramadan to all fellow Muslims!

Watch how the Muslims here (mostly from the Middle East cultures) celebrate it in the Netherlands (in Dutch, of course!)

15 hours of fasting...thanks to long summer still :-)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

:: last weekend round-up - Malaysian food festival ::

since i missed it for the past two years, i decided to pay a visit to the malaysian embassy this time. as i never really missed any asian food from singapore, it was still nice to be able to enjoy the familiar cuisines (but terribly expensive..nasi lemak is 25EU while it is only 0.5o cents for the same standard in KL). the food was good, but cold...and the indian summer temperature didn't help either..

the malaysian expats that i met there were nice.
and as usual, i spoke to them in bahasa malaysia, they replied in english!
maybe being from singapore makes them think they we only speak english or mandarin....even when my bahasa malaysia is of united nations standards :P

malaysia boleh!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

:: I am very happy today...::

:: this bothers me ::

when the idea of "the world is getting smaller" is practically taken literally.

if i want to see eiffel tower, i will go to paris - not tianducheng, a residential area on the outskirts of hangzhou in east China's zhejiang province.

they are trying to make mini paris in china - and it further enforces the chinese are the world's biggest copy-cat where anything goes.

and i thought everybody said that singaporeans have no soul....but this is major! after thousand years of history and civilisation, they are still quite clueless...aren't they? but then i hope i am not bothering the line of stereotyping, but this ain't just right.


ps: picture are taken from reuters

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

:: this is THE song for me ::

only god knows how many times that i have listened to this song...over and over again.
when i need some assurance, calmness, peacefulness and tranquility, wanting and longing.
while in a plane while it circles up the air waiting for landing, on a long train ride in some unknown places, in the cold hard winter in bed, missing....yearning and looking for the answers to unknown questions.
in my car...driving in the wee hours of the morning...feeling lost and confused.
in all my emotions.
in all my sorrows and joys.
this is the song that does it for me.

this is perhaps, one of the most intimate secrets that i have ever shared in my blog...ever!

Monday, September 03, 2007

:: a diplomatic weekend ::

i was at a friend's farewell do last friday.

as the consultate general of the australia embassy in the netherlands, it was time for him to go home after 3 years of glorious and wonderful experience here.

just like so many people that i know here, i met him and his partner from a regular bar. and indeed, there were many familiar faces from the bar - including the owner, Rob, at my friend's party.

as a diplomat, my friend has one of the best addresses in the hague, but nevertheless, it was still a bicycle ride for me, even with my suits on :) he clearly knows his diplomatic skills well and an excellent host - ensuring that everyone has enough drinks, snacks, company, chit-chats, etc.

and then, a stranger came to me and offered his handshake and said "Hi, I'm Stephen..."

not knowing who he was, we spent some good time talking about a lot of things really, like the maiden flight of airbus A380 from Singapore to Australia, the concept of time and space, his last trip home (with the prince and princess of netherland) australia, singapore, etc....

he excused himself and proceeded to 'meet people who he has not met before' and still i have no clue what he does for a living (nor i cared really).

only later i was told that he was the australia embassador here ;-) and people who worked with him said that he's a natural nice guy...a real diplomat...

and i have to say, that i'm very impressed - to experience a true-blue diplomacy at its best, and makes me wonder why some of my singaporean counterparts are still stuck-ups.

diplomats or a pauper, it always pays to make someone happy and be cordial and polite to everyone....everytime.

that was my diplomatic weekend, at its best...

:: heroes world tour in singapore ::

two words: 'i'm jealous'

photo courtesy of casual chin, my friend.

Friday, August 31, 2007

:: remembering Lady Di ::

It's been that long, 10 years ago today.

I remembered watching the news on television on that day, I was stunned when I broke the news to my mom. My mom was stunned too, we both felt the grief and shocked.

Lady Di was indeed the "Queen of Hearts", to me and everyone else.

Let's never forget the grace and charm and all the good work that she has done.

And may she rest in peace forever!

:: this week's summary ::

i guess i should start doing what i have first starting blogging on 3 nov 2003 - that is to photo blog instead of writing so much nonsense.

my social calendar was full last week - had 5 dinners and drinks invites, squeeze in dancing on the streets event, cat-sitting - and also the ONE FULL MOON .

life is good, live it!

Friday, August 24, 2007

:: aGentX mobile cam of the week ::

location : hoek van holland (corner of holland)

:: decisions, decisions...::

this is what i would do every morning...laying out 2 choices of outfits on my bed

life is tough :P

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

:: agentX does cat-sitting ::

do you remember my neighbour's cleverest cats - the ones that pee/poop using the toilet?

i am honoured to be given the keys to their apartment to help them to 'cat-sit' while they are away on a holiday in the UK.

i do not know which one is more gracious - to be trusted with a house key (heck, i have only met them once for tea!) while they are away....or to be given a chance to play and look after their cats (knowing that i have a cat, sumoki, myself).

nevertheless, it was a wonderful evening routine (prior to dinner) that i will pay them a visit ...feed them, flush the toilets, play with them, and cuddle and pet them.

so when a story of how a cat was killed and dismembered back home, it really disturbed me and made me all emotional.

in this instance - i am touched by the human kindness (my neighbour's - for their trust in allowing me with their house keys) and the warmth and joy that only pets can share. nothing can beat the feeling of having to pet and play with these lovely creatures...

love all,

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

:: madonna's latest tune leaked ::

you wanna hear it?

'the beat goes on' - featuring pharell, well, the link is here...


Thursday, August 16, 2007

:: happy 49th b'day, Madonna ::

like i have said it in 2004 and 2006 (i missed it in 2005 - so sue me, i was in paris!)

Happy Birthday Madonna! You are still the best and i can't wait for your next album coming really soon.

always a fan,

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

:: when 'bear-band' is the new Take That ::

forget the crappy and over-make-up boy-bands, introducing Bearforce1 - the world's first real 'bearband' in the world!

hurry...they are looking for members and they are from holland....of course!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

:: when choosing a holiday is more stressful ::

i have almost 2 months of vacation days to be used up until end of the year.

i have more stress deciding when and where should i go for my holidays, rather than working.

and the usual suspect for holiday location will be london (again!), paris (again!), barcelona, lisbon and berlin. i'm not into relax holiday, but party, shop, food, drink, culture and arts kinda person :-$


Thursday, August 09, 2007

:: thank god for NDP live webcast ::

my most favourite part of the NDP is always the march pass.

i could not remember how many times i had witness the parade 'live' as a spectator (during my school days), as a participant (during NS),and as an official (also during NS). this was before the good-old-days when the main reason for not going to the parade is to get the goodie bags and staying overnight just to get the tickets!

the other favourite part is when everyone stood up and sing the national anthem, it always make my heart swell especially since i would be wearing my smart and starched police uniform for the NS duties and standing at full attention with a salute in place.

i would always sing the national anthem loud and proud - the same gusto is also with the national pledge.

but this year, i have to watch it from home (deliberately working from home today) - far away in the cloudy and wet Dutch weather. no holidays, no fireworks, no nasi lemak - just a singaporean son celebrating from afar.

but its ok - it's good to know that the weather back home is perfect for her glorious birthday today.

i heart SG,

:: happy national day, my homeland! ::

if there is any 'singapore song and music video' that has given me a tinge of home-sickness (and tears and goose-bumps), this has to be it.

there is no in-your-face-patriotism images (you know the type - one with the chinese/malay/indian/others in their traditional gears, family potraits, the harbour, airports, and other national icons to drive the point that we have prospered and must continue thriving).

after all, nothing is more important about the idea of home.

home - one word says it all.

happy birthday singapore!

majulah singapura

ps: ironically, the NDP website has no clear info about how old we are? 42?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

:: once a kiasu, always a kiasu* ::

i am glad that i made the right decision of not attending the national day luncheon last weekend.

this email (left) which the association sent last night has proven some of my doubts about the pathetic behaviours of some singaporeans here - which are so shameful that i think that they need to be punished and sent for re-education program ala the north korean communist way.

"...people complaining about the contents in the (goodie) bag instead of being appreciative, and to see some guests nicking extra goodies on their way out thinking nobody saw.."

kiasu. kiasi. forever discontented and ungrateful shameless singaporeans. by forever complaining about everything will make you a better person in the world? by stealing extra goodies that will make you rich? f**king hell... stop these incivility for goodness sake, you will be a much better person spiritually and morally, believe me.

however, kudos are also in order for the fellow singaporeans which i am proud of - who tried to create a sense of kinship among us who are living in this foreign low land of dykes and windmills.

like that being said, it's no wonder i do not miss the 'singaporean-ness' at all while i am here,

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

:: this settles my trip home date ::

bebel gilberto is (one of) my favourite artiste ever!
since i missed her live concert in amsterdam's paradiso on 6th June 2007, i thought i would miss her concert for good (at least for this year anyway).

until this email from sistic!i have booked a ticket for myself, but had to hold it as i would very much prefer to go with any of my friends (back in SG) who would like to join me.

with this in mind, i have my booked my flight home just to be in time for her concert - and of course, for hari raya aidilfitri celebration back home.

see you october!

Monday, August 06, 2007

:: i just miss the 90s supermodels ::

i spoke too soon, summer is playing her naughty games once more. it's rainy today, and i was caught on the way home from work :-(

while cycling - the ipod was playing "freedom by george michael" and my mind wondered back into the 90s... ah...those supermodels - how even high-waisted jeans looked so hot back then!ey were really great to look at in magazines, posters, advertisements, etc.

no size zero, no detox, no rehabs - just gorgeous girls making lots of money and having fun.

it's that simple, really!

wondering what yasmeen ghaurry is up to these days?

Friday, August 03, 2007

:: cycle to the beach-day ::

looking at the great sunny and clear blue skies outside, a thought just came to my mind "let's cycle to the beach!"


as an islander from singapore, every time should i head out to any beaches - to cycle was never an option, it was either the bus/train or to drive.

all it takes here to cycle to the beach (and a nude one it is) are just two road junctions and about 15 minutes worth of pedal-power. the green arrow in the map above is where i live and on the far left is where scheveningen beach is, with the 'naturist' one closer to home :-)

so, in an hour or so (depending on my mood and the sun!) I will need to do some workout, and perhaps find a nice spot to suntan - especially my white legs.

'till then,

:: do not rain on my parade ::

just as the weather is getting sunnier by the day (although sometimes dark clouds still looming by), my cough and fever have somewhat recovered. thanks to being home for 3 days in a row...not resting, but still working!

i hope that the weekend will be nice, considering this annual event (screams party!) in amsterdam - it's just too bad, that i do not have my digital camera with me anymore...*cry*, but i guess my mobile phone will do.

and i hope that its about time that i show some legs by wearing a bermuda :-) my legs are getting so white that its not funny anymore...:-P

looking forward for the weekend (sober!),

Thursday, August 02, 2007

:: the loving story and definition of race ::

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (May 11, 1752January 22, 1840) was a Germanphysiologist and physical anthropologist, one of the founders of scientific racism theories.

as i was working from home today, still nursing my sore throat and fever ...i chanced a documentary in BBC about loving vs virginia - a landmark civil rights case which ended race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the united states in the 60s.

that story has been made into a movie called "Mr and Mrs Loving" back in 1996 starring once-hollywood-heartthrob of the 80s- Timothy Hutton.

what interests me was the use of 18th century definition of race (quote above) which was used by the judge as he passed the judgement.


malay was definited as one of the 5 races of the world back then, and it was described as "Tawny-coloured; hair black, soft, curly, thick and plentiful; head moderately narrowed; forehead slightly swelling; nose full, rather wide, as it were diffuse, end thick; mouth large. upper jaw somewhat prominent with the parts of the face when seen in profile, sufficiently prominent and distinct from each other"

how i wish that i have thick and plentiful hair and narrowed head.

i didn't know much about my own race but without that study long time ago, perhaps the idea of being a malay race will never come about, perhaps we will be classified as 'others', like our eurasian counterparts back in singapore :-(

black/white/yellow/brown/orange/ all, serve all,

:: how one author has soared my spirits ::

i bought "a thousand splendid suns" slightly more than a month ago - when i was back home in singapore. my plan was to read it immediately, so that i do not have to bring it back to the netherlands as my collection of books and magazines here have already warrant a container-cargo load on its own.

but circumstances back home did not permit, i had a funeral in the family, taking care of my mid-year errands (especially taxes - car insurance, road, housing, etc) and of course, the so-called "great singapore sale".

however, i digress.

i was aware of khaled hosseini's success with his first book, "the kite runner" - but it was only after 4 years after its released that i finally bought it. blame border bookstore's 3 for 2 book sales (when i do books, i hardly do them solo). i bought that book with me for my weekend trip to brugge, belgium - and in that same weekend, i was hooked. all i remember from the train ride from den haag to brugge was that i just had to make a quick train change in brussels, i was ravaging pages after pages of that book until i reached the hotel.

i finally completed 'splendid suns' last night - after 3 long nights before that, which has made me sick with fever and cough (i am still sick today and working from home).

as expected, khaled did not disappoint. it was haunting and riveting - i could not stop thinking about the characters in the book, the what-ifs questions, and at times made my heart soar 'till it lulled me to sleep.

yes, i know that these are work of fiction. but never before, have i been thinking about the people of Afghanistan until i read his books. i also learned more about its geography, wonderous history, its social-cultural aspects and religious/ethic factions of that country, years of wars until now - i often wonder about the lives of the people there.

khaled's books have appealed to that empty crevices within me. he did not preach nor politicise about the war, hunger, anarchy and oppression in afghanistan - he was just telling a story, that puts the violence, fear, hope and faith of that country in intimate, human terms.

i have to be honest about my attitude about afghanistan since i knew about her existence (during the cold war) - and that was i could not be bothered. i am glad that his books are bestsellers in many parts of the world, many people like me, are becoming more aware of the humanitarian issues facing the our very own planet. as a US envoy for UNHCR, the UN refuge agency, khaled has been championing this plight and have opened up million pairs of eyes to this worthy cause.

i would strongly recommend to read his books for anyone who seeks to find something so powerful that will make them discover the joys of reading again. his stories are harrowing yet exhilarating, stunning and heartbreaking and devastating yet inspiring.

you are bounded to be moved, even with the hardest of hearts - i can assure you that. my bedtime playlist in my iPod now is the audio book of "the kite runner" read by khaled himself.

and yes, there will be a movie soon, but read the book in the meanwhile!

ps: i'm a lousy book reviewer, there are loads online - just goggle it. my brain has been trained so much to write about 'facts' that it has lost much of its ability to write artistically.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

:: happy 100th anniversary scouts! ::

yes, many many years ago, i was a scout and i still remember the scout's pledge and law!
ah...the memories back then :-)

:: national day (singapore) celebration ::

this sunday is the singapore-netherlands-association 'NDP 2007" celebration - and as usual, 'don't pay money, don't talk...." mentality still persist.

after last year's event - i have decided not to attend
my classmate used to be the president of this association, but after he has been re-posted to china, i do not feel welcome in this club.

the current president works in the same organisation as me, we bumped into each other during lunch sometimes - but there was never a welcoming 'hello' or any cordial nods of acknowledgment. F**cking elitist wannabe!

i am tired of being nice, i sent a 'well done' and 'thank you' email after the last event, but there is still not 'let's have lunch at the canteen soon' ' (don't get me wrong, i have initiated that many times over!)

my purpose of joining this 'club' was simple: as an overseas singaporean, its nice to talk singlish and relish our idiotic quirks and 'culture', get to know people from home, gossips, chats, have fun!

there are other members who also worked in the same giant organisation as me, some are nice - others are ...let's just say that i would not be caught dead being near them (notwithstanding the bad fashion sense and personal hygiene).

the sad thing is that the nicer ones are the 'unwilling' party, they are in the netherlands because they are married to dutch man/woman, and are really trying to feel at home, with new family and friends. i noticed that the assholes are usually the 'expats' here, and as an expat myself, i am ashamed.

they hardly 'integrate' with the local norms and ways of life, and adopt that 'since i will be here only for x years, i don't need to be 'local'. all i can say is that they are missing of good life experiences and journeys of 'self' - just like tourists who are happy with snapping scenic photos instead of trying out local food and go beyond the travel guide books - the "5 minute been there, done that" attitude.

i dont' need any association to tell me of my roots and identity. i am proud to be a singaporean (but never to the extend to trying so hard to tell everyone that we are number one in this and that, too much SPH newspaper propaganda and mass media sh*t at home have totally been erased in my memory)

i am a singaporean many times over, i wore in this ridiculous 'singapore' tank-top all alone in the busy street of amsterdam - shouted 'singapore' when madonna asked the audience where are you from in her last concert, and wore this stupid 'nike red t-shirt' during our global workshop.

i know home where my heart is, always will and forever here!

but i am also proud to know the differences between ayaan hirsi ali and rita verdonk, frans bauer and jan smit, why toppers are so famous here, and 'yankees' is drived from the names of dutchmen Jan and Kees!

majulah singapura!

ps: i am not generalising that every overseas singaporean in the netherlands are an ass, but the little numbers and encounters that i had have almost made me to stereotype (which is bad!) apologies to those who are not, i owe you a hug :-)

:: horoscope van de dag ::

"6 footer anyone?" - via Generator Land.

:: never been sick, till now ::

for the first time in two years, i am sick in the Netherlands.
i blame it on late nights (3.00am) reading khaled hosseini's "a thousand splendid suns" for the past few days. and also the lack of exercise (i have a gym membership here but have not been to it, except once!) and basically the weather (i was mislead by the sunny sun and only wore a suit to work yesterday, only to realise how chilly it was!).

the medicines to relieve my cough and fever were making me terribly drowsy, and i hit the sack at 8.00 pm last night and had a rather blissful, while even so i am wide awake now, i have decided to work from home today. i am simply refusing to get dressed and go out of the house - maybe i should go to the gym and enjoy its sauna/steam-bath, and to exercise - when the time is right :-)

this summer has not been making me sweat, yet!

cruel summer,

Monday, July 30, 2007

:: ode to my cam ::

as a mark of respect to my old camera that 'died' yesterday), here are some final photos which i took (before the accident) was mostly a passing-by shots from the car. as the real intent was to take photos from the harbour and waterways of hoek van holland..

i am going to miss my camera, it has been to many places with me and took many good and naughty photos together...

you will be missed,

Sunday, July 29, 2007

:: t'was the day the camera broke ::

what was supposed to be a day of photo-taking at the Westland and Hoek Van Holland ended up with a disaster.

i broke my faithful camera, and it landed on the harsh and hard concrete just when i was about to get out from the car. it was terribly windy where we were and while i was adjusting my scarf and getting out of the car at the same time (bad mistake!), i lost grip of my camera and it fell and crashed.

:: the last photo just moments before it was flung far on the concrete ground ::

it was unfortunate as it was really a nice sunny day, albeit the strong winds and cloudy intervals.

:: no more display screen or the ability to take photo, RIP panasonic lumix FX9::

i have to wait until september/october when i return for my quarterly home trip, before i have a new one. until then, i guess my mobile phone will be the faithful substitute.

not sad - its only a camera,

Friday, July 27, 2007

:: TGIF ::

it's FRIDAY (sunny, well on most parts!), and I decided not to go to work :-D
and i'm going to learn "how to give a back massage" today, i think its easy - just 10 steps!

but then, i think i need a back massage (or any kind of massage) not to give one :(

in dire need of massage,

Thursday, July 26, 2007

:: when someone from work is also a porn actress ::

my ecstasy-induced acquaintance from work (note: not my co-workers as we have no professional dealings with each other whatsoever), told me today that one of HIS co-workers is a part-time porn actress.
my intial reaction was "get out of here!", and said that just because she has a big house with a nice swimming pool at a posh location, but having a 'less important' position than him does not mean that she has additional 'jobs' to maintain her rather lavish possessions.

but he said that he is not lying and showed me the website to prove him right (and also to show that he is not intoxicated in any manner).

hold and behold! there she was, right on the main page of a dutch porn website..showing off her jugs and all, it was dirty pictures, i'll tell ya!. even though you have to pay if you want to see more of her dirty actions and videos, lest just say that it was enough to see.

i don't think i could look at her the same way again, especially with the thoughts of her dirty pictures are still sticking in my mind.

and just when i thought that nothing will ever suprise me in the netherlands, it has never failed to show me new perspectives of life, in this case, my work life....

porn free me,