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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) Movie

The Slog Reviews: 3/10. It was that bad. The only good bits were what was in the trailer and nothing more. I didn't expect the ending though - that Capt A would only wake up 70 years later. Pretty sure there will be a sequel, and I've a hunch his love interest would somehow be "immortalized" as well.

The only thing in the movie that triggered some thoughts was the scene where Capt A was tested as a recruit - his superior threw a "grenade" among the squad members and Capt A was the only one who didn't duck/run for cover. Instead, he hugged the grenade to his chest and shouted for his team mates to take cover. That's courage, and as the bible goes, the man who is prepared to lay down/lose his life for his fellow men will be the one who has eternal life.

It also reminded me of some msn link that I'd read about a man who died of cancer recently and left letters to his two young children, asking them to have these 3 values which he believes will carry them far.

1) Integrity - Do what you say you will do. Don't lie - especially to yourself.
2) Moral Courage - Do what is right, even if you are hated/persecuted/octracised.
3) Loyalty - Be devoted, be faithful.

Lao Beijing @ Novena Square

1 of the routines that we've established as part of marriage life, is going out for lunch with my side of the family every Sunday.

This effort on the part of my CEB, as well as his efforts today to help me wash up and clean the grills after cooking dinner, mop the floor as well as clean both toilets very thoroughly (including the cisterns!) - something which I hadn't been able to bring myself to do at all - are the reasons I believe my CEB really does love his (insert unflattering pet name). And of course, why I respect and appreciate the husband. This man, he keeps to what he says he will do.

So anyway, last Sunday, my mum suggested Lao Beijing because of a prior pleasant experience we had there before. The "8 Treasures" Tea (in Chinese, "Ba Bao Cha") we had for about SGD3 each was very sweet and refreshing, something I would recommend instead of the usual kind of teas like pu-er and ju-hua.

Because it was about 2.20pm when we reached there, we weren't quite so hungry any more and decided to order dim sum. But Lao Beijing doesn't have a dim sum menu at all. So we ordered the Xiao Long Bao which came in a basket of 8 for about SGD12. The Slog Reviews: No complaints at all about the quality or quantity. The skin was soft but firm, as was the meat but it isn't an exceptionally tasty dish.

We also decided to order another "dim-sum" like dish which was some bamboo shoots wrapped in the same skin as the xiao long bao. The Slog Reviews: These were far less tender and a bit dry compared to the xiao long bao dish. And, they were more expensive too. Definitely would not recommend this dish below over the xiao long baos!

My CEB was in the mood for toufu and he ordered the hot plate spicy beancurd with seafood which turned out to be a most excellent choice. The small scallops and shrimps in the dish went very well with the soft fresh quivering cubes of toufu, and the sauce was too die far. The Slog Reviews: 9/10. Definitely would recommend this dish to anyone going to Lao Beijing!

1 of my ex-suitors had brought me to Lao Beijing for its duck dish and so I thought the braised duck would be a good choice but alas. It was the furthest thing from good. The Slog Reviews: 1/10. This half a duck below which cost SGD19 was a pure waste of money and was not only pathetic in quantity but quality. The meat was tough and tasteless, the skin too dry and the sauce horrible. To tell you the truth, I was embarrassed for Lao Beijing that a restaurant of its standing would actually serve such an awful tasting dish!

I would recommend the pork trotters dish instead which we had the last time (See pic below) - it was a million times better than the duck dish above!

We ended the meal with a plate of red bean sesame pancake per the pic below. Like the prior experience, it was very good and devoured quickly by both my CEB and my mother. :)

I would have really liked the mango and coconut mousse dessert that we had the last time but my CEB claims to hate mango and so we gave this dessert a miss. Which is a mistake because I actually have a craving for the same, just by looking at the picture below. The mango inside was sweet and soft and the crisp flaky coconut on the outside was a perfect complement.

Velocity@Novena Square
238 Thomson Road
Singapore 307683

Tel : +65 6358 4466

Cooking at home on a weekend

Where I had previously spent my free time looking for travel deals, I now spend my free time googling things like how to cook cod fish, vegetables or even minced meat. My Father-In-Law was right - when I told him b4 marriage I didn't know how to cook or work a washing machine, he said "one would naturally learn, or want to."

It wasn't always this way though - when we were first married, my CEB was the one who had to do the cooking. I've finally brought home my BB cable to download the pics and the pic below is of him preparing the very first home-cooked meal at the place we are staying.

Truth be told, all I did was take photos with my BB of my CEB hard at work in the kitchen. At the time of this picture, I hadn't turned on a stove in more than a decade, except perhaps to cook instant noodles. And it was great to watch the husband doing things I didn't even know where to begin getting done.

And my CEB managed to whip up something that fed both of us well enough with whatever basic utensils we had then - some pots and pans. The soup below, campbell soup with udon noodles, yes, my CEB does like soup very much. Even the Bak Kut Teh soup that I'd cooked for the first time which was far closer to bland than tasty.

But last Sunday (and wow time does go by so quickly because it is Sunday now as I type this), after lunch at Lao Beijing (more on that later) with my side of the family, I decided to make a second go at the Bak Kut Teh. Not because I was determined to make a great dish, but simply because I had another (and final) pack of pork ribs in the fridge.

This time around, I spent about 2 hours in the kitchen. Primarily because the frying pan that we had was too small for the huge bunch of dou miao that I wanted to cook. I had to fry 3 rounds in that pan just for the veg! And of course, while frying, there was the Bak Kut Teh simmering on the other side of the stove, with much less water this time and a lot more seasoning.

I also dug out the frozen food stuff - otah pohpiah and nuggets, and managed to deep fry these by tilting the shallow pan and have the oil pool on one side. When I laid the dining table as per the pic below, I thought that this was all the food we were going to have for our dinner...until my CEB said "Where are the prawns?" And then I remembered we had another 1/3 packet of fresh water shrimps which I'd taken out to defrost earlier in the day.

So, this is how very much we had for dinner on Sunday. All cooked by yours truly.
When we were done with most of the dishes, my CEB said most seriously,
"Dear, I am too full to move from the dining table"

But he managed to, after a few grunts, and even mopped the entire house, as well as ironed my clothes. What is there not to love about the husband indeed :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The husband

One of the terms I use to address my CEB after marriage is "husband". Afterall, CEB sounds a lot like CCB, and he doesn't seem to like being called the same name as his new best friend, "Buaya-Man"...despite them looking so much alike and having the same character traits - both leer at chickens.

In any case, whether out of pure spite or boredom, the husband has been abusing my nua nua buaya toy, like mashing together the hapless creature's three fingers into one, and shaking that at me. Yeah I am wondering too why I said Yes to my this man below.

Anyway, I had lunch with my beloved ex-boss recently and I was telling my CEB that she had shared it would be even harder to travel for work if I had kids cos the kid would say "Mummy when are you coming home? I miss you" And the husband, being my CEB, promptly said to me in a falsetto with as sad a look as he could muster, "Dear, when are you coming home? Your husband miss you" But I'm not buying that, no sir, I know better - the picture below speaks a thousand words -Buaya Man has effectively replaced me in his arms!

But seriously.

All these entertaining moments with the husband aside, I can hand on my heart say that he makes me happy, so so incredibly happy 80% of the time. And that although we have disagreements like any other couple, I guess as long as there are more good times than bad, we'll be fine. Maybe the couple that laughs together, stays together, and with my CEB there is plenty of laughter to be had.

Even in the car.
My CEB (fingers wandering)
Me "Keep your hands on the wheel!"
My CEB "Hands on the WHALE!" (Lays both hands on me while driving)
Me ?!@!#!##$@
My CEB (singing, "bleah-ing" and/or "kup-ping")
Me "Dear, can you keep your hands on the wheel and don't be so noisy"
My CEB solemnly "Hands on the WHALE, eyes on the road and Mouth SHUT!"

My CEB, my husband - I think God saved you, a huge Bag of Nonsense, just for me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shark Fin at Thai Village

Over lunch on Sunday, my mum had raved so much about the Shark Fin Soup she had at Thai Village @ Goodwood Park that my CEB decided that he would take me there to celebrate our 2nd Monthiversary.

So I checked out Thai Village Restaurant's webpage and there was a listing for a branch at Changi. However when I called the tel number, I was told it was a residential number. So I called Goodwood Park and the staff confirmed that the Changi branch was closed. So rather than try to make it to town, we decided to go to the one at Stadium Walk and I made reservations at 7.30pm.

We only got there at 8.15pm because the restaurant was not where it was listed on the webpage - Oasis building! It was actually located on the first floor of Kallang Leisure Park. When I called the restaurant at 7.45pm looking for directions, the staff confirmed the address was at Stadium Walk which was where Oasis Building is. It was most frustrating and I had a telecon with the US at 9pm which I had to postpone. Bah - Thai Village needs to update its webpage!

Anyway because I was busy on my BB trying to postpone my telecon call, I left it to my CEB to select the dishes and place our order. We started with a medium sized bowl of shark fin soup, the cost of which was about SGD90. As per the picture below, the size of the shark fin in the soup was rather sizable and the texture was amazingly soft and chewy against the mushy texture of the soup.

I have to confess that although the bowl of soup was meant to be shared, my CEB gave me the lion's share of the shark fin. This is the last time I will be eating shark fin though. Even though I am an avid angler, I don't like fishing for sport and thinking about the inhumane way sharks are killed just for their fins, which are in fact tasteless, makes me quite ill. So while I am grateful for my CEB's generosity this time, no more shark fin. The pic below marks the last bowl of shark fin I will be ordering.

My CEB also ordered a plate of roast duck breast at my request. The Slog Reviews: 10/10. This must be one of the best duck meat dishes I've ever had! The sauce was nothing to shout about, being too tangy but the meat...the meat! How tender and soft it was with just the right amount of seasoning and fats. A must try for all duck meat lovers!

My CEB had a strange craving for beancurd in XO sauce which turned out to be a really good choice because it was a simple dish yet tasty enough because of the sauce.

I think the bill for just these 3 dishes came up to about S$140 and it was worth every cent!

I strive for edible, not delicious

For some unexplained reason, for the past few weeks I have been struck by a craving for steamed minced pork, or rather, for a taste of this specific dish below. The suitor before my CEB used to make this dish for me and I really liked it.

So today, while waiting for my CEB to come home and take me out for a nice dinner as promised, I decided to make an attempt to replicate the dish. Afterall, most of last night was spent on my ipod touch googling for various recipes to replicate the dish, and I also had 300gm of minced chicken in the freezer which I had taken out to thaw.

I remembered the beancurd in the dish, but not the tomatoes. Marinating the minced pork wasn't too difficult following the recipe I'd found because I had stocked up on all types of sauces. I also took out the leftover rice from Sunday's dinner and steamed that together with some crabsticks.

And so I had myself a meal. The minced chicken wasn't as tasty as how I remembered my suitor's dish to be. And I'd overcooked the meat such that it was rather tough. The beancurd turned out just fine, as did the crab-sticks. Oh well, at this stage I strive for edible and not delicious. I'm going to try cooking lunch tomorrow again!

The Second Month

Two (2) months to the date we each said "I do" to each other.

Thank you, my CEB.

For the wonderful mornings of waking up to you,
For those nights of cuddling and talking,
For the laughter, the joy and the happiness we've shared
For your generosity, your understanding and your giving
For the sacrifices and effort you have made.

I am so happy, husband. And I can't tell you how glad I am when you tell me you are too.

We have a good thing going, let's treasure it while it lasts. For each day is a gift and not a given right.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Procrastination is like....

I can't remember where I read this but it has been stuck in my head for ages:

Procrastination is like masturbation...it feels good for the moment but you only f*** yourself in the long run!

And how true that is, I find out every day.

What the hell am I waiting for since I have decided what must be done?

Like delaying booking a flight on a budget airline in the hope of a discount/promotion, the cost of doing what has to be done only goes up exponentially with each passing day.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A tale of two buayas

It is evidently clear from the photos below that I, the lawful wife of my CEB, have been replaced by my own nua nua buaya toy, a gift from down under (Cairns) by my CEB almost a year ago.

I, used to be my CEB's "cuddle fish", the one and only person he cuddles up to every night. The one and only person whose arms he falls asleep in. Now? That's my CEB sound asleep next to me holding on to the hand of my nua nua buaya toy, the very same stuffed toy that my CEB has arranged in a myriad of compromising positions . The nua nua buaya toy looks pleased enough to be so loved. I on the other hand...

I don't think I'm going to buy my CEB's pitiful tale of being a lonely man any more since it is quite clear that he has good company in bed when I'm travelling for work! While the 2 pictures above were just taken half an ago (my CEB is still asleep with Buaya Man's snout pressed lovingly to his cheek - oooo that pic's worth a million bucks haha), the picture below was taken yesterday and again, guess who is the arms of my CEB while he takes an afternoon siesta!

HUH! Less than 2 months is all it took for my CEB to replace his (insert unflattering pet name) in bed! How fickle a man's heart is!

PS (10mins later)- Alright maybe not that fickle. My CEB woke up, flipped around with a half-asleep bleary smile and snuggled up to under my left arm before falling right back to sleep. Since this typing one handed now is gg to be time consuming, I guess I'll just go upload some photos.

PPS - And since you are probably wondering what happened to the nua nua buaya toy, it is still in his arms, pressed between this laptop and my CEB.

Friday, July 22, 2011

2nd time cooking

As usual, my CEB has fallen asleep beside me at this hour, one arm resting against my legs and the other wrapped around my nua nua buaya toy, his new best friend whom he has renamed today as "Buaya Man". Seriously, if you are all of WTF at this newest nickname, as I am, you need to see what else my CEB has done to the poor helpless creature whom he also calls "Buaticus". And I'm not talking just about making the buaya toy pose on the bed like this:

But more on that later. Before I was married, I loved to travel for work. And as a single I was so certain in my belief that marriage would not change anything. How wrong I was. Travelling for work has been and is disruptive to the routine of marriage life - certain days set aside for a certain household chore are missed, there is the having to wash all the clothes packed for the trip, and worse of all, there is the husband saying"I am a lonely man" in the most heartbreaking tone.

So I was really glad to have a Saturday just like today with my CEB. The first Sat in a long time that we spent time together from start to end, just the 2 of us.

We woke up about 8.30am and I went to hang up clothes and prepare a breakfast of char siew paos and pies. After that, we went to Parkway Parade for a bit of banking and grocery shopping and then went to Malaysia to do more of the aforementioned. My CEB was really sweet on the way back - he made a special effort to take me to buy my favorite fruit - durians - despite his not eating the fruit and his car smelling really bad after.

And he was amazingly helpful about the house after we got home - like ironing all his clothes, cleaning the vacuum cleaner head, and even putting up a little fountain and wall clock in the living room - I think I could really like this man despite his bullying my buaya toy!

Anyway, I decided to cook dinner tonight despite my limited skills to reciprocate his loving acts. Okay, that's a lie - I decided to cook because our freezer is overloaded and I had the necessary ingredients to cook Bak Kut Teh.

Encouraged by my previous success at cooking dou miao last month, I tried to cook dou miao again but unfortunately for some strange reason, it didn't taste as good as the first time - the veg was way too hard (I think I'm going to try again tomorrow). We also took out the frozen fresh water shrimps from Ikea which somehow didn't taste as sweet as when eaten there.

But it is the BKT that I really want to grouse about. I read the instructions on the back of the satchet and it seemed simple enough. Put satchet in with one big garlic and the meat and boil for 2 hours. Add soya sauce or salt for taste. So I did that. I washed the spare pork ribs that I'd bought last week and dumped that with the satchet and a garlic. 2 hours later, I tasted the soup and it was so watery and tasteless that I ended up asking my CEB for help.

My CEB is the "Fix-it-all" in our little family. As I've said before, I like men who are good at fixing things, good with their hands. And after tasting the soup at the stove, my CEB fixed the BKT dish with loads of soya sauce, the way he fixes everything else his (insert his pet name for me) breaks/spoils around the house. The BKT soup didn't taste fabulous of course but it was definitely loads better after my CEB had a hand in it.

And you would think that after such a long day, my CEB would be tired enough not to fix any more stuff but after I'd showered and came into the bed room,I found that my CEB had once again arranged Buaya Man and the sheep I gave him in a rather, compromising position! I swear that my nua nua buaya toy laying back on my pillow had a look of utter enjoyment on his usually melancholy face this time!

I'm not sure what other positions my CEB is going to come up with for the large green creature but I do know that I can expect to be entertained by both buayas (CEB stands for Cheese Eating Buaya and no wonder my CEB is glued to the buaya toy!). Like when he arranged "Buaya-Man" with the sheep in the position below.

My CEB "Buaya Man got a girlfriend now called AH LAMB!"
Me "!@!#@$@$!#"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Le Meridien Hotel at KL

Less than a week after coming back from Joburg to be with my CEB, it was time to travel for work again. There was a difference this time though - my CEB decided to pack his bags and join me. Firstly because the plane journey was an hour only (as compared to more than 10hrs for Joburg) and secondly because this biz trip spanned the weekend.

I chose to stay at Le Meridien Hotel this time instead of The Westin again, and the long short of the experience is that despite the not-too-fabulous experience at The Westin the last time, I would still pick The Westin over Le Meridien for my next business trip. Although I was upgraded to a premier room with a stunning view per the picture below, the long short is that Le Meridien is a far less luxurious hotel than its sister hotel.

For starters, my corner premier room (and corners are supposed to be bigger no?) looked like this below - cozy and clean at best but nothing spacious or fancy like the deluxe room at The Westin.

The bathroom was not too bad though - one could double soak - soak in the bath tub and soak in the stunning view with a beer in hand. Toiletries provided were decent but not the kind that one would to take back home.

My CEB being the more easy going of us two was happy enough with Le Meridien because of its decent enough room and location. Being connected to KL Sentral (via the taxi area of the top most floor of KL Sentral building) means that it is really easy to get about KL if one is dependent on public transport. It cost just RM13 for us to take a cab from KL Sentral to Bukit Bintang (one has to buy a ticket at the budget taxi counter at Bukt Bintang), and less than RM2 each to take a train from KL Sentral to KLCC. There is also the option of walking about 10mins to the LRT station from KL Sentral to take the LRT around the Bukit Bintang area.

My CEB left earlier than I did and when I got back a couple of days later, there he was at the airport with a box of durian puffs in hand.I have to admit that I was very surprised - my CEB has always been rather against my eating durians because my voracious consumption ("once start can't stop") of the said fruit had been giving me nosebleeds.

Since it couldn't be the case that my CEB wanted his (insert pet name) to keel over early, I figured out that it was my CEB's way of showing me some love :) As I said, he is King Unromantic, so little gestures like this one are all the more meaningful.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Of melons

It is extremely hard to bade goodbye to someone we love, or once loved for that matter.

My CEB has just left for home and it is just me in the empty hotel room where we'd spent the past 2 nights (and days). I walked with him to where he was to board the coach and when it was time that I should go, I turned without looking back - and kept walking. Yes, that must be the way to leave - no long drawn out farewells or goodbye hugs or kisses for that makes the process even more difficult and unnecessarily painful.

I've known my CEB since Dec 07. I never expected or wanted to marry him. I don't think he ever wanted to marry me either. We were movie kakis, food buddies, nothing more. Why, I even got engaged to someone else, and he started a new relationship too with another person. When our family and friends asked us why we never considered each other, he would always say "no spark" and I would say, "no chemistry". Privately, I think what he meant was "too fat" and what I meant was "no feelings inspired/invoked". Face it - men are visual and women emotional right?

At the time we got together, we were definitely not each other's first choice. I am honestly, the consolation prize at the fun fair he wasn't even aiming for but ended up getting and settling for. (But of course, only when I was 9kg lighter and therefore good enough not to end up in the rubbish bin.) And he was there as a temp to fill the gap for me while I was waiting for the permanent staff to complete his notice period with his past employer and then join me.

But at the time I agreed to marry my CEB and I married my CEB, I had grown to love him. And from his actions, I had a sense that he had started to genuinely care for, if not grown somewhat affectionate of this consolation prize that he had never wanted in the first place. Like this morning:

My CEB (half asleep and for the first time ever) "The happiest thing in my life is to marry the (insert his unflatering pet name for me)"

I am not sure how happy he will be when I fly back home too in a couple of days. Getaways are always good for bonding but it is the day to day of living together that really makes or breaks a relationship. It is the day to day where the strength of our relationship will be tested, where we each are challenged to think for our partner's feelings and put his/her needs before our own. It is the day to day that we always take for-granted, that we push our partner to second place, that we let other "seemingly important" things eat into time we should be spending with our spouse.

Despite these challenges and difficulties of marriage life, my CEB and I do have some pretty good times together. Like the night before I was to travel again for this trip and I was determined to clear off the rest of the melons in the fridge.

Me "Time for fruits":
My CEB " Nooooo....." (Puts face in pillow)
Me "Asked you what fruits you eat, you said melon. Now buy and cut, and you don't want to eat?!"
My CEB "Nooooo....." (Pushes his face harder into the pillow)
Me (Loses all patience holding a fork out with a melon stuck at the end) "EAT!"

My CEB "You should eat...need to be healthy than won't drop hair"
Me "Yah, okay. Then you also should eat since you know"
My CEB (silently and proudly touches his botak head)
Me "!@!#@#@#@#"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

No rest for the wicked

Again it is past two in the morning and I can't sleep. I slept at 3 last night, and woke up at 10, feeling ill enough to cancel two meetings in the afternoon.

Once again, my CEB is curled up asleep next to me, back facing me in anticipation of my snuggling up to him when I am ready to sleep. He does not know that I have spent the last hour ironing clothes out in the hall - the entire basket worth, as well as completing my work proposal.

There are many things he does not know, which is very good because that means he can rest easy. I on the hand am plagued by demons and nightmares, because I know more than I should, or at least think I do. Hah.

I dreamt last night that the doorbell rang and I opened it without checking through the peephole. A young man came in and pushed me aside. He didn't harm me but I somehow knew in the dream he was there to rob us. I woke up scared and snuggled up to my CEB's comforting broad back. I fell asleep again and guess what, I had a similar dream.
What are the odds of that? This time though, there were two men who barged in, armed. And it wasn't only robbery they came for, but to hurt then kill.

My CEB makes gentle noises while he sleeps - i wonder what he dreams of. Only once did he share his dreams with me - the day I came back from the Melbourne trip he told me he dreamt we were having our wedding photoshoot. My CEB is a mostly happy guy - and he appears to be happy enough 90 percent of the time when he is with me. So I guess his dreams aren't anything like mine.

As I said before, it is pretty easy to love my CEB, and he is simple enough to maintain. Except for the times like tonight:
My CEB "Help me book my coach ticket lar"
Me "No do it yourself"
My CEB "Please, I am a sick man" (tries on his most pitiful face)
Me "Fine"
My CEB (cuddles close to watch me input the details for his online booking)
Me "Ok, ticket booked, now need to pay. I need a drink - get you panadol at the same time - here is the credit card to pay online"

And as I walk out to the kitchen I hear a pitiful groan "Help me book coach ticket"
Me "?!@!#$@#$%&"

Oh, and when I came back, my CEB was lolling about the bed with the credit card tossed to one side.
And to think he was worried about that being the last seat back on the coach.
My CEB (Wordlessly hands me the credit card with a shit-eating grin)
Me "?2#@$@$#%%"

And within seconds he was fast asleep. No rest for the wicked indeed! Life is grossly unfair!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro

Escape from harsh reality is easy when one loves books. I can see why this book was named best novel of the year (2005) by Times Magazine - I was sick when I started picking up and had intended to read till I got sleepy enough but instead, it was such an engaging page turner that I could not put the book down till I got to the very last page.

The Slog Reviews: 9/10. The book, written in the first narrative, is made for easy reading yet the author manages to convey and deal with many difficult issues from cloning to the angst of growing up and relationships with all its hopes, fulfilment and pain.

There are 3 main characters - Kathy, the character through whom the story is told, Tommy and Ruth. For a really good summary of the story, click here. All are clones who are expected to give donations and brought up in a house called Hailsham. There, they are encouraged to engage in artwork and poetry. Tommy and Ruth becomes a couple despite there being an unmistakable bond between Tommy and Kathy. This bond however remains that of friendship and respect and never does Kathy think of entering into a relationship with her close friend's (Ruth) boyfriend. Years later when their paths seperate, Kathy looks for Ruth to become her carer after Ruth's second donation which apparently did not go well. Before Ruth goes for her next donation, she apologises to Kathy for keeping her and Tommy apart. Kathy looks for Tommy and they become a couple but Tommy is scheduled for his fourth and final donation. Ruth urges them to look for the Madame at Hailsham where she believes Tommy can get a deferral if Kathy and Tommy can show they are in love. Ruth even convinces them that the artwork was used to gauge the depth of Kathy and Tommy's souls, and judge their true love. So filled with hope, Kathy and Tommy goes, but only to find out that Hailsham was a failed experiment to prove to the world that clones had souls - the artwork was used for that purpose but Madame did not managed to convince the world and starved of funding, Hailsham was closed and clones brought up in worse environments. Kathy asks Madame why she had tears in her eyes long ago when she watched Kathy hugging a pillow as if it were a baby and singing Never Let Me Go. Kathy thought that Madame had felt sorry for her knowing that Kathy would never have a baby, being a clone. Madame replied that she saw a child asking the old kinder world she knew never to let her go in face of a new and cruel world (using clones). I didn't understand the ending though - when Kathy and Tommy parted for the last time and Kathy saw a fence with all the things she lost washed up against them and Tommy now 1 of them. It was just sad, but significant in a way that needs to be explained to a denser mind. :P

I kind of liked the book in that...if 2 people are meant to be together, they will be, in the end. Even someone else trying to keep them apart can only succeed for some period of time. It isn't true love prevailing I think, I think it's fate, all written in the stars and somehow we will find our way back to the one we were meant to be with. The years in between (whether alone or someone else) aren't lost or wasted, but necessary as a lesson and experience.

It isn't the length of time we had or will have together that mattered, it is the quality of that time, the moments lived, to be had. :P

And on never letting a person go? There is nothing to stop a person from leaving - you can cage the body but never the heart, the mind, the soul, the spirit.

It was never hate, just indifference

So here I go, doing what I do best - "escaping" from the immediate pressing problems by indulging myself in anything else but dealing with them. I woke up at 7.30 this morning, did a quarterly report, had a teleconference with Australia at 9am, did some more work and then had a meeting from 2 to 5.30pm, and another telecon with the US from 8 to 9.30pm. After then I worked some more and pretended everything was fine, when it wasn't. :) Go me.

But alas, pretense can only do so much for it is now 2am in the morning and I am wide awake, unable to rest. I can see and hear my CEB sleeping next to me, curled up the other way and oblivious to the disintegration within me. I envy him. This ability to fall asleep within seconds no matter where or how. Like last night when I took this picture. I wanted to read my book to the very end so I put on for him, the eye-mask I'd gotten on the flight back. And fell right asleep he did, hugging my nua nua buaya toy, oblivious to me getting my camera and taking this picture.

I seldom if ever take pictures of people asleep. It seems to me a violation of privacy. But some moments are just too precious to let slip, to not retain an image of. An image that would let you relive the feelings of those precious moments. An image that would remind you of gentler and better times. An image of a moment that might not ever be yours again - the moment when you still cared, still loved, still had a heart.

Because the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. And one would never bother to take a picture if one has completely stopped caring.

My suitor before my CEB used to take many pictures of me. He used to cook for me, do his best to make me feel comfortable in his home, like making me a spare key, buying a separate TV for me in the room, researching for road trips and finding out where he could take me to make me happy. Yet I never trusted him. I thought these were just calculated acts designed to mimic love and fool me into thinking he loved me so I would love him back.

But with my CEB, when I find myself doing the same things for him, standing in the kitchen buttering his bread for the next day, standing in the yard hanging up his clothes, and even one day moved to cook for my CEB, I question now my judgment of my suitor's acts and affections - could it be that I was wrong, that it was true love that sustained all his efforts to give 100%, to make it his priority and concern that I should be happy?

Yet what does it matter now? It is my CEB that I have married. It is my CEB that I have vowed before God, family and friends to love and honor all the days of my life. Love is easy, I think. Honor on the other hand, is always difficult. If we look at our words and actions every day, how many of these actually honor our partner?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Two in the morning

It is two in the morning and I have just finished hanging out the clothes to dry.
It isn't just jet lag keeping me awake (it would be just 8pm now in Joburg).
It is disappointment.
It is sorrow.
It is regret.

Or maybe simply it is just not possible to cry and sleep at the same time.

I really wish these stupid tears would stop flowing.
So I could fall into slumber.
And I would have a respite from this, even if it be for just a few hours.

Who knew that making the right decision would feel this terrible?
But then again, why shouldn't it be?
I guess then my good excolleague is right - right or wrong isn't as important as what one wants or doesn't want.

Go away tears, let me find some rest.
I need the strength for there is much to do after this decision.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Downside to flying business class

One would have thought that there were none right?

WRONG - flying business class means I can't change flights to get back home 1 day earlier. Because there are just so many biz class seats compared to economy seats.

BAH. What a bad joke. I miss my CEB so very very much :( And now it looks like I have to stay one day more despite my boss giving the green light for me to go back 3 hours before this regional meeting ends.

Home is indeed where the heart is and I never ever thought I'll be happy to fly back to SG right after a working trip given how I've always extended as long as I could at my own expense to do some shopping or sightseeing.

I better do a better job of planning my Brazil trip which is coming up in slightly over 2 months. It's incredible how fast the weeks and months fly by!

Freezing in Joburg

The weather here has been bitterly cold the past few days and your truely is therefore not only jet-lagged from the time difference (South Africa is 6 hours behind Singapore time) but freezing. To the extent that I asked my HR if I could use my corporate credit card to exercise my winter clothes allowance here.

Now I've never gone ga-ga over winter clothes which are of the most part, bulky and not camera-friendly. However, while shopping at Sandton City Mall for something warm to wear, I found this most lovely and plush winter coat by Caterpillar. Not only is it camera-friendly with a most flattering cut, but it truely is the softest and most "plushy" item I've ever owned. Thank you (insert name of my co) for this!

I also found a pretty nice black sweater by Polo and together with the coat, the chill here is almost bearable. I say almost because I still can't wait to get back to sunny humid Singapore, nice coat or not. The cold is truely debilitating - one's mind is totally focused on how damn cold it is and how to keep just that little bit warmer. I'm so glad I'm not going for the safari after this trip!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Soul Surfer (2011) Movie

This movie was the first I watched on board the 10hr+ flight to Joburg. Unlike the previous trip to US (click here), I didn't enjoy the trip on SQ despite it being on biz class as well. Firstly, the biz class lounge at T2 was far more crowded and far less luxurious than the one at T3. Secondly, the seats of the aircraft were not the pale plushy ones but the dark blue ones which were not as comfortable. (The food was good though - the beef in the beef noodles was surprisingly tender.)

However, I enjoyed Soul Surfer- its title is telling - this inspirational story (based on a true story) is about the courage and will of an individual to, with faith in God and in herself, rise above a crippling accident and embrace life. I think I have never choked up so many times or teared during a movie.

I would rate the movie 10/10 easily and encourage anyone who has lost perspective, motivation, purpose and courage in life to take a couple of hours and watch Soul Surfer. Imagine a surfer, an athlete losing her left arm in a shark attack, the stump too short to attach a prosthetic arm. I'm not an athlete, and am guessing that you too do not depend on the condition of your body for a living. Yet neither of us would ever want to lose a limb. Imagine then what losing an arm means to an athlete whose field involves the use of all 4 limbs.

And yet Bethany went back to surfing 1 month from the accident and competed competitively within a year. Because she had Faith, Perspective and Will. With these 3, as what she says "I don't need easy, I just need possible."

Although in moments of utter frustration (of having 1 arm) she asked why God would allow this to happen to her, she never stopped believing in God, that God had plans for her and that something good would come out of the accident. This same faith led her to participate in a mission trip to Thailand after the tsunami and this trip was the turning point for her. She realised she had lost an arm but she had more than these pp had - they had lost loved ones, some, their entire families, and their home and possessions. And that was when she decided to embrace life to the fullest despite her own loss - and it wasn't just a decision - she devoted hours to training and conditioning her body so she would be in the best possible form to compete.

Indeed in life, often what we think is our greatest loss or defeat is just an opportunity for God to give us more, give us better. And what differentiates a winner from a loser is nothing more than having the will and determination to hang in there, or rather, get back up when knocked down.

Since I am in Africa, I will end with a fitting quote from the movie Invictus where Nelson Mandela says "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul".

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Not wanting to travel anymore :(

I'm going to call for a cab in half an hour and be on board on a plane in about 3 hours for a 10+ hour flight. AND unlike previous trips, I don't want to go. I understand now, I really do - why my beloved ex-boss and cfo always wanted to go back on the earliest possible flight while I always tried to extend my business trips to include the weekend (on my own expense of course) and thought them strange not to want to "Seize the opportunity".

It isn't about worrying that the home is not kept clean during the time I am gone. Although I have to confess that unlike previous business trips when I all I had to do was pack and leave, this time I had to vacuum and mop, empty the dustbins, wash the clothes and make sandwiches for my CEB (left them in the fridge) before I left on Wed evening for the fishing trip. (I got back at 2am this morning and am flying off at 2am tonight). I even hung up the stuffed toys to sun (to kill the dust and make sure they don't smell), things that a man would not think of doing.

Nah, it isn't about all of that. Although I love fishing and this fishing trip has re-ignited my passion for fishing being the first offshore trip since the marriage, I missed my CEB so much that although we ended about 7pm and finished dinner at 10.30pm on the second day (Friday), I insisted on driving back from Rompin to get back to Singapore instead of staying back like the others - the other 2 cars decided to drive back on Sat morning. Just so I could spend a few extra hours with my CEB before I leave for Africa. And throughout the long drive past the dark unlit stretches, the winding curves, sharp bends, I was thinking only about getting back to my CEB - I could literally see him in bed curled up sleeping when I got home and all I wanted was to get back home, slide in next to him and hold him tight. Which I did. In fact, I even aborted the plan to make a 10min detour to drop off my catch at my mum's place and gave all the fishes but one (a cobia) to my colleague and his family whom I had dropped off first (they live really close to my mum). Just so I could get home to my CEB and be with him a few hours! And I thought I was never a clingy person!

Well anyway, I'm glad I drove back on Fri night. Time with my CEB today was fun but too short and now I'm kicking myself for booking a flight out on Sat night instead of Sun night (I was afraid I would be too tired for the meeting as the flight gets in about 7am in the morning). And to make it worse, my CEB was sweet enough to remember about the Changi Airport monthly sale which was on Friday night. And he bothered to go down there by himself and buy his wife a bottle of SK II which was 30% cheaper than the normal price - just SGD128 instead of SGD184!. I almost wish that instead of giving me a gift, we had a quarrel (like the kind we had b4 I went to USA in March) so that I wouldn't miss him so much this time.

Therefore, when I was packing my clothes for the trip this afternoon with him lolling about on the guest room bed watching me:
Me "Let's quarrel about something so I won't miss you"
My CEB "You have a fat ass" (Because I had groused how all my old suits wouldn't fit).
Me "!@#$@#@"

ARGH - I'm so done for - from wanting to travel so much (which is why I accepted this job offer), I actually am delaying going to the airport so I can just soak in these last moments with my CEB before I leave. But leave I must....ARGH!