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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mad World

Finally the GAC 2011 is over and I am done with the presentations and sumptuous meals. As well as riding around in armored bullet-proof vehicles and being surrounded by security wherever we go. I wanted to go to church this morning, the only church in this city that has gregorian chants but I was strongly discouraged to by the security folks. So here I am in this luxurious downtown hotel waiting for checkout before I go to the airport to meet my CEB who is coming in for our honeymoon.

Coming here has been an experience in itself. I've never felt so caged before. No shopping, no church even...and sitting inside the armored vehicle and having 1 big tough security guy climb in and ensure the windows were bullet proof...what can I say. I'm so glad I live in Singapore. I'm so grateful to LKY and the present government we have for making Singapore safe. Safety so many of us have taken forgranted but so many here do not have. Car jacking, 1 of the world's highest homicide rates, a city of more than 39million which means it is easy to disappear, the favelas (slums), the horrific traffic jams, the astronomical cost of living...I can't thank God enough for just the simple fortune of being born in Singapore at the time I was.

It's a Mad World we live in...and talking about Mad World, while cooped up in the hotel room last night with only the TV to accompany me, I watched the Glee Project and they had this song which is so hauntingly sad, so disturbingly true. Mad World, yes it is.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grenade

Thank you. Yes, the song is just perfect...


Grenade lyrics

I feel I should say sorry after listening to it but to do so would not be right. As we both should have (and have, on my part), moved on.

And if you must know - you are spot on. I would NEVER have caught a grenade for you.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Conan (2011) Movie, Last Night (2011) Movie, Bridesmaid (2011) Movie, and Something Borrowed (2011) Movie

After watching a violent movie over the weekend at Batu Pahat Mall with my CEB, I decided to indulge in 3 chick flicks on board the plane from SG to Barcelona. So, because I am going to scarf my face with Spanish food right after this entry, I am going to just write about each movie I watched very briefly.

Conan ~3/10. My CEB would disagree but I found the movie overly violent, unimpressive and predictable. The whole movie is essentially about a barbarian boy whose father is tortured and slain by a dark lord in search of a missing piece of a mask which would make him invincible. The boy grows up and goes in search of this dark lord to takes his revenge. It happens the dark lord is searching with his witch daughter, for a descendent of the house of some ancient king. The blood of his descendent would activate the power of the mask and give the dark lord the power to raise his witch wife who was burnt to death at the stake. Anyway, Conan manages to save the descendent who of course happens to be a pretty nubile young lady and defeat the dark lord. Yay right? Sorry but this movie is so lame.

Last Night ~7/10. The movie leaves the audience wondering whether the couple will eventually tell each other or find out the truth about the night before when each of them slept with someone else. While on a business trip, the man slept with a colleague whom he was attracted to, and who was of course very attracted to him too. And on the same weekend, the lady bumped into an ex boyfriend and they ended up in his hotel room. The only thing I took away from the show is that affairs by women are usually led by the heart and that affairs by men are led by their eyes and well, d!ck.

Bridesmaid 8/10.~I get why this show was such an unexpected hit. It was hilarious but with so many cringeworthy moments that I had to shut my eyes at certain bits when Annie (best friend and maid of honor of the bride Lillian) wrecked the bridal party, and when Annie got drunk othe plane. Do people like her even exist? Ok, maybe they do so the question is, are people like her even allowed out with a free pass from the asylum. Eek. This movie is strictly for females and those who are like...females.

Something Borrowed ~8/10. I confess I have not finished wastching the last 10 mins of the show but the show really is nothing more than a lady having an affair with her best friend´s fiance. After they both discover they love each other just 60 days before the big day. The stuff that my CEB would shake his head at and call a big waste of time.

I guess my CEB and I are going to be watching very different movies on our way back from Sao Paolo. I can´t wait till he gets to SP but before that I have a gruelling week of presentations and meetings. Bah.

In Transit

Everytime I travel on business class (and those are for the really long flights), I feel so fortunate to have all that I have. Really. This may not sound like a big deal to many folks out there but I figure I´ll just take delight in the small things that come my way.

I´ve just finished a 10hour red eye flight from Singapore to Barcelona and I am using a computer in the VIP lounge to enter this entry in the 2 hours that I have here. I can see the shops outside the glass windows but I am not allowed out there since I am in transit. I wouldn´t have access to this lounge if I was not flying business so that is another reason why I feel so lucky that I am. That, in addition to having the ability to fold my seat down to a comfortable bed, and to enjoy fine cuisine. Like the veal and eggplant caviar for supper, seafood salad all served on proper dining ware.

And I think that is the point of this entry. To share my thoughts on how when we have experienced something in our life, we are forever irrevocably changed. If I had to fly economy again (which is something I am going to have to do for the rest of the year), I would always remember wistfully how good it was to fly business. And feel a twinge everytime I walked past the business class seats to squeeze into my economy seat with its much smaller legroom and screen.

So I think I understand now when my ex' fiance begged me not to send him back to the desert again after he had walked there so long. I didn´t really understand then, the way I didn´t really understand so much about turning points when I told my CEB that he had managed to survive so long being a bachelor that it really wouldn´t matter if he went back to that status again.

After having a taste of something, say married life, a better home, a bigger salary package, a club membership, a fulfilling relationship, a great boss - you just kind of wonder how you ever thought you were content and could want to be content when you had lesser or didn´t have these.

There are just some lines in our lives that we cross and after that, we are no longer who we were before we cross them. And we can´t ever turn back the clock or even by sheer force of will, change us to be who we were then.

I guess I should be looking forward to my holiday in Rio instead of dwelling on these thoughts but I really needed to get these off my chest and there isn´t any shopping to be done. I would go feast on the food in the lounge too except that my jeans are tight and that there will be better food served on board the plane.

But then again, the clink and clank of the dining ware seems to be calling my name so off I go after this - however will I lose any weight!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cracks

I wanted to clear the eggs in the fridge before I leave for South America. So I decided to have half boiled eggs for breakfast. And after I poured hot water over the eggs, the whitish stuff of 2 of the 3 eggs leaked out.

I recalled then that I had dropped the box of eggs from the sofa onto the floor the day I bought them. I even recalled recounting to my CEB that I just had to drop the 1 plastic bag with eggs. And how thankfully the eggs did not crack.

I was wrong. The eggs were cracked. There was a consequence to me dropping them on the floor, a consequence which was not visible to the naked eye or seen immediately. Only when hot water was poured over them was it clear that there had been damage from the fall.

Which pretty much reminded me of relationships. Sometimes, all the little falls (quarrels) that a relationship take appear not to have any consequence - the parties "move on" ie start talking the hour or day after.

But then when the relationship is put under stress (hot water), the relationship like the eggs cannot hold together because of the fissures caused by the little falls (quarrels).

The straw that breaks the camel back indeed.

Monday, September 12, 2011

First Mid-Autumn Festival with myCEB

I had completely forgotten that today was the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Until at 4.30pm my CEB smsed me
"Today is Mid-Autumn Festival...but the (insert unflattering pet name) finished all the mooncakes :( "

I kid you not - the SMS came complete with the sad face at the end. (Nevermind that he had left the chocolate mooncakes my mother had given him untouched for a week in the fridge, leaving me to finish the same).

Anyway, my CEB made me feel awful and guilty enough to buy him a box of moon-cakes after work. Which I had fun with by making him guess the different flavors of the snowskin mooncake. He was not very good at it, which made me realised that I probably could get away with my lack of cooking skills.

I was busy sewing a button onto his pants, ironing clothes so as to be able to pack for the upcoming South America trip (in 2 days!) and also had a telecon with my boss at 9pm so I could not accompany my CEB to the temple.

My CEB returned with not just more mooncakes but also....an angry bird lantern. Which he said was meant for kids.
And when I teasingly asked him if he hoped that bringing home the lantern from the temple would bring us a kid, he said yes but in the meantime, the lantern is for him to the nua nua buaya toy and the new tiger!

And that above is the snapshot of all the creatures of my little family...to date.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A companion for the buaya toy - a new tiger

My nua nua buaya toy has a companion now! Guess what/who we bought back on our road trip to Muar this weekend?

I know it sounds ridiculous but I'd pretty much insisted on going to Muar for the weekend to satisfy my craving for Muar Otah and Fish Eggs at Shee Yaan. After driving 200km there to find the shop closed unexpectedly on a Sat, we ended up going to Batu Pahat for a movie and some shopping. Or rather, my CEB went looking specifically for these stuffed tigers. And we took him this fella who had been on the shelves for almost 2 years!

Now, talking about Shee Yaan and fish eggs reminds me of how lucky I was to come across these fresh-looking fish eggs while out for lunch with my colleague at a mall last Friday. Ever since I became Mrs CEB, I have been grocery shopping at supermarkets quite a fair bit and have never seen these for sale.

I cooked the fish eggs for dinner when my father in law came over simply by deep frying them in cooking oil. I also cooked oyster sauce mushrooms and nai pak vegetables. My CEB cooked the curry chicken on the table but it was far too watery and we hadn't a clue where we had put his left over curry powder.

But I digress (if only to show that I have made some progression with my limited cooking skills). This post was about the new toy that we have now sharing our bed with my nua nua buaya toy. And it didn't take very long for my CEB to disinfect them both, put them up to sun and of course, arranging the buaya toy and the new tiger in varied positions.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

MBS Sky Park , Light and Water Show and Pizzeria Mozza

My CEB wanted to try out the new camera I'd asked him to buy (oh, and at the time of this post the camera is no longer mine but ours (shared he says!) hah!) and we decided to make use of the complimentary tickets we had to Marina Bay Sands' sky park to take some pictures of our beloved country after work today.

Now, I would say that I have taken 10x more photos of my CEB than he has cared to take of me. Primarily because I have control of the camera 80% of the time when we travel. Now on this photo-taking expedition, since the camera was 95% of the time with my CEB - guess who became his test subject. Thankfully I'd make-up on and was dressed in work clothes!

Anyway, because the view from the skypark is pretty awesome, I couldn't resist snapping some photos using my trusty Sony Ericsson W995. I would definitely recommend a trip to the sky park for all visitors to Singapore, especially if they are into photography!



As you can tell from the pictures above and below, we stayed from sunset until the sky turned dark. My CEB had somehow found out that there was a nightly light and water show called Wonder Full at MBS and we stayed till 8pm just to watch the show. Which turned out to be boring, a far cry from HongKong's nightly laser light show. The 15min show was so unimpressive that almost all of the tourists did not bother to watch more than 3 minutes of the show. The night view of our city skyline though was magnificent.

After the laser show and some walking about, we decided to have dinner at Pizzeria Mozza which my sister highly recommended. Unfortunately we did not have any reservations and there was quite a number of patrons (who had finished watching the musical The Lion King) so we ended up having bar counter seats. Which turned out to be pretty neat because we had front seats watching the chefs make the pizzas from scratch.

While waiting for our pizza, we were served complimentary appetizers which were pretty tasty.

I'd asked for the most "cheezy" pizza and the server had recommended us the Bianca with fontina, mozzarella, sottocenere & sage.

The Slog Reviews: 8.5/10 - light on the stomach (but deals a heavy blow to the pocket at SGD34) and very tasty. The pizza was rather salty though and the chef confirmed that he had put salt on the edges of the wood-baked pizza. My CEB felt that the pizza was rather insubstantial and indeed the crust and base of the pizza was more fluffy and crisp than warm and heavy. Even the topping (cheese) was rather flat.

I wouldn't mind going back to the restaurant for another go at a different kind of pizza though (my sister says the mushroom one is good) given the prompt and helpful service at Pizzeria Mozza, and the good grub :P

Monday, September 05, 2011

Our last night in Bali - Matahari Guest House

Because of all the work-related travel, I'd hesitated buying our return tickets from Bali back to SG till the very last minute. With the price of the tickets being therefore exponentially more expensive, I bought the cheapest tickets on the day we had to come back, which meant a 9am flight.

Since being a SPG gold member meant that we could get a late checkout from our very nice hotel the day before, I decided to find 1 of the cheapest possible lodgings to spend our last night in Bali (Tune Hotel was fully booked). The reviews of Matahari Guest House on Agoda (about SGD48) were pretty mixed so we decided to bite the bullet and give MGH a go.

Now, getting to the hotel is a story in itself. We made the mistake of hailing a cab from DFS about 7pm and going by meter instead of agreeing on a fixed fare. The traffic towards Kuta was just simply awful at that hour, the kind that makes you want to get out of your car and walk because traffic wasn't moving. And that is what we did when we were one street away - thankfully we both were travelling light without any check-in luggage.

The receptionist at MGH spoke some basic English but despite me producing the Agoda voucher, she claimed that there was no reservation under my name. She asked me if I was Fifi twice. I said no, and she asked me then if I was some other person which I really couldn't be, even if I tried. Anyway, despite not locating the reservation, she showed us to a room on the 2nd floor (all stairs, no lift) which she said was a deluxe room as I'd booked.

I'm sorry I don't have pictures of the room - I think I was too tired from all the walking to the hotel to whip out the camera. But it was clean and decently sized. No toiletries of course, and no cupboard to hang up clothes (just a basic clothes rack on the wall), It definitely isn't a place to stay for too long or to stay in during the day - it is, all in all, a good base to shower and crash after being out the whole day for day tours. There is a "restaurant" within walking distance from the guest house called Satsuma which sells basic Jap food. And I mean really basic as in no sushi or sashimi, just ramen and rice dishes.

Anyway, because we were starving from the long walk to the hotel, we were easily lured in to Satsuma by the pictures and promise of bowls of steaming tasty ramen. Well, the ramen took some time coming, and while it was steaming, it certainly was not tasty - more like instant noodles cooked in some weak gravy. This eatery while decent, is not a must-eat-at in Bali, esp if one is there for a limited amount of time.

We walked to Kartika Discovery Mall after dinner (a 10-15min slow walk) and with Mark and Spencers, Top Shop etc as some of the Mall's tenants, I think this has to be 1 of the larger malls in Bali if one is to do some shopping. After dinner, we walked back to MGH where I spent the remainder of the night hearing the phrase "We are going to crush them" said in a menacing tone at least 102 times while my CEB played his iphone game, oblivious to his wife's misery in the stark room.

We checked out about 6am the next day and while the staff at the counter took ages (to the extent that we just walked off after 7 mins of just standing there and waiting), there wasn't any problem with the checking out process at MGH (and how could there be if there was nothing worth taking from the room which had no fridge/mini-bar, safe or even hairdryer).

My CEB absolutely became my hero when he took me into the airport lounge with his premier card and we had a really nice breakfast of eggs, noodles and croissants before our flight out back home to Singapore.

The best husband ever.

When my CEB is all curled up next to me like now, chin resting on his arm and sound asleep, I end up being torn between wanting to write versus watching and cuddling him.

Which kind of makes me shake my head at the depth of my feelings for my CEB, feelings which have grown deeper and remain just as tender despite the adjustment period and challenges of marriage life.

And reflecting on the events of this weekend, I guess it shouldn't be anything to really marvel about. The husband earned it. The weekend started with him playing the role of a dutiful husband and son-in-law on Friday night. We bought mooncakes at Vivocity and he fetched me around to get them all delivered - to my beloved ex-boss, my uncle and of course, my mother. He bought Goodwood Park durian mooncakes for my mother (who bought him a box of chocolate mooncakes from Sze Chuan court today) while I bought her the assorted snowskin mooncakes from Marriott Hotel.

On Saturday, my CEB and I went to my grandmother's place to paint the flat with my uncle. The place had been leased out and I was shocked at how dirty the walls were - a horrible grey with black marks and loads of dust-balls. My uncle had bought three painting brushes (See the size of the brush below!) and the three of us slaved away for more than six hours, painting the walls over with white non-odorless, anti-fungal paint from Nippon.

Now, weekends are precious to my CEB because of the long hours and early starting time for his job. But he spent the entire Saturday not just painting away the walls of the flat but also going to buy the cable for my grandmother's tv and setting up the tv for her. He also mopped the kitchen before we left. All this for MY grandmother, someone whom he met all of 2 times, someone whom he had no bond to, no memories of, unlike me who spent my childhood with my porpor.

Painting with just a paint brush is incredibly hard work, trust me I know because my hand ached so badly from clenching the paint brush to paint the whole day that I had to ice it, and in the night, I had to ask my CEB to give me a shoulder massage as my shoulder muscle was screaming in agony from the up down motion of painting. My uncle, my CEB and I concluded after Saturday that we definitely did not want to be painters!

On Sunday (today), my CEB got up early and queued for one and a half hours to get a camera that I had been lusting for, for some time - the Sony NEX-5. :P He got the camera at a steal and I believe we're all set now for our honeymoon coming up this month!

I believe this change in my CEB - to be an even more giving person after marriage - is the reason for my increased affection and respect for my CEB. To put things in context, my CEB being the only son, only child, has not been called to give or share as much as one would have to if one had siblings. So, his gift of time and effort on this weekend spoke volumes of the change in his nature and, more importantly, the extent of his love and commitment to our marriage.

Despite him still bullying our nua nua buaya toy last night by putting my eye mask on the helpless green creature's chest!

And making jokes like these:
My CEB "Blood is thicker than water" (in response to something my uncle said)
Me "Me not related to you by blood leh - only by water" (in the hope of some loving reassurance)
My CEB "No lar, you related to me by...OIL! Whale oil!"
Me "1@!@$@$#$"

Thursday, September 01, 2011

To care for a coughing buaya

When I went to pamper myself on my birthday at the salon, the stylist discovered this below: a hair that was black at the roots (the shorter black part), grey in the middle and black at the end. She told me that this was a grey hair brought about by stress but because the level of stress had dropped recently, the hair had turned black at and from the root. Poor stressed-out me, I agree.

There was the job change in Feb, change of boss in March, the wedding in May, the moving into a new home, the setting up of the new home, the adjustment period as a married couple living together....and of course, having my CEB fall ill this month. It wasn't as bad as when he was sick in April but still, I guess he wasn't just "manja-ing" when he asked me to fly back to "take care of my husband".

Since I hadn't the heart to banish the coughing buaya to another room to get a good night sleep, and each cough choked out of him was painful to the ears (and heart, might I add), I bought this at a Chinese medical hall that I happened to wander into at lunch. I hadn't any clue to its efficacy and certainly never tried it before but since my CEB is usually the surviving test subject of my various cooking experiments, I figured he'll probably survive this one.

Instructions were simple enough. Boil water, add ingredients, simmer for one hour. So that's what I did, except that instead of simmering via the stove, I used the top portion of the thermal cooker as a pot and put it in the thermal flask to simmer for the day while I left for work.

My CEB obligingly drank as much of the boiled soup as he could. After asking me worriedly what it was that I wanted him to drink. I told him it was something for his cough and that answer was good enough for him to trust that his wife wasn't about to poison him for something he had or hadn't done. Hah. There was a bit left over so back into the thermal flask the pot went and the flask kept the soup warm till the next morning when I got up at the ungodly hour of 6+ just to pour the husband one last cup before he left for work. The thermal flask rocks.

Anyway, because of my CEB had loads of cold drinks+ice cream while we were in Bali where it was terribly hot, that herbal soup and all the medicine weren't quite enough to put an end to his cough. So after we got back from Bali on Tuesday, I tried out a different Chinese herbal concoction which I'd bought at Tang Shifu. This was cheaper by 1/3 and had almost the same smell as the earlier one. In fact, my CEB didn't even notice the difference (or if he did, he made no mention).

Well, for all the effort put in by yours truly and by the in-laws to help my CEB have a speedy recovery, Thursday (today) found my CEB heading straight for the freezer and shamelessly helping himself to a large dollop of the Haagan Daz smoothie we'd bought yesterday. Whatever do I do with a husband like that!