Saturday, March 31, 2012

Blading All Day

It's now April 1st, 2:34:56!

And I don't know why I feel like blogging all of a sudden...

Today has definitely been an exciting day. Today meaning March 31st. If you haven't realised, Earth Hour took place yesterday. Now I'm not a big green environmentalist hippie person, but I love the idea of a city turning its lights off for one hour on this day. Though I find it really ironic that during Earth Hour, lots of people come out onto the streets with glow sticks (including yours truly) that are not only non-biodegradable, they are also toxic to the environment. 

And while the hippies rave on and on about how saving electricity is great for the earth (saving fossil fuels), they seem to conveniently forget that light pollution is also one thing worth saving. 

Well enough criticism.

I went for a rollerblading sesh at 19:30 from ION to the Singapore Flyer, to MBS and back with almost 100 other skaters for this Earth Hour event. It was sooooo crowded! I ended up leaving the pack with just the bunch of us and we went our own way instead, away from the rest of the people. 

That was actually my second time blading today. 

In total I rollerbladed three times today. In fact, I just came back from my third sesh. Maybe that's why I'm so hyper and decided to blog all of a sudden. 


I'm beginning to wonder if rollerblading has become my idol in any way? Is it getting in the way of my relationship with God? 

I think sometimes when I get home really late at night, I'm tempted to just sleep and not read my Bible or talk to Him at all. I just want to lie in bed and eat or play Scramble. 

Dear God, I really really really thank you for this blessing- being able to rollerblade. I just pray that You will help me remember what I'm really here on this earth for. It is to bring You glory and to praise Your Name. I pray that in every rollerblading session, my words and actions will resound with Your love and wisdom. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Being Late Is Stealing

In the past ten years or so, I've definitely gotten a reputation as a person who's always late. Whether meeting friends, going to class, going to my own GRADUATION CEREMONY, I would always be anywhere between fifteen to sixty minutes late. (I was an hour late for graduation and I ended up missing the part where I had to go receive my Honours award)

Today, I was almost an hour late to work.

I'm not proud of it, and definitely not trying to show off how terribly irresponsible I can be when it comes to respecting other people's time.

Believe it or not, there once was a time when I would always be early.
No point recalling that now I guess... That was almost ten years ago.

The thing is, we often think of "thieves" as people who rob banks, steal cars, break into houses or pick pockets. But what about the oh-so-innocent person who comes in late? What I'm essentially doing is stealing other people's time. 

Steal (verb): take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it.

Yeah... Even if I intend to return the minutes I took from someone else, I can't. What time I spend is gone gone gone. Never to return again!


I know this probably isn't the first time I'm writing about this topic, because it is an issue that keeps plaguing me. But I ain't giving up this fight!

Blading Night & Pool Day

This past weekend has left me feeling more exhausted than rested, but in a good way.

On Friday night, we went rollerblading around Singapore as usual. This time, the route wound from ION, to MBS, to Vivo City, to Resort World Sands, to Keppel Bay (The Reflections), to Labrador MRT, to IKEA, to Dawson Park Connector, to Tanglin Mall and finally back to ION. 


We started at approximately 23:00, and got back and around 03:00. A total of four hours of rollerblading. 

*faints from happiness*

I'm so addicted to rollerblading these days. I'm not exaggerating when I say I MUST rollerblading each night before I'm able to fall asleep!

Saturday morning, I had planned to laze by the pool with Cass and Talia. We were actually supposed to meet at 10:00, but yours truly slept at 05:00 that morning and couldn't even hear the alarm. We ended up going to the pool at around 13:00 instead. 

As you can see from the pic, it wasn't very sunny at the beginning. But we could still feel the sun's heat piercing through the clouds.

Frangipani and my dress.

Cass matches the pool!

Talia looks like a Korean babe.

At around 15:00 the sun came out!

We didn't do much all day... Just sat there painting nails, reading magazines, jumping in and out of the water to cool off. 

Thanks for coming over girls! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Contentment Lies In Christ

I miss school. 

But I love that I get a salary now.

I love the hot weather.

But I wish I'd rolled in the snow at least once this year.

I love rollerblading.

But I miss track like crazy.

Why can't I just be content with what I have, with what today has to offer?

Have you ever felt like life was just passing you by, one week at a time? I'm starting to feel that way now every Sunday. I look back at my week and ask: what have I done with the time given to me?

I begin to wish that I'd done certain things.

Is 2012 going to be a year of wishing?

I really don't know. 

We're three months deep into 2012 and I'm full of "I wish I had done xxx on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday". 

Now if I can just take my gaze off of myself, my life, my time, I can begin to see the bigger plans God has. Instead of thinking of ways to have fun during the week, perhaps I can focus my energies on serving others. In the hustle and bustle of the work week, perhaps quiet time with the Prince of Peace is all it takes to set the record straight again.

What do I have to lose?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Family Saturday

I feel like I haven't spent a day at home for quite a few weekends now. So this Saturday, I decided not to go out or do anything with friends. 

In the afternoon, I went downstairs with Max to wade in the pool.

The sun was out and I'd wanted to get some vitamin D.

The lighting was great and I couldn't resist taking some pics of him. They're so cute at this age!

It looks relaxing and green, but the street below is so noisy that it's not as peaceful as it looks.

The gardens sure are pleasing to the eye though. 

Max and I played a very silly game of hide-and-seek. I would hide in the most obvious places so he could feel that sense of accomplishment. 

The orchids are in bloom. 

Today is one of those days when I kinda miss those boys back in Ridgewood NJ that I babysat in 2009. 

In the evening, after rollerblading, we were supposed to go downstairs for a barbecue dinner. However, the sky looked threatening and we began to hear thunder. 

My parents decided to simply barbecue the food but bring it to eat upstairs instead.

The meat came out awesome. I really missed eating good burgers and hotdogs!

The salad was really good too. People in Singapore eat less fat, but they hardly eat any fresh vegetables. Hawker food used to contain a lot more veggies back then; I don't know what happened in the past ten years but they seem to have disappeared from most dishes. 

For example, prawn noodles no longer come with kang kong like they used to. 

I rollerbladed this afternoon at ECP, but my bearings were so dirty that eventually I could barely move. Then I took my blades for some maintenance cleaning for $8 at Hvper and they're a lot smoother now.

Even so, my legs were still itching at night and I managed to convince my mom to come cycling with me to MBS at night. 

I got a small scrape outside 313 Somerset.

But no matter how small or serious the scrape/injury, I always make it a point to take good care of the wound. The routine is as follows: 

1) Wash thoroughly with warm water, removing all dirt particles.
2) Wipe dry with tissues.
3) Clean with alcohol swabs (this is usually more painful than getting injured itself)
4) Add Neosporin to the wound (antibiotic cream)
5) Cover loosely with gauze.

Five steps is all it takes to make sure the wound heals nicely. 

These are just superficial wounds. 

But what about emotional wounds? The scars that have been left behind in my heart. The ones I think have disappeared, but reappear from time to time in bad dreams and deprecating thoughts. 

Have I taken every necessary step to remove the dirt and sanitize the wound?

Or did I simply cover the wound with a rough bandaid without bothering to clean it first......

Bye Vince & Batam

Gosh if I don't start blogging more regularly, my posts are only gonna get longer and longer!

But it's really difficult, when I come home after work and all I want to do is either lie in my bed or go rollerblading. That, and the fact that I'm trying desperately to sleep before midnight. Yesterday after work, I barely had time to wolf down my dinner before I went to say hi to Shirley and Alverina who happened to be in the area. I only met them for about fifteen minutes when Cass came over to my place and we hung out in my bedroom with... (of all people), my mom! 


But it wasn't a bad thing actually. My mom's grown a lot spiritually in the past few months I think. I gathered that from the conversation we had last night. She was giving such deep and insightful advice with a kind of wisdom and humility that I had never seen from her before. Who else could've worked such a miracle in her? Only Christ... Only prayer. Yet, I almost find it hard to believe that more than a decade ago, it was impossible for my mom and Cass to be in the same room together. Now, they were talking and chatting like everything's dandy (which it is). This is awesome!

Anyway, get ready for an incredibly long post. I don't expect anyone to finish reading this entire essay, so please feel free to scroll all the way down to the end of the page or close this window when it starts getting tedious. Warning: I loaded about 129 photos in this post! 


So last Friday we said goodbye to a pioneer member of the company. (And yes, that's how we all dress to work)

Vince, our wonderful computer guy who is just so knowledgeable about everything IT-related. Each time any of us had a problem with the printer, or email, or just anything, he'd be the one we could count on to help us resolve it. When I first came to this company, he was the first one to find out that I could speak both angmor and Singlish haha. Afterwards, he promptly dubbed me an "ah lian" and lent me his father's old Cantonese techno CD from the 90s. I still have the CD. It's so bad that I can only listen to a few tracks in there without my brain dying. But that's beside the point. 

You will be greatly missed Vincent!

That Friday, I left at 7pm sharp after work because I had to go to the toilet. The toilet in Harbourfront that is!

Guess where I was headed? (It's in the title)

The wait for the ferry wasn't that long.

But we were kinda bored standing around. I wondered why Peggy and Yanyu didn't want to go sit down on the seats behind us. I realised later that by not sitting down, we could be one of the first ones in line when they opened the gate. 

So smart right!

Wavemaster ferries cost $48 for a roundtrip to Batam, but it only takes about 45-50 minutes to get there, as opposed to 1.5 hours in the other ferries like Batamfast. 

Peggy, Jumpjump, and Yanyu are getting ready for the short journey.

They all ended up watching Conan on Peggy's iPad for the entire 50 minutes. I, on the other hand, fell into a deep sleep until we were docked at Harbour Bay in Batam.

The ferry looks so nice and clean.

My first glimpse of Batam, walking into the customs.

Saw this cute poster on the wall in the customs. Like, how can they not misspell Azerbaijan, but misspell Rusia instead?! And I love how they can write People's Republic of China and Tiongkok in the same column. (FYI: Tiongkok is Hokkien for China)


Ok I don't know why it's so funny to me but it is. 

Jumpjump loves being in Batam! He's anticipating good food... 

Waiting for Peggy's boyfriend to come pick us up. He lives in Batam so he knows his way around town.

Since we all hadn't had our dinner yet, we were starving by the time 21:30 swung around. The first place Jimmi took us was this restaurant called Makanan.

See, Makanan. 

You can't tell from this picture, but I felt so exhausted from the week that my head and stomach were starting to ache. I didn't realise it then, but the pains were only just starting...

Jimmi ordering for us.

I did a customary flip through the menu, but everything looked so good and I was so tired, that I just left all the ordering to Jimmi. Lazy. 

The first thing to arrive was this coconut milk drink with grass jelly. I usually hate coconut milk, but this actually tasted refreshing mostly because of the grass jelly mix.

Don't you just love universal signs? I can speak Bahasa too! Dilarang merokok! :D

Our food arrived in little earthen plates that looked exactly like the ceramic dishes you leave under flower pots.

This was a really interesting dish. It's beef ribs covered in thick peanut sauce. 

I was thinking: beef and peanuts? That sounds suspiciously like satay. I took a tentative first bite and was won over instantly. Loved the soft chewy meat that fell apart in my mouth. The fragrant peanut only added to the natural sweetness of beef. Needless to say we gobbled this dish up.

Jimmi ordered white and red rice.

I was the only weirdo who ate the red rice.

And the fried chicken was wayyy better than KFC of course.

There. Fifteen minutes and poof, it was all gone.

It felt really strange to eat dinner for once without going on Foursquare to check in, Feecha to read my notifications and Twitter to tweet about something. There was simply no 3G or wifi. Thank God for no 3G and wifi for once!

After dinner, we went to Jimmi's house to hang out. 

The first thing everyone did when they got there was literally to get on their iPhones and iPads to Facebook and everything. Jimmi's house has wifi you see.

We decided to watch a movie. Peggy had brought the entire DVD set of Star Wars with her but we ended up watching 2012 instead.

Peggy pausing to take a pic before she continues on her quest to flatten everyone on Draw Something.

Then I don't know why, but the guys decided that they'd like to play chapteh in the theatre. 

Check out the real-looking posters outside Jimmi's theatre.

You wouldn't believe what time I finally got to the hotel after the movie and everything. 

It was about 03:30 when I finally crawled into bed, exhausted and feeling like a piece of tissue paper. 

Well I did snap all these pictures first though. 

Woke up the next morning and threw this outfit on.

I stayed at the Swiss-Belhotel in Baloi, Batam. The hotel is owned by Jimmi's family. Check out the view from my room!

Okay, you know what's really amazing about this hotel? It's not the food (I didn't eat any downstairs), nor is it the fully stocked fridge. It's the curtains

When I woke up, the curtains were drawn and it was pitch black in the room. I thought for sure that it was still dark outside or at least cloudy and raining. When I pulled back the curtains, bright sunshine pierced through the windows and I got the biggest shock of the morning! It was SO BRIGHT outside! But when I drew the curtains again, it seemed like it was night time. 


If only all curtains were like that. I'd sleep like a baby then!

By that morning, I wasn't feeling too good already. My stomach was busy pumping out stuff in the toilet and none of it was solid. 

Still, I was excited to go try nasi padang at this restaurant.

A whole,  uncut squid.

They have really yummy chicken that actually tastes like chicken. 

And odd satay that came out cold. I've never had cold satay before.

This restaurant has a really interesting system. You order rice, then they bring out everything on dishes like this. You eat what you want, and leave the dishes that you don't want. Then you pay only for the ones you touched. 

But I wonder, what happens to the dishes that you don't touch? Do they actually just put it back into the pot where it came from? 

The food was amazing but I wished my appetite were better. 

Now that it was daytime, I could finally what the streets look like. 

Construction everywhere.

Looks like Batam is developing quickly and will look completely different in a few years.

Jimmi took us to go look at a spot where they're building a hotel. 

It really reminded me of my childhood days when my dad would drive into Malaysia and look at houses. I would stand around looking at stuff like that too.

Inspecting the grounds.

Next up, we went to Harbour Bay Mall that was currently undergoing finishing construction as well.

However the mall was already operating with some shops in it. 

Adjoined to the mall is a new hotel.

What you see here is eventually going to become the biggest banquet hall in the area. It's literally the size of a soccer field. Maybe slightly smaller. Think you could seat about 700 people in here without a problem. 

Wandered through the wet hallways of the hotel.

It was quite fun to clamber over the uneven floor and stuff. Felt like a strange urban hiking trip.

Everyone else was wearing shoes except for me. But I didn't mind. The floors everywhere were wet enough for the concrete to not dry on my legs.

Checking out what would eventually be the swimming pool on the roof.

Back in the mall, there was a large colourful crowd gathered for some sort of school competition. 

I love their bright traditional costumes!

Walked through Carrefour in the mall. It's like a giant Giants.

After another bout of diarrhea, I forced myself to eat some frozen yoghurt at J.Co. (Nothing will ever replace or come close to you, Pinkberry!)

I told Jimmi and Yanyu to smile for this pic so they can't accuse me of taking impromptu ugly pics haha!

Check out J.Co's logo. 

Doesn't it look kinda... familiar? Yes. I thought so too...

As the evening drew near, we went back to Jimmi's place to hang again. 

I was really grateful to be here again because that meant constant access to a clean bathroom.

Went by the pool for some nice cool air after the rain.

Jimmi's backyard overlooks a golf course and some swampy area from on top of a hill. I felt my brain relax immediately as I stared into the distant green hills.

But all the fishies in his pond are really stupid. I didn't throw any food in the water but made the gesture as if I were feeding them. They all fell for it and started gulping at the surface of the water. 

I think I could've slept out there all weekend...

In the evening, we went to some street stalls selling satay for dinner. Peggy said she'd been craving it all weekend.

I can see why now. The satay was awesome- smelled and tasted smokey as anything!

Now what does this look like to you? Peanut pancakes right? That's what they are- peanut pancakes. But apparently in Batam, they're known as murtabak. 

Isn't that weird!? 

That was definitely NOT what I had in mind when Jimmi said he'd ordered murtabak! I was expecting that Indian murtabak that we eat in Singapore.

The uncle still barbecuing away at his little stall.

Still hungry after dinner, Peggy went to McDonald's to get more food. Do you spot something odd in this picture?

Yes. McDonald's in Indonesia has fried chicken!

KFC wannabes!

Chilled at Jimmi's again after dinner.

This night, we ended up playing hide and seek till 03:00 in the morning and even watched a movie afterwards! We watched Hanna (I may write about that movie next time) and didn't go back to the hotel till about 04:30... 

I woke up around 13:00 on Sunday and stayed in the hotel for three hours just reading. I managed to finish the book The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. I cried and laughed a lot. It's a beautiful book about a Christian Dutch woman who helped the Jews out during WWII. 

My outfit for the day. Threw on my sweater because it felt slightly chilly due to the constant rain. It's been raining for almost two weeks straight this part of the world. 

Peggy and Jimmi were still home sleeping and I felt like going out for a walk. So Yanyu graciously agreed to go on the short hike to Jimmi's house from the hotel even though he didn't like the outdoors too much. He even insisted on carrying my heavy bag for the whole way! 

Batam looks different on foot than from in the car.

Street corners that we'd missed before suddenly became vivid and alive with sound and colours and smells.

Gradually, our path along the road dwindled into a small footpath and we had to be careful about the oncoming motorcyclists.

Sometimes, we look at things so quickly, that we don't really see those things. Slowing down is good.

Check this bike out. He came from behind, just barely inches from my left. Didn't even realise he was there.

This pothole is on a whole different level. It goes all the way down at least five meters deep!

The traditional garb of Batam seems to be this.

Poor Yanyu is not the athletic type and he's about to climb a long hill carrying my heavy bag. I did offer my assistance but he promptly turned me down. 


The first security entrance you have to enter.

Entering an area with some green in it. Finally!

The floors were all still damp.

Such a peaceful scene. A man carrying buckets. How many men in Singapore can climb up and down a hill balancing buckets of water like this these days? I wonder...

We finally reached the development.

The second security entrance. The guards spoke zero english and I only knew some malay phrases. All I could do was smile really wide, and say "boleh Bahasa". 

Then they let us in! 

Boy that sure works better than "open sesame".

More green on the way in.

The houses in this development are really nice and big, but they're all fenced in. 

Beauty by the road. I should've Instagrammed this eh? But I didn't think of it at the moment.

Passed some creepy looking house on the way in.

There was another weird house on the way in that was under construction. Check out what the workers  spray painted on here! 


I don't know why but I find this bench so alluring. I could picture myself sleeping on it all day without a care in the world.

After a good twenty minutes walk, we finally got to Jimmi's and I immediately went to the pool area to take in the view again.

Every time of the day puts this place in a different light.

Suddenly noticed cute Angry Birds flipflops on the floor.

Before long, it was time to dinner so it was off to Grand Duck that we went.

As usual, Jimmi ordered all our food. 

Ordering like a 老板! (boss)

Feeling much better from all the diarrhea over the past few days.

Famished Peggy delighted at the spread that awaits.

Looks good eh? 

Sorry for not rotating the pic. That's fried prawns with mayonnaise. 

Roast duck in flour wraps.

Resto Sunda for dessert.

I have no idea what Jimmi ordered for me as usual, but it's got coconut milk and green jelly in it. I was pleasantly surprised again!

But soon afterwards I had to run to the bathroom. 

By the way, when in Batam, always make sure you have your own toilet paper because there is no toilet paper anywhere! I had to grab tissues from Resto Sunda instead.

Passed by BFC which is an obvious ripoff of KFC. Hilarious!

And this. Recognise this logo? 


I didn't too many outdoor things in Batam, but it was a much-needed getaway from busy, crowded Singapore. 

Work is picking up and my brain has been failing me in stupid ways recently. I made a few REALLY obvious blunders at work over the past two weeks and it's really added on to the stress that I already feel. 

I don't even know what is there to worry about when I think about it. Half of the things I worry about, I can't control. 

Worrying is such a natural human disease. 

End of my post.

This was really really tiring to write...