Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Of Kilts, Bagpipes and Whiskey (2)

I bet the Scots have been asked to death about this question:

Do you errr... wear anything underneath that skirt?


This photo was taken in Edinburg, late December last year. Yes, it was cold. Very cold. He was playing wonderful music on the bagpipe but I'm afraid I was distracted by this one thought on my mind..."Oh dear....wouldn't it be frozen cold?" (Oops, is this getting too risque? Will get censored or not hah?)

Edinburg is well known as an Arts Centre. Its yearly Arts Festival is world reknown and most Scots can hold a tune and have a strong interest in Arts generally. But then hor... if I was to live in such condusive environment, I think I would feel very artistically inclined too. Just look at these great architecture! I felt overawed just looking at them... Doesn't it inspire you? I felt as if I had to read some Shakespeare plays or recite some poems there and then. Of course I didn't lah, coz the only lines I remembered was:

"Double double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn and caultron bubble."

Not very auspicious right? I think my Literature teacher really did a good job drilling this into my head. hehe! Do you all remembered which play this was from? ^^

Most museums in Edinburg (as in UK too) are free. Donations are welcome, to help maintain the place. Boxes are placed within the museums for this pupose... and guess what, most people do donate, even if it's just a pound! Don't think it will work here in SG though, at least for the moment. The tim when the museums have the highest attendance are when they're free. Maybe one day?

Actually, what truely amazed me was this:

This dog was waiting patiently outside the museum whilst its owners were inside admiring the art pieces. How come got no dognapper huh?

You know the other thing that Scotland is really well known for? Whiskey!

"Wee" means little and this shop was really little but the stocks were impressive enough. But whiskey not my drink so..

Btw, husband actually got a little Scottish blood in him. But since he married a Singaporean girl instead of Scottish lass, he will be the last to be able to use that Scottish family name. Shucks, it would have been so fun if our kids could use Scottish family name.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

"Ooommmm..." "Ouch!"

I read in today's newspaper that yoga has become one of the top 20 sports for women. Well, I'm one of those women who have benn trying out this 'hot' in sport for the last year or so. It's my husband's fault really. He's totally into it and guilts me into going. I would have been quite happy to stay at home to watch my endless supply of Korean dramas/ movies. Ok, ok, I take this back. I know it's for my own good.

Why is it more popular with women then men? I guess the general perception is that it's gentle and mild. I mean, I had images of lotus style 'meditation' and going 'ooommmm'. Boy, was I wrong.

You need flexibility and strength. Which at my age, they are obviously lacking in supply.

There are hand stands, leg stands, shoulder stands and head stands.

One of the 'you-have-got-to-be-kidding' pose...... from:

Right hand under left leg, left hand behind back to join right hand. Or was it right hand over right leg, and joining up both legs......?

Now, where are my hands........? from:

What made me go on? When the instuctor said encouraging words like "this will help you loose weight" or "this will make your waist smaller". Aiyah, he definitely knows which right buttons to push.

I am totally convinced that the person who wrote karma sutra was a practioner of yoga. And please, those underage guests, don't ask me what is karma sutra hor....

Anyway, as I was sweating away in class just now, I was just thinking, how do those artistes do it? Exercising for hours daily, just to achieve that perfect body. Going on strict diet perpetually all the time? I mean BYJ was eating chicken breast meat and exercising almost the whole day for about 6 months just to have that great body for his photobook. It's not all glamour in the entertainment world, is it? I really admire him and artistes like for their determination.

Well I know I'm not going to be able to loose that extra 2 inches with my 'barely there' excerces and I sure won't be able to do it through dieting (see my post below). Wonder if I should try one of those slimming pills? Liposuction anyone?

Btw, my yoga instructor is a strapping young man who can easily put any fitness instructor to shame with his body.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Life is uncertain. Eat desserts first.

Can't remember where I got this quote from but I think it's a very wise and practical quote. I love it and reckon it may be from a woman... I try to adopt it as my life motto, literally and philosophically. Well, so far, it's more like physically.

I know I complain about my weight all the time. I would love to loose some of the uninvited 'guests'. Which normal woman doesn't? But what can I say? The mind is willing but the stomach is weak... when it comes to food.

Food... is one of life's great pleasure. Life is difficult enough as it is. Why make it harder? We can always diet tomorrow. Right?

One of best part about travelling (besides shopping) is trying out 'the speciality' in that country.

Take for example UK and the famous English breakfast. No, not the tea. I'm talking about the sinful, calorie laden and cholestrol filled but oh-so yummilicious breakfast.

Supplied by

Those succulent fat sauseges, the greasy, crispy bacon, baked beans, fresh toast. Down it with a strong cup of tea and fresh milk. But this is not a breakafast that you can finish in 15 minutes. No, no, this sinful breakfast is meant to be slowly savoured, enjoyed over the morning's newspaper. What a wonderful start to a new day!

In Hong Kong, I love all the dim sum and desserts but my favourite is the creamy, smooth, 'plain' porridge from 粥皇. Dip the crispy fried dough or 'yao zar gui' into the porridge. Accompany it with a cup fragrant soya bean drink. If the English breakfast was heavy and sinful then the porridge breakfast is simplicity in itself. But it is oh-so heavenly. Sometimes, if I'm feeling peckish, I'll order some side dishes of dim sum like rice roll, dumpling and carrot cake. And then I'm totally happy until..... lunch.

Because of my interest in things Korean, I love most of the food when I'm there in Korea, especially the snacks. But during a casual conversation with some friends over the weekend, we found ourselves reminiscing and drooling when we talked about this particualar dish- Dakgalbi. It's spicy chicken, stir fried with vegetables in a big pan. I'm not so sure why it tasted so good, it sure isn't the most healthy. Perhaps half the pleasure comes from the communal aspect of eating it together with friends. But one thing for sure, the only place to try this dish is in Chun Cheon.

As for Singapore, I can rattle off half a dozen dishes... Char Kway Teow, Chicken Rice, Prata, curry, hokkien mee etc. But of my favourite, which is also a dessert is the humble 'Singapore' ice-cream.

This local ice cream is less sweet and not very milky. The nicest flavours are the local ones like durian, attap-chee and sweet corn. And it comes in little scoops. Eat it with the yellow bread ... on a hot day. You can't buy it from the supermarkets or any stores though. You've got to get it from one of the ice-cream men. Most often found along Orchard Road or Chinatown. It costs a total of just S$1.

Forget about the Hargaan Daz and Ben & Jerry's. As far as I'm concerned, this wins hands down over all the other types of ice-cream. Sluurrp!

Can't believe I'm I blogging about food in the middle of the night. That stupid ^#@5$*&G& postcard of a picture of the English Breakfast pinned on my fridge. Now I'm really hungry.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Peace & Quiet

I've been driven up the wall for the last 2 days.....

I can't hold a decent conversation on the phone. I've had to turn up the volume on my radio. I can't even hear myself think. I'm seriously thinking of digging out my mufflers to use tomorrow.

My place is having a major upgrading. Part of the major upgrading exercise announced by the government last year.... which was of course a prelude to the election soon. Yeah, every Singaporean knows that such bonuses normally mean that election is round the corner. Of course not that I'm complaining... I mean upgrading is good right? It will increase the value of my place.

But what I don't understand are some of the things that they upgrade/ maintain.

What's been driving me up the wall the last few days is the Rat-a-tat-a-tat that's going directly below my place. They're demolishing the make it 'nicer' with new cement.

Huh? I know my eyesight isn't as good as it used to be....but I looked left and I looked right and I looked all around but I still failed to see what is the difference between the 'new' footpath and the 'old' footpath. Better cement perhaps? Now what would have been really good and useful would have been a ramp to link the carpark to our block. It would have been useful for the handicapped, the elderly and generally when we need to use a trolley. Of course that's not in the upgrading plan.

I know, I know. I sound like another 'whining', 'complain queen' Singaporean. But seriously, the town council people make some strange things. I've often wondered if they stay in HDB flats like the majority of the Singaporeans and know what we need.

You know, I was stumped momentarily the other day when I was asked who my MPs are... Truth is, I've never had a chance to vote ever since I've been able to. It's always a walk-over in my estate. And because there's no fight, the MPs don't need to do the usual stuff like visit the wet market and shake the vegetable seller's hand, or go to the coffee shop and have a cup of kopi with the uncles. They also don't go round the blocks and visit the residents and hug the babies. You get my drift? Sigh.... And people wonder why Singaporeans are so 'bo chap' about politics.

Now please don't get me wrong, I think the government has done alot of rights. At least we do have a stable country and my estate is clean.

I guess the Rat-a-tat-a-tat noise for the last few days is making a monster out of me. Hey, don't blame me. I work from home and when I have to tell my client to "please speak louder because I can't hear you", it gets really frustrating. At one point I almost wanted to take a big hammer and knock out the machine. Arggghhhh!

Enough of this ranting. I guess I better savour my peace and quiet for now as it will start again in 14 hours' time. Think I'll go have an ice-cream to cool down.

Oh yes, I found out and remembered who my MPs are. Information courtesy of this very nice, free calendar that was given out beginning of the year.


Friday, March 03, 2006

Romantic gestures

This was posted in

Columnist, Philippine Daily Inquirer,
Februrary 15, 2006

“FOR WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE, ROMANCE doesn’t come like rain showers – frequent and unexpected – but rather like a stream in the desert: you have to look for it and when you find it, you have to make the most of it.”
“Just the other night, my husband and I were getting ready for bed and he started complaining about a bruise on his knee, wondering when and how he got it. I took a look at it and said: ‘It’s just like the one I have,’ showing him a similar dark spot on my knee. “It comes from pressing our knees against our dining table,’ I explained. Our new table, if you must know, comes with benches instead of chairs, and we’ve both taken to putting our feet up whenever we eat, our knees pressed against the table for balance.”
“My husband took a look at my bruise and marveled: ‘Wouldn’t you know, we have the same spot in the same part of the body. I like that!’”
“It was the most romantic line I’d heard in ages.”
“As you can guess by now, one’s definition of romance evolves as one ages. I never thought so when I was younger, but you do arrive at the stage in life when the conventional expressions of romance – roses, chocolates, jewelry and serenades – actually seem sappy and cheesy, love expressed as clichés, uncreative and predictable. Nowadays, I much prefer simple, practical expressions of love, gestures and actions that don’t necessarily come with Hallmark cars sentiments, but are far more eloquent.”

“I MAY have thrown a surprise party for the hubby on his 50th birthday, but he topped that some years ago when I arrived from a month-long fellowship in the United States and found that he had secretly enlarged and renovated the master bath. We had talked about redoing our narrow and cramped bathroom for years, but I never thought that while I was away, he would spend his bonus money on a home improvement project.”
“He swore the kids to secrecy, and when I called a few days before my trip home, asking him what he wanted for pasalubong, he told me to bring home red bath towels. They turned out to be the finishing touches for our new bathroom, which he had furnished with a gleaming new read bathroom. I walked into the house and was led directly to the master bath, and in the next few days, I would make every excuse to enter the bathroom, basking in my new, surprise gift.”
“My sisters and cousins in the States, hearing about the surprise that awaited me upon arrival, nearly swooned at the news. (Again, women our age swoon over bathroom renovations, not roses and champagne.) ‘Mabuti pa si Pie,’ they would sigh.”
“But my brother-in-law had a message for him: ‘Please tell Pie not to do something like that again, we’re beginning to look bad to our wives!’”

“BUT our husbands can’t renovate bathrooms everyday or even every year, and as the years roll on, even just holding hands in public seems beneath your dignity. For women of a certain age, and a certain inclination, romance must then be sought for, grasped wherever and whenever they can find it.”
“For me and a widening circle of friends and family, romance comes by way of “Koreanovelas”, the same serials that air over local channels but which we watch by way of DVD sets with English subtitles, to be followed at our own pace and at leisure.”
“Whenever my family starts ragging me about my current obsession over ‘Koreanovelas,’ I retort that each of us has our own obsessions but I never say anything about their fishing and saxophone playing, their Ipod downloading and fan fiction writing. ‘I don’t get on your case, so get off mine,’ I warn. ‘You should be thankful I don’t go ballroom dancing and employ a dance instructor,’ I throw in, though I must say that I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with hiring men to dance with you.”
“ But I recently came upon a story that puts even my fascination with ‘Koreanovelas’ and their ‘spoony stars’ (as a badly translated blurb puts it) to shame.”

“A READER who likewise follows Korean romantic serials says she exchanges email with three US-based Filipinas, all of them members of a Singapore-based forum on Korean dramas and related topics.”
“ ‘Recently’, she writes, ‘I was roused from my sleep by one of my friends’ who wanted to know if she could help the friend find a taped copy of the soundtrack of the Koreanovela ‘Hotelier’ (which just ended on Channel 11, by the way), starring Bae Yong Jun, a superstar of the Hallyu or Korean wave. The friend’s mother, it turns out, has just passed away at the age of 92. Before her death, the old woman loved to watch Yonsama (as Bae is known by Japanese fans) in “Hotelier”, and before she passed away had requested her family to play the drama’s musical theme during her wake and burial.”
“ ‘She had also told her daughter that she wanted to meet the character in that drama in her next life!’ the reader writes. ‘My friend later told me that in the homily during her funeral, the priest also mentioned how the deceased loved the drama and the actor so much!’ ”
“And while she protests that she hasn’t yet reached this level of fanaticism, the reader says she was able to find the soundtrack and send it to her frantic friend.”
“Which gives me an idea. I had initially toyed with asking my family to use the theme from the musical “Rent” for my funeral, but the old lady’s request is tempting. Imagine going to meet your Maker with the romantic themes from your favorite serials floating in the air, images of the “spoony” Yonsama escorting you to the Afterlife.”
“If our husbands had any good sense in them, they would take this as a broad hint. We may protest that romance no longer holds any practical attraction for us, but like finding a stream in the desert, when you find the waters, you want to jump in and refresh yourself. Even if only on the small screen.”

That Singapore forum is actually and I 'know' the people involved. It was really quite incredible when I first read about the request then. But BYJ's powers are demonstrated not only in death but also at joyous occassion. Last year, Esther's son got married to the music from Winter Sonata. Looking at the video, we found out that he had proposed to his wife at Yongpyong Resort, Korea, following the necklace in the snowball scene. Only that instead of a necklace, there was a wedding ring in the snowball. haha!

Why has Korean dramas taken the world by storm amongst the women? Because we all dream of a prince charming who will sweep us off our feet, pledge everlasting love and look incredibly good looking whilst shedding those tears.

It is a good escape from the mundane world. And why should we not dream a little?

Anyway, coming back to romatic gestures. I've concluded that what looks really romatic in reel life doesn't really mean it is so in real life.

Take the church scene in Hotelier, where Ji Yung (SYA) fell asleep at Dong Hyuk's (BYJ) shoulders. I went like.."Orrr..., isn't that lovely?" when I saw the scene. It reality, is actually not that comfortable... for both parties. Even worse if that shoulder isn't quite 'broad' enough with the necessary..'meat' and you end up being 'poked' by that protruding bone.

Or that snowman scene in Winter Sonata. They both looked so lovey-dovey and sweet. But gosh it was so cold in the snow, I didn't last 5 minutes. All I could think of was getting back into the warmth and out of the freezing cold. Never mind building any snowman.

No, I'm afraid some romantic gestures are really confined to the small screen only. That doesn't mean there aren't any romantic gestures in my real life though. They're just different and like the writer said, they change as I grow *ahem* mature. Why just yesterday morning, my husband said one of the most romantic sentence to me:

"What would you like for breakfast?"