Saturday, September 30, 2006


As I mentioned before, I love books and it was one of the reason that I worked in a bookshop for the first 5 years of my working life. Up till today, I'm still involve in the book industry... most recently by importing books and magazines from Korea. haha!

Anyway, though my family wasn't poor, they certainly weren't rich enough to indulge in my craving to buy a book every other day. Buying a book was a treat. So most of the time, I borrow them from the libraries. Often, it would be the one nearest my place, which was in Toa Payoh. But when I got older, I would sometimes head down to the National Library in Stamford Road. Most of us would remember the red-bricks building in Stamford Road.

That building has since been torn down to make way for the new Singapore Management University. There were efforts to save it as it held much fond memories for most of us. Unfortunately, it didn't work and on 31st March 2004, it was shut down permanently.

The National Library sits in a new site today nearby- spanking new, bigger and with better facilities. Really first rate in terms of facilities. In fact all the new libraries are much better equipped nowadays. It has multi-media galore, bright color seats, and even tucked-away corners for that privacy. You can reserve books and renew them online. You can also return books 24/7 at the drop-off point in the libraries. Very convenient. In other words, a strive to dispel the boring, old, stuffy image of the traditional library and encourage the young to come in.

A end result of all these is that it has often become very noisy in the library. At least, that's the way at the library near my place.

Call me old fashion, but a tiny, tiny, tiny part of me like the libraries of yesterday that I once knew.

The slightly musty smell, the hushed tone, the concentrated, absorbed look as each of us search for treasures amongst the rows and rows of books on the shelves.

There was an air of reverence in the library, as if it is a door to another magical world. And to me, it was.

I still remembered, after a trip to the National Library, armed with books, I would then head to the small food place next to the library. This is not the S-11 that was there in the last few years but an older, small hawker centre with a mish-mash of food stalls. One very popular stall was this ice-kachang stall there. The stall was always teaming with bees but that didn't stop any of us from enjoying the very delicious ice-kachange espeically on a hot day. Come to think of it, the rest of the stalls there weren't any cleaner either. But the place was always full. It's a wonder none of I never got any food poisoning.

And then after a visit to the library, I would make my way to MPH, a major bookshop in a very prominent red and while building just firther down the road. You would think after a visit to the library, I would be sick of seeing more books. But far from it, a visit to MPH was like a visit to wonderland. It was 3 stories high and was crammed full of books, toys and stationries. Even if I couldn't buy anything, it was still a thrill to window shop there.

Sadly, even that MPH is no longer in existence today.

Oh the building is still around as it is gazzetted as a national mounument.

But it is no longer a bookshop.

In the march of time, all things change... I just wished I had taken photos of the these two places as they were then.

Anyway, two days ago, I went to library to borrow 2 books on gardening, hoping to bring some more life to my tiny balcony.

But that is another story. ^^

Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Friday, September 29, 2006


I love books. I'm one of those who hates to fold pages, cut them up or draw in them, (beyond writing my name on the first page of the book). I try to keep my books in good condition and really, really hate to throw out books...even if they are trashy ones.

I used to read alot when I was younger, unfortunately, I just don't have as much time to do that now. Then, I could bury myself in a book, slumped in a chair and be lost in another world for the rest of the day. It was very easy to entertain me.

As much as I love movies, books are really quite something. Without the moving pictures and the sound, you have to use your imagination to 'view' and 'feel' what the author has written.

Hubby subscribes to this club in the UK called the Folio Club- they published books in hard cover. Not just hard cover... but bound in leather or know... the old fashion type.

The type of books that belong to old, wooden shelves, in a nice library, and where you can imagine yourself sitting down in front of a fireplace/ balcony/ garden, with a cup of tea and reading the book. You get what I mean?

As much as I love the books that I read now, it's the books that I read in the past that I have fond memories of...

Mostly alot of Enid Blyton's like the Malory Towers, the Famous Five, the fairy tales etc. The Borrowers, Mary Poppins, Beautrix Potter, Heidi, Chronicles of Narnia, Little Women... they all accompanied me through my childhood years.

Do children read these nowadays? Or is it mainly all those ghost/ monster stories that fascinate them?

One of the series that I liked was the Anne of Green Gables series. It was even filmed into TV series a few times but I still prefer the book.

It's a simple, simple story.

A little orphan girl was mistakenly sent to an elderly couple by mistake, who had actually requested for a little help them out in the farm.

This sparky little girl never lets anything her down, is always optimistic and adventurous. She is direct but not mean and loves those around her. Naturally, the elderly couple grew attached to her.. and loved her dearly, as she did to them. The rest of the story is really about her stay there on the farm, her adventures as she grows up.

See, it's a very simple story right? In fact, somebody would probably say it's too goody-goody. Thank goodness for such 'goody-goody' books when I was young then.

Even today, it's still good to reach out and read these 'do good, be good and feel good' novels. It's great to escape from the real world for awhile and relieve the age of innocence.

I wonder if anyone will laugh at me if I go out and buy the entire Fanous Five series. Maybe I can pretend that I'm buying them for my nephew....

Isn't the illustration beautiful?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


What do you all do during the weekend?

Me? I'm constantly divided between

1) What I have to do... laundry, tidying house, baking, clearing paperwork
2) What I am required to do... volunteer work (I've been recalled due to shortage of volunteers and have been back at CDAC for the past 2 months)
3) What I would like to do.... catching up friends, sleep, eat, read


4) What I usually end up doing...which is a mish-mash of no 1 to no 3, depending on how productive or how lazy I feel. Of course, you always never ever end up doing what you have to do or would like to do. So hubby's and my common grouse on Sunday night at 11pm- why can't there be 3 days of weekend instead of just 2 miserable days.

I'm not sure what the other couples do but I've been told that hubby and I lead a very unusal lifestyle as a couple. I think probably the fact that we don't have children and my in-laws aren't around help fuel the kind of lifestyle that we have. Thankfully, even though my family lives just 5 minutes away, they have never expected us to be back during the weekends, fully understanding that as a couple, we need our own quality time together.

So we have time to go to concerts, plays, walks in the parks, visits to the museum, gym (bleah!) etc

Last Saturday, we went to one of our favourite place- the NIGHT SAFARI

Alright, you can stop laughing now. I'm not sure why people seem to think it funny that we both like to go to zoo and the bird park. It was one of my favrouite place when I was young too and I was always very excited when we go on such a school trip. It

Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari in Singapore have both won many acolades for providing as natural an environment as possible for the animals. And it's always a joy to watch them- not behind bars in a cage. Of course, given a choice, we shouldn't even have a zoo but I guess it's impossible for that to happen.

Actually, to truely enjoy the Night Safari, you should really keep quiet and just observe (except when you are watching a animal show of course). This is esepcially so when you go on the tram ride and you really want to observe these animals. Unfortunately, it doesn't normally happen... sigh.... Often, I have to repress my urge to tell to just 'shut-up'

Here kitty, kitty.... I believe this is what they call a Fishing Cat. Isn't it cute? hehe!

Basil- the recycling otter

I've always like the animal shows and isn't Basil adorable? I remembered my Korean guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves at the animal show when they came down for a holiday last year.

My one complaint? - the limited eateries available and the exorbitant prices that they charge. $4.50 for a cup of lemonade??

Every weekend evening, and especially on Sunday, a few groups of men would be playing Singapore men's favorite past time- football.

Frankly speaking, most of these men don't err.. look very fit. In fact, more often than not, their tummy is hmm.... a little round. And most of them aren't exactly young. Still, they seem to enjoy themselves running around in the field and getting all sweaty and smelly.

I've often wondered, are they glad to be out of the house and just kicking a ball around with thie kakis? Perhaps the wives and girlfriends are just as glad to have some breathing space once a week? hehe!

And no, hubby doesn't play football. ^^ He brews beer instead.

One of the highlight of last weekend- at least for me. A delicious meal with a group of friends. No, they are not just fellow fans anymore, but really friends. Both bb and Jos have blogged about this.

Yes, it was really, really fun that night. I shan't talk about the food much except that I was really, really surprised at how good the satay soup tastes. Both of them have described in depth about the delicious food. I can only say that i felt like a round fishball at the end of the meal. We could hardly move. Jos and me were leaning back in our seats, trying not to make our stomach look too fat and round.

One funny incident. Just as we were about to start eating, bb suddenly shouted "take photo, take photo." And so, there we were, Jos, bb and I clicking away. I guess it came as no surprise that the 3 of us are active bloggers. bb said it's a blogger's symptom. haha! And that's why you see the same photos in all our 3 sites. ^^

Chilli crab


Yes, it was true that we talked about BYJ (hey, we are all BYJ fans), but we also talked about other stuff.. and it was such fun reminiscing about the old dramas and movies. But that's when age truely shows up, when only V and I could remember certain shows. The rest of them looked at us and went: "not our era." Sob! Sob!

Haha! And after this makan session, Jos has started another BLOG. This time it will be all about food. Gosh... looking at the recipes. I'm salivating. Jos.. you going to cook for us? hehe!

In case you want to go try the very delicious steamboat that we've been raving about..

Paradise on Earth
200 Tanjong Katong Road T: 6345 9272

4 more days to the weekend.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Back to normal

Well... after about a week-and-a-half of shift duties, life has gone back to normal with the arrival of the new maid. Whew! How did our grandparents cope with a large brood, housework and earn a living at the same time?

People always say that's because life was simpler then.

I figured it's because we have made life complicated for ourselves.

A cup of coffee would be just a cup of coffee back then.

You can have 'kopi-o' (coffee without milk) or 'kopi' (coffee). There is only one size.

Now? Step into any of the coffee chain and you are presented with so many choices.

Coffee latte, cuppocino, coffee black, coffee with cream, coffee with milk.

Short, regular, tall...

and the list goes on.

Maybe that's why Korean dramas have become such a hit almost everywhere with its simplistic storylines.

Of course, they are mostly fairytale stories, meant for dreaming and escaping from the world for that few hours. But how boring life would be without the world of make believe.

Anyway, I escaped from my usual life for a short while recently due to the Korean tornado that swept into town on the first week of September. It was truely, really fun.

To read about it, go to my Kimchi blog about Kimchi tornado.

Sorry about this short will definitely be back to normal soon. ^^

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I've been helping my grandmother to shower for the last few days as part of my shift duties. We're in between maids at the moment and the new maid will only arrive later this week. In the meantime, my aunties and I are taking turns to go on shift duties.

Don't be mistaken. Grandma, who is a perfectly healthy 90 years old lady, is capable of taking care of herself but she does need that little help.

Like holding the shower head whilst she cleans herself (vigorously too, I must add), helping her to take off and put on her clothes etc.

Standing behind her, seeing her wrinkled body, a strange feeling came over me.

I remember the countless times when she bathed me when I was very young. Grandma is 50 years older than me, so I guess she would have been in her 50's when she appears in my earliest memory.

My grandmother is a very strong woman.

She has to be.

She arrived in Singapore when she was in her early 20's. I don't know much about her hisory, only that she came in search of her husband, my grandfather. Like most early Chinese migrants then, they didn't have much money and had to work hard. Through the Japanese occupation and poverty years, she raised 6 children pretty much alone. You have to be strong to do that.

I remember her temper.. her flashing eyes when she got angry, her loud voice (she still has a very loud voice. I think it runs in the family), her sturdy body. I especially remember the few rare times when I was caned by her.

But I also remember her holding my hand as we crossed the road, buying toys for me at the 'pasar malam', and cooking my favourite food.

Then, grandma to me was a formidable woman. At times, I was even a little afraid of her. But I could always depend on her.

When did it start to be the other way round? When did she start to depend on me instead?

Where once she held my tiny hands in hers and coaxed me to see the doctor, now I hold her hands rough hands in mine when I bring her to the hospital for check-ups.

Where once she bathed me in a little tub, now I help her to shower whilst she sit on a stool in the bathroom.

Where once she would whipped up a few delicious dishes for lunch, now I help to put the food in a plate for her.

Where once she would hide her modesty by closing the door to change, now she couldn't care less that I could see every inch of her wrinkled, naked body.

Where once her word was law, now she listens to me.

In my teens, I used to feel so embarrassed to be seen together with her, wild horses couldn't drag me to go out with her. And yet for the last 15 years or so, I've been on holidays with her almost every year. She's been to Shanghai, Beijing, Su Zhou, Hang Zhou and Hong Kong etc.

When did this relationhip change?

I don't know either.

A person reverts back to childlike behaviour and thinking as one gets older. I guess now, grandma is the 'baby' and I'm the adult.

I'm not sure how grandma feels about this reversal of relationship. If you are a child, and you depend on adults, you don't mind because well, you don't understand and know much. But when you do know and understand, it's a little more difficult, isn't it?

In truth, I feel a little emotional and there is a slight tug in my heart as I write this and remember all those years long ago...which really, wasn't too long ago.

I'm not too sure what that little tug is for and who it is for.

Perhaps at the passage of time.

Perhaps at the the inevitable that will happen one day.

The Circle Game
by Joni Mitchell

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
Were captive on the carousel of time
We cant return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Friday, September 01, 2006

My office life is so exciting

Working on my own has its perks. Flexi hours, comfortable dressing, no boss to report to, no office politics, no gossips.

Actually, I lie.

I do miss the gossips. I miss hearing them from colleagues, the conspiracy type of human interaction.

In other words, I miss being a kaypoh.

Last night, over dinner, as usual, I would asked: "How was your day?" Now hubby is not a gossip person. But people can't seemed to resist telling him stuff. Maybe because he's so quiet, he looks harmless. So I hear the usual office stories of who's left, who's joined, who's in, who's out etc. Unfortunately (I supposed I should say fortunately) he doesn't say alot... in terms of juicy details. just don't know how to tell stories.

I wanted to tell him about my day too. So I racked my brain to think of the most exciting thing that happened that day..

1) Someone new has moved downstairs. I know because I saw the empty cartons and the kitchen windows were opened.

2) There was a lizard in the bathroom. It was big, fat one.

My office life is so exciting.