May 2008


My poor calves and thighs.

If they could talk, they would be hurling profanity at me.

Hmm why does that sound so familiar?

LOL. Because it’s two days after the CardioMix class again, when the lactic acid has accumulated in the muscles to a level high enough to cause the unpleasant aching sensation.

Last week we did kickboxing which explained why my back and shoulders hurt then. This Wednesday, we did step-up exercise instead where we each had a plastic low stepping stool in front of us and stepped up and down continuously. Sounds fairly easy? Well, it sure ain’t when it’s done with weights!~ My poor legs can testify to that! (-.-) They threatened to break off and run away during the last ten minutes of the session when we did endurance and strengthening exercise.  

As if it wasn’t tiring enough, I stayed up late to work on my new project instead of resting early. (-.-) Remember when I talked about a possible sideline last week? I’ve started on it. Like finally haha. I spent the lunch hours on Tuesday and Wednesday at Chinatown, Arab Street and Haji Lane scouring for materials. It was really fun, especially the Arab Street area because I’ve never been there. (^_^) And I saw so many quaint pieces that I got very excited and inspired! Naturally, I ended up buying more than I thought I would and more than what my bank account would like.  

After getting my hands on interesting parts, I couldn’t help but feel the urgency to put my idea into place and start working. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt this way but when I look at a piece and start forming ideas in my head, I must start on it. I can never push it to, say, the weekends when I’ve more time on my hands to do it while still being able to get sufficient sleep. Part of the compulsion is due to the worry that I may forget what I intend to if I don’t do it soon. Even if I sketch or note it down, I worry that it won’t be the same because inspirations can simply come and go. However, the main reason of the compulsive behaviour is that once the inspiration hits me, I get too hyped up to ignore it and go to bed!  

This is why for the past two nights, I only had less than three hours of sleep. It’s insane considering that I had a vigorous workout on Wednesday and last night I went out to catch Patrick Dempsey’s “Made of Honour” (which is a very entertaining show by the way) after a shitty day at work, reaching home at midnight. It explains why I felt like crap at work yesterday and this morning. It was worse today when I woke up because I suffered from lack of rest for two consecutive days. I struggled with myself mildly in the morning as I toyed with the idea of taking the day off, but it wouldn’t work as I’ve some work to clear before the weekends.

The day seemed to suffer a bad start as the traffic jam at Marymount Road (again and again!!) resulted in a half hour wait for the bus and 45 minutes late for work. It was an agony seeing the bus just ten metres away from you but taking fifteen minutes to reach the bus stop because of the jam. I slept like a log all the way though, trying to compensate my sleep debt. So I ended up almost an hour late for work but when I reached my office, I found my cubicle empty! That was when I remembered that the stupid JPS went for another overseas holiday over this weekend and took Friday off! The new girl was probably on MC as she was sick for the past two weeks.

I swear that the day seemed better instantly and suddenly, a newfound energy surged through me haha. I think I’ll take the half day off to buy more materials. 😀 I’ve completed three pieces so far, one each day for the past three days, and have ideas for two more pieces. I wish to have a collection of five pieces or more by this weekend so that I can put them up for sale on my new blog before next week. I’ve been working on my new WordPress website for the past few days as well. I’m not very satisfied with it and wonder if I should start one at LiveJournal instead since there are many sellers there, so business may be better. I’ve just looked through LiveJournal because I do have an inactive account there and it doesn’t seem as hard to use as it did the other time when I tried to start one there but ended up at Wordpress instead. I still like WordPress but I think the layout is not as suitable. Damn, this means that I need to start from scratch at LiveJournal which means more time.

I will link the blog here once it’s done. I’m so excited. Wish me luck. 😀

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LOL this is just some randomthing I just drew with a cheap Popular ballpoint pen while waiting for the administrative staff to do my case this morning:

Haven’t draw anything cartoonish/childish like that probably since JC, so I forgot how fun it can actually be. Even though a bit meaningless haha.

I think my rooster was cute. (^_^)

Saw this movie review on yesterday’s TODAY (lol sounds funny) but due to the three days of mourning for the Sichuan earthquake victims, I saved it to publish today instead.

A movie on one of my favourite dead famous people:

 

This movie was released globally a whole DECADE ago and I’ve never heard of it. I won’t be entirely surprised though. When I was 15, even though I would think that I was already more mature for adolescents of my age, I had to admit that I wasn’t well-read. Much to the annoyance of my mum, I didn’t like to read the newspapers except for the entertainment news section. Sure, I read mountains of fiction books but that only helped my vocabulary, grammar, and perhaps imagination and creativity, and nothing much for my general knowledge. I could rattle off scientific facts but my knowledge was more or less confined within the field of Science. It wasn’t until junior college when I was brutally exposed to other interesting fields of knowledge, all thanks to the subject of General Paper.

I said brutal because it was kind of shameful for a 17-year-old to hear the term “Middle East” for the very first time in her life when her GP tutor asked the class to each name a Middle East country. I was just constantly muttering “damn what the hell is the Middle East” under my breath and vigorously turning the clockworks in my head but to no avail. When it was my turn, I just stated whatever name my helpful classmates had thrown in my way. I think I said Jordan and I was wondering why on Mother Earth anybody in the right mind would name a country after a NBA star. (-.-) 

Yeah, laugh all you want but I was ignorant and not really concerned about a lot of things outside Science then. That was a good wake-up call though and a long-awaited push of myself towards gaining broad and diversified knowledge. Considering how everything in this world is linked up one way or another, it’s important and learning really should be a lifelong experience. Wow that sounds like some government campaign but MM Lee said the same too. So ten years ago, I didn’t know or give much hoot about homosexuality and no, I wouldn’t have known that a famous person named Oscar Wilde once walked on this Earth. Which is a stark contrast to my older present self.

Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900), born Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (seriously?!), was a famous Irish playwright, novelist, poet and author of short stories. You should be familiar with his “The Happy Prince and Other Stories”. For the barbed wit that he had, he was also the greatest celebrities of his day. What makes Wilde my favourite dead famous people is his close-to-insanity flamboyancy. Whether it was dressing, his appearance, his conduct, his speech, his homosexuality, it was never a closet affair. It was always out in the open with seemingly nothing to hide. I admire him for the courage, not to mention his intelligence and sharp wit,  even though it is this very thing which caused his downfall ultimately. A complaint of criminal libel made by Wilde turned out to be a trial against himself, at the end of which he was convicted of “gross indecency” and sentenced to two years’ hard labour. He died of illness three years after his release.   

I might not watch this movie since I’m really broke at the moment (more about why I’m soooo darn broke later on) and there’re plenty of other must-watch movies for me to catch this month. I might just buy the DVD when I’ve the extra cash. But I’m glad that the local censorship has seemed to loosen up visibly in recent years. It’s unnecessary to ban or prohibit art just for its homosexuality content when the sexuality issue itself is not wrong in the first place. It’s bad enough that local TV shows are not allowed to have any hint of homosexuality, which render local viewers to be totally ignorant or mistaken about homosexual people. This group of people exists in our very own society whether one likes it or not. They are very real and are not going to go away or simply disappear just because some people disapprove of it. 

Anway I’m pretty sure that the film distributors won’t be upset if I didn’t watch the film. Afterall they are targeting the pink dollar and the last time I checked, my money ain’t pink.  

Last Monday, 19th May 2008, was the eighth day since the Sichuan earthquake devastated the whole of China. The entire country observed three minutes of silence on that day to remember the tens of thousands of innocent lives harshly taken by the ravaging disaster. The observance came on the first of three days of national mourning.

The blast horn began to wail across China at 2:48 pm, the exact time one week ago when the 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck. Car alarms were set off and joined by a chorus of air raid sirens and blaring horns from vehicles, ships and trains, rising from a city of 1.3 billion people. Traffic stopped for the moment and basically the whole of China’s people stopped and mourned in silence. Every citizen simply dropped what they were doing, stood still, bowed their heads low and prayed for the victims and their country. Even rescuers on the front line in the Sichuan province sifting through the rubble observed the moment of silence by putting down their tools. In crowded refugee centers close to the quake’s epicenter, the silence was observed by survivors who have lost everything but their lives. Anyone who had seen the footage of the scene would be mesmerized by the spectacular and touching sight, and would probably never forget it. Afterall such an official mourning period is normally reserved for the death of a national leader and a very rare sight.

In the big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, traffic stopped, and stock trading was suspended for three minutes out of respect for the victims. For the three days, flags were also at half-staff and the Olympic torch relay for the Summer Games in Beijing was paused. Public entertainment was all cancelled. Even all the entertainment websites on the Internet such as Tudou closed voluntarily for the three days. It’s remarkable how patrotic and united the Chinese people can be. They are certainly a rising force not to be reckoned.

For the past three days, I stopped posting on my blog as well, out of respect for all the victims of the 12th May earthquake and in concordance with China’s mourning. Today is the 11th day since the unfortunate event occurred and yet every single day as I plough through the many pages of the newspapers providing updates on the aftermath of the disaster, I continue to feel shakened at the extent of damage, the lives lost, the families broken, the victims still trapped and the injured who lost limbs in this ordeal. As if the damage done by the earthquake wasn’t enough, the people still have to suffer the hundreds of aftershocks which rip through the ground every now and then, with many more killed in these aftershocks by falling boulders and rocks. People have to run and abandon their homeland or what is left of it because of the alarming threats of flooding from the choked lakes and rivers. I cannot imagine how it would be like to be forced to leave the bodies of your loved ones behind and, worse still, to leave the relatively few who could still be alive under the debris.

Every day, I read touching tales of noble people who sacrificed their own lives to save others – teachers who used their own bodies to shield their students from the collapsing school buildings, parents who died protecting their only children, children who got crushed to death trying to help their classmates or teachers. I read, I weep and I ask myself if I could have done the same. I know I would like to do so very much but the thing is, when the time comes, can I really put aside my own safety and help others who are not my own family? The basic instinct of animals in times of danger is the fight or flight situation, so naturally we would all make the run for our lives. But this is where Homo Sapiens are different from other animals, why we are the most intelligent and why we rule this planet – we would have other feelings that could override our basic instinct. We have morals. Ethnics. Empathy and sympathy. If not, we would be like other animals – just to survive to procreate and propagate.   

So, if I am fleeing for my life out of a building that’s about to collapse and just barely ten metres away from the door to safety, I spot an elderly lady moving too slow for her own good but already with all her might, will I turn back and help her move faster which in turn undoubtedly makes me slower and at a higher risk of dying?

The truth is: I won’t know. I think we all won’t know until we are put in that kind of situation because you won’t know what your body and brain will make you do. I may become so overwhelmed with shock and fear that my brain blanks out everything else around me except for the door and I will dash to the door, failing to notice anything else around me. This is not a selfish act. This is what we call survival instinct and whether you like it or not, the brain will take over in crucial times and act on something like auto-pilot. After that, you may not remember much. I suspect many people will fall into this category. Only those who can manage to be calm under extreme stress can have thoughts other than “RUN!!!” and that’s when even though you know you can die trying to save others, you will, thus overriding the natural instinct to survive.

Yes, it will be a tough decision and I pray that no one should have to make this kind of decision. The lives of the survivors in the affected provinces of China will doubtlessly be hard for the months or even years to come but I’ve faith that they will make it through. Time will heal all wounds. For fellow Singaporeans who have never known how to appreciate our tiny sunny island, I hope that this Sichuan earthquake has shakened your senses up. This is in a way wrong because we should not learn how to appreciate only after seeing others’ misfortune. We should learn how to appreciate by seeing the good in things and not just focusing on the bad. Happiness is not having what we want but wanting what we have. We are truly very blessed to be living in this country free of natural disasters with a stable clean government, enviable social security and well-developed infrastructure.

Ok, enough of this preaching and mourning for the time being though. After a three-day absence in blogging, now it’s the time to make up for it. Are you ready?

My colleague was going to attend a wedding dinner with her boyfriend this evening and forgot to prepare the angbao. As she had some pieces of red-coloured paper, she decided to make her own red packet. Since I’ve made my own envelopes and paper bags among many other craftworks before and I was quite free this afternoon, I volunteered to do it for her.

Upon seeing the end product, my fellow colleagues were all somehow quite impressed that they started encouraging me to start my own online business of customised craftworks. I thought they over-exaggerated because it was really just a handmade envelope.

Which brought to mind what had been loitering in my brain for a considerable period of time to the extent that it has nested itself comfortably at a corner and left forgotten.

Growing up, I’ve been struggling between Science and Arts. I like both too much to give up either one completely. But of course when the decision-making time came at the end of Secondary Two, I chose the Science Stream and the triple science course because Science seemed a safer option. I knew I could do it for life and make a living out of it. I wasn’t that sure for Arts. Of course I’ve always had a keen interest for Biology so it was a decision I’ve never regretted. I was sad that I’d to give up Arts and Crafts though and although it was possible for Science students to take Arts as an “O” level subject, I thought that the resulting total workload might be detrimental for my grades ultimately should I be unable to cope with the already heavy workload of a triple-Science student and the intensive CCA trainings. If an odd combination was available at that time, I would have gladly given up Physics, a subject which I excelled in but never truly enjoyed, for Arts. Anyway I was very delighted that the end of Arts in my school life was highlighted by a FULL mark in my last Arts examination! I would never have thought that one could actually get full marks for an Arts piece.     

While I remained a true-blooded Science Student for the rest of my schooling days, Arts continues to be an important part of my life. I used to like sketching and painting but having thrown away all my painting materials, I haven’t painted a single picture since Secondary Two. Nowadays I do more of craftworks which is some activity I enjoy thoroughly. I’ve made birthday cards for virtually all my friends. I’ve also put together small stuffed pillows with names sewed on with sequinns or beads, and given to friends. I can make brooches and jewellery. I enjoy the latest craze of scrapbooking too, although it’s a rather expensive hobby. Craftworks take a lot of time and effort at a stretch but it brings about a deep sense of satisfaction upon seeing the end product, and of course the look on my friend’s face upon receiving it. I also enjoy the need to keep pushing my own creativity and imagination because I don’t like to make the same stuff over and over again. New materials should be used all the time and what this friend gets should be as different as possible as what the next friend will receive from me.  

Here’s the thing – I like craftworks, my friends and now even colleagues praise my pieces and encourage me to make a business out of it which means I must be not too bad in it, and I’ve actually given much thought about turning it into a money-generating hobby before, so why hasn’t anyone seen anything like that coming from me as yet? Because it’s harder than it seems. I may be satisfied with my pieces but I still have doubts that any is good enough that other people actually want to spend money to get their hands on it. And what exactly should I make to sell? Cards? When all the local bookshops sell thousands and thousands different types of cards, will anyone actually bother to surf the Internet for a birthday card, even if it’s unique and one of its kind? Jewellery? I really enjoy making my own jewellery but it needs quite a bit of capital because materials like Sawrovski crystals and good-quality metal chains are not cheap. Other than this, it seems fairly difficult to find unique and exotic charm pieces in Singapore. I don’t wish to sell something which you can easily find in any local store.

So, it seems hard, but it could be just an excuse for myself. Is it really that difficult when so many other girls have made it? Perhaps I just need to spend some time planning it out, start exploring sources and buying materials, and putting my fingers to work. Maybe because I’m turning 25 which is exactly a quarter of a century a few months down the road, I think it’s time for me to take action and make some changes to my life. I was discussing with my sister and telling her how I should be and could be making big bucks because I know I am capable of it, but I just don’t love money enough to find the means to do so. I will always welcome the extra cash (only if it’s through legitimate means and preferably if I earn it myself) and if there’s none, I’m somehow fine with it haha. It’s weird but that’s how I am. I believe I’m the type who never has the luck to win lottery or lucky draws because I’ve to earn everything through my own hard work (脚踏实地的命). 

I’ve just bought a new sketchbook to put my ideas down first. My colleague suggested an online blog to sell my stuff. LOL I didn’t tell her that I already have a blog because I don’t want them to read all this haha. This year is really going to be different. Subconsciously and consciously, I’ve already done some changes and made some important decisons to make some changes to my life. Definitely all for the better.

Wish me luck. (^_^)

 

Here’re some of the old sketches I did years ago:

It’s truly unbearable to watch or read the news recently.

Half of the daily newspapers covers the 7.9-magnitude earthquake which struck China’s Sichuan on 12th May 2008 (Monday) and the TV news always starts off with latest updates of the deathly situation. It’s awfully tough to read the newspapers or watch the news because I’ve to keep fighting back the tears which subconsciously well up in my eyes or keep dabbing at my wet eyes. I feel mildly stupid crying at the news but I just can’t help it. And I still keep my eyes glued onto the TV or newspapers as I will like to keep myself updated with one of the century’s worst disasters after the 2004 tsunamis.  

How is it possible not to weep upon seeing a photograph of rescuers uncovering many young children, aged no more than ten, buried alive and stacked on top of one another among the rubbles.

How is it possible not to feel a wrench in one’s heart to know that the innocent lives of more than 900 teenagers and teachers were taken as their school building collapsed and killed them, with mostly being their parents’ only child because of the country’s famous one-child policy.

How is it possible to feel nothing to see the parents crying and screaming in grief and despair around what was left of the school and where the bodies of their beloved children rest somewhere waiting to be recovered.  

Yesterday the rescuers finally managed to pull out a 19-year-old girl after spending many hours trying to figure out how to save the poor thing. It was her 20th birthday yesterday. All the rescuers started singing her a birthday song as they carried her in a stretcher and someone was wiping her face clean. She managed a small smile despite her injuries and I nearly cried my eyes out. No doubt all these successful rescues are boosting the morales of everyone involved in the rescue efforts and this is really what they need, especially when many of them selflessly devote their time to the rescue works almost immediately after the ravaging quake and before they can even check if their own families are safe. Their self-sacrificing spirit definitely deserves everyone else’s upmost respect.

I think on Monday, the very day when China was hit by the quake, a pregnant nurse helping out with the victims delivered her baby on the spot in a temporary tent held up by just some blankets. Fortunately her labour was smooth and her healthy new baby boy brought new-found hope to the many who were present. Hours later, the mother had left her newborn to the father and continued with her work. Unbelievable but absolutely admirable.

When I saw on TV that the Chinese Prime Minister Mr Wen Jiabao took the hand of one of the many poor children newly made orphans by the cruel quake and she started sobbing, I was truly touched when he told her, in a shaking voice, trying hard not to cry himself, not to cry and that the country and government will take care of her in the future. I think Mr Wen Jiabao has done an excellent job so far. Merely hours after the quake destroyed much of the Sichuan province and shook neighbouring areas, he made his first appearance at a quake site lending comfort and support to the survivors and even using amplifiers to shout words of assurance to the rubbles and all the possible victims who are still trapped in within waiting for rescue. He has also asserted many times to the army and the rescue teams that they must do all they can to save as many as possible, as quickly as possible.

I know that the survivors of areas nearer to the epicentre, areas that have been so severely affected that they were currently totally inaccessible to rescue teams, had expressed immense unsatisfaction and desperation that rescue efforts had yet to reach their people. They were unpleased that their Prime Minister only seemed to be concerned with the city areas. The truth is of course that no one from outside could enter when the bridges were damaged and roads destroyed and covered with the remnants of the rock falls and mud slides. Currently the rescuers have managed to make their way into these most shaken areas and everywhere that Mr Wen Jiabao makes an appearance, I believe that he brings hope to the people.

The Chinese government may have been normally portrayed as a remote and autocratic regime governing the world’s most populous country, especially after the recent Tibetian suppression, but Mr Wen Jiabao’s repeated appearance at the quake sites and on television, reassuring the survivors, shows a humane and caring side of the government and says that Beijing is on the people’s side. The efficiency with which the rulers have responded to the massive destruction has also been impressive. The 50,000 troops dispatched to Wenchuan, the earthquake’s epicentre, have made an immediate impact in helping to rescue trapped survivors and distributing vital food and medical supplies. The operation has been well-managed, with airports closed to civilian traffic so as not to impede relief flights. Television bulletins broadcast appeals for blood donations, and priority has been given to restoring electricity and clearing roads.

Of course many questions have popped up ever since the first tremors were felt in Sichuan. Why wasn’t the earthquake predicted by the seismologists beforehand and a prior evacuation warning issued to the people? Considering that the Chinese actually invented the seismoscope way back during the Han Dynasty, it’s ironic. Although when we take into consideration the financial factor, we will understand why not. Thousands and thousands of toads migrated, risked getting crushed by the people and vehicles and literally crossed the street like the chicken. Animals in the zoo were reported to be highly disturbed for no apparent reason just before the quake. Naturally no one thought of it as an omen. It’s always until you look back after the incident and you realise that it was perhaps a sign. Why did so many buildings collapse? This is an earthquake-prone zone. Why are the structures of the buildings so sub-standard? If you would recall the 921 earthquake that devastated Taiwan in 1999, many buildings collapsed and subsequently upon inspection found to be built from unqualified materials like aluminium tins. Government corrupted, contractors corrupted, people died.

I believe most of the Chinese have plenty of burning questions to ask their government to whom they pay taxes, but everyone does know that currently, the most important and urgent matter will be to rescue all the trapped victims and to ensure that the survivors at least have food and water. No doubt it will probably take years for the affected areas and their people to recover, if ever, fully, but should China put her mind into doing this, it would definitely be possible.

But honestly, right after China is tormented by this deadly earthquake, everyone around the globe forgot how they were condemning China for its brutal suppression of the Tibetan people, attempting to disrupt the worldwide procession of the Olympic torch and threatening to boycott the approaching Olympics just a while ago. Instead China starts to be showered with praise for its compassionate and well-disciplined response to the catastrophe in Sichuan. People have set aside all the fury generated by the manhandling of protesters as it is being replaced by shock at the heart-wrenching images of grief-stricken survivors and the mangled bodies of their family members.

Perhaps this shows that beneath all that greenhouse gases-releasing, war-generating, forest-destructing nature of Man, we Homo Sapiens do have a compassionate and empathetic side.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  

On a sidenote, my stupid colleague JPS just came back from her overseas trip and because she started bragging about her trip to anyone who would listen (basically just the new girl haha) the moment she was back, I just realised that she went to CHINA, not Australia!

CHINA! EARTHQUAKE! KILLED OVER TWENTY THOUSAND PEOPLE! AND AN EVIL-HEARTED PERSON LIKE HER MANAGED TO COME BACK IN ONE PIECE??!!

LOL. Life’s weird.

This is not good.

We all know how important this lady is to our MM Lee, having married to him for the past 58 years. I can’t imagine the impact on the old man himself should anything happen to his beloved wife. I truly wish that she’ll recover soon.  

I’ve just noticed something though: MM Lee was born in 1923 which makes him 85 this year. It’s stated here that Mrs Lee is 87. Does this mean that it’s a 姐弟恋? 

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