Friday, August 04, 2006

CNN on Blogspot has ended its run...

I have finally gotten down to migrating this blog to Wordpress instead, although I will still keep this piece of virtual neighbourhood ('cos I am kiasu).
There are a few reasons why I have done so:
1. Having my vacation and therefore more time to do it
2. Wordpress allows me to catagorise my blog entries
3. Wordpress makes it easy to import my blog entries
4. I need a change
With effect from this day, 4th Aug 2006 Friday,
Chris News Network will continue under a new name, Kancheong Spider, via its new URL:
Do visit Kancheong Spider from now onwards...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

I met up with my secondary mates and we were at NYDC for our customary dessert and chatted over mudpie and cappucino. My good friend happened to be just in front of this stuff toy and I thought it cute to take a "superimposed" shot.

It kinda reminded me of the book "The Devil Wears Prada" and well, my friend did carry a Prada bag... haha. That's where the similarities end though, nothing like the impossible boss in the book.
Still considering whether to buy this book to read or just wait for the movie to come to my part of the world. Read the review and find it to be quite an interesting story about the impossible boss of all impossible bosses... hmmm, if it is set in a school's setting, I can think of a few Principals who could vie for top honours.
Talking about movies, I am trying to talk D into watching "The Lake House" (a remake of a Korean movie) with me. A lovey sappy movie that is different from the usual violent and action-packed ones he enjoys though.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Diving @ Pulau Dayang (28 Jul to 30 Jul)

Finding the best possible position to have a comfortable sleep on a rackety diving boat late at night whilst on the way to Pulau Dayang is quite a challenge. We left Mersing Jetty around 12 midnight and it would be another 4 and a half hour before we reach our destination. When we finally reached Dayang, it was still quite dark and my fuzzy sleepy mind wasn't in the best of moods.
I had asked my instructor friend if the resort is 5-star, and he retorted it could be 5-STARfish or maybe 5-Sea Urchins... anyway, it was a plain no-frills (not even blankets or towels; toilets/bathroom facilities are communal) quad-sharing bunk. I put aside my urban/Mauritius 5-star Spa resort mentality and slept the next 2-plus hours. It was only for 2 nights... the dive and beach had better be worth it.
In the morning, Dayang revealed itself to be a lovely place, clear turquoise waters with nice soft sand to step on and dig into (like the ones in Mauritius), food was quite good (the enciks fried some nice goreng pisang for tea). The waters were a nice 28 degrees C, and although the dive sites can't be compared to Similans, the viz was still a good 12 to 18m.
I am happy to swim with my first turtle; observed the flickering colour changes on my first reef cuttlefish up close and personal; stayed a distance away from a school of juvenile Barracudas swimming in formation; held a Spanish Dancer which was so comfortable that it refused to leave my glove; tried to feed a Moray Eel with a dead fish.
We did 6 dives altogether and besides the initial problem D and I had with our loaned BCDs (we had to oral-inflate the BCD cos the hose connectors didn't fit the ones on the BCDs), it was still a good experience. A friend of ours was there for his Open Water Training and D buddied him; whilst I was his girlfriend's buddy, who incidentally caused me to put my DM training into practice.
We are going there again this weekend with another group of divers who are doing their Open Water and Rescue Diver trainings. D will be going as DMIT, i.e. Dive Master In Training, while I will be there as a DMIT(a), fewer responsibilities compared to D but would need to put my DM training into some use.

Here's the video of the young turtle (pardon the jerkiness towards the end):

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

FInally get to watch TV... And More Bks

I have finally, finally got the chance to watch TV in my own house. The simple situation is that if my MIL (mother-in-law) is watching TV in the living room, I will not be able to watch it. Well, actually, I suppose I could if I ask her, but I can't do it. Whether it's out of respect or whatever, she has the priority.

Here's the situation:
Yes, she has a TV in her bedroom but it doesn't have cable unlike the one in the living room. She watches lots of TVB serials (i.e. soaps from HK) which used to be on video tapes that are delivered to her from some video rental shop on the video tape player in her room. However this trip back, I found that the tapes have now evolved into VCDs which can only be played on the home theatre system we have in the living room.
Anyway, I was home early today so I could just plonk myself on the rosewood couch (not as comfy as my Moby D beanbag in HK) and watch Ron White's "They Call Me Tater Salad".
Ron is a stand-up comedian, who drinks whisky and smokes onstage while delivering his jokes, sometimes punctuated with the occasional f*%*#@ words. D had introduced me to Ron White via the "Blue Collar Comedy Tour" which is an absolute riot to watch.
As I am typing this, I am watching the S'pore Idols Season 2 ... just to see the quality of our local potential singers.
I bought some more books at the Campus Crusade Bookstore to continue with my biblical/revelations/end of the world collection this afternoon. I love this genre particularly, it intrigues me and makes me think hard about what is to come.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"Here By Me" (By 3 Doors Down)

I hope you're doing fine out there without me 'Cos I'm not doing so good without you. The things I thought you'd never know about me Were the things I guess you always understood
So how could I have been so blind for all these years?
Guess I only see the truth though all this fear,
And living without you
And everything I have in this world
And all that I'll never be
It could all fall down around me.
Just as long as I have you,
Right here by me
I can't take another day without you
'Cos baby, I could never make it on my own
I've been waiting so long, just to hold you
And to be back in your arms where I belong
Sorry I can't always find the words to say
But everything I've ever known gets swept away
Inside of your love
Repeat Chorus
As the days grow long I see
That time is standing still for me
When you're not here
Sorry I can't always find the words to say
Everything I've ever known gets swept away
Inside of your love
Repeat Chorus
Maybe I should be listening to happier songs, sappy and sentimental ones aren't helping.
The song "Here By Me" by 3 Doors Down basically sums up my feelings right now. It's just one of those crappy days when the distance between D and I gets into me quite abit. It's a measly 2 weeks apart compared to the hideous 9 months separation we had in 2004.
D, I miz u lots.
And when I am in one of my pensive moods, I think a bit deeper for both of us, maybe slightly more for me.
I feel like I am neither here nor there when D isn't here besides me... it feels kinda odd that I am physically in this apartment called "home", but I somewhat feel I am not at home. It's a different feeling unlike our little den in HK which feels homely and cosy; the HK home has our love, care and attention. Whereas this one in S'pore... I feel like I am a guest, maybe even an intruder stepping back into a different life. Perhaps it's because this is more like my mother-in-law's domain; it's more like we are staying with her, and not the other way round. Afterall she has been staying here much longer than I have, and all its decor and the entire system of managing this place is done according to her way.
So maybe it's the sum of all things... I really don't know if I could return to such a life if D and I return to S'pore. It's good to know there is quite a big roof over our heads and we are fortunate that we have a domestic helper in S'pore 'cos of my D's mum. Frankly, I would give that all up, live in a smaller place and clean the place myself, as long as it's our personal space just for the 2 of us (and kids when they come along).

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Books & Silly Pens

I was at Borders and all books were going at 20% off the original prices. Bought 2 books (LOTR and Lynn Hill's Climbing Free) while I was there.
I was googling for a pic or link to Lynn Hill's Climbing Free book to show D via msn, and came across her blog (I have inserted it under "Bloggies Links"). I realised that I could have purchased her book via her website and she would have signed on the book and shipped it to me... DRATS. I have a postcard of her climbing on my table in school, and she is a real inspiration. Not that I will be like Lynn Hill, she is way advanced but it's good to know that there are female climbers out there who can do much better than lots of male climbers... yeah, it's my feminist side talking.
LOTR... loved the book and the movie. I remembered watching Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers on the big screen and decided to borrow the book from the library, read the entire book including Return Of The King before this final instalment was screened at the end of the following year. It's an amazing book, slow in the beginning but JRR Tolkien is a genius.
Before this, I had bought 2 other books from Kinokuniya. Both D and I miss the libraries and bookstores in S'pore, 'cos English books are both expensive and difficult to find in HK. We will usually buy about 10 bks each visit and ship them back to HK.

Earlier this week, I came across this pushcart store at Parco Bugis selling silly pens. I am still thinking whether to get the one with the middle finger and the other with the victory sign...

Back Home... Can Finally R&R

After taking 44 pupils out daily on outings and excursions for the whole of this week, it's good to finally take a breather from the stress of leading each field trip. The stress is not due to these pupils (who incidentally are wonderful bunch), but mainly because of my boss who came along each day.
A couple of places that I enjoyed during this outings/excursions week are the Kranji Memorial Park and the Laborador War Tunnels. It's funny how I never actually bothered to visit the Kranji Memorial Park, but only visited it when I am back from HK. It's a peaceful, solemn place that is so full of history and pain, but it is 'cos of what these youngsters did back in WWII that allowed S'pore to still be around. I am not sure how much of my pupils actually understood the significance of this place, but I hoped the experience and the exposure helped.
Another place that I enjoyed is the recently discovered Laborador War Tunnels. It is my first time in Laborador Nature Park, and I would be interested to go there again. The kids were a bit squeamish about the dark and narrow tunnels, but I think they did enjoy the historical experience.
For the past 3 days, I had been feeding myself with my favourite local hawker fare, Hokkien Prawn Mee, Mee Pok, BBQ Sambal Stingray, Oyster Omelette... Together with another colleague, we visited the newly opened Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre, the temporary Chinatown Hawker Centre near Outram MRT Station and Glutton Bay @ Esplanade.

Can't wait for D to come back next week, so that we can go and eat some more. Going to gym tomorrow, tennis and swim on tuesday to work it all out.

Monday, July 17, 2006

NE SHOW (National Day Parade Preview For Pupils)

Funny how life has it that I should watch my first NE Show with pupils from HK and as someone who is working and living overseas. Somehow in my years of teaching in S'pore, I wasn't required to attend the NE Show.
Together with 2 colleagues, we met at Kallang MRT Station earlier to walk to the National Stadium so that we will know the route well. Along the way, an army guy who was driving by stopped and asked me if we wanted a lift. I had to politely decline even though he was kinda cute, the car was kinda cool and we were all very hot.
When we were at the stadium, I asked a couple of cute army guys (from the Guard Unit) for directions to Gate 4. Once we reached there, I asked another Guard if he knew of an easier route to walk to the National Stadium from Kallang MRT, and he directed me to Captain Adrian Lim, who took down my number, gave me his namecard and told me he would check for me. Captain Lim had a pair of Oakley and looked quite stern and expressionless. While on our walk back to Kallang, I received a few text messages from him which were quite casual and friendly, totally opposite from my 1st impression.
After the show, while walking back to Kallang with the pupils, another Guard came up to me and asked if he could help me with some of the bags I was carrying. I felt tempted but declined again, and told him to help my other boss (the Principal's Assistant).
My colleagues began making fun of me of how guys are helping me (they forgot that they will benefit too) and reminded me I am still married. DUH...
Anyway, the NE show was quite impressive; the atmosphere is definitely different watching it live as compared to watching it on telly. My favourite is still the fireworks display, and I must say that this year's theme song is very nice... brings tears to my eyes 'cos the lyrics, although simple, are meaningful. I am giving it 4.5 out of 5 Popcorns.

Back Home for 3 Wks Of SHIP Work

In a way, it's good to be back, even though I am mostly back 'cos it's compulsory as I am involved in this year's SHIP, which stands for Singapore Holiday Immersion Programme. Well, it could stand for Singapore Holiday Immersion Trip, but I suppose, the acronym isn't too nice a word to be printed in the list of my current school's programme.
This year, there are 44 pupils (from Primary 1 to 6) whose parents have signed them up for SHIP. In short, the pupils will have a week's worth of outings to see the sights and get to know the culture. After that, they will be attached to various schools of their choice for 2 weeks. As for us teachers (5 of us together with the bosses, i.e. Principal & her assistant), we will be with them from for at least 8 hrs each day during the 1st week of outings and excursions (mind-zapping). During the next 2 weeks of school attachment, we will visit the pupils in their various schools to see how they are doing, talk to the teachers to find out if our pupils are adapting well etc.
I wish I am on some island, like Fiji or something, diving and zoning out on the white sandy beach.... sigh.
Together with 2 other colleagues, we did a lil' recce on Sunday, making sure the route from Suntec to Esplanade to the new National Library building is ok for my pupils tomorrow, and found it to be quite a refreshing walk. It's funny how being away from S'pore for awhile makes me miss S'pore and that everywhere seems to be so new and different, as if I am seeing the buildings and streets for the first time.
The basement in Raffles City has changed, many new shops and the former Jason's supermarket has reduced in size, and I am so happy to see a Gloria Jean's Coffee outlet there... yeah, that's going to be my new haunt.
We went up to the Roof Terrace at the Esplanade (it's my 1st time) and found the view to be quite nice. We stayed there for a very short while, and had to seek refuge in the cool aircon comfort of the Esplanade building.
The new National Library at Bras Brasah is very impressive, about 14 storeys in all, and we kept riding up the escalators looking for the Children's section. We were on the 8th floor when we found out that the borrowing section for adults and children is at Basement 1 (the other floors are the various reference sections and one for the Drama Centre). I came across this Possibility Room and found out later that there is an Imagination Room somewhere too... gee, kind of an oxymoron, cos possibilities and imagination are going to be quite tough to be kept within the boundaries of walls.
Anyway, keeping my fingers crossed that the pupils will enjoy themselves, especially the 2 bosses.
D is still in HK and will not join me in S'pore till the 28th Jul. It's going to be a long 2 weeks without him, but duty calls.