Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Run like the wind

It's already Wednesday and my thighs are still aching from our location run on Sunday. My dreams of recuperating during tomorrow's public holiday were shattered when my best friend coaxed me to join her for a morning run at MacRitchie Reservoir tomorrow morning. I guess that's what Labour Day is all about.

Here are some photos of us labouring away during our Sunday run at KentRidge Park and HortPark.

Look at these fit young men in action!

That's me, in red top and black shorts, trailing behind.

I heard this couple took part in the Paris Marathon recently and finished with good timings. It's nice when couples share the same interests.

This is Safra Club's photographer. His job is to race ahead of the runners to capture the best shots.

At one stage, the guy on the right (red top) asked me how I was coping when he saw me panting very hard. Well, what can I say? These are seasoned runners who train 5x a week!

That's me, struggling up the steps.

My running buddies. From left, Bai Yun, me, my aunt Rosemary, Linda, Mei Nu and Eileen.

See the guy on the right? When we were doing the tough climb at KentRidge Park, I was the last one in the group. I couldn't help but notice that this guy was keeping pace with me. Thinking that he was struggling like me, I asked him, "Do you run very often?" He said, "Ok lah, 5 times a week."
OMG! Then I realised that his job was to ensure that I would not lose the group. He was my guide. I probably ruined his training that day!

A group photo at Kent Ridge Park. It was a gathering of about 50 runners from the Safra Mt Faber, Tampines, Yishun and Toa Payoh running club.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Retail therapy

After the lousy phone call this morning, I found my mind wandering, which is a good thing because it suddenly dawned on me that I haven't bought anything for mom's birthday. And then, in the next second, I thought of the leg massager!

Mom has been experiencing leg cramps lately and has gone for massage several times. She says it helps to alleviate the pain. Now why didn't I think of getting the massager earlier?

Well, better late than never right? So, I got one at the mall on my way home. It's the perfect birthday cum mother's day gift.

Besides, after the retail therapy, I feel much better already.

Tell me what's in the box!

Oh, so that's what it is...

And, this is how it works.


It's a fine morning. I'm all blissed out in my sanctuary when my mobile phone rang. It's a private number. I picked up the phone to hear a woman's voice booming across...

Loud Lady: Hello, is this XX XX Pte Ltd?

Blur Ting: Yes, it is.

LL: Is your address 109 XX XX Road?

BT: Yes, but where are you calling from?

LL: I'm from an events company and we're updating our database. What's your postal code?


LL: What's your fax number?


LL: Is XXXXXX your phone number?

BT: It's our old number.

LL: But you answered the call when I called that number?

BT: Because it is diverted to my mobile phone.

LL: Can I have your new office phone number?


LL: What's your company's website and email address?

BT (starting to get pissed off) : Tell me again, where are you from?

LL: We're an events company updating our database. Next time we can inform you if there are related events.

BT (why should I give you all these info if you're only going to innundate me with emails later): Sorry, we don't have any.

LL: Are you an international company?

BT: What do you mean?

LL: Are you an MNC or a local company?

BT (feeling the heat rising up my face): We're a local company but tell me again why are you asking all these info?

LL: We're updating our database. Who is the managing director of the company?

BT: It's XXX.

LL: What's the full name? It's a Mr or Miss. Are you the M.D?

BT: Just use the initials T.T.

LL: P.P? How many employees in your company?

BT (boiling already): Look, it's T for Thailand! Are you from a government agency investigating our company? (in my sarcastic tone)

LL: We're updating our database.

BT: Look, I am really not happy that you're asking so many questions out of a random phone call.

LL: We're updating our database and if you think that way, it's ok.

Then she hung up.

Was I over-reacting? I mean she didn't want to tell me which company she is from and she kept on bulldozing and mining for information like there's no tomorrow.

This is too draining for me on a Tuesday morning. ROOOAAAR!

Title is title

Hello all! This is blur's son...YK....blogging today because of a request from waterlearner. Its been awhile since i last done this. Hmm... nothing much to talk about...so yah. PICTURES ^^. Here are some things in my room.

This is my laptop, wireless keyboard and mouse.

My rack full of shoes and my school bags at the top.

These are my clothes. Very little compared to my mom.

Don't ask...extremely cute but also extremely useless. BTW its a stuffed toy =)

Extremely cute and extremely useful.... go figure

MY LAVA LAMP(s). This picture features it with the lights turned off

This is....on..

A beaker and a few test tubes. Never know when you're gonna need it =)

As im typing, im under watchful scrutiny of my mom. "make it more interesting!" or "dont spoil my reputation"

Hope you like the stuff in my room =). My mom hates everything here except the dog. She finds everything here useless except the dog and the computer. Personally, i love the lava lamps. i stared at it for 2 hours straight then finally went to sleep. =)
Going to sleep now, have a long day in school tomorrow. See you soon! byes

Sunday, 27 April 2008

My sanctuary

Since SK finished school early today, I decided to bring him to his favourite Thai restaurant for lunch. Needless to say, he ordered his all-time favourite - soft shell crab with curry sauce and rice. I wouldn't say that's the best thing to eat on a scorching day like this...

So I got him an ice-blended mango smoothie. It's way too hot for me to eat a full meal on an afternoon like this, so I ordered coconut ice cream with soft mushy red bean paste drenched in coconut cream. It was so cool and refreshing, I can eat this for breakfast and dinner too. Yummy!

We hurried back to my sanctuary after lunch. In case you're wondering where my secret hideout is...
The office is my sanctuary.

I love my office. It's where I find peace, quiet and sanity. It's not that I don't love being at home, but I feel so at home when I'm at the office.

Here is where I actually start my day. I have my morning cuppa and my breakfast, write my blog, read the papers and visit my favourite blogs.

Here is also where I make my living. Though I work at home on most afternoons, I prefer working in the quiet confines of my bright and cool office. Unlike at home, there are no distractions like dogs barking, internet disconnection, bad cell phone reception and so forth.

The office is also where my kids spend some quiet afternoons, revising math with the tutor or doing homework under my watchful eyes.

On some weekends, I even spend a couple of hours here after dropping the kids in town. It's the ideal place for me to hang out while waiting for them to finish their outing.
I sound like I don't have a life outside of the office but gee, looking at the intense heat rising off the tarmac, I'm so glad to be in my little sanctuary.

Scorching Sunday

Yesterday must be one of the hottest Sundays this year. Maybe I was out in the sun all day but boy, it was burning hot! I normally love the sun but I was nursing a headache and busy going about, you can imagine I wasn't the sunniest person on earth.

I woke up early at 5.30am to join the Mount Faber Running Club for a 15-km run at HortPark & Kent Ridge Park. I must say it was one of my most scenic runs though it was hardly an easy one. We made several rounds through the 23 hectare HortPark featuring 20 theme gardens and lush greenery.

The Mount Faber runners are well known for training in hilly terrains, so we were brought through the undulating roads, from Mount Faber, through Depot Road, inside HortPark, up and down the slopes of Kent Ridge Park before making our way back to Safra at Mt Faber again. The 2-hour run felt like forever! I was drenched in sweat and parched.

I got home, took a quick shower and sent SK for tuition. From the tutor's house, I decided to walk to the mall. It was a mistake of course. I had chosen the hottest time of the day to walk along the hot pavement in the wrong shoes. My feet were hurting so much by the time I got to the mall but the air-con provided some cool relief.

After an hour of cool comfort, I was foolish enough to make that 30-minute walk back to the tutor's house again. Armed with a tall Hokkaido ice cream cone (my favourite green tea and red bean flavour), I stepped out of the mall and walked briskly with the sun beating down mercilessly on my back and sticky green ice cream dripping down my arm.

I stopped to admire the highway while walking across the flyover overlooking the Pan Island Expressway.

Mostly, I walked along the park connector. As you can see, there was little shade at this time of the day.

Finally, what a joy to see some trees and the tutor's apartment building!

Happy birthday, girls!

Yesterday, we had two birthday celebrations at home. My littlest niece Ling turns 1 next week while my oldest niece Qi will be 11. They grow up so quickly!

It didn't seem that long ago when Qi was learning to crawl and walk like her baby cousin, Ling. At 11, she is now a lanky girl who's almost as tall as I am. Blessed with long slender legs, she's growing up into a pretty young lady!

Happy birthday to my sweet nieces!

Minnie Mouse cake for little Ling.

The attention's not on Ting today.

Happy family.

A yummy chocolate cake for Qi.

Blowing the candles after making her birthday wish. What's your wish Qi?

Finally, the spotlight's on her!

Friday, 25 April 2008

Birthday treat at Sunset Grill

CH gave YK a birthday treat at Sunset Grill last night. Even though it is tucked away deep inside Seletar Airbase, the rustic eating place was filled with people yesterday. We've been there several times, thinking that it won't be long before it disappears from the surface of this earth.

Well, you see, Sunset Grill is sitting on precious space that is slated for redevelopment into an aerospace hub. Everything that's old and 'kampong' would have to be demolished and replaced by shiny new buildings. It's happening everywhere in Singapore. The Canadian owner Jerry has said that he would operate till end 2008, so everyone's there for a last bite in the rustic ambience.

We got lucky last night because we managed to see a couple of private planes taking off before our eyes as we tucked into their famous buffalo wings which come in 10 levels of hotness. How hot was ours? See below.

We drove across the island to Vivovity after dinner which was still packed with shoppers at almost 9pm. Now I know where everyone flocks to at night when I'm preparing to go to bed. Gee, I'm really missing out! We shopped for a bit and ate ice cream at Ben & Jerry's before calling it a night.

Reading about Brainac Nights gave CH a clue to what YK likes. He got him this present.

YK has a soft spot for clam chowder soup. The one served here is really nice, with chunks of clams in the flavourful soup.

Another signature dish - fresh button mushroom deepfried in beer batter. It never fails to please.

Buffalo wings - only level 2 but already hot enough to scorch the tongue.

CH had striploin steak. He hardly orders steak, especially served rare. He must be feeling anemic yesterday.

I ordered the pork ribs which nobody wanted to share with me. Too much meat in one night.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Happy birthday YK

Today, YK's 16th birthday will go by without much fanfare. In fact, he's sitting for his English paper as I write.

He doesn't like making a big deal out of his birthday anyway. Of course, he couldn't protest when he was younger but now he insists on keeping it simple. I still remember sending a huge Mickey Mouse-shaped birthday cake to his daycare centre when he turned two. All the little kids crowded around, excited to see a cake as tall as the birthday boy. I still have a picture of YK, smiling shyly as he cut the cake using a plastic knife.

Well, he has certainly outgrown all his favourite cartoon characters now. Today, he's an independent young man who towers over me.

Like a true-blue Taurus, he can be stubborn and likes to do things his own way, which can turn out nicely because he's artistic and meticulous. He's also articulate and can seem very opinionated, I find it hard to out-talk him these days. Thankfully, he has a good compassionate heart and listens to my opinions and advice.

I can already see a typical Taurus trait in him, that is, a penchant for the finer things in life. It's a relief to know that he is willing to put in the hard work to earn these indulgences. And being such a generous person, he never fails to share his goodies.

He has always been an inquisitive child who has honed his keen observation skills from a young age. From his ability to identify species of insects and caterpillars, he is also quick to spot if a person's face is symmetrical or the eyes are too close together. These days, he focuses more on observing his teacher's fashion sense or the lack of it.

He is at this age where he wants to look his best. His teacher didn't approve of his fashionable haircut last week, so, back at the salon yesterday, the hairdresser said, "You again? What does your mother have to say about this?"

Well, what can I say? I was a teenager once.

To my dearest son , I'll say "Happy Birthday! I will always love you and I'm so proud to be your mom!"

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

What's the catch?

Yesterday evening, I heard my phone ringing when I was in the loo. I rushed out and ran to my room to take that call. Who knows, it could be a really important call.

"Hello, are you Madam XX XX XX?"

I really don't like calls like this. It can only mean one thing. So, I replied very reluctantly, "Yah..."

"Have you received the $1,000 shopping voucher?" the girl on the other line chirped merrily.

When I quizzed her "What voucher?", it gave her just the right opportunity to launch into her 5-minute spiel without catching her breath.

"Remember my colleague called you recently? You did a survey? Now you're one of the lucky few selected by our company to receive a $1,000 shopping voucher. You can buy make-up, electronic goods.... and there's another set of $500 voucher coming and..... yadi yadi yadi... this is NOT a timeshare!"

Now, I have heard marketing talk like this a million times. Knowing how tough a cold-caller's job is, I used to answer their questionaire thinking that I was doing these folks a favour, thinking they'll get $5 for every questionaire completed. It doesn't work this way anymore.

If you are kind and understanding, they will file you under the 'gullible and easy' list and get their eloquent representatives to call back to 'close the deal'. Hah, I have heard the "You're the lucky winner of..." too many times! Sometimes I even get lucky several times in an hour.

I would really like to humour them but 9 out of 10 times, the calls come when I'm driving through heavy traffic, lugging 10 heavy bags of grocery, dashing to my car in the pouring rain, in the shower or taking a nap.

Anyway, I've lived long enough to know there's no free lunch in this world. So if I'm in a good mood, I ask, "What's the catch?" but mostly I just say, "Sorry, I'm not interested." and quickly end the call.

I still think cold-calling is a really tough job.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Brainiac nights

Tuesday night is Brainiac night. It's the kids' favourite night but my most dreaded one.

For the clueless, Brainiac: Science Abuse is a British entertainment TV show with a Pseudoscience motif. Numerous experiments are carried out in each show, often looking into whether common conceptions are true. The presenters perform experiments using chemicals, metal alkalis and thermite, things that the kids learn in school.

The show centralises along the three main cores of "science" including chemistry, physics and to a lesser extent, biology. People who examine and test the experiments on the show are referred to as "Brainiacs", and each episode would finish with the blowing up of a caravan.

Why am I so fearful of Tuesday night? Well, the boys like me to stay up to watch the show which they waited all week for. Of course, I must watch the highlight at the end when the Brainiacs blow up a caravan. I must admit the explosion is very impressive because you're treated to a very colourful display of light and colours, depending on what explosives are used.

Last night, YK insisted that I mustn't miss the last show in the series. "Please stay up and watch it as my birthday present ok?"

Can I say no to the birthday boy? At 9.30pm, I was struggling to keep my eyes open as I laid under the covers. YK called out, "You're not sleeping are you?"

"Of course not! I'm only preparing myself for Brainiac at 10pm remember?"

So, I dozed off a little and when the show came on, both of them sat on my bed, keeping their eyes peeled on the gogglebox. Soon they were laughing at the wacky experiments involving Brainiacs being electrified or Celebs on Helium. My eyelids were getting heavier by the second.

One of their favourite segments is Domestic Disasters, where the Brainiacs put plastic explosives in a toaster, nitroglycerin in a spin dryer, Potassium in a washing machine, metal objects in a microwave oven or a fire extinguisher in an oven. There's always some kind of explosion going on.

YK will check on me from time to time, ensuring that I am learning as much as they are from the show. My eyelids kept fluttering throughout the show as I tried to stay awake. Honestly, nothing really went into my brain.

I must say Brainiac is highly entertaining and educational but I have one request. Will Mediacorp please don't show the programme at such an ungodly hour? We have to wake up at 5am the next day you know!

Monday, 21 April 2008


Last night, I had a baffling dream. I had to leave for a business trip in Paris and I was not the slightest bit prepared. Just as I was about to start packing, I had a tummyache and spent an hour in the toilet. The plane was about to take off and I was still at home, looking for my passport and wondering what I should pack. I was frantic.

Fast forward... I was at the airport but I wasn't allowed to board without my boarding pass. I was upset. Why wasn't I given one at the check-in counter? Then I woke up with a start.

I often wonder why our dreams leave us bewildered and panic striken. For years, I dreamt of exams and how I would sit there sweating because I was so ill-prepared. Sometimes I even forgot my schoolbag or school attire. It could even be something outrageous like going to school without clothes.

Many people, including Sigmund Freud, have studied about dreams and given lengthly explanations and interpretations.

I, for one, never bother to analyse my dreams. I think dreams are simply a manisfestation of what we have seen, experienced or thought of during our daily lives.

Dreams can be meaningful or meaningless. Some people have recurring dreams. Others enjoy dreaming so much their dreams can continue night after night like a story.

If I were to read my dream correctly, it's time I go on a vacation. Plus, I shouldn't eat too much or I'll end up with a tummyache.

What are you dreaming about my friends?

Caught red handed

Nobody's around? Oh goodie!

I know there's candy in the fridge.
What are you doing, Ting??"

Darn, why do I always get caught!

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Active Sunday

After my 2.5-hour walk-run-climb routine at Bukit Timah this morning, I am satisfied that I have finally burnt every drop of alcohol I had imbibed and morsel of food indulged over the last 2 days.

I've come to realise that climbing hills is a lot tougher than running in the park. I'm impatient and like to scramble up the hill quickly, stressing my heart in the process. By the time I reach the summit, I would be huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf.

Enroute to the top, I came across this fit looking mom with her reluctant little girl in tow. "Come on. We're almost at the summit", she said.

I overtook them and made my way up quickly. On my way down, I come across them again. This time, her daughter was standing in the middle of the trail, howling her heart out. But mommy wasn't moved. "Stop crying. Start climbing!" The little girl refused to budge. She was still there crying some 15 minutes later, when I went by them again for the second time.

Her mom must be trying to toughen her up, hoping that her daughter would grow up looking like her. Even for a seasoned climber, I find the ascend in the humid forest rather strenuous. It must be punishing for a 3 year old girl. Oh well, it's none of my business.

On hindsight, it's not right to allow a little girl to pollute a tranquil rainforest with her incessant crying.

City stroll

We began our weekend by going for a morning stroll in the city.

We stumbled upon these hand-painted horses outside Raffles City. The custom-made horses were specially commissioned by the Singapore Turf Club to kick-start this year’s Singapore International Racing Festival, Singapore’s biggest racing extravaganza of the year.

The eclectic neo-Classical Capitol Building.

The Anglican Saint Andrew's Cathedral is reputedly our country's largest cathedral. Our tallest hotel, Swissotel The Stamford, is on the left.

The Parliament House of Singapore, designed to represent a contemporary architectural expression of stateliness and authority.

View through the bridge.

The colourful Boat Quay, with its eclectic mix of restaurants and alfresco dining and lively bars and pubs, is arguably the favourite place to “chill out” for most professionals and expatriates.

Our new Supreme Court building showcases an abundance of glass in the atriums, skylights and lift shafts, signifying the ideal of transparency in the law.
Our beautiful old Singapore Supreme Court building features Corinthian columns, classical design, and spacious interiors featuring murals by the Italian artist, Cavalieri Rodolfo Nolli. The building consists of four blocks surrounding a central courtyard which houses the circular law library with its significant dome and traveltine columns supporting two balconies on two levels.

A peek at the old and the new.

It is a Boat, a Bus, a DUCK! It is the 1st and only amphibious theme tour attraction in Asia. DUCKtours offers a combined City and Harbour tour without the hassle of switching craft.
There it goes....waddling away for a splashing good time!