Friday, March 31, 2006

The Toll on Our Pockets

31st March 2006, Friday

The final day of March as well as the final day of the work week..
Later in the evening, I would be joining my ex-colleagues, "The 3 Witches" for dinner, expecting that'll be a whining session about anything under the sun...perhaps it would be a suitable channel for me to vent my recently-acquired edginess...

As I had mentioned at the start of March that it would be a wonderful month to savour..it indeed was with my marriage solemnization taking the precedence, the visit of Eriko & Souu, the smooth renovation blueprint and price negotitation/ budgetting as well as the PROGRESS package coming to our doorsteps...
However I also did highlight the hoodoo looming within the household recently including petty tiffs, emotional topsy turvy, many of us plagued by illness, toothaches, injuries etc.
Therefore it seems that this month has really been a roller coaster ride for my mood...just 2 days ago I was feeling chirpy, but just 48 hours later, I'm suffering from a bout of edginess...

Money is the root of my douldrum as of late...

Sure extra cash are on the way in the form of the PROGRESS package as well as my performance bonus, but the thought of all the money had been allocated for certain uses and I am down to virtually cents to fall back on, I just don't like that feeling...
In addition, the cost of my wedding is escalating which I had been hoping for a plug to halt the upward movements...
My wife has been wonderful enough to shoulder that financial burden with me but I am dire concerned about her own expenses and savings as well...

My credit card bill statement was delivered and I had to foot a grand total of 4k + for my massive amount of expenditures in late February till mid March...bulk of it was constituted by the Smasung LCD TV (1.7k), the 2nd payment for the wedding package from Z D'sign (1.8k) as well as the banquet tasting session cum post-solemnization celebration ($200+++). in addition some unsuspecting additions such as protectors for my iPod from Apple Center, lunch bill for Farhana's final day and even spending at La Tendo...
Although the main bulk had been etched within my wedding budget and around 2.7K was to be contributed by my spouse, I am currently still not so well endowed with ready cash in my bank account to pay that lump sum as I would not want to see the amount I had amassed painfully over the years been decimated just by a credit card bill..
My lass called saying she had just paid for the pair of water purification units she had intended to bring into the household, thus a bit tight herself before she departed to Italy for her work stint; therefore she could only pass me a mere 1K from her share.
This means I will need to cough out that remaining 3K plus myself...
So please god let my performance bonus be hefty enough to buffer that amount...

Seriously both my parents and myself had lamented over the fact that my lass had been to "generous" with her spending on the water purification units each costing around 1.3K!!
I don't know..but I feel she could just do with one as my family hasn't been so health conscious to begin with; or at least wait for sometime when her bank account has recovered from that impact of expenditures for the rest of the wedding package...
Regardless of what I put here, she must had planned beforehand to commit to that purchase rather than been a mere impulse which I fear for...
Her spending habits should be examined under the microscope and be corrected as substantial savings are important for the happiness of our future...

I wished I would be earning a bit more than I am now, so that I would never worry about whether we have enough "okane" to spend and satisfy every aspects of our lives and even help out my family as of yesterday my sister was hit in a 2nd toothache in as many weeks.
It was a pre-molar and she felt an extraction would make here look hideous when smiling...thus she hopes for a "re-rooting" of the tooth which can cost up to a few hundreds to a thousand or so...
My parents as well as her beau are of no financial capacity to assist her and she herself had been tied down by her Egyptian trip...
I would loan her the money if I could but seriously I can't....

Money issues aside, I had been frowning upon the late nights my lass had been indulging lately...
She is back to actively mingling into her side line which was why she seems to scour for prospective clients whenever she is free as well as attending meetings on Monday and Wednesday till close to 11pm despite work beckons the next morning...
I felt it would take a toll on her physical condition and also I might not see her over weekends with 2 weeks left before she flies off to Italy...
That is getting a bit into me for sure, perhaps I am having too small a soial circle to make up for her absence soon...

Surely it is not a desirable end to a rather long week for me...mood wise...
Japanese word of the day: 相違 (Difference) That has been a stark difference in my mood lately...the swing can be quite perilous to some extent

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Saving Energy Cost

30th March 2006, Thursday

JxMMy's back, the equipments slowly get to full strength and a significantly increased in service amount...your typical Thursday which I just want to pass soon, so that Friday could creep in soon...

Last evening just I stepped into my house my mom suddenly went ballistic with a few issues...
Firstly my dad finally got his notification letter for the "PROGRESS Package" and it seems like he was thrilled to be receiving the same amount as Mom and she started bugging me to explain to them the whole allocation of the package such as what could be redeemed and what would be going into the CPF... which I had seemed to told her 2 days back...
Not that I am unwilling to entertain to her request, but I just stepped into the house and I believe they would ask me a few times more before the actual redemption of the kitty cash...
Noticing my worn out expression, Mom said she'll ask me again later but she never did for later the evening....

Then down to the volatile point when she enquired on whether my CPU been newer than the old Dell one, might had consumed so much electricity which resulted in the consistent escalation of our utilities bill for the past few months and peaked at all time high at $180 on electrical usage alone...
Not been a computer engineer or engineer of any sort, I told her I would also like to know whether the new CPU actually requires much more voltage to run or something...
However I did admit that my downloading rate had increased a whole yard for the past fornight due to some huge files for Japanese dorama...I had been trying to cut down from this week onwards which was aided by the fact that some anime series I had been following had ended their runs...
Nevertheless the stark hike in the bill surely had incensed my parents whom had been footing the bill and the prospect of me taking over the monthly payment by next year, I think I should try to curb my usage of PC to maintain a reasonable sum, especially with the fuel price still continue to rise and I would envision yet another annoucement from Power Supply to up their rate.
Think my mom picked a wrong time to question about this issue as she started to berate me for putting up an aloof attitude to answer here...
This led me to explode by claiming I didn't know how to react to appease her...

Trust me this is a rare monent when we got into a trivial tussle but my mother could be quite opiniated..
Anyway all was lost and forgotten after dinner...

But it would be definitely an issue to ponder about as the household would have a new addition, electricity usage would definitely increase as well, so I better reduce my online activities and perhaps give my PC much more rest in the future...
Japanese word of the day: 電気 ~Den-ki~(Electricity) Think of installing a solar plate or a water wheel somewhere outside my house to explore other electrical options.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Calling the Shots for this Midweek

29th March 2006, Wednesday

JxMMy sent a string of sms which I believed would be a single composition on his handphone stating that he would be taking emergency leave and just a run through of what to be done... I believe his missus' health should be the cause once more...or perhaps they had too wild a time last evening which I just wouldn't want to delve further....

Basically the same old stuff for today except a couple of equipment still out of service and a usual group from NUH sent more plates to be processed...

I had to miss my gym session so as to help out "Lei" from the SeBan's lab to come draft a script for the "white elephant" robot to carry out a simple process which I still believe would be much faster and hassle free if done manually...but then SeBan would wanna utilise his "investment" to the maximum..kind of a year too late.
Usually it is JxMMy's forte to be at their beck and call to accomplish such mind-boggling tasks ..then again being 秋田二 (the protaganist of Kindaichi, 金田一) he actually strives for such tasks...
I myself had a hand on creating some programs for the girls which was abadoned before it was put into usage months back, so I thought I would be up for the task which I did for a good 2 hours before lunch...
Just wanna get it done so that afternoon can shake leg and do something for my webpage, rather than have the unrelenting Lei comes bugging us for it to be done...

So basically calling the shot at work for today despite sacrificing some fundamental activity of mine...

Just a quick note that I had actually starting to lose weight since I instill discipline to do regular work outs...on the balance wise, I think the most I had only reduced 5 kgs since December which could be down to my dietting habit yet to be curbed.
But from the way my wedding band (which fitted nicely when we bought it back in December) and my "25 hours" wrist-watch been dangling loosely, it was blatant that my arms had been rid of suffice flesh to hold my ornaments in place...
i believed my tummy has been starting to trim off and my face more chiselled... So it should be a good sign as I could actually start to look as good as my BMT days...smart enough for a wedding when all the attention won't be focused on the bride...man...I'm such a attention-seeking slut!
Japanese word of the day: 細い(Slim) Will the Real Slim Ke-i please stand up..please stand up..please stand up?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Something to Cheer About

28th March 2006, Tuesday

A few issues to find solace about this overcast Tuesday afternoon at work...
First of all, I had not to worry about knocking off early for a RT session in the evening as mine has come to a completion last week; which sanction me to hit the gym on Tuesday...
Now high on endorphin after a satisfying run and feeling my homeostasis in tune to keep me warm enough to survive the chilly lab, I actually had some housekeeping chores to keep me occupy for like the earlier part of the latter half of the day.
I am back to talking terms with Bobby; not that we had a tussle or something but last week was really an unknown silence kept among us.
Even JxMMy doesn't look as detestful today...that's truthful from me....


As mentioned before with the General Election looming, our Prime Minister who is also the Finance Minister had promised to share the government financial surplus to every Singapore citizen, known as the Progress Package which can be redeemed in a few days time with the money been actually deposited in our bank accounts on the 1st of May.
I know whistle-blowers would scrutinise such an act as a way to win favours from the people to vote for them in the elections, but I definitely appreciate our political scene here, at least it is not as much as in a turmoil as experienced in Philippines and Thailand recently.
The letters of notification was duly delivered to our household with the exception of Dad.
I had been expecting a sum of $500 which should be able to help me tide through some financial ramifications but in the end I was actually awarded $700..woohoo... but as mentioned before the money had already been spent on my iPod...heehee
Well at least the entire cost of the gadget has been covered without the need to seek for top-up from elsewhere.
My mom received up to 1.8K of package from which only around 1.2K is redeemable but to her it felt like "god send" or "lottery struck".
As for my sister, it sure is a great injection of funds for her Egyptian escapade...
Left my old man, bemoaning his late delivery of notification letter...well with days to go before the actual redeem can be processed, I'm sure it would arrive sooner or later.

The whole government bonus thingie reminded me to lock into my IRA income tax submission for the annual tax filing...
Last previous year I am using the fact that Dad is not recieving/submitting a consistent CPF contributuion over the past year, thus allow me to claim for his unemployment status.
That was enough to decimate my income tax payable to almost nothing last year which i am hoping will be replicated despite the fact that his annoying boss actually did submit CPF for him since December last year, much to his rebuttal since it does not serve any purpose now that he need not apply new flat or anything.

While chatting about this Progress Package with Bobby just a while back, he mentioned he is recieving $900. The difference between us would be the fact that he is currently residing in a 3-room flat, which very much explains why he is so resolved to earn a lot of money as his family might not be so financially-endowed.

Iwate Allegiance

Got e-mails from both Eriko & Souu (correct spelling) to inform us that they had arrived safe and sound back to Iwate and was filled with gratittude for making their virgin trip to Singapore so fun and enriching.
They are already itching over the fact to reciprocate the favor when we go back to Iwate, most probably autumn of 2007.
It is always good to establish such strong friendship especially with Japanese and let's hope they have lobangs for Hokkaido.

Much-awaited Figurines

Was well-heartened from a SMS from Tay-chan regarding a set of trading figurines I had badly wanted as their original stock from a local distributor had been cut, but the Japanese side has confirmed sending a carton of so by today, meaning it would arrive this weekend...
This set is actually Part 3 of a series of characters based on a action RPG game known as "Shin Megami Tensei".
I already had the 1st 2 parts within my collections and Part 3 which was released 3 months back seemed to be the best of the lot and Part 4 is actually been scheduled for July release, meaning it would be blasphemous not to get this joining part...
After the fact that their stock was not coming had been acknowledged, I sought their help to get it during their Wonder Festival tour in February but was utterly disappointed when they got everything else on my wishlist except the number 1 item.
Desperate times called for desperate measures... I sought the only shop selling this but by then their stocks had much dwindled and left a few loose pieces...
I enlisted the help of my buddy in Osaka but to no avail for a while...
I even tried resorting to buy off from online auctions from Taiwan and Hong Kong this morning which would always be a risk as well as inflated price (due to postage) till Tay-chan brought in this piece of good news....

Therefore it would be a weekend to be well look forward to as without financial burden for the first time in ages, I would be be free to splurge (though everything still within my listed budget) on more figurines (which I am now adamant to address my collection rather than merely toys) as I envisioned an entire list of wanted items should be on their way with recent releases.
Then I could indulge in more Japanese dorama watching with my wife, with "Stand up!" this time round on the platter in which I had caught glimpses on "YouTube" which can be entertaining despite been really cheesy.
I might even get back some money which was overdued to be return as well...so Saturday please come in fast and furious...

Japanese word of the day: 陽気~you-ki~ (Cheerful) Let me just indulge in this cheerful moment...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Luxurious Sanitary

27th March 2006, Monday

The dry spell we are experiencing here came to a grateful end as it was pouring in the morning which is why you couldn't fault for snuggling in under my blankie, trying to decieve myself that it is still Sunday...

Another wonderful weekend spent with my lass and more progress on our renovation project... This time round we managed to patronize the store at Chong Pang with a well-apt array of sanitary amenities such as shower heads, water heaters, sink/basin set, bathroom mirrors, toilet bowls etc.

We made the stop-over on Saturday evening which was a wise choice as Sunday is a rest day for them as originally my parents had thought of making the trip only on Sunday morning.
My lass was slightly late from work and after my fruitless trip to La Tendo when I also missed the Samsung collection center by mere minutes to redeem my portable hard disk, we rendenzvous at the store as she took a cab directly from work while Dad who borrowed a truck from work for the Qing Ming tomb sweeping session in the unearthly hours of Sunday, saved us a long walk from our place.

We were served by this out-spoken lady boss who ruled the shop with an iron fist with her henpecked hubby at her beck and call.
It seems an ordeal task to squirm our way through for a bargain though she did try to entertain us as much as she could.
After looking around, we basically fix on a nice light frosted white color embedded bowl sink comes complete with the tap, drainage system and whatever she claimed usually doesn't come included.
There is also the cool multi-purpose face mirror with elegant glass shelvings for us to hold any toiletries.
Both already accounted to close to $600 at this point.

Dad also offered to buy a new towel holder and we got those kind of foldable type which can reduce space if you need not use all four bars available.
We had intended to get a fixed overhead shower head which should endow us with real massaging capability at the luxury of our home; preferably comes with a smaller one which we could hold..And such a set doesn't sounds cheap...
Then came the crux of the question, are we using the right kind of water heater?
Obviously we would need to install a drum-type water heater to provide suffice amount of water to support the shower head, so we were stumbled before we could actually progress on choosing the one we wanted.
In the renovation plan, we had left it to the renovator to acquire the water heater unit and installation as well; but the lady boss enlighten us with the fact that the renovators, in order to maximise their profits would not choose a high end heater which is a truth we conceded.
Thus she suggested we buy one on our own with enough water spraying capability which had customers raving about.
So in the end her sales tactics work as we settled for a Joven heater with a golden chassis and a knob for easy switch on, comes complete with shower head, holder and even a soap dish.
Thus we could scrimp a bit off the reno price while not needing to purchase a seperate showe head.

Then I was pretty dumbfounded when come to paying for all the stuff we had put in our shopping list.
My wife and I had always been under the impression that Dad would be shouldering the entire cost of the renovation of the toilet including the mirror and the sink thus not planning any budget for the sanitary aspect of our renovation.
Apparently it didn't seems to work that way as we are supposed to foot that $600 for the sink and mirror which I wasn't too pleased about for such last minute injection of money we needed to pay which was not featured in my budget list.
Nevertheless both of us felt that my Dad has paid enough for our wedding thingie...Now just had to find means to channel some money for this sanitation luxury we had embarked on.

Back home Mom was quite taken aback by the high cost of the sink and lamented over the fact that I had to better take care of the nice amenities by curbing my poor sanitation practises (such as spilling of excessive talcum powder all over and spitting toothpaste on the mirror)
Meanwhile Sis who had just returned from the NATAS travel fair at Suntec came back gleeful with the prospect of seeing one of the 7 wonders of the world, the Pyramid of Egypt as they would hit Cairo and its desert charms for a graduation trip scheduled in May.

For the entire weekend, starting on Saturday evening my lass and myself had try to finish watching the New Year special from TBS, "Satomi no Hakkenden (里見八犬伝)", a legendary tale of 8 dog warriors coming to the aid of an ailing country cursed by a spider demoness.
It had a stellar cast including the likes of Takizawa Hideaki (man 2005 was a year of period dorama for him after "Yoshitsune"), Satou Ryouta (the frizzy-haired loser from "Pride"), Yamada Yuu (famous model I quite like) and Manabu Oshio (from LIV and acted in "Double") as some of the dog warriors.
Then there are the lasses like Nakama Yukie & Ayase Haruka, both as princesses from Satomi, Kanno Miho (alleged girlfriend of Goro from SMAP) as the evil Tamazuse as well as Tomosaka Rie (from the original Kindaicihi series with Dohmoto Tsuyoshi) as a love interest of one of the dog warriors.
Of course the line up of well-known method actors are impressive as well including Izumi Pinko (Oshin), Takeda Tetsuya (101 Proposal), Jinnai Takanori (Nemureru Mori, Hito ni Yashashiku) etc.
Beside the eye-candy cast, intriguing storyline & high-end CG effects, there are no shortage of beautiful backdrops taken from some of the most attractive nature spots in Japan which left both os us gaga.
Despite it took us a day plus to finish the 2 episodes, each around 2 hours long, in the end we were wholly entertained.

On Sunday, my lass went to meet up a couple of close friends she had enlisted as her "sisters" for the wedding while I spent time catching up with friends via the MSN messenger.
Actually chatted with my buddy in Osaka on Saturday evening as he once again probed about the escalating cost of getting a wedding done locally.
Then Cheryl who had seen the photos I had uploaded in the previous post had a chat about changing jobs once again...well hope you would sound much more positive the next time, especially with your Japan trip drawing nearer and nearer.

My parents went on rampant discarding of unwanted stuff in my household, in preparation for the major shift in May/June and managed to sell away my old Dell PC CPU and monitor to a recycling franchise called "Cash Converter" for $20, a really on VCR recorder for $1, but not Dad's old SLR camera which the staff candidly said it was too outdated...even some old newspaper proved much more worth at $4.20.
Later in the evening my sis who just dabbled into playing 4D, struck $40 for starters due to her all permutation stake is much lower than the prize kitty she should recieve it struck the exact numbers.
Mom too won the same amount but soon rue over the fact she just missed the 3rd prize by a number (the same old routine everytime)...

Well with the bad luck engulfing the household starting to show signs of receding, perhaps we would be having some good luck streak soon...
Japanese word of the day: 衛生(sanitary/hygiene) Well at least I lift the toilet seat while peeing...or do I?

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Bind Part 3: The Snapshots

24th March 2006, Friday

As promised some pictures to compliment that 2 long journal of event for the hectic ROM weekend:

One Day Tour with Sou & Eriko on the 19th:

Sou & Eriko

Introducing the vibrant couple hailed from southern Iwate, Sou being the one on the left of course if you haven't yet noticed for yourself.

Mmm.. Ice Kachang

Ice Kachang with caramel syrup, sure the best to cool oneself down under such torrid weather and a great luxury for those with a sweet tooth like Eriko.

Mmm.. Ice Kachang Part 2

Even a Singaporean like my lass couldn't resist the great tasting ice-cold dessert.

Singapore River Boatride

Eriko (translated from Japanese): ugh....I'm feeling nauseous from the boatride
Sou (Also translated from Japanese): You sure it's not because of seeing Kei's face for too long?!


The famous twin Durian


This is what happened when you had seen my face for far too long...

SThe crew at Esplanade

We had enlisted the help of a Indonesian-looking chap to help us take this picture. After like 2645357373476476475975956 attempts, he still had problems taking the shot before his female companion who I supposed is more gadget-friendly managed to take it at one go...Just look at how rigid Sou's smile is, I think his jaw muscles might had suffered a rigor mortis back then.

SThe crew at Night Safari

No one looks too please, not when you had to pay an extra $8 for a tram service which I am adamant should be included in the entrance fee.

Solemnization Ceremony on the 20th

The crew @ ROM

Sou's jaws is still suffering from rigor mortis here once again...

The Happy Couple

"Marriage..Cherish the Bond"...Definitely the golden words to remember..By the way, don't you think that my face is a wee bit too oily?

The beautiful bride

My wife loves this pictures of hers, she said made her look slim... So do take note, if you want to take pictures that make you look slimmer than you actually are, take before some vertical columns or something.

Registry Office

Your hands would be shaking too when you are about enter such solemn places

Listen to the Officer

Exchanging Wedding Band I

Exchanging Wedding Band II

The Sacred Kiss

It sure is a rapid solemnization ceremony..so fast the photographer had to request the kiss in slow motion to be recorded on film.

Hearts & Souls Intertwined

Heart to Heart We'll Do Our Part...

The Groom's Family

The Bride's Family

Have to share your happiness with your immediate family even though they tends to look else where while taking pictures.

The crew @ Fort Canning Art Center

Sou's jaws ain't that stiff this time round but his V sign sure is.

What's up on the tree?

The Bride: You think by staring at that durian, it would actually ripe and descend?

The Groom: We can't let our Japanese go back without tasting the king of fruits, can we?

Hand in Hand

The sepia effect is sumblime here except the couple ain't too serious with the shot.

More Tree Watching

With this much tree watching, we should be employed by the Ministry of Environment.

Showing off the Wedding Bands

Still remember all the efforts we had put in as well as dilemmas we had encountered to choose this pair of wedding bands?.


The Bride: Finally you had knelt in front of me in a romantic way.
The Groom: Ugh...can help me up, think my legs are numb....


Let's hope these dome-like pavilions have nothing to do with the eerie graveyard atmosphere surrounding Fort Canning.

man & Wife

If it is, let our mighty love defeats the evil aura it exudes!

On the way back..

The exhausted gang riding on the MRT back to Novena; me especially with my tortured toes..just look at my wry smile.

Sou's most original expression

Sometime it is hard to imagine Sou with that matured face of his is still only 21 years old.

Sending off at Changi Airport Terminal One on the 21st

Forever Friends

A reluctant farewell but we share see each other again in a year's time.

Onsen Tamago

Till then please savour the taste of our local Kopitiam breakfast set...

Well with that conclude the whole run-down of events from the past weekends and back to my usual, routine life..
However the fact that my household had been hitting the rut recently prevails and in amplified mode...
Last evening as I was joyfully strolling back from my final RT session for the year, I badly sprained my leg...
It was really a freak accident as I was to cross the junction to where the Hindu temple is. My position was a bit off from the main pedestrian pavement, and like usual I wanted to scurry across but slowed down my pace to allow a scooter to turn left.
Just as I thought I landed on the black tar road to accelerate across, my left feet hit the kerb and badly twisted, resulting me falling backwards on the side of the road.
Embarrassment aside, I had to be quick to get up before any incoming traffic with some well-dazzled driver might had not seen my body, tweeching in pain by the roadside and run me over...

Meanwhile at Bishan Junction 8, my wife was doing some money transfer at the ATM station and was engrossed in a klutzy moment when she absent-minded left her university certificate (which is rather huge by the way) at the ATM... That would be one of the most important document of our life, and unliked IC or passport which we could reapply upon missing, I'm not sure whether the university would be gracious enough to help any alumni who had lost their certificate..perhaps had not happen at all...

However in both cases, the ending wasn't as wretched as it seems...
My left ankle is sprained yet I could still walk properly while a kind soul returned her the certificate after she reported to the information counter there and then...

Nevertheless with things not going our way, I was feeling pretty perturbed and was cranky this morning when my left feet starting to swell...
Mom offered me to rub some ointment to hasten the healing process but my long-winded old man started passing some message to her about the renovator who is coming this afternoon to get some last minute measurements. I'm sure he would call again later on to repeat the same old issue yet he had to choose that limited span of time when everyone is rushing for work to convey his message, more like meer command to Mom....
Been quite irritated with the ongoings and pretty late off my schedule, I threw a tantrum and vented on poor Mom...
Well got a saying off an interlude from Channel News Asia, "If you learn to be calm, you will be forever happy"....wise words...
Japanese word of the day: 平静 (Calm) This is a trait definitely not associated with my family...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Bind Part 2: Tortured Toes

23rd March 2006, Thursday

My lass needed to get home early to get prepared to go down to Z D'sign while rendenzvous withmy future mother-in-laws and brother-in-laws.Dad was up and started ironing clothes while Mom was nowhere to be sighted as the rift between them was much deeper than we had expected.The day's proceedings would be able to soothe that tension a bit.

After dropping my lass at her place and got to see my future father-in-laws getting dressed for the occasion and with his new moustache-less look; seriously he ain't the same guyI knew years back for sure..sigh

I then prodded my way to Novena to fetch our Japanese friends and I was trying to keep cool under that ruthless weather and was impossible not to have my sweat glands been triggered as the heat waseven higher than the day before.The persipiration is too vividly seen through my white G2000 shirt and for the rest of the day itwas very much the whole cycle of "sweating" and "hoping the sweat would be evaporated".

Beside the heat, I had to endure the agony of walking on the pair of new shoes with elevated heels.I was been advised to wear it more often and slowly get used to the feel of the elevation; but seriouslythis ain't a pair suitable for general walking or strolling.The elevation caused weight to act on the toes joint area of my feet and my toes were beenforcefully rammed onto the tip of the shoes as I continously walking.It was no surprised to have a large blister on my feet rear and my front ball of the feetbeen put under excruicating pain by the end of the day.

After a brief ride on the MRT down to Tanjong Pagar and checked on my lass been subjected to cosmetic make over by the éclat make-up artist of Z Wedding, Angela.A prompt cool down before I buzzed Vincent to check whether he was in his office just 5 minutes walk away at Wallich Street.I brought the duo as well as Gibson, my brother-in-laws who seems rather bored seeing his sisterbeen powdered up much like Zhang Ziyi in "Memoirs of the Geisha".At UHN, we were greeted with great hospitality by Vincent and Miyano who tried to rekindle theirmemories of Eriko whom they had last seen at the "wanko soba" competition 2 years back.We had a conversation on difference in social worker scene in both countries since Eriko is working asone at the moment while Sou aspired to be one as well.Then of course the usual complain on how hot Singapore can be as well as where theyhad been to so far and what food they fancied.After a quick "hi & bye" with Tay-chan and Matthew on the office beside, we returned to the bridal shop where my bride had donned in her pink number while the auntie started hustling me totry on my jacket as well as taking measurements for the "made-to-measure" pants agreed in our package.

It was around 2.30pm when we took off with the Registry of Marriage on Fort Canning our destination.On our 7th cab ride, I showed them how small Singapore really is, highlighting the minute distancebetween the bridal shop to Chinatown and Clarke Quay they had been yesterday and not another moment toponder, we had reached our destination.

My parents, sister & my lass' auntie cum godmother were already seen lingering around the car park area with my other brother-in-laws, Freddy parking his car after been a dutiful chauffeur of the day.My lass' cab arrived soon after and her father scaling up the steep slope and we were almost complete in the roll call before my sister started lambasting her beau on the phone for been late.

We took the waiting time to take some snapshots while I enlisted Sou's help to fix my tie in place nicely as Japanese's tie-binding skill is first-rate.Not long after, my dad was next in dire need to get his tie done despite my lass had did it up for him 2 nights back. It was definite a challenge as one had to measure correctly how much lengthto accomodate my old man's truncated physique.

Soon my entire brood was in the waiting area for the solemnization to begin. The number of couples awaiting their turns were not as many as I had anticipated and a comment passed by my sister later on by my sister that there hadn't been a bride on that afternoon close to challenge in terms of beauty as my lass had exuded.I tried to be modest but she might had hit the jackpot...

It wasn't too long a wait for our turn as I ushered my family and friends into the small solemnization roomwhere a solemn looking lady officer was there to get on with the proceedings.It virtually took like 15 minutes or less for her to check the details on the 4 identification cards (ours as wellas our witnesses); get us the duplicated copy to sign for the registry's record then the oathwhich my lass later confessed got her a bit worked up and choked while completing the "I do" part..I think it surely can be a bit sentimental as one envisioned the part of the oath with"even in dire situations, you will still love and cherish one another"; which was ironic as many before that had gone through such rituals did not held it dearly with them, resulting in such high divorcerate. I'm sure it might had hit my lass' parents as well.Finally the exchange of wedding bands, the sacred kiss (which the photographer of the day, my sister's boyfriendrequested us to do a slow motion one so that he could capture in the camera) and we were handedthe certificate, now came in a elegant golden folder and not in a canister form which my lass was at first was interested to buy a plastic one to hold such an important document in for $28 before my mom went ballistic over the fact that the cert could get crumpled with prolong stuffing within the canisterand felt the folder would be good enough to hold a laminated certificate with one of the overleaf cover been a make-shift photo frame.

Thus we had to take many nice photos to choose a fitting one to place in that photo frame as wellas to commemorate the occasions. The nearby spice garden and the vicinity surrounding Fort Canning Art Center will always be an ideal location for every couples to go trigger-happy with photo-taking. My sister and her beau had so many ideas to spice up some shots from the usual stand straight intothe lens and smile type.However the heat was getting to my parents and dark clouds accumulating, signalling a forthcoming shower; thereforeI called the restaurant to request an earlier entry at around 4 plus.

My 8th taxi ride was to bring us to Grand Central Hotel and I felt I had been overcharged by wretched driver.The accomodating restaurant staff ushered us to the segregated room with our enlarged table enough tohold 13 persons at present.I was glad to let Sou a chance to savor our local Tiger beer as he had seemed interested in drinkingas the free flow was charged within the final bill.My mom had requested an increased portion of food to appease the whole group of us who had not hadlunch in the afternoon, as she felt even with a need of additional fee, we shouldn't be stingyon such happy occasion.

So the 9 course meal was served with the cold dish which was followed by the shark's fin.Our Japanese mates was smitten by the great taste of authentic Chinese cuisine, which wouldnot be available back home and even went for a refill each for the shark's fin.They weren't shy off any of the dishes and was game for anything despite at times not knowing whatthey were actually consuming such as in the case of the sea cucumber.Then there was the roasted suckling pig which was too oily for our local taste but no problem for Sou.
Together with Gibson, he managed to finish most of the oily epidermis of the roasted pig. Meanwhile an unexpected new alliance was forged between Gibson and my lass' beau as they fooled around over the course of the dinner which was always great to take away the mundane waiting for the meal to be served.By the 8th dish which was the lotus wrapped rice, most of us were really filled to the brim of our digestivesystems and we requested some changes to our menu, espeically that roasted pig which might not be a crowd favorite on the actual banquet.

After the dinner we bidded our family goodbye and let our Japanese friends indulged in somelast minute shopping around Orchard Road.This is when they were enthralled by the amount of buying power they held in Singapore over backin Japan.
For Eriko, a one-piece sun dress from "Mango" was only $99 as the same design and quality would required at least 10000 yen ($140) back in Morioka.
For Sou, a pair of Converse sneakers (which seemed like his choice footwear) would cost him around 8000 yen (around $100) is barely $60 here retailing in the boutique.
We also showed them some of the Asian press for Japanese pop albums, each sellingat a fraction of the actual price in the Japan market and even a compilation of somehits from popular Sony Music recording artist which would never be found back home.
I was glad we made it back to Novena in time for them to get some Japanese dorama VCDs (another item only seen in Chinese-speaking Asian countries) at Poh Kim.
Even my lass got into some shopping act as she bought a pair of sandals so as to prevent any unintended scratching of her wedding stilettos.
Perhaps I should get a pair of comfy shoes to soothe my well-tortured feet by the end of the evening'saffair.
Just before we left Novena Square, we managed to persuade a money changer to reopen his account of the day to do some last minute changing of extra Singapore dollars they held back to Japanese yen.
And it was apparent that we had been fitful to our duties as host as I couldn't think ofanything they had requested and we had not been able to fulfilled.

After a brief check on their small hotel room as they had claimed and me giving Sou the instructionto use the Windows Media Player to read VCDs, we called it a night and reminded them to wait for us in the airport the morning after despite the unearthly hour of 5.
So the 9th ride on a cab took our exhausted minds and bodies and most importantly my crippled feet home for a short rest before waking up after a mere 3 hours sleep to prepareto hit Changi Airport Terminal 1 where they would be flying off via a morning flight on United Airlinesjet plane.
The 10th ride which cost another $21 from our place to the airport ensure we were even earlierthan their tour agency's bus had delivered them.
Some last minute photo-taking, our presentation of gifts to them and a fast breakfast at Kopitiam where we introduced a local traditional kopitiam breakfast set of toast with kaya and butter with coffee and half-boiled eggs (as they mentioned as "Onsen Tamago (Hot Spring Eggs)", it was time to bid them farewell.
And it never failed for Eriko to well her eyes with tears once more despite the fact that we assuredthem we would meet again, next year's autumn when we made our way to Iwate for our honeymoon.

After some more food at Burger King, we took our sleepy selves home on a bus (finally...) and laze the day away till the afternoon when Dad who was driving a company truck was able to fetch usto scout on the tiles we wanted for the toilets at the tiles distributors.
I had always wanted a blue ocean theme but the one blue ones there reminds me of those old pajamas textile I used to owned.
There were some nice ones but there had limited quantity to appease us, so finally we agreed on a wood style one which should be soothing for one to take a bath or do their "business" in.
The 3 days of festivities was marked to an end as I sent my lass who is now legally my wife home as we prepared for more wedding preparations in the coming months especially the massive renovationin store in April

To be concluded..The photos

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Bind Part 1: Great Expenditures

22nd March 2006, Wednesday

Been a hectic 4 days spell which encompassed my ROM ceremony as well as the short stay of Eriko & Sou in Singapore...The entire narration of the proceedings would be really long so I decided to break it down to perhaps 2 or more parts...

To begin, despite the festive ongoings in the household, the overall mood hasn't been the most jovial with virtually part of the house falling apart (with a large slab of the ceiling of the kitchen's toilet which had been hanging precariously before suddenly dislodged on the dusk of Saturday and we were fortunate that none of us got hurt by the turn of event). The air conditioner unit of my room had been going haywire the past couple of nights with gallons of water started filling the piping of the unit resulting in profuse leaking from the vents and when it first occured the water actually was spitting into my PC's CPU which has a perforated top end to dissipate the heat, making the internal parts unprotected by the sudden splashing of water...fortunately my PC came unaffected by the commotion...but then I could not sleep through such hot and humid nights that we are experiencing recently. The problem kind of been alleviated with my parents managing to pump out much water from the main piping which might had been the root of the problem.

Talking about root, my sis had been decimated by an excruciating toothache due to the root nerve of her molars, which made her decided to go for the proper extraction of the affected tooth.
With my mom been suffering from flu for a while now and my dad with his legs problem and myself with the sprain neck which is still prevalent even till now despite much less restrictive with my head movement, the health status of my family had been came under the microscope for the past week. Even the new member of the family, my wife hasn't been spared from the wrath of such unfortunate trend when she was down with gastric problem on Saturday.

Then I had this buyer from the online auctions getting on my back about a broken part to a specific figurine in a gashapon set I had sold him... Most probably down to shipping problem and he requested a partial refund which I most probably would return him despite the fact I had gave him free postage to begin with...&%$%&$%&$!!

My dad got into a petty tiff with my mom on the eve of my solemnization as well and slept in the living room for the night for the first time since we shifted to our current apartment. Not a sight you would want to see for your family with such happy occasion to be welcomed the next day

Got a feeling someone up there is not too pleased with my household for what apparent reason I would like to find out.

Anyway the biggest devastation after such a momentous weekend would be the dent on my budget which was very much dwindled due to a mode of transport in Singapore... TAXI-TAKING...

I had lost the count of number of times I had to hailed a cab to send me to one point to another with time not on my side.

It began on Saturday afternoon when I was contemplating whether to make my way down to La Tendo; however with the surface shipment arriving with certain items they got especially for me, the urge to vamoose down in overpowering.
I had intended to hit Sim Lim to get my portable notebook hard disk but with the fact that I got there by around 2.45pm and I had to make my way back in under half an hour time to meet the RT session timing, I really did not have the luxury to squeeze in another venue despite the close proxmity.

The shop was buzzing with activities, very much due to the big shipment that just arrived but also the crew got their uniform apron which surely spice things up yet simplify the identification of the crew. The membership cards were ready for collection as well.
I was glad to had my hands on a couple of trading figure set I had lusted for a while though the No. 1 item on my wishlist is still elusive.
Bryan, Ferris' younger brother was here as well, moments after I had made my appearance and Chan, who had an entire carton box to redeem, too was seen looming about.
I splurged a little on a couple of boox figurine which shouldn't be figured in my budget (despite I did set some "emergency cash" around for such impromptu occasions) but with the fact that I had only 1/2 hour to make it home to change and rush down to Khatib camp; the only viable option is to take a cab.

It wasn't a smooth ride as well as the usual Saturday afternoon jam along the Rochor Canal/ Teck Kar area meant that I was sweating with the possibility having to be retain for being late for RT for the very first time in my records.
However the taxi driver was smartened to speed up once we hit the CTE and I got home at the stroke of 4pm...
Like a speed of lightning I changed and got into another cab to expedite my trip to the front gate of the camp and the total cost of both trips would had diminish the payment I recieved for 2 RT sessions...which makes me ponder whether the last minute trip to La Tendo was worth it.

RT ended by 6 and I tried to give my lass a surprise when I walked for a good 3 km or so to appear at her door step, as I was expecting she would be resting at home after complained of gastric pains and even vomitting.
Little did I realised that she was still out and eventually came over by 7.
After dinner, we headed for Chong Pang to check on the toilet accessories like taps and mirrors at the shop which we found were closed last Sunday.
With the evening breeze not found, Mom offered to take a cab down for a distance barely 1 km away..That's the 3rd cab ride for this period.
However the trip was futile as the shop owners had closed for holidays...URGH!!

An early turn in on Saturday evening without the niggling RT session the following morning was rarity but we wouldn't want to be late to meet up with our Japanese friends.
The effort was ineffectual as we were left with half an hour to the stated time to meet at their hotel lobby once we wolfed down that last few mouthful of century egg congee Mom had prepared for breakfast.
So 4th taxi ride to Quality Hotel at Balestier Road which we had very faint idea the exact location if we are to proceed via MRT.

Not the most extravagant of the hotels our country could offer but on anyday would beat our "Tua Tiong Hotel" where we would be hosting our wedding banquet hands down...

So after a good wait for 10 minutes since we actually got that ahead of time, Sou and Eriko came out of their elevator and the usual "O Hisashiburi (Long time no see)" and we began assuming the role of guide to introduce our sunny island...

And boy it was sunny for sure... as Sou and Eriko and even ourselves couldn't stop whining with our favorite word for that day, "Atsui!! (So hot!)" and sure the sun was definitely ruthlessly scorching us with its rays...

We intended to bring them down to Little India, a place I had dropby almost every week but not too sure where exactly we could see the actual gist of the area.
To facilitate our motion via public transport, we found only fitful to bestow each of them a tourist version of the EZ-link card which cost $15 despite the value they could use is only $7! ($3 refundable deposit, $5 non-refundable)

A rather eventful bus ride on 851 downt o Teck Kar Mall when we encountered a classic quarrel between some passengers who claimed they had paid the exact fee with the bus driver... thanks for such "elegant" ambassador to our country.

By 11, the place was barely hustled up with activities but the couple was still amazed by the sight and sound of the place and the distinct music, smell and ornaments, traditional Indian style.
Seriously it was also our first time venture, so deep in Little India as we would normally had no business lingering around here.
After some purchasing of some Indian accessories for Eriko, my lass decorating them with a garland of jasmie and our national flower, orchid, as well as gracing a famous Hindu temple in Serangoon, we decided to dabble into the Chinese part of our multi-racial society, as we embarked our journey to Chinatown, a few stops away on the Northeast Line.

It was lunchtime and we duly offer them some authentic Chinese hawker cuisine and no where else more suiting to do so than in Chinatown.
Hainese chicken rice, "Jwee Kueh", fried carrot cake, laksa, coconut juice, sugar cane juice and ice kachang were served on the platter but like many tourists before them, "chikin risu" held a special place in their tastebuds.

After a frantic search of lavatory as I sort of noticed Eriko having a rather hardworking bladder or something with the number of times she had to go to the toilet over the period, we shopped around the shops around Pagoda Street where their spending was unleashed that even Sou even made his first purchase of some "omiage (souvenirs)" for friends back home.

The punishment we recieved from the unrelentless hot weather soon sapped us of our energy and we ended our Chinatown adventure.

Sou had made 2 requests of items he would like to purchase along the way. The first been kaya jam which oozes with our local flavour which they managed to stock up back at the NTUC supermarket near my place later in the evening.
The 2nd is this Starbucks Coffee tumbler which I realized is a collectible much like Hard Rock cafe T shirts in the past as the pictures featured is exclusive to that specific country/ area.

After been revatilized by some chilled coffee (an a mango smoothie blended tea for my lass), we proceeded to the recent glory of our nation, the twin durain husk, known as "Esplanade".
Like Little India, it is also my first time exploring the inner details of the art center so it was kind of rewarding to me as to them.
Passing a mural done by an Indonesian artist along the way, we realized we aren't that "artsy-fartsy" to appreciate the rich art around us.
There was a music festival, "Mosiac" happening at that time as a jazz-inclined Sou was rather enthralled by the prospect of live performances but we had no luxury to stop and enjoy the music as we then took them on a river boat ride along the Singapore River.

That was an impromptu activity and was quick to eat into my budget with each person been charged with $9 per ticket for a 1//2 hour ride along the Singapore River and the steward touting us for a ride was "kind" enough to cut down from the original price of $12 as he assumed we all are still students.

The ride was ok, nothing too fantastic but you got to see the Merlion, Boat Quay, Parliament House etc. up close and personal without exerting too much energy to walk to each location on our own.
The ending point was Clarke Quay and we were offered the option on whether to stroll around the pub hub of Singapore or take the boat back to Esplanade. We took up the former offer and was soon bored with Clarke Quay which virtually was ladened with avant garde architecture but almost nothing to offer our Japanese friends, though they had contemplated with going on the G-Max, which I still feel was too costly for such transient adrenaline rush.

So we traced our way back to City Hall to take a train down back to my place as I introduced them to my parents and amazed them with my toys collection to enlighten them with the fact that I am actually one of the "otaku" community prominent in Singapore.

With the sun setting across the horizon, we strolled towards Sembawang Road where we had a sumptous Malay cuisine for dinner....
Ice Teh Tarik (which I am still drooling over at the thought of it), Ice Milo Dinosaur, Tahu Goreng, Mee Goreng, Roti Prata, Ayam Satay were enough to indulge them in the world of Malay delicacies and they weren't a bit put off by the spicy nature of the food items and I believe they even was high on our local spices.
Roti Prata was the unanimous favorite between them this time round but I was quick to note down the coffee shop to make sure I dropby more often for Iced Teh Tarik.

We were slightly behind schedule, so our 5th cab ride would be down to Mandai where the Night Safari is residing.
Despite actually been prepared to pay that exorbitant price of $20 per entrance ticket, my girl later found out that we were required to foot another 8 bucks for the tram service which ensure you will get to see all the animals in the park...GMD!!
We had no further option but to do our best to enable our Japanese mates to be able to experience the park to the max.
After a rather entertaining animal show when a few "air heads" who was obliviou for not heeding the request of not taking pictures with flash, we took the tram ride as we entered the thick canopies of the park and the beginning part was mainly deers, goats and more related hooved mammals.
The gargantuan Indian rhino was perhaps the main feature at the beginning part till we got to see a pride of lions before stopping by the East Lodge where we took a foot "Leopard Trail".
There was a few flying foxes to welcome us, adorable bushbabies to keep Eriko going "kawaii (cute)", fruit bats hanging so close to us, to trigger fear in my lass, making us drowsy to actually see the movement of the slow loris and eventually face to face with the 3 leopards on display... I kind of felt sad for the leopards especially as they looked so wound up and bored in their limited glass display.
Finally some giraffes, oryxes and even a single zebra before a nice orange backdrop of the Seletar Reservior before we got onto the next tram where we got really close to a fat Malaysian tapir grazing just by the track, a trio of elephants swaying in synchrony, a sleeping tiger, some hyennas, a family of bearded wildboars, a beautiful Bongo but no sight of the hippo been promised.
The ride ended with drizzles started falling on our heads which hindered the prospects of some viewing by foot to see some of the animals on display at closer observation.
Then again it was around 11.30pm and we all felt it was good to call it a day...

Thus hopping on our 6th cab, we sent them back to the hotel, fixing to pick them up at 12pm the following day and took the same cab home and was thrilled to find out that we were not charged the midnight levy which could easily accumulate to $30 for that single ride alone.

To be continued....

Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday the 17th?!

17th March 2006, Friday

What supposed to be a buffer day before 4 straight days away from work for me turned out awry as it would to swing my good mood.

Now at 1 plus in the afternoon, I still yet to have my lunch as we have to wait for the girls to complete their experiment and if you are wondering why on earth I wouldn't be following my usual routine of chowing down the home-made lunch after work out at the gym..well it's Farhana's(hopefully the spelling is correct) final day in her attachment stint to our lab, and I had obliged an offer to dine together, supposedly at Holland V which seems like a remote possibility now, so late into lunch hours.

My rear neck and shoulder blades region was badly sprained during gym just awhile back as I sort of rushed my warm up and felt that niggling acute pain while doing some assisted chin-ups...now I had to carry that rigid neck for the entire weekend which is so important to me...crikeys...

On the work front, seems like one of the service plate I had prepared the afternoon before I rushed off for my RT session experienced a mad-house, unfathomable mix up which got a few users hounding on my back, including that famous Swiss Pirate...However this time round the pirate is actually aiding my cause to check out the actual pattern and possible reason for the mix up..

It's just topsy turvy and so far from the uneventful Friday I had been aiming for...

Seems like I had to stick tons of Salon-pas for the next few days...urgh...
Japanese word of the day: 捻挫 (Sprain) What a time to sprain my neck when I had to be in my tip-top condition for Monday...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Taking the Oath

16th March 2006, Thursday

Back to work after a mid week hiatus and a mirror reflection of yesterday, I had problem waking up on time. My parents who both applied leave so as to go for a rampage shopping for suitable clothings for my ROM next Monday, did not wake up duly at the usual timing thus i was a bit off schedule when I crept out of bed half past six.
I did made it for the 7.15 am direct train to work, watching episode 16 of "Mushishi" along the way...

The morning before I was to meet my lass by 9.30am at Khatib MRT station, after chastising her for staying out into grave hours after her company's DnD the night before.
With her strong-headed character, she would want to prove me wrong by making it on time and little did we expect it was in fact me who overslept and only woke up by the persistent ringing of the phone when she called to ensure I am actual up and going.
I'm really bewildered with my continual desire to sleep a bit more each day..perhaps age is really catching up..then again old people need not sleep that much anyway.

So we made our way to the Registry which was located on the high grounds of Fort Canning Hill and would take some breath-gasping climbing if you are to scale the long flight of stairs along Penang Road.
However my informative wife-to-be realised that actually we could take a lift at Park Mall, exit through the car park at 4th storey, walk along the YWCA Lodge, and make for the direction of "The Legends". But even so it is still not stone throw away to our destination as we still have to conqeour a curvy footpath pass the Fort Canning Art Center before actually see the solidatory Registry building.
After seeing the place on local drama serials time and again, I still have little idea how to travel via the main entrance to this place where prospective couples bound matrimony by law with blessings from their close friends and relatives.
There are actually seperate processing counters for Muslims and Non-muslims which is an eye-opener for me.
The queue for the justification of documents and oath-taking was amazingly long as we had to wait for our turn after 30 other couple who all had been cramped in the confined waiting area and coerced to watch a video about maintaining a good and endearing marriage starring King Kong from "PCK Pte Ltd".
At the meanwhile we just took a peek here and there to spy on other anxious couples here on the same purpose as us and probably would be solemnized (not sodomized) in a week time.
Most fell between our age bracket though there was a babyface groom (not with regards to the famous R&B music producer) and a much venerable couple behind us most probably seeking a "second spring".
The entire waiting process was perhaps only 20 minutes when we were to follow through the usual procedures of authenticating our personal particulars we had submitted during online reservation as well as our actual identification documents though the photographs on our ID (especially that of my lass) in dire need of an update.
Then the slightly awkward oath-taking when we "sompar" with our right hand upwards and rambled through a wordy paragraphy of oath when my lass faced difficulties pronouncing words like "solemnly" and "impediment" and myself fumbling over "conscientiously".
Some final words of what to prepare and the number of well-wishers we are limited to that actual day and we were out of there...

Along the way we saw some couples making use ot the serenity of the scenic Fort Canning hill as a backdrop for some photo-shooting and both of us felt a fuzzy feeling in our belly (perhaps just starving) that we would actually be "man and wife" in a matter of days like those we had seen walking pass us...

Next stop would be Plaza Singapura just across the plain where we were to redeem the $100 Robinson vouchers as packaged with the Samsung LCD TV we had purchased on the IT show over the weekend.
There was a retailer called "Spotlight" which is a one stop center for home creative needs and they had a few nice curtains that really drew our attentions and we was enlightened by the fact that we still had some minor accessories like curtains and bed linens yet to acquire but those are perhaps at the least of priorities.

After tea with President Nathan at the Istana, we headed to Chengdu restaraunt at "Tua Tiong" to confirm the food tasting cum ROM dinner and was at first been requested to change date as there would be a banquet been held on that very evening.
Fortunately the boss intervened and ensured us we would be able to dine on that date requested.
He was also friendly enough to bring us to the suite provided in our banquet package which was simply not up to standards in terms of view from the window, amenities and the overall ambience...really as the name implied, much suitable for our budget tourists from the great mainland. Well since it was thrown in and doubt we would have a good rest that day, I supposed we could make do with that kind of quality.

Next on the agenda would be that zenith pink tie for my ROM ceremony.
I had the idea of spending well within $15 for one since I would have absolutely no use of that piece of garment after the entire wedding procession so was awe-struck by the price offered in the Robinson from renowned brand like Goldlion.
I had to get a pair, with one for my old man for the ceremony as well thus the prices were totally overshooting my budget threshold.
Just as I was to admit failure for acquiring one and as recommended by a friend of my lass who is experienced to scalp for cheap ties, we nearly headed to the obscure Lucky Plaza before decided to go across to Robinson's less clamourous cousin, John Little.
Over there I did managed to find the ties. Despite restricted with a small selection of desig, at least it is within my budget.

After a short visit to Kinokunya at Ngee Ann City where my lass went ballistic with some DVD purchasing (2 Harry Potter titles and Studio Ghibli's "Howl's Moving Castle") making full use of the 20% storewide members-exclusive discount while I was very tempted to indulge in some interesting trade paperback graphic novel titles, we decided to call it a day, knowing how exhausted and drowsy she was.

Back in the comfort of my place, she needn't a second nudge before fell sound asleep, even forgoing her usual side line meeting at Tanjong Pagar.
However that was a good choice as the contractor relative of ours supposed to renovate the 2 toilets/bathrooms arrived and slugged along full pieces of tile samples for us to select, but despite the entire effort to carry that much load, none is anywhere close to the "blue ocean" theme I was hoping for.
Therefore a trip down to his showroom was proposed as it would offer us greater degree of selection.

Another fruitful day when everything needed to be done is accomplished and we ended with us watching the original "Gokusen" dorama series and me at the brink of slumbering before my lass hushed me to bring her back...

Got in contact with Jerry this morning as the final member of my "band of wedding brothers" and was well prepared for his usual interest in whether are there any "chio bu" in the bride's side and even went to us who is the bride....
Well since we haven't seen each other for a year or so, I forgive his ignorance though he should have known me better for not able to hook up with any other girls beside my lass of course.

Japanese word of the day: 宣誓(Oath) Really wonder how Ah Beng/Ah Lian couples managed to take that wordy oath with parts even I had difficulties understanding.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


14th March 2006, Tuesday

As you know the project that kept me busy for a while has come to a duly end last week and now at work, basically I am assuming the "over-zealous" role of JxMMy for the service...not a pretty sight but at least ensured me serving my dues for my daily wage...

While I am preoccupying myself with the routine service part and frequent surfing of the internet and JxMMy still collaborating with the "UNCLE" with their side project, it is down to poor Bobby seeking redemption for been so free for the past few days...It's by no fault of ours that lately the activities had been much reduced...and for someone like myself I wouldn't mind ample free time to do some of the internet stuff at work, so that I could increase my productivity for my webpage or something...

But adopting that "over-zealous" role of scrambling towards any incoming request as if your survival depends on it, a role well reprised and represented by JxMMy, is embarrassing. If my ex-colleagues knew I was resorting to this, they might snarled at my very existence... well with the next project still hitting a deadend and the shared facilities which I am in charged of getting lukewarm response since the turn of the year, this is the only thing I could binge on at work especially my mind is effectively preoccupied with all the wedding proceedings as well as trying to clear my RT sessions, so that I would not feel awkward having to leave work early twice a week...

Just realised today that two of the Miss Singapore Universe 2006 finalists are hailed from my workplace...it's not hard to track them among the other prospects..one is a 22 years old scientist from Cambridge, the other a 23 years old laboratory biologist.
I had only seen the former before in real life and not the caliber to represent Singapore for the world beauty pageant, not that the previous winners are fitful to do so as well...
Well year after year since Channel 5 became the official broadcasting station for the contest, the competition has became an after-dinner joke with the doppelgangers trying to pose as genuine pageant queens with their interllectual limitations and common appearance...
Nonetheless kudos should still be given for showing enough courage to appear on national TV for everyone's entertainment for some weeks or even a single night before the next batch of courageous MSU-wannabes hit centerstage the next year...

I doubt I would be watching the show neither would I even bother to render any support for my colleagues...but do wish them all the best and try not to be too big a joke on that night...
Japanese word of the day: 暇~hi-ma~(Free) With the amount of free time we had from work, perhaps we would have ample amount of time to enrol for Mr Singapore Universe as well...

Monday, March 13, 2006

Easy Breezy

13th March 2006, Monday

The title might sounds nonsensical yet the songbird, Utada Hikaru used it in one of her leading track in her recent all English album...and I found it suitable to described the proceedings over the past few days....

First a rather lacklusture Monday morning as everyone' grim expression was enough to describe the mood for the start of the week and apparently like myself, everyone might have a chronic lack of good rest over the weekends...One pleasant note would be the school holidays has began and you don't to see school children scrambling to school, hindering our own journey to work and hopefully the situation in the evening when I make my way back would be as good...

My productive weekend with my lass began on Friday evening as we had scheduled to dropby the IT show 2006 but got there rather late after she had knocked off from work.
Bascially I was down to like half an hour to decide on a suitable LCD monitor that would fulfill my requirements as well as my budget.
My task was made easier with all the major brands on the same exhibition hall but I still had to romp my way through the crowd...
After a dilemma on Samsung, Viewsonic or LG, I decided to get a 19 inch one from Viewsonic due to the fact that I am paying lesser for a bigger screen with much high-end specs that the other 2 could not offer despite in terms of design my newly acquisition looks much heftier, can only move forward and back and came with built-in speakers which was pretty well concealed in the black colored edition I had picked.
We then proceed to the Samsung LCD TV section to scout on a wanted item for our room and despite the fact that it was seconds before the exhibition came to a close that evening, it didn't take long for the sale guy from Best Denki side of the booth to convince us to make a purchase for a 26 inch TV which we had been well captivated for a long while now..Basically the price is right plus additional goodies like Robinson's & Cold Storage vouchers been thrown in as well as the free wall mounting by the Samsung people which is the main reason that caught my attention as a proper wall mounting session would incur a cost of $199 at other instances.
However we had to spend a good amount of time filling in 51 lucky draw coupons to win a trip to Disneyland Hong Kong (wow..so tempting) as well as going for a "spin the wheel" pick for some novelty items to award you for spending with Best Denki...
In the end, my lass who wanted a humongous laptop luggage got 3 of those which meant we had to lug 3 huge bags with my monitor back later...

So with the damage done we went down to Marina Square to have dinner at Carl's Jr Fast Food restaurant.
It was like close to 10pm but the crowd in the joint was undeterred by the late timing since it was Friday and with the free-flow soft drink included in each combo set, each table occupied by groups of friends would be able to chat to their hearty delight while poor us had to scavenge for a seat to alleviate our hunger as both of us had yet a bite since lunch.
The food was great despite the hefty price and that my girl would whine about me not buying the "Low Carbohydrate" chicken burger she had requested nor getting the criss-kruss fries which I was certain I ordered but getting some kind of veggie harsh brown coins instead.
It surely made sense for us carrying such load to hail a cab to bring us back to the comfort our home but on a Friday evening in town you can forget about hailing one with a click of your fingers.
Even dialing for one was in vain, which led us to take a bus ride home...
So from outside Esplanade, we took Bus 857 which supposed to be the fastest bus service from Marina up to Yishun but the waiting process significantly made up for the time saved I'm sure.
It was an ordeal manuveoring in the crowded bus with the load we were carrying but soon we hit Rochor Canal, we managed to find a 2 seaters yet the monitor's packaging box was too huge to stuff into the leg space, resulting in it toppling when the "driver from hell" made a sharp turn during the journey while I was dozing off, and my muscles relaxing from grasping the box in place.

Saturday was a thoroughly long day which began with us proceeding to the bridal shop to confirm the design of her gown and tea dress which under the skillful hands and creative mind of the feminine designer, Ivan (who was spotted tying whatever bunch of hair he had on the back into a minute ponytail) was enough to satisfy both of us, however the embroidery which was crucial for a special one of the kind gown cost a bomb...
The dress for the ROM was a nice sullen pink number which was why Ivan suggested me getting a pink shirt to compliment her.
I had not issue caught donning in pink, however I did felt justifiable to get a shirt which I would seldom need to wear just for the ROM.
The solution would be getting a pink tie instead.
After the paying for the 2nd instalment of the package which should be close to reaching my monthly credit limit after the LCD TV the night before, we adjourned to the nearby International Plaza where I was to get a pair of stilts..I mean elevated heels so that I would not be totally dwarved by her with her 3 inch heels.
So we came to this small male shoes boutique known as "Men @ Walk" where a rather rotund and hospitable boss, Kelvin guided us through the selection to meet our needs.
I felt weird wearing high heels (and really high with my heel 8.5 cm off the ground!) which the guy from another shopping couple there could testify.
It was abit restricting to the movements but I should be able to get to the hang of it after a few wearing sessions.
So we little hesistation we got what we one, a nice pair of black leather with squarish tips.

Next destination for us would be Orchard where my lass wanted to check what has been hindering her radio set from been picking up from her iPod.
En route, we dropped by "Pepper Lunch" at Isten Scotts where my lass savored nice peppered salmon with rice served on a simmering hot plate which geared her enough energy to carry the remaining of the day through.
So at the iPod service counter at Wheelock, it took a good 15 minutes before we could raise our concern to the vibrant assistant at the counter and as I had depicted it was due to the downgrading of the firmware to enable us to watch video without glitches that was incompartible for the radio set usage.
My lass was satisfied with the explaination and willing to stay tune for further updates from Apple in terms of new firmware which can solve the video problem yet allows her to tune into radio with her set.

The time was past 5pm when we made it to La Tendo where I was to collect a newly-arrived item and Karen and Ferris who were not here last week was seen while Chan not present this time round. Our stint there was around an hour plus which was negligible for my standard but with my poor girl dozing off due to the fatigue from walking from one place to another, I decided to head for the final destination (nothing to do with "Death" finding some teenagers from escaping from it) which is the IT Show once again.

This time round our objective would be a DVD recorder to compliment our LCD TV (yes we are living a high life).
But it was a stopby at the Harvey Norman store at Suntec where my lass had originally intended to get some more vouchers which she owed for Jack's housewarming; but in the end we found a nice slim DVD recorder from LG at a very attractive price.
Thinking that the same item could be found in the show, we were dumbfounded when unlike Samsung, Panasonic and Pioneer, LG decided not to present their selection of DVD recorders and we did not manage to make another purchase on the show.
However it did not stop my lass to get a couple of items for her computing needs before we headed home, once more on the infamous Bus 857.

Sunday was a much toned down affair as after my RT session in the early morning, I joined my parents and my lass to Chong Pang to hunt for another crucial accessory for our nest..the lightings.
Unimaginable that in the heartland we were able to find a rather elaborative selection in this retailer called "Friends Lightings" and once more it didn't take us long to nail on a Zen style ceiling light with 3 light tubes which should endowed me with enough lighting I would need as well as a Japanese style hanging lantern with warm and fuzzy lightning for my lass' work station by the bed.
It's good to have mom around who managed to bargain in her own way to make the price seemingly more fitting to my much-constrained budget.
We had intended to check on the tap, basin and mirror for our toilet but little did we realized that the shopowners too felt Sunday should be reserve for family, lazing in front of TV showing yawn-inducing drama from China and basically not willing to open for business.
Then brunch at the hawker center which is like the epitome for hustle and bustle for the people in Yishun for Sunday breakfast and other groceries.
There was a bunch of people from the Worker's Party, a prominent opposition political party hoping to win some votes before the general election. My dad, being always wretching about the government, took an intricate session going through the brouchure for the rest of the day.

My "brokeback mountain" (the new hip acronym of gays) furnishing contractor came as promised to go through the final details for our furnishing needs.
Basically he got what we wanted the last time round except some adjustment to the measurement such as the height of the bed frame which my lass now wanted slightly elevated to equip the bed drawers with ample space for additional storage.
We also adjusted the side table for her workstation from the bed which at first seemed too small for comfort.
Then came the crucial part which my dad who might not be Kevin Spacey in the "Negotiater" managed to ask for a better price package and after almost no tussle nor bloodshed, the spouse of the contractor whom I had commented been a shrewd assistant agreed on a reduction of $300 (though we had intended to go for yet another $100 discount) which was pleasing to my ears...
Now as Dad suggested to them to begin the first stage of the renovation beginning with the shoe rack and my display cabinet for the living room area before we go work on the rooms which make sense as my parents as well as my lass unanimously agreed upon the fact that the migration of my army of miniature figurines would take much more time and effort than the whole moving process itself.

It's amazing how smooth it had been with getting the outstanding issues for my wedding to come into place especially with my lass almost certain to fly to Italy mid next month... now I am just geared for the realization of all these issues which I believe should be able to satisfy both of our needs.

Well a rather short week for me with a mid week break which I was compelled to take to submit the documents to the registry before our actual solemnization next week.
Then Eriko and Sou hiting town in the weekend..should be fun especially with the fact that we are still clueless about going to the places we had intended to bring them..and 20 bucks for a visit of the Night Safari definitely seems a wee bit too obvious to sap visitors' money...

Also caught up with some of my close friends over the weekend...
Cheryl had confirmed her spring trip to Japan and it is scarily resembling my 2000 trip with a flight on ANA, hotel stay at Sunshine Prince Hotel at Ikebukuro and a proposed visit to Mount Fuji.
TW is gearing for his truimphant return in May...not really...just a short return for his sister's solemnization ceremony and had been an eager beaver in wondering if I wanted anything back from Japan..especially a C2 version of Kasumi from Max Factory for just 2000 yen (around $28)..
A steal definitely but will act pressure to the little display capacity I had at the moment for sure...
Well basically I would be glad to just have him back...
But yet another member of my wrecking crew went missing once more...yes Pepsiman is AWOL once more after no answer of my calls on Friday and no reply from my question via SMS on Saturday...
I believe my friends like myself might have a great "easy breezy" weekend as well...
Japanese word of the day: 簡単~kan-tan~(Easy) Somehow or another I feel everything is going on too easy for us, but I am definitely not complaining...