Day 080 : 声影再响起

已经很久没有买 CD 了,上个星期就一口气买了三张凤飞飞的话语及台语精选集,共九张光碟。加上图中我早期买的盒集(三张光碟),我可算是半个凤迷吧。

我非常喜欢她唱红的很多首名曲,如《掌声响起》、《敲敲门》、《另一种乡愁》、《爱你在心口难开》、《巧合》、《枫叶情》、《驿站》、《陪伤心人说往事》等等。还有现在我超发热的《想要跟你飞》。自从买了她的唱片之后,我每天在家里、办公室、街上,或运动的时候都由凤飞飞的歌声陪伴。

有时候听到一些感处深的曲目是,眼眶都不经遇鼻酸。她那带有点福建唱腔的歌声让我觉得窝心,贴近。就在此,让我再度怀念这位别无仅有的帽子歌后。。。









Retrolicious or Retrodiculous?

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Class 95FM held the retro concert of the year at Fort Canning Hill on 9 Oct 2010. Titled ‘Retrolicious’, the birthday bash featured definitive 80s stars Johnny Hates Jazz, Debbie Gibson and Rick Astley. I didn’t know about the concert until a friend told me. And I wasn’t interested in it until he mentioned Debbie Gibson as one of the performers. DEBBIE GIBSON! I’m a HHHUUUUGGGEEEEE fan. I bought the ticket right away.

Organised by Running Into the Sun, the event organisation arm of Fly Entertainment, the concert sold more than 6,000 tickets and it was the biggest show for Class 95FM. But the concert was a let-down for me. Here are 5 reasons why :

1. We had to queue for an hour to get in. We arrived at 7:30pm and was shocked to find a ridiculously long queue snaking up and down the carpark. Felt like World Expo 2010 all over again.

2. We had to queue 45 minutes and an hour on the 2 occasions we bought beer. Me and my friends spent most of our time in the queue to get drinks. For almost the entire Debbie Gibson segment, I was stuck in the queue. It’s ridiculous.

3. Johnny Hates Jazz sang too many new songs. It’s Retrolicious, not new album launch! Geez… We came here to hear songs we are familiar with, not new material that will be fighting for ear space in the download market.

4. It took them such a long time to prepare the stage in between each performer. The staging was simple and there was zero special effects, so why the long set-up? I know it’s an 80s concert, but I didn’t know they were moving at that pace too. Ridiculous.

5. Debbie Gibson sounded like an asthmatic Minnie Mouse on helium. I was crest-fallen. She is my idol and the only reason I came for the concert. Plus, this was the first time I saw her ‘live’. I was so utterly disappointed.

The saving grace was the set by Rick Astley. He sounded like his record and his humour and stage antics were very endearing. But alas, even he could not savage this sinker of a concert. At S$98.00 a tic, Retrolicious was an entertainment scrooge.

I wrote in to Class 95FM, Debbie Gibson and Running Into the Sun to request for a backstage opportunity to meet Debbie during the concert, just for a few seconds to shake her hand and take a photo with her. The 2 very first CDs I got when my aunt gave me my first hi-fi system in 1989 was Debbie’s Out of the Blue and Electric Youth albums. It could almost be said that she inducted me into the world of pop music. Prior to that, I would just listen to whatever channel my grandmother set the Rediffusion to.

Except for Wendy from Running into the Sun who replied me with leads to participate in contests to win a chance for a meet and greet session with Debbie, I didn’t get a single response from Class 95FM or Debbie Gibson. And that’s to think I emailed all 3 contacts listed on the Class 95FM website. Not even a single reply.

Anyhoo, I still love Debbie for her immense talent. She’s the youngest artist ever to write, produce and perform a no. 1 hit on Billboard Hot 100. I’ve got all her albums, remix CDs and even vinyl records although I don’t own a turntable. I would save up my pocket money just so I can go to Valentine’s Records at Selegie to buy anything new from and about her.

I played her songs on repeat loop for days and memorised her Electric Youth dance routine. Those pre-Youtube days, I sat by the MTV channel for hours to record her videos and had to press rewind and play countless times to learn the steps. I even had 2 huge posters of her stuck on my wall and would painstakingly cut-out and collect any magazine cover and news article about her. I have such devotion for Debbie Gibson.

Ah, those were the days…

Here’s a clip of the concert and of the 3 performers. This clip marks the first time I’ve ever tried creating a video entirely on my own! So please pardon the less than Spielberg quality. Hope the songs bring back warm memories for the 80-ers and intro these gems to the Lady Gaga and Katy Perry generation 😀

Welcome to the Celebration!

Hey! Thanks for visiting the new home of Celebrate Life! … now made fun with Lah!

I wanted to make the so-called ‘launch’ of this new site on 9 Sep 2010 because being a little superstitious, I wanted the ‘launch’ date to be 9.9.10 (久久依临), which in Chinese meant that readers will come to this blog for as long as it exists. Very auspicious right?! 9910 can buy 4D… May this blog and all its readers HUAT AH! *LOL*

And what better way to start off this brand new chapter in Celebrate Life Lah! than to borrow the enduring star power of Madonna in what is a perfect theme song for this blog…

Come join the party, Let’s get it started
Let me whisper in your ear an invitation to the dance of life…
Come celebrate life with me lah! 🙂

HK Day 1 : ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss The Stars

After delighting my eyes with the sparkling skyline of Hong Kong at night, I headed three floors down from the Sky Terrace to Madame Tussauds (MT). I got the 3-in-1 Combo which included a 2-way Peak Tram ride and entrances to the Sky Terrace and MT for HK$200.

Scenes at MT

Here’s the adult price if you buy them separately : Return Tram ticket – HK$36; Sky Terrance – HK$25; MT – HK$160. Total price – HK$221. You save about S$4.00, which is not much, but you save on the queue time to get the tickets separately.

Hot Tip :

• Buy the Combo ticket from the MT ticketing booth at the Peak Tram Terminus. This booth is across from the Peak Tram ticketing booth which sells Tram ride tickets or Tram ride with entry to Sky Terrace only. I was queuing at the Peak Tram line for a long time before I realized the 3-in1 MT Combo was not sold there! *gua gua gua…*

If you have not heard of Madame Tussauds, it is an exhibition where you can get really up-close and personal with wax figures of celebrities, sport stars, politicians, and historical personalities.

The stars are made with an almost 100% likeness so it is as good as seeing them for real. Even though there are so many ‘people’ there, I’d never felt more alone. I was there by myself so there’s no one to take photos of me with the stars! Even if I did ask someone to help take a photo for me, I was too embarrassed to do wacky poses. If a friend was taking the photos, they would’ve been very different.

It’s so much fun watching people posing with the famous personalities. Some of the poses were, well, let’s just say I’d seen obasans come out of menopause, young girls misplacing their chastity, and guys exploring every part of the female figures as if they’re curators making sure the wax statues were not damaged.

Out of curiosity, I did a little checking of my own and confirmed that the wax dudes have no ‘wicks’, and except for the raisins on Aaron Kwok’s exposed chest, there’re no chocolate coins on the chests of other male and female figurines. I didn’t check every one but from those that I can see, I generalized.

Lest you think I’m a pervert, I did it to see how far the replicas would go because more than 200 measurements (including the crotch and breasts area) are taken to make each figurine. And it takes more than 800 hours to complete each one. The bulk of the time is spent on inserting hair, strand by strand onto the wax scalps.

So, let’s test your knowledge of the Asian stars… how many can you recognise and name?

Asian Stars

What about the following Hollywood movers and shakers?

Hollywood Stars

Or these famous politicians and cultural icons?

Famous one way or another

For personalities who are still alive, they’ll be invited for a Sitting where their measurements are taken. But for the long-deceased such as William Shakespeare, the figures are constructed based on paintings and photos.

Of all the wax celebrities, I thought the one that looked most ‘fake’ and unlike the star it should resemble was that of Cecilia Cheung (张伯芝). I thought it was a younger Maggie Cheung (张曼玉). Well, maybe I didn’t recognise Cecilia because she wasn’t wearing a policewoman uniform. Oops!

But my main target at Madame Tussauds was to take a photo with Anita Mui (梅艳芳). Among all the Hong Kong celebrities, she’s one of my favourite because she’s a great performer and actress. I grew up listening to her during her 妖女 (vixen) days and loved her comic performance in the movie 钟无艳. So I was pretty saddened when she passed on due to cancer in 2003. But thankfully for Madame Tussauds, the likeness of her is preserved and made immortal…

Tribute to Anita Mui

Here’s my favouritest song from her. It is a duet with Jacky Cheung called 相爱很难 (Love is Difficult). Enjoy… 🙂

For more photos, please visit my album A Lingering Fragrance.

Countdown to Hong Kong : – 6 Days

THE TRAINING

I read Aussie Pete’s post about his ‘secret training’ with much admiration. More than the post being hilarious, he is really taking the bathtub race seriously! So I better not slack and spend the 6 days that’s left till the race to do some training.

I don’t expect to get back in top physical form in just 7 days, but at least to start getting the body used to sweat again and don’t turn blue at the 100m finishing mark. I used to be a dragon boater and had taken part in 500m and 800m races so 100m should be sup sup sui (Cantonese. Direct translation as ‘wet wet water’, meaning no sweat!). But that’s years ago. Now I just hope I don’t lose face for my country!

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival 2010 has 191 dragon boat teams from 12 countries and regions competing. Considering that a small boat has 10 paddlers, a drummer and coxswain (12 people) and a big boat has 20 paddlers, a drummer and coxswain (22 people), there would be a lot of people for laughing at a Singaporean buffoon.

Dragon boating has a long tradition as a celebratory folk ritual, but it is in Hong Kong that the sport has evolved into what it is today. So Hong Kong can be considered the birthplace of modern dragon boating. I wonder where is the birthplace for bathtub boating?

I took up dragon boating in 2005 but stopped in 2008 after my lasik surgery. My wooden paddle is chucked somewhere in the storeroom and I haven’t touched it in more than 2 years. It must feel like Woody in Toy Story. May be it is plotting its escape with all the other forgotten things in the store now. Should I bring it to Hong Kong for some play time?

Before I think about that, I shall try to rehash the exercise routine from my former boating days. So I’ll be practically be living in the gym for the next few days with cardio workouts, weight training, and yoga.

Yes yoga. Dragon boating is not a brute sport. It requires technique and true rowing power comes from the trunk, not arms and shoulders. Hence, flexibility and core muscle strength would be very helpful during a race and can delay the onset of lactic acid build-up and muscle fatigue. Even though this is a just-for-fun 100m bathtub race, I’ll do my best!

And the best tune to accompany any gym time at the moment is…

Pete is thinking of wearing something outrageous for the event. I wonder what my other fellow bathtub racers – Violet, Geck Geck and Alvin would wear. Should we have a boomz team outfit with leopard preens and khaki green (including a rad bigini for the ladies)? That would be Uniquely Singapore! 😀

Celebrating Life at the Singapore Blog Awards 2010

First and foremost, a big THANK YOU for visiting this blog and if you’ve voted for it in this year’s Singapore Blog Awards, my deepest and most sincere appreciation for your support. Celebrate Life! won Best Lifestyle Blog at the awards.

I shan’t attempt to describe how I’m feeling because words would only castrate the magnitude of emotions that I felt before, during, and two days after the award ceremony. I wanted to post my thoughts and experience about the whole SAB2010 experience and wrote a colossal post. But I caught a cold from my long-windedness and decided to rewrite.

That’s the responsibility of winning. It’s an encouragement to be more critical and do better. More stress!

So after going through some dieting in vocabulary and topics, here’s Version 2. It offers a glimpse of the awards event and ceremony held at Movida last Saturday (10 Jul 10) from 4 – 6:30pm.

All the award winners

It is not because I won the award that I thought the event was pretty well organized, fun and definitely had a glam factor! Maybe I haven’t clocked enough mileage at such events so I’m easily impressed, but it did exceed my expectations. The organizer, Omy.sg really did a great job in my limited opinion and I’m not sucking up.

Before taking part, I’ve not heard of the Singapore Blog Awards or Omy.sg although this is the third year the contest has been held. I am very sua ku one. The news portal’s name sounds like what I would use at a coffeeshop… “Li ai lim kopi-O MAI? Teh-O MAI? Ah Oh, ai jiak siew MAI boh?”

So I thought SBA2010 would be some just some housefly trying to be a butterfly. But oh my, how very wrong I am! The polished bloggers and event left me with so much to reflect and ponder upon. It was a real eye-opener and here’s a record of some of the more candid moments for me.

DRESSED TO BE PAPARAZZI-SPOTTED

I didn’t give much thought about what to wear to the event initially. I planned to go in just a black t-shirt and black jeans. Can’t go wrong with that right?

Then I received the event’s invite and I almost blacked-out when I saw words such as ‘Oscar night’, ‘glamourous’, ‘Bling’, ‘Paparazzi’… I was screwed. I have no super-glam outfit except for a business suit. That’s a surefire paparazzi anesthesia.

Wardrobe must function.“Eh, Celebrate Life! has been one of the top 3 most voted blogs leh, at least go in something with more thought than that tranquilising suit lah!” said the voice in my head.

It continued to coax me. Fine, I will go in something out of character then! A dire decision called for a desperate solution. It was time I release something I bought some time ago but don’t have the guts to wear.

With a handkerchief tied around my nose, I battled dust bunnies and mites, hunted all shelves and drawers, searched through bags of clothes, until I came face-to-face with it… the beast. Leopard-Face. Now that’s fashion with a bite! Meow…

I bought the singlet with a friend at Platinum Mall, a wholesale shopping centre in Bangkok. He wanted to buy 2 pieces but if we bought 3 pieces, each singlet cost only 150 bht (approx. S$6.00). So I ‘sacrificed’ and got this translucent singlet with a silvery print. It’s so boomz. And my nipples can be seen through it. Thankfully my nips are not the size of dinner plates. And furry.

To top off the look and hide the obscene nips, I threw on a brown suede jacket I bought 2 years ago but worn only once. I also took the advice of someone to wear red underwear for luck!

Thrift glamour? Hollywood next top red carpet pose

Red briefs, leopard preens and 3 crosses… that’s what I call feng-shui for your wardrobe. And it worked! Haha… Siow Har was very cooperative too. She wore a rad dress to multiply the luck factor. She’s lady luck!

And her pose is sure to be the de facto Hollywood red carpet posture to adopt at the next Oscars. I’m immensely grateful to her for attending the awards event with me and helping me photograph the happenings.

饮酒思源 (MY WOULD-BE THANK YOU SPEECH)

The awards ceremony was very fast and we did not get a chance to say a few words of thanks. So here’s what I would say if given time to have a Thank You speech… (then again, if I was really given time on stage, I would not know what to say!)

Lip serviceI would like to thank all the main sponsors, sponsors, media support and event partners. Sounds like I’m paying lip service but well, it is a commercial world. If the participating merchants don’t make money, there won’t be prizes or this award.

If there are no prizes, I doubt it would be as attractive for bloggers to take part. So yeah, I seldom name brands in my blog, but my gratitude to all the contributors who made this event possible. (I typed out each of their names instead of using their logos to show sincerity hor.)

I would also like to thank Omy.sg for giving us bloggers a platform to gather and be recognized, and all the judges for shortlisting my blog as one of the finalists and deciding that it’s good enough to win. (I wonder what are the winning factor/s of this rather unfanciful and technologically primitive blog.) A special thank you too to Alvin Lim from Omy who’s been liaising with me and keeping me in the loop of things.

Next, I want to thank all my friends and family who have knowingly or unknowingly provided inspiration willingly or unwillingly. Ha. (If I’ve offended you in any way, please pardon me and be prepared to pardon me for future posts as well.)

And most importantly, I want to thank all readers. This blog was started as an outlet for me to vent but over the course of the contest, I began to write with a mindfulness of an audience. I’m still amazed that people read my blog because unless you know me personally, what’s so interesting to follow what’s happening to a stranger? So thank you for reading.

THE BLOGS, THE PEOPLE, THE EXPERIENCE

Winning was definitely the icing on the cake. Truth be told, I’ve thought all along that Bing would win the Best Lifestyle Blog category because her blog was visually appealing, she’s got a great sense of humour, a very accessible writing-style, and a way of turning mundane everyday happenings into a talking point.

Meeting the finalistsHers is the blog I followed the most because well, you have to know your competition right(?) and I can identify with some of her issues, such as giving up an addiction. And I should blame her for getting me addicted to her blog!

Meeting her in person was something I looked forward to at the awards because I wanted to grill her about blogging tips. When I finally saw her, it was like meeting an idol (plus she looks like one of my favourite local singers, 孙燕姿)!

I was also looking out to meet the other 8 finalists in the category but I failed to sight or recognize them. Lifestyle is a very broad category in terms of subject matters and I would like to thank my fellow finalists for the ideas I’ve gotten from their blogs :

Miss Glitzy Monologue, PassportChop Travel Blog, Trishalavittae, Emma – $30 date Night, Fidgety Fingers, Holly Jean, Alafista, and Muiee.

I also had the privilege of meeting some of the winners from other categories such as Pete, Priscilla and Hendra. I didn’t have a chance to visit their blogs before the awards coz I was busy creating blog contents after work, but I popped by their sites to browse around after I met them in person. They’re definitely worth the mouseclicks!

Because of youThe awards event was quite a blast. Some of the bloggers were invited to perform and I’m awed by the fact that these people were not only good bloggers, they can sing and dance too! So multi-talented. And my only talent that night was drinking 5 bottles of Tiger beer.

I know, I said I wanted to stop being an alcolwhore in a previous post not too far down. But it’s a happy occasion mah… To be surrounded by so many people brimming with creativity and a casual atmosphere of fun!

And I needed the drinks to calm me down. I was soooo nervous when I went on stage to get the award coz I was caught by what I call the Surprise Fallacy. This is how it works… I WANT to win but have to prepare myself emotionally if I don’t win. In order to manage emotional disappointments, I had to inflate the bubble of nonchalance and indifference to ‘failure’.

So when my name was called, it acts like a pin that punctured the bubble and the amount of time taken to go from exaggerated self-consolation (with such headtalk as “It’s ok to not win, it’s good enough to have come this far”, “You’ve done your best”, etc) to actually letting the WANT to take over, is the Surprise Fallacy. I am prepared for surprise but pretended I’m not.

I love Omy!And the nervousness is the vacuum that exists before the full acceptance of having won sets in. Yes, when faced with bad things, we have to stop denying that it has happened and accept the reality in order to move on. It is the same when good things happen. It takes time to accept.

I haven’t felt a nervousness of such epic proportions in a long time. I could actually feel my face twitching and jaw quivering when I received the award from Mr Teo Ser Luck (Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, and Ministry of Transport). He’s also the Mayor of the North East Community Development Council. My fingers went sore typing his titles. So many portfolios and yet he looks so young! I don’t believe he’s 42 years-old.

From the moment I received my trophy to all the media interviews afterwards, it was a blur. With all the flashes and spotlights, it scared the soul right out of my body. It felt surreal to be interviewed and I was so awkward with all the attention.

I was so busy being a wreck of nerves, my thoughts didn’t have the chance to catch up with me and I free-wheeled during the interviews. I don’t understand what I’m saying most of the time, acted silly and I was unusually fidgety. I hope the reporters and public will be forgiving towards a newbie like me.

TIME TO RELAX AND TAKE IT EASY?

After all the excitements leading up to and during the ceremony, I must say I’m relieved. I was pretty exhausted from all the late nights spent blogging after work during the voting period.

Some of the blogs were completed close to 6am in the morning but posted at a later time when I could get some rest and rethink what was being said.

Bye bye waistlineEven those posts with just a photo and some thoughts about what the image says to me can take hours to find the words that I felt captured the spirit of it.

I think as far as blogging goes, I’m a pretty hardworking blogger! Ha.

So I am rather worn out. But the award changes things. It is a booster. I can foresee that there will be many more nights of overnight blogging during the weekends. This is only the beginning!

But for the time being, I will take things a little easy, chill out more, spend time with friends, go back to the lifestyle I had before, get back in shape and along the way, if something screams “Blog Me!”, I will share it with you.

To mark the new journey ahead for this blog, I’m offering a toast to you in the photo. Cheers! 🙂 Next time I will toast with tea. I don’t know when that will be!

SO WHAT ARE THE PRIZES?

First of all, everyone who’s been asking me for a treat, know this… there are no cash prizes. I already very pok gai (broke) from paying bills at home so may just being happy for my triumph be your best treat! 🙂 Wahahaha…

Of the prizes, I think the most interesting item amongst them would be the trophy designed by one of Singapore’s artistic treasures, Mr Tan Swie Hian. I read a book about him, ‘To Paint a Smile: Insights of One Artist’s Approach to Happiness’, and have been filled with admiration since for how meaningful messages and symbols are imbibed into his works. The colourful wall mural at the Chinatown’s MRT Station is a work of Mr Tan.

Can't wait to get home A fusion of new and old

So to receive a trophy designed by him was an honour above honours! And I got to shake his hand and he gave me a personal explanation of his inspiration for the trophy!

We spoke in Mandarin so I’m not sure if I got his explanation accurately in English but here’s a gist of it :

• &nbspIt is in the shape of the ancient drinking cup used by royalties known as 鼎 and it has 3 legs. ‘鼎’ also means ‘top’ in Chinese.

• &nbsp1 of the 3 legs is in its traditional form while the other 2 are of different shapes to represent new media forms such as the internet. It represented the fusion of tradition with technology.

When I brought home all the prizes and my mum was going through the bags, she lifted the trophy and asked, “What is this? Why you bring home an incense burner?” Another *gua gua gua…* moment.

Personally, I felt Mr Tan understands bloggers very well. We spend a lot of time to spread information about things but don’t get paid. I can now use the trophy to go 化缘 (the bowl used by monks to ask for alms)! Haha.

Greedy meInitially I thought the trophy was odd because it is not the usual types we’re used to. I think it is sculptured in cast iron coz it’s very heavy. I placed it on the top shelf in front of my bed and each time I see it, I have a certain sense of calm. I guess true art changes you.

The next big prizes are of course the ASUS Eee-PC Touch netbook and a 4D3N trip sponsored by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. So I’ll be joining the other category winners to Hong Kong from 23 – 26 July 10. I will also be taking part in the dragon boat festival there! Now my years of dragon boat training can come into use. Except, I’ll be rowing a bathtub in the media race.

Another ‘substantial’ prize is a 3D2N accommodation at Baramee Resortel at Phuket, Thailand. There are other small souvenirs and memorabilia given by sponsors but the free passes given by the Singapore National Heritage Board (NHB) made me rub my eyes a few times to read.

The Best Lifestyle Blog category, the category I won in, is sponsored by NHB. I got 3 museum passes – 2 passes to visit the National Museum (ONE VISIT. ADMITS 1 EACH), and 1 pass to visit the Asian Civilisations Museum (ONE VISIT. ADMITS 2.). I thought I saw wrongly that it is NOT a 1-year free entry pass for 2 to all the museums and boutique galleries in Singapore.

CELEBRATE LIFE WITH OUR TRUE COLOURS

I guess whether it is 1 visit, or unlimited visits, it’s still better than no visits. I have learnt to count every blessing and be grateful for everything big or small. For whether we want to nick pick or just not sweat over the small stuff, life goes on.

Why Celebrate Life?And that is the spirit behind the title of this blog – Celebrate Life!. It is a common phrase that a group of my friends use a lot in the past. Even now. Each time someone gets flustered or unhappy over something, we’ll just say, “Celebrate life… tomorrow will come with or without you.”

I like this saying because it has a dual feel to it. There is the uplifting first part (celebrate life), and the cold comfort that follows (you don’t live forever). It struck a deep chord for me so when I was thinking for a name for this blog about 5 years ago, I decided to call it Celebrate Life!. I wanted it to be a celebration that life has to offer.

The good. The bad. The beautiful. The ugly. The happiness. The sorrows. 人生的酸甜苦辣,喜怒哀乐,悲欢离合。And the exclamation mark adds a sense of urgency to celebrate now. Today. Because tomorrow may or may not come.

To win, or lose, it doesn’t matter. Winning may not be a blessing, losing may be a blessing in disguise. 欢乐无长在,悲痛需简短。

For all the 1,000 over bloggers who submitted entries for the Singapore Blog Awards 2010, and the number of us who made it into the finals but didn’t win, I may not know you, I may not have read your blogs, and I’m a nobody and in no position to encourage you, but if I may, I would like to urge you to be not discouraged.

Continue to blog and while we may put ourselves out for criticism, there is only one way to truly celebrate life… and that is to live out our true colours.

Thank you once again for reading. It is my pleasure writing for you.

Ah Lian Vs. Lily

Ah Beng and Ah Lian went on a date at Singapore Botanic Gardens. At the spur of romance, Ah Beng plucked a jubilantly blossomed water lily from a nearby pond and gave it to his sweetheart.

Wa diam diam kua dio jit aey huey, wa dio siong ki li (Every time I see this flower, I think about you),” he said lovingly.

Ah Lian looked at the beautiful flower and cupped her lover’s face in her hands. She looked deep into Ah Beng’s eyes, tears brimming from hers. She started to cry.

“This flower is salah (wrong)!” she wailed. “I am lian huey (lotus flower), not water leelee!”

For the uninitiated, Ah Lian is a derogatory nickname given to a subculture of Singaporean girls, typically teenagers, who are characterized by loud, uncouth behavior and mismatched fashion sense. They’re also associated with gangsterism in the early days. But I think they’re kinda cool!

‘Lian’ is derived from 莲花, which is Chinese for lotus flower. I can’t trace the etymology of why this word was used to represent this group but presumably, it’s due to the common usage of 莲 ‘lian’ in girl’s name.

Are you like Ah Beng and can’t tell the difference between a lotus and a water lily? Well, not that being able to identify them correctly is crucial to survival, but I thought it is rather interesting how these two aquatic plants are same same but different!

A friend recently went to Pulau Ubin and knowing that I like taking photos of lotuses, tagged me in a photo showing a lotus pond there. But it was a water lily pond, not lotus. To her, the difference is negligible and I totally agree that the point is not in identifying the flowers correctly, but to enjoy the great outdoors.

These are water lilies

But would you put salt in your coffee and sugar on your French fries? Both seasoning without labels can look the same, yet what a difference they make in taste! I wouldn’t go all the way to Changi and take a boat to Pulau Ubin just to photograph water lilies because great pictures can come from them even in a small pot. Lotuses on the other hand, in my preference, look best when photographed in a big open pond.

But for a change from the concrete jungle on mainland to the rustic, back to nature appeal of Pulau Ubin, I would still make the trip. Some day. When I’m not lazy. And I think it’s soon.

Seems like I’m distracted from what I want to talk about again… and that’s how to tell the difference between a lotus from a water lily. Actually, it’s very obvious. The easiest way to differentiate them is their leaves.

These are lotuses

Lotuses have leaves that extend out and above the water whereas lilies have leaves that float or sit on the water surface. The other difference is that the lotus has a fruiting body in the middle that gives us lotus pods, whereas water lily produces nectar.

For me, I differentiate between lotus and lily simply from the shape of their petals. Lilies have petals shaped like the fingers, and lotuses have petals that are shaped like a closed palm.

Pointed lily petals Rounded lotus petals

Knowing the difference between a lotus and water lily now, Ah Beng scoured all 63.7 hectares of the botanic gardens in search of the flower that befitted his darling’s name. His eyes descended on a bril莲t bloom in a lotus pond and swiftly plucked it for Ah Lian.

Just then, a park ranger came up to him and handed him a S$500 fine for plucking flowers in the garden. *gua gua gua…*

Hung Up About Hangovers

*hic!* So I’ve decided to renovate my bod starting from 1 Jul 2010; and in 3 months, hopefully I can go from uncle flab to mid-age fab. But the renovation can’t start unless I discard some old habits. My drinking problem is the biggest thing that must go before there can be ample room for improvements.

Or rather, to cut my drinking so that I won’t be 2 steps back with each step forward since alcohol contains empty calories and blocks the body’s ability to burn fat. If I’m determined to change, I can’t be doing the same things and expect to get different results. I won’t get melons if I keep planting peanuts. Neither do I raise a bull with hamburgers. 

I never used to drink at all. I hated alcohol because it dissolved my family. My earliest recalled encounter with alcohol was when I went to Pulau Besar, Malaysia, with some friends more than a dozen years back. It was an island resort so there’s nothing else to do at night but park by the beach bar. 

I had 2 shots – Test-Tube Baby and Grasshopper, and I was down. I couldn’t remember what happened after the drinks but friends told me I was on the floor, talking to the village cat. They promptly piggybacked me to the chalet. 

Then another time, I passed out in a Bangkok club from having some whiskey with Coke. Again, my friends quickly carried me out of the club and into the cab. According to my friends, along the way back to the hotel, I kept chai chai-ing the taxi driver. Chai means ‘yes’ in Thai. Each time my friends gave directions to the driver and he replied ‘yes’, I would apparently chai non-stop. To this day, that group of friends still calls me Chai Chai. Some of them used that nickname so much, they forgot my real name. 

That was how bad I am at drinking and I drank only at rarely necessary occasions. But now, I can out-drink any of those friends any time. There is a rule that we shouldn’t mix different kinds of alcohol. I don’t observe that rule. I am not an alcoholic, I’m an alco-whore-lic. 

Started drinking in uni days 

I don’t discern between my drinks and the higher the alcohol content, the better. Vodka, gin, rum, Jim Beam, red wine, white wine, shooters, cocktails, beer… I drink ‘em all! Where it used to take only 2 mild shots to knock me out, now it takes about 1.5 bottles of wine or 4 cans of 500ml beer at 8.8% each to get me started. 

I won’t even want to talk about the vodkas, rums and gins with 40% or higher alcohol content because I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging. I used to tell friends that if I got a cut, they get Bloody Mary. 

For a period of time, the most expensive thing I possessed was my urine. It was liquid gold. Sometimes platinum. I was spending about S$2,000 a month on clubbing and booze alone. Thankfully, that has stopped. But I continue to drink. At home. Almost nightly. 

So more than just improving my muscle tone, this whole physique remodeling period is about re-wiring my brain off alcohol dependency and other bad habits. I didn’t think it was going to be hard, but it is. I wanted to not drink last night but like clockwork, I had a can of beer and a glass of gin with blueberry juice. The consolation was, I consciously stopped at that. I don’t want to ‘chase’ alcohol no more. 

Tonight, I’m attending a wedding dinner. First thing my friend told me about his dinner was there’s going to be a lot of whiskey. I swallowed my saliva. I’m already feeling thirsty. 

It’s just so hard to quit being an Alcowhore!
 

Clothing Optional Weekend?

Could this be a premonition that I’ll have a clothing optional weekend?

This morning, I saw the MTV for Kylie Minogue’s latest single, All the Lovers. Last night, I saw the music video of 脱掉 (Strip) by 杜德伟 (Alex To) at a KTV bar. Both show almost nakedness. Is it a sign for a notti weekend? ;o)

Caucasian Vs. Asian Strip-Off… who’s gonna melt your computer screen?!

An Ocean of Love & Hope

Absolutely love this song 我心是海洋 by 蔡琴 from her album 爱像一首歌 (Love is
Like a Song). I find the melody soothing and the lyrics very uplifting and inspirational.I’ve been trying to search for its music video on Youtube for a long time but couldn’t find it so I posted a mp3 widget. But I’ve just found the video so here it is…
 
 
 

  

 

Let hope flow

作词:陈桂珠 / 作曲:梁弘志
 
有一种光亮小小的, 却能为人指引方向
有一种力量微微的, 却能让人变得坚强
 
有一种歌唱轻轻的, 却能使人打开心房
有一种爱啊淡淡的, 却能给人无限希望
 
我的心是一盏烛光, 虽然只能微微发亮
为迷失的人指引方向, 让脆弱的人不再迷茫
 
我的心是一片海洋, 可以温柔却有力量
让鱼儿可以随波逐浪, 使帆船可以顺利归航
 
有一种歌唱轻轻的, 却能使人打开心房
有一种爱啊淡淡的, 却能给人无限希望
 
我想要大声歌唱, 任何人都不能阻挡
让封闭的人打开心房
让生命快乐不再悲伤
 
我的爱会一直成长, 不停付出不再隐藏
那温暖可以融化冰霜
像寒冷冬天看见阳光
 
 
 
 

 

心中曲

歌,伴我度过无数的失眠夜。它也在我爱到刻苦民心的时候说出了我的心语;而在一段感情终结后成为了我疗伤的告白。以下这些也就是牵引我情路的心中曲。。。

让我轻轻吻着你的脸 | 擦干你伤心的眼泪 | 让你知道在孤单的时候 | 还有一个我 | 陪着你 | 只想静静听你呼吸 | 紧紧拥抱你 | 到明天 | 路遥远 | 我们一起走 | 尽管有天我们会变老 | 老得可能都模糊了眼睛 | 但是我要写出人间最美的歌 | 送给你

不再让你孤单 [陈升]

我能想到最浪漫的事 | 就是和你一起慢慢变老 | 一路上收藏点点滴滴的欢笑 | 留到以后坐着摇椅慢慢聊 | 直到我们老得哪儿也去不了 | 你还依然把我当成手心里的宝

最浪漫的事 [赵咏华]

如果|全世界我也可以放弃|至少还有你|值得我去珍惜|而你在这里就是生命的奇迹|也许|全世界我也可以忘记|就是不愿意|失去你的消息|你掌心的痣我总记得在那里

至少还有你 [林忆莲]

谁比你重要 | 成功了败了也完全无重要 |谁比你重要 | 狂风与暴雨都因你燃烧 | 一追再追 | 只想追赶生命里一分一秒 | 原来多么可笑 | 你是真正目标 | 一追再追 | 追足一些生活最基本需要|原来早不缺少|有了你即使平凡却最重要|有了你|即使沉睡了|也在笑

追 [张国荣]

为你担忧对我来说也是快乐|不管有多少真心多少爱被错过|有了你我已经别无所求|用半生紧紧相守换取承诺|什么话都不必再说|总以为曾经付出曾被爱伤害过|这世上只有我对爱执著|直到我慢慢感受你的温柔|才了解今生注定与你相守

今生注定 [王馨平+高明骏]

不让你的眼睛|再看见人世的伤心|投入风里雨里相依为命|用我的痛吻你的心|看着你的眼睛|有太多太多泪不停|心疼你每一步爱得艰辛|苦难的梦特别真心

你的眼睛 [熊天平]

不懂我们之间这份真情|犯了什么错|不管与你的路有多苦|擦干眼泪告诉自己不准哭|我不怕谁说这是个错误|只要你我坚持永不认输

不管有多苦 [那英]

好多次我几乎放弃了|却又想起我们说要一起变老|去散散心好吗|看是不是可以|忘了一切回到过往|不说谎不装傻有什么都讲

散心 [赵咏华]

把爱|剪碎了随风吹向大海|有许多事|让泪水洗过更明白|天真如我|张开双手以为撑得住未来|而谁担保爱永远不会染上尘埃|愈伤得深愈明白爱要放得开

剪爱 [张惠妹]

又站在你家的门口我们重复沉默|虽然你还握着我的手|但我一不在你心中|就让我走|让我开始享受自由|回忆很多|你的影子也会充满我生活|我并不懦弱|你比谁都懂|虽然寂寞|这是我最后的宽容我

不难过 [孙燕姿]

我想静静离开|你却从背后|拉住我的手|你并没有用力|怎么我那么痛|我为什么那么爱你|爱到什么都说可以|发誓绝不做的事情|现在做得不想放弃|爱情到底让人脆弱|还是让人坚定|我用尽最后的力气|从头到尾都没有哭泣

我为什么那么爱你 [张惠妹]

亲爱的为什么|两个相爱的人|等着对方先说想分开的理由|谁还记得|是谁先说|永远的爱我|过了太久没人记得当初那些温柔|我和你手牵手|说要一起|走到最后

记得 [张惠妹]

也许相爱很难|就难在其实双方各有各寄望|怎么办|要单恋都难|受太大的礼会内疚却也无力归还|爱不爱都难|得到浪漫又要有空间|得到定局|却怕去到终站|无论热恋中失恋中都永远记得第一戒|不要张开眼睛

相爱很难 [梅艳芳+张学友]

快去把东西收拾一下|再好下去都天亮啦|这里的钥匙你先留着吧|怕你有东西|假如你有东西|忘了拿|那就这样吧|在爱到曲终人散|那就分手吧|再爱都无需挣扎|不要再哭啦|快把眼泪擦一擦|这样吧再爱我有缘的话

那就这样吧 [动力火车]

That part of a song…

which holds much meaning to me, stirring up memories of people or feelings. Here’re some songs which I absolutely love… and some that brought a tear or two.

I may never see another springtime | I won’t waste my time on regrets | For little things I did and did not do | I choose to live until my time is through | You won’t find me pretending it’s alright | When I’m not always feeling strong | I try to focus on right now, and not how long | I have tasted life and it is sweet | I won’t waste one rare drop | I do live, finding joy in life, is the gift | A full life isn’t measured by so many years | We come and go like the wind sometimes it seems | And isn’t it ironic in facing death, I’ve learned to live | And I’m thankful to have found that no matter how short my time is…

THE GIFT by Ann Duckworth from Heartkeys: The AIDS Memorial Album

Goodbye | How do you say goodbye? | Do I just look you in the eye, shake your hand, wish you well| After all this time, I never wanted for goodbye…

GOODBYE by Debbie Gibson from Body, Mind, Soul

Don’t tell me to stop crying, please just hold me while I do | Soothe me with your silence and just cradle me to you | Don’t push me for my reasons or expect me to explain | How can I in 5 minutes shift a lifetime’s hidden pain

GIRLFRIEND by Julia Fordham from Porcelain

You think I’d leave your side baby | You know me better than that | You think I’d leave you down, when you’re down on your knees | I wouldn’t do that | Oh when you’re cold, I’ll be there | Hold you tight to me | And if you want to cry | I am here to dry your eyes | And in no time | You’ll be fine…

BY YOUR SIDE by Sade from Lovers Rock

I will climb the highest mountain – just for you| We’ll take a ride in the tunnel of love – just us two | I will scream at the altar of God – I love you | Just for you I’ll wash you down, cleanse your soul and be around | Hold your hand and lead the way, be with you all through your day | Just for you I’ll sacrifice everything in my life | I will give all this to you, dedicate myself to you…

JUST FOR YOU by M People from Fresco

Life’s blessing, life’s curse | For better or worse, I’m with you| And if harms way found you | You know I’d be there | To wrap my love around you | To let you know I care | And when the angels came down | I’d say don’t you dare | You know not what you do | May God take me first| For better or worse | I love you…

BETTER OR WORSE by Debbie Gibson from Think With Your Heart

Spend all your time waiting | For that second chance | For a break that would make it okay | There’s always some reason to feel not good enough | And it’s hard at the end of the day | You are born from the wreckage of your silent reverie| In the arms of the angel, may you find some comfort here…

ANGEL by Sarah McLachlan from Building A Mystery

If tomorrow never comes | Will she know how much I loved her | Did I try in every way to show her every day| That she’s my only one | And if my time on earth were through | And she must face this world without me | Is the love I gave her in the past | Gonna be enough to last | If tomorrow never comes…

IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES by Ronan Keating

When you’re down and troubled | And you need some loving care | And nothing, nothing is going right | Close your eyes and think of me | And soon I will be there | To brighten up even your darkest night | You just call out my name| And you know wherever I am| I’ll come running to see you again | Winter, spring, summer or fall | All you have to do is call | And I’ll be there | You’ve got a friend…

YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND by Carole King

Current Top 10 Favourite Songs

Thanks to kissingpanda, I’m taught to add links to LJ friends on my blog entry. So here’s my list of 10 songs I’m currently into… that is, I don’t go through a day without listening to either one or all of them…

10. Ye Zi – A Sang
9. Qing Ai De Ni Zhen Me Bu Zai Shen Bian – Jiang Mei Qi
8. Ji Shi Ben – Zhou Chuan Xiong
7. Chen Zao – Zhang Yu
6. Simple – KD Lang
5. Tai Wei Qu – Tao Jing Ying
4. Rang Ai Gu Ding Xia Lai – Coco Li Wen
3. Yu Yi – A Do
2. Zhu Wo Xin Fu – Yang Nai Wen
1. Shou Fang Kai – Lee Shen Jie