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Last post of the year 2007

There's a few reasons why I did not write for the pass few days.

First, I was sick. Bogged down by flu and its terrible as the farms here are starting to slash and burn. They dry air and the vast differences in day and night tempreature makes it worst.

Second, the more serious issue was I recently had a big fight with my wife and nearly flew back to Singapore. Actually this fight already started last time I came and it kinds of continue to roll... The thing is nowadays, I really can't control my temper as well as I used to be. Not sure why but I just get worked up very very easily. Might be the constant stress that I need to leave my baby every 3 months. And my wife's temper is just as bad as mine so its kind of getting out of hand....

I always think of the worst scenario which is I will leave her and get custody of my baby and return back to Singapore. But for the sake of my baby, I will try to endure and just wait.

Actually, I did predicted that the above scenario is possible due to our vast culture differences but I was a bit naive and a bit lost in love... hehehe... so now woke up from the dream and try to work it our liao.. Do I still love her?? I think I do and this "need" to think might means something is wrong.

I will try my best to save this relationship(as a friend of mine used to do before his divorce) and now the ball is in her hands... Just need to see how she plays it.
Might be shocking to most of you but I think I already hinted a bit in my old posts. I did not write much about her as I used to be.

Anyway, I still enjoy Thailand and Maesai and I think I will still retire here (my long term plan.) So now I still need to settle my wife and baby's status before I could do anything.

Best of the year for 2008.

Baby & Bicycle

Think most of you already watched Girl on a bicycle. Now she is actually ferrying her cousin Ah Chai (wife's younger sister's son). Funny thing is Ah chai still can't cycle and he's a year older than girl.

The next photo may scare all the parents in Singapore but its a common sight here in Thailand. That's my wife's sister-in-law with their daughter Ee Kiao. Only 9mths old liao.... front basket really very useful sia...

PPP victory (as predicted)

I forgot about writing Thailand's election but I had a discussion once with my Ang Mo friend. He hoped the Democratic Party would win. (Nice chap who studied in Oxford and speaks fluent English). But I told him its not that possible as Thaksin made a formidable job of making the poor people (the rural people) happy.

He started the 30 baht universal medical programme and other populist reforms that strikes a chord with the majority rural Thai citizens. Even though he is corrupt, the party members and grassroots of the TRT really work the ground. In short, the people may not really vote for Thaksin but for their local grassroot leaders who really put in the effort to help them.

Just watched the late evening news and it seems People Power Party (PPP) which most of them are former Thaksin's TRT party leading the polls. So I should say now back to square one liao. The middle class, military and elites (NOT the majority) would start to make noises again.

Whoever says election is fair is bullshit. The one holding the guns or controlling the media are the one really doing the talking. So if PPP wants to really control and allow Thaksin back, they need to restructure the military leaders, which will then leads to another coup.

Very likely to have this scenario as the newly drafted constitution allows the military to intervene the current gahment policies if they find it necessary. So much for democracy.....

This looks really promising.

Breaking news from Bangkok post. Seems like the military installed gahment did something good after all. Not sure my wife applicable anot. (Pray hard hard)

Hill tribesmen to be given Thai citizenship
( - Deputy Prime Minister Sonthi Boonyaratkalin said the government will give citizenship to 353,000 people who have lived in Thailand for more than 10 years.

These people are mostly hill tribesmen living in the North, he said, adding that the interim government will refer the matter to a new government that will be elected after Sunday's election.

These people will be given Thai citizenship while their newborns will be of Thai nationality.

This is to solve national security problems along the border, he added.

Still, we need to wait for the new gahment to approve the citizenship....

The hopeless people

I watched Sicko by Michael Moore yesterday and was a bit overwhelmed by the fact that hospitals in the US are actually dumping patients without insurance coverage on the street. What's even worse is how the insurance companies are finding ways to deny those with insurance on their claim.

Watching the movie kinds of frighten me on the outlook of Singapore's own medical care. It seems like we are trying to follow the US style of having expensive medical care and only allowing a limitation of Medisave claim for our bills. I was wondering, do our own Singapore hospital did the same to those with no money??? Kick them out of their bed??

Anyway, the best part of the movie was an interview with Tony Benn, a former member of parliament of the United Kingdom. He said this which seems very applicable to not only US but also to Singapore or Thailand. Here's part of the quote but the gist of it :

"People in debt become hopeless and hopeless people don't vote. So I think there are 2 ways that which people are controlled. First was to frighten people and secondly to demoralise them. An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern. And I think they is an element in the thinking of some people that we don't want people to be educated, healthy and confident because they would get out and control. The top 1% of the world population is holding 80% of the world's wealth. Its incredible that people put up with it. But they are poor, they are demoralised, they are frightened and they think perhaps the safest thing to do is to take orders and hope for the best."

Do get the DVD and watch it if you can. Pretty good stuff . :)

Scar (WARNING!!! Do not see if you can't stand gore!!)

I want to archive this injury for memorial sake. (See here and here for those who missed the story) So took a picture of my "beautiful" scar with stitches as a reminder for me. Be bloody careful next time....

errr... hope this does not spoil your appetite. hehehe

More chopsticks

Took another shot at girl using chopsticks. Previous one is a bit low quality.. This one is clearer... hehehe


Part 2 of my previous post. :) Currently now in day 3 of the incident. Already feeling better. My left arm could bend more than 90 degrees but my right arm is still sore from the injection. Think its a combination of muscle cramp and injection symptoms. Still I managed to have a short run today. Not sure why but I just feel like exercising. So took a slow jog with a limp right arm... Not as siong as I thought (maybe mentally prepared) and I went quite slow on this run.

Finished and cleaned up. Need to change my dressing liao as it has been 2 days. Prepared all the stuff and removed the bandage. Surprised to see its actually 5 stitches rather then 4. (The nurse dunno how to count) Anyway, use a swab and cleaned the wound. I tried bending my arm and the stitches seems to hold quite well. Looks quite nasty with all the strings but its actually healing quite fast. It looks promising also as its not red and swollen, which means there is no infection (yet). So I changed the gauze and re-banded my arm with fresh bandages.

I have to count myself lucky. The doctor did prescribed a 10 day Anti-biotics for me but I am not taking it unless it get infected. Don't want to rely on antibodies too much or else your resistance will weaken. Still, if it starts to swell or have pus, I would start to take the meds immediately.

Anyway, while I am typing this, my wounded area feels itchy already. Which means its really recovering. Still need to wait for 4 more days before I could visit the doctor again to remove the stitches....


I am now typing with both my arms stretched straight. My left elbow was cut deeply by some iron bars from my roof and I had received 4 stitches. (I guess I am not as agile as I used to be liao). Anyway, what happened was my wife complained to me about hearing some noise on the roof. So this morning I went up to take a peek. Nothing but I think some birds make a nest at the corner of my roof. Anyway, on my decent down, my elbow struck something and I got an excruciation pain from it. I used my other hand to feel it and was surprised by the nasty cut. Being cool, I slowly climbed down and called my wife for help (BIG MISTAKE). She saw my wound and start to panic liao (thought I am suppose to be the one to panic). I calmed her down while I rush to the tap to wash most of the blood off (big mess sia). Then I asked her to get me the medicated alcohol and proceed to douse the wound with it. Super pain of course but no choice. I looked in the mirror and bend my elbow and can see the muscle liao (jialat). Which means definitely I need to go to a doctor to get stitches. Asked wife to help me dressed up while baby at the side looking a big stun ... hehehehe (more like "huh" wat happened?")

My wife already called the neighbour for help but I could managed, so I took my bike alone to the nearest clinic. Lucky no one in the queue so I got to see the doctor almost immediately. The young doctor not very "zai" leh but no choice lah. Proceeded to stitch me up and gave me a Tetanus Shot.

Here's the funny part. The nurse who gave me the shot without asking me, jab the needle onto my right arm. Nah beh! Now my right shoulder is sore with the Tetanus shot while I can't bend my left elbow. Suay ahhhh......


Made a bad purchase yesterday on ebay. Paid too much for an item I bought liao. Some more the AF will not work on my 70-200 SSM lens. Sianz 1/2 liao. Next time must do more research before splurging.

heart pain sia.....

Running Again

Since my failed attempt to reduce my weight to 84kg. Decided to at least maintain my current form. I have already stopped for almost a week and so I started my running routine today. Again, I started slow by reducing my usual distance by half. The run was not that enjoyable as the air was pretty dry. Its cooling and you don't feel exhausted at all (completed my 3km within 30mins). But the breathing part is tough. I tried to breadth through my nose but the cool dry air seems to be difficult to suck in. Like in an air-conditioned room. Switched to breathing through my mouth lagi worst. Throat became very dry and extremely uncomfortable. Tried swallowing my own saliva but not very helpful. I think I need to condition myself to the weather here. Think the first week would be tough for me.

Maybe I would try interval training again but I just really enjoy jogging around my neighbourhood. It has a fantastic view......

Some photos from my new lens

I got myself a 85mm 1.4 G lens from ebay when I was in Singapore. Huge piece of glass and I intended to use it intensively on Hui hui. Its a fast lens thus I could shoot without flash. All shots in this series are taken with the lens except the one standing looking at the toy. Very happy with it. More to come later....

Baby & Chopsticks

Girl Girl's Uncle (wife's younger brother) came and we went out for dinner. Wify passed her the chopstick and I warned her she's too young and might poke her eyes out. But wify told me she already knew how to use it liao.. What happened is super funny. Hui hui and her chopstick skills is really a stunner! hahahaha.. Sorry for the lousy video as I was using my 2mp Sony Ericsson phone to take this. You should see how she placed the meat on the hot plate man... Think have to scale down on the fish oil I have been giving her.....

Girl girl Hell rider!

I know they always say start early but can you imagine a kid (more like baby to me) not even 2 years old on a bicyle??? Freaking funny... hehehe

Anyway, back in Thailand yesterday but too tired to write anything. The weather here is fantastic, afternoon around 26 degrees while Night a bit cold. Morning is the worst though, can hit 11 degree man.. Brrrrrr! Funny thing is that the cold weather came a bit earlier leh (normally its Dec then got such temp).

Sleepless night

I am taking a 7am flight to Bangkok tomorrow. I had already booked a cab at 5am to ferry me to Changi Airport. Which means I have to wake up at 4.30 am to prepare myself. So most probably I won't get to sleep much for tonight.

Time really flies, 2 months has been passed since my return and I am really looking forward for tomorrow. Can't really explain the feelings but its a mixed feeling. As I already know that 3 more months over there I have to come back to Singapore again, which starts this cycle one more time. Hopefully, we could solve this problem once and for all and I would be able to stay there for at least one whole year or more.

Singapore is nice. Its still feel good to come back to meet friends and my mum and sis but I kind of find that the feeling is getting more and more distanced . I think I feel more at "home" over there rather than here. Still, I think most probably I would work here till late 40s or early 50s and retire over there. That's my long term plan anyway. :)

Tomorrow would be a bit hectic. The flight to Bangkok would take 3 hrs but because of the hour difference, I should reach Suvarnabhumi at 840am. Then have to clear immigration, grab baggage and clear custom within 2 hours and transfer to Domestic flight to Chiang Rai. The flight would be 1140am (supposed to be 13.30 but they changed timing) . But at least at the same airport lah(taking Air Asia). So not as rush. Another hour flight to Chiang Rai and another hour drive to my town. So should be able to reach at most 2pm +7GMT or 3pm in Singapore local time. Weeee.. get to 抱抱宝贝了!


Remember my post on Project Weight Loss? Sad to say is that its a complete FAILURE. hahahaha.. My weight now is 90.5kg. Go back to what I was in Thailand. Think the stomach flu and rich food took it toll. :P

Jia lat man.....


Not sure I have post this before, here's some fun stuff I made :P

Part 1

Part 2

Kidz Club Photography Workshop

I have been busy working on this project since last week. Thus, never found the time to update my blog. I even Pong Tang (AWOL) for RT yesterday. :P Anyway. It was a 2 day simple workshop for the children at Kidz Club. Luckily my master's wife and Shi Di Andrew tagged along to help. Or else jia-lat already.

Think kids in Singapore are damn lucky. Most of their cameras their parent loaned to them are quite powderful one leh. One kid even got a DSLR (Canon 400D) which is a latest model some more. Anyway, anyone who had tried teaching to a bunch of kids from 7 to 12 will know that their attention span is quite short. So have to keep things simple.

The first day (Monday)was a simple lecture on photography. Later in the afternoon we went to the nearby playground to shoot. Havoc liao. hehehe. Lucky they all scared of Ms Teo (teacher in charge). After the shoot, we all returned back to the center to wash up, while we load the photos into our laptop. Then we went through all their photos to point out their mistakes. Most of them make the same mistakes anyway. And that concludes Day 1.

On day 2, we are suppose to go to Botanic Garden in the morning for a competition shoot (got prize leh). But it was raining, so change of plans and we head down to Takashimaya to shoot instead. Took some fountain and the big Christmas tree. Again a lot of havoc. hehehe. Kids running up and down and complaining to you that they are hungry. Some are really hardworking and willing to learn while some just bo-chap. Anyway, we head back to the centre at noon and we picked the 5 best shots for each kid. Now dunno wat happened but some of the kids camera does not contain any pictures at all (or little of them). It seems that they either accidentally deleted all their photos while on their journey back or most probably their memory card is full.

So some of them quite disapointed that they lost their photos (especially those hardworking one). Anyway, we showed their photos and I am personally quite pleased that most of them did improved after their first day.

Quite an interesting experience but a bit shiong leh. Yesterday went back home, eat dinner, bath then sleep liao. Anyway, miss my girl very much, just 5 more days to go!

Bamboo Fun (Tek Koh)

I loved to use my old tablet PC. But after I sold it away and started using Mac. I missed the tablet function. Wacom produces great tablet and pen hardware but their Graphire series were to expensive. Recently they released the Bamboo tablet which is more affordable. My photography master's wife had one and I tried it. Not too bad at all for a SG$100 plus tablet. Already decided to buy but then they came out the bamboo fun. Which has a package of software and a mouse too. And its 40 dollars more nia.. Mai Tu Liao. Had a Mass order and got this tablet at a bargain. This tool is great for photo touch-ups and Chinese Input. I bought the small version (4x6) inches so I can carry around with my Macbook Pro. Wish to know more click here. Yeah!!!

Interval Training

My friend reminded me about Interval training (I read it before) but I think he gave me the wrong term. He called it High Impact Training. Actually its high impact sports. No such thing as High impact training... hehe.. think he got messed up.

Anyway, the problem with long distance running is the wearing out of your joints and you would only be doing aerobic training. Which improves heart rate and muscle endurance.

The other form is anaerobic exercise. Which is strength training or power training. The issue with anaerobic is that you might get muscle or ligament tear easily if you overdo it.

So the best is to combine both forms of exercise. Interval training is a form. First, we stretch and warm up and slow jog for at least 15 to 20 mins to warm up the body. After proper warming up, we sprint or run at 70-80% of your max speed for at least a min or until you reach your heart rate threshold (if have heart monitor). Then we slow jog or walk for 2 mins or until heart rate is normal and continue again. Repeat this for at least 4 times and you get to finish the run faster (now I could complete in 35- 40mins for 5km). Overall, I think its working quite well for me but really shiong. Especially after the 3rd set of sprinting. :P

Girl girl monster liao...

Just now chatted with my Ang Mo friend and found out ah girl now a bit monster liao.. Behave more like a boy then a girl... jia lat. Cannot blame also, wify a bit tomboy oso (like mother like daughter) :P

But sometimes these are good signs, friend told me my girl is "fearless". Dare to challenge authority or try new things. Even if she fell, cry cry a bit then continue liao. So very "tough" and very "survivable" lah. Also keen interest in things and actually ponders over them. Interesting to note is that she could already ride Jeni's bike liao (Jeni is almost 3 years old). Bloody hell, not even 2 yrs old and can't talk properly can ride bike. Big headache.

Anyway, today went to Orchard again to get my camera (send in for servicing). Remember my last post on this? This time not bad leh, quite choon (accurate). Maybe because off peak hour? Very little traffic on the road. Seems like to early to judge the performance of the time board. But those taking bus 14 poor thing, the board reads bloody 18mins... chaarm. Can go eat some food come back still got time. hehe.

*PS Its quite choon for me oso, taking bus no 7 and the board did mention its a wheelchair friendly bus. Came a double deck bus that have wheel chair capabilities and arrived on time :) hopefully this can last....

Another Lemon

This was taken last week at Orchard Road. Noticed this big electric sign board done by SBS Transit. Hmm... though the board said "Arr" which means Arrived for bus 36 and 111 but no buses can be seen. Another big LEMON. Not sure why our "Public" Transport like to spend money on LEMONs... Think they really like LEMON tea.

Some desert from Japan

Mum and Sis returned late last night and bought some goodies. This is the killer "Mua Chee" I've tasted when I last went to Japan. I've been talking about to my friends about this stuff and I can't really remember what is it. Luckily mum discovered it in Kyoto.
It is a Kyoto product and its not really Mua Chee lah. More like a soft jelly taken from roots of a tree. The killer is the brown powder you see in the packaging. Its black bean powder. The packaging is very nice so mum bought a few back... hehehe.. Open up and you see some advertising stuff, 2 plastic toothpicks (very chio leh) and 2 packets of powder plus the jello itself. The saleslady told my mum and sis cannot put in fridge and have to eat it within the week. So after taking the photo, we proceed to devour the stuff.
So mum cut the jello stuff and we poured the powder (that's why mistaken as Mua Chee). Its much sweeter and more rigid then the version I ate in Tokyo. So a bit disappointed. But then mum and sis recalled they tried the same thing in Japan and not like that leh. Then finally discovered the size of the jello we cut were too large! By making smaller cubes, suddenly everything change liao. Wat lau power!! The jelly is sweet but the powder is not. By cutting smaller, the cubes get more powder and is less sweet. The fragrance of the powder became prominent and smaller jelly makes it melt in your mouth (no need to chew at all). All right man!! In heaven liao.... hahahaha

Sony DPP FP70

Just bought another compact photo printer yesterday and am quite happy with it. This time bought the SONY picture station FP70. A big upgrade to my Canon Selphy 510. I plan to bring this back to Thailand and teach my wife to use it. Its very easy to connect and print as you do not need to connect the camera to it (there's built-in memory card slots that allows you to print direct from the card itself). It also comes with a 2.5inch LCD that you could preview the images that you wish to print. Paper and ink comes in packs. Get the 120 pieces pack and you get a cheaper cost per page (About 29cts per photo).

Colour came out ok but the prints are normally flat compared to good lab prints. Still, its better to print myself rather then send to the labs in Maesai. The labs overthere are not that reliable with inconsistent colour cast and contrast.

A letter to SMRT

Dear SMRT,

I am so happy that you have installed more benches at the platform areas in Cityhall MRT. The silvery smooth benches that you guys have installed are so eye catching!! Looks very cool too but there's one big overlook to your fantastic bench is that its has a smooth surface... so SMOOOOTH that whoever sits on it will just slip off from it. The slipping was even aggravated by the 30 degree slope-y seats. Worst is that you placed the bench soooo close to the wall, ITs impossible for me to "sit" properly on the bench. If its intended for leaning, I would rather lean against the walls behind the seat as the seats are way too low for leaning. As seen in the picture, the poor uncle have to use one of his arms to lean on the bench himself to stop himself from slipping off. And worst, because of the seats blocking the wall, I can no longer lean on the wall with my back anymore.
I am happy that you do listen to your commuters and upgrade your premises (besides "upgrading" your prices) but next time, please test out the thing first before commiting to buy. If not, its just another big LEMON..

with regards,

Bloody Stomach Flu

I was struck down by stomach flu 2 days ago. Just on the night I was suppose to help my photography master on his ASEAN event. We had a late night porridge and some Pao. I felt ok until we reached Shangri-La. Wat lau, start to vomit and sweat. Stomach feel bloated and gassy. Tried to vomit out all the stuff I ate and hopefully can recover by morning but it seems futile. About 5am, no choice but woke up my Si Mu (Master's wife) that I cannot make it liao. She already noticed I'm not feeling that well and told me to go home.

Took a cab home and went to have a shower and vomit some more. Lie on the bed wringing in pain till afternoon. Wat lau, really feel like committing Hari-kiri leh. The feeling is like something constantly expanding in your stomach. Move a bit, stretch a bit, the pain like full force hamtam by a mallet in the stomach area. Took the charcoal tablets and its seems to help a bit.

Afternoon went to see doctor, at least can walk now but still have to arch my back to alleviate the pain. People on the bus saw me and give me the worried look... like I dying like dat.. Think my face must be really pale. Doctor see me immediately (jumped queue!! yea!). Said I most probably kena stomach flu (there's an epidemic now) and have to abstain from oily food for a week. Also because, I did not take anything since the night before (and I puked out all my food), my gastric gases makes the problem worst. So die die have to eat even if I feel like puking...

So now getting better.... horrible experience.

Happy Chef Western Food

Another food review .... hehehe.. This one is Western food at Lavendar. The actual address is Blk 466 Crawford Court (near Lavendar MRT). The Bah Chor Mee beside it is also very famous (Hill Street Bah Chor Mee). Portion is big (see picture) and well marinated. I had the chicken cutlet and they used black pepper to marinate the crust. (can see the black pepper all over the crust). The other interesting item they offer is the chicken roll. Which basically a piece of chicken stuff with ham and cheese. (Will be trying that next time.) Overall 4/5 stars.

Werners Revisited

Today Mum and Sis flew off to Osaka liao.. So want to have a good dinner to start my 10 days alone in the house... hehe. Met up with my cousin to dine at Werner again. Just went last week with a friend to have a Oktoberfest Sausage platter. Today want to try the pork knuckle (see pic). Taste good but really heavy. The skin is really crispy but the meat a bit gamey leh. (Pork just don't taste as good as Thailand's). Cousin ordered a combi platter of smoked sausage and pork chop. Sausage is great but the pork taste a bit salty...

Ordered a brezel as a starter and a beer too. (See the tall glass in the picture) Imported German Paulaner beer leh. (bloody one glass cost a meal) Talked about having too much food. :P Overall not bad lah... but a bit damaging with the price. 3.7/5 for the knuckle.

Restaurant is located at Upper East Coast Road near Siglap Centre, (beside NTUC).

Nodame Cantabile

Apologies for the lack of postings. Been busy with some personal stuff recently.
My sister recently discovered this Japanese TV series (live action) based on a Manga and Anime. Its really quite good. Its basically about the stories of a bunch of young students in a Music University. If you can find it at your local DVD shop, do get either the live action or anime version of the series. I think its a great show that also introduces some great classical music. The show is already a great hit in the fan-sub world. Can read more about the series here at wiki.

O'brian Irish Triple Decker Sandwich

I like a good sandwich. Passed by Citi-link today and sat down to have a sandwich at O'brian Cafe. Since still on diet, ordered the non-cheese version of the triple decker and a bottle of mango juice to wash it down. Yum Yum. Do try the Toasted Cheese version.. even more mouth watering. 4/5 stars for the sandwiches.

Like I want to...

I went to apply for my Visa again this morning. This time I did not have a pleasant experience. The lady who took my application questioned me why I kept on applying for Tourist Visa if I was visiting my daughter. I told her I am not married and it seems thats the only option to me. She proceeded to give me the "look" and warn (more like threatening) me about if I applied too much Tourist Visa I may be denied. And in the end asked (more like telling) me to get married so as to get a 'O' Visa.

Why do people just like to pass judgment to a person by only looking or by just a few exchanges of words? I could go on and explain all my issues to her and "clear" my name but for what? Like if I tell her my predicament she might have a solution for me. The system is broken and I am in that loop. Like I want to keep on applying a "Tourist Visa". If I could get married and my child has a Thai citizenship, I would be the first in line to get married and get out of Singapore.

Anyway, I will be collecting my passport tomorrow and if its denied. Think I need to throw my entire story at the officer in charge again.

Our greatest flaw

This is going to be a heavy and long one. So just a warning if long post bores you, you better get out fast!!!

I have a lot of friends and acquaintance that are divorced. Some are quite subtle and shy about their experience. Whenever this subject was brought up in our conversation, they tend to try to evade anything to do with their ex-partner. Some are shockingly dramatic (like watch TV series). And one actually came out okay after their annulment and later got remarried again (super rare sia).

Anyway, recently another good friend of mine is going through the long process of annulment and it seems each time a major decision was made. He hits a big wall. I will not mention too much as its his privacy but basically, he's in a dilemma now as his ex wants to cancel the whole issue about annulment and my friend is a bit emotionally attached to the whole incident.

Emotions such as anger, happiness, sadness and etc are a bane to us sometimes when we need to do something. Anger causes us to be irrational about the things we say and normally hurt the person receiving all the vocal abuse (I am very guilty of this). Happiness also causes us to relax ourselves to a point that we could be easily taken advantage of by a person with evil intentions (theft, cheat). Sadness if without good mental support may cause depressions and other mental illness.

In short, human emotions clouds our judgment and thinking process. But ITs this unique form of emotions that sets us apart from machines like computers. If we could use our mind to channel proper emotions for different purposes, I think it could be our greatest ally.

But its easier to be said then done. To me, the best way is to fell into the extremes of these emotions and get a feeling of them. Its hard to describe but actually, if one survives all these experiences. I think he would become a stronger character at the end of the day.

I was once very very angry during my secondary school days. Not sure why but angry about everything, (I still am today :P. Just that normally I keep it to myself.) I can tell you that I don't have a lot of friends during that period of time. Somehow, I managed to use this anger in me to put things into motion. I actually use this emotion on myself. In short I am constantly angry about how I perform in school, especially academically. So it was no surprised that I worked hard on my studies and in the end, turn out the top student in the whole school (I am not bluffing, can see my report card if you want :P).

How about being sad? Well, I can say the most sad feeling I had was when my father suffered from cancer and was unable to walk. Its even worst when we got the news he only have a few more months to live. I never got around to it. (even to this day). I am still trying hard to learn a way to channel this feeling into something useful but I think this is the only exceptional one from the rest of the human emotions.

I have nothing much to say when people approached me when they feel down. The best way is I listen and if I could, give some advice but most of the time, these people who seek my advice has already make up their mind about how to handle their situation. They just needed some assurance. Those who do not even want to talk about it are in danger of drifting into an endless pit.

Some say "Time will heal". We all knew that answer but the toughest to answer is "How Long???"

*This post is dedicated to my Tu Di (徒弟)

Testing my new camera

Originally uploaded by leejiing
I am still testing my new camera. I just got a chance to shoot a commercial event 2 days ago and found that I really need a vertical grip for my camera. (My hands are too used to a longer grip. Anyway, lucky me, the Vertical grip for my Sony a700 arrived just on the same day (evening)so managed to get one finally.

Today, after my class, I went out with my students for a shoot along Ophir Road and Mount Emily Park. I want to fully test my camera's high ISO capabilities (how it handle noise issues) so I shoot mostly at 1250, 640 and 400. The picture on the left is shot at 1250. Pretty impressive. hehehe. Anyway, click here to see more photos taken today. Overall, very very happy with the purchase. Think SONY is really up to something.

Fastest STripper

Nah beh, last time if I know this technique in NS. No need to worry about Change parade liao....

CNY 1996 Group photo

CNY 1996 Group photo
Originally uploaded by leejiing
I was digging some old photos and found this group shot taken many many years back.. Posting here to share some memories. You could click on the photo to see some notes on each person in the photo. Apologies to some of them if I can't remember your name. :) Actually, there is more people in our club that was not in the picture, Mei Feng, Han Ming, Johnny, Miao Ying, Janet, Qi Ye, De Yuan, Hong Yan, Chee Peng, Tok Kiang, Kim Kok and etc etc etc...

Holiday for wife and baby

Wife and girl girl is going back Keng Tung to visit Grandpa. Since now Myanmar already stabilised, I agreed to it. So they will be gone for 5 days. The housekeeper (i dun like to use maid) will be accompanying for the trip too. So more or less I am not so worried liao.

Now girl girl quite fun as she is in the "learning how to speak" phase. Will say "halo" when she pick up the phone and "papa" hehehe. Oso know how to say "Xie Xie" (Thank you in Chinese) and "bye bye". Want to go pee pee say "Zu zu". Want to drink water say "Nammmm" (thai for water, she like to drag the mmmm). Want to eat say "Mam Mam" or "Mum Mum". Want to eat Ice cube say "Kaeng" (thai for ice is Nam Kaeng) or "Bing" (Chinese for Ice).

hehe.. Bilingual baby liao :P

Hui Hui in Black and White

My Vista drivers for my Microtek i900 finally arrived(Well, I still need to download it.)

Anyway, I started taking film again during my last stay. Took a roll of Black and White Kodak Tmax 400 and pushed it to 800. I even challenged myself by sticking to one lens only. So all these shots are taken with a 50mm 1.4 prime. Enjoy the slide show :P

My new camera - Sony a700

Just last year in Sep 2006, Konica Minolta(my camera brand) sold off its entire camera and lens division to Sony. Wat lau, that time really shocked by the news. Amid all those uncertainties, I did not change system (dun want to go back to Canon leh). Reason behind this is that Sony did promised to continue the use of A-mount (Minolta's AF mount) and Carl Zeiss Optics. The latter reason is the main reason for me to stay as CZ are just wonderful lens. But the bad thing is of course the price. Sony's marketing is as good as Canon which means their product will also be expensive. Nevertheless, after a year's wait, Sony came out an advance amateur model. Which is in fact a replacement of the KM's Dynax 7D, the Sony Alpha 700 or a700 for short.

The Specs and Features
There are many improvements from 7D to a700 besides more Megapixels. First, there's a new interface. I still prefer 7D's compensation dial but the new interface also ok. Much like my old 800si. So not much of a problem for me. The infrared AF assist beam is back which is a blessing as the 7D does not have it. Which means I can focus well even in low light condition (up to 7m). Good enough as its pretty essential for events or weddings using flash. Another thing to note is the beautiful 3in LCD. Shiok man, can see whether photos are sharp anot by just zooming to 13x.
The shutter sound is also more pleasing and quieter. There's also a Dynamic Range Optimizer(DRO) but I don't think I will be using it as most probably I will shoot in cRaw. The autofocus motor is much faster and more accurate then the 7D. AF-C really works well now. Could track moving objects accurately.
Overall a lot of good improvement in the specifications and features.

Image Quality
Sony sensors are infamous for their noise issues on high iso. This time the switch to CMOS seems to be better. Noise control is good up to 800. 1600 and 3200 is usable too in bright scenes. Low ambient light will suffer a bit though. But overall still an improvement from 7D. Raw and cRaw (compressed raw) are outstanding. But the in build jpeg kinds of sucks. Even at the highest setting at XFine. Seems not as sharp as 7D. I knew about this from the other online reviews and so dun feel so bad. But its a setback as I normally shoot in Jpeg. 7D's direct out of camera jpeg is one of the main reason I switched from Canon to KM. Now kind of return to Square one liao. Lucky nowadays Photoshop CS3 got a better Raw to jpeg image processor. So I just have to get used to the new workflow. Hopefully Sony will come up with a firmware update to improve on the jpeg quality.

Surprisingly, the price is ok. Consider the package includes a remote control and more important, body built in anti-shake(another main reason for the switch from Canon to KM). Sony renamed it to Super Steady Shot (SSS) liao. Basically its the same thing. So all my lens got some Image Stabilizer, unlike Canon or Nikon users who need to buy IS or VR lenses.

Good upgrade and Sony did pulled this off quite well. Now just hope their price for their lenses will drop and maybe more people will join the Alpha camp.

Now most of the Minolta users are waiting for Sony's flagship A900. Speculated to be a Fullframe camera.

Lucky day!

I have not wrote anything for the past 7 days as I have been busy running around. My photography lessons have started and I have met up with some friends and clients on possible future prospects in Thailand. Particularly my RT friend who introduced me to some security products that I could help him distribute in Thailand.

Anyway, today is my lucky day! heheh. First, I participated in a MO (Mass Order) in a local photography column. There were 22 people interested in the new camera(will write about that later) and I was the lucky joker who was the last on the list (no. 16). The rest need to wait for another 2 weeks before the new shipment arrived.

Collected my camera today and reached home to get another good news. My lens that I ordered from another Lobang (cheap oso) has arrived!! Whheeee.. can test with new camera liao. Even better, my UOB debit card has arrived in my letterbox. Remember this incident? Yup, I created another bank account with UOB and applied for a VISA debit card.

So happy that just now went to have a jog. Not bad leh, I'm improving a lot. Finished 5km in just 30mins (maybe good mood). And I already went swimming this afternoon. Now really adrenaline rush. hehehe... so now waiting for my camera battery to full charge and start to have some fun :P

Btw, baby and wife all ok. Three days ago still want me to carry her in Skype.. but now a bit bo chap liao. Wife hired a new maid (more like a companion lah) and she busy playing liao.

Withdrawal Symptom

I think those who follow my blog will know that I always feel awful for the first 2 to 3 weeks whenever I return to Singapore. Read here

Anyway, the usual depressing bout returned again this afternoon. I was Skyping with wife and baby in the afternoon. Girl girl saw me on the monitor and stretch both her arms out crying, wanting me to carry her... jia lat... nearly want to cry... keep on explaining to her over the headphone that papa not physically around, cannot hug or carry you for 2 bloody months....

anyway, she kept on trying for a few times and wife quickly hugged her lor.... so I told her if she thinks of me, go hug mummy lah... hehe

as it was after lunch, she felt sleepy(her nappy time) so I sang her some song to sleep. This little incident really spoils my day.... later in the evening joined my friend for a gym session. Tried to work out and forget about the incident but it seems still lodged in my head....

sainz.... very bad mood now...

我喜欢的华文流行歌。(Chinese Pop Song that I like)

朋友莫名其妙的送我陈绮贞的CD。 听了觉得没有设么特别。旋律是不错,不过歌声不是我喜欢的类型(不喜欢小女声式的声音)。 我比较喜欢的华文流行歌大多数是摇滚或豪迈形式的。

比如说凡人二重唱,张宇,齐豫等等。最近我又发现了另一位自创自作的马来西亚歌手,非常的有才华。他的名字叫明志,或namewee. 他在台湾走红是他写了这首“麻坡得华语”。他在亚州大红(尤其马来西亚)是这首改谝马来西亚国歌的“我爱我的国家Negarakuku”。红是应为马来西亚政府要通缉他对国歌不敬。 不过我最喜欢的是这首比较早期的“我的朋友Kawanku”,尤其是他在唱他对新加坡的感想,我感到非常的贴切, 而且他用了六种语言来唱这首歌。


Project Weight Loss. TARGET 84kg

Today is the first day of my RT. I was glad to find 2 former RT mates in the same batch as me!! Yeah... Not so boring liao. Also met my Sec schoolmates. Mu Shun (aka Red Rooster)and Weili. Anyway, first day as usual, all talk no action. So later in the evening took my first 5km run in Singapore. Think after 2 days rest and maybe better paved roads. I finished my routine in less than an hour.

Currently, I managed to shed from 94kg to 89kg in Thailand. Weighed myself just now after my dinner and run, still at 89. So I plan to reduce it furthur by 5kg to 84. (I always stuck at 89 and no improvement). This time, I really plan to stick a a very strict diet. So as to control my energy intake and burn more fats.

For the first week, I plan to really reduce the amount of fatty food I eat. (slowly lah). Starting this week. Plan to have nothing more than a total of 4 fast food meal or heavy fat food (such as Chicken rice, Roast pork, etc etc). That's like about half of the week. Think I can easily achieve this goal. Will be noting down all the food I eat everyday.

The second and third week, the heavy fat food will reduce to 3 or even 2 (if I can achieve less on the first week). I also plan to eat more meals in smaller portions rather than 3 heavy meals. So my plan is to have snacks and bites about 3 hours to 4 hours and choices will be fruits,nuts(baked), soup, whole grain products and stay away from meat, fat and other sweet stuff.

The fourth week and above, heavy fat food will be reduced to 1 and I will start to reduce my intake on carbohydrates (rice, noodle and bread).

The diet should continue till I return to Thailand in late November. Of course, besides the diet, I will be exercising also.

Workout plan is. Sunday RT. Monday Rest. Tuesday RT again. Wednesday Gym or Swimming. Thursday Jog 5km (later RT in phase 2). Friday Swimming or Jogging. Saturday Brisk Walk.

Sounds siong but I am not going to overwork myself. Most probably will moderate my pace. Like if RT very siong, next day will still do but at a much reduce pace and effort. But everyday should at least exercise for 30min (thats the healthy lifestyle)

Working out and a good diet are the essential ingredients to weight loss. Won't be taking diet pills but might take some supplements for energy boost and joints recovery (will write about them next time).


Yesterday, I drove to the airport using my neighbour's car. The nice Uncle have difficulties with his eyesight in the dark (we took off at 6am). So I drove there while Uncle will drive back himself (by that time should be bright enough).

Reached Singapore around 5pm... It was supposed to be 3pm but the flight back from Bangkok to Singapore was delayed. The announcement was "due to technical issues". With the recent One-2-Go crash in phuket, I thought it was wiser to ask what really is happening. The Airasia staff very helpful. She told me that the tires need replacement, that's the reason for the delay. Later on the plane, the Captain apologised and made the same announcement. Its great that they inform us rather than giving us other excuses. Anyway, the flight was smooth and managed to finish Evan Almighty on my Zen.

Later in the evening met up with my friend at Parkway to have dinner (supper for me as Mum already cooked). Quite a decent meal but like a bit expensive leh. Too used to the food price in Thailand. Well, have to get used to it for the next 2 months. Last night girl girl cried at night and do not want to sleep (drag till 12am leh). Looking for me liao .... Jia lat. Anyway, managed to soothe her down through Skype. THANKS for the INTERNET.

2 more days...

I will be flying back to Singapore on the 5th Oct. This time will be the same, stay for 2 months to complete my current year RT and then hopefully can be back in Thailand by December.

Anyway, wife's youngest sister came with her 2 kids and hubby. They came to get some paperwork done. Seems like they are offering the half citizenship again here in Measai (same type as wife's)

Anyway, have to keep things short... still got things to settle and here's some photo of them playing...

btw.. Picassa rocks with this flash preview!!!

Interesting game....

I think its human nature that people like to gamble. Over here, legal and illegal gambling are easily found. Cross over to Tachilek Myanmar and you could head to a very grand Casino (heard from wife that its pretty big) just around the corner (Many Thais crossed over to get to high roll in that Casino). Wife was helping her cousin looking for a job and found him one. Bloody hell, as a runner(seller) for a bookie. The game they play is not lottery or 3D(they have it here same as Malaysia). Not sure exactly the name of the game. The Burmese play it too and they called it simply Sam Sip Hok (36). The Thais called it Pat Thong Si.

Basically, the game involves the picture shown on the right (click on it to see a bigger version). You could see a man wearing a costume with lots of animals on it. Total of 36 animals. And then beside the picture is a chart which kinds of say which animal is a partner of the other. Example, 1(monkey) is a partner of 18 (Gold fish). The chart is sometime important and I will explain later.

To play, the bookie or boss will pick a number at his house in a secret room. No one even his own wife knows about it. He will come out of the room and tell a story to his runners, normally about 4 to 6 sentences. This story is actually a clue to what number is going to open today. So the runners get the story and spread it to his audience. Who would place their bets from the runner. The odds is actually 1:30. So if you buy 10baht, you will 300baht. The min bet is 1baht and no limits on the max (heard some hardcore buy few thousand baht per day). So everyday there is 2 bets, one in the day and one at night. First results is revealed in the evening at 4pm, while the second at 10pm.

Wife got lucky a few times and managed win a few hundred. hehehe... So far I asked for the translation for the story and found out that the sentences are not that direct, it could mean more than 10 animals sometimes(which means if you buy all 10, even if you strike, the returns might not be that great). Some are quite obvious until you are scared to make the bet. So its a psychological game from the bookies also. The chart I mentioned before is sometime important and the story might have clues like "friends" "wife" "partner" and etc..

By the way, you can see Chinese characters in the picture as the bookie is a bloody Thai Chinese :P. And a lot of Chinese are playing. And of course, this is illegal in Thailand but seems like the bookie got some real good "connections". Heard that his best friend is the Police Chief of Chiang Rai Province.

Myanmar's Crisis

I doubt if any Singaporeans will really bother about the current crisis in Myanmar (Burma). The funny thing is that among the ASEAN countries, we had the most investments with Myanmar. Check out wiki and other their government website. It kinds of pain me to see the amount of inaction our own SG govt is dealing with the Junta. But of course, I think our gahment would prefer the current situation as Myanmar are rich in resources and due to the Junta's way of ruling. Our gahment get to buy cheap sand or other raw materials and exploit the poorer Burma. (Since the rest of the world except China, Thailand and India are not dealing with them).

Burma used to be the richest among the ASEAN. Now it came to this. My recent trip to KengTung was quite enjoyable by the hospitality shown by the peaceful people there (except the bloody military of course) and I sincerely think our gahment could do more by putting the Junta on check by stop dealing with them.

Sad to say, our gahment is to pragmatic and selfish. Rather we get rich then help others. But the funny thing hor... is how come our gahment always give money to Indonesia when there is Tsunami or Earthquake??

Anyway, wife called back to KengTung and everything is fine there. No protest and at all... people in KengTung is a bit more comfortable due to the close access to China (less than 300km will get to Kun Ming). Still, how long this will last I will not know. The Burmese people wants the military to be out of politics but without any physical support (military) from the international community. Doubt it will change, unless someday, someone in the Junta army is able to make that change for good.

Five years my Foot!

I was actually planning to write something about Myanmar (Burma) situation but something more cuckoo cooks up.

Think most of you have a POSB or DBS account and have Internet Banking. This year around May or June, they send me the bloody IB Secure device. Which is suppose to be a second level authentication system for their ibanking. So in July, they enforce this system for good. You need the device to log into your ibanking account. Stupid stupid stupid of me to trust bloody DBS only(as I thought put in one bank good enough liao).

I have 2 accounts with DBS, one personal and one joint account with my mum. Normally to control and budget my spending, I will actually put most of my money in the joint account as it has no ATM card. Whereas my spending will come from my own personal account. So yesterday, I was planning to pay some bills and transfer some money to my own personal account (end of the month liao mah). To my horror, the device give me this bloody message. (see picture)

Wat lau eh! Cannot go in at all liao. On their website they say suppose to last for 5 years (see point 6) leh. I never dropped or do anything to it, so how come battery so fast drain out??? Anyway, called the hotline and asked for help, they say can only deliver to my home address(security reasons) in Singapore and will take 4 working days!!! I asked can expedite anot since I urgently need to access my account. My mistake of telling them that I will ask my sis to use the device while I am on the phone makes them go on a lecture saying this cannot (should) not be done blah blah blah...Call this a joke.

Hey DBS, Internet banking is suppose to be GLOBAL! It is suppose to be CONVENIENT. But to sacrifice all these because of some security issues is a big joke. I am okay if I need to carry one more device around but disaster recovery like this is a big no no. Don't think you can even compete with UOB which actually allows people to opt in or out of their 2 way authentication system. You simply choose the option to make this compulsory.

So what's my plan? I will write a complain letter formally and send to them. Next, I will open a UOB account (personal) and transfer all my current bills and stuff linked to this new account and close this DBS account if they don't implement an opt out. Yes it will be tedious but I rather have some choice and freedom in this matter.

Burn more money!

Last year Loy Krathong allows me to have some fun with all these toys. Since November this year I will be stuck in Singapore. I thought I will miss the chance to set something off. Luckily mid-autumn festival also allow to play leh... ghahaha mai tu liao!

Bought some new stuff to play, including 2 fireworks you see in the picture. The number you see on the fireworks (round clay objects) are actually the listed price. The smaller one is red in colour which is cheaper. Green translucent paper actually means the firework is white in colour. White is actually more expensive. For the same size, the red one only cost 80baht. There actually has an even bigger sizes for the fireworks. Largest are 280 baht, as tall as the green tea bottle shown in the picture. Those crackers in front of the fireworks are fun too. Especially the tank. It will actually move on the ground and lights will spew from the front barrel.

So later in the evening we gathered the children around the neighbourhood and set the fireworks off. I brought along my camera and tripod to take some pictures. Not very good though as I was too near to the firework and it was really quite bright, making my photos a bit overexposed.

The red one.

The bigger white one, which is actually more pretty and very very bright.

Mid Autumn Festival in Thailand

The typical Chinese family here do celebrate 中秋节 (Mid Autumn Festival) which is on the 15th, 9th 8th month of the Lunar Calendar. Today is the day and I am kind of surprised the number of Chinese family here in Maesai. (Quite a lot actually). At night, they all take out a table and place it outside their house. On the table are offerings like fruits, sweets, cakes and of course, moon cakes.

The moon cake they eat here are black red bean paste type and its more towards the salty side. And the size of the moon cake also quite funny.. Very large.. I'll try to get a photo but I saw one family bought one that is as large as a table (about 80cm in diameter leh). Basically their process very simple. Offer the food and light some candles and joss sticks. Then they proceed to devour the stuff on the table lor (quite typical Chinese Bai Bai) hehe..

Kids here don't carry lantern leh. But they have those that you could light up and set it float into the air (like in Loy Krathong). They also start selling crackers (Yeah!!!) So of course in the evening, we went to the main street and bought some and release them at the rice field near our house. All the kids around us joined us with screaming fun.. hehe..

No pictures as too busy playing with fire crackers hehe.. since I will be missing Loy Krathong this year (sianz)...


Its getting cold in the evening here in Maesai. Think Autumn is coming. One thing great about being furthur away from the equator is that you get seasonal changes. Air was fresh and cool (like air con room but less dryer)so yesterday I took an adventurous route in my jogging routine. Instead of the usual path I took, I ran towards Chiang Saen highway 1290. I know there (drove there once) is an intersection that would cut back to the 2nd Friendship bridge of Maesai (which is very near my house (about 2km away). So I took my time and pace. At first I thought the whole route would be around 5km. Nah Ma... bloody wrong estimate. The path I took wind and turn for at least 3 more klicks before I hit the intersection. Total distance is about 8+ km. Wat lau, nearly want to give up but just jog slowly lor..

Took me more than an hour to complete. Wife asked why so long this time (normally 30min to 45min). Told her about the distance I took and she was sceptical at first. Until her cousin (who drop by us everyday) told her he saw me jogging along the road towards Chiang Saen then she believe me. Today no jog... need to rest up and recharge from yesterday's workout. Tomorrow plan to jog around that path again but this time I think I can get another shorter route from another turn.....

Korp Kai Ya Sip MTV Trailer

This TV series show was pretty popular in Thailand and its about a boy being born with a physical defect. He was given a special armour which he wore would grant him supernatural powers. The story is quite interesting and so are the CGI special effects. This clip is the MTV of the title song for the show. Title of the song is same as the show Korp Kai Ya Sip which translated means Armour (of) God (Good). I really like the way the song blends traditional Thai instruments with heavy rock.

Firefox rules!!

Another good reason you should dump the free Internet Explorer and install Firefox. This little add on called Ad-Block Plus is way too cool. It blocks all sort of ads in the website by subscribing to a well maintained filter list. Easy to install (just a few clicks and restart the browser) and you get an ads free page. Great thing is that pages actually loads much faster now as all those unwanted ads are removed.

BTW, saw this feature already mentioned by Mr Brown too.... hehehe

Retirement - Redux

My cousin wrote about his views on retirement but I wish to explore a bit more on it as its an interesting concept. I do agree with most of his points that actually retirement is actually dependent on each persons views of life. But it still boils down to whether you have the means (financial capabilities) to really enjoy that lifestyle that you wish to have.

In Thailand, I did noticed that most of the older people above 60s or even younger do retire even if they are poor or not that well to do. The main reason is that they could still depend on their children (typical Asian culture) to provide them with the means to stop work and their needs are very simple, a house, a garden, a companion (remarried if their spouses are deceased) and of course, money. For example, just next door, my neighbour is a 60 plus retiree who has a younger wife and 2 kids. Both doesn't work and the main source of income is actually from his elder daughter of his former wife. He doesn't like to travel but he do likes to work on his garden, play with his kids and watch TV. That's his retirement. I don't think most typical Singaporeans would enjoy this type of retirement.

But the main point here is that its actually just possible for Thai people to retire early if their needs are really that simple(most of them do). City life is not like rural life which means you have more choices in things you could do. But the thing is that in the city, the standard of living is definitely higher than rural areas. Thats why Maesai or even other rural areas in Thailand has tons of big houses that retired city workers would buy and stay in them till death.

So for people in Thailand, even for an average joe, its still possible for them to retire at 60 if
1) They relocate from the city to some rural area and stay a humble life
2) He/she has a lot of kids, (married early) and they could provide them monthly with a stable income plus pension from his own retirement.

In Singapore, you could not do this anymore. You could still saved up and maybe migrate to Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia or Malaysia. But are you willing to give up all your friends and relatives? I have 3 friends and here are their cases.

The first is in his late 20s and earns less than 2k per month. He needs to actually juggle another job as he needs to pay his loans on his family car. He's a bit luckier as his parents do not need his money but he still tries his best sometimes to give some to them. Every month, his account is near empty to zero. He did save some money with his girlfriend and plans to marry soon but it seems like most probably, his parents may need to help a bit in his wedding bills. He do likes to travel and some of the stuffs mentioned by javert in his blog but because of his condition, he could never find time to enjoy the things he wanted to do, that's why retirement was in his head and he did mentioned to me once that he wished to retire at around 60 to get to do the stuff he could not do now.

The second is a good friend of mine and same age as me. He's a manager now and commands a good pay of more than 2k per month (not sure what his pay now but at least quite comfortable). His father is semi retired and he needs to fork out half his pay every month and give it to them. Fair enough as he is still staying with them. He has 2 younger sister and both are University graduates. Before that, he actually even have to help her youngest sister in some school fees. He's in the IT line and there's always a certain fear of retrenchment. He enjoys computer games and actually plays online games all the time if he's not working. He wants to travel but because of financial issues, he prefers to stay at home and play with his computer games rather than going out. To him, retirement is an option but he's actually kind of enjoying his life now. He don't plan to get married at all but he did mentioned to me once that who doesn't want to retire early,thing is where got the moola (money) to do so....

The third guy is in his 50s. He's my former boss who is still working. His company is surviving but not thriving. So he does not have extra cash to even think about retirement. He has 2 children. His elder son is married to a Vietnamese and is in Vietnam with his own family. His daughter is single but moved out and stayed with her friends. Both never provide any additional aid as far as I know. His wife is also his business partner and both worked hard on their company. He did once conveyed his dream is to sell away his business with a sum and retire for good. But its a wish hard to fulfill as IT business are hard to sell.

3 different scenarios, all 3 of them wants to retire. Its kind of sad though. It seems that its actually human nature to choose to rest or retire (stop working and relax) when they are old. The scary thing is that this option is going to be tougher for average joes in Singapore and what I will see in the future is more and more old people are still working in Macdonalds or fast food restaurants in their 60s. Do note that over here in Thailand, I never see old people work in Fast food restaurant or anywhere! (Unless they owned the shop). The extremes poor ones even have gahment or monasteries taking care of them. Even the oldest beggars are in their late 40s.... (maybe older than those died on the street liao)

WWII German Wehrmacht Infantryman 1/16 Winter Uniform

Yesterday, I was woke up in the middle of the night by my dog. Can't get to sleep so started to work on my German soldier. I continued to work until morning and managed to finish it in dawn. Whoo.. What a rush. Here's the promised photo of the completed model. Now to describe some background of the work in progress..

This is a long time since I painted my models by HAND. Yes, airbrush is used only for the base coat and accessories. The rest (mostly the main body area) are painted by hand. You could see from the photos that my painting skills with a brush really sucks... Still can see some streak marks. Need more practice and improvement. I know what causes it, too much paint and my strokes are too hard and inconsistent pressure. It looks so easy done by the experts but for me its tough. Still the final result is quite acceptable to the front row of my display case in the living room.. hehehe

This particular model is a 1/16 replica of a Wehrmacht Infantryman during the late 1940s. Originally, the hooded uniforms are designed for war with Russia and comes only in white or field grey colour. Later of the war, the Germans managed to incorporate the Water pattern into the design for better camouflage purposes. There is also a Splinter and an Oak Leaf pattern specifically for the Elite Infantry.

Ice Ice Baby...

dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dem. Girl girl really enjoy cold stuff... especially Ice or Ice Cream. (see pic) Its actually quite headache every time we go out and eat. The Thai restaurants or even street hawkers likes to provide a cup of icy water for their customer and baby sure knows there is something "Icy" in it. So we actually have to warn the server before hand, not to bring any cups with ice to our table. Of course most of the time they will still bring it (career sickness??). So baby will start reaching for the cups even before it reaches the table.. if we don't give her even one cube.. she won't seat still for the entire meal... if we give in and let her have a way, she might get sick from all the cold stuff... so how???? Really in a dilemma. :P

9/11 Visa Run

Its Sept 11. And my Visa will expire on the 13th. So I decided to go have my visa run today to get another 30 days before I return to Singapore.

Woke up in the morning and it was pouring. Anyway, I dressed up and took the bike out with my raincoat. Crossed the border with little hassle and was in Myanmar Thachilek in less than 15mins (from my house). The border military took 500baht from me and proceeded to take a photo of me (as usual). They uses web-cam to take the photo and print it onto a piece of card with all of your particulars on it. They will then keep your passport until you return later on the day to get back into Thailand.

Thachilek was much much quieter than it was. Since the 1st Oct new Visa-On-Arrival law came into effect, I think both Maesai and Thachilek suffered from the lost of foreign customers.

I also heard from my Ang Mo friend and wife that DVDs are not to be found anymore as they recently had a raid. To my surprise, the shops are open but they are a bit on the edge. They open their doors halfway, like if there is a raid, they could close the shop easily. Anyway, browse some titles and was hoping to get Jesus Camp but they don't seems to have it. However, I stumbled on a boxset of BBC's documentaries. 100 DVDs boxset which came in a very chio (beautiful) metallic box. Only 2400baht (after haggling over the price) which meand only 24baht per DVD. hehehe

After a 30min walk around hte area, I nearly sprained my ankle when I return to the immigration checkpoint (bloody roads). Got my 30 day extension and headed back home. Wife heard I bought this and not too happy with my purchase. Jia lat liao.....

Youtube is back in Thailand!

Actually youtube is back since last week. But the good thing about youtube is besides having getting to watch some funny vidz. We also get to watch some good quality documentaries. Like this one, Banned from the Bible Part 1 and 2. Its actually from History Channels and kinds of explains how the Christian Bible came to be. Very interesting and informative. :) The same guy also posted a series called Islam: Empire of Faith. For those interested in religion or history.

Back to Square One

Remember I mentioned about running? I started my routine again today after almost 1 week break and it was tough. I can still feel I have phlegm in my throat and I feel lethargic so I guess I am not entirely well yet but I decided to go ahead anyway.

So my plan was to jog less, much much lesser then usual. I planned a 2km route at a very slow pace. I started quite ok but after 2 to 3 mins. I started to feel the obstruction in my throat. I actually think I might not be even able to complete my run. I pushed a little more and started coughing to spit out the phlegm. It actually work and I feel much better. So I continued to force myself to cough and spit repeatedly for a few more times and actually each time I do it, I felt more energised and my pace went faster.

When I stopped, my sweat just continued to pour and my nose and throat was clear. I felt great! Took some time to warm down and washed up. I actually feel better then before my run. Just now I even played chased with my baby and sweat some more and now I feel totally ok. Seems like the workout really improved my blood circulation and makes me well again. For those who are sick and recovered recently, try it out, think it really works.

I did it!!

I suck at painting figures. Especially the facial part(skin tones). But after some practicing with the Japanese soldiers. I kind of have the confidence to paint a 1/16 figure. Bought a WWII German Infantry and started the face. Result is the picture shown on the left. (A bit handshake due to low light, will try to take another when I finish the whole thing) hehe... I am glad I finally understand and really know how to paint a bloody face... hahaha

Its actually quite complicated and I need to thank Bernard from theMworkshop to introduce me to some great books, especially Clavin Tan. Check out their galleries, they are amazing!! He's a Singaporean modeller and his models are published in a lot of International model magazines.

My painting skills still really needs a lot of improvements. Best way is to practice more...

The Handy Man

One thing about staying and living in a big house in Thailand is that you get to learn how to fix things yourself. I mean, of course, if I am rich, I could easily hire a Burmese worker here in Maesai (100baht MAX for a days work) but normally they don't do things the way you want them to. So the best solution is to get dirty yourself. Unless the job is way too complicated.

My bed broke actually, one of the beams below supporting the planks broke into two. Don't ask me how it broke. You all can fantasize about the process but I'm not interested in the details :P. Anyway, today I got a spare plank and I proceed to saw the plank to size.. Took me some effort as the bloody handsaw is only 12" long. I fixed the beam by sandwiching 2 planks on the side and secured the original with screws, so to make it one long beam again. Its an easy job but I don't think people in Singapore staying in HDB or Condos could do it if they want to. As you really need some space to work. So all in all it took me less than an hour to do it.

Talking about fixing stuff. I already replaced stuffs like taps and pipes. Mend wires, fixed toys with a soldering iron. Added another set of lightings for my storeroom. I even used to fix some of the stuff at the Internet Shop. (Besides computers) I fixed a sliding door problem, a chair and headphones while I worked there. My Ang Mo friend even call me Mr "Fix-it".

I have to admit that my Technical Workshop in Secondary school does help. (I was in Normal Technical Stream and joined the school's electronic club.) At least I know the drill bits (3 basic types) and which one to use on which surface. I could also read a simple circuit diagram (I wonder anyone still do it now??). I do enjoy the process of it very much. I think its in me. I like to "make" or "fix" things. I think thats the main reason why I like building plastic models and computers. Tons of problems with them and you get to solve the puzzle and fix them up... hehehe

Getting Well?

It's an irony that my previous post is about getting fit and the next day I got sick. I think its the changing weather here in Maesai. Starts to get cold in the evening and very hot during the day time. The change is quite drastic which means if one is not careful, he could easily catch a flu.

For the pass 4 days I have been sick, sneezing and coughing. Baby also got it though but not as jia lat as me. Still, play safe and see a doctor. Baby is minor but I need to get a jab. Ouch. Was on medications which makes me whoozie. Everyday sleep and rest.

Now getting better and actually managed to lose a kilo from the ordeal. Plan to start my jogging routine tomorrow but still on a wait and see. I want to be completely well before I exhaust myself and get sick again...

Getting Fit (Again)

I have progressed much 2 years ago. My peak weight was 120kg, dropped till 80++ and now maintaining at 90+kg. I know I can go thinner and leaner if I watch my diet but over here in Thailand... a bit difficult as their pork and beef are so seducing delicious. (I am a meat lover). Worst, started to drink gassy drinks like Coke again. Bloody 10baht Big Cola.

Someone once asked my secret in getting thin. Well, its all hard work. Really keep track on what you eat and EXERCISE. Yes, just move rather then sit there do nothing. The people here in Thailand exercises too. They actually have aerobics sessions or football games at the community area. Even actually have a gym that you could pay 80baht per month to use it. Not California fitness centre style but good enough.

I actually prefer swimming as I am flat footed, which means I can't run well.. actually I should say I am slightly obese and flat footed. Which means I tend to hurt my knees often if I jump around or run around too much. Too bad the pool here in Maesai is mainly for kids to play. Impossible to complete a lap without knocking into kids as they dun bloody care.

Anyway, I have stopped jogging since last week due to the trip to Chiang Mai. Yesterday I restarted the 3km routine and managed to complete it with ease. Seems like the week rest really helps in recuperate my legs, especially my knees. Now my plan is to increase the duration and distance to 5km (my peak was 8km in Singapore).

And this time, I plan to hit 85kg (only 5kg brother) and make it stay there for good ... :)

JGSDF Light Armoured Vehicle

I have been working on this little bugger for the last 3 weeks. Its one of the more complicated builds. I am suppose to work on my SCUD Launcher but I feel not skillful enough to build such a big model. So I took this as a practice session.

Initially it was simple, very little parts and it has a die cast lower hull. So most of the time is super glue. The original kit comes with only one driver, so I bought another an additional Japan Ground Defense Force (JGSDF)infantry set (separate) which comes with 5 additional figures. 1 commander, 2 rifle man, 1 squad leader and 1 machine gunner which I placed on the turret of the vehicle.

Then it dawned on me that the amount of different colours are needed to paint the model are much much more then the usual ones I have built. (The max I have used is almost 17, on average models only need less then 10 colours.) This one beats all of them. For the figures, 4 different colours for the camouflage uniform. Flesh uses 3 tones...etc etc Total colours used on the figures and weapons are 12. The jeep itself has interior colours and accessories like fire hydrant, seats, dashboard and etc. Colours used on the jeep itself is about 15. Total 15+12 is 27!!! Wat lau..

And painting this jeep takes steps. I have to paint the interior. Masked them before painting the exterior. For an example of the complicated process. The door itself has 6 colour schemes. First, overall base coat grey for the door. Then paint the interior light blue. Masked the internal and paint the external with the olive drabs. Then remasked the edges and external to paint the NATO green for the armoured panel. After that, glue the painted (black) handles and glass panel (clear blue) to complete one door. Shiong.

The kit is very well modeled so I did not do any conversion. Everything is out of the box build. Also I am lazy... heheh so dun bother. The jeep is airbrushed and later lightly washed with black.. Although should be light wash but you can still see quite heavy black marks on the jeep. Its difficult to weather a modern military vehicle as most of them are new and are well kept. So I did nothing major on it yet.. want to slowly see how to make it more appealing.

I actually plan to build this as a Diorama set. Still in planning stages. The figures I have to say have improved a bit.. hehe.. I am poor at painting figures but I quite like this result so far. All figures are first airbrushed with a base green colour before hand painting the camos... Took me quite some time to do it.

Hope you enjoy the model as I do.. Still need lots of improvement.

Chiang Mai Trip Log

Our trip to Chiang Mai is quite an experience.

Day 1 is basically a rest day, we spent almost the whole day on transport and reached Chiang Mai at Noon. Girl girl seems to be a bit excited by the new environment. She has been running around at my apartment, exploring everything on sight. She also likes to run along the corridor outside and play with Ronnie's Cats. By the way, Ronnie is a dear retired lady from US staying just next door to my apartment. It's been almost a year since I saw her and she has not changed a bit. Though she had a new cat though.. hehe.. We went for a quick lunch downstairs and went to Kad Suan Kaew (2nd biggest shopping center in CM) to do some shopping. The shopping center is only a 5min walk from my apartment and it was surprisingly packed with people. Seems like there is a sale on.

Day 2 we went to Airport Central Plaza (biggest shopping center) to do more shopping (sianz). Wify and her friend love to shop :P. Afternoon is a swim at our condo's swimming pool. Girl scared like hell... hehe.. dare not to go into the water.. Guess its a bit windy and the water is quite cold. Took some effort to convince her to go down (wife carried her) but she seems more scared then enjoying herself, so we bailed and went home. Night time we went to the Anusan Market to eat some seafood. Oysters pretty cheap here. 15baht per piece! Ordered a fish, tofu soup, Crab, Calms, oysters and a veggie dish.. everything for 1200baht (round up liao). (Pretty expensive for local but thing quite cheap compare to SG). After dinner we went to the Night Bazaar to get some bargains.

Day 3 we visited the zoo in the morning. Went to see the Panda which we missed the feeding time. Both Panda were sleeping when we entered. BTW, Have to pay 50baht per head for local.. 100baht for tourists... hehe I am a Thai local for one day :P.. save 50baht. Luckily we stayed longer and one of the panda did woke up and jalan jalan a bit.. so we get our worth of money. Later we feed the giraffes and a small elephant.. Girl again got scared... heheh.. Thought she quite brave at home but seems to be a bit anxiety when she is at somewhere not familiar.. After the zoo we catch a Swang Tiao to Doi Suthep to Bai bai.. The temple is famous in Chiang Mai and it was actually drizzling when we reached there. You have to climb a steep flight of steps to reach the temple. Wife carried Girl halfway while I takeover. I more siong as I am carrying a bagfull of water and milk. :P Toured a bit and went home to rest. Evening we went to Kad Suan Kaew again to have dinner at Sizzler and did some last shopping.

Day 4, need to catch the bus at 1400. So morning wife woke up early and bring baby to Kad Luang (big market, they called Watroro Market for Tourist IIRC). I stayed to sleep a bit more and woke up later to clean up the apartment. We ate our lunch at the apartment. Wife bought some BBQ chili fish which taste pretty damn good. We rest a bit and then left the apartment at 1.15pm. Took the bus and reached home at 6.30pm.. damn shack...