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4 days Off....

Some swapping with my colleagues and I got 4 off days straight in a row.  Today is actually the last day so I was a bit surprised it came and then its gone in such a short notice!! Tomorrow will be back to slave for 3 more days before my long break in Thailand.

So just to summarised the events for the pass 4 days.  I actually planned to take a train northbound to Malaysia for some photograher trip but I pulled out in the last min when I realised I had not prepared for my return trip yet.  So on Weds.  I managed to buy all the thingies (wife asked one) and went for my last IPT session in Bedok camp.. There goes another year of IPPT :P

Returned home on that night and my mum and sis complained the TV spoilt liao.. Seing doubles.. (like 3D movie)  So the next day accompanied my mum to shop for a big flat screen LED TV (55") at Audio House.  Settled for a Toshiba brand one.  Actually planned to get a Bravia but bigger screen and the colours looked much better on the Toshiba leh...

Then followed by an evening hike along with my colleague and pal Callan around little India.  Ends the day with some scannings of photos I had developed but not yet scanned them.

Friday was more eventful.  Supposed want to go take photo in the morning but bloody rained... Rained everyday ever since I went off! :(  So morning I went to Tampines to upgrade my Starhub cable box to the Hubstation HD hehe.. Got new TV liao so time to upgrade!! Anyway, it did stopped in the afternoon so I got home and grabbed my RF and took some streets shots at bugis before it started raining again.  :( Since I got a free movie pass (I got them when I bought some HDDs at the IT show) and I hiked down to Cathay Picturehouse and watched Fist of Fury... not a very good show.. a bit too pretentious...

Today, supposed to wake up early to try get some sunrise but forgot to turn on my alarm clock.. Woke up already in dawn.. AAAARRRRrrgghhh... So took my unfinished RF and hit Bugis again to finish my roll of 64T.  Met a brother there to settle some online purchases before hitting back home.  Then went out again to Parkway to sell off one of my lens. My Minolta tele 70-200 2.8 no longer with me liao :'(   then rushed back home anxiously waiting for the TV to arrive.

TV arrives around 5pm and I spent sometime fiddling with it... 55" really big leh..... ehhehehe shoik...

There goes my 4 days off.... of course every morning I give routine calls to my wife and kids.... that will be in another post.. :D


My girl got Silver!!

Routine called my wife this morning and she gave me the good news.  Last Saturday, my girl was selected by her school to take part in an interschool competition in Chiang Rai.  Its a friendly inter-school match and my girl and another girl was picked from her class to represent the kindergarden category :P

So Xinhui was competing in the "Writing the alphabet" section.  The other girl is colouring contest... Girl girl was picked because she has the best hand writing in school and she already memorised the whole Thai alphabet already :)

No one took the gold award but only 2 out of the competitor took the silver.  Xin hui has the best handwriting but she got one of the alphabets wrong (thing she is nervous as she kept looking at my wife.. :) hehe.  Anyway, I am so happy and proud of her. 

Jing Yong (my boy) is also not loosing out in acheivements.  He now can walk and walk he does.  Everyday and everytime until my wife complained to me liao.. hahaha And he runs too.. Scampering here and there.. touching here and there and exploring the surroundings.  Exactly like his elder sister when she starts to walk.  Luckily he is not as fearless as his sister.  Xinhui is a bit more challenging as she tends to do "eXtreme" stunts... He's a bit slower in speech also (Xin Hui was fast and could memorise words easily) .  Its common with boys but he remembers important words :)  like mama and papa... and he calls his sister "Jeh" a bit like Jie in Chinese but off key...

So a week more I will be going back for a short visit again.  Can't wait to see them as my house's router (in Thailand) was down for the last 2 weeks.. #$!#!@#! stupid linksys modem/router... need to get a new one.

The NEX system - Nex 3

Thanks to some poisoning from Chiff camera and othe M lenses users.  I plunged into the compact EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens) System.

I was planning to get a M4/3 like Panasonic or Olympus but the 2x crop factor and its 4:3 ratio puts me off... So it was a big surprise when Sony came out this little devil system.  The NEX with E-mount with a 1.5 crop and 3:2 ratio which I am so used to.

At first, I was a bit put off with this cam when I saw the initial review and description.  Lousy interface and no View Finder (this is really a big minus as those who knew me knows that I want a VF in any serious camera I want to buy).

Then I made the stupid move of going over to Chiff's shop one day and I got poisoned.

Firstly, the LCD screen is good.  So good it blasted the Oly lousy 300k dots.  The colours and clarity it produces on the LCD makes focusing with a MF (manual focus) lens a breeze!  For first timers, you just need to enable the MF assist and shutter release with no lens attached in the camera settings.  After that, whenever you attached an old MF lens, the useless shooting tips soft button at the bottom will automatically changes to MF assit button, which allows you to zoom in at 14x or 7x view of the scene.  Very very useful for my old eyesight :)

Another wonderful thing is the articulate LCD screen which turns the little cam into a Waistlevel finder cam.  Like an old TLR.  Which makes street photography much easier.   Overall I am very satisfied with the little cam.

Some cons are already mentioned in other websites. 

1) The form factor which is a bit too small (small oso complain :P). A little bigger will be better to balance some bigger lenses that will be attached to it.
2) No built in sensor AS like their Alpha system. 
3) No EVF attachment (yet). 
4) Battery life a bit weak (but can last one whole day for me which is good enough). 
5) Some interface issues (ISO and WB needs to press a few buttons to change it)  Not a big problem for me as I shoot film so normally I just fix one ISO...
6) LCD might get a bit hard to see in very very bright daylight (so far I only encountered once when its hard for me to see but still can compose.  The MF assist button saves the day actually.

Overall, its a wonderful little gem for a certain type of photography.  Which to me, is street photography.  As the camera is small and if you shoot from your waist, its less intrusive and you get to get very close to your subject without them noticing you.

Another great point is the type of lenses you can attached to it.  It seems Sony's engineer who designed this actually wanted to attached all sorts of old MF lenses to it!  (can tell by the way they implement the MF assist functionality)  So for ppl like me with lots of old MF lenses its a great asset to have my film lenses converted to digital age.

My old CV 35mm Color Skopar 2.5 is now revived on my Nex-3! (See picture on top) .  So if you have a lot of old film camera lenses in your drybox.. I hightly recommend this camera for you (just buy the relative adaptor for it).  

Here's one more for the day.. my Nokton 50mm f1.1 on Nex-3 :P


Delayed for a month.

It seems that I will be working till mid of Nov before leaving my current job.  I actually planned to stop work in October but because my current Team Lead (and good pal) had some issue hiring new guys to come in to  replace me.  So I decided to stay for one more month before saying goodbye for good.

Some of my colleagues are a bit surprised that I am leaving that soon (they actually thought I would finish my 2 yr contract which is in 2012).  But I guess I just can't stand this long distance relationshop with my kids and wife anymore...

So my plans are actually quite straight forward, get married and get a long term O visa to stay in Thailand.  Money wise, I have some savings and should last me at least a year or two. 

For the next 6 months when I'm in Thailand.  I would be busy like hell as I need to start researching on how to start up a little business in Thailand.  Not a big setup, just a small one that I could at least sustain myself and my family in Thailand. 

So what do I plan to sell?  To be honest, I can't really tell yet!  Haha.. as I have serveral options in my head.  Photography service, teaching English or Chinese and maybe even an Internet Cafe..  So the next 3 to 6 months in Maesai would be cover some ground work.


Another year, another same old routine....

I just came back from my annual IPT training (the 2nd session only) and I just realised I have never really write about my views and thoughts on the NS (short for National Service) in my blog before.

After my BMT (Basic Military Training) I am actually posted to be in the 30 SCE Combat Engineer (Shiong shiong unit) but luckily I keng (cheat) my way out during my training and became a service clerk.. hehehe.. I'm just too fat and lazy to carry heavy loads up and down and run here and there.. :P

I then deferred and completed my Bachelor degree before I got enlisted back again to clear my remaining 6 months of liability.  A total of 3 years and 4 months wasted in my youth.  Why 3 years and 4 months and not the usual 2 and a half?

That's because of the waiting time I received whenever I graudated.  I waited for 5 months to get enlisted when I graduated from Poly.  And another 5 months when I graduated from my University.  So a grand total of 3 years and 4 months wasted in my prime youth. 

This is one of the main reason why I hated NS life. Wasting my time.  Another aspect that I hate is being stuck  in a regimental environment.  Politics are everywhere and the worst part is that you can't escape as you will be stuck in your unit until you are discharged from your service.  In the real world, you could just throw a letter of resignation and just leave, in NS... well....

So yes, I hated NS.  Almost every minute of it.  Now they reduced it to 2 years but if the waiting time to get enlisted is the same then its also 2 and a half year or more.  So now our dear Gahment wants to compensate us by handling out $9k SGD for the NSmen.... I'm not sure if I will get it (most probably not the full sum) but I heard its only entitled to those who are still in the system.. So to those brothers who R.O.D (Run Out Date) already.  Really feel sorry for you guys if you are not  getting the pie... At least something is better then bloody nothing...


Going Home... Soon...

I think most of my inner click of friends and colleagues already knew that I have tendered my resignation.  My last date at work in Singapore should be in Oct (if my boss can hire a new guy/lady as soon as possible).

So my next plan is of course, go back home sweet home to Thailand and be with my wife and kids there.

There are actually a lot of things that need to be settled first.  Examples are our marriage certificate so I can get and 'O' Visa and etc.  So I need time to travel up and down the country a lot of times. 

My initial plan is actually to continue to work while handling all these bureaucacy at the same time.  But my working nature is shift based and I need to accomadate a lot of dates that I may need to fly back.  Which means in the end.  I get stressed at both work and handling my personal matters.  Which I think will get a lot of screw ups (in Thailand of course).

And I miss my kids and wife a lot.  So I decided to leave sooner and get my own personal things done first.  This way, I will be more focus on the things I plan to do.

Wife that day informed me Boy boy can walk on himself!  And like his sister.  He walks up and down, here and there and everywhere with his new found skills.  :)  hehe..  And the best is his sister actually holds his little hands and guide him along.  When I heard this, I was overjoyed and yet regrets followed later when I hung up the phone.  I had missed my daughter's first steps and I did it again with my son.  I hope this will be the last time I miss any important events in my children's life.