Tuesday, November 29, 2005

OZ stories

Day 1 – Thursday 24/11

Arrived in Perth. Got to serviced apartments (Aldernay on the Hay, East Perth) at about 3pm. They are very well equipped and cheap. Managed to get down to the city center of Hay St mall to have a look but the ruddy shops close at 5pm.. sigh. Crazy, how do people here go shopping. Ate chips (yumm, yumm, the way potatoes are done here is great) Went back to East Perth for dinner. The café we happened to step into was run by (guess what) a Singaporean who’d migrated there 3 years ago. Talk about coincidence. Supermarketing at a ruddy run down place down the corner yielded some surprises – bamboo shoots and taugay CANNED and sold under the label ‘Asian Vegetables’. Good grief, imagine canned taugay.. hoho.

BTW there are 3 buses in Perth that cater specially for tourists (they go to all the major attractions and hotelling areas) and they’re free. Normal bus services are also free within the city limits, which feels so good. Heh.

Day 2 – Friday 25/11

Day of frustration. Mum wanted to watch “Dirty Dancing”, some supposedly good show tonight. But the price on Friday is like $10 more than Thursday, cos it’s considered a ‘weekend’. Drat, should have gone yesterday.

Walked around Hay St (again) for less than an hour because we had to meet parents’ friends Uncle Lawrence and Aunt Susan, for lunch. They live in an uppity suburb called Winthrop that’s near Kings Park and UWA. Very nice and cold house with a great garden. They had other guests, a couple from Germany and we ended up eating HORRID food at a Chinese restaurant near their place.

I’ve realised that when travelling with parents, cannot expect things to be done on my time (ie. Strict tight schedule), because they are obliged to spend lots of time on pleasantries and small talk. So by the time “lunch” was done, it was 3pm or so. Sigh.

Aunt Susan suggested going to Subiaco (ubercool suburb with a Friday flea mart) or Garden City, which is a suburban mall near Winthrop. We did Garden City first, thinking Subiaco would be open later, and yes you guessed it, by the time we finished GC, Subi would be closed by the time we got there. Sigh.. So, back to the inimitable Hay St for the night. Apparently Subi is a suburb, so their shops would stay open late on Thursday, whereas Hay St is city center, so it stays open late on Friday. Sheesh, should have gone to Subi day before.

Met my Uncle Toney and cousin Julian in the city at about 9pm, they had driven up from Bunbury to meet us. They brought us to dinner at Northbridge, which is renowned for its food, but we ended up eating at (of all places) a FOODCOURT due to my father’s desire to stop walking around choosing restaurants. Subsequent to dinner, went to my mum’s fave café at 44 Kings St for coffee and cake. Cake was lousy, coffee was slow, place was cold and I was sleepy. Not an auspicious combination for a good time, heh.

Day 3 – Saturday 26/11

Did the drive up to the Pinnacles, a rock formation in the desert about 2 ½ hours drive up from Perth. Introduced to the concept of ‘blink towns’ by Jules, ie blink-and-you’ll-miss-them towns. Plenty of them exist scattered throughout WA, with populations of 1000 or so and not even a single traffic light in the whole town. The state classifies its population into ‘city’, ‘rural’, ‘remote’ (whoa, rural not enough hor), and get this – ‘very remote’. Haha.. That’s what you get with 3 million people scattered in a state that could contain a few good-sized EU members with space to spare.

Arrived at Cervantes, a town of about 1000 or so, for lunch. Funniest, we stopped at a tavern first (the word ‘tavern’ should have warned us already) and the carpark was full of trucks; me and Jules walked into the tavern and this whole bunch of rednecks (or bogans as they call them here) turned around to stare at us. Hoho, 2 Asians walking into this remote tavern must have been a rather strange sight. We cleared out straightaway.

Now the classic eg. Of time wasting. Across road from tavern is fish and chip shop. I recommend fish and chips for lunch but get shot down by uncle who wants a sit-down lunch. So off we go looking for a proper sit-down lunch and eventually after lots of wrong turns end up at the Cervantes Motel, where one solitary staff member runs the reception, café and shop area and takes almost 20 min just to take our orders. The order? Oh yeah, you got it, FISH AND CHIPS. *sigh* And yes, once we sit down for lunch, more chatting and pleasantries and by the time we get moving to the Pinnacles, it’s about 3pm. Yay for a 2 hour detour that landed us the same lunch we could have gotten in a quarter of the time and price. Result – we managed the Pinnacles, but not a visit to New Norcia (which would have been on the way), Australia’s only monastery town. Sigh..

Pinnacles themselves are cool, thousands and thousands of limestone pillars in weird shapes sticking out of the sand. Apparently they form by the reverse process as stalagmites, they form due to water dissolving the softer areas of rock between the hard limestone and leaving limestone formations sticking up out of the desert soil. =) The best time to see them would have been at sunset, but that would have meant driving back to Perth along unlit roads (even Australia’s major highway, the M1, is not lit between cities), so I guess that’s why we turned back early. Ate at Woodpecker’s woodfired pizza in Subi. Their pizzas are good, salad is OK and soup is really salty. Down the road from Woodpecker’s is Sicilian’s, another café where we bought very good cakes.

Day 4 – Sunday 27/11

Drive down to Bunbury begins. We stopped in Fremantle, Perth’s port – it has a good market on weekends, and this weekend was no exception. It was also during the period of the Freo festival, so even more buskers, shops and performers were in the street. It was really a carnival atmosphere. There are really interesting shops – something called ‘Salty Dog Surf Shop’, ‘The Pickled Fairy and other Myths’. Krazy Tees sells very interesting T-shirts, with captions like: “Fat kids always win at seesaw”, “Fat kids are harder to kidnap” – with a graphic of said fat kid being unable to fit in through car window, etc etc.

Bought myself a purple button necklace (way cool) and a brooch with glass beads. Had lots more Freo-ing to do but time was up at we had 2 hours to go to get to Bunbury and we had to reach by 6pm to attend church where my other cousin Danielle was playing piano. The church, St Mary’s had actually been destroyed by a cyclone previously, so services were held in a makeshift hall that belongs to some school or community club. The priest is from Sri Lanka, interestingly enough.

Dinner that night at my uncle Toney and aunt Geraldine’s house, was pasta. My uncle and aunt, especially aunt, express their love through gift-giving. So, the pasta dinner was WAY in excess of what normal people eat. Heh. Although my aunt is an excellent cook, everything is done to excess – she has a fridge, a freezer the same size of most peoples’ normal fridge, a larder the size of a HDB storeroom and all are packed chockfull AND more food scattered around the tables and kitchen. Can you see the fats accumulating on me already.. sigh..

Day 5 – Monday 28/11

Went with Jules and Dani to the beach to tan in the morning. After 2 hours of lying in the sun, Jules is darker all over, so is Dani and I am NOT. Sigh. Except for the sunburnt bits around the edges of the back of my swimming costume where Dani forgot to apply sunblock on me.. Thanks Dani, for giving me the weirdest tanlines possible.

Lunch at some fish and chip shop in town, was very good indeed, with fish and chips, squid, mussels and a killer clam chowder. They even managed decent desserts (tiramisu and some fruit and nut slice). Cannot remember the place name but it’s near a bar/restaurant called Barbados and a sweet shop called Taffy’s. Taffy’s, for the record, does very good white chocolate pretzels and Tigereye (which is dark choc, white choc and peanut butter all mixed) and oddly enough, not-good saltwater taffys. I bought their sampler to try and will probably be going back to get the Tigereye to bring home. The whole eating area overlooked a recreational activities bay, so people were constantly zipping past on their powerboats.

After lunch, at about 3pm again, we went to Bunbury’s city center. Bunbury is the 3rd or 4th largest city in WA, and apparently one of the fastest growing, but it still feels so small town. People park on the streetsides for free and there is so little traffic on the road you can just walk across practically without looking. Jules and Dani brought me to Hillzeez, a surf shop that had specials on their bikinis, but I can’t fit any of them, boohoo. Their sizes are 8, 10, 12 etc and I am in between them. Sigh. The bargains were really good though, 50-70% off for brands like Billabing, Quiksilver and Seafolly, so you would pay something like $30-40 in total for what would have cost $100 in Singapore. Oh well. Other shops that were pretty good included Brazen, Flirtatious and Garbage (I thought their names were really strange) and I got myself a nice blue and gold top. Also got some temp hair dye to do on Dani and Jules in vivid violet. The range of cosmetics, haircare and body care products here is really amazing and cheap. Mum bought self-highlighting kits and red-hair-care shampoo (ie it restores the colour of hair that has been dyed red. Cool.)

Dinner at home was beef rendang, steamed fish and egg with asparagus and mushroom. Yumm.

Day 6 – Tuesday 29/11

Woke up early in the morning (OK, not that early, 7am or so) to go to Koombana Bay to watch dolphins. Erps, no dolphins came even though we sat at the chilly beachside from 8am till almost 10am. There is a group of about a dozen wild dolphins who live in the bay and they will come in almost everyday to interact with the people, but apparently not today. The amazing thing is that the dolphin interaction center is staffed by volunteers, and they come from all over the world – lots of Asian faces, from Korea, HK, Japan included. The hut where the volunteers wait for the dolphins is called the Koombana Bay Hilton. Heh.

Returned home after for lunch, which was the leftover pasta. Still just as good. Went down to Bunbury city center again for more walking around. Tuesday is the day waffles are half priced at Gelare, so we had waffles – ooh, heavenly. Bought myself a pair of earrings in red and blue.

Dinner again at home; steak, sausages, potato salad and greens, typical gwailo food. Heh. But very good gwailo food indeed. Tomorrow we are going to Albany down south, so will pack clothes tonight. Enroute, supposed to go to the Tree Top Walk and Margaret River – am keeping fingers crossed that we’ll make it in time. =)

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Dear all,
Will be away in Perth, Australia from today, 24/11 - 712.
whoohoo am typing this at the airport after failing to get an internet connection at ahru's house last night. *sianz*
Will see you all back soon. have a minute and 32 seconds left to use comp so bye!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Dear students,

Will be away from 24th Nov - 7th Dec.

Thus, I cannot handle any new uni applications that need to be sent by 15th Dec. Chenghao, I'll send yours before I leave.

If you need me to write you recommendations, please leave on my table and I will handle when back.

Forbidden Part 2


You were denied access because:

Access denied by SmartFilter content category. The requested URL belongs to the following category: Instant Messaging.

Goodness. Now I can't see my cbox. Well done, SmartFilter!
For the record, am having problems with my MSN in school too.

*fades off into dying oblivion*

My father, the suaku

The usual morning rush for the washroom culminated in my father plodding in after I'd stepped out.

Immediate anguished shouts resulted.

"Eh, come here! Why is your urine like that?? BLUE ONE!! What's wrong with you??"

Hm, apparently my father failed to realise that my mother had placed those 'water sanitizers' in the water tank that turn the water blue.

And just for the record, I DO flush the toilet after I go.

Sigh, my father the suaku..

Monday, November 21, 2005

Lines from Star Wars that can be improved by replacing a word with 'Pants'

(Can you recognise the original line?)

1. I find your lack of pants disturbing.
2. You are unwise to lower your pants.
3. Chewie and me got into a lot of pants more heavily guarded than this.
4. The Force is strong in my pants.
5. I cannot teach him. The boy has no pants.
6. Governer Tarkin. I should have expected to find you holding Vader's pants.
7. I think you just can't bear to let a gorgeous guy like me out of your pants.
8. Your pants, you will not need them.
9. These aren't the pants you're looking for.
10. You came in those pants? You're braver than I thought.
11. Pull up! All pants pull up!
12. I sense the conflict within you. Let go of your pants!
13. Alderaan is peaceful, we have no pants!
14. The pants will be down in moments, sir, you can begin your landing.
15. In his pants you will find a new definition of pain and suffering
16. That blast came from the pants! That thing's operational!
17. Great, Chewie, great. Always thinking with your pants.
18. I've just made a deal that will keep the Empire out of our pants forever.
19. A disturbance in the pants. I have not felt this since near my old master...
20. Lock the door. And hope they don't have pants.
21. Looks like someone's beginning to take an interest in your pants.
22. Jabba, please take these pants as a token of friendship
23. Your pants can deceive you. Don't trust them
24. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your pants.
25. It's your father's pants. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight.
26. Look at the size of those pants!
27. You knew my pants?
28. Search your pants, you know it to be true.
29. Yahoo! You're all clear kid. Now let's blow these pants and go home!
30. I've got a bad feeling in my pants about this.



You were denied access because:

Access denied by SmartFilter content category. The requested URL belongs to the following categories: Entertainment/Recreation/Hobbies, Games.


What the heck.. I can't believe school is clamping down on this too!

First, I can't access sites on abortion (for my lecture notes!) from school because of the gory and graphic content.

Now, I can't access quiz sites or games sites. Gosh.

Come on, what am I supposed to occupy my time with during the holidays when I'm waiting for my students to finish their activities so that I can go home?
What am I supposed to do when I am waiting for students to come see me for remedials and I have nothing else to do?
What am I supposed to do when I simply need a break?

I feel ridiculously restricted by these moves. No idea who's initiated it, but like every other restriction, it is unspeakably frustrating.
Things like not being able to install programs on my laptop.
Things like being locked out of the staffroom on Saturdays or during holidays when there is CCA. Even though I have to be back in school, there's no place for me to go and I end up having to squat in my students' CCA room for the whole sweltering day.
Things like not being able to access certain websites that are not even particularly risque or gory. Just that they happened to trigger some nanny program which summarily bans them.

Hello, people use nanny programs to police what their young impressionable children, who do not know better, read on the net right? For goodness sakes, we are mature adults who have the sense to prioritize and know the appropriate thing to do.

I wonder what's next..
No more reading of blogs?
No more accessing private emails?
No more accessing sites that are not expressly related to education and subject-based content matter?


I am not frustrated because I love playing games so much.
But because I feel as if I am being treated as if I don't know how to live my life.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Here I am waiting..

Waiting for my tuition student at her house, as SHE is waiting for a cab outside her school to come back home. Drat, if I had known, I'd have hung around Orchard for longer..

Have just noticed that Topshop in Wisma carries a whole range of cute / cheeky / downright naughty products. Could not resist and got myself temp tattoos from Miso Pretty and a vintage-looking large shopper. Even my mum was bowled over by the cuteness. Hoho.

The company responsible for all his? Blue Q.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

still living a caveman life

without a working internet connection, life sucks.

have to resort to running all over the place to get myself connected.

screeeeeeeeeweddddd up...............

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Food review: Hilton Hotel High Tea!

Venue: Kaspia Bar, Hilton Hotel lobby, 2pm-5pm weekdays.
Price: $15+++ per person, DBS Cards' promotional price.

The holidays give me a bit more flexibility with my time, so I went with my mum to try on Tuesday.

Everything is done in miniature, from the teacup-sized vege lasagne to biscuit-sized cheesecakes.
All the better, because you get to try everything without feeling sinful.. Well, not THAT sinful at least!

Service is good; of course, what would you expect from Hilton Hotel? Just walking into the lobby made me reel into 1980's nostalgia, with the marbled floors and grandiose chandeliers. That kind of atmosphere speaks of chi-chi tai-tais with bouffant hairdos and immaculately manicured nails lounging their afternoons away. The Kaspia Bar itself is a cozy 40-or-so-seater with the food spread over 2 tables.

The lasagne is good, as well as the beef kway teow (again, served in teensy little bowls) which my mum simply loved. For the savouries, the spring roll in Vietnamese style (ie rice paper wrapping, not deep fried but served fresh) is also yumm. There was also oh-so-cute chawan mushi in teacups with generous helpings of mushroom, chicken and prawn within.

The finger sandwiches were also oh-so-fresh and servings were very generous. I only bemoan the lack of choice; there were only 3-4 types of sandwiches available.

Desserts.. Ooh, yummy! Cheesecake rocks.. Hilton cheesecake is not renowned for nothing. The hazelnut praline cake was excellent too, although very sweet.

The scones were delectable, although a little soft for me, I'm used to Fosters'-style scones which are more like a cross between true scones and rock buns. The scones were chock-a-block with currants and citrus fruit pieces, which was a nice touch - not the cloying sweetness of all-currant buns.

Also worthy of mention - berries in strawberry jus. The ice cream flavours were also rather interesting - blue ginger ice cream and mint sorbet.

All in all, very much worth the $15 for a nice relaxing afternoon feeling like a tai-tai. Do book a table and go early (before 3pm) to avoid most of the crowd. Not many people seem to be in the know though, as there were at most 20-odd people even at 4pm. It makes all the more relaxing, not having to queue for the food. My only peeve is that it's a smokers-allowed area, so you might be averse to the all-pervasive smell of cigars.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The school holidays have crept up on me unannounced

.. robbing me of the jubilation that comes with anticipating a long stretch of off days. Also stripping me of the urgency to finish up stuff before the hols so that my hols can be uninterrupted, which (kind of) explains why I'm back in school again, today.

Another factor that drives me back to school is the demise of my dearly 'beloved' computer yet again. No working internet connection = run back to school to get stuff done. Drat.

At the start of the hols, of course, one always draws up a list of 'resolutions', and I am no exception. Here goes:
1. Read all the books I've been wanting to read this year. That includes finishing the Bible, too. =)
Accomplished so far: all of Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Tamuli by David Eddings, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell. Not a bad list, I must say. Heh.

2. Cleaning out my workstation and my room (ouch, ouch, ouch).
The room part has to get done by 18th Nov, when I've chope-ed a stall at flea market with my dear Jan. Aiming to sell off at least $100+ worth of stuff, and subsequently post the rest on my online yahoo auctions. Need more cash!

3. Lose weight and get a tan.
No difficulty in the 'tan' part, seeing as I'm going to Australia where it's high summer, but for the same reason the 'lose weight' part might be a bit hard to acheive. Oh well, aim for the moon and fall among the stars.. 5 kg! yeah!
For some obscure reason, too, many weddings and parties tend to be held at the end of the year. Am running myself ragged attending all; from Friday till Sunday, for instance, I attended my staff dinner, 2 weddings and a birthday celebration. Waistline Expanders 1, Ming 0.. sigh..

4. Sort, catalog and upload my various photos.
'nuff said.

5. Meet up with many dear friends whom I seldom have a chance to.
You know who you are and you know I'm 'aiming' at you.. hohoho.

Oh well.
Time to get my work out of the way anyway.. shall flop back to Excel and Word and face the mountains of stuff therein.

Came up with a quiz too, from Jan's site. And you can check your scores too.

And yes Jan, I barely passed your quiz. =P