Tuesday, December 27, 2005

it's now the lights

the lights in my house are acting funny now.

they flicker and shut off by themselves.

and yet they work fine the next day (evidence that bulb ain't blown).

i need either a really good electrician or lots of prayers and "house-cleaning".


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I'm Special

A very nice and touching word I found in Australia. For all who need some encouragement, as we all do sometimes..

I'm special. In all the world there is nobody like me.

Since the beginning of time, there has never been another person like me. Nobody has my smile, nobody has my eyes, my nose, my hair, my hands, my voice - I'm special.

No one can be found who has my handwriting. Nobody any where has my tastes for food or music or art - no one sees things just as I do.

In all time there's been no one who laughs like me, no one who cries like me and what makes me laugh, or cry will never provoke identical laughter and tears from anybody else ever.

No one reacts to any situation just as I would react. I'm special.

I'm the only one in all of creation who has my set of abilities. Oh there will always be somebody who is better at one of the things that I'm good at, but no one in the universe can reach the quality of my combination of talents, ideas, abilities and feelings.

Like a room full of musical instruments, some may excel along but none can match the symphony sound when all are played together.

Through all eternity no one will ever look, talk, walk, think or do like me. I'm speical, I'm rare and in all rarity there is great value. Because of my rare value I need not attempt to imitate others. I will accept - yes, celebrate - my differences.

I'm special and beginning to realize it is no accident that I'm special. I'm beginning to see that God made me special for a very special purpose.

He must have a job qualified for me that no one else can do as well. Out of all the billions of applicants, only one is qualified, only one has the right combination of what it takes..

That one is me, because, I'm Special.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

It is strange to say the least to be blogging at 3am after an exhausting Expo day of rush, rush, rush... Oh well.

Went into JB with Alan. lexyiu and Juan on Friday. The scene still lingers in my mind and I'm sure that had I had my camera with me, I would have taken lots of photos.

JB is a place that seems steeped in ramshackle romanticism. The streetsigns, potholed roads and thickly begrimed windowgrilles all speak of the 1960's, just as if the city was arrested in time. One can almost imagine the town in its heyday, mosaic floors still sparkling and porcelain tableware unchipped; marbled table-tops in coffee shops redolent of the aromas of fresh baked bread and home-churned kaya.

Part of the charm of JB is that you never know what might be around the next corner. Scruffy lean-tos with corrugated zinc roofs might neighbor a large, modern-style villa; narrow unkept residential lanes open onto spanking-new hotels. There does not seem to be any concept of 'zoning' here.. Oh well.

Best of all, the sunset. Have rarely had the chance to see one like this in Singapore, what with black clouds en masse in the sky. Somehow, the Sun managed to peek through the drizzle at only 730pm and a rich, slanting yellow light diffused into the car. How unlike the insipid, dull dreary daylight of everyday life. =)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Who Does What?

A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning.
The wife said, "You should do it, because you get up first, and then we don't have to wait as long to get our coffee."
The husband said, " You are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee."
Wife replies, "No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee."
Husband replies, "I can't believe that, show me."
So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says.......... "HEBREWS"

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

No spirit of Fear

Something odd happened to me last night.

As some of you might know, I am alone at home nowadays, my parents being overseas till the end of the year. At about 1+ am, as I was preparing to go to sleep, I heard the sound of my main door closing, and then subsequently the toilet door.

I thought it might be due to the wind and so I went out to check. Everything seemed normal.

After I returned to my room, I heard a male voice I had never heard before call my name, "Ming", once.

This really started to freak me out as who on earth would be calling my name at 2am in the morning? The sound seemed to come from the main door but there was no one there. Strangely enough, the first thing that came to my mind was that perhaps something had happened to my parents and I began to pray for their safety.

As I closed and locked my bedroom door, I then heard footsteps pacing back and forth. The sound was similar to someone walking with slippers on and it seemed to be coming from the living room.. A bit difficult for me to hear footsteps from the corridor outside behind 2 closed doors isn't it?

It was about 3+ by now and I was still praying and reading my Bible. I don't know how I managed to get to sleep but eventually I did and woke up this morning with everything in my house seemingly normal.


Some people called my tale weird, others called it spooky, one of my colleagues actually asked me if it was just a figment of my imagination.

I definitely was not dreaming though, and this has never happened before in this house.

I don't know whether that occurence was natural or supernatural, but I think in both cases I need to be really cautious. For one, if it was some person aware that I was alone at home and trying to 'prey' on me, it would not be wise to stay at home alone, given that I usually stay out quite late.

But whether supernatural or not, I need to seek my Father's guidance on what I should do. God has not given me a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind (thanks Sam for the encouragement) and indeed, rather oddly, I am not afraid. I want to find out the cause of the disturbance and deal with it if I can, or turn it over to a higher authority if I cannot.

Thanks to all those who have heard my tale in my initial moments of shock and gave advice and encouragement. Thanks Juan for helping me take my mind off this and offering to come and help to pray over my house with me.

So if you read this and you are a Christian, do help me pray for my own safety as well as for my parents, and I want to get to the bottom of this.. Hoho. =)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

OZ stories III

Day 9 – Friday 3/12

Made our way back up the coast from Albany. Started out with going to the town of Denmark, on the way back. Near Denmark, there are more rock formations and pristine beaches. We also stopped in Walpole, again, for lunch. The café in Walpole was a tiny little place with great sandwiches, souvlaki, quiche and homemade scones. A pity I can’t remember the name but it’s the only café in Walpole that’s on the 2nd floor, the others all being one story buildings.

Besides that, in Walpole we went to see more trees. The Tree Top Walk was something, but there is another, Mother-Of-All-Big-Trees karri that grows on one of the hilltops – the trunk is large enough to fit a minibus in.

Next diversion on the road was Mandalay Beach – a very windy place, with an awesome boardwalk that lets you experience the wind in your hair. Like a lot of wind in the hair. Heh. The boardwalk ends with a long series of steps down to a pristine beach where the sand is as fine and white as powdered sugar. The coast is awesome and the ocean wind really cold – it blows in off Antarctica, after all.

Somewhere far far down the road home, we stopped in Pemberton. Pemberton is another blink town that is famous for a 60m tall tree called the Gloucester Tree – famous because it is used as a fire lookout. The tree has spikes hammered into its’ bark which allows people to scale it. Jules did the tree – up and down – in under 15 minutes. My cousin rocks. =) Around the area, for some reason lots of colourful birds gather and we spent such a long time trying to entice them into poses for picture taking.

Finally, we arrived back in Bunbury after a long long drive. Dinner was as good as ever – thick vegetable soup with bread slathered with cheese. And also as much as ever, with enough left over to supply 2 more meals. Heh.

Day 10 – Saturday 4/12

Winery day! Went down to Margaret River, about 1½ hours southwest of Bunbury. The region is packed with wineries and the wines are so cheap compared to what we get them for in SG.. even with price conversion, the wines here are like 2-3 time cheaper than what they are sold for at home. Slurp…

On the way down, we stopped at Jesters Jaffle Pies to pick up pies for lunch. Their pies are really good and packed full of ingredients. We also stopped in Busselton which has a famous 2km long jetty.. Did not bother to walk along the jetty, just did picture taking. Heh.

In the Margaret River region itself, we visited Happs River (very good, award winning and I like their wines, they also have a gorgeous resident tabby who is so good to pet), Cape Clairault (also rather good but don’t really appeal that much to me), Moss Brothers (also award winning but the normal price wines were too sweet and the good wines were too expensive for kiamsiap ole’ me), Amberley Estate (which has gorgeous grounds and a fairly cheap-by-winery-standards lunch), Lenton Brae (really expensive but with a gorgeous dog named Ben who licks walls.. hmm). I kept on having to go toilet because of all the wine and water I drank.. oops. =P

No time to finish more wineries, even though many others are reputed to be excellent as well. I wanted to visit a cave, the region is karst which means limestone, so there are many very pretty caves. The one we visited was Lake Cave and even though we left the wineries at 3pm, we barely made it to the last tour of the day which was at 3.30pm. Lake Cave is purely a tourist cave, though they have adventure caves as well where you get to put on caving gear and really crawl through the tunnels.

Lake Cave is situated in a huge doline, which is cavey language for a large hole in the ground. You have to descend into the hole by a series of steps, the first few of which were cut in the 1900s when the cave was first developed as a tourist attraction and are truly hairy. When you reach the base of the doline, another series of steps takes you into the ground to the cave proper. The cave has a lake that runs its entire length, which means it floods when it rains.. erps. Formations in the cave are very interesting, with a ‘table’, sphinx, dragon, rabbit and duck, and lots of straws and shawls. 2 of the straw formations were damaged 55 years ago and have grown only 20-30mm since then, so just imagine how slowly they grow.. wow.. The limestone that forms up the cave is really dense and heavy, so a small block can weigh a few kilos.

After Lake Cave, we went to a deer farm (eeks) where you see live deer running around outside, and then step into the shop and see deer meat for sale. Not the most appetizing thing, that.. erps. I bought myself a cute beanie though in green and blue shades. =)

Excitingly, we found a Coles supermarket in Dunsborough that stayed open till 8pm (whoohoo, what a bonanza in this everything-closes-by-5pm country)

Dinner was done by my mum this time round, a change from Aunt Eng Lan’s cooking. They are both very good cooks with differing styles. We had prawns and beef stew, excellent as I was starting to miss Chinese food. Jules entertained us a lot at dinner with his horrible Cantonese pronunciation… erps.

Day 11 – Sunday 4/12

Lazy day as nothing is open in Bunbury on Sunday. Watched Hero on DVD, so ironic that I have to come to Australia to watch a Chinese DVD – that’s cos my parents don’t buy DVDs and my uncle and aunt do.. oh well. *shrug*. Had to also pack for moving up to Perth tomorrow, my bags are really grossly overfull with my stuff, my parents’ stuff, stuff to give to others, stuff my aunt wanted me to carry back to give to XXYY so and so… blah de blah de blah. Cannot imagine how I will manage to lug all that by myself to Expo and then to Yew Tee. Oh dear..

Friday, December 02, 2005

OZ stories II

Day 7 – Wednesday 1/12

Made our way down to Albany, stopping countless times along the way in blink towns for all sorts of stuff. Stopped at the Fruit Barn in Donnybrook for fruits (the ever-present bananas) and an apple pie, which Jules subsequently squished (“Julian, Julian, pudding and pie, squished them all and made them die”). Then in Kirup for meat pies and Balingup for a shop called Tinderbox, which sells really interesting formulations for acne, eczema, baby rubs, pregnant women rubs and whatnot. And then Manjimup for cherry hunting, but no cherries. Apparently the season has been too cool for cherries to ripen. Ha, those people have a Cherry Festival this weekend.. see how they have a cherry festival without cherries!

One thing I’m really impressed with about Oz is that the toilets are really clean. I mean like really well-maintained, even the public toilets in the parks and remote beaches come with toilet paper and don’t smell. Speaks a lot about public consciousness here. =)

After all those stops, we made it to Walpole, Nornalup and subsequently the Tree Top Walk at about 3.30pm. The Tree Top Walk goes through the Valley of the Giants, huge karri and tingle trees that can go up to 40-60m in height and have a trunk larger than an MPV. Suay-ly, it started to drizzle when we were up on the top of the Walk, and we had to hurry back to ground level. Really weird, taking out my umbrella on top of the Walk and traipsing down the metal struts looking for all the world like a China girl. Oh well. On the ground, the Ancient Empire walk was also rainy but we got to see the root systems of the trees – they have buttress roots, so you can walk in between the roots and since they are so large, 20 people can stand together in the space of one trunk.. you get the idea.

On the way from Tree Top Walk to Albany, stopped at a place called the Elephant Rocks and Greens Pool. Greens Pool is a sheltered inlet, amazing in the large (to my Singaporean eyes) waves of the Great Southern Ocean. The water looks like it has had blue food dye poured in it (in the words of Dani) – really bluey, greeny, and clear.

Elephant Rocks are flat rocks that jut out into the sea; I still can’t figure why “elephant”, but the scenery there is first class. Plenty of small beach trails to explore, jump across the rocks on the seashore, enjoy the cold south winds (that blow off Antarctica, one would imagine). One mystery is that down one of the paths, we saw a wind vane, solar panels and a small fenced-up pond with a lifebuoy, but no discernable sign of human habitation and no reason for all this stuff to be there on the beach. Weird eh.

Albany was reached after sunset, we decided to grab food before going to the motel. Ate at the Venice restaurant along York St, Albany’s main street. We had pizza and a seafood basket (fish and chips again, sigh), which was a fairly good if salty dinner. Finally we got to the Albany Court Motor Inn (some combination of these 4 words anyway) and settled into 2 3-bed rooms. Sleep at last.. =)

Day 8 – Thursday 2/12

Big breakfast of steak and ham sandwiches that we had brought down from Bunbury the day before. We went to see all the rest of the Albanian sights we hadn’t yet seen, starting from the Gap and the Natural Bridge. The Gap is like someone smashed a knife down from heaven and cut a block out of the coast – the water rushes in and foams like crazy. The spray gets thrown up all the way to the top of the cliff where we are standing, about 25m or so. The foam is something powerful, man.

Natural Bridge is a formation where the center of a limestone wall has been worn away, creating a gap in through which the waves rush. Huge sounds. But the Gap’s better.

Interestingly, the place where the Gap and Natural Bridge are have been matched to the corresponding coast of Antarctica, in terms of both the shape of the coast as well as the patterns of rocks. Supports the theory that Australia and Antarctica were once part of the same continent.

After that, we made our way to the Blowholes. They are cracks in the rock where spray is forced up through, but there wasn’t any spectacular blowing as the waves were not big enough, and the wind was in the wrong direction.

Jimmy Newhells harbour was next, a pretty little harbour that was very well sheltered from storms. Then Frenchman Bay, a very very very pretty area where we had a ‘picnic’ sort of lunch by the bayside. Waded in the sea and got my jeans wet, had to wear Jules’ huge shorts (which were like ¾ pants on me) back to the motel. Ah well.

Sandalwood Factory was next, some out-of-the-way out-of-the-world place that sells emu oil (yuck I don’t even want to think about how they GET the emu oil) and sandalwood stuff. Strange people. My mum and dad seemed very happy with the sandalwoody smell and bought heaps of stuff.

Also went up Mount Clarence, a hill with good views of Albany and surrounds. Very cold! We drove to Middleton Beach and Emu Point in search of dinner, both very gorgeous places, and ended up eating at a fish and chip place in Middleton Beach. (Is fish and chips starting to sound familiar to anyone.. hoho). Was supposed to be a takeaway and we didn’t know and ended up eating inside, they had to wait for us to close.. Oops.

Thursday is supposed to be late night shopping, but by the time we got back to York St at 8pm, most shops had already closed. Managed to pick up a bangle from a shop named Tutti Frutti at Albany Plaza. Funny, me.. The damage so far, one pair of earrings, one bangle, one brooch and one necklace, and NONE OF THEM MATCH EACH OTHER. Hahaha..