After much preparation, the young self-proclaimed Emperor of The Han Dynastory is now serving a full-time mission to the UK with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He will return in 2014.

Hello!

Welcome to the Han Dynastory!

As I am now serving a full-time mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have left this blog under the stewardship of a family member, who may post updates on how I'm doing as he/she sees fit.

Enjoy your stay!

Friday, December 30, 2005

50 Lessons I've Learned in Taiwan

  1. Your throat can go sore if you talk too much in the bus
  2. Smelly Tofu smells like the airplane toilet
  3. The vegetable you eat with smelly tofu smells worse than the tofu
  4. Pig feet (a favorite Taiwanese dish) smells like pee
  5. Guo Yao (a trombonist many of us guys hate) smells like pee
  6. It's cold during winter
  7. William is afraid of eating dog meat
  8. Me too
  9. Missionaries stand out a lot in their suits and nametags
  10. Your fingers go stiff and you can't play your instrument properly when you're cold
  11. 4 degrees celcius is cold
  12. Look left, then right, then left when crossing a road in Taiwan
  13. But don't forget to look where you're going
  14. You're the one speaking weird when you're in Taiwan
  15. The weather is cold, but the people are warm
  16. It's the exact opposite in KL
  17. It's hard to sleep when there are about 100 channels on TV
  18. You can eat porridge using chopsticks
  19. "Make-up Room" (translated directly) means "Toilet"
  20. I still don't know how to read traditional chinese characters
  21. You can survive without the computer for 10 days
  22. Womanisers like Guo Yao should be caned, whipped, thumb-screwed, quartered, crucified, burned at the stake and fed to the dogs
  23. You don't call people Auntie and Uncle in Taiwan
  24. 14.6 KG is heavy
  25. It's not a good idea to lock y0ur luggage with your key inside
  26. The song Cheng Fu sounds funnier if you replace it with Chooi Fu (strip pants)
  27. Cursing and swearing DOES get your lost CD back! Well... if you're lucky
  28. Some people think the word 'crap' is funny
  29. Our band coach snores louder than our band can play music
  30. Never offer to sing Christmas Carols in front of a bunch of giggly girls like those clarinetists
  31. When there's Su Wen, there's Si Ya; When there's Si Ya, there's De Sheng; When there's De Sheng, there's William; When there's William, there's me and Shuan; When there's Shuan, there's Zhu Yan
  32. If you try following Su Wen out shopping you'll have sore feet the next day
  33. There's only Regular or Super Size in Mc Donalds in Taiwan
  34. Jimmy (percussionist) is now an Addidas fan rather than Nike
  35. You can freak people out doing a headstand
  36. People in Taiwan treat you with a little more respect when they find out you're a gymnast
  37. You can't walk and talk side-by-side with someone of the opposite sex for more than 10 seconds without getting suspicious looks from other people
  38. The toilets in Taiwan aren't good at placing mirrors, windows and doors
  39. It's HOT in KL!!!
  40. People actually collect soft drink cans
  41. Braised Pork Rice is a nice substitute for turkey on Christmas Eve
  42. Godiva Chocolate is expensive
  43. People think you're awesome when you can speak 3 languages
  44. It's easy to end up in the next mountain when you're not careful while hiking
  45. Lots of people love dogs in Taiwan
  46. Chocolate coated banana (fruits au chocolate a la fransaise) tastes good
  47. Ming Han (saxophonist) can get scared of certain things
  48. Flattery can make you trip
  49. Don't underestimate our band!
  50. There are many many many more lessons to learn in Taiwan!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Things That Get To Me After A While

I'm not sure if it has anything to do with the holidays, but I'm beginning to feel strange. I mean, sure it all goes away once I sit down and start playing computer games. But when I have to stop to do other things, I start to wonder whether I've been making good use of the holidays up till now. So far the band's been somewhat frustrating, getting in the way of me and my friends. It's like we can't do enough simply because we're all so busy (especially me). Of course, this doesn't mean I'm going to quit the band or anything next year. The love of music is keeping me there, but the fear of responsibility/commitment is somewhat... I dunno. I'll have to get used to it if I expect to be a good husband/father when I grow up. I mean, come on, the final point of the Mission of the Aaronic Priesthood is to help each Young Man become a worthy husband and father. The church does teach me a lot of responsibility. The next problem comes in the band. It keeps on clashing with the church. I've decided a while ago that my priorities go in this order: Church, Family and Friends, Education, Gymnastics, Band, Cartooning

And yet I still keep pushing back a lot of other things just because of Band. I know joining a band requires a lot of commitment, but I don't think I can handle that much. If only I was in the orchestra Sister Doreen in Singapore said she might start for the church... at least I won't have to worry about schedule clashes anymore.

Oh well. The ultimate commitment will be stretched out for the next 10 days. I'll be going to Taiwan with the Band for exchanges with other bands. It sounds like fun but personally, I'd rather be out on another hiking/boating/swimming trip with my friends.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Joseph Smith Bicentennial Celebration at Singapore

Okay, so maybe it was quite a while ago, but it's still worth blogging about.

Let's see... we arrived at Singapore on the 16th of November and I was down with a really really bad runny nose. So bad I had lots of trouble singing during the rehearsal at night. I made quite a bunch of friends, one of which promised to pray for my nose haha.

The next day my nose got a lot better and we got so bored during the afternoon that I decided to go out with Shuan and our cousin Ying Er. Dad gave me and Shuan 60$ each (10$ was supposed to reload our EZ card but we didn't know). We took a bus and an MRT to get to United Square where we went to Toys R Us to buy stuff. I bought a new board game (RISK: Clone Wars Version) and Shuan got a Furbie.

We got back and had to leave almost immediately for the performance that night. Things were mostly ok. My nose was a lot better. Dad couldn't resist taking some pictures.


The Men
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The Men standing
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After the performance we went to China Town to have some supper with friends. I got to sit with some of the new friends I made.


Left to right: Me, Justin, David, the Chilli boy (Sherman)

They were quite a wild bunch. Especially Sherman. He insisted I should put Chilli in everything I eat. I even heard stories from Justin how crazy he gets over Chilli.
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The next day for some reason I fell sick. Really bad. Apparently there was some bug going around because several other members caught it too. Diahrroea, vomit, really bad stomachache, nausea. Basically all the symptoms of food poisoning. It really brought me down the whole day the next day. Luckily I got better at the end of the day so I could sing for 2 consecutive performances. Although I did have a headache where I nearly fainted after holding the last notes in 2 songs.

The last 2 performances were really great. I couldnt' stop crying at the part when Emma Smith sang after Joseph Smith's martyrdom. And the audience was good.

After the final performance I ran around getting email addresses from the various friends I made like Benjamin, Justin, Joshua, David and Casey. All of which are just like the Young Men back here.

Dad took a couple of pictures too


Uncle Yen Wei, Auntie Chai Yan, Ying Er, our family taking a picture with the people who acted as Emma and Joseph Smith
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Us KL choir singers with the cast (half of it)
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Us KL choir singers with the cast (the other half of it)
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Ooh! Aren't I just irresistable with makeup on? Right...

The Peak

Last Monday Joe Wee came over to plan the trip I had arranged on Friday. We took a visit to the pond he took me fishing last time and then later, after cycling to the market to get something, he took me to The Peak at Taman Tar.

It's supposed to be some sort of private property of some company I think. There's this big gate in front which Joe Wee says the guard would open for expats and older people but not him. He brought me to the back road and to the back fence, which we climbed over. It was quite fun, walking throught the jungle. See, there were two lines of fences, the first one could be climbed over but the second had barbed wire, so we had to go through some sort of ancient jungle trek he claimed had been used since 50 years ago.

Anyway, it was quite a beaten down path. At one point we reached a big drain where there used to be a wooden board laid across to walk on. But it wasn't there. I guess somebody took it away to stop people like us from crossing. Yeah right, as if that was gonna stop us. We jumped for what seemed a metre.

We continued on to a point where we had to climb up a steep, muddy slope. There used to be a rope there but somebody took it as well. That didn't stop us either.

We finally got up and walked through a construction site (I heard they're planning to build 80 bungalows there) There was this gate which was left open which we walked through. Passing a few worker's quarters we reached a nice big lake. But that wasn't the end. He wanted to take me up to a pond somewhere up there which had a small little waterfall.

We reached there after he told me varoius stories of his adventures with his other friends (one which used to be our classmate as well). And also how there was this other path we passed that led to another mountain where it was said to have a tiger. One thing he mentioned that he forgot to bring was sulphur, which helps to ward off snakes. Of course, we didn't have any trouble with snakes, but we did have trouble with leeches, which I'll get to later.

When we reached the pond, I took off my shoes to check for leeches. Much to my delight, I had a leech on my left foot. Imagine! My first leech bite in my entire life! Few people know that I am actually interested in bugs, fewer know that I've actually wanted to get bitten by a leech. I mean, I've read so much about leeches all the time and heard so much, but I've never actually known what it's like to be bitten by one, which I was. I plucked it out semi-carefully. It nearly wanted to bite my finger like it what happened to Hao Ran last time but I flicked it away. The interesting thing is that I didn't feel anything at all, thanks to the anaesthetic it produced. All it left was a small, tiny but bleeding wound. And man, when I say bleeding, I mean lots of blood. It nearly looked like a knife wound by the time I discovered another leech on my other foot. Joe Wee told me to grab a furry leaf to wipe wound. Apparently it will adsorb the blood and help a bit with the wound, which I tried. I worked pretty well. All I have left is a scab right now.

I had so much fun that I decided to cancel the fishing trip I planned with -1 and the others and have a hiking trip there instead on Friday. In fact, at gym on Tuesday I told Teck Chee about it that he got so excited he wanted to come along as well, and bring along his friend even.

So on Friday, my gang along with Teck Chee and and his friend met up with school. We took the LRT to get to my place. That's when something interesting happened.

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I'm not a very cautious person in case you didn't know. I don't usually look behind me or anything unless I'm walking alone. That turned out to be a problem. -1, Zi Xian and Chern Hui were already ahead and I was with Hao Ran and Shuan. Teck Chee and his friend were further behind. All of a sudden I noticed Hao Ran walking in the opposite direction. To my horror I realized some Indian troublemaker had grabbed Shuan by the arm and Hao Ran was going to stop it in his uh.... typical way.

"OI!"

"You nak buat apa? Huh? Nak buat apa?" He said as he pushed the indian guy away from Shuan

Then all of a sudden another indian guy came and punched Hao Ran somewhere on the chest and head (I think). I decided it was time to intervene, but honestly I had no idea what to do. However, my very first decision was that violence should never be involved. In fact... it's weird how I only fight with friends.... probably because we both know we're not actually going to hurt each other badly. But anyway, I was about to try and stop the fighting when the indian guy came and grabbed my left wrist. I think he was some sort of retard or maybe he himself was nervous doing something like that. He started muttering something incomprehensible in malay. I'll be he failed his malay test miserably in school which is probably why he's out doing something like that in the first place. First he tried to grab my bag which I was holding in my right hand. I didn't let him. It's not that I had anything valuable in it. 2 tupperwares and 2 bottles and lots of tissue aren't very nice to steal, but I had a library book in it and the bag itself was valuable to me (I got in during an exchange with a Taiwan school band). Anyway, I shook my head and hand and told him "tak mau gaduh" (don't want to fight)

He started muttering something incomprehensible again and again and I repeated again and again about 3 times before he said "You tak mau gaduh, you berhenti" (you don't want to fight, you stop). I was wondering what he meant about me stopping but he let me go anyway and I walked off with Shuan and Hao Ran. Hao Ran appeared to be physically harmed but he wasn't hurt, which I wouldn't worry about in the first place since he's tough anyway. The next thing I worried about was Teck Chee and his friend. I didn't know how they'd react in a situation like that. Teck Chee's friend just sprinted towards us but Teck Chee ran in the opposite direction. I called him up on the handphone. He was alright, thankfully, and he later ran past those guys and met up at the LRT station

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Now back to the hiking trip. Originally I had planned that we'd all cycle to the place and meet up. Unfortunately some problems arose and we ended up with 2 people not having any bikes. Oh well.

We met up with Joe Wee near the entrance to the Peak. He brought along 4 friends with him. What a group.

We all walked to the fence and were about to climb over when we noticed there were some workers on the other side. We waited until they left and we all climbed over the first fence and took the path to the lake. I was a bit dissappointed to find out Joe Wee was actually smoking. I mean, he's quite a nice person and he's quite good doing things with his hands, for example back in primary school he was the first (and only) person who was able to add electronics to his woodwork during our living skills class. Quite dissappointing, but I couldn't do anything to stop it either, so I just held my breath and strayed to the back of the group.

On the way it was getting a little late and 2 of Joe Wee's friends had to go home. The rest of us moved on, reaching the big drain again. Joe Wee jumped over first and I helped the others to cross. I later jumped across and supported Teck Chee when he jumped across as well. Everyone else climbed into the drain and out.

We continued on until the big lake. Unfortunately it was too dark by the time we got there so we couldn't continue on into the forest to check out the pond. We took a picture and headed back to where we started. That was when the trouble started. It was too dark! Luckily however, Teck Chee and his friend had torchlights on their handphones, which helped quite a bit.

It was pretty fun actually, walking around in the dark, trying to scare the crap out of each other. Most of us enjoyed it pretty much. We finally made it back to the road and checked for leeches. I didn't have any this time but Hao Ran had 3. We later experimented with the leeches. Joe Wee burned some with his cigarette lighter while I checked to see whether saliva actually had any effect on leeches or not. Basically all the sick stuff you usually see guys doing to bugs.

We all went home to have some spaghetti and Mom dropped Teck Chee and his friend off at the LRT station. As for me and the gang, we had quite a bit of fun for the next 22 hours...


Standing row, left to right: Jing Xian, Teck Chee's friend, Teck Chee Sitting row, left to right: Zi Xian, Chern Hui, -1, Me, Joe Wee

(Picture taken courtesy of Hao Ran)