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.


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!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Raffles Country Club

I did it again. I misplaced something.

It was Wednesday. My little chamber group from band comprising of David the Saxophonist (our star player), Shawn the 1st Clarinet (next to David), James the Baritone Sax, Joel Foo the Tuba, Byron the 2nd Clarinet and myself the 3rd Clarinet.

We've been practicing for a few weeks for some dinner performance. It turned out to be the Singapore Heart Foundation Charity Dinner, and we were picked because the Guest of Honour, the Minister of Education, is a former ACS boy. Our band conductor Mr Lim Thee Heong chose us considering our capabilities (smirk), and gave us 3 pieces: Londonderry Air (Danny Boy), Standchen, and Habanera (my favorite piece from Carmen).

Anyway, the group is great. They're all very dedicated to the band, and that's what a majority of bandmates are lacking which brings us down to our current standard.

Having said that, the performance that night went very well I'd say, but when we went back to school...

"My book! I left a library book at the Club!"

Yes, I left behind a school library book at the Raffles Country Club, all the way in Tuas.

I thought I was doomed to pay the price of the book to the librarian, something I was very much unwanting to do. Of course, the librarians suggested I call up the Club and see if housekeeping there found it. They did.

So yesterday, I spent a super long journey getting there to retrieve it. I took an MRT all the way to Boon Lay, followed by a busride where I had to stop quite a distance away from the Club and walked. I estimate that the trip costed me 5 hours of my precious Saturday. Oh well. That'll teach me to be careless with books.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

In The Mood

I've been wondering lately when is the best time for me to get inspiration to create.

I like being known to all as a creative person. But what exactly is creativity? To me it is the art of creation, a powerful gift that enables us to bring things into existence. Music... Art.... Stories.... Gadgets... so many things have been created by Man and a lot of them may be taken for granted at times.

Inspiration is Creativity's best friend. I once read a MENSA book that stated that inspiration often comes after we exhaust our minds dwelling on the subject, and yet sometimes it comes so suddenly when we least expect it.

Since young I've often fancied being in the creative line. First was drawing. I've loved drawing for as long as I can remember. After learning how to draw comics in the form of stick men when I was 8, my comic strip, School Blues, finally came into being when I was 13. Now, people mistake my comics for being printed off from somewhere. Where did the inspiration come from? Many places. It could be the character Sam, who was one of the first few stick figures I came up with myself (when I first started off I copied Derrick Hoe's). He was first a stick figure, then a skinny six year old called Lil' Sam (who has appeared on a couple of family Christmas Newsletters years ago). Then he became a teenager. Or it could be my first year in secondary. Different events sparked me to draw humourous cartoons about life in my Form 1 class. Eventually, I turned it into a full-fledged comic strip. Since then, many changes have been made, including the number of boxes, the number of characters, the way the characters are drawn, right down to the type of font used. Comparing the first strip ever and the 118th which I just finished half an hour ago, it is obvious that I've received a lot of inspiration along the way.

Apart from comics, I spend time exhausting my creative resources by working with Hao Ran in producing short films, trying to write a musical composition, playing with modelling clay, and most recently, writing.

It is evident that there are days where I can draw nine strips and go on forever, or write 10 chapter outlines for my novel. Then there are days when I just can't do anything. My characters come out distorted when I try to draw, and I face a huge writer's block when I sit down to type (write).

What makes the difference? Why are there some days when a whole story for my comic strip floods into my mind all of a sudden, and other days when my mind just recalls other comics when I try to come up with something?

I've experimented of course. Exercising puts me in a good mood to get up and create things. Probably something to do with endorphins. Some good movies inspire me as well. Most prominent from what I can remember is She's All That. Old movie, yeah, but I drew about 9 strips in one day after watching that movie. There's also the bathroom ideas. The idea of School Blues itself popped into my mind when I was in the bathroom. And a lot of ideas for strips were formed in the shower. I've also tried walking around the house when thinking. Somehow, my mind works better when trying to come up with ideas when I'm walking. I don't even know why. Ocassionally sitting down with my sketchbook before me, a pen in hand, doodling away would come up with an idea.

But all of the above don't always work! Why? How can we get inspiration when we want it?

I doubt anyone can give me a convincing answer, but it would be nice to hear some thoughts.... if anyone reads this Blog anymore.... XD

Friday, July 20, 2007

Chemistry SPA

... is not a form of physiotherapy. It's our Science Practical Assessment.

Back in KL, it would have been a nightmare since I never knew what was going on in the lab. But here in Singapore, with SPA lessons at least once every two weeks (at least, that's in my school... others have it every week), plus a better understanding of the teaching medium, I can actually carry out chemistry experiments.

Today we had a little practice involving 5 chemicals, labelled P, Q, and R which are solutions, and S and T which are solids.

Two days ago our wonderful teacher Mr. Alex Lee went through the question paper with us, demonstrating how just by reading the instructions (it was a Qualitative Analysis exercise), we could answer about 80% of the questions. By going through the paper alone, we could figure out that P is phenolphthalein (I hope I spelt that right), Q is an acid, R is Sodium Hydroxide, S is copper (II) sulphate crystals, and T is a carbonate. We could actually predict a good deal of the observations we would have when carrying out the actual tests.

So today, we performed the tests on the various chemicals. Everything was fine at my bench at the beginning. I partnered up with Jong Won, from South Korea. Now, Jong Won is a rather childish person, and having him as a lab partner means I had to tell him what not to do, such as mixing up the droppers after I designated so-and-so dropper for so-and-so chemical to prevent contamination. A couple of other groups had some of their solutions turn pink (due to the fact that there was phenolphthalein and the alkaline NaOH). I was glad I did not make such careless, foolish mistakes, especially since I got scolded once for leaving the funnel in my burette during the titration exercise.

So imagine my horrible surprise when I performed the limewater test. T was placed in a test tube and Q was added. Having predicted that T is a carbonate and Q is an acid, I expected Carbon Dioxide gas to evolve. So I poured Q into the test tube of T, threw in a blue piece of litmus paper and covered the tube with my thumb, to keep the CO2 in there. As predicted, the litmus paper turned red. Then came my mess-up. I released my thumb and bubbled the gas through limewater and guess what, it turned pink!!!! Of all things that could happen, it turned pink! It wasn't caused by contaminated test tubes, since I made sure to wash each of them with distilled water before hand. In fact, I think it was the device used to bubble the gas through! Of all things to be contaminated? My friends said someone was obviously messing around with it, like all Barker boys would. Oh well. At least a white precipitate did form in the limewater, even if it was only for a split second.

After we were done Alex Lee observed how slow we were cleaning up, especially washing our test tubes.

He turned to Douglas: "How many students does it take to wash 4 test tubes?"

"None, because nobody would bother to," came the reply. Well, Douglas was telling the truth about Barker boys.

"Wrong. It's 0.1, because there's going to be one student who will stay back today to help me wash 40."

That was funny.

I love Chemistry SPA.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Aspirations and Personality Checkpoint

Copied this from Bryan Chong's blog... years from now, this will be interesting.


7 things you plan to do before you die

1. Have a family
2. See Autumn and erm, Auroras with my own eyes.
3. Travel the world with friends!
4. Publish School Blues.
5. Write a novel or children's story book. (that doesn't include publishing)
6. Take part in a movie production!
7. Serve a Mission for the Church XD
7 things you can do

1. Play the piano
2. Draw comics
3. Sing Tenor
4. Gymnastics
5. Score straight A's
6. Forgive
7. Repent.
7 most repeated words

1. anyway
2. hey
3. yeah
4. ok
5. *snort*
6. uh
7. um
7 physical traits you look for in the opposite sex

1. eyes that captivate my soul...
2. nice, confident smile
3. no tattoos
4. no piercings other than a pair of earrings
5. preferably around my height (easier to dance with XD)
6. confident, upright posture
7. at least capable of being an athlete
3 names you go by

1. Han
2. Haney
3. 文翰
3 Screen names you've ever had

1. Han
2. BoonHoon
3. Hanny Banny
3 physical things you like about yourself

1. Ex-gymnast
2. Big smile
3. Big eyes
3 physical things you don't like about yourself

1. Deteriorating flexibility
2. Sinus problems
3. No superpowers

3 parts of your heritage

1. Chinese
2. Malaysian
3. Singaporean
3 things that scare you

1. Losing loved ones
2. Mind blocks
3. Losing talents
3 of your everyday essentials

1. bath
2. Seminary!
3. breakfast
3 things you're wearing right now

1. 2006 S1S1 class T-shirt!
2. "Hawaii" style shorts
3. Glasses
3 of your favourite movies
1. Toys Story!
2. Big Fish
3. Star Wars!
Two truths and a lie paradox

1. This is lame
2. The ones above and below are truths
3. There's an ant on my desk
3 careers you are considering, or have considered

1. Comic strip cartoonist
2. Freelance musician
3. Paleontologist (a long, long time ago)
3 ways that you are stereotypically a guy

1. Food first.
2. Love a good sweat
3. Love Math and Science (whoops, that's un-stereotypically a girl)

Pre-Friday the 13th Bad Luck

The first Friday the 13th this year was rather... erm... memorable. As if I didn't have enough bad luck already, there just had to be another Friday the 13th this year.

On the day itself, nothing bad happened in particular. But the day before.... *shudder*

It was Thursday. During our Math period after class, a total of 14 students came in late. Mrs Lim was furious. She demanded that everybody (including those of us who were on time) stay back after school to have an extra class as punishment.

Naturally, I remembered the Music class I was to attend with Irfan after school that day. We haven't had a Music class since school resumed after holidays, and it was something we always looked forward to during the week, so there was no way we were going to stay back and miss that class.

We approached Mrs Lim after class to explain to her our situation. She said no, and wouldn't hear the rest of it. Of course, I got pretty mad and went off to the next class, Chinese.

After school, I made up my mind to walk straight to Music class and not Mrs Lim's class. Irfan and I were on our way when we bumped into my Chinese teacher, who handed me some stuff to pass to my classmates (they left a football and a workbook in the classroom). So we walked to the Math classroom (Mrs Lim was standing outside talking to someone), walked right in, tossed the stuff to someone, then walked right out, heading to the Music Room. We were getting on our way when Mrs Lim suddenly shouted at us. Scolding us for not giving her any respect at all, walking right into her classroom and out without as much as acknowledging her.

It was really, really bad. I felt absolutely terrible after that. Irfan and I decided to go to her and apologize after our Music class, but she wasn't in the office, so we left her a letter of apology each.

The next morning, before heading for assembly, I went to the office to apologize to her in person. She came out smiling, saying that she read our notes. She apologized to me for holding us back like that the previous day, knowing that Music means a lot to me and Irfan. I promised her that I would behave better in the future, and I headed for assembly, a huge weight lifted off my chest.

Nuts... my whole life as a student, I have never gotten into an argument like that with any of my teachers. Ever. I just had to happen the day before Friday the 13th -.-

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Simba the City Dog

At last, the dog who has caused me to shed no small amount of tears since moving to Singapore, who has faithfully guarded our family household for years, who has saved Ray from a ferocious monkey, who has fought side-by-side with our dearly departed Grace to fend of dangerous snakes, who has provided a source of comfort for all who lived with him, has earned a well-deserved retirement.... to the city!

Now that we've moved out of our old house in Ukay Heights, Dad now stays in the city, walking distance from my old school. Without anyone to take care of dear Simba anymore, Dad brought him to his apartment in the city, where we spent about a week house-training him when I returned to KL for the holidays. I returned to Singapore, not knowing if Simba made the cut...

But now, Dad sent me photos! Due to online storage limitations, I am only able to put up these to, carefully chosen photos.

Exploring the city from the front seat of Dad's car

2 Dogs! One still hard at work, the other retired


There are many different kinds of love in this world. Love for our parents, love for our siblings, love for our special someone, unconditional love for everyone around us, and love for our dogs!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I Want... What?

Gah! It's one of those temporary (at least, I hope so) throbbing interests in various things again.

I'm much of a dreamer, after observing my past actions (and thoughts) as well as taking maybe one or two personality tests, making sure the results didn't affect the way I think I really am. In general, I talk more than I do things. Mom could probably relate to that. In the past several months, since last year, I've been needlessly blurting out every single interest (or potential new hobby) that pops up in my cluttered thoughts. Approaching the age of 17, I begin to wonder what do I really want to do when I grow up. As Lance mentioned and I most whole-heartedly agreed the other night in our MSN conversation, most people our age are worrying about not having enough fun, while we are worrying about what our future holds. Makes us a bit of Ah Peks haha. Anyway, back to the point on me spontaneously finding new "vocational interests"...

Lets see... many examples. Last year, nearing the end of the year, I went into an Art frenzy. I was dreaming to become an Artist, not professional, but to have that talent. I convinced myself I had a bit of that talent, judging by some relatives with the same talent, and the fact that I started School Blues, but I knew that I horribly lacked practice. Thus, I spent several conversations with Mom ranting on about how cool Art would be and how I would be interested in taking in up. Not surprisingly, I received a pencil case full of different grades of pencils for Christmas, weeks after I did my first ever self-portrait using a few pencils. The problem was that I was too lazy to practice. The self-portrait was my first and last proper drawing. By the time I moved to Singapore, I had dropped my ambitions as an Amateur Artist.

Next came Music. People have told me I have the talent to performed, although I horribly lack practice (being the lazy person I am, it's not surprising). The craze started when I made the decision to take up Music for 'O' Levels at my new school. The first few lessons about the Baroque Period already put me into a trance. Further amplifying the effect was Irfan, a sort of prodigy whose talents aren't appreciated enough (at least, that's how I feel). Music happens to be one of his finest talents. And having decided he'd be a good close friend to have, it's not surprising I got more and more interest in Music. I tried composing a bit, excitedly writing to -1 about my, at that time, newfound interest. However, I discovered how hopeless it seemed when I realized every tune and accompaniment I came up with seemed vaguely like a theme song for some East Asian soap opera, which, may I add, I do not watch at all. Then I furiously practiced the Piano, as well as my Clarinet which I play at band. Then after a few months, I got lazy again and slowly practices ceased... no more composing... now, Music is back to what it used to be for me: a hobby, not a potential career.

For a time, Writing seemed to interest me as well. It still bugs me every now and then. Most likely something to do with my latest obsession with Harry Potter (thanks a lot, Mrs Rowling!). However, the interest came a while before I picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It was half-inspired by Lance's hobby of writing bizzare, fantasy stories of our social circle in a Warcraft III world. I started one myself, uncreatively named Cross Junctions, a series of interlinked short stories (I keep each Chapter no more than 4 pages long, and from different 3rd person perspectives). The story revolves around an Alien invasion, and how a gifted bunch of 17 year olds (who unsurprisingly turn out to be me and all my old friends from Tsun Jin) discover their identities as Elementals, special beings able to manipulate the different elements of nature according to which element they inherit (ie: water or fire etc). Backed by several prophecies, they are supposed to crush the Alien invasion. The problem about the story is that I keep coming up with new ideas, and I just write and write and write (actually, type). The Elementals idea is actually only a week old. That's how spontaneous I am. Well, I am untrained. But it's fun nevertheless. The only problem is that I keep feeling the urge to write something Harry Potter-like. A firm believer in originality, I have to supress these traitorous urges... Writing is a lot of fun, but I keep coming across the writer's block. Sometimes I feel that my linguistics abilities just aren't good enough to make the cut. I know I'm reasonably talented up to a certain extent (which isn't a very humble thing to say actually), as my teachers have pointed out, but a much firmer grasp of the language, plus a more serious attitude towards learning English would be required. And I'm not taking up Literature in school, having chose Geography instead. Sigh.

Then there's also the movie industry. With the hype of Ran's upcoming movie, 2400, I slowly begin to realize that filming appeals to me too. Acting would be a lot of fun, but I am probably too amateurish to be able to get into anything particularly noticable. And I know that I am slightly eluded by fame and recognition, which I am trying very hard not to... Anyway I think I would quite enjoy supporting or villian roles. But acting isn't the only thing involved in filming. There's also directing and all the people who work behind the camera. Lighting, Special Effects, Sound, Music, Editing... In our past movies all these roles were mostly done by the Director himself. Whoever was the Director tended to be the Editor and almost everything else. It was either me or Ran, with the latter being the major player. All our best productions are his work. Then, after one of our ex-teachers linked us up with a professional in the filming industry, he commented on our lack of lighting skills, which Ran and I fully agreed, admitting that we never paid any attention to such details. The tough thing is that Ran is our best cameramen, director, editor and scriptwriter. He does all the toughest roles by himself, while I help him with the chores such as rounding up the actors, planning filming dates, co-writing the script, and on a few occassions acting the lead role. In our next movie, we're going to be a bit more professional. I've asked for a rather minor acting role in the movie this time, preferring to be the guy handling things behind the camera, although it's mostly because I'm all the way in Singapore now. Ran thinks he's found a good cameraman to replace him so he can play the main character, which, after much searching, we found that only he seemed to be able to fit the personality of the character he created for the movie. What's more, he thinks it would be a good experience since he's never played a leading role before, and that this experience would influence the way he writes scripts (as well as directs) for the better. In the meantime, I've been going around trying to be set up a good network, looking for more friends who could be of great help. I've been asking for people who know anything to do with Sound Editing, particularly, since that's something Ran and I never considered before. Our newest breakthrough being our Original Soundtrack, all thanks to Irfan, our first ever composer. Douglas knows a bit about stage make up, being in the Drama, which I think could be useful in the future. He knows about stage lighting, which can also be useful, although the problem is we film nowhere near stages... Anyway, I've detoured a bit... all this movie production thingy is making me very, very interested, although I have no idea how to get involved with real movie productions, and the fact that if I choose this as a career, it's going to cause a lot of problems with Church attendance, which I do not intend to sacrifice.

Then there's dance. Not so much of a career really, just a new slight interest, thanks to Michael making me watch So You Think You Can Dance, the recent Youth Dances, and 2 wonderful sisters who are wonderful dancers. I wish I could have dance lessons, now that I've been somewhat forced to drop gymnastics. I'm rather stiff when it comes to dancing, and very often I think I'm hopeless, which I know is a not good a thought to hold. But yeah, like every other darned talent, it requires lots of practice to gain it. Oh, and money for lessons. Gaaah.

Most recently, is travelling. Maybe it has something to do with Irfan exposing me to world cultures every recess, maybe it has something to do with Ran's beautiful photos of different places, maybe it has something to do with me captivated by those photos of breathtaking sceneries they like to put on National Geographic! Aaaah... I've been interested in visiting Europe to see all those interesting historical sites, interested in seeing Auroras, interested in scaling mountains to get the wonderful view of God's Art. The World is just so interesting that I sometimes wonder why I'm stuck in school learning about how Britain's healthcare system inspired Singapore's! Alas, education is so important, and I have never denied that... What makes it worse are all me and my old friends' grand plans to travel when they graduate (I would've graduated at the same time as them had I not moved to Singapore). Backpacking around Malaysia then Europe, scaling Mount Kinabalu, bicycle tours, skiing in Korea. All super ambitious, and all very, very enticing. Even Jiejie's occasional trips around China interests me, like when she went to Mongolia. And Irfan never stops talking about where he thinks he should go for his next vacation. It's very fun to listen to his experiences, although our other friends dont' seem to think so. They're more concered about World of Warcraft anyway... He's shared with me his experiences when he went to Tibet, Mongolia, Japan... I won't be surprised if I one day find myself travelling with him. His international linguistics abilities far exceeds anyone I've ever come across heheh.

Now for the fun part. Thanks to my crazy imagination, I can imagine for a moment, myself with everything mentioned above. I can picture my ideal future self, many, many years from now.... I shall now reveal my impression of the Perfect adult Han.

I'll be a succesful, world-renowned cartoonist, joining the ranks of those such as Bill Watterson, Charles Schulz, Jerry Scott, Lat, and the likes. School Blues will be known by all (as well as liked, of course). I will have writing skills that benefit the comic strip, as Bill Watterson has mentioned such an importance. I'll have a nice family, with a highly talented wife who cooks the most delicious food ever (hehe), is very, very musically inclined, with the ability to sing marvelously to my accompaniment on the piano, with me adding a bit of Tenor, to a song we composed together.... and the both of us trained in Ballroom dancing (and perhaps Jazz). All my old filming buddies from Tsun Jin will have kept in touch, and every now and then, we can afford to chip in loads of cash and time to produce a real movie, with the help of people from all over a network I helped to establish. Then, vacations will be tours in different places that last at least 2 weeks, ranging from rugged campouts in East Asia to bicycle tours in Europe, to backpacking in China. All of these with the constant company of my wife and my closest friends. Aaaaah... I wish I would dream about the above tonight.

I gravely conclude that what I really want is the time and financial ability to achieve such a dream. I most likely won't get everything I want. At least, not in this lifetime anyway, heheh. But I think I could at least try getting the 'perfect wife' to spend eternity with. Should start by making sure I'm the 'perfect husband' haha. Gosh what am I doing thinking about marriage now. Must be time for bed. However out there who actually read this far, I most sincerely thank you for listening yet again to the ramblings of a highly ambitious 16-going-on-17-year-old dreamer...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

ACS Carnival 2

ACS Carnival 2 was yesterday!

Many thanks to people who helped me out with our 3A3 Games Stall. We, like a couple of other classes, set up toy soldiers on a homemade battlefield (made with styrofoam boards, modelling clay, floral wire, canadian moss, and lots and lots of spray paint) and let our customers shoot them down with rubber band guns.

The Carnival itself was great. I didn't get to do much since I offered to do a full day shift, although our teacher Madam Lim let me take short breaks whenever I wanted as long as there were others to man the stall. I took a short break in the afternoon to watch our principal Mr Ng get dunked.

A couple of friends from Church dropped by, like Kenneth, his cousin Amanda and her friend, Wen Jie, Ying Er and Marie. Many thanks to those who tried out my stall!

About the stall... it was, in a way, horrible. The biggest problem was that each game took too long, and there were a couple of impatient customers who walked off. There were some impatient friends of customers who scolded me because their friend had to wait. How annoying. What was I expected to do? End the game prematurely? He ought to try manning the stall for the whole day.

Our next problem was competition. The other stalls who did the same thing had much, much better rubber band guns. And prizes too. Since we spent a lot of effort into making a highly elaborate battlefield (Douglas and I stayed in school until 8pm one day just working on it), it kind of balanced off the disadvantage of sucky gameplay (people were happy enough just to be able to shoot at it). The real problem was that our prizes were horrible. We mostly gave out lots and lots of candy, and the good prizes were all deliberately unreachable, meaning when my classmates bought the prizes with the class funds, they were expecting not to let anyone win them. They intended to have a lucky draw in our class at the end of the day. How revolting is that?!? We did manage to give away some good prizes, like the huge Stitch doll, and a football, plus a jigsaw puzzle. But the grand prize, a Creative Zen MP3 player, was intended to be unreachable. So we had one guy, who actually earned a marksman badge in his uniform group, shooting almost the whole day over and over again. Not only did that cost his coupons, but his well deserved rest time (he was one of those busy people like me). I felt he should've gotten the MP3 player at the end of the day, but no, our class felt it was more fair by having a lucky draw for our classmates. Sheesh.

Anyway, that aside, there were a couple of funny events. Douglas poured ice all over the ground outside the stall, and when they melted, they literally flooded our stall. It just had to be my stall to get flooded. It didn't decrease the amount of customers, but I went crazy keeping our bags dry as well as cleaning up. It was totally annoying at that time, but looking back, it was funny.

Next was Irfan's idea of making the school more money: he went around to other food stalls to buy their products, then went around the entire school and re-sold the products. (kind of like direct sales) Madam Lim thought the idea was dumb, but he argued that the school was making more money because people were spending more coupons! He really had a point there, but Madam Lim can be quite skeptical of her students' abilities...

At the end of the day, Douglas and I got a chance to play with the battlefield we created. After that, he took home the gothic castle-like set, and I took the trenches set. There's not enough room for me to keep it at home, so after letting Ray play with it over the weekend, I'll be giving it to Douglas for him to do whatever he likes with it.

The Trench set

The Castle set

It was all good fun for a day, although I was super busy and nearly dehydrated. But then again, my idea of fun has always been a bit... peculiar...