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!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

One More Day To OBS

Outward Bound School is tomorrow. Can't wait to get sunburned, sandfly-ridden and mosquito-bitten =) Haven't gone camping in a while.

Just a funny thought I had earlier. I've never been in the same school for more than 4 years. Back in Primary school, I was in Kuen Cheng (2) for 4 years, then Chung Hwa in for 2 years. Then, 4 years of Secondary school in Tsun Jin, then 2 years again here in Singapore... Not enough coincidence? How's this. My grades were plunging in my last year in Kuen Cheng, and when I went to Chung Hwa they went up a bit and I ended up with the 2nd place in my class. Then in my fourth year in Tsun Jin, my grades really took a nosedive, and then here in Singapore I went as far as to become the top student. Crazy pattern...

I'm a bit of a copycat doing this, but I feel inclined towards giving another musical recommendation at the end of this post (not unlike Bryan Chong's recent posts).

Les Miserables

Based on a famous book and considered one of the biggest musicals of our time, this musical set during the French Revolution portrays forgiveness, repentance, justice, mercy, love, resentment, greed, sacrifice, courage, fear, hope, dismay, and so much more in a heart-wrenching tale told by various colourful characters.

I've been priviledged to be able to play a concert band transcript of this masterpiece with the One ACS Band. The practice yesterday awoke my lasting favour of the music and emotions from the musical. I've never watched the real thing before, but listening to the soundtrack and listening to Mom tell the story over and over again is enough to get me to plan to watch it some day.

Friday, October 26, 2007

First Year in ACSBR

Today is the last day of school in my first year in ACS Barker. Much has happened throughout the year. Friends were made, backstabbers were discovered, library books were excessively borrowed. It is unfortunate that the very principal who personally granted me and Shuan a place in the school, Mr. Ng En Chin, is leaving our school to ACS Jakarta. I am forever in debt to his little act of kindness of taking Shuan into the school eventhough his secretary assured us that Shuan would not be able to get in. Hopefully I'll be able to make Mr. Ng proud after my O Levels next year.

PS: One of the scariest things is not having anything to do during the holidays

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Purely of Habit

Here I am blogging again simply because it's a habit to blog each Sunday. Nothing on my mind right now, except the many ideas I have for School Blues. I finished a strip today, and I think I have the mood to continue now.

For those who have nothing better to do and happen to like listening to Mozart's piano concertos, let me suggest you look for his Piano Concerto No. 17, K. 453 1st Movement. It's one of my favourites.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Exploring Pulau Ubin with the Lee's

Last Monday Brother John Lee, our Young Men's Counsellor, went to Pualu Ubin to check out the place for an upcoming Young Men's cycling activity. His sons Michael and Kenneth invited me to join them, which I did, bringing Ernie along as well.

We took a bumboat in the morning and rented mountain bikes when we arrived at the island after a 10 minute ride. Basically, we cycled around the island to look for places of interest. The photos I have should tell most of the story.

At the jetty. Left to right: Ernie, Amanda, Kenneth, Michael, Myself, little John.

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A well we came across on the way. The water looked real filthy XD

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We reached the well known Chek Jawa wetlands, an area on the east coast of Ubin covered with mangroves - a good field trip for Geography lessons haha. There was a tall lookout tower named the Jejawi Tower, which we climbed for a great view of the forest canopy.




The kind of things I like to see. Pity it was scorching hot at that time.

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The Lee's and their cousin/niece Amanda

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I like the blue-ness of the sky in this shot.

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After we climbed back down we took a stroll down the mangrove board walk, enjoying the inside view of the mangrove forest which made me feel as if I were back in Malaysia.



The board walk.

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This is used to make Atap Chee.

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Prop roots. They're cool but looking at them still makes me all tingly.

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This mud mound can be found everywhere, created by secretive mud lobsters. They look amazingly like mounds of poo. Wish I could do that XD That thingy in there is a crab making good use of the mound.

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Amanda showed me this. Can't remember what she said about it, but it was something to do with what she used to have back in China.

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These mangrove roots make good cages for annoying little brothers haha.

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Yuck.

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Leaving Chek Jawa... the sign clearly says no fishing, swimming, running nor cycling. Here we have Brother Lee swimming in thin air and his two boys Kenneth and Michael running...

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So forbidding yet so inviting... nice photo by Kenneth

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As we continued our cycle after some refreshing coconut juice sold at the Punai Hut, we came across this beautiful scenery. Reminds me of Ulu Langat back home... just that this is positively dwarfed in comparison XD

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Michael fixing up his bike. His pedal actually came off!

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Kenneth making good use of his camera phone while we took a break. I think he took more photos than I did. Apparently his phone ran out of batteries.

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It started raining in the afteronoon (apparently it had been raining all morning back on the mainland), and we headed to old uncle Lim's residence to seek shelter. Uncle Lim is the son of the previous chief of the island, and boy has he seen much. Just you hear his plight:

He is unable to grow crops properly because he has no chickens to provide fertilizer. He has no chickens because bird flu struck and he was ordered to slaughter them all. He is then forced to buy vegetables elsewhere. To make things worse, what was previously a good place to go fishing is now horribly polluted thanks to Singapore's "strategic location" and all the ships stopping at its ports. Even if the fish survived the pollution, he wouldn't dare eat them anyway. Thus we see how our own actions are destroying the way of life of our own.

Uncle Lim, a friendly man who also attracts people by selling drinks

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While waiting for the rain to stop we had a look around his little farm, which had dogs, rabbits, two cuckatoos, and even a-


MONSTER! What is this? Hint: It stinks. Awfully.

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It's a boar! Watch it wallow in the puddle yonder.

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I must say this was the animal I was most happy to see. He had a smile just like Simba's. And he was totally friendly. He had nice fur.

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Soon after the rain stopped we moved out.


Amanda maneuvering through the muddy track. I made it worse by stopping halfway to take photos haha.

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I swear we didn't know until we came out.

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That's Kenneth there in the midst of the mist. It was so hot you could see the steam rising off the road.

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Eventually we headed back to where we started to get a bike for Michael which did not have its pedal dropping off every now and then.

Michael picking another bike.

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Soon after we set off to explore the northern side of the island. Along the way Kenneth and I decided to have some fun taking photos while cycling at the same time.

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Snake on the road! It nearly went after John.

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Finally we reached the beach where we saw dogs!


That bunch of them lazing over there put a smile on my face.

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One of the more friendly females approached John cautiously as John did the same. She was probably used to having people come up to them with food, since she lost interest after a while.

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On the other side of the quarry shown in an earlier photo.

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Looks almost African...

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Leaving Pulau Ubin

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Bumboats

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Closing photo: Find the little surprise in this bunch of flowers =)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Birthday in a Hospital

As of now, my birthday day is coming to a close. Lots of interesting things have happened throughout the week. I got back my exam results, Mom had her breast cancer surgery, my school band received a new conductor, I went cycling in Pulau Ubin, and I played RISK for two days in a row with Irfan, Boon Siang and Kok Wai.

Anyway, I celebrated my birthday in the hospital today. Now how many of you get to do that? Haha. I celebrated there obviously so Mom could join. I'm glad to say the operation has thus far been successful, and Mom has been making good progress recovering. She can now walk on her own, although it still requires a lot of effort. Ah yes, photos...








Me and the fruitcake Dad got for me. Mom looks positively happy in this photo. Clear signs of a good recovery =)

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Family photo. The handphone Dad has in his hands (if visible) was engaged in a call to 姐姐 in Bei Jing.

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The nurses who joined in to celebrate. I suppose this breaks my record of highest number of females present during my birthday celebration haha. Last year was a record low of 5 XD Mom looks wonderful in this photo.

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Me with the present Dad got for me. Cluedo! I love board games... Thanks Dad!

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Me with the present Mom got for me: a DVD collection of Mind Your Language! Our family favourite, ready to be watched over and over again. Thanks Mom!

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I want to thank all those who remembered Mom in their prayers, or even in a passing thought. The full list of those who went to visit her, or at least called to ask, or messaged me on MSN to check, would be endless. Thank you all. You're all the reasons why people need friends.

Now for the other little birthday gifts throughout the week heh.

I managed to finish a comic strip today! Haha. Started on Tuesday, took a break on Wednesday to play RISK (Clone Wars version) at Irfan's house with Irfan, Boon Siang and Kok Wai


Left to Right: Boon Siang, Irfan, Myself, Kok Wai

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We actually had another round on Thursday at the school library. Both rounds were won by me and Boon Siang using the Republic =P

I got back my SA2 Results today, meaning my school's second semester exam (also the End of Year examinations) results. Probably one of the most notable academic achievements I had so far, although that miraculous 75 I got for Chemistry back in 2005 in Tsun Jin was insane...

  • English - 75%
  • Chinese - 70.5%
  • Elementary Math - 91.25%
  • Additional Math - 92.5%
  • Chemistry - 95%
  • Physics - 78.5% (Gaaaahck!!!)
  • Geography - 90%
  • Combined Humanities (with History elective) - 74%
  • Music - 76%

This brings an average of 82.56%, which is a dramatic improvement from SA1's 79.2... probably due to my insane Geography results. Caught even myself by surprise. I screwed up physics though. Careless all the way. I have absolutely nothing to say about my chinese paper except that it's a good sign that they've finally given a paper to wake up the horde of bananas in my school. As for Music, my written paper (which focuses on listening to and analyzing music) got a dazzling 82%, which I am indeed very proud of (except for a bit where I was super careless and forgot about the key signature). However, my performance section kind of pulled me down as expected =P HOWEVER, the piece I performed with Ying Er was great! I briefly looked at the individual scores for different components assessed during the performance of that piece, and I scored lots of 7's out of 8's. Thanks Ying Er! Thanks Ben!

Well, I guess I can finally tone down on the studying and focus more on band, and lots of School Blues, of course. Need to start planning that trip Hao Ran is having to Singapore during the holidays...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day! Save the Environment!

School Blues Strip No. 121, drawn especially for today's occassion:



You'll probably need to view it in a new page or save it on the computer in order to get a good look at it. Ironically, it was drawn on paper...

This year is the first time in my whole life I have taken Geography seriously, and the results have been surprising. Little by little I have begun to worry a lot more about our dear old Earth. Just today when I went to be a lot closer to Nature in Pulau Ubin I realized how badly Man's ignorant actions have destroyed our surroundings, leaving a trail of destruction both to Nature and Man themselves. Why can't everyone care a little more about the Earth? Nobody would like toxins poured right down their throats. Nobody would like to be shaven bald overnight. Nobody would like to be destructively stripped of all his belongings for another person's gain.

Nature is beauty. Please don't ruin it.



Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

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PS: Mom finished her operation earlier today. So far she is doing fine, except she was too groggy to talk to us when we visited her a few hour ago. Thank you everyone for your concern and your symphathy/emphathy. Further updates will be given if I have the time to sit down and blog during the next few days.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Just A Note

I haven't told many people, but the news is spreading around.

My Mom is going for yet another Cancer surgery, after much pondering over the course of a few months It is breast cancer again, but thankfully not a reoccurence of her previous cancer (which would be quite dangerous). The surgery will be performed this coming Monday (Blog Action Day!). Prayers will be very much appreciated.

A very big thank you to all those who have expressed their concern. Hopefully, I will bring good news on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Study Break

Only one more subject to go! Music! Tomorrow!

I performed my 3rd piece today (as in for the Performance exam). Many thanks to cousin Ying Er (who played the violin for me to accompany on the piano in Meditation from Thais), Benji (who was very helpful during my practices with Ying Er each Sunday), and Michael's aunt Yi Ru, (who gave us a free lesson to assess our performance and provide constructive criticis). Performed it after my Chinese Paper 2, with Gabriel's (fellow Music class classmate) help flipping pages. It was nice to hear from my teacher Mrs Rachel Ong after the performance that the technique was there, although the music lacked movement, same problem Michael's aunt and Benji pointed out - my problem XD Oh well. At least I've been learning a lot of "new" techniques from Michael's aunt as well as Benji. Can't thank the two enough. I suddenly feel very hopeful about the piano again haha.

Anyway, if there's one thing that's very very nice to hear, it's "good job" with a pat on the back after the exams from a teacher who teaches you a subject you're trying hard to score the best you can in. I hope it was an A for Geography >.< If I can do well in Geography for my Humanities subjects, then I can screw Social Studies haha. Of course not.

Here I am, sunburned from excessive late morning soccer under the hot sun, blogging away when I should be studying for the Music paper tomorrow. Okay, so I've covered characteristics of Baroque music, Classical music, the Concerto Grosso, the Opera, the Cantata, the Oratorio, the Sonata form, the Minuet and Trio, the Trio Sonata, the Theme and Variations, the Rondo, the Sonata-Rondo, the Fugue, and probably Romantic music (which will most likely focus on the Art Song) after this. After which I need to get a vocabulary of chords and cadences in my head >.< What with the Perfect and Imperfect and Plagal and Interrupted cadences and all that whatnot. The Cadential 6 4? The Passing 6 4? What the crap? According to what it says here on my Harmonic Vocabulary sheet, the Cadential 6 4 is the chord progression of Ic-V-I and Ic-V. But what's the Passing 6 4 then? At least I've finally understood seventh chords (and the dominant seventh which is oh-so-common) with the help of Ying Er, my Music dictionary, Wikipedia and of course, my piano. Phew.

I probably should get back to studying now.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A Bit of School Blues

I haven't been drawing School Blues lately. A consequence of a mixture of exams, piano fanaticism, lack of inspiration, and perhaps just laziness.

Of course, that doesn't mean I'm not drawing at all.

Just because some #$*&!@*#%s at school ripped up my beloved sketchbook because they knew it was mine doesn't mean I stopped sketching and doodling. The character Emily has been undergoing huge makeovers this year and she hasn't even appeared in any of the strips I've drawn this year. The number of times she has actually appeared in the strip is so small that most people don't even know she's one of the characters in the strip. I've also been working on the problem of my characters fashion sense. I personally don't have much of a fashion sense at all, and it kind of shows in the way I dress my characters. Thank goodness for school uniforms haha.

Anyway, the last strip I drew for my second School Blues album was months ago, but I recently drew a couple of School Blues related stuff to give away. Five for teacher's day and one to a friend. Just thought it would be nice to show them considering how long it has been since I last posted any of my comics.

Here we have one I drew for Mr. Alex Lee, my Chemistry teacher. What's shown here is a titration exercise, a method of preparation of soluble salts in the lab. The experience is closely tied with a recent (as of that time) titration exercise which I had. Our burettes aren't taps so we have to manually squeeze the solution out, which takes lots of skill if you want it to come out drop by drop. What makes it worse is that titration itself is relatively delicate because it is a form of quantitative analysis whereby we need to collect readings and thus much precision is required. So there I was in the lab having trouble getting it right when a teacher who's name I shall not mention came over to observe and comment on my titration skills. Of course, I'm sure he meant to help, but he turned out to be more of a distraction since I was already quite nervous at the time.
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This was drawn for my Physics teacher Mr. Eric Loh, who has an infamous reputation in school for openly boasting about himself to his students during class. How he's always better than us and all. He probably is in many ways, but I bet he couldn't come up with something like this haha.
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The words spoken by Sam are "Are you turning your room into a printing press?" Han's reply pokes fun at my Math and Form teacher Mrs Lim Hwee Fern's knack of slapping worksheet after worksheet on our desks. I'm not complaining, since my *ahem* good Math grades are a result of constant practicing. Whoever wants to start an anti-deforestation campaign in our school should talk to her about giving trees a chance. This is one of my favourites.
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This girl-boy mentality comparison was inspired by and drawn for my English teacher Mrs. Janet Ong, who is known to be rather sexist (which makes everyone wonder why she teaches in a boys school). Being a veteran 'O' Level English Oral Examiner, she often tells us about girls memorizing stuff written on study cards for their oral exam. Basically points on what they have to talk about for spotted conversation topics. None of us in ACSBR would ever do such a crazy thing, which is what she likes about us (we know how to bull****, I say) As you can see in the drawing, the girl is overly concerned about her oral exam, while the guy is more concerned about the girl than something as mundane as an oral exam. I wasn't satisfied with the quality of this one. I guess it was kinda late and I was pretty tired by that time so I wasn't drawing properly. It happens. Just hope that if you ever get a drawing from me, it wasn't one of these heheh.

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This is also my favourite. My Geography teacher Mr. Ng Eu Khim went through the trouble to review previous lessons over and over again at the start of each new lesson, effectively drilling us when we were doing Rivers and Coasts. It worked for me, but this is the result. I hope my future dates don't find out about this haha. Symptoms of this "Han Syndrome" (as my classmates have named it) have surfaced in Kandace's blog tagboard where I vomitted some facts about Tchaikovsky after studying Music.
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And most recently, this. It was a token of gratitude to Marie Ellis from the First Ward at Church. She briefly taught me, Michael, and Dennis a bit of the Cha-cha-cha after Seminary during our final week. Satisfying results of my venture into different thicknesses of felt tipped pens are visibly present in the last box.

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Additionally, I also did black and white sketches of the 14 year old Chern Hui and Zi Xian for their birthdays. I won't post them until I mail them off so that they get to be the first to see them. The next thing I draw will probably be missionary-related. I agreed to draw some stuff for the local missionary newsletter. Can't wait for the exams to finish.

5 Minutes in the Exam Room is an Eternity

After discovering how outdated and under-informed I am at the moment, not being online for more than a week seems even longer.