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!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Day Three of Day Out

... is just about to begin.

I'll be back next year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day Two of Day Out

I went to Toa Payoh for lunch at Swensons followed by watching a movie (Bedtime Stories) with cousin Ying Er and Marie Low today. We made a pact to go out and celebrate the end of 'O' Levels, especially after going through an overnight study marathon at Ying Er's house. We got to see Jeremy and Sherman hard at work during the crowded lunch hour XD

We had an hour between our lunch and movie, so the two girls decided to get hair cuts, while I slipped away to the nearby library. I read a really interesting book entitled Kids Play: Igniting Children's Creativity by Michele Cassou. As someone interested in teaching little children how to express themselves through drawing, I was glued to the book. The writer, Michele, opened a studio where children could paint with no restrictions, using her "Point Zero" method, which I will elaborate on in a future post. My fingers were dancing with excitement as I turned the pages. My perception on creativity was challenged, hers being so beautiful that I had to pause and ponder at the end of each chapter. I shall share my "discoveries" after I've recovered from my post hanging out exhaustion.

Bedtime Stories was fantastic. While Ip Man had me glued to the chair with fingernails digging trenches on the seat through its intense martial arts choreography, Bedtime Stories froze me onto my seat as it captivated me with its magic that we've come to love and expect from Disney movies. The spontaneity of events, overall bizarreness and must-have fairytale romance all blended together wonderfully into the ultimate bedtime story. Bedtime Stories is undisputably a movie that stands right up there with other timeless classics such as Secondhand Lions and Big Fish. To me, what makes Bedtime Stories exceptional is its friendliness to younger audiences. Big Fish was a great movie, but if you watch it with a young child, you'll be spending too much time trying to explain what can only be felt (which is what I like about Tim Burton's movies). With Bedtime Stories, children and adults alike can easily connect to the magic of the film. A magic which reverberates with a special chord in their hearts that never wears thin.

New Year's Eve Youth Dance tomorrow!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Day One of Day Out

Going out again tomorrow. My wallet is sobbing in some dark corner of my room. Anybody interested in buying School Blues greeting/birthday cards again?

Michael, Sherwayne and John came over today to work towards our Aaronic Priesthood Duty to God Award again. The goal we worked on today was much like a scripture treasure hunt. We were to look up scriptures to use to discuss certain topics from the Book of Mormon. The hunt for that elusive scripture verse was repeated each time we tried to recall supposedly memorized scripture masteries. It was a real treat, because I woke up this morning realizing I have begun craving for some good reading again.

We watched Ip Man after that. To say that Ip Man was exciting would be a serious understatement. There were moments where I actually felt like crying just because it was too much excitement for me. I am a freak haha. Having watched a documentary on Hong Kong stuntmen a few years ago, I appreciated the stunts pulled off by the many awe-inspiring calefares who got bashed up by the gentlemanly kungfu master played by Donnie Yen. With Sammo Hung as the action director, the fight scenes were intense, grabbing you by the neck while connecting a thousand fists to your face. I just think that the close up shot of someone spitting out a spray of blood was a bit rude.

My favourite line from the movie was when Ip Man was taunted for being "afraid" of his wife. In response, he calmly replied


On the overall however, it was quite weird to hear the whole movie dubbed in mandarin. It made the movie seem plastic. I guess, coming from KL, I'm just too used to cantonese.

Sadly, I felt that the climax of the movie did not meet my expectations. Rest assured, the movie was by no means short of heart pounding moments where you could spill popcorn all over yourself (or worse, your drink all over your date if you brought one) and not even notice (or care). Just don't expect the ending to hurl your thoughts into a spinning roulette the way The Dark Knight did.

That's not to say that Ip Man was a shallow screenful of martial arts. I enjoyed the theme of united resistance and one man's realization of what he means to his society, but I am yet to watch a movie that beats the message The Dark Knight flings at you at the end.

I shall see if Twilight can impress me with more than its classic romance.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

This Christmas

As the Christmas season comes to a close, it is time I unleash my recent reflections on this festive time of the year.

Something felt lacking for me this Christmas. And oh, crime of all crimes, I actually got sick of Christmas Music. Perhaps my recent transfiguration into a Music Snob accounts for my dwindling interest in anything non-orchestral. But then again, I'm still infatuated with Bossa Nova, Latin Jazz, and a bunch of old Frank Sinatra songs. Mom had to tell me to stop listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Abide With Me; 'Tis Eventide and play something more related to Christmas instead. If you're not feeling the Christmas buzz from the Music, then you're probably not really in the Christmas mood, and I guess that was me.

Next problem: I wasn't feeling the "magic" of Christmas. Perhaps I could blame Santa Claus for that - as I grew up, the magic of Christmas that came to be associated with him faded away along with him.

Perhaps that was the problem. Perhaps I needed to see Christmas in a new light. Before Christmas, I looked forward to it for all the family gatherings we planned. They came and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but it did not feel enough. I still found it hard to feel as excited as everyone else seemed about Christmas. I guess Christmas = Family was not the magic equation that worked on me.

Even if Christmas = Giving, I still feel somewhat apathetic. I spent no small amount of time taking Christmas presents to express my appreciation to some friends who mean a lot to me, to the point that my overused left arm is suffering from sore muscles. It was nice to see the many smiles that the little 4" by 4" cards created today, but it still didn't make me feel any more Christmas-ey. I contributed a lot of time to help out at the Stake Christmas Nativity, especially where my Musical training is concerned (Ying Er's little Instrumental Ensemble and the Ward Choir), and even a few reprise performances that had me rushing all over the place on the day of our Ward Christmas Party. I felt great being able to help out, but I still didn't feel like it was Christmas.

Today, the Stake Young Single Adults held a Cottage Meeting featuring a short fireside on the Gift that Endures: The Abiding Love of Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ. It was a good reminder on the true meaning of Christmas: Christ.

Then I realized, perhaps the reason why Christmas did not feel special is because I had already begun remembering Christ since the start of the holidays. It was at the start of the holidays that I finally had the discipline to carry out daily scripture study seriously. It was then that a door somewhere at the back of my head was finally opened and I received fresh enlightenment. Faced with a commercialized Christmas season, it was like receiving a bowl of instant noodles after feasting upon a five star eight course meal.

Perhaps I have already felt the spirit of Christmas, but just not during Christmas.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Not Funny.... Yet

Friday was one of those bad days where I had to face mood fluctuations caused by unbridled feelings for a girl.

It was some time late in the evening, when she started kicking up a storm at the back of my head while I was attempting to resume work on belated Christmas/New Year cards. The first few symptoms of my affliction was sudden crankiness and a lingering sense of emptiness. Initially, I tried escapism by attempting to make Mom's evening better - by helping someone else, I forget about my own troubles. Mom took up a job in designing the interior of a house, and was running into a lot of obstacles. Knowing from experience how annoying it is to face problems when about to start work on something, I decided to do all that I could to help Mom. Eventually however, Mom decided to go out for a walk to the market with Shuan, and I found my source of escapism slipping away.

I opened up iTunes and played some of my favourite relax-to music, this time choosing to lie down on the couch, soak in the chords and harmonies of what I perceive as beautiful music, and take a nap.

Unfortunately, I was still feeling cranky when I woke up after Mom and Shuan came back. I tried eating ice cream while reading Get Fuzzy comics, which had me laughing really hard for a few minutes until Shuan got annoyed and told me to stop laughing so loud. I was so emotionally unstable that I had to consciously push my bowl away in order to prevent myself from flinging it at him. I remember being utterly disgusted at myself for flitting between unrestrained laughter to barely restrained anger that quickly.

Instead of going straight to bed which might have been the best solution, I decided to "screw everything" and just focus on making the cards. It did have a slight calming effect, but weirdly enough, it was Ern coming home in an even crankier mood than I was that became my turning point.

Ern threw a tantrum in front of Mom over something I recall to be rather petty (likely due to puberty and his raging hormones, which I am not immune to either). I was faced with a decision to either bash the crap out of him (and regret it for the rest of my life) or silently clean up the mess he created (which was what I did).

One of the things I often find myself doing when plagued by my insufferable infatuation is cleaning up the house. Seriously. I think cleaning up my junk and arranging them neatly reflects my desire to sort out my thoughts of her. Since the former is infinitely easier than the latter, I suppose that is how my body attempts to do something about the situation. Mom may like having me in an infatuated state more often upon knowing this.

Anyway, cleaning up Ern's mess was what I did, and it helped ease my emotional thunderstorm. The sun was soon shining again, all traces of her dark yet alluring clouds slowly fading away, ready to haunt me another day.

Many years from now, this experience will be something to laugh at, but only in retrospect.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day Dinner

We had an extended family Christmas Dinner at cousin Claudia 姐姐's place yesterday. Whoever could not make it to our family's Christmas Eve Dinner were all there, which was nice.

The fruit dish Mom cut up and I prepared. I couldn't resist.

Joshua's attempt at photography with my camera. Not bad, I must say.

Playing Octopus (many thanks to cousin Ying Er who decided to be our photographer)

The final stages of Octopus

Mom telling her story of a tree. If all goes well, she plans to turn it into a book that I may illustrate.

The audience.

More of the audience
Right after that we rushed to another extended family gathering, this time from Dad's side of the family. We played Cranium with our non-blood relatives (Dad's older brother's wife's sister's children). We had so much fun, Shuan is now dead set on getting the game.

I'm having trouble getting back to work on the logo designs. I think I've been having too much fun.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sage Advice from Mom

This morning my Christmas present was to have yet another misadventure with my computer.

Dad brought some old RAM from another computer, and asked if I would like to try and see if it could boost my computer. It turned out he brought two 128mb SD RAM, which is mostly obsolete these days according to a computer technician I talked to. Nevertheless, my computer being close to a historical artifact, had open slots for SD RAM (along side my newer DDR2 RAM). I inserted both in, and fired up my computer, hoping for faster, smoother browsing. Ironically, my computer hanged the moment Windows booted.

I suddenly remembered that years ago, my SD RAM slots were diagnosed by Brother Meyer as malfunctioning. So I pulled out the SD RAM and tried booting the computer again. My computer literally screamed at me. That nightmare beeping noise from Hell that usually indicates hardware issues. Eventually I decided to pull out my DDR2 RAM and re-insert them. It solved the problem, but brought a new, interesting one.

Each time my computer booted, it would open up the CPU settings screen, where I loaded the Setup Defaults and saved changes. After that, however, Windows would not boot and my monitor just displayed a blank screen.

Much later, after taking a break from all the madness, I tried exchanging the places of my two DDR2 RAM cards. It worked. My noob computah skillz could not explain it, but it worked.

Mom, who was watching me the whole time, gave a priceless piece of advice:

Computers are like Women - Love them, don't try to understand them.


Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve!

The extended family Christmas Eve I was looking forward to crumbled today. In the end, only cousin Simon and his two sons Joshua and David came over. Even Dad and Ray didn't make it back from KL in time. Hence, Mom let us invite our friends over. Ern invited three of his friends, while I invited Glen Lewis from Toa Payoh Ward. Glen declined the invitation since his good Ward Members already invited him. Ern's three friends came.

It was crazy to find out recently that Germaine Yee actually worked at the child care centre that Joshua attended. However, Joshua was not able to recall who she was. Either he was too busy causing trouble to remember her or she has been tucked into that hidden corner of his mind meant for traumatic experiences hahaha.

David brought his PSP to play with, and was soon glued to it on the couch. He was playing GTA, of all crazy games. Poor Joshua kept hugging his Dad as he was a bit shy without Ray or my niece Beverly around. I decided to play ball with him outside, and he quickly became his normal, screaming and laughing (and totally irresistable) self.

While we were in the middle of a Manchester United VS Arsenal match (Joshua watches soccer, and proclaimed himself ManU, while I randomly picked a team I've heard of) Joshua got thirsty, so we headed back indoors for a drink of water. Instead of continuing our mini match, he got distracted by the piano, having recently started taking piano lessons.

Joshua and I at the piano
Soon it was time for our all-important Christmas Eve family dinner, albeit without Dad and Ray.

Group shot

Die-die-must-have-on-Christmas-Turkey. Mom suggested Roast Duck instead, which I supported with all my heart. It turned out that I was taking a joke too seriously.

David enjoying our family's trademark Mashed Potatoes.
Joshua finished his food quickly, and was soon pestering me to do the same and continue our ball game. Mom asked him if he would like more food.

"Would you like more turkey?"

*shakes head*

"More mashed potatoes?"

*shakes head*

"More jagung? [corn]"

*shakes head*

"More cookies?"

*shakes head*

"Ice cream?"

*shakes head*

Mom laughs halfway when a mischievous grin creeps onto Joshua's face as he says "要!"

I thought it would be the end of me, having to play with a child who just had ice cream. Thankfully, it did not supercharge him as much as I thought it would. He got tired as fast as our first round, and we soon headed back again. He took a bath and started singing Christmas songs to my piano accompaniment. Just like my other nephew Evan, he got bored very fast and wanted to do something else, so he pestered me to bring out some toys. It must be symptoms of the "Thong Syndrome" which Germaine diagnosed him with XD

Poor Joshua is yet to train his rubber band shooting skills. He couldn't even hit a toy soldier at point blank range. That might be a good thing. Imagine what he'd be doing if he was an ace shot with rubber bands.

It was soon time for his family to leave, so we exchanged goodbyes and I now find myself feeling empty again. I've been wondering if there's such a thing as therapy where you play with children. Several months back, I had a very unpleasant experience in KL, and I had to spend an extra day in KL. It was then that I spent a whole morning entertaining my previous Branch President's two children. Their laughter worked magic and soothed away all the troubles and insecurities that plagued my mind. Playing with the Seow children after Church here has the same effect. The only problem about such therapy is the risk of pedophilia. Oh well. I guess the only therapy I have a chance of facilitating is music therapy.

Christmas Day is near!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas CDs

I went to Borders today to buy Christmas presents. I brought my Borders Gifts Cards - $30 from last year and $10 for winning the consolation prize for Best Dressed at my ACS(BR) Grad Night. If there's one thing I've learnt today, it's that I musn't go to Books and Music CD stores too often. Otherwise, I will either go broke or go missing. I spent hours walking around and checking out books and CDs. When I dropped by the Social Science section, the first thought that crossed my mind was "Where have I been all these years?" There were a couple of books that caught my attention there:

Naomi Wolf - The Beauty Myth (an interesting take on the problems Women face due to the Beauty Myth)
Tyler Cowen - Discover Your Inner Economist (very funny)
Mark Thomas - Belching out the Devil (which has me considering a boycott of Coca-Cola)
Al Gore - An Inconvenient Truth (now a major motion picture on Climate Change and highly recommended by my Geography Teacher)
Mollod & Tesauro - The Modern Gentleman (an informative guide on modern etiquette, fun to read but not very in line with Church standards)

That soaked up a lot of time, but not as much as when I found myself exploring the Jazz and International section of the Music CDs section. I sampled almost every Latin Jazz, Salsa, and Tango CD I could get my hands on - Music with enough spiciness to get me buzzing with excitement. As I stood there quivering and smiling to myself like a drug addict, I thought I had finally found the music I needed to fill my growing void in musical taste. Then I bumped into a collection of Frank Sinatra CDs. It took about ten seconds of Strangers in the Night to know that life will never be the same again.

What I came home with.

My temptation now is to open them before Christmas Day. Thank goodness that's only 26 hours away =)

What Would Be Nice for Christmas

A couple of days ago Mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas. A moment of silence followed.

Just like my birthday, I had no wish list in mind. Of course, I could ask for a new, up-to-date computer or an all-paid-for year's worth of dance lessons, but those are just for dreams. Without a wish list, Mom got me a shaver and a belt on my birthday, while Dad surprised me with a new camera. In essence, Mom got me what I needed, Dad got me what I didn't know I wanted.

In a materialistic sense, the following would be nice, simple things I would like for Christmas.
1. A tie that reflects my personality
2. A nice, smart casual, long-sleeved shirt
3. A set of really good colour pencils
4. A new notepad
5. An Astor Piazzolla or Joe Hisaishi Music CD I don't currently have
6. Drawing pens of diameters I don't currently have
7. The Piano & Vocals score to The Girl from Ipanema or Meditation by Antonio Carlos Jobim
8. A T-shirt that says "Reserved"
9. A guide to Conducting
10. Something that will surprise me XD

In a non-materialistic sense, the following would be nice things to happen for Christmas.
1. Mom teaches me how to draw with Charcoal
2. A successful extended family reunion on Christmas Eve
3. I find enough (committed) people to start Dance lessons again
4. I get straight A's for O Levels
5. I pass my driving test in January
6. I receive inspiration and a mood to complete School Blues' Second Album
7. I receive inspiration and the patience to finish writing a composition for the Piano
8. I gain the ability to actually memorize Piano scores
9. I overcome my greatest flaw
10. I finally decide on a future career

If all of the above fails, a nice bowl of good ice cream in an afternoon spent with some close friends would be a nice Christmas present. It was a great birthday present, after all =)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sowing the Seeds of Sewing

A few days ago as I was about to sit onto the chair at my computer desk, I noticed that the cushion needed mending. I made a mental note that I would patch it up with my recently revisited sewing un-skills. Having sewed on two buttons on one of my favourite shirts before going back to KL, the sewing procedures were still quite fresh in my mind. I decided to have a go at sewing again.

Yet again, I forgot how to tie the knot on the thread attached to the needle before you begin sewing. Mom rescued me, and before long I was performing a highly complicated hand dance that upon closer inspection might resemble actual sewing. My weaving was all over the place. Sure, I was following Mom’s instructions to weave through the cushion and not over the edges of the cushion, but a detailed observation will reveal a rather messy pattern that would make even an abstract artist cry out in protest.

Nevertheless, I was not about to be thwarted by aesthetic atrocities. I doubt anybody will want to look very closely at a cushion that comes into contact with backsides all day anyway. Before long I was presenting the results to Mom, who did not say much. It was done, but like all excited novices, I was eager to start sewing anything I could lay my hands on. Soon, I was mending my old school bag which had a torn strap while soaking in weaves of Bossa Nova playing softly in the background. Much to my embarrassment, I messed up and the needle got stuck somewhere. I cut the thread, effectively nullifying all that I had done to mend the bag. Thank goodness I’m getting a new school bag for Christmas.

Looking back, I find it interesting how my sewing reflects the way I think. There is a general pattern that guides my line of thoughts, somewhat like undercurrents. However, their path is by no means linear. Much like how my weaves were all over the place, so are my thoughts. This is also frequently reflected in many of my Blog posts labeled “thoughts.” Most of the time, when I sit down and start Blogging, everything spills onto the screen, and if I don’t take the time to go back and edit the posts, reading them will be like taking part in the Amazing Race without guidance. Rather than thinking solely on a single subject, I tend to jump around and make connections here and there. According to Dad, this would be the “relater” aspect of my personality, which means I tend to relate things with each other. But see, here I am already linking a simple sewing misadventure to Dad’s personal reading, forgetting what I wanted to type in the first place.

I think I lack focus.


I helped Mom sort out all her old digital photos earlier. What a blast from the past.

Ever wondered why Han in School Blues doesn't look like me at all?

Now you know.

Something interesting is happening. As I grow older, the characters in the Strip seem to grow as well (as in their looks somehow age). When School Blues first started I was 13, and I wanted them to be 14 "forever." They don't look very 14 right now, though.

Friday, December 19, 2008

When Sleep Becomes a Burden

I just got back from KL a few hours ago. A brief misadventure left me exhausted. And broke.

The bus dropped me off at Beach Road at around 7pm. I had planned to make my way to Art Friend (a popular store that sells almost all the art materials you need) down at Victoria Street to buy materials for making Christmas Presents. At first, I was feeling a bit adventurous so I decided to walk around, following my gut feeling. Eventually however, it became apparent that Bras Basah Complex (where Art Friend is) was not walking distance from Beach Road. I hopped onto a taxi.

I was quite pleased when I realized I had been walking in the right direction as the taxi brought me to my desired destination. However, whatever smile that crept across my face evaporated when I paid the peak hour taxi fare.

So imagine my horror when I found myself standing in front of the "closed" sign at the entrance to Art Friend.

Thinking desperately, my first course of action was to head straight to the toilet.

Okay, so maybe that does not sound sensible, but try making a decision that will affect the amount of sleep you will get when you're distracted by your bladder.

With a clearer mind, I initially decided to go home and work on what I could for the time being. The reason I was stressed was because the present I intended to make was due by Sunday, and I would be out the whole day on Saturday (unless I skip the Youth Sunday School Party at Sister Megan's house, which would be akin to handing a knife to Marion to stab me with). That meant that I would only have Friday to make the present. Due to the relative complexity of the present's structure, I knew I would need as much time as possible to piece it together. Having to go out and buy the materials on Friday would be a fatal blow to any momentum I hope to build in the present's construction. Alas, stressing over a failed attempt to buy materials would do me no good, so I decided to take the nearest bus home.

As I was walking, it suddenly crossed my mind that Orchard Road isn't too far from Bras Basah Complex. Perhaps the Art Friend down at Takashimaya along Orchard Road might still be open. I took a gamble and decided to find a bus that would take me there. Trusting my instincts yet again, I walked what could be observed as "aimlessly" until I magically ran into a familiar bus stop. Too bad my luck didn't extend to magically getting a free helicopter ride to my destination.

My gamble paid off - the Art Friend at Takashimaya was still open. The hunt for materials was on. I happened to windowshop at Art Friend while on an outing with the Clementi Ward Youth a month ago, and wrote down a list of materials I intended to buy when I could come back with a confirmed decision to make the present as well as money. Interestingly, I did not buy what I wrote down on the list, but what I found near the original items.

The next misadventure involved carrying around a massive piece of cardboard (they did not sell smaller sizes) and getting weird looks from people. The cardboard was so big, I would have to use measuring tape to get its dimensions (each side being more than my arm's length). Thankfully, I knew the way home, sparing me the adventure that lugging something bulky while having to trust instincts to bring me home would have wrought.

Sadly, I'm too exhausted to go without sleep tonight, so I will have start working on the present in the morning.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

For Best Results: Squeeze Dry Until Insane

Here I am racking my brains for creative inspiration again. Having had my designs for a logo accepted, it is now time to design the individual labels for the products. I came home from a fruitful driving lesson today pleased that I had a whole day to work on it.

Instead, Shuan woke up and started playing games on the laptop I brought up from Singapore which has the programs I work with.

With nothing else to do, I actually napped all the way until eight. Wasted a whole day.

He's still playing, and I'm still waiting. I need to get my hands on the laptop, even if I have no inspiration. Holding my graphics tablet pen, aimlessly playing around with the various tools, staring into a blank computer space - that's what I have to do if I'm to eventually churn out anything productive.

On a side note, driving lessons today went pretty well. Within half an hour I was already on the streets, getting used to the heavy traffic that defines Kuala Lumpur. The non-Mercedez Malaysian "SLK" (Small Little Kancil) which we use in driving schools is easy to get a feel of due to its small size. I haven't started on the more exam-oriented exercises yet, such as parking on a slope and parallel parking. Those will be killers, but our good 'ol SLK makes it easier I think, compared to if I had to do it with a bulky Audi. I like the feeling of changing gears manually. The hand action makes it seem so professional which makes me excited, weirdly. Perhaps I am just deprived. The clutch, however, will take some getting used to. The engine died countless times today thanks to my poor release of the clutch. I have to admit that I like the feeling of working the clutch though - it reminds me of working the damper and soft pedals on the piano. In both cases, working the foot pedals is an art - master the action, and you pull off something beautiful. Yes, I find delight in the weirdest things.

I'll be having dinner with Hao Ran, Zi Jien, Fang Soe, Zi Xian and See Ee tomorrow. I didn't get to catch up with them on my last trip back, so I'm pretty excited. I particularly miss talking to Zi Xian, ever since we were placed in different classes on my last year in Tsun Jin High.

I'm not sure why, but lately I've been wanting to take my Singaporean friends on a trip to KL. To show them my hometown I guess. Perhaps next year, when I will have my driving license. They just have to try the food here =)

Back to work!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Return to KL

I just arrived in KL, after a long ride on the bus.

When we arrived at Dad's home, Ern lunged straight for the computer that Dad brought over from the office, chuckling about the 1 gigabyte's worth of RAM. Shuan went to set up the Playstation, and Ray went to get his toy sword that's not allowed in our home in Singapore. I was apparently the only one who wanted to take a bath.

Driving lessons tomorrow!

False and True

As promised, these are the answers to last week's post.

This Is Me [Or Not] :
1] I sleep with a "teddy" bear on my bed
2] I plan to get married by age 22
3] Mom is all that's keeping me from having no fashion sense
4] I listen to Vivaldi on a regular basis
5] I speak partially perfect English
6] I enjoy teaching
7] I own Han's
8] I once started a fight in school
9] Culture is my middle name
10] I can't stand geeks

1] Yes, I do. It's right here. It was birthday present from Yung Hui when I turned 16. I thought it was the funniest teddy bear I've ever seen. It's on my bed to stop my handphone (which I use as an alarm) from falling off the edges of the bed.
3] Haha. Orchid Ball was proof. More recently, when Mom cut my hair for me, she turned down my request to shave off my sideburns entirely, citing the fact that having sideburns is in fashion.
6] To inspire others is my dream
8] Back in my 5th year in Primary school, I lashed out at about 4 guys over them teasing me about liking a girl (yes, I was that sensitive back then). I lost a tooth in the end, but we being guys, I made four good friends not long after that =P
9] "文" can mean culture. Do I look cultured to you?

2] If you know me and did the math, this would be impossible. I'll be on my Mission then.
4] I avoid listening to Vivaldi on a regular basis.
5] Partially Perfect is a redundant statement. The word "perfect" is absolute, so it cannot be "partial." Hence, the statement is false because there can be no such thing. You did not have to know me to guess the truthfulness of this question, but you now know how seriously I treat the English language.
7] =) I haven't eaten there before
10] I love myself too much to be able to say that truthfully

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Early Christmas Presents

Study guide to the Doctrine & Covenants + Church History for next year's Sunday School, True to the Faith booklet, and the latest Simplified Chinese Triple Combination.

Why they are awesome "presents":
The study guides for Sunday School always present interesting opportunities to delve into the scriptures more deeply than you thought you could, making each reading experience more wholesome and rewarding.

The True to the Faith booklet explains almost everything we need to know as Latter-Day Saints. Think of it as Life's Instruction Manual. Apparently I was supposed to get it the moment I turned 12, but I didn't, so here it is now.

The new Simplified Chinese Triple Combination is a sure sign that the Church is preparing the way for all Chinese to come to know of the truthfulness of the Gospel and to taste of the blessings it brings. Being a Triple Combination, it means that I'll have the Chinese Doctrine and Covenants to study alongside the English version in Sunday School next year. Furthermore, this book has a Bible Dictionary, meaning that Chinese Gospel terms now have definitions I can refer to when trying to explain things to curious mandarin-speaking friends. Thanks, Mom!

Going back to KL for driving lessons tomorrow.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Help Me Help You Help Yourself

Have you ever thought about why people help each other?

We all know about that nice feeling we get after doing a kind deed to another, and that is usually why we engage in acts of service from time to time. In that sense, as Irfan funnily pointed out once, we are being selfish. By helping others, we gratify our personal need to feel appreciated. There are also those who have developed an appetite for that warm fuzzy feeling when someone thanks them for their kind deed. Of course, that would be akin to deliberately seeking praise. What about anonymous deeds? Well, it cannot be denied that it still feels nice after doing an anonymous deed.

So, have we come to a conclusion that kindness is a selfish act simply because it brings personal gratification to the giver? That would be interesting.

The response? In order to do an "unselfish" kind act, one must perform such an act with a mentality that "it just had to be done." Perhaps the expression "rising to the occassion" could be applied here. By doing something just because it seemed like it had to be done brings no personal justification, therefore justifying the act of kindness.

Regardless of your current stand on doing good deeds, I shall now wrap up this example of how some people have nothing better to do with their brains with an even weirder suggestion: we should all ask for help from strangers more often.

On the last day of O Levels, I went out with some classmates. Miraculously, it rained despite the fact that I had my umbrella (it never rains when I take the trouble to prepare for it). As I was crossing the road in the rain with my umbrella out, a man rushed to me and asked if I could share the umbrella with him and backtrack until he was under shelter. Without a pause I agreed, shifting to one side of the umbrella while making an about turn. After the man reached his desired short term destination, I continued on my journey with that nice warm feeling in my heart. The lesson learnt? By asking someone for help, you provide him with an oppurtunity to help you, allowing him to experience that wonderful feeling of performing a kind act. You, in turn, will also feel good because you will have come away knowing that there is kindness in this world.

In essence, by asking help from you, I would be requesting help from you to help me help you help yourself feel good. So would performing that kind deed be selfish? No, because the reasoning is just too crazy to be anything selfish.


Friday, December 12, 2008


So many activities happening at once. To elaborate on all would do no justice to the rights of readers to understand what's going on, so I won't bother trying. Yesterday saw me helping Marion and her friends with storyboarding, then rushing over to an unofficial Clementi Ward Youth Slumber Party at Sister Connie Woo's house. Came home this morning with Michael and Sherwayne to work towards our Duty to God Award, followed by some gaming and then a mad rush for me, Shuan, and Ern to get to the Stake Centre to practice and eventually perform in Ying Er's Ensemble for the Evening in Bethlehem. That was followed by me providing a brief "singing lesson" for Shem, with the aid of Germaine and Ben along the way. I am pooped.

Storyboarding -
Slumber Party -

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Somebody Save Me

I dislike the way she trips me over my own words.
I dislike the way she affects my mood.
I dislike the way she sends me spinning in my own circles.
I dislike the way she haunts my thoughts.
I especially dislike the way she clouds my judgment.

I like everything about her, just not what she's doing to me.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Camera & Family

Today is one of those days where I can go to bed with a megawatt smile, knowing that it was a day well spent.

I started the day by rushing to the Stake Centre with Shuan to practice for Ying Er's ensemble for this weekend's Night in Bethlehem at the Stake Centre. I will be playing the Clarinet while Shuan will pwn all with his mad flute skillz. I was in a mood for photos today.

Shuan's flute

Marie's oboe

Benjamin's piano score
After the practice, Uncle Yen Wei and Aunt Chai Yan took me and Shuan (and Ying Er, of course) for lunch at Ghim Moh (however you spell it). Crazy food. I didn't know such a popular place existed.

The highlight of the day was the extended family picnic at Sentosa that I've been looking forward to since last week. Despite the crummy weather today, we went ahead and had a picnic with 4 of my cousins, 3 nephews, 1 niece, 3 aunts, 2 uncles, and even a cousin's parents-in-law.

I was all excited about the plethora of oppurtunities to practice taking photos of children at play. I intend to become a Dad who can take beautiful shots of his family in the future, so what better time to practice than at an extended family reunion.

I decided to focus on two of my nephews. They started off playing with sand by means of an umbrella.

I like the composition of this shot
They eventually shifted closer to the water, where they entertained themselves by destroying the one-cup sandcastles they began to create.

I never cease to be amused by how much concentration children display when at play. It goes to show how interest is so critical in influencing focus.

Ern came over to ask me if I was up for some sports. How could I tear myself away from photographing my nephews?

Father and Son moment. I want to be able to take plenty of Mother and Children moments when I have my own family, so I suppose this is a good start.

This would have been my most favourite shot of the day if I had just tilted the camera a little higher
Blissful day

I have a crazy week ahead, but at least I'm finally earning money. Tomorrow will be the first payday for my work as a logo designer. It won't be much, but Mom agrees that it is good work experience. I hope I can manage, though. My weekly planner has reached a point where it needs a weekly planner planner.

Family's Back

Mom, Shuan and Ern came back from KL with Dad last night. I was taking a nap on Mom's bed, having drained myself of energy after a feeble attempt to help Ying Er compose some music transitions. I was awoken at about 11pm when I saw Mom standing in front of me.

"Hi Mom!"

Before I knew it Shuan and Ern were sitting on the edge of the bed telling me all about the Playstation games they played at our house in KL. As I lay there on my side listening to them ramble on, I couldn't help but smile, realizing how much I missed them all.

Of course, about an hour later, I wasn't missing the mess Ern started creating in the house.

True and False

Got tagged by Marion
I remember doing something like this before, but every time you do things like these you answer it differently, and when you come back in the future to read it, you gain insights in your own personal development. I'm still working on the 16 Random (Interesting) Things post after being tagged by 姐姐. I'm trying not to lose control over word quantity, but I've been failing at it so far.

1. List down 10 facts about yourself - 5 true & 5 false.
2. Tag 5 people to do the exact same quiz!
3. Blog readers are to guess the 5 false facts.
4. Reveal 5 facts exactly one week after this quiz is being posted up.

This Is Me [Or Not] :
1] I sleep with a "teddy" bear on my bed
2] I plan to get married by age 23
3] Mom is all that's keeping me from having no fashion sense
4] I listen to Vivaldi on a regular basis
5] I speak partially perfect English
6] I enjoy teaching
7] I own Han's
8] I once started a fight in school
9] Culture is my middle name
10] I can't stand geeks

Hint: One of the false statements can be detected without having to know me at all.

No point tagging. Those 2 I always tag are already tagged, the others never do these.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Life as a Logo Designer

On a good day:
I wake up in the afternoon, start the day by studying scriptures, have lunch, then play a few rounds of a computer game with my brothers after being pestered for 15 minutes straight. After that, I work the rest of the day with satisfying results.

On a bad day:
I wake up (relatively) early, run some errands in the early afternoon (after the start-the-day-routine), and get to work as soon as I get back. Unfortunately, I spend an hour developing new ideas without coming to anything I'm satisfied with, and have to spend the next few hours napping just to clear my head. By the time I wake up, I'm in no mood for work.

And every day is a bad day until the very last.

Not that I'm being cynical, but when it comes to creative work, it's always at the very last moment that inspiration hits you and you're forced to rush. The best ideas don't come until you've squeezed your brain dry over everything else.

I can't say it wasn't fun, though. To finally finish your work and produce an end result you are satisfied with brings an overpowering sense of triumph. It is truly rewarding work, just not financially......

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tosto @ T3, Singapore Changi Airport

I was invited by Marion to take part at a fun-filled event at Tosto, a European restaurant at T3, Singapore Changi Airport. We were both invited to the event through Bezner, her classmate.

Marion all smiles at Tosto

Basically, we had a food sampling session after which we were to fill in a survey form to give feedback on the dishes. We then had some fun in a sandwich making competition, where the winning team would not only receive prizes, but have their sandwich put on the restaurant's menu for all to savour.

Some of the food we sampled:

Garlic Fennei Pork Sausage & Cheese Wraps (Marion liked these)

Mandarin Orange Smoked Duck Wraps (these were good)

BBQ Chicken Piadino (there was also Hawaiian Chicken Piadino)

Croques Madame. Deeply delectable.
Chocolate Eclairs and Cheesecakes were also served, the cheesecakes with a savoury twist to tease the senses =)

Overall, I would rate the food experience as 4 out of 5. Both Marion and I agreed that the Croques Madame were exquisite, and I particularly liked the texture of the bread. The Mandarin Orange Smoked Duck Wraps accentuated an appetizing amount of saltiness that had me ready for more. As aforementioned, the cheesecakes packed a delightful surprise that Bezner pointed out to the two us of us. There was a reason for the unique sweetness that rewarded each bite of the cheesecakes. I ate the chocolate eclair I had on my plate a little too fast to be able to provide opinions on it. Chocolate eclairs have always been dangerously addictive to me. Unfortunately, the Garlic Fennei Pork Sausage & Cheese Wraps and Piadinos did not appeal to me as the other dishes did. Although they did not have any problems I can point out, they did not have anything that stood out to me either.

We had a blast during the sandwich making activity. Marion and I paired up to create what we, after much debate (she kept wanting to call it Bossa Nova, despite it having no resemblance to any Brazillian dishes I know of), named "The Harion." Our sandwich included a spread of mustard mixed with pesto, layered with mesclun salad beneath slices of ham and smoked salmon, topped with crushed rosemary. We decorated our plate with tomatoes, parsley, and rosemary. Shall it suffice to say that I think my drawing of our sandwich was more attractive than the end result? That doesn't mean we didn't have a ball of a time.

Thanks for tagging me along, Marion =)

To those looking for a satisfying dining experience at T3, I would recommend Tosto. The service is excellent, and if you're a coffee lover, Tosto promises well brewed coffees, Italian style. Just going there to provide feedback on the food was an enriching learning experience for me, thanks to the impressive amount of knowledge shared by the staff. Viva la Tosto!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Bossa Nova Dreams

I received a belated birthday present from Benjamin today!

Bossa Nova Dreams, a CD featuring the artistes Mark Bracken and Caio Torrado. Extremely soothing if you listen to it with a clear mind, but highly dangerous when under the influence of an infatuation. Lethal lyrics.

Ray found the pen for my graphics tablet while sorting out his junk today. No idea how it ended up with his things, but it means that I can work better with Adobe Photoshop now.

The deadline for the logo I'm supposed to design just got extended. My employer has that much faith in me. You always have to squeeze your brains dry before that brilliant idea finally works out. I think that's why I'm afraid of a future career in the creative line.


It feels like I've just attended a funeral.

I wish I could cry over this just to let everything out, but tears are not streaming out in my current state of shock.

I will not pass judgment. I will not point fingers. I will probably never understand what exactly happened, being nearly 300km away from it all.

It hurts to see old friendships crumble. I know that, in a way, isolation has kept my friendship with him safe. But oh the pain of seeing this happen while knowing and trying to accept that there's nothing I can or should do.

Hao Ran, I have heard enough to know for myself that too many people see you differently than the way I do. I have always looked up to you in my days in Tsun Jin, and I just cannot understand how this could happen. I do not ask to see a reconcilation between you and everyone else, but I want to make sure whatever has shaken me will never take hold between the two of us.