Friday, September 28, 2007

Good Day Bad Day? I Can't Decide!

So I had set my alarm for 1030, thinking that that would be late enough, and yet give me enough time to do my usual computer routine before leaving for Creative's Aurvana X-Fi Headphones press event at 2pm. Magically I woke up wondering why my alarm wasn't ringing yet, and I saw that it was 1027. Lovely. Might as well switch my alarm off and sleep in abit. It's still early innit... and it's raining, too... ...

I woke up at 1.11pm.

With a big fat curse I greeted my day, and flicked my computer on while I took my clothes out and packed my bag. When I opened Gmail I saw that NTT was online, and the first thing I did was swear again and let him know I would be coming by cab. By the time I left the house it was almost 1.30, and I was carrying my nasi lemak my dad bought for me (free lunch what why not?). It took until 1.40pm to get a cab at the forsaken bend that my estate faced. And with the rain and all, I only managed to reach Wheelock Place at 2.10pm.

Now let me say something about the cab driver. (Obviously you have not much choice over whether I say it or not, it's just for smooth transition's sake.) This guy drives up to Wheelock, by the side. This is good for me because the office lifts were just upfront. But this idiot stopped on the second lane, because he didn't squeeze into the first lane when he could. And as I was still waiting for him to slide in so I could get out safely for goodness' sake, he looked at me and I looked at him and he flicked his head.

"Here lor," he said in Mandarin.

Quite obviously I was already in a bad mood for his less-than-swift driving, but I had a press conference to attend and couldn't be bothered arguing with him. After I paid him 13 bucks I threw the door open then gathered up my things, and fuck you if a crazy speeding vehicle took the door off its handle. You deserve it damn you.

Zipped up to the 9th floor to find that they were still expecting quite a few people. While in the cab I had already prepared my name cards, and sure enough these came in really useful 90% of the time a handshake occurred.

After the official presentation NTT and I went to spend more time with the X-Fi and the Live! headphones. He had to dash first, so with the kind help of the peeps at August Consulting and Creative's product presenter Eugene, I filmed an episode of Channel65. The tape was playing back as the cameraman for the day passed the camera back to me, and I found it to be good and shut it off. Later I remembered to take some close ups of both babies, and the hell I did.

Right over the previous footage.

So now there's a little patch in the video where I'm standing in my hallway looking embarrassed and filling the missing content in.

Sat down on a ledge to eat my nasi lemak, then took a stroll through Borders before deciding to settle down at Coffee Bean to go through the press kit documents. Remember what I said about a free lunch? That earned me a Banana Chocolate from Coffee Bean. For artificial flavouring, it's not too bad.

What I thought would be a simple stroll to the nearest bus stop to take 65 home turned out to be a bloody hike through town. I was on the Wheelock-Ngee Ann City side of the road, and I surprise turned to frustration as I walked neverendingly, searching for a bus stop on this side of the road. I met several bus stops and NONE OF THEM was on 65's route, what the hell. All the way up to DFS Galleria and I gave up and walked backwards. I was on the other side of the road now, and as I walked I saw a 65 roll past.

Going to Tampines.

If you don't already get it, it means I could have crossed the road anytime to take a bus home. But whatever I was too sianed to swear already, plus I might get arrested and sent to Woodbridge. I took the bus home, and since I returned the ZEN review unit earlier, I only had my CD player with me. And the bus. I was sitting right at the back of the double decker, and I swear the air-con must have been lower than 16 degrees. Even with my hoodie on I was freezing, and had to zip up and jam my hands in my hoodie's pockets to make myself the least uncomfortable.

Good day bad day? I dunno. Sounds like a bad day with good bits. But whatever. It's over and I'm still alive, so who's complaining? Good night.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

1st SIM Inter Collegiate Soccer Tournament Finals - UB vs UOL

Well, UOL won.
That's not the point I guess. But then I also guess we wouldn't really be thinking of saying that if we had won. To think I had had so much faith in UB (read: Akash).

I hope you don't misconstrue, I'm not expressing disappointment in Team Buffalo. Nor the goalie, nor Akash, nor whoever missed that last penalty shot (Leon? Dunno, don't care). If anything it's probably lack of battlefield experience. I don't see how anyone can blame any player or goalie for missing or not catching during shootouts. The pressure is immense to perform, and as we all have experienced in some form of another, that's prime formula for a spectacular fuck-up. It's a vicious cycle.

The real thing I took away from yesterday's match? Camaraderie. All coming together, watching together, cheering laughing wailing together. It transported me right back to my days in VS, where we'd yell the hell out of ourselves, and one guy would start a cheer and we'd all follow and recite the rest of it by heart. Any VS boy would tell you that sense of pride we felt when people asked which school we were from. We'd reply VS, and they'd laugh and go "Oho. The cheering bumblebees." Priceless.

We all watch world-class matches, World Cup and Euro, so we all expect lightning passes and triple combo hyper kung fu goals. Honestly, even S-League matches can only interest me for so long. And yesterday, obviously there were times when the whole damn game seemed so pointless, people plopping the ball around here and there, out of court, all that. But when the whole UB was screaming the hell out of themselves, I felt back home in VS again. And with girls this time. Loud girls.

Hans. What can I say? A few solos, some embarrassing, but where the Buffalos needed it most, this guy was no compromise. See how Celest and Ryan are leaning away from our direction? They apparently find Hans's drumming too loud. I chided Ryan and told him to go listen to more loud music. But when Hans turned back and yelled at the crowd to shout louder, even I winced. His drumming (poor tom-tom. The skin was terribly abused by the time the match was over) was responsible for starting like 75% of the cheers. Jane Anna and gang on top, some big lungs there. and Melissa and company one row lower with the pom-poms. Human loudhailers haha.

If there was one thing that I took away from my 4 years in VS, it was not to jeer. So I was obviously abit uncomfortable when they started poking UOL. SPEAKING OF WHICH! Shame on you UOL supporters! Leaving halfway during the match, what kind of supporters are you? Only ONE FUCKING LINE of supporters to celebrate their victory with them at the end of the game. That is sadness epitomized.

Ain't the end Buffalos. It was a fantastic match, with or without the crazy crowd, and you proved your dedication to the sport and to excelling. We'll sure as hell be there next year.

Because we rock. Horns up Buffalos. \m/ My hair looks like shit.

Friday, September 21, 2007 T-Shirt Design

Well, decided to contribute to's T-shirt contest. So here it is.

The brief for the contest and the shirt requirements are taken off Uzyn's forum post, linked at the bottom of the brief.

Anyone fancy a T-shirt?
The one which we will wear proudly proclaiming ourselves as a proud member of this community? The one we would be wearing together when we attend any event as a group?

This idea has been surfaced and not taken off a few times since the launch of 1 year ago. One of the main reasons are due to lack of good T-shirt designs that I managed to find.

This time, let's get it done!

Instead of myself scouting for private designers on my own, which may not even know exactly what about, why don't we do it the community way this time. do have quite a few of good designers among us, aren't we?

I say, let's start a T-shirt Design contest!

The winning entry will be getting SGD 100 from It's not a lot, but it is some money I can offer that I have made from (through advertising) minus the costly Singapore hosting fees. Most importantly, you will gain the recognition and respect among's community as the official T-Shirt designer, and you can be proud seeing your design worn by local bloggers.

Some requirements:
1. It is a t-shirt, so, yeah the t-shirt has to have's logo.
2.'s URL - We don't want ourselves to be mistaken for promoting for a golf equipment company.
3. Nothing else. Feel free to be creative.

Closing Date: 1st October 2007

Do submit your entry right here at this forum, embedded using BBCode for all of us to see. :)

Church VS Family

Some mega churches affect students adversely

"I READ with deep interest the article, 'Drawing the line between Caesar and God' (ST, Aug 2). The objection of one of the large independent churches in Singapore to complying with provisions in the draft code of governance for charities would logically provoke concern about its financial transparency. This is especially so as these are 'rich' churches, judging by their well-equipped premises and set-up. These circumstances bring to light another concern. Some of these 'mega churches' have relentless recruitment activities in many schools and junior colleges. My friends and I have loved ones whose lives and attitude have changed after they joined these churches. They lose interest in schoolwork to the point of academic failure. Family time is curtailed drastically, and they stop attending family functions. Parental objections are ignored, family squabbles ensue and family harmony is disrupted. It's heartbreaking. It is like we have lost our children. I write this not to impugn any religion, but to warn against the abuse of religion. Having had such traumatic experiences, I cannot remain silent. I hope this letter will serve as a warning to parents regarding such youth activities that may destroy their personal lives and family harmony."

Dr Lee Bee Wah


I found this on pubed's blog. Thank God for, really. I couldn't care less last time, and now I can actually feel disconnected from the world if I don't get to read the feed.

NOW, let me be clear that I mean Dr Lee no personal disdain or... snubbery, or whatever the word may be. I understand how she (I'm assuming she's a she, I'm terribly sorry if she's a he) feels from an, for lack of a better word, outsiders' perspective, and will be discussing the issues she has raised. However, I must also raise the flag that the tone of the letter, while not angry or fiery in any way, can very easily evoke emotions and specifically fear. My concern is that this would in turn lead to parents unreasonably restricting their children from freedom of religion. This problem is already unsettlingly prevalent in Singapore, and doesn't need to be worsened any further. Since Dr Lee is well aware of the fact that such a letter could raise discontent, she should check and re-check her letter to be very very sure that it has minimal or no possibility of invoking unexpected repercussions such as these. I believe that that's the least any intellectual Singaporean should do, given our unique stance on multicultural coexistence.

Now, on to the issues she raised. The following answers apply to all parents going through the same problem, so don't think that I'm directing my words at her person alone.

The "large independent church" who objected to "complying with provisions in the draft code of governance for charities" is my church by the way, New Creation. No harm in saying this since it was published in the papers anyway, and our church even said their little piece at service the next day. I, quite obviously, agree with my church, but well I'm no financial analyst nor law maker, so I shall refrain from commenting on that.

Some of these 'mega churches' have relentless recruitment activities in many schools and junior colleges.

I'm appalled at this. But only if they go to secular institutions. If you complain that a church goes to Saint Something School to "recruit", I lose hope in all philosophical doctors. But secular institutions, I cannot agree. I have always believed that religion and religious institutions of ANY SORT are there for people to go to them to seek solace and refuge. They don't have to come to you and smile and take you by the hand to drag you to their place. As far as I know I'm not aware of New Creation doing this. Probably good, because if they did and I knew they did I would probably be biased towards them.

My friends and I have loved ones whose lives and attitude have changed after they joined these churches. They lose interest in schoolwork to the point of academic failure. Family time is curtailed drastically, and they stop attending family functions. Parental objections are ignored, family squabbles ensue and family harmony is disrupted. It's heartbreaking. It is like we have lost our children.

This is disheartening. Really sad. Church is supposed to instill family love and, well, good values, right? Although I wonder exactly how much of this result is the kid's fault, how much the church's fault, and to what extent the church influenced the child wrongly.

The problems as described above may be the kids' over-enthusiasm for church. A good majority of church members feel the desire to serve after being in a church for some time, myself included. So I know from personal experience that depending on the ministry you choose to be in, a huge amount of time can be spent at church. For these kids, they are just getting their priorities wrong, just like going out too much with other friends or spending too much time on the computer (bordering on guilty here) or gaming consoles.

To affect academics however, I don't quite get. Firstly, they should know, and it is the parents' job first and foremost to establish this, that their education is of utmost importance. Two, God didn't bring them to church to abandon studies, he brought them back to glorify Him by speaking of His grace and mercy in their studies. Do what you KNOW in your heart is your rightful part, and let God do His rightful part. Studies, career, relationships, health. It applies everywhere. And if any church ever has the audacity to say "Screw studies, love God", that church should be taught a hard lesson in Jesus' name. God can quench your thirst by making a well appear next to you, supernaturally drawing the bucket and tipping the water into your mouth, but if you don't swallow the water, you'll still die of thirst anyway. Just maybe with a cleaner face from all the water that ran over it.

Same with family. Kids old enough to participate in church activities should be old enough to know their priorities and limits, and if they don't they should be taught so by their parents pronto. In fact, churches should also stress this fact. My ministry leader is quick to dismiss us with her full blessing if we have academic or family-related matters to attend to. And that's the way it should be. If you have tried every form of talking to your child about how you feel with his over-involvement in church (that includes talking to him nicely and patiently, by the way), and he or she is still resistant, then well you just did not teach your child correctly. That is not to say you have failed as a parent. You simply made a mistake, as all humans do. In fact, I go so far as to say it simply slipped your mind. Being a parent involves educating your child about the million and one ways of the world, and thank God if you remembered to teach him everything, but it's only natural if you happened to miss a few here and there. Here's a suggestion. It's not 100% morally right, but do some espionage and find out your child's leader at church, any leader, and alert the leader to this problem that you have. If the leader says it's none of my business, at least have the faith that God will either change the leader or bring your child to another church where it matters to leaders what happens to their sheep out of church, and not just in church.

My friends, if you know any peers going through the same problems as Dr Lee, or if you know that you are in any position to reach these troubled parents, I hope what I have taken the pains to write will help them or you in some way. And if you are the child of this situation, look into your heart. Look straight to the Holy Spirit and question the heck out of Him. He loves you and He will not smite you with cancer or acne just because you have a few questions. Ask ask and ask Him where your place in His kingdom is, and make very sure you are at peace where you are. I don't care how deeply rooted you are in your church and it's activities. If you KNOW right at the bottom of your heart and deep in your mind that you are not comfortable where you are, get out. Uproot yourself and get out of there. Ask God to lead you to where you belong, where you will be guided and nurtured to rise as one of the many bright stars of God's kingdom, and shine for Him. Church is not about going where your friends are. Church is not even following your parents blindly. Church is the incubator where you are kept blazing and on fire, week after week, for God. And where you are ultimately destined to be in this world is between you and God alone. No one else can interfere. Not the devil, not family, not church. And no one else should.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Rambling Post

Hey. So I just wanted to blog today, but when I got to my Blogger Dashboard I just stared blankly at the "Create New Post" button, with nothing to write about.

So today, or tonight, I'm gonna ramble. That's one of the ways I work too. Push the stone wheel off the top of the hill, and let it pick up the pace from there.

I watched Ratatouille yesterday. It was a great film. I walked away thinking, "That would give critics of any sort something to think about". Yeah, you go stand in a corner and think about what you've done, you child of a coffin you (can you believe our grandmas used to use that kind of language on your parents? That should explain the sunken look some of them have). Then I realised, shit, aren't we all critics after all? You come up to me and tell me you haven't been critical of anyone or anything before, and I will shake your hand and tell you how nice you are. Then I'll give you a tightslap you bloody liar.

Now go stand in a corner think about what you've done. You child of a coffin, you.

We are all critics. All the time, we flick a disdainful eye at someone, pfft at someone under our breath. That's being critical, for your information.

Blah, he can't play for shit. Look at the way he's holding the pick it's like the opposite way what the hell. Look at his fretting fingers they're 28degrees off position.

Pfft. He can't golf for shit. Look at the way his cap's slanted the wrong way, now he's got a 32% higher chance of having a horny bird fly smack into his cheek. And speaking of cheeks look at the way he's clenching his ass. Left side tighter than the right. Gonna be responsible for an extra putt or two.

Ahhh look at that stupid beetle. Keeps knocking into the lightshade as if he's gonna break through. Hey, hey dude. Dude, look here when I'm talking. How - hey listen here - how small are you? How bloody big and thick is that plastic pane? Hey beetard do you even know it's called plastic? Stop it for goodness' sake you're irritating the heck out of me. If you ever get exhausted and land on my clean mopped floor I'll bust your buzzing ass you hear me bitch? I got this cup here, this mini sampling cup I took because it's cute, and because I can use it to cup over idiots like you, see? I will trap you, and I will shake you around until you think I'm YO MOMMA YOU DIG ME BITCH? Oh don't you come flying at me threatening me now I will - UWAHHHHHH!! FUCK! Get the fuck back here you son of a beetle bitch I will tear your feelers and wings and legs out one by one you hear?! No one gets away with dissing my head. Oh yeah, that's right come on right here I'll - HA! GOT YER ASS BEEAAATCH. I pWnZ0rx j00 j00 g3t my dr1f7 j00 b1tch 455 c10wN? Now you sit in this fuckin' corner and think about what you've done. Shame on you, you beetle child of a coffin, you.

See? Critical creatures, we are. Mmm.

So, after 4 orbits around Earth, back to the topic. Ratatouille. Good movie, go watch it if you're a critic, we're all critics, therefore watch it.

While waiting for my friend to arrive at Tampines to watch Ratatouille, being an anime fan, I browsed Hobby Point, very smartly located next to Century Cineplex. People who are familiar with anime figurines will know that the latest, or should I say second latest set of bleach figurines had a uber duper chio Ichigo, holding his sword in bankai form. And then there's the real clincher, Ichigo with his Hollow mask on. The problem is these money-making bastards randomize the characters so you never know who you'll get. The last and only time I bought I got lucky and got an acceptable character, 3rd squad Vice Captain Kira Izuru with his square-hook sword, Wabisuke. Now if I have the money I don't mind buying the complete set, like retailers like to pimp it. But there are characters in there that I don't like. I like characters with long swords, and there's this one figurine with a frigging toothpick for his weapon.

What caught my eye in Hobby Point however were new Bleach figurines! Labelled the Bleach Character Stylings series, it features Ichigo, Hitsugaya, Matsumoto, Rukia and Renji in school uniform, and Grimmjow (yeah, the Espada) in standard arrancar uniform, complete with a hole somewhere at the top of his abs. I wasn't too impressed with the pictures of the set displayed on the sides of the boxes. I felt that the details weren't reproduced faithfully enough. Hair shape and mask and stuff like that. I was grooving silently to music on my player, and I could only see the shopkeeper smiling and handing me a complete, still-wrapped set.

With a price tag of $56.

Wait a minute, I thought. If they are 8 bucks each, and there are 6 figurines......

What is this a joke? The price of 7 figurines for assurance of a complete set of 6 figurines?

After enquiring about the previous set, which will possibly come in tomorrow, I hopped over to Comics Connection, and was thrilled to see the whole set taken out to display on their shelves. It was much better than it looked on the pictures. But there were two problems. 1) It seems there was some misalignment with Ichigo's under-eye detail, making him look like he was recovering from a punch and didn't have good sleep for a week. 2) Grimmjow's sword is FUCKIN' MISALIGNED. Just had to screw that one point up didn't you? Ruin an otherwise fantastic figurine series.

Well, ComiConn was selling it for $48 at least. I'm considering, and this leads me to my next point.

I got my dad to pay for my incoming Creative ZEN player! Awhile ago I was absolutely nuts over a Polo Spirit watch (still am, actually. It's luv, baby, know what I'm sayin'?) And the other day he was like, I thought at one point you were crazy over watches?

You said don't need to waste money what since I got a watch already.
Ahhh... can lah... How much?
$269. I think.
Can la, I buy for you.
Actually, don't need la. Just pay for my Creative.
I thought you paying for it with Mummy Kathy's money?
Well, I could use that money for other things.
How much?
Mmmm ok la. Just tell me when you need the money.

Whee. You hear me? Whee. So now I got 200 to spend.


Please? Lord? Wisely.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Having accepted the tasks of both editing the Pfingo video as well as post-production for the latest episode of 65bits, I found my circumstances suddenly spiralling severely out of control. I was torn between putting these two episodes online as soon as possible, and satisfying my parents' demands to study more. Of course, there wasn't really anything to study, but even I felt that I was on the computer working on either of these things incessantly. From the moment I bathed and finished the usual routines of reading my RSS feeds and clearing my email, to late at night, when I was either too tired, drawn away by something more important, or distracted away from the task.

More importantly though, I was worrying constantly about these two episodes. Not when they will come out, that is a concern but not my primary one, but just that they kept dwelling on my mind, one after another, one after the other. It didn't help that (1) my computer's a bloody crawler (although I think as a human in a fast-paced society, even a fast computer won't last too long before my task speed surpasses its abilities. Human adaptability, you know) and (2) I kept making mistakes, resulting in unnecessary actions such as having to re-upload an episode three times because of one factor or the other.

I'm a Christian, and I proudly subscribe to my church's beliefs on worrying (ie. not worrying at all [Matt 6:25] why worry about things beyond your control?). Still, a good number of well-taught Christians would tell you that the simplest truths in the Bible are the dead hardest to habitualize. Why? Precisely because they are so simple. The truth is simple, but it's flipside may well be simpler to fall into. I wasted all my time worrying when I could have spent the time to rest and seek joy. For me, it is seeking rest and joy in my Lord. For you, it may be a million other things. Why did I need to worry? I was going to only reach home at this time anyway. My computer is this slow anyway. I can only do so much in one night anyway.

Hakuna matata.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

audacity (n.) slapping the referee threateningly

The finals of SIM Student Week happened just last Friday(I think that's the event la). Someone or the other set up a really small Cage and organized multiple mini sports tournaments. Certainly our Buffalo soccer team joined the soccer league. Their performance was nothing short of amazing. They as a team dwarved all the other teams big time with scores like 5-2 not at all uncommon. On the individual level, Akash was Godlike, imba, t3h 0wnZ, whatever you want to call him, scoring like 65% of all Team UB's goals. He won top scorer with probably twice the number of goals as the third player. One of our other players followed close behind in second place.

So it was the quarter finals. I forgot what the name of the team that we were up against was. Probably a good thing, since I really wouldn't hesitate to write it down if I knew. Since it seemed to be an all-Viet team, with huge support from Viets along the entire stretch of one whole sideline, some of my coursemates who were there guessed it was RMIT we were up against. Now let me get this straight before mindless flamers start pouring in. Firstly, it's not a racist thing - it's a simple known fact that the RMIT courses in SIM have alot of Viets in attendance. Secondly, I'm in no way accusing RMIT of being arseholes. I'm just speculating where the team was from. And lastly, assuming the Viet speculation was fact, I'm not saying all Viets are hot-headed mofos. The impression I get of Viets from my friends and coursemates is in fact quite the opposite. But that doesn't make the team competing against the Buffalos any less aggressive.

Now here's what I think. The Cage was too small, everyone knew that. But I do think that because of that, the normal levels of energy expended by soccer players on a standard playing field were impeded. Severely impeded. As a result, most of the players channeled it to the next available outlet.


Plus, from a practical point of view, you do have to be fast and aggressive on a field where it's wholly possible for a goalkeeper to smash-kick a scorcher into the other goal directly. That's where the other teams didn't see the Buffalos coming. Just Start!-BANG-Gooooaaaaallll!

So the first time, one of the opponents, we'll call him Slap won't we, kicked Akash in the calf. The referee noticed it, and gave him a verbal warning before awarding the Buffalos a penalty. And already Slap put up some resistance to that decision. My friends said they saw the referee looking like his patience was being harshly tested. It had been a full day and the previous match was just violent madness a couple notches short of a gladiator deathmatch.

Now let me just stop here for a moment and rave about Akash. This guy is the craziest meat bag I've ever seen in my life. People can tackle him, body check him, and do everything short of committing a foul by ramming him, and he can just stand there, magically absorb the impact, do a half spin with the ball and fire it into the goal. I've already seen him holding a single banana twice. Maybe that's his secret.

So anyhoos, we played on. The second time, the ball flew to Akash and Slap, and he headed into Akash.

For what right? Might as well hit it into a cannon mouth. Barely see it disappear and next thing you know the cannon fires and the ball's up your ass. Akash was like half rubbing the back of his head and half tugging on his hair.

The referee blew the whistle. And right there in front of me, and others on my side, he lifted his shirt, untucked the red card, and held it high in the air.

I regretted not taking Graham's suggestion up to film the entire thing. I wanted to capture still shots of Akash's bicycle kick. Why am I so stupid. It would have been an epic video. On our side, mostly sideline assistants and minders, the reaction was raised mutterings, and a few WHA???s from people like me. On the other side however, there was an uproar. The Viets raised their voices in disbelief, while the Buffalo cheerers started clapping loudly and going 'YEAH! ALRIGHT!'.

Slap also exhibited disbelief at the judgement, squatting on the floor. The referee went around setting the field up for another penalty, ushering players here and there, and things started heating up at an alarming rate from then. The referee once again stared at Slap and waved his hand toward the parting in the net - the "door" of the Cage. Still he refused to move. And when the referee became firm, Slap stood up, and said something inaudible to the referee, while waving his indexing finger, typical beng style. Then he walked up right to the referee's face and gave him three hard cracks on the cheek. Everyone was being quiet, and the cold sound of hand hitting flesh was uncomfortably clear to me. And thus Slap single-handedly (hurhur) shocked the whole field into utter silence.

You know, our juniors, now sophomores actually, remind me very much of Victoria School and her Victorians. There's a certain electric feeling when you experience VS camaraderie, and I kinda felt it again, that day at the matches. It was something I haven't felt in awhile, and it was good.

I'm surprised the referee didn't drop his whistle and knee the fucker in the balls. Instead he calmly reached out and grabbed Slap's shoulder, turning him back to face himself, and from what I gather, threatened to call security. Slap was of course beyond boiling point now, and roared for the whole court to hear, "CALL SECURITY?! HERE GOT SECURITY?!" And stalked out of the court, removing his identifying jersey and flinging it on the ground. Intermittently, there were hollers from our supporters like "GET OUT" or "APOLOGISE LA".

By this time I was so incensed about the whole thing I had kept my camera phone and was watching the whole spectacle with arms folded.

The captain of the team kicked the ball in frustration. And there the referee snapped and called him over, offering his ultimatum. Apologise for your teammate, or it's a walkover. Almost immediately, our guys, bless them, started going "YEAH! YAH! WALK-O-VER! WALK-O-VER!"

In all fairness that team was starting to break past the Buffalos' tactics. I was getting worried about them winning, another reason why I kept my camera. Because of such an unnecessary development, they lost to the Buffalos 4-2.

Now what is this guys? How small is this tournament? Not even every average person knows about SIM here in Singapore. What, are you gonna break the guy's neck in the World Cup or what, with the country's soccer reputation at stake? You're aggressive by nature? Well then don't play, simple. If you have such a passion for soccer, then you damned well check yourself or ask someone to be ready to pour cold water on you if you ever get out of hand like that. And the captain. Setting the wrong example for your team mate? Even after the whole Zidane saga? Venting your anger on a ball after your team mate got red-carded, what is this?

And then the supporters too. Fine, cheer all you want. Jeering? Booing when Akash missed a bicycle kick in front of you? What are you 9?

Grow up.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

How does half a tube of Mentos falling 5-storeys feel on your head?

I'd actually like to know the answer, but I'm not about to ask the poor girl I dropped it on. I accidentally dropped it on.

I was at SIM's 5th level, overlooking the activities at the Atrium on level 2. We, meaning Hans Graham and me, musicians audiophiles or otherwise just people who are fussy with sound, were extremely irritated by the atrocious sound coming from the Atrium. Those idiots KNOW the severe limitations of that sort of acoustic build (effectively a huge square-based rectangle). They KNOW that the echo would, and I really have no other word for this, fuck up the audio so damn badly, and yet they still crank the volume up so high. For goodness' sake la your main audience is on that floor. You could do with lowering the volume. Down to 3/4 level AT THE VERY LEAST.

So I was gesturing to Graham how they had two mixers on opposite ends of the stage (for fuck?). And well, as usual, I waved my half-flimsy tube of Mentos around, and it slipped out of my hand.

My problem is that I don't react fast enough. In a fight that may be another case, since I'm prepared. I'm happy to say that I have not been thus tested as yet. But when I'm not prepared, I do the worst possible thing.

Freeze in shock.

Graham and I could only stare in mute horror as the half-tube pirouetted downwards. Smack onto the girl who was standing dead below the tube's freefall. Needless to say, we backed off from the parapet immediately upon impact. Who the hell would accidentally drop something, see it hit someone's head, and continue looking over the parapet, grinning and waving and mouthing "I'M SORRY :D"?

Later Graham said, "Luckily you didn't call out to her. She would have looked up and had the Mentos land on her face."

Which made me laugh so hard I nearly keeled over on my knees. It's very bad, but that doesn't really make it any less funnier.

If the girl whom I unintentionally assaulted today is reading this, I'm sooo sooo sorry. It was an accident, and I will be careful never to stick droppable things over the parapet in the future.

RIPIRIP Creative Zen Micro

I'm not sleepy. RIPIRIP stands for Rest In Peace In Really Intense Pain.

No of course you can't do that. But that's my point.

My Zen Micro died on me.

Perhaps it was rashness on my part. You know how rash actions sometimes end up in murder or rape? (If you found this post by searching for "purple rape" or something, get lost. Now.)

I wanted to load a new album I acquired into the Micro. But somehow Creative Mediasource didn't detect the player's connection, so I went through the data storage method. After that I downloaded the latest firmwares and drivers from Creative, and tried to re-install the firmwares. Problem? The firmware installer could not detect the bloody player!

With less than half an hour left before it was time to leave for school, I made a rash decision to run recovery mode and delete the firmware from the player.

And nothing could be loaded in, whichever computer I tried to do it with.

As far as my mental eye can see, this is the end for my Micro. It's been great using you my dear, but I guess you thought yourself unworthy of welcoming my new wife. Or maybe you were so pissed and jealous you committed suicide.

Either way, I can use your black pouch for my new girl now. Cheers darlin' ;)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Le Cinematographie Fantastique de TPCMM

Reading jayden's blog post brought to my attention these Temasek Polytechnic Communication and Media Management (TPCMM) students who filmed the following lipdub of Umbrella.

Apart from being professional about it, being sexy and all that, I was downright impressed at their continuous-shot concept. It looks like there were final three takes, from the jerks in the screen. Couldn't really tell for sure, but I'd be happy to be corrected that it was indeed one single shot. That would have been just awesome. Amazing. Brilliante.

The planning for the sequence was immaculate, and the cameraperson is superb. The "pass-ons" were slip-slide smooth. And let me be clear for the benefit of those not that in-tune with this field. Just because the camera wasn't steady throughout the video doesn't mean that they didn't film well. Shaky is fine. What matters is transitioning from scene to scene, and wowee they must have practiced like hell. Or if they didn't, I fall on my knees in awe and worship.

Whoever said Poly was second-grade can lick the cast's shoes. All of 'em. Good job guys!

Fine Print

Ever were so bored you started exploring weird things? Thanks to that, I bring you today's revelation against banks and their loaning antics.

I was on bus 74 when I saw the the print ad for StanChart's... something or the other. Smack in the centre of the poster was 6.50%p.a.*. Notice that asterix there?

Having been oft warned by my parents (mostly mother) of unscrupulous bank practices in their global quest to bankrupt you, I was interested (given the circumstances of my boredom) to find out what the fine print said. Now the 6.50 was slightly below my eye level, and when I bent to look at the fine print, I actually winced from my back hurting slightly. That's how low it was.

What matters to me, as far as this post is concerned, isn't the content. They sure make things rather clear in the fine print. The thing is the font size proportion.

Taking the figure 6, I tried to estimate and calculate its area. I didn't have a ruler with me (and I mean not even in my bag. If it was in my bag I would have pulled it out to measure, fuck the stares). I tried to imagine unrolling the 6, (7cm), and it's width looked like 1cm.

The first letter of the fine print however, F, I estimated to be 0.5x0.25cm.

Meaning? Meaning that in the figure 6 alone, you can stuff in almost 60 of those Fs.
Tell me now, I was squinting a little at the fine print. How are middle-aged people whom these ads are targeted at going to read it? Or bother reading it?

Ah but then, that's the plan isn't it? ;)

I Just Wanna Be Your Friend

Sometime ago, I quarreled with a friend who used to be very dear to me. In patching up, he established in no uncertain terms that whatever he meant to me, I wasn't part of his intimate circle. Now you can imagine how much that hurt me. But it wasn't his fault. In fact it was mine. Nevertheless, nowadays, I find my cowardly self seating myself away from him, avoiding eye contact or conversations with him. I guess I felt that if I pretended he wasn't there, maybe I'll be able to forget him, or at least my previous perceived relationship with him.

Regular readers to my blog would know that I don't like to copy-and-paste song lyrics on my blog. In fact, I frown upon bloggers whose content is half comprised of song lyric posts.

This song, however, is so uncannily descriptive of my situation now. The more disturbing part that my problem is with a guy, whereas in the video the partner is shown to be a girl (staring around doing nothing, but a girl nevertheless). Never mind though, that's for another day. Oh uh, obviously the "lover" bits don't apply.

Chinese Lyrics

等待 我隨時隨地在等待

我沒有任何的疑問 這是愛

我猜 你早就想要說明白

從天堂掉落到深淵 多無奈

我願意改變 (what can I do?) 重新再來一遍
(just give me change) 我無法只是普通朋友
感情已那麼深 叫我怎麼能放手

但你說 I only want to be your friend
做個朋友 我在你心中只是just a friend 不是情人



So I 我不能只是be your friend

I just can't be your friend no,no,no,
我不能只是做你的朋友 不能只是做普通朋友

English Translation

I'm always, always waiting
To be support to your feelings
There is no doubt about it
This is love

I guess...
You've long wanted to make things clear
It feels like I've really failed
Fallen from heaven down to a deep abyss
Just can't help it

I'm willing to change (What can I do?)
To start all over again (Just give me a chance)
I can't be just a regular friend
When my feelings are already so deep
Tell me how can I let go?

But you say I, I only want to be your friend
Be a friend
In your heart I'm only just a friend
Not a lover

I'm grateful you were that straightforward with me
But the love I gave you, I can't take back just yet
So I, I can't just be your friend

I just can't be your friend no, no, no

I can't just be friends with you
Can't just be normal friends

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

First Thoughts on Getting the Zen

The review unit for the new Creative Zen was just delivered at my house this afternoon, but I passed it on to Daniel barely an hour after I got home from school so that he could play around with it in camp. In this short span of time, I uploaded some songs and a couple of pictures and movies to the player. Not that I needed to worry if I didn't... the player was already stuffed with digital videos and pictures of Creative products.

I'm not sure if it's because it's just the review unit, meaning less accessories and stuff, but all there were in the box were the player, earphones, USB transfer cable (which is like 10cm long) some papers and the software installation CD. Not even a charger to go? As for stuff like pouches or what not, they're all sold seperately anyway.

Next, using Creative Mediasource, the songs were uploaded just fine. Even the album art managed to get dragged in. Pictures were quickly re-routed to its dedicated folder after a quick confirmation dialog. But the movies...

I successfully uploaded my video ad. That actually took quite long already. I was hoping to put FF7 in to test the player's limits (not that I hope a simple action movie would hit the player's limits already), but was a dialog said that it would not be able to play, but do I want to put it in anyway?

I tried an episode of Whose Line is it Anyway? as a last resort, but it took so long to convert and upload I cancelled it after 15min and 22% progress.

Why convert? I thought Creative was able to support multiple formats.

The answer, given in the more details... section of the dialog, was quite disappointing.

The file's resolution of 512x384 maximum resolution of 320x240.

Then what the hell's the point of having multiple formats? I thought it could drag and drop, and the player would at least auto-resize to its own resolutions. I hate conversion precisely because the file's quality may be lost in conversion. As in, it would not be proportionally good.

That said, I have yet to check out the software CD. Perhaps that would bring some ease of transfer in. Please do.

Lastly, drag-and-drop from iTunes was ok, but one has to go through Mediasource transfer procedures to get the file converted and then transferred. Assuming your file is supported in all factors.

We'll be reviewing it in more detail, probably on Channel65, in more detail, so stay tuned.


Daniel just called from camp asking for the reset hole. Apparently he slot his SD card in, turned it on, and the player crashed.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Our New Church Building!!

One-North to have S$660m shopping, entertainment mall by 2011
By Valarie Tan, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 09 September 2007 2137 hrs

SINGAPORE: Buona Vista is set to have a S$660 million shopping and entertainment mall by 2011.

The project does not have a name yet, but it will be built next to the Buona Vista MRT station.

The 50,000 square metre building will have a 5,000-seat theatre for concerts and conferences, as well as 1,000 parking lots.

It will also have four levels of retail and entertainment avenues such as boutiques, restaurants, wine bars and clubs.

It is also home to a large rooftop garden overlooking a pool.

The integrated hub is jointly developed by Rock Productions and CapitaLand, and is part of JTC Corporation's grand masterplan for One-North.

- CNA/so

All New Creations rejoice(d yesterday)! Our new church building, due 2011 (3 more years of e-life Daniel), is part of JTC's One North masterplan. Built next to Buona Vista MRT (that explains the construction chaos there now I guess?), the building houses a 5200 seating auditorium, two 900 seating conference rooms, a 600 seating amphitheatre, and a 400 seating open air conference space. That, ladies and gentlemen, makes 9000 seats per service. The day we have 4 services and people strewn all around the floor, I dunno whether Pastor Prince will laugh or cry. Possibly both.

I kinda feel that this will be a building for great clean fun. Because our church is a major stakeholder after all, and I don't think they'd stand for like tattoo palours or massage parlours or shit like that. Especially when our members and more importantly youth members would be roaming around before and after service.

Thank you God!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Learn Equalizing for iTunes

K. Time to do you guys some good, before I go to bed and prepare for a nong nong day tomorrow.

I saw this post from Bearer of Good News, and he saw it from this or that site. Links are all on his post, if backtracking is your thing.

In the post Andy wrote about this supposedly perfect equalizer setting that would be a one stop power boost to your music. Looking at the original post in 43 Folders the blogger was, to put it simply, screwed over for posting such a ridiculous suggestion.

Andy wrote on the blog, that this EQ setting worked well for him. Now personally, I don't see how that can work. Even by simply looking at it I thought there was something horribly wrong. After I adjusted my equalizer to its indication, I regretted not saving my previous configuration first.

It was disgusting! Ho my God if you're gonna be curious and try it I wash my hands of all responsibility of damaging your speakers, computer, ears or mind.

Now I don't blame Andy. 1) He doesn't know better, 2) it might have suited his speakers. Hey it would be pretty screwed up speakers to sound good with this setting, but negative multiplied by negative equals...? Very good children! Positive!

Funnily enough, I have actually been using BKL (bao-ka-liao: a one-stop solution in Hokkien) EQ settings. It's kinda become my never-ceasing quest to find the one EQ to rule them all. As you will see for yourself on the 43 Folders post, audiophiles generally believe that there's no such setting. Well ok then, the setting that will provide the highest across-the-board satisfaction.

First here's how the iTunes equalizer frequencies can be broken down.

32 - Absolut Bass. Kick drums, pounding beats, some bass strings too.
64 - Bass and possibly the lowest of distorted guitars, if your sound card/speakers can handle it.
125, 250, 500 - Muddiness. Gives music an uncomfortably viscous or muffled tone. Use minimally for low-mid support.
1k, 2k, 4k - Voices and high-pitch guitars. These are normally boosted in varying degrees to bring brightness and a sense of life into the music.
8k, 16k - Cymbals and other really high-pitched tones, like ticks, clicks, whatever effects your favourite band has for its intro.

I'll show you a few settings I use. Why a few? As I mentioned earlier, each speaker demands a whole different configuration. I'll discuss more on configuration later on in the post.

A few things before the EQ graphs. These are tailored to my tastes. And what are they? Bright vocals and crystal clear reproduction of distorted guitars, low or high notes. My speakers are the Creative iTrigue 3800, with my bass level set to 7 out of 10.

First, the one I christened Renhao's Powderful EQ. Not because I pwnz all u assez but because it is very charged up. Very high and rather extreme boosts. I tuned this specifically to my iTrigue. It supercharges the high-mids, the range of our vocals and guitars. The extreme ends are my personal preference. I want to hear booming kick drums and every single cymbal hit during recording. Thus maxing or pushing up the two ends. The low-mids I pushed down. That's simple, low-mids causes "muddiness" in your output. Don't believe? Max out 250 and 500. Tell me if you like that sort of sound.

Next, the Krystall mix. I just did this, right after hearing the horrible "Perfect" EQ. Again, tuned through the iTrigue. Comparatively, Powderful offers brightness and potentially powerful glass-shattering ring to the music. Krystall, as the name suggests, offers a sharp clear sound. You can hear some of the ring from Powderful, but its not that attention-grabbing. Just like its graph, Krystall has a very focused goal - pinsharp reproduction. Disadvantage? Lack of warmth often accompanies sharp mixes. Especially compared to Powderful, this may sound less exciting to you. Low-mids are dropped even lower than Powderful, so to compensate I brought 64 up - note that that's because my speakers, not to belittle yours, can handle it.

Now those two were for speakers. Like science experiments, sound is sensitive to factors. A subtle change of factors can ruin your precious mix. In this case, it's the change of output. Speakers to earphones are horrifyingly different. But of course! Speakers have cones, earphones have minute drivers. Remember that I turned my bass rather high. So just because it sounds fab on speakers doesn't mean it will also sound fab on earphones. See for yourself the difference between a speaker and earphone configuration.

Aurvana is actually the Rock setting. I just upped the preamp to +3 and renamed it. My earphones are prosumer, so reproducing all that energy from Powderful or even Krystall is harsh on my ears. Aurvana warms and softens the output to make for a smoother, more soothing sound. But I'm not satisfied. Because there is too little brightness in the mix.

Ooooo fantastic! Straight off the oven ladies and gentlemen. I haven't named it on iTunes yet, but I call it Aurvana2 (yeah, imaginative). [Edit: I just overwrote Aurvana with this without thinking. Oh well no harm.]

Can you see that it's adapted from Aurvana? What changes can you spot? Certainly I upped the bass (can handle it what, sue me). Now I was pondering wtf was going on. Why is it, given that everything else in Aurvana is the same, that pushing 1k up to its level in Aurvana2 makes the earphones crackle like I'm standing next to a generator?

Take a moment to think why.

The reason lies at the end. The highs 8k and 16k. I already mentioned I liked highs but they need not have been that obvious. The cumulative effect of the frequencies' boosts will affect the mix. Once I dropped 4k, 8k and 16k, the boost in 1k and 2k (just a minor one) was no problem.

By the way, you can choose not to touch the preamp. Another personal preference.

Now that I've shown a few EQ graphs and hopefully given you an idea of how EQ works, let's go into my last section, setting your own EQ.

You may feel stupid when I tell you that EQ is set by trial-and-error. Damn! I could have figured that out for myself, why does he have to be the one to tell me?!

Good question.

My method is simple. Simple and tedious. Set the preamp to 0, and bring every frequency down to -12, the lowest volume. Play your favourite song that you think could represent a large piece of your song library, or else could clue you in on more than one type of music at once. One Winged Angel, the famous piece played during the epic fight between Cloud and Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII, is my personal favourite. Orchestral and metal. What else could you ask for?

Oh, plenty.

One by one, bring each frequency up to the max. Hear what it does to your music. Brighten it, blacken it, love it detest it, do it till ya know it.

After that, it's a simple job of raising the frequencies, left to right, to what you think are ideal levels, and see how they stack up. Edit, listen. Edit, listen. Edit, listen.

After you're satisfied, that's not the end of it. Go through your library. Play songs that you think will test the mix. Songs of different genres, different emphases, and so on. Edit, listen. Edit, listen. Edit, listen. I can easily jump through 20 or 30 songs during this part of the test.

Simple but tedious.

If you have any problems, do email me and I'll try to help you. But please, I'm not some uber pro audio engineer. I can't guarantee I'll solve your problem. And before you email pointless emails, I'm talking about iTunes here. Not Quicktime or Winamp or WMP or whatever mad player you have. ITUNES.

Like it hate it, comment. Good luck.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Great is my wrath toward thee, incompetent fools

What's wrong with my Nokia phone?

The Nokia 6280 is a fantastic phone. I will vouch for that. It has almost everything a techie needs, save for WiFi. And honestly with its comparatively small screen and age (+-2 years old), I find that exclusion reasonable. However it also holds a notorious reputation of having many firmware issues. This time, the phone turned off by itself, and refused to switch itself on again.

In my previous post I lamented about how I was prevented two days in a row from picking my phone up from the Suntec Nokia Service Centre. Today I finally managed to collect it at 3+ in the afternoon. Sitting at one of the low stone light posts at Tower Four's bus pick-up point, I re-programmed everything manually. Everything was in my miniSD card, so it didn't take too long, and I was very satisfied with myself, and my newly repaired phone.

When I got home, I plugged it up to the charger, to prepare my phone for the weekend.

And the same power-off shit happened again.

Now people who see me more often should know that it takes a hell lot to get me seriously mad. Therefore I like to jump on cases like these where I can practise being firm and playing my anger levels on the poor soul at the other end of the line. Because I've had it with being too nice, too gullible, too pacifiable, too much of a yes-man.

ANYHOO. I rang Suntec's retail side just to get the repair side's number (fuckers don't put repair shop number put retail store number cheebye... lucky Suntec they're next to each other). The woman answering hummed and hawed for awhile, and then kindly suggested that I sent it in for inspection again.

I would have loved to say that I emptied my ammo on her and tore her apart good and proper, but apart from saying "There's no fuckin' point" in more civilized terms, I didn't do much else. After some silences on both our parts, she said she would inform her manager about this and ask him to call me back.

50 minutes later, I called in again, directly demanding to speak to the manager.

So far the manager's been nice about it, the reason why this post doesn't have five times the foul words it has now. Apparently the peeps at HQ tore apart my phone replaced half its components and put it under inspection for one whole day. Moment I come back, it happens.

How? We'll see. Sunday I'll meet him personally. Stay tooned.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Collecting thy phone? I preventeth thee!

Today is the second consecutive day I have been prevented from getting my serviced Nokia phone back into my tender loving hands.

Yesterday someone from the Suntec service centre where I'd sent in my phone called to inform me the phone was ready for collection. I rushed down after a late class and dinner, to find that they had closed an hour earlier. CLOSING AT 8? What the hell kind of service centre are you?

Today, I was debating hard with myself whether to collect or not. I was going down to Bras Basah anyway to collect Tech65's name cards, and even though it would be out of the way, I would be in no rush at all.

Screw it, I thought, I can make it in time. My friend was going to Lido, so I could ride with him then take the MRT down to Suntec. Still can make it la. So we got out of the cab and I think it was one of my fastest briskwalks ever, right to the MRT station, and I reached into my pocket for my wallet to tap the EZ-Link.

It was not there. Only a dollar coin - change from the taxi.

I freaked and did a sharp about turn to search for my wallet, thinking I had dropped it somewhere along the way. Because I distinctly remembered holding onto my wallet as I exited the cab. Or did someone pickpocket me? My old habit started rising again. I started musing that I'd never been pickpocketed before, and that this would certainly be an intere-- OY WAIT! I NEED TO FIND MY FUCKIN' WALLET!

The moment I reached the alighting point and found no trace, I called Comfort Lost and Found. At times like these it's good to know you have normally useless numbers in your SIM card.

Well they located it just as I reached home, free cab ride home courtesy of my mom. I spoke to the driver and apparently he lives in Jurong, wowee, and if he was going to come to Tampines, I should at least pay his cab fare lah boss.

In the end he said if there was any passenger to Bedok or Tampines he would call me, if not he would call me all the same to inform me of the situation.

This shit luck is temporal, this shit luck is temporal, this shit luck is temporal, this shit luck is temporal...

Arrivederci, caro Pavarotti

And Il Maestro finds his peace.

My favourite shot of him - © Decca 2003
Perhaps it's selfish of me, as is the rest of the opera world mourning for the one tenor everyone knew. It was the same with Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, etc. Millions weeping for the world's loss of this fine person. If the world still needed them, I don't think they would have passed on.

Nevertheless I could not help but shed tears as I watched the clip lancerlord put up on his blog of Pavarotti singing his signature Nessun Dorma in Paris, 1998. Honestly it was nothing to wow about, but seeing him hit the high note without even flinching, and the look of ecstasy on his face as the orchestra's closing sequence filled in, tears just started leaking. He's gone, I heard in my mind. Gone.

Bloggers all around the world are paying this great man tribute by posting Youtube clips of him (97% of which will be Nessun Dorma from his later years). Allow me to go old-school and talk about how he brought me into the world of opera.

Before I discovered opera in '03, he was who he was to everyone else. A huge rotund man who always seemed to be smiling, singing in a really weird voice. Not only that, two other guys joined him with those same strange voices, and they called themselves The Three Tenors.

After deciding to research opera at the library@Esplanade, I dug the opera Turandot up. The first version I got was Maria Callas, a really old 1950+ recording in which the audio quality begged to be improved. I recalled that there were other CDs of the same name but with different casts, so one week later I went back. And I picked the legendary Turandot recording of Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland and Monsserrat Caballe without even knowing what treasure I held in my hands. To date, it's the one and only opera recording that persistently sits unmolested in my iTunes library. Unmolested but not untouched - I listen to it all the time. I just listened to it yesterday.

I soon discovered that pairing him with Joan Sutherland almost always (I'm saying almost only because I don't feel I've heard enough to definitively say always) produced benchmark recordings. I'd joined an opera listserv, and found that the Three Tenors era was already a huge decline in his voice, that his prime was in the early 70s. Thus I searched, and thus I found brilliance par excellence.

All good things must come to an end, and for Pavarotti, the best ended over 30 years ago. But he had a different goal - one of bringing opera to the masses, to the everyman, to the average person. That if opera was to be represented by one name, it would be him, and he would show them beauty.

Absolute beauty.

Goodbye Maestro, and thank you. Thank you very much. Rest in peace.

Monday, September 3, 2007

In the I.C.U.

Call me sheltered, call me innocent. Yesterday was the first time I've walked into an ICU unit. As a visitor. Though I hope I don't have to even walk in to visit someone again, and sure as hell pray I'm not lying on one of the beds.

It was my aunt. Stubborn by nature, she insisted on making her annual pilgrimage to China despite having some respiratory conditions. Even as a Christian, I respect her rock-solid faith in Buddhism.

In the end it worsened to pneumonia, almost completely obstructing her lower throat/windpipe with phlegm and consequently almost shutting off her access to something as simple as a simple breath of air. They had to do tracheoscopy to help her breathe with a ventilator (I'm so so sorry if I got the term wrong. Basically that ball-shrinking procedure where they cut a hole in your throat to shove a tube down and help you breathe. Simple stuff).

I was abit reluctant to go yesterday because I had a ton of schoolwork that I'd happily neglected, and of course my hobbies to take up what remaining time I had. Besides, I thought to myself, I'm not all that close to my aunt.

I'm glad I was forced to go. I didn't exactly fall on my knees and beat my breast wailing in despair, but when I saw my aunt, it seemed like my whole body fell into a ringing silence. Like the millions of cells stopping their tasks midway to stare in mute shock. Just an expression. I wasn't shocked, just had a sinking heart. Again (d'oh I hate it when I can't express myself properly), it's a literal expression of what I felt inside, not shit-she-ain't-gonna-live sinking heart. I know my aunt's a very strong woman. Inherited it straight from my granny.

When she raised a rather weak hand to wave, I felt my remaining breath squeezed out of me, and my lips and eyelids twitching slightly. In English, probably the closest word would be heartbreaking.

I said about 2 seconds worth of silent tongues, while clasping her hand. I just felt uncomfortable holding her hand and like either staring at her or at the machines. It was a bit of a struggle because I knew that physical touch in the Christian realm does have meaning. But I decided to just go by faith and pray from the outside. Hey, if tongues can at the very least cross half of Asia to save a loved one from the tsunami (testimony la not me), I don't see why it can't pass through simple Perspex (WHATEVER THE MATERIAL IS LA). My parents were gesturing for me to go out to the lounge area, meaning out of the whole ward, to wait since I was done greeting my aunt, and it was hard to communicate to them that I wanted to stay outside the room. And they didn't make it any easier by not seeming to understand the meaning of a shaking head. I was abit embarrassed to be showing so much concern for my aunt. Dumb I know but I was, but nevertheless I rooted myself there while they spoke to her inside.

When we were all done, we went back out to the lounge to chat with my cousin about the details of her condition. And the scene outside bordered on surreal. I saw a Malay lady greet a younger woman and weeping in her arms, children running round irritatingly (I told myself if they bumped into me I'd gladly take that excuse to admonish the father), another Malay lady donning her outfit to execute her evening prayers. Can't say it was a thrilling sight. Can't even say it's one I'll remember. But it sure did wobble me a little bit.