Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Being There

Doesn't life bring oddly amusing moments right in the midst of sadness? A couple of days ago my best friend in SIM told me that his girlfriend dropped the bombshell on him. It's been quite awhile since I was that shocked, although it felt more like puzzlement as to how the hell things could have turned out this way. I didn't exactly think it was a match made in heaven, but from all I'd observed I had thought, like him, that it would work well.

The next day I went to meet him as he took his things from her place. As the cab started driving and the rains started pouring (some would say the gods were crying; others that they were laughing), I learnt that not 6 hours after he had told me of his breakup, another friend of mine, though not as close, called him to cry that her boyfriend of sorts, our coursemate and mutual friend, had called off the relationship as well.

I don't treat this as a secret revelation shared among my BFFs. In fact I probably blogged and explained about it before. To my inner circle of friends (good friend, best friend, unbreakable), I feel a huge love for them. Nothing special, nothing hormonal, but I feel that as someone who is privy to that certain amount of trust, I have an odd responsibility to care for them in times of need, and just love them out of their misery.

But for all the pride I take in myself - being a comms student, a people person, an emotionally-tuned person - I feel terrible as a friend to have in times of need. If I don't say the wrong thing, it only means that I'm not even saying anything because I don't know what to say. For all the love I pride myself in being capable of giving, I still don't trust myself in hugging people freely, telling them that I care so much for them and want to be there for them. At the end of the day, as I'm on my way home, I ask myself "What have you done to make him or her feel better?", and what do I hear but silence, or else lousy answers. Can I really be there for them? Telling parents that I'm studying like hell when I'm playing mahjong just to keep them company? Having to leave by 9.30 or face the wrath of my parents for coming home after 11? Trying to balance between exams and this? So many questions I've asked myself since.

I want to do all I can for my friends. I'll probably be stupid enough to die unnecessarily for them. But do I have what it takes in the first place?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Askin' for it

After 65bits's 49th recording and abit of lounging around at the ever-dependable GT, I followed NTT down to library@orchard to say hi to Ridzuan and Jean. After which NTT led me down to the basement to... to do what!

To try brownies la. Don't read my blog if you're horny.

So he brought me to the Brownie Factory, promising the best brownies ever, his treat! Now I'm quite skeptical when the words "best" and "brownie" are put side by side, because 80% of the "best brownies" I've tried are really just dark brown chunks of chocolate flour. And so now I'm disillusioned. The Brownie Factory, however, delivered, and I bit into a chocosymphony of gooey chocolate centres and slightly less saturated sandwiches of chocolatey dough. With great taste however, comes great fat. My paper bag was soaked through by the time I was done.

I commented to a nodding NTT that usually chocolate leaves your mouth sandy and dry, but the choc in the brownie runs down your throat like it should. Nevertheless, I didn't want to risk having a choco-mouth all the way back to Tampines, so we went back down to Wisma to look for water. Now all this time I kept getting little static shocks from NTT, and since he said it wasn't him, well I concur it's me then. We were debating who it was as we went up the escalator, so on a whim I looked at my index finger, and at his right hand resting on his leg, and I poked his hand. UNBEKNOWNST TO ME, his left hand was gripping the escalator, as well as brushing against the metal underside. The result was a splendiferous crack that made me nearly fall off the escalator, and also nearly made me yell out a huge bubbly FUCK for all of Orchard Road to hear.

So remember boys and girls. Then next time you're really itching to try and see if you're charged up, that is the one time you damn well keep your hands to yourself before you fry yourself up.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ugly Betty Season 2

After a somewhat confusing cliffhanger last season quite a few months ago, Ugly Betty is back, presently 8 episodes into its second season. So far I've only watched like two and a half, and I must say, for a start at least, the series is a fantastic kicker. The cliched twists needed to move the story's ass along were put along side subtle, totally unexpected twists, making the show much more powerful. I can't say much without throwing major spoilers into your unappreciative face, so I'll just highly recommend this series.

For now.

Days Like These

Initially disgruntled for being dragged halfway across Singapore to pee into a cute small bottle and dip a stick of 5 patches in it while the medic watches with somewhat gleeful scrutiny, this morning turned out to be the sort of morning I wish I had everyday.

The story is that two weeks ago, I went for my NS medical checkup. Yes, the drop-pants-turn-cough medical checkup. And at the very first task of the day, urine test, ...

"'kay, Ren...hao? I will need you to drink lots and lots of water. You'll have to redo the test later because you appear to have traces of blood in your urine."

"... ... ... ... okaay."

An hour later, it was still there. I knew straight on that something wasn't right after I examined the strip in the toilet and found the last patch turning blue.

And so an official summons was printed for two weeks later, today, to come back and redo the test. The good thing about today was that an alert medical officer spotted me holding my summons in the queue, and after reading it, told me to get out of the queue and get straight to it.

After I got outta there 10min later, I decided that I wasn't going to dash straight home, and clearly remembered the dismay I experienced two weeks ago when, barely 10 seconds after the taxi I hailed to get to school accelerated, I zipped right past the unmistakable Botak Jones sign. I was left with my head cranked 90degrees to the right and jaws slacking open. Back to today, I figured that Botak wouldn't be open so early at 830am, and I was right, and that in any case there would be other stalls open for the breakfast crowd, and I was right. As I sat enjoying my nasi lemak while watching Ugly Betty S2 on my ZEN (more on that in the next post), I felt the light smile that my parents say used to cling stubbornly to my face when I was young fading back. And as I drank kopi o (what's their problem are they trying to clear sugar stock or what? Sheesh man.), I thought to myself, "what a wonderful world. This is the way life's meant to be." Taking your time and not wolfing your food down (although rush or no rush I still eat fast anyway... bad habit), not having to think about anything or plan in advance for later events, at least till late afternoon. Just able to go walkin' around, lookin' around. I briefly toyed with the idea of going to town for a stroll, since 175 brought me to so many prime stops in town, but decided against it in the end, and good thing I did, because as I was walking back from Tampines Interchange, my dad called to ask me where I was. Turns out that he was leaving the house early. As it happens I lost my key again (dunno whether I really lost it or they keeping it - sure are making things hard for themselves, but whatever. My back pockets are all very deep), and they couldn't leave the house for fear of locking me out.

Come back, play DotA, watch anime, watch Ugly Betty... If only everyday could be like this.

If only.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

CEO Match @ Global Entrepolis Singapore 2007

I've always wondered how far my business skills would go. While none of them involved major finances, I've been easily fleeced many times. Thank God I'm abit more sensible now, but it remained to be seen how far I could go in dollars and sense. With that in mind I grouped with Ben, Jonathan and Andrea to participate in CEO Match 2007, joined later by John. We played at a booth at the Global Entrepolis Singapore exhibition.

Some interesting sponsors there...

and photos of me and Andrea trying our best to look cool in formal wear and holding a WSJ. Not cheap sia that small newspaper... I thought well, if I couldn't conduct the business, at least I could try my hand at observation - seeing...

I'm sorry I got to pause here. I'm listening to the 1812 Overture that Jerrick sent and it's super absorbing.

Ok, sorry. ... - seeing the reactions from people's faces and their body language, gauging what sort of shit or heaven they are in. But I never expected the game to run at such a speed. It was Monopoly on crack I tell you. And in the end all I had time to do was listen to Ben and Jon bickering behind me then telling me what to do.

In the finals, we judged the game wrongly, and ended up last. Each round we were earning barely 15k nett. When we decided before the beginning of the 5th and final "fiscal year" that well, we're dead, no point crying. Let's take a loan and have some fun.

We earned 50k in 30min. And I learnt more from that last round that I ever learnt in the game.

At the end of the day, the world is just a huge casino, and we are gambling when we do business. Gambling involves risks, and if we do not have the confidence and courage to close our eyes and say "Hit me!" when we already have 18 in our hand, we will never hit the blackjack. Sure you have luck, but Lady Luck is unfaithful. She flits around faster than you can gasp, and you bet your ass you'll die out if you just depend on her.

Here's a rare photo of the game in action. I mostly didn't even think about pulling my phone out because I was so worried about how the hell we were going to survive with 8 fucking thousand in the bank balance. You can see the teams in the process of bidding to sell at the lowest price, tapping away on their PDAs. The wooden board in front of us were a physical representation of what we had. Raw materials, machines, laborers, trucks, finished products... the list runs on. In the centre, and the spinning table denotes the world and its respective markets by continent. The Malay team on the left came all the way down from Universiti Teknologi Petronas (I think that's how you spell it), and the team beside them was the SIM team that won the competition in the end.

It was a really fierce competition, and I'm glad I joined. I learnt many things I never would have learnt otherwise.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Difference in e

Today after our MGM presentation, Graham suggested we took 151e, the express cousin of the usual bus we take, where I drop halfway and he carries on to his place. Now I was naturally dubious of the e, because... well it's an express innit? Bound to skip plenty of stops. But after Graham said it passed by my bus stop at Macpherson Road, I boarded the bus with him.

We got off at Hougang Avenue 3.

"Well I was right, though. It did pass your bus stops, it just didn't stop there."

I should have bitchslapped and sat on him.

We ended up at Heartland Mall getting distracted by a million things, especially that Comics Connection store. But we both had dinner waiting, and so he showed me to the bus stop/MRT station. And guess who we met there? Wei Yang, whom we just did a presentation with an hour earlier.

And he laughed at my plight. :(

In the end I just took the NEL to Punggol then 34 back. It would definitely have been faster than if I took the direct 81 all the way back.

Paid 40c more to sight-see abit of Singapore. Thanks.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


When I finally take action to do my bit for a fellow Pingster, it's abit too late. Nevertheless, here's my contribution to Rinaz's 2007 Weblog Awards voting campaign.

It's quite plain-looking compared to the usual Uncle Sam posters, but whatever. Uncle Sam himself gets the message across. What are you waiting for? Voting closes this evening, vote NOW!!

Eating My Maths

Three days ago I met up with Mr Fong of eatyourmaths for... something at Holland V. Just to meet and chat, you know, since we were so near to each other anyway (I at SIM and he at ACS(I)). We decided on Coffee Club, when it hit me that I never tried it before, as far as my memory stretches. Being the typical deprived late adolescent that I was I zoomed in on the Ice Tiramisu Latte, made with coffee, milk, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a dash (or more) of... oh, some liquor or the other. Mr Fong decided to have his dinner there. Not that I had a problem with that really, because we seemed to be able to talk and talk and talk without running dry (for long anyway).

And so after like an hour and a half of complaints, I decided to become an English tutor!

No la I'm not weird. Well some insist I'm eccentric, but not in this sense I assure you. Tutoring has been at the back of my mind for quite long now, just that I never quite bothered to put my name and particulars down in tuition agencies. They behave just like or even worse than the already unbelievably niao Singaporean parents (if anyone foreign is reading this, niao = picky). But I could do with some extra money, since all my tastes and wants seem to be going up the dollar ladder.

We shall see. Meanwhile, I look forward to meeting Mr Fong, and in fact the rest of the Ping community really soon!

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Link between emotional scenes and Cheers

When two concepts that aren't usually linked to each other are baked together, the result could either be dangerously disastrous or fabulously fantastic. In the case of Thailand's Cheers beer, it was the latter.

Great innit? Could win some awards there.