Wednesday, October 31, 2007

15 Years.....

It has been a looooonnnnngggg fifteen years!

Fifteen years of interdependence, care & share, support, laughter, mutual respect, appreciation, admiration...... Coupled with occasional difference in views & expectations, tears, and heartbreaks. I guess this is true love.

THANKS my dear for everything all these years!

Monday, October 29, 2007

We had SO MUCH FUN!

KY and WL were on a 7 days 6 nights Pattaya-Bangkok trip..... of cos, with me as their tour guide. This post is dedicated to the other gals in our NJC gang who missed this trip. U dunno how much fun u had missed!

Day 1
We took the shuttle bus from the arrival hall to the bus terminal (about 10 mins ride) to catch the intercity bus to Pattaya (PTY) only to realize that now the intercity bus goes into the passenger terminal to pick-up passengers. We could have saved the trouble of lugging our luggage up and down the shuttle bus.

Checked-in at Baan Khun Poh (the apartment which I'm staying at in Pattaya) costed them about S$13/night/person (without breakfast).

First stop shopping – Outlet Mall. I thot there's nothing much to buy here and yet they were able to find some bargain buys.

Dinner was at a Thai restaurant located on a pond. It's known as Wooden Boat or "La Mai" in Thai. The food was so delicious that WL asked if we could have our dinner there every night. KY wanted to buy the chilli sauce served at the restaurant. Hey girl, YH checked with them already. It's not for sale. Maybe it's their secret receipe.


Day 2
We visited the Underwater World Pattaya early in the morning.

Then we hired a van to bring us to the largest Chinese Temple in Thailand located in Ang Sila, Chon Buri Province. It's about one-hour ride away from Pattaya.

Lunch was at a roadside stall. We had a roasted chicken, papaya salad with crab and glutinous rice. The Thais like to eat these.

Then we visited the Khao Kheow Open Zoo (also in Chonburi province). Entrance fee of 100baht per foreigner. As the name suggested, the animals are free to roam in certain parts of the zoo. And so, we had to stay in our van to get close to the animals. But the closest encounter that we had was with the various wild cats. A business contact of YH brought us to see the wild cats (like tigers, lions, cheetahs, etc). The cats were so restless when they saw us. They paced hastily up and down their cages, like they were ready to leap on us anytime. If they knocked down the cages, we would be dead meat literally.
Highlights:
- We were 5 mins late for the animal show and YH's biz contact postponed the commencement of the show, just for us. We felt like VIPs.
- WL left the area where the wild cats were caged cos she was very scared of them. She told us that she was thinking of contingency plans in case the cats ran wild - Was she supposed to lock the cage with us inside or was she supposed to run for her life? She's still not sure till now.

Want to go the next time: Khao Kheow Es-ta-te. It's a camping resort in the open zoo itself. The tents are impressive. I'm sure it will provide a different experience. To avoid disappointment, pls book early as it's very very popular.

As it was still too early to have our dinner, we decided to have a 2-hour Thai massage at HealthLand. I like this massage place a lot cos it's clean and the environment makes you feels relaxed. (I pitied the van driver as he was just waiting for us at the lobby).
Hightlight:
Although dinner was to be served after the massage, WL was so hungry after her massage that she bought a piece of cinnamon roll. Her massage finished half an hour before ours. We saw her finishing her last mouth of cinnamom roll when we came out. And yes, there was only 2 raisins left on her plate.... maybe one each for me & KY.

We had our seafood dinner by the sea. The mantis prawns were so big (which are rare to find in S'pore) that they proved to be irresistible to KY. She decided to pack some for supper.

Then we took a walk down the once-famous Walking Street (the nightlife of PTY) with A-GO-GO bars all around. YH said that this street used to be packed with tourists and you probably had to squeeze your way through. But now, we seemed to be able to keep an arm's length away from the other tourists. Perhaps the political situation and the murder of 2 Russian tourists in PTY in February have some negative impacts on the tourism industry of PTY.

Day 3
We made our way to Bali Hai Pier located at the end of Walking Street to catch a ferry (20 baht) to Ko Larn (Coral Island). It was a 45 mins ferry ride and then a motorcycle ride to reach one of the beaches. The water around the island was far more beautiful than in PTY itself. We walked down the beach, stopping occasionally to see interesting souvenirs or to buy some food sold by the vendors.
Highlight: I bought a knitted hat which the price dropped from 200baht to 80baht, without us bargaining.

We took the 2pm ferry back to PTY mainland and proceeded to Royal Garden Plaza to start another round of shopping. They really can buy. Most of the things seemed to be a bargain for them.

As the weather was getting a bit cool, we decided to eat steamboat. So, dinner was steamboat + BBQ buffet which costed about 119 baht (excluding drinks).

We had the mantis prawns for supper as KY was too tired to eat them the night before. Emmm...... Delicious!!

Day 4
I brought them to visit my workplace, the Vocational School for the Disabled.

Then it's shopping again before having lunch at Fuji, a Japanese restaurant. The food was so delicious and cheap that KY wanted to have it again for dinner.

After lunch, we returned to Royal Garden Plaza as the gals felt that they had not completed the whole shopping complex yesterday. This was where we met the "body proportion consultant" at the Wacoal boutique. After measuring and some guidance from her, we were all "upgraded" by her. This was so much fun and it made our day. Ha ha ha. If we had met her earlier, the gals wouldn't have bought the wrong size (or cup to be more precise) at Outlet Mall. Luckliy, KY managed to exchange hers when we returned to Outlet Mall. Too bad for WL cos she cut off all the tags already.

We shared a piece of Tiramisu cake for teabreak.

And yes, we had our dinner at Fuji again. Poor YH. He had Fuji too for lunch and now, he had to accompany us to have Fuji again for dinner. Luckily, Fuji has so much variety to choose from.

Day 5
The hired van was supposed to arrive at 5am to pick us up to Bai Long Wang Temple. But it only arrived at 5.40am. We could have slept for another half an hour. The 3 of us were also anxious cos we might not be able to obtain a Q number to see Bai Long Wang if we were late. Luckily, we managed to get a number and it turned out that we were the last three persons for the day.

I was in fact the last person for the day to see Bai Long Wang. He told me that my "Mian4 Xiang4" is very good. Everything for me will be good. But I have to be less anxious and have to take things slower. Maybe he's right. I also have to be less petty....... Well, perhaps he's right again. And I have to learn to talk back less....... Oh no, he's hitting on the nail again. I did not even open my mouth to ask anything and yet the things that he told me seem to have some underlying meaning for me.
Highlight: WL was very nervous before seeing Bai Long Wang that she almost wanted to give up her chance of meeting him. She said that she's worried that he might scold her.


We checked into Bangkok City Suite around 1pm. It costed about S$16/night/person and this was with buffet breakfast.

Shopping started again at Platinum Fashion Mall. This mall is superb. Wholesale price for 3 pieces and above. But the gals were running low on cash. Luckily (instead of sadly), the shops started to close around 6pm. This "forced" us to give up and proceed for dinner.

Dinner was at Chinatown. We had sharks' fin, birds' nest, grilled prawns, grilled squid and vegetables. This was the highlight of the trip. We had been talking about sharks' fins and birds' nest since the planning stage of the trip...... Hahahaha.

Day 6
More shopping of cos. Platinum Fashion Mall seemed too attractive for us that we decided to give MBK a miss. KY was smart enough to prepare reserve cash so that she could continue to get more bargain buys.
Highlight: Eventually, I bought 3 pieces of top from a shop bcos (1) WL did not like hers after trying when we return to hotel. I bought it from her at 130baht, a discount of 20baht. (2) KY's "upgraded" cup made her top seems tight and she owed me some money. So, she decided to give up her top to me to offset her debt.

WL learnt something new again...... This time on tampons. This is what happened when the trip is an all-girls trip. Funny things will happen.

Day 7
The gals took the early flight back to S'pore and me took the 8am bus back to PTY.

Hi gals, I hope u both enjoyed the trip. It's great to have u both here. I enjoyed myself very much for the past few days. Though we were sick for some parts of the trip, we had the care & concern from one & another. I see the care and concern that your loved one had shown you by calling you up to check on your condition. This is bliss. Gals are most beautiful when they are being cared for and I see that in the 2 of you. Wish that you will stay in bliss forever.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ambassador of Singapore

Now working as a volunteer in Fr. Ray Foundation Pattaya, I feel like an ambassador of Singapore.

A and B, both are volunteers from Denmark, decided to visit Singapore from 19 Oct to 22 Oct. To my surprise, they had never heard of S'pore before. Is S'pore too small and distant for them? I suddenly felt a calling in me to show them how GREAT this small country is.

As they had visited Little India the night before, the day tour organized and led by me followed the below itinerary:

  • "Si Ma Lu Guanyin Temple" in the Bugis area. Told them that it was a well-known temple, maybe bcos the wishes of faith-followers came true. They were quick to make a wish while presenting a stalk of lotus flower to Guanyin.
  • An Indian temple (don't remember what's the name) just beside the Guanyin Temple. They were amazed by the various types of status of Gods in this temple: one with an elephant head, and another with a monkey head, etc.
  • National Library located between Bugis Junction and Bras Basah Complex. It's actually my first visit to this 16 Storey building opened in July 2005. They were impressed by this huge library as they mentioned that in Denmark, their whole library could just be as big as the Central Lending Library (which occupies only one storey of the National Library). I'm equally impressed too.
  • The long established (about 120 years old) luxury hotel named after Sir Stamford Raffles - Raffles Hotel.
  • Another heritage site – CHIJMES. I'm not too good at my history but I remembered that it used to a chapel where the nuns took in orphans and provided for them.
  • Southeast Asia's tallest hotel – Swissotel The Stamford. Pointed this tallest building to them. And they were very interested in going up to City Space (used to be called Equinox) on the 70th floor at night to get a panoramic view of Singapore..... Maybe some parts of Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • The famous "Durian" – Esplanade.
  • The Merlion Park. They were excited to see this Singapore's icon, the lion head with a fish body. It was my first visit to the Merlion after it was relocated from the old site.
  • The six star hotel – The Fullerton Hotel. We did not go into this hotel but the fa├žade was interesting enough to capture their attention.
  • A cruise down the Singapore River. I came across a report saying that the Singapore River will be closed by next year or so to become a reservoir. So I convinced myself and them to take a boat ride down the S'pore River (passing Raffles Quay, Boat Quay and Clarke Quay) as it will be a first and last for us. We did not regret taking the cruise as it provided us with a breathtaking sight of the contrast between the old architectures and the modern skyscrapers.
  • Chinatown. Showed them the Sri Mariamman Temple, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Food Street (not yet opened for business when we were there). The shops and hawker stalls along the streets of Chinatown selling cheap T-shirts and souvenirs were fascinating for them.
  • Dinner at Newton Food Centre. The various delicious Singapore food (like BBQ stingray, fried hokkien prawn noodles, fried cockles kuay theow, laksa, rojak) did not appeal to them cos they are both not a seafood person. But they did enjoy the satay with peanut spicy sauce, BBQ chicken wings and sugar cane drink.

For the next 2 days, they intend to visit the Singapore Zoo/ Night Safari (I haven't even been there myself), Sentosa and of cos, Orchard Road for some shopping.

Impressed they were by the efficiency of our MRT but were a bit shocked to learn that they can't get change for the bus rides. Our little clean country left a deep impression on them. They decided to use the theme of "Singapore – the FINE country" for the drinking party that they are having in Pattaya with the other volunteers on Thursday...... and of cos, the "Merlion" has to be situated outside their bedroom...... Hee hee hee.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Work-Life Balance: Poll Results

Thanks for those participating in my little poll on "Work-Life Balance: Is it a Myth?"

Well... 60% polled "YES" while 40% voted it as a "YES-NO". Looks like this is a big issue. NO ONE voted that work-life balance is not a myth.

So... Superman and Wonderwoman are just cartoon characters afterall.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Work-Life Balance – A Myth?

Was watching Florence Lian's talkshow on Channelnewsasia that night.

My dear hubby told me that her talkshow was boring. I agree to some extent as u can only see a few guests sitting down and voicing their views one-by-one. However, the topic that was discussed was so close to everyone's hearts - "Work-life balance. Is it a myth?"

Can we (both men & women) have a career and at the same time have a life (i.e. family, frens and personal time)?

To me, I guess it's tough. But I feel that it's possible if you have the unconditional support and understanding from your loved ones too.

I had started a little poll on the above topic. Please share your thoughts with me.

LY's little tough cookie

Announcing the arrival of LY's baby boy. This tough cookie is overdue and I expected him to be big. But in actual fact, he is only 2.935kg. Oh, is this the lucky number for lottery tomorrow? I'm sure it is!! I'm going back to Singapore soon to take some photos of him and also to collect my expected winnings from Singapore Pools...... Hee hee hee :-P