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.::z. 8/8.

elegantly wasted.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

:))

I signed up for Class 2B course at BBDC! My first practical lesson is this Sunday!

I was on leave on Wednesday and really didnt know what to do, so I decided to drive down to BBDC and check out their Class 2B course structure and fees. The place is more or less the same, I frequent there from Oct 2000 to Jan 2001 while taking my Class 3 lessons. The noticeboard along the entrance proudly announce that Mr Toh Kok Seng, my ex-driving instructor, had been awarded the No1 Gold award for 2002. He was really a good instructor, I can vouch that, he isever patient and puts you at ease and makes you wanna improve more as a driver than to just pass the test. In fact he's partly the reason I came back here for my Class 2B course, other than the fact that I simply love their easy Internet booking system, and the relatively not-so-busy roads around the area. I found out that the motorbike course is much much much cheaper than what I paid for getting my car license so I immediately signed up. Whooooo cant wait to start! And if I can get my car license within 4 mths, I sure am confident of getting my bike license before I turn 30 i.e August i.e. in 5 mths. Lately whenever I'm driving, my eyes are always on the lookout for this dream bike ->



Cooooooooool


Vincent's bike is similar to that. He told me that the whole thing, plus road tax and insurance, is about $5400. That is a measly sum compared to what I'm paying now for the car. Remember The New Paper article I talked about last week? But of course this doesnt mean that its confirmed I'm going to sell my car for a bike. First of all, I know my mom's going to scream if she finds out about this (WHAT! You already drive like a madman, and you want to ride a bike!) Secondly, it all depends on whether I'm going to get the SRS money and able to find another job immediately. And thirdly, I figured, there's nothing wrong with getting another license now. Its just one of those things I wanna do before I hit the big 30. To experience riding down the road on a Phantom with my shades and leather jacket with the wind blowing and looking as if I'm the coolest thing on the road. Yeah!

Originally planned to go to SGH right after to donate my blood platelets for Dan's brother Damian, but I had to attend a compulsory briefing right after I signed up. It ended at 345 pm and the blood clinic closes at 4. Maybe I'll go on Friday. Went to the gym after that for the usual class and run, and met Mervin and KC for dinner at Raffles Hospital. Things are still uneasy between them, and I think it'll stay that way until KC is more proactive in initiating outings. Let's see how things goes.

Today the memo was finally sent out informing us of the change of Unit and Section heads. No surprises, it was the same as what was circulating around the office the past week. The rotations will take effec from 1 Mar, which means I'm going to get a new UH and SH starting this Saturday. Interesting. Stephen has been stepped over again, Michelle told me he is heartbroken, he has been on MCs and urgent leave the whole week! I mean, who wouldnt be. He is 48, Mun Wai is 37. There might be reasons why, but still I feel a little bad for the guy.

Went for a run after work with Shih Wee, this time I clocked 27:10mins for the 5.4km stretch. I think this is the best I can do so far. So for this Saturday's cross-country, as long as I finish in the top 10, I'll be happy. Since we ended early we wanted to try out the Nasi Lemak at the stall along Serangoon Gardens, but found out that the stall is closed on Thursdays only when we reached there. SHeeesh. So we went to Sayang Cafe in the hope of eating the Nasi Lemak, but it was sold out! I guess the powers that be has decided to deny me of any Nasi Lemaks today. Ended up eating the quarter chicken. Rushed home to watch the American Idol. Excellent choice for the finalists tonight. Looking forward to Sunday :) and to my Phantom. Heh.
posted by zul, 10:18 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Norah Jones is so cool.

I wanna play the piano like Vanessa Carlton.

I wish I had John Mayer's guitar skills.

I had goosebumps when Coldplay performed.

This year's Grammys was a real treat! I should have recorded it!

Well anyway, Lily was on MC on Monday. She had been sick since Saturday actually, and wanted to go see the doctor then but did not. I guess Sunday's Family Day really did her in. After work I did not go to CIO's Farewell Dinner. Just didnt feel like it, dont know why (Norah Jones singing in the background: Dont know why... I didnt come.....) Went to the gym instead, ran and went for Deborah's class. I met Chester Wee there, a cadet I once knew in OCS. He's working in Deloitte Touche and it was his first time at BodyPump. Heh real funny man.

Work is getting boring. On Sunday night the operator called to inform me of a job abend. Fuck, I dont even know what the program does. Nor has not briefed my yet, she and Beth coded the mainframe programs. The operator said they called Nor a gazillion times but she did not pick up the phone. I tried to understand the program by asking Leong to read the program to me over the phone, but that didnt help. Duh. And I dont think going back to the office would be of any help either. So I called Nor again and again and finally her hubby picked it up. I just said "Can I speak to Nor please" and then I heard Nor in the background "Who's that?" and the reply was a muffled "Zul lah". Hahahaha. Sheeesh. They might be in the middle of something when I called, know what I mean? Oh man..
Well anyway she KNOWS that she has not explained to me the programs, so she went back to the office to resolve it. About 235am she SMS "Could you please drop by my place at Bt Batok before you go to work in the morning please?". Now this, I find very puzzling. Why would she want me to go from Pasir Ris to Bt Batok, then back to Toa Payoh, all before 830am? She can always explain to me on what to do over the phone (she's on leave Monday). However I receive another SMS from her at 630 am "Never mind, I'll explain to you over the phone." Spent the entire day running adhoc jobs to resolve it.

Didnt do much at work on Tuesday, I was just consolidating the many DOs and invoices I've placed all over the desk, and tying up some loose ends on all the contracts. The mobile van had been sent to the workshop cos the aircon was leaking and the battery was flat, so we did not have to rush the mobile program bit on logon procedure. Went to Macritchie for a run with Shih Wee after work, damn, I clocked 27:40 mins running from the actual starting line to the finish. Should I run in this Saturday's Cross-Country?

Met up with Mervin after the run, had coffee at KPT, we asked Poh to join us but he gave us the usual excuse i.e. either wife or baby. I'm on leave tomorrow. Got lots to do though. Going to listen to Vanessa Carlton now and then to sleep. Peace.

"Just a day, just an, ordinary dayyyy
Just, trying to... get by...
Just a boy, just an, ordinary boyyy
But he was looking.. to the sky"

- Ordinary Day, Vanessa Carlton
posted by zul, 11:25 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, February 23, 2003

I'm really fed up with PacNet. I sent them an application form to transfer my zul.per.sg domain name from SingNet to PacNet in Dec 2001 and up till now, I still dont know whats going on. Just sent them an email chronologing the events.

1) Faxed over the form to PacNet (Dec 2002)
2) Called up Customer Services after a week, was told by a CSO that I need to send the form by snail mail cos they dont accept fax. I did that immediately
3) Called them up again, and was told by a CSO that she need to check with another dept and will call me within a week. She did not. (Jan 2003)
4) Called up last week and this time, the CSO, Boni, said he's sorry the previous CSO did not follow up and promised me he'll call back within 2 days. Up till now, no banana.

I really need the transfer to be effective soon, I wanna update my webpage to put this blog in and also to update my resume. And I'm going for a Macromedia Flash course soon and the webpage will be a good place to showcase my creations. If I dont hear from PacNet soon, I'm going to raise my voice the next time I call them.

Friday
Today's the last day for staff to choose their options and also the day when more or less we confirmed who the new BIS2's SH and ESS' UH will be. Besides me, I know that Lily, THAT guy, Erica, Teffy and Farida took the option to leave, but there are others who kept their choice to themselves. Rhymie said he heard CDD saying that the response to take SRS is very overwhelming. :( Boon Nam asked me whether I want him to report to mgt on my decision to leave, on a named basis or just on a numbers basis. I told him I want him to report on a named basis, and if need be, I will explain to mgt on my decision to leave. Whatever, he is leaving ESS soon anyway, Jee Mun Wai will be promoted and he'll come over to take over as H(ESS). Kwan is going to BIS1 as their new SH, and Choo Seng is replacing him as BIS2 SH. Interesting rotations. But what do I care.

Went to Courts PS after work to take a look at their '70% off' relocation sale. But their prices are still the same, maybe a bit cheaper than outside. Shih Wee introduced me to a nice cafe on the 3rd floor, 'My Secret Recipe', which serves excellent Banana Chocolate Cake and Curry Puff.

Saturday
After work Rhymie and me went to Sim Lim, he bought a wireless router and a wireless card for his notebook. I helped to set it up at his house and a whole 2 hours was wasted on the wireless bit, I overlooked the Service Set Identifier (SSID) part and set it to the default 'LinkSys', which was stated in the user's manual! It was only when I went to the StarHub website that I discovered the ID should be set to 'StarHub'. Duh. Stupid Stupid Stupid. It was cool after that, when I left his place, he was surfing at the garden below his unit. And the download speed was fast and furious. Cooool.

Picked up Mervin and he treated me to dinner at Padi's Nasi Padang at Siglap. Extra servings of Beef Rendang! Have not met him for a whole week, and as usual, our talk went from the usual to the extraordinary to the bizzare. He will be very busy from next week onwards, its the end of the financial year and a crazy period for banks. Called up Poh and asked him about the prices of the flats around his area. He said its about 350k and that his Malay neighbour just moved out and were looking for buyers, and that I should have called earlier so that he can reserve the unit for me and we can be neighbours. Damn. Wasted.

Sunday
I was just about to go the gym when Lily SMS and called and persuaded me to join her at the HDB's Family Day at Pasir Ris Park. I cant say no to her, so I rushed down and walked to the beach, and there she was... :) and she very nicely took some food for us to share. I love it when she's around. Shih Wee, Chia Chia and Wee Leng were there too, then ES, KK, HF and Saul came. We walked to the beach and met up with Wai Kan, his wife and baby. When his wife saw me, she said to Wai Kan "Oh so this is the Zul you always talk about." SHit man. I wonder what he has been telling her? Heh. Went to office after that, I wanted to look for the file full of my certs so that I can do a proper update on my resume. I cant find it. It has my original degree, diploma, certs and all. I'm panicking man. I hope it'll show up soon.

I was leaving the office when Erica SMS to tell me that she saw The Talking Tick at Clarke Quay. I've been hunting high and low for that thing man... first saw it at Mohd's place last year, its really cool, its 16inches tall and if you push a little button behind it, it will say things like "SPOON!", "I AM THE TICK", etc... I decided to postpone the gym till 4 and drove down to get it. $35 .. arhghghgh I closed my eyes and paid the guy. But I love it.. and while I was walking along the flea market, I saw a Liverpool green T-shirt which I really really fell in love with. Bargained with the nice auntie and she sold it at $26. 2 great buys. I should refrain myself from going there until at least after I get my Performance Bonus. :->

posted by zul, 8:31 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Nothing was up on Wednesday, except after work, instead of going for a jog as planned, I went to Orchard Cineplex to meet a girl who was selling some stuff to Kelvin. He got this good deal from the girl - Myoplex at $2 per sachet, which usually cost about $5+. I've never tried it, always wanted to, but did not cos I was worried of bulking up too much and hey, I'm big as is. But after 2 years of going to the gym and running regularly, I have lost weight and have gained some definitions, but the muscles just arent there. So I thought, why not, lets try this thing. And Kel told me its Myoplex Lite, so it'll not bulk me up as, say, Myoplex Deluxe. Went straight to the gym, and since I missed the BodyPump class, I just ran and carried some weights. At the car park before driving off, I mixed myself a 'Peaches and Cream.' This is funny, they have flavours like Banana Cream Pie, Pina Colada, Orange Jubilee etc. Sissy sounding flavours for the serious bodybuilder. But it taste real good though. Like a Starbucks Smoothie. Heh.

Met Peter at my void deck after that, we discussed what my options are, considering the outstanding HDB loan, the amount of money I have in my CPF account and the current market prices of flats. The conclusion is - nothing to conclude now, I am meeting him again tomorrow at the Hub.

And so today after lunchtime Peter and me talked to the CSO and found out that since the banks have taken over the loans, I am no longer qualified for the staff scheme benefit of paying 10% downpayment instead of the usual 20%. I am still thinking it through now, my choices are somewhat limited, I have to tell mom and dad about this.

Lunch today was excellent, Saul treated me and Lily to chicken and chips, meatballs baked rice, pasta meatballs and stir-fried chicken with rice at a nice cafe at TP Central. He said its for "friendship, for us leaving HDB, and I am dying anyway so what's the use of keeping money." Weird. Verlin took a photo of us, she was just passing by with her OPL gang and we asked for her help. Lily said she look fat in it. I dont think so. Girls think they look fat even if they're skinny to the bones. Prffth.

The big news of the day came only after the unit meeting, Boon Nam called the whole unit back to Courage Room for an urgent SRS meeting. He told us that those who are serious on taking the SRS to talk to him and inform management so that they can plan and prepare for it. Jasmine then asked him whether they will be any changes to the UHs and SHs of BIS2. And thats when he said "there WILL be a change of UH and SH in March, but I am not telling you who and please keep this within these 4 walls." Jasmine insist that he should tell us because it does affect our SRS decision, but Boon insist on not telling the whole unit but "I will only tell you if you see me in person to talk about your decision." And the moment he left the room, we speculated about who the possible candidates are. We are sure that Boon Nam will be promoted to a SH, but who will take over as our unit head? It could be Stephen, somebody suggested it might be Yee Seng or Choo Seng. And as I am writing this, Jasmine just smsed me "Heard that JMW is promoted to UH and will take over Boon Nam." GASP. Place your bets guys...
posted by zul, 8:16 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Lunch today was with the whole unit at Grand Court Vegetarian Restaurant @ Somerset. It was supposed to be CNY unit lunch but today is already the 18th day of the Lunar New Year, and, in Jasmine's own words, "after 15th already, where got meaning?"

It was the same old vegetarian stuff, we went here once about 2 years ago when Nor, Michelle and me got promoted and gave the unit a lunch treat. The Abalone yusheng was ok, Jas and Lily were apprehensive about tossing it outside of the 15-days zone for fear of good luck turning to bad instead.

The New Paper's Dr Money column ran a very interesting article today - "Car - your worst investment." It compares the cost of owning a car, a van, a motorbike and taking public transport. And guess what, owning a motorbike is the cheapest. And a $70k car actually will set you back $140k, about twice of the cost, because of the interest, petrol, insurance, maintenance etc. Goodness. Imagine that. Paying an additional $70k for.... well I dont know why I am writing this anyway, I sold my first Toyota for the exact same reason, yet within 8 months I bought the Mitsubishi. I guess its the convenience, and the luxury of bringing my parents around anywhere they want to. But I think owning a motorbike will be cool too. Super cool. I'm still relatively young and I've always wanted to bike around, so I should do it now. Yes. NOW. I will go to BBDC on Friday to sign up for a Class 2B course. :)

The gift for my saYang is ready! Went to Orchard to pick it up, its small actually, different from what I saw the first time. A bit disappointed, the font is all wrong and the pic is not clear. Oh well. Met Sofian after that, he wanted to go for an audition for a talent company at NUS guild house. But we ended up at LJS and started chatting and the conversation somehow went into the 'dysfunctional family' zone. All I can say that, in respect of his privacy (and mine too!), its not cheap to live, its expensive to die, its costly to even go mad. Beam us up.
posted by zul, 12:31 AM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, February 17, 2003

Fariz treated me and Teffy to lunch at Long John's today, to thank us for being his helpers at his wedding a month ago. We tried to convince Teffy to go Bangkok, but that guy wont budge. I swear that it is like the 1000th time we have asked him out for a holiday, and he has never said yes before. It used to be exams, school, assignments, projects. But now that he has already gotten his diploma, he still dont want to go out with us. Maybe its in his blood or something. He did tell us about how he has a lot of problems to take care of at home, but we argued that all of us have problems in that department, and definitely we all need to take a break once in a while. Oh well. We tried.

As usual, went for a run at Macritchie after work. Poh Yee is still missing in action. I think she's at a course or something. Or maybe she's already taken the SRS? Heh. It was drizzling a bit but I was inspired by something I read yesterday, a guy's blog, a runner, his timing for 10km was 38mins or something like that. Wow. So I tried running as fast as I could. It was muddy and I had to jump puddles, but it was cool and I managed to complete about 5km in 23.5 mins. Still not good enough!

Went for a quick bite with Shih Wee after that at Serangoon Gardens, and while sending him back I made a wrong turn and had to make a right turn after Chomp Chomp to get back to the roundabout. And we passed by this cafe/restaurant by the roadside. What struck me was the name of the cafe, in big bold red letters. Its SAYANG restaurant!



So my Sayang, you have a restaurant named after you. I hope we can go eat there someday. You know who to call/sms/email if you want to. I am forever hopeful.
posted by zul, 10:33 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Lazy Sunday indeed. Woke up late (hey I slept at 5am last nite!) and just stared at the ceiling for an hour before finally dragging myself out of bed. Went to the gym for the 4pm class. Then picked mom up at aunt's place. All the photos that I took over the past 4 years at work have been organised into an album. Wanna see? Anyway I seem to be missing a lot of other photos. Must go find them tomorrow at the office.

Since I have lots of time to burn, I uploaded the rest of the Bintan photos, take a look.

Sunset, view from our pool


The original waterboys


Kian Chai's legs sticking out of the pool with the sunset in the background. Beautiful


Celebrating Su Yi's birthday


Life's a beach


Going home


Last lunch at the poolside cafe


I know the pics are small but until PacNet finally take over the hosting of my domain name from Singnet, I dont wanna waste time uploading big pics.
posted by zul, 10:12 PM | link | 0 comments |

Valentine's Day is a joke.

Well I've never celebrated it anyway. Iva didnt believe in it. When we were together, she even made me promise NOT to buy her anything, ESPECIALLY flowers. I thought this year would be different though. I'm no longer with her and since 2 weeks ago I've been hopin that maybe this year I'll be spending it with someone special. Fat hope.

It was Friday and the day before Lily's birthday too. My gift to her is not ready yet, the guy making it is swamped with lots of orders from couples who were rushing for Valentine's. It'll probably be ready by next Monday. Definitely Mr 27216 has given her something. I know Wee Wah did cos Lily showed me what he gave her. A stack of cards and on it were printed quotes from famous people, plus one card full of quotes from her friends. I see Wee Wah's quote and some others, and one from THAT guy. It says "I love you, no matter what." It pierced right through my heart. Well he must have said it in front of Wee Wah for him to know, I quickly put the card away and flipped through the other cards. I smiled, she was smiling from ear to ear and I did not want to spoil her joy.

During lunch time I sent my car for inspection as well as road tax renewal at Sin Ming. Set me back another $200. I swear owning a car is such a waste of money. But I love it.

5pm. I normally would have stayed back to finish up on work but I decided not to. I must leave office on the dot from now onwards! I walked around Toa Payoh and then drove to Orchard. I was feeling depressed. And I felt more down looking at all the couples at Taka, the girls carrying their flowers while their boyfriends hold their hands proudly. Bah. I'm going HOME!

Barely seconds after I got inside the car Merv called and said he's finishing work at 8pm so why not have coffee? I picked him up and we went to Frankel. I decided that since the day was best forgotten, I might as well pig out so I had the same thing Merv had, one big plate of nasi lemak, with extra rice, chicken, fish, eggs, the works. And to top it all off, we had sundaes at Kallang Mac after that!

On Saturday I went to the gym at 3 to burn off all the food I ate the night before, Meech's BodyPump class is always the hardest among all the instructors. Ran the usual after that and again I was lost as to what to do next. Merv SMSed some nonsense and I asked whether he wanna meet and the only reply I got was 'rain like xiao'. I didnt wanna hang at Orchard again so I just started driving, almost ended up at Kallang Mc to just sit and stare at people but I just drove on to Merv's house, since he didnt reply to my SMS except for the 'Rain' thing, I assumed he's stuck at home. But when I got there and and SMSed him that I'm downstairs, he called back and said he's at Ah Lau's house. I really wonder why he didnt just tell me before that. It would have been fine, I can always plan other things.

I walked around Bedok Central, it has been years since I went back there. For 10 years I walked back and forth that area, through secondary school, poly and NS. A lot of things have changed since then, but some remain the same. Murugan Sports and Video, Tokyo Cake Shop, Cathay Driving Centre are all still there. The library has underwent major renovation, even the main entrance has been relocated. A&W is gone! and a big, very busy coffeeshop has replaced it. Orchid Shop, the place where I bought my first G-shock, has been taken over by a swank jewellery place, I think it was Soo Kee or something. Since I was there I called up my Bedokian friends Sofian and KC, and suggested we go see a movie, so Sofian booked 3 tix for Chicago at GV Tampines for 1140pm and invited me to his house to watch the 820pm FA Cup Arsenal - Man U match.

Man U lost 2-0. Hah. Sofian's younger sister Erlina has really grown up. I think a lot of guys would be after her by now, I would if I was her age group. And I finally got to meet Sofian's 'sweetheart' (as his aunt called it), his pet rabbit. After the match ended we picked up KC and went to have supper at Bedok North Ave 4 market. Ah Balling balls have opened up a franchise stall there! I love that stuff. Ate the yam, black sesame and red bean balls.

Chicago was excellent. Renee and Catherine should win in their respective categories, and the movie might just win Best Picture. But I still think Moulin Rouge is better. Drove back home in the rain and still feeling nostalgic, stayed up till 5am looking through all the photos that I took with HDBians over the past 4 years. A lot of photos. A lot of memories. Some best forgotten, some to keep for eternity. I got to organise them tomorrow. I need a new album.

posted by zul, 3:44 AM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Nothing happened on Hari Raya Haji, I woke up late, sent my family to Mak Hitam's place around 3pm and made my way to the gym. William was lousy, he couldnt get the class working and kept making mistakes. Ran for 5k, left the gym and then met Merv and we had coffee at Siglap near Junia's place. Talked the usual nonsense, sometimes all I need is someone to keep on talking and everything just feels better.

I woke up at 5am today and the smell coming from the kitchen was... goodness it went straight into the depths of my stomach and the juices was flowing like siao. Mom was frying chicken wings and the rendang was simmering. Mmmm they will definitely love this! I sms Jasmine to buy bread cos the ketupat mom bought on Wed had turned bad.

Nor is on 2 days course and will be on another course next week. I was still not in the mood to work and not happy about what happened lately, so I scanned again at the TRMS, I wanted to add on to the course 'Implementing Internet Security' which Boon Nam already approved and see whether I can push him a bit more. So I sent him an email just before lunch time "There is a Macromedia Flash course for 3 days, and the ISO14001 Committee has expressed their wish to have flash animations on our website. Can I go?"

Lunch was excellent, I invited Jasmine, Lucy, Lily, Wee Wah, Thomas and Judy to Courage Room and we had my mom's chicken wings and rendang with bread. Its true what Wee Wah told me last Saturday at his open house, it feels good to invite your friends over and eat together. Right after lunch I was just walking out of my cube when Boon Nam appeared outside and said "Can I have a word with you? Lets go to Perseverance Room." Wooo hooooo 3 days in a row of 1-to-1 private meeting with the boss. This is indeed my lucky week!

Once inside he apologised to me for the way he handled things. He said that he should have gotten the full facts first before accusing me. (I guess Nor must have talked to him). Anyway I told him again about how it was Arthur himself who told me to send that email, and that the reason I submitted my leave card late was because I wanted to make sure I settled most of the outstanding things first before really knowing that I could go on leave, and that he was on child MC on that day anyway. He just nodded and apologised again. He asked whether my decision to take the SRS has got anything to do with him, and if it is, then he asked me to reconsider my decision. He even said that I can talk to the CDD SA and get him to edit my survery form. He tried to convince me by saying that the job market is bad out there, that the timing is not right cos of the graduates entering the job market in may/june, that my compensation isnt that great either. I told him my decision was made way before this, but he insist I think it through again and change it if I need to. I wont. I know I wont.

I wanted to leave the office at exactly 530 and be home to watch American Idol, but I ended up going to Macritchie first with Shih Wee for a run after he persuaded me. And what a good run today was! I rushed home just in time for Idol.. Ruben and Kimberly got in and joined Julia and Charles from last week.

Oh on a sad note, Daniel emailed the gang to say that his brother is still in hospital and need blood platelets desperately. Its weird, I always get one those 'looking for blood donors' emails and honestly, I dont really pay any attention to those, and assume somebody else will take care of it. But now its from somebody I know. And its a whole lot different. They are looking O+, that's what I am, so I've decided to go donate early next week. Anyone wanna join me?

7, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30
Those numbers meant 2.7 million dollars each for 4 ppl in Singapore tonight. And one got it from investing only $3.50 on a quick pick ordinary. Amazing.


posted by zul, 11:41 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Merv stood me up at 6am in the morning. I was supposed to pick him up at the main road. Called him twice and sms but no reply so I just went to the gym on my own. Iva was there, she has really lost weight and I like her straight hair with the long fringe. She told me Wan is taking his driving test today and I told her about my decision to leave HDB. She looked happy, and I am happy that she is.

I sent out another email to Boon Nam after Cheng Hian told me that since the course is starting on Thursday, she will have no time to find a replacement and so the seat will be wasted and ISD will still be chargeable. I wrote "We spoke yesterday, but you did not clarify on the status of whether i am still ok to go".

And within 5 minutes, he came knocking again. He wanted me to show him my Training Plan which he signed. I showed him, and it clearly stated "Mandarin Course - 4.8 days". He said that he might be in a rush then and approved without thinking. He said that he is willing to 'let go' of the course and let ISD pay for it. FINE. He told me to look for another course which is more relavant. I wanted to say "What job? I want to leave this place, remember?". But I just nodded my head and looked at him. He left.

I wanted to talk to Wee Wah but he was busy with his new job scope. Lily was chatty today though, she wanted to take the same option as me but I think she needs more time to think it through. At 3pm I met Chris and we discussed about the design of the brackets. Later on we went down to the basement carpark and with the help of his colleague and Rosli the Parking Warden, we dismantled the existing brackets in the mobile van. Boy was it hot and humid down there and after the work is done, I came up to the office all sweaty and dirty. I was just about to leave the office to meet the guys for a movie when Nor came inside my w/s. She said that she sensed the tension between me and Boon Nam in the emails, and whether my decision to leave has got anything to do with her. She told me that while I was away, Boon Nam asked her a lot of questions. I told her what happened on Saturday and she asked whether I wanted to go talk to Boon Nam again to set things straight, she will accompany me to if I wanted her. I said no, the decision to leave was made a long time ago, and what happened the past week was just the little extra push that I needed.

Picked CK up at Bt Timah then we met the others (Daniel, Sofian and Su Yian) at Plaza Singapura. 'Catch me if you can' was good, a light hearted breezy kinda movie. Abignale is a genius! CK and Su Yian then treated us dinner at KFC. Since KC was at PS too for his Mac meeting, I called him up and he joined us. I told the whole gang about what's been happening at work. Sofian had funny story too about his day of work. What he thought was a job selling pub concepts turned out to be a door-to-door thing selling encyclopedias!

posted by zul, 3:10 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

I FEEL LIBERATED.

I AM RELIEVED.

I FELT POWERFUL FOR A MOMENT.

The only thing on my mind the whole day is how to approach Boon Nam and tell him what I needed to tell him. But truth is, I am also weak. I kept on standing up and down and looking over my cubicle to see if he is around. If he is, I'd tell myself I'll go over in another 5 minutes. And another 5. I keep amending my email to him over and over again. Then at about 1150 the survey form was sent to all of us. I opened the memo, clicked on the button, and immediately hit the send button. All in under 2 minutes. I have already decided a long time ago, and it was very clear to me. I chose to take the SRS and join HDB Corp, if HDB Corp cannot accomodate me, I'd still want to leave HDB.

By the time lunch was over, quite a few people knew I've already submitted my response by checking on the Database log file. I sense a kind of hush as I walk through the corridors. I smiled.

At 4pm Peter called me and said he's at the Hub waiting for his appt and asked whether I wanna meet him to discuss my house plans. I thought, what the heck, and gave myself a 1 hour break. I went down to the lobby and chatted with him. He gave me a few forms and we arranged to meet later at night. I went up to Arthur's w/s after that and asked him a few things about work. I also asked whether Boon said anything to him. He said no, and he said that I've been a good 'service provider'. I snigger at the irony.

The moment I reached back my cube, I made some last minute changes to the email and sent it to him. I walked out right after, I couldnt believe I actually sent that. It was stinging. It was quite personal. But I didnt care. What does it matter now anyway? I spent some time at Kok Ching's w/s and then at Lily's. I thought of my first day at HDB, how me and Kok Ching came together and sat at Mei Wah's w/s, waiting for our UHs to pick us up. I thought of the first day Lily came and how we thought that she was a lian cos of the color of her hair. I walked back to my w/s and expected Boon Nam to come knocking in 5.. 4... 3...2... 1.... KNOCK KNOCK.

BINGO.

We entered Courage Room. He actually printed out the email I sent him! Cool. I felt a little bit important. That email actually made him stood up, I think he took a few minutes trying to figure out how to answer me. I looked at him and smiled. He began talking and I detect shakiness in his voice. Yes, his voice is actually shaking. He apologised for approving my training plan and now cancelling the course. He apologised again for something. I didnt focus, I was still reeling over the apology. And he said something else about how this coming financial year, I can take more courses. I told him, Boon Nam, I just want to inform you that I have submitted my response to the survey form, and I've chosen to opt for SRS.

IT FELT GOOD SAYING THAT.

He asked why. I answered , after 4 years of working here, its time to move on. This is my first job after graduation, and I dont see myself working here for life. I want to see whats happening outside. I want to do new things. I want to meet new people. I dont want to be stuck here. I've always wanted to leave, every beginning of each year since 2000, I've promised myself to leave but eventually didnt. This is a good time to do just that, and I want to take this opportunity.

He said it'll be a big loss to the department. And he began his praise tactics again. I told him I have already fulfilled my potential here and he interrupted, "no you havent, if you stayed on, I am sure you will move on to much bigger things!". I told him no, I have made up my mind to leave. He asked whether if I was rotated, I would change my mind. Again, I said, NO. I asked whether mgt will let me go. He said I am definitely not the kind of person they would let go. But they wont retain people who dont have the heart to work here also. My heart left this place since mid 2002.

I cant remember what else was said. He did thank me for being frank. I can be more frank with him if I want to. I'll save it for another session. We left the room, and I went back to my w/s and actually laughed. SUCH A RELIEF.

Went running at Macritchie with Shih Wee after that, Poh Yee was nowhere to be found. I drove him back to office after that and I went up for a while to print out the email I sent out. I met Mervin for dinner at Raffles Hospital and showed him the email. He is disappointed i didnt escalate i.e. cc the email to SH and even CIO. And he is even more disappointed that there was no conclusion to the course issue, yes an apology was offered, but Boon Nam didnt specifically say if I can go to the course now. Ahh tomorrow I shall tekan him some more.

Peter came to my house at about 11pm. He looked around and gave his preliminary evaluation. The whole family is pretty much in unison about selling the house. I will meet him again later this week, probably with Ping and Mervin, to have another look at the house and also to discuss my financial status etc. I'm tired now and in need of a good sleep.

"I wanna run through the halls of my high school, I wanna scream at the top of my lungs,
I just found out that there's no such thing as a real world, just a lie you have to rise above"

- No such thing
posted by zul, 12:47 AM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, February 09, 2003

It was an OK weekend. I was furious mad on Saturday morning but the rest of the weekend turned out well.

Boon Nam. For 3 years plus I respected him. He was a cool boss, always calm, always in control, always knows what happening and what needs to be done. But the last few months really made me just.. I cant even stand looking at him now. Lily and Wee Wah should know what I mean, we know the way he talks. He will start out first by making you proud of yourself, then he will sugar-coat his criticisms so that you wont be able to argue back. He is weak. He doesnt fight for his unit members. He is scared of Jasmine and whoever talks back to him. I should talk back to him. I will. Tomorrow.

I will do the same thing he did to me on Saturday, I will go to his workstation, say "Can you meet me at Courage Room please?", lead him there, close the door behind us and say "I need to set things straight". I am not going to write about what was said on Saturday now. Not yet, until I have a word with him tomorrow.

The open house at Wee Wah's on Saturday evening was a treat though, the whole RRS gang was there, KK, HF, Vincent, Sean and of course, that guy. Its funny, whenever I was inside the house, he'll disappear outside. And vice versa. Well most of the time I was outside anyway, chatting away with the other RR boys. And with other new friends that I made that day, but I only remember one of their names now, Aaron. (Its difficult to remember everybody's name when you're introduced to everybody in one single breadth). A nice chatty guy who gave me the impression of him being a no-nonsense, down-to-earth kind. The hot topic of the night was of course our impending doom at work. The survey will be out on Monday, and for me, I wont even have to think for a minute to know which button I'll click on. They are still undecided, KK being the most keen on taking the SRS but needed a little push factor. Dilip came too, and we left together at 9pm. I drove him to AMK cos he had a drinking session with his buddies at one of the coffeeshops there. This puzzled me - on the ride there, he asked why I always outside of the house. I kept quiet, and he probed further.. "is it because of that guy?" Fuck.. I didnt know how to answer him then. My first thought was that it must have been Wee Wah who told him, but I just asked him why he asked that. He said that he had always noticed me and Lily back at Bukit Merah, how every morning when I come up to work I'll pop over at Lily's cube first with TC and breakfast and how the laughter can always be heard when we're together in her or my w/s. And how lately in Toa Payoh, it has stopped and it is THAT guy turn's now bringing breakfast every morning to Lily. In Dilip's own words (and Indian accent) "I mean look at him, I dont think Lily is interested anyway, she just wants somebody around and it happens to be him. He looks weak, doesnt he? And Lily is aggressive". Well. Its amazing how a foreign programmer notices stuff thats happening in the office.

I was still feeling down after dropping him off so I called the only one person who can perk me up in an instant. Drove to Chai Chee, picked Mervin up and we went for coffee at Frankel. Boy that guy can eat. Lately he is a glutton! After swallowing one plate of Nasi Lemak, he showed me his belly that would make Peter proud. I poured out my grieveances and heartaches (PLUS the fact that Liverpool drew 1-1 with Middlesborough that same night) and he taught me a new concept - ESCALATION. Wont go into details now. The machinery will be set in motion tomorrow.

Sunday turned out to be a surprise. I was expecting a slow day, woke up at 11 and thought of going to the gym at 3ish, but mom suddenly told me that she wanted to go to JB to buy some hari raya stuff for Wednesday. So I rushed to the gym, joined the 1pm BodyPump class, ran for 5km, and was back at Pasir Ris at 3pm to pick her, dad, allan and mak hitam up. Smooth journey all the way there and back home, no jams. They shopped at Extra and then we had dinner at Lido Beach. Same seafood stuff, we wanted to go to Singgah Selalu at first but it has closed down cos the city is developing the area and turning it into a resort or something.

Tomorrow is a new day. I am looking forward to it.
posted by zul, 11:09 PM | link | 0 comments |

Where were we? Thursday.

I got out of bed, opened the sliding door and jumped straight into the pool. BLISS. Everyone else was still asleep, but soon KC and Sofian woke up, then the girls. They're always the last to wake up. Goodness.

Anyway, after a breakfast of toast and tuna, KC and me decided to go to the Asmara Spa at Mayang Sari. Its run by the same company that run the Aspara at Amara back in Singapore. Same Singapore prices, a 1 hour massage cost the usual $60-70ish and a body scrub about $50. Both of us chose the Relaxing Massage using Freshmint. We had about an hour to spare before the massage and it was drizzling so we went to the lobby area to relax at the sofas. A bus pulled over soon after and off came another batch of new tourists. Among them I spotted another Calif gym regular, he was with another guy. Is the place becoming the new gay hideaway or something? There was some commotion going on in a corner, a group of angmohs were gathered, the men in suits and the ladies in white dresses. A few hotel staff were dressed in traditional Malay suits and holding rebanas. I was sitting there still wondering what's going on when out of the blue, right on the beach, an elephant appeared, walking merrily (in fact I thought I saw it smiling all the way). It made a turn into the lobby, kneeled down and allowed its rider, a guy dressed in a white suit, to step down. Accompanied by 4 men wearing tribal clothes and chanting some war cries, the guy walked towards the gathering. A lady joined him and then another guy welcomed them, faced the couple and started to say something while looking at a book. It was a wedding!!! And how grand and lovely it was! Imagine that, complete with elephant and tribal warriors and set in a seaside resort. And I forgot to bring my camera to capture it. Wonderful.

The massage was pretty ok, the masseuse was a bit on the big side, but I wasnt expecting a waifish Indonesian girl to treat me anyway, and big firm hands are a big plus for massages. The spa setting was nice, a lot more authentic than the concrete walls and closed-concept environment of the spas in Singapore. The attached outdoor bath is nicely hidden by trees and wood stilts and the natural sound of leaves blowing outside is a lot more therapeutic than recorded sound coming from CDs. We walked back to the unit after that and the girls and Sofian were busy cooking curry chicken for dinner. It was already about 2pm, and since KC has not been to Pasar Oleh-Oleh, the guys decided to go there while the water girls again chose to stay and make maximum use of the private pool.

While waiting for the internal shuttle bus at Nirwana, Sofian bumped into an ex-colleague, a 'work crush of 2001'. He chatted away with her for about 20 mins, and when he joined us back he said "Would you mind if my friend and her friends join us for dinner tonight?" Go ahead, there's plenty of food and it would be nice to have more people in the unit anyway. It was a quick trip to Pasar Oleh-Oleh, we reached there at 345pm, ate our lunch (fish porridge, ayam bakar and fries), KC bought some DVDs, I bought bread, and we took the 430pm bus back to the villa.

At night just before dinner was served and right after American Idol started on TV, Sofian's friends came over. The curry chicken turned out to be edible, no taste but hey, it was their first try at it. Also on the table were sardines, more canned satay chicken, omelette and sausages. Me, Wan Theng and Su Yi had our dinner in front of the TV while watching Idol (Julia got in!) while KC, Sofian and his 3 lovely lady friends had theirs at the dinner table. They were really really impressed with our villa, theirs were just a typical hotel room at Nirwana. We fired the fireworks out by the pool after that, the Saturn missiles were really cool, all 25 shot up one by one, illuminating the dark sky and making a lot of noise. But the 3 rockets were a bit of a disappointment, they did not emit any lights and did not shoot up at all, only made a really LOUD piercing noise for about 15 seconds before exploding into one big BOOM! I bet you, even the security guards at the post down the hill must have heard the loud bangs. :)

After Sofian's friends left, we cosied ourselves around the TV, brought out the snacks and watched Final Destination 2. This movie critic says, catch it at the cinemas. Even better than the first one. Sofian then wanted to watch another scary movie and he insisted we all watch The Exorcist. He even switched off all the lights and tried to get us in the mood. But you know the movie, its real scary and all, but it was made in 1973 and the first hour is reallly draggy and slow. The girls and KC made fun of it, they were teasing it throughout and made Sofian looked stupid. KC kept fast forwarding it, egged on by the girls to just "get it over and done with". They did not give Sofian any face at all. I pitied him, he just kept quiet sitting on the sofa. I knew how disappointed he must have felt. When the show ended the girls immediately put on the 'Catch me if you can' VCD and Sofian went into the kitchen and made himself 2.5 packs of instant noodle. That must have been therapy for him.

When the clock went past midnight, we took out the cake from the fridge and celebrated Su Yi's birthday. She turned 25 and looked real glad we took the effort to surprise her. The girls continued to watch the VCD and I hit the pillows soon after. Friday was non-eventful, woke up and went for my last dip in the pool, the sun decided to come out and shine after 4 days of mostly dark skies. We packed and cleaned up the unit and checked out at exactly 12 noon. Had lunch at Nirwana's poolside cafe then took the 230pm ferry back to Singapore.

All in all, I rate the trip 7.5, the villa was cool and the companions are great, but still I think I would have much more fun if the usual gang is around. I shouldnt complain, I am back and relaxed and would go there again if I am balloted. Its 3am and I really need to sleep. Will upload the pics and write about Saturday tomorrow.

posted by zul, 2:15 AM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, February 07, 2003

I'm back!!!

Before I forget, while we were waiting for our taxis at TMFT, I saw this big burly angmoh guy and he had a white t-shirt on which says, in big bold letters,

"I HAVE A BODY OF A GOD". And in small print below it,
"Unfortunately, it's Buddha's".

Hhahahahahah! :) I want that T-shirt!

Anyway, its good to be back in Singapore. I miss my car. I miss my broadband internet access. I miss my room. I miss my mother. Heh.

It was an excellent 5 days and 4 nights in Bintan. Felt like only a day had passed by. Sofian and me reached the resort on Monday at about 4pm. The moment we reached the ferry terminal we were given the exclusive treatment, different from the other people who stayed at the other villas. You see, Bintan Internation Resorts is huge, its practically the whole northern part of the island, about the size of Punggol, Sengkang and Pasir Ris. Its weird actually, its like Singapore bought over the north of the Island and turned it into a resort. The boundaries are very clear, there's a security post and barbed wires separating the Indonesian part of the Island and the Singaporean part. This is interesting, and I shall get back to that later.

There are a few resorts in that area, Banyan Tree, Club Med, and Nirwana. And inside Nirwana, there's Mayang Sari, Mana-Mana, Banyan Biru, Nirwana Hotel and Indra Maya. We' stayed at Indra Maya, and its the most exclusive of the lot. Private villa with private pool overlooking the sea. Really swank. Mayang Sari has East Coast type of chalets, Mana-mana has cabanas that look a lot like the air-con huts at Sentosa. Nirwana Hotels are just that, 3 storey buildings with hotel rooms. And so guests staying at Indra Maya are treated differently. We're like the District 10 area of the resort.

A guy picked us up from the terminal and drove us in a private bus straight to Mayang Sari, which is about a km away from Indra Maya. Our bags were brought up first in a buggy, and 30mins later the driver came back and drove us up to our unit, Tortoise B. Cool man. Look at the pics and you'll know what I mean

Our very own private pool!


The rooms

The boys' room and the girls' room


My grand room


Sunken bath and entrance


The living room and kitchen


Sofian giving a toast to my new house! I wish.


Since it was only the 2 of us that night, we just chilled out in the master bedroom and watched American Idol. I missed the first 2 episodes but caught up with that encore 2 hours episode. Real funny, esp that Edgar Nova guy who did the Enrique Iglesias song.. "You can run, you can hide, but you cant escape my love.. love.. love". Heh. After that about 8pm we drove the buggy down to Nirwana and took the bus to Pasar Oleh-Oleh. Its still within the Bintan Resort area and its only about 10mins away. Kinda like The Malay Village at Geylang. And just as dead. Two pubs/coffeeshops, 3 supermarkets, a few shops selling cheap clothes, thats it. We had dinner and talked a while. The prices are the same as Singapore's, chicken rice, mee goreng etc at $3.50. Bought some more stuff at the supermarket and was back at the villa at about 1030. Oh and I saw Toni, the Cali Gym instructor while waiting for the bus. She was with a lady friend and was talking to the staff there about getting to the Thai Restaurant for dinner with this commanding voice "But the bus will take us to the Thai Restaurant, NO? We want to eat Thai food tonight!".

When I woke up the next morning Sofian was already cooking toast. Roti Telur. We took the buggy out and I taught him how to drive, we parked at Mayang Sari and walked along the beach to Mana-mana, passed Nirwana and Banyan Biru and found the Wakatobi Trail. Started to walk for about 200m then decided to walk back as he was wearing his slippers and it was muddy after the rain. And guess what, while passing by the Mana-mana beach I saw a girl taking pics of a guy posing topless for her. A pretty girl, she looked like Sharon Tong in SPG attire. She looked at me, and hand signalled, which I instantly recognised as "Would you take a photo of us please?" I smiled, took the camera from her and took a photo of the couple. When I was returning back the camera I looked at the guy and wham! Its Gary Tan! Gary from Gan Eng Seng. We were in the same class in Sec 1 & 2. He used to sit beside me in class and he played the French Horn in the band. A real nice guy, rich. I remembered he stayed at one of those private houses at West Coast. I still remember going out with the gang then, him, me, Daud, Desmond etc. One incident stuck in my mind, we went to Wisma Atria once and the in thing then was the brand [Ix:iz] (Anybody remember that brand?). Gary had the whole collection, the pencil case, the pen, etc. And he wanted to get the wallet too so we all tagged along. We went to Isetan and he pointed out one wallet to the salesgirl, it cost about $40 and he just took one look and paid for it. I was thinking then, wow, I couldnt afford that. If it was me, I would have thought about buying it a million times before finally deciding not to. And I really wanted it. I saved and saved and finally managed to get that wallet when I was Sec 3 or something. After the brand had lost its cool factor. I digress. Anyhoo, I said to him "Hey arent you Gary?". And he smiled and said "Heyyyyyyyy!!! You're from Gan Eng Seng right? You were in the band!". Yeah, and you probably dont remember my name, I thought. His girl extended her hand and introduced herself (I cant remember her name now, Winnie? Wendy?). And she asked "And you are?". I said "Zul" and Gary lighted up... "Yesss Zul". And I quipped to him "Your wife?". And they blushed. Ho ho ho. They looked kinda weird to me. Maybe he's just there to bonk her or something. I said goodbye and walked away.

At about 2pm we drove back to Mayang Sari and waited for the girls to arrive. Wan Theng is 23, a lively, outspoken girl. Always jumping around and really sociable. Her sister, Su Yi, is 25. Reserved and doesnt talk much. And truth be told, less prettier than her sister. I guess it shows in their personalities, the more attractive one will always be more confident. The moment they got to the villa, they changed into their swimming costumes and headed straight for the pool. And they spent about 2 hours just lounging and relaxing. We had to get them out of there to go pick Kian Chai up. Sofian drove the buggy back to Mayang Sari, he drove for almost the entire trip. I guess it was natural, I was already itching to drive my car. And KC came right on time, at 845pm. I was very glad to see him, he is likeable in all situations, non-confrontational, gets along well with everybody. And he got along well with the girls :) And I wanted to prove to Mervin that he'll come, Mervin had said that KC will surely cancel at the last minute. That night we had fried rice for dinner, all of us had a hand in cooking, Sofian cooked the rice, the girls heated up the canned food and made soup, KC set the table and I... I waited for them to finish. We were like the Brady Bunch or the Partridge Family! Chatted and chatted after that and went to bed. The girls took one room (the one with the queen size bed), Sofian and KC took the room with 2 twin beds, and I slept all alone in the master bedroom with the king sized bed, attached sunken bath and TV, overlooking the pool. I felt like the master of the house. Indulge me, if you will :)

Wednesday, KC, Sofian and me decided to rent a car and go to Tanjong Pinang. We were told the ride there will take 3 hours to and fro, and the car rental is $60 for 6 hours, plus driver and petrol. That means we will have 3 hours to spend there. The girls decided not to go and stayed back at the villa to bum around at the pool (Sofian told me later that the real reason is that they are a little tight on money, both of them are not working). We set of at 11am and this is the interesting part... I was in the front seat with the driver and we chatted throughout the entire journey. I didnt know about the border and two separated areas of the island and thought the rest of the island pretty much look the same as what I've seen so far. After driving for about 20mins, we hit a security post, complete with road barriers and serious looking guards. Its really like passing by another Customs to get to another country. The driver said "We are now getting out of the Singaporen area and into the Indonesian area". And once out, the differences betweeen the 2 areas were striking. From well-maintained roads and friendly-looking forests to dangerous looking jungles and roads with potholes so big, its almost impossible to drive straight through some areas. And the houses that line the roads, they looked exactly the same as the ones I saw at Batam. The people look really poor, and most were selling petrol in mineral water bottles and whatever containers they can find. Kok Ching told me that he once worked at the Bintan Management Office and he said that the arrangement between Bintan and Singapore is that Singapore is allowed to take over the northern part of the island and turned it to a resort area, and for the next 99 years, we are allowed to run it and get all the money out of it. After which, the Bintan govt will take over the management of the resorts and whatever it is that has been built. Interesting partnership. Its just funny that the Bintan people are themselves not allowed and to enter a huge part of their own island and kept out of it so that Singaporeans can come and relax and treat it as their own... second island.

The driver looked like he is in his 50s, he told me he's from Sumatra and used to work in Jakarta as a bus driver. He left Jakarta and came to Bintan with his family 4 years ago and has been working at the car rental company ever since. Too much unrest and not safe to live in Jakarta, he said. I asked him whether he's been to Singapore and he said that Singapore is only for the rich and that he cant afford to spend a single day there. I wonder how much of the $60 goes to his salary. He asked a lot of questions on what I do in Singapore (Sofian and KC were already sleeping in the back seat) and what we can do at Tg Pinang. It was raining then and he said "Lots of Singaporeans come to Tg Pinang to look for girls. This kind of weather, good, cool, nice to close-close". Out of curiousity (yes, ONLY out of curiousity) I asked him how much it would cost to get "close-close" to a girl. He said, complete with a room, and young and pretty girls, about $40-$50 an hour. The oldest profession is still the most lucrative and alive, no matter where you go.

The ride was torturous. The roads were winding and went up and down hills every few minutes. It was worst than driving on my own for 5 hours to KL. We finally reached the town at about 1240, and the driver (Sheesh I didnt even ask for his name, so I'll just refer to him as Pak) took us to a seafood restaurant for lunch first. Since Sofian cant eat seafood (and most other food on earth) KC and me shared fried rice, kangkong and butter chicken. As usual, Singapore prices. Then we were driven to the main shopping area near the Tg Pinang Ferry Terminal. Very, very luan. Rows and rows of shophouses and lots of stalls along the already busy roads. A guy followed Sofian for 10 minutes trying to beg money out of him. We walked on for about 20minutes and it started to rain again. By that time we had ventured deeper and I was getting slightly uncomfortable at the stares of the workers near the wharf area, so we u-turned. Found a money changer, changed $50 and walked inside a shop owned by a jolly old Chinese man wearing singlet and pyjamas. He looked like the ah pek that used to tend to the shop at Telok Blangah. I bought 4 packs of Keropok Belinjau for mom and Sofian bought crackers for his mom. Further down the road we found a stall selling a variety of fireworks. Why cant Singapore sell this stuff? We took a box of 25 'Saturn missiles' and 3 mean-looking rocket-type fireworks. Really tempted to buy the huge ones that can probably shoot fireworks that can rival the NDP ones. I bought some oranges and apples for the girls and then went back to the car. Pak hurriedly ran when he saw us and offered to carry the stuff back to the car for us. Everybody looked. I felt funny and went inside the car and told Pak we're looking for chickens. And I meant real chickens. The kind you cook. Not THAT kind of chicken. Sofian and the girls want to cook curry chicken tonight and we couldnt find any wet market or supermarkets. So Pak drove us to Ramayana, a 2 storey shopping centre, similar to .. hmm Katong SC. It had a NTUC type of supermarket, and I bought drumsticks and breasts. KC bought beer, real cheap, about $1.20 per can. We set off at 330pm and reached back Mayang Sari right on the dot at 5pm.

A weird thing I noticed at Tg Pinang. The plastic bag that Ah Pek used to pack my keropok and Sofian's crackers.. they're NTUC's with Singapore addresses printed on it. The plastic bag for the fireworks, have 'Freshmart' printed on it with a Tampines address. Its amazing how those bags travelled from Singapore and found their way to the shops and roadside stalls in Tg Pinang and re-used to pack stuff there. I just hope my mother wont think that I've forgotten about the keropok and bought them at the local NTUC.

We had instant noodles for dinner, the girls cooked for us. After that us guys jumped into the pool for a much needed rest from the ride back and forth in the cramped old Mazda. Sofian got a little brave and jumped in an hour later, and soon he was begging us to teach him how to swim. Me and KC taught him frogstyle, and it was impossible for him to learn in a few hours but he did manage to gain more confidence and swim a few strokes back and forth the breadth of the pool. We got out of the pool at 10pm and watched Charmed and Smallville on TV. I fell asleep during the last 15 minutes of Smallville. Too damn tired so I retired to my grand master bedroom :)

This is getting too long and I've written for about 2 hours already. Its midnight and I'm working tomorrow. Still got a lot to write about Thurs and Fri so I think I'll continue tomorrow. Will upload more pics too. Kriss Kross is on MTV Classic. I wonder what happened to the 2 boys. Anyway, goodnight!
posted by zul, 9:27 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, February 03, 2003

I'm all set to go! Waiting for Sofian to come over then dad will send us to TMFT. Although in the back of my mind I am atill hoping that either Mervin, Daniel and/or Chee Koon will call me later or tomorrow and tell me that they can join us. I wish. I guess I'll just have to make the best of it, and I'll have fun no matter what. YES! This will be MY retreat after slogging in the office for the past 2 weeks. Adios, amigos. I'm outta here.
posted by zul, 11:04 AM | link | 0 comments |

One more day to Bintan!

My room is in a mess now. Clothes, toiletries, food.. all strewn on the floor. I'll pack them later. After the Liverpool - West Ham match. 3-0 now, 15 more mins to go. Barros, Gerrard and Heskey. Way to go!

Rushed home from Adrian's house to catch the match, Mervin brought me there for CNY visit. Big house at 33 Dunsfold Drive, along Braddel Road. I counted 5 bedrooms plus a really big living room. Really nice people, Adrian, his wife and his parents. Mervin promised we'd be there for only a while "Just passed 2 oranges and that's it". But I was stuck there for almost 1.5hrs! Sometimes he can be so long-winded, they were talking about stocks and shares and whatnots.

Earlier on we had dinner at Newton, and while I was eating my Hor Fun we spotted this young Malay couple sitting opposite us. The girl was wearing a red Cheongsam top and the guy had on a red Chinese collar shirt. Mervin was playing with his camera at that time and he asked me "Do you think they'd mind if I take their picture?". I told him to just go ahead and asked. And in a second he was snapping away at the couple. The girl must be flattered, the guy must be wondering whether we're gonna superimpose their faces and post it on the web or something. We're not gonna do that. I'll just post it here on my blog. :)

Even got her email address. I think she works at the Ascott.




It was a day of taking other people's photos actually. When we were at HMV's Spinelli earlier I played with his camera and just snapped at a few random people across our table, unnoticed. I feel like the Bangbus brothers searching for the next victim to bring back to the van and.. Maybe I'll post the photos here too. Nahhh..

Had a good workout at the gym, ran and went to Deborah's 130pm BodyPump. She waved hi. Its nice to know they notice you in their class. I must be doing something right :)

The match has ended. 3-0 :) Still sixth in the table. Time to pack. Will leave the house at 11am tomorrow, have to meet Sofian first to do some last minute shopping. Need to get eggs, bread etc. The ferry's at 2pm. Hopefully the girls will be those sporting type and not the girly girly ones. Whatever happens, I just wanna relax and escape to the zone. I will continue to write if there are any internet access in the resort, if not, expect a long entry when I get back on the 7th. Until then, I'm gone. *POOF*

"Soon I'll grow up, and I wont even flinch at your name,
soon I'll grow up, and I wont even flinch at your name"

- Flinch

posted by zul, 12:20 AM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, February 02, 2003

I woke up at 1pm today. It has been at least 2 weeks since I've had sleep this good and woke up this late. Mmmm I was smiling when I opened my eyes and looked at my watch. I should not get used to this.

Got a call from Sofian soon after and I picked him up at White Sands an hour later. Time to go shopping for Bintan! He was out visiting his grandmother at Pasir Ris, he looked very 'festive' wearing a red shirt. His mother is Chinese and I wondered how its like to be in his shoes. His parents are separated, might be divorced, all I know is that mom lives in Yishun and he stays with Dad at Bedok.

We went to Giant at Parkway, it was probably the only thing opened today. Bought the usual chalet stuff, and rice too! He said he wants to cook, and even bought coconut cream and curry powder. Heh. Cook all you want, if its good, I'll eat it. If not, I've got my sardines, tuna and canned chicken. Had a quick lunch (He had chicken rice but gave me the chicken and only ate the rice), I sent him home right after that and went to the gym. Must run... must...

Saw that guy from "Money". The malay guy, Pierre Png's best friend in that show. Iva told me once that he's gay. I can see why now. Prrffhtth. I ran, carried some weights, felt good about it and was out of the gym by 7pm. Drove to Boy accident area to meet Mervin and Peter and was pleasantly surprised to see Sook Ping! Have not seen her since.. hmm I think it has been more than a year. Everybody was wearing red, Mervin in a long-sleeved pin-striped shirt, Peter in a red polo and Sook Ping in a red body-hugging top. I really miss those days with Merv, her, Elaine etc. And the chat today was hilarious! We covered everything from HDB, to my plans of selling the house, to Adam and Eve and sex, sex and more sex. Peter was explaining about how sad it is that I didnt do it with Iva when we were together. "WASTED", he said. And his explanation was absurd! He makes it seems that every Singaporean woman would already have/wants to/is ready/willing to have sex by the time she is 16. Merv argued all the way to Adam and Eve's first encounter, up to the little details of how they were positioned and how the first penetration could have happened. Somebody should tape down the conversation, nonsense would be an understatement. Pure drivel.

One more day to Bintan. :)
posted by zul, 12:37 AM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Its Friday and its half day. Chinese New Year Eve. Supposed to be a relaxing day. But the moment I stepped into the office I knew the same things that happened the past week will happen again. Nor and our CPs were still making last minute changes to the programs. Shekar informed me that he made yet another change to the properties file. 5th revision. Kok Ching and Bessie need to be involved. So I ran back and forth trying to get things done before 1pm. Shih Wee, Andrew and KK came over to VV's w/s and we took some photos. Leong and Ai Boon were going around shaking hands with everybody.

Before I know it, it was already 1pm. Its Friday. I have to be somewhere every Friday... oh the Mosque! Man I was too busy and it didnt feel like a Friday, it felt like a Saturday. Nor and Dilip just entered the Server Room so I told Shekar that I had to go off for a while. Mervin then called and said he's meeting Peter for tea at 2pm at Kembangan. I was late for mosque anyway, but I really didnt want to leave Nor and the CPs behind. So I drove out, made a turn at Toa Payoh Central and drove back into the car park. I must be mad. I went to the Gourmet Paradise to look for food but it was closed, so I went up to the 1st floor. BreadTalk was also closed. Went to 7-11 and bought one of those Chicken Rolls and went up to the office again. Shekar was still there, he borrowed my staff pass to go downstairs and have lunch. Nor and Dilip still holed up in the server room. I looked for VV but he wasnt around, he's supposed to shift over to OAS today. I smsed him and he replied "Coming up with KK and CT now after lunch". Okay. Michelin man still around. I guess with Princess back in Kajangvale (hmm why didnt he follow her?) he's free enough to help. I decided then to leave everybody behind, fuck it, and meet Mervin and Peter for tea.

It was a good conversation, mostly talked about MLMs and Land Banking. Seems like Peter was approached by Wharton (is that how you spell it?) too and he thinks that Land Banking at Canada is a big scam. Just last night VV ICQed me and said he thinks that it is a scam and that CT and Lily only tell him how much to pay and that there are no statements at all. Weird man, I wish him all the best with his Bel'Air thing.

Left Kembangan at went to the gym. Saw Mark Chan in the locker room talking to some Chinese guy. He talks and acts so GAY, even Dick Lee will look straight beside him. Goodness. I went for the 530pm BodyPump class with Toni then ran for 5km. It was still raining heavily when I came out of the gym at almost 8pm. Made arrangements with Mervin then drove to his house to pick him up, and then picked Audrey up from her place. We somehow ended up at Changi Airport's Coffee Club Express. Took some pics. Mervin and Audrey talked mostly about whats happening in their office so I just pretended to know what's going on. We made fun at one of the staff there, this guy in specs who is running around doing most of the things himself. I think he's the floor manager or something cos he was wearing a tie. whooaaaa. He's SNAPPY. Hahahahha. Mervin thinks he's gay. But to him, the whole world is.

Peter called and we arranged to meet him and his 7- (or 9?) year old niece Ivan at Tampines 201D Coffeeshop at 1145pm. Mervin really entertained Ivan with his Playstation nonsense. All the while when we were sitting there, a lot of sleazy characters were doing their own business. An old prostitute was arguing very loudly about some sort of fees or something. Lots of drunks guzzling down bottles and bottles of beer. At one table we saw stacks of money being passed around from a pimp to some prostitutes hanging around him. I sent Audrey home after that. I think I'm going to see more of her in the future.



posted by zul, 2:33 AM | link | 0 comments |