Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Final 24 hours of 2008

Well well. I meant to take part in Eye e City 2008, which is an event where you take photos of the last 24 hours of the year, but I was just to lazy to go down and register myself. Maybe I"ll go out and take photos tomorrow, maybe not. Not really feeling in the 'take photo' mood.

Some people take the New Year on with a big hoo and hah, not me. To me it's a holiday which comes with a half day the day before if it is not a weekend. Besides, my leave officially ends today, a little hard to feel ecstatic over it no?

I much prefer Chinese New Year, but these days, Chinese New Year is losing it's charm. 'Modern' people do everything they can to show how 'modern' they are by not following traditions and even going against tradition. Isn't it odd?

People wear black on Chinese New Year, more shops stay open, some just plainly don't celebrate Chinese New Year. Yet it is considered 'modern' to partake in Christmas and such events. Yeah well, I guess Christmas is indeed more 'modern' then Chinese New Year as it has a much shorter history and though no one can say certainly in which year it started, I think we can be sure it's less then 2008 years right now as opposed to the approximately 4600 years of the Chinese Calendar (which may not be taken to mean Chinese New Year has been celebrated for 4600 years, by the way).

I love when the shops are all closed for days... it really gives you the feel of Chinese New Year!! Nowadays really no kick. Oh well. I guess that comes when people feel 'modern'.

On the topic of the colour of clothes, a lot of people these days wear black to weddings and bright colours to funerals. Don't be so old fashioned they say. Which year is it already? they claim. Yet, these are the same people who usually wear a white wedding gown, to signify purity they say.

Did they know that before Queen Victoria got married in a white gown in 1840, a lady who wore a white gown at her wedding was telling people that she was poor and did not bring anything to the marriage? The white wedding gown was popularised after Queen Victoria's wedding, as such it is commonly known as the Victorian wedding gown. That's from 1840. 168 years ago and you tell me that white gowns are not 'old fashioned'.

Ah well, but it is after all the last 24 hours of the year, and I should not be griping so much.

Next year will be a busy one! Classes, classes! Hopefully, I will be able to clear JLPT 3 at the end of the year.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Borders Bonanza

Borders is having a promotion where you get 30% off if you buy 3 books and 40% off if you buy 4 books or more. This applies to all full priced books and you get another 10% off the nett purchase price (which I guess means the price after discount) if you are a Preferred Member.

I always wonder about the term. If there is a preferred member, is there a non preferred member? Anyway the effective discount for this current promotion, if you are a Preferred Member, will be about 46%.


Time to fill up the booklists!

I went down today and this is my haul:

Robert Ludlum: The Lazarus Vendetta
Michael Crichton: Disclosure
Michael Crichton: The Terminal Man
Michael Crichton: Prey
Michael Crichton: State of Fear
Michael Crichton: Case of Need
Teach Yourself : Korean (coursebook only)
Teach Yourself : Portuguese (with 2 audio CDs and 1 coursebook)
Langenscheidt Korean - English Dictionary

My total expenditure on books at Borders today stands at $132.81. The total without discount would have been $245.95. I'm so humongously pleased with my haul, even though it meant I spent a buttload of money today.

I might go down to Borders again to pick up a couple more Robert Ludlum books.

I pretty much have all Michael Crichton books, if not duplicates of a few that I have forgotten that I have. Once his next book is published next May, that'll be the last of his books. Wonder what book that is.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Peranakan Wedding

Since my mum kept telling me about what she felt were inconsistencies in the show Little Nonya, I decided to google "Peranakan Wedding" and this was one of the first things I came across.

A video where the Peranakan Museum reenact a Peranakan Wedding.

If you notice, in this video the bride does NOT wear a Kebaya. This kinda makes sense since in those days, the bride was marrying into Chinese customs even if she was Malay.

Anyone who can provide more information on the Kebaya's role during weddings, please let me know.

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More Little Nonya Continuity Issues

I just can't keep myself from not watching this show. Maybe because I want to see what other surprises will be sprung on us next.

From the last time I commented on this show, so much has happened. I'll just pick some that I remember cos I missed some episodes and others were a blur.

1) The scene where Yueniang was pushed into the well.... the well is situated at the kitchen and that day they were having Tok Panjang. NOBODY needed to get water from the well? Then why did they need a well? Fine, maybe they really didn't need water from the well. NOBODY thought the stuff stacked on the well looked out of place and wanted to put them back where they belong? This is a house full of servants, remember? Not your home or my home where we lazy till we can't be bothered to pick up after ourselves.

2) The scene where Liu Yidao's mother died. So many years already the white blouse still fits her perfectly. Amazing leh. And pristine white.

*My mum keeps nagging to me that Peranakan ladies do not wear the Kebaya during weddings. She says that they wear the 风褂 (phoenix robes). Well, I have seen such photos but in the show they all wear Kebaya. Somemore got stories and reasons for the rites, rituals and what they wear. All the stories and reasons must come from some place right? Can't be fictional right?*

3) In those days, the trip from Singapore to Malacca seems very short. The characters freely appear in Singapore or Malacca. I think they must have had something even better than the North South Highway in those days!

4) This is something I'd like to see them explain. Remember that the photo of Juxiang that Yousuke coloured in Japan? It was supposedly sent to Yueniang by his sister. Now... if Yousuke died in the war leaving nothing behind for Yueniang, how would Yueniang have gotten in touch with her relatives in Japan? Maybe you think Yousuke's sister has Yousuke's address since he was writing all the letters. True. However, that was the address of the photo studio in Singapore where Yueniang no longer lives.

Maybe she'll go and buy that place for keepsakes or something and the photo happened to arrive there after she did that?

5) This is more of my own curiousity. How old is Tao Jie in present time, really? 90 years old maybe? I'm estimating based on Yueniang's age. Yueniang was born around the time of the Japanese invasion of Singapore, so we can put that at around 1937-1942 (her father went back to Japan before the Japanese invaded Singapore). I think 1940 - 1942 is more plausible.

Before Yueniang was born, Tao Jie was already working in the Huang Family as a servant and had taken vows of celibacy. So I think she is at least 16-18 years old at that time. 1940 - 16 = 1922. 84 years old! Or thereabouts.

Next is something which makes me want to go faceplam. The stupid girl, keep changing her mind like she's selling roti prata. Don't want to marry Chen Xi when she found out who he was. Then tell him to ask fro her hand in marriage or abscond with her. Then when he does and people let her escape the house, she changes her mind and runs all the way back. After getting married to Liu Yidao, she changes her bloody mind AGAIN and says she doesn't want to be married to Liu Yidao. W T H.

Oh and this leads to continuity point 6.

6) I know in this show, the white blouse is very important. Need to keep till death. Still.. if you were to run from a home to a railway station and then back, don't you think you would at least be.... you know... sweaty? Unless your home is next to or AT the railway station, but we're talking about rich people, will they stay next to railway stations? I think it's at least a 2 KM run for her to the station and back loh. Hair is still ever so tidy and pretty, blouse is still so white and dry.... and she was running through vegetation to boot.

Watching this show really made me think that Nonya have nothing better to do then to fight over men with sewing and cooking. Oh yes, my mum insists that's not true either.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Japanese gifts for Chinese New Year.

Yesterday, I came across a promotional pamphlet Fraser's Centrepoint Malls. As part of their Chinese New Year promotional efforts, they were giving out Furoshiki (Japanese wrapping cloths). I wonder how many people had a thought flash past their mind like I did, that it is so ironic.

Why? 15th February 1942. The date ring a bell? That was the 1st day of Chinese New year in 1942. That was also the day the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese.

I'm not saying we must all hate them and boycott them. I just thought it an interesting combination. Furoshiki for Chinese New Year lol.

I like Japanese stuff pretty much like the average joe on the street. The one thing I don't like is their military. Oh yeah they do have a military force in case you hadn't noticed.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Excitement! EXCITEMENT!!

Today I received information that the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds Concert will be playing in Singapore next year!!

This is so amazing! When I attended the Play! Concert last year, I wrote down in the comments that I hoped for more video game related and specifically Final Fantasy related concerts.. but I didn't expect my dream to actually come true! Well, in the comments I actually wrote down Voices Concert, but Distant Worlds is just as wonderful because it's still Final Fantasy!

Attached is a program I took from the website:

2-hour concert program produced by Nobuo Uematsu and AWR Music Productions, LLC (not in performance order, subject to change):

FINAL FANTASY series: Main Theme, Swing de Chocobo




FINAL FANTASY VI: Opera "Maria and Draco"

FINAL FANTASY VII: One-Winged Angel, Opening - Bombing Mission, Aerith's Theme

FINAL FANTASY VIII: Liberi Fatali, Fisherman's Horizon, Love Grows, Don't be Afraid

FINAL FANTASY IX: Vamo' alla Flamenco


FINAL FANTASY XI: Memoro de la Stono - Distant Worlds

I wonder if they will playing Distant Worlds in instrumental version only, or will they get someone to sing the voiced version? If they get someone to sing... and this person will most likely have better english then the original singer... I wonder what the effect will be like? To listen to the original version, just look at the music playlist above this post and choose "Distant Worlds".

I just know I will love all the music. Anything written by Nobuo Uematsu is holy stuff. One Winged Angel, Liberi Fatali are very strong powerful pieces of music. Theme of Love, Love Grows, Aerith's Theme, Dear Friends are nice sweet music.. I just don't think I can pick a favourite right now. It will depend on the execution of the orchestra that day.

I am thinking about the encore piece... what will it be?? Will it be One Winged Angel: AC Version? Oh man, wouldn't it be cool if the Black Mages popped along?? Mad guitar riffs during One Winged Angel: AC Version + The Black Mages will be OMG wonderful even though I don't think it's gonna happen. Can still dream right?

Oh I just can't wait for it!! This is humongously exciting! If anyone of you does not understand why this is so exciting to me, buzz off!

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Increase Passenger Capacity on MRT!

Took a train today and guess what? They did increase passenger capacity, by ripping out seats in one section of the cabin. In each cabin, there will be one section (as defined by the area in between two doors) that has no seats at all.

Very spacious cabin!

Sure got place to stand.

Maybe City Hall MRT station will upgrade from squashed rotten sardines to just squashed sardines?

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First Driving Lesson!

My very first confirmed lesson is actually on the 5th of January, then I managed to get earlier slots on the 26th of Dec, but last night I managed to snatch a slot for today. I did not want the 8am slot cos that's too early for me.....

Anyways, I thought I'd go and apply for a PDL before the first lesson, but turns out that it was very crowded... waiting time is too long. My lesson would have started before my turn was up and then by the time my lesson ended, the TP counter would be closed.

Anyway was waiting for my lesson to start when I met someone from my workplace. Chatted up a bit and then went off to start my first lesson. Scary leh. Don't know what to expect. Stand at the car and wait?? I noticed people waiting in the front passenger seats of the cars so I followed suit. When the flood of instructors came pouring in, it was time to play "Guess who's my instructor". I'd have to say he's very patient hahaha! I guess he has no choice.

Basically today I learnt to change gear, accelerate, go round the circuit round and round and round. Didn't expect to go round the circuit, but I guess you can't be sitting in the lot all day right? The first turn was freaking hairy.

The instructor was a lil funny too. When I asked how long he had been teaching, he said 2nd day. I was wondering whetehr I had heard wrongly when he said he was joking and it was his second year. He said that he saw my face like half dead when he said second day, I told him that I was wondering if I had heard wrongly. Anyways even if it was his second day also ok mah, me = first day, lagi worse right?

Now I know why my father says the instructor for the first lesson will be suffering from severe carquake. What clutch biting point when moving off, car shake shake shake. Father knows best. Hahahahah!

Next confirmed lesson is 26th Dec. Gonna camp for last minute cancellations!

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Little Nonya Continuity Issues

I have been watching this show because I was curious about the Peranakan-Japanese romance during WWII. So far, I would say that the show is watchable but there are serious continuity issues in there.

Well, first let me address issues brought up by my mum. My mother constantly reminds me and nags about how peranakan female children do not wear the Kebaya. Instead they wear Chinese style clothing. They only wear the Kebaya after they grow up.

I have to admit that I have not watched every single episode, so if there was some continuity explanation that I have missed out, do let me know. Else, onwards!

1) Senior Yueniang said that the photo of Juxiang holding a pot of Longan tea was coloured by her father while he was in Japan. It was said that he coloured it slowly, little by little. So how long did he spend there? Later on, it was said that when Yousuke returned to Japan to visit his father, his father had already passed away and he was arrested and put to military service. From there he became a deserter and made his way down to Singapore. So.. he tuanged at home in Japan for quite some time colouring the photo before he was arrested?

2) Little Yueniang's language. When Yueniang was born, her father was not in Singapore. Her mother is deaf and mute, so how did she learn to address her mother as Nya Nya and not some other form of address? Or maybe she learnt it from Teochews / Hokkiens living in the area?

3) When Charlie Zhang saw Yousuke impersonating as an officer, he must have seen Juxiang as well. Why was he no longer interested in the fact that Juxiang appeared in front of him and had to mobilise a platoon to track down Yousuke before being able to confirm that impersonator was indeed Yousuke? Wasn't Juxiang a huge clue there?

4) Yousuke's body. Why did the Kempeitai keep his body? Little Yueniang demanded the body from the Kempeitai, got the body and even had 2 Japanese soldiers help her move and bury her parents.

5) This has got to be the one thing I simply cannot understand. The rest of the stuff listed above I can ignore due to dramatic licence. How did Yueniang know where to find her grandmother who was in Malacca? Her mother was deaf and mute as well as illiterate. She can't speak, she can't write. She mimed the address to Yueniang??

I don't think too much when I watch shows, but this one is really begging for questions to be asked.

Oh yes, my mum also keeps reminding me about how some people who have no clue what Peranakan culture is keep claiming that they are Peranakan. Seriously people go get a clue before trying to say you're not Chinese, but a Peranakan.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Learning to Drive

So, I finally decided to just get it over and done with. I don't really want or need a driving licence. I just thought I'd get it.

Maybe someone will be nice enough to give me a car after I get a licence hahahah!

I wonder how long it will take me to get the licence and how much it will cost me....

Earliest available lesson slots are in January but I'll be camping the website for trysell slots!

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