Tuesday, December 30, 2003

After Christmas and Boxing Day

Was out everyday for these few days after Christmas and Boxing Day... Did a couple of things, and learnt a load of things...

(1) Went to the crazy London sales, and discovered that everybody in this world is Kiasu, not only Singaporeaans.

(2) Went to watch another theatre, STOMP, and it's obviously marvellous.

(3) Went to Greenwich and was fascinated by the museums and everything in it. Stood astride the World's Prime Meridian in the courtyard of the Greenwich Royal Observatory. It's really amazing to be at two different time zones at the "same time". My left half of the body was in the 258pm time zone and my right half of the body was in the 135pm time zone. Took a couple of pictures at Greenwich too. Will post them as soon as possible after I got back from Austria.

(4) Flying off again in a couple of hours time. After arriving in London, I discover I'm ridiculously restless. Hopefully, I'll add more countries to my travel list and hopefully I'll be able to finish touring Europe within the next 2 years, so that I have some time for Africa and Middle East, and maybe the States.

That's all for now. Here's wishing everybody a Happy New Year in advance!

See ya in 10 days time.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Boxing Day

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day were spent cooping up in my 5 metres by 3 metres container, uploading my photos and rushing my lab report due on the 1st day of school next term, before I'm off to satisfy my wanderlust again in 4 days time. Just heard Danny Yeo (杨君伟) on UFM 100.3 encouraging a little girl, "When you gain something, you will lose something." How universal and true this statement is. When I decide to spend money and time to fly to Austria to look at new scenery and understand the Austrian culture, I lose that money which can be used to buy better food (instead of munching on bread and sandwiches every occasional meal), and time which I could have to do more readings. When you spent time understanding a person better, you lose out on time which can be used to understand another person in greater depth. When you spent time gaining trust from a person, you lose out the time to gain confidence from another friend.

So from the opposite angle, when you lose something, you gain something too, be it consciously or unconsciously.

Oh, I lost some time designated for writing my lab report to surf the internet, which means I've gained some knowledge on the origins of Boxing Day while reading the information on the net.

Erm... on a second thought, this sounds a bit Ah-Q... Doesn't it?

Thursday, December 25, 2003


“我住的城市从不下雪 记忆却堆满冷的感觉
思念到忘记 霓虹扫过喧哗的街 把快乐赶得好远

落单的恋人最怕过节 只能独自庆祝尽量喝醉
我爱过的人没有一个留在身边 寂寞他陪我过夜
Merry Merry Christmas, Lonely Lonely Christmas
想祝福不知该给谁 爱被我们打了死结
Lonely Lonely Christmas, Merry Merry Christmas
写了卡片能寄给谁 心碎的象街上的纸屑

落单的恋人最怕过节 只能独自庆祝尽量喝醉
我爱过的人没有一个留在身边 寂寞他陪我过夜
Merry Merry Christmas, Lonely Lonely Christmas
想祝福不知该给谁 爱被我们打了死结
Lonely Lonely Christmas, Merry Merry Christmas
写了卡片能寄给谁 心碎的象街上的纸屑

缓缓的响声听来象哀悼的音乐 眼眶的泪 温热冻结
望着电视里的无聊节目 躺在沙发上变成没知觉的植物

Merry Merry Christmas, Lonely Lonely Christmas
想祝福不知该给谁 爱被我们打了死结
Lonely Lonely Christmas, Merry Merry Christmas
写了卡片能寄给谁 心碎的象街上的纸屑

Merry Merry Christmas, Lonely Lonely Christmas
想祝福不知该给谁 爱被我们打了死结
Lonely Lonely Christmas, Merry Merry Christmas
写了卡片能寄给谁 心碎的象街上的纸屑





Wednesday, December 24, 2003

The Italian Job

Well, I haven’t been updating my blog here for the past 10 days or so cos I was away from the academic world, roaming around in Italy, satisfying my wanderlust. It has been a well-deserved break for me after those never-ending readings and essays and lab reports and psychological experiments and questionnaires and Freud and Piaget and Skinner and Pavlov and so on and so on… So, here’s to recap what I did and what happened for the past 10 days in case I forget. I tend to have a very poor short-term memory now. Tsk tsk… I can’t remember things photographically as I used to do in AHS and Hwa Chong. What has happened to my brain after two and a half years of NS? I did brain scans a couple of weeks ago and my brain seems perfectly normal. “Memory is the thing people forget with”, as Alexander Chase said wittily. So, I’ll just let nature take its course bah… Anyway, everything has to deteriorate and come to an end and die and disappear from the surface of this Earth eventually. Maybe that’s why I started this blog, so that I’m able to look back at what happened so that I will not forget things and events easily. I actually had a personal diary at the beginning of this year but damn it, I forgot to bring it with me to London and hence, I’m blogging away here. Don’t mind me being direct here if you are reading this, I’m a very direct person in case you didn’t realise and I can be sarcastic if I want to, so please pardon me if I somehow manage to offend you in one way or another unintentionally. Most often than not, I do not. Anyway, this is my personal space. You are welcomed to rebut and argue with me. You have the right to stop reading at any point of time anyway. Well, our society has always tried to be very liberal and democratic… haha

Dec 14th - 21st Birthday in Milan

The figure 21 has somewhat lost its meaning to me anymore. It isn’t as significant as compared to perhaps 10 years ago when I was still an ignorant 11-year-old kid. Attended numerous and countless birthday parties this year before I left for London. Some are good friends, some are not so close friends and some are just what I view them as acquaintances. Some people celebrated in a grand way, having parties in hotels, having birthday chalets; others preferred to have a small group gathering in their cosy neighbourhood house. No matter what, 21 seems to be a big thing, like what Ms Owyong said before in her email, “Well, this is a rather significant year in your lives - most of you will be turning 21 this year. You'll be entitled to voting, drinking and watching R(A) shows. Congratulations on your newfound independence! Use your rights wisely though!”

Yah, with 21 comes a lot of responsibilities. And maybe that’s why I dun like to grow up. I rather be the Little Prince forever and ever and be carefree and free from worries ever and ever.

So I chose to have a quiet day on my 21st birthday, leaving for Milan - a place that I never have been before but have heard so much about it - its catwalks and fashion and designer brands and Versace and Gucci and Prada and D & G and Armani and what not. But that wasn’t what Milan was all about and what it has to offer only. All human beings always have the bad habit of stereotyping (don’t deny it, this is an indisputable fact). They ignore other more important aspects and are only concerned about pragmatic and realistic stuff that will make them more glamorous and gorgeous on the appearance. People forget about Milan’s Castello Sforzesco, its magnificent cathedral, its opera and so on and so forth.

Anyway, it was a quiet day - my flatmate Sharon and her friend Elsa gave me a mini cute Tiramisu cake from Harrods after midnight before we set off for the flight to Bergamo airport at 640am. Five of us (Meow Nar, Clarisa, me and Wen Long and Shu Hua) spent a day in central Milan, enjoying the sunshine and its warmth that we are deprived of in England. The golden sun-set view from the top of the central cathedral was breathtaking. And oh yah, we had dinner at this Chinese restaurant where they played Chinese songs by Sun Yan Zi and Na Ying and so on. And we were all astonished by the cover charges of 2 euros per person that we had to pay while eating inside the restaurant. And yah, most Italian restaurants charge cover charges.

Dec 15th to 16th - Florence

We left Wen Long and Shu Hua and set off to Florence in the morning. This is one of my two favourite places in Italy out of the whole trip… The other one is Venice. Being the cradle of the Renaissance, Florence is the “proverbial chocolate cake”, is “immediately captivating” and “you will need at least four or five days to do Florence any justice at all,” as described by Lonely Planet. And yah, we spent only 2 days in Florence, which is somewhat enough for us. It is really beautiful and hopefully my pictures will somewhat portray Florence accurately and will do its beauty some justice. You just have to see Florence for yourself. And the Uffizi Gallery is wonderful though it costs 8.50 euros but the art can be a bit too much in 2 hours and we were somewhat poisoned by an overdose of paintings, sculptures and other artworks. The only regret was the 6 euros we spent on admission to this Boboli Gardens which has virtually nothing.

Dec 17th to 18th - Rome

Rome is a dirty, frustrating, chaotic city. I don’t quite like it as compared to Florence and Venice. Pickpockets and the Mafia are especially active. A friend’s friend on a separate trip lost his wallet to a pickpocket at the Metro station. But it is still beautiful in its own way. No matter what, it’s still the capital city of Italy, and its ruins and architecture and history are intriguing, and the Vatican City is splendid too. We completed touring the whole of Rome in one single day which is a considerable feat for us, taking into account Rome’s vastness. More descriptions in my photo gallery coming up in a few days time.

Dec 19th - Pompeii (and the chaotic Naples as well)

Pompeii is a place that is so rich in history and so famous and well known that it is Italy’s most popular tourist attraction. Mount Vesuvius (from afar) is simply gorgeous as well. You deserve a tight slap if you have never heard of Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius and its history.

Dec 20th to 22nd - Venice

I remembered the song “威尼斯的泪” by 永邦 instantly.

And I am dazzled by it the moment I set foot on it. The feeling is indescribable. “Perhaps no other city in the world has inspired the many superlatives heaped upon Venice by writers and travellers through the centuries,” as described by Lonely Planet somewhat illustrates how I feel about Venice’s romance and pulchritude.

The weather was good for the 1st and 3rd days in Venice. It rained on the 2nd day, and the whole city was fogged and we were shivery cold. The water buses were on strike on the first 2 days too, which compelled us to discover the city by walking.

And we had the cheapest gelato (ice cream) in Venice - only 80 cents. =p

And I’m quite sick of pizzas, spaghetti and pasta now.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Back from Italy

I'm back in the cold misty London last midnight.

Was shocked by the record number of photos I took in the 9-day Italian trip - a total of 700 photos - almost twice the amount I took in Beijing and Shanghai in Sec 4.

I guess Italy is just too beautiful. Or maybe it's just because Italy is so different from what I had seen in China and other places that I had an urge to capture everything on my Nikon.

But I sort of had an overdose of churches, cathedrals, museums...

Anyway, I'm back to reality for a couple of days before I head to Salzburg in 7 days time to satisfy my wanderlust again.

I reckon I need to see something Asian next Summer, maybe Cambodia or Vietnam. =p

Sunday, December 14, 2003







Saturday, December 13, 2003

So, after three months of Psychology, I've discovered that Psychology is actually the psychology of Psychology students...

The term has finally ended...

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Haven't been doing much work since Monday, with the exception of completing my last essay for this term (I've still got a lab report to finish... argg). It's still a few more days to the long-awaited vacations, but I'm already in holiday mood since last week. Instead of doing my readings which I'm supposed to do so, I spent the past few days booking flights, checking availability of hostels, reading up train schedules bla bla bla. And now I can't find suitable accomodation in Austria... serve me right...

Countdown to Italy: 4 more days.
and to Austria: 20 more days.

Monday, December 08, 2003









Thursday, December 04, 2003

Yeah, I've finally decided to go somewhere else after Italy, maybe Vienna or maybe Prague...

Finally there's something to look forward to after Italy, if not I'll be stuck in this gloomy dreary foggy London for 20 days doing my readings...

countdown to ITALY: 10 more days... =)

London fog

The infamous London fog is finally here today...

So foggy that I could barely see half of the towering Centrepoint at the junction of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road.

Almost got fogged by the fog...

Hopefully the fog doesn't become smog...

Or worse still, a miasma...

Wednesday, December 03, 2003




Tuesday, December 02, 2003

(1) Had a good laugh after reading the news that the IPPT 2.4 km run can be done on a treadmill in air-con gyms from next Jan onwards. Simply amusing. It's just the SAF...

(2) Another friend told me he's going home this wednesday... Everybody I know seems to be heading back to that sunny island this Christmas, except me. Why am I the odd one out? I want to go back too...

Monday, December 01, 2003

Hyde Park

The sun was shining brightly today and so I went to one of the places I have always wanted to visit - Hyde Park. It's the largest open space in central London with an area of about 145 hectares. Speaker's Corner made its debut there more than a century ago and from then on, people with a soapbox or ladder or anything else to stand on will gather here every Sunday, and just maunder and ramble on anything they can think of. Today almost every speaker was talking about God and Jesus and Christanity and other religious stuff that are bound to be deemed as highly sensitive topics in Singapore. It was rather entertaining oratory, though they didn't make sense most of all the time and the audience would just rebut spontaneously and sparked off intriguing debates... And they just kept on haranguing and couldn't be bothered with the many cameras aiming at them. And I'm one of them.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

One of my German Classes:

Teacher: Woher kommst du und wo wohnst du? (Where do you come from and where do you live in?)

Classmate A: Griechenland, Athen. (Greece, Athens)
Classmate B: Grossbritannien, London (Great Britain, London)
Classmate C: Bulgarien, Sofia (Bulgaria, Sofia)
Classmate D: Frankreich, Paris (France, Paris)
Me: Singapur, Singapur (Singapore, Singapore)

Saturday, November 29, 2003





――赵琬仪 《联合早报・现在》27/11/2003
Downloaded and listening to Colin Raye's "Love Me" in the background repeatedly now (heard it a few days ago on 933), I realised I did practically nothing the whole of today when the weather is astonishingly good. The only thing I can recall doing is watching "Matrix Revolutions" in the afternoon. Before the movie, I was just stoning at my half-written lab report on my lap top screen for the whole morning. And it is still half-written now. And after returning to my hall when the movie ended, I'm back to dazing at my laptop. What's wrong with me? I simply have no mood to do anything and everything today and even up till now, though I have no school. Instead I spent the whole evening reading through my emails, reading the message histories in ICQ, reading the letters that were read 3 months ago on the plane to London and looking at all the photos I have available online and offline in my dorm.

All of a sudden, I abominate emails and instant messaging...

Love Me - Colin Raye

I read a note my grandma wrote, back in 1923.
Grandpa kept it in his coat, and he showed it once to me.
He said, " Boy, you might not understand, but a long long time ago,
grandma's daddy didnt like me none, but i loved your grandma so."

"We had this crazy plan to meet and run away together
Get married in the first town we came to and live forever
But nailed to the tree where we were supposed to meet instead,
I found this letter, and this is what it said.
'If you get there before I do, don't give up on me.
I'll meet you when my chores are through, I don't know how long I'll be.
But I'm not gonna let you down. Darling, wait and see
And between now and then, till I see you again,
I'll be lovin' you, love me'"

I read those words just hours before my grandma passed away
In the doorway of the church where me and grandpa stopped to pray.
I know I'll never seen him cry, in all my 15 years.
But as he said these words to her, his eyes filled up with tears.
"If you get there before I do, don't give up on me.
I'll meet you when my chores are through, I don't know how long I'll be.
But I'm not gonna let you down. Darling, wait and see
And between now and then, till I see you again,
I'll be lovin' you, love me"

Friday, November 28, 2003

Strangely and rarely it's sunny and summery again though its 5 degrees celsius... The sky is virtually a cloudless azure, simply too beautiful. I wonder how long this will last.
《世界末日》     词曲:周杰伦

想笑 来伪装掉下的眼泪 点点头 承认自己会怕黑
我只求 能借一点的时间来陪 你却连同情都不给
想哭 来试探自己麻痹了没 全世界 好象只有我疲惫
无所谓 反正难过就敷衍走一回 但愿绝望和无奈远走高飞
天灰灰 会不会 让我忘了你是谁
夜越黑 梦违背 难追难回味
我的世界将被摧毁 也许事与愿违
累不累 睡不睡 单影无人相依偎
夜越黑 梦违背 有谁肯安慰
我的世界将被摧毁 或许颓废也是另一种美
天灰灰 会不会 让我入睡 夜越黑 梦违背 有谁安慰

Thursday, November 27, 2003

It's just amazing how time flies...

Two and a half months have lapsed since I embarked on this journey, and every second in this period of time has been spent orientating myself, adapting myself, and even conditioning myself to a different time zone, to a different lifestyle, to a different climate, to a different environment, to a different culture and to a different state of mind. Most if not all people (including myself before I began this odyssey) would think that at first glance, studying abroad is a glamorous thing... Yes, it is to a certain extent (probably an insignificant extent). But with the fascination and excitement of unknown and uncertainty come inevitably never-ending doubts, fears, questions and problems that seem to haunt and plague me every moment. In this process of continuous self-acclimatisation and self-accommodation, I have learnt to accept individual differences more openly; I have learnt to accept that prejudice and discrimination indeed exist and are unavoidable; I have discovered that the world out there is so dynamic and all along I've been living in this dark abyss; I have realised that there are so much more things awaiting my discovery; I have comprehended that human beings cannot survive alone... we need families and friends; I have reflected upon myself and am continuing to do so.

And along with the thrill of being able to tour around and have fun at the same time, comes the constant reminder of responsibility. Why is it that I've been able to receive education easily without any difficulties, while there are so many people out there trying means and ways to go to school (obviously I am not referring to Singapore though this might apply to a small minority)? Why is it that I'm fortunate enough to be able to come to London? Why is it that a third party that has nothing to do with me is willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and pounds to support my university education and living expenses?

Obviously with all these come expectations and obligations and the duties to perform and excel. The concept of "home" just gets reinforced and strengthened in my soul with every passing day.

After all, I guess that's what studying abroad is all about...

And this brings me to the point that I almost certainly do not understand, for example the logic to why an adolescent deciding to come abroad to study and along with him/her, he/she brings her parents/caretakers/nannies to take care of his/her everyday needs. I do not understand the purpose of people wanting to come to university and on the other hand, wanting to be spoon-fed all the time. I do not understand why people are just concerned with good grades and marks and ignore the rudimentary process of thinking and acquiring knowledge. Are we humans generally just too materialistic and superficial? A friend once told me that if university has failed to make us think, then we have failed to see the purpose of university. In fact, I think many graduates cannot think (not implying that I can think... so, it's time to reflect upon myself again...).

Hmm... what then have we been doing all this while? What is the significance of university then?
Starting off this blog with one of my favourite quotes:

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, to discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then get the whole and genuine meaness of it, and publish its meaness to the world; or, if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."

By Henry David Thoreau in "Walden or Life in the Woods"