Sunday, April 30, 2006

OH What a Night!

On Saturday 29th April, Jared took me to one of the most breathe-taking performances ever! Jazz Meets the Symphony starring Jams Morrison with Lalo Schifrin with The Queensland Orchestra. It was the ONLY PERFORMANCE in Brisbane and yes, it was a FULL HOUSE!

I will remember this night for a long time. This perfect collaboration transported me to worlds unimagined and untravelled, brought tears to my eyes, had me moving my body and head from side to side, had my feet tapping to the beat of the music! Oh wow!

If there is a good excuse to have a child, this would be that my child will be able to experience the wonders and magic of music.

To top it off, we even had great seats! Second row from the front and right in front of James Morrison. As luck would have it, there was only one empty seat in the Lyric Theatre and it was right in front of me! Allelujah!

From the words of Victor Hugo:
Music express that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent
Photos from this can be viewed via MAGUSTA'S WORLD

Friday, April 28, 2006

Groovy - it only gets better!

"You're still sporting a"holiday glow!" says my boss this morning as I waltzed into the office bleary-eyed, jumper over my shoulders, handbag on my right arm and a take away muffin in my left hand.

Judging from my lack of groove this morning, I resemble one suffering from post-holiday 'disorder'! As I went about making my morning beverage of choice - instant coffee with 2 sugars and milk, my "morning person" colleague said "Your holiday postcard from Singapore arrived today!"


As I settled myself into my tasklist and appointments for the day, the glaze over my eyes evaporated as soon as I realise that next Monday is Labour Day. Public Holiday! HIP HIP HOORAY! HIP HIP HOORAY! HIP HIP HOORAY! Thank you Union! Cheers!

This is very Groovy.

As I continued scanning my eyes over the calender, I realise that Jared is taking me out on a special date tomorrow, Saturday night. We will be attending a 'James Morrison Jazz Concert' at the QLD Performing Arts Centre! This was booked last November and I can't wait!

Groovy. Groovy. Groovy.

If you don't enjoy Jazz, indulge me here. Like anything else, it takes in a lot of things. What you're missing is probably because you haven't heard the right jazz for you - you're missing the feeling of self-expression, the freedom. Jazz has this great groove to that it just makes you feel good. If you listen to it and try to understand it, you are already missing the point. If you listen to it, try and judge how good it is - is it good jazz? You've missed the point. It should make you feel good. If it doesn't right away, try other jazz.

For those of you who don' t know who James Morrison is (I won't hold it against you) since I am in such a groovy mood, here goes:

James Morrison blows! He blows a trumpet for a living (he also plays trombone, euphonium, flugel horn, tuba, saxophones and piano), and what a living! He's an internationally famous luxury-car-collecting, yacht-sailing, fly-your-own-plane-to-the-gig kind of guy. He's an entertainer, a talent scout, a businessman, a scriptwriter, a mentor, an all-round lesson in success. He's made music alongside his heros (such as Dizzy Gillespie, BB King, Ray Charles, he's married a former Miss Australian, but is he happy? Damn right he is!

I can't wait! I've got my groove back. Thanks to the Union mob, Jared and James Morrison.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Brrr...Shower Torture

The overnight temperature dropped to 13C and it was sheer torture getting into the shower.

You might think that to be nice temperature but when day time temperature is around 26C, that is quite a decent drop and believe me you, I felt it!

I braced myself for what I see to be a battle with the shower for the next few months.

The cat usually stays in the bathroom with me while I have a shower but today, she raced in and out and back into the warm covers straight away. Oh dear...

So why have a shower if I am feeling the cold? Well, I am one of those people who needs to have a shower in the morning before going to work. For some reason, being "unclean" affects my work performance (no joke). I don't feel as confident and driven when I am "unclean" so that is good enough motivation for me to brave the cold tiles and head straight to a steamy hot shower.

The steamy hot shower is usually all I need to warm my body but not this morning. I stayed in there for an extra 20 minutes after the cleaning process, in the hope that it would warm my body eventually. However time was not on my side so I screamed for Jared to put on the heater in the bathroom, yes the heater. For those who know me, I hate the heat and embrace the cold, but I was whistling a different tune this morning!

I stood in front of the heater for another 10 minutes getting ready for work. The warmth from that little electrical appliance brought colour back to my skin and put a smile on my face.

Oh is not even winter yet. Watch this space for more "torture".

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Goodbye Air-Con and Fan...

I am officially cold.

The chill in the air is a welcome change from the stifling heat of summer and scorching sun rays which has left more freckles on my not-so-youthful skin.

Woke up this morning to 12C and it was such a struggle to get out of bed! The temperature is only going to get lower and winter doesn't officially commence till 1st June. Am I complaining? Absolutely NOT!

I love winter for so many reasons. Here is some of them:
  1. I can wear my business suits comfortably to work without the tortured look on my face
  2. Hubby, I and the cat will snuggle in bed for much longer
  3. I can wear make-up and not re-touch every 5 minutes! My face won't shine!
  4. I can finally drink hot coffee and chocolate without a tissue wiping off my perspiration and peeling the jacket that is stuck to my back
  5. I can start cooking more meals using the oven
  6. I can wear other styles of apparel. Ditch the shorts and tank tops!
  7. Going for a drive and having a picnic in the sun will be PERFECT
  8. I can have long hot baths surrounded by candles and soothing music
  9. I can wear my ridiculous moose head jumper that never fails to make people laugh!
  10. Snow Ski season begins!

Some people will think me mad but this is my personal opinion and I am proud to declare that I am a WINTER LOVER!

Goodbye Air-Con and Fan...Honey, it's time to put the electric blanket on the bed!

Monday, April 24, 2006

What a Holiday!

The holiday to Singapore did not disappoint one bit. Okay, I will be realistic and say that there was one bit which disappointed us and that was the flight from Brisbane to Singapore. The SQ flight was simply horrendous! The food and service was very disappointing, considering the numerous awards the airline has won. The seats were cramped, etc we did not sleep a wink that night! Oh well...

Staying with my parents was wonderful.They fed us, all the time and we on the other hand, made sure that we swam daily so that we could still fit into our clothes by the time we got on the plane back to Brisbane!

Catching up with friends and family is definitely the highlight of this holiday. Regretably also, we couldn't catch up with everyone due to conflicting schedules and that is a real shame.

Shopping was excellent! I bought 7 pairs of shoes, 2 power suits, 1 pair pf pants, 3 tops, 2 funky bags, 2 gucci bags and was given 1 gucci bag on my birthday, stocked up on skin care products, knick knacks, etc etc...I just went crazy because I am very strict with myself in Brisbane and second, the dollar exchange was excellent and third, I am on holidays! What the heck! On top of that, my birthday also fell during our trip in Singapore so more presents again!!!! Jared spoilt me rotton on this holiday.

We also took our first cruise on this holiday. Courtesy of my parents. We had a most enjoyable time of feasting and relaxing.

Throughout the holiday, Jared and I were kept very busy. In fact, we would be out of the house by 9am and won't return till past 12 midnight. Don't know how we did it but I can tell you that that we are paying for it big time! I have been body needs to recover from the hectic but super enjoyable schedule! Age must be catching up on me.

During the two weeks, the notion of returning to Singapore to work and live popped up a few times both in my mind and also in the conversations I've had with hubby and a few close friends. To cut the long story short, it has been concluded that Singapore is a fantastic country to visit but not to live and work. It is much too hectic and overwhelming. The crowds, the traffic, the noise. But it is a great country and has so much to offer on a small island. Home for me is Brisbane. I prefer the work/life balance and also the priviledge of space offered here.

Once again, all good things must come to an end eventually. The farewell at the airport doesn't get any easier. The thought of separation with my parents breaks my heart and breaks theirs too. On the other hand, they are happy for me and know that my life is here in Brisbane.

What I have taken away with me on this holiday is not the purchases we've made but rather the strong family bond. Despite our differences, we are very similar deep down. I will visit them more often. Annually, in fact. It is all I can do from my part and I also know that there is all they expect of me. They have given me the freedom and strength to pursue my own life and destiny. In return, I shall repay them with my visits and demonstrate to them that I am truely happy with my life.

Photos of this holiday can be viewed via Magusta's World

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Before my body gives up on me...

We've had the best time in Singapore. Photos of our holiday will be posted tomorrow (Monday).

The holiday in Singapore was jam packed full of activities. Our day started at 9am and concluded at past 12 midnight! Considering we lead such a sedate live in Brisbane, I am surprise we managed to stay up so late and walked so much till our feets were sore beyond believe!

The family and friends we manage to connect with were amazing. It's been 4 years! This is way too long, I do endeavour to go back more often in the future.

The shopping was fantastic - bought about 7 pairs of shoes, 3 power suits, more tops and pants, gorgeous beaded accessories, 5 bags (including Gucci), skin care, etc etc...I have never felt this liberated when shopping but since I was on holidays, heck lah! We went with 2 bags and came back with 4. The combined weight of our luggages was about 38.5kg!

It was wonderful catching up with mum and dad. Better still that they look the same and still very active. My only living grandma is still very strong and has a healthy appetite!

There were so many highlights from this holiday which Iendeavour to recount in the next few days with pics. Despite the 2 weeks in SG, there were many friends that I couldnt meet up with due to conflicting schedules and that is a real shame.

However, I will be back soon despite the overwhelming crowds and sticky weather.

Since we got back yesterday, we've been hybernating at home. We've only been out once and that is to the supermarket. Other than that, I have been sleeping very long hours e.g. 10pm - 12noon. That is a record for me. After I woke up at 12noon, I had lunch and went back to bed from 2pm - 5pm.

So before my body gives up on me yet is my little entry.

Good night.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Uniquely Singapore, that's for sure!

The day has finally arrived...we will hop on an aeroplane bound for Singapore at 11:45pm! Will we sleep on the plane? My singaporean answer to that is, "Die Die won't sleep, must get money's worth, watch all the shows on the tv and kapo [grab and keep] all the toiletries in the toilet!" NOT.

We are looking forward to this holiday because it has been 4 years since our last visit. It would be delightful catching up with family and friends as well as the babies whom we have never met! As part of this holiday, my parents have also very generously paid for us to go on a 3 day 2 night cruise with them and my mother-in-law who now teaches in Singapore! All one big family!

Here's an excerpt from an amusing article that I came across this morning on the internet. It's titled "60 signs you've been in Singapore too long". It had me in literally laughing and shaking in my seat! Here are some that struck a cord with me:
  • You think there's nothing wrong with putting chilli sauce on everything you eat
  • You join queues without knowing or caring what the queue is for
  • You can type an SMS on your phone as quickly as you would if you had a regular keyboard
  • Your idea of a good night is having dinner at a hawker centre, drinking beer, and then going to another hawker centre and eating again
  • You would buy a $20 product you don't need if it's on sale for $10 just to save the money
  • You don't know what "kiasu" means, you have become it!
  • You would cross the entire country all day to find places that make the perfect fried noodles, or roti prata, or ice kacang or chilli crab. And none of these places would be close to each other
  • You think that $100,000 is a reasonable price for a Toyota Corolla and $1,000,000 is a reasonable price for a bungalow, but $5 for a plate of fried noodles is a barbarous outrage
  • You believe that not being able to get decent roti prata outside Singapore is enough to keep the best and brightest people from leaving
  • You don't think any dish of western food is complete without baked beans
  • You wear winter clothes indoors and summer clothes outdoors
  • You get irritated if you don't see a sign telling you how long you wait's going to be for a bus, a train, or the expressway to take you from where you want to go
  • When you cross the border into Malaysia, you automatically and deeply fear for your life and wallet. Especially your wallet! (Most recently, your car)
  • You're not bothered by the fact that the government cares whether you know how to use a toilet or urinal correctly (people squatting on toilet bowls? What the?)
  • You think that a bus is incomplete with a tv
  • You understand everything on this list!
Here's a list of travel tips compiled by Aunty in Singapore (not related to me - it was on the website)
  1. A travel agent that doesn't give you free bags is a koo bye. That's why I always like to travel with Ken Brother Reliable Air Travel. They sometimes give you more than one bag per person. Bags are an important measure of the quality of the agent
  2. Always choose a travel agent with the word "Brothers" in their name. Because their bags are always good quality one. You must have heard the song, "It Ain't Heavy, It's my Brother".
  3. Make sure your travel agent provides Chinese food throughout your trip, regardless of the country. Especially in Europe. Bad enough you're in a chow ang-moh country, surely you shouldn't have chow ang moh food also
  4. Itinerary, itinerary, itinerary. More places, more value. How long does anybody need to stay and see a place? Five minutes is all you need to get a good idea of what most tourist "attractions" are about: they're old and last time got things happen there. See quickly, take picture and then hurry up go to factory outlet or casino
  5. Your luggage will always have the following items: Instant Noodles (one packet for each day of the trip esp. Europe); Mah-jong (esp. if your itinerary does not include casino stop over); Handphone with auto-roaming (the phones on board the plane are all si beh expensive); rice cooker (you can also cook your instant noodles in it)
  6. It is important to dress appropriately for travel. But comfort is not the only factor. We must show foreigners that we are not some obiang suah koo people. I recommend track shoes and wind-breaker. These go well with anything: jeans, singlet, business suit, cheong sum.
  7. Make sure your tour bus has karaoke set. It's especially useful when you have to travel through the night. Your tour group will always appreciate a soothing song to put them to sleep
  8. Whenever you are tempted to buy souvenirs, look around. There might be pirates around selling cheap knock-offs which will do just as well for your friends
  9. Use travel as a time for personal reflection. It is imporant to compare everything you see with that you have at home in Singapore. When you do this, you will feel a lot better about yourself and your life. Don't forget to voice your comparisons aloud, especially to locals. If you find yourself at a loss for words, just use the basic phrase, "Singapore better one". (My dad uses this all the time when he is here)
  10. At the end of every flight or tour, don't forget to lodge a complaint about something with the travel agent or airlines. Don't shy. Small thing also can. Think hard enough, sure can find something one. But in your complain, make sure you say that this was the trip of your dreams and that this thing ruined it forever, and now you must go to woodbridge [note to those who are unfamiliar: mental institution in Singapore]. You never know, you might get some discount or compensation
Fascinating. Brings back some warm memories of the many family holidays I have had with my folks and their friends...

Singapore - here I come!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

For the Love of Food

Food questions/stories inevitably gets brought up when two or more asians get together. We asians are absolutely shameless when it comes to food. We live to eat and not eat to live!

At a family dinner recently, an uncle reminisced about childhood and his passion for durians. His father who drove an old VW used to fill up the car with durians and there would be approximately 200 durians in the car, even the floor of the driver side wasn't spared. The result? Permanent needle shape marks on seats, the air-con wreeked of durian for months on end and the family had durian for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a month and they LOVED it!

I have lived in beautiful Australia for the last 5 years and of course, whenever a singaporean friend visits they often ask which foods I miss, etc. My answer to that has been "nothing". However, as my vacation to Singapore draws taste buds have been going into overdrive!

Here is a list of what I do miss:

  • BBQ Stingray and Sotong on Banana Leaves
  • Assam Fish Head and Fish Head Bee Hoon Soup
  • Yong Tau Foo
  • Kangkong Belachan
  • Mee Pok Tah
  • Chee Kway and Chai Tau Kway
  • Ice Jelly and Herbal Jelly
  • Kueh Lapis
  • Chinese Soups (all kinds, including herbal ones)
  • Pepper Crab
  • Sayur Lodeh
  • Nasi Padang
  • Sugar Cane juice
Better stop writing my list...I cannot concentrate anymore. Food Paradise AKA Singapore here I come! Prepare yourselves and keep your shops open! (pic from friend's blog)

Monday, April 03, 2006

I am feeling it...

For the past year or so, I have been "battling" with the concept of parenthood purely from a logistics /selfish point of view. I don't want to sacrifice my career and can't see myself as a mother, who will care for the baby, I don't want to resent baby for "robbing" me of my opportunities, etc.

Now, there has been a shift.

I can't quite put my finger to it but I am now starting to understand what it means when a woman says that she needs to have a baby (now)!

Not that I need a baby now per say but it would seem that I might just be ready for one sooner than later. Very peculiar. It was never an option not to have a child but when this is meant to happen, was never clear to me though my brain's been telling me that the magical age of 30 might work.

I have begun having conversations with hubby (not all the time, mind you) that begins with, "if we have a baby, would we do this or not? if we have a baby, would you cuddle it when we watch tv?" and when we were at the car dealerships, we would make sure that the cars be 4 door and door wide enough so that we can slip a baby sit in so on and so forth. When I walk pass the baby department in the shops, I can't help but look/feel the baby clothes, accessories, I have even picked out the baby stroller for our baby!

The Bugaboo Frog Stroller (up to 4 years old)
World famous, prize-winning frog stroller is the brainchild of an industrial designer and a doctor - it's the ultimate in smart and simple design.

The complete 3-in-1 system means it accommodates a bassinet, seat and car seat - grows with your child from newborn to 40 pounds.

- 2003 product of the year (Belgium, Italy, Holland and England)
- 2003 Best All-Rounder stroller

- 5 point harness for super safety
- fully reclining seat has 3 levels
- lightweight aluminun chassis
- "frog like" suspension for bump-free bliss
- bassinet "sleeping bag", apron & mattress
- soundless sun canopy
- clear rain/windscreen & mosquito neat
- folds into an ultra compact little package
- weights only 17 pounds

There has been a gradual acceptance to the concept of baby. Definitely not something that sprung up overnight.

Whenever I see hubby in action with Tanzetta i.e. playing, cuddling, fussing, etc I cannot help but replace Tanzetta with the image of a baby.

I no longer see baby as an inconvenience or deterance but instead see it as an addition to our family. Yes, baby will change our lives forever but I know we will never regret not having baby because we both want to have a baby some point in our marriage.

This was further heightened in a brief conversation I had with my neighbour across the road. She is a year older and is now 4 months with child. She showed me a copy of the ultrasound and I was blown away! The detail captured on that single piece of paper sent my hormones bouncing! I could see all the fingers, the shape of the baby and even the shape of my neighbour's uterus - all these were taken in her first trimester! Imagine what else she and her husband will see next time? Perhaps a baby with a full head of hair! The miracle of life is simply mind-blowing, to say the least.

I am feeling it....