Photography

Bangkok madness

Ahh Bangkok. Where do I even begin?

The trip started out as a grouse. More specifically, my grouse. I was due to visit the land of shopping with the boyfriend in November but he just could not confirm the dates with me. As I started complaining to Melly about not having someone to go with, she piped that she had some annual leave left, would we like to go together?

The end result is this: $103 air tickets inclusive of taxes, $150 accommodation for the both of us and many dollars spent on clothes, food, bags and shoes. Oh, and a whole lot of fun and a friendship for life (I hope).

The place where we fell most in love with was Suan Lum Night Bazaar. We went there twice and twice we came back happy. On the second night, we sat down for dinner at the open air stage where some bands were jamming. On the left of us was an entire row of stalls selling food. To our right was an entire row of beer sellers. We sat there eating our delicious grilled chicken and sipping beer and just taking in the beer garden atmosphere. Utterly delightful.

Another new haunt we fell in love with was playground! at Sukhumvit Soi 55. Initially, we were lazy arses and did not feel like making our way down to Sukhumvit but in the end, we were glad we did. We spent the entire afternoon soaking in the creative vibe of the place before parking ourselves in the restaurant on the first floor.

Vanilla Restaurant was just awesome. It had charming, vintage decor and sitting by the large bay windows made us feel like we were in Paris. The waiters were helpful and prompt (and possibly amused by our camera whoring ways) and the food was delicious. When it was time for us to finally leave and move on to Khao San, they presented us with a bill that had a cute smiley face drawn on it.

Khao San was another amazing adventure. As we walked down the crowded lane with neon lights shining next to us, it felt as if we were in another world. There was something outer worldly and yet very commercial about that place. When we settled down in a pub to have a beer, we weren’t in Bangkok and could be in any resort in the world. It was just chill, zen and chill.

When it was time to leave for home, neither of us was particularly willing. It was almost everything a holiday should be: relaxing, spontaneous and fun.

The entire set of pictures are available here.

Everything Else

Ahh, sweet goal

Football is such a tempting mistress.

Watching the highly anticipated Man United-Chelski game has gotten my blood pumping, the temper rising and the cheers/jeers bubbling.

The Louis Saha goal was just a goal of pure genius. From a timely flick from Rooney, Saha paused for a moment before curling the ball around Carvelho’s outstretched leg and into the net.

Initially, I had my doubts and was yelling obscenities at the television as Saha seemingly stood there undecided about what to do with the ball.
“What the hell are you doing, Saha?!”
The boyfriend replied, “It went in lah!”
“Oh. Yes!!”

Ahh, a moment of glorious joy. Especially when the camera panned to The Portuguese and he was sitting down on the chair, sulking away. That’s a double shot of happiness.

Still, there were moments that marred the game. Drogba would have made a great action actor if he had not turned his sights onto football. Such beautiful diving, such strong arms that grab and jab, he’s definitely a better actor than Tom Cruise is. And Ballack the Brute probably kicked more legs than he did the ball.

Okay, back to the game. By the way, where’s Sheva? Haven’t seen him much during the match. Hur hur.

The organised chaos

Goodbye to Miss Heng and the Mee Pok Man

“!(imgcenter)http://static.flickr.com/99/282393190_a0992afbc7_m.jpg!(This one’s for you, Miss Heng!)”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmyliew/282393190/

Nine years ago, I stepped out of my sky blue uniform and hung it in my closet for good, never to put it on again.

I might have left SCGS but it never left me. Throughout the years, I was kept updated of any major events in the school and everybody around me knew of my fervent loyalty to it.

It may not the best school in Singapore and yet it is the best to me.

My experiences during those four short years were shaped largely by the wonderful steering of Miss Rosalind Heng, our principal. She was one of those who were larger than life but never failed to reach down to her students as if they were one of her own.

In truth, all her students were probably her own given how she has never married and devoted most of her time to building the school. It never failed to light my heart to see her beat-up little Toyota parked in the allocated spot in front of the school’s lobby. There was something heartwarming in that sight, and it also spoke a lot about the woman that she is.

She was kind yet firm, understanding yet impartial. She never looked down on anybody and was always offering the generous branch of education to any girl who wanted to be schooled in the ways of the kim geks.

I should know for I was one of the beneficiaries, one of those whose growth in life is due mainly to the chances I received there.

And now, after 27 wonderful years of helming the school, Miss Heng has decided to retire and in a spirited move, the girls decided to dedicate their October 29 Great Eastern Women 10K run to her, two days after her official last day as our principal.

It was really touching to see the girls clad in the tee shirt they had specially designed for the event running alongside me with their ponytails held up by cheery green and yellow ribbons.

And at the end of it, I spoke to Miss Heng and she smiled, turned to the boyfriend and said, “When are you getting married? You better treat this girl right or you will have to answer to me.”

And then this morning, I got woken up by a text message by the best friend telling me of the sad news that the mee pok uncle who dominated over the school canteen had passed away.

He was an SCGS icon – old girls went back to the school just to buy his mee pok tah. His version is still the best I have ever tasted and I used to willingly queue for it. He was always impassive, dishing out bowls and bowls of delicious noodles perked by the copious amounts of tangy vinegar and fragrant sambal chili added.

My favourite moment of him has to be when Denise asked for “mee pok tah without the mee pok, just the ingredients”. His expression did not change one bit as he handed over a bowl with a just a small pile of fish cake and slices of meat to her.

So farewell, Miss Heng and the mee pok uncle. SCGS will not be the same without you both.

Photos taken by the boyfriend. More can be found here.

Everything Else

We Pay And Pay

It was a rather dull evening at work last night, mindless and quite an endless bore that was punctuated by the announcement by the prime minister that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) would increase from the current 5% to a future 7%.

When the GST was introduced in 1994, we made a ruckus about the prices of our purchases going up but largely accepted it because we knew that in order for the direct taxes to be kept low, the country had to draw revenue from the indirect taxes. Besides, 3% sounded like a teeny tiny amount and in the daily scheme of my then life (where probably nothing I bought went above $20), it would not have mattered much.

When it increased to 5% in 2004, the amount was still barely tolerable. The very clever monetary payments dished out to us sweetened the deal and most of us were able to move on without making much of a fuss.

But now that I am a fully-employed worker, the increase has gotten me hot and bothered.

From God knows when on, everything that I buy will cost 2% more. Factor in inflation that has been pegged at between 1 to 2%, and the fact that the company that I work in gave pay raises of 3% on average this year and you can see why this additional 2% is such a worrying figure on my financial health.

Besides, the boyfriend and I have placed our names in line for a spanking new pad which costs a huge bomb in comparison to the average new flats that are served up to the masses. If we become the lucky residents of that apartment which costs approximately $400,000 and has a first option fee of 5% in cash, based on my current pay scheme, the cost of purchasing and furnishing that flat would probably kill the both of us before we even get to live in it.

The PM said, “Our aim is to help the lower income groups and the elderly, not to increase their burdens…This package will be weighted more to the middle and the low income groups, especially the elderly, and it will more than offset the GST increase….for the middle income, it will be generally about ok.”

Why increase the only tax that the lower income groups have to pay if your aim is to help them? They would feel the pinch more, in the long run, the 2% would cost a higher proportion of their pay more than those who belong in the higher income bracket.

How about the middle income groups? Why would people like my family be okay? I have a retiree mother who depends on her daughters’ monthly contributions to survive. I earn precious little as compared to my peers. We have a flat of our own and possess computers, televisions and DVD players, things that make us “middle income”. Would the additional 2% be a financial drain? You bet, especially since the sista and I are planning to start our own families soon.

This just does not make any sense to me, even with the promise of a lucrative, helpful package. Here in Singapore, we see why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Maybe Popartgirl and I should, as discussed during our extremely agitated and annoyed MSN conversation last night, and move our asses down to China where things cost less, we can wear PJs out (hence save money on clothes) and roast the duck we rear in our backyard for food.

The organised chaos

Still alive

“!(imgleft)http://static.flickr.com/105/293160504_2e654fb3f3_m.jpg!(Dunkin’ Donut madness)”:http://flickr.com/photos/yannie/293160504/

No, I have not died of overeating in the great city that is known as Bangkok. I’m still alive and kicking, just lacking the time to finish uploading my photos (all 280 of them) before blogging about my trip proper. Methinks too much of my time is spent on that silly WLA performance.

The only thing I want to rant about is AirAsia‘s trashy service. Yes, I know it’s a budget airline and yes, I know there is a saying that you get what you pay for. But to postpone my flight twice in one night without any explanation seems kind of rude. The only inkling we had that the flight was delayed was when boarding time came and went with not much action and then an official announcement 30 minutes after that.

I was exceedingly grumpy that night because a) I hadn’t had much sleep in Bangkok and was darn tired, b) I had to work the next day. Thank heavens for Melly who was so patient and sweet.

This week is going to be quite a killer so let’s hope I can get all my pictures up soon. In the meantime, here are some of the pictures that I have uploaded so far.