Beauty tips by Shiseido

I received another present in the office today. It's a digital photo frame, a gift from our management for record earnings performance last year in 2008.

Actually, we are very lucky folks.. Other departments apparently, don't have such things.. And for us, every year is also a year of record earnings.. Last year, we got a Waterman ball pan, the year before, we got a nice, rotatable and high-tech looking alarm clock radio with temperature readings..

I immediately started to play with my new toy when i received it.. loaded in some photos and let it run.. but i got bored after 2 hours and switched it off.. It's also an MP3 player as well, so actually not too bad lah..

My ex-boss dropped by my office today.. He was in Singapore for his new job and would be staying for a week.. So in the afternoon, we went for tea and chatted.. I teased him about how he, a New Yorker, was settling down in London. He had been posted to London on an expat assignment beginning of this year. He hated the food.. = ) We had so much to catch up on.. i told him about my New Zealand trip, changes within the team, my new boss etc .. it was nice.
We exchanged our personal email addresses and promised to keep in touch.

After work today, i attended a beauty workshop by Shiseido at Sheraton Towers. It was a by invite event for secretaries only, but my secretary had invited me so i tagged along. And i must say i am glad i went. It was a nostalgic experience for me to go back to the place i had my wedding. = ) Plus, the buffet spread was good, and the workshop was great. Love the presenter, a beauty consultant from Shiseido. I learnt quite a few make up and skin care tips at the workshop. Shall highlight a few here:

  • Make up remover should be applied with a cotton pad in a horizontal outwards direction (if we do it upwards or in circular motions, the dirt particles will go into our pores)
  • We should use 1cm of our facial cleanser to cleanse our face each time. And lather it as much as possible before applying to our face. The small bubbles from the lather is suppose to penetrate the pore more easily and remove the dirt particles compared to large bubbles from minimal lathering
  • Shiseido recommends the 3 step facial regime of Cleanse, soften and moisturize. Notice the second step is not tone. Softening products is supposedly useful to open up our pores for easy absorbtion of subsequent products. According to the consultant, if we must, we should apply toner as the last step. Because toner has astringent properties that tightens and closes up our pores. So if we use toner first and close up our pores, the moisturizer and other products that we apply subsequently will not be able to penetrate into out skin. So true!! = ) Neer thought of it that way before.
  • I also learnt that the best skin on our body is found on our upper inner arms. It's the closest to baby skin. Most people would think that it's the bums, breasts or even upper thighs, but apparently not! So if the skin on your inner upper arms feels the same as your face, good for you!!
The consultant also went on to impart some make up tips like how to apply eye shadow, mascara etc. She was good, composed, confident and humourous at the same time. Somebody should give her a raise! = )

Grandma's birthday!

12:22 AM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
Grandma's birthday is coming up next month on 19th April, and i intend to bring her to Shangri La hotel for her birthday celebration.

Shangri La is having this Flash Your Age promotion, where those celebrating their birthdays at either one of their dining outlets will be entitled to a percentage discount that is equivalent to their age. My grandma is 81. Haha.. which means we can get a 81% discount off our meal! Perfect.. terms and conditions states that it must be on the actual birthday, and 19th is a Sunday, so it's all set! I hope Grandma will like it though.. = )

Actually, K and I had planned to book a BBQ pit at one of his condos for the birthday celebration. But my sister and the rest of the family were not for the idea because it's too far, transport difficult blah blah blah.. always have so many problems.. sigh.. I still remember the incident on my grandma's birthday last year. My uncle and I had brought her to East Coast beach before the dinner. We were supposed to have dinner elsewhere, but i changed the dinner to the Jumbo at East Coast because grandma was already there. In the end, everyone was not happy with me for making the change, mainly because the place was inaccessible.

The way i see it, we should accomodate the birthday girl, do what we think she would like / most convenient for her. We are all healthy and can walk and run, so anywhere in Singapore is accessible right!! I don't see what the problem is. For the BBQ, i also don't understand what is so inconvenient about it. Grandma can hop on a taxi and go anywhere in Singapore! And although i won't know for sure, i think she would like a BBQ rather than the usual "go to a nice restaurant and eat." The issue is the rest of the family don't want to make the effort to go.

So.. the final decision is that we will go to the coffee shop below grandma's house for dinner. Period. But that's on the 18th. So i still have the actual day to celebrate with her in a different way at Shangri la! If the rest don't want to join me, then i will execute my plans myself.. = )

Tokyo here I come!!!

3 more days before i arrive in Tokyo!! So excited.. I've already planned my itinerary for the first and last day when i will have some time on my own.. Even went to this website to find the routes to get to the places i want to go, and calculate how much the train fare will be.. quite proud of myself for the planning i did.. = )

There are so many things that i want to do and see! And so many things to buy. For some reason, there are especially more people asking me to buy stuff on this trip compared to my previous business trips.. dunno why. Then 2 days ago, my Japanese colleague based in Singapore asked me to bring a pair of shoes to Tokyo for another Japanese colleague, cause the latter had left his shoes in Singapore the last time he came. I just hope that i will have space in my luggage to stuff all the things, because i intend to buy loads of stuff for myself too! My last business trip leh.. so must really maximize it.

Just checked the weather on CNN and it seems like the weather will hover between a high of 12 degrees Celcius to a low of 5. Not too bad..

I've been adding my primary school friends these days on Facebook. We actually managed to find more than half my Primary 6 class within 3 days. It's really exciting to see so many of them after more than 15 years! I'm contemplating a class reunion hopefully before i leave for New Zealand.. So exciting!! Speaking of New Zealand, seems like the NZ dollar is appreciating by the day.. I just checked and today's exchange rate at market close was S$1 = NZ$1.14 Damn!! What happened to the days of S$1 = NZ$0.80?? Should have change my currency then.. Shit.

Yesterday, someone from DBS called to inform me that my Black card has been tampered with.. Apparently, someone tried to make travel arrangements online using my card. Just few days ago, K and I had taken out our cards to call the bank and cancel them. But we didn't cancel our Black cards cause we still had points to redeem for. I thought we had kept it after that, but now that i recall back, i think we left it on the bar counter in the living room. Just tried to search for it, but our cards are nowhere to be found.. I'm beginning to suspect if my tenant took it. But I rather give him the benefit of doubt. Then again, if it's not him, then who else? There are only 3 of us in the house. And i am very sure the card is in the house.

Sigh.. i really hope it's not what my gut feel is telling me. I can't afford a nightmare tenant now especially since i am leaving! And we just managed to rent out the other room to a Malaysian Chinese man who's in the medical profession (pharmacy trained). Really hope we won't regret choosing this one!!

I met up with Keson's sister for dinner after work today. Went to Din Tai Fung at Raffles shopping center. We chatted about her relationship with her boyfriend, and their new HDB flat in Punggol which they got a few days ago. My mom in law don't really like her boyfriend and is totally upset with them getting a flat, so it was more like a prep talk on my part. Yesterday, K and I played badminton with my in laws and we talked at length about it.. So since K wasn't free today, i decided to meet his sister for dinner!

After dinner, we went shopping for hats.. I wanted to get a big hat for my fruit picking work in New Zealand, and i found a few really nice ones at this shop called Accessorize. But all so expensive. $40 for a simple straw hat. I think i look pretty good in a hat though! Maybe i'll go Tokyo and find one.. maybe i should change more yen.. hee hee..

An unexpected gift..

11:13 PM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
This afternoon, i was working on my laptop as usual when one of my colleagues came up to me with a pot of flowers. She and another colleague of mine had signed up for a flower arrangement class and they had been bringing flowers to the office recently.

It was a really nice surprise, and really sweet of her. I was surprised she knew i liked sunflowers, so i asked her how she knew. She said she saw the "fake" sunflower on my desk, and figured it out. I love the little watering can that she inserted as part of the bouquet. She even wrote me a little post it note that wished me good luck in New Zealand and that i will be missed. So sweet right??

So now i have a fake sunflower, and a real sunflower. on my table. Can't wait for the real one to bloom.. Looking at it just cheers me up instantly! =)

Scent of a woman

Al Pacino rocks!! K and I watched the dvd of the show "Scent of a woman" at home after work yesterday.

It was an amazing show.. Al Pacino as usual, is one of the best actors of his time. And i love some of his quotes in the show. Like what he said to his cat before he left for his vacation: "When in doubt, Fuck." and his nonsensical one liners such as: " In the distant sound... is a Ferrari." haha.. hilarious..

So glad i borrowed the dvd from my colleague.. Else i would never have known this show existed.. No wonder K swears by good ol' Al and quotes him as one of his 3 favourite actors (the other 2 is Robert Deneiro and Edward Norton)..

A Source of Insipiration..

I visited grandma today after work. I had bought some kueh for her from People's Park during lunchtime today. Me and Emily had gone there to change some currency for our Tokyo and (her) Korean trips. So many people are going to the now "super cheap" Korea that we had to go to 4 different money changers before we got what we want. The 1st 3 were all out of stock for the Won.

Anyways, upon K's suggestion, i had intended to bring my grandma downstairs to the playground below her block for a walk. K mentioned that I should bring her out rather than stay in the house and always asking her useless questions like what she ate for dinner etc. etc... Which was true.. I don't really know what else to do except watch TV with her and talk to her.. Nowadays, her speech ability is getting worse.. so can't really talk much to her either..

Desperate to do something that will cheer her up, i decided to give K's suggestion a try. Upon reaching my grandma's place, i found that the maid had already brought her downstairs for a walk. In fact, she does it every evening. Which was a good thing i guess! So i went downstairs to look for them.. As i was walking towards the playground, i saw them walking back.. I asked grandma if she wanted to stay downstairs a little longer, but she declined.. So we went back and eat the kueh instead. And silly me, go and buy odeh odeh for her.. all the little coconut bits made her choke and cough.. so in the end, she didn't really eat much of the rest of the kueh.. So now I still have half a box of kueh left.. = (

After watching TV for about 10 minutes with nothing much to talk about, i decided to play cards with her. Another fantastic suggestion of K. I don't know what i will do without him!! = )

We played Blackjack, something she was familiar with since we play the game with family every Chinese New Year. To my surprise, she couldn't even read some of the numbers on the card.. and she had difficulty doing addition. She had forgotten how to.. = ( So for the next 20-30 minutes, i taught her how to read the numbers, add.. sometimes she got it right, most times wrong.. When i ask her how many points she had on her cards, she will just look at me blankly for a long time... Nonetheless, there were a few times when she laughed.. i think the game cheered her up a bit.. But still a bit worried and sad that she has become like that. Before i left, i instructed her maid to do the same thing with her every day from tomorrow onwards. Hopefully there will be improvement..

K and I left my grandma's around 8pm, and headed to Bedok Interchange for dinner. There, we saw a huge crowd gathering around what sounded like a middle aged male singer. From the voice, I could never had guessed the singer is this old man who looked like he's more than 75 years old.

He was singing hokkien songs, and tapping his little cymbal drum as he sang. He sang with so much passion and enthusiasm, like he really enjoyed what he was doing. I was really insipired by him. And he seems pretty strong too for his age. K said he is strong because of who he is, and who he is was also the reason why he can sing with so much enthusiasm unlike that of a 75 year old. K also mentioned before that those who work hard should be rewarded.. And so we donated $2 to him.. Not long after we did that, many others followed.. Before that, they were just standing around and listening to him sing.. = )

When i saw the old man, i wished my dad was there. To see just how much passion there was in this man who was easily 15 years older than him. How he is still basking at his age, doing whatever he can to keep himself busy and earn an income.. Hopefully he will feel more motivated.. sigh..

First wedding dinner in 2009

I attended my first wedding dinner for the year today..

It was my JC classmate's wedding at Amara hotel. He had text us that his solemnization would be at 6pm, but because i was lazy to take the train there myself, i had asked another classmate of mine to give me a lift. And he had asked that we go at 7pm instead.

When we arrived at the hotel, we were surprised to find that dinner had already started.. In fact, that was not the only surprise. We had gone to the lobby expecting the dinner to be at a chinese restaurant or in a ballroom. But we were directed to a casual buffet dinner setting where everyone was just helping themselves to the buffet spread. No sign of the bride and groom. And I was completely over-dressed in my black evening dress and black furry clutch bag. It was embarrassing.

Nonetheless, i survived through the night, chatting with my old friends from JC. Apparently, some of them had known that it was a casual buffet dinner and was dressed casually. Those who witnessed the solemnization related to us about the drama that came with it. Apparently, the couple had gotten friends as witnesses for their solemnization instead of their parents. This was because the bride's family was in China. Everyone was wondering who the Malay guy in the witness chair was. And the groom realized he forgot about the ring when the time came for the ring exchange. His sister had to get it for him from the restaurant where he left it inside a bag.. BEST!! haha.. it was so funny..

Tomorrow marks the 105th month that K and I have been together.. and we are celebrating it by staying at home to plan for our New Zealand trip and send out as many job applications as we possibly can.. Woohoo!!

DAY FOUR: 15 March 09

12:39 AM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
Today was the last day of my stay in KL. I woke up, met my colleague for breakfast. We were the few who were taking the afternoon flight back. Majority of the Singapore team took the morning flight.

The breakfast this morning was surprisingly good.. i had tomato sauce spaghetti with potatoes, omelette, fruits, and cereals. After breakfast, i went back to my room to pack up, then headed to Pavilion again with my colleague to buy my favourite egg loaf from Lavender cakeshop.. I just had to buy one last loaf before i leave!

We managed to walk back to the hotel just in time to check out and board the bus to the airport.

Upon arrival at the airport, we checked in.. as usual i was the only one who didn't need to check in, so i had to wait for all the rest to check in, and even gave away my baggage allowance to one of the golfers. Oh well.. By the time we finished the check in, there wasn't much time left, so a small group of us decided to head to MacDonald's for a quick lunch. It was there that i encountered more drama. Seems like my 4 days trip is filled with drama from the start (when the taxi driver left without waiting for me) until the end even at the airport before i fly off!

Initially, it was just me and my colleague who first arrived at Macdonald's. We managed to find a table for 9 people for our group of 8. So we put our bags on the seats to "reserve" the places. The rest of the gang arrived shortly after, but i had went ahead to queue to buy food. When i went back with the food, 6 of us were already sitting at the table, 2 were still buying food. Then along came this Chinese man in his late 30s, who just came and without a word, sat down on the chair beside me with his tray of food. My colleague, who was sitting opposite him, said to him politely: "Excuse me, this seat is taken." To which he retorted: "What? Nobody sit here what!"
And started to eat. I was so pissed off I looked at him and said: "But you didn't even ask if this seat was taken, how can you assume it's not?" Then he replied with the same reason that nobody was sitting on the chair, and so he sat down. Can you imagine?? My colleague then explained to him that our friends were buying food that's why there is nobody sitting on the chair, but if he is comfortable eating like that, then he can go ahead and "enjoy" his food. Haha.. i giggled. And you know what the man said? He said: "Too bad, ask your friend to sit elsewhere." I was SOOO pissed! If it's not because we were rushing for time, and my colleague kinda ask us to let it go, i would have quarrelled with him until the cows come home. Instead, we just ate our food with him sitting right in the middle of us. I don't know how the hell he can finish his entire meal without feeling awkward. During the meal, one of my female colleagues just talked loudly on purpose, about how inconsiderate and rude some people are etc. etc.. just so that he can hear. The irony of it all was where another Malay boy approached him and asked if the seat beside him was taken. It was like reminding him that this is basic courtesy and common social etiquette to ask and not just sit down on any empty seat available in the restaurant. Especially not when the empty seat is right in the middle of a group of people!

Anyway, other than this stupid man, the rest of my flight back was uneventful. I related the whole incident to K when he picked me up from the airport, and asked him how he would react. K said he would probably throw the guy's food tray on top of his head.. haha.. = ) The world is indeed filled with all kinds of weird people these days..

Love Is...

12:36 AM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
the irresistable desire to feel irresistably desired..

Cherating second time round..

K and I are going to Cherating during the Good Friday weekend.. So far, only 4 couples are joining us for the Miata drive up.. K seems to be so excited about this trip.. This time round, we are staying at the Impiana.. hopefully it's as good as it looks.

For me, i'm neutral. A bit worried though, about whether we will have enough time to plan for New Zealand.. given that we have only 5 weeks left, and 2 trips (Tokyo and Cherating) planned in between.. Sigh.. starting to feel the stress already..

I am sick !

11:45 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
I've been feeling under the weather for the past 2 days..

On Tuesday, i had a conference call with my team at 9pm, and my boss finally announced to the team that i was leaving for my New Zealand trip. Nobody sounded surprised. It was like they already knew. Apparently, there was another move within my team and a new guy joining as the replacement. K and I had our first major fight of the year after my call on Tuesday night. We basically argued over his untidiness and him being too disorganized around the house. It was bad. Surprisingly, i didn't cry after the fight. Usually, i would. Wonder what that means?

On Wednesday, i worked from home. Had another call with my boss in the morning. At that time, i was already having a bad throat. I was supposed to have dinner with K and his parents, but ended up sleeping until 10pm instead.

The next day, K sent me to work. I even brought along my badminton racket, ready to play with my colleagues after work. By 11am, i felt worse. So i went to the doctor, and managed to get 2 days MC. Apparently, i had flu and a bad throat. So I decided to go home, and asked K to pick me up. Went home, took the medication and slept. Stayed at home today as well. My sister had asked me to join her at Pasir ris park today. She was on leave and had brought my dad there in the afternoon. As i wasn't feeling well yet, i didn't want to go under the sun, so eventually, i didn't go. Which was all the better cause it started to rain shortly after. Not sure how their little trip ended though.

We had a guy Alex view our study room just now. This Alex seems like a nice guy. Malaysia born but Australian PR. A Pharmacist by profession. K and I both like him, so most likely we will rent the room out to him. We'll see how it goes.

Brion, SH and June are over at my place now playing mahjong.. I'll probably stay up a bit more to chat with them before going off to sleep.. K and I have planned to dedicate our weekend for our new zealand trip.. lots of things to do!! = )

DAY THREE: 14 March 09

7:26 PM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
This is it! The final battle! Today is our last match against our host Malaysia.

With the home ground advantage, the bets seemed to be on Malaysia. I was determined to win my ladies doubles. First of all, i still couldn't get over my defeat to Thailand. And secondly, i didn't like one of my opponents. I played with the same girl 3 years ago in the previous games, and she is just so snobbish loh!

As usual, ladies doubles was the first match. Before that, I brought Keson's racket to re-string and also changed the grip of his racket. I did some self-motivation within myself, and then got ready for the match. I went all out, but still lost. I even changed rackets and shoes after the first match, but to no avail.. On hindsight, that was rather dumb. Not that i am trying to push the blame, but even until now, i still think we would have won if my partner put in more effort. We didn't even reach the 6 points mark. I was so devastated by the defeat that i actually went to the washroom and cried. Alone. I don't think anybody knew. I knew that it was all about making friends, that it was a friendly match and all.. but i don't know why i just felt totally lousy that i couldn't be better than the Malaysians, that i wasn't better than the snobbish Malaysian girl. That match meant a lot to me, that's why. I felt that i had let my team down.

The rest of the matches were much more exciting than mine. In fact, i think i was more nervous watching the match than the players themselves.. haha..

Luckily, we managed to win. A close 3-2 triumph over Malaysia. = ) It was a glorious win nonetheless.

While i was waiting for the rest of the games to end, i shopped at the sports shop inside the sports club. Bought 2 YONEX polo tee-shirts and changed my racket grip to the rubber type. I also walked around the courts and watched a training session being held at the courts beside us. It was a kids training session and a really adorable sight.. I was actually quite happy to see so many kids interested in the sport.

After our victory, we headed back to the hotel, and met for lunch at the famous Bak Kut Teh restaurant. Then me and the other 2 girls headed to Chinatown to shop. But we met with heavy rain, and couldn't really enjoy our shopping experience. We took a cab back to the hotel less than an hour after we reached Chinatown.

Back at the hotel, my room mate and I went to check out the hotel gym. I was actually quite impressed by the gym. It was one of the largest hotel gyms i've ever seen. But the staff there (as expected) had no customer service at all. I asked one of them what the opening hours of the gym were, and she could just ask me to refer to the sign on the door. Best!

At about 5pm, i headed to the ballroom for the full dress rehearsal for the closing ceremony dinner. Me and my partner had been "arrowed" to go on stage to perform on behalf of the Singapore badminton team. Because we lost the most number of matches.. As if i didn't feel bad enough.

Anyway, I had to wear this super tight cheong sam as part of the performance. It was so tight i had to change just before we performed, otherwise i wouldn't be able to sit down and have dinner. The cheong sam would tear if i sat. It was that tight!

Among the 4 countries, I think Singapore had the worst cultural performance. we only had 2 days to practise, and almost all the people in the Singapore team went up to perform. It was a rojak performance where we sang songs in the 4 major languages of Indian, Chinese, Malay and English.

The rest of the countries chose to select a handful to put up much better performances. Malaysia even hired professional dancers to perform, so it was not the sportsmen who were performing. Overall, i enjoyed the Thai performance the most.. They danced to a fast Thai number and one of the girls, who played mixed doubles, could really dance! = )

After the Singapore performance, i thought i could change back to more comfortable clothes and continue eating my buffet dinner, but they had to do the prize giving ceremony for badminton immediately after our performance. And so i had to receive my gold medal in the super tight cheong sam on stage.. Super embarrassing!!

Dinner ended with our club president receiving the overall champion trophy on behalf of Singapore. Everyone cheered. It was a good feeling, triumphing over all the other 3 countries once again.. = )

Malaysian professionals dancing to a Sally Yeh number.. impressive!

The super tight cheong sam i had to don on stage..

Cultural performance by the Thai contingent

The entire Singapore team with our trophys and medals!

The champion badminton team..

The fruits of our labour..

After dinner, a small group of us met up at the hotel lobby and headed straight to Bukit Bintang for drinking and dancing. We ended up at Aloha, a Thai pub which was super crowded and popular because of their house performers, a trio of Thai girls and a handsome Thai bloke. Apparently, they could sing in Chinese and Cantonese as well. Impressive. I literally danced the night away. It was rare that i wore crocs to go clubbing, so i could manage the whole night of dancing without my feet aching! Although i don't know most of the people in my group, i must say we clicked rather well that night, and i totally enjoyed their company. One of the guys got a bit drunk, and he made me laughed until i cried. I haven't laughed so hard for the longest time...
= )

We went for supper after Aloha, and that was where he totally knocked out. He would talk to us, babble something, and then doze off to sleep.. then repeat the cycle again.. It was just so hilarious! We walked back to the hotel after supper, talking loudly and singing along the way like a bunch of drunkards.. it was so funny.. What a way to end the last night! = )

DAY TWO: 13 March 09

Today is Friday the 13th. And the battle starts today. Singapore vs. Indonesia, and Thailand vs. Malaysia.

I woke up a 630am and headed for the hotel's buffet breakfast. When i arrived, all my team mates were already eating.. Breakfast was nothing special, just your usual international buffet spread. We boarded the bus and headed to the racket sports club at 8am..

Upon reaching the club, we were stranded outside together with the other country contingents because the person in charge with the key had not arrived yet. Best..

we waited for about 15 minutes before the doors opened.. Everyone streamed in.. did the usual settling down, stretching before someone started to gather everyone for the safety briefing..

This was followed by group photo taking with the badminton players from all 4 countries.. Indonesian players in blue, Malaysians in red and coincidentally, both Thai and Singaporeans in orange.. I must say this year's attire sucks.. So ugly.. don't think i will wear the tee-shirt again!

Here are some pictures of my team, and the only 3 female badminton players in the Singapore team.. The girl on the right is my partner for the ladies' doubles.

The Singapore team managed to trash Indonesia 5-0 for all 5 matches: Ladies doubles, 2 Men's doubles, mixed doubles, and veteran above 45 men's doubles. It was a good start. We had lousy chicken rice and muffin for lunch, then headed to the nearby Jusco shopping mall to walk around before the next half with the Thailand team. We had like 2 hours to rest. I spent less than 30 minutes walking around the 2 storey complex. Totally boring. Ended up buying a McFlurry Oreo from MacDonald's, and then taking a nap on this really comfortable couch at Starbucks where the guys had gathered to chit chat.

So when our lunch break was over, i was totally rested and geared up for my 2nd match with the Thais. I was worried, for i knew the Thai ladies doubles are very strong. And me and my partner were no match for them, plus we had no chemistry between us. Anyway, we got trashed by the Thais. 15-0 and 15-2. Totally no mercy from their end. Sigh!! So that kinda ended my play for the day. The rest of the team did well, and we won Thailand 4-1, the 1 being my fault..

The ride back to the hotel was uneventful.. My room mate and I took our showers and then headed down to the function room for the Opening ceremony event.

We saw the huge-ass champion trophy for the first time during the opening ceremony dinner.. Some big shot did the official opening by striking the gong thrice, and then there were lots of cultural performances by some professional Malay dancers..

Dinner was actually yummy.. Fragrant tomato rice with side dishes presented in a huge stainless steel plate. There was chicken and beef rendang, spicy prawns, sweet & sour fish, pan fried vegetables and white rice for those who didn't want the tomato rice.

Dinner ended around 10pm, after which i headed back to the hotel room to sleep and prepare myself for the next day..

DAY ONE : 12 March 09

It's time!! I woke up at 6am, got ready and called for a cab at 630am. As i was getting ready to leave.. i heard the taxi arrive..

About 5 minutes later, I went downstairs and found that the taxi had left.. So impatient! So i called the taxi company and had to wait another 5 minutes before another taxi arrived.. I was getting a bit concerned by then cause we were supposed to all meet in front of the Air Asia counter at Terminal 1 at 7am.

Fortunately, I arrived at Terminal 1 at 7am sharp. But ended up waiting for another 30 minutes or so for the rest of the team to arrive and start to stream in slowly. We were a huge group of sportsmen: Golfers with their humongous golf bags, bowlers with their bowling bags, badminton players with their rackets and bags, and of course the table tennis players with their luggage (cannot see their tennis bats cause it's hidden inside their luggage).

The checking in process was a nightmare. So many of us. I think I was the only one who did not have any check in luggage. All I had with me was my small Nike backpack, my travel skin wallet and my badminton racket. Everyone was like: "Wah, you bring like that only ah?" haha.. I was quite the conversation starter there. Needless to say, i took the shortest time to check in and get my tickets. But i still had to wait for the rest.. The poor golfers and bowlers had to find ways and means to combine their baggage allowance with others so that they can avoid paying for extra baggage capacity.. haha..

We took some pictures at the departure gates, before proceeding for some breakfast at the food court. I had Nasi Lemak and iced milo.. Not bad, but over priced as usual..

The 50 minutes flight to KL was uneventful. I sat beside one of the female golfers who happened to be a manager from the same department I was working at. The first 10 minutes was awkward cause i didn't know what to talk about with her. Then she moved one seat away to the window seat, citing something about having more space since the seat was not taken. All was fine after that as i read my magazine and rested my eyes for a while..

Upon arrival at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal in KL, the entire waiting game started again.. We had to wait for each other to get past immigration, collect luggage etc etc.. While waiting, some of us started taking pictures again.. here are some photos we took at the airport, including a group photo of the whole Singapore team.

Then it was onward to our hotel at Crowne Plaza Mutiara. The bus ride took about 45 minutes.

Upon arrival, we went into a small function room for some logistics briefing. We were given goodie bags and name tags. Inside the goodie bag, there was a sports towel and a nice little name card holder in the shape of the KL Twin Towers which i like very much..

When we arrived at the hotel, there was not enough rooms for everyone. So we had to put our bags in our sports convenors' rooms before heading out for lunch. I went with 4 other badminton players from my team to Pavilion for lunch. The rest were meeting friends and colleagues. Actually, Pavilion was my suggestion cause i wanted to buy my favourite Egg loaf bread from Lavender Bakery.. haha.. I brought them to the Food Republic food court, where i had hor fun and po piah. I was kinda like the tour guide cause none of them had been to Pavilion before, not even the girl whose hometown is in KL (but she worked in Singapore)!

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel and checked into our own rooms. I was sharing a room (with 2 single beds) with another girl in my team. The room was decent, but no nice view of the Petronas twin tower whatsoever.. = ) We assembled again at 2pm at the lobby where our bus took us to the competition venue for our training session. The ride took about 40-45 minutes.. I was shocked when i saw the place.

It's the KL Wangsa Maju Racket Sports Club. Which to me, is a warehouse turned badminton hall. There was practically nothing surrounding the sports club except for several rundown car workshops and gravel roads at the entrance leading into better paved roads..

But the sports hall was huge.. they had like 20 courts or so. Low hanging florescent lights and absolutely no ventilation of any sorts.. not even one fan. Great... it was like training inside a sauna.. It wasn't a good start, and I didn't have a good feeling about competing in the same place the following day. It felt okay when you are running and moving around, but once you stop and rest, the whole body starts to feel very uncomfortable.

Anyway, we trained for about 2 hours before we headed back to the hotel and headed for dinner at 7pm. We gathered at the hotel lobby where the committee members were distributing bottles of Vitagen for us to drink. They needed the empty bottles to fill up with rice and beans and use as "shakers" to create some noise during our cultural performance for the closing ceremony.

Dinner was buffet at a Japanese restaurant called "Saisaki" just opposite our hotel. Wide variety of dishes.. looks delicious but lousy quality. The service was lousy too.. no smiles, uniform shirts coming out and nobody bothers to tuck them in, clearing plates when we haven't even finished our food cause they didn't bother to ask first.. Won't recommend this place to anyone.

We went back to the hotel function room to attend a briefing for the closing ceremony performance on Saturday. All contingents had to put up a simple performance for the closing ceremony. The Singapore team was going to dress up in ethnic costumes and sing songs from the 4 languages of Malay, Chinese, English and Indian. Me and my partner were arrowed to represent the Singapore team. Initially, the deal was whoever lost the most number of matches will go up on stage to perform. But on the way from the airport to the hotel, i was told i had been nominated to perform by my sports convenor.. sickening!!

After the briefing, I headed back to my room and had an early night. My room mate was still out for dinner with her friends, so i went ahead without her, bursting with anticipation for morning to come..

The most exciting 4 days in 2009..

5:15 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
Last week was one of the most exciting weeks of my life. I left for KL on Thursday for the Regional Sports Meet 2009 and arrived home on Sunday afternoon. This was not like one of those overseas business trips I've been to. This one was special.

During these 4 days, there was sweat, blood and tears (of both joy and sadness).. And because each of the 4 days is filled with so much excitement, i have decided to dedicate one blog entry for each day.. Read on!! = )

And the battle begins!

I'm going to KL tomorrow for the regional sports meet.. For some reason, I am extremely stressed up by the competition, and I even cried 2 days ago because of the stress. That was after my training session at Delta Sports Hall .. I was totally not on form that day during the training.. And i got so upset with myself that i broke in front of K when he came to pick me up. I kept asking myself why i can't play as well as the rest of the team, why i can miss even the simplest of shots. I just didn't want to be the only one to pull the rest of the team down. Plus the fact that we're playing against Indonesia added to the pressure. Cause the Indonesians are well known for churning out excellent badminton players. Plus, my colleague in Thailand, who have been practising with the Thai team, told me that the Thai female players are really good. I guess all these made me feel very pressurized. The problem is, i am not very close to my team members. In fact, some of them i don't even know. My partner is a very good female player, and because she has more stamina than me, our strategy is that i should guard the front , and she the back. Problem is, i am not good with front shots. I am better at smashing but yet do not possess the strength to hit the ball far enough. In addition, i feel stressed standing in front with her watching my every move from behind. It makes me feel more pressurized that i have to give the perfect shot. And i'm the kind who needs to relax to play a good game. Die lah!!

Anyway, i will try give it my best shot and try not to think too much. Just enjoy myself when I'm there.

Yesterday, i went out for dinner with my colleague from Fairfax. He had flown to Singapore for a training course, as well as to do handover of my work with me. We went to Cafe Iguana for some Mexican food, then Coffee Club for my favourite mudpie. Next week was my colleague's birthday, so i sang him a birthday song over the mudpie and asked him to make a wish and blow out an imaginary candle.. haha.. He said it was the nicest thing anyone had done for him.. = )

I met Fangjie when i was walking to Coffee Club. Apparently, he has a push cart booth selling souvenirs at Clarke Quay.. interesting..

This morning, i went for a health screening session at my office. There was a weight and height analysis, blood pressure test, fat analysis and blood test. I got myself a "kuku" (inexperienced / lousy) nurse for the blood test. She poked the needle into my right arm twice.. The first time my blood couldn't flow out, so she kept pushing the needle deeper into the vein, which was totally painful! Usually, i turn away from the needle for fear that looking at me would make me freak out. But when i felt that it was taking too long, i turned and saw that the nurse had poked the needle outside of where my vein was. There was this really obvious thick one in the middle, but she chose to poke the not so obvious one instead.. sigh.. it was sheer torture for me.. = (

Nonetheless, i had free buffet lunch because of the health screening.. had fried mee siam, fruits, some sandwiches etc.. Then because we had visitors for the training course in the office, there was some tea snacks in the afternoon.. The goodie bag was also quite impressive. We had a medicine pills box (the Monday to Sunday kind), an electronic skipping rope and a battery- operated massager! Not bad right!

Met EK and S for dinner just now.. K and I are trying to persuade them to come to New Zealand with us.. We are 80% there!! = )

My Chendol-licious Weekend !

I had a Chendol-licious weekend in Melaka. Ate 4 bowls of chendol in the 2 days I was there..

We drove off at 6am in the morning, 3 cars and 11 of us in total, and reached JB for breakfast around 7plus. Had wanton noodles, chee cheong fun and fried you tiao.
Continued the drive all the way to Melaka, had lunch (and first bowl of Chendol) at this Peranakan restaurant. Yummy... I kinda fell in love with Peranakan food during this trip!

Checked into the Holiday Inn around 2pm. Pretty decent place with a nice pool and gym facilities. I actually like the pool.. it's the "borderless" kind at one side which has a view of the sea. I spent 30 minutes on the threadmill and sit ups on Sunday morning just before we checked out, and about 1 hour in the pool with K and his cousin, just lazing around.. then another 15 minutes in the steam bath with K's auntie.. it was nice.

Here are some pictures of the pool and view from my hotel room.. They even have their very own version of the "Malacca Eye".. = )

On Saturday, the family headed out to this night Bazaar called "Jonker's Walk" for some shopping and dinner. Dinner was laksa and some deep fried items. Not too bad. Except it was raining outside heavily... and we ended up soaking wet walking to the restaurant, and back to wait for the hotel shuttle bus to bring us back. And that was after i had just washed my hair. So i showered and washed my hair twice that night. About an hour after we got back to the hotel, we headed out again for supper. Had another round of good food. Fried Kuay Teow, my favourite wan ton noodles (the dark sauce kind), fried oyster, prawn noodles, satay, porridge and of course, chendol. One thing about eating in a group is that i always find it hard to have my fill when i find something i really liked. We had a central pool of money for food, so to order additional, it had to be a concensus. Of course i could use my own money to buy, but it didn't seem right eating in front of the whole group without offering them some. I badly wanted to eat more of the satay and wanton noodles. They only ordered like 2 bowls of wanton noodles, and 15 sticks for the satay. I only had 2 sticks of satay, and then they said they will pack 6 sticks back for grandma and K's sister who did not join us for supper. Sianz.. = (

We checked out the next day, had another Peranakan lunch (and chendol), this time better than the first, after which we proceeded to Kulai Springs Resort, which one of them was a member of. The "adults" seemed pretty awed by the place, but K and I thought it was crappy. In fact, they liked it so much they booked a small apartment for next month already. We had chinese for dinner at the resort. Food was good, at least. By the time we reached home, it was close to midnight.

Throughout the long drive, i finished one book. "BLINK" by Malcolm Gladwell. Totally amazing book about the power of thinking without thinking, how sometimes our snap judgements can be more accurate than hours of well-evaluated analysis.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who hasn't read it. This book is so interesting it got my attention right from the first page!! I think i'm hooked on Mr. Gladwell.. I need more!

Drama Mama Strikes Again..

1:41 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
Last Friday, me and 3 other colleagues went to Bukit Merah CC for badminton. What started out as a simple weekly activity turned out to be another dramatic episode for me.

I had booked the court online last week, and the system did not allow me to make payment (not the first time). So i called the CC and confirmed that my entry had been booked and i could make the payment in person on Friday. I did not think much of that as it was not the first time this arrangement was made.

Me and one of my colleagues took a cab to the CC for $10 and started playing. 20 minutes later, a group of ladies arrived and claimed they had booked the same court we were playing on. A dispute started and I decided to go down to the main office to check. When i walked in, there as absolutely nobody in the office. By then, my other colleague and his wife had arrived. They had brought their baby boy along. A lady was there in the office, but she was not dressed in uniform. Apparently, she had just finished her shift at 6pm. She started to call her colleagues who had disappeared and kind of told them off for skiving on the job. She was not comfortable attending to me without her uniform, but she nonetheless did so as there was nobody around and I was getting impatient from waiting for some uniformed staff to appear.

Not long after, the other girl who booked the same court as me came downstairs to make payment. To cut the long story short, the system had cancelled both our bookings. But when we both called and asked the CC staff, they had confirmed our booking and advised us to come down personally for payment. There was no way the lady could help us. 15 minutes passed, this old man in uniform appeared, and his female colleague updated him on the situation. He started to order her around to check in the system and do stuff. I interrupted him, asking him first why he was not in the office, and secondly why he is not the one doing the checking since it is now his shift, and not his colleague's shift. The lady smiled at me, but the old man kept quiet.

The whole thing just went back and forth for 1 freaking hour, but no solution. Throughout the one hour, the old man just kept repeating to me the problem without giving me a solution. He kept saying in future, if the system doesn't allow us to pay, it means there is no booking, that we need a receipt in future, blah blah blah.. I got so pissed off at one point i raised my voice, asked him to stop telling me the whole damn problem cause i already KNOW what the problem is, and GIVE ME A SOLUTION!! I had spent $10 on my cab fare, and my colleagues had rushed down to the CC to play. Every minute was precious. Halfway through the arguement, i told the other girl to go ahead to use the court from 6-7pm, and i will try for the 7-8pm slot. I was informed the CC's badminton club had booked the court from 7-10pm, so i wanted to request for one hour to compensate for my lost time.

By then, the other uniformed staff arrived. He was like 45 minutes late for his 6pm shift. When he arrived, he too was updated. And he too, repeated to me the problem, and ordered the lady to do some checking in the system. By then, the lady was doing 45 mins of overtime. Idiots. When i asked him to stop repeating the problem, he said he was just making sure i understand the facts. So i told him i do not need to understand the facts, i just need a solution. He asked me what exactly it was i wanted. So i told him that i wanted the slot from 7-8pm. I was determined to play since i had come all the way here. After much hesitation, he called the badminton club people, who of course rejected. Because the way the stupid men asked them made it seemed as if I was the one at fault for making the wrong booking, and I am requesting them to give us one hour of the court! I was at boiling point when i hear the way they spoke to the badminton club people. I told them that they are not trying hard enough (only one phone call), that they are irresponsible to leave the office empty during peak hours (an empty office in the CC after work hours at 6pm!), and that they had completely wasted my time. And not once did the 2 men apologized to me. Only the lady did.

By this time, a lot of people had gathered inside the office for other queries. And the only person attending to all of us was the lady in plain clothes. The other 2 men disappeared halfway, going inside the office to hide (mainly from a very angry me). I was totally disgusted with their behavior by then.

Eventually, i got a refund of $10, and one hour free court booking the following Friday. Before i left, i asked the lady for the full names of her 2 colleagues. She asked me what for, and i told her i wanted to complain. And you know what her response was? She pleaded me not to, cause they were after all her colleagues. OH MY GOD! After what they did to her, she can still say that. Sigh... no wonder she gets bullied by them.. she's too nice!

I ended up having dinner with my colleague, his wife and baby. It was a good dinner, but i'm still disappointed that i missed one hour of badminton because of some stupid system error and 2 totally incompetent men!

International Women's Day!

1:05 PM by Adeline Woo 0 comments
Last Sunday, 8th March, was International Women's Day.

And i got my period.

What better way is there to remind myself that I am a woman??!

Cravings satisfied!

I worked from home yesterday.. Had 2 conference calls the night before which ended past 12 midnight.. Perfect reason to give to my boss to work from home. Even though i wasn't really that tired.. haha..

During the first call, which was my bi-weekly team call, we spent 10 minutes talking about the change in daylight savings next week and how we should adjust the timing of our call for the various countries.. total waste of time..

Anyway, i've been having some cravings lately for some delicious Kuay Chup and soft and spongy Pandan Cake.. Don't know if it's because im pregnant.. Still haven't gotten my period yet!

So.. i went to look for Kuay Chup and Pandan Cake. I found them in Simei.. totally satisfied my craving! I've been having pandan cake for breakfast for the past few days, and i can't wait to have the Kuay Chup again! = )

Another day in my dramatic life..

12:17 AM by Adeline Woo 1 comments
I am eating instant cup noodles at 1219am.. Yes.. and that's because i didn't have dinner at all. Today is yet another dramatic day. K says I am like a drama queen, always attracting drama. So i kinda provide constant entertainment for him.. Sickening.. Then again, i can never understand why he said i attract drama when i never do anything at all to make my life so dramatic. Funny things just happen to me it seems. So here i shall try to analyze if i am really "attracting drama" in my life. = )

I left the office at 530pm today to head to Choa Chu Kang stadium for badminton training with my team for the KL games next week. It was the first time i trained with them, because Choa Chu Kang is simply too far for me! Even the past few competitions, i did not train with them. Nonetheless, i told myself that i need to make the sacrifices if i want to have a glorious win at the games (and not by luck or because my partner was strong) this time..

Yesterday night, i had checked on the internet on how to get from my office (Harbourfront) to the stadium. The results recommended the following:

  • Take North East line from Harbourfront to Outram Park
  • Take East West line from Outram to Jurong East
  • Take North South line from Jurong East to Choa Chu Kang
  • Take bus 307 from Choa Chu Kang MRT to stadium
For some reason, despite the recommendation, i ended up doing the following (Maybe that's what K mean by i like to attract drama!) :
  • Take North East line from Harbourfront to Dhoby Gaut
  • Take North South line from Dhoby Gaut all the way to Choa Chu Kang
My way was like 18 freaking stations, compared to the recommended 11 stations. I got so tired of sitting in the train i thought i would puke. = )

Then.. the North South line had to terminate at Yishun, so everyone had to get out. And who did i have to bump into but K's aunt from UK, who HAPPENED to have come to Singapore recently for a 1 month visit (how coincidental!). When i saw her, i called her by the wrong name. First blunder. Then we had the most awkward conversation all the way to Marsilling station. We even talked about the weather! She told me she was heading to her sister's home in Woodlands. So when the train stopped at Woodlands, i said bye. But she said she was getting off one more stop ahead at Marsilling cause it's nearer. She must be thinking i am rather weird, because i should know very well where her sister's home was, given that i had been there many times during Chinese New Year, and K's grandmother's wake was held there! Second blunder. I could have kicked myself. The minute she alighted, i called K to complain.

Upon reaching Choa Chu Kang after a long and painful hour or so, i headed to the bus stop to wait for bus 307. It was 625pm by then. After 5 minutes, the bus approached, but zoomed right past because it was totally packed with people. I cursed under my breath. I asked for directions to walk to the stadium, and was told it would take 15 mins. So i started to walk. 3 minutes later, my legs started to ache from the high heels + walking, so i decided to hail a cab. My goal was to reach the stadium by 7pm so at least i can play for 2 hours until 9pm. While waiting for a taxi, a young girl in school uniform walked past, and i asked her how far the stadium was. We ended up walking together and chatting as she happens to live near the stadium.

Halfway through, it started to rain. Can u imagine?! = ) Lucky got umbrella. By then i was totally pissed off. I asked myself why the heck did i come in the first place?? My legs were suffering, my gym bag was heavy from my gear and water bottle, and i was tired from the long train ride. After 10 mins of walking i finally reached the stadium.. I changed and waited for about 10 mins because there was no empty court for me to play.. sigh..

When i finally got the chance to play, it was 730pm. So i didn't stop until 9pm. I asked around to see if anyone stayed in the east. Nobody. Initially, one guy said he could drop me off at Clementi, which was on the same East West line as Eunos. But after that, he said he wanted to go for dinner. So i got a ride from another girl to Yew Tee. This time round, i did the route my research suggested. But still a very long journey.

Don't think i will do this again, unless i can get a ride to and back. Next week, the training will be at Delta, much closer to my office. At last, after my numerous attempts to get them to do so!!

2 more months!!

Today is the 1st day of March.. 2 more months to New Zealand!!!

I just redeemed our air tickets to Auckland using my Krisflyer miles.. will be departing on 1st May at 0825am.. Somehow, this step just makes everything look even more real. It is REALLY happening! = )

There are so many things to do but so little time.. managed to prepare our packing list, searched for free accomodation in Auckland and Wellington via the couch surfing websites, searched for jobs in New Zealand and at the same time, planning for my Tokyo trip end of this month.. In addition, thinking of where to eat in Malacca next weekend and KL the weekend after!! Haha..

Think i will be overwhelmed by all the planning.. But this is a good problem to have i guess! Then again, i missed my period for this month.. not a good sign! = (

Went to see my grandma this afternoon, she was running a fever in the morning, but much better when i saw her in the afternoon.

It rained again today, which made the house seemed even more lonely without K.. = (

Next week my Singapore boss won't be around, so i will have "no government"!! Will make use of the time to plan for my trips.. hehe.. But then hoh.. got a lot of conference calls lined up next week also.. all at night one. All because of the US people.. Sianz..