Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 12 12

Today is 12 December 2012. So the date is 12.12.12. A few minutes ago it was even 12:12. This is so great that already 3 people have told me this.
But it lead me to think why are we still using the birth of Jesus as the beginning of our years when it's only one of the main steps in human history.
In my opinion we should all use a date that doesn't take in account the history if a nation, a religion or a any such "local" event which only concerns a small portion of human kind and hence is not universal.
After researching for about 3 minutes (just to tell you that I may be wrong but don't have time to go further into this now) I found out that the most universal revolution since the beginning of mankind common to us all, but essential for us all is the domestication of fire (this can be debated... But not here please).
This happened about 400.000 years ago (source Wikipedia, correct me if it's wrong).
So in my opinion and in order to honour the heritage left by our furthest ancestors, the date of today should be 12 December 400.000.
This could be targeted further by using an astrological event that happened about 400.000 years ago as a proper starting year.
Why am I telling you this? I think it's to show there is no need to worry about today being 12.12.12 and same goes about some mayan calendar which cycle finishes in a few days.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Dancer

Saw this a couple of days back. It's actually a blotch of paint, but I saw a dancer. Small little random things that make me smile. I was just back from Bangkok and was at a work conference the next day battling fatigue when I saw this.

What a great way to view life; To dance through life, both good and bad, with grace, a quiet confidence, and gentle strength.

Khob khun ka (Thank you) Bangkok!

What a rush! A good one at that I must say. 3 weeks in dreamy Paris, then back to reality in Singapore, and before I could get over my jet lag, I'm whisked off away again. This time to Bangkok. Not with Julien, but with my colleagues.

There was a challenge given on this trip based on how much we could do in a quarter, and I managed to hit it before I left for Paris. However, I told my colleagues I was going to give this a pass, since I will be away for three full weeks, and I know I would need time to get over the jet lag before I really started to work again. So, goodbye Bangkok for now. They were still asking me if I'd changed my mind the first Monday I came back, and I still stuck to my convictions then.

Yeah, let them go. You had your fun. I mean three whole weeks! No one's taken that long a holiday. And you do it, oh...what, once a year? Plus you really look like an overstuffed fish cake at the moment in your dresses, with all the weight you put on, you can take a rest on the food department, and that's going to be tough when you're in Bangkok. Spice! I relish at that thought, and realise this really is quite a struggle, plus this trip will be fully sponsored. Oh just give yourself a few more days to think it over, and if the flight's full then, it just isn't meant to be. I listen to my conscience, purse my lips and say no. Trying my best to look convincing as I counted the number of qualified trips I had passed up before - Korea, Bali, and now Bangkok. Wince.

Three days passed in a flash, and come Thursday, the office was buzzing with excitement. They were leaving the next day. I bury myself in sorting out the paperwork from the contracts I had closed the day before, trying my best to block out the buzz.

"So! Still wanna join us?" It's Alex, I recognise his voice. He stands over my desk, casting a huge shadow over my paper covered desk.

"Yes!" My head shoots up. No No No. Shouts my little demon on my left, looking up at me through her glasses like I did something bad. Weeee! Shouts my angel on my right as she does three backflips and lands in a perfect split. Go for it! You deserve it! You qualified for it for crying out loud! It' going to be fun! And you closed a case yesterday. Give yourself a break.
They look across my shoulders to each other and scowl. I shake my head and they both disappear in tiny cotton candied clouds. "Give me one minute. I need to make a phonecall." Hurriedly, I pick up the receiver of my phonee and dial Julien's cellphone number. I glance at my watch. it's 4.30pm. Why is this decision so hard?

There is no answer and I curse under my breath as I hang up. That shadow on my desk is still there. Alex is still there. I close my eyes, and take a deep breath. "Okay! Let's go!" As I lift my head up and force a smile through clenched teeth. My angel does a victory dance, while my demon gives her a scowl before going back to reading her magazine. Minutes later, my ticket is booked. There were still seats. It's meant to be. Coos my angel. So it is. =)


Bangkok  is busy and bustling as usual. Apart from the usual bustling shops, food, and massages, I saw a different side of Bangkok that made me smile. We were taking the tuk tuk (think mini golf cart buggy but on three wheels) back to our hotel, and halfway through the journey, the driver stopped at the side of the road by a service apartment building and asked for our hotel card again. I thought he wanted to get his bearings right, but instead he called out to the security guard at the service apartment who was busy helping to direct the cars out from the service apartment parking to the busy traffic of Bangkok. This guy stopped whatever he was doing, and they started chatting in Thai, smiling. Friends? The security guard then runs into the guardhouse and hands his glasses to the tuk tuk driver. He pulled up on the side of the road to borrow reading glasses?!! The tuk tuk driver puts in on and starts squinting at the map on the hotel card. In minutes, they were charting through the map at the back of the card like explorers. Ignoring the line of helpless drivers trying to inch out from the private service apartment to the crazy booming traffic of Bangkok night streets.Holy Cow! The driver really is lost! Red alert. Red alert. After much speculation, the security shook his head shyly. He doesn't really know exatly where our hotel is. He knows a general direction, but not exactly. Then he bolts back toward the service apartment after saying something to the tuk tuk driver, with the reading glasses. That's it I guess. We ARE lost. And no one knows how to get to our hotel. The next thing I saw really surprised me. This guard, ran up to the line of cars skooting out of the parking and started asking each driver one by one, (I'm assuming) if they knew the way to our hotel. Surely someone would know. True enough, someone did know, and fortunately we had only overshot our hotel by a few hundred metres. Phew! and WOW! He really went out of his way to help! And they're not even friends! I had asked. They were complete strangers, and he loaned him reading glasses as well. Definitely a first for me. This is really cool; what I am witnessing. My colleagues were equally impressed. We were so impressed we tipped the security guard. And happily too. Last thing he did for us, was to stop all four lanes of oncoming traffic to let the tiny tuk tuk skoot on the opposite side of the road to make a U-turn. Oh joy! I made a mental note to myself as we waved goodbye. It's truly the people that make a place.

My Imaginery Speech at Min's "Imaginery" Wedding

Dear Min,

I was starting on a post to write or rather report on the events of your wedding, but then halfway through starting  it, and I did start on quite a bit already, I really wanted to write something more personal (to you). So I deleted everything, and re started. Don't ask me why, it's just one of those emo things I am feeling at the moment, maybe more so on the realisation that you were getting married for real (Heh!), but don't know how to put in words verbally. It's always better when I write. I can take the time to think through it and delete some things I decide I don't want said. Hence this.

I'll never forget this phrase you said once, that cracked me up, yet holds so much truth. You said, "We come from the same womb, yet are so different".

We are so so different in almost every way, even the way we look. Our friends couldn't tell we are sisters. And we used to have great fun telling people we were just friends, getting a huge kick out of it when they believed us. Haha! Crazy teenage years. Having said that, I'm so glad to have spent the most part of my life with you. Sure we squabble like all other sisters do, but there are more funny times that I recall than bad growing up. (I know you're going to read this at some point so I shall not write the embarrassing stuff which are the most funny ones here). From building houses with sofa cushions, to indoor camping, to pillow sliding down the stairs, to running away from ah ma when she's after our heels with the cane, to opening a medicine shop and treating the "wounded" with johnson & johnson cream after being caned by ah ma, to cooking classes with cut bits of coloured paper, to aerobics classes with Richard Simmons on TV, to almost eating cockroach eggs thinking it was chocolate, to rehearsing a singing contest performance to Debbie Gibson or Teresa Teng for mummy and daddy when they got home, to playing hide and seek, and many many many more.We had so much fun and I didn't want it to end.

Then we grew up some more, and became teenagers or "young adults" as we so readily called ourselves. Ha! If only we knew the real responsibilities and that came with being an adult. And the fighting started. We'd fight over everything. Clothes; who wore what without asking who, Telephone; the one using the phone never wanting to hang up, and the one wanting to use the phone checking every 5 mins if the one using the phone has hung up. Actually, come to think of it, we only fought over these two things from what I remember. Nothing else! How boring (and stupid)! But I think it's also during this period of juvenile delinquence that I confided in you the most too. Truly, by far, you are the only person who knows ALL my secrets. Also because I think you were reading my diary then, but that's another story.

We started to date boys, and with some interesting characters at that. "Messiah" worshippers, Magicians whose best performance was the disappearing act, Magicians who appear when you don't want them to, Stalkers, and Dwarfs. Haha. But blame that on our inexperience and ignorance. Through that, we also learn to be wiser and read characters better. Soon after, it was time for us to graduate from college and you had to stay in the hostel at NTU as freshman. I can't remember when we started but we wrote letters to one another frequently. Maybe that's why I started to like writing. It's always easier somehow when I write to someone far away. I feel like I'm talking to you and you're not that far away. Technically, you weren't. You were kind of like a 30min drive away, but still, since you moved out for that year or two, we hardly saw each other. And to be honest, I felt pretty lonely. Given, Rachel was there and she was really helping a lot to keep me occupied and she was really good company, but I couldn't really tell her stuff as much as I wanted to because she was just too young to understand. Writing to you was nice, but by the time you read about my day and some problems I would tell you about in my letters, it would have been 3 days past.

Anyways, fast forward a little more and we're dating seriously, you with your "imaginery" boyfriend that no one saw for the first 3 years, and me with my whirlwind relationship with Julien. Then I got married and moved out. It was a little weird at first since it was truly my first time permanently staying away from you all, yet I consoled myself with the fact that I can always just pop over to mummy and daddy's house at any time and all of you would be there. You know how we used to tease Rachel about her being emo over me getting married? I think I feel a little bit of that when Andy, stopped becoming "imaginery" and finally popped the question. I was really happy for you, since it's about time (11 years!), yet now I know that since you will be staying with Andy, I will still be able to pop by the house anytime I like but not everyone's going to be there. It's going to take more effort of organising more meals together and meeting up more often.
Does this feeling say "I miss you."?

I'm glad you're married to A. You both compliment one another - you're both cheesy. Apart from the wedding itself being a huge success, I'm sure this marriage will be one too.

P.S. I can't wait to see you all this weekend!

P.P.S. Welcome to our qwerky family A. Oh, but you know that already.

He didn't know what he was getting himself into when she said "Yes".

Friday, September 14, 2012

And We're Back!


Wow, each time I come back here and trace back when the last post was written, I always catch myself thinking 'where did that time in between go?'. So much has happened between the last two posts, that I can't even begin to start listing everything down. I'm guitly of this, but I'm more updated on Facebook than I am on the blog. It's just faster to load and caption pictures than to write a full story behind the moments. What's more frustrating is that my "writer's inspiration" (if I can even call it that) timing is always off! Sometimes I get nothing and I'm free on a weekend, and other times, my brain is churning out idea after idea and I just need to sit down and write down my thoughts, but I can't because either I am in the middle of an appointment, or travelling to my appointment or waiting for my appointment. Still there are times when I am at the right place and time, and feeling very intensely about a personal event or reflection (i.e. Tom's story), and I sit and write for hours straight without wanting to stop, skipping lunch most times, afraid that if I don't pen this thought/feeling down, it will just fly away as fast as it came to me.

Having said that I have to stop giving myself excuses, and start making time. I was very pleasantly surprised when friends and family of recent have been asking about the blog. =) Heh heh.

Well, as the French saying goes, I'm going to "take my finger out of my nose" and start again.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

A day in our lives...

What does a day in our lives look like? Friday morning I took the MRT to go to work as I'm meeting friends on the evening and will likely be in no state to ride home. I left Ting sleeping at home her first appointment being at 12. Around 10 I receive this picture from her asking me to guess where she is going.  

I think to myself, this is Friday, her lunch appointment probably cancelled, it's 10am. She's going to McDonald's for breakfast! And I was right... As proven by the photos.

I thought I would share my day with her and send her the photo of my immediate surroundings... Not as funky. 

Ting went on to continue sending me extract of her day. Her morning being free she had time to do some chores that would otherwise have had to wait until Saturday and she went her way to the super market to get our groceries. Super markets are super empty on a Friday morning.

As I was contemplating her shots, a look around informed me of all the exciting stuff I'm surrounded by... 

After she had come back from her shopping she was happy to show me the delicious dinners and breakfasts to be. The fish is so fresh you can almost hear it breathe... 

As pleased as I was to see her pictures of food, I looked around me at that exact moment... Let's say I don't usually share this with anyone but here goes. While she was replenishing the food, I was processing it. 

Ting after her chores needed to freshen up and went for a shower which she did share with me. 

How lucky she was to have a nice warm shower while for me, well, I was back to where I spend most of my days.

The day was carrying on. It was now around 1pm. While someone was perfecting her cleaning up, removing a thick layer of nail polish and even winning a battle against a mosquito.

I was on the phone with a very famous Australian group of hospitals trying to get answers for the agreement I have been negotiating for too long now.

Ting had removed a thin layer of skin to reveal a fresher and younger one below. She gave herself some rest and prepared for her evening meeting. The afternoon one had been cancelled also, not a good day to sell insurance apparently.

I was starving by now, so I wrote up a last email...

... and I went out for lunch. As you can see it was already 2.10pm. I like to have late lunches though for two reasons: 1 the food courts are empty so there is no need to queue for food or a seat, and 2 because the afternoon seems shorter after coming back from lunch. 

Mixed rice with chicken, potatoes, fried fish, the lot drowned in curry gravy...

In the course of the afternoon, I had a rare chance of witnessing the cats' busy schedule meeting friends from overseas. 

While I was still looking into a black box, reading virtual letters informing me of such important matters that I could not hide my excitement at each one received.

Ting's evening appointment was to be preceded with a meeting with her boss. She got ready in her Friday wear and waited for him to pick her up.

Of course you must be used by now to my surroundings which don't shift much. Even less so since I stopped smoking. Here I am looking for a dental clinic in Saigon. 

Ting's boss had finally picked her up. She was on the move... 

As for I, it was time for me to make a move too. A little early but I was still the last person in the office. Ahhh, Fridays. 

Ting sat down for a chat with her boss. 

And I was on the move! I walked through the corridor to the station, 

then down the stairs to the platform, 

I entered the MRT and waited there in the crowd for two stations before reaching Bugis. 

At Bugis station, out by the escalator... I actually had to wait for my friends a short while...

But very soon we were on the move again, direction: Haji Lane.

We walked a short while and saw a welcoming sofa in a zen bar... Our Franco-Korean meeting could begin but not without a nice cold beer...

As I was relaxing from my day, Ting was on the move to her appointment. It's already 7.30pm and she's working.

It's funny how the photos taken during work seem more dull than any others. Ting managed to share a glimpse of her appointment: 

The Franco-Korean meeting was continuing and this is where I stopped taking pictures... So no picture of my route home by MRT again, and bus.

But Ting did remember and sent me the extract of her trip home. Crowded MRT... 

And that was our day... We managed to go to bed not too late which is rare on a Friday night. But only so we could enjoy our weekend more! Our plans for Saturday? Tennis, brunch, cinema... Sunday? Brunch, Tennis, Dinner... 

By the way, this Sunday is Father's day, a little SMS or phone call to dad it always welcome!

Disclaimer: this day is not an example of all our days. It's just one Friday of the month of June 2012...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Problème de communication

Un peu comme le son d’un basson mal utilisé, un cri mi-animal mi-homme. Il monte descend mais n’a pas de sens ni de mélodie. Pierre s’arrête net pour essayer de comprendre et le son s’éteint. Quand le bruit reprend son pouls s’accélère. Autour de lui pas une seule voiture ne roule et aucun passant ne se manifeste. Seuls les oiseaux continuent de chanter gaiement le retour du printemps. Le bruit ne se faisant plus entendre, Pierre tente un mouvement lent pour revenir sur ses pas, mais à peine a-t-il bougé que le grognement reprend de plus belle. Il le situe juste devant lui, il n’ose donc s’approcher. Pourtant il va falloir agir. Lorsqu’il entend derrière lui le son d’un moteur descendant la rue, il sait qu’il a une chance. Alors tentant le tout pour le tout il se jette sur la chaussée. Un crissement de pneus déchire le calme ambiant et une main l’agrippe. La voiture est passée tellement proche de lui qu’il en sent la chaleur du moteur dans l’air déplacé. Alors que Pierre se retourne pour remercier son sauveur, le cri se fait de nouveau entendre, mais cette fois Pierre n’a pas peur. Il vient de comprendre. La personne qui le tient en est à l’origine et cette personne ne peut pas entendre. Pierre monte son pouce comme pour faire du stop, en signe de gratitude. Son sauveur lui tape doucement l’épaule puis l’entraine gentiment sur quelques mètres avant de lui retaper sur l’épaule. Voyant que la communication ne pourra pas aller plus en avant, Pierre refait un signe avec le pouce et grimace un sourire. Puis il reprend sa marche derrière le son de sa canne blanche avec un pensée gracieuse pour son sauveur qui deux fois en l’espace de quelques instants l’a empêché de tomber.

A little like the sound of a badly used bassoon, a cry half animal half man. It goes up and down but has no meaning or melody. Peter stops abruptly to try to understand and the sound dies. When the noise starts again his pulse jumps. Around him not one car is moving not one passer-by gives him a sign. Only the birds continue to happily sing the return of spring. As no further manifestation of the noise occurs, Peter tries a slow movement to turn around, but as soon as he moves the growl starts again. It’s coming from in front of him; he doesn’t dare to go closer. He will have to act though. When he hears the sound of an engine going down the street behind him, he knows it’s his only chance. So trying all his luck he jumps on the road. A scream of tires tear the quiet atmosphere and a hand holds him back. The car was so close he can feel the warmth of its engine in the shifted air. When Peter turns around to thank his savior, the cry comes again, but this time Peter is not scared. He just understood. It comes from the person holding him, and that person can’t hear. Peter lifts his thumps as if to hitchhike in a gratitude gesture. His savior gently taps his shoulder and takes him a few meters before taping his shoulder again. Seeing the communication won’t go any further, Peter again gives a thumb sign and contorts a smile. He then continues his path behind the sound of his white stick with a grateful thought for his savior who twice, in a few minutes, kept him from falling.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Picture perfect

Took this on the way out to lunch while in Dieppe. Right place. Right time.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year Everyone!!

To a new year of more experiences, travels, realization of dreams and hopes, raclette, crazy friends that wouldn't mind to have raclette for breakfast, funnier and better pictures of the milestones and joyous moments in our lives, more laughter, more family moments, more smiles, more spice and everything nice!!!

Happy 2012 a tous!!!!

Love always wherever we are,

Julien & Ting