[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Friday, June 30, 2006

It is Friday and that means it is party time!

After booking out, I managed to find time to chill out at the Team Singapore volunteer hub , Blue Oasis. I had delicious spaghetti, brownie, ice cream and red wine. It's just the right day and time to let your hair down and chill out.

I digress.

Imagine how difficult it is when things don't go the way you want it to.

Like today. Feeling a sense of responsibility, I booked in early today. Imagine my surprise when I reached camp. The book-in and book-out book was still locked in the office.

Apparently, the key press key was unavailable and the clerk had still not booked in. So we had to wait and wait.

Then during battalion run, the usual map that is used to show the route was conspicuously missing.

When asked, I was told that it was a "long story".

Now that's how it works in the army. Don't know, don't care.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Reservist day one seemed like a long day.

But since I had driving test I booked in around 4 in the afternoon.

And I saw many old faces. After two years, a reservist stint is a good time and opportunity to catch up.

I particularly was impressed after seeing many promotions. And also some of the regulars still at their "comfortable rank".

Time passes so fast. Life moves on. People change. But some things do not. Don't ask me what because it is only day one and I haven't seen everything yet.

One thing is for sure the NSFs in the unit have gone really slack. But still day one. So too early to tell.

It has been a quiet day at this little unit in the North.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

[Oh not that green uniform again]
It's the time of the year when I should be having a holiday or maybe climbing Mount Kinabalu.

But here I am in Singapore, packing my bag for Seletar Camp. My uniform's out again and my boots are polished. And it is all because of one word. RESERVIST.

Plus, I got my TP test tomorrow lor. And still need to book in. Sian.

Today entry got a lot of singlish. Because hor, I am lazy to blog in Queen's English lor.

Today also Jasper birthday. So I blog the way he speaks.

Wah. 3 weeks of reservist leh. By then got something big to announce. Of course, it is always happy stuff.

See, I also got mood when blogging de but at least got mood still not swear like Xiaxue. She got mood only $%^& and @$(%$* and !#$%@#%$# until all the gina gina treat her like idol. I different. Not so vulgar.

And because hor today is fast and furious mood. Think fast, blog fast.

At least got people know my Engrish is good. I blog like that once a while still ok. And no one will ask me to exprain why I blog the way I blog.

Friday, June 23, 2006

[Things I will miss]
I won't be in the office for a long long time. I have set my out of office for the next three weeks.

And I'll be missing work. Okay, I am kidding.

I think one that I would be missing most is my workstation.

My constituency has one of the largest workstation space for support staff. And similar to the amount of space that an assistant constituency manager has - now that rocks.

And after close to a year, I have it all decorated up.

It has my personal colour printer, my computer and all the cool stuff at my desk. I hope I won't be missing this place after I leave.

My super cool but old but still sturdy printer

My personal computer - this is the creative desk

I have spent the happy days and the sad days here for the last year or so. And this is where I get inspired to write my press releases and get creative juices to work when designing stuff.

So as I go for my reservist, I will try to pop by my office to settle bits and pieces of stuff.

But not for long though.

It is because of my pending promotion. And I will have to move to another office.

I am a Constituency Support Officer no more. My new post? Still undecided. But I'm sure it will have the word 'manager' in it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

[The coolest Team Singapore store]
I went down to the Street Festival arena again today and took a look at the art on the canvases outside Plaza Singapura. Pretty cool stuff I say.

Then I went closer and saw this.

And I agree with the artist. On the news just now was also a short story on graffiti art in Singapore.

27-year-old street artist Zack Kazak told Channel NewsAsia: "Pure vandalism lies maybe the text they wrote; maybe it's foul language ... maybe it's just a scribble. So I think what the public sees as a form of art - aesthetic forms like bright colours, how creative, how elaborate the form is - I think that's aesthetic value; that's a form of art."

But I beg to differ.

The difference for me on street art and vandalism is this - more importantly it depends on the media you paint on and equally so if it contains vulgar or obscene stuff. If a street artist damages public property with his graffiti art, I think it is a pure sense of vandalism and not art regardless of the content.

Therefore, my take to street artists: do it on legal areas. I think the National Youth Council's Skate Park allows street artists to express themselves freely on their ramps and stuff.

However, most street artists like "bombings". These are done by graffiti artists who operate in crews using a fast and furious process of spray painting a mural. Though illegal if done at undesignated places, street artists enjoy the adrenaline rush of "bombings".

Perhaps more areas can be designated for these street artists to create their works and let them interact with members of the public.

In other news, this morning was also the final hours of the 30-hour netball challenge in conjunction with the Singapore Street Festival 2006 and it is day two for me.

Those present were encouraged to vote for their favourite national netball player. Needless to say, I took part too and voted for the one that looked the sweetest - I have never seen them in person nor heard of them during my years of Team Singapore volunteer work. So I based my vote on looks.

Well before I end, I present the coolest Team Singapore stall so far. I guess the booths provided by Plaza Singapura really brings out the best of our merchandise in terms of the display. The other stalls I have done so far just come with tables in a tentage and these look just like any other stall at a pasar malam (night market).

See, so professional right? This really made me enjoy selling the Team Singapore stuff. And in between manning the stall, I managed to squeeze in time to read some stories in the series of Team Singapore books.

Then I was off for dragonboat training with the Bedok Reservoir - Punggol grassroots leaders and some Temasek Polytechnic students to prepare for the big race on July 2.

I'm really excited.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

[World Cup 2006 Singapore versus Malaysia]
You mean you don't watch soccer?

I was stumped when I was asked this question.

I mean who gets the kick watching 22 men run and kick after one ball?

A survey I conducted among my friends shows that there is a small percentage of the guys that do not watch soccer.

So you got it. You won't catch me in the office surfing for live scores or better still, I won't be watching the match "live" from the office on the super bandwidth internet access (actually I tried it once when some of the guys were around). But after they left, it was back to serious stuff.

So when boss creeps behind my shoulders to spy on me, I will have a piece of mind because (I repeat) I don't and if yes, seldom, watch soccer - unless I have a good reason to.

I am beginning to think that I have affinity with mangoes. Okay, so this is not related to the topic but worth mentioning. For the last three to four days, I've been relaxing a lot. And so you ask, what has this got to do with mangoes. Well, plenty.

On Thursday, I had a cup of mango frappachino ice blended tea with a shot of raspberry.
On Friday, I ordered a glass of mango milk tea while KTV-ing at Party World.
And today, to quench my thirst, I downed a cup of mango ice blended from Mc Cafe.

So back to soccer.

For the last two days (again), I have been observing the coffee shops and pubs and clubs and nightspots. And I don't understand why there has to be a huge crowd when a game is being screened. Okay, I won't understand, really.

Perhaps it is because since young it never occured to me that playing ball games was cool.

And whether in Singapore or Malaysia, the situation is the same when it comes to playing ball.

In Malaysia, the lounge at the resort where I stayed, it was packed to the brim during the match. Not surprising, my group was the only one around after the game had ended.

In Singapore, men (and some women) even risk getting a summons by parking at the roadside. You know, it's part of the game. Lucky thing, no parking wardens or traffic policemen were around to give out their 'discount vouchers'.

Even just now walking down Orchard Road was slightly difficult as most soccer crazy fans stood outside the pubs for their daily dosage of this adrenaline rush. Or maybe because they betted on the game and were eager to know how much they would be winning (well, sadly, money makes the world go round).

To prove the fact that I am not into soccer, I blog during the Portugal and Iran match (or did I not understand the acronyms of the countries). I sort of know that CRO stands for Croatia and FRA stands for France. Well, it don't matter to me anyway.

However, one thig for sure I cannot agree more that the World Cup would boost the economy.

Perhaps when the competition heats up, I would stay up to watch how they kick and get a kick out of kicking. But not at this stage. Not just yet.

Friday, June 16, 2006

[Remaking Hougang]
Not the whole constituency but the Hougang Community Club.

Weeks ago, the whole exterior walls lay bare with cracks and ugly marks.

And since today was remaking Hougang day. I got some help from my colleague and we decked the walls with four newly designed banners with great copywriting text.

It was a tedious task. First, deciding where to put which banner. And then getting down to doing it proved to be daunting too. Banners were put up. Some were relocated and some taken down.

After some three hours in the sun after the rain, it is a striking piece of artwork. The final product is great for all to see. For now.

The most challenging wall because the banners were too big and were overlapping each other

Sporting courses - my portfolio and music too

And since I have regained my momentum after a long break, my desk is back to it's usual state again but not for long as I will be going for a long reservist stint soon.

My desk after two endless days of clearing

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

[More blogging days ahead]
I was just analysing my work schedule for the month of June and I am pleased to announce that I'd be having more free time for blogging. And no, that doesn't mean that I'll be blogging in the office (I haven't done that for a long long time).

In June alone, I only need to go to the office for nine days. Because I have my election off to clear, my holiday leave last week and a few courses to attend. I'll be going for this practical Malay course next week and a one day excel course the week after.

And joining the fun this Saturday at Plaza Singapura for the Team Singapore 30-hour Street Netball Challenge in conjunction with the Singapore Street Festival 2006.

Also, two movies to catch this week: The Benchwarmers later and Over the Hedge tomorrow.

Off to shower. I'm running late.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

[The view at Genting]
I'm supposed to catch a movie tomorrow. But if I don't I'd probably be sleeping in bed. Yup, tomorrow is my off day.

Had a whirlwind day again. After not being in the office for six days in a row (one wonders if I actually am employed), my desk is full of arrows and messages any my office mailbox is bombarded with tons of email.

At least, I managed to clear last month's accounts file and my 85 emails today. Well course updating and this month's accounts file will have to wait till Thursday. and Friday is remaking Hougang day (more on that after Friday).

And since it is getting late and I have not even showered, I shall just cut the crap and shut my trap and show you all the photos.

Behind the numbers 18554... It's my room

The sunset from my room

The swimming pool where I spent close to five hours in reflecting my life. I just slept there in the sun thinking

Hee har... iGallop. Horses take afternoon showers too

Vast grassland and awesome mountains during the day

The view at the foot of the mountain

Monday, June 12, 2006

[Genting rocks]
Just in case you are wondering, I have just returned to Singapore after a five-day fulfilling church camp at Awana golf resort in Genting.

And the first thing that I am doing after unpacking my stuff and distributing the goodies, I am catching up on Singapore news and current affairs.

I must say we Singaporeans are a fortunate bunch. I'm saying this after stepping on a blob of chewing gum on Malaysian road and it totally grossed me out. In Singapore, the government does what it can to make Singapore a clean and green city. It truly makes me appreciate what I have.

After reading Malaysia's The Star newspaper about the face-off between the former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir and his successor Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, I must say Singapore politics are no kick here unless of course elections are round the corner.

We have no ugly arguments, no outstanding bills to point out and no dirty linen to wash in public on usual days. Cool.

In the last few days, the former Malaysian prime minister has been accusing the present one of abandoning plans like the scenic bridge and wants the current cabinet to explain how it reached certain decisions. And both men are waging a war of words,

Adding to the fire, the opposition party digs up the dirt on the current prime minister's outstanding parking fines! In case you didn't know, there were discounts given to the Malaysian PM for 12 of his parking fines.

On the other hand in Singapore, if you try to defame the Government, you get your pants sued off your a**.

Anyway, I'll go back to reading my newspapers. It has been a tiring journey back home.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

[Happening May]
The month of May - some interesting discoveries and highlights and some important lessons learned.

Of course, the highlight was probably seeing the swearing-in of the Prime Minister and his cabinet.

Although we weren't in the state room where the VIPs were, it was an event not to be missed.

Next up, it is time to prepare for dragonboating in July.

And also the National Day Rally which would be held around August as well as the many National Day Dinners and functions (now I know why I can't seem to lose all that fat).

For the first time, I felt tensed visiting the Istana. Firsty, it was a different setting altogether - no tentage, the event was held at night and I was there alone - but not for long.

Having the event at night made it a more wonderful event and not having the tent allowed the guests there to see the Istana lawn in its entire magnificent glory.

For every step taken, you would see one important person - an MP, a dignatry but no MediaCorp starlets. Even Chief Defence Force (I wish I could take a closer look at the three gold stars on his shoulder board) was there together with his team of captains, majors and colonels all decked out in their smart uniforms.

The food was superb but more important was the interaction - food for me was secondary (Goodwood Park truly lived up to the standards).

It was a pleasant setting for interaction - you could almost talk to anyone, no-holds-barred. I did and went up to shake opposition MP Low Thia Khiang's hand - he was pretty sneaky and averted my eyes.

There was also the small chat with our Prime Minister and of course my 'boss' George Yeo.

And just like always, the President always arrives and leaves just as fast towards the end.

But of course, this time, he is accompanied by his wife and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and his wife. And straight after that, we stand at attention while the national anthem is being played before the event draws to a close.

One regret though. I didn't manage to satisfy my sweet tooth this time as I missed the dessert table of chocolate cakes and gula-Melaka. That said, I would probably be not so tensed the next time and will eat to my hearts content.