Sunday, November 29, 2015


Wow, it took me a month to start writing about my birthday!

To kick off with what I've got up my sleeve for my birthday this year, I did a little short cover on David Bowie's "Space Oddity" with a little thank you message before that for people who had played a part in my life.

My birthday at the start of this month was a Sunday, but basically it started the day before. Sharlene made a sudden invitation for lunch on a Saturday. Since I was going to the lab, I suggested NUH and it turned out KJ could join us too! We decided to have some Penang food at Penang Street outlet, which was enough to curb the desire for home town delicacies. We chat and joked and it turned out they planned to treat me for my birthday the day after. It was very nice of them and I thanked them. Through the conversation, we got to know about our common friend, G, who was admitted into the hospital but the visiting hour had passed. So we had to give it a miss.

On the day of my birthday, I woke up early in the morning to watch Doctor Who, it was the Zygon Invasion episode. Then, I prepared myself and went over to Maxwell Food Centre as planned with ZL and Stephanie. We got to eat some local food like pancakes and dumplings. We did not manage to try all the food there obviously, because we only have three stomachs in total. Stephanie showed me the banana cake she made as I requested that as a birthday special.

After the lunch, we walked a little around the area and went to Department of Caffeine for some café stuff. I got a latté and we shared a banana waffle (which reminded me of the amount of banana we had on the same day). We chat a bit and also decided to visit our friend in the hospital after that.

Before the hospital visiting hour, we still have an hour or two to spend, so I pop back into the lab for some quick stuff, like checking the cells and some simple experiments. It was fruitful, nonetheless. I was very pleased with the result. And later that day, we spent an hour visiting our friend, and get to know how he was settling in with his post-operation recovery phase. All is well but his mother was rather worried, which was normal. He got a very cute kidney plushie, which was cool! Dinner after that was in Kopitiam and we ended the day to rest for Monday.

ZL also gave me a pack of presents, which was very very nice of her. These stuff could easily be practical in my life. The tumbler, needless to say; the book, good for my 2016 to-do planner (I have been making good use of MUJI notebook for 2015 so I shall continue the habit); the brownie, my snack for the next few days; the shortcakes, literally my breakfast for the next week.

On Monday, I had a lovely treat by two of my lab members, somehow by surprise. I thought it was a joke, but it turned out they really treat me to good food in Marché. Not just that, they finally introduced me the infamous Tutu Kueh from Singapore. I haven't had one during my seven-year-stay here, so it was a shame. It was a small stall with a lady moulding flour with flavours in these funny-looking device. The whole steam-feel was making it so classic.

A photo posted by Mafer Seow (@freshwiz_mafer) on

The final product? Little round piece of white flour that melts in your mouth. I find myself liking the coconut-flavoured ones.

And hence, this is my birthday in a short summary. It was cozy and lovely, and I thought it was great! In addition to that, I also posted a sketch painting for my brother's birthday... which was just the day after mine..

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Blue Sushi by Bertie Gilbert

Finally, I managed to space out some time in the morning for this piece of clip. I enjoyed Bertie Gilbert's other short film and thought when this one is out I should have a look at it. As I mentioned before, his style had matured and I am rather pleased with the things he made. Blue Sushi touched a bit on coming out as a transgender, but in my opinion, it was not totally about LGBT, it is the display of the fact that each and every one of us are the same. People or even ourselves, no matter which type of person you are, tend to think we already understand ourselves in terms of our choices, when in fact, most of the time we might not have the best and perfect answer. And the fact that it is not wrong and bad, it is called 'growing up', by exploring yourselves, your own choices and find yourself, and not according to what people think and say about you. This show, is about each of us, coming out in good terms with ourselves and be happy. I like it! (Well, of course, the above is my interpretation, feel free to add on.)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I Live in a Busy World

This is not a phenomenon I noticed recently, it had been here for some time, bugging my mind again and again. Nowadays, among friends, co-workers or even strangers, when you ask 'How are you?', the answer was no longer the standard 'fine'. I used to mock how that 'fine' was so auto that it didn't mean anything, but oh, how I miss it now. 

People started conversation saying they're busy. Oh, whoops, so should I end this conversation now so that you can continue with your busyness? People giving you a list of their activities trying to tell you their schedule is too busy to include your suggested activity. Erm, okay, I get it you don't have time for this. Excuse me, I'm too busy to know your timetables too. People disappearing from act because they are too busy with whatever they are doing, when it is a teamwork. So... do I still call you a team mate or...? People grumbling about how heavy their workload is now, literally every time you see them. I know you are overworked, everyone is overworked. Wait, are you okay? Are you coping? Is this a distress signal?

Don't get me wrong, I was not immune to this 'disease' either. I read back those delayed posts I had in this very blog, how many times had I use the 'busy' word as an excuse? The truth is, when that happened, it has nothing to do with busy, at least most of the time. It was just, this blog post might not be on my priority list anymore. When I was a student, I tended to say I was busy studying. But, really? Did I really learn a lot? No. That just showed how bad a student I was, because that showed I haven't even manage a student life properly, I can't cope, I was not good enough. 

And then, things changed. I looked at myself from outside me.

I disgusted myself with myself. It showed me how incompetent I was. It showed me a person who used excuse to cover excuses to dodge away whatever responsibilities that was thrown to me. It showed I was not being true to myself, to admit I changed my priority. Yes, blogging is no longer my top ten purpose in my life, get it straight, and admit it. It showed I was bad at managing my time, my study, and my priorities. You are a student, you are supposed to at least try to be good at studying, dude. It showed how sloppy I was. It showed how self-centred I was, telling everyone I was the one busy, that I mattered, the things I do is soooo much more important or bigger than them. And the truth is, how big is your work, is your own perspective. It showed I was not mature enough, with a big chunk of arrogance. I took it as though I have the biggest problem in the world, I was owed, I was the most unfortunate person in the world. What actually happened? I was not humble enough to realize everyone in this world has their own problem, and by doing that I'm shoving other's problem off and enlarging mine to hundred times, until I live in my own little bubble. It also could meant, I was not smart and wise enough to realize and solve my problem. Here you go again, I'm literally hanging a 'I AM DUMB' sign on my neck and be very proud of it. Dumb! 

There are so many more examples that I can give, and most of them are not very good, cheerful ones. 

In the process of doing all this 'busy stuff', not only did I belittled people around me, I belittled myself. I underestimated my own potential. I buried my dreams. I overshadowed my own chance to shine. And one of the worst things? When it is really 'busy', it doesn't add up to the effect anymore. My message here is not to tell people not to admit busy-ness when it is true. There will be times when you can't cope and is on the verge of collapsing. That's time when you need to ask for help, signal people around you to keep an eye on you. And if you have been stating your situation as 10/10 all the time, when it is really serious, there's no 11/10 for you. It was a bit of a cry-wolf effect.

In the end, I admitted to myself, that this is bad, for me, for my friend, for my family and for my entire life. I have to take responsibility for my life and what I really want to do with my life, I need to take charge and do something about it. And so I started to change, mentally, with attitude and action.

So far, it was going great. Most of the time, my respond to 'How are you?' became 'Great.' I see the world in a more positive light. It gave me hope to push myself further with every step. I also started to understand myself better in time, my strength, weakness and potential, limitations. I can see places I need to improve and certain aspects of my life I should feel proud of. I appreciate life better and looked forward to a better ones. The world no longer became about me, it became world, so much bigger and many to explore.

These are my take from the lesson I learned and purely my own interpretation and thoughts. I thought this post had a lot of 'I' and 'me' inside, but I wrote this from my own point of view, to not generalize too many of you. I hope it tickle your mind a little and make this world a better place.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Book Review: Very Good Lives

Rather than a book review, I would say this as a 'thought after the read' more of Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination. If you have always been thinking you didn't have time to read a book, please - please, check this one out. This iss practically of a length not-a-book, and a message of so-much-more-than-a-book. In fact, you might find the text on-line somewhere because this book is exactly the speech J. K. Rowling gave at a Harvard Commencement. To be able to stand there and give advice to the future generation, that must be something. J. K. Rowling came to me through Harry Potter, when I was still a child who was not very fond of reading and not very good at making friends and finding life not really fitting together. The wizarding world had served as my comfort zone, my emergency blanket during my secondary school years and at the same time, a initial culture, preparing me to understand the real world. Through this so-called virtual world, I learned to understand human, I learned what it means - life. And this convinced me Rowling had a set of good life principle. In fact, I find her way of life interesting, not all perfect, but not all bad - and that's where we can learn from. In this book/speech, Rowling gave a few advice through her own life experiences.

Here are a few quotes I find moving, among a whole list of quotes (I can't paste everything here!):

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.

We do not need magic to transform our world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

Many of what she spoke, might sound to you, normal, simple, everyday and mundane. And that was what matters. Most of the time, it was the simplest, commonest things in our life that actually matters. These little reminders...

It made me thought of the speech during my commencement. I can't remember the whole of it, but what stroke my thought was 'not to chase for honours, let the honours chase after you'. It was a waking bell in some way and a reminder.

In case you are interested in listening the speech, here it is:

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Phuket-Land Trip 2015 IV

20 June 2015

Cashew Nut Factory Visit

After the previous stop, we continued our journey on the vehicle. Here are the other two passengers chilling while the wind flew by...

We get to see more of the streets of Phuket. There were familiar shophouses selling daily stuff like this one (left). Piles of pails, bottles, containers, chair, broom, cups, bowls... anything you need - the dry stuff - in your house. And there were also houses which were well-painted and looked very nice (right). They were beautiful and I wondered what it's like, to stay in there...

Our next destination was a cashew nut factory. It was a coincidence when I just had a conversation with my ex-colleague over the chat group about cashew nut, water guava and jambu. This was a small scale factory, more for display rather than functional.

So, visitors were quickly gathered at each stations where demonstration of traditional processing of cashew nut was shown. The first one showed the extraction of the raw nut from its hard shell. This machine here has a screw-like punch which will go right through the 'eye' area and pry open the nut shell. And from inside, you get one cashew nut.

If you are curious. The red coloured object was a demonstration of how cashew nut fruit looked like. Having come from the same family of jambu air, they looked almost the same, except the nut of this, which could be seen at the bottom of the fruit after the bell-shaped body, is edible.

In the same factory, there were some machines too. Those were not as large scale as those manufacturing plant machineries, but it should be sufficient for the local factory uses. The one on the left seemed to be a roasting machine while the right one is a packaging machine. It was a pity the tour did not include explanation to these sections. 

The tour was quite short and we were shortly leaving the area. This is how it looked like from outside...

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