Sunday, January 29, 2012

Twelve Days Before Christmas ‘Project’

For Christmas 2011, I wished to do some videos about it but no idea came concretely until I saw this vlog from Bertiebertg’s channel. He planned to video twelve days of Christmas to make up of all the less videos he made because he used to be a quite frequent vlogger back then. He might not be the super duper vlogger, but some of his videos are definitely funny and really ‘vlog’ as versus ‘video’. By this, I decided to the same thing but in a much mundane way. It’s a challenge for me because I had not been videoing very frequently and I don’t actually have holiday until the exact day of Christmas! But after all, I managed to came up with eleven videos with me talking about my twelve days before Christmas, starting from 14th of December, 2011 to 25th of December, the Christmas Day itself. The theme will have me singing each sentence of the ‘12 Days of Christmas’ in Shrek version in each day until the very last where we had the ensemble!

These are links of all the individual post of each videos and their ‘background story’:

12

11

10

9

8

7

6

5

3,4

2

1

 
 
I hope you enjoy!

Christmas Day!!!

My Christmas Day video was video-ed late at night, same as the previous ones. I had been playing for the whole day, that’s why. First of all scenes, I entered with my excitement of finding my ‘fez’, no seriously – my Santa hat! After days of searching for it – Papa actually found it in my drawers, how could that happened? But not to question more as I’m glad enough to find it back. And I spent my Christmas Day waking up rather normally, nor too early to bounce on bed shrieking ‘presents!’ nor too late until I miss the lunch. We had buffet for lunch, which was pretty ‘traditional’ and good. We had it in Golden Sands, which we booked a table the day before. And I realized I had goodbyed the days when I could really eat a lot during buffet meals. I picked few of each and that’s it for my tummy. But still, I love buffet in a sense that I can choose what I want to eat instead of following the majority. I could start my meal with desserts, for example. Not that I did that, but I started my dessert rather early. But of course, the dessert arrangement for Golden Sands were with whole puddings and cakes on the platter and we cut off the portion we wanted. It’s good that I can take how much I need instead of what they give, but at the same time, the food tend to deformed easily after being dissected by the public over and over again. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the meal.
After lunch, we had a walk in Gurney, which is just around the corner as we drove along the Tanjung Bunga road, passing by Batu Feringghi which I admired all the time but couldn’t get a chance to go due to the crowd. I got myself two books as Christmas presents: My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher and a Basic German book. I initially wanted to get a John Green book, but didn’t manage to find one. German book was now a great motivation to remind myself my goal to learn a new language. Later that day, I saw Sherlock on one of the channels, which surprised me as the only BBC channel I had was BBC World News.
Of course, as I had already planned that since the first video of this project, I ended the video with the mix of all twelve sentences of the Shrek version of ‘12 Days of Christmas’. I hope you like it!
Last, it was my promise to all of you my reader or my viewer, a Christmas present to all of you. It is my work, a Christmas short story I attempted. I hope you enjoy and comment about it. I am still learning to write, so good advice will help!
The link for the story is here, titled ‘The Forgotten Santa’:
http://www.booksie.com/fantasy/short_story/mafer/the-forgotten-santa

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Second Day Before Christmas: Christmas Eve

A very late video about Christmas Eve, in fact I was supposed to be in bed. Thus, that explained about me in my pyjamas. Yes, I wear proper pyjamas at home. To be truth, this video contained mostly craps I mumbled when I was sleepy, but it’s still interesting! I had Mee Goreng that day, which reminded me how I can’t really find that kind of Mee Goreng in Singapore, yet. And for dinner, I had meal at this stall which cooked really good Assam Prawn. At the same time, we were informed someone will not come back home for Christmas and I was laughing at the coincidence of me coming back home because I don’t want to break the tradition of being the first to not coming back home for Christmas.

And after like three days at home, with an average attempt of finding my old Santa hat, I still can’t find it! So, I was quite upset and became more upset when I found my birthday present from my parents which turned out to be the Papa Smurf soft toy! He had a red hat, which could have been so matching to my Santa hat!!! But no matter, I decided to name it ‘Smurfy’ and added him to my soft toy collection. Sourire

And here goes my sleepy Christmas Eve post, welcoming the Christmas Day…

Fourth and Third Day before Christmas

It’s funny how I am posting about my previous trip home when I’m on vacation back home again in less than or almost a month. But this is no awkward situation to me as I should be thick-face enough for that after so many similar occurrence. Well, let’s not deviate this further and continue with my adventure of the fourth and third day before Christmas.

As expected, I was late in video-ing my video after I reached home. I didn’t manage to video anything in Changi, nor did I manage to video a log on the fourth day as well. In the end, I had to combine the two days together, featuring certain small things I did. Interesting mentions like the market should be featured. This is the very thing I missed about home as well. So much as I don’t really enjoy an everyday-routine of going to the market, the market trip was a really precious one when I went to Singapore. It was a dry plus wet market, with hawker stall, occupying streets and junctions. The stalls in this market was not pre-built cubicles but ‘trolleys’ of stalls, which could really be moved around. As time passed on, things get so systematic and arranged that we don’t get this kind of market anymore around. The name of the market was known as something else, but we called it ‘Apollo’ because in older days, this piece of land was a factory producing the snack ‘Apollo’! Anyone who knows Raja Uda should know and visit this market. They don’t look clean or neat, they don’t sell high end or advanced stuff; but it was a different feeling that makes you feel the street spirit!

Next, I watched Sherlock Holmes 2 film. In between this film and the last film, I watched Sherlock series by BBC, so I could make a few differences between them. However, the film was not totally bad or anything. I enjoyed the visual effects though not the plot. Some scenes actually reminded me of Deathly Hallows Part 2. Especially the running through the forest part, but in Sherlock Holmes’ this part was an enhanced carbon copy I would say. Watched this movie with my parents, but because of the ticket limit, my seat was three seats away from them…

After all these, Tzu Cha was the most common thing I could mention because when I get back home, the whole family would eat in tzu cha stall, be it a restaurant or stall. Tzu Cha is very common in Penang that it was like the usual for families who eat out. My family rarely had time to cook because of our schedule, eating out at tzu cha is like memories with my family! And with that, it actually made me precious more when my parents did cook at home!

And I guess that’s all for this part of the video…

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Seminar about Science Communication

Just came back from this talk by Dr Maureen Rouhi, deputy editor-in-chief of the Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN) in American Chemical Society (ACS), titled "Communicating Your Science To The Public: Why and How". It was a superb talk, even though I was late for quite a few minutes and there were no super-impressive fireworks going off in the middle of the speech. 

The talk started with introducing to the audience the field of science communication, journalism and writing. She focused on what is the importance of this field and what do the reporters expect for a newsworthy mention. Of course, writing about Science is not just about writing about your research for your own lab members. It almost served nothing if you can't explain what you are doing to the outside world, your co-field scientists, scientists from other field, intellectuals, reporters and even public like your own neighbour! And the thing is when you are trying to tell the Uncle selling chicken rice what are you doing, you don't actually say 'I am doing protein purification of a three-finger toxin, by using resins or chromatography and blah with many more technical terms', instead you might want to consider 'I am working on this protein which has a significant structure similar to three-fingers, where I try to produce and separate it from others'. Well, maybe I am still not good at summarizing it, but I hope you get what I meant.

Next would be why should people care about what you are talking about. When you say 'I had my breakfast', that only tell people what you did. It didn't tell others the point of the conversation other than it being a polite talk for awkward silence, or  - it might be a starter of a conversation! Compare that sentence to this instead, 'I had my breakfast this morning and I saw a car accident just outside the office'. By this, you might be getting some, although not all, of your audience asking, 'Oh, car accident, how did it happen?' Things like this catch the audience attention because they could roughly relate things to them, maybe it's someone they knew, maybe it was a faulty traffice light they passed by everyday or maybe they might want to avoid that street later during lunch break. Many of us might not like this way of living, doing things that has concrete purpose to uus, but I believe everything has its purpose, it depends on how did you package your information.

The next part of the talk was a case study about the arsenate-DNA news which was once a blast on the media. I remembered about the news but didn't really follow the trail at that time. I guess I was a much different person back then. Other sections include attitudes when getting your work to the media and also how the press work to bring your work to the platform. It has a few point with it and I would conclude it as 'treat nicely and respect each every people from every profession and be considerate'. It's an effort to work on research, it's an effort to write about your research too! Overally, the talk have substance and I am glad I got to grab some time to be in there.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fifth Day before Christmas

The day I went back home for Christmas, I did my video before the trip in the office after my office hour, dragging the time. It was a lonely day because most people were on leave that day and I was strictly speaking, the guard of my lab. But of course, different personnel took leave at different timing gave good things like we can make sure someone is operating the lab and everything. And since I was in the office and I had no idea if I ever would have the chance of making a video in Changi, I made this video a rather introduction of my work nature.

I couldn’t reveal in detail what I did because that was and always is confidential. In return, I explained what I did in a rather rough manner, to at least draw out a wide idea of what a lab technologist do! I find a good introduction of my work may be a good way to make other people understand about us more. Plus, I was just too excited about my job that I must share it with someone else! So, here you go Sourire!

Sixth Day before Christmas

On the sixth day before Christmas, which is the 20th of December, I decided to join in some of my friends to visit the floating book fair, Logos Hope. But first of all, we had a good dinner in one of the Asian Kitchen in Vivo ( I think it’s the name). I had banana with coconut milk as dessert, shared Xiao Long Bao with others and my own bowl of Zha Jiang Mian. They were superb!

After the dinner, we went to the ship which held the book fair. It was quite creepy to find the deck with cafe looked almost like the one I imagined for my story except mine was filled with magic, but either way, the ship felt too stable to be one. I guess it’s too safe to be in a safe harbour? In the end, I did get myself three books: Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Don Quixote, previous two being by William Shakespeare while the last one was by Cervantes. I bought Shakespeare because I thought it is time for me to seriously learn something well off than just knowing a poem of two out of Macbeth or Romeo and Juliette. As for Don Quixote, it was a recommendation of classics, so I just had a ride on that excuse!

Having to have had so much fun shopping for books (a disastrous thing to do for  me because it can bankrupt me!), I still have to return to my room to be reminded on the reality – going home on the next day. This explained why you will see me in my pyjamas, hopping on and off screen just to pack up my things. Yeaps, that’s it!

Seventh Day before Christmas

Everything was boring until I decided to do something to lighten up the mood. I searched for the guitar chords for ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ and started practising before getting into the version that appeared on the video. But anyway, it mentioned about figgy puddings and I would have looked like ‘WHAT?!’ because I was never a fan of figgy pudding. Not that they are terrible, but the taste just was not for me. I would think they tasted too sweet when I actually gulped down chocolates much sweeter than that. I would think they tasted like fruit when I scooped away half of another fruit pudding. So, in the end, I concluded, I was just not for figgy puddings. Maybe in future, I might start learning to appreciate that delicacies; but for now, no!

All in all, I still enjoy playing the song though, felt happy with it!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Eighth Day before Christmas

Eighth day before Christmas was a Sunday. This day, I attended a senior’s holy matrimony. Truly speaking, this senior was not like my very close senior or anything like that, but once a while along my university year I talked to him or listened to those wise words from him with other seniors. And the thrilling part was how the couple were both Keviians, setting the ceremony like a hall gathering at some point. We managed to took one Keviians photo with generations of Keviians, which is astonishing. It reminds me of going back to Chung Ling alumni and you will see seniors who are as old as your granddaddy!

The reception served nice food. I am glad I decided to follow this bunch just to have a look of the ceremony.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ninth Day before Christmas

A lazy day with almost no foreseen interesting story to tell until I broke the fluorescence tube! I was keeping it like a treasure and didn’t dare to use it at all and this happened! And yes, since it broke I might as well make full use of it right?!

Posing it with the soft toys!

Or even waving it like a magic wand…

But after all, I found my Santa hat at night and mentioned about the Dickens 2012 Writing the City things…

Tenth Day before Christmas

Postponed the tenth day before Christmas to be done in the early morning of ninth day before Christmas, because I had been playing too much by staying over in friend’s hostel! I guess I was seriously having too much fun that I misread the eleventh day’s line instead of tenth day’s. That day was a supposed day for swimming after my work. Halfway towards hall, it started drizzling and I encountered a snake slithered just across the road in front of me!

I was stunned but decided not to disturb the environment and quickened my footsteps to hall. We decided to wait till the rain stop by watching an episode of Doctor Who (more of me keep advertising Rire). We had ‘Vincent and the Doctor’ a rather heart warming episode which is individual enough for beginners. Sounds like I’m giving out lecture on Doctor Who, eh? What happened was, we finish the episode to find the rain becoming heavier. Lucky we never defy the odds and went for swimming or we would have been thrown out of pool even before we finish a lap. We ended up watching quite a few series and talked. I felt happy to have someone to watch Doctor Who with me!!!

Eleventh Day before Christmas

Spending first half of the day doing the same thing and the other half being a crazy fellow in my friend’s house celebrating her birthday! Her family is awesome, her house is awesome and her, Carmen, is awesome too! For such a wonderful friend, I decided to give her my recent drawing, the ‘The Way to KEVII Hall’ since it was her last birthday in hall and most of us will leave hall due to graduation, except me who stepped out one year earlier. We had games in her house and meet her family members who are really nice to us. The food was really good, vegetarian with really nice taste. I wanted for more but knew I better not act like a total eater rudely in someone else’s house! We get to know more friends as well!

Twelfth Day before Christmas

This day looked like nothing but I did something crazy! After my ex-roomie left the house, denying to pay rent for the following months, I had the room for myself and I came to serious thinking. This is the time I should try to make the space feels home, even for a mere four months. So, I made a rough calculation of space and came up with a simple shifting plan. I was surprised I could just push the whole cupboard around the room because it was pretty light after half of the cupboard was emptied! In another sense, the arrangement I ended up with had a certain similarity with my old room at home. And the exciting thing is there’s a big space in the middle of the room now that I can literally sit down and have a tea or just do some art work there! But there’s the other side of it of course. The light bulb was not no longer on top of my study because it was shifted to next to the window. In the morning, it wouldn’t have any problem due to the sunlight but at night? This is when my desk lamp come into use. The arrangement had made the wiring less messy and a better arrangement in lalachacha stuff (my dictionary define this as ‘all those loose ends of stuff’). I spent the whole night cleaning and had this video. But after this, the whole room felt very comfortable, hooray!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Gift from France

This is a gift from quite a long time. In fact, it was for my birthday in 2010! Thanks to my friends who went for SEP in France. They sent me this gift, a book of the Petit Nicolas series. I was just overwhelmed by it because I just watched the Petit Nicolas movie that time and was introduced to such an interesting series. Its simple French is so suitable for a beginner like me and a good way to understand French culture! Most of all, is how my friends actually sent this all the way from France. I truly appreciate that!

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And this is the post card attached to it!

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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Not-So Grad Trip: Cathedral of the Good Shepherd

Just reachable and see-able from CHIJMES, was another building crowded with followers on that Sunday morning. They had just finished their Sunday mass and I walked into the cathedral, ignoring the crowd. The other side of the cathedral was having some reconstruction due to its old age. I could see some cracks on the wall which they were trying to rebuild the support as so to maintain the safety of the building. Being built between 1843 and 1847, it is not surprising this building does need some fixing, isn’t it?

Half Day Trip in Singapore

According to certain websites, in February 1843, a French priest, Father Jean-Marie Beurel got a land from the colonial government and built Church of the Good Shepherd. The foundation stone was laid by a merchant resident in Singapore, John Conolly, on 18th of June 1843. This information could be seen on this plate below.

Half Day Trip in Singapore

Probably because I am still not a professional in looking at architectal style and art pieces, this church is of Renaissance style. It only made sure to me through the reference site:

The architect Denis Lesley McSwiney apparently competed with John Turnbull Thomson for the design of this new church, with McSwiney's design chosen because his had been cheaper. It was built at a cost of just over $18,000, in Renaissance style with the traditional cruciform plan and Roman Doric pillars. Shortly after the completion of the church, Father Beurel blessed it on 6 June 1947.

According to the same source, the church gained status to Cathedral in 1888 and “On 14 February 1897, the Bishop of Malacca, the Reverend Rene Fee consecrated the church after all bills were settled. The relics of St. Laurent Imbert, the first priest to visit Singapore (later martyred in Korea), are preserved in the Cathedral”. As of its fate now, it had been gazetted as national monument on 28 June 1973.

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Half Day Trip in SingaporeHalf Day Trip in Singapore

What would be interesting was a real organ in the now Cathedral.

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Around the cathedral stood different statues. Some were symbolical and some were for commemorating such as the one with the pope to remember his visit years ago.

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Half Day Trip in Singapore

References:

1) Tan, Bonny. “Cathedral of Good Shepherd". http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_756_2004-12-17.html. April 1999.

Not-So Grad Trip: CHIJMES

I would say that this is the first stop I had for the half-day trip. I happened to pass by this area while travelling east for an interview in Duke-NUS two to three times and this building caught my attention in the midst of the rushing traffic. That was the moment I came up with the idea of taking a trip around Singapore. I realized I had been in Singapore for three years yet haven’t really walk through the whole map. This made me biased if I were to say Singapore is a boring place when I didn’t spend some times look through it thoroughly. So I started to do some basic research on the maps near that area, setting CHIJMES as the first stop.

Half Day Trip in Singapore

I managed to find an angle for the chapel which makes it look nice, capturing it from behind the building, near Caldwell House.

Half Day Trip in Singapore

Of course, you should not be surprised to find the view towards CHIJMES looked like this because it was not a building located on top of a hill like the Athens Temple. Development had somehow ripped the good capturing view of it somehow.

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And let us step into the place and find out what is CHIJMES. CHIJMES, which is its name currently, stands for Convent of Holy Infant Jesus Middle Education School. In fact, it started as CHIJ, a convent set up by four French nuns who came over from Penang in 1854. There’s a Caldwell House which is just next to the chapel building, which became the nun’s headquarters. The whole venue is located at Victoria Street in Downtown core. In November 1983, the Chapel offered its last service and went into diligent refurbishment until being gazetted in October 1990 as National Monuments of Singapore.

Half Day Trip in Singapore

From several aspect of the chapel, there were some gothic element existed.

Half Day Trip in Singapore

And so for the chapel part, there were beautiful columns and colourful tainted glass.

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The fresco upon looked small here by intricate. I would like to say I fall for the tainted glass more this time.

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Looking into the chapel, would be a view like this. Since it was closed that day, not sure due to it’s now a national monument or it’s just not open that day, I had to take this photo through the glass door.

Half Day Trip in Singapore

From the outside, the view was like that:

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And right next to the chapel was Caldwell House. There are corridors towards the sides, built with interesting structures and decorated with neoclassical elements.

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The quarters however, had been transformed into a complex now with several restaurants and planted with some decorative plants, such as the hibiscus here.

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The beautiful thing about this complex is that it was not just a flat ground with many restaurants. In the middle of the area, just next to the chapel, was thi lower ground which you could look down into it. It is a small piazza filled with tables and chairs for the restaurants. I wondered how would it look like when all the shophouses were working.

Half Day Trip in Singapore

Next to CHIJMES’ entrance, there was this door, which was plated with ‘The Gate of Hope’

Half Day Trip in Singapore
Half Day Trip in Singapore

References:

1) Pan, Aram. “CHIJMES”. http://www.singaporevr.com/vrs/CHIJMES/CHIJMES.html. 2011.

2) Wijesinghe, Pushpitha. “Chijmes – Once a Catholic Convent now a leading Lifestyle Centre”. http://www.articlesbase.com/travel-articles/chijmes-once-a-catholic-convent-now-a-leading-lifestyle-centre-3329754.html. September 2010.

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