Friday, May 25, 2007

Fast Food

Estimates suggest that there are 5.6 million vending machines in Japan which works out to be one for every 20 people. Sales from vending machines in the year 2000 totalled US$56 billion! The most common are drinks and cigarette machines. I was excited when my sister Woofhams told me she has seen vending machines in Japan that sell hot meals. Friends also told me vending machines in Japan come in all shapes and sell things that range from eggs and umbrellas to flowers and flight insurance. Hot ramen vending machine comes first in my wish list. Before my Japan trip last year, I even had the fantasy that my hot ramen will appear in a green bowl. I also spent time to think about how will I hold the hot bowl so I won't scald my fingers, where do I get the disposable chopsticks and how should I handle the used bowl?

I was very excited with the thought of hot ramen machines that as soon as I checked in at the hotel, I asked the liaison officer who assisted my trip to show me the direction to ramen machines. To my disappointment, all vending machines in that hotel do not come with the green bowl fantasy. Eventually I tried the mineral water and instant noodles (seafood flavour) vending machines. Not too bad, in fact. Although we have similar brand in Brunei (imports from Malaysia), the Japan's taste is stronger. Their diced carrots are crunchy despite soaked in water for more than five minutes.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup

To 'spice up' Mama's birthday cake this year, I have given it "The Powerpuff Girls' theme. How do you like the design?

Love U, Mom!

I love cheesecake regardless of friends' comment that I've put on weight and my face is like a pizza, a big plate or worse ... a moon. Anyway, whatever they say won't deter me from savouring my favourite cheesecake. Of course, I will take the cake in moderation. During Mother's Day this year, I've ordered for my mother a 2 pounds cake by the name of Majestic Chocolate Cheesecake. Yummy cake!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

There Is 'No Us'

Since the day I was introduced to the Golden Globe and Peabody Award winning American TV drama series Ugly Betty, I have only managed to catch two episodes. The first time I watched it, I was upset seeing Betty, such a family oriented girl and so kind-hearted, was being ridiculed in her workplace because of her weird hairstyle, braces and glasses. And yet people says Beauty is in the eyes of Beholder, then where and who is the Beholder? It's so unfair to Betty.
I stumbled upon Ugly Betty again last night when I was trying to prevent my cousin from dwelling on the MTV. May be I am older now. Dido's songs are soothing, but Dido combines with Eminen are too complex for my ears. Okay, so back to UB. Yesterday's story was a bit of here and there, but main story focused on (1) Daniels' transgender brother Alex Meade, (2) Lucy Liu appeared as Grace Chin and (3) Betty's sort-of-soulmate Henry's on-again/off-again girlfriend Charlie showed up in NY prompting Betty to hold off on her pursuit of the geeky-sweet accountant Henry.

Somehow between the lines of Betty and Henry in one of the scenes, I detected something familiar:
Henry: How about the feelings between us?
Betty: There is No Us.

The "feelings" between Betty and Henry is more complicated than what I could write here. You knew you have feelings for him and the feelings are 100% reciprocal, but you haven't found the appropriate opportunities to reveal your feelings - that's the boring and yet complicated issue I was referring. Anyway, yesterday epidode ended with Betty giving Henry the VIP ticket to Stella MaCrtney show with Charlie.

I was/am still confused with the episode ending. So:

  • Does Henry like Betty? Ans: If he likes her, he will refuse the tickets, and suggest Betty to go to Stella show with Charlie instead ie. a Girls' Out Night.

  • Is Betty making the right decision? Ans: Friends always tell me I am letting all the good guys slip away. Well, to start with, if he is a good guy, he will stay instead of me asking him to stay.

  • Should Betty break them up? Ans: Magazines and movies always tell us to fight for the guy we want. Well, I diasagree with them. If the guy likes you, he will not shy away, he will not be inconfident of your feelings, he will be head over heels with you on his mind that he wants to see you 24/7.

  • Is Henry a loser in yesterday's episode? Ans: Indecisive+Inconfident = weak.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


When I was 10, the girl who sat in my next table always bullied me. I told her calmly: Hey, don't try to bully me. I have power. I am a Witch, a Good Witch.
The story of The Wizard of Oz always amazed me especially when I was a kid, and I used to believe I have power. I used to believe with a twitch of my nose, I could get all housework done. I practised for months and finally I told myself I might need to attend a Witchery school to equip with that magical skill (this is the source why some of my friends commented myself and J.K.Rowling are long-lost sisters). I continue to read witches stories from Mary Poppins to Harry Potter, but I have stopped believing that there are witches in this world, especially good witches. Witchcrafts are reserved for those who lack confidence and faith in themselves, I told myself.


While others are crazy about LV and YSL, I am drooling over Marc Jacobs' collections.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Finding Neverland

Probably my environment has changed me. Used to be I wanted to be one of the boys to prove that I am as intelligent as them. In the process, I saw too many "ugly" men, men who back-stabbed you, men who manipulated your kindness, men whom you might need to protect in return. It's true that once you've past 28 and unmarried, you will get too complacent with your single life and having a life partner has become more of an option than compulsory.

Recently, I have come to notice married or attached women are very protective of their husband, fiance or boyfriend in my presence. May be I am increasingly more attractive (a-hem .. hehe ...) or they are overgeneralising on single women. To all my friends out there, if I am talking to your husband, fiance or boyfriend, it's mostly because I just dislike your man thinking that we women can't hold a candle to them. Our conversations mostly centre around the fact that I am re-educating them to respect women. Also, if I am talking to a single man, it doesn't mean every time that I am interested in him, and please don't immediate ringing me up to ask my impression on him. Most pathetic of all, please don't introduce me to your uncle, oldest brother or friend who is only 5 years junior than my mother's age. Also, if I am chatting with a younger man (or a younger man chatting to me), it doesn't imply I am desperate. Friends should have no age barrier, have we forgotten that fact? Please accept the fact that I have chosen my path because of my choice, not because of the circumstances I am in.

12th Week

Marriage is not for everyone. I could advise others on marriage, but I don't have confidence I could manage one myself. Confidence is the key to manage many things right, and I don't think I should endeavour when I don't have confidence and faith in managing marriage - well.

Raising children is not an easy task too. I have seen my sister-in-law having to juggle between work, part-time course and morning sickness (Thanks God it's mild for her case). Her sacrifice for not consuming anything with caffeine. She has more pimples now, and she is not too bothered with it because she knows she has a living thing inside her which makes her to be less vain, more calm, more focused and more motherly. Being a good and responsible mother is not an easy job. I am just not cut out to be one.

I have never, never, never in my life felt so touched with motherhood until yesterday 11ish in the morning. My parents and I accompanied my sister-in-law for her antenatal check-up since my brother was at work. She did her first scan, and I called my mother to join us. Like Rachel Green in Friends, I had absolutely no idea where was the baby in the first place. I heard the doctor told us: Hey, look at the baby. Very active baby. The baby is kicking so hard, both hands and legs. The baby must be excited to meet her mother, her grandmother and eldest auntie for the first time. Say Hi!

My goodness, I could feel tears about to roll down my cheek at that moment meeting the baby (my niece or nephew) for the first time. The baby is so cute. The baby is waving at me - I am the proud eldest auntie. We saw the baby's spine developing very well. The doctor told us the baby is very healthy. My mother was so happy, she ran out of the room and told my father everything that she has just seen. I loved that moment - the unity of a family. I believe if my brother (ie. the baby's father), my sister Woofhams and her husband were there too yesterday, it would be even a more complete picture.

I believe this is a strong, stubborn and smart baby. The doctor told us my sister-in-law's due date would be on the 24th November. I actually did a calculation last week, and my calculated due date for my sister-in-law will be on 22nd November. The baby is going to be a Sagittarian!

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I believe the next big thing in business world would be RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification). I talked about this issue in my posting on October 30th 2006. Although I am not a fan of RFID (to date), unavoidably I couldn't deny its power. In a nutshell, I should say RFID emphasises on "traceability". Australian coal mine is using RFID to enhance the safety of their workers. I read in RFID Journal recently that Australian coal mine industry is building the RFID capability into its network — a fiber optic backbone that includes 802.11 access points — NL Technologies partnered with WaveTrend, a manufacturer of active 433 MHz RFID tags and interrogators utilizing a proprietary air-interface protocol. The tags on the cap lamp (miners wear on their head) are affixed to batteries worn on miners' belts . Each tag's unique ID number is associated in NL Technologies' Northern Light Digital Software Suite with a miner assigned that specific tagged cap lamp. The tags can also be affixed to vehicles within a mine to monitor and track the vehicles' locations.

Husbands now can avoid traceability issue from their wife by avoiding to invest in a video phone. However, very soon they will lose this freedom because RFID will enable their wife to trace their whereabouts under a minute. Soon, we will all be very afraid to pee in the loo because we are unsure if we will be watched. Soon, we might not need to bring our wallet or credit card when we are out of our house. An implantable chip either on our arm (this is so Matrix, but in real life British professor of Cybernatics Kevin Warick implanted a chip in his arm in 1998) or in a bangle will enable us to be identified by the "system" which then allow us to pay for our food and other purchases.

Of course, I was slightly exaggerated in the second paragraph. But we can't deny the fact that RFID is already in our life. To pick some common examples, HR East in Japan introduced SUICa (Super Urban Intelligent Card) for transport payment service in its railway transportation service in November 2001, using Sony's FeliCa (Felicity Card) technology. The same Sony technology was used in Hong Kong's Octopus card, and Singapore's EZ-Link card. The Transperth public transport network in Perth, Western Australia uses RFID technology in the new SmartRider ticketing system. BGN has launched two fully automated Smartstores that combine item-level RFID tagging to deliver an integrated supply chain, from warehouse to consumer.
I believe more and more of things around us will have this chip embedded, and of course there are many problems that might arise too, to name a few, frequency used (there is no global public body that governs the frequencies used for RFID. In principle, every country can set its own rules); security issue, moral issue and privacy concern, virus and RFID hacking.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


  • Back then when I was an undergraduate, I loved a concept learnt in my "Comparative Education" lecture called "Discovery Learning". My lecturer described "Discovery Learning" as "one of those moments when you have a light bulb above your head".
  • Since mid-February after I have chased away whirlwind of moodiness, I've started to think of many things around me. Many times I feel guilty for making sarcastic comments to my parents even though they are aware that I have their interests at heart. Many times, I also feel I haven't lent any of my listening ears to my siblings. What kind of older sister am I?
  • When I am browsing others' blogs, I always ask: How can s/he write such beautiful sentences? Oh, those photos taken are professional. Why no one response to my comments? Apart from Woofhams and her good friend Michelle, no one compliments my blog and my writing.
  • Friends told me I always have time for work, but I have no time to pursue and maintain a relationship. When I finally made the effort to show up, He wasn't there. Friends again commented: You have missed the boat. I smiled and replied, "Well, that's fate". My dating periods have never past the benchmark of 5 dates. To date, I still have no idea whether I am such unattractive or I am just unsuitable. I've bought many books and magazines, and tried to find out what Aunties Agony and So-Called-Love-Experts commented on situations like mine. I even looked in love songs to look for reasons. All answers seem to point in the same direction: Time is not ripe yet. Ok, so he is just not the Mr Right. So, why the hurry? If he meant to appear, he will.
  • I was reading Woofhams's blog a while ago and noticed a very creative "Ticker" for her to keep track of her Running Goal. I went to visit the Ticker Factory site and thought of adopting one for my blog. I stared at the web page for almost 10 minutes, and poor thing I have realised I have nothing to look forward to. I have no exercise goal. Four years ago, I used to be gym-craze but now I am relying on only walking and my stationary bike. I have no children, and have no due dates or childrens' birthdays to look forward to. If not for my family remembering my birthday every year, I wouldn't be bothered with my own birthday. I am not exactly healthy. I eat well, I don't smoke and I don't drink. I am not waiting to quit any bad habits and not wanting to lose any more weight. I don't grow potty plants. Ally and Bobby are family dogs, not exactly my dogs in a specific sense. Apart from renewing car license and my road tax, I can't think of what specific dates I should remember. May be one: 21st July. Harry potter's 7th book.
  • But, revert back to the concept of "Discovery Learning": What I have written may simply imply - Make A New List Of Goals!!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Pep Talk

Even superhero needs pep talk.

[from trailer] Aunt May: Uncle Ben wouldn't want us living with revenge in our hearts, it's like a poison. It can take you over and turn us into something ugly.

[from trailer] Peter Parker: I don't know what to do ...
Aunt May: I'm sure you'll find it within yourself to do the right thing.

Good Motivation gives Great Power. Great Power comes Great Responsibility.

Friday, May 04, 2007


My brother bought me a digital camera for my birthday last year. I hardly use it and still very much rely on my 02 phone camera to take most of daily photos. I must not be complacent with the inferior quality of photos I have taken. I must start to take quality photos using the "proper" camera.

I have written a lot today. I am in the writing mood. I feel very calm and contented with my life. My shoulders have become lighter when I decide to "Let Go" and "Move On".

'Dance like nobody's watching;
love like you've never been hurt.
Sing like nobody's listening;
live like it's heaven on earth.'
- Mark Twain

Postmodern Life

So far, two of my favourite posters.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Older By One Year

I stumbled upon a blog which the birthday girl wrote about a lot of '3s' in her life. It occured to me that I haven't posted photos which I have taken during my birthday last year. We were too busy with the preparation of my brother's wedding that we had to put many things on hold. A day before my birthday last year, Woofhams and her husband treated me to a hearty dinner. Woofhams secretly ordered a chocolate mousse cake for me, and I secretly made 3 wishes: 1) Argue less with my parents 2) Listen more to my siblings 3) Tell that guy I do like him and I don't mind his emotional baggage.

How do I achieve so far?

1) I am learning to be more patient but many times my words still hurt my parents - needs improvement;

2) Siblings and myself are on equal footing but being the eldest sister, I should learn to be more tolerant and not throwing temper like a toddler - needs improvement;

3) I still haven't told him I like him because I don't know he is avoiding me or I am avoiding him in actual fact - needs improvement.

Man's Best Friend

Bobby is very obedient lately and he has gained more weight. He recognises my voice, and responds to me saying: Jump. Sit. Shake hand. He guards the house at night, and during the day he sometimes pretends to sleep when we ignore him. Very cute.