Friday, February 25, 2005

Vijay in Singapore!

Vijay was here!! Hee.. took a day off work to hang out with him in town..

For the not-so-informed.. Vijay was my roommate at Stanford! He's an Indian from India, who had been in America 5 years when I met him. Still remember, when my mom heard that my roommate was Indian, her questions were things like, does he stink?

Hahaha.. well, not that I'm entirely faultless of the curse of racism.. Anyway, Vijay's the fourth (set of) roommate(s) I've had. First was in KR, some nameless PSC scholar who didn't even stay. Then in Birmingham with Chunzhi, Louis, Yewei, Kok Sung.. and that was fun! Followed by Bristol with Pierre, Ivy, Noelle, which was cool (especially the pool table!) But Vijay was by far the best roommate I've ever had. We didn't start out with a whole lot of common interests, and kind of different diets. But over the course of a year, we shared interests, teaching each other about pool, astronomy, anime, Bollywood, throwing parties together, travelling together, drinking beer together, doing movie nights, joining up with each other's social circles.

In my book, Vijay is the ideal in terms of how a student should live when studying overseas. He maintains contact with his countrymen, but doesn't make the mistake of isolating himself from the locals. He hangs out with people of all nations and cultures, making friends easily and introducing those friends to each other, helping to broaden everyone's horizons. Hanging out with him was easy!

So we spent hours at Cafe Cartel and Pacific Coffee Club, watched Howl's Moving Castle and played Time Crisis 2 at CineLeisure, had chicken rice at Selegie. Talked about each other's goings-on, and shared about our girlfriends and good friends... Turns out he's still watching anime, even joining the Stanford Anime Club. :> Makes me feel good!

I think the most flattering thing for me was how we were talking about how much we enjoyed those times.. (even now I'm reminded of getting rainchecks for Post Cereal... ) It's a deep compliment for me that Vijay found me to be a good roommate too.. :>

Well.. I'm hoping that I'll get to visit him soon, or that he'll really do like what he said and come to Singapore to work too!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

KeY's camera pix of my Xiao San Yuan yesterday night, playing with my mom, sis, and KeY.. my second time this CNY! A lot of "yuan" with my "good friends" this year..heh

These make up KeY's present! Phone tags, one for each of us, and they join up to make a happy happy person.. see the big smile on his face? Hands holding our hearts, joining them together.. :>

This is KeY's V-day gift! At first I wanted to get her something else, but that was sold-out.. :< Still, as I was browsing in Precious Thots, I saw him calling, "Me! Me! Look here!"... hee... KeY loves him! (more than me.. :<)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

New Year and catching up

It's finally the new year.. been enjoying myself a bit but now it's time to work.. and boy is there a lot of it. I shouldn't even be blogging, but I haven't blogged in eternity... and when I was clearing the mail, I saw the link to Alex's site, and then from there to Lari. So might as well link them, and now I might as well blog!

There's been a lot of frustrations and strange happenings, as well as good things. Especially good things.. I guess in retrospect, every day good things happen to me. Even with all the petty frustrations, I know that at the end of the day I'm healthy (minus the accidents), happy, and not extremly poor. I've got good friends, a fantastic and loving girlfriend, warm and caring family. I've got enough free time to do things that I like to do. I've got a job for when I come out of NS. And keeping score aside.. Everyday, I find many many things that make me smile, make me cry happy tears, and I get to know even more people.

Truly.. I can say it now.. God is good. Just wish I could be a better boy...

Monday, February 07, 2005

Job confirmed

So my job is finally confirmed. No more squirming when people ask me, "So which ministry are you going to go to?" I guess I'm extremely insecure. Keep catching myself wondering if maybe no ministry will want me.. that I'll be one of the first round rejects. Still... good news for the new year!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Long long taxi ride

Met up with Sze How, Irwin, and Guy to go see the Ang Mo Kio FSC people. We were supposed to go to their office at Blk 240 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3, and after dinner at Central we figured it would be easier to take a taxi down. Had a really bad case of miscommunication with the taxi driver though... First he thought Sze How knew where it was, so we went in direction A. We quickly found the block numbers there were too high, whereupon we persuaded Sze How to turn back.

(english subtitles to chinese conversation)
Taxi uncle: How come you don't know where it is?
Sze How: I don't know that's why I take taxi! Shouldn't you know? You're a taxi driver!
TU: I can' t know every street! Anyway I wanted to u-turn back but you said it was this way.
SH: How can you not know?

And so on...

Then we went back in the other direction.. No block 240. Max is 235.

TU: I think your instructions must be wrong. Maybe it's on the neighbouring Ave 1.
SH: Cannot be wrong la. I checked online already, it's there!
TU: We drive around and see, maybe neighboring street will have.

Then we went through Ave 1. On the way, we saw block 230 and a sign Ang Mo Kio FSC.
Irwin and me: Is that the one?
SH: No, that's another one. The new one they shifted to should be at the other side where we first went. I remember the block is not with the rest one.

Nothing on Ave 1.. so small side streets. Nothing, and I suggested
Z: maybe we should stop at the Block 230 and check.
Irwin: yah, we can always ask for directions there.
TU: It's okay, I also want to see where it is. Let's keep going.

I've been feeling a bit cheated, and this statement kind of seals it. Damn, the guy must think we're total kai-tze. There to be cheated only is it? We're passing 230 anyway, so I say,
Z: Let's just stop here.
TU: Where ah?
I: We just passed it
TU: Oh like that ah. You want me to turn around and bring you there?
Z: Let's just stop. I'm sick of this ride.
SH: Stop here. (points forward)
TU: I can drive you back, it's no problem.
SH: Stop here!

Anyway, that uncle will get his retribution. The funny part comes when we step into 230 to ask for directions, and the nice lady (Siew Li) says she was expecting us, she was wondering whether or not to call us already (we're late by fifteen minutes already). And Sze How is like, wasn't it 240?

But interestingly, Block 240 doesn't seem to exist! Maybe it's a car park or something.

the meeting itself went okay. During the meeting, I'm kind of pissed off at everyone on our side not wanting to commit. I caught myself thinking, "Can't we just decide instead of leaving our options open and changing and all that? We're like not very sure of what we want, whatever our partners want we'll accommodate like that. " Definitely not my style. At the end of the day, Siew Li says, we'll need to come up with a more complete proposal.

So, end of day discussion, we'll work with AMK FSC. Rest of it needs discussion with the rest, get them committed. But at least I'm not alone in realising that we can't wait for a group consensus. To me, we need to quickly hammer down a proposal of what we want to do. I think most of the group will just go with anything put up to them. Those who aren't, can raise it up. If it's something small, we'll negotiate it. If it's something large, then we'll really negotiate it. And if we can't make the two ends meet... well, fact is, they didn't come for any of the meetings, or take part in the discussion anyway right?

Just thinking back to what Glen said. "People give to people, not to causes". Not entirely true I guess. Tons of people give to tsunami funds without even thinking about it. But causes change, get adjusted to meet needs or to fit reality. The people don't change. They're the same ones who will do a job reliably come what may, who will shift in certain ways to adapt to realities, who live by strong principles and values in their own lives. And that's why I'll keep giving to people not causes..