Friday, November 29, 2013

Diaconate Ordination

Yesterday was a special day. Time surely flies. The 2 seminarians which were in the same group as me when I went for World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008 were finally ordained as deacons yesterday. It was my first time attending such mass so it was rather an eye opener.

I had a bad day at work and stayed back late to send e-mails about possible complaints. I thought that I would definitely be late for mass. By God's grace, I arrived only a few minutes late and the mass was still at the opening hymn. Being late is late and most of the seats were already filled, even on the second floor. I just followed directions from the wardens and I ended up seating at an empty row behind 4.5 rows reserved for priests!! Gosh.. It was really a pressure. I felt like a devil in the midst of holy men of God. Not to mention that I was wearing dark-coloured shirt to contrast with their white robes. I started to feel more comfortable when more late comers came in the I had more people seated at the same row as me. Haha..

It was quite an intense experience to see so many priests together under one roof. Or if I want to exaggerate it: to see the priests from whole Singapore (and some from Malaysia) together. It must be a wonderful view to see all of them stand behind the altar during the Liturgy of Eucharist.

There was an embarrassing moment during the incensing before the Liturgy of Eucharist. Usually after incensing of the altar and the people on the altar is done, the congregation is also incensed and usually they start from the left side of the altar. When the priests stood up, some of us also followed them. I think it was obvious who never attend this kind of mass! Lol.. The priests should be incensed first before the rest of the congregation. Super paiseh can... Haha..

Anyway, congratulations and God bless to the 2 Brothers. I am not sure if I can still call them Brothers or I should call them Deacons or Fathers now. Haha.. Their Sacerdoctal Ordination will be on the 1st January 2014 (what an auspicious day!) but unfortunately I will still be in Indonesia and I will not be able to attend. I really want to attend because it will be my first time to witness such event :(

Yesterday was also the first time I heard from the new Archbishop. I found him quite cool that when he uses different tones of voice when he reads from the books and when he speaks his own opinions. He is also quite funny with his jokes, especially when he addressed the parents of the 2 new Deacons: you gave up your sons to the Church and now God returns them as servants; you can't order around your sons but now as servants, you can order them around.

Oooh and after the mass, I shook hands with the Archbishop!! What a privilege and I hope some of his faith  and love of God is transferred to me.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Change of plan

Oh my gosh.. my aunt really went back to the same restaurant for the 3rd time in less than a week! My godsister was able to come this time so one more stomach to help wiping out $200+ worth of food to get $100 off. Lol. She recently had a trip to Japan and she brought me back some souvenirs: Bandai's pamphlet on the latest Gundam models and Gundam chopsticks! They are not big gifts but they really made me so happy, especially the chopsticks. I don't know that such thing exists in the first place. Not Wing but I can make do with Freedom lor. Hehe.. 

Listening to her experience really tempts me to go Japan even more. My sister also wants to go but I swear never to go travelling with her anymore. I prefer going with friends with similar interests. I hear stories that once you enter an anime shop, it will be like very difficult to get out. Haha.. Sounds like a bad place. I can imagine myself running out of money and out of idea on how to fit my loots into my luggage. Well.. someday.. I hope I will ever find a girlfriend who also loves Japan and has anime/game related hobbies too. Hehe..

Talking about these things never fail to make me emo. I am expecting Kotobukiya ArtFX J: Keigo Atobe, Bandai Figuarts figures of Kuroko-Kagami-Kise, and Free! Illustration book. I really have no idea where I am going to store them :( I can't even decide on which things I want to bring home in 2 weeks time leh.. Sad.. 

Yesterday I spoke to my superior and I guess my ideal plan of robbing company's money to fund my further studies before jumping ship is out of the window now. The managerial courses are only for the people up there while I am not keen on doing clinical course if I have to run clinics eventually. My passion is not there. Anyway, I get the confirmation that they just need "further educated" people for the clinics while idiots are enough to run operations. Okay.. fine.. I am considering to a part-time master course in NUS now. It will be related to industry settings so I guess that gives me some diversity in terms of where I can go in the future.

I am planning to enroll latest by January 2015. The issue is the cost. I am not too sure if there is any funding for a part-time course. I need at least 30k (3000 per module and I need to read 10 modules) :( I can afford it myself but my heart just aches seeing my savings being wiped out that much. Haiz.. At this stage, I actually don't mind staying where I am. I will wait until appraisal next year to see whether the company has any plan to accomodate my "talent". Otherwise, I just do what I want. Eventually I just need a higher degree and then I will pursue my dream of teaching.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

1 month quickly passed and it is time for my aunt to return for her knee follow up. Her voice and her face give enough answers to whether everything is okay. I am glad that things are going well for her and there is no regret. I knew she was worried whether to go for the surgery or not and I know my dad and my uncle are not supportive of her surgery. Now she can walk (although not 100% back to normal yet) and she no longer complains of any pain at the back while walking so I am sure surgery was the correct decision.

She is accompanied by my cousin and my distant cousin. The distant cousin is the grandchild of my grandmother's sister and I never know her before. Haha.. I can easily say grandaunt but I don't even know my grandaunt so yeah, grandmother's sister is the correct word. Of course I am pretty tired and fat these days for accompanying my aunt to eat and eat and eat. They will leave Singapore on Tuesday so tomorrow will be the last night that I have to go out.

On Thursday, we had dinner at Lao Beijing restaurant at Plaza Singapura. Hmm.. I am not too keen for something so cheenah but I have to admit that the food was not too bad. On Friday, dinner was at Cantonese Restaurant at Chinatown which was also pretty good. Today, we had lunch at Liang Court and then I took 2 hour nap at the hotel. Haha.. For dinner, my aunt chose that Lao Beijing restaurant again! Roarr!! Usually I hate to return to the same restaurant within such a short period, no matter how good the food is. However, since it was our 2nd meal, we had $50 off!! No joke!! That was quite a good surprise! The waitress told us that if we come back again soon and spend $200, we will get $100 off!! Haha.. No way I am coming back tomorrow. We could not even complete a $136 worth of food today, can't imagine how to eat $200 just to enjoy the $100 off.

I did not go out with them yesterday as I wanted to rest after work. Haha.. kinda lazy when my aunt and my godma asked me to mass together. Honestly, I am worse than a Sunday Catholic nowadays. The last time I went for mass was All Saint's Day. But today, after so many reminders from my godma, I decided to be a good boy and went for mass. I totally could not focus because it was so noisy and there was something wrong with the sound system that I could hardly hear anything read from the pulpit. Not to mention my deteriorating vision that I could see no words projected on the screen :( Sigh.. What a mistake..

Wait.. No.. Despite the regret and feeling of uselessness, I felt that today was a good day. I guess that is a miracle of the mass. No matter how unwilling, if you attend mass, you will definitely takeaway some blessings. Anyway, at the back of the church where I sat, there were quite a few people that attended the mass on their own too. Hmm.. I think it will be cool if there is a community for the loners/singles/people who attend mass alone. Perhaps I will have an additional drive to go.

Many things are not going right for me, especially with the prospect of moving house in 2-3 months time :( Thank God for Jetstar Hot Fare that I will be going home twice this December. I just bought a ticket for a trip home on the 13th-15th December. I know it was kinda lame to go back just for 2 nights but I wanted to start bringing home some of my toys. Haiz...

Ignorance is bliss. There is this Free! Illustration book which is exclusive to KyoAni shop. I decided to purchase it by special order from Japan and in total, it cost me about $93. Today, as we were queue-ing for lunch, I thought of checking Kinokuniya and I saw this book at only $70.20. Fuck! Kinokuniya Bugis is having a 20% sale and that means the book will only cost $56. I almost paid twice the price. I am very very sad.. I was in a dilemma as I had the thought that Kinokuniya might be bringing this in. My life is always like that. If I don't buy via special order, maybe Kinokuniya will not bring it in :( When I buy via special order, Kinokuniya will bring in and at a much cheaper price. Haiz..

I went to Bugis tonight wanting to buy the book with the ongoing sale only to find out that there was no stock. What a fucked up night :'( I know it is stupid to get 2 books but I can't help it.. I think of having one in Indo and one with me here.. Or perhaps in the future I can sell it at a higher price. Wishful thinking..

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Capcom Girls Collection: Street Fighter II - Chun Li resin statue by Yamato

Chun Li is the very first female character that I ever "fall in love with" when I started playing games as a kid. Well, perhaps not only being the first female character, but also the very first game character that I like. I used to love Street Fighter as a kid but suprisingly, other than Ryu, Chun Li, and Blanka figurines that I used to play as a kid, I never own any other Street Fighter merchandises.

I find it amazing that before this, I never own any Chun Li action figures. The common issue with Chun Li is that manufacturer often exaggerates her thigh due to her famous for her Hyakuretsukyaku kick. She is commonly depicted in a kicking pose which makes her prone to "leaning" issues as she is supported on a leg. Ultimately, I was in a dilemma between Chun Li Pop Culture Shock figure by Sideshow Collectibles and this resin statue by Yamato. Not really keen on PVC figures if there are resin statues of Chun Li. I thought I could tolerate the eye problems of the Pop Culture Shock figure but the moment I read a review that she may have leaning issues, I decided not to get it and settled for Yamato instead.

This statue by Yamato was released in September 2005. Based on the official info, it is mentioned to be of scale 1/6 at 9.85" tall. My measurement 29.5cm tall inclusive the 2.8cm thick base. Nothing is fanciful about the base and I am quite surprised that the base feels heavier than Chun Li herself. She comes in a 21cm (L) x 16cm (W) x 35cm (H) box. Not a fan of the box as it just shows the figure from various angle and there is too much blue. Lol.
Front view of the packaging box
Side views of the packaging box
Back view
Top view. The sculptor is Yoshizawa Mitsumasa who is also known as REFLECT.
It is somewhat "boring" as Chun Li is just posing rather than kicking. Ironic isn't it? I don't want the lean problem but I want her kicking pose. Lol. The good thing is that her thighs are not exaggerated and she looks feminine without being over-sexualised here. Her face looks unusual here because she looks Chinese. While it may suit her background, I think I am more used to seeing her in Japanese or Caucasian face. The expression looks good with her looking sweet but threatening at the same time. One thing I hate is her skin tone. She is too pale or perhaps putting too much powder. And I will definitely prefer her in blue rather than light blue costume. Oh ya, her spike bracelets are not "glued" to the wrists so they are still moveable i.e can slide a long her forearms.
The statue and the packaging box
Not much of a close up
The boring base
Unfortunately, the figure is not in perfect condition. I think that it has been stored too long it is sort of "sticking" to the styrofoam and when I removed the figure out, some of the paint remained on the styrofoam. Haiz.. Emo.. For these paint issues, I was compensated USD 30 so I actually paid USD 120 + 15 for the shipping. I think I rather have a perfect figure of her :'(

Kaito Kid by Sega

I have been wanting to get Kaito Kid prize figurine from Sega but I keep delaying it. On one side, there is no Detective Conan scaled figurine so far and on the other side, I am worried that I will be disappointed with the quality of the figurine.

Moving on to the item itself, the box design is gorgeous and I really like the cards and the KID everywhere, including the 1412 at the bottom. That really suits his gregarious personality in the manga. It seems rather bulky at 18cm (L) x 15cm (W) x 24cm (H) for a prize figurine but after seeing the content, it is well packed and really make a good use of available space.
Front view of the box
 The side views of the box
Back view of the packaging box
Top flap of the box
Bottom of the box. 1412 is Kid's code name.
The head is separated to save space. The cape (not seen here) is at the back of the white plastic prison thingy to further save space. There is one space near Kaito's right shoulder which is empty. Not sure if there should be something there but missing :(
The sculpt, especially his face, and the pose is fantastic. He will look even better if his face angle is not that low. The monocle is a nice touch but I prefer if the long thingy is made up of a bend-able PVC. The cape really works in giving a feeling of grandeur to this figurine. In the manga and anime, it is common for Kid to be in high places before flies away from the scene with his gondola. So his cape being blown by the wind is something essential to his character and great to see that the figurine nicely captures the essence. Kid stands at 23cm (including the 1cm thick base). With the cape, he is about 20cm-wide (from left to right) and 15cm-wide (from front to back). That is a lot of space but he looks cool with his cape on so I am fine with that.
Great sculpt! But from near he looks rather angry here.
 He looks cool even without the cape

 But he simply looks awesome with the cape

Side view
Great details on the creases of his pants and how his pants are separated from the shoes! Woohoo..
Moving to the negative part: his paint job and his discolouration. I am not gonna complain about less-than-perfect paint job considering it is a prize figurine. However, I find the discolouration as highly unacceptable. The top of his hat is yellowish and many parts of his cape also appear yellowish. No, it is not because of my poor camera quality! Not sure how he even has a pinkish discolouration on his fist. Bleah.. 
Scratch mark on his hat!
Yellowish top of the hat and uneven edges
Yellowish tinge on various parts of the cape
Uneven edges again! Jeez..
Pinkish tinge on his fist
Overall, he is absolutely fantastic for a prize figurine. However, I personally am disappointed because of the discoloration on his cape. If his tuxedo is unblemished white, I will absolutely love this figurine. With the cards as the design on the box, it is unfortunate that Kid is not holding cards or something like that. And instead of having 1412 on the base, it will be more awesome if Sega incorporates Kid's cartoon signature on the base.
Kid's signature

By the way, there are 2 more versions: pearl coating version and dove version. Pearl coating version is exactly the same as the regular version which I own, except for the shinier appearance. I wonder if it actually gets rid the discoloration issue. The dove version is basically Kid holding a dove on his left hand instead of his cape. I am not sure whether the dove is cooler or the huge movement of the cape is better.
The dove version

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Prince of Tennis figurines!!

This post is more than half an hour late as I bought the items in March and April :p Despite the popularity, Prince of Tennis has never had decent figurines. Something which I thought was quite unusual. With the release of New Prince of Tennis, some prize figurines were also released. As these are the first decent Prince of Tennis figurines that I ever came across, it was immediately an almost buy for me! Yay!! 

But wait.. What the heck is prize figurines? Prize figurines are basically figurines which can only be "won" by luck from arcade machines, lucky draws, etc.

First up is Echizen Ryoma figurine which is the prize A for Ichiban Kuji November 2012. Ichiban Kuji is basically a monthly lottery by Banpresto. You purchase 1 ticket for certain price (500 yen for regular one, 800-1000 yen for premium sessions) and depends on your luck, you can get any item from the list of items that month. Prize A is obviously the best.

The approximately 16cm Ryoma comes in a box measuring 17.5cm (L) x 14.5cm (W) x 25.6cm (H). Considering the size of the figurine, the box is a bit over-sized and that is not something good for me who is already running out of storage space. Haha.. The box is rather plain but the figurine itself is satisfactory. I like the smug's expression -typical Ryoma's face-, the tennis court base, and the flapping of the jacket which makes the figurine rather dynamic.

There is another version which can be obtainable during the Double Chance Campaign. As compared to the regular version, Ryoma is wearing a black jacket and standing on a clay court. However, since the pose and the sculpt are exactly identical, I am giving that a miss.

I bought this together with Shiraishi's figurine from Sega Premium Figure line. There is Ryoma figurine from this line with an almost identical pose: Ryoma pointing his racket. The only difference is only the other hand holding his cap. The reason why I chose Banpresto's version is because Ryoma's Sega is almost as tall as Shiraishi which does not make sense. Anyway, back to Shiraishi, he is 21cm tall. I like his compact box at 13cm (L) x 12cm (W) x 25cm (H). Hehe.. Not a fan of his face or his pose which I find too girly and does not suit his rather devilish character. His figurine feels rather static so it is kinda boring too.

In March 2013, Banpresto released another Ryoma figurine dubbed the Training Version. Again, this is basically Ryoma wearing black jacket (same as the Double Chance Campaign) standing on a barren land base and a tree and an eagle decoration. I believe this is based on the training on the mountain arc of the manga/anime. It is just slightly taller than the regular version due to thicker base. I bought it because I wanted to have the black jacket version but I absolutely hate the box which is MUCH MORE oversized than the regular version at 22cm (L) x 17cm (W) x 30cm (H)!

 Comparison with the regular version

 All 3 together...
The scale looks off :(

I bought Ryoma regular version and Shiraishi from It was my first time using Plamoya and I quite like the fact that they state the shipping fee up front in the item description. However, Plamoya's price can be very erratic and it claims that prices are according to prices in Japanese market. So for the same figurine, today the price can be sky high and tomorrow can crash and vice versa. The sale section is also mindblowing as their discount can be as high as 70% (I am not joking!). Anyway, including EMS shipping, these 2 figurines cost me $91.40. I got Ryoma training version from Yahoo! Auction so including all the middleman fee, he cost me $88.28. The original price is slightly more because of it being more rare also. Crazy shit :'(

I regret buying all 3 of them after knowing that Kotobukiya will be releasing scaled figurines of Prince of Tennis. Ryoma is out for a few months while Atobe and Tezuka are scheduled to be released this month and January 2014 respectively. I read that Yukimura and Shiraishi are scheduled to be included into this line too.

Prize figures are much cheaper as compared to scaled figures and thus the quality is also much lousy. Banpresto does quite a good job but Sega is quite disappointing especially in terms of their paint job. For characters which have scaled figurines, I will definitely choose it over the prize figurines. But oh well, I bought these 3 thinking that there would not be any better Prince of Tennis figurines. At the point of buying, they were indeed the best Prince of Tennis figurines in the market. Well, I am glad that Atobe figurines from Banpresto are damn expensive that I did not purchase him. Sega also released Yukimura but I will give him a miss if Kotobukiya really will release him also.

What makes me feel more cheated is the fact that these so-called prize figurines are actually easily obtainable in secondary markets. Basically, I overpaid because I just bought whatever I could find before doing "market research". Sigh.. Gonna try my luck to sell these 3 because I do not want to have more than 1 figurines of the same characters :'(