Saturday, October 19, 2019

JC friend's wedding

I just returned from the third and the last wedding for this year. It is a wedding of my JC friend. I would say he is the first Singaporean friend I made. It is quite interesting that we knew each other just from orientation group, had quite limited interaction at school (no common lectures and only had one common CCA for once a week), separated by 2 years in uni because of his army, and yet we are still alright with the on and off random messages without any awkwardness. Anyway congratulations to him :D

We only have one common friend and it was nice to catch up with him too. I thought he is already back in Indonesia but apparently he has been moving few times because of his work but currently he is based in Singapore. The last time I had contact with him was in JC so that was almost 13 years ago. Wow.. So I am going to have a meet up again with him and another friend next next week.

I start to feel that perhaps I am not destined to have a married life. Previously when I attended friends' weddings, I used to imagine how I wanted mine to be like to wear emerald green suit set and to have green themes etc. Surprisingly today I feel that I cannot imagine myself in a wedding. Haiz I am stressed.. This morning during Novena, there was an announcement about a vocation retreat and I felt the tugging if I should give it a try. I have reservation because I also cannot imagine myself in a religious life. Sigh.. I don't know.. I only imagine myself dying and being in Heaven. Nevertheless, I pray to ask God for another sign to confirm the tugging in my heart and I will sign up for the retreat, perhaps for someone to ask me to go or something. It is quite ironic considering the homily is about the correct spirit of praying and we should not be like the guy in the flood story (he prays for God to help, he refuses the boat and helicopter because he belives that God will help him directly, and when he dies, God tells him that He sent help repeatedly but the guy refused them).

Today was also the first time I attended a non-religious wedding solemnisation. Now I sort of appreciate the idea that God is the third person in a marriage. Haha.. Somehow attending a church wedding and a secular one evoke quite a different feeling. It was also my first time visiting Haji Lane in almost 17 years of my stay here. Surprise!! There was a one hour gap between the solemnisation and the dinner so I decided to walk around first.

I am a picky eater so I have to give a shout out to Parkroyal on Beach Road. The pork thingy was amazing: it was huge and thick but yet easy to cut, juicy, and not hard to chew. I usually avoid the fish dish because of the bones but tonight the fish was already cut into several pieces (one piece for one person). Each piece was huge and boneless. One more amazing thing is the door gift from the hotel. It is a vanity kit containing a nail clipper, a tweezer, and something I am not too sure of (I am guessing it is a thingy to sculpt the nails or to remove the sharp edges after cutting) in a box with a mirror inside. I think it is really nice and useful travel kit.

Meanwhile I shall return to my miserable life and jealousy because I am jealous of how some people do not seem to get fat and still have a nice skin even after 13 years. I am referring to some of my friends' classmates that I saw before in JC but I did not know them. Sigh.. I am so fat with bad skin and ugly face now. Darn... Anyway I asked my friend to take a photo together because the both of us actually never took any photos together. Haha.. Camera phone was non-existent yet in 2005. And guess what? I look damn fugly in the photo T_T Either 'fucking ugly' or 'fat and ugly' is also apt. 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Crazy food

I am not a fan on chili and I am consciously trying to avoid them. This Ghost Pepper Spicy Chicken noodle is currently making waves online with the level of spiciness of ghost pepper at 1 million Scoville Heat Unit (SHU). In comparison, normal chili padi is 50000 to 100000 SHU. I am not sure the actual spiciness of the noodle sauce since surprisingly the Samyang spicy noodle, which I already find very spicy and I don't usually pour the whole sauce, is only 4000+ SHU.

One thing I can assure is that those people are not exaggerating their responses on screen. I was initially skeptical since the smell and the colour of the sauce are unassuming and comparable to any other spicy food. I tried to lick a bit of the noodle and ooh la la... I could feel the tingling from my mouth to my stomach immediately. I felt like kissing the devil in hell. 'Spicy' is not enough to describe the sensation. Painful is more apt. I could not control my eyes from tearing and my nose from dripping. Only after 2 bottles of cold tea, 2 sips of soya bean milk, and eating red dragon fruit that I could bear with the sensation. In less than 30 minutes, my stomach was already stimulated to shit. Hahaha... Until now more than 2 hours later, my stomach is still grumbling.

This is supposed to be available in 7-11 for only 2 months (since September) and last Sunday I had difficulty finding this. After checking several stores (Holland Village, ION, Ngee Ann City, Cathay Cineleisure, 313), in the end I only found it at Somerset MRT. Since it was so difficult to find, I ended up buying two. Now I am going to give away the other one to a friend since I do not want to subject myself to the same torture again. I am happy enough to be able to experience the taste of ghost pepper. Haha..
Another interesting food this week is KFC boba egg tart. The bubble tea fad does not seem to be ending anytime soon. Well for $1.80, I think it is more worth it to buy the bottled mass produced Taiwanese bubble tea drinks in the supermarket. I am not saying that it is bad. The taste is still like an egg tart while the boba is just adding something sweet and chewy on top of it. It just does not have the same shiok-ness as drinking bubble tea.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Most frustrating holiday planning

That title goes to Tokyo Disney Resort for the New Year. The booking for New Year's Eve at the official Disney hotels only started today. I tried calling 45 times in 2 hours and by the time my call went through, there was no available room anymore. I called one minute before the official opening time and I hung up to re-call because of the bad connection (which I thought to be caused by me using a cheaper 021 IDD). I thought I heard the person from the other side saying "Hello!". For the next 2 hours, whether I used normal or 021 IDD, I kept getting Japanese message which I could not understand and the call kept getting disconnected or redialed after every one minute. The Japanese message was definitely not the automated kind from the Disney Resort. There were 2 times I ended up with some radio programme. In my successful call, I was connected to the automated message that finally said Tokyo Disney Resort and to press something for English. I can't help but wonder if my very first call was successful and I should have just pressed on despite the bad connection or it was a wrong call since I did not hear the automated message like the one I heard at the end.

During the 2 hours of agony, I found out that the website for the balloting of the New Year's Eve ticket is already out since last month. Sadly it does not allow me to ballot since my account is registered 'Outside Japan' T_T. There goes my final plan. I know I should not be complaining since I have already a booking for the vacation package which was definitely a miracle. My main gripe is not the price but with the Celebration Hotel which is about 20 minutes bus ride away from the resort. Sigh.. At least I get to experience the YOLO New Year's Eve as I do not think I will ever subject myself to this kind of stressful holiday planning anymore.

Lessons learnt: plan early next time and quickly book at one of the 6 partner hotels since people who stay at partner hotels have guaranteed entry to the parks. Unlike the Disney hotels, the 6 partner hotels are selling tickets in online travel agencies just like any other hotel so there is no headache with 'limited booking period' or having to book through phone.

To cater the time for me to make the call, I had to take MC :p It was a chance for me to might as well check the lump I am feeling on my left lower hip. Well, it turns out that it is just 'not my feeling' but really there is something. I declined x-ray for now since doctor felt it was not related to the bones and I may do it for merely peace of mind. Sigh.. I will try physiotherapy first and only x-ray. I do not want to subject myself to unnecessary radiation.

As this is something pretty serious, I went to consult with doctor whom I know from my previous work. It always feels bitter sweet to return to the clinic as I have plenty of good memories (which are ruined by fewer bad memories by the assholes). Having said that, I know I made the right decision to leave because I do not feel any regret of leaving or the pull to return after all. Hahaha.. It is confirmed that I am gaining weight although on the bright side, I am still happy to hear that I look happier and younger compared to when I was still working there. Hehe.. It is an affirmation that I made the correct move.

Yesterday (7 October) is the Feast of Our Lady of Rosary. The session at Landings introduced me to virtues of each mystery. I have never heard these before and it is a timely boost for myself who feels that I am just reciting my daily rosary in 'auto-pilot' mode. These virtues will help me with a short meditation or prayer at each mystery. Hopefully this will slow me down and to put more thoughts into the prayer instead of simply going auto-pilot with the Hail Marys.
This video was shared and it is comforting to know that I am not being abnormal that I find it difficult to pray the rosary when I am stationary. I find it better to pray when I am walking around although since the past week, I find it difficult to focus and keep track of the mysteries I am at or which number of Hail Mary I am at. In fact, this is something that keeps bothering me since last week with October is the month of the rosary. Since I usually pray it everyday, I was hoping to have it more special this month but what I have been experiencing is the complete opposite: continuous distraction. I consider this perhaps a trial from the evil one to prevent me from making this October special. In return, perhaps knowing about virtues now is a blessing to enable me to see the rosary from a different angle this time and hopefully help me to focus better despite the distractions. I googled the virtues but I seem to find slight variations so I am not sure if there is actually an official one.

One more interesting I learnt from this video is the last part about the guardian angels finishing the rosary in case I fall asleep. I have never heard of this before. I googled it and I read an article that suggests perhaps I can do that if I express this will to my guardian angels. Hahaha...

15 promises of the rosary is not something I have never heard before but I never remember them since I am praying not for these promises. I checked them out again yesterday and one thing that really caught my attention this time is the last one: a great sign of predestination, which seems to contradict the concept of free will. I still believe that God intends everyone to be saved but humans have the free will to reject salvation. My interpretation for this last promise is it is talking about the predestination to love the rosary. Looking at myself, it is actually quite peculiar for someone very lazy with own prayer life or spiritual life to somehow got interested in the rosary since many years even before my baptism. It is difficult for me to spend few minutes for morning and evening daily prayers and yet I am okay with rosary.

I shall end this post with a song that I just came to know from Landings yesterday. Yes I promise (to try) a rosary each day.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Better this week

I am glad that I felt better this week. It looks like the lightheadedness last week was indeed my body adapting to my new diet. I managed to my fruits for breakfast and dinner although I 'failed' with 3 packs of potato chips this week. Bleah! I am still going for gym 4 times a week though I feel a slight improvement in getting back to my habit since I went for 2 consecutive days this week.

Work has not been really kind this week as my team in Manila is on the brink of having another drama. Sigh.. While I am able to rein my emotion, I still have to visualise my mental barrier and tell myself not to be too emotionally affected. After all it is not my problem and my role is to help them overcome this. I am not sure if this is one of funny ways in which God speaks to me. On Monday, my Landings coordinator jokingly asked me "What is my secret talent?" as he was trying to delegate duties. Haha.. I told him I had no secret talent although deep in my heart I was saying that my talent is scolding people. Hmm.. Then the following day this drama at work happened so it seems that indeed God wants me to be the 'evil' one in the midst of problematic people.

As part of my promise that in exchange of a better work-life balance I am enjoying now, I will spend more time for God as a sign of my gratitude. Thus I did not try my best to siam when I was asked to participate in the mime for the upcoming CommuniTea session. I am not an arty person and miming/dancing is not my thing. I don't think anybody in the attendees will know me since I have no friend at the church, so at least I don't need to feel too self-conscious.

Last Thursday was supposed to be the first practice but it turned out only to prepare the testimony board. In the middle of the mime, each of us will carry a board to testify how our life has changed before and after knowing God. Again the first thing that went to my head was about how to impress. But once I remembered that this was not about me, it was much easier to accept that my art skills (i.e. drawing on the board) as sucky as they are. Hahaha... The blessing in disguise for me is to look back and realise that yes life has indeed changed for the better now that I pay more attention to my faith. I have changed from being self-centered to paying more attention to God and to others. I still cannot stop from being self-centered but at least I can be honest with myself that the frequency of the thoughts of dying and I am already quite happy with this life is lower now.

I was tempted to buy discounted Uniqlo t-shirt but I did not because I did not have my OCBC Titanium card with me for 4 miles/$ spend. I remember to have my card with me this week but I ended up not buying anything. Hahaha.. I was hoping for discounted Conan t-shirts but it looks like I have missed the boat since they are completely gone. Winter clothes are out and I have to remind myself to check first how many winter clothes I bought previously to make sure I am not over-stocking.

I checked skiing base layers from Decathlon and I sort of regretting that I was not aware of this 2 years ago. The price is actually cheaper than Uniqlo's heat tech and the material feels more promising. After checking all the winter clothes I have, it seems that I should get 2 tops and bottoms from Decathlon at most. Sigh.. I should travel during spring or autumn or winter more so that these do not become useless investment.

Currently there is Japanese Food Matsuri ongoing at Takashimaya B2. I am supposed to avoid chili but in the end I ate 175 Deno Tan Tan Men. Supposedly it is an award winning and famous ramen from Hokkaido. I was not too keen because of the chili but in the end I tried it because I felt quite paiseh to the cashier who was introducing it to me. Well he is quite cute and there were empty seats at the counters so I guess why not. The Tan Tan Men is a different from Chinese version as this one comes with minced pork, prawn, and cashew nuts. The chili is not that spicy (compared to what usual spiciness in South East Asian countries) but has numbing sensation. Is this something similar to Mala? Lol haha... The curious thing about the spiciness and numbness is that they eventually dissipated without triggering me to quickly drink something. I did not drink anything until I reached home few hours later and I was alright. I also tried $5.50 mochi filled with Mao Shan Wang and was tempted to get some oyaki. Since the matsuri is still going on for another 2 weeks, I decided not to be too greedy and leave the oyaki for next week.

My sister went to Hong Kong on Thursday and returned safely today. I am never interested with Hong Kong Disneyland but after knowing that it is quite empty because of what currently is ongoing in Hong Kong, I am tempted to go leh T_T Empty means good opportunity to take photos. In addition, plane tickets and hotels are rather cheap now. I don't mind going there for a weekend and to stay in the Disneyland hotel. But after the news that the MTR was shut down yesterday, I was wondering how to travel to and from the airport.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Lightheaded and weak

I am feeling lightheaded and week everyday in this past week. I am not sure if this is due to hypotension (because I am still recovering from blood donation last Sunday), hypoglycemia, or I am simply unwell. I still could go to gym without fainting or feeling giddy though.

My concern about hypoglycemia may be unfounded too. I just started replacing my breakfast from 2 pieces of bread to 2 pieces of banana and my dinner from L-men cereal to red dragon fruit. I checked online that 1 banana contains about 100kcal so that is comparable to my bread previously. I just hope it is just a matter of time for my body to adapt and next week will be alright.

Because of the lightheadedneess, I had McD for dinner twice last week. For the first one, I decided to only try the new Hersheys McFlurry. On the second one, I got Hersheys Sundae and the new menu Crispy Fish Sandwich. On Saturday, I also had Fatburger at Novena which has been tempting me every time I walk pass it on Saturdays. I think it is a more worth it than McD haha.. I would not mind trying it again especially for the hotdog and the multiple patties.

I moved Sagitarius Aiolos' box to storage space in order to make space for Cancer Deathmask. I think I still have space for 2 more Tsume statues before I run out of my storage space. It is still quite a long way to go. I ordered Deathmask in late 2017 and it only arrives now almost 2 years later. There has not been any further Saint Seiya announcement from Tsume. By the time they announce something, it will be another 2-3 years until the release. Hahaha.. Oh ya but maybe because I skipped Athena HQS+ which I think is too big and the rest of the statues are only HQS.
Still plenty of space lol
One funny thing that happened this week is when my boss shared her dream of me asking for a marriage leave. That dream is so far of from reality but I suppose if it happens in the dream, I may have a chance in real life too.

I went to a talk titled "Can I go heaven without Mass?" on Thursday. Although I do not get the answer that I want to hear, it serves as good remember why I need to attend Mass. Oops wrong! I should say celebrate Mass instead of attend Mass as what was shared in previous talk last week. The focus is on God and not on me. I should not be expecting to get 'things' in return as the purpose to be present for God. After all, the Mass is the way of worship that Jesus wants, has instructed, and has revealed during the Last Supper. Another thing I learn is that the offertory is not only to offer my money but also to offer my whole life with the goods and the bads.

There are 10 reasons shared by Father and of course I cannot remember all. Haha.. Nevertheless, no matter how hardened my heart is, there is one reason that I can never deny. I need to celebrate Mass simply because I am a sinner. This does not remove the need for confession because while we can get forgiveness when we ask for it, only confession can absolve the sins. To put it more crudely, if I don't go for confession, I am just a forgiven sinner but I am still a sinner.

Things are easier said than done because after the Mass today, I felt so sian because somehow the choir was changing all the songs to the boring versions. Hoooo... Reminder that it is for God, and not for me.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Vision in life

Work overseas trip is usually tiring so I am very happy that this latest trip has been the least tiring. I managed to do all the appraisal and I do not have any outstanding homework to do. Hehe.. In fact, I don't mind to travel again for year-end appraisal since it is much easier and fruitful to do appraisal face-to-face instead of through internet calls. The ability to see people's response and body language is priceless and very important.

I enjoyed the flight back since the new B787-10 plane feels more spacious. I did not manage to sleep thanks to the asshole in front of me who leaned back to the maximum. Plane makers should seriously limit the leaning back angle since there are plenty inconsiderate fucking assholes around. I continued Fall in Love at First Kiss and then watched a Japanese movie Cheer Boys!! (yes there are 2 exclamation marks). Separate posts on the movies later on.

I was considering to go to the gym but I succumbed to sleep in the end. Luckily in the evening, I successfully fought the laziness and attended parish formation talk with the title the Mass is Boring. Thank God it was quite a fruitful session and I come back with new perspective and appreciation of the Mass. Some information are not new as I think I have learnt them before during RCIY which obviously I have forgotten now since I have not been a good Catholic.

I want to be patient and positive but I think I need to rant about my current boss. Haiz.. This is the second time in the past month that I feel very irritated. If you want something to be done your way, you might as well say. Don't expect others to think like you do or know what you want. Then when they don't ask or they have different ideas, you get angry with them. Ridiculous leh. I need to relax and be patient myself since I know she can be moody anyways. As long as I am not the direct target of her unhappiness, I shall just be patient.

My lower back, my shoulders, and my neck are becoming my weak points preventing me to exercise as regularly as I would like to. I don't know if I injured myself of if I am doing the movements wrongly. One thing for sure, I am not going to push myself hard and I will just aim alternate day exercise just to make sure that I am not being sedentary. My gym membership is ending soon and after that I need to decide what to do next :( Sad. I am actually okay to go gym regularly but no my body does not seem to allow it.

Yesterday I had a random encounter at church which troubled me a bit. I wanted to buy a book that was being promoted so I asked the price to one person. Suddenly the person next to him (not the one I was talking to) asked me a random question "Are you also asking questions about your vision in life?". I was stunned and asked him back what was his random question all about. He simply replied "Don't worry. You will get your answer soon.".

Wow.. many questions were triggered in my mind. Is this some divine message from God? Is my emo-ness and lack of energy to live that obvious? Am I going to die soon since that what I have been thinking of (but now come to think of it, I feel a bit scared)? Or am I going to find a girlfriend soon? I am also anxious thinking about what if I am called to a religious life instead? No point thinking much about this and I will just keep myself open to whatever God has in place with me.

My blood donation was supposed to be on Wednesday but because of my trip, I only managed to do it today. I think it turned out to be a blessing in disguise since it is actually a nice Sunday routine to go for morning mass, gym, and then blood donation. It was not too busy at 10am and the staff were pretty chatty. I learnt that they are also affected by the haze since when the PSI crosses 100, they will have to decline the younger donors as they need to ensure the younger donors remain healthy first. It was my third donation this year so I received a T-shirt souvenir. Woah.. my initial thought was Red Cross is very rich to give T-shirt as souvenir but then I realised if people are wearing the T-shirt, it will help to spread the message and promote blood donation to the public. That is quite an effective advertising. While the design is not that wow, I am okay to wear the T-shirt outside if not because of the tag line at the back of the T-shirt: 3 donations = 9 lives saved. I am okay to promote blood donation but to show off (that I have made 3 donations) is a turn off -_-" Haha but perhaps that is just my own thinking since other people will not know if that tag line means I have donated 3 times this year. Lol.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Kingdom

The first time I know about Kingdom is from their figures (Figuarts ZERO). They were discounted so I was tempted to buy. In the end I never bought any of the figures or checked out the manga because I am not a fan of the art style. I am aware of the movie when I saw some promotional materials during my trip to Japan this April. I wanted to watch it, despite not knowing anything about it, because historical war movie like this should be quite exciting. Too bad I missed it as it was released on the same week when I had to travel to Manila in June. It comes to a full circle now that I watched it on my flight to Manila last Sunday.

I find lack of originality with the plot: two war orphans dreaming of getting out of poverty by joining military, one gets chosen (unknowingly as a double for the king due to their physical similarities) and ends up dying due to some palace intrigues and this causes his to avenge, the friend ends up helping the dethroned king to claim back the throne, the king getting help from hidden tribe which used to be old ally of the kingdom but was betrayed. It feels like a mix and match of plots of various manga/anime/movie previously. I guess it is sort of unavoidable for a story based on war and history.

Kingdom is based on the story of Qin dynasty which unified China. Some of the characters are based on historical characters but with Japanese name. Shin is Li Xin and Eisei is based on Qin Shi Huang. The movie ends with Eisei returning to claim his rightful throne. I googled and found out that the manga is still ongoing and is currently at volume 55. Wow.. I guess the manga really continues all the way until the Qin dynasty is established.

After watching, I don't find the movie that exciting but I also don't regret spending time watching it. But one thing for sure, it still does not pique my interest to check out the manga. Hahaha...

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Cannot swim

I woke up on Saturday morning to prepare myself for Novena, gym, and packing for my trip. Everything changed because of another bloody cockroach in my room. It is a second one in a week and it was a wake up call to thoroughly clean my room. There may be a nest or an unrealized food waste somewhere. I removed all the boxes under my bed and tadaa… the culprit is actually the luggages under the bed. One had small black things which I presumed to be the eggs and the other had another cockroach at the underside. Even when I dragged the luggage out to the living room to have more space for cleaning, the cockroach still comfortably hanging on to it and I only saw it when I flipped over the luggage to clean the underside.

I still managed to go for Novena but I skipped gym altogether since I felt my right shoulder did not feel fully alright. I asked my landlady about what I thought to be cockroach repellant. It turns out to be cockroach bait. Haiz.. It will actually INVITE cockroach to eat the bait, bring it to the nest, and die. Apparently this shit creature aptly eats one another shit so they will die together as the poison from the bait will still be in the shit. The thought of inviting cockroach just disgusts me so I am not putting this inside my room. I put it outside my room near the door since I assume that the cockroach usually comes from kitchen. Looks like no matter how clean I am, I should really stop eating in my room. When I cut nail, I should also make sure there is no missing cut nails that I don't throw because I found 3 pieces under the luggage near the cockroaches so they maybe eating my nails. Yucks..

I went to my usual 7am Sunday mass and after that I was in a dilemma between going to J8 to get shumais or straight away going home to prepare for going airport. I ended up walking around to catch pokemons, rushed with my final packing, and missed my tweezers. Sian..

To satisfy my craving for shumais, I had brunch at the airport with plain la mian and fried dumplings. After internal battle of desire with McD, shumais won. Haha.. I was thirsty and suddenly craved for bubble tea. It seems that the only place untouched by bubble teas is within Changi Airport terminals. The adventure to find bubble tea made me explored exciting corners at T2. The movie theatre is sufficiently dark with theatre seats so it not an exaggeration to have named movie theatre. There is a gaming room and there are retro gaming machines. I only played one game of Marvel vs Capcom and I lost. I could not trigger any of the special moves and there were other people around so I did not dare to mash buttons as aggressively as I wanted. Nonetheless, I still felt the shiokness of arcade gaming and if I fly from T2 again in the future, I will definitely spend time here if I have time to kill.

The flight was quite bumpy but on SQ, I have nothing to complain. B777-200 is an old plane but it really does not feel so. It definitely still feels much more comfortable that PAL or budget airline planes. The in-flight entertainment was not automatically turned on so I thought it was not working until about an hour of the flight. There are so many amazing movie choices (e.g. Aladdin, Avengers Endgame) that makes a short flight rather disappointing haha.. I ended up watching Kingdom, which I missed when it was playing in limited cinema in Singapore, and halfway through a Taiwanese romcom Fall in Love at First Kiss.

It has been rainy here in Manila and although it is not super heavy rain that will drench me under umbrella, I am irritated because the rain makes me unable to swim until now. I specially bought a swimming trunks ($5) and a swimming jammer ($15) for this trip and I will be very upset if I cannot try if they are good. Thank God the rain has stopped tonight and I finally got to try to swim. Sadly I have to just accept the fact that I cannot swim. One stroke of freestyle or three strokes of breaststroke is the maximum that I can do. If only life is like video game: just equip the gear (swimming trunks) and you get the ability (can swim). Haiz..

Although initially I felt a bit 'duh' for this trip, I have to admit that it was a good call to come. It is tiring but it is still better to do appraisal face-to-face. At least I get to see the faces of the people I am talking to and I am able to see their body language as part of their responses. I can't imagine doing this online and talking to telephone and computer for 3 days. And since the main activity is just doing appraisal, there is no other thing to do and I get to rest in the evening. Hehe..

Today also happens to be 1 year since I started on this new job. Thank God for this opportunity and for all the people in my current work that makes work not shitty like my previous job. Yay!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Mental breakdown

My whole day is ruined just because of one fucking cockroach this morning. It was initially near my boxes and when I sprayed Baygon, it disappeared and I thought it went hiding under my bed. I moved some of the boxes and I could not find it. What a nasty surprise when I saw a cockroach on my table running around contaminating my glass, my water bottles, my stationery, my bread, etc. If it was on the floor, I had no problem liberally spraying Baygon but I could not do on my desk. I sprayed a bit inside my pencil case before it finally fell down to the floor. Sigh..

I can imagine how scary it is for people who have panic attack or OCD because I was literally on the brink of both. My heart was palpitating like crazy as I was watching at the cockroach. Even after it was dead and I had to pick it up to throw it, I was honestly freaking scared. The OCD part came when I thought what other things could the cockroach stepped on and contaminated before I saw. I threw my bread and I washed my glass and water bottles that I saw the cockroach came into contact. I threw away my toothbrush and washed my retainer that I was not sure if the cockroach contaminated. That was all I could do. I felt so disturbed if I should wash my pencil case and the stationery that I sprayed the Baygon as I am a clean freak. The thought of the germs that the cockroach brought around and I did not clean away is really disturbing. Until now that I am writing this, I feel very wary when I see small black things as I keep remembering the cockroach. The scariest thought of all is if that cockroach that I killed was a different one from the one that I saw initially on the floor and the other one is still somewhere in my room. I think I am really going crazy with all these irrational thoughts. Gosh..

God why did you create cockroach? And worse, you said "It is all good" at the end of your creation. How the hell a cockroach is good? I can only pray now that I am not scarred and end up needing mental attention because of one bloody cockroach.

Today was the first time I tried eating mala since the new store near my office finally opened. I am avoiding chili as much and they have non-spicy option. Otherwise I would not eat. I think mala is just a very oily and very expensive yong tau foo. I am okay but I am not a fan.

I went to gym and I decided to treat myself with a shake to celebrate my return. Lol. Basically my diet plan entirely failed in the evening so far. Yesterday I ate a portion of fried yong tau foo and pasta during Landings. I know how it feels if people cannot finish the food that I bring so even though I was full, I should just eat so that I don't subject others to what I don't like to be subjected.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

There is no cure for the proud's man malady

The Gospel reading from last Sunday has been haunting me since last week as it accurately describes and addresses what I am feeling lately. Pride breeds envy and self-entitlement which subsequently brings about ungratefulness for the things on hand as you aspire to have more. Realising and acknowledging the issue is one thing but I still cannot get over it even with prayers. Gosh..

Yesterday was the wedding of my ex-prereg and that is a reminder of how childish I am. I am so old and yet I still don't think much about my future. Just YOLO and enjoy life now. I am happy for his wedding and his wife and kids will be so lucky because nice guy like him is rare. Attending the wedding brought me back to my ex-colleagues which reminded me all the shit with my previous job.

I cannot help but feel the hatred over all the injustice. I suffered and patiently waited for good people to recruit. They all still stay and I am quite thick-skin to say that I recruited good people indeed. After all that, it is the people after me who are reaping the good fruits. It is very stupid to feel this way because on the other hand, if things were not that fucked up, I would not leave and will not be in my current place: happy with the work-life balance so far and am able to repair my relationship with God.

I always feel that perhaps this is a cross that I have to bear. I have to be the 'bad guy' and get all the $%&*^# from others, to put things in order, and in the end it is for others who come after me to enjoy. It happened before in my CCAs, in the previous job, and in the current job as well. It sucks but I realise not everyone has such a thick face to take all these and if this is the role that God wants me to play in this world, let it be done.

Currently I am emo that I am not nominated to attend an event overseas. I know that this is completely wrong as it entirely comes from the eyes of jealousy. Sigh.. I should count my blessings that I have had the opportunities to fly once every quarter this year and to be involved in the consultancy project as well. So it is the same thing all over again, I know it is wrong, I pray over it, and yet I still cannot help but feeling all the negativities.

Another incident of this pride problem was 2 weeks ago when I was invited as an alumni to speak about my experience etc. I felt it was quite a waste of time since it was so disorganised and a "free-for-all" manner. I am not someone who will fight for limelight so what was the point for me to be there if I only talked for a bit and the questions were mostly dominated by one person. I think it was just a wrong format. Why do I feel this way? Ultimately it is because of pride. The more appropriate response is to be humble: I am there to answer questions if it is for me to answer. Otherwise, I should not be offended since the purpose of the session is not me but the students. Bleah.. I am so fucked up.

My gym suspension ended yesterday and I was thinking to prolong my suspension until I come back from my trip. Plan abruptly changed after seeing my photos yesterday. I am fucking fat now sigh.. I can't even fit into one of my vests :( Sigh.. I know I bought it more than a decade ago but that is not the reason. I hope I don't get injured again.. Without both exercise and diet control, there is no way losing weight will be successful. I am desperate enough to consider cutting carbs intake because that seems to be the most effective manner. Again this can only go 100% after I come back from my trip.

To end today in a positive tone, let's wish Mother Mary a Happy Birthday since 8 September is the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I just went down to clear a Pokemon Go mission to defeat a raid boss and because of the special day, I had a 30 minutes walk to pray a rosary since that is the only birthday present I can give.
There was an announcement for cathecists recruitment. Haiz.. It is not the first time that I feel the nudging if I should try but as always I am always timid for holy stuff. I think I will end up teaching kids on how to go to hell instead. I promise if someone asks me then it is a sign of the calling.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Holy Hour

When it comes to God related things, you just have to believe about 'being called' or 'being chosen'. It is not my first time hearing about Holy Hour but I have never been bothered about it -not even to look up what it is about. But somehow after hearing the announcement on last Sunday, I got interested and kept thinking about it. In the end, I went.

I personally do not enjoy adoration because I find it very sleepy to just sit down in silence and focusing on the Blessed Sacrament. That was my impression of Holy Hour and that was why I never got interested. I am glad that I gave it a try and it is something that I will not mind doing again. Essentially it is still an adoration of the Blessed Sacrament but there are readings and reflections and singing so it was not just silence. That one hour is much more bearable this way. As it was my first time, I was not very familiar with the gesture and I was following others. Everyone was kneeling at the start and then everyone sat down when they were tired. I found the kneelers not comfortable but I was proud of myself that I could tahan kneeling for 40 minutes. Haha.. Next time I would not care and just sit down when I felt the discomfort so at least I could pay more attention to the prayer.

It is one day too early but tomorrow is exactly one year since I left my previous job last year. Attending this Holy Hour was like a blessing in disguise since it allowed me to give thanks for all God's blessings in the past year: the courage to leave my comfort zone and to find a new job, my new job is mostly great (not perfect but I would say 90% of the time it is great) and I am grateful for the people, the great Japan holidays that I had last September and April this year, my retina is alright despite my worsening floaters, and most importantly is my return to be closer to God with weekly mass, my involvement in Landings, and my attendance for Saturday's Novena. As promised, I would like to pay God's blessings forward since I have better work-life balance now.

It is almost a month since my last time writing a blog post and there are a lot of things to write. However, I shall reserve this post only for the good things. Firstly, I will have to go to Manila again next next week. Initially the flight options given to me were all budget airlines. Sigh... I was grumbling but I had to remind myself to be grateful as at least I got the chance to travel for free. On the following day, I was told that we would choose a different timing and will be flying SQ instead. Wow.

Secondly, I gave up on New Year plan at Disneyland last week since I was not able to get a vacation package. I was camping at the website but it was crashing since the reservation for the vacation package opened. By the time the website was accessible, all the resort hotels were sold out. I refused to pay close to 300000 yen for the non-resort hotels. That would be almost 50% more of what I paid for the vacation package at Disney Ambassador Hotel previously. Two days ago, I wanted to check for Christmas instead. Somehow before that I checked for New Year again and it seemed that someone cancelled their Disney Celebration reservation. I managed to book and after I booked, the website showed sold out again. To complete the happiness, this happened on the same day when my new credit card that gives 4x miles for overseas spending was approved. Technology nowadays is amazing. While waiting for the physical card to arrive in mail, I already received the digital one and that was how I could use it.

I am so tired and sleepy but the feelings to share the good things and the Holy Hour were stronger and that is the reason I am writing this. Once again, thank God and Alleluia!! Hehe...

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Thank God

I started to realise the floaters in my eyes have been worsening in the past 2-3 years. It has finally reached a point that I find it getting more and more noticeable. I had an idea to get it check since I moved to my job which involves full-time staring at the computer screen. Despite asking a doctor from my previous workplace for eye specialists, I have been delaying until this week when I suddenly felt the urge that I should not wait longer.

I got my eyes checked yesterday and it is a miracle that there is nothing wrong with inside my eyes. I was very worried about retinal detachment or other sinister things which may cause the worsening floaters. Now that the retina is okay, there is nothing I can do about the floaters and I take it as a cross I have to bear. I know my degree will be getting worse but it is another miracle that the increase is only 0.5 to 0.75 considering the last time I have my degree measured was more than 10 years ago. The cylinder for my left eye does not change but the axis for my right eye changed from 15 to 175. I don't know if that is something normal or even possible.

Rain just stopped when I left the clinic so there was no taxi and the road outside the clinic was jammed. I took public transport and what an experience it was to go around with blurry vision (effects of the medicines). I went for 1pm Novena. As my sign of gratitude, I wrote a thanksgiving letter and I promise to pay forward God's blessings to me by being more active in Church. Perhaps that is the main reason I managed to overcome my laziness and in the end I decided to attend parish assembly this afternoon.

It was my first time attending this kind of thing so it was quite interesting to see the parish community. The generation gap in the community is quite apparent so I look forward for things to get better after the assembly. I had nothing to contribute so I rendered my service by helping to be the scribe for my group. It was actually an escape because by writing on the board, I had all the excuse not to participate in the conversation since I had to pay attention.

Back to my eyes, even though there is nothing wrong and can be done for now, I will still not stop praying for miracles for my degree to return to my current spectacles as well as for my floaters to disappear. My parents helped me to ask the gifted spiritual healer and now I have to eat red dragonfruit and really avoid my poisons (chili, egg, and butter).

In the supermarket, there are cut dragonfruits with expiry dates so I need not to worry about buying fresh fruits and thinking how to peel, how long I can keep etc. Yay! I was also tempted to get jackfruit which was placed just next to the dragonfruits. Haha.. The jackfruit is still in my fridge now because I just had durian for dinner again tonight. Thanks to Deliveroo which gave $6 credit today and it had to be used by today for a minimum purchase of $18. I would overeat again if I buy normal food for more than $18 and that was how I ended up with durian. I bought XO which reminds me to the durian that I usually eat in Indonesia. Mao Shan Wang is still better hehe.. I am very full now so I hope I will not wake up with gastric and sore throat tomorrow morning. Good night.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Counting backwards

On Sunday I brought my new rosary rings with the intention to ask a pastor whom I know to bless it after mass. Father is so popular so I was shy to ask when there were people around. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. Today I went for the sunset mass for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and I guessed people were in a hurry to go home after mass instead of crowding the pastors. So Father was available and I got my rosary rings blessed. Yay!! It is nice to have them blessed on a special occasion which is the eve of the Assumption. I hope this special-ness will help to prevent me losing any of the rings.

Yesterday I was asked if I could help at the clinic that I usually volunteer once a month. I only volunteer on Saturdays so I was very lazy to go yesterday. However I decided to say yes since they would not be asking around if they were not desperate. I remind myself that the reason why I volunteer here because of the use of my pharmacist license. Not everyone has the license so if I do not step up when needed, what's the point? It was quite an eye opening and it was an affirmation that Saturday is a good day haha.. The atmosphere yesterday was too cold and unfriendly for me. I do not like to work in such an environment. I am no longer surprised when people say I am not that black face because my dispensing partner yesterday was wow.. That was an example of black face, unfriendly, and rude and at least I know I was not that bad. Hahaha...

After ordering durian on Friday, I spent the long weekend fighting the durian temptation. Everytime I was about to order from deliveroo, I kept thinking of getting durian instead of proper meal. Thank goodness I managed to hold myself. Perhaps this coming Saturday then I will buy again. Haha..

I spent the long weekend to catch up with Final Fantasy Mobius since for the 3rd anniversary, it is the FF VIII collaboration event. Squall skin is given for free so there is no reason not to play. Hehe.. With this graphics, Squall looks so handsome so I hope FF VIII remaster will be this good as well. Some pictures to show how amazing Squall looks.
So handsome!!
Echo gets Rinoa's skin
WoL cosplaying as Squall as a comparison
I continued reading The Legend of Final Fantasy VII which I have been procrastinating for quite sometime. I never played FF VII properly and I do not exactly remember the story. Even by reading this book which contains the story, I keep getting confused and keep returning to the front part to know who is whose kids and how they are related all that. Shame on me haha.. I finished the book for FF VIII quite quickly since I am much more familiar with it.

That is basically the recap of my long weekend. Now I am back to the miserable days complaining about my worsening eyes, my painful back, and my pathetic self in general T_T

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Second time watching Disney's Aladdin Musical

The #AladdinSingapore label and the standee behind were not present previously
It is funny how things turned upside down. When I watched Aladdin Musical for the first time, I was super excited and looking forward to it but I went home feeling somewhat disappointed. That made me quite lazy to go again tonight since I felt like just slacking at home. But hey, I ended up feeling more satisfied.

Tonight was the original ticket that I first bought and I sat at the first row center seat. Location of the seat made the whole experience different. Seating at the front row made the viewing more enjoyable because I could see the facial expression of the actors better. Nearer to the orchestra box also made the audio much more impactful although the downside of this was the audience response felt more muted as if the audience was not responsive.

Seeing up close, I have to give 2 thumbs up for the costume because some details were not apparent when I was at the second floor previously. For example, the guards costumes also have bling bling in the details. When everyone is wearing white, the costumes look the same from a far but they are all actually different. I never even realise that Jasmine's final dress is pink!

I was previously impressed with the city setup but I had to lower my opinion because from near I could see that some were just cardboard. However, the Magic Carpet effect really blew my mind. It is a mystery how the carpet is suspended and 'flying' around. I could not see any strings/wires or reflection of strings/wires whatsoever in both A Whole New World and final scenes which are dark and bright, respectively. Simply wow.

Previously I found the second act to be rather boring but surprisingly today I found the new scenes and songs (which are not in the cartoon) to be enjoyable. Nevertheless, I still find 'Prince Ali' is not grand as expected and the changes to the plot for second act to be a step backward from the original cartoon -same sentiment that I had after my first viewing. In addition, there was not really any improvisation or changes with Genie's jokes compared to my first viewing, except for chili crab being mentioned instead of curly fries.

The most worthwhile thing from spending $232 to get the front seat was to see the setup of theater musical. The orchestra was actually under the stage while the conductor was positioned between the stage and the orchestra. His head popped up so that he was able to see what was happening on stage and the orchestra underneath could still see his hands conducting. Just before the show begun, I thought the conductor's head was distracting as it was literally in front of me but once the show happened, I did not notice his head at all.

Now I have to backtrack and say that watching on the first day was NOT a mistake and a regret. A lot of the merchandises were already sold out today, including the fleece blanket (that I would like to buy again), Genie bear plushie, Jasmine plushie, the Magic Lamp ornament, the snow globe decoration, and tote bag carriers. They even ran out of plastic bag for the merchandise purchase. Lucky I bought Jasmine plushie although it was not that pretty or else I would regret. Since I did not manage to get the fleece blanket, I bought another Aladdin plushie. Sigh.. Gotta be honest that I simply bought it because of FOMO since many things already were already sold out. Now I don't know what to do with it, perhaps try to sell it for $70 although I doubt there would be buyer.

I went in 45 minutes before the show today so that I could take photo with the lamp. There were only 4 people in the queue when I entered and that was how I managed to take just the photo of the lamp. Too bad my luck with the strangers helping to take photo today was bad. I even queued 2 times (to take with and without my spectacles) and both strangers just sucked. I was lucky to get the Filipino tourist previously who was quite good with the camera. Oh well at least I had no regret to take 2 photos today.
View from the first row
After today's experience, I think I will always buy the first row seat the next time I watch a musical. The experience from first row is so much better so I suppose it is better to go big or go home... or more appropriately to watch as VIP or don't watch altogether :p

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Things have not improved

My back pain still has not recovered and it is still troubling me. The location of pain continuously changes, it appears and disappears randomly, and no body movement can trigger the pain. I went to see doctor again in hope of getting a referral letter for MRI but I was only asked to try calcium for 2 weeks and to see how. The doctor was also unable to find out the problem as all the movements she asked me to do did not elicit the pain. She hit my back and that also did not trigger the pain. Essentially musculoskeletal pain, slipped disc, kidney stone, and even gout were considered but ruled out since my symptoms do not really match any. Bleah.. Thank goodness for the long weekend. If after 4 days of rest my back still has not recovered fully, it will be a clear indication that the problem is still somewhere out there.
New rosary rings
The new rosary rings that I ordered from Amazon just arrived today. As expected, the quality is not as good as the one I lost as the material of these new ones is lighter and feels more hollow. Oh well, I have let go and I will just have to make do with these new ones. Tomorrow I hope to get these blessed by a priest if the priest whom I know is around.

Since I already write about rosary, let's just continue with more religion things. In the midst of my emo-ness and negativity with life, one line that stood out the most to me from the last Sunday's reading is Jesus' reply "Who appointed Me a judge or an arbiter between you?". Comparison with others always make me ungrateful and jealous and usually that is the root of all the wishful thinking for all the wordly possessions. That line stood to me as if Jesus was telling me: Now you know why all your prayers for wealth and all that never come true. These earthly things are not my business yo. Okay, but I still want my health T_T

I was asked to read Luke 11:1-13 (Jesus teaches Our Father) during Landings session on the weak before. Last year I was considering to try out as a lector but I think this is a reminder that I was right not to try hahaha.. This is the second time I had to read a reading from the Bible and I always felt the same thing: it was quite stressful to prevent reading wrongly and somehow the position of the mike was always bad that made me have to tiptoe and tilt my head to a rather bad position. Although the good thing about the bad position was it made me slow down and my voice low.

Back to the long weekend, I finally had my Mao Shan Wang durian delivery yesterday. I was worried if there would be any driver willing to pick it up because not everyone likes the smell of durian. Now I need not to worry anymore because the shops are really well prepared. They seal the box of durian in a plastic bag to ensure that the smell does not escape. I will not hesitate to order again but my throat was a bit sore this morning so it may not be a good idea to buy again this afternoon since tomorrow I still have Aladdin musical to watch haha.. For the record, it is about $30 for 350gram of de-husked durian which should be from 1 piece of the whole fruit. Aaargh but I am really really tempted to buy again!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Lion King

The Lion King is the most popular and successful animated movie from Disney Renaissance era. Although it is not my favourite, I have a lot of good childhood memories with its Burger King collectibles, SNES game, and great songs. Interestingly I actually never watched the cartoon in full at all. Hahaha.. I am only familiar with the singing scenes because I have to admit that the Lion King has the best songs. None of the songs is boring, even the villain's song.

Despite the initial hype from the trailer, I have been sick since 2 weeks ago and I sort of getting lazy to watch this. No surprise since I never even bother watching the original cartoon after all. In the end the eagerness returned after I found out that it has exceeded $1 billion in box office.

Although I never watch the original cartoon, I think this "live action" version is almost an exact replica. Surprisingly I find it dull and boring instead of good for staying faithful to the original. While the story is intact, I think the live action fails terribly in the emotion and the vocals. The new animation is amazing and it almost feels like watching a documentary. Unfortunately this causes a mismatch. The animals are so realistic that they just appear emotion-less. Add in the vocals and it feels even weirder.

Other than Circle of Life, the songs which are sung by the animals lack the energy and the fun that the original have. I am excited that Beyonce is voicing Nala but that turns out to be another mismatch. Beyonce's voice is simply too iconic and amazing that when Nala speaks, it sounds like Beyonce acting instead of Nala. She does Can You Feel the Love Tonight too pop-ish and diva-ish that it does not feel romantic at all. Be Prepared is one of the better Disney villain's song and it gets butchered in this live action.

I think it is 50:50 hits and misses. This live action version is missing out elements that make the Lion King special such as young Simba's brattiness, Zazu's personality, the stampede and Mufasa's death, and the final battle. Yet some things are still as nice as the original: the Circle of Life, Timon and Pumba, and Mufasa's voice. However at the end I think that this live action is a step backward from the original. And that comes from me who has a rather low standard since I actually enjoyed Aladdin, Dumbo, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Maleficent remakes which many find to be terrible.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Appreciation

This week has been an emotional train-wreck for me. My neck has not fully healed. Although it is not that disturbing since I can lie down and get up like normal again (i.e. I can return to enjoy my hobby of sleeping), I can still a bit of the 'pulling'. It makes me realise that perhaps the neck pain is referred from my lower back. This brings into mind if this is due to ergonomics from my deskbound job. I have done all I can to minimise ergonomics issue by using back support and getting up for a walk every 45-60 minutes at work so I don't know what else I should do. With eyes issue, back issue, skin issue, and teeth issue, seriously what is the point of living anymore?

To top up all these negative vibes, I finally lost my rosary ring for definite on Wednesday. Sigh.. This rosary ring is very special (given by an aunt who went to Lourdes) because it has been lost and found many times. Previously it was misplacement or I forgot where I put it so there was still hope of finding it. This time I lost it for sure because in the morning I was still using it to pray but it was not with me anymore when I was finding my Ezlink card in my pocket in the evening. I tried to scavenge my desk area, the toilets, and the staircases but it was gone for good.
Thank you and goodbye. I hope it can bring Jesus and Mother Mary closer to whoever who finds it.
Perhaps there is a blessing in disguise behind my lost rosary ring. While the sentimental value plays a part in my emoness, my biggest concern is its functionality and I will simply lose something that aids me in daily prayers. Previously I was never able to find rosary rings online but this time: surprise surprise. Somehow there are so many rosary rings online. In the end I bought from Amazon and they are USD 15 (including shipping) for 6 rings. Wow.. I hope the quality will be as good as the one I lost.

Today is the last day of this batch of student's attachment. That reminds me that I have never hao lian any of letters of appreciation since I changed to my current job. I guess now I will typing all three.

This is from the first student last year. One memorable thing about this student was that he noticed that I am crazy about green so he made sure his farewell gifts were green: a packet of candies to keep me awake and the candy bag was green and it was placed in a green carrier bag.

Thank you for being my preceptor at ---------! I am immensely grateful for the weekly meet-ups where you would spend time reviewing the assignments I did, correcting the misconceptions I had and pointing out room for me to improve on. The questions you asked were sure tough but really interesting indeed hahaha and helped me gain a better perspective on what to expect for my subsequent rotations.

I feel privileged to have you as my preceptor as you would dedicate time every week to share your clinical experience and knowledge with me despite being busy with your own work. Your selflessness and dedication to impart your wisdom has certainly inspired me to adopt an enthusiastic learning midset and push myself further. I hope our paths will cross again in the future and I wish you all the very best in your career! :)

This is from the next student who gave me Lugia nanoblock. Wow! I am not a fan of nanoblock, Pokemon, and Lugia but I am pretty sure this is quite pricey. I still have not built it now but it was memorable when she gave me because at that time Lugia was the only Legendary birds that I did not have yet in Pokemon Go.
Thank you for being a kind & patient preceptor over the past few weeks. You have taught me more in the few sessions together than my previous preceptor had & I am immensely grateful for that :) I will work hard on being a more open person!

Hope that you do not hate my tiny gift. Building it can be therapeutic in times of stress. Hope that this new job h as been treating you well!

Although I only took one student for this round, he combined the farewell gift with his attachment partner so there are 2 messages.   
It was a joy to have learned from you in my first rotation. The weekly discussion on various case scenario has really taught me to always practise clinical judgement - that there is no one-size-fit-all kind of role. Thank you for being my preceptor!

Thank you for teaching me to be more meticulous with my work. & to hone better clinical judgement through the DSM modules. I have benefited greatly from your sharings. I hope you'll continue to have a fruitful time at ------- & continue to inspire all other interns.

There is something heartening with this latest experience because I was involved in the interview and selection for this batch. My partner did not want to take him in because he did not do very well in the interview. He was nervous, sweating, and all that. I am glad that I saw beyond that as it will be normal for people to get the nerves. So I said that he was not that bad and I was okay to give him a chance. With that I also took the responsibility to be in-charge of him and I am glad that he did not waste this chance. He was my best student so far in this new company. I never passed anyone for the drug information part but he was able to pass because he put in the effort to understand the papers instead of just skimming through and to zoom in to the parts to be summarised. I was hesitating to give a pass in this since he was not 100% proficient yet (come on! after all it is still the first 3 months). However, I decided to give it a pass considering from the skills perspective, he had shown the correct things to do: to fully understand something first before giving recommendations and avoiding assumptions and guesswork.

I shall take a break from taking student for at least the next 3 months so I hope to have less busy days at work hehe

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Self-awareness and self-control

I have been feeling unwell for the whole of last week. I was so tempted to take an MC to rest for one day but I told myself that I was not *that* sick and my last MC was only 2+ months ago so it is still too early. Noone stops me from taking MC but it is my own principle not to make MC a habit and anything shorter than 3 months is considered frequent.

It was a good thing I did not take last week as today I am really in pain. I had no complaint yesterday but this morning I woke up with neck pain. Most likely I slept in a bad position but this pain is not normal. The pain (when I moved my neck) radiates to the ear and causes a bit of pressure. When I ate breakfast, it was quite painful on the left side of the throat. Even sneezing or blowing my nose also triggers the pain. I took Anarex this morning and it was not helpful. It was still painful when I lied down and tried to get up from bed. It sucks when sleeping and resting are also affected. I decided to take the ponstan with lunch and I hope it will help with the pain without triggering gastric. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise that God really wants me to rest since I have been neglecting my own body the past week when I deemed myself not sick enough.

Physical tiredness triggered all the negative emotions in past week. July is graduation ceremony time and I felt very jealous seeing people on facebook getting their masters / PhD. Otherwise the jealousy is about people getting award / recognition in their work, or about people getting married. I do not want to act holy but currently I am feeling pretty well spiritually and this helps me to guard my own thoughts and emotion from deteriorating further. After all, I don't think getting all these things that I am jealous over will make me happy and satisfied. For now, all I want is just good health (for my eyes particularly) and to be happy.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Disney's Aladdin Musical

After 5 years of waiting, I am very excited that Aladdin musical is finally coming to Singapore. As promised, I will definitely watch it and I just watched the very first show at this noon. Unfortunately, all the wait and anticipation ended up with a disappointment. Changes are inevitable as not everything form the cartoon can be replicated on live stage. Sadly unlike the recent Aladdin movie whose changes are mostly for the better, the changes made for this musical brings more bad than good.

Being a musical, most of the good changes are related to the songs, dances, and theatrics. Aladdin gets to sing 'Proud of Your Boy' (a fantastic song which unfortunately was cut from the cartoon), Jasmine gets her own song (a different song from the movie or the Hyperion theatre), Jafar also gets to sing in addition to his version of Prince Ali, and even the Sultan gets to sing. Instead of Abu, Aladdin has 3 human friends so that they can do more singing. I am ambivalent about Iago being a human since he still does what Iago is supposed to do as a character anyway.

Now comes the changes which are for worse. Magic carpet is gone. Instead of being a sentient being, magic carpet is simply a transportation tool, or even more appropriately just a plot device to serve the A Whole New World scene. Because of Aladdin's human friends, Genie has less screen time which automatically is a bad decision since nothing or noone can be funnier than Genie. Comedy aside, the less screen time between Aladdin and Genie means their relationship is less developed and that ruins the emotional part of their friendship. The worst change that I find really destroys everything is Aladdin's characterisation. He is really like an asshole and does not deserve to be a diamond in the rough in this musical version. In the cartoon, he is more genuine: he helps Jasmine in the marketplace because he is naturally helpful and his fallout with Genie is because Jasmine falls in love with him. In contrast, the musical Aladdin flirts with Jasmine in the marketplace and his fallout with Genie is only after the Sultan agrees with the wedding and promises that Aladdin will be the new Sultan.

Moving the production itself, the whole show consists of 1.25 hours for the first act (which ends when Aladdin is turned into Prince Ali) and 1 hour for the second act (which begins with Prince Ali song). The first act is good while the second act is awful. The second act is supposed to be the climax but the final battle showdown with Jafar is too rushed and does not feel like a good climax. The fallout with Genie and the subsequent freeing him feel flat because their relationship is not well established to begin with.

The props are quite hits and misses for me. Two thumbs up for the costumes: they are colourful and provide an amazing spectacle. The royalties have crazy amount of bling bling on their costumes and they really look regal. The stage set up for the city, marketplace, and Aladdin's 'home' are good, Jasmine's quarter is fantastic, but the Cave of Wonders fails to invite any sense of wonder. With the focus is more on the dancing and singing, the props department seem to be quite neglected. 'Friend Like Me' is the best as it is impressive for both the props and the theatricals. 'Prince Ali' is almost absent of any display of wealth that Prince Ali is supposed to show off and is borderline lame. 'A Whole New World' only shows the sky and the stars. The final showdown is almost all about talking. No wonder I find the second act awful.

Honestly, I maybe biased because I have previously watched the Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. It is a simpler production and yet it hits more of the correct notes. In fact, the only things that this Musical Spectacular loses out to the Broadway Musical are the stage set up for the marketplace and palace (which are only cardboards) and the costumes. Otherwise, Musical Spectacular trumps the Broadway Musical in terms of the comedy, the Cave of Wonders and the 'Friend Like Me', the 'Prince Ali' procession, 'A Whole New World', the final showdown, and the dynamics among the characters.
As a fan of Aladdin, it is really sad to have all these negative opinions about the musical. After all, I still have another ticket to watch on 11 August and this is for the first row. I think the show has been extended because when I bought the ticket, I bought for the final show. Now the run dates seem to end in 1 September. I actually bought the ticket for today (i.e. the opening show) only a week after I bought the 11 August and I only bought for the first row at the dress circle to save cost. I was expecting something special for the opening show but there was nothing too. I hope I will have change of perspective when I watch from the first row next month.

Thankfully the merchandises are worth buying so at least I still can have good memories from the musical. While they are not cheap, they are reasonable compared to the prices in Disneyland or Disney Store. I am thinking of buying the blanket again to use one in Singapore and one in Jakarta. Lets see how my mood. My friends commented that the plushies are ugly. I agree but I am quite immune haha.. I bought Aladdin and Jasmine plushie from Disneyland Paris few years ago which are also quite ugly. I think that is the fate of human characters which are made into plushies in this 'flattened' style.
$45 each for the plushie, $20 for the programme, and $40 for the fleece blanket
There still plenty of other merchandises: T-shirts (I heard that they are going for $40), keychains, an ornament shaped like the magic lamp ($30.. I was tempted to buy but I think it is too small to be figurine for display), a snow globe decoration ($85), tote bags ($20 if I am not wrong), CD, teapot (??), and so on.

I am thankful for the Filipino tourist and her mum (yes they specially travel here to watch the musical) who were in front of me in the queue to take photo with Magic Lamp. They asked me to help them taking photos and they returned the favour. I already bought the merchandises and was holding to the shopping bags and before my turn, the mum offered to hold my shopping bags. The girl was also friendly to compliment my Aladdin t-shirt. This photo taking spot is just next to the merchandise store so it is at the section after scanning the ticket. I did not manage to take any photo of the giant Aladdin banner outside at the public area which is quite boring with just a giant ass word of Aladdin. I shall end this post with the two pictures that I took.
Hanging banners at the waiting area
The only picture allowed inside the theatre

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Not a pleasant week

The past week at work was not very pleasant. After more than half a year of peace, we were contacted for our consultancy project to attend an interview with the actual client. Just like before, everything was last minute and there was no clarity on the expectations of the interview. In the end, all my stress was not warranted because only one question was directed to me during the team interview. After all, the main focus was still on the IT aspect.

One thing that irked me the most was the pressure for me to "lie" to say yes / can to everything so as to increase the chance of winning. The thing is there is one practice area that none of our team was directly involved so I cannot claim full mastery on this area. Nevertheless, my integrity as a healthcare professional is more important and this is why business is just not my cup of tea. 

Despite the plan not to, in the end I end up going to Japan again for the year end. Somehow it was a miracle to find a reasonable price for SQ ticket from Singapore to Tokyo. I am not sure why this year the airfare for flight from Jakarta is so expensive and almost 1.5x of the price from Singapore to Tokyo. Usually the flights from Jakarta are cheaper. So there goes my plan to have a holiday at home.

What makes me super pissed of is that the big reason for even attempting to find ticket is my sister's nagging and now that we are going, she does not do anything to help in the planning. I am kancheong over the planning because I do not expect that the hotel bookings in Tokyo for the year end period will be super popular. All the hotels that I stayed before are sold out for the new year period. Gosh.. My plan to stay at Disneyland for Christmas and New Year is basically ruined as the official hotels will only open online booking 5 months before the date. It is too risky for me to wait until the 24th and 31st. It is not me but I ended up booking alternative hotels that have free cancellation.

The bigger shock comes from the New Year's Eve at Disneyland. I thought it would just be normal operating hours but based on 2019 New Year, that was not the case. The theme parks closed early at 6pm on the 31st before opening again at 10pm. Basically it was considered a special event and the hotel bookings would be a separate one from the online bookings. Haiz.. Very very stressed. This is only Tokyo part of the holiday. I want to visit Shirakawago which I have never been before so where to go and where to stay have to be researched and decided properly.

I met a friend from the retreat earlier this year to catch up. Listening to his story, it is a reminder that I really should be thankful for the past one year as I left my previous job and I am definitely much happier with my current job. I can understand and empathise with his condition because I felt the same thing last year: trapped with a job that did not spark joy, lack of work-life balance, but yet having difficulty to find another job. For now, I can only provide listening ear and be an encouragement not to give up and remain hopeful that God will eventually provide. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Weekend with mum and sister

I decided to start going for Novena on Saturdays at Novena Church. Honestly I sort of getting tired and desperate with my prayers: whether for my own health or for my family's. I went for 11am session yesterday before picking my mother and sister who were in Singapore for the weekend. I was quite lost the first time I went with my aunt a few weeks ago. After buying the book, I can follow the prayers and songs so I can appreciate the devotion better.

I saw the wrong terminal so I took the skytrain to go to the correct terminal. The skytrain travels across Jewel and it actually slows down at the rain vortex area. I think it is quite cool to advertise the place for tourists taking the skytrain who are not aware of Jewel. We went to Jewel as my mum and sister had not been there before. It was my third time here and I already found it very boring. It felt less crowded then when I went there for the first time. I am not sure if that means the hype starts to die down. Previously I came here at around 10am. Compared to my visit today, I will recommend to avoid visiting Jewel when the sun is already high as the backlight is too strong and your face will just be dark when taking photo with the rain vortex.

In the afternoon, my sister went for 5566 concert so I brought my mum to attend mass with me. The timing was just nice to catch 530pm mass at Sts Peter and Paul. I considered ourselves lucky as we still could get a space in the front row just behind the reserved rows for the wardens. I was surprised to find that the church is undergoing renovation again. The main church was just renovated a few years ago and this time the renovation is for the buildings around.

After that we just walked around Takashimaya and bought Modanyaki for dinner. It was a great day which unfortunately was spoiled at the end by a fucking rude Grab driver that I got. The bastard stopped at the wrong place (taxi stand behind the hotel instead of the hotel lobby) and indicated that he already arrived (which triggered the message in-app that I had to board within 3 minutes. I walked to the taxi stand and then he rudely asked me where I was and I replied that he was the one stopping at the wrong place. He still got the cheek to suggest "next time you should message that you are at the lobby". I just kept quiet to prevent any further awkwardness although I wanted to shoot back the app already indicated the location and stated to turn into the ramp to the lobby from the road and it was him who messed up so please stop acting like he did not. I usually do not give rating but this was a one star. I will not let this slide off just like that but sadly Grab has non-existent feedback channel. I PM-ed via facebook although I doubt if any action will be taken. Gosh.. What a reminder of the discussion at this week's Landings session on how the disciples ask if they should call fire and stone to the people who reject them.

After more than 16 years in Singapore, today was my first visit to IMM. Haha.. My sister went there earlier this year to check out the outlet shops there. It must be pretty good since she introduces it to my mum to take a look. I am not a shopper but I will definitely come back here if I need something. For example, I saw a lot of Nike at the ~$100 range (i.e. $89.90-$110 range) here. In non-outlet stores, this price range is limited to those under heavy sale with poor size availability as well. I was also surprised to see so many non-formal range at Geox. The next time I need a casual pair of shoes, I shall consider this instead of the usual sports brands.

We had lunch at Paradise Dynasty since my mum was interested in the colourful xiaolongbao. Initially they wanted to order one but I said just order two so that everyone could try more flavours. We were full but it was a right decision. I am glad that these colourful xiaolongbaos are not mere gimmicks. I tried all the exotic ones and I could really taste the cheese, ginseng, ginger, black truffle, and roe. In fact, the roe was very seafood-y which was not really suitable for my taste buds. Sadly, I found the flavour that I was looking forward the most to be the most disappointing: foei gras. I could not taste any foei gras there.

And that is my weekend.