Kev (abr. Kevin)
Irish, Gaelic orgin. Caoimhin.
1. adorable. 2. gentle one

Walkabout (walk-a-bout)
1 (in Oz) - a walk in the Outback by Aborigines that lasts for an indefinite amount of time. 2 (chiefly British) - an informal stroll among a crowd conducted by an important visitor e.g. a monarch. 3 a walking trip.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Everything in a click!

Gosh, I never really fully appreciate online shopping till now. I had wanted to print out my DNA sequencing data this morning, only to realize (dreadfully) that my canon S100SP is totally dried up with the black ink! So I went to the computer shop near the library within UNSW hoping to make a purchase.

“Wat kinda ink are you looking for?”
“Oh, from canon!”
“We don’t sell canon; we have Epson …..”

Wah, win already!! Canon so unpopular ah?! What the heck, where am I going to find myself the ink?? I can’t print it in my lab, as the printer attached to my lab is a black and white printer. I need to print colours as well black too! Argh… Just out of curiosity, I went online and searched for ‘canon ink cartridge online’ in Yahoo, Australia. Out came a whole list of sites... clicked on one which leads me to this ECB inkjet. And wow, gosh I’m shocked! I can do online shopping for ink cartridge now! And for a pretty cheap price too, I must add on! My black ink cartridge cost me only AUD$2.99 while that of colour is at AUD$4.50! Hmm… is it because that it is a generic cartridge, and hence this cheap?? Who cares! I bought 4 black and 2 colours at one go! LOL…. Cos I need to pay postage cum handling fee of AUD$7.20 too, so might as well purchase more in a go. So there, I bought my cartridges without even leaving my chair, and with just a few clicks! LOL... anyway, I will certainly purchase cartridge from them again, as their services is extremely efficient! I purchase it online this afternoon, and they had just emailed me saying that my order is already posted…. Superb!

Hmm… online shopping certainly makes life so much more convenient! LOL...*A light bulb just lighted up my thoughts* Next time when my beloved ask me to go shopping with her, I will just tell her to shop online from home! Then I can slack at home. Shopping is such a chore and tiring! I rather work. LOL… Opps!

Minty mint card

I saw this link to a credit card company MINT™ and decided to give it a click. Wow! I was totally blown off! I simply love the soft purple look for the webby, and the Master credit card looks so cool too! The design is simple but elegant, with a mc2 card design. Wished that mine credit card is as sleek as that! Anyway, the mint credit card is a low rate APR credit card that offers 0% interest on purchase until Jan 2008, 0% balance transfer until Aug 2008 and many more. What’s more, the credit card gives users up to a credit limit of £7,500. In addition, users have free online account management as well, doing stuffs like checking credit statements online etc… Nice. Check it out!

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Attack of the love songs…

I have absolutely no idea why the sudden change of heart, or rather ear. Suddenly I have this liking to love songs… Gosh, I must be getting sentimental!! But why? I guess it’s probably cos of the absence of my beloved. It’s a strange phenomenon really... Haha.. fancy a guy listening to love songs..

So there I was, searching high and low for love songs in to add to my collection. And I did find some very nice songs! For one, the song by Adam Sander in his movie (can’t remember which) – “I wanna grow old with you” is very cheeky and touching too! Am sure the gals will love it if the guy actually sings this to the gal! LOL.. Anyway, it’s one of my favorites among the rest of the songs.. =)

So, to my readers, just enjoy the new batch of songs that I put up, and if it isn’t to your ears, just stop the music. =)

Relaxing away in a cold night with a hot cup of chamomile tea...

Cold, the autumn night shivers
Sway, the trees with the wind
Fragrant, chamomile drifts
Warmth, infusion from tea

Listening, melodies of the heart
Yearning, for a loving embrace
Reminiscing, our journey together
Envisioning, sweet aftertaste of our vows

Quietly, beloved I longed
Cunningly, time crawls
Achingly, my heart awaits
Patiently, for that care-less summer


Monday, 28 May 2007

Fancy a date with a Hollywood celebrity?

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The beautiful Mexico –born actress, Mirelly Taylor, has appeared on movies such as Kiss Me Again and Serving Sara and television shows including “Las Vegas”, “Punk’d”, and “Numb3rs”. And now, this talented and sexy actress is looking for someone who is a good kisser, confident, and a great dancer to go on a hot date! “How does one win a date”, I heard! That’s simple. All you need to do is to provide a video clip of yourself, doing whatever you want to seduce Mirelly into a date with you! Viewers will get to choose the top 3 seductive videos, and Mirelly will be the judge for these 3 finalists.

Wanna know more? Go and see the free videos at for yourself!

So what are you still waiting for? Hurry and sent in your videos to get that hot date with Mirelly! Who knows, you might just be the one for her!

Of my weekends, and more complaints!

Its officially been at least 3 months since I left Singapore to come over to Australia! I have survived for the first 3 months! Yeah! A cause for celebration! Haha. Anyway, things had been picking up slightly e.g. my PhD etc.. In fact, I've been going back to the lab for the past 2 weekends! Why? That's what my housemate JM asked me. It's like as though I'm in a rush to generate result etc. Well, the reason is simple. I wanna do as much stuffs as I can within my PhD. I mean, we only get to work 5 out of 7 days a week. Wouldn't it be better if I can make use of the other 2 days as well? 4 weekends per month = 8 days per month, and continue to do this for about 3-4 months, and I will have an extra 1 month of work done! Oh my gosh.. I'm becoming a workaholic.. haha.. in addition, by working over the weekend, I can justify coming in ard 11-12pm on the weekdays (I think)!! Yeah, I hate to wake up so early!!

On another note, I've been pretty impressed by the customer relation that companies in Australia has so far. I had earlier lodged a complain to KFC and Optus, and both replied with goodies (to shut my mouth up??)! Cool.. KFC has given me a $5 KFC voucher, while Optus has given me $10 credits for my mobile phone bill! Guess that's how they can encourage ppl to give feedbacks on how to improve their services.

Sadly, I have to write another complain email again. The target is Quickflix this time round. Why?? Simple: the DVD that I had rented took like forever to be delivered to me!! Probably this will give a better idea:

I'm deeply disappointed and extremely frustrated by the recent delays in receiving my DVDs from Quickflix. Specifically, I have yet to receive my DVD titled "Paleoworld volume 1" after been notified of delivery (by Quickflix) through email on 18th May 07.

I used to think highly of the services provided by Quickflix, and even wrote an entry in my blog to promote Quickflix to my readers. The primary reason for choosing Quickflix is such that I can rent a DVD at the comfort of my own home, knowing that the delivery will be fast and convenient.

However after upgrading my plan to the unlimited plan, I have been experiencing delays in the delivery of DVDs. It used to be within 2 working days when I was still under the $9.90 for 2 DVDs per month plan, but drastically lengthen to 4-5 working days after I have upgraded to the unlimited plan! Such plunge in service standard is unacceptable, and has certainly shaken my faith in Quickflix to the extent of contemplating termination of subscription with Quickflix.

I sincerely hope that Quickflix can hasten the delivery of my DVDs, especially "Paleoworld volume 1”, and would evaluate and improve its current DVD delivery services.

Thank you.

Argh.. what's wrong with this ppl anyway?! Do they like to be complain so much??!! (However the other side of me is smiling away while writing this complaint email, thinking what goodies will Quickflix gave me to shut my mouth?)

Sunday, 27 May 2007

PPP Direct to U!

Payperpost! Truly an ingenious way for advertisers to market their products and for us bloggers to benefit at the same time! Now, PPP has taken a step further! Recently PPP has launched a complementary version to PPP – PPP Direct! With PPP Direct, advertisers can contact the participating blogger directly, thus reducing the complexity of having to go through various levels in between for both the advertiser and blogger to benefit from each other. Essentially, this translates to a higher share of the pie for the blogger since middleman’s involvements are out of the picture. In addition, bloggers can also reach out to advertisers who are not in the PPP network. Why limit yourself to only advertisers in the PPP network?

Briefly, the blogger must be signed up with PPP, and install the PPP Direct widget. Subsequently the blogger has to set a minimum amount in which he is willing to do a review or advertising, and post the associated tag into his blog, and wait! When a potential advertiser sees the blog and would like the blogger to do a review, all the advertiser needs to do is to click on the PPP direct tag and that’s it! Now the blogger has direct contact with the advertiser, and can negotiate directly for more payments if the blogger wishes to!

Bloggers making use of PPP direct will find themselves laughing at their pals who are using similar strategies from other PPP competitors such as ReviewMe. This is because competitors such as ReviewMe often mark up the advertising charges by 50 – 100% and keep about half of the money that a blogger earns! With PPP Direct, only 10% of the amount earn will be kept by PPP and the rest of the 90% are for the blogger to keep! Furthermore, transaction fees for credit card processing and payments through Paypal etc will be taken care of by PPP with no additional payment by the blogger. Comparing PPP Direct with its competitor, PPP Direct certainly has an upper edge over the others.

Indeed, blogging has never been so fun and beneficial to our pockets before!

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Surprise!! – My darling bought me a microwavable bear!

My darling had earlier revealed that there will be a parcel/gift that she has bought online, and was on the way to me. Well, I received it this morning when I opened the main door of the house! Haha.. I was very excited, but I can’t open it on the spot as I had arranged a meeting with my student and I was running very tight on time.

So, as soon as I’m home and settled with my dinner etc, I start opening up my present… “Hmm.. what is it??”, “Is it a blanket since I’ve told her that it’s cold here in Oz”.. “what could it be?” Lotsa questions filled my mind! First I opened up the box, to find a purple coloured soft wrapper .. and I opened up the wrapper, and find that there’s another box (tied with ribbon; as showned in the pic)! I open the ribboned box, and find myself another purple soft wrapper!! How many layers are there!! Argh.. never ending wrapping! As I open up the purple wrapper, I realize what it is……

It’s a Beddy Bear!

Yup, nothing wrong with the spelling... not teddy, not tummy, but Beddy Bear! “Why did she send me a bear??” On closer look, I realized why my darling had earlier asked me a question: “Do u use microwave at home?” The significance of this question if evident in that, this Beddy Bear is very special! The bear can be put in a microwave for 2 mintues to heat it up. After that, you can hug the bear to sleep, which is exceptional a good idea considering the weather in Oz is now like 10 degrees at night. The temperature will only go lower, and the hot Beddy Bear would certainly come in handy (or huggy)!! Haha… And oh! Just realized that you can chill the bear too, and use it in a hot day! Nice!

Well my dear darling, you really surprised me well! But are you surprised about this blog as well?! Haha.. cos I told you that I hadn’t receive your present yet so that you too will get a pleasant surprise when you see this blog! Hahaha… hope you do…

Thanks dear for your present, and I like it a lot! I love u!

Poor Bear.. Sitting alone at a corner in this cold night.. maybe I should microwave it! Hahaha.. *evil laughter*

Pingo, just Pin it and call!

Ever find it very troublesome to always make a trip to purchase a new calling card when they credits in the current card runs out? I did! Since I’m over here in Australia, I will need to make frequent calls to Singapore, and gosh, I hate it when the credits start to run out. Even though I make a conscious effort to remind myself to buy a new card, somehow I would just have forgotten about it at the end of the day! How frustrating!! Probably one solution is to keep an emergency phone card? But what if I forgot to buy the emergency phone card or that the emergency card out of credit as well!? Oh well, I wish that I can just sit in my home and buy the card off the internet!

My wish might just be realized! Through PPP, I’ve come across this prepaid calling card provider for virtual International rechargeable phone calling card service at Pingo. It’s listed in the NASDAQ which is great – no worries on being con of my money! Anyway with Pingo, I just need to register myself, obtain my pin, and purchase credits online. Therefore every time when my credits run low, I can just top up my credits at the comfort of my own home! Great! Plus, the Australia calling card rates are relatively cheap as well.

And I also found out that we can get up to 4 hours of free international calls if we sign up with pingo now! Furthermore, if you get your friends to make use of their services as well, you will by paid $15 for each new customer. Cool huh?! Definitely worth considering..

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Friday, 25 May 2007

Last installment of the KFC saga – I’m worth $5!!

I was rather surprised to receive my mail today. The envelope has the logo of ‘Yum!’ which I instantly recognized as the parent company of KFC Australia. Well, eagerly I opened up the letter, anticipating an apology letter which I did get. In addition, out comes a $5 KFC voucher! Nice! Just what I needed! Haha.. So, I’m officially being ‘bought over’ by KFC for $5!

Anyway, at least they are willing to apologize with a letter, as well as gift voucher. Their customer relation branch is really doing their job. Nonetheless, be it with or without voucher, I’ll still be a supporter of KFC. Let’s hope that their services has improved since!

Freaky food!

I was wondering in Coles yesterday, as usual doing my groceries shopping, when I come upon this very weird-looking unusual food! Or rather, should I say vegetables, since it's in the vegetable section!!

I was thinking: 'what the heck is that? Looks plastic-ky to me! Like some kinda toy that children play, and when they drop onto the floor it will bounds up! LOL.. Looks like some UFO.. and it can be eaten?' Haha.. I was extremely puzzled by it. The label was written 'yellow squash'. Hmm.. probably I'm a country pumpkin (or rather city rat since if I'm from the country, I would be doing farming and know all these veg)!

Not satisfied with just knowing that it's called yellow squash, I went home to do some search online. It's actually not call yellow squash! This is button squash, or what the proper term should be: pattypan. What a strange name for a strange veg! Quite apt huh.? And, that Coles shouldn't put it in the veg section, cos it's considered to be a fruit scientifically! Cool! And there are many types of squash! Turban squash, sweet potato squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash and many more! Just how many squash are there!!!LOL

Happenings in my life this week..

It’s been a while since I really update my blog on my happenings, on the nitty gritty stuffs of my life… Hmm... Where do I begin? Well, my experiments have been starting to pick up from the previous streak of bad luck. It’s really very unfortunate – I wasted so much time on cloning and screening with blue/white selection, and ended up finding that blue (and not white) colonies contains my gene insert!! Theoretically it should have been the other way! Gosh, what lessons have I learn here? Those blue/white screenings of colonies are super duper flawed! It’s always better, and safer to use colony PCR to see if the gene insert is taken up into the plasmid!! Argh! But luckily I had decided to use colony PCR as a screening method along the way, else I would have still been scratching my head and wondering why my cloning has failed!! One lesson learnt!
On another note, I have recently taken up my first job in Australia! Haha.. never really thought that I would do so. I’ll be tutoring a first year undergrad student in the subject ‘Molecules, Cells and Genes’. This will however be a short tutoring period, as her exams are in 3 weeks time! So, my job would be to help her reinforce ideas, concepts, go through past year exam papers, and answer her queries. I have yet to start the tuition proper yet; it will start tomorrow (or rather today since it has already past 12am). Nonetheless, I met up with her on Wed to discuss how I’m able to help her etc. A nice gal, and since she’s willing to spent the extra effort to seek help, and that I’m paid ~AUD$63/hour by the Nura Gili Indigenous Program Centre, UNSW, I will try my best to help her! Yup, it’s good money to be a tutor! Haha.. but it’s only 2 hours/week! Anyway, down here in Australia, it’s not very wise to earn that much if you are a student. This is because, once you hit the AUD$6000 per annum target, the Oz federal government will start to tax your income (starting off with 15% tax of $6000 income)! So, it’s either one earns less than $6000 per annum, or go way above it to make up for the lost in tax returns!

Some of the food that I've been whipping up and eating these few days.. some looks good, but ain't taste really that good! LOL.. gotta improve myself..

SO sad that they don't ship internationally..

I had earlier wanted to send a very super unique gift to my darling. I saw it on Amelia’s blog where she had earlier post an entry about it. What is that specially unique gift?! It’s M&M chocolates!! Not any M&M, but custom M&M chocolates! One get to choose the colours of the M&Ms but also write a personal message on the M&M itself!! Argh.. I had wanted to buy it and ship it to my darling in Singapore, but US do not ship the chocos internationally! So, I wrote to vpostUSA to see if they can help me out. But apparently, vpostUSA don’t ship perishables as well, saying that they can’t stop the chocolates from melting! Haha.. Chocolates that melt in the ship and not in your mouth! Haha..

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

UNSW Asia closing down!

The news came as shock, really. I couldn't believe it when my housemate, OP told me that UNSW Asia is closing down! I thought they are closing down the current venue and move over to a permanent place. But I was wrong. According to the UNSW Asia webby, the reason they had given for the closure was the lack of students enrolling. They had expected 300 students to be enrolled in this semester, but only 148 students enrolled (of which, 100 are Singaporeans). To contemplate and eventually closing down the uni, after pumping in so much money (SGD$22 million) on advertisement and recruitment etc, would really be a great lost of money to UNSW! These would mean that if they hadn't close the campus, they would lose even more money! If you look at it deeper, you can infer that UNSW must have foresee that future student enrollment are going to be low as well! I mean, UNSW (having invested so much in Singapore, and is happily earning foreign student's hefty fees in Australia) could easily sit out the first semester or year, and wait for enrollment to pick up speed subsequently! Obviously UNSW Asia is not well received.

Frankly speaking, I wouldn't go to UNSW Asia as well. Foremost, it's just being establish and by going there at such an early stage will be a guinea pig to their system. Furthermore, local students will definitely prefer NUS or NTU over UNSW! I certainly would, after all NUS is much more renowed then UNSW Australia, let alone UNSW Asia! Local students attending NUS or NTU etc would be paying cheaper school fees too!! And if there is really a need to find another Uni, I guess people will prefer UNSW (Australia) rather then in UNSW Asia. You pay about the same school fees for both campus, so why not sweat it out overseas and gain exposure?? But, that's just me.. And I'm here in UNSW in Oz! LOL

Anyway, UNSW Asia is destined to close down after it's first semester. Though it's bad for UNSW Asia, but the students might stand to gain. Current students will be given scholarship for travel and accomodation in UNSW Australia. So, it might be a blessing in disguise after all huh?!

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Great news for online shopaholics!

I came across this very good website ( while doing my PPP, which I think will definitely benefit those that frequent online shopping, including me. After all, my darling and I are 6300km apart, and the only way to shower her with gifts is through online shopping!

Within are thousands of shops/companies that offer discounts through online coupons codes when you purchase their products online. However not all coupons are targeted at the same consumer group, and these online coupons codes do expire. I especially like Target’s merchandise, as they offer a wide range of products from apparels to furniture and electronics. I guess what attracted me is the Target coupon “Free shipping on orders over $50 in Women’s” LOL. It’s free shipping! This means that I wouldn’t need to pay loads of extra for them to ship internationally from US to Singapore! Hoorah! In addition, the couponchief webby also provide a step-by-step video that teaches us on how to use the coupons to make online purchases. Very good!

Hmm... Now what should I buy for my darling?

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Registration for NDP 07 tix has began!

As usual I was just surfing ard, and I stumbled onto a link in yahoo. Got a second look, and I suddenly realised that Singapore's National Day is approaching! The link in yahoo, is of cos directed at Singapore's NDP.

This is going to be my first NDP outside Singapore. LOL. Not that it's really that big deal, but I like NDP. I like to watch it on tv, and see all the match past, celebrations and the spirits-lifting and inspiring National Day songs. Speaking of which, I love the song "My Island Home" by Kaira Gong. Great! I beam with proudness every time when I see that we have come so far, to celebrate yet another birthday again. Propaganda or not, I'm proud to be a Singaporean, and that I'm glad that the good governance in Singapore has brought us thus far.

I'm those kinda person who have absolutely no luck. Previously I had signed up for the NDP tix, but I always wasn't the lucky one. By the way, the E-balloting for NDP 07 has began and will end on the 28th May! So for those Singaporeans who are intending to join in the celebration in Marina this year, proceed with haste to register yourself!

If only I'm in Singapore, I might get a shot at the tix too! LOL.. The venue for this year NDP is quite unique. The first in the region as stated in the NDP webby. The stage consist of floating platforms joined together to form a stage on the waters of Marina Bay! Cool.. They recently revealed the logo for NDP07 as well. My first impression was like... eeee.. LOL.. looks 'Obiang', very 'tu' LOL.. Especially the wordings 'NDP', like some kids using the Microsoft words program to write out the alphabets 'N''D''P'.. haha.. but then again, maybe I shouldn't critised it.. after all, if you ask me to design a logo, I'm sure mine will be worst than that! Oh, if you look carefully, you can even see that our 'durian' is in the logo as well! LOL..

So, for those who have yet to register for the tix, do go register!! I, being in Oz, will just have to rely on Mobtv.. and hopefully they will show it on Mobtv!!

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Social norms = acceptable?? The KFC Saga

I had never expected my previous entry on complaints to KFC would be widely read. After all, I'm just venting my frustration on the service performance of KFC. Frustrated that I was shortchanged among other things. Frustrated that such issues has happened before, and to others as well, and I can foresee that it will still happen in future! As one of reader commented, such issues e.g. giving one less piece of chicken etc in KFC has happened before and are common. True, that I agree, and there is probably a 101 reasons why shortchanging of customers occur.

But does a social norm means that it is acceptable? Is it really acceptable for one to be shortchanged in general? What is worst then being shortchanged, is that one will not be able to rectify situation at all! Try going back to the KFC store and tell them that they gave you one less piece of chicken. The moment you steps out of a store (any store for that matter), the burden of proof is with you if you are going to tell them that they shortchange you. They can always retort that you deliberately make yourself looked shortchanged to cheat the store!

With regard to KFC, I guess I will have to check my takeaway orders there and then, and rectify any shortchanging on the stop. "You should have done that in the first place, and not yaking away down here after that!!" that little voice in my head shouted out! What can I say? I trusted KFC and their staffs. Guess that I shouldn't have after all!

But really, is there a venue for us, only to discover ourselves being shortchanged only when we reached home with our takeaways, where KFC can address our unfortunate purchases? Or that the only solution in such situation is to just swallow our anger, and frustration, and blame ourselves?

PS: I'm still a fan of KFC, but am a very disappointed fan.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Complain to KFC, Australia

Had wanted to make myself happy, by treating myself to a scumptous KFC dinner.. ended up being very disappointed instead... emailed my complained to KFC Australia..this type of behaviour have to be rectify I reckon, else who knows how many more customer might be shortchanged!

Dear Sir/Mdm,

Of my experience so far with KFC (which I'm a fan of), the one where I had today in the Randwick/Belmore road was the worst. It would do well to KFC's image if the service of the counterstaff is improved.

I was in the store at Belmore Rd in the evening (~5 to 5.15pm) and was served by two counterstaffs (1 main and 1 trainee). I placed my order for 3 piece feed with the KFC coupon. The main staff wasted a bit of time to explain to the trainee on how to key in the order into the system, which I patiently understand and have no qualms about it.

However, the staffs failed to return me the change, and therefore I reminded the main staff the she had forgotten to do so. After which, she returned me my change unapologetically - not even a smile or a 'sorry'! It's as if I should not even bother her with my attempt to take my change!

Nonetheless, I decided to give her the benefit of a doubt. However, my unpleasantness with the counterstaff was compounded when I opened up my takeaway box at home. The counterstaff had given me 2 pieces of chicken instead of 3, which I had paid for! This is the limit.

I would sincerely urge KFC to take the service performance of the counterstaffs seriously. No doubt that the general KFC staffs are well trained, I'm sure there are guidelines/methods etc that can be implemented to at least 1) remind their own staffs to be courteous at all times, and 2) check what they have given to the customers telly with the order from the customer.

Being one of the major players in the fast food industry, such letdown of service would really tarnish the reputation, and certainly make me think twice before buying from KFC again! It would definitely not waste much time and not be difficult to countercheck the food given with the order (that is logged into the system) if there's any thing amiss. And it is absolutely not difficult to say a 'sorry' if one forgot to return the change.

I do hope that my feedback will be given the due consideration. Thank you for your time.

Cheap accommodations from

Travel, one of my favorite but the most expensive hobby! But lately I realized that it might not be entirely so. There are numerous online travel website that allows one to book online, bypassing agents/middle man etc, and one get to choose from a whole array of travel services available. Indeed, I’m planning to go over to Cairns come this end of the year, and I should start researching on where to go, cheap hotels to stay etc, and at the same time earn some cash from PPP! is one of the many online travel websites that I’m looking at. Initially, I find the website to be disappointing as I thought that it mainly target customers from US or European regions. However, after looking through site, not only is it a global travel website but it provides a comprehensive destination guides to about 100 countries as well! Did a quick search on ‘Cairns’ and out came a whole list of hotels and accommodations for vacation rentals as well! It’s good though that they have vacation rentals, as it is definitely more worth it to rent a whole place than to stay in hotel if one is intending to stay in a place long and with a large group! What’s more, these are internet rates, which mean you get the accommodation at a cheaper rate, up to 70% discount on normal rates!

They also provide a maximum of $100 rebate for booking accommodations with them as well. However, I personally think that it will very troublesome to claim this $100 rebate. Because I would still need to fill out the rebate form and mail it over to the US! And to get $100 rebate I would need to book 12 nights! Else for a normal 3 to 5 days booking, there will only be a rebate of $20-30; definitely not worth the effort to fill up the forms and send it over. But if one is from the US, I guess one would stand to gain!

Besides cheap hotels and vacation rentals, the Hotel Reservation website also offers flight bookings and car rental as well. But I think their rates for flights can be better improved. Nonetheless, would certainly be one of the websites I’ll be looking through when I’m deciding for my accommodations in Cairns!

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Rattling while waiting for my gel...

This is my first Saturday back in the lab! Had wanted to do it previously, but 'cos of various reasons like incubator down etc, didn't manage to come back till today. My plan for the day was simple: to come down to lab in the morning to do my colony PCR to screen my colonies, and then go off to Chinatown ard 11am to 'yum cha' with my lab colleagues, and then back to my lab again after that to continue running my gel. But Argh! I finished off my PCR only at ard 11.15am, and while I was waiting for bus 372 to Chinatown, I have to have a bad tummyache!!! Fragged! I have no choice to but to go home, since the bus stop I'm waiting at is in Belmore Road. By then, it's already like 11.40am, and I would be extremely late even if I rush down after that. So, no choice then, but to ask them to go ahead without me! I was so looking forward to go 'yum cha'!! Fragged. So, stayed in my home till ard 2.30pm then come back to the lab again to load my gel... What a day.. I'm gonna eat KFC later on to make myself happier! haha..

Anyway, lately my expt has been starting to make a bit of progress. Yeah! Out of the 2 PCR prod that I wanted to clone, 1 of them is successful! Yeah! After weeks of bad luck and unsuccessful streak, the dark clouds are finally showing signs of dissipating! But I don't mind it to be totally gone! hahaha..

By the way, I saw Charlotte's Web yesterday, and it's a truly great movie!! I used to read the book, by E.B.White for my literature lessons in my lower secondary school days. back then, I already find the story to be great! But after seeing the show, it serve to enhance the goodness and the moral that the story is trying to put across. True friendship should be like Wilbur and Charlotte, not asking for returns and make good promises that are given. True friendship sees through appearance for it is their heart that counts. It's really very sad and heart wrenching to see the scene where Charlotte dies after her last ditch effort to save Wilbur, and laying her eggs. The spirit of Charlotte, where one goes all out to fulfill a promise, is truly inspirational and for us to learn. Wilbur, for his credit, has thought us how to see beyond the appearance, for even the ugly spider has a beautiful heart that eventually save Wilbur! I love it!

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

GST credits up for grab!

Yup, the title says it all! The Singapore government is giving out 'GST credits' to all Singaporeans above 21 years of age, as a buffer against the upcoming GST hike from 5% to 7% come this July 07. As with all 'kiasu' Singaporeans, I have signed up for it as soon as the clock hits midnight on the 15th May 07! LOL... kiasu right?! So, by signing up, I will get SGP$200+, as well as an addition of SGP$100 for my NS contribution! Best of all, I will get this GST credits every year for the next 2 years! Whoo hoo! For those who have yet to sign up, just go to the GST credit webby with your NRIC and Singpass and your money will be sitting there in your bank come this July!!

Some people have been complaining about the tax hike etc, which I have no qualms about. To me, as long as it's reasonable, (under 10%) I'm fine with it. The tax down here in Australia is like 10%, so comparing Singapore to Australia, I see no reason to complain. But I think Singaporeans, being Singaporeans will complain that the GST credits that they are receiving are not enough! Haha.. come on, when will money ever be enough!? But I think that it's pretty good, in that at least the government are still giving us money to buffer the inital tax hike! I don't think governments in other countries will be doing these kinda stuffs. I might be wrong in this, so just drop me a tag or comment if you happen to know that other government are doing similar giveaways to their people. So, it looks as though I'm pro-government huh.. haha.. well, comparing ours with others, I think ours is still better then others, and so what more can I complain about?!

My only regret is that, I can't buy stuffs before the July onset of 7% GST! By the time I go back to Singapore for a short break this Dec 07/Jan 08 period, the GST would have been 7%! Argh.. I must try to get my air tix to return to Oz from SIA before July!!!
Trival: The word 'Kiasu' has been added to the Oxford Dictionary!! Now who says singlish can't be a language?!

Monday, 14 May 2007

Catching up with phased out flims e.g. Barbel & Blood Diamond

I have been catching up with lotsa of films that is no longer shown in the theatre recently. These films are those that I would love to watch in Singapore, but for some reason or an other, didn't managed to catch it. After all, watching a show these days doesn't come cheap as it used to be. I can still remember when I was like 8-9 years old, the only time when I'm able to see a show is during the Lunar New Year. My mum would bring me to the cinema in Clementi where they tickets were like $5-6. That was really a long way back. Now, it's a hefty $9-10! Wow.. unless I'm a working adult, how the hell am I going to afford it, especially when there are so many good shows around!!? haha.. Yup, as much as I like to go to the movies, I simply can't afford going for each and everyone! So, just gotta give up some of them..

Luckily, I managed to catch some phased out shows online such as Barbel and Blood Diamond over the weekend here in Sydney. I'm absoluted puzzled as to what the characters in Barbel are talking about since there's no subtitle at all! Just have to use my imagination I guess.

Anyway, Blood Diamond is really a great movie. Both very entertaining and educational. What is the show about?? Simply put, it's about a father's love for his family and son; about the predicaments of children as child soldiers; about the so called rebels who thinks that the end justify the means; the mining of diamonds in exchange for weapons; about the fact that such sales of conflict diamonds are indirectly encouraged by the females of our species! So for those who have yet to catch the show, I would strongly encourage it. To those who happens to read this, and are loyal fans to the world of diamonds, take heed - the next time you buy a diamond, ensure that the diamonds comes from the list of countries under the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme!; otherwise it wouldn't look good with all that blood on your ring finger!

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Finally managed to catch Mr. Bean's Holiday!

Salut! Haha.. it's an informal way of saying 'hello' in French! Can't help but feel inclined to learn French after watching the show Mr. Bean's Holiday! Haha..Finally, after so long, I managed to get the show and watch it. Yeah!

It started off with Mr. Bean (played by Rowan Atkinson) coming in lucky with the first prize of a raffle - A trip to Cannes, a video camera and €200. As quite expected, through some sheer bad luck and hilarious actions, Mr. Bean managed to put himself into the unplanned route to Cannes. In the railway station, he unwittingly separated a father-son team who are going to Cannes as well. Being our good old Mr. Bean, he took up the responsibility of reuniting the son and father. Along the uncharted path, Mr. Bean hitchhiked an exactly identical yellow Mini cooper as his, driven by the beautiful Sabine (protrayed by the pretty Emma de Caunes)! Much more bludders followed, but quite expectedly, they make it to Cannes, played out his video recordings during the Cannes Flim Festival and recieved standing ovations! But for Mr. Bean, nothing beats more than reaching the beach in Cannes! =)

'Oui'! It's really a great show. Though I felt that the humor in the beginning is abit dry. Moreover, some of the earlier scenes were reminescence of the TV series, which really makes me wonder if they (producers etc) had run out of ideas! Nonetheless the show made up for it towards the end. It really came as a suprise to see an identical Mini cooper as Mr. Bean's appearing in France! Haha.. And you can really see the glow in Mr. Bean's eyes when he sees the splitting image of his car! Hahaha.. Really enjoyed that scene. I especially like that ending of the show, where all the characters in the show come together on the beach in a musical style, singing 'La Mer' (Beyond the Sea). Haha.. I like the song very much, which really makes me wanna learn french!! Hahaha... Anyone know where I can get that song??

Goofs on the show - The items on Mr. Bean's seafood platter move around on their own a few times!

Au revoir!

A disappointing week yet again

As the title goes, this past week has indeed been disappointing. I have yet to get white colonies from my transformation/cloning experiments. Argh! We had got a new tube of dATP on thursday, and hence I decided to try out the transformation/cloning once more. Did the A-tailing reaction, ligation, transformation etc and was hoping to see some good results on Friday. But, fate has it that I must not get any results in the past week. There was a major accident in the common 37-degrees incubator room where I put my culture plates in. Apparently, the two shakers and flasks on them dropped onto the floor, smashing the flasks and spoiling the shakers completely! They had to decontaminate the whole room, and my plates were thrown away!! Frag!! My work just gone! Though they managed to decontaminate and fix the area, it can only be use on Monday afternoon! Arghhhh... Felt like banging my head on the wall! Anyway, I decided to do the transformation again, and just leave the bacteria culture plates in room temperature to grow till I go to the lab on Monday. Haiz.. what a streak of bad luck and happenings. When will it end??! About 1 month into my experimental proper and I have no results at all! Argh... Frag!

On something different: my 2 weeks Mobtv trial has expired. So I decided that I shall continue the subscription. It's pretty ex I think - $29.90 per month. However, if I pay for 3 months of subscription, I get 1 month free. So, $89.90 for 4 months, which is like $22.50 per month. Still on the expensive side, but I like Singapore productions. So, I went ahead to subscribe it. Would be nice if someone can share the cost with me! haha..but haiz.. wasted money again..

The only thing that make me smile again for the week is a wonderful dinner that I had cooked up. Went to buy some frozen pork & chieves dumplings, and pan-fried it. Yum Yum.. it's been a long long time since I ate something so crispy and nice..Reminds me of being in Singapore.. And I cooked the can food (containing bamboo strips, pork strips etc) with more of the pork that I bought from Coles. I had banana as well, and the banana is quite strange looking! Hahaha.. a bit huge I think! The width of the banana is almost width of my palm! What a big fat banana!! Haha.. I truly enjoyed yesterday's night dinner. =)..

Haiz.. still.. what will the coming week hold for me? More disappointment?? When will it ever end?!

Wow! Irresistable!

I was recently introduced to the website 'Bid4Prizes' and have been totally blown away!! If what it had claimed is true, it's simply fantastic!! You're not going to believe this - We get to bid items that are on auctions in the website. However, unlike normal auctions, the lowest bids win! Well, not really lowest bid, but rather lowest unique bid wins! So meaning that, if 2 person bid $1, another person bid $2, and a forth person bids $3, the person that bid $2 will win because it is the lowest unique bid! What's even better is that, according to the website, the amount that you bid is phony. Once you win the auction item, you do not need to pay any amount at all! It's totally free! Hmm.. too good to be true? Might be worth a try!

Hmm.. now, what auction prize do I like? I think I prefer the $500 Starbucks gift card! haha.. while some of you might think I'm crazy to choose this over the LCD monitor, ipod, or the DVD theater system, I think not! I love beverages and cakes etc from the Starbucks! With the $500 gift card, it will be like an unlimited access to the beverages etc! Furthermore, all the other systems or prizes depreciates once you got it, and over time its value drops further! But with the $500 gift card, I can still get that much cups of beverages in future as compared to now (unless of cause Starbucks decided to increase the price of the beverages in future!). So, why not $500 starbucks gift card?! =) Too bad that this auction is only open to US residents, else I might be so tempted to take part as well!

Friday, 11 May 2007

Bug for your life!

“Bug” by Lionsgate flim, produced in 2006, kicked off its debut by winning the FIPRESCI Prize in the Cannes Film Festival. This bug movie is set to be released on the 25th May 07 in the US, featuring a strong cast which includes Ashley Judd (twice nominee of the 1997 & 2005 Golden Globe award, and various other awards) who plays Agnes White, and Michael Shannon who plays Peter. Living in a run-down motel in Oklahoma, the waitress lives in the shadows of her violent ex-husband but is soon consumed in a romantic relationship with Peter, a war veteran, a lover, and more importantly a protector. However, Peter comes with a ‘tiny’ problem – an eccentric paranoia state of mind that seems to usher in something more sinister. Bugs.

What really captures my attention to the show is the tag line on the poster, written “First they send in the drone… then they find their queen”. Coupled with the face of Ashley Judd on the poster (especially the one with the face on the body of the bug), it really makes me wonder if the queen is her! It might be, or it might not! Being a psychological thriller, there might be a twist towards the end of the show, which really makes me interested to find out what the tag line actually means and how Agnes White is related to the ‘queen’. Is Peter the drone? Hmm… I can’t wait to see how all these piece together in the bug movie! Meanwhile to be on the safe side, I think I better stock up on some insecticides!

All I need is a white colony!! Is it fragging too much to ask?!

Argh... almost 2 weeks wasted on the fragging cloning work.. and I still have gotten a white colony! This is getting extremely frustrating and demoralising. I simply can't understand why this is so!!?? For some strange reason, the white colonies will become blue when I streaked it out on a selection plate! Frag! Argh.. This time round, I'm repeating the cloning once again, following as much as possible with the protocol.. like using SOC medium, using new competent cells, and new dATP for the A-tailing reactions.. Argh.. I'm gonna bang my head on the wall if it still give me blue colonies tomolo!!! Frag!

Anyway, been playing ard with my digicam and photoshop again.. the top pic is the normal pic of today's dinenr taken by my digicam.. (I'm getting gd at taking pic of food! haha).. the bottom pic is modified with photoshop.. the bottom pic sure look like some drawing from an artist! haha..

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Start with $10, and get 2cents with every email being read

Hi, pls support! It's not instant get rich scheme, but if you have the free time, y not earn 2cents for every email being read?? Get pay out when u reached $25.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Work visa finally...

As the title goes, I finally got my work visa!! Well, technically I have the electronic version of the work visa like a few days back. However, I need to go to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural affairs (DIMA) to get this work visa sticker on my passport to verify that I can truly work. So, I did some research on where the place is, and off I go! Took 372 from my place here in the afternoon (went to lab in the morning), and reach railway square like 30 minutes later. The bus passes by the Central Railway Station before terminating at the railway square, which really brings back memories. I saw a greyhound bus park right in front of the Railway Station.

Yup, it's this place alright. The very same place, about 8 years ago, when I alighted in Sydney after 24 hours of bus ride from Adelaide. I took the greyhound bus then as well. Back then, I had contacted KK (together with Suelyn, and Grace) to meet me at the central railway station. I remembered arriving in the morning. As the bus was coming to a stop at the station, I was apprehensive and scared, as that was the first time I've been to Sydney. What if they weren't here yet, or a miscommunication and waited for me elsewhere? Where do i go? What do I do?? These thoughts really did come into my mind. But luckily, they were already there when I arrived. It's great to really have someone you know in a foreign place.. =)

And when it was the day when I had to depart Sydney back to Adelaide, I will remember that very day as well. I remember we had gone to this market inside some building (can't remember the name), and I think I bought a packet of macademia nuts. haha.. I love macademia nuts.. I think that is my first exposure to the nuts, and I love it since then. I remember feeling very sad, on the verge of tearing as I had to leave my frens and board the bus back to Adelaide, on my own once more, after all the fun we had in Sydney. If I didn't not remember wrongly, I believe they had bought me some food to let me eat during the journey. I was really sad that time. =( And only other time when I felt this way was when I had to leave my beloved and on my flight to Australia a couple of months back. I almost cried everytime I call my beloved from within the Changi airport! haha.. I wonder if the same thing will happen again when I'm coming back to Oz next year, after my short break back in SG. haha..

Me goofing around with my digicam.. trying to see how best to take pictures of food...

Me again.. took pic with digicam, and enhancing it with adobe photoshop.. turns out to be pretty nice I think! haha.. what do u think???

Monday, 7 May 2007

The waiting game...

It came as a shock. Really a shock! Quite unbelievable, but not impossible. hahaha.. We (this household) has exceed the 20Gb/month limit of our internet access! hahaha.. Before this, we were like thinking.. hmm.. 20Gb! So much! how on earth are we ever gog to finish it? But apparently we did far better than that - we exceeded it! haha.. 'Cos my housemate and I have been watching lotsa videos lately. For me, I have just been granted 2 weeks trial for my Mobtv, while my housemate got his live streaming of M'sia's show as well. Guess all these data really adds up huh..

So, right now, we still have unlimited use of the Internet, but our speed is no longer broadband speed after we exceed the 20Gb. It's been reverted to standard dial-up speed of 56Kps. haha.. so, it's gog to be a waiting game from now on.. waiting for pages to load, and waiting for 19th May where it will be the start of a new month, and broadband speed once more!

We are so spoilt by the conveniences of everyday life, that most people might actually go through withdrawal symptoms when such conveniences are removed! For one, I think I will! LOL..

Friday, 4 May 2007


Argh.. m feeling pretty stressed up lately, cos my lab work has been seemingly proceeding forward, put on the reverse gear, forward again, and back to square one again.. It's not so much of the process that stress me off, rather it is the time that I had spent in the process. Probably I've have gone through the honours year, and other lab experiences, I know that time is never a luxury in my PhD studies. 3 years to some, is a long long time to go. To me, realising the importance of time, thinks that 3 years is never too long. It could just past by in a matter of eye-blinking. I know that this kinda stress is quite self-inflicted, especially so since I'm only into my PhD studies for only 2 months so far. People tell me that I still had a long route ahead of me, and not to worry, and things will turn out fine. I too, certainly hope so. But I can't leave it to chance. I have to ensure that things done within the shortest time possible to generate maximum result. Argh.. this stress is kinda making me depress, questioning my choice of continuing a PhD..

Maybe I should be contented.. yah.. I just be contented.. that I got myself a scholarship; that I can come over to Oz to study; that Rick is willing to take me in as a PhD student; that things are meant to be as they are; that whatever time I lost or wasted in my failed experiments are lessons to strengthen me for the future hurdles.. yeah.. lessons.. maybe I should write down all the lessons I have learnt so far, so as not to let history repeat itself.. Some things are easier say than done.. to be contented.. is analogous to a fish swimming upstream.. but then, salmons made it to their spawning ground.. but at what cost? To be contented.. requires a complete change of mindset.. to lose my competitiveness, to sit back and relax, .. something which I longed for, but intrisically not possible.. To be contented.. 知足长乐. Prob I should go see a shrink!

Well, lets move on to a lighter note, i was eating bread yesterday night, and towards the end, I realised that I have bitten off the bread to a shape of Australia! haha.. I think it's really like Australia.. prob the Ozzies will beg to differ! haha.. so Cool..

Anyway, I was scratching my head as to what to eat for my dinner.. I didn't have much idea really.. just know that I have to starting eating my beef cos they are going to be expire soon. Also that i still have half a salted duck egg left, and some spinach.. So, I just go ahead and cook up something.. and ended up with beef rice! hahah... it looks those one will get to eat back in Singapore if you go to the '煮炒' in the hawker center! haha.. I can jolly well sell it off for like $8 a plate in Oz! hahaha... Anyway, it taste very nice as well! It's really unexpected!

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Hair cut day and yummy food

Well, finally, plucked up my courage to have my hair cut! haha.. It's been 2-3 months since I cut my hair, and that was back in Singapore. Reasons that I have so reluctant to do so here in oz are mainly that it's expensive for a haircut, as well as I have no idea what to tell the barber. I mean back in Singapore, I will just tell the barber: cut slope, don't want sideburn. And the barber understands straight away.. I doubt the barber down in oz will understand what I'm trying to say.

So, since today my work in lab do not occupy me for the full day, I went over to the bank to deposit the Ang Bao money my mum gave me for my birthday. Then, went over to the cheapest haircut shop that I can find, "Ben's Salon". There were two people before me, waiting as well. Finally, it's my turn. I decided that I will just sit there and let the barber work her wonders. Yup, it's not wrong. The barber is a female! Oh man, the first time in my life to let a women cut my hair! haha.. I'm not a sexist or what, but all the barbers in my life so far are males. And back in Singapore, I don't ever go into a salon, cos it's expensive and there's no need to waste such money on my hair. Anyway, I think that the female barber treats my hair a bit rough..haha.. I prefer the other female barber instead.. much more friendly..haha.. But luckily, my hair turns out fine. The rate is still AUD$12 for guys though it is considered the cheapest around!

Anyway, went back home straight after that to wash my hair, and start to cook my dinner. Hmm.. .. I think I saw a dish something like veges + salted egg or something like that somewhere before in my life.. so, I decided to cook my own variant of it. Spicy salty spinach.. so spinach is the leading role, salted egg is the supporting role, and chinese dried sausage, fried onion and chilli as the background, and chicken broth to round it all up! Turns out to be pretty nice! So as you can guess, I enjoyed my dinner a lot! Maybe I'm cut out to be a cook, just like my dad! haha..

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Spicy stir-fried beef & spinach

Yup folks, I tried out new dish yet again. After looking through the webby for the beef & toufu stir-fried recipe.. I decided to try my luck with it as well. However, I had to deviate from the recipe and improvised on it as I did not have toufu and some other ingredients. Quite obvious, toufu is a must, but I didn't have it..

Oh well, just have to make do with what I have. So, I cooked spicy stir-fried beef & spinach instead. And overall, I think it taste good in general. However, i think what is lacking is the uniformity of the cooked beef. Most of the beef are rather tender but there are some which is a bit tough. So, probably, if all the beef had turned out to be tender, that would be great! Cooking the beef with spinach, and making it spicy with chilli padi and pepper is a nice combi as well I think. And you know what, now then I know that the stem of the spinach is hollow! As I was cutting the stems into smaller pieces, I saw the hollow stem. And I went ahead to test out if it's really hollow or not..hahaha.. I use the stem as a straw, place one end in water, and suck into the straw. Water really got suck up! hahaha.. seriously, I wonder how a plant can hold itself up with a hollow stem! Interesting....

Well, this is my dinner for today! My new dish! Spicy stir-fried beef & spinach. Yum yum...

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Fragging hungry...

The title says it all! I was fragging hungry by the time I reached home today. Went to school quite early today, at about 8.45am without taking any breakfast. I saved up a bowl of green bean soup, meant to be my breakfast, but I woke up like 8.30am and am supposed to reach school at 9am. Thereafter, I was busy with my work, learning how to prepare media for my archaea, doing my PCR, run gel, and ligation reaction etc, ended at ard 6pm. Well, not that I do not have time in between, I did have like 30 mintues break. But then, it's a waste to eat in school, cos the cost of a meal here in oz is like $7-8 for a meal... or so I heard! Yup, hasn't been eating in school since I got here.. gotta save up! A piece of bread or two will be my breakfast+lunch everytime I need to go to school early.. till dinner time! Gotta save up! Suprisingly, I still hasn't become thin. =( I was hoping my weight will drop to 60kg! The last time I weight.. it's still 65-66kg. hahaha..

Anyway, after going to coles to do my groceries shopping, I went over to buy KFC for my dinner. Yup, it's been a month plus since my last KFC. Well, I wasn't going to buy it anytime soon, till I gotten KFC discount coupons in my letterbox.. Yeah! So, I go ahead and buy myself a 3 piece meal at AUD$7.45, which includes drinks, whipped potato, bun, fries, and of course 3 pieces of chicken (original flavoured)! Without the coupon, you will only get 2 instead of 3 pieces of chicken for the approxiately same price. Yup, pretty delicious, and worth it. Not hungry anymore!

The past couple of days didn't go very well, especially yesterday (Monday). Got my sequencing data of my PCR product, and the sequenced are basically in a mess for a couple of them. It is most likely that the PCR products are heterogenous even though I have gel purified them.. Argh.. all my work wasted! Thought I could just PCR from the genomic DNA, purify and sequence it and do gel shift assay from there. But I was too naive.. So now gotta spent another 1-2 weeks PCRing out my DNA again, ligate it into a vector, clone it, sequence verify, exicse out the insert, PCR and sequence it again. Argh.. if only I had gone through the long way in the first, wouldn't have wasted so much time! I should have known! What was I even thinking!! What an idiot I am. Sometimes I just feel like quitting my PhD, go back to Singapore and get a routine job in a lab, and just be contented. No stress, just follow protocol, and do my best. Get to have salaries to take home, save enough to get marry, travelling etc., and enjoy life as it is.. Doing research is stressful, especially when things don't work out. 100% effort is never enough. Even if you put in 200%, there will always be room for you to put in more effort... haiz..

On a lighter note, I tried cooking green bean soup for the first time in my life! =D Well, it turn out pretty ok i think, but I still think that I put in too many beans and sago. I put in the whole bag of beans, all ~300g of beans. haha.. As for the sago, I must have put in too much, cos after putting in the sago, the whole soup becomes very thick. Never know that sago has this kinda effect! Hahaha.. overall, i guess i would have given myself a pass as a first timer.. hopefully, will do better the next time round!

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