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.

Friday, 31 August 2007

Coke Zero: Life as it should be

Are you a coke zero fanatic that enjoy the real taste of a coke but with zero sugar, as well as someone who loves making videos or movies? Well, you should visit Coke zero: Life as it should be website! In it are some black and white films where you can dictate the actor’s and actress’s conversation! Not only that, the home-made video can be submitted to the coke zero website and compete with your friends or with people all over the world to determine which is the best! So, challenge and beat your friends to it!

This post is proudly brought to you by Coke Zero

The day when the heavenly dog eats the moon

It’s been a long couple of days for me… from going to work super duper early, to meeting up with my uncle, to falling sick, to being totally numb at my experimental work. It’s one hell of a walkabout, I say.

To start off, I went to lab very early on Tuesday morning, 28th Aug – ‘cos our lab has limited gel tanks for experimentation and Davide wanted to use it in the late morning. Well, I could always came in during the afternoon to use it, but I thought it will be better to come in during the early morning as I still need to meet up with my uncle later that evening. I know that I couldn’t wake up in early morning – I hate waking up so early! So, I decided that I shall not sleep the night before. And so, didn’t catch any shut eye on the Monday night, and went to lab at around 6am in Tuesday morning. Almost wanted to just give up and sleep, but I persisted. =) Anyway, 6am in Sydney is just the right time for sunrise! And so, the sky had turned from black to light blue in a manner of minutes during my journey from my home to UNSW.

And during the walk back home from school under the sunny afternoon, I felt cold twinkling in my muscles and bones that I’m going to be sick, and true enough that spells trouble. Caught a couple of hours of sleep, but aren’t good quality sleep because Limin kept calling and disturbing me. Well, she wanted to make sure I woke up in time to meet my uncle in the evening. Coupled with an active dreaming mind during my sleep then, bottomline – I lack quality sleep. Anyway, went out of the house at around 7.10pm to the city to find my uncle who was staying at the Four Seasons Hotel.

And unexpectedly while walking from Circular Quay to the Four Seasons Hotel at around 7.50pm, I saw pockets of people standing and looking up to the sky. And I thought to myself: what’s so interesting up there? I turned, and I saw the ‘moon being swallow by the heavenly dog’ – lunar eclipse! I was like wow! It’s the very first time that I see such a natural astronomical phenomenon in real life! When I first saw it, half of the moon was already under the Earth’s shadow. The other half was still very bright, while the sheltered half was dim, reddish-orange in colour – blood moon. And there were pinches of total darkness within the blooded portion as well. And slowly within the next 20 – 30 minutes or so, the whole moon no longer glows. It was a full blood moon, dim and eerie, where it sends out negative energy that will twinkle down your spine if you are seeing it in a wooded forest alone. And it might probably have been the negative energy that initiated the uncomfortable irritation in my throat before becoming a full-fledged sore throat. Anyway, during the whole duration while I was standing amount the pockets of people with my head tilted to the night sky, I kept asking myself why I could forget to take my digital camera along! And from what I had read, this lunar eclipse is very different from the rest, as this is a total lunar eclipse. Lunar eclipse occurs about twice a year but is usually partial. And there I was staring up at a total lunar eclipse and not being able to take any pictures! Argh… tried taking it with my Nokia handphone camera, but the resolution sucks! Argh… The next total lunar eclipse will only come in Australia in 2011 – hopefully I will be finishing my PhD then and celebrate my completion with a glimpse of the lunar eclipse then!

Ok, anyway after spending 15 to 20 minutes of looking at the moon, I continued my journey to the Four Seasons Hotel where my uncle is expecting me. And wow, his hotel suite is simply big, and has a direct view of the Circular Quay, overlooking the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the iconic Opera House! Argh… why did I not bring my digital camera along! Argh… Back to the room, I think one way to really judge if a hotel or rather its room is good or not is to look at its bathroom! And oh gosh! The bathroom for the suite is so big – the top two pictures showing the bathroom are actually linked! When you walk into the bathroom, you will walk straight towards the toilet passing the basin. And from the toilet you turn right, and you will see a bathtub! Wow… if only my home has such a big bathroom!

Ok, enough about the bathrooms. Limin has bought a couple of boxes of mooncakes and asked my uncle to bring it over to me as well since he’s here on assignment for two days. So, thanks to my third uncle and Limin, that I finally am able to eat mooncakes from Singapore! Yeah! I’m so happy! But I miss those exotic mooncakes from hotels e.g. truffle mooncakes, liquor mooncakes, ice cream mooncakes etc… I don’t really traditional baked skin mooncakes unless it’s really yummy. Else, I prefer snowskin more than baked skin mooncakes. Anyway, my dear bought me a box of mini snowskin from Bakerzin and traditional mini mooncakes of assorted flavor from Tung Lok. Hmm… there are 4 flavors for the mini snowskin – sweet potato, yam, orange, and red bean – Yum yum…. As for the Tung Lok mini traditional mooncakes, they come in Pandan Lotus, Red Lotus, Pineapple, Black Sesame, Strawberry, Green Tea, White Lotus, and Kumquat flavor – 2 mini pieces per flavor. Hmm… so many different flavors and being branded to be from Tung Lok, so it must be good I guess. But… it’s not really as spectacular as I hope it will be. Tried the pineapple and red lotus and didn’t find anything special about it – just ok. However the pandan lotus flavor mini mooncake is much better in terms of taste than the previous two. As for the rest, I still have no idea yet, but I hope that they will be much better than the red lotus and pineapple flavored ones! But if I were to compare, I would definite give my vote to the Bakerzin snowskins… =)

Wow… this is one long post! Am going to stop here and go for my bathe… and I owe so many ppl tags! Oh man… if I forgot to do your tag, please don’t take it to heart ah … have been either busy, or really not in the mood to do since my experiments has been failing me since eons ago… =)

Wednesday, 29 August 2007


Ho Ho Ho! It’s a season to be jolly, la la la… Alright, it isn’t really Christmas yet, but still holidays are just around the corner with Halloween and Thanksgiving! And with holidays, come the time to shop for gifts, and what better way to get gifts at a discounted rate for your family members at

I think probably I can get my dear a gift certificate from spa finder. Spa finder coupons are accepted in over 3,800 spas worldwide. Furthermore, there is a $10 off for $125 worth of purchases. I think I can also get myself something as well. Probably some cooking stuffs, since I enjoying cooking at times! coupons entitle me 20% off Everyday nonstick pieces, so definitely will consider it.


Feeling lousy and tired, and abit sick with a sore throat... but still has to go to the lab to do my experiments....


Tuesday, 28 August 2007

A pleasent surprise

Amid the numerous disappointing failed experiments lately, a piece of good news came out of the blue suddenly. And no, it has nothing to do with my experiment. If only the good news is that my experiment is successful, I would be so much happier than anything in the world right now. But I guess, this piece of good news is second to a successful experiment.

My PhD supervisor has decided to top up our scholarships with an additional AUD$5,000 for the current year only, for each PhD student! Currently my UIPRS scholarship stands at approximately AUD$1.5k per month, and with the additional top up, it will be a total of approximately 1.8k per month! Yeah!! That means, I don’t need to shrimp my spending so much, and will have more savings as well, for purchasing my return air ticket between Singapore and Sydney for next year, as well as saving up for our (Limin & I) solemnization ceremony!

This is really a piece of great news. Thanks to Davide for bringing up our miserable stipend amount to Rick, which thereafter Rick decided to be generous! Thanks Davide!

But still, I would rather sacrifice this AUD$5k to be successful in my experimentations.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Hotel Reservation site

Travel is one of my favourite hobbies – though it can get rather expensive! 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 Melbourne come this end of the year, and I should start researching on where to go, cheap hotels to stay etc. is one of the many online travel websites that I’m looking at. It is a global travel website that provides a comprehensive destination guides to about 100 countries as well! Did a quick search on ‘Melbourne’ 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.

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! 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.

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

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Sunday, 26 August 2007


During my conversation with one of the bloggers Nicole, who happen to be another PhD student in UNSW in the medicine building, that I was lamenting to her that I see no lights at all at the end of the tunnel. To which, she replied not only are there no lights, but there are lots of bumps where we will eventually end up with a permanent head damage at the end of the day! LOL… This is indeed very apt to the situation. Haiz… the PhD route is merely a road of bumps and knocks, and one way or the other we will only end up having permanent head damage. The way I see it, I would be lucky to survive with just permanent head damage after 4 years of bumping and knocking. Probably I will have a lot of white hair by then?! Probably I would have died after deciding to end my miserable bumping life, if my experiments keep on failing me for the next few months or years.

I’ve never expected so much difficulties treading on this road. I know there will be up and downs, but never did I imagine that the mountains will be so high, or the oceans so deep, that a roundabout is never in sight. Luck is never at my side. If I have other talents, I might have just quit my PhD and seek a better future. That’s the issue – I’ve no talents. I am neither musically inclined, versatile in my crafts, creative, charismatic, vocal, linguistic, physically fit, and… (Need I even continue?). The only gift which I’m endowed with is my processing unit aka my brain, and its interest in science. Even so, my processing unit has limited capacity, and tends to lose memory at times and certainly not the best model in the world. In fact, being part of the congregation of researchers and scientific community, I would say my talents are negligible compare to them. So, to take reductionist approach on my worth, I would say that what is probably most worthy is my passion for science and thirst in understanding the ticking of the world. But in this field, where science and technology are so intriguingly interwoven, science simply doesn’t exist anymore. It aren’t as naïve as the 18th or even early 20th century anymore. Passion for science – worthless. Thirst for knowledge – only if it is bundled with a technological tag, else just drown yourselves in water to quench your thirst once and for all.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Problems with work.... again!

Haiz... Been having problem with my cloning work again... and I find that I doubt myself very often... It's like during the experiment I need to add e.g. 20uL of buffer into the reaction, and 10 to 15 seconds after adding it, I will start to question myself if I've added it, and if I added the correct amount. I would start to check my pipette if the correct amount is adjusted etc... I tried to recall, but somehow I just can't say for sure if I really did the correct thing. Sometimes, I just tell myself that I'm just scaring myself, and move on to continue the experiment... all the while enduring the distress of wondering if I did the thing for the experiment! And then I wrote an email to the technical support for Invitrogen, asking them why my reaction couldn't work...

attached email------
Hi, I had recently bought a pET101-DTOPO kit 3 weeks ago, and had problems cloning a 1035bp gene within the vector. Foremost, I did a negative ligation control (without insert) for 30 minutes at 23 degrees, and transformed it into the TOP10 cells. About 60-80 colonies grew on an ampicillin (100ug/mL) plate, after spreading ~250uL of the cells.

My recombinant ligation reaction was at 23 degrees for 30 minutes as well, and spread 250uL of the cells onto an ampicillin plate as well. There were about twice as much colonies as the negative control plates. I screened 12 colonies with colony PCR using T7 and T7 reverse primers only to find that all 12 colonies were absent for my 1035bp insert. As such it seems there is a problem with self-ligation of the pET101 vectors. (I had used a molar ratio of 1:1 for ligation, as suggested in the protocol; Blunt end PCR product is generated with Pwo DNA polymerase with a CACC 5'end forward primer.)

qn) How come there is so much self-ligation of the vector? I suppose this isn't normal, is it? What can be done to reduce such self-ligation, or that there is a problem with the vector? I am simply not getting any recombinants at all, as it turned out that all the colonies that I had screened have a self-ligated vector!

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Mint Credit card

In a way, I like to collect cards – best if they can be credit cards! But, I’m not rich enough to own one right now, but if I am, I hope to have the Mint Credit card as part of my collection! The Mint Credit card deal is such that there is no interest on balance transfer until October 2008, no interest on purchase till March 2008, and many more. So do check it out!

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Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Sara Lee craze

Yes, I admit I'm a country pumpkin. Peers my age would have tried out so many exotic (& expensive!) foods, been to loads of different countries, and having fun like nobody business. And I have just tasted my first bite on Sara Lee food stuffs just the past week! Blame it on money. I wasn't from a well-to-do family, in fact, not even a middle income family. Food like Sara Lee always look so appealing and delicious, but I can never afford it when I was young. If I didn't remember wrongly, there was this Sara Lee tv commercial when I was much younger, about a mother cutting a piece of the Sara Lee pound cake for her daughter. Back then, I can only wonder how nice it will be if I can actually eat it.

But as i was doing my groceries from Coles, I caught a glimpse of it again! Not their cakes, but their Bavarian Chocolate swirl - on offer for only AUD$4! Without much hesitation, I decided to buy it. And I'm not regretting it!! It's great, or I should say heavenly! It is sorta like a cheesecake but much more yummy - the cold chocolate is rich and creamy, certainly the most sinful delicacy for those who are on a diet! Equally important, it is cheap. KFC also sells Sara Lee Cookies and Cream Cheesecake, which is uniquely sold in KFC only. And for that piece of cheesecake, KFC charge us AUD$2.95, or AUD$2.50 if you buy it together with a KFC meal. But this Bavarian choco swirl is about 4 times as large as the KFC's, and is only $4! It's yummy and cheap! yeah! I'm gonna go on a Sara Lee craze! =)

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

MMS dating services

Australians guys, who are still single, fear not! There is this paid MMS dating service based in Australia where you might just find the right life partner for certain charges! Of course, if you just want to have some hot date, try the MMS dating as well! So let me tell you guys how to use the service. First of all is to text Girls to 19922200 and you will subsequently receive MMS profiles of the girls, as well as their pictures in their mobile. Thereafter, you can look through the profiles and ask for the girl’s or even girls’ numbers! Their numbers will then be SMSed to you. Simple isn’t it?

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Monday, 20 August 2007

13 of 3s tag

Well... gonna tagged by Bobo... so here goes!

Three things that scare me :
1) Insects e.g. cockroaches
2) Death
3) Needles e.g. needles poking into my blood vessels when drawing blood

Three people who make me laugh
1) Limin
2) Mr. Bean
3) Bubbles (ok, I know she's not a person but a dog... but I don't care! =P)

Three things I love
1) Seafood
2) Limin
3) Money

Three things I hates
1) Inconsiderate people
2) People talking loudly
3) Being stranded in a place where there is no toilet and having a tummyache at the same time!

Three things I doesn't understand
1) Why people can still get scammed by those scam emails
2) Why can't all the people of different religions live together peacefully
3) Why doesn't the fragging terrorists all just drop dead

Three things on my desk
1) Laptop
2) Snoopy clock
3) stationaries

Three things I'm doing right now
1) writing this post
2) looking at the computer screen
3) typing

Three things I want to do before I die
1) prevent myself from dying as much as possible
2) Tell Limin that I'm sorry that I have to leave her
3) Be the frist Singaporean to get a Nobel prize...(yah.. keep dreaming..)

Three things I can do
1) Sleep
2) Eat
3) think

Three things I can’t do
1) Dance
2) Play musical instruments
3) Run

Three things I think you should listen to
1) Yourself
2) Constructive criticism
3) The sound of nature

Three things you should never listen to
1) Unconstructive criticism
2) Suggestions from people on how you should live your life
3) Bad people

Three shows I watched as a kid
1) Thunder Cats
2) Mask
3) He-man

People Bobo really want to tag...

Saturday, 18 August 2007

SCORE Maths tuition

Maths indeed is a very difficult subject to master, especially for children where their brains and thinking abilities are still developing! In Score Learning Centre however, the maths tutors together with their math tuition program will a child in his problem solving skills, understanding and thus enabling a child to be on par with his peers in learning Maths. It would of course be beneficial if my child were to go for the program!

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Friday, 17 August 2007

Porky Carrot Potato soup

Yup, as mentioned in my eariler post, I had a bloated tummy after my dinner! But luckily it's bloated due to the consumption of a large bowl of soup. Water-bloatedness is much much better than food-bloatedness. Because water essentially passes through the alimentary canal rather fast as compared to food, therefore water-bloatedness normally only last half an hour or so. Food-bloatedness, I tell you, is very very different! Trust me, I've been through it! LOL... I cannot practially move - will only feel better when I lie down on my back! Furthermore, the bloatedness stays for a couple of hours! Argh... Even my magical black charcoal pill can't do much at the face of my food-induced bloatedness! LOL.

Anyway, back to my porky carrot potato soup, it's those time of the week where I have the urge to try something new. And my urge was to have the porky carrot potato soup. My mum used to cooked it, and so did Limin's grandma on some occasion. I never really know how to cook it - I wasn't taught the proper way to cook it. So, I had to use some of my imagination and common sense. And it turned out to be a pretty simple dish to cook as well! First cut out the carrots and potatoes to the appropriate sizes and dump them into a pot with boil water. Then, I need to check if the carrot and potatoes are ready... how? Simple, just used a fork and poke the carrots/potatoes. As long as it's still hard, it means that I still need to let it boil for some more time! Added some salt as well. Then when the carrots and potatoes were half ready (meaning the fork can be poked into the carrots but not totally into the center of the carrots), add in the diced pork and some more salt! Then let it boil some more until the fragrance smell comes out! Boil some more, and adjust the taste with some salt, and that's it! A nice pot of fragrance-smelling porky healthy carrot potato soup! =)

Birthday post on my dear

*Burpppp…* I am extremely bloated from my dinner… Full of water in my tummy… Why? Maybe I’ll post on that later. But right now let me do my Happy Belated Birthday entry for my dear!!! My dear’s birthday falls on the 16th of August, which happens to be the same as my mum! OMG, I think it’s fated that the two women in my life have the same birthday! Probably when we’re married, my dear will nagged at me like my mum will! LOL… Imagine both my mum and her future daughter-in-law celebrating their birthday together! And I wonder if my son or daughter will have the same birthday as me… LOL… Imagine if my daughter is born on the 16th August as well!

So, it’s my dear darling’s birthday. I had previously bought Limin a gift – a creative mp3 player worth of ~SGD$100+ for her during May, and told her to treat that as her birthday present of this year. Back then, I knew that she wanted the mp3 player, but was contemplating weather to buy it or not, as after all $100+ is a lot of money! So, I ended up buying it for her. So there she is, as her birthday is looming nearer and nearer, wondering away if she will still get anything for her birthday. I didn’t say anything at all, giving her the impression that her birthday present for me is the mp3 player that I bought for her in May this year. But of course, I did actually buy something for her birthday, just that I kept my lips sealed. So, I was surfing around the web looking out for online florists that cater to delivery within Singapore, and I came across I was totally blown away by the varieties of flowers and products that they have – much better than the previous online florist ( that I used to order from some years back.

So, ended up looking through their catalogue and narrowed my sight onto two particular products. Both (as shown) look pretty cute and nice to me. I really had a hard time choosing between them. I mean, the first one shows the bear carrying a bouquet of flowers – kinda cute. The bear will represent me, carrying the flowers and giving it to my dear. But I don’t really like the container/jug that the flowers are in… looks kinda cheapskate in my eyes. The second one with both the bear and flowers inside the basket looks cute with the roses standing out among the small little flowers. It’s as though the bear popped out from the basket and present the flowers to my dear! Anyway, kinda ask Cat’s opinion on which is better as well and she agreed to my choice of the latter one! Yup… so now… off to make my online purchase! And since my dear will sometimes get hungry in the night, and always complain that there isn’t any food in her place, I added in some chocolates as well! =)

And so, when she reached her home yesterday, she told me that her mum was kinda preventing her from going into her room! LOL… course the surprise is in her room! Well, eventually she saw it, but too bad that I can’t see her facial expression when she sees the surprise. But, she seems to like it a lot, the flowers, the bear and the chocolate. And yup, during our 4+years of our relationship, I had bought a lot of soft toys for her – bears, lions, pigs, dogs – and we sorta name each and every one of them! LOL… Childish right? I asked her to send me a picture of the final delivered product – and it doesn’t really look much like the one that I had ordered! In fact, the delivered product is a hybrid of the two choices which I had a hard time deciding on – best of both worlds huh?! In fact, according to the product catalogue, there is only supposed to be 18 roses, but ended up delivering 24 roses instead. Perhaps they didn’t have the yogurt chocolate that I ordered, and replace it with a normal hazelnut chocolate instead, and made up with additional flowers instead? LOL… either way, I am not complaining! =)

Anyway, Happy birthday my dear!!! Sorry that I’m not with you for your birthday, but don’t worry. When I’m back in Singapore, we will buy an ice cream cake and celebrate our birthday together ok!? I love you, and wish you good luck in your studies and experiments! =)

Thursday, 16 August 2007


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Bats hanging on a tree

Yup, this is the picture of the bat that I had been talking about in my previous post! Quite strange though I think. I didn't see any other bats around (or probably they camouflage themselves very well!). I always thought bats live in caves or attics etc where it is dark. Apparently this chap likes to stay in the open in the day. Imagine living in a world where everything is upside down, and having the lights on when you sleep! Let alone having to endure some crazy burger using a camera to take a picture of it sleeping! =D

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Dial a flight to Canada

I have always wanted to visit all the great wonders of the world, from the Great Wall in China to the Leaning tower of Pisa in Italy, to the Niagara Falls in Canada. Talking about Canada, Dialaflight is a leading independent travel company, based on UK, offering flights to Canada, as well as holiday offers and cheap flights and hotels worldwide.

Useful travel information can be found right at where you can plan your holidays with e.g. spa, flights, car hire, beach holidays, and short weekend breaks etc. So, how do you book with Dialaflight after you have identified what you need? Simple! All you need to do, is to call up Dialaflight (contact number is found in the website), and speak to one of their many UK travel consultants. These travel consultants will ensure that your travelling needs are fulfilled, meaning that you can actually tailor made a holiday to exactly what you and how you want it!

I did some checking on their Canada packages, and found that they have lots of tours to the different cities of Canada, e.g. Calgary and even to Niagara Falls! This is great – next time I will know where to look when I’m planning for my holidays to Canada!

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Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Post of a no-lifer

It’s been a few days since I last post on my blog. Well, for one, there aren’t really many happenings in my life these few days that warrant any special mention. Yup, my life is absolutely a boring one… just the mundane life that a no-lifer leads… What did I do this few days? Even though it’s the weekend, I went back to my lab to continue my experiments - went back on Saturday. The same goes for Sunday as well! Some of the stuffs required for my experiments e.g. oligonucleotide primers etc from States have finally arrived, and so I’m doing my upmost to do as much as I can to make up for lost time. As of now, I have only 4 months 3 weeks and 5 days before my ‘mad mad holidays’ began and I must do as much as possible before I go for my holidays. Haiz… 4 months is going to pass with a blink of an eye – just hope that I can at least finish cloning all the 4 to 5 genes and settle with their protein expression studies before that…

Oh, I had been seeing this bat hanging on a tree in the afternoon on two occasions already – yesterday and just this afternoon. Had wanted to take a photo of it up-close – unlike in the zoo where no matter how close you are, there will always be a glass window between you and the bat. But I forgot to bring my camera! Must remember to bring my camera tomorrow to capture it! And yes, there are bats flying around in my residential area/UNSW area. In fact, if you walk from UNSW to my place every evening approximately 5pm, you will see groups of bats flying right across the sky towards UNSW area. And on some occasions when I go home at night at around 7-8pm, I can still see one or two of them flying right above me from one tree to the next… So bats are quite common here! Maybe I can become batman if one of them bites me! LOL… then I will need to wear my underwear over my pants… LOL…

Ok… some random picture. (Mostly of foods that I ate to survive in Australia…) =)


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Friday, 10 August 2007

Happy 42nd birthday Singapore!

It’s National Day today – Singapore’s 42nd Birthday!! My very first National Day outside of Singapore, in Australia. Well, I miss the atmosphere in Singapore, where there is National Day celebrations with all the decorations and hype, with excitement building up as the days go by till the 9th of August. I would always sit in front of the television to watch the National Day Parade, since I’m always the unlucky one with no balloted tickets to watch it on scene – despite applying for it for numerous years in a roll! And I begin to wonder if I’ll ever get ticket to catch it live on scene…

Anyway despite being in Australia, I sorta refused to let the National Day pass by quietly – or at least I tried to make it as loud a bang as possible. So together with a fellow Singaporean honors student, Cat in the lab, I came up with the idea of cooking glutinous riceballs for the lab meeting session that happens to fall on the 9th August as well. We roped in Huifen as well even though she’s a Malaysian – but hey, we’re neighbors (Malaysia and Singapore is just a stream apart)! So each of us will share out the cost of 3 packets of riceballs, while I will do the cooking and Cat and Huifen will be in-charge of carrying the cooked riceballs to school and distributing it etc. Actually, I could’ve brought it over to school on my own, but well… I’m a nice person, but don’t you dare to take advantage of me!

It was my first experience in cooking so many riceballs at a go – all 30 of them! Therefore I had to use a big pot with lots of water to cover the pot to a considerable depth for cooking riceballs. And I added in sugar, lots and lots of sugar in fact – it’s like never ending addition of sugar! Of course that is because there’s a lot of water and thus a lot of sugar was required to make it have a sweet taste. Besides that, added in a bit of pandan essence as well to make the soup have a lingering fragrant sweet taste and smell. So, after the soup was set, throw in all the riceballs – equal number of peanuts, sesame, and red bean-flavored ones. I was so afraid that the riceballs would ‘explode’! After all, these are for the lab people, and it definitely wouldn’t look good on us, especially me the one who cooks it! Luckily, all turned out fine and the non-Asians in the lab were quite receptive towards it and in generally found it to be good. Probably non-Asians don’t use glutinous rice for meals and so these riceballs were quite interesting and yummy to them? Since they are 15 of us in our research lab, each of us was allocated to only 2 riceballs. =( But since Kristen wasn’t here, Cat and I finished the remaining riceballs as well. =)

All right, so much for the riceballs. Since it’s National Day, something within me stirred up my urge of cooking fried noodles to give myself a good dinner treat. So there I go in my usual food preparing and cooking again, at a pace as fast as possible, so that I can be in time to catch the live web broadcast of the National Day Parade – reached home at around 6.30pm and the broadcast began at 8pm local time. The meal wasn’t fantastic, but it was good enough for me – something different from the usual dinner meals. =)

And so after dinner, the time is about right to catch the live broadcast from the official NDP website. I find that NDP 2007 is rather different from the previous year, and quite refreshing I must add. For one, it was held on the floating platform in Marina which is the first in Singapore history of NDP sites. Because of the water-based stage, naval performances showcasing the navy and police coast guard are made possible as well. As usual though, the military display section of the parade was quite as expected with the march-pass etc. One obvious fact jumps out to me when I was watching the parade. Why is it that the president doesn’t sing the National Anthem? Yes, he is the highest figurehead of the country, which makes it even more pertinent to lead by example in singing the National Anthem! This is something which I can never understand. Another section of the parade that I couldn’t understand is where they use remote control ‘kites’ and said that those were kites and intended to enter into the world records of have 42 kites flying at the same time. But I thought kites are to be controlled by strings and driven by the wind. With it being remotely control, doesn’t this lose the essence of kite? Despite these couple of hard-for-me-to-understand events, I find the whole NDP pretty good – the performances with the ‘Water, Earth, Wind, and Fire’ theme. Probably what is lacking is the good old captain planet rising up and out of the parade into the sky! Oh, it lacks the fifth element – ‘heart’ so probably that’s why we didn’t see any superhero in action. And of course, who doesn’t like the spectacular fireworks?

And one final comment, it looks strange to have the uniform groups carrying umbrellas during the parade even though the umbrellas were later used in part of their performance as well. It just looks strange to me...Maybe in future, the St. Johns will carry first aid boxes during the parade as well. And when performance comes, they just whip out wherever coloured cloth or fans etc from the box and be part of the performance! =)

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Must see youtube video to wrap up National Day celebration

Thanks to Angela for letting me know the existence of this youtube video... truly a way to end my National Day celebration with a hilarious remix of the National day theme song by two FM933 DJs...

Also found another very hilarious youtube video about Singapore to end up my National Day as well.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Independent Pipe and Supply Corp

Independent Pipe and Supply Corp. (IP&S) is a family owned affair for over four generations. It is a distributor of industrial pipe related products such as steam traps, backflow preventers, pumps and of course pipes! In addition, they also sell specialties products such as gaskets, pipe tools and machineries, expansion joints and many more. With over 200 manufacturers selling their products through IP&S, you can be sure to find most of what you need from them.

What’s more, you can online their products online. All you need to do is to follow the instructions to open a new account with them, and you are on your way to do your purchase.

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Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Doctor Who

Been busy over the weekends - Nope, not with work but with watching television series! LOL… Actually, I wanted to do my journal readings over the weekend, but ended up watching ‘Doctor Who’ instead. The temptation is just too much for me to resist! I finished like 1.5 seasons of the series over the weekends, and all 3 seasons of the series in a week! Initially when I saw the first episode, I find it rather crappy, and a bit silly. But as I go on watching it, I’m captivated by it – by the different aliens and plots presented in the series. Ok, so what is ‘Doctor Who’ about?

The main character of the show is a time traveler of the alien race, Time Lord. He always goes by the name ‘Doctor’, and when he says his name is ‘Doctor’ to people or aliens alike, they will always replied with “Doctor who?”. And thus, his name and the title of the series. This BBC production is the longest running science fiction series ever, running since the mid 1900s. The previous television broadcast was in 1989 (I reckon!). Thereafter, it lay dormant for about two decades before BBC decided to revive it in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Pipper as his human sidekick. As the Doctor died at the end of season 1, and having regeneration powers, the Doctor is casted by David Tennant. Personally, I would still prefer Christopher Eccleston to play the part of Doctor, probably ‘cos he looks more mature and mature equates knowledge? Or probably it’s just the first impression that counts? Similar I prefer the Billie Pipper playing as his sidekick rather than Freeman Agyeman as well – oh! The character Rose (casted by Billie Pipper) was trapped in a parallel universe at the end of season 2, and so the Doctor took a new companion Marta Jones played by Freeman Agyeman. Anyway, like I said, I like Rose – not because of the actress, but rather the character. Throughout the two seasons, Rose has transformed from someone who takes after the Doctor, to a more independent character with the ability to tackle difficult situations when the Doctor is preoccupied with a mini-adventure of his own. In a sense, it’s like seeing Rose grows up in that two season, and it’s really sad to see that she have to leave the Doctor. Moreover, sparks are flying between both of them, and it has to be dampened even before the fire started. As Shakespeare would say, “Parting is such sweet sorrow”.

And so the duo went round time and space to explore different world, from seeing the destruction of Earth by our swelling sun in the year 5 billion, to the past in the 1500s, to another parallel universe. Along the way, the duo fought off alien invasions, mutant humans etc – to save Earth and at times the Universe. But much more interesting that these are the bits of information that are revealed by the characters over the episodes that ties everything together into the finale, as well as understanding and glimpsing into the Doctor’s past, and how and why he becomes what he is today. But even till the finale of season 3, I’m still left with questions about the Doctor’s history – probably more will be revealed come season 4 in 2008. And I’m looking forward to the Christmas special come 25th December!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Spider attack & muffins mini result

All right, I'm someone that doesn't like creepy crawlies... ycuks.. whenever I see them I run far far away. Rather, I should say whenever I see cockroaches or stick insects etc, I will run far far away. And that includes big spider!! Small jumping spider I'm not afraid, but big ones - yah... I'm very afraid! LOL.. So, there it is, this big spider, probably the size of a palm appeared out of nowhere in my housemate's room! We were pretty hype up about the spider.. LOL... JM was like looking for containers to capture it, and I was holding onto an insecticide, just it case it decides to do something funny. Since it was up on the wall, and there is no direct way to capture it, I had to spray at one end of the spider to 'coax' it into going somewhere that we can easily capture it. It worked. JM, with his innovative spider capturing device, managed to put the container over it, and covered it with the lid! Gosh, it was damn exciting - probably the most exciting event of the day for me - cos the spider was crawling away on the ceiling... and I was getting ready to spray it if it ever come in my direction! LOL... Anyway, JM's friend wanted the spider as a pet, so count the spider lucky to have a home! Else we're gonna just throw it outside the cold winter night.. =)

So, the polls for how you eat your muffin minis has closed. It's a miserable poll I tell you - 'cos only 16 (including me) good souls make an effort to vote. Either my blog isn't generating the traffic, or people just can't be bothered. Oh well, I know that my blog isn't any good, nor am I really that active in etc, so I guess I quite expected it. But still, doesn't mean that I can't complain huh? Anyway back to the topic, most of the folks eat it by biting on the side. Quite expected I might say. What surprise me is that there is a single soul that just whack the whole mini into the mouth! LOL.. better be careful though, you might choked. And that 30% of the folks eat from the top! Interesting... Want to know how I eat it? You might have already know from the picture, I bite from the bottom! LOL.. unique huh? I'm sure no one will eat a muffin mini like me. =) And as you might have guessed, the only person to vote for 'eat from bottom' is me! =)

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