Thursday, June 30, 2005

A treat for ourselves

After work, FT and I went to Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant @ Carlton Hotel and were feeling cold. Luckily the restaurant provided blue woolen shawls which kept us warm. We had a pot of winter melon & duck meat soup (about 3 small bowls each for both of us), 2 sets of pan fried scallop and prawn, stir fried broccoli with garlic, homemade toufu with spinach in starchy oyster sauce and deep fried chicken with fresh mango slices and mango sauce.

For people who like Cantonese double boiled soups, Wah Lok’s soups are nice. The last time we had apple and fish soup and yesterday’s soup of the day didn’t disappoint us. The panfried scallop and prawn still tasted as good as before. The fried chicken was delicious – tender meat and crispy skin that tasted similar to the crispy outside of good goreng pisang. The chicken wasn’t salty and relied on the fragrant crispy skin and the sweet and sour taste of fresh mango and sauce. We were so stuffed after finishing the food and I was glad I didn’t order any rice but FT did and couldn’t finish it. The dinner cost us about $80 altogether. I think it was well worth our money because it was an enjoyable dining experience and we 2 had a good chat. We slowly walked from the hotel to Somerset MRT station to take the train.

When I reached home around 10,30pm, Frisky and a black and white cat with its left ear clipped were resting near the closed shop @ the void deck. I sayang Frisky for a while and the other cat approached me, lying on its side, exposing its belly. I used one hand to stroke Frisky and wanted to use the other hand to touch the other cat on its side but stopped when it seemed to want to paw at me. I shall try again the next time :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Mum's banana butter cake

Mum baked banana butter cakes using the bananas that Dad bought. Mum and I ate 2 each after dinner and Dad was teasing us for pushing most of the rice and food to him, so that we can have space for the cake. Hee. The cake is soft and yummy.

Animal welfare in Singapore

I have earlier visited Dawn (of Cat Welfare Society)'s blog and she has posted a link to Mediacorp Radio which features an interview of her and Louis Ng's (of Animal Concerns Research and Education Society or ACRES) perspective about Singapore's attitude towards animal welfare.

It's an interesting read, so do take some time to read it and perhaps rate yourself whether you are apathetic, aware of the animal welfare situation, kind to animals (like Dawn's examples of not hurting the animal that’s downstairs, not calling the Town Council up every time you’re unhappy there’s a stray around) or proactive.

I like to think I'm somewhere between aware/kind to proactive :)

The “Cook next door” meme

I have been tagged by the baker/Cheryl for the meme. This is my 1st time doing one and it’s quite fun :)

What is your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?
It was in Secondary 1 when I was 13 and girls have to learn cooking, sewing, etc during Home Economics lessons. I forgot what my first dish was but I remember cooking fish, vegetable, rock buns, butter cake and bringing them home for my family to try.

Who had the most influence on your cooking?
My mum. She is a homemaker and used to make pieapple tarts, peach pie and apple pie and sausage pastry. Nowadays she would just bake butter cake with coffee, banana or durian and make desserts like bean curd skin barley and gingko nut. I love eating the dishes (not too oily and salty) she cooks for dinner – panfried salmon, omelette with salmon or fish or pork, clear soup with green leafy vegetables and minced pork and fish, curry chicken or fish, meats marinated with Lea and Perrins sauce, chicken stew and soups like carrot and potato in the slow cooker, etc. Whenever I bake or cook, I will get mum to try them as she is my food critic.

Do you have an old photo as evidence of an early exposure to the culinary world and would you like to share it?
Sadly no.

Mageiricophobia - do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?
I haven’t suffered from any phobia yet because I’m still taking baby steps in baking and cooking. I always look out for recipes that are easy to do, so it’s a bit hard for cooking phobia to take place :)

What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown?
The new oven that Dad bought a few months ago can make my heart sink sometimes because my cookie bottoms were burnt even after I shortened the baking time and lower oven temperature and the cookie top and centre weren’t really cooked yet. The oven gets heated up easily, so I have to monitor closely. But I shall get to know the oven better and make it my most valued gadgets.

Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like - and probably no one else!
My bread spread with margarine and toasted wheatgerm is considered weird by my friends. I have it for breakfast almost everyday.

What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don't want to live without?
Mum’s dishes, soya bean milk and bread

Any question you missed in this meme, that you would have loved to answer? Well then, feel free to add one!
Three quickies:Your favorite ice-cream?

I don’t really have cravings for ice cream. It could be as long as a month before I eat ice cream and I normally eat it with friends when they want to order desserts after a meal. I used to love Swensen’s Yam ice cream when I was in primary/secondary school and ate that after my piano lessons @ Yamaha @ Thomson Plaza. A few years ago, I would enjoy occasional treats of MacDonald’s ice cream cone or Hot Fudge Sundae. No favorite ice cream but I don’t like to waste my stomach space for ice cream like Kings and I find Bravissimo gelato too sweet for me.

You will probably never eat?
Definitely not cats, dogs, hamsters because they are pets. Meat from endangered animals. And insects too.

Your own signature dish?
My chocolate centred walnut cookies

Question added by Zarah: On average, how many times a week would you cook something to satisfy your sweet tooth?
I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so I would bake fortnightly or when the mood strikes me.

Question added by Cathy: What do you usually eat for breakfast?
I usually eat bread spread with margarine and toasted wheatgerm or cereals and nuts and dried apricot. If there are fruits and soya bean milk, I will go for them too. And when Mum or I bake, I will have cookies or cakes too. If there’s plain yogurt, I will sprinkle some wheatgerm and honey to go with it. I believe in having a hearty breakfast before I start the day.

Question added by Alice: What are your stand-by dinner options when you don't have the time or the inclination to follow or create a new recipe?
Omelette with diced carrots or capsicum or mushroom or celery. Porridge with diced chicken sausage or minced pork and carrots or celery. Cereals with milk and nuts. Quaker oatmeal with honey and milk. Cheese sandwich. If there is cooked rice in the fridge, I will cook fried rice with egg and some meat and diced vegetables. I will try to have some fruits after the meal.

And, last but not least: Tag three people!
I’m going to tag Slushy and Fairy Godmother. I would love to tag Hui Jen if she ever starts to blog as we 4 used to do baking experiments togetherand she makes yummy baked rice too. And Joan, if you have a blog, I would tag you too. I still remember your delicious turkey, lemon tart and all the yummy food made by you and Anne.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Do good, avoid evil & purify the mind

I have been thinking about my takeaways from the basic Buddhism course (which I attended for about 20 Sunday mornings @ the temple @ Bright Hill Road). Yesterday was the first Sunday morning where I could wake up later than 6.45am.

In my birth certificate and every form I have been filling so far, my religion has been reflected as Buddhism. I have always thought it's weird that my family and I call ourselves Buddhists when we have been praying to Da Bo Gong (a Taoist deity, I think) at home and we eat beef (unlike most Buddhist friends I know). I decided to attend this course with my 2 girlfriends, so that I will have a clear idea of what Buddhism is all about.

Our teacher Richard shared with us what he has learnt in a way that is easy for us to understand. We did some basic Pali chanting and meditation techniques. Richard emphasized throughout the course that the main crux of Buddhism is "Do good, avoid evil and purify the mind". I agree that this is a good philosophy and attitude to adopt to lead a meaningful and happy life.

While my 2 friends and many other students are going to continue with the intermediate course, I'm contented with whatever I have learnt from the basic course and do not intend to explore further at the moment. I'm more interested in the philosophy behind Buddhism, rather than the practices, chanting and meditation and use what I can relate to my life.

After my brief encounters with some religions (Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism and Christianity), I think I'm more of an agnostic (i.e. one who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism) or freethinker. I always analyse my thoughts and share them with my family and close friends. Now writing in my blog is also an avenue for me to express my thoughts. Reading philosophy books reinforce some of the values that I try to improve. Interacting with my pets and being in touch with nature humble me (but I can't stand cockroaches and love to eat meat too much to be a vegetarian).

I am quite happy with my method of purifying my mind and achieving inner peace by doing the activities I enjoy and I don't feel a need to have a religion. However, I don't mind holding joss sticks to pay respect to the Buddha, deities and ancestors in temples and occasionally pray for happiness for myself, my family, friends, pets and everyone. :)

I told my mum and sis that from now on, I will not reflect Buddhism as my religion as calling myself a Buddhist is inaccurate. I'm a freethinker but I will strive to do good, avoid evil and purify the mind. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Dharma's freedom

My friend sent me a free software called ArtRage that allows me to paint/draw using crayon and water colour effects. This is my first attempt. I will need to get a graphics tablet and pen if I want to explore drawing on my PC. If you are interested, you could also download the program from this website:

Slushy's dinner party

I reached Slushy's home around 3pm yesterday to help her and her mum with some baking and food preparation. Slushy had already made the dough for the apple pie crust. My job was to roll it out and place it into the pan and arrange the apple slices before baking it. Slushy's carrot cake, mushroom quiche and sheperd pie were yummy and it was her first time baking it. Our friend, Hui Jen came with her famous baked rice and her nice boyfriend. There were also roast herb spring chicken, seafood salad, Slushy's mum's bee hoon, garlic bread and chips and dips - more than enough to feed us, Slushy's and her hubby's friends. Some of us packed back the leftovers for breakfast, lunch and tea today.

Cookies with raisins, choc chips & dark choc M&M

I baked them yesterday morning and brought some to Slushy's dinner party.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Exercise, comfort food and Frisky

This weekend, I'm going to take a break from exercise. I swam on Mon evening, jogged on treadmill for 15 mins during Tues' lunchtime, played badminton and tennis yesterday. I'm happy that I managed to hit some of the tennis balls back to my 2 friends who are good tennis players. They have been very encouraging and motivate me to play better. Some of my joints and muscles are aching a little but it would have been worse if I didn't apply some heat lotion last night.

I must share what I had for dinner after our tennis practice last night. We went to the Cheesecake Cafe (@ 685 East Coast Road, near Siglap Centre) and ate Peach Jelly Cheese Cake, Chicken Pizza and Mushroom & Chicken Pie. The pizza and pie were the portion for a small eater. We 3 girls shared the food and loved the cheesecake. It was light, creamy with a tinge of sourish taste and there were bits of peaches. I enjoyed the mini pizza too - it looked so cute and tasted slightly sweet due to some unrecognisable vegetable. The waiters were very friendly and one of them recommended their cherry chocolate cheesecake. We didn't regret taking his advice. It was a good blend of chocolate and cheese. The bill came up to around $41 after 10% discount from UOB credit cards.

I will definitely visit this place again - nice ambience and there are couches with coffee table for you and your friends/family to chill out. Too bad I didn't have my camera with me, so that you could drool over the pictures.

I was happy to see Frisky near my block when I reached home. The shopkeeper uncle told me that Frisky's fur is regrowing. I felt more hair on Frisky than rough dry skin or scabs. She seemed happy to see me too and kept rubbing herself on my legs. Frisky meowed and looked at me when I was leaving to step into the lift. Sometimes I wish I could bring Frisky home as a pet but it's hard since I'm always out late and can't give her the attention she deserves as a house pet and not not forgetting my parents and 4 hamsters @ home too.

Cooking, sewing and doing housework

Yesterday I posted another comment in SDU online forum. A guy asked whether women only will learn how to cook, sew, do housework because of guys and not for anything else.

My comments were:
No, at least for me and a few of my girl friends. After knowing friends who love to bake and cook, I have been experimenting and now I could cook simple dishes and bake cookies that sometimes friends, family and I enjoy. When I produce weird tasting but edible food, I just have to eat them myself and learn from my mistakes :) Of course, it helps that my mum is a housewife and good cook herself. So with no guys in our life, my friends and I are learning some of these things because we are interested, want to do them ourselves and we feel good about ourselves. It's important to have self motivation and not just learn/do something because you want to please others.

I help out with housework when mum nags or I feel bad that poor mum still has to slave for me, an adult and no longer a helpless child. Of course most of the time I'm lazy to tidy up my room and ironing my clothes but when I'm in the mood, I will do it. I read that the state of your house/room is a reflection of the state of your mind. It's quite true for me, so once in a while I will try to do some decluttering. If I look @ housework as tidying up my life and some kind of self-discipline, it becomes more of a meaningful task than a chore :) And at the same time, tune in to my favourite music/songs and sing along to make it more enjoyable.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Old drawing

This is another cat I drew using Paint when I was bored @ work a few months ago. Such a skinny cat :)


I was so inspired by all the drawings and paintings I have seen that I tried to draw something for fun. I wanted to colour the cat according to the colours of Frisky but it's hard to tell from the photos of Frisky.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Therapeutic activities

I enjoyed art lessons in Secondary 1 and 2. However, when one is not a talented artist and with so many academic subjects to attend too, paints, colour pencils and calligraphy pen were stashed in the dark corners of the storeroom.

It was only in recent years that I have started to use my colour pencils or using Paint or Adobe Photoshop to create some cartoons for fun. 2 years ago, my friend, Sherry and I decided to made ourselves as the editorettes of our own magazine, penned down our ideas and invited our friends to contribute articles and their views. In Dec last year, we were happy to pass our 1st issue of our magazine, Lemonade (in CD) to our friends and received good reviews for our efforts. Of all the few drawings I did for the magazine, I like the one below best.

We are currently working on Issue 2 of Lemonade but taking our time due to the demands of our jobs and other commitments. However, we have managed to find time to express our thoughts in our blogs and blogging is becoming a habit. I enjoy sharing bits and pieces of my life on my blog. It is also like some kind of affirmation that I am growing and living a fulfilling life because the day I have nothing to write in my blog is a day where I feel nothing for life and things around me. I guess that is why I like to read other blogs because I see how they live their lives and sometimes what they do inspire me to be a better person or do something to add variety to my life.

Of course, nothing beats talking to my family about what make me happy and sad, playing with my hamsters. Sometimes, quietly alone, I could also find joy and peace in baking or whipping up some dish for myself in the kitchen or just relaxing and reading a good book.

Discovery of nice paintings & drawings

I'm happy to find 2 local websites featuring beautiful paintings and drawings. Paulmysch blog (see under "Blogs I love to visit") shows the artist couple's love for cats, painting and each other. It's nice to see cats being featured in blogs and paintings and even wonderful to read about how someone loves and cares for our feline friend. Paul and Michelle will be holding their Catmasutra II exhibition at Utterly Art in Dec 2005 and I will definitely visit to admire their paintings and say hi to them.

The website/blog of Ee Shaun (also under "Blogs I love to visit") features cartoons, comics and characters of Gardensilly. I had fun looking through Ee Shaun's webpages of comics, doodlings, his creations - silly, cheerful and cute all meshed together.

These charming paintings and cartoons evoke feelings of joy in me. I feel inspired by their creativity and how they express what they see or feel. This is art therapy for me :)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Bye, Ebon

Early yesterday morning, Mum told me that Ebon refused to eat the oatmeal concoction. We suspected that Ebon's time may be near, so after my last buddhism class ended around 11am, I went home straight to be near Ebon.

Ebon ate very little - he did take some cooked pumpkin, soft bread and japanese hamster biscuits. Even with his skinny, weak legs (due of loss of appetite and old age), he would still slowly move from his sleeping quarters under the wooden bridge to his toilet of cat litter to the corners of his house. I tried to cuddle him in my hands but he would weakly struggle, so I put him back home. Each time, he would rest at each station for a short while, as if he was trying hard not to fall asleep.

For the whole afternoon, he would make his rounds until in the later evening, he rested under the bridge, hardly moving and mum and I knew that Ebon could leave us anytime. @ 9+pm, I cuddled him in my hands and he didn't resist. He was breathing weakly and his limbs felt cold and didn't flinch when I rubbed them gently. Mum took over an hour later for a short while before placing him back into his house. After my shower before 11pm, I carried Ebon again and he had already stopped breathing.

We are a little sad but glad that he didn't seem to have suffered much. We didn't cry at all last night but now I'm tearing as I am writing this and thinking about Ebon.

Goodbye, Ebon. Thanks for being part of my life and I hope you have been happy living with us as you have been a joy to my family.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Marble cake

This is what I baked yesterday afternoon. It only tastes subtly sweet, so sis with a sweet tooth doesn't like it. The reasons are because unsweetened cocoa powder was used and I didn't put the icing topping called for in the recipe. My parents and I like it though because it tastes similar to the chinese traditional sponge cake.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Mum's fried carrot cake

This was what I had for lunch earlier. Dad bought some pieces of carrot cake when he went to the market early this morning. Mum decided to cut the cakes into small pieces and added in a tiny weeny bit of olive oil, bean sprouts and an egg to make a wholesome meal. Yummy :)

My furry friends

After eating breakfast and reading the papers this morning, I carried smelly Ebon and clean his bottom and body with a damp cloth. He didn't open his eyes and I asked mum to help me to wet his eye lids to remove whatever discharge. Poor Ebon. He looks so frail. But he is still eating some food and has the energy to bit the hay using his teeth and carry back to his sleeping quarters.

I went to the nearby hairdresser to trim my unruly hair for $10 and spotted Frisky sunning herself between the shopkeeper Uncle's shop and the letterbox. I am no longer concerned about Frisky biting me as she has never once attempted to do so. Her eyes looked so sad. I stroked behind her ears and she started to rub her body against my legs and then her face against my feet. I think not many people beside the shopkeeper Uncle dare to sayang her and this explains why she seemed eager for my attention. She exposed her belly and I only stroked her sides as I wasn't sure how she will take to a belly rub. I stroked her rough but dear face before I went home.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Video on cruelty

A friend sent me this link:
and she said someone decided not eating meat anymore after watching the video.

I watched the video in the comfort of my home and my sis was with me too. She went "eeee" all the way and I weeped a little @ the cruelty inflicted on the poor animals. I am not sure where this incident took place. The guy would slam the animals (look like racoon and wolf) onto the ground, hoping to knock them unconscious. They would use a knife to slit the fur @ one of the legs and peel the skin starting from the leg to the body and to the head while the poor animal was still alive, weakly writhing and groaning/crying @ times. It's terrible to see such suffering. The poor animal furless and with a bloodied face blinked and I could see its nice long lashes as the horrible man throw the animal into some container with other furless creatures. The animal lifted up its head as it laid by its side before dropping its head on top of other animals, dying or dead.

Mum said that sis and I were so weird to watch such cruel actions but once the video started rolling, we had to see how extreme men can be just to get a beautiful fur off the animal and we never expect to see such gross actions. I won't become a vegetarian because I love eating chicken, fish, pork and beef. To date, I only own a kangeroo fur bag (which my parents bought for me when we were travelling in Australia and still hiding in my cupboard) and I definitely don't want to own any more fur stuff.

Since I'm a meat eater, I can't question why people kill animals because I have a small part in causing the death of the animals I have been eating. But I guess I could wonder why people need to kill animals in such a cruel manner. Why do people want to wear fur of such animals in the first place? Because it's exotic? Because it adds on their status in the society? A fashion statement? Do they know the killing process and how much the animals have suffered? Or do they not care at all?

I shall find out more about the background to the video and update you all.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Aging Ebon

Ebon has been losing some weight. Tonight, Ebon looks so skinny and gaunt. He feels lighter than my fattest dwarf hamster. Mum has observed that Ebon has been eating less and his stool is very soft/wet. It's not a good sign. I have seen my previous syrian hamsters dying at the age of 3 and Ebon is around 3. I just hope he won't suffer and mum and I will continue to give him lots of love.

Dawn and Cat Welfare Society

I love reading the blogs of my friends and also Dawn who is working for Cat Welfare Society.

Last night, I posted a comment on Dawn's take on adoption versus sale of pets in pet shops. Here's the link:

I enjoy reading Dawn's blog as it gives a good idea of the work done by the Society in helping stray cats and the caregivers. It is heartening to read about people who spend their time planning programs, educating volunteers and partners, etc for the love of our feline friends. Dawn also shares her personal views and observations on issues affecting stray cats.

During my decision making process about which vet to bring Frisky for check-up, I emailed Dawn for recommendation. Thereafter a friend sent me a link to Dawn's blog and I have been a regular reader of her blog.

These are the other comments I have made there:

If you love cats, you should read Dawn's blog. If you are not and are just tolerant of them, I hope the next time you see a stray cat near your place or elsewhere, you understand that the cat is like us and has the right to live and just wants to be happy :)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Shopping @ Orchard Road

After the 2nd last buddhism lesson this morning, I took a bus down to Tanglin Mall. I decided to have my lunch @ La Tanglin Boulangerie Cafe (just next to the supermarket). I had the roasted chicken celery apple walnut sandwich. The sandwich was a mouthful like its name. The bakery staff gave me pinenuts as there weren't any walnuts. It was a delicious and satisfying meal. @ $6.90, I think it's worth it.

After that I went upstairs to Export Fashion and bought a pair of pants and T-shirt. At another shop, I bought another pair of pants at sales price. I walked down to Palais Rennaisance to look for the Heel n Toe shop which sells shoes imported from New Zealand for people with problematic feet. I walked out of the shop with 2 pairs of shoes (one for work and another for play) and was about $380 poorer but I think it's worth the investment. My feet are almost flat and I can't wear shoes with pronounced arch support and most of the shoes I have bought would give me blisters or aches or they only last for at most 6 months (because I walk a lot?) and my friends and family don't seem to have the same problems. I realise my clarke boots, kickers shoes, teva sandals and my nike cross trainers are my most comfy and durable shoes so far and I can wear them all day with a smile.

After my personal shopping spree, I went down to Takashimaya to meet my sis and parents and I didn't buy anything there or @ Paragon or Heeren and John Little. One reason is because I realise in these 2 months I have spent quite a lot on my pets, teeth, Singapore Art Festival performances' tickets, food, facial care products, tennis lessons, etc. and today was just my first contact with this year's Great Singapore Sale. Hee. I will need to be mindful of spending from tomorrow onwards :)

Feasts for my eyes and stomach

Last night, I joined my friend J and her family for dinner @ Pu Tien Restaurant @ Kitchener Road. We ordered a 6-person set dinner for $98 - steamed "Soon Hock", Pork Ribs in hot sauce, steamed prawns in bamboo shoot, home-made beancurd, fried bee hoon with many ingredients, stir fried kailan with beancurd skin and free red bean soup. I like all the dishes and the restaurant located in a shophouse is clean and the service is good and fast. I will bring my family there for a meal soon!

We then headed for the open field in front of Parkview Square opposite the 7 Storey Hotel and Gateway to watch the performance "Olala Kala" by Les Arts Sauts - a company of trapeze artists and musicians. At the field was an inflatable dome which housed a 12 metre high structure (where trapeze artists flew and fell to the beautiful melody created live by a female singer and musicians who were sitting up there). We the audience sat on special deck chairs so that we could lie back and watch the action happening right before our eyes.

The trapeze artists had white paint around their eyes with buffed/toned body (6 pack abs). It is amazing to watch every of them with the strength to hold on to the swing or the hands of a fellow member, with the flexibility to do somersaults and twist in mid air. A lot of powder involved (to ensure dry palms/arms). Timing and coordination/teamwork are important and it is just fascinating to see how these individuals (who definitely weigh more than me (52kg)) could perform such graceful, complex moves. Les Arts Sauts has a website: It was really worth the ticket money ($42) and this is my first time watching such a performance. I am already thinking of going for the upcoming Quidam by Cirque de Soleil.

The night ended on a sweet note where J's family and I had desserts and drinks @ Riccioti @ the Riverwalk. I shared with J a warm chocolate cake with chocolate-chip ice cream. I drank peppermint tea. The rest had cannoli (like a love letter with its centre filled with riccota cheese and dried fruits) and profiteroles (chocolate coated cream puffs with chocolate sauce, pistachio cream centres). I tried a bit of the desserts and they are delicious, decadent. I was told that the italian coffee was good too. Another place to bring my sis/family for breakfast/tea one weekend!

I must have gotten high from the tea and rich chocolate that I was still wide awake @ 1.15am.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

My fried rice

I felt like eating some home cooked meal for lunch, so I got some leftover cooked rice, diced some carrots and celery and threw in minced beef and eggs into the frying pan. Not too oily and salty - just the way I liked it and I added tomato ketchup and chilli sauce for more flavours :)

Unconventional music

Last night @ 8pm, I went for a musical performance by Bang on a Can All Stars @ Victoria Concert Hall with my friends. There are 6 musicans playing different instruments - electric guitar, cello, piano, clarinet, drums, gong, etc. The music pieces featured aren't the conventional sort like classical, jazz, rock, etc. Instead, the group is showing us that there are no limits to what we call music. Some of the pieces they performed last night may initially sound like noise or disturbing clash of notes but after listening carefully and opening our minds, we hear rhythm, a pattern, familarity and slowly we hear the music or message that the composer of the piece and the performing group are trying to convey. It is also fascinating to see how each musician so comfortable with his/her instrument improvised with creativity and produced music that is so unique.

I like 2 of the 6 pieces performed last night. One is entitled "Dalem & Sangut- ShadowBang" composed by Evan Ziporyn who is also the clarinettist and most of us would be able to relate to it as it draws some essence from the traditional Balinese wayang kulit music. My 2nd favorite piece is this ambient music "Music for Airport" composed by "Brian Eno". It's very calming and reminds me a little of those theme music for movies like ET or Jurrasic Park. My friend said she felt like crying listening to this piece. [I managed to find the website about this group @ and there are some music samples to listen/download.]

Whenever I go for such performances, I would feel inspired and wish I would work harder on my piano or my voice and be able to create such beautiful music too. However, I'm not talented or as passionate as these musicians but it is a nice dream to have :)

After the performance ended around 9.30pm, we walked slowly to Penny Black @ Boat Quay for drinks. The 2 sisters had beers and I a small Strongbow Cider. It was nice to sit outside the pub, looking @ the river, sipping our drinks and eating some french fries and chatting. My face turned warm and red even when I only had a few sips. After the girls sent me to the bus-stop near my home, I walked towards the small park where we released Dharma. I didn't see any mynah hovering around the tree. It was around 11.30pm and Frisky was at the shop front @ the void deck. She smelled like she had a bath earlier. I squatted and talked to her a little, stroking her sparsely furry body. She looked so skinny. When I got into the lift, she was mewing and looking @ me leaving.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Frisky the stray cat

After releasing Dharma, we walked near the shop @ our void deck and found Frisky. The shopkeeper Uncle said the medicine is not really helping as Frisky is still losing her fur but still eats a lot. Mum and Uncle said it may be old age. I gave Frisky a gentle pat and stroke before we went home.

Back home, whenever mum and I hear some mynah chirping, we wonder if it's Dharma calling out for us or food. Mum said Dharma may have flown off somewhere else.

Palm tree

Mum asked me to take a picture of the pretty palm tree fruits and flowers :)

Goodbye, Dharma

Last evening when I was out for tennis lesson (which was postponed in the end due to cloudy sky and drizzle, so my friends and I had dinner instead), Dharma made further flying attempts. It flew to the back of the TV in the living room and Dad was worried that it would get electrocuted with all the wires behind and managed to fish Dharma out. When my parents were having their dinner, Dharma flew onto Dad's lap and gave Dad a shock. After feeding Dharma around 8pm, my parents covered the top of Dharma's house, so that it couldn't fly out. I reach home before 11pm and Dharma quickly flew to my shoulder when I removed the cover. I fed it before I put it back to its house. I put Dharma and its house in my bedroom (as I had done since the day I brought it home). It somehow knew it was time to sleep and didn't make much noise.

This morning, I can sense the restlessness in Dharma when I put it and its house in the balcony. After I fed it for the last time, Dharma flew on top of my head. Mum and I decided to bring Dharma down to the small park just in front of our block. It was around 9am. I gently placed Dharma in a paper bag. Mum and I took the lift (we stay on the 11th floor) and at the park, we walked towards some nice looking trees. I opened the paper bag and Dharma flew to my shoulder. I placed it on my hand and it flew onto my head. I put Dharma on my pointer finger again and after looking around for a short while, it flew towards this tree a few metres away. Mum and I couldn't find it on any of the branches. Dharma must have realised that he is not only able to fly from the balcony to the other rooms or see the world from my shoulder or head but the sky is the limit.

We saw a smaller mynah flying with 2 other adult mynahs and wonder if that was Dharma flying with them. I feel a little sad but I'm glad that my baby prefers freedom to captivity. We hope Dharma could make new friends and survive well in the big world out there. Take care, Dharma!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Learning to fly

Dharma has gained more confidence in flying out of its house and perching on top of it. If I were to go near Dharma, it will jump onto my hand and fly to my shoulder. Twice, Dharma has flown from its house in the balcony to the top of my head and I was sitting about 2-3 metres away working on my laptop. Earlier when mum was vaccuuming the floor, Dharma got a scare and we think it vomited while flying into the kitchen because we saw spots of the food I hand fed it earlier and found him near the rubbish bin.

Mum said Dharma must have thought I'm its mum or recognise me or my voice because Dharma would just head for me instead of Mum or sis when practising its flights. My only worry is whether Dharma could survive in the world outside because it still can't eat or drink on its own and it is timid. Maybe tomorrow morning or on Sat, I shall bring Dharma down to the small park downstair and see how it reacts.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Dharma is starting to like perching on top of its house :)

Mum's banana butter cake

I am now enjoying a small piece of Mum's yummy banana butter cake. She baked it this morning as the small bananas which Dad bought a few days agoa were turning soft.

Time flies!

It's already the 3rd day of my 5-day mc. Dharma has showed off a bit of its flying ability a few times today. It half jumped and flew from my hand to my shoulder and chirped loudly in my ear. It was quite a funny experience and I was only worried that Dharma would poo on me as it has done so several times on my hands. haha. Just now, it flew and landed on top of its house. However, Dharma still wants to be hand fed and doesn't know or want to peck the food and swallow them down on its own.

This was the lunch mum and I had earlier. Mum prepared the ingredients and I only came in the later part to gently stir the ingredients when mum put in the cream of mushroom sauce and KFC's chilli sauce. I took this shoot of the pasta in frying pan before I scooped them into 2 plates :)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Does Dharma look more grown up?

Dharma has been eating more and also drinking more water. I have been occupying my time @ home feeding Dharma, playing with it.

The maggi instant porridge is so salty that after having that for lunch yesterday, I decided to eat normal food. Yesterday I ate a soft cheese bun for afternoon tea. Dinner was mum's fried rice (not oily or too salty). I just make sure I chew the food on my right side as my lower left gum is still swollen and there is a bit of bleeding at times.

This morning I had my usual 2 slices of bread with wheatgerm and pork floss and a cup of soy milk and half an orange. Lunch was mum's yummy porridge with mixed vegetable and diced chicken sausages. Tonight, mum is cooking teochew porridge with steamed fish and pork.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Transforming problems into wisdom

I attended a talk by Venerable Tenzin Palmo on the evening of 1 Jun 2005 at Bright Hill Temple. I took down the following salient points, most of which are relevant for all people regardless of religion:
  • To focus on gaining happiness for ourself will result in suffering. To focus on gaining happiness for others will result in happiness forourselves.
  • Learn to master our mind, open our heart and be ethical. Be aware that everyone other than ourselves wishes for happiness. We should treat others as we treat ourselves.
  • Develop patience and compassion. It takes tremendous courage not to retaliate or wish to retaliate when the other party is angry or wishes us harm. We should see such situations as opportunities to purify our mind. Strong emotions such as anger, if conquered, will bring about wisdom. If we could see our emotions with clarity (their causes and effects), we could transform them into powerful positive energy.
  • We can be anything we want. We don't have to label ourselves (eg. I'm such a loser). We should strive to use each day to benefit others and ourselves. Every moment and every person we interact with is an opportunity for us to purify our mind. Use negative events to develop the state of the mind.
  • Renounce some of the habits that are of no use in our lives.
  • Learn how to be present and deal with "now", rather than be trapped in the past or future. What is important at this moment is to make choices and give happiness to as many people as possible. Each of us has a responsibility to bring sanity to the unruly world and spread it to other people. We live inside our mind and are not the master of our mind and feelings. We must learn to master our mind and feelings, so that we can use our life to be brave, drop negativity and open our heart.
  • If we can be the master of our mind, we will be the master of everything and nothing can touch us. Be kind and start to look inside our mind instead of being swept by our mind/feelings. True happiness comes from inside us when our mind is secure and we are secure.
  • Wisdom is seeing things as they really are without judgement, without commentaries, likes/dislikes.
  • We are lazy to change ourselves because we think we can't change and therefore we undercut our ability. We must be determined and strong and encourage ourselves.
  • We can die anytime. Time is precious, so we shouldn't waste our lives. If I'm going to die, what is important? What can I do, so that I won't die with regrets? Live life in a way that benefits others and ourselves.
  • Wealth is not the problem. It is the clinging to wealth that is the problem.
  • Use your family and others around you to practise patience and compassion. At the beginning of the day, make the determination to live the dharma and benefit others. At the end of the day, assess, encourage ourselves, improve ourselves. Have the aspiration and try to make the right decision.

I think the parts in blue are very meaningful messages. It's very hard to implement some of them. It's normal for us to react in anger when someone hurts us. All of us are afraid of death. It sounds very altruistic and seems impossible to practise the above. However, I do feel good about myself and happy with Frisky and Dharma in my life. Mum has been pampering me by cooking some Maggi instant porridge and squeezing fresh orange juice after my wisdom tooth surgery today. I thanked her for mothering me and she said she treats me so because of how I have treated her. I tell myself I must try not to retaliate the next time my parents make me angry or say hurtful things because once I give in to anger and flare up @ them, it will only make things worse and not better. It's hard to do but I will try.

Another point made in the talk is that no amount of material goods like clothes and shoes is going to make us happy forever. This is something we all know but we like to pamper ourselves sometimes. I shall try to remember to spend my money more meaningfully the next time I go shopping. I have not bought anything from the Great Singapore Sale, so maybe this is a good start :)

Wisdom teeth

This morning @ 9am, I had my upper left wisdom tooth extracted normally. My lower left wisdom tooth which was near the nerve was considered a risky case, so the dentist got her specialist husband to do the surgery. A bit unnerving initially because I have always disliked visits to the dentist. My teeth and gum would feel sensitive after all the polishing. However, the couple were professional and nice and they worked together to drill and pull out the stubborn parts of my lower tooth. My left cheek swelled a little when I left the clinic and also $660 poorer.

I was a bit worried that I will fall into the 1% of people who would have the nerve affected after such surgery and lose any feeling on my left cheek, lips. Luckily everything seems normal, with only a bit of bleeding. My left gums and cheek feel only a bit sore and it's not as painful as I thought it will be. However, I keep craving for food that I don't think I should eat. Like potato chips and some sinful cake. Hee. Now I can understand why my cousin rushed to eat his favorite McDonald meal when he recovered from the removal of 4 wisdom teeth.

Dharma looks a little more grown up today but it is still like a baby and wants us to stroke it or it will want to cuddle close to our hands or body when we let it out for a while.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Dharma sleeping in a funny position :)

Dharma with a wide-eyed look :)

A baby in the house

Dharma would chirp loudly for food and attention every hour or when we walk near it.


It is so adorable. Now it can spread open its wings to balance and walks on its "feet" and sits comfortably. on its own on the wooden stick. Perhaps it will learn to fly soon. Our worry is she may do so at night when we are sleeping and may disturb the neighbouring hamsters. We would have to put a plaster cover with many holes on it as a precaution.

I bought a Hobo shampoo for cats and kitten from Pet Lovers @ Junction 8 this morning and passed it to the shopkeeper auntie and asked her to use it instead of dettol on Frisky.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


Last night I bought some unpolished rice powder, Kaytee's hand feeding formula and Heinz for Baby Fruity Pear, so that we could feed Blackie with these and other fruits and concoction. I saw Frisky and stroked her a while before asking the shopkeeper Uncle if they bath Frisky and use Dettol. He said they do and thinks Dettol is safe. I told him I would buy a cat shampoo, so that they could use it for Frisky.

This morning we fed Blackie with Kaytee formula mixed with Mum's concoction of cooked minced pork and egg white and rice before we gave Blackie a shower and dried its feathers with towel and hair dryer. Sis thinks Blackie as a name doesn't sound nice. We want a name suitable for both sexes, so in the end, I decided on Dharma. It seems Dharma has many meanings according to and I saw in another website, it simply explains dharma as protection. I associate this name from the comedy "Dharma & Greg" and a name of my sis' friend (a guy).

Dharma looked so fluffed up and good looking beside sis' knee :) Dharma 1
Dharma was sitting on my palm with its legs on my foot. It went on to prune its feather and actually fell asleep.

Dharma 2Dharma 4Dharma 5

Mum actually sawed off a small part of a bamboo stick to fit into Dharma's house. Isn't she great? I kept telling her she's my idol :)
Dharma 10 Dharma 9
Dharma looked so comfortable in the renovated house :) It has become used to us and would chirp/scream for us almost every hour when it wants to be fed or just some warm hands to cuddle it.

I took some pictures of Ebon resting inside his toilet too. He still looks so adorable with his bald patches :)

Ebon asleep

Friday, June 03, 2005


I was so clumsy yesterday. First when I was getting into the cab with my friends from our office to Kallang Tennis Centre, I dropped the box with Mynah in it as the raffia string wasn't tied securely. My friend asked if Mynah had died from shock when we settled in the cab. Luckily, it was a little stunned when I quickly opened up the cover and stroked it. When we were learning tennis, I was quite lousy at hitting the balls with my racket (bad ball sense) and somehow, my ball hit Mynah's box. It looked alright when I checked but must have gotten a shock on the impact of the ball. I felt kind of bad but was glad that I didn't kill Mynah.

After tennis ended @ 9am, we had dinner @ mountbatten hawker centre till 10.30pm. We were catching up with a friend about her new job. I bought a piece of payaya and tried to hand feed Mynah while the rest were talking but it didn't want that.

When I reached home around 11.30pm, sis and mum were still awake when we went home. I held Mynah and it was quite a nice feeling when her feet were griping my fingers and I supported her body while mum gently pried open her beak and forced feed her the mashed up oatmeal and cooked rice and warm water concoction that I prepared. Mynah swallowed them. Mum called Mynah Blackie :), so Blackie it will be. This was Blackie after supper.


We prepared a red basin lined with newspapers, newspaper strips and some hamster hay/grass and it looked like a huge nest.I put Blackie and basin under my bed and it must be feeling quite comfortable and safe that it tucked her head on her back between its wings I slept @ 1.30am and occasionally, I could hear it chirping softly and flapping its wings.

This morning before I left home, she was making noises and opening her mouth wide, indicating she was hungry. Sis whistled and it seemed to be answering back. Too bad I can't whistle. I held her again while mum fed her and Blackie would push its head to force the dropper into her throat. Just like what we see in documentary where the mother's beak will be deep inside the baby's throat when feeding. Mum and sis said Blackie is so adorable. I know Mum likes Blackie even though she said I give her additional work to do. This weekend I will be @ home except for buddhism class on Sun morning. At least for next week, I will be on 5 day's MC for wisdom tooth and could take care of Blackie too. Hope I won't be in too much pain or discomfort.

I called mum a while ago and she said she just fed Blackie with some cooked minced pork and egg white because it was calling out for food again and opening its beak real wide. Blackie was very alert and kept looking around and @ mum when she peeps @ it. I find the scene funny just imagining it :)I must find out how to sex Blackie.

I have not seen Frisky yesterday and this morning. I shall ask Uncle about her after work today.

Starting off my day

BreakfastI have been eating this breakfast set I prepared myself yesterday and the day before. I would normally spread 2 slices of bread with margarine and heavily sprinkle it with toasted wheatgerm. We started buying the wheatgerm (high in folic acid) for our robosrovski hamster who gave birth to a number of babies and later wheatgerm became part of all our hamsters' diet and my breakfast too :) Parents just bought some pork floss so I added to my bread too. Mum also made her special dessert - barley, beancurd skin, ginko nuts, peanuts. It's yummy and not too sweet. I also had a handful of blueberries (which was on sale @ $3plus @ Fairplus supermarket).

This morning, I ate my bread with wheatgerm and porkfloss plus a cup of soya bean and a small apple. I tried to feed Mynah with mashed apple with soya bean milk but it rejected my attempts. I also can't start my day without reading the Straits Times. Hee.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


My friend called me this morning when I was still waiting for my bus to go to work. She found a young mynah lying on the ground near our office building. When I reached office, we managed to catch hold of the mynah and placed it in a small box. People must be wondering why 2 young ladies were on their knees groping for something in the bushes.

We weren't sure if Mynah has broken wings or legs. I called SPCA and the lady said it would be a great help if we could bring the mynah down to SPCA. We tried to feed it honeyed water but it only sipped a bit from the stirrer. Initially I used disposable gloves to hold the mynah but after a while I just use my bare hands. It is nice to feel a warm body with my hands than through a plastic barrier.

My colleague said I should join some animal rescue unit. Haha. Another friend said she wishes such things are viable in Singapore because most probably we can't survive ourselves.

During lunch time, 3 colleagues and I brought Mynah to SPCA and Deidre Moss was there and told us to be prepared that Mynah will most likely be put down if vet assessed she has broken limbs. We were lucky that the vet was in and we were there when the vet examined Mynah. No broken wings or legs. The vet deduced that Mynah has fallen out of the nest when she has not grown all her feathers (some still quite fluffy) and not able to fly. Our option will be to care for us until she can fly. We decided to bring Mynah back with us as SPCA would still put her down as there is no one to take care of her or any facility to house her. Deidre wished us good luck in taking care of Mynah and encouraged us to join SPCA. She said membership fee is going to increase soon and SPCA needs such young people like us to help out.

We went to Novena Square for quick lunch and also visited Pets Kampong. There is no bird cage, so we bought some small bird seeds. I doubt Mynah can eat it yet. I shall bring Mynah in the cupboard box with me to tennis lesson and home later. Next Mon I will be going for my wisdom tooth surgery and will be on 5 days' MC and could take care of her @ home.

I called home to tell my mum or dad, so that they would be mentally prepared. Dad was the one to pick up my call and his response was like "What! Another animal!" Hahaha. But after a while, he calmed down and I thought I could feel his smile on the other side of the line.

Now Mynah seems to have calmed down. We tore up small strips of newspaper and lined them around Mynah so that it is like a nest and helps to keep it warm. I forgot to ask the vet about its sex. My friend said we could name it Honey :) Anyway, I just talked to mum and she seemed alright about me bringing Mynah home and said we should release it when it can fly.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Dettol is harmful for Frisky

Me: Parents and shopkeeper uncle think that there is no point bringing Frisky to the vet again since she is still eating well and it may cost some more money for skin biopsy. I'm also not sure if i will bring her to Dr Ling 2 weeks later. If not, I will just sayang her everytime I see her.
Friend: I can understand if you are not up to the biopsy, because it will be very costly and the improvement may not be great. As in, after treating her, because she is a stray she will get ill again easily. I think if you really want to treat her, you also might want to consider bringing her home to be your cat to be tenderly looked after by yourself. But of course, easier said than done lah.
Me: Yeah, parents will not be able to accept a cat @ home (Afterthought: 5 hamsters @ home too) and I'm also not home most of the time to take care of her. By the way, is it alright to use water with a little dettol to bathe the cat? Because I think that's what the shopkeeper's wife used to bath Frisky with.
Friend: I do not think dettol is a good idea, it will make her lose fur! Instead, get a shampoo especially for cats. It's not expensive so more worthwhile investment than dettol for frisky.
Me: Okie, I will check with uncle whether they bath her regularly and what they use. If they bath her regularly, I could buy cat shampoo and pass to them. If not, I may have to consider bathing Frisky myself :)
Friend: I think there was once I bathed my rabbit with a bit of dettol and he lost his fur. After that it was no more dettol!

Lesson learnt: Dettol is for human's use and not suitable for animals! We also use shampoo especially for hamsters when we need to clean my hamsters too.

Talking about dogs and cats

I earlier received an email from ASD. A lady who adopted a stray dog 2 months ago and got her neighbour to care for it, is returning the dog to SPCA because the dog is not allowed in a HDB flat. She is appealing through ASD for fosterers or adopters as the dog would be put down by SPCA 3 days later if there are no takers. ASD has proposed to let the dog stay @ a boarding facility instead of SPCA or request HDB for a few weeks' grace period to rehome the dog.

I forwarded to 2 friends and this is how the email conversation between me and a friend went:
Friend: It is very sad but though I never scold anyone for keeping a big dog in a flat, I have to warn them and they have to understand the consequences. Even for my cat, we have been living in fear every day. What to do? Irresponsible people cause laws to be passed on responsible people. Tell me it isn't so.
Me: Yeah, I agree. I think it's ridiculous that cats can't be kept in hdb flat. Is there a good reason?
Friend: Because people (u know who lah) let their cats roam around and these cats go and scratch cars, mate with other cats, cause noise pollution, scratch people, beg, urinate and poop on their neighbours porches.
Me: I don't think anybody in my block or nearby blocks has cats. Think we only have stray cats. i have never heard of anyone complained about their cars being scratched by cats.
Friend: You know, somehow there are very few cat lovers in Singapore although in the states it's the number one pet.
Me: Yeah, I already know some friends who can't stand the sight of cats. Most people think dogs make the best pet. I think cats are nice too :)

The end of eating spree?

Yesterday was our director last day with us. He is now the HOD of a department in our statutory board. In my 5 years here, he has given me guidance in my work and has helped me to look at issues from various perspectives. We have all learned a lot from him and I bet some of us have already missed him today.

One of our colleagues bought a chocolate cake from Goodwood Park that tastes similar to Ferraro Roche and we had a small farewell party yesterday late afternoon. We chatted for a while before our director made his round of saying goodbyes to other people and we returned to our work.

Yesterday evening was also the time for my 4 friends (ex-colleagues, lunchmates and colleague) to give me a belated birthday treat @ Thanying Restaurant @ Amara Hotel. One of our friends, J just went for a new Q-wave lasik operation @ Camden Medical Centre. Her power is about 1,300 degrees per eye and she did her right eye first. After hearing about her experience, I was unsure whether I would go for one too. Firstly, I'm not sure if I could control my eye muscle for 15 to 30 sec to focus ahead and not be distracted by green moving light and the thought of having my cornea slices is a little creepy. Anyway, one would have to go for a pre-op assessment to see if the cornea is thick enough, etc and whether the candidate is pyschologically ready.

Back to yesterday's dinner :) We had seafood tomyam soup (mild), chick green curry, deep fried garoupa with sauce, morning glory (aka spicy kallang), egg omelette with crabmeat, belachan rice and plain rice. With the exception of the egg dish, the rest of the dishes were yummy. I don't know how much the whole meal cost, since it was a treat but I think it's reasonable.

J was also describing to us a nice lunch buffet she had @ The Line @ Shangrila Hotel recently. It was a treat by her director and cost more than $40 but it was worth it with fresh sashimi, pasta dishes, desserts, chocolate fountain to dip in your marshmallows or strawberries and you can insert bits of gummies or cookie into ice cream by doing so on a cold slab of ice or marble. It sounds so yummy that all of us were thinking of visiting that place soon!

J, P and I wanted to proceed to Spinelli @ Amara Shopping Centre for drinks/desserts but it was already closed @ 8.30pm. We then went to Element Restaurant/Cafe @ Amara Hotel. J and I were torn between getting a $8 dessert buffet or just sharing 2 pieces of cakes ($3.50). In the end, I persuaded J that we should just skip the buffet as we just had a heavy dinner. We ordered a chocolate truffle cake and an American cheesecake to share among 3 of us. The truffle was good. The cheesecake was normal and not as good as the waitress claimed to be. I had camomile tea, P hot chocolate and J a decaf coffee.

It was nice to catch up with my friends. Nice food always adds a nice touch. After talking to J, I feel a little inspired again to learn something - either pick up my piano again or learn a new musical instrument :)