Friday, August 28, 2009


I have given myself a challenge end of the year by registering for JLPT4 earlier this evening. I have tried to finish the assignments/homework every 2 weeks but have been either busy or lazy in revising. I'm terrible at comprehending the listening segment of the homework as most of the time I can't catch what the persons are saying in Japanese and have to rewind a few/several times to get the gist of it. I must really find a way to retain what I have studied and hopefully learning Japanese is not something that I will give up halfway :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Veggie dashi soup

Last Sun, I made myself a big bowl of soup, using the Jap dashi (fish stock) and filled with lots of veggies (pumpkin, ginger, spring onions, mushroom, broccoli. tomato) and an egg for lunch. Without adding any oil and just a wee bit of salt (as the dashi is slightly salty), it was a yummy and nutritious meal. It was easy to prepare too - I just need to be in the mood :)

Visiting supermarkets

Nowadays I find it unsatisfying to shop for clothes, shoes, etc as I can't find anything I like or fit me. But food is another thing. I enjoy browsing in supermarkets and I can usually leave with some fruits, baking ingredients or organic stuff.

A visit to ThreeSixty at Ion Orchard more than a week ago got me a cheese bagel (tasted alright), organic dark chocolate bar with chilli and organic dark chocolate with blueberries. I have eaten a few pieces of the blueberry choc in between a slice of bread on 2 mornings. An unusual way of eating choc but I get part of my breakfast with some dessert to start the day. I recently tried the chilli choc - it's really spicy, but not to the extent of burning your tongue. Mom doesn't like it and return the rest of the piece for me to savour :)

Yay! Blogger seems to be working alright for me to post this :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A break from blogging?

In case any of you wonder about the silence on my blog, it's because I have some problem with the blogger on my home pc. I tried opening blogger on different browsers - Firefox, IE and even Flock. I'm using Flock for this blog entry but I still can't upload my photos on any of them. Frustrating. Maybe it means I should stop blogging for the time being.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Photos of Hua Hin

They definitely won't show you what Hua Hin is like :) Perhaps more of the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin where I stayed.

My hotel room. I asked for the 2 beds to be joined together but I only slept on one side.

The toilet was quite huge and I didn't try the bathtub. Not really one to soak in bubble bath too.

A culotte I bought from the night market. It cost me 300 Baht (about S$13) after the lady reduced the price since my colleague bought 3 tops.

An interesting flower arrangement on the tables at one of the dinners.

I came back to the hotel room one night to see a packet of cookies and card on the table. It was from the front office manager who apologised for the inconvenience caused. I had to ask the front desk to check the room phone twice for the 1st 2 days. The first day, my colleague called my room - I could hear her but she couldn't hear me. The phone also gave some high-pitched noises at times. The 2nd day, she also called me but I couldn't hear her and her call went to another room. That night, a hotel staff came to my room, checked, took the phone away and came back to replace with a new one. I didn't think much about the incident after that but it was nice for the hotel to give me something sweet to remember :)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Last night in Hua Hin

My bosses and colleagues have left yesterday/this morning. I have been tasked to attend a workshop today as no one wanted to attend or think it’s necessary for them to attend but there should be a representation. Anyway, it was an interesting experience. The topics and issues discussed were interesting. The participants, resource persons and facilitators were also friendly. I didn’t really mingle with most of participants when my colleagues were around. Today I had the opportunity to talk to some of them.

As usual, there are tea breaks (coconut juice, raw crunchy mango slices to be dipped into blend of salt, sugar and chilli bits and other Thai kuehs) and authentic Thai food lunch (the tom yam soup was really spicy). After lunch, we had to take a short bus ride to some swampy areas to plant some tree saplings. We were all dressed in office attires and jackets and had to rolled up our pants and wear some cloth boots to dig the soft soil/mud to plant our 2 saplings. I managed to walk on drier mud and didn’t get my feet stuck in the mud like what happened to a few participants. But I was perspiring from the heat. It was fun though :)

Dinner was also catered for at the hotel’s restaurant. I had a short walk with a participant from China before dinner and he asked if he could speak in Chinese. I warned him about my horrid Chinese. He feels comfortable speaking Chinese even though he is fluent in English and studied and used it for work. I had to ask him to explain certain words in English and I used English when I don’t know the Chinese words to convey my message. It was a nice chat as we talked about our countries, our work and lifestyle. He is younger than me and also frank in sharing his views. I guess speaking Chinese does help to form some kind of bond more easily. When he had to leave dinner halfway for Bangkok airport, I joined another table to talk to 2 other participants. We all felt more relaxed after finishing the meetings and workshop. I may be seeing some of them again when they attend some meetings in Singapore in Oct.

I didn’t join the other participants to the night market just now since I had visited it on Tues. I also want to check office emails and maybe write a brief report about today's workshop,before packing my luggage. I will be waking up before 6am tomorrow and leave the hotel at 7am for 2-3 hour’ road ride to the airport. I can’t wait to be home :)

Friday, August 07, 2009


Sometimes when we are in a different environment, we see a different side in our bosses. Perhaps it's because back in the office, their schedule is packed with meetings and there is hardly time to socialise and make small talk. During this meeting, I see the bosses during the meeting, during tea breaks and meals. Just now we even stayed up with 2 of them to finalise the meeting report from 10pm to 12plus am. When we see them working hard, I can understand why they are who they are today.

During dinner reception earlier, we Singaporeans (7 of us minus Big Boss) were just lingering at the table drinking tea/beer/latte. Somehow the conversation was on religion. 2 bosses are Christians, 1 boss is a Catholic, a male colleague is a Christian and 2 female colleagues are Catholic. I'm a free thinker. Surprisingly, one of the Christian bosses told me that my time will come one day. The other said when I have the faith, the way I look at things and see things will be different. The Catholic Boss at first said it doesn't matter what beliefs I have, as long as I am a good person but later said when I have problems, I don't have to worry I have no one, as there is God. I quietly told my Catholic colleague sitting next to me that I will talk to my parents about my problems.

That is what I have been doing all my life. Or I confide to my sister and close friends. Ultimately, I make my own decision after thinking it through, based on my values system/conscience.

The other colleagues didn't make any comments. I just listened to their conversation. It was interesting hearing from them discussing parts and quotes from the Bible and its different versions. They joked a little and shared about how their religious beliefs affect their lives and approach to work.

I'm comfortable to such light-hearted conversation and discussion. It will be preaching and pushing the religious beliefs that turn me off. Religion is one's personal choice. I have attended some basic course in Buddhism some years ago but I don't believe in the practices and pali chanting and meditation. I like some of the values and philosophy behind Buddhism. It's true for some people, religion is a major part of their life, reinforces their values and helps them in making life decisions. For me, it is how my parents nurture me, my experiences with the people around me and how I interpret and react and form my own beliefs and values. My friends and the cats play a role in my learning process and growth too :)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Exercise plan

I have just found out that the swimming pool is opened from 8.30am to 6pm. I thought I could do an early morning swim before breakfast at 8am and meeting at 9am. It seems like I can't do that. Maybe tomorrow morning I'll wake up slightly earlier again to do some light stretching exercise at the little balcony in the hotel room (if I don't have to feed the mozzies) or take a walk at the beach within the hotel compound. I was so looking forward to a quick swim.

Meeting, good food and job

Our meeting started at 9am and ended at 6pm. In the afternoon, there were moments where I felt really drowsy. It could be the satisfying lunch we had at the Thai restaurant or the apple strudel and crackers I couldn’t resist during the afternoon break. Or the discussion was a bit dry until someone made some interesting comments. The organizer really feeds us well – I have to be selective and make sure I take more veggies, less unhealthy items.

Just now after our dinner, we hopped into the van, which brought us to the night market area and we had an hour to explore before the van drove us back. My colleague and I walked down the stretch of stalls before settling on this stall selling some cottony flowery tops and bottoms. I got myself a pair of nice culottes – casual and comfortable when I go out with family or friends on hot days. With all the eating since yesterday and more eating till Sun, I hope I will wake up earlier tomorrow or one of the days to swim.

I’ve always been wondering whether I’m cut out for this job and whether I should do something else. Next year will be my 10th year in this job. I did change from one organization to another but it’s still under the same family and I’m doing the same kind of work. It seems like everything I have such thoughts – I get arrowed for some overseas assignments. I don’t look forward to such arrows or opportunities, as usually I had to go because someone couldn’t make it or no one wanted to go. It's the same for this current trip too, but this time, I don't feel lost with the bosses and colleagues around.

Anyway, it boils down to what I want to do and as long as I don’t know, I will stay in this job. I still need to feed myself, Angel, Bob and the community cats and sometimes my parents too. I guess life isn't that bad even though I complain every now and then. But it would be great if I do find a job I really enjoy.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Working in Hua Hin

I was here 4 years ago to attend a meeting alone. From today till Sun, I'm at the same hotel again to participate in another meeting with my bosses and other colleagues. The hotel still looks lovely. Maybe this time, I will have time to explore the swimming pool.

As usual, the 3-hour long van ride from Bangkok Airport to the hotel made my back and bum ache a little when we reached the hotel at around 2pm but I'm glad to have 3 colleagues travelling with me. The big boss and 2 other colleagues arrived later in the evening. We came earlier to attend some informal meeting before the actual meeting starts tomorrow.

I shall check some work emails and listen to the songs/music on my laptop before turning in. I'm not sure what to expect tomorrow but it may not be as relaxing as today.