Sunday, 31 March 2013

perhaps i am a little like the grown-ups

we met up this morning to go shopping for fascinators. we both wanted something fancy, with netting, because where else can we wear it without looking OTT but at Derby Day?

this photo was taken before my elder sister was even conceived.. but here's an idea of what we're looking for

to fuel up before our expedition, we decided to try Ching Yip Coffee Lounge, a Hong Kong-style breakfast/brunch restaurant in Chinatown. i stumbled upon it on Urbanspoon and was surprised that there was a restaurant we haven't tried in the vicinity! as we tried to locate it, i realized why - it was tucked away upstairs in an old building, with no obvious signage. 

the eatery was clean, with slightly dated decor. i felt like i was in an 80s Hong Kong movie. also pleasantly surprised by how courteous the service staff was. 


we had 干炒牛河 and a breakfast set consisting of milk tea and french toast.

the food was quite good. the meal was enjoyable, at times we could hear singing coming from the kitchen. can't remember the last time i was in such a 'humane' restaurant.

the actual shopping was tedious because i couldn't see anything i loved at first sight; whereas S had many encounters which fizzled into nothing when she saw the price tags.

 we gave up and started making our way back to S' apartment, when we passed a busker playing Spanish guitar. while the busker strummed away, an old man with gaps in his teeth pranced around happily with a big grin.

and the first few thoughts i had included, is he crazy?

the thought depressed me as soon as it formed, and i asked S if she thought he was mad.

'no, he's probably just happy.'

when did i become the sort of person who automatically assumes somebody belongs in a mental institution just because he acts differently from others? when i did - who had done the exact same dance in Melbourne just over a year ago - start judging people who didn't conform?

but i, alas, do not know how to see sheep through the walls of boxes.
perhaps i am a little like the grown-ups.
i have had to grow old
- antoine de saint-exupéry [the little prince]

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

you can all be heroes

when i was 14 i attended the cruelest boot camp of my life.

it was called the 'patrol leader training camp' or 小队长训练营 which sounds all cute and harmless.. and made the suffering even more bitter.

for 3 days we were not allowed to shower, brush our teeth or shit. literally. we survived on very little sleep, but could never be sure, because our watches were taken away from us and we slept according to orders - but never very deeply, because we had to be awake and ready to go at the sound of the whistle.

imagine living like that, while participating in physical training with an egg each which we were supposed to protect from breakage throughout the camp. 

many times i thought i was going to keel over and die, and i wondered why we, the youth of the new millennium, had to be subjected to this torture in a civilized society.

a facilitator asked, 'would you like to be a leader?'

yes, of course! who doesn't?

'you see, in every day life, when we are well-rested and clean, we can all be heroes. we can all be motivated, and complete tasks effectively. but the person who can maintain his enthusiasm and spur others on in this kind of situation, that's a true leader - the type we're looking for.'

people are like stained-glass windows.
they sparkle and shine when the sun is out;
but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty if revealed - 
only if there is a light from within
- elizabeth kubler-ross

what am i made of? what are you made of?

Friday, 15 March 2013


i have noticed something about myself which i'm still trying to observe in other people - the need for physical presence of other people in my life.

i have been becoming increasingly aware of it. sometimes when S and i hang out, we're not actively engaging with each other - we do our own stuff, or study together (different subjects), but the mere physical proximity to her makes me feel more at ease. (it helps with sleep, too. i went through a week of tossing and turning, then having madly vivid dreams until she had a sleepover.)

Nini is going home tomorrow, and despite us hanging out less after she started dating Johnny, i still feel a twinge of sadness. who knows if we will meet again.

my big adopted family has dwindled down to S (thank God i still have her with me), Kat and Kawei.. what will we be like when we meet again?

nini's last farewell event at The Pie Tin.

photo is of a pumpkin pie which tastes like a cinnamon pie.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

empresses in chinese garden

one of the highlights of Tao's trip is.. jiang jiang jiang jiang-- Empresses in the Palace!

as a modern, educated young lady, one would not expect me to watch something as tacky-sounding as a lengthy chinese drama about concubines in the Forbidden City, but everybody who had watched it got hooked right away, and i couldn't resist.

which was why, every night before bed, Tao and i will be glued in front of my laptop, micro-analysing every word uttered by the complicated women. (she fell under Zhen Huan's spell just by standing behind me one night as i was watching it.)

the film made me feel super grateful that i live in 2013 instead of the Qing dynasty. at least we have more say about our lives! (and we don't have to share a man with 2,999 other women!)

but it also showed how necessary it is to get one's claws out in a competitive environment. in Empresses, every unhappy ending that Disney has beautified is played out cruelly. i'm in perpetual awe over how Zhen Huan navigates through the palace intelligently. everyone loses in the end, but such is life. there is no perfection.

i highly recommend it!

i loved it so much that when i saw that we could hire imperial costumes at the Chinese Garden..

of course one needs a partner-in-crime to do strange stuff such as walking around in costumes on a Monday.

a lot of tourists probably took us for workers and took photos with/of us. some asked if there was a performance or filming.

'nope!' we answered.

'then why are you all dressed up?!' i.e.. this is not normal behaviour?

Saturday, 2 March 2013

free and easy 1

of course i planned for my sister's visit weeks in advance, but we ended up adopting a relaxed approach to sightseeing during her stay here, mainly because.. she hates walking. (despite all the good food, she managed to lose weight during her stay! can you believe the nerve! 'it's from all that walking,' she then explained matter-of-factly. 'why are you not skinny from walking so much?')

our first stop was Clipper cafe in Glebe to have Aussie-style brunch.

then i brought her to 'experience an Aussie shopping centre' aka buy an air mattress and pump with me at KMart in Broadway shopping centre. 

once home, we showered, then i inflated the mattress with the wonderful electric pump (plumps up the mattress in seconds!) .. and we napped.

i think if my mum could read this she would have a heart attack. like, one shouldn't waste time sleeping when one has paid good money to go abroad. but we were both exhausted and needed energy for our reunion dinner with my friends at night.

at the dinner i met Celeste, and she had a story which just goes to show how small the world is.

she went to Paris last semester, and while trapped in a hostel in Venice due to flooding, she met a Singaporean guy, and they made small talk.

upon learning that she was from the University of Sydney, he told her that he knew somebody there. 'oh, but i know very few people from uni!' Celeste had said. so imagine the surprise when Ben mentioned me to her ;p (i had met Ben on a trip to Melbourne a couple of years back.)

the world is small, so don't do bad things, because karma comes back to bite in the end.