Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Love, Breaking Up And All That Jazz

While surfing through Billboard.com this morning, I stumbled upon a review of Trisha Yearwood's latest single, This Is Me You're Talking To. Taken off her new album 'Heaven, Hearthache and The Power Of Love' (I know, brevity isn't her best talent), it showcases her angelic voice in a sweet yet simple delivery of a classic country love song about the heartache of meeting someone from your recent past. I love it and I hope you guys do too. Enjoy!

video

This Is Me You're Talking To

This was bound to happen
It was just a matter of time
This town is just too small for
Us to really say goodbye
You're smiling that smile that
You get when you're nervous
Like you don't quite know what to do
But this is me you're talking to
This is me you're talking to

I've heard you met somebody
It didn't take you very long
And I'll admit it isn't easy
Knowing you've moved on
But I can see how you could make any woman
Fall deep in love with you
This is me you're talking to

Me, the one who really knows you
Me, the one whose heart you've broken
Me, the one who was still hopin'
You might be missing me

We don't have to do this
We don't have to act like friends
As much as I would love to
I really just don't think I can
You don't have to tell me that you really love me
After all we have been through
'Cause this is me you're talking to

Me, the one who really knows you
Me, the one whose heart you've broken
Me, the one who was still hopin'
You might be missing me

Oh, and you don't have to say that you do
This is me you're talking to
This is me you're talking to

Friday, January 25, 2008

The whole tooth and nothing but the tooth

We all have grown up with a host of age-old wisdom that has been handed down from generation after generation, intended to help us live healthier, avoid pitfalls and generally make life easier. From food to clothes to even the colour of the wall, these collective myths have shaped Asian thinking into a unique collage of do's and don'ts that border on the ludicrous at times.

Take my dental patients, for example. Here's some of the more, let's just say, interesting misinformation that I have encountered in my practice over the past ten years.

1. Scaling will make your teeth 'thinner' i.e. wear off the teeth.
This is the excuse most patients give when they have not come for their regular cleaning for an extended period of time and belies the actual reason they've procrastinated - they can't tolerate the sound that the scaler makes which is something like scratching your fingers on the blackboard.
TRUTH: Scaling does not make your teeth thinner, no matter what 'they' say. I would like to find out who 'they' are and give them a good scaling till their teeth really do get thinner. In fact, brushing your teeth, especially using the hard bristled brushes WILL wear off your teeth more significantly than anything the dentist can ever do with scaling.

2. Babies who are born with teeth already erupted, need to have the teeth extracted, otherwise they will grow up to erm... eat their parents up.
Don't laugh, I have actually encountered a few of such taboo-minded parents. Well, the idea behind it is actually quite sound. Babies with teeth tend to bite down harder on their mothers' nipples when they're being breastfed, causing unnecessary pain for the mothers. So, I guess this is not too far off the mark - the kids do 'eat' their parents, except they don't actually wait till they're all grown up, just till their next mealtime. ;)

3. Do not have your teeth extracted at noon, otherwise you will bleed to death.
I have to admit, there is some misguided logic behind this one as well, as the noonday sun tends to be the hottest and people would be forgiven to think that this might cause your blood to perhaps boil over into the extracted socket and thereby bleed profusely. But the truth is, human beings and most other mammals, being homeothermic, have a way of maintaining body and hence blood temperature to within an acceptable range. It's called sweating.

4. Extracting the canine (the tooth, not the dog) will make you go blind... or crazy.... or both!
Really? Then I guess all those elderly folk who have absolutely no teeth left (you know, the ones who rely on their full set of dentures to eat) are all blind and foaming at the mouth, as they have had all their canines extracted too.

And last but not least,

5. 'Planting' a tooth (a layman's term in Chinese or Malay to denote anything from crowns and bridges to implants) means to put in a tooth germ and wait for it to grow.
Teeth are not trees. You can't plant a seed in your mouth and water it daily and watch it bloom into a fully grown tooth. Well at least not yet. ;)

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Pink Parade

Our Sentosa Underwater World admission ticket also included entry to the Dolphin Lagoon show. So off we went on the very colourful and comfortable green bus to the other side of the island.

When we arrived, the show had just started, but there was already a crowd. So we had to settle for standing room at the back of the makeshift stage.

Luckily I had the zoom lens I just got earlier that day. So this was a great opportunity to put it to test.

One by one the pink dolphins performed their tricks and stunts to the ooohs and awwws of the mesmerised crowd.

They could even swim up and shake flippers/hands with their trainers.

This dolphin is coming in for her annual checkup

But before she gets to see the doctor, she lets the cute 'receptionist' give her a squeeze and a rub.

The doctor starts by checking her teeth to see if there're any cavities. Hmm... the doc must really love the smell of stale tuna. ;)

From one end to the other. Now the doc takes a look at her tail to check if she's been to the tattoo parlour lately.

Junior here likes to show off her ball balancing skill.

His big brother's a real bully. He wrestles the ball from Junior and gives it back to the lady tranier to score some tuna points.

C'mon everybody... Clap your hands ... and let's do the twist....

"Hula hoop anyone? Bet you can't hula the way I can!"

"C'mon sweetie pie.... gimme a kiss right on the lips... yes... mmm.... now stick out your tongue..." SLAP SLAP!

You can jump thru one hoop? That's so yesterday. I can jump thru two! Beat that!

Now its time to say goodbye to friends and family... M...I...C... See ya real soon! K...E...Y... Why? Because we love you! D-O-L-P-H-I-Nnnnn!

Wow, what a great performance. Those pink dolphins were so intelligent and adorable.... Hey, where did my friend go? :((

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cheating in Sin city... well, sort of.

We went to Sentosa Island in Singapore to visit the Underwater World. It is Southeast Asia's first and arguably the best public aquarium. And no, I have not been to KLCC's Aquaria yet, so I can't make a comparison.

There is a 'petting zoo' where visitors are encouraged to dip their hands into the pool so that they can get bitten by the resident shark.... kidding. There are super-friendly stingrays and fish here that will not shy away from humans in this pool. One word of advice: don't stand too close to the edge of the pool if you don't wanna get splashed wet by the enthusiatic rays that swim right up to you.

There were small well-lit tanks everywhere containing all sorts of marine life, like this yellow pipe fish.

I felt like I was cheating, as I could take really close up shots of fish and corals without having to don my diving gear and haul 2000kg airtanks on my back. Hehehe

Shrimp? Asther can help ah?

To be updated after Asther reads this. ;)

A very colourful critter. I especially like the whiskers. Reminds me of my sister's cute Persian cat, Fergie. Sigh.. I miss Fergie.

Ghost pipe fish hanging upside down like bats...

My first sighting of garden eels!!

Erm.. is this a kind of shark?

A very colourful breed of scorpionfish. How come the ones we see underwater are so ugly?

This yellow boxfish (or is it cowfish?) looks like it's ready to charge at me! Ole!

Hmmm.... a lot of these sea critters seem very eager to charge at me. What did I do to provoke them? Nothing, I tell you. Nothing!

Aww.... two spotted sting rays out on a date....

... while the local moral policefish is hiding in the bushes waiting to catch them red handed!

Upclose shot of a purple crab using my new lenses. Still trying to get the hang of it.

A hermit crab that has hijacked a snail's shell for its own use.

The big mama of a crab is taking a rest while her kids go out scampering amongst the tourists...

Are you looking at me, punk? I said, are you looking at ME???

Aiyoh... so noisy.... Please shut up and let me get some sleep!

Ohmygawd! A very fancy seahorse just floating by in his tank! Honestly, I really feel I am cheating or something.

Here we are in the undersea tunnel where we can see all sorts of fish, sharks and other marine life floating past us, beside us and above our heads.

And this is what the fishermen mistook for mermaids??? What were they smoking???

Imagine you're in the Titanic in one of the lower bunkers... and you look out the window beside your bed... and you see this!

There were many cute little clown fish swimming about this soft coral only a minute before I took this shot. I swear!

This is the Asian version of Dory (of Finding Nemo fame). Hehehe. And if you didn't get the joke, don't bother asking me.

Ok.. I am officially hungry for seafood now.

Ooh.. a unicorn fish. He looks a bit clueless, doesn't he?

Ok. Here's a good way to end the visit - by realising that somewhere out there, there is a spider-like crab out that is as big as you are tall and can devour you in minutes. Oh my!

Friday, January 18, 2008

If

I came across this poem by chance whilst reading a friend's facebook profile a while ago and it has been on my mind ever since. It's by Rudyard Kipling, best known for writing "The Jungle Book". Enjoy.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

~Rudyard Kipling~

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More Sinful Scenes

Continuing our journey cross country, we erm.. crossed the big ditch they call Singapore River ( a bit like KL's big ditch, Klang River also lah.... but less smelly) to the other side.


For those who have a fear of heights, they have also prepared an underpass. But you cannot ride your bike through it. You must push it through. Otherwise they will fine you SG$1000!! I wonder why.

Singapore has this guy to thank for its First World Status. No , this is not LKY, but Sir Stamford Raffles. He is the British Governor who managed to 'persuade' the Johor Sultanate to allow him to establish a British settlement on the island and build a free trade post, thus laying the foundation for modern day Singapore.

Down the road, we came across the Victoria Concert Hall. It is a very impressive colonial style building in white and very well restored.

Everything about the building was so.... pretty and clean.... and perfect. No grafitti on the wall, no cigarrette butts on the floor, not beggars waiting for some spare change, no nothing. Is this Utopia?

Next to the concert hall was the Victoria Theatre. It looked like a graduation ceremony was underway.

There was a sea of blue and white gowns and hats, with lots of happy faces congratulating one another and cameras flashing away to capture the joyous occasion.

Meanwhile, lurking around the corner was the local version of Quasimodo, unhappy that he is unable to join in the festivities.

Just beside the majestic Fullerton Hotel is this dramatic statue of five boys jumping into the river for a swim. Ah... reminds me of the time I was five and there was a flood in my hometown, and all of us kids were playing in the river that had overflowed its banks... In hindsight, that was an extremely dangerous thing to do. It's a wonder that nobody drow... Oh... no wonder I never saw Ah Beng since that day.....

Now now, for those you who are thus inclined, let me just say, "Down, boy! Down!" It's only a statue. ;)

We decided to cross the river at the most historical bridge in all of Singapore, the Cavenagh Bridge.

Originally known as Edinburgh Bridge, the Cavenagh Bridge is the only suspension bridge in Singapore and the oldest bridge to exist in its original form. So I guess all the other 'newer' bridges now allow cattle and horses to pass lah. ;)

Singapore is well known for its skscrapers, and one of its taller ones is the Maybank Tower. It has 32 floors and stands at a height of 175 metres. Gave me a neck ache just to take this pic.


Evening shot of the Singapore river. So peaceful.... so serene....

The Merlion standing proudly spewing out Newater at the tourists taking pics nearby. ;)

Across the bay is the Eye Of Singapore, which is bigger and grander than the Eye of KL.

This is the Esplanade Theatre Building with its infamous durian roof.

The durian spikes up close, shot using my new Tamron AF 18-250 lens. :)

Here's a few kids out for a Sunday stroll.

Little trinkets painted by kids used as Raya/Christmas/New Year decorations along the Esplanade.

The Durian building all lit up at night gives it a golden glow.

And that's about it for our stroll in Sin city...erm.. i mean Lion City. ;)