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🐻Beary beary quite contrary...

In August 2009 I posted the addition of Bear to our family. It's been about 5 years since Bear came to us July 2009, he was 10 years old then.
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Bear has always had some trouble walking but recently it's gotten worse. Glucosamine helped slow down the deterioration but recently it's been more of a struggle. But the day before national day I reached home and learned that bear had not been able to move the whole day. So at night they rushed him to the clinic. In the absence of an x-ray, the doc said it's either the spine or the hips. They suspect it's more of the spine.

Over the next day poor bear was absolutely miserable and unable to stand up and relieve himself without help amongst other things. We are doing our best to keep him comfy but...

Mom said that bear is really brave and absolutely stoic. He still smiles when we stroke him even though he's in pain.
Time flies.. whether you're having fun or not...

 I just realised my last post was a year back... and Hammie and Hamlet are all grown up now...

 Hammie more active; hops, skips and jumps...

 Hamlet only active when searching for food and feisty when... hmm... well, like all females, feisty at will...

 Marx has mellowed... though there's still a a little boy at heart...

Bear... is just bear... though His Majesty may have become more assertive with age...

 Oh how endearing little furry things are!!

genki hammie & manyue hamlet

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Dec. 30th, 2012

It's nearing year end and I've come to realise that many of my friends (or what little I have), have been updating their blogs with:
  • year-end evaluations
  • new year's resolutions
  • reflections
and I thought, yes, it's a good time to update my blog. But instead of reflections, let's just get us to speed.

Since November I was obsessing about my weight after realising that I've put on near 5KG in the last 6 months. Managed to lose about 4 of those but have since laxed on the diet and exercise once the holiday period hit. Let's pick this up again soon shall we?

After Hong Kong, the only other trip I took was to Cambodia. Those who know me will know that this has been an annual trip with the church since 2009. For this trip we departed on 8 December and headed straight for the village, stayed 2 nights in the village before spending one night Phnom Phen and heading back on 11 December. This trip was a bit more structured and most items such as skits, safari beds, and other small logistics were planned out. Unfortunately, planning can't improve the living conditions that deteriorate further with each passing year. More lights have spoiled, water closets, flooring, lights etc. If this is just for the church building in the village, what more for the villagers?

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Though the attendance for every year's outreach has increased, we still see the local pastor struggling to get a foot hold into 'new' villages with hostility and threats from the authorities.

This year we have some extra companions in the village, bed bugs. Though the bites are pretty bad, it's nothing compared to the thought of the chance that I might have brought them back. A bedbug infestation is no joking matter! I was so afraid that I've thrown the clothes I brought there as well as the luggage away.

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Alright lets talk about some happier things. Even with those minor discomforts, the trip was very much enjoyable. Talking/bonding to the locals from the village as well as volunteers from the city. This time round there was more time to tasting the local delights and take in the local sights. I finally made a trip to the killing fields; a place I was rather reluctant to go but I'm glad I did. I now understand more on the background of the people and their suffering.

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Christmas just past, this year we kept it really simple. Christmas lunch was at Astons Steak & Salad at Centre Point. I love the salad bar appraiser buffet. My main was a grilled salmon (just like mom's) and sis had a fried chicken. Dinner was a lamb roast that i didn't quite perfect, it was actually too rare. So dinner took much longer then expected.

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Just yesterday I rented a flea market 'booth' at *scape's What The Flea with DS to off load our old stuff, results were a little disappointing. I think the main reason was a matter of taste. At the same time DS passed me my birthday present, I must say that she really knows my taste, cos she got me a desigual top that I love and already own. After the What The Flea ended, rlj was nice enough to pick me up after (or I wouldn't know how to carry all my stuff home), cook dinner and wash up. There was minor whining, but I was just too tired to register them.

IMG_20121230_201619IMG_20121230_202014And what have I been doing today, just 2 days shy of the new year? Like what i do every Sunday. Sloth, go to church, out with family, and ended it with a lovely Saboten dinner~!

All in all, a rather enjoyable year. *crosses fingers* one day left~!

Travelogue 2012

Month:  April  Date:  21-22  Location: Melaka, Malaysia  (Renaissance Melaka Hotel)

After my last day at work I most happily trotted off to Melaka for AK's wedding. It was a lovely dinner held at the Renaissance Melaka Hotel. It was a Peranakan themed wedding with guests dressed in the traditional Peranakan Kebaya. Not to follow the recent "The Little Nyonya" fade but to reflect their Peranakan heritage.

Footnote: Delightful event.

Activities: The inevitable wedding, hair styling, kebaya collection and refitting at Chen Chen Ladies Tailor.

Month:  May  Date:  02-03  Location: Melaka, Malaysia (Hotel Equatorial Melaka)

IMAG3527Yes, shortly after being in Melaka for AK's wedding I was back again with mom. We stayed at Hotel IMAG3525Equatorial Melaka. Loved the location which was smack in the middle of the shopping centers and walking distance to Jonker Street. It was a week day stay so no pasar malams to troll. This stay was extremely comfortable due to an offer I secured with Five Stars Tours via deal.com.sg at S$79 per person. This included coach and 1 night's IMAG3523stay in the executive suite!

Footnote: Mom liked the room a lot cos there was room for her to move around and of course, location, location, location!

Activities: Dining at Resthouse Café and Golden Phoenix Chinese Restaurant (Hotel Equatorial Melaka; Shopping at Dataran Palawan, Mahkota Parade Shopping Mall, Jalan Bunga Raya and Jonker Street.

Month:  May  Date:  07-09  Location: Batam, Indonesia  (Turi Beach Resort)

IMAG3644This was the 1st trip I took with RLJ. We (or rather, I) have been wanting to take a short get away trip for a while and RLJ was wonderful enough to arrange it. It was a Turi Beach Resort offer for 2 days & 1 night which we decided to extend for another night. With the extension came a lovely 1-hour massage that was rather soothing.

As far as goal achieving goes, we definitely won this round. Unless you paid more for water sports activities or traveled out to the shopping centers (I hear is a 45 minute drive away), you are pretty much set. In the morning you can look forward to a continental buffet breakfast and take a short rest before slipping into the pool. Evenings can be occupied by slow IMAG3614strolls by the beach before dinner. Pleasantly the food served at the main restaurant was acceptable; and for a resort location, wasn't considered expensive. Most of our meals were there.

There were however a few hiccups during the stay there; on the 1st night our air-conditioner broke down. Luckily there was a ceiling fan to cool us down. The next day we requested for the air-conditioner to be repaired and that was done promptly. Unfortunately that night our unit had a black out at about 11pm which could not be repaired. So instead we were moved to another room.

Footnote: Place was nice enough, except for the eerie feeling at night which was probably because of the low weekday occupancy.

Activities: Dining at Taming Sari Café & room service, Massage at the in house spa, dipping in the pool, strolls by the beach.

Month:  May  Date:  30-31  Location: Pulau Ubin, Singapore  (Celestial Resort Pulau Ubin)

IMAG4050Another short trip with RLJ, this time just a bump boat ride away. The trip there wasn't hassle free, due to a mis-communication I only realised that there are no ATMs on the humble little island till i got there. Needless to say we spent about an hour in transit getting back to the mainland for cash withdrawl. Once back on the island, for some reason we decided to take a 30-45 minute walk to the resort instead of hiring a 'taxi' to ferry us. But once we reached, we were greeted by a brightly lit, quaint chalet like unit with a fully functioning air-conditioner. After our long IMAG4059walk, we took a shower and a long nap till it was near dinner time.

Dinner was at a rustic 'floating' restaurant, food was nothing to boast about but it did the job (good thing we packed snacks and instant noodles for supper). The rest of the night was spent in doors watching television.
Fish spa
The next morning we went for the fish spa just before lunch and check out. Both the fish spa and lunch were included in the package.

Footnote: If it weren't for the package at about S$50 per person, I feel that the published rates on their website are way over priced.

Activities: Walking/treking, nature watching and fish spa

Month:  June  Date:  16-17  Location: Melaka, Malaysia (45Lekiu Melaka Guesthouse)

A trip planned by BlackIvory Style and participated by Everest Says and Ber. Mainly for Blackivory Style and Everest Says to have a short get away during their birth months. The journey there was by 707 direct where we took a taxi to the guesthouse. The journey back was a little more complicated.

IMAG5164IMAG5259By now this would have been my 3rd trip to Melaka for 2012 so it's really more of the company and the place we stayed in. I must say it was a really lovely guest house. It was four storeys high and accessed via a numerical key at the entrance. The complimentary wine was a nice touch. The place was furnished mainly with teakwood furniture, slate tiles on the ground floor and wooden flooring on the upper levels. As you enter you'll be able to see the kitchenette, then enter the living room area which has a stone table, day bed, television, DVD player and even DVDs for us to watch. Past the living room area there is a small rectangular pool and bathroom for changing.
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IMAG5172The 2nd level consists of the master bedroom with a king sized bed and plush bedding, couple of steps up with the bathroom with one cubicle for a water-closet, another shower cubicle and 2 sinks for washing up. Past that was the balcony which had an outdoor bathtub made of stone, garden furniture and a view to the pool below. From there you can take the open staircase to the roof top; an ideal spot of stargazing.

The 3rd floor is a humble attic bedroom with 2 single beds and a sink to wash up.

IMAG5227After surveying the grounds we headed out for delightful laksa lunch before heading our separate exploration IMAG5241teams; Blackivory Style to Meglio Hair Saloon (which she now makes frequent visits to Mr Ben Quek), Everest Says to explore, Ber & I walked around the shops and we all met again to head off for dinner. Dinner was Satay Celup at Ban Lee Siang. The only complaint I have of that place would be that they don't change the pot after each table has left. But I guess that comes with the low price tag.

It was most un-fortuitous that that evening I suffered from food poisoning, possible from a sample I took at a local produce store, IMAG5452and Blackivory Style & Everest Says were most kind to let Ber and I have the master bedroom which had and adjoining bathroom. After dinner Blackivory Style & Everest Says headed out for a massage then to Jonker Street, where as Ber & I headed back to the guest house to rest a bit before taking a short walk in Jonker Street.

The next morning, we got up for some dim sum near the guest house before heading slowly checking out and making our way to the bus terminal back to Singapore. I did mention we couldn't get a good coach timing, so we took a coach to Johor Bahru where we had dinner and (more) shopping before taking the humble SBS back to Singapore.

Footnote: Had a lovely stay at the guesthouse which was very near Jonker Street. Traveling was a chore but the guest house made it all worth while.

Activities: General exploration and relaxation.

Month:  June  Date:  24-27  Location: Cameron Highlands, Malaysia (Strawberry Park Resort)

TIMAG5713his trip was set off at night at 2230 hours, the coach ride itself was about 10-12 hours so I guess it made more sense leaving at night. The trip itself was thankfully uneventful and I was told by RLJ that I slept IMAG5708through the 2-hour winding ride up Cameron!

A little before 8am we arrived at the town of Brinchang and had breakfast before continuing IMAG5730our accent. Breakfast was the humble home made wanton noodles and before we knew it it was time to continue out journey.

Once we got checked-in (which took about an hour), we had a bit of time to just enjoy the cool weather before having our lunch and leaving for the tour we had booked earlier.

We visited a flower nursery, a vegetable farm, a strawberry farm, a catus farm, a hydrophonics farm before stopping for a steamboat dinner. The highlight of course was the strawberry farm where we were able to pick our own harvest.

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IMAG6043Day 2 was just a busy. It was an early morning breakfast and off to the tea plantation. Thankfully, breakfast was reasonably filling.

We were driven up to the tea plantations, then to the view tower at Gunung Brinchang which is 2,032 meters (or 6,666 feet) above sea-level, followed by a little trekking thru the mossy forest, visit to the BOH (Best of Highlands) Tea Factory, stop by Brinchang Town before heading back to the resort. All in a (half day's) tour!

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Now what do you do when you have another half a day to kill? hire a taxi and head to the nother town in Cameron, Tanah Rata. All that's left is to be a tourist, and enjoy some of the local shopping and street food.

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Dinner was back at the Resort, salad and a good hearty smoke grilled steak; sans the good, but i guess it's as good as it gets.

Next morning we took off on our long and winding journey back home.

Footnote: If you don't mind the 10-hour journey, Cameron's a nice place with a slow pace.

Activities: Mainly nature walks and vegetation.

Month:  July  Date:  11-13  Location: Melaka, Malaysia  (Renaissance Melaka Hotel)

IMAG3364This time with mother as companion. same thing different hotel. This time I booked us into a standard room, pretty comfortable (as you can expect from a five-star accomodation. Unfortunately it was after a standard room and not much IMAG3366compared to the executive suite at Hotel Equatorial; location was not quite central, this was a disadvantage on the day of departure because there was not much we could do or see in the morning just before the coach pick up. Other then that, the in-house restaurants were good from buffet spreads to the Chinese restaurants there's not much we can complain about.

Footnote: Hotel location not quite central, an over night trip would have sufficed.

Activities: Really? You tell me....

Date:  31 July - 1 August  Location: Batam, Indonesia (Sijori Resort)

IMAG6726-1For some reason I needed a get away really badly. XPD was great to arranging this.
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Our main aim this time round was to spa and shop (cheaply!). It was a bonus that this trip came with a free 1-hour massage, which seems to be a mandatory travel addition these days. The Resort itself is nothing to boast about since I hear it's mainly for the avid weekend golfer. as we stayed over a weeknight the resort was pretty deserted.

IMAG6738Afternoon we went to Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall for some lunch, shopping and spa pampering. Lunch was the IMAG6741ever famous indonesian dish ayam penyet, gado gado and avocardo shake. We roamed the mall till there was just enough time for our session at ESKA Wellness Spa Massage and Salon. I took the ESKA Total Beauty Collection Package 3 which consists of a facial treatment, body massage and body scrub; all for S$36+! XPD took a slightly different package and ended earlier, which was a good thing cos out treatments over ran. She managed to find our driver from the resort and asked him to wait till my treatment was done. He was gracious enough to wait and asked whether she would like to pick up some IMAG6753stuff white waiting for me too. Such hospitality is truly amazing. That night we had dinner at the in-house cafe (provided in the package), sang a bit of karaoke before retiring into our room. Needless to say since the resort was pretty deserted we decided to keep the balcony doors closed.

IMAG6784The next morning breakfast was served at the cafe before we proceeded to our complimentary massage at Sparadise. After this we checked out and hired a taxi to Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall. Yes, there was still shopping to be done. This time, IMAG6768toiletries. My hot picks are Sensodyne and feminine products (hur hur hur...).

After this tiring hunt, finally head back to the resort, pick up our stuff and head back to Singapore. The cherry to top this is RLJ coming to pick me up for supper ♪♫

Footnote: It's great if you have a free & easy trip booked, those with mandatory tours may tire you out.

Activities: Shopping and Spa haven.

Month:  August  Date:  05-06  Location: Genting Highlands, Malaysia (First World Hotel)

Outside StarbucksThis trip was with Ber, mainly cos she wanted to go to Rippley's Believe It Or Not, though I think it was mostly a trip just to get away.
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Once we reached the hotel, i remembered why I told myself I would never stay at First World Hotel, the queue to check in is super long. I think we waited about 45 minutes to an hour. After we checked in out things we headed out to grab a bite and look around. Bought a late night movie ticket, shopped around, had dinner and decided that we should go to Rippley's at about 9pm, just before it closes. (Ha! As you can tell, I'm not even keen on describing to detail what we did, like Melaka, I've been to Genting so many times in the past it's like going down Orchard Road). Anyway, Rippley's is kinda eerie when it's empty, so best go when there are more people. I'm just saying.IMAG6914

The next day we slept in, just made it for check out and dim sum lunch at Ah-Yat before boarding the coach back.

Footnote: Great for a cool climate get away

Activities: Resorts World is basically your one stop shop, for shopping, entertainment and dinin.

Month:  August  Date:  10-12  Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (SS City Hotel & Fahrenheit Suites Hotel)

Since Ber can only travel on a weekend and we didn't want to lose half a day on Saturday we headed off on a Friday night (as suggested by RLJ)and arrived in KL just a little before midnight at Berjaya Times Square. We took a short walk around to the back alley of Times Square and arrived at SS City Hotel.
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SS City Hotel was a nice, clean and bright budget hotel. The three of us took a "family room" which had queen sized bed in one room, a double-decked bed in the next and 3 toilets. What's impressive was how they managed to maximize the small space available.

We woke up the next day pretty late, just in time to check-out of SS city Hotel, ave lunch at Nando's at Sungei Wang Plaza, walk over to Fahrenheit Suites Hotel to check-in, and wait for Fun's arrival. The room we took at Fahrenheit Suites was for 4 people (apartment style) so we asked Fun to stay over on Saturday night, the more the merrier no? I must say that even though Fahrenheit was much bigger then SS City, there was much to Improve; the taps were hard to turn on and off, the toilet was dark and there was a water stain above the shower area.
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We had a Lovely time in KL, mainly cos Fun was the best tour guide. Since we weren't able to make it to Ikea for their curry puffs Fun brought us a bag (of 4). After that we walked to KLCC via the connector bridges and underpasses. Evening we had dinner at Din Tai Feng at Pavallion with post dinner walking around the area, picking up snacks. At night we just snacked and chatted away.
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Woke up ate again the next morning, why am I not surprised. RLJ managed to run down n pick us up some dim sum breakfast before e headed off for Bah Kut Teh lunch before we took a coach back to Singapore. Time flies when you're having fun.

Footnote: Relatively short trip all made well by Fun

Activities: Lots of good food and company!

Month:  September Date:  11-12  Location: Melaka, Malaysia (Hotel Equatorial Melaka)

IMAG7456Yes, yes... I know, I'm back again. The difference however is that I'm back with RLJ. This trip was supposed to be with mom, but she fell ill last minute so instead I asked RLJ along.

Of course since RLJ is around we would mainly be looking for food joints (not to mention Hard Rock Cafe in Melaka). Personally, since mom couldn't make it, I made it my personal mission to search for Heng's Crispy Prawn/Fish Chilli for her.

After check-in, we decided to do the touristie thing and take in some sigh seeing on the way to HRC (shop), weather was warm but we managed to have come cold root beer and lunch at A&W before ending up at HRC. RLJ picked up the pins he as looking for and we went in search of Heng's Chilli. Ironically we walked the whole stretch of Jalan Kampong Pantai before reaching it when it was just at the junction of the next bridge from HRC. But, I would say it was worth it.
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After this we headed back to the Hotel to rest our feet before heading off for dinner. It was an early dinner at Capitol Satay Celup and good thing too, we were there at 6pm and already there was a queue formed. Thankfully we were just thrid in line. What I like about Capitol Satay is that they change the satay sauce after every customer (cleanliness is after all next to godliness), but I hear it does cost more then other popular Satay Celups. After inner we retreated to our hotel to laze around in the living room and snooze and the soft fluffy covers of our bed, bliss.

Morning we woke up for breakfast and lazed around till it was time for the coach pick up. Another 2 days well spent.

Footnote: As long as you're game to try new stuff, there's always something new to discover.

Activities: New food love - Capitol Satay Celup (please go early to ensure a short wait)

Month:  September Date:  17-20  Location: Hong Kong Kowloon, China (Lung Wa Hotel)

IMG-20120918-WA0004Note from author:
This entry will remain incomplete. Though the trip was most enjoyable, something unfortunate occurred just before the completion of this section. My apologies.
DIMG-20120918-WA0025o be assured however that Lung Wa Hotel rooms were bright, spotlessly clean and very centrally located. Do note that they only have 4 rooms so do make your reservations in advance. For a more spacious room, request for one with windows.

Here's a list of execllent food places I visited in order of preference:
New Star Seafood Restaurant 新星海鮮酒家
Australia Dairy Company 澳洲牛奶公司
Tim Ho Wan 添好運 (main branch recently closed - ★ ☆
Michelin restaurants)
Mido Cafe 美都餐室
永華麵家

closing time - semisonic

Closing time, Open all the doors and let you out into the world
Closing time, Turn all of the lights on over every boy and every girl
Closing time, One last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer
Closing time, You don't have to go home but you can't stay here

I know who I want to take me home
I know who I want to take me home
I know who I want to take me home

Closing time, Time for you to go out to the places you will be from
Closing time, This room won't be open till your brothers or your sisters come
So gather up your jackets, move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend
Closing time, Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end

I know who I want to take me home
I know who I want to take me home
I know who I want to take me home
Take me home


---------------------------------
Date: 23 March 2012
Time: 0840 hours
Action: Tendered my resignation

Thoughts: Apprehension and fear followed by relief and calm. It is not like me to make such a decision and leap with out a safty net. But in the end my safety is in knowing now that i have time to think through all that i don't know. How did i ever want to be a mushroom? with no aspirations to enter and leave the world without a sound. When did this happen? How could i have let this happen. Step out, step back... breathe... you are better then this... you have to be... 

state of being

This is called all rounded "state of being" evaluation based on chemical, mental and emotional balance. With so many factors, it takes longer to determine the causes in relation to the effects vs the final desired out come.

inspired by dashayni cheryl

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SONNET 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.
Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark, whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

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question...

how do you hang on...

day by day,
each day dreading the next,
monday dreading tuesday...
eventually friday dreading monday.
with each day I discover a new depth of dislike,
each day it intensifies,
all I want to do is curl up and hide.

something is wrong.

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how deep the father's love for us

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom (REPEAT)

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