Monday, February 28, 2005

Communicating Effectively with INFJs

If you experience difficulties getting through to me, perhaps you might have used a communication method that does not work well with me. Maybe that it why a few folks seem to feel awfully frustrated trying to talk to me?

My MBTI profile is that of INFJ. This means that I have preference for Introversion, Intuition, Feeling and Judging.

To find out more about MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), please check out these webpages:
So I shall attempt to share with you about ways to communicate more effectively with INFJs, people whose MBTI profile is "INFJ". The materials are extracted from Donna Dunning's Introduction to Type and Communication. You may see if it helps you communicate better with INFJs.

  • Be sincere, genuine, affirming, appreciative and supportive
  • Recognise their values and contribution, and listen carefully to their insights
  • Give them broad, conceptual information and quiet, uninterrupted time to process it
  • Relate facts and details to ideals and possibilities; show how people will be affected
  • Share your vision and highlight ideas and insights
  • Share your values and the personal meaning behind the data
  • Use abstract language and be willing to think outside the box
  • Show them alternative perspectives
  • Give feedback as early as possible when working on projects or making plans
  • Present complex challenges that will be meaningful and valuable

  • Come across as overly critical or judgmental
  • Expect them to change their minds quickly or give an immediate response
  • Surprise them or introduce change without providing an overview and rationale
  • Share only part of the information or ask them to take a quick look at something
  • Provide feedback when they have completed planning or are implementing a project
  • Focus on unimportant details or routine matters
  • Expect or ask for immediate buy-in for a new idea
  • Tell them specifics or give them details about how to do something
  • Focus on the logical implications at the expense of the people and values involved
  • Concentrate mainly on the short-term, immediate situation

If you would like to get an assessment of your MBTI profile, you may like to check out: I understand that there is a fee though for the online assessment.

By the way, yours truly is an accredited administrator of MBTI, which means that I am qualified to administer the MBTI inventory and interpret the results.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Research task: Qatar Airways

With broadband internet connection, it did not seem too difficult to help a friend browse for information on Qatar Airways, so I did.

By the way, other than the information that is already on the Qatar Airways' official website, do you happen to know anything else about Qatar Airways?

Also, do any of you happen to have travelled on Qatar Airways before? Care to share your experience?

Do you happen to know of anyone who works in Qatar Airways (especially as a Cabin crew)? I would like to know how it could be like to work for this airline.

Yours truly is trying to gather as much information about Qatar Airways, and some information about the country of Qatar. Yes, it sounds like a research project that I have taken up. My dateline is this Tuesday, before the clock hits midnight and time passes to the following day. Help from reliable informants will be most appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Testing how I deal with adversity?

There was orchestra rehearsal this afternoon at 2 p.m. I wonder if it was meant to be a scheme to test how I deal with adversity, but I think I had met with one today.

I reached the rehearsal venue at about 1.30 p.m., and the technician had just opened the doors of the rehearsal venue. Practising to show gratitude, I to a short moment to thank him for opening the doors.

Then I proceeded to the storage room which was nearby. When I saw there were only two double basses left in the room (one of them was my regular orchestra double bass whose sound-post had fallen on the day of the last rehearsal), I nearly wanted to scream in anguish. Anyway, I didn't. The best thing to do in that kind of adverse situation was to stay composed and calm.

If things had gone on smoothly, I should be seeing eight double basses in the storage room. For today's rehearsal, we are expecting four double bassists. With only two double basses left, one of them which is not in working condition, I saw that we had only one double bass left for today's orchestra rehearsal. This meant we are short of three double basses for today's rehearsals!

So I gave a phone call to the ex-logistic officer, RX, to ask if one of the seniors, YH, would be returning one of the double basses that she had loaned. It was good news to know that YH would be returning one double bass today, and should reach before 2 p.m.

It was not too difficult to solve the mystery of the missing double basses. I reasoned that the Chinese orchestra had taken the double basses to another rehearsal venue (the cultural centre). I checked with RX over the phone to find out if the Chinese orchestra has informed us (the Symphony Orchestra) that they would be using the double basses this afternoon. She replied she was not informed. Yet, it was no surprise that the Chinese orchestra could have taken the double basses. Who else?

In actually fact, the double basses are assets under the Symphony Orchestra. Yet, I wonder if it was due to misinformation, it seems that the folks in the Chinese orchestra perceived that the double basses were shared between Symphony Orchestra, the Chinese orchestra and other musical groups under the same cultural organisation. I just wished that the folks in the Chinese orchestra could have at least kept us informed of the exact dates, and the exact number of double basses that they would need. Then, at least in the event that we have rehearsals on the same time, we could have come up with suitable contingency plans to ensure that the Symphony Orchestra has enough number of double basses. This afternoon, I had only a response time of last than half an hour before the rehearsals to try to find enough double basses!

How frustrating! Whatever it was, I had to remain calm to respond more appropriately.

I happened to have the phone number of one of the double bassists from the Chinese orchestra, so I called him on the phone. Yes, I was right, the Chinese orchestra had taken six of the double basses. I was informed that the Chinese orchestra has a rehearsal starting from 2 p.m. too!

I felt my patience was tested, but out of good-will, I tried to be nice. I decided not to spend too much time arguing over who was right or wrong. The Chinese orchestra will be having its public concert next Sunday, and that was a fact. My main objective was just to find enough double basses for this afternoon's rehearsals.

Mustering all the patience that had remained, I asked the double bassist from the Chinese orchestra if all the six double bassists from the Chinese orchestra would come for their rehearsal this afternoon. I had to be frank that we should have at least four players. He told me he had five confirmed players for the rehearsal this afternoon. In my mind, I reckon that this would mean I could outrightly ask to have one of the double basses. Afterall, they took six double basses but had only one confirmed players, at least for today. That meant one spare double bass. Luckily, the double bassists from the Chinese orchestra had been gentlemanly to agree to my request. If not, I do not know what advocacy skills I would have employed just to lay my hands on that sixth double bass.

One more double bass found. The next problem was the transport. In order to get that particular spare double bass from the Chinese orchestra, we would have to travel to the cultural centre which was quite a fair distance from our orchestra's rehearsal venue. If I had chosen to walk there and to walk back, it would have taken me more than half an hour and a lot of energy. Thank goodness that RX was smart enough to suggest that YH might be able to help since she was driving today.

YH's very nice, she agreed. YH had a double bass in her car, the one that she had loaned some months ago and that she wanted to return today. I helped her to put that double bass to the stage of our rehearsal venue, then YH and myself proceeded to the cultural centre to get that double bass from the Chinese orchestra.

The carpark of the cultural centre was under renovation, and I was not familiar with the way to drive in to the backstage without bypassing that carpark. The backstage was where the double bass was kept. RX called, and we asked for directions to get there. Eventually, we were there. The double bassist from the Chinese orchestra whom I had spoke to earlier over the phone was nice enough to tell me which was the right double bass to take. We took it and a cello (upon RX's request), and then hurried back on YH's car for the Symphony Orchestra's rehearsals.

Prior to that, I had spoken to my stand partner over the phone to tell her what was going on, and asked if she could help with the setting up over at the rehearsal venue. I could trust her with that, so one worry is down.

So by about 2.20 p.m., I reached the rehearsal venue with YH. We had three double basses which are in reasonable working order to rehearse. Thank goodness that YH was around. She was not here to rehearse, she was merely here to return the double bass. I was grateful that she took time to help with the transportation. Also, thank goodness RX was patient enough to respond to my calls for assistance. I tend to get demanding at times.

Earlier, before I left with YH for the cultural centre, I had called one of our orchestra's double bassists too and asked if he could get hold of a double bass from the hall of residence that he was staying in. He said he would try to ask. It was only much later (after 3 p.m) that I got a message from him to inform me that he did not manage to get hold of another double bass. At the same time, he had to be quite late for rehearsals today, so he informed that he would have to give the rehearsal a miss.

So we did have enough double basses for all the three double bassists (including myself) who had turned up for today's rehearsal. I keep my fingers crossed that I do not have to be tested with another similar adverse situation again.

This is a strange thought, but I feel I have been getting quite a fair bit of tests from life itself lately. Tests that test my patience. I would have rather do without. To console myself, I shall think that these tests are meant to help make me stronger, more resilient, and wiser. Anyway, one test down today. I had managed to survive from the test with the help of folks like RX, YH, my stand partner etc. Thank goodness.

Scales: What's playing today?

In case I have readers who are interested to know my progress where the practising of scales is concerned, here is an update:

This morning, I practised the E Major and c# minor scales on the double bass. There is still room improvement, yet I am delighted that I seem to have overcome quite a fair bit of my inertia of playing scales. I hope playing scales will help improve my playing somehow.

Twinkling star

I haven't heard from one of my dear friends for a while ever since she started working in a new company. Then in jest, I started singing to myself this tune: "Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder how you are?".

Anyway, my friend sent me a "sms" (short-message system) via the mobile last night and it was nice to know that she is fine.

I think I better watch my words here. I think she may read my blog from time to time? Thank goodness I have nothing bad at all to say about her. Anyway, she is a very nice lady and a good friend. Wishing her all the best at her new job.


By the way, does anyone use e-messenger? What do I do if I find logging into e-messenger too slow? I have been surviving on e-messenger for the past month ever since the MSN software fails to work on my personal computer.

Final day of "Botero in Singapore"

Botero's "Woman with Mirror", Bronze, 1987. Exhibited at Suntec City, Singapore, till 27 Feb 2005. Posted by Hello

Today is the final day of "Botero in Singapore". I personally prefer the Rodin's exhibition that was held a few years ago in Singapore Art Museum more than the Botero's exhibition. I actually went to visited the Rodin's exhibition more than 7 times. Anyway, Botero's works are still worth our time to view and appreciate. Final call.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Just sharing

CHIJMES, Singapore. This was taken on 23 Feb 2005 when I was having dinner at the Bobby's Rubino with my friend. I am posting just to share this photograph. Posted by Hello

The weather is making me ill

I shall make this post a short one, for I am not feeling quite well.

The weather in Singapore has been pretty hot and dry lately. Daytime temperatures can rise to as high as 34 degress Celsius. There was hardly much rain in the month of February this year. As a result of the dry and hot weather, there have been many occurences of bush fires.

Of course, bush fires releases smoke and carbon into the air. One thing for sure, my nose is sensitive to smoke and carbon ashes, and I tend to cough more badly when the air around me contains too much carbon and smoke. I could only try to avoid being outdoors, but I must say that it would make me feel suffocated if I were to stay too long indoors.

I think I would need to practise more patience nowadays. The weather and those upsetting things that have happened recently tend to get on my nerves.

Friday, February 25, 2005

I am feeling upset

I am feeling upset. This evening we had evening rehearsals. I took out the double bass that I would usually use at the orchestra. This double bass does not belong to me, but I have been playing on it for all the rehearsals since mid last year.

I don't like the way that the orchestra's double basses are being kept in the temporary storage rooms. There is no proper double bass case or padded bag to store the double basses in. I was already feeling pretty upset that the bridge of the double bass that I have been playing on has been slightly knocked out of its position. I also felt pretty unpleased that the seams of a few of the other double basses have split opened, probably due to lack of protection from the external environment.

The thing that most upsets me today is that the sound-post of that double bass that I was playing on came off. Since I have no skills nor the right tools to repair it, I could not play on my usual double bass this evening. I am missing it. In order that I do not miss this evening's rehearsal, I played on another double bass this evening. However, it took quite a while to adjust to it. This other double bass that I played this evening just felt so different from the double bass that I have been playing on. I bet my intonation more terrible than usual for this evening's rehearsal.

I am feeling very upset over this matter, and the best way to console me is to help get my usual double bass repaired and sounding nice like it has used to be. I keep my fingers crossed that the luthier do a good job to get it nicely repaired.

Meantime, please beware. I can act quite nastily when I am upset.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Bb major and g minor scales work-out

After the phone conversation with Mystic, I took some time to prepare to practise on the double bass. My instrument is at least 2 metres tall, and it took me sometime to carry it to a part of my home where there is a CD player. I had wanted to play the CD on which my piano accompaniment was recorded on.

I practised the Bb major and g minor scales tonight. Playing scales did not seem as difficult as it used to be.

After playing the two scales, I took a break from practising. Afterwhich, I went back to attempt to practise to get the fingerings for a section from the first movement of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony.

Eventually, after realising it was pretty late (11.15 p.m.), I called practice a day.

Craving for positive strokes

Earlier this evening, I spoke to my friend, Mystic, over the phone. During the phone conversation, the theme about receiving positive strokes came through. Oh yes, I think I have a craving for positive strokes. Perhaps I have a lack of such strokes, so I have been craving for more due to deprivation?

For me, the concept of "strokes" is associated very closely with one of the key ideas of Transactional Analysis. Strokes as I understand, are units of interpersonal recognition, needed for people to survive and thrive.

For example, receiving a comment that pays me a compliment is a positive stroke. An example of a positive stroke that I have received today was a compliment from a colleague who saw that I had a new background on my office's computer's desktop. She said it looked nice, and knowing that I was trying to learn to take nice photographs, she asked if I had taken that picture. Of course, I gladly told her that I did. You bet there was a smile on my face then.

Of course, strokes can also be negative in nature. Through my work as a social worker, I am aware of children who misbehave just in order to get scoldings from their parents. Scoldings are still forms of interpersonal recognition, and some children would rather get scoldings than to get absolutely no attention at all from their parents. The idea here is that getting a negative stroke is far better than getting no stroke at all. If a positive stroke cannot be attained, then the next best thing is negative stroke. Last on the list is to have no stroke at all.

I must emphasise that I am craving for positive strokes. Positive strokes feel nicer to receive than negative strokes. So I shall muster the courage to ask if you could give me positive strokes genuinely?

Here's an outright appeal for positive strokes. Please give me some genuine compliments, or encouragement. Keep them coming in. Thank you very much in advance.

(Haha... I must highlight that I am not desperate, I am just craving for positive strokes.)

Singing horses

I chanced upon a Flash application with singing horses when I was reading Jeanette's blog, and it was nice to get the horses singing. Thanks to Jeanette for the link.

Here is the site with the singing horses:

You would have to click on the horses to get them to sing. To get a horse to stop singing, click on it again. Somehow, all these clicking makes me feel as if I am a conductor of a choir of horses.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Caught the Fireworks

I was with Mystic this evening, and at about 9.25 p.m., I requested if we could walk towards the direction of Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay. We decided not to take the underground walkways that led to the Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay. Instead, we took the path that required us to walk on the ground level.

At 9.30 p.m. sharp, we were nearby the War Memorial Park, I excitely shouted "Look fireworks". I had read about the fireworks earlier this morning in the Chinese newspapers but somehow it did not came to my mind that I could catch it. I had not quite planned to meet Mystic tonight. We had only confirmed our meeting earlier this morning. But we did not even plan to catch the fireworks, it just happened to display itself right in front of us at 9.30 p.m. this evening. We found a spot nearby to view the firework display seated down.

Tonight was Yuan Xiao and the organiser of the Singapore River Hongbao has arranged for a firework display on this very night. According to the newspapers, the firework display is to last for about 8 minutes. In Singapore, firework displays are considered comparatively rare treats. As such, the folks are generally willing to stop whatever they are doing to catch a firework display should they encounter one. We were one of those, at least, I was one of those folks. The fireworks looked nice, and it was with good luck that myself and Mystic had managed to catch it.

After enjoying the firework display, we headed towards Esplanade. All I had wanted was to enjoy the nice air-conditioning of the place. I love the spaciousness of the Esplanade, and that could have motivated me to request to go there.

Moving time back before 9.30 p.m., earlier in the evening, I met Mystic. Mystic had emailed her feedback regarding the rebonding service that she have had a few days ago to the hair-salon in concern, and was requested to go down the salon. I provided her with company. I just hope Mystic felt more attended to by the salon's Operations Manager. For now, I could only empathise with the burn that she had on her scalp from the rebonding and the previous poor service she had met with from the hair-stylist.

After that, we left for Bobby Rubino's. Mystic had to met someone there so I obliged. Perhaps out of goodwill, Mystic gave a treat to dinner for this evening. Probably, it was her way to thank a friend for keeping her company? Though I must emphasise that I would have prefer to pay for my share. Anyway, hopefully she gets one of her goals fulfilled soon, so that I could have an excuse to return her a treat.

Dinner at Bobby Rubino's was nice although the weather was rather hot and humid, and we were seated outdoors exposed to the ills from occasional cigarette smoke. Service was great, and the food was relatively good. I did not like the salads and coleslaw, but the ribs, the rice, the soup and the steak were adequately good. I think I had a different taste for food as compared to Mystic, she seemed to give the food higher ratings than I did. Anyway, I have an infamous reputation for being an awfully critical critic of food. Whatever it is, I thank Mystic for the treat. I hope she would work steadily towards her goals.

15th day of Chinese New Year

I have mentioned in one of my previous posts that the Chinese traditionally celebrates Chinese New Year (otherwise known as the "Spring Festival") over a period of 15 days. Today is the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, and the festival culminates with the celebration of "Yuan Xiao", the first full moon of the new year of the lunar calendar.

According to my source titled Chinese Customs and Festivals in Singapore (published by the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, 1989), "Yuan Xiao" is also known as the "lantern festival" because of the old practice of having colourful lantern displays and processions dating back to the Tang dynasty. "Yuan Xiao" also has special significance for those in love because the full moon that occurs on this night is associated, by the Chinese, with romance and matrimony.

Enough said, I just hope this short post about Yuan Xiao would help give you a brief idea about how Chinese celebrates the Chinese New Year on the 15th day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Focused on practising

This evening, I was not supposed to be on duty, but I had scheduled for a night session with my clients. In the end, the session had to be postponed to another evening. As such, I left for home after having dinner at my workplace.

At home, I found myself playing on the double bass eventually. The weather earlier this evening was rather hot, but I felt my mood tonight was definitely better than last night.

My double bass did not sound ideal this evening. It gave a rattling sound at its scroll , and I have yet to figure out what has caused the undesired rattling. Anyway, I tried to stay focused on practising the D major scales and the B minor scales. It remained to be quite a fun experience trying to practise scales with accompaniment. I still needed more practice to perfect some parts. Anyway, playing scales has been more pleasant lately, and I have managed to play the D major scales and B minor scales reasonably alright.

After practising the scales, I practised Badinerie from Bach's Suite No. 2. Basically, my goal was to familiarise myself with the fingerings for this piece of music, so that the fingerings would come naturally even when I have to play this piece at a much faster tempo. Good articulation isn't easy to achieve at the actual tempo, so I tried to make practice more manageble by working out my right-hand's (the hand that holds the bow) articulation at a slower tempo. My goal was simply to achieve as clear articulation as possible with the right hand, and get the right hand used to all those strings-crossing in the various passages.

Hopefully, these short but focused practises could help me play better with the orchestra. The conductor seemed to pay comparatively more attention on the cellos and double basses for this section from Bach's Suite No. 2. I just hope that practising would help me manage better with the pressure from the conductor. Somehow, quality practice has the power of endowing the player with a greater confidence. With confidence, playing seems to usually sound better.

Botero in Singapore

Dancers, Bronze, 2001 Posted by Hello

Botero in Singapore, the blockbuster exhibition which features works by world-renowned Colombian artist, Fernando Botero, will be held till 27 Feb 2005. Do consider checking it out.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Too much smoke in the air

I read from the news that the weather has been very hot of late. The recent heat wave has triggered a series of bush fires at various parts of the Singapore island. Right now, as I am typing this post, I could still smell the burning smell of smoke in the air. Perhaps my nose is extremely sensitive to carbon ashes in the air.

Not a good day, I am beginning to miss the fresh air. About a few hours ago, I felt I was having symptoms of heat stroke, so I tried taking more water in hope of relieving the symptoms. My motivations to practise on my instrument was badly affected. I am feeling sad that I have no consolation from practising to humour me today. Yet, I fear I have no focused concentration today to do my instrument justice. Sullen me. Blame it all on the smoke, if this should help make me feel better.

Maybe tomorrow may be better, I hope?

Invitation to the Dances

The orchestra that I am playing in will be having a public performance soon. You are cordially invited to this performance, especially if you happen to be in this part of the world that I reside in on that day.

Here are the details:

Wednesday, 9 March 2005, 6.30 pm
University Cultural Centre Foyer Level 1, National University of Singapore

The programme is as follow:

J.S. Bach Suite no.2
Sibelius Valse Triste
Saint-Saëns Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso
Tchaikovsky Symphony no.5
I. Andante - Allegro con anima

Yes, admittedly with the performance held from 6.30 p.m., it can be quite an inconvenience to most friends who are working. It is a working day and most people work till 5.30 p.m. at least, and it seems to take most folks quite a while to travel to the venue of the performance. I will actually have to either take time-off or take leave from work just to play for this performance.

Anyway, since I have not much control over the turnout for the performance, I shall not worry much about it. Meantime, I shall just enjoy practising and rehearsing for the performance.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Theatres by the Bay

Theatres by the Bay (Esplanade) Posted by Hello

More photos are available at

More fun practising scales

It seemed to be more fun practising scales with "accompaniment".

Earlier this morning, I tried to play scales on the double bass. This time round, I have the benefit of having an accompaniment. For some reasons, I tend to sound more in tune when I play scales with an acompaniment. It is probably because I could counter-check my intonation against that of the accompaniment.

My accompaniment was a recorded piano accompaniment, and I got it to work with me by playing it on my PC's CD player. I played the C major and A minor scales, and it has been more fun and interesting to play with accompaniment. Somehow, it reminded me of my scales lessons with my double bass tutor. I tend to play scales better during his lessons than when I practise alone. This is probably so because he would usually play on the piano along with me when we practise scales.

Now, I have gotten myself an "accompanist" who will accompany me when I play scales. The best part is I can rewind, fast forward and pause whenever necessary without feeling that I have caused any inconvenience to my accompanist. Thanks to the Don Hermann's Accompanied Rudiments Course, I get to play scales on the double bass in a more interesting way.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The roof top. Esplanade. Posted by Hello

Not the best day to be out

At about close to 1 p.m. this afternoon, the skies looked good for photography. Yet, the weather was terribly hot and scorching. Anyway, I decided to get myself out of my home to take some photographs since the skies do seem to look good. There was a fair amount of clouds in the skies, and the colour of the skies was of a nice azure blue. This, was at least for the earlier part of the afternoon.

For me, the best thing about the hot weather is that there will be less people getting themselves outdoors and out in the sun. I love having lots of spaces to myself. I love being away from the crowds. At the same time, I have a clear preference to just take photographs of landscape, buildings and sceneries rather than people. The hot weather seemed to have helped me with this preference of mine. When I was up the roof top of the Esplanade, there were only a few folks up there. The folks must have been pretty put off by the heat from the hostile weather. The last time when I was there, there were so many people at the roof top that I could hardly take a single picture without having a human being in it.

However, at about 4 p.m., the colour of the skies turned rather pale and dull. Somehow, the skies seemed to be clouded with a thin layer of smoke-like particles. I could only make the best out of what was available, although I realised that I ended up taking less photographs after 4 p.m.

The weather has certainly been not quite pleasant today, but when I saw the photographs, I was quite consoled that at least a few of them turned out fine.

Singapore Budget 2005

While I was busy writing social reports yesterday, the Singapore Budget 2005 was released. As fas as I had understood, the annual Singapore Government Budget is prepared on a financial year basis. Usually every year, before the start of the financial year, the Minister of Finance would present the annual budget that has been approved by the Cabinet to the Parliament.

I was surfing the official website and the speeches for Budget 2005 seem to be of considerable length. To keep myself current, I shall try to read about the budget that had been presented and think about their implications. Earlier this morning, I had read a concise report about the Singapore Budget 2005 on one of the Chinese newspapers. Anyway, I figured I shall not do any reading at this moment, I am in not mood for reading. The weather today has been quite hot despite the rain yesterday.

Not made to live like an owl

I woke up pretty late this morning. This is unusual for I consider myself quite an early-riser, at least when I compare myself to most of my peers.

Please allow me to account to my readers what has led me to miss writing a post on 18 Feb 2005. It is all because of me having a long and tiring day yesterday.

It may be rather unbelievable that I could still get tired from working in the office even though I did not schedule to see any client yesterday. Yesterday, I was the staff-in-charge of handling all enquiries that the centre has. All professional staff, social work assistant and programme coordinator of our centre will be rostered to handle enquiries. The task is simply to attend to all walk-ins, phone calls, letters and so forth that enquires about our centre's services.

On a few occassions, people with suicidal tendencies may walk-in to our centre. On those occassions, the professional staff will attend to him/ her and offer the necessary consultation and counselling. At the same time, we will assess the degree of risk that he/ she may commit suicide, and try to explore possible support and resources to provide him/ her with support through the difficult period.

Yesterday was considered not-too-busy a day for there were only two enquiries. However, I still found myself quite bogged down with lots of work. That was because I found myself swamped with paper work. I had at least a few social reports to write. A social report basically gives an overview of the background of a client and a family, the strengths and risk factors present in the case, the social worker's assessment of the situation and the social worker's recommendations. This kind of report is written usually when social workers wish to refer a client to an external organisation for services and assistances. To address any resistance from the client, I find it helpful to discuss the nature of the referral and seek consent from the client before I make the referral.

Social reports can be quite demanding but I quite enjoy the process of writing. I type the social reports for I do not have the luxury to engage a secretary. Anyway, typing is fine for me. The only thing I have to be aware of is to ensure that I get reasonable breaks every now and then from the use of the computer or else I will start to feel drained very easily.

Anyway, perhaps the more demanding thing was that there were some system issues to be resolved with the new case-management application system that our professionals are using. We have been given directions to switch to the use of this new system, and I must say we are among the pioneers in the industry to use this new application system. One of my colleagues and myself have been tasked to implement the use of the system. Apparently, there are still areas of improvements, and I found myself spending a large part of my entire morning yesterday on discussing with my colleague to explore ways to rectify the problems and on writing emails to give feedback and suggestions to the system provider. We had to resort to writing for no one was available to answer our calls.

Here, I shall put an end to describing my long and tiring workday. Work can drain one if one does not find ways to recharge. I am glad that I have found relief in playing music. Doing so helps me recharge. In the evening, I went for orchestra rehearsal right after work.

We only rehearsed the first movement of the Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony last night. I sensed that we are becoming more aware of what is actually going on in this movement. The conductor tried to highlight the musical themes that exist at various parts of the movement, and I found it to be helpful in helping me to better appreciate the relationships between various instruments.

At the same time, I did not quite like the lighting at the rehearsal theatre. There was limited light shone on my scores, but there was light glaring at me from the other direction. It made reading of the scores rather uneasy. Things got rather bad at one point in time, for I misread and played a F sharp for one of the notes when it was actually a G sharp. Thank goodness that after hearing myself sounding out of tune with the rest, I realised my mistake and corrected. Maybe I will need to get myself a reading light?

After rehearsals, it was unusual that I went for supper. I supposed I was more open to go for supper because I did not have to work the next day. Emily and Dinah, the other double bassists in my section, initiated the supper and we had supper at the Mac Donalds restaurant at Clementi. Guanyu, the trumpeter was also part of the "supper team".

I was rather impressed, and quite amused, by the outward expression of spontaneity by these three gals, particularly Dinah, during the supper. These witty young ladies sure have interesting ways to keep themselves entertained during supper. Dinah greatly amused me with her very literal (possibly an intentionally one) translation of English texts to Mandarin.

Even if my world is a spontaneous one, it is a private one. While I do experience many moments of spontaniety, I do not usually express them out. In addition, I realised that by that time of the night, I have withdrawn to my inner world and would appear to be quite unparticipative. I would not be surprised if I had looked comparatively out of place with the three young ladies in the supper team. By 11 p.m. last night, I was feeling so tired to truly participate with the outside world. I could merely muster patience to wait for the other ladies to finish their supper.

After supper, I took a bus home. By the time I reached home, I was too tired to do anything constructive except for sleep.

I think I am not made to live like an owl for I realised that I do not function well at late hours of the night. Owls are nocturnal birds. Yet, for those who have known me well, they would never have associated me with the word "nocturnal".

This has been a long post. If it has made you feel a little tired after reading, it was intentional. In that way, you may better experience how tired I would usually feel by the late hours.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

9th day of Chinese New Year

Today is the 9th day of the Chinese New Year. It has been busy at the workplace for me. Thank goodness that there seems no more irritating and unnecessary pop-up for me now.

In the afternoon, my colleagues and I went for lunch. When we went to the food centre (we locals call it "hawker centre") for lunch, most of the Chinese food stalls were closed. In the end, we realised that many of the stall vendors are celebrating the birthday of the Jade Emperor, commonly known by Chinese as "Tian Gong" (The God of Heaven). He must have been a very important god to have so many stall vendors take the day off to celebrate his birthday, I thought to myself.

It is not difficult for anyone to deduce that I do not quite know the importance of the Jade Emperor even though I am a Chinese. In order to enlighten myself, I did a little bit of research using the internet.

I found out that The Jade Emperor is one of the most important Chinese deities. He is important to both the Taoist and Buddhist traditions. Perhaps that explains why I do not know much about him, I am not a believer of either Taoism or Buddhism.

One of my sources,
revealed to me that on the eighth day of the Chinese New Year, families of believers would have dinner together. Then at midnight they will pray to Tian Gong. On the Jade Emperor's birthday, the ninth day of the New Year, special sacrifices of food such as pork, chicken and duck are placed before his image.

So, I have learnt a little more about Tian Gong today. I used to only know that he was considered one of the most important Chinese deities and that was about all I had knew about him in the past. Anyway, I have my sources to thank for the slight improvement in my knowledge about the Jade Emperor.

Some sources are:

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Switched to Firefox

With the advice from my dear brother, I decided to switch to using Mozilla Firefox instead of Internet Explorer. I decided to do the switch even when I am at my work-place. So this morning, I installed Mozilla Firefox on my work-place PC.

I have had enough of the spywares! The Internet Explorer software at my home seems crazy! I can't even log in to using Internet Explorer at home. But on the same computer, I could use Mozilla Firefox to log in to the hotmail site.

I was told that Mozilla Firefox allows one to browse faster, more safely and more efficiently than with any other browser. So far, it did proved to be faster and more efficiently.

The only complaint that I have is that somehow I could not install the latest Java Runtime Environment (JRE) plugins at all to support me to view certain websites using Mozilla Firefox. I could only install the next latest of the JRE plugins. There is this particular page that I need to visit regularly, and somehow I have difficulties clicking on certain features found on that webpage if I were to use Mozilla Firefox rather than Internet Explorer.

If this can be resolved, Mozilla Firefox will seem perfect and I will be fully sold to the idea of encouraging everyone to switch to Mozilla Firefox.

Thanks Jeanette

In my post last night, I wrote about how frustrating it has been for me to have my PC at my workplace infected with spywares.

Thanks to Jeanette for her very helpful link, I have managed to quarantine and remove those irritating spywares. The link led me to download the Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition for free, and I found it quite effective in addressing the problem that I was facing. At least I have no more irritating pop-ups that alerts me with messages like "Your PC may be infected", and I no longer have my home-page reset to some unknown sites without my permission.

Thank you very much for your help, Jeanette. I appreciate it.

At the same time, I would like to give lots of credits to whoever has came up with Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition. It seems to have solve much of my woes. Thanks for sharing the application with the web community.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

60th Anniversary of the end of WWII

Singapore is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Times have past and it has been 60 years since the end of the Japanese Occupation in Singapore. I have came across a website about how Singapore is commerating this special anniversary:

Earlier this morning, I understand that a memorial service has taken place at the War Memorial Park.

It looks like there are going to be several interesting events and activities lining up later this year to commemorate the special anniversary. I am quite looking forward to opening of the Labrador Tunnels at Labrador Park. For some reasons, I have developed an interest in WWII history that involved this part of the world.

If you are in Singapore and wish to go for one of the tours, I will strongly recommend that you go for The Battlefield Tour and the Changi World War II. I have attended these tours and I can say that they are enjoyable and very informative. The materials that the tour guides share are very well-researched, and are well-presented in ways that are fit even for the lay-person.

Meantime, I shall keep my fingers crossed that I will get a chance to visit the real Changi Murals. I have been wanting to visit, but the place is hardly opened to the public. In fact, it is a restricted area and I remember that permission from the Singapore Armed Forces has to be sought before one could visit the murals. The next thing is that if it were to be opened to the public, that would usually be a regular working day during working hours. I hope my leave application would be approved when the place is opened to the public.

For now, do check out

This is Madness

Spywares and Ad-wares have been such nuisances. For reasons unknown, my personal computer at my work place has been infected with Trojan Horse. This appears to be a recent infection. Someone from the computer company gave me instructions to delete the Trojan Horse virus using the Norton Anti-virus software.

What is more is that my PC at the work place has also been infected with Trojan Horse. Those spywares are slowing my PC down considerably, and I have difficulties gaining access to sites such as and the

It is also very irritating to have pop-ups constantly popping up to give me messages such as "Your PC may be infected with spywares" and the likes. The slowing down of my PC, the irritating pop-ups have made me feel very mad for the entire day. I have no clue how to resolve this frustrating computer-related issue.

Could someone please enlighten me how I could remove those irritating spywares? Preferably using a method that does not involve any cost. Thank you in advance.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day

Today's 14th Feb, and I remembered reading about the origins of Valentine's Day on the book titled The Origins of Everyday Things published by Reader's Digest.

Let me attempt to summarise the origins of Valentine's Day from this book even though I profess that I am no expert at summarising. At some point, I shall extract directly from the article from the book. Here goes:

Spring time has been associated with the season of love. This is the time when animals usually mate. In ancient Rome, people celebrated the festival of Lupercalia on 15 Feb. In general, the ancients viewed the Lupercalia as a purification and fertility rite.

Around the 4th century, the Church initiated the festival of St Valentine's Day on 14 Feb to replace the heathen nature of the rites performed during Lupercalia. From 13th century a set of customs developed around the festival. Women who were not partnered could be won in the Valentine lottery. Luck, accident and anonymity characterised the spirit of the festival. These resulted in the traditional belief that the first person seen on 14 Feb would be one's love for the rest of the the year.

Red roses were first given as a St Valentine's Day gift in 18th-century France, in imitation of Louis XVI's tokens of love to his queen.

For more about Valentine's Day, you may wish to pick up and read The Origins of Everyday Things. It's quite interesting to read.

On Valentine's Day today, I spent quite a fair bit of my evening time with my "husband", the double bass. Somehow there is a momentum for practising on the instrument for the past few days. I managed to practise that difficult section from the Bach's Suite No. 2, I hope I could play it with greater ease the next rehearsal.

It can be quite stressful to be the principal of the section. The conductor's eyes are on the principal if the section fails to play well. The rest of the section will follow the principal, so the principal better lead the section well. The audience will very often judge the calibre of the section based on the calibre of the principal. What great responsibility. I have learnt that perhaps the best and most effective way to relax even when one is the principal player, is to practice, practice and practice until playing becomes fun and almost effortless. So, I guess I have to take the lead to practice. It is admittedly not quite easy to find time to practice regularly. Afterall, my profession is in social work, not music.

Whatever it is, I have had quite a satisfying time practising on my instrument this evening.

By the way, I could say that I have received quite a good Valentine's Day gift tonight, delivered by the efficient UPS. I paid for the gift though, but it still delighted me nevertheless for I have been waiting for it for quite a while.

I had ordered the educational materials about a month ago, but was told that one of them was out-of-stock. As such, I had to wait till recently for the stock to come in before I could get it delivered for me all the way from Southern California to Singapore. Anyway, Lemur Music, which I have always been ordering my double bass related music scores from, have always been very efficient. Beside, I already knew that the item was out-of-stock at my time of order, but I still went ahead to order it. To make myself happy, I shall trust that Lemur Music has probably tried to rush my order to me as fast as it could. It probably did. When I checked out its site, that item remains out-of-stock.

Anyway, hope your Valentine's Day has been pleasant.

My health seems to be failing

The title of this post suggests how things seem to be feeling on my side. The cough that has been plaguing me for quite a long time seems to be getting worse lately. I am not too sure why.

When I last saw the specialist at the respiratory medicine department in August last year, I was told that my lungs and respiratory system were functioning fine. Asthma was ruled out. Yet, the specialist figured that my cough appeared to be related to my nose and throat being especially sensitive to certain things. However, they could not point outwhat I was exactly sensitive to.

I did manage to figure out certain things do seem to trigger the cough to start. These are: smoke, cigarette smoke, the pungent smell from certain detergent (which explains why I can hardly be found at the detergent section of any supermarket), cold drinks, too much ice-cream, certain spicy food etc.

I wonder what has triggered the cough that I have been having recently. I ain't sure if it has to do with me totally cutting down on Flixonase. Flixonase is a nasal spray and I was given this prescription to reduce my nose from being so sensitive. Well, to some extent, it did help a bit, but I don't like steroids! Anyway, I would like to attribute my recent worsening in my coughing to the poor air, the bad weather, and the stressful lifestyle.

Taking about stressful lifestyle, I have my fair share of headaches this afternoon. I wish that they could keep themselves away from me. Anyway, I was glad that the headaches subsided by the time I reached home. I have planned to practise on my instrument tonight, and headaches will spoil the plan. I guess my instrument has somehow got to know my plans, and have very wisely persuaded the headaches to go away?

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Sunday walk

I realised that for the past three Sundays, I have made it a point to take some time to do some walking.

Firstly, I do not have to work on Sundays. Secondly, it is an excuse to be away from home. There is not much thing to do at home, except for playing the double bass. However, my two brothers will usually wake up very late on Sundays and it will not be polite to play the double bass while they are sleeping. Thirdly, my father will usually be at home on Sundays, and for goodness sake, he will turn on the TV or the radio awfully loud most of the time. I hate noises, they are distracting when I am practising.

Yet, I have not quite the mood for a walk this morning. There was orchestra rehearsal in the afternoon, and I did not quite wish to carry my double bass bow and bow case around the streets.

For today's rehearsal, we played the first movement of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. The Bach's Suite No. 2 was pretty challenging to be played on the double bass given its rather fast tempo. Needing more practice to play better.

After rehearsals, I decided to travel to Orchard Road. First and most importantly, I intended to have dinner there. Next, I decided that it would be nice to have a short walk along Orchard Road after dinner. So I did. It was not quite a good choice to walk along Orchard Road for Orchard Road was pretty crowded today. I merely walked some distances, not as much as I had covered for the past Sundays. Eventually, I landed up at the Kinokuniya bookstore located within the vicinity. There seemed to be quite a number of interesting books at the bookstore, but I guess I shall try to see if I could borrow a few of these books the next time I were to be at the library. I was not quite in the mood to purchase books today.

Whatever it is, I did manage to get my Sunday walk afterall.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Three sessions today

It is fourth day of Chinese New Year, and I was working. Since it is Saturday, my working hours for the day was from 8.45 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Including myself, there were only three staff members on duty in the office today. This is the usual staff strength on every Saturday ever since the office decided that each staff will only work one Saturday per month.

I was not supposed to be on duty, but I agreed to swop with one of my colleagues so that she could enjoy a long weekend. She was one of the folks who took leave yesterday. She took time-off on the eve of Chinese New Year. If you were ever interested to count the days that she was free from work, this would be from 8 to 13 Feb. Anyway, I gladly swop with her since I do not have much plans to visit anyone else after the second day of Chinese New Year. I am not quite in the mood for Chinese New Year celebration either.

I was the only Chinese in the office today. The two other colleagues who were on duty were Malays. Like myself, they were not supposed to be rostered for work today, but they swopped with other colleagues who were Chinese.

Jokingly, I could say that I must have been the most workaholic Chinese in the office. The facts seem to support this statement of mine. Firstly, I was the only Chinese on the fourth day of the Chinese New Year. Next, within a span of three hours and fifteen minutes this morning, I had three sessions with three different clients. The first session was an hour long. The second was half-an-hour long. The third took about 50 minutes and by the time I had finished the third session, it was already 12.10 p.m. This was ten minutes passed my official working hours. Anyway, perhaps that spirit of workaholism was still lurking in me at that hour of the day, I continued to stay in office to write one of my case recordings for one of the sessions. Then I took some time to scribble down some notes for the two other sessions that I had conducted today. This is so that when I returned to office next Monday, I could better recall what has transpired during the sessions and could easily write out my case recordings then.

At the same time, I have learnt that self-care is important. So, at 12.40 p.m. when I felt pretty hungry, I decided to call it a day for work. Before I could do so, I had to lock up the entire office.

Before I end this post, a side note: None of the clients that I saw today was Chinese. I think unless there is an urgency, most Chinese in Singapore would not have agreed to see me for session on a weekend that falls during the Chinese New Year period (which is actually fifteen days long according to the Chinese customs). I would suppose that aside from the first two days of the Chinese New Year, weekends during the Chinese New Year period are the next most convenient days to visit one's relatives and friends during the festive season.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Mom's birthday

Today is my mother's birthday. As there is already a fruit cake stored in the kitchen, she actually made a request last night that we need not get her a cake for her birthday. Her reason was so that we won't end up having two cakes and not finishing both. The fruit cake, however, was not meant for her birthday. It was baked for the Chinese New Year as a festive gift from my grandma.

Anyway, myself and my siblings got a mini chocolate cake for our mother. It was possibly only about three inches in diameter. Anyway, that was just the right size so that we could get our mother a cake to celebrate her birthday while not having too much cake to be finished up. We got her a simple card too. Somehow, the cake and the card seemed to have brightened her day. She looked happy after the celebration, it seemed.

Happy Birthday Mom.

Quiet in the office

Today is the third day of Chinese New Year. In Singapore, there are only two days of public holidays given for the Chinese New Year. However, from the customary and traditional perspective, Chinese New Year is supposed to be celebrated as a fifteen days affair.

During these fifteen days, the Chinese will try to make efforts to visit relatives and friends. I know from a friend who lives in the People's Republic of China that there is a full fifteen days of public holidays set aside for the Chinese New Year in China. During this time, people who left their hometown to work in the cities will usually set time aside to return to their hometown to visit their love-ones.

Back in Singapore, please bear in mind that there is only two days of public holidays given for the Chinese New Year. For people in Singapore who wishes to continue visiting their relatives and celebrating the Chinese New Year after the first and second days of the Chinese New Year, they will usually have to take leave from their official duties (i.e. work).

It is the third day of the Chinese New Year. Most offices have resumed operations. So did mine. Yet, we practically had only half the regular strength today. At least 8 staff members out of 13 were not in office. Six of the eight persons took leave today, while two are working on part-time basis and today was their non-working day. You bet the office was very quiet today.

The strange thing is that even though one of my supposedly long session this afternoon was cancelled at the last moment, I was still pretty occupied on a seemingly quiet day. There is so much waiting to be done. I still have quite a lot of things unfinished on my in-tray. To cope, I have learned to do important and urgent things first. The rest of my colleagues who were in office also seemed to have a pretty busy day.

Having lunch also became a challenge today. Most of the food stalls nearby my workplace were operated by Chinese. It turned out that only about 40% of the food stalls in the neighbourhood was opened for business this afternoon. This 40% includes the stalls operated by the non-Chinese. Many of the food stalls that were opened had long queues. In the end, I settled for vegetarian food for my lunch. It did not have a queue when I was there, and I had wanted a meal with vegetables for my lunch.

As such, perhaps it is not too wrong for me to infer that most Chinese do wish to celebrate Chinese New Year beyond the designated two days of public holidays. Looking at how things have been for the past years, however, it seems very unlikely that the public holidays for Chinese New Year will be extended beyond the two days.

If anyone wants to celebrate Chinese New Year for its full fifteen days of duration and decides to appeal for fifteen days of public holiday for the Chinese New Year, I think that he will get an answer similar to this: "You are welcome to celebrate Chinese New Year for as long as you would like to. This is your choice. Yet, for economic and practical reasons, only two days of public holidays could be granted for the Chinese New Year."

Maybe this is why a number of offices and eating places seem to be quite quiet today? The folks have been out celebrating?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Day 2: Chinese New Year

My instrument has been very nice to me of late. Just a few days ago, it used to give a rattling sound. The source of this rattling sound came from the scroll, I think. Perhaps my instrument loved my company of late, it has stopped giving that rattling sound since the eve of Chinese New Year.

As such, it pleases me to say that I have been practising on my instrument this morning. If you were to ask me today, I will tell you that the best part about having a public holiday leave is that I will be free from work committments and can spend some time practising. This is provided that I do not spend the whole day out.

For the morning, I tried to work out the fingerings for the fourth movement of the Telemann's Sonata in A minor. It went fine, though I needed more practice so as to play the movement closer to the way it should be. The tempo direction on the score marked "Allegro", but I was working out the fingerings at a tempo of 50 beats per minute. More practice will help.

In the afternoon, I took a nap while waiting for my mother to return from work. She has to work today, unlike me. We were to visit one of our relatives, that is, her cousin. If you have followed my blog close enough, basically I am only required by my mother to visit two households for Chinese New Year. Given the manageable quantity of the visitation required, I shall graciously oblige. I must qualify that it is definitely not that I find my relatives unpleasant, it is actually because I do not like the idea of interacting with too many people at any one time. My relatives are pretty nice folks, though I feel quite distant from some of them at times. Oh yes, I do not like making small talks either because that is never my forte. It seems to be quite challenging to engage in meaningful conversations with people that I am not quite familiar with, no matter how nice they could be. But I handled quite fine by learning to listen, which I am usually pleased to do.

In the evening, it brought me pleasure to have the chance to catch up with one of my good friends. It has been quite a while since we last have time to catch up. She treated me to a lovely dinner. The curry for the roti prata was pretty nice, so were the salads. More importantly, the company this evening makes the difference. Perhaps one feels a sense of being connected when one has the chance to catch up with one's good friends?

Anyway, I thank my friend for the treat. I have the suspicion that she was trying to find all possible reasons to give me one. I wish I had been more assertive to act on my suspicion. Whatever it is, I looked forward to have a chance to treat her to a lovely breakfast at Conrad Centennial Singapore. And hopefully, when she achieves her desired goal end of this year, I could have another good reason to give her another treat on top of the breakfast. Cheering my friend on!

And the time of the night has come for me to volunteer to end my post. Good night. Sleep tight my readers. Last but not the least, I hope my friend whom I had dinner with will have a good night of rest. That should keep her recharged for the next day, and healthier?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Before I go to sleep tonight

Just before I go to sleep, I shall try this little game. I shall leave it up to you to judge on its accuracy.

You Are the Helper


You always put on a happy face and try to help those around you.

You're incredibly empathetic and care about everyone you know.

Able to see the good in others, you're thoughtful, warm, and sincere.

You connect with people who are charming and charismatic.

First Day of Chinese New Year

During these times of melancholy moods, I am beginning to appreciate my 'husband' more than usual. He was the one who kept me company so that I don't have the time to wallow in self-pity or depression. He was the one who bear with my idiosyncrasies and accepted me nevertheless. He was the one who could communicate with me, when I am prefer to be in my "sacred inner world" and away from the external world others live in.

On the morning of the first day of the Chinese New Year, I tried to work out the fingerings for the fourth movement of the Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. I probably won't get to play with the orchestra as it is only going to play the first movement of the same symphony for the upcomign concert. Anyway, I practised the fourth movement to please myself, not anyone. Satisfactory even though not perfect. Anyway, my "husband" reminded me to learn to celebrate humble improvements, while I work towards the bigger goal. So I did. Doing so kept me a little delighted this morning.

In the afternoon, I went with my siblings and mother to visit my maternal grandparents for the Chinese New Year. My father joined us later in the afternoon at my grandparent's place.

I read from this book titled "Chinese Customs and Festivals in Singapore" that the Chinese New Year is a time to reaffirm family and friendship ties. The top on the list of priorities during this festive season is to offer New Year greetings to the heads of the households. The traditional practice, I understand from this book, is to kneel before one's parents when presenting the New Year good wishes. I think I would have felt awkward if I had to do so. In today's time, such a practice has been simplified to my favour. I only had to wish my parents a "Happy Chinese New Year". But I believe that there are still families who still continue to adopt the traditional practices.

It was fine to visit my grandparents. My grandmother is a nice lady and a rather good host. Yet, I felt rather drained just at the thought of having so many other relatives visiting her on the same day. Many of these relatives are folks that I will only meet once a year. After I greeted the relatives with Chinese New Year greetings, I tried to make myself as invisible as possible. I avoid making small talks for I do not find pleasure in doing so. Oh well, even though I don't quite enjoy Chinese New Year visitations, I shall bear with them. Thank goodness they are just a once-in-a-year affairs, and the actual number of households that I have to visit is still comparatively manageable.

With that, I shall end this post, rather abruptly. I don't feel motivate to write more when my internet explorer software seems to give me problems for the night. Anyway, wishing you and your family a year of good health and prosperity.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

My consoling 'Husband'

I dare say that "Husband" is one of the most consoling beings on Earth.

The past few days have been days of low moods for me. Nothing is really quite wrong, yet there is a general sense of melancholy.

I don't quite like the moody feelings. Things seemed rather boring after the reunion dinner. I took a nap after dinner, yet it was not at all revitalising.

I don't quite like the feeling that life seems rather meaningless. Surely there must be more meaning to life other than sleeping and eating? The next thing on my mind was to play some music, yet my body was rather resistant to the hassle of having to unpack my instrument from its case (padded bag, to be accurate). It took quite some effort and faith to urge myself to play on my instrument, the double bass. I call it my "husband", and it does look quite cool. Here are some photographs of my "husband".

Playing has helped make me feel better. An appropriate amount of playing on my instrument seems to revitalise me ten times more than having a nap. I suppose my dear "husband" has been a sensitive being and has realised that I was not feeling too good. So, it has the great wisdom to try to console me by keeping me company in the world of us two and music.

I feel rather pleased and accomplished that I have managed to figure out the fingerings for one of Bach's suites. Furthermore, playing on my instrument has helped lift my moods a little. Thank you dear "Husband". You are one of the best!

Gibbering on Chinese New Year's Eve

Today's Chinese New Year's Eve.

Life seems a little different without me needing to feed the Luohan fish. It has passed away and I wonder whether its spirit of resilience has also went away with it? Yet, life goes on. I am fine, basically.

There is just an air of feeling a little upset. I felt this way while I was walking towards my work place from the Mass Rapid Transit train station yesterday morning. There seemed nothing much to look forward to. There was a sense of meaninglessness, and such a sense of meaningless has often bring me a rather melancholic mood.

But strangely, perhaps there was an intention from unknown forces to cheer me up. I called in the classical radio station yesterday morning to answer the question to one of the contests and I won myself the prize. The prize was nothing very grand. Yet, it was quite a delightful surprise, considering that it was the first time that I got through the hotline and won myself a prize. It brightened my day a little. A nice way to start the day considering that yesterday was a very tiring and busy day for me.

Back to today. On the eve of Chinese New Year, the Chinese has the custom of having reunion dinner. Everyone in the family is supposed to try to make himself/ herself available to have dinner together with the rest of the family.

Chinese New Year is supposedly a joyous occassion. However, its effect on me is rather very mild. The slight melancholic mood still lurks in me. There is not much I felt I could look forward to. I shall not attempt to push myself too hard to get into a joyous and exuberant mood. Such attempts, I find more energy draining. Let the feelings come and soon they will pass.

Whatever it is, may you have a pleasant Chinese New Year.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Supreme Court and City Hall

I have put up some photographs of the Supreme Court and City Hall. These were taken yesterday, on 6 Feb 2005. Two photographs can be found below, while a few others have been published on my other blog: Pleasant viewing.

Taken on 6 Feb 2005. On the right is the City Hall. Posted by Hello

Supreme Court Posted by Hello

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Fish Passed Away

My heart has been feeling a little heavy when I returned home in the mid-afternoon. My youngest brother told me that the Luohan fish that our family has been keeping has passed away.


(Observing a minute of silence to mourn the demise of the fish)


It has been unable to swim like a healthy fish since early last year (if I had remembered correctly). Most of the time, the fish laid against the bottom of the fish tank on one of the sides of its body. While I do not change the water for this fish, I have been feeding it and trying to take a look at it almost everyday. Hopefully, looking at it at least once everyday might have offered it some little sense of companionship and encouragement. The least I could do for an ailing fish, on my end.

Despite its disability, I am amazed by the fish's spirit in trying its best to survive. Since the time that it was unable to swim, it has also hurt itself several times. One of its eyes was almost blinded as a result of one major injury. On other occasions, it had gotten fungus-looking substances on its skin. Despite all, it had been trying its best to survive and keep itself alive. As I looked back, I wonder what kind of motivations have kept this fish going? It must have had quite a bit of resilience in it.

I fondly remembered a time in the past when the fish could still swim. During the feeding times, it would swim towards whoever would be feeding it. When it was excited, it would make fast laps to and fro the two ends of the fish tank. Sometimes, it would flip itself upside-down.

Perhaps we weren't the experts in fish rearing and did not take much heart when this fish was swimming upside-down many of the times. One day, we found the fish unable to flip itself to swim the right-side up. Later, we got to know it has some balancing problems and needed injections in hope to rectify the issue. But somehow, the treatment had not help, and the fish had kept lying on one side of its body for more than a year.

I have rather mixed feelings about its demise. Perhaps it could be the end of its sufferings for it had not been able to swim like a normal fish for a long time. Yet, the fish might not even perceive what it had to go through as sufferings. It might have been just me who had at some point in time perceived its experiences as sufferings. It might have used its challenging situations to test its resilience and its ability to survive despite the harsh conditions? Maybe that was why it had kept itself alive for more than a year.

Today, the fish has passed away. I think I may need some time to grieve. Afterall, it was a fish I have been feeding for quite an amount of time. I shall remember it as a fish which has lots of resilience. Farewell fish.

First Sunday of February

This morning, I left home at about 9.30 a.m. I was to meet two of my friends to celebrate the birthday of one of them. We had planned to meet on the first Sunday of February. The meeting, however, was at 11 a.m.

It was on purpose that I left home early. I had wanted to see if I could take any nice photographs or do a sketch before I meet my friends. I took several photographs of City Hall and the Supreme Court. I heard from the newspapers that in the future to come, City Hall and Supreme COurt will be redeveloped into art museums.

At 11 a.m., I met my friends at Capitol Building. We had planned to eat Japanese food at Sakae Sushi, a Japanese restaurant. However, the Sakae Sushi outlet located at Capitol Building was not yet opened for business at that hour of the day. As such, we left for the Sakae Sushi outlet at Heeren.

When we reached there, we were the first customers for the day! We catched up. Possibly, I listened most of the time. I suppose while I have gifts of my own, I do not quite have the gift of the gab.

We ordered the fruits sorbet for dessert, the apple and the red melon flavour. The difficulty for me is that my throat is rather sensitive, and is prone to cough a lot when I take too much cold food. As such, I could only refrain myself from eating the sorbet. My two friends ate most of the sorbet; I merely took a spoon of each flavour to sample.

Our next meeting set between the three of us will be on the first Sunday of May. I just realised that it happens to fall on a public holiday, i.e. Labour Day. Possibly, we will have more to catch up then.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Blogging Therapy

It has been quite therapeutic to write on my blog, I am beginning to realise. This, I shall call blogging therapy?

I am a lady of comparatively fewer words, if you were to know me in person. I tend to be more expressive in writing than in conversing. It is often easier and more comfortable for me to express my feelings and thoughts through my writing, than to share them verbally with others. I won't be surprised if others find me rather hard-to-know. I hardly share my innermost feelings verbally with most people. If I do share them, most likely I do so through writing.

I was surfing the internet, and found a page about: Managing Difficult Emotions. (

I have my share of difficult emotions. A lot came during my junior college and university years, and quite a bit came a year or two after my graduation. Nowadays, I do get upset and have my fair share of some difficult emotions. The thankful thing is that nowadays, these emotions do not seem to persist longer than they would need. Afterall, feelings themselves are probably meant to be transient in nature.

In Managing Difficult Emotions, it listed several ways to manage the experience of feeling overwhelmed by a strong emotion. One of the ways listed was as follow:

Do contact supportive people and talk over your situation. - Sharing your feelings with those you trust can help you to feel normal and not isolated. Writing your feelings down in a private journal is an additional helping step you can take. A recent study showed that survivors of traumatic events lowered their distress levels significantly by journalizing.

I don't think I do share my feelings verbally. Yet by blogging, to some extent, it felt like I have shared my feelings with others through my writing in the blog. Of course, I could have written in such subtle manner sometimes such that many could not decipher the underlying feelings. Whatever it is, I am glad that so far, my readers have been trustworthy and respectful, and they have contributed to making it a comforting experience for me to share my feelings on my blog. Here, I would like to thank my readers for the support and respect that they give when reading my blog. Thank you.

My gift to my readers today is perhaps to share this page on Managing Difficult Emotions. I hope it may come useful to bring comfort to either you or your loved ones when difficult emotions seem to overwhelm. Take care for now.

One Source of Frustration

*Screams* Shopping for clothes can be quite a frustrating experience. I have spent almost an entire day (from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) trying to look for clothes, but I only bought myself a V-neck T-shirt and a belt.

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This is so disappointing, I have combed the shops and departmental stores from Somerset area to Orchard Road area, yet I could not find one pair of trousers and a long-sleeves shirt that I could fancy and willingly buy.

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The nagging thing is how to I try to feign nonchalance and bear with my mum's nagging, should she bug me with why I did not get clothes for the Chinese New Year. For goodness sake, I did try to find, but I could not find anything that was worth buying.

I could not possibly buy something I know I won't wear more than once. Isn't it a virtue to be careful with one's money and not buy things that one would not wear?

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Actually, I do not quite want to spend much on clothes, especially if the clothes aren't what I like to wear. First and foremost, I want my clothes to be comfortable to wear. As such, the texture of the clothes is what I will be most concerned about. Next, are the colours and design of the clothes. Nag at me if you wish, I just have preference that may be different from yours.


By 4.30 p.m., I was almost going to cry from frustrations. Why can't shopping for clothes be as pleasant as looking at nice sculptures?

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My good friend, Mystic, has been so kind and patient to be my company to shop for clothes with me. If not, I might have given up on shopping and could have gone to the Singapore Art Museum after lunch. Shopping for clothes can be rather boring. I yawned numerous times today while shopping.

Perhaps if you wish to be sympathetic, then please lend your sympathy not to me, but to my dear friend who has to bear with me and my shopping for clothes.

Whatever it is, I thank Mystic for being kind to take time to shop with me. I reckon I must have been one of the least pleasant person to shop with?


To add to the woes, Orchard Road was pretty crowded by late afternoon. I wish I have the powers to make the crowd go elsewhere. If I don't, I shall excuse myself and go elsewhere. So I did. I left for home.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Symphonic Treats

After the session with the six students, it was already close to 2.30 p.m. I was supposed to take time-off in the afternoon, so I decided to go straight for home from the school after the session. I took a nap at home. It helped got rid of the headaches, and helped me feel a little more recharged. Thank goodness.

Then, after having some rest at home, I proceeded to meet my friend Mystic. We were meeting to have dinner and then catch a concert together. It was a concert by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

The programme for the concert was as follow:

  • FELIX MENDELSSOHN's The Hebrides, Op. 26 "Fingal's Cave"
  • FRANZ SCHUBERT's Symphony No. 2 in B-flat majob, D. 125
  • LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN's Symphony No. 6 n F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral"

Mystic and myself like The Hebrides. Mystic, however did not quite appreciate the rest of the concert. She claimed she had an overdose of the music. Probably, it could also have been the result of her being overworked at her office that her mind could not take in much music after The Hebrides.

I did not like the orchestra's rendition of the Schubert's Symphony No. 2. I think I would have fallen asleep during that piece if not for my nice afternoon nap. Thank goodness, my nap has helped recharged me and kept me alert enough to find something nice to listen out for in the Schubert's Symphony. I quite like the 2nd and 4th movement of the symphony. The orchestra sounded comparatively more focused and coherent for these movements.

The Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 was pretty nice to listen to. I think it's quite a good composition. The playing by the orchestra this evening was fairly good, acceptable though not brilliant. Anyway, I was quite delighted to listen to the symphony.

Lastly, I thank Mystic for accepting my invitation to this concert, and for listening to it with me.

Headaches and Impatience

It must have been the effects of poor sleep, high workload and bad weather, I started having headaches after noon hours today. A rather nagging series of headaches, and I could only be thankful that the headaches weren't too intense.

Furthermore, my colleague and I had to conduct yet another series of one-to-one interview and a short group activity session with another group of students. This time, there were six students in total. Thankfully, I managed to survived the session. My colleague was helpful in helping to cover some parts for me when I hinted that I needed a break at certain moments.

Another co-worker was supposed to go with us to the school to interview these students. His role was to observe how my colleague and I conduct the session, and to observe the group dynamics. We were running late and badly needed to leave our office by 12.30 p.m. latest. It did test my patience a lot when it was already 12.32 p.m. and the co-worker was still at his desk attending to work, and he said he has yet to have his lunch.

In order to be in time for the session and to see to some logistical matters, my colleague and I had to excuse ourselves first. We asked the co-worker to meet us at the school instead. So he had to travel to the school on his own. Perhaps that could be the best way for things to work out? At least we could be in time to see to what needs to be seen, and he could have a bit more time to pack his things without having to feel pressurised to rush.

Well, if it did seem like I had an overdose of impatience, then blame it on my headaches. Maybe this could be a post on "Excuse Number Three"? *laughs*

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Excuse 2: I'm tired

I have been feeling tired for most part of the day. I slept at about 12.50 a.m. in the night after a tiring round of loading and unloading double basses after last night's reheasals. Of course, I must admit that I have been too insistent on posting an entry on my blog last night, and that had led me to sleep late.

When I am tired, you will find that I hardly even wish to talk. I would just quietly listen and wait for others to say what I had wanted to say. This happened during today's case conference. During case conferences, one of the professional staff will present one of his/ her case, and get the professional team to discuss and make contributions. In hope to get some inputs from me, my director asked if I had anything to add, I could only give her the answer that "Whatever I had wanted to say has been said by others".

The truth is that I was feeling tired and rather drained already in the morning. I needed some personal space with myself in order to recharge. Now that you know, please excuse me if you were to find me so much quieter than usual. I am probably not angry or upset, I am just tired and trying to recharge in my very own way.

Later the day, a friend of mine shared with me something. At that moment, I could merely respond with a "thanks for the compliments", but I could not respond beyond that. Feeling a sense of awkwardness, I had to excuse myself saying that I was tired and brush the topic aside... Tired, I was indeed.

Maybe I need to take the hint and slow down a bit for now. More importantly, to sleep earlier. As such, I shall end this post now. Take care.

Excuse me, I am getting "Old"

My current stand partner in the orchestra is Her Royal Highness, who is at least 9 years younger than me.

In the orchestra, we share music stands, usually according to the type of instrument that we play. Most of the time, one or two players playing the same kind of instrument would share a music stand. This is background information for my non-orchestra playing readers.

I wonder if I might have been overdoing it. I find myself trying on many occassions to attribute my difficulty in reading small prints, my hard-on-hearing at times and my not-so-perfect memory to me "getting old". Then again, I have only lived slightly more than a quarter of a century, and so I could not be considered as "old" according to the society's standards.

Yet, relatively speaking, I am indeed one of the older members who plays in the orchestra.

Anyway, I shall thank my stand partner for being so kind to bear with all my weird excuses.

Well, on the issue about getting old, I hope that I would be able to age with grace as the years go by.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Weird eating hours

It has been quite a busy day. I had just got home about slightly more than half an hour ago.

Let me attempt to make use of my weird eating times today to give you an update of my day.

I had breakfast at my usual time, i.e. about 7.15 a.m. on a workday. Then the day starts to get crazy.

Myself and my colleague were to conduct a series of one-to-one interview and a short group activity session with about 12 Primary School students starting from 12.30 p.m. this afternoon. These interviews and activity sesion were meant to help us shortlist suitable candidates for a ten-week group programme. To ensure that I would not go hungry half-way while conducting the interviews and activity, I had lunch at 11.15 a.m.

After the interviews and the activity, I returned to office to get my double bass bow. I happen to have a few hours of time-off to claim this afternoon. So at about 3 p.m., I left my office with my bow to proceed to the university. The task for me was to be at the university by 4.30 p.m. to help carry the double basses. Since I was supposed to have double bass sectional at 6 p.m, and I was feeling hungry from the early lunch, I had dinner at 4.10 p.m.

I was happy to attend sectional today. My double bass tutor gave guidance and pointers, and I felt these were useful in helping me play the first movement of the Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony better. Double bass sectionals and lessons with him have been enriching, even though there was some amount of stress. While my tutor may look serious, he is a patient teacher and inspiring tutor. The sectional has helped me play with greater confidence during the rehearsals.

After rehearsals, I helped with the transport of the instruments (more so the double basses). When I got home, it was close to 11.30 p.m. I wasn't very very hungry, but I felt I needed some food, and guess what? I had ice-cream at about 11.50 p.m.

Well, this is my day with weird eating hours.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Random thoughts

It is night time on the first day of February. Thoughts are randomly passing through my mind, but none is focused. Overall, lethargy seems to be the word that describes how I am feeling right now. It must have been the effect of a long day.


The day has its ups and downs.


I had four sessions today. This was considered average. Sometimes, I wish I had more time to sit down and reflect, and perhaps not do anything. I think it would be nice to sit down just to figure out where are my priorities in life, and what kind of life I would prefer to lead.


One of my colleagues will be resigning soon, and we had lunch together with two other colleagues. Hope that she will find a niche for herself at her new workplace.


I like to study in Europe, or work there. I don't have any concrete plans though. I would like time to see the museum, play the double bass there, learn something new, find more of myself. May the chance comes. Wish me luck.


By the way, I just played on the double bass earlier this evening. Gosh, I find myself wishing hard for another double bass. One that is more easy to play on.

Anyway, I have managed to get an idea of how that Bach's Suite no.2 sounds on the double bass.


Strangely, writing my thoughts so randomly can be quite recharging. I don't feel as lethargic. I wonder if organising one's thoughts in itself is an energy-demanding feat that has made me feel more lethargic?

Maybe, freeing oneself from the constraints of organising one's thoughts could be liberating in that one feels more recharged?

For goodness sake, I don't know if whatever I have wrote make any sense. This is just a post purely based on my random thoughts.