Category Archives: Diary

“Shen” the T-Rex in Singapore

I am a massive fan of anything dinosaur. It is fascinating that creatures so giant and out-of-the-world looking existed for hundreds of millions of years in the past, we now get a glimpse of what some of them look like. I recalled years ago I read an online article that one British museum would exhibit dinosaur fossils, I had made a commitment to revisit the UK one day, which I did before the pandemic.

This T-rex is going to be on display in Singapore Victoria Concert Hall till Sunday. After which, it will be transported to Hong Kong for an auction. The open bid I’ve read is going to be above $100m.

Back to today’s adventure, I planned to do two things this weekend. One is to watch a Japanese movie called Wandering. Another one is to view this T-rex before it leaves Singapore.

I slept relatively early on Friday night. I had pizza. And the wine was good. On Saturday, I woke up at 4 am and could not go back to sleep!

Actually, I managed to fall back to sleep at 7 am and then, woke up at 9.30 am because the movie was screening at 10:55 am. Wandering is an arthouse movie. There were limited theatres that screened it. 10.55 am was the only timeslot and there were in total 3 people watching the show, including me.

My plan was to have McDonald’s breakfast. But by the time I left my apartment, it was 10:10 am. Fortunately, there are four buses to reach Funan. I reached the cinema 15 mins ahead of schedule. And my plan was to take a walk to Victoria Concert Hall after the show.

So I thought!

No. I went to the wrong cinema. It should be Plaza Singapura instead!

No time to waste, I called Grab transport. It took the driver 5 mins to pick me up and 10 mins to reach the correct cinema.

Phew. I made it. Just nice.

I will write about the movie in the next post. After the show, I had a really expensive burger meal at Five Guys. So expensive that I could only afford the burger (S$16.50!) and was unable to afford the fries and drink (S$13.50!). I mean, no way I am going to pay S$30 for fast food. Imagine I had a date. That would have cost me S$60. I felt thirsty after the meal. But no time to waste!

I took a train to Raffle Place and walked to Victoria Concert Hall where my friend T-Rex was. As expected, there was a really long queue for walk-in viewers. I have all the time in the world and didn’t mind the wait. There were two young female staff – very elegant looking, dressed in black suits and black dresses under a very warm sun – who approached the visitors and asked if any of us had registered online (and hence, skipping the queue). I wanted to joke with them that I was not a buyer and hence, did not register. I didn’t. I just replied that I was a walk-in. “One hour from here?” I asked. One of them replied, “Yes, likely.”

Looking back, the wait wasn’t that bad (compared to that British museum at the top of this post). Within half an hour, I entered the hall and met T-Rex.

My first impression was … “Shen” – also means god in Chinese – didn’t look that complete. I mean, the one at that British museum was one of the most complete T-Rex unearthed and restored. It is hard to say how much of “Shen” was reconstructed (usually there is a display on this info by the dinosaur fossil, a diagram showing real fossils versus reconstructed pieces). And his skull looked rather fractured.

“Shen” certainly looked fearsome. Thanks to the ringfencing of the parameter, it was rather easy to take pictures from all angles. Just that, because there were so many people, My iPhone kept on capturing photos of human heads inside T-Rex’s jaws.

Kind of funny.

I wanted to chill a bit more at the Singapore River. The weather was good. But it was 4 pm. I have to return home and walk the dog.

Drifting

You know that feeling when you feel like you are drifting, not in control of where you are heading? You want to be grounded with something, just anything. But the sense of uncertainty is overwhelming you. That paralyzed feeling. You sleep, wake up, take a nap, and soon sleep again. How many days? How many days more?

I am dying to tell this to the world. But I can’t. Because I need this to happen first, then that to happen, and then …

But when?

At work, I thrive in crises. I love the firefighting, getting that high feeling. But when the work I do is in constant crisis and will be so for the next six months, one year, it isn’t a crisis anymore. Just business as usual. Our COO rallied the people today to charge forward. I admire his tenacity. In my mind, I thought of something I have learned two decades ago …

A death march.

Inflation. Rising interest rate. Looming recession. Ongoing pandemic. That war desperately needs a conclusion. US versus China. A retirement plan that already requires reassessment, is put at risk. Our world is full of surprises. Where is hope?

I love painting but don’t feel like painting these days. I love making music but don’t feel like creating music these days. I love video gaming but nothing really excites me these days.

Gosh. I need to move on. You need to move on. Why? So that we can move forward.

I am glad that I have bought a new iPhone. At least, I love photography and I am trying to take some pictures every day.

And oh. Yes, I love to blog. Still do. An overdue rekindled passion.

I love the outdoor staircases. The old versus new structure. A photo taken near my home.

Tang Wei in Finding Mr. Right (2013) / Meeting April After More Than A Decade

I knew the actress looks familiar when I watched Finding Mr. Right on Netflix tonight. It was none other than Tang Wei. I watched Lust, Caution back in 2007, right after I joined a bank – my current employer. Also roughly the year I met April whom I have met once again tonight through a bank event.

What a coincidence.

Find Mr. Right is an amazing Chinese movie inspired by I supposed Sleepless in Seatle. But it’s way better.

What a great movie. Such chemistry.

A Chinese mistress who has decided to give birth to her son in the US – because she couldn’t have done so in China – fell in love with her driver who is a divorcee with a daughter. What a great recipe for a story. I was genuinely moved. Tang Wei is such a great actress. She doesn’t age at all. She is timeless.

Back to this evening. I have attended yet another event organized by my bank. Yet another talk on recession and rising interest rates. I didn’t manage to meet my relationship manager. But I am thankful for yet another nice meal at a hotel.

If I am to sum up the evening, it is about reducing expenses and grow income.

Motherhood statement eh?

Back to April, as it turns out, she recognized me before I do. She prides herself on having a “face recognition” ability. I don’t dispute that. I am terrible at recognizing faces or names.

April arrived late. And immediately upon being seated, she struck up a conversation with me. 15 years I have been with this bank, she brought back all the fond memories and the painful ones. Not exactly remember what she did. But I do remember her being in her black dresses.

But hey, we age. Though she said I didn’t.

Cosmetic.

In the end, memories keep flooding in. Yes, I do remember.

We made fun of April. She does have a sister called May, doesn’t she?! In fact, I remember she has two sisters. April, May, June …

A Big Man with Tatoos & The Long Videos I’ve Watched on YouTube

Let’s talk about some of the “longer” videos I have watched on YouTube of late.

Ironically, while I am a YouTube content creator who tends to live stream and create rather long videos of more than an hour each, I seldom spend the same amount of time watching YouTube videos. I could argue that if I do, I would have no time to create content.

YouTube video title: AIMI KOBAYASHI – final round (18th Chopin Competition, Warsaw)

I have watched the 45 minutes long video of a Chopin Competition on YouTube. It was a Concerto in E minor, Op. 11. To be frank, I am more familiar with Beethoven and Mozart. I enjoy listening to a piano concerto – or violin concerto for that matter. But my head just doesn’t seem to be able to wrap around Chopin.

Aimi Kobayashi is a Japanese pianist with a small frame. I observed that perhaps as a ritual, she would arrange her pendant at the beginning of each movement. To ensure that the musical note was facing the front. She has this very intense look while playing the piano. Almost uncomfortable to watch. I felt as though my face cringed watching her playing the piano. Chopin doesn’t talk to me. Listening to his music through Aimi, Op. 11 must have been a very painful piece of music.

I can’t really tell how great the performance was. Reading some of the comments, Aimi has taken the liberty to slow down the music and interpret it the way she wanted to tell her story (slow pain, perhaps). Some commented that this must have put her in the fourth position rather than higher. Again, I am no expert. I was used to having different Swan Lake CDs and each has its own pace. She must have had such high confidence whereby she didn’t even need the musical scores in front of her. That was the very first thing I noticed when she sat in front of the piano, even before she performed. I often visualize myself in the performer’s shoes when I watch a live recording.

Another video I watched was titled “Russell Peters | Notorious Full Special” (70 mins). It was recorded in Australia in 2013 in front of 14,000 fans. What a huge turnout! These days, I love standup comedies. These comedians have special skills. Some like Russell Peters are able to interact with the crowd and crack jokes on the fly.

But that’s not what I am trying to say in this post. In that video, Russell made some jokes about tattoos (and how people would regret having them). This evening, it was raining. Not too heavy to the point whereby I couldn’t go out. But it wasn’t too light either. Yet, I saw many people walking outdoors without umbrellas.

When I arrived at the nearest food center, I ordered QQ la mien set that came with four dumplings and a small bowl of soup. Somehow, on a rainy day, I craved that.

Opposite me was a Chinese man of a very large size. His thigh was as big if not bigger than my waist. He wore no expression eating his chicken chop and chips quietly. Underneath his right forearm, there were very large English words saying “Good Boy”. I recalled Russell Peters’s video on tattoos and I was quietly giggling inside. As I was wondering why a Chinese man of his size would tattoo “Good Boy” on his arm, I saw more English words on his left forearm. I couldn’t see very clearly at first. But I could guess that must be “Bad Boy”.

What a bizarre pair of tattoos. Maybe he is forever torn between good and evil.

Shortly after I have started eating my dinner, I saw this girl who worked at the stall nearby. She was also of a larger frame compared to her other colleague although nothing compared to Good-boy-bad-boy. She kept on hitting his arm hard. I mean, that looked like real punches. Good-boy-bad-boy was emotionlessly still. The girl seemed to be playful with him. Hitting him. Touching his phone (he was watching something I would presume). They could be …

Siblings?

And then I recalled, this Good-boy-bad-boy is actually the chef at the mixed rice stall! I vividly remember how impressed I was when I saw him cook the dishes. When I cook Chinese dishes, I cook for 1 or 2 potions. When he cooks, he cooks for I reckon 50 to 100 potions at a time. That is some mad skill and strength. He did it with such dexterity and speed. It was fun to watch.

Looking back, I don’t think that they are siblings. Maybe the girl likes to bully him. Maybe he is a teddy bear at heart despite his size and his good-boy-bad-boy tattoos.

iPhone Diary Day 2 – Let’s Talk About Always On & Dynamic Island

When iPhone pro series first announced, I followed some of the influencers on YouTube wanting to hear their views. After all they are the Apple “experts”. To my horror, some would suggest turning off always on feature because … they can’t tell if they have locked the phone?! That’s the strangest thing I have seen, coming from Android whereby the premium phones have this feature years ago.

I like always on. I can tell the time and see the notifications without tapping onto the screen. What’s not to like? Just that Apple’s implementation is quite different from say Samsung’s. It seems less minimalistic and more elaborate. I have no idea how Apple manage to find the extra battery to power the always on display. I certainly prefer it on.

Testing the iPhone 14 pro max x3 camera.

Prior to getting my hands on with the phone, I was rather intrigued by “dynamic island”. In reality though, I don’t find dynamic island in any of the iPhone setting. I hardly interact with it and very few occasions I see it in action. Spotify and WhatsApp calls. That’s about it.

I do like iPhone speakers though. How do they make it so good?