Monday, April 30, 2007

Harro - Famous Influential Singapore Bloggers

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One day I received a comment from Harro that my blog is interesting and that it would be listed in Harro. When I clicked on the search engine, I was somewhat overwhelmed that Harro lists famous and influential bloggers!

Mm.... am not sure if I am famous although I would like to believe my articles hopefully may influence my readers to some degree. If I can bring joy and encouragement and cause my readers to contemplate more deeply, then I am very contented. One of my ex-students' mother told me that she must read my article every
day before she begins her work ... it is like chicken soup for her soul. I feel so honoured.

I am so thankful that I had taken up Pitman's typewriting in my teens, and passed with 84 words per minute on a manual typewriter. Now with so much constant practice on the computer, my speed of typing is even faster.... at about 150 words per minute. I remember a few times when my computer broke down, I went to the internet cafe and caused quite a stir of excitement among the young users who were amazed at my typing speed! Now schools providing Pitman's typewriting and shorthand classes are obsolete. Of course, I am amazed at the speed of some people who could actually type quite fast with some but not all fingers!

I hope to keep improving in my writing so as to do justice to being listed in Harro.
My digital camera is always in my handbag so that I could just take it out and shoot interesting things I see along the way. I had always encouraged my students to write creatively and now that I am semi-retired and doing free lance property work, I finally find time to write.

Life becomes more colorful and interesting when we are on the lookout. No matter how busy we are, we must take time to smell the flowers and to admire the beautiful trees and plants in our lovely garden city. Above all, to take time to reflect and ponder over a hard day's that we can learn from our mistakes and strive for a better tomorrow.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Matter of Miscommunication....

When I was teaching, we enjoyed 4 vacations a year. However, I could only make use of the December vacation to travel overseas. During the March and September holidays, there was always some kind of prorgam going on in the school. June was too busy a month, as teachers would be expected to hold some kind of camp or activities for their students. Almost every December, I would spend my Christmas in Melbourne with my second sister and family.

Hence, my sis, Ean Ean, suggested that I should open an account with the bank, so that there would no necessity to change currencies whenever I visited her. Ond day, she took me to the NZ Bank to withdraw some cash.

"How do you like your money?" asked the friendly teller.

Somewhat surprised, I replied, "Oh! I like it very much, thank you."

My sis burst out laughing. "She's asking you what denominations you would like to have Choo," sis explained.

"Oh! I see! Please give me ten and fifty dollar notes, thank you," I answered somewhat sheepishly.

On another occasion I visited my best childhood friend, Saw Hoon, who also was my classmate at Green Lane Convent Primary School. Saw Hoon was working as a matron in one of the hospitals in London. She took me to her hospital and during lunch, she took me to the canteen. On the way to the canteen, I saw a newspaper vending machine and wanted to buy some newspapers. I asked her colleague, Jane, if she had some shillings (I meant lose change of coins so that I could buy the newspapers).

Surprised, she replied, "We don't use shillings nowadays, Choo Choo. We use pounds and pence."

Saw Hoon burst out laughing and explained to Jane.

Ah! The complexities of the English Language!

Introducing April 26, 2007

I learnt about when I started my blog. I was surprised that many of my friends and colleagues do not know about this website. Hence I am introducing this website to my local and overseas readers. You will read about the latest issues that concern our people... topics are varying from politics to social and issues highlighted in the news. It is also interesting to read comments from readers. Our people are now getting more vocal as opposed to the older generations.
You are free to give your comments and feeback in the website. Below is an example which I have chosen, as I thought the subject of cleanliness should be a topic of interest.

April 26, 2007
Forbes List of World’s Cleanest Cities, Where’s Singapore?
» singapore cleanest cities forbes

Based on figures derived from studies by the Mercer Human Resources Consulting that cull from 300 cities, describes the top 25 cleanest cities in the world. Of the 13 countries listed, European and U.S. cities top the charts, followed by Japan, the only Asian country in the list. Singapore is not in the list. We try so hard to be clean but still we aren’t the cleanest, considering the size of our tiny island, we have such a small room to maintain compared to the larger cities. I guess the studies don’t just look at clean air and environments. Singapore probably lost marks due to our lack of clean people.

Recommended by AenTan: "We try so hard to be clean but still we aren't the cleanest, considering the size of our tiny island, we have such a small room to maintain compared to the larger cities."


Related Blogs: (see all trackbacks)
- Cooler Insights: Are We Pigging Out?

Submitted by AenTan on April 25//11:40pm and published by jseng, Mr Miyagi :: add new comment | 331 reads | trackback (1)

Comments 22
In the US, Canada, Australia and lots of other countries, people there have a tendency to be clean. I had visited the wash rooms in the parks and amazingly, they were usually so clean. In these countries, there is no threat of fines hanging over the heads of the people.

In Singapore, we have to make an effort to be clean; hence the cleanliness campaign. Only when there is a threat of fines are people more conscious of where they throw their rubbish and cigarette butts.!

In our university cafeteria for example, students automatically cleaned their trays when they finished their meals. Over here, people would rather wait for the cleaners to come and clean.

It is not easy to keep public areas clean..... but at least we tried. There is certainly still room for much improvement.

Posted by Ganchau on 26 April, 2007 - 4:11pm
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I have no problems with Singapore not being in the list. It is sort of expected. The only clean places here are the places the government shows to the world. In fact, we aren’t really clean at all.

There are lots of places here that people don’t get to see. The suburbs, neighborhoods, coffeeshops, wet markets and shared lifts of HDB flats inhibited by multiple races. If you have observed, there are lots of surface polishing and deeper inside, it’s nothing like the outside. Places more exposed to passing eyes, e.g. Roadsides, Shopping Centres, Town Centres, public places are usually cleaner. When you get deeper into the buildings, farther away from town, you don’t see polished stuff anymore. Take for example my neighborhood, flats facing the main roads are more brightly painted and we have all sorts of decorations (though poorly designed and ugly). People driving pass will see the neighborhood as clean and attractive. If you live there, you’ll know it’s only the surface. Almost 3 days a week, at least one of the lifts of my block will be flooded by you-know-what from you-know-what people. For goodness sake! Singapore is so highly educated but we still have people peeing in lifts all the time. Block level, the lifts’ lobby and exteriors are all beautified with fake marble tiles and nicer lighting. The ground floor staircases are also tiled. From the 2nd floor up, what people don’t see, it is still the old plain grey concrete, with the occasional dog poo and litter.

That was what I meant by “lack of clean people” in my article. Singaporeans still have a long way to go before the garbage of our country dies out from natural selection. Fines and Urine Detectors (I still don’t believe our lifts have them) are not enough to deter them from routinely peeing in our lifts. What’s worst than smelly lifts? Like martyn said, it is smelly restrooms. I don’t know about the ladies but dirty males toilets are unforgiveable. We guys have dicks and no matter how tiny penises some of our males have, they still function well as a aiming device. How can you miss really narrow stream of pee on big urinal?? It’s like having a bull’s eye as big as the board itself and totally missing the board even at half a step away!

AEN DIRECT — Catalog of Creative Works & Writing

Posted by AenTan on 26 April, 2007 - 11:14pm
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who said singaporeans are highly educated people?

Posted by Anne Shintaro* on 27 April, 2007 - 7:09pm
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Was this reported anywhere in the media?

Oops' silly me!

Posted by Anonymous Coward* on 27 April, 2007 - 2:43am
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Trackback from Cooler Insights: Are We Pigging Out?:

Grrr.... I just realise that my home has been downgraded lately - from a HDB flat to a pig sty! ...

Posted by Cooler Insights: Are We Pigging Out?* on 27 April, 2007 - 10:05am
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I'm not convinced by the Forbes article at all. Take a look at the methodology/indicators used in the study cited by Forbes - you can see the survey from Mercer HR Consultants here ( Nothing concrete or quantitative is mentioned, and neither does the writer cite which indicators he selected for his "study". Rather lazy writing IMO.

Furthermore, the writer lists three factors that he feels makes for a "clean" city - regulations, waste control and transport infrastructure. As much as I despise the MiWs, IMO they and especially the MEWR have done a decent job if you were to only look at these factors.

Lastly - Minneapolis (!), Boston(WTF!!) and Pittsburgh (Wu yah bor?!?!?!?!?!) are "cleaner" than S'pore? Does Forbes (or the writer or Mercer) seriously believe that these cities have better waste control, ecologically-friendly environmental regulations and cleaner transport than back home? Having visited these cities recently...No f*cking way. IMO of course. :)

Posted by Leong15* on 27 April, 2007 - 5:15pm
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Those 3 cities are indeed cleaner than singapore, you need to be a world traveller to be able to comment on this article, and you're probably not one. I am, take it from me, there isn't a city or state in th U.S., that's dirtier than Singapore. I've had the misfortune of having to stay in singapore, and after 2 weeks, you get to see the real country.
Singapore ranks high on many surveys and rankings becaue people don't really bother to look beneath the surface, like the time singapore was ranked No.2 for worlds best nigh life, or was it No.3? please. And singapore was ranked as the best place for asians to live in asia, another load of rubbish, I've never heard of a non singaporean wanting to live in singapore. And you guys there got to get with the programme, stop hanging foreigners, any country in the world could take you guys out in a minute if they wanted to. Some citizen of a rogue nation comes in carrying a pound of herion, and word gets out that you want to hang him, they're not going to be diplomatic like australia or any other country that's had a citizen hung in singapore before. So please stop killing foreigners, and if you want to be extra good, and show that you guys are indeed a tad bit less uncivilized than the rest of the world thinks, stop hanging your own people too. 2 popes objected to the hanging of the australian, does the singapore government think they're better at making decisions than 2 popes?

Posted by Anne Shintaro* on 27 April, 2007 - 7:31pm
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Apparently, the government officials are the highest paid in the world, and must surely be paid higher than the two popes put together. So, I think that they think that they are better han making decisions than 2 popes.

Posted by OJT* on 27 April, 2007 - 8:02pm
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Popes don't get paid.

Posted by Anne Shintaro* on 28 April, 2007 - 1:01am
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Three quick points to your reply.

1) Define "cleaner".
2) Downtown LA (I currently work along the west coast and am based in Phoenix for the past year) has air pollution much worse than S'pore, and their public transport system (and the one here in Phoenix) pales in comparison to the MRT or SBS.
3) Please write better. What has the rest of your post, except for your first 8 words, got to do with the original post?

Posted by Leong15* on 27 April, 2007 - 9:26pm
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just getting rid of my frustration towards singapore.

Posted by Anne Shintaro* on 28 April, 2007 - 12:58am
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f you're a singaporean , i can understand why you want to defend your country. It's the way you guys are brought up, so you can't be counted on to have an objective opinion.
I was born in the US, and i'm half Japanese, but i'm not going to defend USA and Japan, i accept they've got their flaws, a lot. But finding a singaporean who will accept singapore's flaws doesn't happen that often.
About your clean air, maybe you've got clean air, but guess who starts all the forest fires in thailand and indonesia? Singaporean companies, and the singapore government keeps quiet about it because they're huge companies. I would'nt expect you to know, cos the government never tells you guys anything. Oh by the way, government is spelt that way, not gahmen or garmen.
This is off topic, but I've been to many, many places and countries, and singapore's the only one that made me hate it. The reason why other tourists don't feel the same way is becaus they don't spend much time in singapore, it takes a while to see the true singapore/singaporean. Even in countries like Tanzania and India and Philipines, where the environment kinda sucks, the people make you feel good, and you get to experience their cultures, in singapore all you get is a bunch of suck-ups that want to sound american. And they fail miserably. Can't you just Accept that you're not America, and maybe people will respect for what you are if you just be yourself?.....
Venting again, see how potent your country is(that's a bad thing, for you guys scratching your heads)

Posted by Anne Shintaro* on 28 April, 2007 - 1:27am
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I'm not so naive to believe everything that the PAP or the Straits Times tells me. Similarly, I am no so naive to believe you that S'pore companies started ALL the forest fires in the region. (FYI, most of the 1997 - 2006 fires in Sumatra were started by Indonesian companies/large-scale plantation owners that are/were owned by Bob Hasan) You have proof? Do tell. My knowledge is based on published data and reputable sources (e.g., not on hearsay, rumours and malformed opinions.

Off topic, I feel sorry for you that your impression of S'pore is negative. But from what you say, it appears that you have not met enough S'poreans the last time you went there. Not all of us are SPGs or wannabe ABCs or blind gahmen supporters. Just like not all people from San Francisco are hippie tree-huggers addicted to the smell of their own farts, or all SoCal kids are arrogant ditzy wannabes with more money than common sense.

For a self-proclaimed "world-traveler" you appear to be very blinkered in your thinking. A bit of advice, freely-given. Dispose of your holier-than-thou attitude and you may find that we're not the stereotype that you think all of us are.

Posted by Leong15* on 28 April, 2007 - 2:22am
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I can't believe i'm actually engaged in a discussion with a singaporean. Like I said, you're just defending youe country. I don't know what an SPG is, or what an ABC is. My opinions are in no way 'blinkered' they're based squarely on what I experienced, everyone changes their accents the moment they hear me speak, and treat me a bit better. except some cabbies, who stopped talking and making eye contact once they figured out I was foreign, wonder why.
I'm not going to say every singaporean is like that, I met maybe 3 genuinely good people in singapore, but that's hardly enough, given I was loafing the streets day and night, and atleast met a few hundred people, and had a converrsation with about atleast 50.
i got things to do now.

Posted by Anne Shintaro* on 28 April, 2007 - 8:57am
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I agree with you. Old aunty has travelled to 168 cities and 38 countries.

Singapore is mediocre... not too clean and not too dirty lah. Don't always have to be the best. Let others top us once in a while. Relac lah!

Another Lau Ah Girl, a good friend of Lau Zha Bor

Posted by Ganchau on 28 April, 2007 - 3:53am
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hello, i am the sieteocho

i want to anows that my blog will self thistruck in 48 hours
i say i want to stop writing for a long long time
so please please visit my blog and read all my nauggets of wisdom before its all gone
i read alot so i must be very smart
i know i keep saying that i want to stop writing
i know i am attention whore
but this time i am serious

All this quotes are 100% from my blog, so here i store some of my wise sayings for prostarity

Why am I suddenly posting again? It's like going to the bathroom for the first time 1 month and finding all your shit piled up.

I now know why I always messed up in college

doing the same shit I was doing yesterday. Like repeating the grade over and over again. Will I get to graduate?

When I hear people... talk about... head... I start wondering whether it's all just... masturbation.

like the legs of a woman. First you spread them out, then you go in for the kill.

A great night... Without having to squeeze into a hot coffee shop with strange looking tipsy lao ah peks and beer eyes, some grumpy hawker assistant asking you to lift your feet... and the stale smell of half eaten garbage in the food bins.

"THE HOLE! THE HOLE! WHERE'S THE FUCKING HOLE?" And then he put his head down... everywhere looking for the hole.

I think maybe a combination of the... cock and the bigness... would be a nice pussy...

On another note, just read that Yong Pung How... Well heck no wonder he's such a prick.

I've had my fair share of pricks.

Best part is that I was supposed to be looking in her general direction anyway, so it was so easy to ogle her. And I wonder if I was spending more time on the TV than on her.

An exciting match nevertheless.

what I normally do with movies, which is to pontificate over them until I cum in your faces.

"You OK with cutting the cookies?"
"Yes mum."

"You masturbated this morning?"
"Yes mum."

"You washed your hands?"
"No mum."

"Please wash your hands."
"Yes mum."

I finally did it... Things that you should have done while a teenager... you finally get to do them when you're pushing 30. I'm so proud of myself.

Now in my younger, pre pubescent days I had faint... hair without knowing very much what to do with it. My mother refused to allow me to shave it, thinking that it would eventually become more coarse and hard to handle.

Yes, she's a real super bitch... She let this lecher fondle her for 5 minutes without any facial expression before she...

everybody has sex with each other, because it helps build community. Every now and then they have mass orgies where everybody fucks everybody else in the tribe.

End of the day. Typical day at work. Only bright spot was finding that my shitty... was less shitty than I initially suspected it to be. My nice boss offers a ride... I tell him that I'm getting a ride from somebody else. Who, he asks.

Oh loverboy
To you I belong
But maybe one day you'll wake
and you'll find me gone

When you are 20 you get your head stuck up your ass... In the meantime you try to avoid farting.

What the fuck is going on? What happened to all the intellectual self gratification that used to plague this blog?

Truth is, it's hard to keep on coming up with fresh shit to talk about when you've been at it for almost 4 years. That was the original purpose and now I've run out of new things to say. Perhaps I've also run out of fresh things to read.

Bloggers are cockroaches. You kill 1 cockroach, hundreds turn up at the funeral.


So, please come to my funeral.
Read my blog before its all gone.

i, the sieteoCHO

Words to remember me by: I always knew the scout camps were tough.

Posted by s!eteoCHO* on 28 April, 2007 - 1:51am
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anyone got spellcheque?

Posted by s!eteoCHO* on 28 April, 2007 - 1:55am
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s!eteoCHO... I didn't understand a single thing in that comment. Hey and Anne Shintaro, I hope this makes you feel better. I'm a Singaporean and I don't like it here. I agree with all that you have said, absolutely everything about Singaporeans. Fellow Singaporeans please don't hate me! Something's wrong with our system, our mix of cultures and the way Singaporeans have been brought up. You guys won't know because this is your world and it works for you, nothing's too bad. But for someone looking in from the outside, they can see. Something's wrong and it is hard to change.

For me, I look at myself as an Earthling and just a human living on an island on Earth. I don't call myself a Singaporean nor even an Asian. What's the point? I don't agree with many things here and I always find myself in trouble because of that.

I'm no Christian nor even Atheist. What's the point of labeling yourself again? I don't think 2 popes can make good decisions either. The Singaporean government is like a Lion's Den (pardon the pun). The drug boys went in and became lions' food. Don't blame the lions. But stay away from the den you can.

I don't see myself spending the 2nd half of my life in Singapore that's for sure.

AEN DIRECT — Catalog of Creative Works & Writing

Posted by AenTan on 28 April, 2007 - 11:15am
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I didn't understand that comment either.

I mean, some stalker's trying to quote selectively from my blog. Somebody who supposedly hates me is putting up a fansite in my honour. Somebody who I thought loathes my presence on the net actually read every single word I had written to sift out the choice nuggets.

I'm a good person, I am. I try to do good to the world. But I am not a paragon of virtue, neither am I a saint. I'm wondering what wonderful deed I've done in order to get so thoroughly brownnosed like that.

This is damn scary man. I don't know whether I should fear for my life, or to fear for my getting fucked in the ass by some horny gay who has a crush on me.

Posted by sieteocho on 28 April, 2007 - 5:14pm
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Isn't quoting, by its very definition, selective? Going over your writings, I honestly wonder if you ever passed GP.

Posted by BrianZ* on 29 April, 2007 - 2:25am
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Dear Anne Shinataro,

Old aunty has lived and travelled to many parts of the world..... mm... maybe this gives me a little authority to share my humble viewpoints.

Canada is beautiful; I love the 4 seasons. It was also here that I learnt to downhill ski, skidoo, cross country ski and skate to my heart's delight! However, the winter is just too cold. I love the cold because I have natural double insulation! However, 6 months of winter in a year is just too much for vibrant economic activities.

USA is interesting, advanced and exciting, but I don't know when I will be mugged or robbed. I would not know if my children would come back alive from the schools and universities, given the easily accessibility of guns!

Japan and Korea are exotic! I would only enjoy myself more if I learn to eat more kim chi, sushi and speak the local languages.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand are great places to visit.... people there are gentle and gorgeously hospitable.... but I hate the rampant crimes and corruption in these countries.

Singapore ... a little dot... a melting pot of nationalities.... both permanent and visiting.
We are famous for our 5Cs and 5Ks. (In case you don't know what they are I will write about them in my next blog article). However, if you have been diligently reading our daily newspapers and popular magazines, you should know our culture and idiosyncracries. Sure, we don't have corruption, but we have ministers who feel they should be as highly paid as the CEOs in listed companies. In a way, I'd rather have them paid well.... at least I know exactly how much they are paid....for corruption, it could end up in unthinkable figures!

Despite their kiasuism, Singaporeans are a people with diverse and cute mentalities. On the one hand, we had people who rushed in Mercedes and BMWs to the now defunct $1.99 shops by Nanz Chong. Why? Because Mr. Sim Wong Hoo had kindly bought up all the items, and allowed people to pay any amount they wanted. Some paid 10 cents per item and just grabbed and grabbed! On the other hand, we had that rich, quiet, and unassuming gentleman, who just came to a funeral parlour and donated $200,000/- annonymously! Our people are as lovable as they are almost incomprehensible! But this is what makes Singapore such a unique and interesting place to live in.

We always try to be the best; to be the top - top airport, top container port, etc. Do not worry.... we are now learning to take things in our always keep on improving.

By the way, it is true that the forest fires are often caused by trees being burnt in our neighbouring countries. Of course, in our little country, we have more concrete than trees, and despite this, we are still known as a garden city. Our people are not naturally clean or courteous, and that is why the government (our young writers purposely spell the word as garment or garhmen) has come up with cleanliness and courtesy compaigns... am sure you've heard that Singapore is a fine country..... thank God, indeed we are really a fine country. Let us all count our blessings and name them one by one!

Anne, let us learn from one another, accepting each other's weaknesses and emulating each other's strengths. Life is too short to argue over trivialities.... let us get on with life and get the most out of every situation. When I was in Nepal, I enjoyed sleeping on the mud floors and sitting down with the Nepalis, eating with my hands. When in Rome.... do as the Romans do.... that's the way to live, hah hah! There is no perfect country on earth..... let us relish each other's cultures and uniqueness!

Posted by Ganchau on 29 April, 2007 - 1:55am
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Oops! Sorry Anne, I spelt your name wrongly. It should be Shintaro, not Shinataro.


Lau Ah Girl

Posted by Ganchau on 29 April, 2007 - 1:58am

Mirror Relfections

'How we treat other people can have a great impact on the degree of blessings and favor of God we are experiencing in our lives.

'Are you good to people? Are you kind and considerate? Do you speak and act with love in your heart and regard other people as valuable and spe­cial?

'Friend, you can’t treat people poorly and expect to be blessed. You can’t be rude and inconsiderate and expect to live in victory.'

Joel Osteen

Welcome to the truth!

Posted by Whiskoffee at 4:13 PM 1 comments

I came across the above when I read and I pondered over the above quotes.

Well said, Joel Osteen. When God created people, and lumped them altogether, He knew that they would have to live together. Hence, He would pour His blessings on those who love others as they love themselves.

We should all learn to be like the Sea of Galilee.... constantly giving out and receiving from a higher source. This is why the Sea of Galilee is teeming with abundant life.... full of fishes for the fishermen to catch. In sharp contrast, the Dead Sea is really dead and nothing can live in it. No one can drown in the Dead Sea because he can only float! The Dead Sea does not flow out... it only recieves and keeps on receiving.

Let us continue to give to others so that we can remain fresh, alive and abundant.
Let us continue to give to others so that we have more room to receive. As my wonderful papa loved to say, "I let others dig into my pockets, while I put my hands into God's huge pockets of blessings".

Now you can understand why although papa was a humble school teacher, his five children never felt poor or deprived.

Gan Chau

Saturday, April 28, 2007

If Only......


Gosh! In a way I am relieved I had resigned from teaching some 12 years ago. It is frightening to read about what students are capable of nowadays. Students today have such warped ideas of what constitutes fun! For birthbday bash, it would be stripping the birthday boy or "taupok" (forming a human sandwich where the students would pile on top one another) or "pole-ing" where the birthday boy would be lifted up by the limbs so that they can proceed to ram his groin into a pole or pillar. One student even jumped on the boy's back. How dangerously cruel! I thought they only did that by way of torturing during the Japanese Occupation!

I remember papa used to remind us that a joke is no longer a joke, and fun is no longer fun, when it ends up with someone being mentally or physically hurt.

How I wish students in Singapore would spend more time reading and thinking. It is important to analyse and understand situations so that they do not endanger themselves. How I wished I was around the canal when the four students decided to go down to retrieve their fallen bag. I would warn the students to quickly climb up instead of taking shelter as it would be too dangerous. It is so important to have general knowledge and understanding, and that little bit of common sense to know that the water from all little drains would flow into a big canal.

I read how a ten year old American girl was in Thailand with her family for vacation. When she saw the waves pulling back a great distance away from the beach, immediately she recalled her geography lesson and shouted out, "Run! It's a tsunami!" Because of this little girl, several others ran for shelter and hence were saved.

I hope students will still find time to read and learn more outside their textbooks.
Above all, whatever they do should have been done after much analysis and pondering, and not just blindly following what others are doing.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Ganchau - Licorice Kam?

When I recently went back to Penang, the question of my blog name was raised during a conversation about blog writing. I was encouraging my second eldest brother (er kerh or koko as I affectionately call him) to learn how to use the computer. I know koko loves reading, and hence I was coercing him to learn so that he could could read the articles in my blog.

"What's the meaning of Gan Chau, aunty?", asked my niece, Tyng.

"Gan is our surname Kam, and Chau is some kind of sweet herbs. The name was given by your beloved grandpa, who sensed I would become some kind of writer," I explained.

"Ganchau means licorice", volunteered koko.

I brightened up. No one had ever told me the exact meaning. "Licorice.... Licorice Kam.... sounds nice,ya?" I asked everyone. I also like to eat licorice.
Like licorice, I will be like Barnabas, bringing healing and encouragement to depressed and sickly souls.

My niece burst out laughing, and koko immediately frowned. "No lah! Sounds funny! Sis, you will always be a Choo Choo to me, my dear" asserted koko.

My eldest sister recently stopped by in Singapore on her way to Perth. Since she and her friend had 6 hours to spare, her friend's relatives picked them up from the airport and took them out for high tea at the Market Place Cafe. When her hospitable hostess, Phoon, realised that my real name is indeed Choo Choo, she broke into a big smile. "I thought it was a nickname", she beamed.

Sis told her that she did not like her name, Lee Lee. Too many actresses and singers have this name. "Sis, would you like to exchange your name with me?" I asked.

"Choo Choo suits you, my youngest sis.... you're always restless and moving like a Choo Choo train." remarked my sis, much to Phoon's amusement.

Sigh! When I first arrived in Canada for my studies, I adopted the name of "Lena". But once the Canadians knew my Chinese name, they refused to call me "Lena" as they thought the name of Choo Choo as a very cute and unique name. When I returned to Singapore, I decided to shorten the name to Lynn, probably to make it sound as fashionable as ahem.... Fann Wong lah, though I am even not half as pretty or famous!

Now, the discovery of the equivalent of Ganchau.... Licorice Kam! My dear readers... please take a vote.... which name do you like the most?

Gan Chau

A Singapore Joke - A Great Way to Lose Weight!

It had been a very busy day. I started my day at 6.00a.m. and had some errands to run as well as some viewing in the day. I was tired and hungry when I alighted the MRT at Braddel Station in the evening. I wanted to stop by a coffee shop for my dinner, but was too tired to eat. There was no Chelsea to greet me by the door, as she was camping at her ex-owner's home for a few weeks. Since there was no Chelsea to share my dinner, I decided I would just take a glass of milo. I turned on the computer, and read an email sent by my friend, Elena Ho. I laughed so hard that my tummy became bloated with air and I felt full! I hope readers will enjoy this Singapore joke too.

"A peasant was overseeing his herd of animals in the last family farm in
Singapore when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud
towards him.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses
and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the peasant, "If I tell you
exactly how many sows and piglets
you have in your herd, Will you give me a piglet?"

The peasant looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his
peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, Why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his HP notebook computer, connects it
to his RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he
calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then
feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution on photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports
it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany.
Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has
been processed and the data stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database
through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives
a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech,
miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the peasant and says,
"You have exactly 986 pigs and piglets."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my piglets," says the

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as
the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then the peasant says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what
your business is, will you give me back my piglet?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"
You're a MP for the PAP", says the peasant.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the peasant "You showed up here even though
nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a
question I never asked. You tried to show me how much smarter than me you
are; and you don't know a thing about pigs.this is a herd of goats. .

Now give me back my dog."

I sent this joke to my buddies overseas as well as to some friends. I received an email from my ex-professor who used to lecture English at the National Institute of Education, Dr. Roland Clive. He wrote :-

Dear Choo choo,
Many thanks for the many emails that you sent me ...
especially the last one on `A S`porean joke.
How very true! I thought it was hilarious and I`m still laughing .
It is the best joke I`ve heard in a long time ....

----- Original Message -----

Mm! I am so happy to bring cheer to someone. Next time when I am tired and hungry I will just head for my computer and read my mails and laugh.... definitely a new way to slim down!

Gan Chau

Chelsea Makes My World Go Round!



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One day Shanaz, Chelsea's previous owner, called me to say that the children missed Chelsea and would like to play with her during the holidays. I gladly obliged and brought Chelsea over by taxi. Each time I book a taxi and I always request for a taxi driver who loves dogs.

Every day when I come home from work, Chelsea would be by the door, with a tennis ball in her mouth. She would dance round and round, with her little tail wagging furiously. I remember an ex-colleage from ACS Independent, Mr. Ong, saying to me that each time he arrived home, his two dogs would be waiting for him by the door, wagging their tails furiously and joyously. In sharp contrast, his two young sons would just continue with their homework, and hardly bothered to greet him. "I think it's better to keep dogs than children!" lamented Mr. Ong.

I guess I could understand my colleague's feelings! Even in the mrt or bus, I would be thinking of Chelsea and always look forward to going home. Gosh! I really miss her.

Chelsea's owner, Shanaz, had wanted to give Chelsea away, and of course, I was the first person she approached. It was because of Chelsea that I got to know her owner. I met them when I was rushing to do an open house at Clementi Park. As usual, when I saw the dog, I patted her and the owner asked if I lived in the condominium. I told her I was an agent and she also came to view my apartment. I later showed her another bigger apartment which she bought. Now Shanaz is so thankful because property prices have gone up a lot... her unit which was bought at $918,000/- is now going for about $1.5 million in the current market, and ERA Realty is trying to enbloc the condominium.

My friend, Jerlynn (seen above with Chelsea) is also very fond of Chelsea as she is very affectionate. Chelsea always likes to lie down on her back and wants her tummy to be tickled! Chelsea's silky fur will make her ideal to advertise some kind of shampoo. L'Oreal, Follow Me, Lux, Dove, Pantene - want my dog to model for you? No need to pay any fees..... just a year's free supply of shampoo will do lah!

Dogs always bring me so much joy and blessings. Indeed, Chelsea and her four legged friends make my world go round. Love me, love my dog! The way to my heart is through
my pet dog! :-)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Pearl of the Orient




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The Pearl of the Orient! From the above photos, you will understand why Penang has always been described as the Pearl of the Orient. I love it it too as my name, "Choo" in Chinese means pearl. Mm... it implies I am also as pretty as a pearl lah!

Penang has been blessed with beautiful beaches. During my last visit, my nieces, Yann and Tyng and I decided that we should spend a day by the beach and we booked 4 hotel rooms at Lone Pine Hotel fronting the beach at Batu Feringghi. The hotel building is old, but charming and full of character. We just enjoyed sitting outside the balcony of our rooms and played games and drank soft drinks and wine.

This time, I noticed that the people in Penang are quite entrepreneurial. There are so many activities on the beach. Tourists can ride on a horse, rent a motor-scooter to ride on the sea, or go sky parachuting. I have a phobia and would not dare to try any of these activities. Hence I could only look on with awe and admiration.

I also noticed that there were quite a number of stray dogs who were very much at home along the beach. They slept under the shade of the trees and towards evening, they even went to have a dip in the water! Clever dogs! What a great place to be!

The food in Penang is just delicious. Penangnites have the gift of cooking! You can try any food you want, because in Penang, no hawkers or restaurateurs will survive if their fare is sub-standard.

If you have not yet had the chance to visit this lovely island, make it your next itinerary! The hotels by the beach are usually fully booked, especially during festive and peak seasons. So prebook early and enjoy your stay!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

When the Rain Came Down....


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The above pictures were taken from an overhead bridge just by The Coronatiion Plaza at Bukit Timah Road. I just could not resist taking the pictures. It suddenly dawned upon me how fast the canals get flooded with water just an hour after a torrential rain! Last Monday, I rushed down to Coronation Plaza from the Central Business District to collect my client's cheque for an office unit. It was only starting to rain. It rained heavily as the taxi plied along and when I reached my destination, the rain was pouring down even more furiously. After meeting up with my client, I could not resist trying out some Penang cuisine at a nearby building.

As it was difficult to get taxis in such a weather, I decided to cross the overhead bridge to catch a bus to my office. Suddenly I saw the heavily flooded canal. Immediately I thought of the song I used to sing in Sunday School.

The wise man built his house upon the rock (3 times)
And the rain came tumbling down.

And the rain came down and the floods went up (3 times)
and his house stood firmly on the rock.

The foolish man built his house upon the sand (3 times)
And the rain came tumbling down.

And the rain came down and the floods went up (3 times)
and his house came tumbling down.

Yesterday, I read about how four school children were swept by the canal during a downpour and one of them, Debra Koh, died as she was the only one who could not swim.
The other three who could swim had a narrow escape. When the children entered the canal to retrieve a fallen bag, the water barely covered their ankles. A few minutes later, it started raining, so they took shelter under a ledge overhanging the canal. Ten minutes later, water startd gushing in, and soon all four were swept downstream by the powerful water.

Once after the rain, I took my dog, Chelsea for a walk. I noticed that water was gushing down from a bigger drain onto the smaller drain in my estate. The water rushed down so powerfully like a waterfall. At such times, I would not unleash Chelsea for her usual run, for I was afraid that if she were to fall into the drain, the powerful flow of water would just wash her away.

The canal drowning was a tragedy. How I wish the kids did not take shelter under the ledge but climb out fast from the canal as soon as it started to rain.

My condolence to Debra's parents. It is even more poignant as Debra is an only child. Students must always exercise caution in every situation. It is always better to be safe than sorry. I have a phobia for water. I enjoy looking at beautiful sceneries of lakes, oceans, canals, rivers, waterfall, swimming pools, etc. but I dare not immerse my legs into the water. Mm... I guess it is high time I overcome my phobia and learn to swim!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Singapore Does Not Believe in Tears!

When I was studying at the University of Alberta, I became interested in foreign films. Hence, I bought a whole package which allowed me to watch 10 foreign films at a huge discount. Once a fornight, I would go to the University theatre to watch my favourite movies. Of these, three stood out most clearly in my memory till today... and one of them was "Moscow does not believe in tears". It was a movie about three Russian ladies who were all out to find a man of their hearts' desires. It was a comedy and I laughed till tears came down! Ironical that the movie should be entitled, "Moscow does not believe in tears"!

Notice my title for this article? It is somewhat along the same line... hope my readers will laugh till tears roll down their cheeks. Some may have to write to me to thank me for helping them to slim down, for they are already full from laughing and hence can skip a meal for the day!

Some years back, when I told people I was single, I would receive sympathy and almost that look which said, "Oh! You poor thing! So unlovable!" Of course, the words that came out would be quite different, "How come? The men around you must be blind! Such a bubbly and bright girl you are!" However, my girls from River Valley High were charmed. They found their single English teacher a great bundle of joy in the classroom. They were comfortable with my lack of hang ups, and I could discuss boy-girl relationship openly with my students. I taught the boys how to be more refined and gentlemanly in their attitude and treatment of the fairer sex. I reminded the girls not to be too demanding and nagging, and always just receiving. They must remember to give as well as receive. Once a student compared me with the somewhat grumpy, nagging Chinese language teacher.

"How come you are both single, but you are so happy while Miss Lee is often so miserable", a student once asked me.

"Maybe, it is because I have Jesus in my heart", I volunteered, "and I know God is always with me and I feel His sweet presence and blessings".

Once, my top girl announced to the class loudly that she too would like to remain single and focus on her career. I told the class to let nature take its course, and if too many of them became single, the PAP would call me up for questioning, for now our nation would have greater need to grow its population!

Once after the annual cross country run, I went to Bugis Street to buy some silk flowers for my sister. I noticed a stationery shop across the flower shop. The aluminium doors were not completely open, and the staff on duty looked bored and depressed. She was even bare-footed!

"How much are those files?" I asked.

"Don't buy! Very expensive!" came the reply.

I was somewhat taken aback and felt quite sorry for the lady. "How much are these pens?" I continued.

"Don't buy! Very expensive".

I looked at the lady and with compassion in my heart, I asked her why she looked so down.

"Aiya! Very sian ah (tired). Life is so boring!" she gave out a big yawn.

I asked her if she would like to hear my testimonies which would cheer her up!

"Stories? Sure!" she suddenly brightened up.

Hence I began sharing with her some of my hilarious testimonies. She started laughing and later a customer entered the shop and she leapt to her feet, cheerfully greeting the customer! I watched her in amusement.

After the customer left, she eagerly asked me to continue my stories. Later she ordered some chicken rice for me and we both had lunch in the shop. I found out that Shirley was her name. She later asked me if I was married. "No, I'm single!"

"Wah! So clever! The Bible said that it is good to be single". I immediately sensed she must be having problems in her marriage.

I told Shirley that the apostle Paul said it is good if we marry; but it is even better if we don't, especially if we have the gift of singlehood.

Just before I departed, Shirley said, "Just now, what did you want to buy ah? They're prizes for your students? O.k. give you everything free".

I told Shirley I would not accept the stationery for free. I would like to buy at a discount. She shared with her husband about our meeting and invited me to have dinner with them. Over dinner I shared with both Shirley and Kevin about how a couple with God in the centre of their lives, would form a very strong triangle of love and relationship. Both husband and wife accepted Christ and soon their relationship healed and prospered. How true when my pastor said that when a man is right with God, he will be right with the world.

Perhaps my being a legal secretary ( at Lim Kean Siew & Co.) who handled nearly all the divorce cases in Penang played a part in my singlehood. I became street wise. I already knew in my late teens that if I had to marry someone, my spouse must be someone worth the exchange of my time, freedom and energy. He need not have all the 5 Cs of Car, Cash, Condominium, Credit Card and Country Club that Singaporean ladies are often accused of coveting. He need only the small c's of compassion, committment, charisma, competence (giving his best in all that he does) and communication (I can't stand it if someone keeps everything bottled in his heart and I am expected to be a psychologist to read his mind). If I have to lose all my energy and sleep getting frustrated over a spouse, I might as well devote all my energy to loving animals and reaching out to others less fortunate.

Today, whenever people find out that I am single, they will say I am so ooo oooooo lucky! In a way I guess I am. Many often think I am a married lady with some children. Are single people not expected to be oozing with joy and contentment? How can I not be happy when there are still so many countries for me to visit. There are still so many wonderful books to read and write, and so many languages that I can still learn and improve on. There are still so many new international dishes I want to try to cook. So many new people I want to meet and so many things to learn.! Mmm.... Singpore does not believe in tears!

Gan Chau

The Happiest Time of the Day

What is the happiest time of the day for you? I am very happy when I wake up every morning, with a spring in my step and a song in my heart, welcoming each day with renewed spirit and refreshed hope.

Yet, I must say that the happiest time of the day is when I come home from a hard days' work. In the bus or mrt, I will be thinking of Chelsea, and looking foward to seeing her with a tennis ball in her mouth as I open the door. Chelsea will then dance round and round, with her tail wagging furiously, expressing such great joy on seeing her mistress! After throwing and retrieving the tennis ball with Chelsea, I will turn on my computer to check for mails as I cool down under the ceiling fan. After ten minutes, it is taking a cold shower! How refreshing it is! What great joy and happiness!

Singapore would be just a great place to live in, if only the weather were kinder and cooler. The humidity can drive anyone nuts. Sometimes, I dream that snow would actually fall in Singapore one day! How nice if we could have 4 seasons for a change. It is quite scary to think that the world is getting hotter and hotter. Everyone of us must play a part to save the earth... cut down on airconditioning, and recyling papers, glasses, plastics, etc. I have stopped turning on the aircondition when I sleep... Cool air from the fan would suffice and also keep my bones in healthier condition.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Learning Experience

Gosh! It was my first time at a Divisional Speech contest! I was meeting the cream of the crop of champion speakers many of whom had been with toastmasters' club for more than 5 years. My limited experience of 10 months made me feel like a "baby" among the giants. I prayed hard that during the two to two and a half minutes when I presented my speech, I would not be caught in my spasm of coughing. God really answered my prayer. My spasm of coughing came after the speech and I immediately left the hall.

I did not win the coveted top three prizes. It was a learning experience. Indeed Toastmasters' activities provide continuous learning for anyone who wants to keep on learning. I will take a break from contests as from June onwards, I will be taking up the post of Area Governor for Division U3. This is mandatory if I want to achieve my Distinguished Toastmaster's title after completing the 10 advanced projects for Gold. Toastmasters not only train us to speak well but to lead well... hence their leadership training programmes. I look forward to helping to organise the Humorous speech contest that is coming up in August and to mentor a new club.

The Lieutenant Governor for Marketing, Goh Wei Koon, is right. We should all try to introduce or recruit members to join toastmasters' activities, for they help to bring out the best in a member. Every member who makes an effort to improve his speaking skills will definitely improve. How I wish I could have learnt about Toastmasters' activities earlier, so that those speeches and testimonies I shared at weddings, funerals and in my church would have been more effectively delivered!

Better late than never, as they say. I will put my heart and soul to learning more about public speaking. It helps that I will be moving to a flat just next to the Little India MRT station in July. This will help me save time as I can zip around clubs more easily as Little India is right in the heart of the city. It is also only one MRT stop away from my office at Park Mall. For exercise, I will try to walk back from my office in the evenings when it is not too warm.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Hopeless Optimist!

I wonder how many of you are like me.... a born hopeles optimist.? What to do? I am the only one among my siblings who inherit nearly 99.9% of papa's genes. Papa was an optimist. He would even give away his last dollar to someone who asked of him, if he felt that someone would have greater need of his dollar than he himself. Papa trusted that God would replenish his need when he took care of His poor and downtrodden. No, he was not a missionary or pastor...he was the kindest of men with a great capacity to love and trust. Now I know why he was always such a happy man... and someome who had never known the meaning of insomnia.

The world may be falling down on me with tons of things to worry about, but when it comes to resting my tired mind and body, I will just push everything aside and fall into very deep slumber. Not the heavy pelting of rain and loud clapping of thunderstorm will wake me up. Sometimes I heard people say, "It was raining so heavily last night" and I would act "blur" as if I was in another part of the world. So far, the only sound that could wake me up is the barking of my pet dogs. When Kamlette was a two weeks' old puppy, her quiet cry for food sounded loud in my otherwise deaf ears. Perhaps a motherly and protective instinct of a dog lover?

I had gone to sleep very early last night after taking my flu tablet and cough lotion and as usual slept very soundly. When I woke up, I saw many missed calls and sms in my two mobile phones. This morning, I have a few appointments with clients and after that will have to make my way to Whampoa Community Centre for my Table Topics contest. Since I won the Championship title in the Area contest, now I am representing my club in the Division contest. Oh God, please make my mind sharp. Please protect my throat and do not let me cough during those vital two to two and a half minutes. This is the prayer of a hopeless optimist.

Papa always said that problems have a way of solving themselves. His favourite words, "Cross the bridge when you arrive there. Take each day at a time. Make the most of each day, and never allow circumstances or people to rob you of your joy".
Thanks papa, for your pearls of wisdom.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


If you are expecting to hear of some kind of murder.... I am talking about the murder of the English tongue by sms! Probably Professor Higgins of "My Fair Lady" would have turned over and over in his grave umpteenth times since the advent of mobile phones and short messaging system.

An extract from Mohd. Ridzwan's blog examplified this assasination of the English Language.


If a stranger were to take a look at my phone, he or she would most probably think that I’ve been engaging in work time sex.

Take a look at some of the SMS that my wonderful female colleagues have sent me this past week.

“Hey r u cumming?”

“Can I cum your cubicle?”

“At mtg room. Cum now.”

“Im cuming. Im cumming. Lvl 5 right?”

“U wanna cum 4 breakfast?”

I’m not sure if many people know this, but “cum” is actually a legitimate word in the English language. Dictionaries do list this much-maligned but equally notorious word and it actually, ehem, means something.

But some clueless ladies have been using “cum” as a short-form of “come” since I can remember, oblivious to its real meaning. Maybe they should hang around guys more often. Ladies, it’s fine to use abbreviations when you SMS. But “cum” shouldn’t be one of them ok?

posted by Muhammad Ridzwan Rahmat at 12:09 PM 7 comments links to this post

My insurance agent often sent me sms, begining with , "Mad. Kam, just to remind you of our mtg this afternoon." I often have to assure him I am still very sane, not mad.!

In a way, I am glad to have retired from teaching otherwise, I would be pulling my hairs in frustration when marking students' essays and comprehension work.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Don't know polyteak lah!

I often write to my three buddies from my University of Alberta Days. The oldest, Mo Shin, hailed from Taipei, Taiwan. The second, Richard, hailed from Hong Kong and the third, James was born in Canada. I was born in Penang and am the youngest in the "Gang of Four". Mo Shin now works as an IT consultant in the States; Richard lectures in a university in Indiana while James practises law in Hong Kong. My three buddies are very successful. Richard is powerful both in English and Chinese while James speaks and writes in 8 different languages! Though we are all in different parts of the world now, we still cross-email to one another. They are particularly very intersted in what is going on in Singapore. My buddies know that I am only concerned with animal and children abuse... and that I am not a polyteak type of person. In the "Gang of Four" James and Richard always like to argue with each other on politics. Whereas I only know how to cook well....hence the new econo-mee!

Having concocted my new dish, the Econo-mee, now I must think of how to sell it and make it popular. Hence, I have come up with some little poem to recite each time I want to promote the new noodles. Here goes:-

Tok! Tok! Tok! Econo-mee,
Singapore noodles for you and me.
Calling the rich, the poor, the middle class,
Come, try my econo-mee without any fuss.

Ah ma, ah kong, ah soh, ah tee, and MP,
Lai, lai, lai, try my new econo-mee,
It's a cross between tok tok mee and kolo mee,
50 cents, $2/-, $8/-, $100/- or more,
Just pay from your heart's core,
Like Annalakshmi, give what you can pour,
For the economy to grow forevermore!

Bush and his officials, come and taste our hospitality,
In Singapore, we have a great economy,
Leave your peanut pay, and come and stay,
Because for our ruling party, it means Pay and Pay!

Don't ever leave without a bowl of econo-mee,
Everyone must try it to boost our economy!

Gan Chau

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Blessings from Lady



I rushed back to my client's shop as a potential buyer called me up to view the unit.
Since she had not yet arrived, I started to read my newspapers. Just then I saw a young lady walking her cute little dog - a silky terrier. As usual, I would always greet and pat every dog I meet. The dog was somewhat timid and shy, and I soon chatted with her owner. Noticng my name tag, she asked, "So you are a property agent? Great, I also want to sell my apartment. Want to come and view it now?"

Found out that the lady is a paediatrician who is working with Singhelath. Dr. Pauline Teong's apartment is cosily renovated. Soon, her pet, called Lady, warmed up to me and was soon treating me like an old friend! I asked Pauline if she was a former student of River Valley High and she nodded with great surprise. "How do you know?" Students from River Valley High and Anglo Chinese School have distinct personalities which I could easily detect. We had a great and friendly chat. Noticing that I was sneezing and coughing, Pauline even gave me some tablets for my cold and cough! I did not even have time to see a doctor yet! What a blessing!

Now I am marketing Pauline's unit. Although the potential buyer did not turn up, I had the pleasure of meeting Pauline and her pet, Lady. This is the third time I have been blessed in my real estate work all because of my love for dogs!!

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Econo-Mee to suit everyone's economy

I just love noodles - all types of noodles. I can eat noodles everyday and can go without rice or bread for a whole year. Hence, when I was running Rialto, I even cococted my own dish - Oriental Seafood Pasta which was quite a hit. My Penang Char Koay Teow is a popular delight with my friends and colleagues. I had tailor cooked the koay teow to suit Singapore palates - 95% Penang style and 5% Singapore style. When one cooks with love, the food always turns out to be extra delicious!

Having just had the dining experience at Annalakshmi, and understanding the principles of the founder that service is more important than the money earned, and believing in the goodness of men that they will pay what is fair for the food, I began to think along the same lines. Especially now that there is this huge debate about the great jump in civil servants' pay, it makes the poor seem even poorer, since the gap is widening. Should I come up with a new dish called econo-mee to suit everyone's economy so that like the Founder of Annalaksmi, I can be of service to my nation.

Let's think. The Kuching kolo-mee range from $3.00 to $5.00 depending on the ingredients. The dish is nice but the trouble is that the ingredients are usually more than the noodles. It is sufficient for me, but for my nephews, they complain they don't feel full and would love to have slightly more noodles.

Perhaps my econo-mee can be priced and done differently. I would set up a big canteen where my econo-mee would be sold at $0.80 cents per bowl. The noodles alone would be so nice that they can be eaten on their own like the way people enjoy maggi mee, but unlike maggi mee it will be even tastier and sprinkled with healthy condiments of garlic and spring onions. For extreme hardship cases, the canteen will not even charge for the noodles. Will solicit the help of volunteers whose reward is to see the joy on the faces of the poor. If more organisations believe in this concept and make donations, the canteen will whip up more econo-mee at even 50 cents a bowl... cheaper than a glass of kopi-o.

My econo-mee will be priced at $2.00 to $8.00 for the working class. But I will give greater value for money. The wider range in price is to give customers a greater choice. On pay day, try the $8.00 noodles. On month end, where the pocket is lighter, go for the $2.00 version.

I will set up a posh restaurant which specialises in noodles alone. The noodles are priced at $40.00 to $100.00 per bowl. I will give Hua Ting a run for their money.
The rich will be proud to be noticed at my up-market restaurant where people know your pockets must be deep in order to be able to enter.

I am not economically inclined. Have never even passed Maths throughout high school and can never understand Economics as a subject. Thank God I did not have to go through Junior College. Right now, can still never remember whether the debit should be on the right or left when doing accounts, etc. I only know I am a good and creative cook, and have inherited my parents' traits of compassion and great hospitality. I also learn from my parents that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and that in life, one is happier when one can give instead of just grab everything one can lay hold of. Papa's favourite words, "Water others and you will be watered; prosper others and you will be prosperous".

How nice if my concept and noodles become well-known so that everyone will say, "We have a great econo-mee in Singapore". Like the Visa ad, people will remind each other not to leave Singapore without it!!! Students and those studying and working overseas will salivate when they miss my econo-mee.

Will my readers support my new econo-mee? Come on, please give me your precious feedback.

Pay Any Amount You Wish!




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Above photos showing some of the dishes served in Annalakshmi Restaurant in Chinatown Point.

"Pay any amount you wish". Too good to be true? But it is happening in the Indian restaurant called "ANNALAKSHMI". Diners are free to order any food from the ala carte menu. They can also order drinks and desserts.

The people who run the restaurant believe in the innate goodness of man. They leave it to the customer's discretion to pay them any amount they wish. He also believes in the greatness and fairness of men. The founder believes that food should always be served from the heart. Hence the restaurant is run by volunteers who believe in service. My colleague, Vanessa Yong, had told me about the restaurant and even did a project presentation on the restaurant on fine dining in Singapore. At that time, Annlakshmi was located at the Excelsior Hotel. Now they have shifted to Chinatown Point and started another outlet at Amoy Street.

The ambience of most ANNALAKSHMI restaurants throughout the world is cosy and elegant, yet unpretentious. Sometimes they have performance by singers and dancers. The vegetarian food is excellent as it is lovingly cooked with the heart just like tasty home-cooked food. For vegetarian lovers, do check up on the nearest Annalakshmi restaurant in your country. Check out the details in the internet.

Bon appetit! Buon appetito! Sud, swadish khana! Rusiya irikire! Cheers to great food!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Convincing Formula : Rev + Fr + God + Win

From Rev Fr John Godwin
Director Special Duties, United Nations Organization
In Conjunction with the International Monetary Fund
World Bank Fact-Finding & Special Duties Office
London, Great Britain.



**#.UNO/WBO LM-05-371**

To the Beneficiary,

The World Bank Group, in conjunction with the United Nations Organization, hereby receive your payment with reference number #.MAV/UNO/WBO/LM-05-371 amounting to US$ 12,000,000.00 (Twelve Million United State Dollars). From the records of outstanding contractors due for payment with the United Nations Organization your company is next on the list of outstanding contractors who are to receive their payments. According to information gathered from the UNO's human resource database we were notified that your payment is ready to be transferred to your account and i therefore wish to inform you that your payment is being processed and will be released to you as soon as you respond to this letter.

Please re-confirm to me if this is inline with what you have in your record and also re-confirm to me the following:

(1) Your Full Name:

(2) Phone, Fax and Mobile Number:

(3) Company Name, Address and Position:

(4) Profession, Age and Marital status.

As soon as this information is received, your payment will be processed and transfer will be made into your account immediately from the international fund remittance department. For more information and clarifications do not hesitate to reach me either via my Email address, Telephone or Fax as soon as you receive this notice.


Best Regards,

Rev Fr John Godwin
Tel: +44-701-1128-380
Fax: +44-700-5976-560

Dear Rev. Fr. John Godwin,

What is a Holy Father like you doing to be in charge of so much $$$.? Shouldn't you be busy looking after your flock of sheep and emulate the good Lord Himself?

You are surely clever with the play of words. Even your surname has "God" in it, and further the word "win." Makes it very convincing psychologically to your readers as the word "win" is reinforcing.

In our little nation of Sing Kam Poor, we have the highest rate of lightning strikes in the world. Perhaps it is easier to be struck by lighting than to strike your lucky prize of so many millions of dollars! Please be informed that although my people are poor, they are a happy and contented lot. They do not envy others for their wealth and they do not covet what does not rightfully belong to them. Hence my people will not easily accept your offer of cash because they have not done anything to deserve this immediate payment. Remember, God loves accurate weighing scales.

Please be warned that in Sing Kam Poor, the laws are very strict. Con men, drug traffickers and rapists are given the cane and imprisonment. Don't you dare try your tricks in our little country. We will not hesitate to put you behind bars.

Her Royal Highness,

Queen LynnKamchooribuktu
The Republic of Sing Kam Poor.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Colorful Country with Colorful Asspressions!

What an interesting country we live in! Singapore is a melting pot of different races from all walks of life. Now with our government intending to increase the population to 6 million in the near future, we expect our little pot to be bubbling with more interesting expressions, not "asspressions"!

Yet, our expressions can become "asspressions" if we misunderstand the real meaning for which they are intended or choose to interpret them wrongly out of context. This is clearly seen in the recent interrogation of the family that was checking out of Changi Airport for a week's vacation. For the benefit of my overseas readers and those who missed the news, I will summarise the incident.

Sandra was asked to remove her boots which she did. Later when her daughter saw her putting on her boots she asked the mother and Sandra explained that the Airport Authorities were afraid there might be a bomb inside. An officer heard her and detained her because she had mentioned the word "bomb". More police personnel were called in until the family had to miss the flight. A mountain was made out of a molehill just because the officers had acted according to the books. Sigh!!! The failure of the educational system! Students in the past used to memorise without understanding what they had learnt!!! Some passed with 8 distinctions but could not even differentiate between a harmless family going on vacation and would-be terrorists! Heard the word "bomb" ... arrest!

The above incident had created a furore of excitement and it was posted in and there were many comments from readers.

I would like to copy from one "Annonymous Coward" and my two replies.

Passenger 1 : I think I need to bomb (meaning a visit to the loo for major "business").

Security : (overheard passenger and start getting all tense up)

Passenger 2 : huh... how long you gonna take?

Passenger 1 : Dunno, it's gonna be a huge bombing session. (and heads to the loo)

Security : HEY YOU! Hold it there, you said "Bomb" twice and the second time, a huge bombing session. I am gonna arrest you for suspect terrorisim act.

Passenger 1 : (puzzled) Whatever for??? I am going to the loo to bomb.

Security : TO THE LOO?? You gonna bomb the LOO?? I am gonna stop you, I shall arrest you NOW, right this moment!!

Passenger 1 & 2 : Siow! (Mad) (and walk away heading to the loo)

Security : Hey! HEY! Dun run... freeze there!! I said freeze!! (and gets into a panic disorder, ram into a pillar, stomping feet on ground) COME BACK HERE! I WANT TO ARREST YOU!!!!!

Posted by Anonymous Coward* on 9 April, 2007 - 5:58am
reply to this comment

Ha! Ha! Ha! Very, very funny lah Annonymous Coward. Old Aunty is learning new experessions evely day lah!

While out viewing a boutique hotel with two colleagues, I learnt a new phrase when Calvin said "I'm going to karaoke." I really thought there was some karaoke at lunch time! Only found out that he meant "xiao pian or wee wee". What a cute and apt description.! I guess it is safer than "I need to bomb". What a colorful country we live in with multiple languages spoken by different races. Best of all, we can learn to speak each other's language. Once an overseas client looked at me in surprise, "Don't you get all your languages mixed up?" Most of us don't except for some "dumb and dumberer" officers who are overly paranoid over the 4 letter word of "BOMB'!

Posted by Ganchau on 10 April, 2007 - 12:02am
edit your comment | reply to this comment

I wonder what will happen if what the blogger said was words like "DIE", "Death", "Nuclear", "War"... That Siva-dunno-what probably will go nuts and tear her clothes off then shoot herself in the head.

Posted by Anonymous Coward* on 9 April, 2007 - 5:44am
reply to this comment

Remember, if you happen to have a friend by the name of Jack, don't ever greet him "Hi Jack!!!" at the airport. You might end up in jail lah. Worse.... longer sentence if your voice is loud and enthusiastic. Never mind that you have not seen your friend, Jack, for a long, long time. Never mind, that it spells of terror when you have these two words linked together.

Gosh.... I am a natural a trained teacher, am naturally loud.

Posted by Ganchau on 9 April, 2007 - 2:53pm
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Perhaps it would be interesting if someone could compile a book on the different expressions used in our colorful country. Or perhaps a book on "Asspressions"....?

Gan Chau

Restless Fingers

When I was watching, "Making Miracles" on TV, I laughed when I saw Fann Wong's less than school-girl-like hairstyle. It looked like her hairstylist must have woken up from a bout of heavy drinking, and just snipped off her hair in half-drunken stupor. Horror upon horrors - to find out that it was the popular hairstylist, David Gan, who did her hair!!! I read in the papers that many fans protested against the ugly haircut even as David defended himself and gave tons of rationale for his choice of this hairstyle for a successful young doctor, Su Yan as portrayed by Fann.

Fann's hairstyle made me smile each time as I recalled how I had snipped the fringe of my playmate, Ah Sim. I had also snipped the hair of another playmate, Ah Hoo. Mother still remembered how she wavered between tears and and laughter as Ah Hoo's grandmother brought him to our house, demanding an explanation as to how her grandson ended up with his hairs snipped long and short by me!! Henceforth, my family would hide all scissors away from me.

Once, armed with a pair of scissors, I also cut our pet dog's hair. Nothing wrong with that, except that when it was done by a six year old kid, the result was abominable! Poor dog! It should have gone around barking and protesting that his doggy furs looked really awful!

I also got hold of my aunt's pair of beaded Peranakan shoes, and decided to cut off the flaps that covered her feet. Wondering why my cousin's synthetic comb looked so strong and lasting, I decided to snip off the teeth!!

In the bus, I used to absent mindedly tear my bus tickets to shreds so much so that when the inspectors checked my tickets, they could hardly read the print! I am glad that we now have plastic link cards.

Now I can look back and smile. I am glad I have outgrown my less than desirable childhood habits. Is any of my readers like me with "itchy hands"? Come on, please share.

Gan Chau

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Children Should Be Nurtured, Not Abused!

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I was sitting at the Food Court, having my breakfast on April Fool's Day when I read the above headlines in our tabloid, the New Paper. An April Fool Day's joke? By golly, no! I was fighting my tears as I read how the poor kids were brutally abused by the adults who were supposedly placed to take care of them! The Home that was created to house, guide and reform these unfortunate kids had turned out to be no better than a Concentration Camp!!

Being the youngest in the family, I was brought up, loved and pampered by everyone.
Papa never had to use the cane on any of his children. His intense love was enough for us to want to do our best for him. He only had to raise his voice or frown and I would burst into tears. How could the abuser think he could get the best of his charge by torturing them! Worse, subsequent investigations revealed that the higher authorities in the Home were not even aware of the happenings. Or they were just merely indifferent.? Even if my pet dog, Chelsea, were naughty, I could never bring myself to spank her. I only had to raise my voice and she would behave. Even as a teacher, I had never punished my students. I asked them to write and reflect over what had gone wrong and how they could have behaved otherwise. Once I was so angry with the class that I walked out of the lessons. I did not want to utter words that were negative and demoralising. The monitor of the class later came to see me in the Staff Room with 35 signatures from the students petitioning me to come back to teach them, and promising they would not misbehave.

Some of these children come from broken homes, and no one need to add more damage and abuse to their lives that have already been broken and damaged. I am greatly in favour that our civil servants should be more than adequately paid for they are worth their salt. It is even more imperative that homes for these unfortunate kids should spare no savings in salary to employ the best of the best.... people who have vocations, are well trained in child psychology and who have the hearts and minds to see these children transformed and nurtured. All these boys need is a loving touch, an encouraging hand and an unwavering faith that despite their past, they have a hope and a future. After all these boys are the leaders of tomorrow, and who knows, out of these boys, we could produce another in the likes of our beloved leader, Lee Kuan Yew!

Gan Chau

Friday, April 06, 2007


For those of you who know me and for my readers who have seen my photos in my blog before, you know that I am definitely not anorexic! Nevertheless with so much fat oozing from my plump frame, it is always a constant reminder to me not to add on more weight for health reasons. I exercise constantly by destination walking, ie. walk to my office which is about two bus stops away; walk to the market; walk to the mrt and almost everywhere. Of course, not forgetting my daily walks with Chelsea in the mornings and evenings.

I am thinking of doing a project on "Anorexia" for my next toastmaster's advanced project speech. The photos of the anorexic ladies are frightening and I hesitate to post them in my blog. You can go into the internet to check out the photos. With bones jutting out painfully and eyes that are sunken for want of food, these models look pathetic. It is ironical that with so much food around them, these people have become like the malnourished poor in Africa. It is also ironical that while the poor are struggling with insufficient food and horrendous living conditions, we are spending millions of dollars every year on slimming products and programmes!

Of course, we blame the media and society. Almost everyday, the newspapers and magazines shout with loud advertisements by slimming and pharmaceutical companies!
They use well known actresses who in the first place, have never been plump or overweight. Why would Fann Wong bother with Xanado? Why would Sherry Tan (Chen Xiu Huan) bother with Expressions? When I was marketing Sherry Tan's condominium, I kept looking and analysing her figure, and I could not see an ounce of fat in her!

I remember some years ago, a friend asked me to help her niece who was losing weight too drastically. As it was the first time I was counselling someone with eating disorders I had to confess I did not quite know what to do. I only knew how to pray and asked God to help her. Later I cooked some delicious Penang koay teow and asked her to eat with me. It was followed by some Chinese tea. I told her that she could still enjoy food and she could drink tea so as to help cleanse out excess oil. Although initially hestitant and reluctant, she gradually ate the koay teow. Serene gradually overcame her eating disorders. Thank God that He helped to pull her back from the brink of starvation.!

In the journal of one of my students, he wrote how he started dieting after his classmates nicknamed him "Fatty Bom Bom". He decided to shed 35 lbs in just 3 months and he did it by not bringing food to school and rejecting all the nice home cooked food. It was fortunate that he did not become anorexic as he started eating normally again, albeit in lesser quantities, after his target loss. Today he is a successful doctor and because of his experience, he is quite effective in helping his patients with eating disorders.

We should always be careful with our speech and not poke fun at others for their less than perfect physical condition. Parents should not label their children as
"Fatties or Pooi Pooi". Let us all look at the more positive sides of everyone and encourage them on their strengths. Let us all edify one another for there are more important things in life than just external beauty.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

$$$ Does Not Drop From Heaven!!

22 Garden Close, PE9 2YP,London.
REF N0:UKNL-L/200-26937
BATCH N0:14/0017/1PD

Attn: Kam Choo Choo,

With light to the question of given you wrong details of e-mail address, we would kindly furnish you the details below on which you can contact the bank for your claims.

Once again, we apologize for the wrong address provided; it was due to typographical error of our secretary.

Meanwhile, we would like to notify you that after the verification process conducted , I wish to inform you that the Administrative department and promotions department has just approved your payment of the 1,000,000.00 (ONE MILLION POUND STERLING) and the said sum is now deposited in our suspense account in your favour with HASELL ATLANTIC GROUP BANK LONDON.

Here is your Winning Contact Code (AQ11WWRZZA1) You Have to Contact the Bank with the Winning Numbers and also with your full details so that they Can Attend to you fast.

So in the light of the above explanation, I wish to inform you that you are to immediately contact Bank,

Here is the Bank Informations.


Managing Director: Mr. Jerry Rayman
Tel: +44 704 570 1456
Fax: 00 44 870 479 1876

Contact them and get back to us if you need More Details. And any
Assistance from our side.

Congratulations once more.

Yours faithfully
Barry Marvis.

U.K NATIONAL LOTTERY Sweepstakes International Program.
Copyright 1994-2007 The UK National Lottery Inc.
All rights reserved. Terms of Service - Guideline.

I am sure many of you have received such emails informing you of your lucky streak!
Almost every week I am inundated with such a letter informing me that my email or my name has been chosen for grand prizes! I can always choose to ignore such letters which I know are nothing but efforts to con innocent readers, but with the itch that is always tingling my ahem! literary hands, I always send them this reply:

Dear Sirs,

WOW! I am so ooo ooooooooooooo lucky to be informed of my win! I guess I must be the luckiest lady in the world because almost every week, I am informed of my lucky win! If this were to continue endlessly, why, I will soon be richer than Bill Gates and Queen Elizabeth combined!

Is it not amusing that I cannot even win a little consolation prize in my company dinner.? Some forty prizes are usually given away to staff and guests totalling around 800. Yet, I am always selected from a mass of millions throughout the world!!! Best of all, I always win the first prize!!

Sirs, you and I know that money does not drop from heaven. God helps those who help themselves. He will only help us if we work hard, with integrity and hope. God loves honest labour; He hates cheats and those who are lazy and hope to become rich by easy means.

If you wish to play a prank, play it well. Why, you can't even write good English. How can any huge and reputable organisation employ someone like you to be in charge of dispersing millions of dollars?

Try something new. Your scam is boring! As boring as those with Doctorate titles and high CEO profiles who claim they have millions of dollars to transfer out of Africa and are looking for partners to enjoy their new found wealth with them!

Yours truly,
Her Royal Highness in the
Republic of Sing Kam Pore

Princess Lynn