Friday, April 30, 2010

Much ado about men with the 5Cs......

I often look at my yahoo mail, but forget about my gmail. Hence when I remembered the other day, I looked at my google mail and was surprised I had over 100 emails, and lots of references to facebook.

Only then did I realise that many friends have sent me photos, wrote messages, etc.
I came across one by Yuan Ping, a toastmaster with the Teach Me Toastmasters' Club. I had helped the club with language evaluation and cooked some food for their refreshments a number of times. Yuan Ping, a cheerful young lady, is somewhat shy and does not easily make light chatter with me. Hence I was very surprised when I read what she had written on my facebook wall.

"Yuan Ping Ruby Lee : Would you have a romantic thing with Kam Choo Choo if you could?

Kam Choo Choo : Ha! Ha! What romantic thing? Not easy for any guy to win my affection because of the high standard set by my beloved papa who was compassionate, committed, charismatic, communicative and Christ-like. The 5Cs I am looking for - so hard to find!

Ha! Ha! Did not realise you are so oooo ooooooooo cheeky Yuan Ping.
When you have found the guy with the 5Cs... please introduce him to me, can? Does not matter if he only has secondary school education. Papa also had limited education, but he communicated and wrote like a well-trained toastmaster! Does not matter if he only has a humble job so long as he is diligent and honest! Papa was the most loved teacher in his school. Does not matter if he does not look like Andy Lau or Peter Gere, because looks are deceptive and fade with age, but the person with a golden heart, shines till he enters the coffin.

Good luck my dear Yuan Ping. The person I am looking for is a man in a million like my beloved papa ..... and with our limited need a miracle! Maybe, now with globalisation.....there is still some hope?! :-)

I guess I have to add that I have been and am blissfully single all these 56 years and 247 days of my life. There are so many interesting things to do and learn. My latest craze is semi-precious stones. I realise that these stones are so beautifully made by the great Creator, and looking at them brings me much joy, peace and contentment and the constant realisation that I am not alone - that if God is interested to make such lovely things for His people to enjoy - what more do I need to ask? Somehow 50% of the people I meet are divorcees - lovely people, but I do not know why their marriage still ends in divorce. Married life is just too stressful.

There are still so many countries to visit; languages to learn, instruments to play, people to meet, articles to write, books to read, testimonies to share, new dishes to cook, movies to watch, new herbal plants to grow, speeches to make, etc. Wish there were 48 hours in a day.

Unless the person I meet is an interesting and versatile man like my papa, I guess it is difficult to stay blissfully married till death do us part.

Cheers Yuan Ping.! Tata! (Bye bye)! Hey! All the best to you too and may you find the ideal man in your life too, yes?


Amazing what people can do on Facebook. Now I understand why my good friend, Geok Cheng, likes Facebook so much. She often gets exasperated with me, for she knows that I hardly bother with Facebook. However, now as the Vietnamese members often communicate through Facebook and post pictures and articles about their clubs on Facebook, I should try to be more diligent and alert.

Happy facebooking!

Gan Cao

Joanne Peh has a blog!


Joanne's look is evergreen - you don't get tired of it.

Rats? No they are shoes! Yucks!

These shoes can kill!

First, we have the bareback; now we have the bare feet look!

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I have not been trained in acting or anything to do with the theatre or television
industry. However, like many of you, I try to get as much fun and the most enjoyment by predicting which artistes will excel in the movie and television industry.

Of course, stars who show that they are not only good looking but versatile and analytical have "one up" over the others. Hence I was thrilled when I recently found out that my favourite star, Joanne Peh has a blog! Despite her busy schedules, she still finds time to write, and sometimes reply to her fans! Kudos!
Recently when I wrote on her blog, asking for permission to copy some of the pictures on shoes, she quickly gave her affirmative!

I prefer Joanne's blog to Xiaxue, because Joanne is more refined in her writing. Unlike Xiaxue, you hardly find four letter words in Joanne Peh's blog. She also does not touch on flippant topics like Xiaxue, whose blog appears more like a diary. Like me, Joanne also feels that anything worth publishing in her blog must be worth the readers' time and interest.

Hence I was thrilled when Joanne was one of the ten popular actresses voted by readers. She was at her most daring in her latest outfit, but the gown looked good on her. As they say, if you have it, flaunt it. I am also amused that there was such an excitement over the revealing clothes worn by the actresses. Yet, there are hardly comments on their skill in portraying the various roles they have starred in.Having said that, I am glad that the ladies are now more chic and elegant in their dressing. Kudos to Chen Liping for having won the best actress award. Being an outstanding movie star is more than just sheer good looks and hour glass figures!

May all our stars continue to shine!

Gan Cao

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Politics Simplified.......

I am not sure whether you are like me. I am one of those people who either comprehend something easily or not at all. Till today, I cannot comprehend the system of accounting and politics. Hence when I read a forwarded email from a friend Shan Chin, it dawned upon me what Politics is all about!

Conservative, Liberal
Labour , I think
you'll get
a kick out of

A little boy goes to his dad and asks, 'What is Politics?'

Dad says, 'Well son, let me try to explain it this way:

I am the head of the family, so call me The Prime Minister.

Your mother is the administrator of the money, so we call her the Government.

We are here to take care of your needs, so we will call you the People.

The nanny, we will consider her the Working Class.

And your baby brother, we will call him the Future.

Now think about that and see if it makes sense.'

So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what Dad has said.

Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him.

He finds that the baby has severely soiled his nappy.

So the little boy goes to his parent's room and finds his mother asleep.

Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny's room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny..

He gives up and goes back to bed.

The next morning, the little boy says to his father, 'Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now. '

The father says, 'Good, son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about.'

The little boy replies, 'The Prime Minister is screwing the Working Class while the
Government is sound asleep. The People are being ignored and the Future is in deep shit.'

Gan Cao


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Much Ado About Star Awards in Singapore!

I had purposely set aside time to watch the recent Star Awards because I had voted for my favourite stars - Chen Hanwei, Tay Ping Hui, Dai Yangtian, Jeanette Aw and Joanne Peh. I am glad that all these had won for popularity and Chen Hanwei had also won the best actor's award for "Daddy at Home". He deserves it because he is one of the most versatile actors on local television. I love his recent role as Wufu, the village fool, in "The Best Things in Life". Wufu made me laugh and cry, and his words of wisdom have been etched in my memory.

However, I wonder why TV Media Corp must invite Taiwanese presenters like Regine Li-Ching and Mark Chao. These two seem to have little dignity in their work. Amazing what they themselves have revealed. Mark said that he and Li Ching had not discussed how to go about presenting the awards, and that he would just go along with her. To Mark's surprise, Li Ching had also told him that she did not know what she'd say. Just because MediaCorp has asked Li Ching to prolong the time of presentation, it does not imply that she could just repeatedly hug Mark to kill time!
If this is Li Ching's idea of fun, she is indeed insulting the intelligence of her audience. She has forgotten that anything done excessively is ABSOLUTELY BORING! When she realised that many television viewers were riled by her flirty and boring antics, she was defensive and said, "If people understand the whole idea of entertainment, they won't react so strongly. She added, "Of course, the fact that Chao is good-looking comes as a bonus".

I cannot believe that Li Ching is such a shallow presenter. Hugs are not only for good looking people but the emotional benefits of hugs for little children, friends, loved ones, etc. are much needed. Even hugs for the sick, weak and poor are badly needed for they are therapeutic.

I am sure that if MediaCorp were to get presenters from the toastmaster's club, the audience would have been more greatly entertained. The presenters would surely plan and discuss what they would touch on. If asked to prolong the show, they would think of entertaining and creative things for the award-winning artistes to do. They would draw up a list of topics which would be of relevance to the artistes on stage. This would be derived from their knowledge of the movies the artistes had acted in, etc.
Having been trained on table topics, the toastmaster presenters would be witty and quick on their entertaining repartees, and not waste stage time by endless hugging and boring tactics! Do attend one of our yearly Division and District Contests, and you will realise the difference!

I hope that for the next Star Awards, MediaCorp will take my suggestion into consideration. Toastmasters' activities are voluntary, and toastmasters are passionate in whatever tasks have been given to them. MediaCorp could donate the huge amount of money saved by employing boring presenters like Li Ching to needy orphans and elderly folks.

I sincerely hope that all presenters on stage would take their work seriously for Star Awards involve about 2 to 3 hours of stage time. The audience who watch the program on television at least have the liberty to multi task. I could exercise even as I watch the program, and during commercial breaks, could read my books, polish my silver, clean the apartment, etc. However, the audience in the hall have to sit through the whole program. This is why I was so happy when I saw that President Nathan and his wife were not at the Star Awards this time.

I wish everyone in MediaCorp all the best. Kudos to MediaCorp for the great improvement in their production of television serials. Keep it up!

Gan Cao

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Creative Lady with the Powerful Voice

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The unmistakable Miss Neo, with her paraphernalia and powerful voice.

There she was, as usual, with her cheerful personality and powerful voice. I heard her voice as I was coming down from the Clementi MRT Station. I could recognise her voice easily.

Miss Neo, composes her own song which pertains to her plea to customers to buy her tissue papers. The very first time I heard her, her lyrics were something like this. I could still remember because the lines were catchy.

"One dollar, one dollar,
Aunty, uncle, one dollar,
Please buy tissue paper from me,
One dollar, one dollar.

Miss Neo would lower her voice at the last line - a drastic drop. I tried to give her some ideas to improve her melody. Now she sings even more harmoniously.

Miss Neo has improved tremendously. Her voice is strong and can be projected far away. I often told her that she would definitely make a good teacher for none of the students would fall asleep.

What I like about Miss Neo the most is her cheerfulness and positive attitude towards life. Her smiles enhance her sweet looking countenance. Despite her sufferings and disability, she looks at life with brightness because she trusts her God. Every packet of tissue paper has a verse of the Bible stuck on. The verse would be in both English and Chinese.

Although I never fail to buy some packets of tissue papers from Miss Neo, I believe I have received even more than I give. After each meeting with her, I walk with a spring in my steps and a song in my heart. Miss Neo is indeed a special lady. The next time when my local readers see Miss Neo on her wheelchair, do drop by and say hello to her, or listen to her special words and music.

Gan Cao

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Feeling Like a Million Dollars!


The awesome $100,000/- Chennai Silk Saree!

Am wearing a lovely pastel green saree for the first time, yet feeling like a million dollars because the Saree is given by my best friend, Amu.

Amu with her lovely blue saree.

I love the blue Punjabi suit that Amu had bought for me. It is cooler than a saree,
and I feel so rich to have a wonderful friend like Amu. Getting ready for our
2010 DWG Dinner & Dance. The gold medal is an award given by Dr. Dennis Wee to the
top 200 agents.

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One of my friends, Bilora Chowdhury, a passionate toastmaster, forwarded me an email about the most expensive and beautiful saree that would probably enter the Guiness World of Records. Below is the write-up.

"How often have you come across a Rs. 40 lakh ($100,000) silk saree? Chennai Silks, a textile unit has come up with one of its kind and it is seeking an unmistakable entry into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most unique and expensive saree.

The exceptionally stunning saree is meticulously woven with 12 precious stones and metals to depict 11 of Raja Ravi Verma's popular paintings. Explicitly projected is 'Lady Musicians', one of the painter's very famous works that displays women belonging to diverse cultural backgrounds.

Besides, the border of the saree pictures 10 other paintings of the artist that pays tribute to 20th century artist.

The best part of the saree being that the women in the paintings are intricately hand-woven and beautified with jewels of gold, diamond, platinum, silver, ruby, emerald, yellow sapphire, sapphire, cat's eye, topaz, pearl and corals.

Already in the Limca Book of Records, this 40 lakh saree will be the first silk saree that required the use of 7,440 jacquard hooks and 66,794 cards during the weaving process. Moreover, a group of consummate workers took nearly 4,680 hours."

The Chennai silk saree is absolutely gorgeous and so is the price! At US100,000/-
it can buy me a three room HDB flat in the outskirts of Singapore. At US100,000/- it can also buy Pastor Richard, 7 years supply of food for the children in his orphanage in Myammar.

The Saree is very graceful and I was thrilled when my best friend, Amu, gave me a lovely pastel green saree from her collection. I wore it for our annual Dinner and Dance. During this year's Dinner and Dance in March, Amu again surprised me with another gift - this time - a lovely Punjabi suit. I like it more as it is less warm and easier to put on than a saree.

Notwithstanding the immense hard work and labour on the Chennai Silk Saree, I feel that I would never be able to bring myself to buy such an expensive saree, even if I were a millionaire. The feeling would not be comfortable. I would feel guilty about being overly lavish, when there are still so many starving people on this planet.

My best friend, Amu, who did not go to school works hard as a cleaner. Yet with the little money that she has, she is generous to buy me such lovely outfits. Even though my Saree and Punjabi suit cost less than S$100/-, I feel like a millionaire whenever I wear them, because I feel so loved and blessed to have such a thoughtful and wonderful friend.

Gan Cao

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Excuse Me, Are You A Property Agent? ...(24)

Yesterday, I read about the plight of the two lawyers who were made bankrupt after their partner, Zulkifli Mohd Amin skipped town with more than $10 million. I am glad Justice Tay Yong Kwang is wise to let the two men continue with their legal work, so that they could continue to pay their creditors. I hope that Mr. Sadique and Mr. Anand, would continue to work hard and pick themselves up again.

I felt sad for the two lawyers whose plight was caused by their wrong choice of a partner who was greedy and manipulative. If not for God's protection and blessings, my client and I too might have been a victim of the unscrupulous Zulkifli Mohd Amin.

Our Divisional Director had asked us agents from Dennis Wee Group to try and give legal transactions to Zul for he had been quite supportive of our company's events and functions. I passed a client's case to him. It was a purchase of a small office unit in Orchard Road, costing about $1.2 million. My client did not want to borrow much money from the bank, and hence had to pass quite a lot of cash to Zul. Somehow when I was talking to Zul, I suddenly began to feel uneasy, and there was something about him which put me on my guard. Yes, he was too suave and I don't take to men who talk superficially.

Zul suddenly asked me why I was often happy and smiling. I told him that everyone of us would have problems of one kind of another; but we should all be over comers for the Creator will never leave us alone to fight our battles. I shared with him how I would never go after my enemies, but to pray for them and to let God deal with them. I have seen how time and time again, God would handle things so fairly. I told Zul that people who take advantage of others are fools, for even if they do not fear men, they should at least fear the One above, for He sees everything and will go after the bullies!

Suddenly Zul stared at me for a while. I asked if anything was troubling him.

"No, no, not at all", the confident lawyer seemed to be mumbling!

When my client read about Zul's case in the Straits Times, she called me.

"Choo, luckily, my matter is all nicely settled. How dangerous and risky!" she said.

I told me my client that I prayed everyday about her case, that God would not allow anything to go wrong and to bring the whole transaction to a good conclusion.

Praise God for His protection. As for Zul, I do not know where he is hiding now.
He can hide from men, but he can never hide from the One up there. Is Zul truly happy and peaceful even with the $10 million in his pockets? Isn't life more than just merely eating, drinking and sleeping? Zul has been endowed with brains or he would not have qualified as a lawyer, but sadly he has misused his brains.

I have also learnt that no matter how clever I think I am, I am limited by my human ability and fragility - I always need God's grace and blessings.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The first time I touched a snake!


Yusof with his pet, a golden albino python which he affectionately calls Mr. Bean

Chilren were enchanted and curious about Mr. Bean and his owner patiently explains....

During the opening ceremony and visit by MM Lee at The New Colours of Tekka, one of the highlights was a cordial
Mr. Yusof with his pet snake, Mr. Bean. There was Mr. Bean, all curled up around his beloved owner.

I have a phobia for snake. That evening, I mustered all my courage to touch the skin of Mr. Bean. I dared only to touch the snake at the back. His head was in front of his owner. Mr. Bean has smooth, silky scales on his skin. I felt squirmish as I touched the skin. I must say that the skin is beautiful - such intricate designs by a great Creator!

Yusoff has a collection of a few snakes and even has his own website. He shared that Mr. Bean only eats once every three days, as the chicken will take at least 3 days to be digested. The snake also loves to take a shower. On hot days, his doting owner will shower him twice a day. On cooler days, the snake will go without his shower.

It is heartening to see children crowding around Mr. Yusof and his pet, and to learn more about the habits of snakes
from the man who has a soft heart for reptiles. I still prefer furry pets like dogs, cats and hamsters.

Gan Cao
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The New MRT Downtown Line!


Map showing the construction of the new downtown line
Wow! I will be zooming through the tunnel and reach Geok Sim's aparment in
Bukit Panjang in a jiffy!

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Wow! I am looking forward to the completion of the new downtown line. In retrospect, I had indeed made the right decision when I decided to move from Toa Payoh to Little India when I became the Area Governor for Area U3 some three and a half years ago. As Area Governor, I knew I had to visit many clubs not only in my Division but in other areas too, as I enjoyed helping out as a Language Evaluator.
Hence, the only way for me to save time, is to save time on transport. And what better choice than to live within 40 seconds walk from the Little India MRT.

Now we not only have the purple line but also the new downtown line. Not one, but two! Hooray!

Everyday, I pray that the Lord will bless all the construction workers and engineers, as they work hard to prepare the mrt lines and buildings for us. May God also bless all the drivers of buses, planes, and all those who climb high to build lovely apartments and offices for us in this little lovely garden city.

Gan Cao

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Are you a Carrot, an Egg or A Cup of Coffee?

A friend from the toastmasters' club, Pradeep, sent me this email which I would like to share with my readers. What a thought-provoking article!

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, 'Tell me what you see.'

'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma the daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?'

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy..

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

You might want to send this message to those people who mean something to you (I JUST DID); to those who have touched your life in one way or another; to those who make you smile when you really need it; to those who make you see the brighter side of things when you are really down; to those whose friendship you appreciate; to those who are so meaningful in your life.

May we all be COFFEE!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Payback Time - Hospitality!

I had just watched the news on television, and I saw so many passengers and travellers stranded at Changi Airport due to the massive cancellation of flights. Some of the passengers interviewed looked extremely exhausted. Some of them are quite elderly.

I am going to phone up the Newpaper or email them to say I would open up my humble home for hospitality. I have a vacant room and would open my doors to any elderly couple needing a room to stay while they await for their flight confirmation. It is unfortunate that the hotels in Singapore have been fully booked, and it is the time that we show our hospitality to people from other nations.

My client, Amelia, shared with me how her son, Sam was stranded in Sweden and had to take five trains to reach London. He is currently on an exchange student program in London. I can understand his exhaustion and anxiety, when he declared, "I don't want to travel again!"

I remember the warm hospitality that people and even strangers have showed me all these years of my travelling around the world. Hence, it is payback time. My home is not grand - just a humble three room HDB flat, but it is cosy and best of all, within 45 seconds walk to the Little India MRT station. My guests can commute easily around Singapore. They need not pay for the accommodation - I only hope the warm experience will also encourage them in turn to open up their homes to others from other nations, if they have never experienced it before. It only takes a spark to get the fire going .......

Gan Chau

Cheapest Studio in Town !


Gandhi Studio at Block 668 Chander Road - cheapest studio in town!

The amiable Mrs. Gandhi, posing in front of her shop.

Photos that are well taken and reasonably priced!

My passport photo - definitely better than the one taken at a studio in Toa Payoh!

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Of late, I had been so busy and it was imperative for me to renew my passport as I only had about 5 months left before expiry date. I tried to rush in a bid to get the passport on time for my trip to Rompin, Pahang, with my colleages. However, I forgot about a public holiday and (hence, overshot the three working days which the Authorities require.) I could only pray hard that the Malaysian Immigration would still allow me entry. I guess, travelling with four other colleagues in the same car did the trick.

When I collected my passport, I realised the photo on the passport was unbecoming....I looked like a cancer-stricken patient! Although it was supposed to be a colored photograph, I looked so pale! I guess business was so good at the studio in Toa Payoh, that the staff just did her work perfunctorily. I remember she had only taken one shot!

Hence, I decided to take another photo ....this time I would try out the studio in my block. I saw the banner, "$3 for 4 passport photographs". The price is most reasonable, and the photos look good.

I was surprised that the owner's wife, Mrs. Gandhi, took some 4 shots, and asked me to try taking the photos with and without my glasses. Since I like the photo, I decided to print 8 copies for the price of $6/-. The affable Mr. Gandhi shared that he purposely charged lesser because of the huge crowd of Indian workers who often patronised his studio. "They do not have much money, and I don't want to charge even the usual price that other studios charge. I think I operate the cheapest studio in Singapore. During the last Chinese New Year, I had a promotion - $2/- for 4 passport photos. The queue was so long, winding like a snake!" Mr. Gandhi coud speak Hokkien dialect, and I tried to practise speaking Hindhi and Tamil with
the lovely couple. I could see their beautiful wedding photo proudly displayed on the wall of their studio. Singapore will always be an interesting country to live in, because we are so multi racial and all melt in one happy pot!

My friends and colleagues who happened to see my photo have also said that they would take future passport photos with Gandhi Photo Studio. Mr. and Mrs. Gandhi are so warm and friendly. When people do business with a big heart, they always prosper!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The New Colours of Tekka !


MM Lee with his team of Ministers

Tekka - rejuvenated and bursting with new colours!

Mr. Lui Tuck Yew giving away the lucky prizes in the Grand Draw
With Aunty Helen and friendly neighbours at the revamped Tekka Food Centre

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There I was, one early morning, at my neighbour, Aunty Helen's foodstall at the Tekka Market. Aunty Helen's food sells out fast each day. She is really popular with her customers.

Aunty Helen was extremely pleased to see me because of late, even though we are living on the same floor and only two doors away from each other, she had not seen me for quite a while, as I was out most of the time. She told me that MM Lee Kuan Yew was going to visit Tekka Market as he was the guest-of-honour. I decided I would pop in to participate in the event and also to take a look of our beloved PAPA of PAP. I remember when I was in Primary Five, I saw MM Lee on our neighbour's black and white television in Penang. I did not know who the then Prime Minister of Singapore was, for I saw him as an "Ah Pek" (old man) who talked oh, so slowly on the screen. I was quite a precocious and lively primary school girl who rattled off like a choo-choo train, and thought that anybody who talked so slowly must be absolutely boring !! Of course, now I realise how great the "apek" on T.V. is, and he is one of the greatest and most prolific of speakers, because when he speaks, the world listens! Thanks to my siblings, teacher-training, and toastmasters' programs, I have learnt to slow down when I speak, and not rattle off like a train. However, my classmates in the French Immersion Program have told me that my name suits me to a tee, because I am lively and constantly on the move, like a real train! Dear parents, be mindful of the names you give to your children, yes?

As I was running late, after meeting up with my client, Geok Sim, at the Raffles Town Club for lunch and gym workout, I decided to go straight to the Tekka Market, lugging my trolley bag along with me. The market was filled with an air of excitement, and soon our beloved MM Lee arrived, with his group of ministers. He later took the new lift up to the highest floor of Block 662 and waved to everyone.

I bought a coupon for $3/- which was real value for money, for it came with a lovely packet of nasi lemak from Lee Brothers, pop corns and nuts. It also entitled me to play some games. I tried the little golf game, and at the first attempt had a hole-in-one! The game masters asked me if I often play golf, but I told him that it was my first time trying to hit a golf ball! Just sheer luck, I guess.!
Mr. Lui Tuck Yew drew the lucky prizes for the grand draw. There were pictures and even a television screen showing the new route of the Downtown line 2. I am excited about this new Downtown line, because it will reduce my journey to Changi Airport. I would also be able to easily visit Geok Sim who lives in Bukit Panjang.

Later, I found Aunty Helen with her grand niece, Joanne and some of her friends. Aunty Helen has lived in Little India for the past 20 years, and she knows almost everybody in the vicinity! Aunty Helen's friend asked me to help her friend look for a hdb apartment in Tampinese. I went home, with a spring in my steps and a song in my heart. I dare say that of all the places I have lived in Singapore, I enjoy living in Little India the most! It is an estate filled with technicolours, warm hearts and caring neighbours!

Friday, April 16, 2010

When Things Work Out for Good ....

I received the following email article from my friends in the toastmasters' clubs - Pradeep and Fernando. The article reminds me of how the loss of my voice had actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Though it had prompted me to leave my job as a teacher, it had also enabled me to find my panache in real estate marketing!

Real estate marketing has also enabled me to be someone concerned with stringent time management, so that I would not only work hard, but smart too. By working smart, it also enabled me to to find time to be a life long learner. At the age of 55 I started learning the violin, just after I had completed most of my speech and leadership requirements in the Toastmasters International program. It also enabled me to pick up more Hindi, Tamil, Malay, French as well as Korean and Mandarin when I watch movies and television serials.

Best of all, the freedom of time allows me to make time for my beloved relatives and friends when they visit me in Singapore. All these years, I have learnt to remain positive and cheerful even when sometimes things don't turn up the way I want. For I know that with my limited vision and height, I can only see so far, but God is omnipotent and omnipresent and He has wonderful plans for me.

Now due to the increasing pain in my backbones, I have decided to go back to my first love of training/teaching, and this will happen when I join Orange Tee Property Consultants as a part-time trainer cum team director. Training is easier on my throat than teaching, because I can use the microphone, and the trainees are mature adults who fork out money to learn.

I hope the article below will encourage and remind my readers to stay positive at all times, and know that things often happen for a reason - a reason that is byond our understanding at times. :-)


The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions. But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.

The worst had happened - everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger.

"God, how could you do this to me?" he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.

"How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers.

"We saw your smoke signal", they replied.

It's easy to get discouraged sometimes when things appear to be going badly. But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Excuse Me, Are You a Property Agent? ...(23)


Green, green, my love is green.


Lovely view of ACS from the 9th floor of Balmoral Gate Condominium


ACS - an overhead bridge across from the Condominium!

Wow! What a lovely view from the 9th floor condominium of Balmoral Gate. ACS is just across the road, and many parents are interested to rent the condominium because of their school-going children.

I was rushing to show a potential client the unit which is also within walking distance of the Newton MRT. As I was 5 minutes behind time, it was imperative that I did not waste any precious seconds. I was not sure which exit to take, but when I saw some boys in ACS school uniform, I knew that would be the exit to take. Of late, I had been wondering why ACS students kind of looked small in size. I remember my secondary school students were often quite tall and definitely well-fed.

It was only later that I realised that ACS Primary School had shifted to the new building across the road sometime in 2002. By then, I had left the teaching profession.

I wonder if Singapore is the only country in the world which gives students a better chance of enrolment if they were to live within 1km of their school premises! I am
glad that there was no such rule during the time when my siblings and I were going to school in Penang. All of us managed to get into good schools, even though we were living in the notorious village of Jelutong! Nature versus nurture? Or nurture versus nature? The secret? We had the most wonderful papa who ensured that lack of money did not deprive his children of the best education that he could provide for them.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Confusing Signs in City Square Mall


Waterless urinals? What was that coming out after I flushed? Voila! It was certainly water!

Gosh! Is the foundation of City Square Mall strong enough? If they
don't use steel, or reduce the usage of steel, what do they use?
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As I live in Little India, I was extremely happy when the lovely City Square Mall was up, beautiful and resplendent! However, it was still my second sister, Ean Ean from Melbourne, who beat me to it....she visited the Mall months before I made my way there!

Best of all, my favourite Pu Tien Restaurant has started buffet dining at their new branch in the Mall. You have to book days ahead, or the restaurant is always fully booked!

Recently, I brought my nephew, (from Johore) Daniel and his wife, Jacelyn to the Mall for lunch, and I noticed two interesting, yet somewhat confusing signs, as illustrated above.

Nevertheless, I like the idea of an Eco Mall. At the NTUC, there is one special counter for people who do not need bags for their purchases. I always use that counter, because I can beat the long queue as I always have a trolley bag to collect
my purchases. Hence, I can reduce the number of plastic bags I have in the home.

I hope there will more of such Eco Malls in Singapore, but please reduce the confusion caused by the signboards!

Gan Cao

Sunday, April 11, 2010

We are the Living Bible!

I received this email from a toastmaster, Fernando Young. I would like to share this
touching story with my readers.

One of the most difficult things to NOT do is judge people by what they look like -

I have a hard time with this very thing -

read on and I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Now this is the Living Bible:

His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college.

He is brilliant. Kind of profound and very, very bright. He became a Christian while
attending college.

Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church.
They want to develop a ministry to the students but are not sure how to go about it.

One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat.

The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now, people are really
looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything.

Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit, and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet.

By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.

About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill..

Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do.

How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?

It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy.

The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. All eyes are focused on him.. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The minister can't even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do.

And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be alone.

Everyone chokes up with emotion.

When the minister gains control, he says,
'What I'm about to preach, you will never remember.
What you have just seen, you will never forget.'

'Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read!'

I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today.

To guide you and protect you as you go along your way....

His love is always with you, His promises are true.
And when we give Him all our cares,
we know He will see us through.

Only if you feel led to, pass this to People you want God to Bless.
....I DID, my dear readers. :-)

Excuse Me, Are You A Property Agent? (22)

I am surprised that this time round, most of my advertisements for rental flats have garnered interest from locals. In the past, it was usually the expatriates or people on short business trips who showed interest in the advertised units.

I went to take a look at a beautiful condominium which was marketed by my two new recruits, Jack and Adeline. The home was meticulously done up, and despite the age, was in a pristine condition. The lady of the house was extremely meticulous and house-proud. She decided to sell her lovely apartment and move to a landed property, preferably a corner terrace or semi-detached house.

However, by the time her unit was sold, she was still unable to find a house that she liked. Hence, she decided to rent an apartment for two years. Likewise, many of the potential tenants had also sold their properties because they wanted to cash in on the hot market, and hoped that the price of the properties would drop in the near future, and they would buy again. So many people seem to forget that Singapore is a small island which is bursting her shores with an influx of permanent residents and expatriates.!

I remember my best friend, Amu, had sold her 4 room HDB flat in the Redhill vicinity, so that she could downgrade to a 3 room flat in Jurong, which would be fully paid up and leave her with some cash. At first Amu wanted to rent after she had disposed of her flat, but I advised her to buy a 3 room flat almost simultaneously so that she could hedge against inflation or a rise in price. Amu is glad she had heeded my advice; otherwise, she would have to pay even more for her 3 room flat now. Amu's unit was marketed by her niece who is also a property agent. I am surprised that as an agent, she had not given Amu the important advice. As agents, we must always bear in mind that we are dealing with clients' hard-earned money; hence it is imperative to give sound and sincere advice to clients.

Housemoving is so stressful and I am amazed that so many have no qualms about disposing their beautiful homes in exchange for a rental home.! When we live in a rented home, the feeling is very different. We would not make the rental home as comfortable as we want to, because we do not want to waste any money to renovate the unit because it does not belong to us. Moreover it is so wasteful to pay rentals for a unit which is not ours. The rentals could sometimes fully cover the mortgage of a property. We also have a more peaceful and "settled" feeling when we live in our very own premises, and can really enjoy singing the song, "Home, Sweet Home."

Gan Cao

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Save the Trees, not for Ourselves, but for the Doggies too!


My friend/client, Melinda, who is an avid dog lover, sent me this email. Though we can smile at the humour and cuteness of the picture, it is a severe reminder to us, not to cut down trees unnecessarily.

Let us help to save the world, and by so doing, save oursevles too, and also all our four legged friends and every living creatures, big and small. :-)
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More photos from the Singapore Flyer....


With Jacelyn inside the car....

A round map showing the various places that one can see from the Flyer

Pitter patter, pitter patter......

The lovely view of the ECP Highway and the lovely condomiums along the waterway of Singapore.
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On top of the world .......


With my niece-in-law, Jacelyn at the Singapore Flyer

The newly-wed couple, Daniel, my nephew with his lovely and demure wife, Jacelyn

Friendly and loveable school children in the car next to ours!

The temporary Stadium at Marina, viewed from above!
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My niece, Christmin and her husband, James had bought a ticket to the Singapore Flyer for Kam Ning, during her one month teaching stint, but Ning had been so busy that she could not use the ticket. Hence, I was blessed with the ticket which had 3 more days to the expiry date. Frankly, I am one lazy person who dislike going out of the flat when I am in Singapore. However, when I am travelling in othe countries, I will enjoy every moment of sightseeing. For it is when I really let my hair down.

Since my nephew, Daniel and his wife, Jacelyn were visiting me from Johore, I decided to take them along with me to the Singapore Flyer on the last day of expiry date. It was the first experience for all three of us. It rained quite heavily as we were gradually on our way up. Yet it looked beautiful, giving that feeling of "being in heaven" with the mist and haze!

We saw some schoolchildren in the next car. One of them was particularly cute and friendly and kept waving to us. Kids are always the most natural and spontaneous.
They always seem to enjoy themselves, come rain or shine.

If I want to have a night view of the city, I will not want to take the Flyer again because it costs $29.90! I will go to my client's 17th floor apartment at Rocca Balestier for it has 340 degree view of the city!

Going up the Singapore Flyer is indeed a terrific way to have a bird's eye view of lovely Singapore island!

If my local and overseas readers have not tried it before, do make it a point to go
up the Flyer at least once. You will definitely enjoy the ride!

Gan Cao

Monday, April 05, 2010

Excuse Me, Are You A Property Agent? (21)

I received an sms from a cobroking agent of my client's rental apartment.

"Choo, what is the meaning of "Next week, I will touch base with you?"

As I was somewhat busy on the move, I replied when I had the chance to sit down for my early dinner, or you might call it late lunch.

Later, when I met up with John to view my client's apartment, he looked somewhat relieved. "Choo, you took a while to reply my sms. I was so worried. I thought "touch base with me" means "touch my bottom!" I could not resist laughing aloud. John, a tall and handsome agent, certainly had grounds for his paranoia because his client is an effiminate fashion designer.!

I explained to John about some of the complexities of the English Language with its many idiomatic expressions. For example when we say "raining dogs and cats" it means raining heavily.

"Aiya, why can't my client just say to meet up with me than to use such "cheem" (Hokkien for profound) language as "touch base". I asked my colleagues and nobody seemed to know the meaning. I encouraged John that at least that day, he learnt a new phrase in English.

Though John may not be linguistically equipped, nevertheless, he works with diligence and integrity. However, it would be good if he and many other agents would continue to improve in their English Language as it is an equally important tool to help them close deals.

Gan Cao

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Amazing What Computers Can Do !

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Singapore's new casino at Sentosa

I am still learning new things on the computer. This evening I was in the mood to play around with searches on the computer, and decided to google for my ex-classmates from secondary school as well as the University of Alberta.

Then I thought, "Why not type my name and see what comes out?" I was surprised to see so many things being featured. I did not know that articles published in the New Paper will also be published in the Electric New Paper in the computer, as seen by the picture above and article below.



On levy to enter casino
Give one-time passes to curious locals
March 19, 2010

A FORMER university mate wrote to me from Canada: 'Have you seen your new casino that was reported in the news? How is it?'

FREE ENTRY? Why not allow visitors a walk around? PICTURE: AP
I wrote back: 'No, I have not seen it and I guess I will never see it as long as there is still the $100 levy to be paid. You know what a stingy poker I am, or for want of a better word, an exceedingly frugal lady.'

I guess we must be the first country in the world to have such a levy.

Of course, the authorities have the good intention of discouraging locals from gambling.

But I have been to casinos in Monaco, Melbourne and Genting Highlands, and did not gamble at all, as I find gambling boring. I was there more as a tourist.

Perhaps the authorities could consider issuing a one-time pass to Singaporeans.

This will enable curious people like me to have a look at the casinos inside out, so that when our friends from overseas ask, we can at least say that we have seen the places.

The pass can be limited to two hours, just for a look around. Even an hour will suffice if the authorities are worried that some people will try to gamble in that time.

I belong to an older generation who were trained to be frugal. I think that $100 can feed an orphan in Nepal for 21/2 months.

I do not mind paying more than $100 to watch a good opera, but it will make my heart bleed to fork out $100 just to see bright lights and gambling machines .