Saturday, December 20, 2008

Julbord - My Swedish Christmas Dinner

on friday, i had a company Christmas julbord at a restaurant along surbrunnsgatan. i can't really remember the name the place but it had very tasty traditional swedish food! as per all smörgåsbord, we started with the cold dishes like herring, ham, salmon, moose sausages and smoked reindeer's heart! yes i ate rudolf's heart! :P i thought it would be soft and taste like the "spare parts" (pig's intestines, liver.. etc) we would eat in singapore, but apparently not. it was tough like meat and tasted really good, like smoked ham. and my colleague was telling me it is hard because the heart is a muscle. so desu ne... there were raw herrings in different flavours and i tried about 5 different kinds. this wasn't my 1st time eating herring in sweden but it still takes a while to get used to it. i find it ok but it's really an acquired taste, especially if you're not swedish. ;) after that, we moved on to the hot dishes like meatballs, omelette, sausages, ribs and some other fancy traditional swedish stuffs which i can't really remember. and then finally we finished off with deserts!

there was a wide spread of really good swedish food, but more than that, the atmosphere was AMAZING! every once in a while when we were eating, 1 of my colleagues would call for everyone's attention by making the triangle-like sound using the fork and the wine glass. and then he would start singing a swedish song and every one will continue along with him. and this happened like about 7 times throughout, initiated by different people, but mainly by the more rah-rah ones. ;) there were moments of singing, talking, sharing, laughing and of course appreciation. it was a rowdy but yet heart-warming and joyful night. everyone was so spontaneous and high-spirited and it really felt like a nice family gathering. but in every sense of the word, these people really form my swedish family. although i started out as an intern in the company, but i ended up being part of a swedish family. never once did it felt like work when i enter my office everyday. there is always so much fun, joy and laughter being around all my colleagues. i was really touched by all the gifts, love and kind words from all my colleagues and bosses that night. i'm really really really going to miss them alot! this has really been one of the best years of my life.

3S & Comaea, God Jul och Gott Nytt År!

Here's my NCST graduation video which i did for our batch to thank everyone in stockholm for their love and making our stay here a wonderful and memorable one!! (facebook photos and videos link)

NCST Batch 6 Graduation Video

NCST Batch 6 Graduation Flickr

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Do the Christmas dance!

I'll be in Amsterdam over the weekend. This will be my last short trip before i embark on my final Europe Winter Tour to end my NOC program. sigh... this is just so saddening... i can't believe that it's all coming to an end... ok i'll leave that sob story for another time.

Christmas is round the corner and it's time to do the christmas dance!

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Down United Road

though this post is overdue, i still need to post it. because Manchester United rocks! it couldn't have been more amazing to travel all the way to Old Trafford to see Man U trash Stoke City 5 nil! although it would have been sweeter if the opponent were Arsenal, Liverpool or Chelsea, i guess i'll have to leave that for my next trip there, which won't be anytime soon.

it was almost surreal when you walk past the gantry, that you're ACTUALLY at Old Trafford! there was something really funny, they didn't allow us to bring bottles with caps on it. so i had to throw the caps away and bring just the bottles in. the one thing that really struck you when you walk out into the stands is the sheer size of the crowd, it was AMAZING! people all over the place were singing, cheering and waving their scarfs and flags. english people really love their football. but it was really funny that i was actually watching an EPL match without the commentary. i always loved watching football with a good commentator (witty, sarcastic and enthusiastic). and having used to watching all my EPL matches with a commentator, this time was really unusual to me which i noticed immediately.

the next thing i realized was that an EPL match was like any other local football match. it looked so glorified on TV with all the slow motion replays, exciting commentating, news... etc. but when you're there, it seemed like any other football game. and then it occurred to me that me traveling all the way to Manchester to watch United play football is like an english guy traveling all the way to Singapore to watch Balestier Khalsa FC play in the S-League. but i'm actually paying 300 times more than what he would pay! if only it was the other way round... nonetheless, it somehow felt worth it be part of  the 76,000 crowd to watch United trash their opponents live!

i was easily one of the most excited fans in the whole east section as i was standing up from my seat every moment there was a scoring opportunity and i picked up all their songs/chants and starting singing along with them. football unites people i tell you. i really should have made my trip there earlier, then i would have been going for at least 1 match every month. every football fan MUST go and watch their team play live in their home ground at least once. it's really an experience of a lifetime!

here's one of the songs we were singing: Take Me Home, United Road.

here's the video of how it was like at old trafford:

and here's the video of the actual game on TV:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

You've got new mail!

i've got a huge mail in my mail box today!

and it was really exciting to check out what it was even though i roughly knew what it was going to be.


and no, it's not THAT adult pack filled with all kinds of "educational" videos inside. it was the ONE UNITED manchester united membership pack!


they've got the membership card, pen, yearbook, playing cards, dvd and some other random stuffs. kinda neat actually.

and not only that, i also managed to get my match tix for this weekend too! such accurate timing. ok, after all the trouble, my manchester united trip is finally confirmed! pls no more screw ups! sigh.. and in times like these, my boss would always like to ask me, "what could possibly go wrong?" and i always reply him, "you don't wana know!".

old trafford, here i come! ;)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Oct/Nov trips

the past few weeks have been rather busy. like what's new right? but the busyness here is nothing compared to being busy back in singapore. nothing really beats being busy in singapore. and i can already imagine how my hectic lifestyle will begin once i touch down in changi airport in january. but i'm sure it'll feel really good to be back home. back to my family, friends and to my church back home. and of course back to the singaporean food and suppers!! i'm so looking forward to prata! oh man..

ok so what's been up recently? lots of stuffs. just this week, i submitted my business case and the analysis. so that's one major load off my chest. but i've still got my business case presentation, internship presentation and company appreciation video to take care of. all due by the end of the this month. that's the academic side. during the last 2 weekends, i was out of town. i was on a cruise to riga on the previous weekend, while i was in oslo during the last weekend. so this weekend is rest and relax time for me.

riga is the capital of latvia and also the largest city in the baltic states. it's a simple city with an old and traditional feel to it. and while we were there, they were having a mass traditional dance in their streets to try to create a world record for the longest dance. apart from riga, one of the most fun part of this trip was the cruise itself. not that the cruise ship itself was extremely exciting, it was more of the crazy company and the interesting things that you learn about each other. ;) and the basic code of conduct is, whatever happens on the ship, stays on the ship.

oslo on the other hand, was a more beautiful place that really exceeded my expectations. i was told by friends that there wasn't much to see at oslo. but the city proved them, and my little expectations, wrong. my only disappointment was that i was unable to travel to see the breath-taking fjords which norway is famous for. i was really tempted to take the train to bergen and enjoy "one of the most beautiful train journey in the world", to quote wikitravel. but that would mean that i would take a 7 hour train ride from stockholm to oslo, and then another 7 hours to bergen. then spend 1 night there and take the 14 hour train ride all the way back to stockholm. 我屁股会开花! (my butt will blossom!) and i would be so dead @ work the next day after heading straight to work. if i had made my way to oslo earlier by a week or so, i would be able take the ferry cruise there. i guess this gives me another reason to come back to scandinavia. jag måste! (i must!)

and what's up next weekend? WATCH AN EPL MATCH LIVE @ OLD TRAFFORD! how can i travel half way around the world, living in the same time zone as UK and not watch an EPL match @ the very same stadium where they are playing?!?! but to actually get an EPL tix is NOOOO easy task man. as the flight tix were increasing, i decided to buy the flight tix without having any match tix. so i knew i had to get my hands on those tix for that weekend. i waited for man u to release the tix for sale to the public. but they were sold out even before it was released to the general public. i was like.. WHAT?!?! then i had this regret that i should have just signed up as a member for 33 pounds and bought the tix. so i resigned to either buy the tix from the tout on the day itself, or go to the countryside to see sheep (as proposed by my friend). but i'm so not going all the way to manchester to see sheeps! and then i found the official trading site for man u tix, of which i had to first join as a man u member. so, i ended up doing what i had to do in the first place. lesson no 1: when you know that's the right thing to do, DO IT! so now i tried to buy the tix from the site with way much lesser choices for seats and had to pay another 30 pounds extra (2 tix) for handling fees and tax. and i used paypal to made payment for my purchase. BAD CHOICE. the payment went through "successfully" on paypal, but it wasn't received by the other party and it wasn't deducted from my bank. after a million of email exchanges with paypal and the other party, of which paypal only gave automated email responses that tried to sound like a real person behind it, i finally got my money refunded. and then i made a purchase for another set of lousier seating tix, as my previous one disappeared (got bought away i guess), this time with my credit card direct. lesson no 2: if possible, avoid using payapl, PAYPAL SUCKS! but now, it's still not 100% confirm until i get my hands on the physical tix itself. i emailed the tix exchange again to double check with them if they will ensure that i will receive my tix by thursday or do i collect @ the stadium itself. *sigh* why do things have to be so complicated? then the motto of a gay site which i vaguely remember coming across, came to my mind, "because life's not straight". i seriously hope there won't be anymore surprises. oh and i've yet to settle my accommodation. *sigh* here we go again. like how my friends and i always say, "if life's not exciting enough, then it's ain't worth living now, isn't it?"

i have placed a map of the places i've been to (with links to related pics/vid) and the places i would like to visit (in question marks). you can check it out here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Passions in life

for many of us, our lives seem to be one big mystery. we don't really know what we want, what we're going to do and we just take things as they come. but many a times, it's all about spending some time to reflect on such issues. all it takes is just to identify that little passion, liking, preference, inclination towards a certain activity or object and just keep working at it or towards it. and ultimately, it'll eventually lead you in a direction where you ought to be. do note that it might not be your intended path, nor to your liking initially, but life, or rather, God, has His ways of allowing everything to fall into place as it should be. and He never fails to amazes me.

ok so what's my life destiny? honestly, i really don't know. but what i do know is that my passion lies in people and music. these are the 2 things that make me tick. i enjoy working, interacting, relating, learning, teaching, communicating, imparting, sharing, serving and loving people. and i also enjoy listening, singing, playing and writing music. and with these 2 little passions that i have, i just work on it. why? simply because i enjoy doing it. so i serve in a cellgroup, serve in my zone, talk to people, hang out with friends, teach others, learn from others and just do whatever i can to help others and just share the love. love makes the world go round! and in music, i play the piano, trumpet, trombone, guitar, bass and i try to write songs. i just do what i have and what i can.

and in life, i really value relationships. relationships with my God, family, darling (love u dear! *muacks*), friends and people around me. and to hh aka t aka jh, thanx for being such a great friend to me too! ;) relationships are definitely under-rated by people. and we should all spend more time, effort & money investing into relationships & friendships.

and the past few days, i had a good time catching up with brando while he came over from vienna to visit and bunk in with me here in stockholm. and today i had a fun time out with my colleagues during our monthly company chill out nite. this time we went to do some simulated car racing, had some good spanish food for dinner and good beer while chilling out till we had to catch the last bus back. it's always worth it to chill out. and tmr i'll be on a cruise with some of my friends, 16 of us, to riga over the weekend. am looking forward to that.

ok, i shall upload my pics then. meanwhile, have a good weekend to one and all! ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jaiku, Twitter or Plurk

microblogging has been around for quite some time now. as the name speaks for itself, it is a micro blog, usually limited to 140 characters. and from this site, you can actually find a list of over 200 microblogging services! it really amazes that people actually start a new microblogging site when there already exists hundreds of them.

personally for me, i currently use jaiku, twitter and plurk. (without having to sign up, you can click on the links to see how they're like.) facebook also has a microblogging feature, aka status update. but they aren't really a dedicated microblogging site, so i'll leave them out of the picture for now.

so what do i like about the 3 services and which of them would be my favourite? let me just list out some of my personal pros and cons of their services. if the features are common within the 3, then i'll leave them out.

- has channels that allows users to join and post within that channel
- has integration with IM like Gtalk, LiveJournal, MSN (using ..etc
- has facebook status update integration
- has mobile SMS integration
- has the ability to add icons to your post
- able to read rss feeds and post them
- proper organisation of comments

- registration via invite

-  allows html style badge for transparent background
- detailed post search
- has the ability to set device updates on specific users
- has facebook status update integration
- public registration

- says that it supports IM, but it doesn't
- all replies to a specific post are not viewable as a whole
- no channels/groups

- funky and dynamic timeline interface with ajax updates
- ability to set settings for each post (privacy, language, comments)
- ease of view for different kinds of posts (all, your own, private, those you responded to)
- has colourful qualifiers
- has emoticons
- able to post images/videos
- has cliques function (similar to jaiku's channels)
- has very logical commenting view and organisation
- able to view all post from everywhere with filters (eg from various country .. etc)
- constantly updating and adding of new features
- public registration

- IM support has been under servicing ever since i joined
- karma to "force" you to keep updating

as you can tell from the list, twitter would be my least favourite, and it is. i really like the features of plurk and it's extremely intuitive interface. it's really fun to use and it gives a very good overview of your posts aka plurks. so is plurk my favourite of the lot? well, not exactly. i really like it, but it doesn't make it to my if-i-really-have-to-choose-one-it's-you list. and that would be jaiku.

why? for the main reason that it has good integration with IM, SMS and facebook. with these features, i'm able to send/receive posts/updates without having to log into the jaiku page. i can do this via my gtalk (or gmail) and sms. this is really cool because it also means that my darling can "sms me for free". for my end, i can sms for free using singtel/starhub web sms services. but for her, there isn't any free web service sms from my provider. as such, she could use jaiku to do that. neat trick rite? ;)

after being acquired by google, jaiku has removed their limited invites. so if anyone would like to use jaiku, just let me know and i'll send you an invite. 

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Europe Trip Compilation

So far, these are the places that i've visited this year. Those in question marks are the places i would like to cover by the end of this year. You can click on the places and there would be links to the photos/videos of the places i've been too.

Of course, if it were possible, i would like to cover more of Europe. I guess that gives me a good to come back here again. ;)

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

summer of my life

it's been almost 4 weeks since darling left for singapore, but it felt like it has been 4 months already. sigh...

ok. it's been quite a long while since i did a post on my blog. and the excuse i give to my friends is that i'm more into microbloging & photo blogging recently. as you can obviously tell from my frequent updates on my facebooks. oh well, guess i should come back and do some traditional blogging. ;)

alright, so what has been up? summer is over and fall is here. but based on the weather, it seems like winter might be coming early. man, now i know why the swedes treasure their summer so much. the amount of heat and sun that they have is so rare. i'm already missing summer. let's talk abit about summer...

the 5 weeks of my summer has been the best 5 weeks ever! it was totally amazing. mainly it was the traveling around europe which was so fun, but ultimately it was having my darling together with me! if you haven't checked out my photos, please do! they are really fantastic. not that i'm a professional photographer, but the subject itself portrays its beauty. you would be more mesmerized if you were there at the places itself.

we started our journey on 15 july where we rendezvoused in rome. darling fly over to rome transiting @ bangkok & london from singapore, while i flew over from stockholm. when her mum knew about that, she kinda freaked out that the 1st trip she's ever done to europe is gng to be alone. :P but all went well. rome was a place where history came to life. the huge statues and architecture, like the colosseum and the roman forum, expounded its grandiose history. and people always say that the pizza and the pasta in italy is different, that they are much nicer. it's true! the charge their pizza by the weight and i LOVE their potato pizza. simple as it may sound, but it tastes great! and not forgetting their gelato, italian ice-cream. yummy... we spent 3.5 days and 3 nights in rome. sufficient time to cover most of the stuff in rome, then we headed to florence.

florence is a small and beautiful city. i was told by my friends that 1 day is enough to cover florence and pisa. and that's how long we stayed there. and really, that's enough. it's a simple, but bustilng place. and like rome, there were statues all over the city and buildings with elaborate designs from the renaissance era. lovely.

next, we headed to venice by train. going through terrains, mountains and tunnel. it was a rather serene, reflective and peaceful journey. upon reaching venice, it was love at first sight in that beautiful place. it's the only pedestrian city in the world with no vehicles on the island expect for boats. really amazing. we spent 3 days there exploring the place and visiting the neighbouring islands. it was a good time spent there, sufficient to cover all that we wanted to. we even managed to be part of a festival which had a massive firework display that lasted 45mins! those kind you would see during chinese new year, but MORE elaborate and fanciful. extremely impressive. we couldn't have been there at a better time.

after which, we flew to london to meet up with my family and we spent 5 days there. having gone there before, i was their official tour guide and brought them around. then we took an train which ran under the english channel to paris. i was actually hoping to have a nice view underwater. but it was just pitch black. :(

paris is beautiful place. my only gripe is the people. they have such bad attitude towards people who aren't well-versed in french. there were 2 incidents at 2 different restaurants where they were irritated and served so unwillingly just because we couldn't converse with them in french, so snobbish! apart from that, the rest of the trip was really pleasant.

after that, we flew back to stockholm and i brought my family around town.

the next day after my family left for singapore, darling and i flew off to berlin. we spent a night there and then we flew to athens. athens is really over-rated. i'm glad that i heeded ginnelle's advice and stayed only a day there and spent more time at the islands instead. the only thing that's impressive is the acropolis. and i really love the greek language, they just look so cool! ;)

and finally we reached our finally destination of our summer trip. somehow our entire itinerary seem to fit in so well. the places we went slowly built up, with each new place bringing greater fascination and insights. and to top it all, we ended with SANTORINI. if i had to describe santorini in a sentence, it would be "a heaven on earth." just these four words would do. my friends told me it was beautiful and i saw the photos, but all those still couldn't prepare me for what i was about to expect. it is really beautiful beyond description. the place was amazing, the people were down to earth and friendly, the food is good and i was there with my darling. WHAT MORE COULD I HAVE ASKED FOR? oh man... i literally left my heart there as i took the ferry back. that was my first trip to greece but that would definitely not by my last!

if you haven't seen my photos yet, my brethren i beseech you to go take a look. santorini is such a beautiful place. i'm missing it as i type. i had such a time of my life with my dearest darling there. sigh. i WILL definitely visit the other islands in greece with my darling again. i sompa!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Trevlig Sommar!

Ok. it's been awhile since i blogged and give an update on what's been going on. And i guess now is a good time as i'll be leaving for my europe summer trip tomorrow morning. and i'll be meeting my princess in rome! woohoo! ;)

so what's been up the last few months? well, for one, i turned a year older. argh.. yes i'm getting old. sigh... well some things are just inevitable in life. i really thank God for the love showered from my friends, family and of course my darling! and on that day, i was busy responding to all the emails, msn, wall post... etc. as you can see below...

really appreciate those who remembered, but for those who supposed to, but didn't... MAY YOU REPENT!!!

but i specially wana thank my zone leaders and Pastor for your love! and of course to the don and again my darling for helping with the vid! loved it totally! ;)

on top of it all, i got a prezzie and a card from my darling that's flown all the way from sg which i really wasn't expecting!! got this uber cool ring, which came with an uber cool stylo box from this brand BLiNG. as far as i know they have a shop in vivocity and they've got really nice rings there. and getting me big nice and heavy stylo rings can hardly go wrong. thanx dear! love u! *muacks* ;)

ok what else has been up? recently, the last trip i made was not around europe, but in sweden itself. it was a camping trip to the archipelegos! faz, seng and me went to utö over one of the weekends. it's really a nice place to camp, chill and even make new friends while camping. during the nite, it was really cold and quite uncomfortable to sleep, so i was sitting by the sea enjoying the scenery when a couple came to join me and offered me some cider while we chatted. swedish are really nice and friendly people. and thanx to the cider, it kinda helped me to go back to sleep. now i know why my dad drinks a can of tiger every night before he sleeps. ;)

check out my page for the pics...

apart from work and catching almost every other euro cup match, that's about what's been happening. but one of the main highlights of this year would be my summer vacation! how much better can it get to have a summer vacation every year! if only it was like this in singapore! i'm not just talking about school holidays, but summer vacation for the working adults as well. it's totally amazing.

ok so what's going to happen this summer? i'm basically going to 5 countries, Italy, UK, France, Germany and Greece. Greece baby! honestly, i really never imagined myself going on such a lengthy europe tour. at least not so soon in my life. to start of, it's never really been a culture among the people i associate it to travel so extensively. so i really thank God for such an opportunity! ;)

and the best part of it, i'll be traveling together with my princess!! my parents, sister and my cousin will be flying over to visit me and travel around europe as well. they'll be joining us from London - Stockholm. so my darling will be coming earlier and leaving later than them. actually as i type right now, my darling is on her flight over already! so i'll be seeing her real soon. ;)

Here's my itinerary for the next few weeks:

15 - 17: Rome
18: Florence & Pisa
19-20: Venice
21-24: London
25-30: Paris

31-3: Stockholm
5: Berlin
6: Athens
7-10: Santorini
11: Athens
12: Berlin

i'll be posting updates on plurk, twitter, jaiku and facebook every now and then when i do get internet access. and when i link up with my parents in London, i'll try to upload the pictures if there's internet and if it's fast enough. my flight is at 7am and i'll have to take the 4am bus to the airport which is abt a 90min ride away.

so have a great summer! Trevlig Sommar as they would say in swedish.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Singtel to sell unlocked iPhone 3G in Singapore?

So far, all iPhones sold have been tied to a telecom network. As such, all buyers of the iPhones theoretically have to use the sim card of a specific telecom network in order to utilize the phone.

But with the release of the new iPhone 3G all over the world, this form of sales will possibly not take place in all the countries being sold in. And one of the exception is Singapore. Thanks to Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), sales of sim locked phones are not allowed so as to allow consumers to freely switch between any operator. This has been further enforced recently by the review of the Mobile Number Portability policy. On 13 June 2008, Singapore has implemented the Full Mobile Number Portability policy that allows consumers to switch between different telecom networks and yet retain their mobile numbers, rather than just forwarding the calls from their old number.

As such, we should be expecting to buy the iPhone unlocked in Singapore. But the question is at what price? Although we know from Steve Job's WWDC 08 Keynote that the iPhone 3G will be sold at a max price of USD $199 (8 GB) all over the world, that does not stop Singtel from only selling the iPhone with a mobile plan. In other words, regardless of whether you use the Singtel mobile plan on the phone or not, you would still have to buy the phone and the mobile plan as a package. Since they are the current exclusive carrier of the iPhone, and they is no way to sim lock the phone to their network, selling the phone together with their mobile plan seems like the logical way for them to benefit from the exclusivity.

So the new iPhone 3G may be cheap, relatively speaking, but be prepared to fork out for the biggest mobile plan Singtel has to offer. Hopefully that's not case, but since you can't get it from Starhub or M1 at the moment, the ball is all in Singtel's court right now.

I've already made a reservation for the iPhone on the Singtel website, so let's wait and see what Singtel has to offer.

Related links:

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Berlin Trip

right now, berlin is in the top of my favourite list of cities i've visited in Europe! it's an amazing place! it totally exceeded my expectation of the place. so why do i like it so much? firstly, i was expecting berlin to be quite a "run-down" place with old buildings and architecture. a place filled with historical buildings and landmark. with they do have, AND MORE! it was a place rich with history, and yet being modern at the same time. i guess it was also because i thought it wouldn't be as fun anymore as my 2 friends couldn't come at the last minute, leaving me to go on my own. but then i managed to make some friends there on the 1st day and had a great time traveling around with them! it's really exciting to travel alone, the feeling of being alone in a foreign land and the possibility of getting lost kinda gives me kick! heh.. sound a bit weird rite? or rather, the feeling of being able to navigate, find your way around, get things going, meeting new cultures and new people makes me excited! ya.. that sounds more right.. ;) and that's exactly what happened in berlin! and to add that berlin is such an awesome place, made it a fantastic trip for me!

the exciting journey started in stockholm when i had to find my way to the bus to bring me to the airport. the bus journey was 1.5 hours long and if i missed it, i would miss my flight unless i took a cab which i predict would set me back about 700 sek? (abt 166 sgd) and i was catching the 4.30am bus that was in this huge bus depot that was closed. and so i was frantically trying to find the way directly to the bus. of which i made it JUST in time before the bus left...

so i caught my flight to frankfurt, took a 2hr bus ride to the city, spent 1.5 hrs there and then take another 2hr bus ride back to the airport to catch my flight to berlin. i could have stayed at the airport and sleep as i didn't sleep the night before, but i'm the kind of person who would rather pay 14 euros for the 1.5hrs in the city to explore, than spend 7 hours in the small budget airport. and for my bus back to the airport, i almost missed it... another close shave there...

and so i made it safely to berlin in time and found my way to the generator hostel. though i had booked for the cheapest, the 14 person dorm, they were full and i was transfered to the 8 person one with no extra charge. sweet!

the next day, i had breakfast with my hong kong bunk mate. after that he went to postdam, but i was more interested in checking out berlin 1st, so we went our separate ways. i went on the sandemans free walking tour. it was an awesome tour! the guide was really good, giving us lots of history and details about the places he brought us too. he did the whole walking tour in the form of a story and it was really captivating. during the tour, i got to know quite a few people but obviously you can't be good friends with everyone right? and there was this nice korean girl who was travelling alone as well and we clicked quite well as the rest of the people had their own cliques. so we went to check out more places when the tour ended as she arrived on the same day as i did, she was as noob as me in berlin too. ;)

the next day, the both of us decided to go for the sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial tour. of which, my hongkong friend came along as well. and at the start of the camp, we got to know this other korean guy who was alone on the tour too as his canadian friend was sick and stayed back in the hostel. so here we are, four individual asian. we came all came alone, but we were definitely not lonely. we had quite a fun time hanging out together. the concentration camp tour was a mind-blowing experience. it was extremely thought provoking and even disturbing at some instances. all thanx again to the guide's great knowledge and depiction of the happenings in the camp. but one of the other kind of disturbing situation i encountered was when i approached this singaporean looking girl that i have been observing for a while (not in that sense, but rather, observing to confirm my speculation), and she was kinda hostile towards me. she only gave short answers, mostly one word, and had the "ok you're singaporean too.. and so..?" attitude. she didn't do her junior college or university in singapore. so i guess she didn't like and probably not even proud of singapore. judging from her attitude, i guess she's not too excited about being associated to singapore or even a singaporean. so i drifted away from her and went back to join my friendly friends instead. after the tour, we headed back to the city and checked out our last stop, the topography of terror at the berlin wall before parting.

though the time all of us spent together was a mere 2 days, but somehow we all clicked really well and there was some form bond formed. we all felt kinda sad that we had to part, it was a funny feeling. it was interesting that a 2 day friendship could invoke such an emotion in a person. what more a married couple of decades of years. no wonder they say that when the spouse of a long time married couple dies, the other party would depart shortly. i can imagine how much pain that would be.

and so that was my berlin trip. it was a historically filled city with a modern touch to it. a fantastic city with fantastic friendships made, a recipe for a memorable getaway!

i'm so looking forward to travel together with my beloved princess in july, visiting all the lovely places in europe. that would top it all! ;)

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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Beautiful Europe

currently it's spring time in stockholm and it's absolutely lovely! the sun's out more, the flowers are blossoming, tons of people sun bathing in every park at every square feet of it and the weather is almost perfect, warm enough to ditch your jackets and yet cool enough to not need aircon.

europe is an extremely lovely place to be in. it's very different from asia in almost every aspect. for example, the cost of living here is much higher than singapore. with the price of 1 big mac meal here, i could buy 2 in singapore. a normal lunch meal out on the streets would cost me about $17, and that's considered cheap. the culture and pace of life here is much slower and more flexible. people are not so rigid and uptight about things and people tend things slow and easy. like work for example, it's not a big deal if you're late for work or if you have to leave early to pick up your child or if you just have something on. at the end of the day, when work gets done, then all is well. over here, the relationships between people are more flat rather than hierarchical. the swedish dislike the use of titles and everyone would address each other by their firstname. whether you're the boss or employee, professor or student, everyone would be calling each other like how most of us in singapore would call our friends, just by their names. and one of the most amazing thing about europe is it's history and architecture. the intricate designs of the historical buildings, medieval castles, beautiful sceneries and the variety of it all over europe is absolutely breathtaking. every country, state and city is so distinct, almost like moving from one era to another era, and yet so accessible with such affordable cost. you can actually get flight tickets from stockholm to london for $25 SGD (including taxes). it's amazing! i'm gng to germany next weekend and my flight from stockholm to frankfurt only costs me $27 SGD (including taxes and credit card payment charges). so if any of you guys are coming to europe anytime this year, do let me know and maybe we can meet up in some nice city and have some real coffee with a postcard perfect backdrop. ;)

right now, i'm kinda busy with work, school reports to write, living the swedish life and traveling around europe, thus my infrequent blog entries. but i'm more disciplined and enthusiastic in capturing photos and uploading them as often as i take them. and i'm currently more into microblogging, as it's more convenient, more updated and less time consuming. microblogging is an alternative form of blogging, where it's shorter, as the name explicitly suggests. one example which most could identify with is the status update feed on facebook. but i actually do my microblogging on jaiku & twitter via my gtalk (aka google talk aka the chat function in gmail), which then automatically updates my facebook status update. and if you're wondering, yes i'm a computer science student... ;) you can also find my microblogs on my site.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Vienna & Bratislava Trip

over labour day weekend, i made a trip to Vienna via Bratislava. it was good and i spent about $600 SGD for the 4 days inclusive of flights and lodging. not too bad i guess. ;) for our first night, we were staying at Wombat Hostel Vienna - The Base. it is a very nice and affordable hostel. the staff were very friendly, interior very cozily decorated and they had nice people staying there as well. if we had a choice, we would want to stay there the next night as well, but while we were there, we got to know 2 other friendly girls, one from montreal and the other from australia. we were chating over the champions league game that was showing, liverpool & barcelona, and ended up competiting who knew the world map better by drawing it out. and on the wall, there was this "Hall Of Fame" where all those who forgot to retreive back their ID cards were displayed. and if you click on the picture to view the higher resolution one, you can see a singapore's driving license. well, someone's paying $50 to make a new one... :P

while we were travelling around the city, i was amazed at how they ran their transport system. there weren't any barriers for the entry into the train stations except a few blue punch slot for you to punch your tickets if you just bought your tickets. you could buy daily or seasonal tickets, punch it the first time, and just walk in subsequently without tapping or punching your card. same for buses, of which you could enter or alight at any of the doors. there are conductors who do random checks though, but i didn't meet any while i was there. and as a law-abiding citizen, i faithfully bought my tickets. ;)

the next day we went about the city area, checking out the museums and the architecture. it's a lovely place and everything there seems so old and well preserved. it's like going back to another time frame. but not only are the buildings there old, there people there seem old too and i hardly see any local youths around.
it's the rise of the aging population. and in the evening, fazli suggested that we should catch an orchestra since we're here. and i couldn't agree more! coming from a classical background, orchestras and symphonies have always been one of my favourite activites to attend. and so we bought ourselves a ticket to catch the orchestra at the schonbrunn palace. and they are REALLY good. magnificient! and here's the friendly guy who sold us the tickets which we managed to get 1 euro off each after some bargaining.

during that night, we stayed at Airo Tower Hotel. we had a bad experience staying at that hotel.

although it was located quite far away from the city, having to take the train to the end of the line, then switching to a tram and travel to the end of the line again, it was rather near the tram station (3min walk).

as we arrived there in the night, we were told that 1 of the 2 rooms which we have booked and fully paid for, have been transferred to a nearby hotel instead as they ran out of rooms for the night. despite them making arrangements to call for a cab and paying for the trip to and fro, we found it extremely unprofessional as we have already made the full payments for the rooms. the staff behind the counter wasn't emphatic about our situation and even retorted that we could choose to sleep on the streets if we're still unhappy when all the necessary arrangements have been made. and after fazli & indra went over to the nearby hotel, they only gave them 1 room with 1 bed when there were 2 of them and the reception was closed there. they had to call us and we in turn called up our reception to get another room for them there. though the rude staff apologized for his bad attitude, but it was an unpleasant experience staying there. the staff at the souvenir store wasn't too friendly either. he was unhappy that we touched the display glass infront of his shop that left A (ONE) fingerprint mark on it and told us not to do that. this is one crappy hotel and i had to pay 17 euros more as compared to wombat. i'll take wombat anytime man!

the next day, we went to check out the graves of the famous composers, some sightseeing and then we headed off to bratislava via a ferry down the danube river.

bratislava was a small city, nothing really much to see. but the trip to devin castle was extremely breath taking. it was only in the last 2 hours that we learnt about the castle from the brochures and tourist stall owners that decided to rush there to check it out, despite it required a 30min bus journey there. upon arriving, we literally ran up the castle as we were really tight on time, but the trip there was totally worth it. it is situation out of the city on a hill, overlooking the village below on 1 side and danube & morava river on the other (which seperates slovakia & austria). an absolutely lovely view!

after that, we had to rush to the airport to catch out flight back to stockholm. and that was my vienna & bratislava trip. check more photos on my facebook or multiply.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Dreamfactory @ Superband

Attention everyone in the world! Dreamfactory's in Superband, so do check us out... and show your love and support @ jaiku or facebook or twitter or join the fan club @ ning...

more details on the official mediacorp site...


Friday, April 18, 2008

The perfect place to die

If you need a special and unique way to die, other than the usual sleeping pills, wrist cutting or singapore's recent favourite, jumping onto MRT tracks.. you can travel to the suicide woods..

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Saturday, April 12, 2008


Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?

upon knowing the scenario and putting myself as a contestant, without google being my sidekick, i tried to reason it logical. let's say the scenario as happened as mentioned above, then that would leave me to a 50%-50% chance of getting the car, so why switch? don't be so fickle minded and have faith in your choice, follow your gut, follow your heart! so my decision was NOT to switch.

is that your final answer? door 1?


unfortunately, my reasoning is wrong. to switch would be to my advantage. and this is known as the monty hall problem, named after the host of the american game show which this puzzle is loosely based on. even after reading the rationale behind the reason for switching, i wasn't really convinced that it would be more advantageous to me and i pondered about for the entire day. from work, to home and to the toilet. but i guess this picture says it quite well. 

the most misleading rationale one would make is the fact that after the host reveals one goat, it's a 50%-50% chance of getting the car. conversely, your chance is only 1/3. as it's based on your initial decision when you had to choose 1 out of the 3 choices. showing you the wrong door, doesn't increase your chance to 1/2. to exaggerate and make it more obvious. imagine 100 doors, with only 1 with a car behind. by you picking door 1, and the host opening 98 doors that have goats in them, does that mean it's 50%-50% probability that you have the car when you don't switch? in the 100 door scenario, i WILL switch! that would give me a 99% probability of getting the car! 

so would you still switch? ;)

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

To switch or not to switch?

i came across a very interesting article on the web. of which my choice to the answer was not the solution that would yield the optimum result... how about yours? here's the scenario...

Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?

to switch or not to switch? what say you? ;)

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Jacketless Day

yesterday, i was rushing out of the house to catch my bus only to realise that i forgot to wear my jacket when i was at the bus stop. by that time, i was too late to turn back as the bus was arriving, which was my initial reason for rushing. spring is here anyway, so it won't be that bad without a jacket today. boy was i wrong...

upon arriving at the office, my colleague was telling me that he wore 2 jackets and a scarf, he still felt that it was cold... but it really wasn't that be that morning. but came afternoon, it started to drizzle. bad sign. and come evening, i decided to head back early and not to OT that late. well, recently i've got quite a few heavy work projects to rush, thus my daily OT. anyways, it was a good thing i didn't stay that late as it won't be that cold as the sun was still out. and when i was reaching back, it started to drizzle snow, hairy hairy snow... spring? snow..? boy was it cold! it sure was a bad day to forget a jacket. 

and the next morning, i kept reminding myself to wear my jacket as IT SNOW LAST NIGHT! spring... snow?? man.. something's really wrong.

this weekend i'm heading to tallinn on a cruise... looking forward to that. ;)

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

London Trip

this is my 1st major trip which i planned and researched thoroughly for. though i didn't get to go to all the places that i wanted to go, but i must still admit that it was a success! london is such a lovely place and i'm really glad everything fell into place when we were there. actually through my whole life, even with my acceptance into the NOC programme (which i am currently on right now), it has been so blessed by God. i can only attribute all the wonderful blessings & so-called "luck" to God. my life has been one awesome journey!

ok so back to my london trip. it was a 4 day trip starting with our flight on wed night (19 march) to our flight back on mon morning dawn. as our flight was on wed night, we brought everything with us to work and left from there after work. we had to take a bus from central stockholm to this ulu budget airport which was abt 1.5 hrs away, and then catch a 2hr plus flight to another ulu airport in london and then catch another 1.5hr bus ride from that airport to london central. that's the trouble we have to go through to get a budget flight. from there we could walk to juliet's place. she's one of our seniors in NOC who kindly opened up her aparptment to house us for our holiday. and she was really nice to make supper for us. ginseng soup, some chicken with gravy and long beans. thanx juliet! but we weren't free loaders, we bought her a nice bright pink jacket from h&m as a gift for her. ;) that was day 0.

(we're in london baby...)

the next morning we went to visit the places nearest to her place like westminster abbey, house of parliament and london eye. but we didn't go for the london eye as it was super ex, £17. but in the end we also spent quite alot on lunch by having a £9.45 fish and chips. we didn't know what the market rate was and i guess it was more expensive as we had it near all the tourist attraction places... oh well...

(westminster bridge)

after that we headed to leicester sq to get tix for our musical. we were thinking of either les miserables or wicked. but there weren't cheap ones for that nite so we bought les miserables for tmr nite instead. on the way there, we passed by covent garden and stopped to catch some buskers...

then we headed to oxford street for shopping and then we had turkish food for dinner. yummy... on the way back, we met some ppl having a party in the subway...

and that was day 1.

(big ben..)

on friday morning, we visited st paul's cathedral which had a good friday service going on. and thus we unable to take any photos of the beautiful interior. so we moved on to the tower of london, which was a castle fortress, extremely awesome. though it was rather costly @ £14, but it was worth it. then again, what's not ex in london? after that we headed for the tower bridge, which was so much more impressive than the "famous" london bridge which we often sing about.

(london bridge)

(tower bridge)

then we moved on to the highlight of the night, to catch les miserables. it's an awesome musical! and i'm currently addicted to the soundtrack, listening to it every other day! although the ending didn't really climax as i wished it could have, it was still a fantastic musical with many laughs and touching moments. that was day 2.

(les miserables)

the next morning, we had traditional english breakfast and a pub. and then terence, another NOC alumni, joined us for that day. our 1st stop was buckingham palace, to check out the change of guards. and boy the whole place was packed! it's like 100 times more packed than what you would see at the istana on a sunday for the change of guards.

then we headed to trafagular square and then to the national art gallery. but while we were that we caught an interesting sight..

in the gallery, the paintings were very intricately painted and i was totally captivated by them while listening to it's commentry via the headset. if i had the time, i could almost spend the whole morning there, going through all the paintings. unfortunately, that's something we don't really have, so we moved on and had english high tea. after which we headed to another museum. nothing much there. then we had chinese dinner in chinatown. after which we headed for a salsa club. that was another interesting stop. and the ppl there were good at salsa! it was like in the movie dirty dancing: havana nights. a nice show btw, gota catch it. i think we were the only ppl on the dance floor who couldn't dance salsa, except for terence, but had had fun nonetheless. that was day 3.

it's easter sunday. and how could we not be in church on easter sunday? and we made our way down to hillsong london. it was in a theatre, which was really awesome, but it was like a normal service. and i kinda missed watching our dramas during easter. it's just different.

(hillsong london)

after that, we headed for The Comedy Pub to catch the big match, man u vs liverpool! it was an extremely exciting match. and seng wee's entire day was ruined by that match. but it totally made mine.. hah... after that clash, we headed down to camden lock market. it was the bugis village of london. and there was an aldo factory-outlet / old-season outlet and everything was 50% off! we, or maybe just me, went crazy!! i bought 2 pair of white shoes, of which my mum would always tell me, DON'T BUY WHITE SHOES! heh.. then we had dinner there and had a great time talking about everything under the sun. really learnt alot about work, passion and life in general from juliet and terence, extremely insightful. at night, juliet's neighbour invited us over to his place for some mini party. and from there, we headed to the airport to catch our flight back to stockholm.

so that was my london trip in 1 blog. ;)

more pics & vids here...

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Romme Snow Boarding Trip

Right now, snow boarding is my latest coveted sports! it over takes wake boarding.. but personally i would prefer snow boarding over wake boarding, it's so much more exciting! in snow boarding, you are person in total control in terms of speed and direction. after yesterday, i could now comprehend why people would go for annual ski trips, even if they have to fly hours across continents to do it.. it's just so fun!

Romme Alpin is a 2hr 45min drive, north west of stockholm. it was a peaceful ride with wonderful sceneries of huge lakes and large plains of the country side. and i was watching The Godfather which they were showing on the bus. Though we left at 7am and i barely got any rest the past few days, but i was really captivated by that show about the italian mafia family.

When we reached Romme, it was like the feeling of finally achieving it in life! I just stood at the bottom of the snow slope and beheld it in awe and reverence. it's an amazing sight..

after getting my snow board, i got changed up immediately and made my way up to the top. we had another school mate who have been snow boarding since young to give us some crash course lessons, figuratively and literally speaking. it was tough initially, but it's those kind of sports where you have to fall to learn. the question is more of how bad is your fall.. and i injured every joint in my body there was and flipped in all kinds of directions possible. i had alot of falls on my wrist initially, got bruises on my knees and almost felt my shoulder dislocated on one occasion when i had a flip in the air. but my worst one was when i flew and landed on my back, on my tail bone! that one hurt real bad! *ouch*

despite all that, it was all worth it. the thrill and excitement of snow boarding was just exhilarating. by the time i went for my last run, i could make it down the beginner slope with just a record of 3 falls. ;)

the combination of office moving on sat, with the carrying of the all the tables, chairs, equipments and what not, plus all the falls during snow boarding, my entire body is aching today man.. but like what i say, it's all worth it! snow boarding rocks! ;)

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Life in Sweden

These few days have been kinda busy for me. like what's new right? ;)

Been busy working everyday, doing development work and debugging, extremely fruitful and fulfilling i would say. and i just love my new LCD monitor and Apple Keyboard.. though they didn't have the international keyboard, but the swedish one worked real fine for me.. so now i've got 3 monitor screens, 2 for my Apple MacBook and 1 for the Windows OS. 

And recently during work, i had a great opportunity to meet up with the ceo and developer of our partner company to discuss certain collaboration stuffs. I really thank God for the favor of men. Initially, it was supposed to be my boss and i, but he called me up in the morning saying that he wasn't well. So i was expecting the meeting to be cancelled, but who would have thought that he would ask me to go on my own, an intern! And thank God it went really well.. looking forward to an exciting time ahead! ;)

Ok, so apart from work. What's been happening?

Recently, i started some new stuffs other than pasta. but pasta is still my regular dish... xP But apart from that i made Chicken Ham & Cheese Sandwich with Fries, Meatballs & Potato Salad. Cool right? It was nice.. really. 

And then recently, Seng Seng and I combined forces to make Sweet & Sour Pork aka ku lu yok. POWER right?? We were really impressed with ourselves! Though it took us almost 2 hrs to make it, but it was a success and proved to be worth it... almost... if not for the metallic bitter taste. Still... it was good! ;)

In the upcoming weeks, i'll be doing a bit of travelling. In the coming sun, i'll be gng snow boarding. Then during easter weekend, i'll be in london. Then in one weekend in april, i'll be on a cruise to Tallinn. And in july, i'll be touring a few countries in europe! exciting days ahead! ;)

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