Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas month at Singapore...

I have always heard from my friends and colleagues that during the Christmas month, Singapore is always very nicely lit up, especially at the Orchard Road. Well I was lucky enough to have the chance to experience the night scene in Singapore just recently, and I was not disappointed. *wink*

On my first night there, I went to Bugis and saw very pretty decorations outside of Bugis Junction Mall. Somehow, the spiral lightings reminded me of the Chinese spiral joss sticks... :P

Outside Bugis Junction Mall, Singapore
Outside Bugis Junction Mall and BHG

Then I walked from here towards Suntec City, and asked for directions to the Esplanade. I suppose being a foreigner, I should feel rather proud to be able to make my way to Esplanade without much fuss. *LOL* It was a weeknight and drizzling as well, so it was very much quieter than usual.

Esplanade, Singapore
Esplanade at night

After walking such a long distance :P, I thought it was only fair to treat myself to a supper, somewhat. Anyway, I tried the famous Singapore Hokkien noodles which was very much different than the one found in Penang. However, I regret to say that the taste did not live up to expectations... Or I just didn't go to the correct stall. Too bad for me...
Singapore Hokkien noodles

With a full stomach, I then proceeded to the nearby Merlion. Of course, you wouldn't have been to Singapore if you had not visited this landmark, people say. True to its legend, the Merlion indeed fascinated me with its majestic size and posture. It was as if its presence demanded full attention. Truly amazing...

Nearby, the skyscrapers lit up magnificently and made the whole night scene look alive.
Fullerton Hotel, Singpapore
Fullerton Hotel
Fullerton hotel

The next night, I ended up at the famed Orchard Road, which was also the busiest part of Singapore, according to the cab driver. He didn't even want to drop me at Orchard Road itself, for fear that he would not be able to get out of the terrible jam himself. Instead, he dropped me off at the end of Orchard Road, which was actually fine for me, since I wanted to experience walking along the busiest road in Singapore during Christmas month. ;) Might I say, I was not disappointed...

Orchard road

Orchard road

Some of the malls were also decorated very nicely in the interior, such as this one I took from Wisma Atria.
Wisma Atria

Xmas @ Wisma Atria
Wisma Atria

And who could have missed the gigantic Christmas tree which was propped up at the entrance of Paragon in Orchard Road? I swear to you my camera just did not do the justice as to how HUGE the tree was. And it was nothing less than magical. It was definitely my favourite Christmas tree out of all that I've seen so far. :)
Paragon Christmas tree

Paragon Christmas tree
Outside Paragon
Orchard road
Across Scotts Road, near Orchard
Overall, I have to say that it is really true what they say about Singapore becoming alive at night during the magical month of December. Experiencing it for the first time made it all the more special to me. Since it's so near to Christmas, it is apt to wish everyone a very MERRY CHRISTMAS! Time to start with your New Year resolutions list right now... ;)

Friday, December 21, 2007

My best friend's wedding...

I've known her for only 7 years but it feels like I've known her forever. We met in the university about 7 years ago. It was very coincidental that she knew one of my friends and I knew one of her friends beforehand. I still remember, I was the only one in my school who managed to get a place in the university, and hence, I had no friends there. I was nervous beyond words, worried about who I was going to hang out with, who I was sharing my room with, who I was going to walk to classes with, lunch with... just everything! And I was sharing my fear with one of my friends on the night before the first day at uni. It so happened that this friend had another friend who's also attending the same uni as I, and he told me her name and gave me her picture and assured me that she's a lovely person and asked me to go approach her.

So I remembered her name and on the next day, nervous still, I went to uni, surrounded by a sea of hundreds of strangers and started proceeding to different counters for registration. I was sitting inside the hall filling in my form, when I saw her. She was sitting right in front of me, filling up her form as well and I saw her name on the form. It rang a bell. And I was so relieved to know she's there, even though I did not really know her yet. After registering, we all proceeded to our rooms and I was the first one to reach. I was supposed to have another 3 room mates, and I guess fate really planned it. She was in the same room as mine! So we met and got to know each other.

7 years down the road... we're still very close friends. I cannot possibly imagine how my uni life would be without her. She's always there when I was up or down and I could just rely on her for advice and for her ears. Of course, I loved the time when both of us sat in front of the PC and watched downloaded The O.C. and ate junk food! Or the late nights that we stayed up just talking, even when the lights were already off. Those were the good old days... days that I would never be able to experience anymore... simply because... she's married! And words could not really express how happy I am for her. :)
Roasted pig in its glory

This post is especially dedicated to her, and also to all the great years of our friendship. You know who you are. I was there when you got to know him, I was there when you were smiling every time after you came back from your dates, I was there when you cried for him... But ultimately, I was extremely touched when you told me he's the one you could call your own. That was so sweet. Deep down, I know that he's the one who could make you happy. And I could see that from your face on your wedding day. It was as if this was what you've been waiting for all your life... It was so... meant-to-be. Perhaps that's why you told me you were never scared or nervous of getting married to him. It was just... natural. :)

I would be lying if I told you that I never envied you. When I knew you back then, I was never in love before. I did not really know how love was supposed to be. But I guess you just showed it to me. And I wished I was able to share your experience, to exchange stories with you... but I guess love didn't come to me until much later... LOL.

Now you've moved on to the next stage in life. You've become a Missus, OMG! Can you imagine? And soon you're going to be a mother! I can't believe how time flies and how things have changed since then. You do realize that you're always walking the path earlier than me, right? Which is actually a good thing, because I will ALWAYS have a reference when the same thing happens to me in the future. :) That aside, I have every faith that you will become the fabulous wife that every man dreams to have, the greatest mother that every kid will become proud of, the daughter-in-law that every mother wishes to have... and most of all, I know you'll still be the wonderful friend that you are right now.

May you have all the happiness that you very much deserve... and may our friendship withstand the test of time and distance! *wink* Congratulations from the bottom of my heart, girl!
Awaiting the groom in the room

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Can love change a person?

I was having a discussion with a good friend of mine (you know who you are, girl *wink*) this morning and we were talking on the topic of love and personality. Well, we were talking about how couples have to be compatible in terms of character and personality in order to maintain a long-lasting relationship. Of course, we do not believe that there is one such couple that could be compatible in all senses without having to compromise.

My argument was, if one loves someone enough, then one would not mind going the extra mile and changing to be a better person for him/her. For example, I used to have a male friend who was always the clubbing and flirting king. Practically every girl in school knew who he was and he must have attended clubs way before we're even allowed to. Then, he met someone.

Someone who changed his life, literally. I've never seen him so in love before. He went to such an extent just to get to know that girl, and to get her number and finally to get her out. And the transformation from then on was just amazing. I couldn't believe it myself, and so said my fellow friends. He minimized his outings to clubs just for the girl and he became loyal. =) I was always very amazed by the power of love, and I respected him tremendously. So I said love CAN change someone.

But on the other hand, my friend was saying a person's character just simply cannot change. It is only a matter of compromising. When one is willing to give up his/her bad habits, it doesn't mean he/she has changed. It merely means that he/she is compromising and trying to avoid doing things that will create unhappiness. All because of love. And I believe she does have a point. Changing a habit/character means that it stays on forever, no matter there is love or not... but Compromising... means that it is only done purely out of love.

I suppose there is a bit of truth in both our stands. I believe it takes more than a great man to make a change for the better, for his loved one.

And that man... earns my respect. What do you think? :)

Monday, December 3, 2007

P.S. I Love You...

I have just finished reading this wonderfully amazing and lovely book by Cecelia Ahern, called P.S. I Love You... and might I say, I am now obsessed with waiting for the movie to be released! I really hope it reaches Malaysia! :) This is the book...

Sometimes, you have to live life one letter at a time
It is about a young woman, Holly, who's so very in love with her husband, Gerry. Unfortunately, Gerry passed away because of brain tumor, and Holly was simply devastated. She used to live her life, used to exist just because of Gerry. After his death, she was simply shattered, broken, falling apart and crying every single minute. She was lost. She was unfocused. She just didn't want to live anymore.

Gerry foresaw this to happen and he thoughtfully prepared a bundle of messages to be addressed to Holly after he passed away. He wrote her 10 messages, all in different envelopes, meant for different months of the year. Each message was filled with either notes of encouragement or things to do to make her life better. But on top of it all, each message was always ended with P.S. I love you... Isn't that the sweetest thing?

The book revolves around Holly's friends as well, namely Sharon and Denise... and their amazing bond and closeness. It makes you reflect on who your real friends are, and to appreciate them more. The book is definitely a good read to get some light-hearted laughs, to discover one's romantic side and to have a good cry!

The movie apparently is coming out on the Dec 21st '07 in the US and Jan 4th worldwide. I really can't wait! :))) Official site

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Amazing pillow...

I was complaining the other day regarding my neck and back pain in the morning. Either the way I positioned my head on the pillow was not correct, or the pillow was not good. But it WAS a goose feather pillow, no less, which was rather costly in the first place :(

After several days of complaining, I was given a nice surprise gift! Introducing Jean Perry (pronounced as John Per-ree cause it's French) Memory Pillow...

Well I bet everyone will think that Memory Pillow, based on the name, is supposed to improve my memory, right? How I wish it were true! It is just a name... Apparently, the pillow has some cutting edge technology foam material which can mold itself to support your head and neck while at the same time absorbing pressure and heat. I believe it is how the pillow can maintain this particular and customized shape throughout the night, to ensure a good sleep, that led to its name as the Memory Pillow.
It is also Anti Dust Mite as well, what an angel!
There are two ends to the pillow, one being the thinner end and the other, thicker. Depending on the person's sleeping position, the required height of the pillow also varies. For normal usage, it is recommended to sleep on the thicker/higher end, which can support your neck better. On the other hand, if the person chooses to sleep on his/her stomach, then the thinner/lower end would suffice.
I have used this for a week now and I'm proud to say that I don't have neck and back sores now! What a wonder this pillow is...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Double rainbows =)

I saw two rainbows the other day during dusk. Could you spot the second one? My camera just didn't do the justice... Rainbows are so pretty, they're one of world's greatest wonder :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The beauty of Kerachut...

It was more than a year ago since I last visited Kerachut beach in the Penang National Park. I used to hike there rather frequently when I was doing my internship in Penang, when I had more time and more fun people surrounding me. Fast forward to present, where I have to work full-time, and study part-time. Studying has really taken a big chunk of my personal life, it's not funny. Week night outings have almost reduced to a zero, and I lose half of the weekend for attending classes! Gosh, what a price to pay!

Anyway, a few weeks ago, a good friend managed to get me out on a beautiful Sunday morning to go for a hike. Well, I should say he laid a guilt trip on me by saying lots of things that were rather true. So yes, I have not been exercising for the longest time, and yes, I can't remember the last time I went swimming, or the last time I went to the gym. Big deal. :P But come to think of it, it does make me feel guilty for not taking care of my health. So I yielded without much ado, and I did not regret it.

We reached the entrance point of the National Park at past 9am and I realised what a major change it was compared to the last time I was there. For starters, there was this nice building for hikers' registration which was newly built. Last time, it used to be at some rundown booth that no one noticed.

Entrance to Penang National Park
Registration office

Nearby, there was another building which was in the midst of completion. If I'm not mistaken it's a building for some forestry research of some kind. It does look nice from the outside.
New building at Penang National Park entrance


After registering our names at the office, we were on our way to Kerachut!
New entrance
Entrance of Penang National Park

Before continuing further, we had to do the most important thing before a hike. Well, most important for me. *LOL* That is putting on sufficient sunblock lotion! Never go hiking on a hot afternoon without sunblock because you'll just regret it. Took this picture on the way in...
Nice view of the pier

At the entrance of the hike
First stretch of the hike

The weather was just nice for a hike on that Sunday. It was not too warm underneath the trees and the air was not too stuffy either.
Long way to go...

Blue dragonfly
A pretty blue dragonfly that I spotted

The first spot that we stopped was at this deserted gazebo nearby the beach. The view would have been much nicer if the lake was not dried up. :)
View from the gazebo

And a further 5 minutes walk led us to the beach!

Beautiful unpolluted beach

Well for those who are not so interested in the one hour hike to Kerachut beach, they can always opt for the boat ride.
Mini pier at Kerachut
The signature pier of Kerachut

More of beautiful beach pictures of Kerachut...

Kerachut beach

Beautiful but hot beach...
Nice sandy beach (if you don't mind the sun :P)

After resting and admiring the beach for about half an hour, we were on our way to hike out again. Somehow, I felt more energized after the visit and had more energy hiking out than in. So ironic... However, something unfortunate happened on my way out. Turned out that my Nike shoes were not so reliable after all. The outsole of my right shoe decided to give up on me barely halfway through the journey out! :( It got really irritating when it was just flip-flapping away and my nice hiking partner offered first-aid to rescue my shoe. :) And I literally meant First-aid as he was using the tape from the first-aid kit! *LOL*
Shoe under first-aid care

Bandaged shoe... Thanks to Shoe... how ironic :P
My shoe is good to go! :)

While waiting for first-aid...

Finally after another hour, we reached our starting point again, now all sweaty and tired. I couldn't resist taking some pictures of the mini fishing pier at the entrance of the National Park in Teluk Bahang.

I want one of those!
Fishing boats..

Pier at Teluk  Bahang

I felt a sense of achievement for being able to hike in and out without much complaints :P Of course, I paid the price for having muscle aches for the next 2 days, but it was all worth it!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Why I want to eat at Friday's

The one and only TGI Friday's restaurant in Penang is located in the relatively new Queensbay Mall, Bayan Baru.
TGI Friday's, Queensbay
Entrance of Friday's in Queensbay Mall, Penang

Now, I'm not a big fan of American cuisine, but Friday's has begun to gradually convert me into one.
I love Friday's! :)

Ever since its inception in Penang, I have frequented Friday's about 10 times, and after every meal, I was satiated and happy. I will not be surprised that Friday's is now my must-go restaurant at least once a week! Here is the list that makes me continuously yearn for Friday's every day. :)

I LOVE ...

1. Three for All
I absolutely love the fried mozzarella sticks that come with this dish. It simply has to be eaten when it is just served. Any later and it will be cold and lose its amazing effect. What amazing effect, you say? Well first you pick it up, when it's hot, hot, hot, baby... and take a large, generous bite into the stick, then start chewing... and the glorious mozzarella will start to melt in your mouth, covering your every taste buds on your tongue, blending together with the fried Italian bread coating; imagine - crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside. If that's not amazing, I don't know what is!

2. Cajun Fried Chicken Salad
On the days when I do not have a good appetite for something heavy, the Cajun Fried Chicken Salad is always my top priority in Friday's.
Cajun fried chicken salad
Cajun Fried Chicken Salad

Being a girl, it is just common for us to always watch our weight, watch our calories intake, the amount of fibre we take, etc etc. Therefore, this is the perfect dish for me, not to mention delicious as well. The serving is humongous but yet, it is all good. The vegetables used are fresh and crunchy, the garlic bread that comes as a side is crispy and full of garlic and butter flavor, and last but not least, the fried chicken! Have I mentioned how fantabulous the chicken is? There are just plenty of fried chicken fillets, with the perfect golden color and the very very flavorful taste. Every piece of chicken just opens up my appetite further.
Check out how crunchy and golden the chicken fillets are!

My trick is, for every bite of chicken, I take two big bites of vegetables.
Eagerly waiting to take my first bite!

A blend of meat and fibre just makes a girl sinfully happy and yet keeps the pounds at bay. :)
Chicken and vege in one bite...
Blend of yummy chicken and healthy vegetables :)

3. Mocha Mud Pie
How can a meal be complete without the mouth-watering, tantalizing, enticing Mocha Mud Pie?
Mocha mud pie
Glorious dessert *gulp*

It has already become a legend in its own name. The fabulous dessert. Chocolate. Coffee. Cake. Ice-cream. Almond.
Oblivious to the surroundings...

What more can a girl ask for?
What happened to the mocha mud pie? *gasp*

4. Friendly staff
Every visit to TGIF is welcomed by the service of friendly waiters/waitresses who can't wait to please their customers. I can almost memorize what they would say to me after I was shown to my table for a mere 5 minutes. "Good afternoon/evening. My name is <> and I'm going to serve you for today. Just call me whenever you're ready to order, miss. " And with a BIG smile too. Just warms your heart and opens up your appetite. :)

5. Wonderful ambience
The atmosphere in Friday's is nothing short of relaxing. The decoration is always festive, the waiters' uniforms are full of colorful badges and they have cute joker hats, it makes me smile just being there.
Friday's looking out towards the entrance
Nice and colorful decor

Joker hat on the waiter
Cute joker hat...

Cleanliness is also maintained very well. Toilets were surprisingly spotless, and there was this time we accidentally spilled a glass of drink onto our table. The staff who noticed it immediately took everything in control and cleaned up the table. Impressive!

6. Food and drinks satisfaction
I have this weird habit of only ordering plain water from whichever restaurant I go to. To me, water is the perfect match to every tantalizingly good meal, as it does not affect my taste buds and it washes down all food perfectly.
I love water!

Hence, I always find it ridiculous for restaurants to put an exorbitant price tag for a glass of plain water. Friday's, however, is not one of those restaurants. They are always willing to provide me a huge glass of warm water, not to mention with a big grin as well. In terms of food satisfaction, it's never a compromise to Friday's. There was a time I ordered fajitas that came with chicken and beef, with the rare occasion that the beef was a tad too well done. I told the waiter that the beef was overcooked and dry, and without a question, he just apologized and took away my beef. After a mere 5 minutes, I was served with a brand new plate of beef cooked to perfection.

Writing this post has definitely stirred my palate for Friday's salad. I am very grateful that Friday's has finally landed in Penang. :)