In the future
Everybody will be famous anonymous
For 15 minutes
I wish I were cool enough to be a libertarian, but I’m one of those hippie public transport riding greenie guys.
In the future
Everybody will be famous anonymous
For 15 minutes
Given I only have a limited amount of time back home, I've been attempting to cram as much stuff into each day as I can! My limited funds means I've also abstained from any cabs, and taken the MRT. It's fast, cheap and clean, but sometimes takes a little longer than a taxi would ;D
Upshot of this: I'm too tired each evening to write up a post, and publish all my SLR shots. I'll do this when I get back to Sydney.
Patrick Wintour reporting for The Guardian:
Britain and America are willing to offer the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, safe passage – and even clemency – as part of a diplomatic push to convene a UN-sponsored conference in Geneva on political transition in Syria.
And yet Julian Assange, who has not been charged or convicted of any crimes, is asking Equador to protect him from Britain and America. This whole farce would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic.
On the second day of my sister's and my Singapore trip, I corrected a grave packing mistake! Fortunately without too much fuss, and without getting rained on!
I have a Nikon D60. It's a camera. It takes pictures. It's not the fanciest SLR, but I have a few lenses I love, and it does the trick. Only catch is, like many digital cameras (except those fancy ones with perpetual motion machines in the grip) it requires an energy cell to operate. Or battery, in typically flawed English.
Not only did I realise I left this vital part of my camera back in Singapore, I left the charger behind too. Such n00b travelers mistakes caused me such anguish I was able to mutter an entire sentence of gibberish. Normally my sentences lack cohesion, but this lack any semblance of English whatsoever. Not even Singlish. Aiyo.
Fortunately, this numbskull was able to use this dumb oversight to check out camera shops! After seeing Elke off, I hit Peninsula Plaza and The Adelphi near City Hall. As a fan of retro architecture these places hold a certain charm compared to the brand new or just renovated super-buildings now along Orchard Road and Raffles Place. As I commented on Twitter, they kind of look like the sets of old Star Trek movies; I'm sure their architects thought they looked super futuristic at the time!
These shopping centres have tons of little family run camera shops with all sorts of amazing wares. My favourite is The Camera Workshop at #01-31 in the Peninsula Shopping Centre; my dad and I have been going there since I was in primary school. The owner even recognised me, and gave me an amazing price on a new charger. Across from there I was able to get a replacement OEM battery for much less than an official Nikon one, which means I didn't waste too much of my Chinese food or cargo pants budget!
In the morning Elke and I hit the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Somerset 313, then for no reason later in the afternoon the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Ion. Both these shopping centres along Orchard Road were finished in 2010, only shortly before my sister and I left for Sydney. Still, all Coffee Beans have the same kind of feel, and we reveled in having the same free flow cawfees in their distinctive wide coffee cups and Ice Blendeds!
We headed back to the hotel (dubbed "home" for now!) in the evening to freshen up and charge all our phones, iPads and cameras, then headed to Suntec City to look at glasses for Elke. I love Suntec City, for the same way I love those other centres. People in the 1990s thought they were building something futuristic, now it has that sort of retro modern feel, which I really like. Ever since I was a kid, my dream was to start my own IT consulting firm out of Suntec, the buildings and the world's largest fountain in the middle are just too cool. That and I used to hang out in the shopping centre downstairs growing up :')
We also went to Carl's Jr, one of the few fast food places I can stand because the food is actually... really good! It's probably a good thing Sydney doesn't have them, I'd probably put on far too much weight eating their Sante Fe chicken burgers, or Elke with her Double Bacon Guacamole Cheeseburger. What a monstrosity XD;
In lieu of my actual camera, I took a bunch of fairly crappy phone pictures. Most centred around travelling on the MRT, Singapore's metro system that's so refreshing after dealing with CityRail in Sydney. It's not fair to compare the two per se, given the former is a metro and the latter a suburban system, but the difference in service, cleanliness and affordability was striking! They'd also finished the Circle Line since last time we were here, and some of the new stations are just GORGEOUS!
We also paid homage to the now-closed Borders in Wheelock Place that both Elke and I used to hang out at. Got my first O'Reilly programming book there :(. At least it's replacement was something awesome, the Marks and Sparks Food Hall had TONS of English sweets, crisps and biscuits! :D
Finally, I was able to get a micro SIM for my iTelephone 4! My dad still needed my post-paid SingTel card (with the number I've had since I was in primary school!) for convoluted reasons, but having been to four separate StarHub stores that told me they were out of stock of the tourist Micro SIMS, I went to their branch at 1 Raffles Place and got one for $18, $7 of which was used as credit towards 1GiB of data. Suddenly I was wandering around again with 5 bars everywhere, including rail tunnels, lifts, shopping centre basements! Curiously enough, I got 4 bars while wandering around Raffles Place.
Productive day! Here's hoping tomorrow I'll be able to actually *take* proper pictures again!
I'm back in Singapore for the first time since my sister, dad and I moved back to Sydney. Have a raging headache, so today's entry will probably be as cohesive as... something that isn't. Aiyo!
We arrived at the Sydney Airport late in the morning and checked into our Scoot flight without any trouble at all. Scoot is Singapore Airlines' new budget long haul carrier mostly serving Australia and Asia.
The tickets were so cheap and the initial checkin so simple, my sister and I kept waiting for the catch to come up! When we boarded and the staff were super friendly and the chairs comfortable enough, we still kept waiting for the catch! Given it was a budget airline we had to pay for food, but even that was easy enough and the chicken biryani I had was surprisingly tasty.
The catch came in the time it took them to get the food. I ordered around 13:30, and by 15:00 I'd been served! This despite the fact I'd ordered it already, and pushed the staff call button and asked two more times.
Lesson learned: Scoot is a surprisingly hassle free budget airline, but eat a huge meal before you get on board because you could be waiting a while!
I've often joked that Singapore immigration treat me better than Australia's, despite being a citizen of the latter.
This time around was quite the adventure; having gone through the horrid claustrophobia-inducing immigration hall in Sydney Airport, we were naturally called over for "random" secondary screening.
My sister maintains that because our dad has been to Iran dozens of times, we're on some sort of black list! Given what I've heard other former expats have gone through, I reckon the Australian government must just have a record of deserters who naturally can't be trusted! Whatever the case, either Elke or I ALWAYS (and I really do mean that!) get called for secondary screening. ALWAYS.
I won't go into the details of the secondary screening here, but suffice to say my sister triggered alarms. They cleaned the machine with alcohol then scanned again which turned up clean, but for a few brief moments we had people staring at us as though we'd tried to carry TNT with us.
As for the Singapore side? We were off the plane, didn't queue at all in the gigantic, breezy Changi Airport immigration hall covered in indoor plants and flowers, got our bags from baggage claim, and were in the public area of the terminal in less than 15 minutes ^^.
We went down to the Airport MRT station, waited 2 minutes, boarded, transferred at another station, waited less than a minute, got off at that station, then were at the hotel :).
For reasons I won't get into here, my father has my Singapore SingTel SIM, with the number I've had since I was 12 :D I gave the one I bought myself to Elke for this evening, and will look into getting another tomorrow.
In the meantime, off to sleep so I can be up early to go to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or ToastBox for breakfast! Ironically enough, most of the things I want to do involve either taking pictures of things, exploring nostalgic places, and eating good breakfasts XD;
Jokes aside, it's easy to see how people get "theories" and "scientific theories" confused. Conjecture satisfies the former, the latter follows strict rules. So humble and precise are scientists that even the most accepted theory isn't referred to as fact. Of all the reasons why I'm an atheist, that's high on my list.
It's fascinating how the exact same space can feel so different simply with fewer people!
It was just over a month ago now when I ventured into my university's inner city library to work on several group assignments. We'd met up several weekends in a row, filled up with coffee from the stand downstairs, and converted caffeine to code and UML. Despite being a "library", it was buzzing with activity, so much so that often we had trouble locating desks to sit at! Packed, noisy, hot, and with internet slower than a busted toaster oven.
Memo to UTS: more group work areas.
Fast forward to now. Given the weather in Sydney over the last few days, I can only assume our local ancient phone exchange was flooded again, rendering our home internet as reliable as a toaster oven door built with slabs of cheese. Where in the hell are theses analogies come from? I was already in town attending various banking duties, so I figured I'd afford myself the use of the university's wireless, and head to the library for a few hours.
Entering the building, the first thing I became aware of was I could still hear the sound of podcast chatter coming through my headphones. It was... quiet. Really, really quiet! As I identified myself to the gate machines with a swipe of my student ID card thingy, I noticed most of the desks were empty. There were computers free. Books were on shelves, not on tables.
Going upstairs and sitting in my favourite couch by the window I used to sit at before I had friends (shaddup!), it struck me just how empty the place was. The people didn't make much of a difference, it was more the complete absence of sound. It was eerie.
Of course, none of this is unexpected, with exams and the semester winding down and with most people heading out for holidays and such, clearly most people weren't as nerdy as me and thought they'd spend a couple of hours there just hanging out! Maybe the [very!] recent memory of all the brain cramming and 11th hour assignment work scared the rest off.
Whatever the case, I've always been fascinated with giant spaces with no people. Maybe it appeals to the introvert in me, but abandoned buildings, or buildings at odd times without occupants... there's just something profoundly different about them that can't just be explained as being an absence of people. Like school during the holidays, or offices on Sundays.
There's something else about empty places that usually have people. And I have no idea what it is.
With the pressure of exams and courses ending and work and a bitterly cold winter and shops closing early and other such whatnot, it was lovely to spend an evening having dinner with some epic friends to celebrate @hanezawakirika's birthday! Smiling cake!
It'd been a long day for all parties involved on Thursday. The future birthday girl had been slaving at work and getting over another bout of sleep depravation. @maidforclass, @Sashin9001 and I had spent the better part of the day studying frantically for our programming exam on Monday. Writing six Java applications, on paper, without access to the API, and without shorthand, because that's how you do it in industry! @JamieJakov had been packing for an overseas trip, and playing games. Needless to say, we were all exhausted!
As the day wore on, more of us arrived at the Parramattattatta station (named for Rattattattatta, of course). By the evening, the illustrious @Sebasu_tan arrived escorting @hanezawakirika, and together we hit the town looking for a place to eat.
Forgetting that we were in suburban Australia and therefore everything closes at lunchtime (or may as well!), we eventually found our way to the self-described Excellent BBQ Hotpot restaurant across the road from the Parramattattattattattatta Westfieldieldieldieldield.
Having had our chopsticks replaced with spoons (it's what you get for hanging out with angmohs!), we asked for them back then proceeded to order a ton of food and chow down! Crispy chicken, sweet and sour pork, vegetables, some very high quality rice... there was plenty more dishes but I've already forgotten! Even some more traditional Chinese soup which transported me to my 14 year old self back home :'D. @hanezawakirika commented that it tasted authentic, and I would trust her judgement!
The atmosphere was quite amazing too. Along one side of the restaurant were floor to ceiling panels of glass which looked out onto the gloomy street, and reminded us how lucky we were to have found a warm place inside to eat! The walls along the other side were covered in small drawers; I was half tempted to get out of my chair and open each and every one of them to unlock their secrets! Mild OCD, I can assure you ;).
As depicted above (ahem!), when we'd finished the mains, we whipped out the cake we'd bought before for @hanezawakirika, and the staff were kind enough to bring us out some plates and forks. @Sebasu_tan had suggested we eat the cake with chopsticks, though I suspected a great deal of mess would have resulted XD
After we'd eaten, swapped presents and talked long into the night, we said farewell to @Sashin9001 and scuttled back to the train station to get warm again! The trip back was a journey of nostalgia into Pokemon, some Twittering of terrible, terrible puns and general laugher :D
It's technically Kiri's birthday today, so I decided now was as good a time as any to post this, and to remind her how smashingly awesome, friendly and talented she is. She may claim to have trouble relating to people at times, but she's a wonderful friend to all of us, and we wouldn't want her any other way. ^^
She's the modest type, so no doubt she would dismiss such claims, however that doesn't change the fact they're true. So she may as well make her life easier and accept it >:D Surely she wouldn't say no to this face...
While there's still time to say it officially, Happy Birthday! Can't wait for your birthday celebration Part II! Don't you DARE ever stop being epic Kiri! :)
Normally my train heads through the Airport Line tunnel to Green Square, Mascot, Domestic and International. Today, it bypassed the tunnel completely, passing Redfern and Syndenham without stopping before heading to Turrella and my stop at Bardwell Park. What's usually a 20-25 minute train ride was over in less than 15!
I have no idea why it did this (and why TwitPic refused to upload the image above!) but I wasn't complaining!