Archive for 2007 年 12 月

Past relationship

I was talking to my colleagues yesterday, somehow went into the topic of our past relationships.

I didn’t have much to talk about, i was not someone who likes to go into brief flings. Only one past relationship, one that had me thinking yesterday while my colleagues were chatting away.

It all started in my JC. I was out of a all-boys school (Maris Stella High) and she from a all-girls one (PLMGS). She was the quiet type, one that will invoke your manly feelings to try to protect her. We started to hang out together, studied together and got to know each other better even though we were not from the same class. It took her a year to acknowledged that we are a couple.

Even though we saw each other that way, it certainly didn’t feel that way. She rarely took the initiative to hold hands, she would let me get drenched in rain because our stupid school rules forbid boy & girl sharing umbrella. Yet at the same time, she did those heart-warming stuffs like going town to grab me a christmas present while nursing a sprained ankle. Confusing times were those, yet painfully sweet as well.

It was until when i was to be enlisted into army that we started to see less of each other. SAF is notorious for ruining many relationships, haha. She was enrolled in NUS architecture, against her wishes but to the delight of her parents. Her family was is pretty well to do while i was, still is, from a more average than average income household.

It was during this time when she often broke down, unable to take the stress from the numerous projects. I was trying to offer as much emotional support as i could from the limited time i have during weekends. We both tried to support each other, despite the hardships that we are facing.

Finally, one day, just 6months from my ORD, her secondary school friend brought her to a pretty well-known church. There, she got to know a would-be pastor and got drawn into their community. There, she found the emotional support and relief that i was unable to provide. They sensed that she was weak and needed someone to talk to, to provide a refuge for her to get away from the stress of her course.

I could see all these and where all these are heading. We were destined for our lives, separately. Not because she became a christian, but she did not know what will happen to us if i remained a non-believer of her new-found faith. After all, christians are supposed to be with christians only?

But what struck me most, in a heart-wrenching way, was that she has never on our 3 years of relationship, say that she loved me. Not even under prompting. She just said she do not know if she felt that way towards me.

Should i wait? Was 3 years long enough a time to know where a relationship is heading to? Will she be happier if i leave her?

I think i got the answers to those questions. To love her, sometimes, it meant to leave her. We are not destined together, those 3 years are a painful period where we learned how to behave in a relationship, what to do, what not to do. We were young back then, so I probably won’t have done many of the things i did. If there is at least one thing i got out of this, i grew matured.

The last time i met her, about few years back, she mentioned that she is a happier person now. I take that as a proof that what i did, to leave her, was a right move.

That chapter is closed now. Its been like 7 years since we broke up and things have moved on. I am now attached to a childish, whiny, stubborn, obstinate woman who despite all these short-comings, love me deeply. This is another chapter of my life, who knows where this one will lead me to?

Its not that i am reminiscing about the past, not that i am trying to reach out to her, hoping she will bump into my blog, but today has been an extremely bad day for me and i need some relief. Writing all these down actually feels good.

Tomorrow i shall treat myself to some retail therapy.


Day 4

After a comfy and snug sleep in the luxurious room, we had breakfast prepared by the 民宿 lady boss. The breakfast wasn’t much, sandwich with coffee/tea, some fruits and pudding. Weird combination rite?

Our cabby picked us up, having changed our tickets destination to 九份 instead of going back to Taipei straight. He highly recommended us to pay a visit there even though he had never went there before.

And so we went. The train ride took around 2 hours plus since 九份 is nearer to Taipei than 花蓮. On the train, i could barely sleep while my friends were knocked out cold.

We had to get to a bus stop across the train station after alighting to get to 九份. The bus ride itself didn’t take long, but the ride was to go up a narrow two lane road uphill not unlike the one in Gentings.

This is what 九份 looks like after alighting from the bus.

Basically, 九份 is a small town along a hill. Once, this place was famous for the gold deposits found here. Now, it is famous for mostly the local produce and 名產. When we arrived, it was raining and barely noticeable.

Another view, this time looking down the mountain.

Supposed to be able to take some panoramic shots but somehow my camera refused to acknowledge my memory cards as from Olympus itself. Damn stupid.

Basically at 九份, its jus to eat and buy more food. The streets are narrow, only about four person abreast wide sometimes. And its not helped when some small lorries tried to squeeze in to unload their goods.

So we just walked and take our time. Around us are mostly tourists, mainly from Hong Kong and Singapore, occasionally some Taiwanese. One of the reason why i prefer free-and-easy tour is there is no time limit to how long i can spend at a location. If i were to come to 九份 as part of a tour group, i will at most be given 2 hours? How to see, buy and eat to my heart’s content in two hours?

The first thing i ate in 九份, braised eel noodle.

Got a lot of long hard bones in the fish, overall not bad.

Another thing i tried, 福州魚丸面.

After eating, we decide to find one cafe with a view to relax and rest. After all, we don’t have any time limit, do we?

My friends needed to use umbrella as the rain got heavier. It was nice to sit inside the cafe and overlook the town, unhurried when groups of tourists were busying buying stuff and eating and trying to make it back to their tour bus all at the same time.

After slacking in the cafe for 2 hours, we decide to walk back and buy what we needed to. For friends, families, colleagues etc. Felt so much like a auntie then.

With a heavy stomach, heavy plastic bags full of food, we took a bus back to the train station to take the bus back to Taipei. The hotel room was never so welcoming before.

By the time we were re-charged and ready to explore again, it was already time for dinner. Back to士林夜市 since we can do more shopping as well.

After dinner, we decide to find some cafe near our hotel and relax.

Weird, but i saw this sign from afar and for once, i actually don’t miss our chicken rice.

End of day 4. Totally shagged out from the train rides.

Movie review – National Treasure (The Book of Secrets)

Was persuaded by my girlfriend to watch the “National Treasure, Book of Secrets" today.

For those who are familiar and have caught the first show, Ben Gates is back this time to try to clear his great great-grandfather’s name, after being accused of being the main mastermind behind the assassination of the then president Abrams Lincoln.

However, if you have not seen the first one, and you are interested in the second, pls see here first.

I have always like to compare the first movie with “Da Vinci Code" since they revolve around the main characters running around countries to solve puzzles, riddles and get themselves into more puzzles and riddles to unravel the truth or treasure. The second movie makes no exception. To prove that his great great grandfather was not the main architect behind the assassination, Ben Gates with the help of his friends and parents this time, seek to find the “Golden City". Only the very presence of the city itself will prove his ancestors’ innocence.

So they, in order to seek the truth and the location of the “Golden City", have to sneak into Buckingham Palace, White House and even kidnapped the president.

How did this movie fare for me?

1) Storyline – 20 / 30%

The storyline did not seem fantastic to me, maybe i was expecting something else. Although the link from the clues to the places they have to visit sounds convincing, the start of the show didn’t.

2) Entertainment value – 17 / 25%

Its pretty engaging for me to watch without feeling bored. To some people (ie my girlfriend) the whole act of going and getting the clues rocks their boat but somehow i was not fascinated.

3) Cast – 15 / 25%

If you like Nicolas Cage, you will like this show without the adventure part. I don’t.

4) Pace / Flow – 18 / 20%

The overall pace and flow is pretty even, you don’t get too excited (not even when they are in the car chase or cave) and you don’t get bored (with the talking part).

Overall: 70

Helped by its strong on-going pace and flow of the show, let down by the initial starting plot, this show is still watchable but won’t make it to my must watch list.

Day 3

Day 3 began early as we need to take the 7:08am train from the Taipei Main Station to 花蓮. We woke up around 6am and its was obvious that we are taking the morning very well.

Reached the station and it took us some time to find out which platform was the right one. We learned that you need to find that correct track and platform, even the carriage number matters.

The ride itself took about 3 hours and when we reached, it already 5 past 10am.

Now 花蓮 is a city by itself, not as bustling and crowded as Taipei, but nonetheless a very scenic place. We have booked a taxi driver, 呂先生 before we left Singapore. From what we read in forums, he is highly recommended as a guide / driver when in 花蓮 for his helpfulness, knowledge of the place itself, his humor and jovial nature. The cost for his services was NT$2200 (about S$100) per day and he will also bring us to some famous eateries and well as the hotel for the night. We met up with him outside the station but not before i take picture to show that i was there.

Censored my face and replaced with Kon’s instead.

Following this was a 20min drive to a shop where 呂先生 recommend us to buy 便當 for our lunch later. My choice of a chicken drumstick set looked good.

Then its another 15min drive to the Taroko Gorge, aka 太魯閣 which is basically a super big and long valley.

The entrance to the gorge. The river is flowing from the left to the right in this picture and after the bridge you see in a distance, its the Pacific Ocean!!!

As we ventured deeper, we came to realise that this sightseeing trip will not be a walk in the park even though the air was very cooling and the air is refreshing. Some of the paths are rocky and one has to constantly look out for falling rocks, especially me when i was holding the camera. Its just too big for me to keep in my pocket, a pity because that place is so beautiful and one cannot help but stop and keep taking photos.

More pictures.

Right after the entrance, about 5 min drive up the mountains, we come to this big red bridge where we are allowed to climb down the stairs and walk.

The pathway below is not easy on the feet; its rocky both below and above, water is dripping on my head and its barely enough for two to walk abreast.

But deeper we walked and the rewards of breathtaking scenery makes it all worthwhile.

See how blue the water is.

The walk below the red bridge took us about 45min and we haven’t reached the end. I supposed we could walk all day but we hurried back to where our guide was waiting for us.

The pic above is known as 燕子窟. The holes you see on the cliff are supposedly homes of the sparrows (but we don’t see any).

Sometimes we take the car in, but most of the time, we walked. Its the only way we can slowly enjoyed and take in all the scenery.

The pic above is a small suspension bridge. Its pretty nerve cracking to walk since the bridge will swing and sway even at one’s own weight. Somemore the sides of the bridge are no taller than my waist. Feel so vulnerable then.

Past a cafe (yeah, there are some cafes up there for you to rest/pee and grab something to eat/drink) and continue on the way up. Played around with my camera to get the above pic.

We reached a place where there was resting spot and viewing platform. Settled down there for lunch since its already 1pm.

Chicken drumstick never taste so good before. So hungry were we that we ignored our guide as he was trying to tell us more about the area and focused on our 便當 instead. Now that i mentioned it, i do feel kinda bad.

After lunch, we continued and visited a temple. One of my friend, being the most energetic, climbed the long flight of stairs to reach the pagoda above while another friend and i rested below.

What came next was to be the most shag of the whole taipei trip. Our guide, seeing that we are 3 fine young men, decided to bring us UP to another temple and scenic spot. Its stairs for the first 30min and then a not so gentle slope for another 15min. My thighs are burning and i was panting but our guide is barely breaking a sweat.

The view from the top. The temple is the on the right.

The walk down was faster and slightly more dangerous since we were anxious to get to level ground and rest. We need to go through another suspension bridge though.

With this, the walk around Taroko Gorge ends. Our guide see that we cannot make it liao, so decide to bring us back to the town. but first, he dropped us at the 七星潭. Not sure why was this place called when we can see the Pacific Ocean instead of a lake.

Its the PACIFIC OCEAN!!!!!!!

Even though the wind was strong and bone chilling, we cannot help but feel extremely excited. The fatigue was forgotten and we raced to touch the waters. Hahaha…

Then we were brought to our hotel, or rather, its a 民宿. The outside of the building did not suggest that its a classy place, even more so when we see the signboard on the floor!

We were brought to our room. And as the owner of the place brought us up the stairs, he was telling us we are getting the best room and given a 30% discount given that we are brought here by our guide, his friend. I tot, chey, wat best room lah.

And what i see when the door was opened dropped my jaws. Its big, white, clean and comes with two king sized beds. There is a balcony, overlooking the beach and Pacific Ocean. The bathroom is filled with decorations that do nothing to suggest that this is a normal room. I had stayed in hotels in Hong Kong, Thailand, Taipei, KL, Singapore but i can tell you, this is the best room i have ever stayed in this far in my life. Its not cheap too, at NT$3000 a night originally, its also the most expensive. But what the heck, i think we deserved it.

I do not have any photos of the room but i will upload one soon.

We reluctantly left the room and our guide brought us around the town in his cab, telling us where to get the famous local delights and then played firecrackers with us. Its just too dark and i am still not good enough with my camera to take any pics.

The local delights.

Dumpling soup. A bit regret after taking this because its so filling that i barely have space for whats to come.

Pork Ribs noodle. I skipped this because the portion is simply too big.

After dinner, we walked back to our cosy room and settled for the night.

The night was too good, the room was too comfortable and the sea too smoothing for us to sleep early. We grabbed a drink each and sat at the balcony to enjoy the night until it became too cold.

The morning after, picture of the balcony.

Start of Day 4.

Movie review – The Golden Compass

Went to watch “The Golden Compass" today at Suntec Eng Wah.

This is part one of a trilogy, similar to Lord of the Rings. The original book by Philips Pullman, “The Dark Materials" was only recently written, somewhere in 2001? The book was heavily criticized by christians for being anti-churches. The portrayal of the “Magisterium" inside the book / show is somewat compared to churches for suppressing what would be conflicting to their centuries old beliefs.

Enuff of controversies.

The show itself is not long, started at 12:30 and ended just before 2:15. It began by explaining that parallel universes exist alongside each other and in the one which this story revolves in, souls of human exist in a physical form (known as daemons) alongside the belonging human.

Now, here is a complicated part that i didn’t quite catch. There is a relationship between the daemons, their humans and dust that enables one to move to another parallel universe. Something i noticed about this show, is that the storytelling is very weak. The whole story somehow progress awkwardly, some parts are jus inserted into the main story flow and i felt things maybe would have been smoother if another director is at the helm.

Nonetheless, Nicole Kidman and the young girl Dakota Blues Richard are pretty watchable, jus able to support the whole show. The armor polar bears are a sight too.

The story protagonist is this young girl named “Lyra" (Dakota Blues Richard), niece of Sir Asriel (Daniel Craig). Inquisitive and brave, she was led into an unexpected adventure into the northern islands when her friend was missing and she agreed to be a helper for Miss Coulter (Nicole Kidman). Things didn’t quite turn out the way she expected, especially when she was handed a alethiomete, aka golden compass by her school’s headmaster?

So, as the story progress, she meets more people, both good and bad. She meets a polar bear ex-prince, helping it to find its way back to its deserving throne. She manages to save her friends, blah blah blah. The story continues in part two, “The Subtle Knife".

Now, as a movie, i think i would like to judge them according to the 4 points below.

1) Storyline – 30%

2) Entertainment value – 25%

3) Cast –  25%

4) Pace / Flow – 20%

For “The Golden Compass", i think i would grade it as such:

1) Storyline – 23%

The story is pretty good, there is more to come from the second and third installments to continue to tell how “dust" can be so important to what the people believed in.

2) Entertainment value – 15%

I feel that given the story, the show could have been more captivating.

3) Cast – 17%

Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Dakota are watchable, adding to the viewability of this show despite the main flaw which is the next point.

4) Pace / Flow  – 10%

Now this is the main flaw of the show. Hard to describe in words unless you see the show for yourself.

So in all, “The Golden Compass" gets a 65 from me. Wonder if this first part of the trilogy makes enuff for New Line to consider making the next 2?

Cyril Takayama

If you caught the 金馬獎 last weekend, you should have know who Cyril Takayama is. Or you may have seen the numerous videos of him on youtube.

I absolutely love his tricks. His fingers are so fast that you can’t see the difference if the video was slow-mo.

Here’s a few vidz of him. Terribly enjoyable.


If you are a girl and hear this, will u accept the guy and meet him after school?