Friday, 27 January 2012

Relocation In Progress Again...

Here's one more pic of Chinese New Year's eve with Terry and cousins and family, courtesy of... well, Terry and cousins and family! This is Terry's cousin Jolyn and me playing on the Kinect. Fun has never been more tiring, oy. And what's with that cheesy grin, Nick???


Meanwhile, the past few days have been pretty nothing-much-going-on kinda days. Well, not entirely true; on Wednesday before work, I met up with a couple of friends from KL and had a nice lunch with them as well as discuss the future of my involvement in the theatre scene in Malaysia (mostly boycotted; more on this next time). So that was pretty cool, catching up. Plus I met up with Little Jo yesterday and today for lunch. The rest of the time has been mainly focused on work, and up till earlier today I'd been feeling rather melancholy and bordering on downright bummed. This afternoon, though, things picked up a little when I went to check out this room at this apartment that's really close to work. The owner is a lady who's about to move to the States, and she's an old friend of one of my colleagues here at work who recommended me to her. So we met today, and she was really nice, and the place was sweet, and yes, this means I've decided to move out of my current place, because as much as I find my room really cosy, the commute back and forth from work/city and back has begun to get pretty exhausting, oy.

So yea, the good news is I've found a new place. I'd been worried for a while there that I'd have to fork out extra money because I have to give one month's notice at my current place, meaning I'll still have to pay rent for February. This means there would've potentially been an overlap where I'd be paying rent for my existing place while putting down a deposit as well as first month's advance rent on a new room. (The way around that would've been to hunt for a room that's available beginning 1st of March, but was proving a bit of a challenge, too.) Fortunately, my landlady-to-be says we'll go on the basis of trust: that I will move in in March, and she won't require me to put down a deposit or pay any money upfront for the room to be reserved for me over February. And when I move in at the start of March, I just pay my first month's rent. What a bargain eh!! I guess someone somewhere is looking out for me...!

The downside to this new room is that it currently doesn't have air-conditioning (easily rectified if absolutely necessary, since they've got all these new-fangled portable air-conditioners now), and I won't have an attached personal bathroom anymore, but hey, it's $300 cheaper than my current place, and about six minutes' drive to work, not to mention a short train ride into the city, as opposed to the close-to-an-hour it used to take me to travel from where I am now. So all in all, I guess my life here is still very much in transition. Oh well. All in good time, as they say. :)

Till later!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Reunion dinner with the 'adopted' family!

Hey all! As predicted, a very quiet CNY. In fact, I've just been watching telly shows all day. It's raining out, so... nice to be indoors, heh. Last night I spent pre-CNY with Terry and his family, including cousins Jolyn and Cheryl, Cheryl's hubby James and their kids Eli and Isaiah, and Terry's uncle and aunt. There was a lovely scrumptious spread of traditional Chinese New Year dishes, with drinks, dessert, board games and the Xbox with the kids. All in all, a very enjoyable night!! Here are some pics, courtesy of Terry's family!

Food all served and ready to go...
...But where is Nick?? Haiyoh! Why he late?!
Ahh, here he is! Group shot!
Nyum num num nyum!
All gone!!
Time for some charades!
Isaiah in the hood!
Thanks for the great time, Terry and family!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Timbre II !

Here are some pics of us at Timbre last night. Courtesy of Terry's cousin Jolyn. Yay!

The gang!
Live band.
Feed me!
Mmmm. Pizzaaaa.
Is that a roach??

Roaches II; Wicked II; Timbre!!!

Hey all! Well, guess what, boys and girls, I'm currently on a five-day break for Chinese New Year, and I'm staying in Singapore for this period since I couldn't get any flights back home. Which is just as well, really, since it's not really my favourite time of year (and I've mentioned this before, I believe). So it'll be cool. Today (Saturday, though it's really Sunday now) I spent the day with Terry, who hopped into a plane over on Friday night. Had lunch with him in the daytime, and it was a really interesting lunchtime because halfway through his meal, I'd spotted something floating about in his soupy noodles... and turns out it was a small little German roach. OMG!!

Spot the six-legged ingredient!
Naturally Terry freaked out, and as we left the place, a waitress tried to stop us from leaving. When she caught up to us, she demanded to know about our bill. Of course, Terry told her point-blank we weren't going to pay for anything. To which she replied, "Oh that's good, you don't need to pay, if you had already paid we would have refunded you." And she said this was the first time this had ever happened (benefit of the doubt, eh?), and that she was really sorry for the incident. Which, to be fair, was a pretty good response when dealing with a situation like this. So we left, placated, yours truly amused and Terry still pretty much grossed out, especially since this had happened before, coincidentally with almost the same factors: Terry and me; lunchtime; Asian soupy noodles; in a shopping centre. The location might've been different, but darned if it wasn't practically a rerun, oy!! Terry had to wash out his mouth with yoghurt from a nearby outlet. Then we headed to the Cafe Cartel, a Western food and ribs place I've been to on several occasions, and pigged out on pork chops instead. Yum.

After lunch, we walked to Orchard Road to meet little Jo. On the way, Terry had to take a photo of the Singapore Visitor's Centre, where he posed in front of the building looking confused as if to say, "Gee, I wonder where the Singapore Visitor's Centre is." This would be humourous if you knew the centre looked like this:


Unfortunately I didn't take the photo with Terry in it, but I think you get the funny. Heh.

By the time we met with Jo, it had started to storm, so we had to line up for about 25 minutes to get a cab from Ion Orchard. From there, it was all the way to Marina Bay Sands, for a viewing of Wicked (second time for yours truly in three weeks, arf arf!). And I must say, it was even awesomer the second time around, especially since Terry, his cousin Jolyn and I were seated in the front row, right before the stage, within full spit-and-sweat view of the performers, arf arf. So that was quite thrilling, up close and personal, and I think Jolyn said it right when she commented that it probably spoiled us for the next time we go to the theatre: we'd want to sit up front. Heh. The best part of the night was as we were leaving, and I got to take a photo with the dude who played Fiyero, David Harris. Colour me tickled, all giggly fan-boy style (even though I quite verbally criticised his performance the first time I saw it as lacklustre and uncharismatic. Everyone can be a hypocrite, right?!) :P Here's a mobile-phone pic of us (oy, not terribly flattering!); I'll post up another, better, shot later if I get one:


After the show, I joined Terry to meet up with his other cousin Cheryl, Jolyn's sister, and her husband James, at this live-band pubby place called Timbre @ The Substation. Had a few drinks, listened to music, got mildly melancholy as I tend to do when alcohol and emo music combine, had a good time and then got dropped off by James in the vicinity of Terry's hotel in Chinatown before hopping on a cab back to my place in Punggol (it was easier to get a cab from there). All in all, a very good night indeed! And tomorrow, the eve of CNY, I'll be heading back to Cheryl's and James's for CNY-eve dinner, so that should be pretty fun! Yay!

On Friday, I'd met up with two of my colleagues from work, Marlini and Bachan, for a get-to-know-you lunch which is apparently part of what newbies at my company have to go through at least once, heh. So that was pretty nice. And I spent the rest of the day shopping (battling crazy pre-CNY crowds) before heading back home to nurse myself back to better health as I'd just started to come down with fluey-type symptoms. Fortunately that seems to have backed off... for now. Here's hoping I last through the festivities over the weekend, heh!! Okay, boys and girls... till later!! See ya!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

It's been a while, but here's a Random Sitcom Quote #29!!

Larry: To be a good reporter, you need to know the 5 W's of journalism. 'Who', 'what', 'where', 'when' and 'why'.
Balki: What?
Larry: That's one.
Balki: What's one?
Larry: Exactly.
Balki: Exactly what?
Larry: Good. And 'who' is another.
Balki: I dunno. Who is another?
Larry: Right. And don't forget 'where'.
Balki: Where what?
Larry: That's two.
Balki: What's two?
Larry: No, 'what''s one. 'Who' is another. And you know 'where'.
Balki: I don't know where.
Larry: Sure you do. 'What''s giving you trouble.
Balki: I don't know what's giving me trouble. But I know *who's* giving me trouble.
Larry: 'Who'! You've got it!
Balki: Who I've got??
Larry: And you know 'where'.
Balki: Where??
Larry: Exactly.
Balki: Exactly what??!
Larry: Perfect! Just a couple more, and we'll be done!
Balki: When?!
Larry: Hey, you're getting pretty good at this!!
Balki: Wowww!!
Larry: No, no. Not 'wow'. 'Why'.
Balki: I don't KNOW why!!
Larry: But you knew all the others.
Balki: When?!
Larry: And 'where'.
Balki: Where what?!!!
Larry: And 'why'.
Balki: I DON'T KNOW WHY!!! All I know is, I was sitting here glueing, you came in... and now I'm totally confused and emotionally drained!!!
Larry: Okay, okay. Calm down. Are you all right?
Balki: Yes. I'm fine, thank you.
Larry: Okay, let's start over again.
Balki: With what?
Larry: YES.

– 'The Newsletter', Perfect Strangers

Flashy Flashy!

Hey all! Welcome back to another Saturday night in Singypoo. Didn't do a great deal today; got up late (yay, slept in, despite the construction next door!); had lunch; watched telly; then headed out with Little Jo for Mass. Yup, I actually went to church today, despite myself. We headed to the Church of the Sacred Heart in... somewhere-in-Singapore, and I was especially intrigued to go because Jo and her sister had described it as the tackiest church in the country, and possibly one of the tackiest churches ever.

And tacky it certainly was/is, with neon lights aplenty, fake flowers and strange decor. Yet, despite the garishness, there was a sense of cosy about it, especially as the Mass went on with prayers aplenty in Latin; the mix of neon light and warm interior illumination somehow made the place inviting, not repulsive. The priest was a really, really old man whose taste, purportedly, got stuck in the 1970s. Which could, perhaps, explain the rainbow colours in the church (which I didn't get to photograph, since I didn't think it appropriate), as well as the literal rainbow colours here:

No offence, but it's like a gay bar. Really.
Here are further examples of the tacky (click for bigger views):

Halo!
I like to think the giant lanterns are because of Chinese New Year coming up. But I could be wrong.
Meanwhile, check out the statue of the Virgin Mary up on the balcony. With eagle. Yup. Eagle.
And behind the pillars are chandeliers. Yup. Chandeliers.
No, there's nothing strange at all about laser beams from Jesus's hands,
or a giant white ball in front of the church. No, siree...
Like I said, I didn't get to take a proper photo of the interior, but here's one I pilfered off the net...

How does anyone pray without getting distracted in here? It's like a disco!
Anyhoo. After church, Jo and I met up with her sister Ju and little nephew Kai for dinner at Parkway Parade. I bought myself a toaster oven, since the house doesn't have one. But that's not terribly exciting news. What is exciting, however, is my new new toy (referred to in my previous post): a Samsung Galaxy R smart phone! Whoohoo!

Oooo! Aaaaa!

Yup, I'm joining the ranks of the many who walk around blindly with their eyes trained on their phones, tap-tap-tapping away at the screens, oblivious to other people and real-life exciting things around them. And I'm joining the ranks of the perpetual-connected, online twenty-four-seven-three-sixty-five (or sixty-six as this year may be), thanks to unlimited access to email and Facebook and Twitter and Whatsapp and what not. Whooohooo. Join me, won't you? WHOO HOOO. I'm turning Singaporean!!

Wah lau ehhhh!!! Waaah so nais one laaaaaaaa!!

Oy.

Till next time, folks! Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Week One: Done!

Hey all! Whew! I've survived my first week (read: five days) at work, and it's been a pretty exhausting but exhilarating time! Settling in quite nicely at work, despite computer problems (gah), and I've also settled quite nicely at my place here in Punggol, although I'm wondering how long I'll be able to stay here considering that it's pretty far from my workplace (I knew that before signing on for this place, but "in theory" versus "in practice" are two different things), and also because there's construction going on next door which is forcing me to sleep with ear plugs. So I guess we shall see, but I won't leap too quickly to a decision. Yay!

I forgot to mention that last Sunday I joined Jo and her cool colleagues for dinner at Fat Boy's (burgers! Mmmm!) followed by a movie, War Horse, which I enjoyed thoroughly (or should that be thoroughbredly? Hahahah!), far more than I'd expected to. I guess I was too focused on the first day of work when I blogged previously, heheh. But now I've reached the "end of first week" point, and I'm averaging three pages of editing and layout a day – which apparently is pretty good, so I've been told; most newbies start off with one page a day for the first couple of weeks. And I've also pretty much gotten into the routine of travel and have figured out the train and bus routes to work, so all in all it's falling into place, pretty much.

Random story: today at work, I walked into a waste basket twice, causing it to tumble over with a loud hollow clatter, making everyone stop and gawp at me. I think I shall make myself known as the office clown. Yes, I shall. You mark my words. Okay, end of story.

I'll come back later to blog further about what else I've been up to, including my other new toy, not the Tyros 4, which I've barely touched in a week! Too busy, too knackered, too many things to sort out before I settle into the routine of music work. All in good time, I guess. All righty then -- till later... have a good weekend!

Monday, 9 January 2012

First Day On The Job! (Kinda)

Hey everyone! Right now I'm sitting at my desk in my new office on my first day of work, whoohoo! It's been a long day, what with having to go back to the Ministry of Manpower this morning to pick up my working pass; then having a pleasant lunch and coffee on my own before hopping on the train to the workplace. However, once I got to the station closest to work, I couldn't figure out which bus to get on, and ended up taking a longwinded walk from a random stop all the way to the HQ. Groan.

But it's been good, and so far my work has consisted of inductions, orientations and observations of other people, which is fine, though I think I'm on the verge of an information overload, heh. Incidentally, you might notice I'm not mentioning where I'm working; just practising a little bit of discretion here. But let's just say it's the biggest media company in Singapore, and one of the most prominent in Asia, so... yay!!

Okay folks, that's all for now. Will be back soon. Not sure if I should be blogging on the work computer during work hours, so... I'll log off. But before I do – funny story: first day on the job, and I'd been using a pedometer all day to monitor my walking; suddenly in the office, this little safety-pin thingy that's part of the device gets yanked out by accident, causing the pedometer to detonate full and furious in personal-alarm mode, a shrill siren that caused everyone to gawk and gape at me while I fumbled about and tried to make the wailing stop. Oy vey! Welcome to the workplace, Nick Choo! Okay, buhbye.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Snickerdoodles and Aliens!

Hey all! Today's been a pretty good day. Went out for lunch at Nex @ Serangoon with an old friend from primary/high school, Winst, and we had a good time catching up over burgers at Wendy's. So much for eating healthy, eh! That was pretty cool. Cheers, Winst!

Then I headed over to Suntec City Mall to meet up with my dear friend Carol from uni, whom I'd also met yesterday afternoon for tea; I'd decided on a whim to check out Carol's church, which is one of those stadium-like super churches on the sixth floor of the convention centre at Suntec. It was a bit of a wild goose chase when I initially got there as I couldn't find our meeting point, which ended up with me running back and forth like a headless chook. But eventually I found it, and I checked out about forty-five minutes of her church service, and then headed off on my own to do some shopping before joining Carol and her mum for dinner and coming back here. Look, here's a pic of me and Carol yesterday! Erk. Unflattering angle alert!


Carol was so sweet, she baked me a fudge brownie and snickerdoodles! Mmmm!


On the way back home tonight, walking from the MRT station, I was intrigued by some lights in the sky. Check out the pics below (click on the thumbnails for bigger view), and you can check out the video too (including the fascinating ending!):

What the...?! What izzit?!?!

Heh, turns out they were kites with little lights attached to 'em. Not very sure what the occasion was, but I'm sure there was some event in the far-off distance that had unleashed 'em!

Finally, here's another view of my new keyboard. If you thought the Tyros 4 was super sexy in its full shiny exposed glory, add a covering of Spandex and it becomes one kinky mother!

You sexy thaaang, you!
Arf arf!! Okay, that's all for now. Till later... ;)

Thursday, 5 January 2012

A Day of Errands and Curry

Hey everyone! Wow, it's been a long day. Got up early today to head off to the Ministry of Manpower (that's Department of Labour, for most people) to get my working pass sorted. Turns out I can only pick up the actual working-pass document on Monday, which is my first day of work. Fortunately I start work in the afternoons, so I can use the morning to pick it up. Whew.

Then I spent the rest of the day tending to stuff that needed tending to: opening a bank account (went to two different Maybanks and got two different responses: the first said I had to have the actual working pass in hand before being able to open an account; the other branch said all I needed was to have a Malaysian savings account with Maybank and it was no problem opening one here, too. Oy.); and getting a phone number (ended up going with a prepaid account since you can really only apply for a postpaid line once you have proof of residence, i.e. official mail going to where you're staying. That might be a touch tricky, since ... really... I don't think I'll be receiving much snail mail. And then they said I could show a bank statement, but you'd need a bank account for that, wouldn't you?? And y'know, the banks would ask for your phone number before you can open an account. So all in all, a catch 32. That's like a catch 22, only bigger).

In the end, though, those thing were sorted out, and then I carted off a whole buttload of money to a music store in town and bought myself a new toy to replace the one I'd sold back home! Yup, a new keyboard will shortly be in my possession... it'll be delivered on Friday, they said, so I'll provide updates when this happens.

The rest of the day was spent in pleasant company with Little Jo: lunch at a Korean restaurant (syabu-syabu!), and dinner a couple of hours ago at a yummy curry place at Mustafa Centre, where we also tried looking for a standing lamp for my room. Wouldn't you know it, Mustafa Centre, a 24-hour have-it-all megamart with items ranging from food to electronics to textiles to gold and jewellery - from the ubiquitous to the absolute obscure - doesn't have standing lamps. Oh, the humanity! So Jo and I left, crestfallen, beating our breasts in sorrow at not procuring the sought-after items of illumination; me with just one bright yellow rubbish bin for my bedroom. Oh, for shame!

In between bank-account-opening and dinner with Jo, I managed to finally move in properly into my room here at this apartment I'm sharing with two other guys, Irfan and Zat. Nice guys. I have the master bedroom with ensuite, as I've already mentioned below; and today I spent some time moving furniture about, unpacking, getting the room comfortable to my liking for my first night. And shortly, boys and girls, ladies and germs, I'll be getting myself tucked in (as tucked in as one can be when it's hot and humid in sweaty ol' Singypoo) for my official first night here at Punggol Place. The apartments are called Treelodge @ Punggol. Sounds super-fancy, doesn't it? Heh. I'll put up more pics later when I've got the room to my liking. And tomorrow I'll likely be doing some exploring about the vicinity to see what's lurking...

Okay, I guess that's it for now then. Oh, I forgot to mention, yesterday, Mum and I went to see Wicked at Marina Bay Sands. Awesome show, a lot of fun, though I felt the guy playing Fiyero wasn't charismatic enough in the part and sort of faded in comparison to the two leads. But all in all, definitely worth seeing, and in fact I'll likely be seeing it a second (and third?) time with Terry and/or Jo!! Whoohooo!! Bring it on!! I want to flyyyy / defyyy-ing graaavity!!! Okay, I go now. Until my next post... g'nites!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Postscript

Oh ya, here's a snapshot of me and the gang during my final day at work at Selangor Times. Good times.

Singapore: A New Journey Begins

Hey all! I'm currently in the three-bed room at the RELC International Hotel in Singapore, which my folks and I checked into earlier today after a long day of driving from PJ all the way in. Thankfully the drive was mostly smooth-sailing, with only heavy traffic occurring when we had to detour off the North-South Highway and through the heart of Johor Bahru to head to the Woodlands immigration checkpoint.

The immigration process itself was surprisingly uneventful, with most of the staff helpful when my dad explained it was his first time driving in to the island. The bigger surprise was that despite my having packed "half the entire house" and brought it along with me in the back seat and the trunk, we didn't get questioned on the items. Let's see: there were three huge bags of clothing; two plastic storage boxes with toiletries (!) and electronic goods; my violin, guitar and microphone stand; my desktop computer; my laptop computer in a lappie bag; a bag filled with kitchenware; a bag filled with books; two large pillows; a bolster; and a quilt/doona thingy. Not bad eh!

First thing we did was head to my new place – a nice condo where I'll be renting the master bedroom with en suite bathroom. I met one of my new housemates (as did my folks) as we unloaded my stuff into the room. Mum and Dad seemed to approve of the place, and seeing it again today (the first time was when I checked it out a few weeks ago), I, too, liked the place even more. As a nice preview, here are some photos of the place! Yay! I'll post more up as soon as I get my room sorted. Heh.

Living room
View of my bedroom (no, that's not a pool outside the window, that's construction next door)
Another view of my room
Mum in the living room leading towards the kitchen
My en suite bathroom
After unpacking, we drove to RELC Hotel, which is a really... interesting... hotel that says Regional Language Centre on the front. Turns out that's what RELC is short for. Apparently it was, as it says, a language centre a few years back, but today it's a hotel. The room we're in is on the tenth floor and it's a "three person" room, so there are three single beds in a rather large space. Hark, here's a peek of the room, with Dad sitting on the bed reading the paper, almost meditating-monk-like.


Later in the evening we headed out to Orchard Road for lunch/tea/dinner (all three combined, oy!), and then we did some walking around and shopping about. What's nice is that Singypoo still has all their Christmas lights up, so I managed to feel some vestige of the Christmas spirit!


Mum and all the pretty colours!
Soon, little Jo drove up in her car, and she and I headed off on our own. We went to a lovely restaurant called P.S. Cafe, and split a meal with coffees and dessert (key lime pie, tastes almost like toilet disinfectant, yum!). Heh. Here's me in the cafe:


After which, Jo and I headed to Mustafa Centre (I bought a fan for my new room), before she dropped me back at the hotel, and now I'm clearly online, blogging, and preparing for a meeting at my new workplace in the daytime followed by what might be a gruelling day at the Ministry of Manpower tomorrow. Wish me luck, boys and girls! Okay, until next time... here's me signing off for now. Come back for more updates shortly. Cheers!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Poo

To commemorate my going away, little Ashley decided to roll around in poo (and not even one of our resident doggies' poo!), forcing us to pay her added attention by giving her a warm bath. She's looking chuffed, yes she is. Oh yes, she is.

And Once Again...

Twenty Twelve, Bay Bee!

And so it has come upon us. 2012. Apparently there's, like, 344 days or something till the end of the world, so say the Mayans. But anyhoo. Just dropping in to say Happy 2012 once again, and here's hoping it'll be a much, much better year for all of us. In celebration of the new year, here's a new design for the blog - something bright and cheerful to accompany what I hope will be my mood and outlook for this year, arf arf!! In the meantime, packing up is still under way, and I'll be leaving for Singypoo tomorrow morning. Whew. Can't believe it's all happening. Nervous-excited-happy-sad all at once.

I leave you with this scan of a nice little going-away message "bulletin" that my former colleagues wrote up for me. Click for full view, of course. Awww. Sweet. Till later... see ya!

Fireworks!!

And we're counting down!

5!

4!

3!

2!

1!

GOODBYE CRAPPY OLD YEAR!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!