Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Chinese New Year

After the exhausting spring cleaning I did, came the New Year visitations to my relatives' houses. Very very tiring.... Fun? Not really. But it was relaxing, cos I did not get any work done. Which explains why I am desperately catching up on my work now.
Conclusion: I am dog-tired after CNY. Wish June would come soon… Really looking forward to my new life outside academia.

Some CNY Photos:

Chinese New Year-Shot 1 (My sister, me and Aunt Catherine)

Me, My cousin-Philemon and Aileen

Ang Bao Mania--Happiness defined.

Daily Trivia: Much ado over 'Trans-fat'!
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires food manufacturers to list trans fat (i.e., trans fatty acids) on Nutrition Facts and some Supplement Facts panels. Scientific evidence shows that consumption of saturated fat, trans fat, and dietary cholesterol raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol levels that increase the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
Unlike other fats, the majority of trans fat is formed when liquid oils are made into solid fats like shortening and hard margarine. However, a small amount of trans fat is found naturally, primarily in some animal-based foods. Essentially, trans fat is made when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil -- a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods containing these fats.
Trans fat, like saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, raises the LDL (or "bad") cholesterol that increases your risk for CHD.Trans fat can often be found in processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils such as vegetable shortenings, some margarines (especially margarines that are harder), crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, and baked goods. Mentos (the only sweets i chew on in class) contain hydrogenated vegetable oils= trans fat...Eeeeeeks!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Spring Cleaning-ARGH!

I was issued the ultimatum by my mum. CLEAN UP OR SHIP OUT! I have the messiest study room anyone has seen. It is strewn with books, jackets, grocery plastic bags (in which I stash my ‘swotting’ sustenance), printed materials, magazines and newspapers. And people (meaning: disgusted family members) have to wade through them upon entering the study. Shucks… I anticipate that I would have to spend at least 1 full day packing…and I am always prioritizing other things over cleaning. Plus, I have already cleaned up many other areas....

My mum ranted, “Hey! I thought you are a cleanliness freak??? Why are you SOOOOO messy?” I guess I have decided to ignore the mess in the face of higher callings (dissertation-in-progress). But thinking of my worm-like co-existence with the gazillions of microbial, illness-inflicting germs and bacteria in my workplace is an unsettling thought that nags at my conscience from the recesses of my mind. Plus, I have been constantly turning a blind eye to the occasional frantic ant that scurries across my laptop for too long. Time for extermination of the ickys to start!!

Friday lah! I have some documents to do up today. And an evening class to attend. Either that or I will have to bear the dirty looks of my entire family throughout the festive season and lock the door of my study to prevent nosey relatives from uncovering this hell hole…

Daily Trivia:
Lack of sleep will increase the production of the hormone, cortisol. Hunger regulation will not function that effectively, and the body's resistance to insulin will also increase. All in all, that means lower metabolic rate and a sluggish carbohydrates burning capability.
Moral of the story: Sleep more or catch up on your beauty sleep this festive season.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Why do kids write like that?

Why do kids write and spell like that?

hApPiE bElAtED bURfDAe ChEr~hEeS...srYSry... I sMsED Euu wrOng dAte.HaAs...PaIseY...GoT EnJOy Yer bURfDae mAhx?hEHe. BTw, Yr BlOG nVr EdiT aRhX?miishEd Euu loAdS!!tAKe CaRE~ (segment grabbed from my sister's site)

Apparently, old foggies like me (meaning anyone 23 and above) cannot identify with this modern font.
Definitely something myopia inducing.....

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Five People You Meet In Heaven--Mitch Albom

My interest in reading “The five people you meet in heaven” by Mitch Albom was sparked during a conversation with a friend. He only mentioned it briefly, but being a sucker for ‘feel good’ fiction, I decided to put it on my “To read” list.
Fortunately, I was able to borrow it from a very kind dear and therefore, did not have to wait for a loan from the public library.
It is actually a very short story that is written simply, yet beautifully crafted. There really isn’t anything wonderfully inspirational about its contents, but there is one element that is worthy of special mention that I shall touch on today.

Eddie is an ordinary blue collared worker and thought he lived his whole life doing something insignificant (fixing joy rides in an amusement park). He died one day while saving a little girl from a freak accident which occurred at one of the park’s attraction called “Freddy’s Free Fall”. After he died, he met five people consecutively in heaven. Each person has been waiting for him in heaven, and, as Albom reveals, each life (and death) was woven into Eddie's own in ways he never suspected. Each soul has a story to tell, a secret to reveal, and a lesson to share. Through them Eddie understands the meaning of his own life even as his arrival brings closure to theirs.

The part I like most:
(The fourth person Eddie meets—his beloved wife, Marguerite)
I shall now quote the portions in this section of the story that I find most enchanting and pure.

People say they “find” love, as if it were an object hidden by a rock. But love takes many forms, and it is never the same for any man and woman. What people find then is a certain love. And Eddie found a certain love with Marguerite, a grateful love, a deep but quiet love, one that he knew, above all else, was irreplaceable. Once she had gone, he had let the days go stale. He put his heart to sleep.


Love, like rain, can nourish from above, drenching couples with a soaking joy. But sometimes, under the angry heat of life, love dries on the surface and must nourish from below, tending to its roots, keeping itself alive.

Finally, after many talks, Marguerite walked Eddie through another door. They were back inside the small, round room. She sat on the stool and placed her fingers together. She turned to the mirror, and Eddie noticed her reflection. Hers, not his.

“The bride waits here,” she said, running her hands along her hair, taking in her image but seeming to drift away. “This is the moment you think about what you are doing. Who you are choosing. Who you will love. If it is right, Eddie, this can be such a wonderful moment.”
She turned to him.

“You had to live without love for many years, didn’t you?”

Eddie said nothing.

“You felt that it was snatched away, that I left you too soon.”

He lowered himself slowly. Her lavender dress was spread before him.

“You did leave too soon,” he said.

“You were angry with me.”


Her eyes flashed.

“OK. Yes.”

“There was a reason to it all,” she said.

“What reason?” he said. “How could there be a reason? You died. You were forty-seven. You were the best person any of us knew, and you died and you lost everything. And I lost everything. I lost the woman I ever loved.”

She took his hands. “No, you didn’t. I was right here. And you loved me anyway.”

“Lost love is still love, Eddie. It takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.”

“Life has to end,” she said. “Love doesn’t.”

Eddie thought about the years after he buried his wife. It was like looking over a fence. He was aware of another kind of life out there, even as he knew he would never be a part of it.
“I never wanted anyone else,” he said quietly.

“I know,” she said.

“I was still in love with you.”

“I know.” She nodded. “I felt it.”

“Here?” he asked.

“Even here,” she said, smiling. “That’s how strong lost love can be.”

Touching, is it? This is especially for all of you who have lost your loved ones…I am sure we will hold fast to the beautiful memories they have left us with, and continue loving them all our lives.

Note: The literature quoted above is from the book “The five people you meet in heaven” by Mitch Albom and is done solely for the purpose of review.

Monday, January 16, 2006

New Year's Resolution

The New Year of 2006 had come and gone swiftly. And though many jaded (aka ill-disciplined) people find the act of drawing up a list of New Year's resolution both meaningless and cliche, the never-say-never optimist in me cannot help but try to mentally conjure up a string of matters I want to tackle in my life. So, here it is:

1. Clinch a fan-tan-bulous career! (Work in Progress-WIP)
2. Adopt a healthy lifestyle (rest early, rise early; eat well; exercise regularly) (Almost there)
3. Learn a new language (Check)
4. Maximise my day so that I accomplish stuff and well as enjoy living it up (WIP)
5. Learn to say "No, thank you" with conviction and not feel like the biggest jerk on earth. (Starting from today)

The crux of having a set of resolution is to keep up at it, and not simply launch into a fanatic regime that will sizzle out after two months.
And yep, I am sleeping at sane hours and starting the day early. It seriously IS important for all effective people, so, if you have not started doing this, you should seriously consider giving your bio-rhythm this overhaul.

I am taking up Korean language lessons now. The choice of language is more strategic than fuelled by the Korean drama craze--in fact, some of them are just plain bad. And the storyline has someone (preferably the female lead) dying of some incurable illness most of the time.
Think about it: If the Korean media depicts reality, Korea's life expectancy rate would be depressingly low. ;-)
Well, well, I digress again.

And yes, I need to refuse people/ reject suggestions even if it means offending them. Problem with me: I tend to please too much, it's time to be firm so that it will be a win-win situation. Being soft to people sometimes may do more harm than good to everyone in the long run.
And believe me, the ability to make good but unpopular decisions comes with age and wisdom. (I will run for political office once I mastered this. *Haha*)

Daily Trivia: (a quote!)
Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
~Napoleon Hill

adopt your own virtual pet!