Friday, March 21, 2008

The Xmac & June Travel Agency went into business again. It was a whirlwind half-day city tour for June's Thai colleagues here on a business visit. Today was their last day in S'pore and time for a little r&r.

We began with some sightseeing down by the Civic District, looking at the government buildings, posing for pix at the usual tourist places. These gals just love posing for shots, as you can see on the left.

And because we had legitimate tourists in our company, we had an excellent excuse to take a ride on the S'pore Flyer, 'cos otherwise we wouldn't have bothered.

There's only one real reason to ride the S'pore Flyer. It definitely isn't for the excitement as at the speed of one revolution per 30 minutes, there is hardly any sensation of movement at all. The view is nice, but since we're already used to high-rise living and working, and our landscape being what it is, it isn't exactly breathtaking either.

Nope. The only reason to go ride in a transparent cylinder with 25 other people at a time is to absolutely go wild and crazy with a camera and take lots of "we were here!" shots. Cameras exchange hands freely between fellow Flyers for great mutually-assisted group photos.

There's nothing wrong with the Flyer itself, per se. The staff are warm and helpful; the big wheel operates so smoothly and silently there's a strong sense of security riding it; and everything looks very high-tech and professional. It's just that Fun is a bring-it-yourself factor, so future Flyers, be prepared to be sociable and feel free to camera whore without embarrassment. Nobody's looking at you anyway. And don't forget to look out the window once in a while. The view's still part of the package too.

We introduced them to some cheap local food at their request. They'd already been feted with Chinese seafood, Japanese and Western over the last couple of days and they were craving for a little local flavour.

Pressed for time, we introduced them to the food court at the Convention Centre. Didn't really impress them much, but we did a good job of clearing the plates anyway. Then off for some hasty snapshots of the big fountain before returning them back to their hotel to collect their luggage.

One last stop before the Airport: Mustafa's for more economically priced souvenirs to take home with them.

Next time we're in BKK, we'll have some new friends to call on who'll take good care of us. Nice to do our part for Thai-S'pore diplomacy!

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more pix here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I think Horton is KI material, and I'll explain why. Only not here. My re-telling of this Dr Seuss classic tale makes for long, tedious and cumbersome reading, not for the likes of these pages. If you are brave enough, refer to the following link: The KI of Horton.

BTW, the entry refers to the movie version of the story, not the original Dr Seuss book, which can be read as a social commentary -- as in, say, a parable of the increasing recognition of minority rights in the USA -- though it doesn't go as far as the movie in fleshing the characters and situation out.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I've never had to teach so many kids in such a short time as I did today. I ran four repeating back-to-back sessions involving a multimedia presentation as well as a physical demonstration. My muscles will be aching tomorrow.

It was quite the object lesson working with this type of kids. However much planning had gone into the schedule, there's so much unpredictability with the audience that whatever I said and did had to be on the fly. It helped that I had prepared a general structure though getting there was literally half the fun. Frequent questions from the floor kept derailing train after train of thought, and dealing with the occasional reluctant 'volunteer' (why do they volunteer if they don't actually want to do anything?) forced frequent changes of plan on the spot.

But from the feedback I got, I think the kids did learn something new and they did have some fun as well, which as I observe, seems to be a rare commodity during curriculum time. Yay! Mission accomplished!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An important date came and went quietly, marked only by a simple dinner at Akashi, which has reasonably (I say 'reasonably' as I was prepared to pay more for a special occasion) priced sets though it looks kinda' ex from the outside. A tempura-soba combination for June, a bento for me.

An animated movie followed to remind us that we were still young at heart despite the years that we have accumulated since we last regarded cartoons as a media staple. Yes, we watched 'Horton'. Wonder what happened to the rest of the title?

When I first encountered Horton eons ago, I actually watched it as an animated short on TV. It was Dr Zeuss brought to full, anthropomorphic, technicolor 2D-life.

The movie is all that and more. Jim Carrey and Steve Carell reunite (remember 'Bruce Almighty'?) to flesh out the characters of Horton the elephant and the Mayor of Whoville respectively. The two are great foils for each other. Horton is quite anarchistic and lets his imagination run wild -- oh, the anime sequence... -- while the Mayor is all constrained responsibility, tradition and order. No matter the character type, they both face the same problem: they both have acquired a new knowledge that threatens their societies' security and even their existence, yet no one believes them and mostly everyone is anxious to put an end to the insanity that they both appear to have descended to.

There's a great many levels 'Horton' can be read at. I hadn't seen the complexity before, but the book can be a great introduction to several of the concepts we will encounter in KI. I think I'll make it a required reading for the JC1s. Or they should at least go watch the movie.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

ST's "Pets' Corner" party at ECP. Quite daring of the organizers to make the occasion open to pets of all sorts, canine, feline or rodent. There was an event for every species. When we arrived, the hamster races were on.

Our primary goal was to enter Momo in the "Cat Kong" contest. Heaviest cat takes the top prize of $150 cash. Momo, however, had her own ideas and protested so loudly that before we could even get to our lift lobby, we decided she had been traumatized enough, so we hurriedly made a U-turn and took her home instead. Just as well, as she was nowhere near the size of these behemoths, some of whom were more than double her weight class. This ginger weighed in at over 11kg!

At least Q-tip got something for her outing: a trim of her paw fur, a "pet"-icure, and an ear cleaning.

Back home, we needed to do some Maui-proofing. Now that he's big enough to jump up to the window ledge, we had to mesh up the window to prevent him from encountering the great outdoors from the wrong altitude.

And because we woke up (twice) to a gushing kitchen tap -- and we have no idea how many hours the water had been on for -- we covered up the taps with disposable containers to prevent accidental activations by careless kitten feet. Our water bill will be interesting this month.