Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Wooden Horse Chinese New Year!

Happy Wooden Horse Chinese New Year!!!

Today we worked half day until 2pm. It's a Chinese New Year's Eve. Everyone was in holiday mood already, much awaiting for the long weekend hehehe... Many had taken their leave today and went back to their hometown (mostly Malaysian and Indonesian). They took bus, ferry, taxi, car, or airplane. Must be very crowded in the checkpoint and airport :)

Many office opened half day. Most of our goods came yesterday and the day before. Today there were only little order to come and not much things to do for my colleagues. I was preparing for the upcoming month-end closing.

At 12.30pm me and my colleagues had our lunch at office Cafeteria. Our Chefs prepared nice food today (fish maw soup, vegetable fa cai, nasi lemak with ingredients) plus few varieties of Chinese New Year cookies, gold coin chocolates and Mandarin oranges to add up the CNY ambience :) We enjoyed our meals slowly, had a chit chat, as if we were having reunion lunch together.


Oh, we had our first Lo Hei together though on Tuesday. Read more about Lo Hei here. It was only 5 of us. The two Chinese porters had gone back to China for holiday since two weeks ago.

Roasted duck and pork char siew :)

Yesterday we had a roasted duck and pork char siew feast too. Oh, we were really spoiled with food at this Festive season!

At home there were lots and lots of tidbits, cookies and snacks too! Hohoho! Beer and soft drinks were prepared too!

My dear Baobei - ready for Steamboat reunion dinner :)

Tonight we had reunion dinner at home. Usually during Chinese New Year's Eve family members would get together at home or restaurant and had their dinner together. Steamboat was one of the choices as we could eat slowly and had conversation while eating. It was easier to prepare too. We ate, drank, and chit chatted until about 11pm then continued with watching TV. Our local TV broadcasted live show from Chinatown then followed with count down when the time came!

We lighted out the joysticks and pray to Buddha and ancestor, wish for their blessings so that we can go through the year ahead blessed with good health, safety, peace, happiness, wealth and luck. We prayed for others people's happiness too :)

video

I attach the cute Chinese New Year greeting's video here. Hope you enjoy! And I hope that everything will go smoothly too! Wish everyone a Happy Wooden Horse Chinese New Year! Huat ah!!! ^^

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Feng Shui

Source: mypaper.sg 28 January 2014

Pardon me for the blurred scanned file above. It was extracted from today’s local newspaper, Mypaper.sg. I printed and scanned the article above as I found it interesting.

First, it’s my first time hearing the Feng Shui Master was so successful and rich just because he was advising the Feng Shui things to others. I mean, yeah, they could be rich, but not as what mentioned in the article above. It seemed that he was damn rich!!! “Four-bedroom apartment in the heart of Marina Bay, zips around in a chauffeur-driven BMW 7 series sedan, and jade pendants carry eye-popping price tags as high as S$13,688,633 spotted at his upscale Feng Shui galleries in Sin Ming Road”. Wow, I didn’t even know that there was such a valuable jade pendants existing in this world with such a high price!!! Well, maybe it’s different fate for Feng Shui master. They supposed to know what is good and what can be done to change the luck and fate.

As for fortune teller, they might hold different job description. They usually count people’s luck based on the birth date and time. Some might be able to change people’s luck with prayers to Gods, and some would ask them to purchase pendant or other things to alleviate the bad luck and turn it around to the better one. Those came with high price too though!

I often heard that it wasn’t good to hold a job as fortune teller as you acted as God to change people’s fate and destiny, which was usually written down by God before you were born (that’s what people believed). So, sometimes they had to be held responsible for what they did for revealing someone else’s destiny. Therefore, usually, people who know how to calculate and read people’s fate and destiny would reluctantly reveal what others’ have on their hands, especially if the person’s life predicted not to have a good one. If the related person was unable to take it, it would bring depression for him/her and he/she would lead a life full of sorrow and unhappiness as he/she would keep thinking of his/her future’s fate. Many chose to give up and decided to end their life. Whereas in Buddhist teaching, we were taught that our fate and destiny still can be changed depending on our current course of life, on how we act and react towards others. The choice is in our hands.

Second, it was said in the article above about the parents who came to see him and asked him for a good date for their child to be born by Caesarean. Master Yun Long Zi said, he would usually give them three choices of dates, where the child’s personality would depend on which date was picked. “So, do the parents want the child to be learned? Wealthy? Powerful? Kind? In Singapore, 90 percent of my clients chose wealth. In Indonesia, they chose power.”

With the advance technology, pregnant woman is given a choice on how to give birth – natural give birth or Caesarian. Lots of people, especially rich ones, would choose Caesarian because first, it won’t as painful as natural giving birth. We often heard devastating story of the pregnant woman waiting for the hole to open and how painful it was to let the baby coming out from their stomach.  Second, the after-birth pain would be better for Caesarian too rather than the natural give birth one. At least the woman who went through Caesarian giving birth would be able to pee comfortably and with no pain compared with the one who underwent the natural giving birth.

But most importantly, people can choose the date on when they want their baby to be born – for Caesarian, unlike the prompt feeling and urge to give birth at any time for those who chose natural giving birth.

Obviously, all parents want the best thing for their children. That was when they consulted the Feng Shui Master for the date and time for their child to born (As I said previously, that someone’s fate and destiny is usually counted using their birth date and timing). And as Master Yun Long Zi said, he offered three choices of dates to parents on what kind of life that their children would have. It became the destiny lies in the parents’ hands now instead of God. To be wealth? To be powerful? To be kind. Three difficult choices to choose. As difficult as if you were asked by the Genie in the bottle on what kind of request you wanted to have if you were only given one choice. Touch your heart and ask yourself, which one would you prefer? It’s difficult choice though among those three.

We heard many stories of kind-hearted people. They wanted to do so much to help others, but they didn’t have enough resources and power to do so. They had to work hard, ask around, and put in lots of efforts in order to reach their goals. They wished themselves to be rich, so that they could give more to those who needed it. They wished themselves to have more power, so that they could do and contribute more to the society.

There were stories too that the kindhearted men were not allowed to marry the girl they loved or being asked to divorce their wives, only because they were not rich nor powerful. Although they were kindhearted person, the parents of the girl wouldn’t want their daughter to suffer or lead the unhappy life due to the lack of money and resources that the man had.

I asked few of my colleagues around. They all told me, they would want their children to be kind. No use they get rich or powerful when they grow up but when you grow older they may as well send you to ‘Lao Ren Yuan’ or Old Folk’s home in English.

When I asked myself which one to choose, I chose ‘to be kind’ as the answer too. But why as per Master Yun Long Zi said, 90% of Singaporean parents chose wealth while in Indonesia, they chose power??? Because we are not them. Those who consulted him would mostly come from elite, super-rich, powerful people, who wanted their family to keep being rich, elite and powerful, to continue their family’s wealth from one generation to another. That’s why they chose those two and not many chose ‘kind’, like us.


It’s interesting, isn’t it? Sometimes this thing will bring us into dilemma. However, just be positive with everything and leave things to the nature. That’s all! Because sometimes, when you don’t know much thing, you will feel better. Just believe that everything that happens, it happens for a reason. We may go up one day but we may go down and fall too. Only with failure we are then able to learn from it and avoid the same mistakes to happen again. Most important is our attitude towards life. Because one day, we all will die and nothing lasts forever in this life. Things change all the time. Nothing is permanent.

So, maintain your kind-attitude, be positive and responsible nature. The rest will follow accordingly and eventually bring happiness into your life. I’m sure all of you can do it! Never give up to obstacles in life as it is not permanent. There will be solution for each problem. Just focus on the next important step, not the problem itself. Wish you all the best for your life journey everyone!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Die with memories, not dreams


The above quote gave me a deep insight and inspiration about what I want to do with the rest of my life. It is true though, if one day I die, I hope I can die in peace; die with memories that I’ve gone through and not with dreams that left hanging in my mind. Hehehe… Sounds too good to be true huh?

Just few days ago when I browsed books at the Sengkang Library, after looking around for some interesting books (which mostly were on loan or on reserved), I stopped by at Singapore collection books’ rack. There was where books written by Singaporean authors were stored. At that point of time, I was in the middle of the way of reading ‘Dear Seday’, the Bhutanese authored book by Ugyen Gyeltshen. I was just thinking… hm… why didn’t I borrow some local author book?

Hmm… honestly, although I’ve been staying here for more than 12 years, I think I only ever bought one book authored by Singaporean, which was an inspirational book titled “Live Well, Love Much, Laugh Often”, written by Apelles Poh. His book has inspired me a lot. I love it so much, even gifted one copy to my dear good friend, hope that it would benefit him in his life journey too.

Love!  Live dangerously! And have fun! By Catherine Khoo

So, I took 3 books from the shelves. One of them was titled “Love! Live Dangerously! And have Fun!” written by Catherine Khoo. She is currently in her 50s. She has gone through her wild days at 14, married at 24, had all her three girls by 31, changed careers at 30, had a break at 36, saw her life turn topsy turvy at 44, found it back again at 48, and at 53, she was preparing to launch her creative education license to the world.

“So go on, live life with a passion. Don’t give up on it. Give it all you have. Because you have only this life to live. And I discovered this truth when I tried to end it. Read this book and tell me after this if you’ll give your life one more shot… To Love! Live dangerously! And yes, have Fun!”

I’ve been reading her book half way. By reading on the titles in each chapter, I had already been so happy, that finally there was someone out there who also has similar thoughts about life as mine.  The titles were as follow:

Chapter 1: It’s not how much you have, but how much you enjoy, that makes you happy.

Chapter 2: If you don’t try, you will never know!

Chapter 3: It’s not what you look at. It’s what you see that matters.

Chapter 4: If you want to be happy, no one can stop you!

Chapter 5: Look within yourself. The answers are inside you!

Chapter 6: Life is a daring adventure… Live it to the fullest!

Chapter 7: Set your own expectations of yourself. Don’t live your life on other people’s expectations!

Chapter 8: It is always darkest before the day dawns.

Chapter 9: Give your children roots. Give them wings too!

Chapter 10: Take it one step at a time!

Chapter 11: My philosophy: Live a life that transcends your own.

Chapter 12: Listen to the dreams of the young. They will uplift you with their hope and courage.

Chapter 13: Always find time for yourself.

Chapter 14: If it is to be, it is up to me!

Chapter 15: Those who know enough is enough will always have enough.

Chapter 16: Happy ever after? It’s no fairy tale!

Chapter 17: Five things to do before I turn 55

Chapter 18: Tell my story. My way!

Epilogue: Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.

At the back, there were four short stories to make you fall in love all over again.

The story on this book would mostly come from her own experience in her life. With only reading the front part of it, I had suddenly had this thinking to do something for the rest of my life.

Yesterday morning, while having breakfast at coffee shop with my hubby and son, I was telling my hubby, “Hem.. what do you think? If ah… If… If one day Baobei has grown up (no need to worry about him so much), maybe when I reach mid 40s or before 50, if I will still be given a good health, I want to go somewhere out of Singapore, to become social worker or volunteer, for at least 6 months.” Upon saying this, he immediately told me, “Mid 40s?” “Yes,” I replied. “It means 10 more years?” he continued. “Ha?? So fast ah?” exclaimed me. Lolx!!! I didn’t realize that it was just few more years ahead, which I thought will only happen after I prepared myself enough (enough with experience, courage, determination, etc.). “Why you must wait until 10 years later? Why not now?” he asked me again.

“Oh, because I want to wait until Baobel grow up. By that time, he will be in his twenties. Oh, maybe when I reach my 50 ba! By that time, he will be around 25-26, who knows he has got married by that time,” told me, with further excuse hahaha…. My hubby nodded his head.

“What kind of volunteer work you want to do?” he asked me again. “Hem.. I don’t know. Teaching maybe?” I said. “Teaching? I doubt you can do it. Teaching what?” he asked me for further details. “Hahaha… Why not? I don’t know.. English, maybe? If not, take care of children? Those orphan with no parents?” I continued. “You? You take care of children? I doubt so,” he continued grinning, doubting my ability. Hahahaha… I laughed at myself. I knew why he was saying that though :P Because I wasn’t even capable in teaching or taking care my son fully as I didn’t have much patience and also all this time my mother-in-law had been playing bigger role in taking care of my son, e.g. preparing him for school, after school, and so on.

“Well, there must be something that I can do. I may not know it now. But I’m sure, there must be something that I can do,” I insisted telling him about my dream. He just nodded his head again. Hahaha… Even the person who knows me well doubted my dream.  But it would only make me more eager to make it realize though, to prove him wrong, that there must be something that I can do for them. What is it? I may not know yet.

“At the same time, while doing that, I also want to practice meditation,” I continued. He immediately said, “Here you can start doing so. There must be some meditation classes at Fo Guang Shan Temple (the nearest Buddhist temple from our house). You can just ride your bike there to attend the class. It’s convenient and near.” “But they mostly have their classes in Mandarin, which I am not comfortable with. I prefer attending English one,” again, uttering my excuse. Hahaha.. so sometimes, actually it was myself who put a limit or barrier into my dreams and goals in life. One excuse and another, never ending. I really deserve laughing at myself over and over again.


I still have my dream to meet His Holiness Dalai Lama, and if possible, with Karmapa Lama too, in Dharamsala, India. However, even if I don’t have chance to meet them, I’ve already been so grateful being able to learn some important lessons in life taught by them from their books or their dhamma lesson online. I think that’s more important than just meeting them in person.

There were people too, who were after reading my blog, told me that I should be a reporter, or send articles to magazines, such as: travel magazine. Oh, deep down I was even thought, yeah, who knows I may even capable of writing a book, just like Catherine Khoo, based on life experience, and write some inspirational kind of book. But I tell myself that I prefer to write with no obligations, no time limit, just based on my mood, my feelings, just like what I've done all this while in this blog. I prefer writing with freedom rather than being obliged to do so. If by sharing my thought can help others lifting up their spirit, I have already achieved my goals and purposes by then :) So here I am writing this, on my blog ^^ hoping that people enjoy reading it.

We’ll see ba! At the meantime, let me have those dreams. Hopefully I can fulfill it before my time comes, so that I can die with memories and not with dreams left unrealized. However, even if I die with many dreams still hanging on my mind, I would have die with no regrets because I’ve fulfilled lots and lots of my previous dreams already and I’ve always live my life to the fullest, one day at a time. Therefore, these dreams are there for me so that I can have purposes in life, have a direction on where to go, to live life not for myself, but to give and share it with others. Hope one day I can have it realized. Wish me luck! :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Chinese New Year 2014 at Chinatown, Singapore

Beautiful flying horses at Chinatown, Singapore

After work, my hubby and son were waiting for me at Chinatown. Every year we would visit Chinatown when days were getting near to the Chinese New Year. We went there to feel a different atmosphere.

Nian gao (CNY cake) sold at Da Zhong Guo shop in Chinatown

This is the place where people would come and visit especially during Chinese Festive seasons, such as Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival. These two held the utmost importance for Chinese society. In Singapore, ethnic Chinese is the majority in the country, holds more than 70% of the total population. With the arrival of new Chinese citizens from other parts of Asia, like from China, Indonesia, Philippines, etc., the figure might increase a lot these days.

Various dried meats and ham to cook delicious CNY reunion dishes

Other than Singaporean who went there to shop for CNY goodies, tourists played the big role too to experience the different ambience in Chinatown.

Sellers were competing each other to sell their products. Some used microphone, some were shouting out loud to attract the passer-by attention. Seemed like they were fighting for me hehe...

Free sample of Taiwanese jellies were distributed to passer-by. Some seller would give a forcing-people-to-buy look after giving out the sample. Lolx! Some was opening the jelly bare-hand, which you wouldn't know what he was touching before that.

Same items could be sold with different pricing even it was located just few meters away. So it would depend on your luck when buying the items there.

Fruits for prayer

Many unusual items were sold especially for Chinese New Year such as: CNY house decorations, cherry branch and its accessories, various fake and real flowers or plants (to be put in office or home), dried meats or sausages, CNY cookies (pineapple tarts, love-letters, peanut cookies etc.), nian gao (CNY cake - usually cut, dipped with egg, powdered with flour and deep fried), tidbits (peanuts, dried persimmon, roasted Chestnut), and so on.

CNY decorations at Chinatown,  Singapore

Many photographers took this place as a good place to practice their photography skills. You could find children holding the cute balloons that floating in the air (there was cute Doraemon balloon too :D). Some restaurants were full house and people were still queuing in some place.

Fake and real plants and flowers to beautify the house or offices

It was really crowded. Some stall showed the DVD of people singing Chinese songs as if it was ge tai or live performance. Some shop turned on the Chinese New Year songs to liven up their stall. Many salesman sang hard promoting their products, demonstrated on how to use it and told people what benefits they would get if buying it.

Lanterns and crowds at Chinatown, Singapore

We had to walk very slowly and within the crowds, at the same time to protect our belonging. Although Singapore is a safe country, we still have to be vigilance. "Low crime doesn't mean no crime" - this was the slogan that the Singapore Police Force always promote.

Various CNY cookies and tidbits

Three of us had mala hotpot, dumpling soup and hot & sour soup for dinner before browsing the area. We walked for more than two hours. Overall it was a great experience and adventure. The ambience was really unique and one of my favorites :)

This was considered just a normal queue as their main products were sold out.  The shop was still far ahead

There were shops selling bakkwa (in Hokkian), rou gan (in Chinese), or salty-sweet dried meat products, usually pork, and similar to jerky. This was the best time for the bakkwa sellers to earn money. People would queue as early as 5 am whereby the shop would only open at 9 am. Some buyers would hire Bengala construction staffs or ask their maids to queue on their behalf so that they could buy what they wanted easily. The bakkwa price would usually increase too during this period. Lots of time the bakkwa would be sold out during midday. At night the shop would still open but selling the other stuffs that were still available. It's just a tradition for Chinese to eat bakkwa during Chinese New Year and this tradition was passed on from one generation to another.

CNY walk with Baobei @Chinatown :)

Well, my son kept asking us to go home fast as his both legs were paining as we walked too much. Perhaps next generation had lost interest in this kind of tradition and culture, preferred to stay at home playing their electronic gadget and lied down comfortably on their bed. Haiz... Hope he would miss this moment when he grows up one day, the time spent with his both parents near to CNY period....

Friday, January 24, 2014

Almost win 4D!


Before leaving Singapore to Korea, I bought a set of 4D number (7883) for Sat, Sun, and Wed - 11, 12, and 15 January. However, the number only appeared this Wed, 22 Jan as Starter Prize. If won, I would have an additional S$500 pocket money for this CNY Kekeke... Too bad ya! Anyway I believe in 'if it's yours, it's yours' la!

Long queue - all is hoping to get rich overnight :)

However, it won't stop me for trying our luck again. This time, I will buy Toto during lunch time,  with combined resources and luck from other colleagues, hoping to win tonight's S$5Million! Lolx! Wish us luck! Huat ah!!! :D

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Approaching the wooden Horse year

Source: photo.elsoar.com

Chinese New Year is around the corner. It's gonna fall on next Friday, 31st January 2014. We have about one more week to prepare.

To be frank, I haven't had anything done yet, as usual. I haven't done any house-cleaning; I haven't bought any Chinese New Year goodies; I haven't changed money notes or prepared any Hong bao (red packet filled with money to be distributed for children and single person as a sign of good luck); I haven't bought any food for reunion dinner, and so on.

Before going for holiday to Korea, I've bought some clothes and pants, which can be worn during the Chinese New Year day. I still have many new t-shirts too given by my Mom and siblings. Therefore I'm not worrying too much about it. There are some new bags too that I haven't used yet (although it had been given to me for years hehehe... - usually I would only change to new bag once the old one was spoilt or no more in good condition). My shoes and sandals are still in good conditions, so no plan to buy too.

Handmade CNY goodies from beloved ones :)

These few days people have gifted us their handmade cookies. My buddy, my neighbor, my husband's aunt, all of them have been so kindly shared their handmade cookies for us. Thank you everyone!!! Therefore,  we can save some effort and time to prepare and find nice cookies from outside.

This year I will stay back in Singapore. Since it falls on month-end, I can't go anywhere for long as I need to go back to work the next Monday to do the month-end closing.

My office CNY decoration since two weeks ago :)

There are some decorations that I need to buy to be put outside our house's main door. We are going to say goodbye to the snake's decorations very soon :)

I have to check if there is enough notes balance from the last year's Hong bao. Otherwise I need to change money into smaller notes from the bank.

Prediction for Horse in the upcoming Horse year :)

Time flies. It feels good that horse year is gonna coming again! It rotates every twelve years and I will experience it for the third time. In Singapore there are lots  of zodiac predictions everywhere you go. In general, everyone may expect ups and downs throughout the year. However, just think about the good things to happen hehehe... and hope for the best! :)

Well, see how much I can do this weekend, hope everything will go smoothly to welcome the new year, all the way 'til the end :) Have a good evening everyone! Wishing you well and happiness :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wonderful cool breeze :)

Oh I love the weather in Singapore now. Every morning on the way to MRT station, I could feel the cool breeze with the sun hidden behind the clouds. I thought I was living in mountains instead of among the tall HDB buildings. How pleasant it felt :)

In the afternoon, it was windy too with again, sun hiding behind the thick clouds. However, there wasn't a sign of raining. Like now, I'm sitting down at my favorite place facing the Singapore River, enjoying the cool breeze blowing up my hair that is getting longer each and everyday :)

Even in the evening, when reaching MRT station back to home side, we were welcomed by the cool flurry of air. It made us lazy though. Once filled up the stomach with dinner, sitting down comfortably on the couch, what's next was the sleepy feeling. But last night, I decided to go out and enjoy the breeze by cycling around the Punggol Park.

I took out and unfolded my bike from our storeroom, changed my gear, and there was I, readied to go! It felt cold at first, but after cycling the slope up, I started to feel the kick, sweat started to appear on my back. I felt warm, and my two legs kept moving uncontrollably leaving my mind wandering around with the music on my ears.

You'll Only Live Once YOLO (Source: juxtapost.com)

Some songs brought the old memories back. It made me smiling and happy. Good and bad memories, it was all just memories. Like what my buddy said last night,  "Just keep the beautiful memories bah!!" and he was absolutely right! We move on and we learn each and every day. As day goes by, we grow up maturely bits by bits, learning to let go,  and accept things for the way they are.

Having best buddies who understand me is the most blessing things I would ever imagine and I'm lucky I have few of them surrounded me, near and far :)

Well, time to go back to work now. It's good to reflect and ponder in such nice weather. Hope it will always be like this everyday (dream on... hehehe... ^^) Have a great day everyone!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Back to home sweet home :)

Both of us returned back to Singapore last night. Our flight was in the evening at 4.20pm. In the morning we woke up quite late, packed our luggage, then checked out from the hostel. We put our luggage at the receptionist.

My hubby last Korean food treat for breakfast

We walked to the nearby area and stopped by at one of the opened stall. It's my hubby's last wish: to eat Kimbab, fish cake and its soup. At first he wanted to order the tteokboki (spicy rice cakes) with it but since he only ate alone, I reminded him that the Kimbab was quite fully, so he stopped after ordering those two. Poor hubby! Since I was sick, he lost his khaki (partner) to eat and it wasn't really enjoyable to eat alone. The portion was too much for 1 person and he would only be able to eat less variety as he had to finish it alone. Sorry la!

As he was eating joyfully, I was sitting down there next to him and watched how Aunties prepared the food (I had already eaten a bowl of porridge before leaving the hostel, which my hubby cooked inside the room ^^). I hoped to learn few skills just by watching them hehehe... (wishful thinking). This shop was small, however, it looked famous as there were many signatures done by famous stars hung on the wall. It opened 24 hours. I watched them preparing the food diligently and that passion came from their heart :) That's what made food taste delicious ^^

Morning break at 7th Heaven Coffee in Seoul

After that we went to have a morning break at 7th Heaven Coffee, one of the coffee chains in Korea. We sat at 2nd floor next to the window.

From there we could see the road view outside. The place was warm and cosy. Since I couldn’t have a coffee, I ordered hot chocolate. Perfect for a cold weather :) Btw the temperature that morning was -3. There was sunshine but there was wind blowing too. However, no single sign of snowfall hehe... :)

We sat there for some time. And youknow what? Oh I loved their electronic toilet bowl (change subject hehehe...). Once I sat on it, the seat was automatically warmed up! It made me wanting to sit longer. Lolx! There were control buttons at the side where you could choose the water to spray on your buttock, air-blow the buttock, and so on.

Hahaha... I know it wasn't my first time experiencing it but the automatically warming the seat that made me happy and satisfied because during our stay in hostel for few days, we suffered a lot by the cold and chilling air that went into our toilet through the window. It became super cold and humid. We always tried to do our business there as fast as possible then went out to avoid getting cold and wet. Hahaha... So I guess you understand now why I loved their toilet bowl so much ^^

Two students were waiting for the bus ^^

We did last minute shopping before collecting our luggage back from the hostel then walked hurriedly to the bus stop. The bus came every half an hour so we didn't want to miss it because otherwise we would be late for our flight.

Soon the bus came. We stored our luggage on the compartment below, paid our bus fare (at KRW10,000 or S$12.20 per pax), sat down and relaxed until it reached the airport.  On the way we looked at the view outside the window and said goodbye.

Last sight of Seoul from inside the bus

We passed by the Gyeongbok Palace, just nice there was a guards-changing ceremony. We then realized too that we actually could travel faster by bus rather than by Subway to certain destinations as we didn't have to waste our effort and time to walk up and down the staircases, also transfer to the other subway lines. The bus directions were written both in Korean and English. The announcement was also done in both languages. It's only that we were not familiar with it at first few days of our visit.

We passed by the Riverside too. There, we saw many people riding bicycle, jogging and exercising. Suddenly I missed my Punggol Park and my bike... ^^

Incheon International Airport

We reached airport in one hour time. We checked-in at the counter then went outside. My hubby wanted to smoke and took the last fresh cool winter air ^^ We had burger meals and salad at Lotteria, a Korea fast food chain. Finally I had fast food in Korea! Lolx! There were many other fast food available there but my hubby always wanted to have Korean dishes and avoiding fast food whenever possible. So you know why I was so exciting about it hehehe...

After eating, it was almost time for boarding. We were still outside and there were lots of people queuing. They all queued for the hand carry luggage's security check. Luckily they opened two more lines so that we didn't have to stuck in the queue and faster went through the immigration check.

We had no time to shop anymore. But anyway the stuffs there were quite expensive. We walked directly to the boarding area and sat there until the gate was opened.

We boarded onto the plane and it flew away. Good bye Korea! It was a great experience for both of us and it's been more than a decade since I last time experienced the snowfall. I came to understand now why most of the time I traveled on the month of August and September to the four- season countries as I didn't really enjoying an extreme cold weather. I mean, it's more enjoyable when the weather was around 20s degree Celsius. But anyway, no pain no gain. I enjoyed the snow still and the feeling wearing the boots. Something that we don't do back in Singapore ^^

In the airplane, I had my last Korean meal, Bibimbap, Korean mixed rice with vegetables, minced meat, sesame oil and Korean chilli paste, plus a can of Hite beer. OMG!!! I forgot that my stomach was still on the way to recovery!!! After having it, I could feel the war inside my stomach. So many air inside. And after reaching Changi Airport, I immediately looked for the toilet and vomited down there. Ohhh!!! I vomited again after reaching home.

This morning I went to see doctor and got one day Mc from the doctor. I spent my day resting at home - sleeping and napping. I ate only light food. Haiz! But it gets much better now. Hope I can go back to work healthily tomorrow :) Well, time to sleep now. Take care everyone! Especially your health, wherever you are! Keep warm and safe! Byeee.... Annyeong....

Day 7 in South Korea - Seoul Folk Flea Market, Gangnam, and Namdaemun Market

Today I felt much better. I woke up at 10.30am. It's been a wonderful rest for me. I took the last bottle of the pills with warm water and cooked porridge for breakfast. At 12pm we left the hostel. I wanted to see Seoul traditional market. My hubby checked the tourism booklet that he collected yesterday when he browsed the road alone. It was in Chinese. So we followed the direction, took subway to Sinseoldong station.


Seoul Folk Flea Market @Sinseoldong, Seoul

We followed other people as we had no clue on where to go. It was a bit weird as most people were elderly. No young people at all. Then we found out that the place that we walked to was the Seoul Folk Flea Market, a place where second hand stuffs were sold. Also there was a place where horse racing bets were sold. No wonder lah no young people there. The Chinese translation was a bit misleading kekeke... But not bad la.  We were able to see many different things sold over there. There were many different kind of stuffs sold. Too bad we couldn't speak or understand their language, otherwise we might buy one or two things from there ^^

These past few days we always browsed mostly at the North part of Han river. Therefore, before going back Singapore,  I would love to see the South part. We decided to go to Gangnam. Gangnam literally means "South part of the Han river". It is a district where it's known for heavily concentrated wealth and high standard of living. The housing price in that area was 3.5 times more than the average price in nationwide. Many good schools were there too. If you know the song 'Oppa Gangnam style', then this area's name might ring a bell. 


Gangnam, Seoul

When we took the subway there, we saw the Han river which divided the area. And the place that we went was shopping area. They also had underground shopping center apart from the one on the ground.


Lunch at Gangnam area

We had lunch there - Korean dumpling noodle,  various steamed dumpling,  and Kimpap (rice, beef, tuna, cheese, carrot, cucumber, kimchi, rolled with seaweed). It didn't look much but very filling. Oh, inside the restaurant, in their table, they would have a drawer where you could pull it out and take the spoon and chopsticks (see photo above). It's saving place and looked neat.


Namdaemun Market in Seoul

After shopping for a while we continued our walk to Namdaemun Market. This place was a touristic area. It consisted of markets selling many different things. I preferred to shop in this kind of place (open air market), rather than those shops located inside the buildings.


Namdaemun wet market

It was divided into many different area,  such as: noodles alley, tourist souvenir shopping alley, ladies clothing alley, beddings alley, wet market, etc. There were so many stalls selling food, socks, winter accessories like hat, shawl, warmer, winter clothing, souvenir, etc. I bought some souvenirs, socks and few other things from here.  Nice place ;)


Snacks and food stalls everywhere in Namdaemun Market

Too bad my stomach was still upset. There were so many snacks sold down there. We bought pork buns from one of the shops there called 'Kamegol'. The buns were steamy hot. Many people were queuing as it was suitable to eat the hot bun in such a cold weather (today was around -4 to -6 degree Celsius). We also bought 5 pcs. I only ate few bites as my stomach couldn't take it much. We brought the balance back to hostel. My hubby ate it for supper and the balance for tomorrow's breakfast (we can reheat it using the microwave). He also tried sausage wrapped with fish cake and was deep fried. Actually the food here was mostly not good for health. Oily, spicy, salty,  sour, etc. That's why it's said that Korea had the highest rate of stomach cancer in the world. Eating it once in a while Ok lah, but not everyday. I still prefer Indonesian food in term of taste ^^


Break time @Paris Baguette

Oh... it was tiring after walking for so long. Before going back to hostel, we stopped by at Paris Baguette to have a coffee and hot chocolate plus pastry while enjoying the view downstairs from our windows.

I just realized my both legs pained when going up the staircase. There were more staircase than elevator inside the subway station. We had to walk some distance too when we had to transfer the subway to another line. In case you were curious how their subway lines looked like, I attached the photo below for your imagination ^^


Seoul Railway System (Source : Google.com)

Hehehe... How do you feel? Singapore so far had only 5 lines. Seoul had much more than that! Now I understand why my colleague all said it was tiring to travel in Seoul and how strong Korean people when it came to walk.

OK la,  let me write until here. It's our last night in Korea. I've finished with my packing and it's time to sleep now. Hope you enjoyed reading it and one day if you have a chance to visit Korea, you would at least have an idea how the country looked like or what place to visit,  and so on. Annyeong.... (which means good bye!)

Friday, January 17, 2014

'A friend in need is a friend indeed'

Me and SJ ^^

As from my previous post,  I was sick and weak, kept vomiting after taken some food and medicine. My mom and siblings, although they were faraway from me, they were all worrying about me. They wanted to do something physically, to make me feel much better, however they couldn't. They could only pray for me to get well soon. That's more than enough. Thank you everyone!

This afternoon I was suffering. Feeling horrible with my stomach. The gastric medicine that I took didn't stop me from vomiting. Luckily Internet had gone well after 4pm so I could get back to my room and kept myself warm under my blanket.

I was messaging my Korean friend that I supposed to meet tomorrow for lunch.  I told her about my condition. She was worrying about me too. Her office was not far from the hostel where I stayed. Since we can't meet tomorrow, she decided to meet me this evening after work. And since she would be coming down, I was asking her a favor to get me some medicines as she was more familiar with the language and medicine. So she was asking me more details about my situation and told me that she would bring the medicines for me.

I was hoping that the medicine would be effective for me because I was feeling miserable and hopeless, didn't know what to do, even made me thinking of the worse situation that might happen to me. Going to see the doctor would be the last resort for me - that was what I thought.

Once coming back to my room, I slept for almost two hours. My room was warm now. We had adjusted the heater temperature to 20 degree (it was only 16 degree on our first day here and we were freezing like hell Lolx! ). She told me she was coming, on her way here and she came at about 7pm.

My savior for tonight. Thank you my friend!

She brought some medicines with her. The small container was kind of Chinese medicine to stop the vomit, to be drunk with the liquid inside the long bottle. It felt cold and sooth my gastric pain. I was advised to keep my stomach empty, only drank warm water for tonight. I have to drink another small bottle with warm water before sleeping and tomorrow morning to drink another bottle with an empty stomach.

So far so good. The medicines have shown some effects on my body. And I guess, it was because of the appearance of my long time friend, whom I could chit chat with, update about the rest of the Korean,  Indonesian,  Singaporean, and Taiwanese ex-school mates, which brought back the memory. It was great that we still kept in touch after so long (the last time we met up was in June 2001) and she was contacting me last year when she wanted to visit Singapore, asking me to meet up. However I wasn't in the country when she came. I went back to my hometown. So this time, knowing that I would be going to Seoul, I tried to make it up and planned to meet her for lunch or dinner. Too bad we couldn't go ahead with the plan due to my sudden sickness. She had actually planned to let us trying the Korean traditional food with full arrange of dishes. Oh, too bad! Next time ba if we were given a chance again.

Tidbits and snacks from SJ :)

After that she went out for a while saying that she wanted to buy some snacks for my son. End up she bought lots of things for the whole families. She bought things that she loved to eat and let us try. Thank you so much SJ for coming here and visiting me, also bringing medicines to me and hoping that I could get better soon. It was the most beautiful present for me. Thank you, thank you, and thank you! You are really my savior and 'A friend in need is a friend indeed!'

Day 5 in South Korea - Romantic trip to Nami Island and N Seoul Tower

Our internet was not working inside the room. So, when I woke up at 6.30 am and found some other open Wi-fi available, I faster uploaded photos to my blog. I ended up having only about 4 and half an hour sleep. I planned to visit Nami Island after returning from Jeju, however, when facing the coldness, I thought of giving up the trip and going somewhere else. When I told my colleague about it, she insisted me to go there, "Must go!!" I asked her why? She said, "Very romantic." As simple as that. Hahaha.... Well, since she said so, we decided to continue with our plan, last minute. We took subway to Cheongyangri then continued taking the ITX-Cheung Cheun high speed train and stopped at Gapyeong station.

When we wanted to board the train, we met two Taiwanese women, also traveling. But they would go all the way to Chun Cheun while we stopped before that. They planned to go to Nami Island after their browsing around Chun Cheun. We had a chit chat inside the train and when it reached our destination, we said goodbye. And guess what? It was snowing!!! Wow, I was very exciting! Nami Island was supposed to be seen during snowing and I was really lucky that it was snowing! Hohoho...

Warmed up our stomach with two bowls of instant noodles :)

We faster took a cab to the Ferry terminal to cross over to the island. We stopped by at one convenience store, bought a cup of coffee, plus two bowls of Korean noodles and we ate it outdoor while snowing. The feeling was damn great!! After buying the tickets, we crossed to the island by the ferry, about 5-10 minutes?

Beautiful Nami Island with snow background :)

We walked and enjoyed the view. This island was famous for its beautiful tree lined road. It was where the Korean drama, Winter Sonata, was filmed, very famous. But I didn't watch it yet though hehehe.... When we reached that area, it was snowing again! Wow! It was so wonderful and romantic ya.... Everyone there was very happy and exciting, just like me ^^ It was cold and some road was slippery. The river was frozen. However it was a great experience. Have to thank my friend for insisting me to go there hehehe...

Beautiful scene from Winter Sonata

We just walked around the island, enjoying the snow view, took photos, and return back at about 4pm.

BBQ chicken with cold noodle

Before that, we had a late lunch, BBQ chicken, at the restaurant nearby, plus a bottle of soju.

When we wanted to go back to the Gapyeong Station, we met with one Korean girl and Chinese Korean. They also wanted to take the subway back to Seoul. So when the taxi came, I offered them to join us and we sat together and chit chatted inside the subway.

N Seoul Tower - Love padlock and heart chair

We continued our journey to visit N Seoul Tower. My friend also asked me to visit the place. We didn't enter the Observatory area or going up to the upper floor. We just browsed around the area. There was a place where couple locked their heart with the love padlock (sold at KRW8,000 or about S$10 for single padlock) and left their padlock there by locking it around the walls. There were numbers of heart chairs too designed for shy couple, which actually made then sitting closer as the shape was like 'V' shape.

Shindang-dong Mabokrim Grandma Tteokboki

Before going back to hostel, we went eating dinner at Mabokrim Grandma Tteokboki at the Sidandong Toppoki Street. There were lots of restaurants selling tteokboki but this one was recommended by many of my friends.

Only then we went back home at about 11 pm. Again, Internet was not working. I slept early at 12 am. To my nightmare, I woke up at 3am and posing 'Merlion' inside the toilet. Oh.. many things came out from my mouth. It was horrible! I woke up and vomited again few hours later and decided to stay inside the hostel today while I asked my hubby to go around the city himself.

I went to the main office building and stayed there for almost a half day. I cooked my porridge there, drank my Ginger tea, ate the gastric medicine, however,  it was all thrown out not long after. Oh... horrible!  Thought of seeing doctor as the last resort but I didn't have any insurance and didn't buy any travel insurance as well. So,  I asked my Korean friend on what should I do since I didn't stop vomiting. She asked me not to take any food today, just water. She will go to the Pharmacy after finishing her work and visit me. Hope the medicine will work. At the mean time I will just have more rest and will go back to my room now as the Internet has worked again, according to the staff.  We'll see.  Anyway... Take care everyone! Health is a great wealth. But I've seen places I wanted to go, although not all. But it's enough already. Time to take a good rest and replenish my energy. Please help me pray so that I can get well soon ^^ Thank you!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Day 4 in South Korea - Flying back from Jeju to Seoul

It's our last day in Jeju. That was the last day to stay in a very nice hotel too. Therefore we decided to stay longer until check out time. Lolx! After checking out, we left our luggage at the concierge. We walked to Dongmun market to have our lunch.

Sashimi lunch set @Dongmun market,  Jeju

Finally we managed to eat the fresh fish sashimi set. We passed by this place for many times. Only today we finally ate there. One set came with such food - a set of fish sashimi, steamed egg, cold platter (fresh oysters, boiled small crayfish, quail eggs, peas, corns, octopus), grilled saba or mackerel fish, spicy fish soup, sushi, noodles and vegetables for condiments to be eaten with the sashimi. All set for two costs KRW30,000 (S$37). Oh, plus a bottle of soju at KRW3,000 (S$3.70). Oh man, this is another country that sells a cheap liquor!! At the supermarket, a bottle of soju was sold at an average of KRW1,000 (S$1.22). OMG! No wonder most Korean are good at drinking!!

Btw, you know what? We actually ate at the wrong stall. There were actually 2 stalls at left and right side. Since all wordings were in Korean,  we didn't know that the two stalls were different. If you looked at my photo above, I was posing with the wrong restaurant background. That was what we wanted to eat at. However, we sat down at its next door stall. Hahaha... At night both stalls were full and crowded but we always passed by the blue signage restaurant as the toilet was reached from that direction. The food looked great and that afternoon more people had lunch there. The funniest thing was that we only realized about it when we wanted to pay our bill. Lolx! I was sitting down with the view behind me. So my hubby was the one who realized the difference. Because when I wanted to pay, I was actually heading to the next door's stall and the staff asked me to pay at the other side. Hahahaha.... I wanted to laugh if I thought about it! No wonder la we saw people eating something but it was not listed on our menu. So, being able to read and understand one language was very important. Here we both couldn't speak nor understanding their writing. Most of the time we used or body language to communicate with them ^^" and that's what happened lor hahaha.... :P

Walked around Jeju town

After lunch, we had a walk to the Jungang Underground shopping center. It's indeed a clever idea to have shopping center underground. During winter, it's warm (by heater) and during summer, it's cold (by air-conditioner). Many things were sold down there. We had a walk nearby the area and went back to hotel to collect our luggage, then headed to the Jeju Airport.

Jeju Airport - took Jeju Air back to Seoul

We bought some snacks before flying. At duty free shop, we found out that the Face Shop's masks were the cheapest sold. At town, a set of 10 packs of mask costs KRW10,000. 30 packs of mask costs KRW 30,000 and get 2 packs of mask for free. In the duty free shop, we could choose which type of mask at 10 packs per type. Buy 60 packs, free 20 packs. Moreover, a set of 10 packs of mask costs only KRW8,000 each! So, 80 packs of mask costs only KRW48,000, which means 1 pack of mask was only KRW600 (S$0.73) compared to the price at town at KRW937.50 (S$1.14). Wow!! That's so much different ya!! I bought 30 packs already on my first day in Seoul. Since it was a very good offer, I bought another 80 packs to be given as gifts back home. What a good bargain! In Singapore, there is Face Shop store too, and the price was crazily expensive!!! I think it's about S$2 plus each pack. So, if you visit Korea, buy the Face Shop products at Duty Free shop! Only that not all products were available. Some items were not sold there.

Beautiful full moon with colorful clouds up in the sky :)

It's an hour and five minutes flight from Jeju to Seoul. In the airplane, our seat was facing directly to the moon. It's lunar 15th December today and the moon was full round and bright. We could see the transformation of the clouds color from time to time. It was so beautiful. Same like the stars, this time you didn't have to look up to see them, it's on the eye-level view. So glad meeting the beautiful moon up in the sky!! Feeling blessed! :)

Outside Seoul Station at night :)

We took train from the Gimpo Airport to Seoul Station. We stopped by and enjoyed the night view outside the Seoul Station. The moon was still up there, shone beautifully. The weather was getting much better compared with the first day we reached Seoul. It was cold, but not that windy. Thank Buddha that we didn't have to suffer like the first day :) We went back to the same hostel and stayed at the same room. Home sweet home :)

Spicy soup dinner ^^

After putting our luggage, we walked outside again to have our dinner. My hubby was desperately searching for Zha Jiang Mian or soya black bean paste noodle. He watched the Korean show, saw how nice the noddle was, and wanted to try it. However, we'd been browsing many restaurants but the Zha Jiang Mian was nowhere to be seen. So tonight, when we saw there was Zha Jiang Mian at the menu in one of the restaurants, we went inside. Too bad, it wasn't available. Therefore, we chose other type of noodles for dinner, a spicy seafood noodle with pork cutlet and a spicy dumpling noodle, plus fried dumpling or mangdu as side dish. It felt good to eat such a hot soup in a very cold weather like this. My hubby was sweating all over while eating the soup lolx!

Our room at Backpackers INSIDE in Seoul,  South Korea :)

Before going back to hostel, we bought mixed of fried chicken, rice cake and potato hash cooked with sweet sour paste and few pieces of tempura (sweet potato, dumpling, and octopus). We also bought some water, yoghurts and snacks at Lotte Mart. Jialat!! We ate supper almost everyday! Guarantee chop chop that I am gaining weight after only few days here!!!

Time to sleep now. Keep reading and let us continue our journey :) Btw, the Wi-fi isn't working. I'm typing this using the desktop. I will upload the photos tomorrow morning. Hopefully the Wi-fi will be working. Let's hope for the best!! Good night!!

Psstt.. I was finally managed to upload pictures here. However, I was tapping into other people's Wi-fi add ours was still not working ;P Better offline fast now. Have a great day everyone! Annyeong!!!
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