Friday, 30 January 2004

My “interview” with Cleo yesterday turned out to be a rather strange affair.

Arriving at the office, the receptionist directed me into the conference room where about 9 other girls were already waiting. Most were dressed rather casually, which made my shirt and trousers seem like an overkill – and I thought I was not dressed smartly enough.

What made it worse, however, was the fact that I had with me two big folders containing my portfolio. As I plomped them down onto the table, I found much to my unease that the other girls only had cute little handbags.

After about 5 mins wait, and two other girls joining the group, I realised that the room was filled with way too much tension and silence. Everybody was trying hard to find an empty spot on the wall to stare at, or silently twiddling their thumbs.

In a moment of insanity, I decided that I should try to break the ice. I broke out into a cheerful, “So, does anybody quite know what to expect?” and tried to flash what I thought was a friendly smile.

I was rewarded with the girls staring back at me like as if I had just spoken in German or Swahili for that matter. On the up side, I did get a few blank looks and slow shaking of heads. But that was the most I got out of them.

Needless to say, I decided to shut up from then onwards.

The meeting was not an interview per se. We were set a subbing test (the correcting of grammar and sentence structure and the like), and given two tasks to take home – one was a 500 word article and the other was to write up a calendar of events.

The Cleo saga continues…

Thursday, 29 January 2004

It was a miracle that Maya and I got home safe and sound after Shimona’s gig at Swing last night.

Conversation with the taxi driver:

Me: Uncle, we’re making two stops. First to Bishan, then to Woodlands.
Taxi Driver (TD): What? Where?
Me: Bishan, then Woodlands.
TD: Oh, Jurong?
Maya and I: BISHAN
TD: Huh? Bishan?

And he nearly gets into an accident by turning out from a corner without looking.

Nearing Bishan…

TD: Bishan where?
Me: Street 12
TD: Oh, Street 21?
Me: No, Street 12. (Fingers the number 1 and 2)
TD: Street 12 ah? One stop only right?
Me: No, you have to go to Woodlands after that.
TD: Where?
TD: (looking confused) Woodlands?

What happens after I got home would be Maya’s tale to tell…

By the way, there was no yodelling at Swing last night despite the lack of people. I thank Maya for her graciousness.

Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Disclaimer: this post is written with love. Truly.

The extent to which some people are addicted to their TV shows.

Planning to go for Shimona’s last gig at Swing tomorrow and decided to ask Maya to come along with Gail and I. Can’t believe that woman.

She would rather stay at home and watch an old man (Simon Cowell & American Idol) and an older man who is conveniently dead (Akira Kurosawa & The Seven Samurai) than come with us.

Finally managed to convince her to come along, enticing her with the possibility of cute-looking people at Swing. She has since assured me that if the crowd at Swing turns out to be lacklustre, she is making me go up on stage to yodel.

Saturday, 24 January 2004

and they say it never stops raining in England....

I have been back in Singapore for 6 days and it has rained for 4. Not only that, it has rained cats and dogs during those days. There has been so much rain that I'm beginning to wonder if the island is going to be covered over with all the water.

Never imagined I would say this, but I miss the fine weather and occassional soft rain of England...

Don't believe them when they say the weather is bad in England. At least the rain does not threaten to drown you there.

Tuesday, 20 January 2004

been back in Singapore for 2 days now and guess what? My sinus problems, without fail, have struck again. Wondering if I'm going to have to live with non-stop sneezing and sniffing for the rest of my life...what makes it worse is the fact that Chinese New Year is coming up in 2 days...

Met up with Maya yesterday evening for dinner. Isn't it great to have friends whom you have not met for ages, but when you do, things are still the same?

No, we're no longer the young and skinny innocents we were when we first got to know each other in 1997, but the connection, the understanding and the relationship is still there.

The biggest cons of my somewhat nomadic life is the number of friends that I have to leave behind. But I'm so glad to be blessed with friends who genuinely love and care. Friends who bother to make an effort. Friends who will not forget me just because I'm not around. Friends whom I can spend hours talking with even though we're meeting for the first time in months or years.

This is an ode to my friends.

Saturday, 17 January 2004

Hi there,

You've been shortlisted for the CLEO Win A Job Contest.

We would like to meet you on 29 January, 2004, at 2.30pm.

We hope to hear from you soon. See you then.

Warmest regards,
Deborah Tan

AAAAHHHH!!!! Guess what I'm going to be doing on the 29th? Will this be the start of my magazine career????

Friday, 16 January 2004

AAAAAHHHH!!!!!! Guisele has given birth!! I don't know when it happened, how it happened (well, that's actually pretty self-explanatory) but I know it happened about a week ago!!! Now I just need to find out if it's a boy or girl!!!!


On another note, I went to Lantau Island this afternoon to look at this gigantic Buddha statue built atop a mountain. Only problem is that it was extremely misty and all I saw were the frothy lotus looking thing at his foot....and I had to climb like thousands of steps...

Not to mention the strange toilet facilities they had at the monastary nearby. Not only was it the primative squatting type, the doors did not exactly conceal much, starting from one's knees and going up to the chest level. I felt very...vulnerable. Was tempted to take a photo of the place but didn't think the other occupants would be too amused.

Thursday, 15 January 2004

much celebration will need to take place tonight because for the first time since I arrived in Hong Kong 4 days ago, I DID NOT GET LOST.

Tuesday, 13 January 2004

"I guessed you were from Singapore when you spoke Chinese but couldn't read it," said the restaurant lady.

Thing is, I can read Chinese. Only problem is that I would have starved to death by the time I actually deciphered the menu.

I am regretting that I lost my ability to read and write Chinese. To think I used to score As and Bs for my Chinese exams. 4 years without practice has led me to this - asking the resturant lady to help me out so that I can actually order something to eat.

What is even more shocking is that Singaporeans are defined as such: able to speak our mother tongue, but unable to read...

Monday, 12 January 2004

Why Hong Kong Is Like England:

1. The road signs (besides the fact that it is bilingual) all have a countdown system before a major signboard comes into view.
2. People generally stand on the right side of the escalator when it comes to the underground.
3. There is a better sense of style when it comes to fashion, not to mention people seem to be better looking here (that is not to say that England is swarming with good looking blokes. On the contrary, it would be better if one searched in Paris.)
4. The cool air. Although, it is definitely much warmer here. This is the dead of winter and it feels like late English spring (read: my thick winter coat rendered me a hot perspiring mess.)

Why Hong Kong Is Like Singapore:

1. This is the only other place I know where the national past-time for the people is shopping. Everywhere I go - shops or markets galore. Train station, ferry station, by the's just shops everywhere I turn, open till laaaate.
2. The crowd is immense. I don't think there is a place in which I would be able to be alone, besides in my hotel room.
3. It's practically a big modern city, full of skyscrapers, with a neat public transport system that works not unlike that of Singapore's, although there are much more hills around here.

Why My Feet Will Never Be The Same Again:

It is incredibly easy to get lost in this place. Now, I am extremely used to arriving in a foreign city and navigating around with ease. But the number of times I've missed a street or took a wrong turn is ridiculous. And all because I was searching for first the Peak Tram Station and next the Central-Mid Levels Escalator. Why the fuss?

The Peak Tram is one interesting tram ride to the top of Victoria Peak, 400m above sea level, inclined at an angle of 27 degrees. The view from the top of the harbour and the numerous skyscrapers is quite spectacular.

The Central-Mid Levels Escalator is living proof that Hong Kong is built on hills. The longest series of escalators in the world, inclined at some vague degree. I never completed the ride though, because it seemed as though it would go on and on. There were several breaks between escalators and I took the second one. Besides, it was a one way ride to goodness knows where. Those returning had stairs to contend with and my feet were dying by then, after getting lost in what I can only describe as a pedestrian expressway.

This pedestrian expressway is really interesting. A whole series of criss-crossing covered overhead bridges and walkways built above ground level. It was amazing.

aaargh! craaamp in feet

Sunday, 11 January 2004

just arrived at my hotel in Hong Kong. I could dig this business travel lifestyle. I feel spoilt already.

My hotel's really nice, largely because I get FREE broadband internet connection (even though the browser is a little dodgy and seems rather dated), on top of satellite TV, a bath and all the little luxuries in life.

Thankfully wasn't deported at the HK airport, although they did stick a thermometer under my tongue because I was coughing. Temperature was 36.9 celcius, nowhere near SARS level.

Haven't got to see much of Hong Kong yet. Still trying to settle into the hotel, although I am considering leaving that for later and running out soon. Am located next extremely near the harbour in Tsimshatsui, amidst what promises to be lots of shopping. But most of the shops were boutiques sporting names like DKNY and Versace, so I may not be buying much...

The drive to the hotel from the airport was lovely though. I was taken aback by how hilly HK is. It's very much like Singapore, but with more water, hills and fog. Much cooler too.

Now to decide what to do...
main reason why I would rather live in England:

went shopping for a new pair of jeans in Singapore two days ago. Now, I realise that since leaving Singapore 4 years ago, I have gained a huge amount of weight and am no longer as skinny as I used to be. But one would think that I would be able to find some jeans my size at Levi's. Ha.

Tried shopping at the women's section first, but when I finally accepted the fact that there were no jeans my size, that the maximum size that they went up to was 29inch, I decided that I may be able to find some jeans at the men's section.

The salesman stared at me incredulously when I told him that I wanted to try on the men's jeans, to which I responded, "See, my problem is that there are no women's jeans my size."

After lots of trial and error, I believe I finally purchased a pair of jeans that was probably one of the largest sizes the store holds...FOR MEN.

Tell me how one can leave the store without feeling obese.

Had I been in England, there would be no problem finding myself a decent pair of jeans without having to go through the humiliation of being too big. Besides, I'm considered small in England!

Leaving for Hong Kong tomorrow. Now I just hope that nobody thinks I have SARS, considering that I'm currently nursing a flu. (Damn sinus attacks that I get whenever I return to Singapore.)

Monday, 5 January 2004

yes, i'm still alive. Currently sitting in the office of Mission College in Thailand. Spent the last 4-5 days in Bangkok, trying to battle jet lag, do promotions, make new friends and shop all at the same time.

I had a great time shopping *grin*

I can't believe how much I'm missing England though. I really really do miss the wonderful people I've known there and it's amazing how many things just remind me of my friends! Thankfully, because I've been so busy and tired out, I've never actually had much time to dwell on the emptiness I'm feeling.

Would like to go home soon though. If I can't be with my friends in England, at least I have my family and friends back home.

One interesting thing that happened within 2 hours of my arrival at Mission College. The principal cornered me and asked me if I would be willing to work for them. Seems like she really wants me here. I've given her my resume and she said she'll hand me a job description soon...oh I don't know. It's all really tempting, although honestly, I'm still hanging out for England...

I miss England...
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