Book Review: Bitter-Sweet Harvest

This is one of the few books that I will not regret picking it randomly; on the basis of its title, book cover which intrigued me, also knowing that a fellow Southeast Asian wrote this, then buying it at a Book Fair. In a typical book fair like this where there is barely any classification for various fictional books – ranging from mythical fantasies, vampire tales to classic literature and then to novels of family, relationships and love; finding the book that is to your preference and that one book you know it’d be a worthy buy (even though it’s less than $10 per book) is like looking for a needle in a haystack.  Bitter-Sweet Harvest is definitely that needle.

This book is a sequel to the novel Sweet Offerings but it claims that “the stories can be read in any any order and are complete in themselves”. From the synopsis of Sweet Offerings, these two stories certainly evolve in the same family of two different generations. 

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Daily Prompt: I Was Here | Alien’s note!

Daily Prompt posts: You are the first astronaut to arrive on a new, uncharted planet. Write the note that you leave to those who come after you.

Hopefully no one on Earth realizes that I’m the first earthling to land on the new planet. I’ll be leaving a prank note under the identity of an alien or an unknown creature on this planet before I get on my spaceship back home to Earth. Hopefully when that note gets discovered by the first person (supposedly), it becomes a mystery hit and then stirs up a big-time investigation in research centers, making the headlines in the newspapers on the following day.

Get out of here right now. We’ve had no disturbance before and the possible beings who could disrupt our lives is you Earthlings. 

This isn’t the place for you. Do not even consider this as your Planet Earth version 2.0. Do not even think about taking some of what’s belonged here on this planet back to your labs to scrutinize every bit of it and churn out conclusions on the survival conditions of this planet. This planet is no replacement for Earth – so instead of seeking for another planet to shift the 7 billion of you here, why don’t you channel your efforts to savage the deteriorating health condition of Planet Earth?

Before our population comes alive here, leave immediately. Once awaken, none of you are spared!

With Regards, the friendliest oh-well-let’s-say-I’m-an-Alien around here

Tourist in homeland

Yesterday, Cass and I visited 4 museums and an Art gallery at the Art Plural Gallery. The last time I visited a museum or an art exhibition that I could remember was for my school assignments; wasn’t for a leisure purpose. I didn’t take many photographs because they turned out blurry in my camera. Like any other museums I’ve seen on screen, they’re as dark and hollow as they seem.

Our first stop was at the Asian Civilization Museum. The exhibitions were based on South, West, Southeast Asia, etc. In Southeast Asia, the artifacts that were at the Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand exhibits had a sort of similarity in their designs – probably because they are situated closely in the same region and influenced by one another’s culture.

Besides that, the other exhibits that were quite significant in my memory was China and West Asia – the Islamic countries. The ‘computerized standee’ that was placed at the start of exhibits served us as excellent tour guides. I learnt more about the education system in China, the Gods and deities worshiped by the Chinese, the five pillars of Islam, the five daily prayers and Islamic calligraphy. The Chinese ones appear more familiar to me because; besides that I’m a Chinese, it is also because of the movies and the China / Hong Kong teevee shows I’ve watched when I was young. The digitized visuals and guide are more useful for our understanding than the static artifacts themselves, which are there to complement the learning.

Our next stop was at the Singapore Philatelic Museum aka the Stamps Museum; which I’d call it! It’s my favorite museum out of the four we’ve visited. I remember that my last visit there was during my childcare days. I used to collect stamps in the past and even bought a stamp book, along with foreign stamps to fill it up. Only now do I realized that there’s a certain level of honor and prestige to stamp-collecting in philately. Nevertheless, its an expensive hobby to adopt.

The Bahamas’ underwater stamp [Source]

Stamps – they’re one of my favorite things in this world. A long time ago until now, they’ve played a part to mail out handwritten letters with the most sincere thoughts to  receivers at anywhere world they’re in, as long as they have a mailbox.

Did you know they do have postboxes underwater? Continue reading

Getting my braces.

I got my braces on yesterday. It’s the day I’ve been waiting for! Even though I dread alittle thinking about the aftereffects of getting that on my teeth.

The procedure took about 1 hour 45 minutes. No anesthetic, nothing this time.

It was only during my previous appointment when I had my tooth extraction did I realize that having the anesthetic agent beneath your gums / lips is really more painful than it seems. But it certainly feels better than the tooth extraction pain I can imagine. It takes about 2 to 3 hours for the anesthetic to completely cease and before I can feel water on my lips when I drink.

I noticed that it was a very tedious procedure for the dentist because after he had finish operating on my teeth, he didn’t look as jovial as he is every time when I come for my consultation. From the reflection on the overhead operating light, I could see him gluing the brackets on each tooth and “sewing” (linking) them together with a flexible metal wire. He heaved a sigh, seemingly to be a sign of relief, after the operation. I thanked him afterwards and that is when I begin to realize that I have developed a lisp in my speech. I can barely pronounce the “th” and the “ks” in ‘thanks’!

But thanks to Google and Yahoo answers, I’m starting to see the light on why certain things are done during the operation and the reasons for the pains I’m experiencing.

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Daily Prompt: Memories of Holidays Past

Daily Prompt posts: What is your very favorite holiday? Recount the specific memory or memories that have made that holiday special to you

I can’t recall any specific holiday where I did enjoy celebrating that occasion with anyone.

I like Christmas though. Maybe it’s because of all that buzz that’s created in anticipation for Christmas day. And this daily prompt came up right at this timing – the nearest holiday that’s being celebrated internationally; Christmas in less than 10 days!

It’s the coziest holiday yet. Even when you’re all alone on that Christmas night, it feels good to just curl up (on your own) under the blankets on the couch, facing a nice and warm fireplace. The night will be perfected with some oldies music like Johnny Cash’s or Frank Sinatra’s. Or you could put up some classic jolly Christmas songs and fall asleep to those.

The season, winter, makes a big, big difference in creating that celebratory atmosphere for Christmas. December just isn’t December without snow! In Singapore, the places I’ve gone to which have given me the closest Christmassy feeling are in hotel lounges and lobbies, churches and in Orchard Road. Oh yes, Changi Airport as well! A few days ago, I visited the Airport and one can’t simply drive past and turn a blind eye to the decorations they’ve put up along the roadsides; on the trees, and inside the place as well.

Below are three images I found on the website. This is my second time seeing all these and only now did I realize the link between these three images – they’re actually major attractions of different countries!

Trojan Horse in Turkey (?)

I see that’s the reverted Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy!

Taj Mahal in India!

Also, I remembered for the past 3-4 years, or even longer than that when I was a kid, I tied up stockings (which are in fact, my school socks) by my bed frame on the nights of Christmas Eve and on the actual day. Although I knew that Santa Claus has always been this mythical figure (whom ordinary men like us get paid to pass off as him to roam the streets and malls to surprise little children and for photo-taking sessions), I can always try my luck to get Mom to put something in it, but I don’t think she ever did notice that school sock that’s draped by the bed frame. Even if Santa exists, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to ride his sleigh past every HDB unit in Singapore with the still air to drop presents for the children.

But nevertheless, Christmas isn’t all about making snow angels and snowman, cone trees stringed with colorful ornaments and mini light bulbs around it, Santa Claus, dinners with the must-have roasted turkey and the fireplace. A family dinner seems quite necessary for an occasion like this, maybe replacing the turkey with the chicken – so it’s like a reunion. I think that’s the essence of Christmas where family members gather together.

The main reason why I love Christmas is because of the visuals I see around me. What a feast of sights and sounds! It makes me happy even when I have nothing, or little, to look forward to Christmas Day. But to experience a White Christmas is definitely one thing I look forward to doing in the future!

My thoughts on TROPICO.

TROPICO is a 27-minutes short film, featuring 3 songs from the Paradise EP, titled “Body Electric”, “Gods and Monsters” and “Bel Air”. It is directed by Anthony Mandler – who also directed the music video for “Ride” and written by Lana Del Rey herself.

The film tells the tale of Adam and Eve, where Lana plays Eve in the film. There are 3 parts in the film – Eve in the Garden of Eden (first part) was banished down to Earth, in Los Angeles – to become a pole dancer (second part) and then the final part, she returned to Paradise after “serving her term” on Earth (?) There’re a number of scenes with (very) explicit content but those aren’t the only parts which represent the film as a whole.

Introducing… the characters:

      

      

Source: teamlanadelrey

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