December 30, 2006

Hong Kong

The second place I have been to more times is HK. My first trip was a HK-Taiwan tour, the second was a HK-Bangkok tour and the third a HK-Macau-Shenzhen tour which actually had optional tours for the three places. We did not choose the half-day HK tour.

After that came the budget airlines - Valuair and Jetstar. Then HK became quite attractive - airfare about $340, travelling time about 3.5h and the climate in HK in December was cool. HK is also a good place to watch cantonese opera shows, more convenient than in China.

For transport around HK, I think its MTR and buses are a little more efficient than ours. But I have never taken buses in HK during peak hours or to outlying areas.

For food, we are better in terms of varieties, taste and hygiene.

December 27, 2006


Last Saturday night I was watching Gary's show at KAPT. The man sitting next to me was taking photos of every scene with his camera. I took a peep and saw him zooming in on the lead performers. It looked quite clear. The stage was very bright. But he was using the flash. Necessary or not? Then we were sitting about 15 rows away from the stage. Is the flash effective so far away? Anyone knows?

December 26, 2006

Gary's Show

Gary Kong (25 years in cantonese opera) - 23 Dec 2006 - Kreta Ayer People's Theatre.

Gary performed 5 excerpts with 5 hua dans.

The 5 hua dans and Gary: standing - Sally Low, Chik Chiew Kuarn, Chen Yin Ling, Gary, Chor Wun Yeok and Cheung Seok Lin. Next to Seok Lin is Christoper Choo. The dan in the purplish costume, squating, is Leong Sau Fong.

I have watched Gary’s performances, big and small ones including those at Clarke Quay, for years, I think since the early 90s when he was with the Chinese Theatre Circle. He came across as a consistent, reliable and good artiste. One of his fortes is his excellent memory. Throughout the 4h-long show I think he did not forget a single line. His voice is strong, something like Aw Kai Meng (a China artiste) though the qualities are not the same.

My favourite is the fourth excerpt, 聚英臺. It is one of those with lots of loud drums and cymbals.

Very unfortunate, the first excerpt was ruined by the faulty microphone of the hua dan. It was like listening to a badly-recorded cd – sometimes loud, sometimes faint, sometimes got screeching or humming sounds. It was annoying to the audience and very frustrating to the performer. All her hours of practice and rehearsals seemed to be wasted. Didn’t they test the sound system before they started the show.

Fortunately, the other 4 excerpts went on smoothly and all put in their best efforts to put up the show successfully.

December 21, 2006


One of the two places I have been to more times is Thailand. It is a good place for holiday. Besides the bustling metropolis Bangkok there are the rustic charming Chiangmai, the idyllic seaside resort Hua Hin, the ancient city of Ayutthaya and many other interesting places. And Thais are generally friendly and helpful.

I knew of a Thai when he was a student in a sec school in Singapore. He had a house in Bangkok and one in Haadyai. Once I went to Bangkok, his father came to our 3-star hotel in his chauffeur-driven limousine to fetch us to a posh restaurant for dinner. Such warm hospitality. After that I did not want to trouble him again.

My most memorable trip was one which lasted 28 days. We did not fly. It was the days before budget airlines. At that time the return airfare to Bangkok was about $400, now you could get it for as low as $120 with promotions and some luck. Although say 28 days, but about 5 nights were spent in trains and buses and many hours were spent travelling. From Sungei Golok in the east we travelled to Haadyai in the south, then up north to Bangkok, Cha’am, Hua Hin, and Chiangmai. And then back to Bangkok and Haadyai.

Thai trains are very clean (toilets included). The attendants clean the toilets and mop the floor quite often. Although there are carriages for meals, the attendants walk down the carriages regularly selling cakes and hot and cold drinks. Then when the train stops at the small towns, young boys and girls would come up the train selling food like fried chicken and barbecued meat. They would jump off only when the train starts to move.

You could sit by the window and watch the sceneries, mostly farmland, roll by. You might catch the sun setting in the distant hills or see naked boys waving to you in the stream. And where a road crosses the tracks, you could see cars speeding on the road in different directions and you see maths in motion. I am referring to relative velocity, something you learn in school but only in theory. Travelling in a train in the vast landscape you could see and experience relative velocity live.

As dusk falls the attendants pull out the seats and make them into two beds – the lower berth and the upper berth. (This is for second class seats; for third class you have to sleep on your seats.) They will give you pillows with covers that still have the warm freshly-ironed smell. They will also put up curtains to shield your beds.

You wouldn’t sleep soundly because of the chugging engine, the rumbling wheels and the rattling carriages. But this is what makes the journey more exciting and memorable.

You can’t experience all these sitting in an aeroplane.

December 01, 2006

Season of Joy and Goodwill

Hello everyone, wish you a

I will be taking a break till 20 December 2006.
Till then, bye bye.