December 29, 2008

Moo moooo moooooooo ...

I was reading some predictions for the Year of the Cow ( I read that next year is the Earth Cow) by some well-known feng shui and astrology masters. Reading them gives you an impression of a gloomy and chaotic world in the coming year - disasters and wars and the US economy getting worse.

May Heaven bless our Country with good fortunes and stability!

I said my camera battery can last very long even in cold weather, but my phone battery was a disappointment. It drained out more than twice as fast than it was in Singapore. And actually the weather was not very cold, I think between 17 to 24 degrees C. Wonder how it will fare in winter in a really cold country.

December 27, 2008

Travel snippets

Harbour view
It was the first time I stayed in a hotel room with a harbour view. Actually I just booked a standard room (harbour-view rooms must pay extra, you see). But I think I checked in a bit too early, so the standard rooms were not ready yet.

After some checking, the receptionist said, Sir, I upgrade you to a harbour view room at no extra cost. It was not a question, just a statement. I didn't mind. I love the sea, so I said OK.

This is the harbour view from my room at the 17th floor. I saw speed boats, a rowing boat, yachts, a barge, ferries, even a junk and a cruiser. Nothing spectacular, but better than.......

this, the backside of another building. So, are you willing to pay more for a harbour-view room?

And there was a market nearby selling live seafood.

No seats
I have been to HK several times but it was only about a year ago then I realized that there were no seats at their bus stops - whether the bus stops are at big streets or small streets. At first I thought it was a bit unusual.

But then I think probably because all along there were no seats and people got used to it and so they think they don't need to sit down at bus stops. Old people also can stand.

Not hygienic
This is a small restaurant. I think the man in white is the chef. See his 'uniform' - dirty and unsightly. I saw a waiter at another eatery. He was also wearing a long white shirt which was crumpled and looked unwashed for days. And the lower part of the shirt was stained with spices and sauces. Quite awful.

I think some of these small eateries are also quite unhygienic in their handling of food.

Again, perhaps the people there are used to all these, so they don't think it is dirty or unhygienic.
Or they don't mind as long as the food is good.

Christmas cheers
I saw these Christmas girls and asked them if I could take their photo. Can, one of them said. After taking the photo, I zoomed in on their faces and showed them the picture.

"Both of you very pretty" I said.
"Hee hee hee hee" they were very happy.
And so were I. Nice to see them happy.

You know, I'm quite happy with this Casio camera (the one that had a fall) - battery can last very long even in cold weather, easy to use, quick response and the pictures usually turn out well even though I anyhow take.

December 06, 2008


Taking a holiday ... also taking a break from blogging. There will be no new posts for about 3 weeks.
So ...

" Merry Christmas, Everyone,
and Happy New Year ! "

And here is a classic song by the renowned Hong Xian Nu - Cai Wen Ji weeps at the grave.

经典名曲 - 蔡文姬哭墳

December 03, 2008

Traffic count

This was taken at an overhead bridge above the stretch of PIE between Aljunied Road and Paya Lebar Road, mid afternoon.

Looks like they were doing traffic count - counting the vehicles using the the PIE.

That reminds me of my first temporary job - as a traffic enumerator for the PWD. (I'm not sure if enumerator is the correct word or not. In case you don't know, PWD stands for Public Works Department.) A group of us just stood at some road junctions for a few hours counting traffic using the roads with hand-held counters. I think it lasted about two or three weeks. We were paid by the hours.

December 01, 2008

This blog

Cantonese opera is a subject of special interest. People who stumble upon this blog will probably skip it or just skim through.

My guess is that more than 50% of my visitors are not Chinese opera fans and only about 30% are Cantonese opera fans. Some may not be fans but it doesn't mean they are completely not interested in Chinese opera.

My videos at YouTube
According to YouTube, most viewers are from HK, Singapore & Canada.

Below are some other statistics from YouTube. But I think these are not very accurate. Because anyone can watch the videos without joining up or signing in as a member. So YouTube won't know your age or if you are M or F.


I have posted this song before but someone has just supplied me the lyric. So I posted it again with the lyric for you to sing along.


又記得壩陵邂逅,初抱小蠻腰。妹你一笑牽情,把孤魂魄召。說不盡 郎憐妾愛,攜手渡藍橋。

November 29, 2008

合晒合尺 (粵劇集)

The videos below are from a Cantonese opera series, 合晒合尺. It is divided into different topics to introduce Cantonese opera. The series has ended recently. There are many videos of it here:

Here are the topics:



劇團仙子 - 花旦

November 28, 2008


A month or two ago I wrote a post 'beer girls' but no pictures. I went to the Food Centre again recently. So I took a photo to show you. Luckily they didn't throw a beer bottle at me.

Here are two hard-working decent beer girls. You know why some people have that curious look on their faces? Because a group of beer-drinking men at a table suddenly broke out into a song. I think they were very happy about something or celebrating something.

November 26, 2008

A performance at Singapore's Chinese Opera Teahouse

This video was taken by Chinatownology.
Foreign visitors to Singapore and tourists, if you are interested in watching a performance at the Tea-house, you can check out information this site:

November 25, 2008

Recent performance at KAPT

Attractive posters outside the Theatre

MP for Joo Chiat Chan Soo Sen with opera teacher

黎耀威 & 戚超群


November 23, 2008


One morning last week I was waiting for the lift to go down. After some time still no sign of it coming up. So I walked down. Nearing the lift landing I saw a man using his body to block the lift door. My first thought was he was blocking the door to wait for his friend.

Just as I was about to ask him, another man on the street gave him a signal. He moved off. The lights in the lift went off. You know what happened?

It was then I remembered that electricity supply was supposed to be disrupted for a few hours that morning. The man was blocking the lift door to prevent people upstairs from entering the lift. Otherwise they would be trapped when the power shut down.

Must remind myself not to jump to conclusion straightaway. Pause first.

November 18, 2008


After reading the interview with the DBS chief, I have this thought.

You see, LB was 20 times bigger than DBS. You put your money in DBS because you believe it is safe. With something well-known and 20 times bigger surely it is more safe.

If at that time someone told you 'save, no risks', it is logical, right?

Some people might have thought this way too, so they invested.

Just heard the news that some town councils also bought LB-linked investments. See, they also thought it was safe.

November 16, 2008


I have several warranty cards but I couldn't remember where I put them. There were cases I didn't even send back the manufacturer's portions but these were usually cheaper items like cooker.

Last week I found the card for the Casio camera, the one that had a bad fall. The agent's warranty period is over but I forgot that I paid for the extended warranty by Harvey Norman, the shop where I bought the camera. It is for another two years.

So I took it for repair at Casio's outlet at IOI Plaza. First time I visited this plaza. It is in Middle Road. There is nothing to see. It is not a shopping centre. At the small ground floor there was a counter, security counter I suppose, with a man sitting behind. But he seemed to be preoccupied with something on his desk the few times I was there.

The cost of repairs is about one-third the price of the camera or about four times the price of the extended warranty.

Here is a little question to stimulate your mind:
How many times is the price of the camera compared to the price for the extended warranty?

November 14, 2008


Two days ago I was walking home in the afternoon. The sky was overcast. Then it rained. I took shelter at a row of shops nearby. There is an OCBC branch, the one which I go to to take out money. So I went in to enjoy the air-con. A sweet pleasant girl came to me. I have not seen her before.

Can I help you, she asked.

No, I said. Then I said, Can you lend me an umbrella? I didn't expect a positive reply.

But, surprisingly she said can and went into the room to fetch an umbrella.

It was a pleasant surprise, right?

I'll be returning the umbrella.

November 12, 2008


My old TV set has been giving problems for months. The images look like over-exposed photos and once in a while the screen blacks out for a few seconds with only the sound on. It has been repaired before and the warranty period is over. I was waiting for it conk out completely before getting a new one. But it is very stubborn, continuing to annoy us this way.

Last week SM Goh said people who are little affected by the recession and who are not likely to be retrenched should continue to spend normally. If everyone doesn't want to spend, the economy will get worse. More people will lose their jobs. That is the reason for China's 4 trillion yuan stimulus package. One trillion has 12 zeroes.

Hee hee, I have decided to spend money on a new TV set. From now till Lunar New Year there will be lots of promotions, sales and free gifts. This festive period is a good time to look around; I think MD would agree. I will also be looking for a portable DVD player, clothing and shoes, VCDs ...

See, I'm helping to stimulate the economy and save jobs. Hahaha.

But you must not be extravagant; just spend on what you need and on your little pleasures like watching opera shows and eating at your favourite restaurant. Remember to save some money also.


November 10, 2008

November 08, 2008

Vintage Singapore

Here is a book people nostalgic about old things and old times will love. A lot of things for them to reminisce about. The book is quite expensive, $40+. I didn't buy it. I looked through and took some pictures.

This is the cover.

Anyone of you here?

November 06, 2008


I mentioned that if I want to buy a camera I prefer Panasonic or Sony. Same for TV sets. For computer my preference is HP. My first computer was a Datamini, the present one is HP. But it doesn't mean I don't look at or buy other brands.

Haha, don't be mistaken. I am not making recommendations. I am not saying that these are better than other brands. It is just personal preferences.

But I think the following are some reasons why people prefer certain brands:
1. Because of their own experiences

2. What they heard from friends and others or read from reviews

3. Influenced by advertisements
4. The country of manufacture
is important to them

November 04, 2008

Opera titles in English

I watched Opera Nite at the Frontier recently. The English translations of the names of the opera excerpts and songs were quite cute but rather long. I only remember two of them. See if you know the names in Chinese:

1. The Royal Concubines compete for love and attention. (4 words)
2. Praying to the late Royal Concubine Mei in a snowy night. (5 words)


戚超群 & 黄莉莉

新域花旦 - 胡宝燕, 钟丽容, 陳玉芬


October 31, 2008


I mentioned before that I had no intention of buying the Casio camera. I already have a camera, a BenQ given by Starhub and if I buy, my preference was either Sony or Panasonic. Nevertheless, I was persuaded into buying the Casio.

I think there were two reasons: It was on special offer and with free gifts and I don't mind having another camera.

I thought of a letter in the papers. The writer claimed he went to a bank to deposit money but was persuaded to put his money into some other investment instead. This is not related to the Lehman Brothers or those bonds mentioned in the news..

I suppose quite a number of people were persuaded this way. But then if the investments made money and they collected their dividends, I think they would be smiling away. On the other hand, when the investments were not doing well and they saw their savings dwindling, they said they were not told the risks and said the banks should not be allowed to sell such investment products.

My view is that people themselves have to bear some responsibility too. Why did they change their mind in the first place and didn't just deposit their money in the bank.

October 29, 2008

Street opera scene at Chinatown, Singapore

This is the street opera now on till 30 October at Spring Street, Chinatown.

A few years back there was more excitement during this time of the year because on some days there were two operas going on at adjacent fields at the same time, one Cantonese and one Hokkien. At that time there were three empty fields. Now there is a Buddhist Monument on one plot of land and another plot of land was converted into a car park.

Still further back ten years or more, I remember there were also street opera at Mosque Street and Keong Siak Street at certain times of the year.

Here is a short clip of the scene three days ago. The background singing was by Long Koon Tin and Wong Kum Tong. Perhaps in future when you watch this, you could only reminisce with nostalgia.

October 27, 2008

Another accident

First about the car accident.

Repairs: about $40 more and it would be $2000, double the amount I first estimated. One unexpected item was replaced - the radiator. Maybe there were damages I couldn't see from the top. Exclude the radiator and probably Victor's and MD's estimate of $1600 were correct. It was only a small accident, yet repairs cost so much. No wonder premium keeps going up and insurers are reluctant to insure accident-prone drivers.

The workshop is one of INCOME's quality workshops. I would say repairs are well-done, and there is guarantee for 6 months.

Another accident

It involved my camera, the blue Casio camera I bought more than a year ago and which I had written a post about.

It slipped out of my hands, at standing chest-level high, and plummeted about 130cm onto the concrete floor. If you still remember your Physics, when an object falls, potential energy is converted into kinetic energy. You can calculate the speed at which the camera struck the floor. The force of impact depends on the mass of the object and speed at that instance.

For example, if you are speeding and your car hit a tree, the tremendous force will smash up the car and kill you.

As for the fate of my camera, the impact caused the cover of the battery compartment to break open and the battery tumbled out. The screen and lens were OK. I put the parts back quite easily. It can still function but now pictures taken look like this:

October 24, 2008

Car accident

Getting into an accident, even a minor one, gives you a lot of inconvenience and repairs are expensive. Even if you don't have to pay, it may affect your insurance premium. So drive with care.

I had a small unfortunate accident not long ago. The damages are shown below. Inside, one top corner of the radiator was dislodged from the front of the car but the car could still be driven normally. How much you think repairs cost?

OK, give you answers to choose, to the nearest $100: $800, $1200, $1600, $2000

Fortunately, I had an eye-witness and I think the other side was honest when making his report. But still there was the hassle of taking down particulars & taking photos, reporting, sending to workshop, looking for witness to get his statement, etc, etc.

The workshop claim advisor told me that if the other party admits that it is his fault, get him to write it down and sign it on the spot, lest he changes his mind and blames you later on.

October 18, 2008

Some interesting pictures

These pictures are copied from other blogs.

Rock formation - what creature do you see ?

- see, the woman's face and the face on the book cover in almost perfect alignment

, three-inch feet - women in ancient China bound their feet to fit into these tiny shoes

Pain - I think this is from Shanice's blog.

October 13, 2008


Writers normally name their stories in sequence - Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, ....

This story book I'm reading, the writer named his chapters 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13,17, 19, and so on. The last chapter is 233.

Do you recognize these numbers? Yes, they are prime numbers or primes.

Remember what primes are? Well, they are numbers which have 2, and only two, factors and the factors are itself and 1.

So, 4 is not a prime number because it has 3 factors - 1, 2, 4. Also, 1 is not a prime number because it has only 1 factor - 1.

Mathematicians are intrigued by prime numbers because prime numbers have no formula and there are also no patterns. There is no formula to tell you if a very big number, say 21203, is a prime number or not. There is also no formula to find out for example what is the 1000
th prime number.

Mathematicians may know the largest prime number to date but there is always the next one waiting to be discovered.

All these may be useless information for us. But I read that prime numbers have some very important applications. They have to do with secret codes.

The fact that the writer used prime numbers to name his chapters tells us that he loves mathematics.

October 11, 2008

Braised mei cai with pork

Not long ago I read YG's blog post about how to prepare this dish. So I tried it out with sweet mei cai and not-so-fat pork. It is quite easy but you must wash the mei cai (mui choy in cantonese) clean and soak it in water for at least 30 minutes.

The picture doesn't look very appealing but don't be fooled by its look.
The taste is not bad. I would rate it 6.5/10. But as teachers like to tell us 'there is room for improvement'.

By the way there was a principal who used to write the same remark in the report book of every sec 1 pupil, from the top pupil in standard to the last. You know what he wrote? Just four words:

You must rearrange the letters. I think like that more fun for you.

Coming: 厦门高甲戏, see Chinese Opera Performance

October 05, 2008

My Singapore

I bought this book recently. From the caricatures of the characters, I think you can recognize many of them. Below are some pages from the book.

An Aussie's experience performing Cantonese opera for the first time.

October 03, 2008

Another look at the Monty Hall Problem

The book I was referring to looks at the Monty Hall Problem the following way which sounds logical to me:

Suppose Door 1 and Door 2 has a goat behind it and Door 3, the Car. Possible outcome:

You choose Door 1, the host reveals Door 2.
You switch doors, you WIN

You choose Door 2, the host reveals Door 1.
You switch, you WIN

You choose Door 3.
The host reveals either Door 1 or 2
You switch, you LOSE

So if you switch, your chance is 2 in 3 or 66.7%.

In other words, if you don't switch, actually nothing has changed. The host is just revealing the doors to you one by one. So your chance is the same as the original, 1 in 3 and not 1 in 2.

Revealing a door when you have already made your choice does not improve your chance if you do nothing.

Hahaha, logical or not?

October 02, 2008

The Monty Hall Problem

When I first read about the Monty Hall Problem I didn't pay much attention to it. Recently MK wrote something about this. A book I am reading has a chapter about it too. If you have not heard of it before, here it is :

You are in a game show on TV. In this show, the idea is to win a car as a prize. The host of the show shows you 3 doors. He tells you there is a car behind one of the doors and there are goats behind the other two doors. He asks you to pick a door. So you pick a door. Then the host, who knows what is behind each door, opens a door you didn't pick to reveal a goat. He says that you have a final chance to change your mind and ask you if you want to pick another door.

What should you do? Do you have a better chance if you change and pick the other door instead?

Most people think it doesn't matter. Whichever remaining door you choose the chance is 1 in 2 or 50:50. Not true. If you change your door, the chance is higher, 2 in 3.

It is quite intriguing and not easy to understand but it could be proved.

If you are interested, search for Monty Hall problem and read it up.

I tried out the game with 3 cards, one card with the word CAR written on it and the other two cards with the word GOAT. Every time I changed the original card I had picked. Results: 7 out of 10 times I got a car. That means if I didn't change the card I got a car only 3 out of 10 times.

September 26, 2008

makan nasi ayam

Last week I was sitting next to a Malay elderly lady while waiting outside the consultation room at the Polyclinic. She asked me something in Malay. I did not understand everything but I guessed she asked me if I had been waiting long. 10 minutes only. I gave her a three-word reply in Malay.

Then she started talking to me in Malay. Oh no, I don't understand. So I told her so with six Malay words - 'my malay no good cannot speak'. She understood and nodded.

Actually I took a Malay course for beginners long ago at night classes conducted by the Adult Education Board which had many courses for adults who wanted to improve themselves. There is no more AEB now. I think beginners was equivalent to mid-primary level.

Malay is our National Language, you know.

After many years of neglect and unuse, I think 95% of what I learnt were already forgotten. The title words belong to the remaining 5%. (Anyone knows if unuse can be used as a noun?)

So if you are learning a language or want to improve in it, you must use it - speak, read and write.

September 24, 2008

Opera snippets

These pictures are from a recent opera magazine.
Leong Siu Meng, wife and son

His troupe's HQ and dormitory

Rehearsing for a coming show

Here are 4 huadans without opera make-up. Can you recognize them?

September 16, 2008


I just paid a parking fine at Sing Post. It was really a penalty for my own carelessness rather than a fine for violating any parking rule.

It was quite windy. I guess when I banged the door shut, a gust of wind lifted up the parking coupon from the edge of the dashboard and then it drifted down onto the floorboard.

The receipt for the parking fine was a long one because it got a lot of free things. You just have to show the receipt to get them:

1. Additional 5% petrol discount at all Caltex Stations.

2. Get $1 off Shaw movie ticket.

3. Get 5% off your bill at KBox.

I suppose these are to encourage you to use SingPost and not encourage you to break traffic rules.

Until recently, I didn't know you can pay road tax at SingPost. I used to pay road tax at my insurance company, INCOME. And you can pay other bills at SingPost too. Sometimes you can also buy things like computers and cameras. This branch I went to also has an officer from an insurance company to give you advice.

Once upon a time the post-office was just place where you went to post letters or buy stamps.

September 14, 2008


This is a Japanese fruit liqueur. According to the label it is 100% honey and also got royal jelly. Bought this bottle from the DFS at Changi Airport last year. Never tried this before. I like the dull-looking fruits in the bottle.

Two days ago I performed the opening ceremony. Hee hee, I even had a 'guest-of-honour' - Samak. He was on tv.

I drank some mixed with ice. At first I thought it would be like those cream liquor which are too sweet for my liking. But no, it is not too sweet - sweetness merged with some sourness. The taste suits me. You can also mix it with hot water.

Alcohol 15% which is quite low compared to the 40% in cognac and whisky.

Today is Mid-Autumn Festival.
Cheers, everyone.

September 08, 2008

Beer girls

Two evenings ago I went to the upgraded food centre at Smith Street, Chinatown, and walked around the place to have a look. I have been there just after the upgrading but didn't walk around.

It was quite warm. No rain today. There were quite a lot of people. A few stalls I used to patronize are still there. The lady boss at Heng Kee still remembers me although I really didn't eat there often.

At one section there were groups of men drinking beer at several tables. A few already have several empty beer bottles on their tables. It reminded me of something interesting.

It was before the upgrading. I was having dinner with a friend at a stall. At a table nearby some men were drinking beer and having food.
One middle-age dark-skin man was smoking and later he let the cigarette butt drop onto the floor.

I happened to be looking in that direction and saw it, but I was not thinking about littering. Maybe I looked at him one second too long. A surprising thing happened.

After hesitating for a second or two, he picked up the butt and put it on a plate on the table. Unexpected, right?

Later we had a good laugh. Hahaha! Maybe he has been fined before and he thought I was an officer from the Environment Ministry.

Ops! Nothing about beer girls yet, wait you say my title misleading ... Well, I also saw two beer girls serving beer at the tables but they were not the young sexy type.

Old Picture
Movie and opera stars of yesteryears - can you recognize any of them ...

September 06, 2008


Rediffusion is selling Lee Dai Soh 6-CD box sets. The CDs, titled 蛇鬼山斗蛊記, cost S$18 per set and come in very attractive packaging. (Lee Dai Soh was a well-known story-teller in the 60s and 70s.)

Those who subscribe to Rediffusion will get a Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) receiver set
free-of-charge. The set produces crisp, clear and interference-free digital sound.

If you are interested please read this post for details:

September 04, 2008

慈母心 游子情


... 游子唸 - 紅線女

September 02, 2008


Do you know there are quite a lot of Chinese (including Cantonese) opera videos at And a few videos are very long. I think youku doesn't have the 10-minute limit as in YouTube. But youku is in Chinese.

Someone sent me a mail recommending me to use youku.

Here are some cantonese operas at youku:

At Kreta Ayer People's Theatre, last Saturday:

See, a man sitting at side of the third row had set his cam to take videos of the shows but his cam was poking up so high. I was sure it blocked the views of some people. Sure enough, later two women complained to a lady, I think a member of the organizing committee, and she changed their seats. What about those who didn't complain? Luckily it didn't block me. I think the organizers shouldn't allow this (the video cam blocking the audience).

I saw this happened before. Then, one brave woman went up to the man and I guessed she told him off.

August 23, 2008


One night last week there was a religious function at the ground floor of a block nearby. They was a small gathering and there were two or three tables and food. The next morning I saw this rubbish stacked near the rubbish dump.

See the tray of food ... what a waste, isn't it? Quite sinful too. I wonder why couldn't they ask the guests take the food away or keep it for the next day. You know, the first thought that came to my mind - Some people really don't need the Government's help package.

At a supermarket in Marine Parade. Isn't it irresponsible to let a kid, quite a big one here, sit in a trolley. It could cause injuries to himself and others and damages to things if the trolley topples. A young girl was pushing the trolley, could be his sister or maid. How do you think the big kid got into the trolley?