July 30, 2010


There are several opera videos by this name at Chinese video sites like Tudou. It was performed by 罗家宝 and 曾慧. But I didn't find any in YouTube. Below is a different one by 蔣文端.

July 28, 2010

fish jaws

Did you read about the giant 220kg grouper fish (not the one in the picture) which a restaurant boss bought for $6000? The whole fish has already been eaten up.

No, I didn't go and eat the fish. This is fish jaws steamed with simple ingredients. Judging by the jaws, the fish must be quite big. The pieces you see here are the lower jaws including the lips and cheeks.
The teeth cannot be eaten. If you are a fish eater, I think you would like this.

July 26, 2010

$ x % = $ ??

If you are a Maths teacher and you go shopping with a friend, probably you will be asked to do the calculations like finding the price after discount. Why ask me, you said. 'You teach Maths, right?' Some people assume that Math teachers are Maths wizards.

All of us study Maths in school and we take it at O level. We know the basics, so you don't need to be a Maths teacher to calculate things like 20% of $65.
Most of us can still remember how to do it, right?

I think you are aware that hawkers at wet markets can do their calculations very fast. For example if the fish is $9.50 per kg. The fishmonger puts a fish on a simple weighing scale which only reads the weight and he tells you almost immediately "400g, $3.80, I sell you $3.50"
. I guess it is not very accurate, maybe they read to the nearest 50g.

I think it is because of frequent practice or perhaps they have memorized tables of weights and prices like we used to memorize our multiplication timetables when we were in school.

July 23, 2010

The Time-warp Woman

Hello friends, especially the nostalgic ones, do you feel that the world is moving too fast and that not all changes are good for mankind? Would you like to live your life as it were, say, 20 ... 30 ... or 40 years ago?

This eccentric woman shut herself off from the outside world. She lived in a surrealistic world where time stood still right up to the time her life ended. It happened in London. This is an old newspaper cutting.

July 21, 2010

Income gap

I was reading something. The writer was not quite happy with growth. He said it only makes the rich richer.

It makes me think a bit about the income gap between the rich and the poor. This is not unique to Singapore. Many countries, including China, have this problem. Just share with you my simple view on a complicated issue.

I think it is inevitable that the gap increases because the rich have more money to invest. Money makes money. The professionals will get higher pay increases and bigger bonuses than the blue-collar workers. So it is very difficult to narrow the gap. We can't stop (and should not) the rich from getting richer; but we can help the others to earn more and give the very poor a safety net.. Whatever, I think the gap will widen.

On the positive side, it is not a bad thing for the rich to get richer because they will spend more too and pay more consumption tax or GST. They will also have to pay more income tax. In fact the more they earn, a higher percentage of their income goes to income tax. Much of these taxes will be go back to society for the benefit of the community and to help the poorer people.

If the rich do not make money or start to earn less, it means the economy is not doing well. There is little or no growth. The poor would be more badly affected.

One important thing is that the rich must not flaunt their wealth and the poor must not be resentful of the rich.

July 19, 2010


You know, during this World Cup season, I didn't bet a single dollar on any match. Not that I listened to Uncle Dick who always advises people not to gamble. Just that I didn't have the urge. Although I have no psychic pets to help me, I predicted the outcome of both semi-finals and the final game correctly. I was thinking of investing in a pet like a bird or a fish and training it to pick cards.

Weekend, I met up with an old friend. He likes to talk nostalgic things. He told me he met a former principal recently. He is Mr Naidu. Some pupils used to call him 92 (same sound). He was a tall man with a lofty air around him. Some old Victorians may remember him as he was a principal of Victoria School before. He must be in his 70s now. According to my friend, he is still alert and sprightly and is chairman or president of something. Good for seniors to keep active.

Recently I went to a Starhub Centre to get something done. The person who attended to me was a tall young man, pleasant and polite. I thought he looked a bit like Mingde. I think he is new in the job because several times he had to ask the female colleague next to him for advice. And she helped him, cheerfully too. It is nice to have a colleague like that.

July 17, 2010


That day a young lady used a needle to poke me twice. No, I have not offended her. I was also not playing the fool with her, like trying to put a sticker on the front of her body.

I was at a clinic. She was the nurse trying to draw my blood. She pricked my right arm with the needle of the syringe. Then she pulled the handle. But only a little blood flowed into the tube. So she pushed the needle further in. Ouch! Still not much blood.

Not enough sir, I NEED MORE BLOOD : she proclaimed. I thought she sounded gleeful.

Those were chilling words. That means she would do it all over again. So, she took another syringe and pricked my left arm. Thankfully she got the blood she wanted. Otherwise don't know where she would poke me next.

Good, sir. I have enough blood : She said, as if she just drank it.

First time I got two pricks from a nurse.

July 15, 2010

distance-based fare

I think the distance-based fare is a reasonable one. People who often travel long distances complained because they have to pay more. But, in future their travel pattern might change. Looking at it another way, it means in the past people who travelled longer distances were given concession but now this is not so.

By the way I don't think it is possible for everyone to benefit from every policy change.

Elderly citizens using concessionary cards and who frequently travel long distances are also unhappy. But the important thing is that they still have concession although some may benefit less than before.

It would be good if there is a distance-based road tax structure - the more you use your car on the road the more road tax you pay. If you don't drive out from your car-park, you pay zero road tax. It is not the same as ERP which is mainly to alleviate road congestion. It only charges you for using certain roads during certain times.

July 13, 2010

lao 勞

In the third post below this I mentioned 2 singers (易翠苹, 勞天賜) with rare surnames Yi and Lao. According to this report in the Sunday papers, Lao is indeed very rare. There are only about 500 people with this surname. This is the lo clan's website: http://www.lo-family.net/

July 11, 2010

adults at play

Last month I saw a funny scene outside the Kreta Ayer People's Theatre. An opera troupe from China was performing during that period. It was early evening and two artistes were outside.

The man crept quietly up to the woman's back. Then, I think, he pretended to paste something on her back. She turned around and he darted away. Quite amusing ... suddenly they looked like primary school kids up to their childish antics.

So, don't think only children play the fool, adults too.

July 07, 2010

singapore huadan

Taking video clips takes up a lot of space in my camera card. For example, the clip below is just 45 seconds but it is 74.5MB in size. Anyone knows how to reduce the size of a video clip without affecting quality and length? Or how to make a clip brighter or darker ?

July 04, 2010

some photos

The following photos were from different performances by local groups in June. Any of your friends there?

This is a unique and mismatching pair - their surnames that is. Both surnames yi and lao are rare and they are almost opposite in meaning: yi means easy or simple while lao means labour or toil.

易翠苹, 勞天賜

鐘麗容, 蔡美雲




司儀 - 陳淑樺

盧少玲, 陳沛誠

洪清芳, 周汶姿


陳春喜, 盧少玲

Here is a short song clip by Kwan Siu Peng.

偷祭瀟湘館 - 關小萍

July 02, 2010


Recently I asked an acquaintance, a regular at Cantonese opera shows, why he didn't take up singing. He was frank. 'How to learn? I don't recognize words' he said in Cantonese. It means he is illiterate.

Initially I was a bit surprised because he was not that old. Then I thought there could be a number of people like him. I guess it was about 45 years ago when he was of school-going age. Education was not compulsory then. Some parents did not send their children to school. Some had no money; a few thought it was not necessary for their children, especially girls, to have an education. But I believe many of these children later attended some adult classes. And those who managed to go to university were a fortunate lot.

That means there is still a group of older Singaporeans who could not read. So, teaching them to go online would be quite difficult. And I suppose certain upgrading programmes for workers would also not benefit them.