Archive for November, 2009

FINALLY!

November 27, 2009

My first ‘DSLR’!!! (actually, it’s a micro 4/3 system but work like a DSLR) My Panasonic GF1.

It was a hard decision to make. I had wanted a Canon DSLR for years. It all started when we needed to hire a wedding photographer in ’07. The ability to capture the right moment and see beauty in the mundane excited me. Good photographers bring a picture to life (check out feldberyl although I didn’t get him for our big day). Further inspired by beautiful blogs like nordjlus, I was convinced that I would get a DSLR some day. However, cost stopped me each time. I needed to consider carefully if I was prepared to invest in lenses which can cost more than the body itself! Also, I was concerned with the bulk and weight of the DSLR.

Hence when the micro four thirds system was announced. I was ecstatic. It is a bridge between the DSLR prowess and Compact camera compactness. However, being a relatively new concept, I was apprehensive. But after reading reviews and comparing photographs on DPreview. I decided to go ahead with it.

It was A VERY LONG WAIT for the stocks to arrive. But it was WORTH IT.

I love the images and effects that the camera could do with the lenses. The photos are taken in Auto Mode. Also, I only have the 20mm Pancake Lenses. I am looking forward to the 14-45mm to arrive next month! I would love to imagine the day when I am able to use the manual function!

We went to Dessert Bowl in Serangoon Gardens for some glutinous rice and mango desserts. A great opportunity to test my indoor photography!

I am just looking forward to all the beautiful photos I can take in europe. The daylight there is beautiful. Panasonic GF1 is simply amazing and I have no regrets at all!

 

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insead open house

November 17, 2009

MBA is a big thing these days. I used to scoff at the idea of MBAs. I am a firm believer that business is an acumen and cannot be taught. Being good is not enough. You must be a visionary (think Steve Jobs). THIS cannot be taught in school.

When W decided to do his MBA, we picked up this book ‘What They Teach You At Harvard Business School’ to understand more about MBA school and the student psyche. This book was hilarious and offered amazing insights on what goes on behind the scenes. Top tier MBA schools are fiercely competitive and it is BIG BUSINESS. It is amazing to see the humongous amount of literature and blog analysis on MBAs. It’s an obsession! Although core beliefs still remain, some of my perspectives on MBA have changed over the years. I now think it is an excellent tool for networking and it forces you to deal with a fiercely competitive environment created by diverse characters and nationalities.

My first brush with MBA school (as a Partner) was at the Insead Singapore Campus Open House last Saturday. It was an eye opener. I rarely have friends from foreign countries. And as a designer, the notion of meeting so many bright Finance sparks on one campus was daunting. Some were friendly, some intense and some looked fierce. These characters fascinate me. I wonder at their reasons for doing an MBA. (According to the Career Services Chart, apart from the obvious, money + promotions, career switch is THE next most popular reason why an MBA is taken up.) I also began to understand why Insead emphasizes on diversity. There are no minority nor majority groups. The tendency to create your own Singaporean clique is tough. You are ‘forced’ to mix around. Like the Dean said. ‘When you are out there, you don’t get to choose who you work with, the nationalities you work with or context you work in. You deal with it.’ TOUGH.

One professor was particularly interesting. His main highlight was not about the academia but attitude. He recounted this incident when during dinner, his girlfriend remarked that the sashimi slice was fishy and since he was not a fish lover, the comment spoiled his omakase experience. He highlighted that if he had not known, the experience would have been more pleasant. This is apparently a popular psychology theory. He wants the students to be aware. To steer away from negativity and be positive about the challenges. Nice reminder.

The talks were very well organized and the Q&A sessions provided alot of insights (on both students and staff). I was glad to have attended. I want to be part of W’s journey and I am really looking forward to stories of interesting people and events that would soon come. The interesting professor also introduced this book ‘The Art of Travel’ and I would be picking it up soon!

my first french lesson

November 11, 2009

IS CONDUCTED ONLINE!

BECAUSE. Our French Tutor resides in Tokyo. How cool is that!

We could not sign up for group classes in Alliance Francais due to our schedules so we decided to go for private tuition classes instead. However, AF tuition classes cost a whopping S$82/hr for 1-3 persons. It was simply too much for us to bear. W found this website French Faster and we decided to go with them only to realise that they have converted to online learning!

We had some reservations initially but decided to give the 1 hour trial lesson a go, to see how it could work out. It was amazing!

We communicated via skype. I was always skeptical with internet video chats because of the quality and intonations is a major concern when learning a language. But my worries were put to rest. Nageeb, the tutor, was clear and systematic in delivering his materials. We were comfortable with his style of teaching and analysis. SO. We have decided to sign up!

Well, I guess only time will tell if Nageeb’s teaching would pull us through. We’ll see *wink*.

prince coffee house

November 10, 2009

CrownPrince

Another ancient discovery!

I used to frequent the malls in Bukit Timah during my secondary school years because of my piano classes but I had NEVER stepped into Prince Coffee House in Coronation Plaza! In fact, I never knew it existed.

Until one fine day, after clarifying some matters regarding our visa applications at the French Embassy, W brought me to this really old-school restaurant with really stuffy aunties. Haha. Despite its decor, it attracted a steady flow of students. They were familiar with the restaurant, knew where they like to sit, knew what to order and knew where to get their free flow of soft drinks! Likewise, it was amusing watching the aunties. They were like grandmothers dishing out food for the kids. I was wondering how much pocket money the students get each month. Until I realise the restaurant offers discounted set meals to students.

It was an interesting experience having food in this really retro restaurant with mirrored walls, like pixels. I ordered the Pork Chop Set which came with soup, bread and coffee/tea whilst W ordered the Beef Hor Fun. The food is good for the price. The set was really cheap so I believe I’ll be dropping by the next time I submit my visa applications!

old cucumber soup

November 8, 2009

Wintermelon

INGREDIENTS

> 600g Pork Bones (or chicken)

> Dried Red Dates, Wolfberries & Dried Scallops

> 1 Old Cucumber (lao huang gua)

> 2 Litres Water

> Salt to taste

Put the pork bones into a pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil a further 5 mins to remove the blood. Wash the cooked pork bones and scrape off any traces of blood. Discard the used water. Prepare another 2 Litres of water and place the pork bones into the pot. Bring to a boil. Add the Red Dates, Wolfberry and Dried Scallops and simmer on low fire for 2 hours. Stop the fire and cool. 3 hours before dinner, bring soup to a boil and add cucumber. Simmer the soup until ready to serve for dinner.

The longer the soup is simmered, the tastier it would be. However, I like to cool the soup and allow the flavours to seep before re-simmering. Saves gas this way too! Hence, the soup is usually prepared in the mornings. However, do note that the cucumber disintegrates easily, so add them later.

Old Cucumber : The more wrinkles at the ends, the better. Scrub the cucumber. Slice the cucumbers and scrape off the seeds. Do not remove the skin otherwise it would disintegrate, forming a mushy messy soup.

Fontainebleau

November 2, 2009

HERE I COME!!!

My deepest apologies to dear friends who were not infomed. I had lost my handphone earlier (stolen to be exact) and I did not do a backup of my contacts. ARGH! On top of it, with the late notice that W got, we were in a rush to get our visas prepared.

Yep. I am leaving in December and Fontainebleau will be my home for the next 6 -11 months. I am gonna miss you guys ALOT. But fret not! A year will pass in a flash and I’ll be looking forward to more tea sessions when I am back!

Do visit me when you are in France during Spring AND just to tempt you abit further, Paris is just a 45 minutes trainride away! Think of London, Brussels and Amsterdam! They are all within reach in just 2-4 hours! OR we can do forest trails or hiking too! Hehe.

So do stay in touch and to my friends, please remember to sms me your number too!