Thursday, June 30, 2005

Say Hi to Hoops & Yoyo

Hoops & Yoyo help keep the place tidy by holding all my rings Posted by Hello

Haven't introduced my current "pets" since live ones are not feasible now. See Hoops and Yoyo - a cute pink cat and a green rabbit, courtesy of the nice people at Hallmark. You can also see more fun stuff related to them at Check out the e-cards! They provide real good laughs.

I got them on the condition that I would send photos of them back at Hallmark so they have gone on trips with us to the Mornington Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road and have nice pictures to show for it! One of the photos were up on the website once but now it got overtaken by the loads of pictures other people send so I might as well put them up here :)

A giant protest

Protest! Posted by Hello

Oooh today I saw my first large scale protest in the streets over certain workplace laws plans being made by the government. Many unions and workers are not happy at all about their workers' rights being amended and so more than 100,000 people marched down the main street in the city. Of course I was not anywhere near when it happened. I just took a look down from my office window which faces the street they were pouring down. By the way, this is not the view from my office. This is just a picture I got from the newspaper website. I did think of bringing a camera today when I read of the protest last night but then I didn't want to be this ulu fella in office who has never seen a protest before :P

Gee...from an Asian country, you would rarely get to see such sights. Here, there are little protests going on once in a while but this was really quite massive. Apparently they have not got one this big for a while. So these people are really trying to get a message across. Power man...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Views from the balcony

Wake up to a foggy view on most mornings so I thought I would take a picture to show the contrast in views :) I know the comparison is like apples to oranges (morning - evening; autumn - winter) but well, you get the idea anyway.

Baking day again!

Cupcakes! Posted by Hello

Was quite encouraged by my successful round of cookies previously so I decided to bake something again today :) All the cookies in the last round got gobbled up mostly by myself because they were yummy!

Yes I know they look like the cookies in the last round but these are cakes...I just like to have the cherries in all my baked stuff...Hehehe! They taste good too but did not really rise to the levels I imagined. Unfortunately, I also burnt a knuckle when I was moving the cakes around in the hot oven! :(

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Thoughts on transport

It is really interesting to read about transport in the news here. Last week, we heard about 3 fare conductors who actually got beaten up by 2 men who did not pay up their tram fares. Yesterday, due to a water leakage and the risk of water getting to high voltage electrical systems in the train control room, they had to shut down the entire train system for 2 hours, inconveniencing thousands of passengers. Today, the transportation company actually launched a campaign against fare evasion. Some people think this is really bad timing given what happened yesterday...I sort of think so too. But more than that, I find it funny that they actually bother planning advertising campaigns when they could be spending their money and efforts reviewing why people do not pay to use transport at times and try to address those areas.

I don't profess to be an expert at urban transportation planning but I feel that compared to Singapore, this is really far off. For one, the fare structure puts people off because fares are so generally structured and it is not cheap. If you just wanted a short tram ride because your legs are tired, you would have to pay the same fare at minimum as someone who wanted to run errands for 2 hours all over the place (which is not really likely anyway, how much can you travel in 2 hours?). If you wanted to go shopping for more than 2 hours just out of walking distance, you would have to pay a full day's tram fare of $5.90. We do tons of walking here as a result. I think the fare structure should generally be based on distance, not time. If you could pay a smaller fare for a short distance travelled, people would not be so adverse paying up because it really does look fairer.

The system is also based on trust - only the city train stations do not allow access without a card. But everywhere else, it is really just up to your conscience. With such expensive transport fares, many people's conscience just decide to sit in their pockets together with their dollar notes (since the tram ticket machines only accept coins!).

Am I glad that most of the time I don't have to take any transport!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Rest & relax

Spent a rather quiet weekend this going to Smith Street for us this time...Phew! :P Saturday was just spent walking around the city. We did a Spring St --> Collins St --> Elizabeth St --> Lonsdale St round and got home before it got dark. Nothing really much in terms of shopping.

Today we went to Bridge Road. Thought that since the sale season is on, there might be good buys at the factory outlets. Actually didn't plan on buying anything (like who am I kidding)...but well...ended up with 2 skirts from Country Road (at additional 40% off the factory outlet prices! Woo hoo!) and 1 more from Review. Eeeek!

No photos for today since there was nothing really interesting in terms of pictures. The street views are the typical winter look with the botak trees down both sides giving the impression that it is really cold. Then again it actually was at 3 degrees this morning, so we got out of the house all bundled up in thick coats, beanie and gloves (the works). Then it got to something like probably 15-16 degrees in the afternoon and I sort of felt a bit silly...well, who's to know?

Just to add some fuzzy warmth to this page, here is a cute picture of Small Bunny (courtesy of Mathilda) :)

Hmm...what's there to eat? Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Effects of cold weather

Well the weather has been rather constant and not too bad for winter so far. Unfortunately, there are still some effects of the cold lurking around. I sneezed a big sneeze yesterday and tore two slits in my lower lip. It was rather shocking, the feeling of your lips ripping like they were paper. Funny thing was that my lips weren't even feeling dry before that happened. They must be drying out from the inside or something. Couldn't really smile or laugh properly today without the lips threatening to split up again :( Also had some head pain yesterday probably due to too much cold wind blowing while walking to and from work. Wonder if I should be wearing a beanie to work...but I don't really want to have hat hair in the office.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Baking day

Cookie time! Posted by Hello

Haven't really got the time to bake ever since I started to work so I resolved to do so today when I got home. Phew! Just spent 2 hours in the kitchen and I've got here a nice batch of crunchy cookies with rice bubbles, chocolate chips and cherries :)

Nothing like the nice warm smell of cookies when it is cold outside...And it tastes real good too! :)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

“Kenkou Jukun” – Ten rules to a Healthy Lifestyle

Tea cup sayings Posted by Hello

1. Shouniku Tasai – Eat less meat, eat more vegetables
2. Shouten Tasu – Intake less salt, intake more vinegar
3. Shoutou Taka – Intake less sugar, intake more fruits
4. Shoushoku Taha – Eat small cuts of food, chew well
5. Shoui Tayoku – Wear less clothing, exfoliate and bathe well
6. Shougou Tagyo – Don’t talk about doing something, just do it!
7. Shouyoku Tasi – Desire less, give generously to others
8. Shoyu Tamin – Worry less, sleep well
9. Shousha Taho – Drive a lot less, walk a lot more
10. Shoufun Ta-Shou – Don’t be angry, be happy – Smile & laugh more!

Great advice isn't it? :)

Another weekend goes by

Had a rather fun Sunday today. We went to South Melbourne to visit the market there together with Charli. Along the way we also saw some nice home furnishing shops and the Made In Japan ( warehouse outlet! I got some nice Japanese fabric...thought I might try to make something out of it. Darlink got some nice tea cups which had some useful advice on it (in Japanese of course but there was a translation). Thought it might be good to share this with everyone. See

We had brunch at Cafe Sweethearts which according to some food review has "No fewer than 53 brekkie options are available (more if you count side dishes), including pancakes with berries, eggs-any-way". I LOVE BREAKFAST!! It was tough deciding on what pancakes to choose but Charli and I actually ended up with the same one even. Food was good and other people's food looked good too. Guess we can always go back again (maybe next week and the week after and the week some street we keep going to you will soon find out).

When we finally got to the market, it was bustling with people as I guess Sunday is marketing day. We got quite a lot of stuff from there: A giant fishbowl, the preservative-free turkey :), nice-smelling handmade soaps, bread, 3 boxes of tea and 5 bars of chocolate. Charli got an entire 5-piece pots and pans set for quite a good deal and a pair of boots too!

We lugged all the purchases home and since it was only about 3+, guess where we were going to rush to next? No prizes man, because if you have been following this blog, weekends are now not complete without a visit to...the famed Smith Street for the record-breaking 10th week in a row! I think that if the Smith Street neighbourhood association realised what faithful visitors we have been to that stretch of road, without being a salesperson in the shops or a resident in the area, we would definitely be featured in the local weekly newspaper :P.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Hooray! It is Friday!

Another week flashes is incredible how the days just go by so quickly everyday. I have been here for 3 months and 1 week already. I put down 3 months I actually feel that it has been longer though...

After work today, I go for my usual "treat" at the Melbourne Central pet shop and guess what we have today? 2 cute Japanese Spitz puppies! Puffy balls of white fur (although this is not so apparent in the photo but aren't they cute anyway?)! These are rather expensive even compared to Singapore puppy prices - $1,495!! But I guess they would still cost more there.

Japanese Spitz puppies! Posted by Hello

Was in a bit of a shopping mood so went for a walk around the city. There are sales all over the place. Sort of realised that Melbourne is rather good for shopping. One of those places where there always seems to be a sale on somewhere or other. Went to one of my favourite nice clothes shops, Mazi ( to admire what they have and found that they were having a 20% off storewide. Still a bit expensive for me after admiring all the stuff in the shop, I sadly leave with nothing. Went to Target instead (that is one of my favourite places because it is cheaper!) and Myer later with Darlink when he was done with work (that is one of his favourite places now that the sales are on).

Wonder what we will do this weekend...hmmm maybe we will go to the South Melbourne Market to get the very nice no-preservative turkey I got from there previously. Just hope that we don't make it 10-in-a-row-without-a-break to Smith Street again!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

It's starting to feel like winter

Oooh the weather these days is starting to feel like how winter should be...after people around have been saying that I am lucky that it has not been very cold. It's getting rainy and the winds are very chilly! Temperature is around 10 degrees +/- 5.

Today I was listening to the radio and there was mention that there might be hail! I have never seen hail before and was slightly looking forward to seeing some. Anyway, none turned out so my hail watch will wait for another day (hopefully when I am safely indoors :)).

Le-Anne sent me pics of her new currently unnamed Jack Russell girl puppy. Cute ah? Sigh! Pet-less me is rather envious right now...

Le-Anne new doggy! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Green fingers?

Little seedlings coming up! Posted by Hello

Look at my plants growing (these were the ones planted on my birthday and so now they are 10 days old)! The rainy weather these past few days have been good for the plants I guess as they get lots of moisture sitting out on the balcony. These little shoots appeared after I came back from my GOR trip.

More flowers to come! Posted by Hello

I got more seeds to plant while we were on our trip as well. There will be 20 freesias growing in my "garden" soon when spring comes! :) I guess that is one of the nice things here as well, being able to grow nice flowers with the cool weather.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Our Great Ocean Road trip!

Erskine Falls with Hoops & Yoyo Posted by Hello

Fantastic four at Twelve Apostles! Posted by Hello

Two whole days of lots of driving and enjoying the changing scenery at many different spots along the way! Our trip to the Great Ocean Road gave us the opportunity to see beautiful sea views, lots and lots of cows and sheep and tall dark forests. See this for some idea of some of the places we went to:

Day One: Our first stop after getting out of the city was at Torquay which is also known as Australia's surf capital. We saw the large Quiksilver, Billabong and Ripcurl shops and the shopaholic side of everyone immediately sprang out. Using taking a break as an excuse, we all stopped over at this unplanned stop and proceeded to visit all the big surf brand shops. Well, nothing was really that cheap so after a while we continued on as planned to Lorne.

On the way, we stopped at Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet to take in the nice coastal views. We then headed to Lorne which is a pretty town with lively beaches and nice shops along the main road. We had fish & chips for lunch and went to the Erskine Falls.

We chose to go to the Erksine Falls because it is touted as one of the most beautiful falls in the Otways and it did not disappoint. The falls are located in a lush cool rainforest and we had to climb down 250 steps to see the bottom of the falls and take some great pics. The waterfall is beautiful! However, the pics did not come cheap as we then had to climb back up the 250 muddy forest trail stairs to get out again...I puffed and panted most of the way up pulling my suddenly lead-like legs up the stairs.

We then tried to rush to the Otway tree top walk which was somewhere around Lavers Hill (turned out to be about 2.5 hours away) but by the time we got there at about 4.30pm, they were not letting people in as it would soon get dark. What a disappointment!! We would not have the time to go back again this round.

We went back to Apollo Bay for dinner as that was one of the larger towns near our motel (Skenes Creek Lodge motel) and then checked in at about 7.30pm. We spent the evening playing cards (our favourite past time now with Charli and Johnny) and settled down to sleep for the day at midnight. I could hear the powerful sea breeze blowing the whole night as we were facing the ocean.

Day Two: We all got up bright and early before 7am and headed towards Port Campbell to see the famed Twelve Apostles. More beautiful views and lots of photos! The winds were really cold too! We then headed to our next important destination for the day which was to see the whales hanging out at Logan's Beach in Warrnambool, another 2+ hours drive east. The bay is regular visiting spot for the Southern right whales which come to feed, give birth and nurse their calves each winter.

To my big disappointment, there were no whales to be seen after we got there and waited for a while!! Apparently a speedboat had passed by a while before we came and scared off a mother and her calf which could be seen in the area!! Bad speedboat!! Sadly we went off in search for lunch in the Warrnambool city centre.

We did think of going back to try our luck with whale spotting after lunch but got a bit lost along the way and decided to just start heading back for the long drive to Melbourne (3+ hours).

On the whole, we had a fun trip experiencing the fresh cool (sometimes cold) breezes, fabulous coastal views, seeing sheep and cows grazing (and lining up to go back to their shed in the evening!) and sometimes harrowing twisty drives. The roads in many stretches were like some advanced level of Daytona and now Darlink and Johnny who both took turns to drive can both get to say that they drove on the Great Ocean Road.

Sheep looking at us taking photos. Not many people stop just to take photos of sheep so they must have been curious at us. Posted by Hello

Friday, June 10, 2005

Fuzzy animal therapy

Sleepy kitties! Posted by Hello

Hooray it is Friday again! And a Friday for a long weekend at that!

Went for my dose of Fuzzy Animal Therapy after work today and there were these cute kitties! They just woke up from napping and that explains all the sleepy little heads. I WANT ONE!! They only cost $80! Sigh!! I really want to have a pet to cuddle! The only big problem is having no one to take care of it if we go for holidays or back to Singapore and that problem is so big I can't see how to get around it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

What we usually do here

Foosball craze Posted by Hello

Dear darlink thought that it would be good to document (like all good auditors do) what we usually do here for entertainment these days.

Weekdays are all a regular hustle and bustle of getting to work and getting home and trying to get to sleep early so that there is enough rest and that is about it.

Weekends are when Darlink gets really excited because he keeps wanting to go to Smith Street to go factory outlet shopping. Smith Street is where the Nike, Adidas and Quiksilver outlets are and some people really love going there over and over last count we went there 8 weeks in a row!! Amazing huh? But the stuff you can get is really value compared to normal prices out in the city. That is where it sort of spoils the fun of shopping in normal shops...

On the more fun side of shopping for women, we went to an Olga Berg factory outlet one of the Saturdays. Just so you know, Olga Berg is an Australian designer ( who does really nice bags and so Charli and I were really happy there buying presents for ourselves and everyone we could think of (maybe not really everyone...:P we are not that rich yet).

Sundays are when travel is cheap since they introduced a $2.50 whole-day-travel-everywhere kind of ticket. So that is when we travel out to further away places if there are things to see there.

One more of Darlink's recent crazes is playing foosball in his office breakout area (see silly pic). Yes, they actually bought a foosball table for them to play on breaks or after work so now you will probably find him there every evening and sometimes even at night on weekends when we pass by.

This coming weekend is going to be something different. We are going to the Great Ocean Road with Charli and John since there is the Queen's birthday holiday on Monday. Take a read on the website ( so that you have some idea of the places we will be going to! There will be great pictures to see when we get back! :)

Thoughts on work

After about 1 month at work, I still feel quite lonely at times. I think it has something to do with me being a contractor rather than an employee so people do not really see me as being part of them. I am not going to be involved in the year-end process with them (i.e.: having to work late and weekends even) so that will probably make the distance larger. Anyway, who's complaining about not having to work late though :P.

Basically I just do my own stuff everyday, not really talk to anyone because my work is sort of carved out separate from the rest of the people, go lunch with Darlink or Charli and John or buy something in (if I get bored going with Darlink and his colleagues) and go home at about 5.30.

Well, there is good and bad to this whole thing but anyway, hopefully at the end of my one year contract, I can have my own business to work on and not have to find another job again.

This is so different from my time at StatsChippac with Shirley, Cyndy and Elaine around, when there was a lot of camaderie and fun at work although life was much tougher too. I feel it is rather hard to keep up a conversation with the people here because of the different way we speak and probably what we are interested in anyway as well. But I don't even notice that there is much camaderie among the people here on their own anyway because everyone sort of settles their own lunch mostly and not all go out together. Probably it is a different kind of culture altogether?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Thoughts on Small Bunny

This morning was a rather cold and foggy morning. It was about 7 degrees when I woke up and i could see my breath as I walked to work, so I kept puffing my way along :) I think that sort of distracts my mind from the actual cold.

I thought that when I do not have some pressing issues to mention I would write about Small Bunny (aka Bunnitto), my other remaining bunny, Rabbitto Bunny's sidekick, the world's cutest bunny (in my eyes of course). Rabbitto Bunny was cute but not this cute. He was more of a cool and stylo type of bunny.

Small Bunny used to get a bit bullied by Rabbitto since he was the younger one. But he was also Rabbitto's comforter who let him snuggle next to him after Rabbitto was done bullying him and wanted to be friends again.

I get updates on Small Bunny from Mammo and Mathilda who now have the honour of looking after him :). Apparently now he is sort of king of the balcony since he is the only one living there. He also wants to get in the house most of the time now. Maybe to see what everyone is doing or to remind them that he is there :)

I think he is also getting fatter as he gets ALL the food now without Rabbitto to bully him. Look at the cute pic! What a darling!

Small Bunny!

Hmph! If not for the ban on bringing rabbits into Australia, I would have my bunnies with me and not have to go to the pet shop regularly for my "furry animal therapy".

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Happy Birthday to me!

My presents! Posted by Hello

Yesterday was my birthday (just realised it has become June 5)! So old! 29 years old already! I don't really feel that old though, I guess that is what counts :) Age is but a number.

Went to the casino to try my luck since it was supposed to be my lucky day....Hmmm but I don't think it really worked out that way. Sort of decided that gambling is not really for me because the stress of it gave me a headache after that. I think I should just stick to scratchies or lotto at the most. In fact, I think I might have won a little prize for the $25 million draw (of course nothing near $25 million or I would be able to jet around the world and not work anymore)! :P

All the presents I received for my birthday this year are a coatie and dress from Mammo, a top and cute toy from my sis, a bag from my auntie (all that came in a nice big parcel from Singapore), a pretty japanese tea cup from dear Darlink (for my many teas) and a pot of flowers from John & Charlene (so I have something to look after without my furry bunny here). Thank you everyone for the nice presents and good wishes! :)

I also planted some seeds that are supposed to grow flowers in the balcony. Hope that grows well into many pretty flowers in 3 months. Now these seeds have the same birth date as me!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Any excuse for tea!

Any excuse for tea Posted by Hello

Got myself a birthday present - more tea! Been thinking about this one for a while...hehehe! Any excuse to buy more new flavours to try :) So far the chances of me coming out from one of my favourite tea shops with tea is about 70% I guess.

What we have here is Monk Pear from T2 (, one of the nice tea shops around here that regularly sees me flitting around the shelves deciding what to get next. The description for Monk Pear is "a sophisticated tea for lovers of earl grey. the bergamot flavour is enhanced with sweet pear and jasmine blossoms". Sounds good eh...wait till you smell it. I haven't tasted it yet though :P The nice girl at the shop gave me samples so that I can send them to Singapore for my Mammo to try.

My other favourite tea shop is L'Epicier (, a Japanese tea shop in QV, just where my office is. This is great too! I went in last week and came out with a whole sampler of 10 green teas because it got really difficult just trying to pick one. Now I have brought a tea plunger to the office so that I can enjoy all the nice tea leaves instead of the regular tea bags in the pantry.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Don't really know if it is due to the cold weather these days or just the lack of mental stimulation but I can feel sleepy anytime of the day: Morning, after lunch, even at 4pm today! Wonder if anyone notices me falling asleep at work :S Very very bad...

The weather these days averages about 11-12 degrees. Although the cool weather is nice, it does get a little too cold for my liking sometimes and it is really hard to get out of bed in the morning when it is all nice and warm under the quilt.

A rather bad thing happened at lunch today. Was happily eating my vietnamese beef noodles when my teeth suddenly scraped so hard on my tongue that I think I must have lost some tastebuds and a bit of blood in the process. Ken (Darlink's colleague) says that the tongue is the part of the body that heals the fastest. Don't really know if he can be trusted given all the rubbish these guys talk about but I really do hope so. I am talking with a funny lisp for some parts of the rest of the day.

On a good note, I went to buy a scratchie (the scratch and win on the spot lotteries) and won $10 for my pain! :) I also got birthday presents from my Mammo, sis and auntie! Hooray! I have opened them already even though the Day is not here yet :P Hehehhe!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Sunday's church visit

St Patrick's Cathedral Posted by Hello

This is a picture of the church we go to every Sunday. I have been wanting to take pictures of it so I finally brought the camera along last Sunday. Unfortunately, no pictures of the inside because when we got there, the mass was for some special occasion where there were lots of people in military looking uniforms and the service was in some foreign language. We left to go to another church instead. Maybe next week I will be able to get some nice pictures of the inside which is really quite fabulous. Funny why they didn't mention the special service in the last week...

A new project!

Me & dear Rabbitto bunny Posted by Hello

Thought this is going to be a good way to share information about my time here and keep everyone updated on stuff happening here. This project is dedicated to dear Rabbitto bunny who left us for the Rainbow Bridge (where all our other dearly departed hamsters went to also) one month ago. *Sob Sob!!*

Thought I was never going to do this because why would you want to tell everyone about what you are thinking? But then, I realised that this might be a good way to let all the nice people out there who are concerned about me being so far away, keep track of what is happening to me :)

I will try to fit in my already busy schedule, some time to try and update this regularly so do come by when you are free to see what I have been up to.