My trip to Batam over the weekend…
Do you know when Secretary Week is? I don’t, even though I always got treated to a meal by my ex-boss when I was working for him. Last year my current boss gave me a treat too, and this year, she bought long-stemmed roses and chocolates for all the administrative staff in our office. How nice is that?
I need a vase, please…
Ok, I’ve waited long enough to announce this: I’m going to a weekend spa retreat at neighbouring island, Batam! YAY! This is what the place looks like, at least, in photos:
This will be where we’re staying, the KTM Resort. There will be 9 of us, 8 couples (me, my sisters and hubbies) and a friend. We will stay in 2 family cottages. Though I’ve read reviews that the place is quite run-down, I’m thinking if it’s clean it shouldn’t be a problem. Anyway, I like the rustic setting which is very much like the kampong (or village) lifestyle that I never grew up in but had experienced a few times when I was still a kid.
This is the reason we’re heading there:
– Spa Villa
The idea of having spa and massage done while facing the sea is so exciting! The women, that’s us the sisters, will be doing a 180 mins Romantic Spa Package (foot bath, body scrub, body mask, hydro bath & full body massage) . The men, that’s the hubbies and a friend, will do 30 mins foot reflexology OR head/neck/shoulder massage.
Day 2 will be a day of city tour and shopping. We will set off early Saturday morning and come back in the evening on Sunday. Hopefully the weather co-operates even though it’s been a little too crazy lately. I might get a little dizzy while having a massage facing a turbulent sea 😛
In case anyone’s interested, here’s the website:
You see, I was a ‘blanket’ baby and I still am, though I’m no longer a baby or a toddler. I grew up with this habit of carrying a blanket around with me at home, refusing to let it be washed or taken away for any reasons. The smellier, the better I guess it was kind of comforting to have that familiar scent to sleep with. Oh, and it had to be soft, too!
Click here to read more: Judith Remembers…Part 5.
This blog is hopefully not offensive to my American friends and readers. Sitting here watching the documentary, The Children of Agent Orange, 40 years after Agent Orange, I just can’t help asking this:
America, what have you done to the people of Vietnam all those years ago?
After so many decades, the herbicides containing dioxins used in the warfare is still affecting the people of Vietnam and the Americans who served in the war between 1962 and 1971. You won’t believe the types of deformities and diseases the children and grandchildren of people exposed to dioxins suffer from. It is feared that dioxins will continue to cause birth defects for generations to come.
It horrifies me and breaks my heart to see parents taking care of severely deformed children despite the poverty they face. Jars of deformed baby corpses in hospital flashed across the tv screen, a child with a head as big as a football wriggling in a hospital bed, children with Down syndrome, children with half limbs, twisted limps, half body, spinal diseases, twisted limps…
A woman miscarried 5 times before giving birth to her first child, now an adult, confined to the bed all his life. A couple with two under-developed children with severe deformities, unable to walk, eat, drink and even sleep on their own…you wonder how the couple make a living to feed them. Sleep is scarce for they have to look after the children round the clock.
The devotion of these parents to their children amazes me almost as much as the effect of the dioxins on these children and possibly the future generations horrifies me. You will never believe the extent of the deformities until you watch the programme. I have never really cried so hard watching a movie or a documentary before this.
Another thing that amazes me is the forgiving nature of the Vietnamese towards the Americans and those American veterans who served in the war. One of these soldiers related how a Vietnamese first questioned if he was a soldier in the Agent Orange warfare when he revisited the country 30 years after the war. The American was a little apprehensive but replied truthfully that yes, he served in the war. The Vietnamese man then put his arm around him and welcomed him to Vietnam.
I hope, like I said in the beginning of this post, that I have not offended any Americans. I just feel a strong urge to write about this because it has affected me so greatly. I am not here to pass judgement on the people of America. I am here only to share.
But I just have to say this: Shame on you, Nixon!
About Agent Orange:
Following our late lunch last Saturday at Old Town White Coffee, hubby and I had a very late dinner that same day. There was a revamped mall just outside the town where we live, called Junction 10, and it has this family restaurant called Kungfu Paradise that opens till 3 or 4am, depending on whether it’s a weekday or a weekend. What’s tempting to me though is the 50% discount on all sliced cakes after 10pm. If you haven’t noticed by now, I have sweet tooth, much like my hubby and my favourite Divo
Click here to read more: Kungfu Paradise…Cafe with a Kick!.
I swear it was even more crowded today as I got stuck, first in the train just before the Jurong East Interchange station, then on the platform of the station when the train finally crawled to a stop at the station.
It was about 7:25am when the announcement came on that the train would stop at the track for a moment because the train ahead of us was still at the station. This announcement came on every few minutes until it changed and mentioned that there was an incident ahead. By then I was feeling breathless, standing face to face with a stranger, packed like a sardine in a can. Good thing the air-conditioning was working or we would all have suffocated. It was about 10 minutes of waiting until the train started again and pulled up in the station.
Outside the train, the platform was filled to the brim with people waiting for the train on the East-West Line to Pasir Ris. I was squeezed out of the train and into the throng of people waiting for the other train to open its doors. The train remained shut with some people inside it. Then we were told it was not for boarding, and more people piled out of the train from the North-South Line where I came from.
I felt suffocated. The train on the EW Line opened its doors when I decided to go down to take the bus to work. But what bus? I was temporarily stumped. What bus goes to work? My mind was a blank as I stared at the crowded platform. I was at a loss as to what to do. I didn’t think going into the train was a good idea because everyone wanted to squeeze into it. More suffocation.
People started to move forward to board the train but I backed away, prompting some people to look at me strangely. I could barely breathe when I squeezed my way to the staircase and walked down. At least the stairs were free from the crowd; I could think again. I called my colleague, explained my situation, told her I was taking the day off and asked her to tell our boss.
The bus interchange was directly below the train platform. There are shops selling food and I stood staring at one of the shops wondering if I should grab something to eat first because I felt weak. No breakfast, low on sugar. I couldn’t decide so I left in search of the bus to take me home. Again, what bus? I finally figured out what bus to take to work, bus 97, but going back home was another matter. I stared at the directory for awhile before finding out: 160 that goes to Kotaraya, JB, Malaysia. It stops along Choa Chu Kang Road. I could walk home from there even though I felt so breathless and weak.
It was strange that the bus interchange wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be. There didn’t seem to be free bus service for the disruption in train service. Probably because it wasn’t a major disruption, not by SMRT standard at least. The company has a lot to answer for, all these disruptions coming fast and furious one after another. The General Election couldn’t come soon enough; 4 more years is a long wait!
I had heard from some colleagues that there was a disruption too yesterday and one of them said they were standing cheek-to-cheek with strangers in the train. Glad I decided not to board it just now. I might end up being wheeled out of the station. I just had my first experience of claustrophobia.
The moment I got back I changed into my pj, got to work in the kitchen and made me fluffy pancakes and an egg. The pancakes was a little too brown but it tasted ok. No syrup but strawberry jam was good too. Now I’m just seated here at my coffee table blogging this with Il Divo singing Amazing Grace on my almost dying stereo. Life is good again. I can breath again 🙂
As I sat here blogging about my lunch, I was suddenly attacked by a swamp of flying insects. They flew in from the living room window which was just beside me. At first it didn’t bother me as I get all sorts of insects attacking me as I sat at my coffee table using the pc but this time it was different. The sheer number of black and long-winged insects got my attention and it took me awhile to terminate those that had landed in my living room.
I managed to close the windows to a lot more flying outside. These little creatures were thinking of taking refuge from the heavy rain but I couldn’t risk them getting into the bedrooms. Son would freak out when he comes home to see all these creatures flying or lying about in his bedroom.
However, I neglected to tell hubby about it and he was swamped too, in the other room with windows on the same side as the living room windows. This was what happened after he called in the terminator aka me…
Now the flat is stuffy and warm because of the closed windows. I think I need another shower…
Oh, btw, if you know what these insects are called, please tell me 😉
Today, hubby and I went to check out the new shopping mall in Jurong East, a neighbouring town. Ah…the joy of having older teenagers The mall is called JCube and even though not all shops are open yet, it is teeming with people already…
After making the rounds around the mall, we decided to eat at the Old Town White Coffee. The picture of its chicken curry attracted us so despite the hunger, we stood in line and waited for almost 20 minutes to get a seat.
Click here to read more: Old Town White Coffee (Restaurant).