Monday, January 23, 2012


People who don't sleep at night get to make friends with the nocturnal. By people, I mean me; by the nocturnal, I mean my regular visitor, the bat.

The first time he came, we didn't get acquainted. I was on my way to bed when I saw the dark little thing swooshing back and forth between the living room and the kitchen. I ignored it and continued on my way. The second time, there was drama. Lots of it.

The third time, he spent a quiet late evening clinging to my mother's curtain.

We didn't know each other so well then, so I thought it would be better if he didn't stay the night. I put a dish cover over him and gentle coaxed him to cling to that. Then, I took him outside and let him go.

Some months later when he came back, he found a comfortable spot on the leg of a side table at a corner of the living room.

He looked very content and I was getting more comfortable having him around, I decided to just let him be.

Two nights ago, he visited again. As usual, he flew around for a while, then disappeared into the kitchen. When I went to check, I heard scratching and found the little fella "trapped" in the sink.

I can't be sure if he was trapped, but it seemed so, for he was crawling round and round it, as if unable to come out nor take flight. Once again I put the dish cover over him, let him cling onto it, and then took him outside in a laundry basket.

I set the basket on the porch and waited for him to fly away. He didnt. I waited a few more minutes, but it was evident he got comfortable where he was.

Maybe he knew how much I enjoy photographing him and wished to indulge me. Awww. Sweet little fella. Here's a shot of his cute little claw:

Of course, I know it is impossible for me to know my visitor is always the same one. However, I'd like to think it, so I will. I've also decided to make him my pet. The kind that feeds and takes care of himself, and comes and goes as he pleases. A pet needs a name, so his name is Flapper. Don't roll your eyes, Reader... I know I'm unimaginative with names - it's one of my faults.

My friends tell me that bat, pronounced bian fu in Mandarin, has a syllable which sounds the same as fu, the character which means luck or prosperity. Therefore, to be visited by a bat symbolises welcoming prosperity into my home, which is something great to have, especially just two days before the start of the lunar new year. Yea, Chinese do lots of these cute symbolism.

Therefore, I find it befitting to publish a bunch of Flapper's photos here on the First Day of the Year of the Dragon. Have a happy, flappety, wonderful twelve (lunar) months ahead, Reader. Happy Chinese New Year!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Climbing Don't

An important, extremely important, lesson I learned today: don't check anything out on your way up. Really. Strictly no sight-seeing. No matter how interesting.

This is what happened, Reader - I had just clipped onto the second quickdraw of the route when I noticed little white speckles at a corner. They weren't on the wall - they were sort of "hovering" a little above. I moved closer to have a better look. They were actually bits of chalk caught in cobwebs!

Normal people should not be excited at all to find cobwebs, no matter how unlikely (especially not when it isn't really unlikely most of the time) but somehow, I was. I moved even closer to look, and called out to my belayer, saying there were cobwebs there. He gave me a WTF-can-you-please-continue-climbing look and ignored me.

"But look, look!" I continued, "there are all these tiny spots of..." and that's when I noticed the brown spider with freakish long legs perched right beside the cute spots of chalk I was fascinated with, just inches from my nose.

It was a little guy - no bigger than my thumb nail - but it caught me by surprise. I cried "Argh! There's a spider here!!!" as I scrambled away from it. I've never moved so fast on any wall, and never heard so much gleeful sarcasm in the brief, befitting "Ha! You see?" from my belayer.

Yea, I saw. And I realise I was lucky I didn't not slip and fall - at just two clips, I could have hit the ground. Yikes.

So, remember this important lesson! Oh yea, I know any adequately sane climber will never do what I did. This post is just a self-reminder, really.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


This is absolutely the first time, ever, that I use CAPS for a post title. Seriously. I've been in a daze for the most of the past three months or so - constantly occupied from morning till evening on weekdays and working through quite a few weekends and public holidays. I'm not a workaholic - far from it - I don't enjoy work any more than the average working person, but if I have something I must do, I must do. Like, I must prepare my own lecture slides, although I have "inherited" a set from lecturers who taught the subjects in the past, because those are... what's a better word for 'crap'? Oh, wait.

So, I've been busy. Extremely busy. I'm not about to make lists, so it suffices to say I've taken up way more than I ever had, since I started my current position.

However, I still found the time to write the occasional (although mostly short) posts. I found the time to indulge in little things I enjoy every now and then - a friend observed that while I whined about being so busy, I managed to complete my baby blanket project, bake gingerbread cookies (complete with royal icing decoration!) for family, friends and colleagues, and take half a day off my (very precious) weekend to meet and spend time with friends. I said those are precisely the reasons I've been so occupied that I didn't have a spare minute to sit back, relax and do "nothing". For, in addition to her list, I also allocated time to be with my family, do some yoga, climbing and guitar practice.

Granted, I had to give some activities a miss when work overwhelmed; I had to decline some invitations I would otherwise had accepted. Choir, for example. Every ex-choirmate I met and spoke to asked me to go back for their 2012 production - it's going to be a grand affair for it's also going to be their 10th anniversary concert. They're doing pop, jazz and musical pieces... and it's almost painful to think that I will not be a part of that. But I know I will not be able to cope with the demanding rehearsal schedule and everything else I've currently undertaken - I mean, it takes, literally, two persons to tell me that my hair has grown long and unruly for me to realize the last haircut I got was nearly 6 months ago. So, either way I decide, I know I will have regrets.

I don't know where this post is heading. Being so thoroughly exhausted does that to my brain - I spent almost 14 hours on campus today.

So, to conclude - in some weird way, it feels great to be busy. Simply busy - not stressed out, driven to the brink of insanity or anything along those lines. My BP is consistently low (though I'm not sure if that is because I'm anaemic). Right. Good night, Reader!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fly A Plane

There is a phrase in Chinese, pronounced "Fong Fei Kei" (abbrv. FFK) in Cantonese, which translates literally to "let the airplane go"... or so I think, in my flawed mastery of the language. It means to stand someone up. We translate that to "fly someone('s) aeroplane" in local colloquialism. Oh, and a person who habitually FFKs is endearingly known as "The Pilot".

I found it rather amusing that on the very same day I got stood up like I've never been stood up before, my Roomee should mention it in her status update. Amusement I much needed, indeed.

Seriously, being stood up isn't such a big deal. Although it is not something I do to others, I can understand why people need to do it sometimes. There are always the little "emergencies", matters that have higher priority, the suddenly-feeling-under-the-weather, and the I-feel-kinda-lazy-to-go-out-today-so-maybe-next-time? moments. It is not uncommon (or perhaps it's me being rather FFK-able?) to receive a text on the same day of the appointment, sometimes just hours before, sometimes minutes after the agreed time, and see these dreaded words: "can't make it". Often, they're preceded by "I'm sorry" and succeeded by a reason. And really, all we want to do is believe that these Pilots didn't mean to have done it, that they would have sincerely not chosen to FFK had there been an alternative.

It is what I want to believe. Even if I did not receive a word. Even if I'd waited in eager anticipation till it was late enough for me to realise it wasn't going to happen. Even if the reason was later nonchalantly revealed to be "I've forgotten".

Oh, poor memory is a valid reason, of course. I mean that in earnest. A very dear friend and I once made plans for a dinner date. She's always very occupied and we don't get to meet often, so we set a date an entire month ahead and marked it in both our calendars to make sure we don't schedule other events over it. When the day came, we BOTH forgot we're supposed to be in each other's company, having dinner. We only remembered it the next day, and had a good laugh over how senile we've become.

So, having FFK-ed on account of being absent-minded isn't really a big deal. Except, I guess, when one of the parties remembered, and the other possibly felt no remorse at having forgotten. Still, I should not kick up a fuss. It's no big deal. It's no big deal. It's no big deal. If I repeat that enough...

Roomee says to fly a plane right back. Ahhh, sweet revenge! But, I think we both know we're too grown-up to do something like that on purpose, just out of spite =)