Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year Resolution made easy, and a grim year ahead?

My wife's New Year Resolution is to prepare more homecooked meals. That makes it easy for me. Mine is to eat more homecooked meals.

Happy New Year!


I like this clever ad put up by the police to remind people about drink-driving during this festive season; and I also like the juxtaposition of the car classified ad below the police ad: After all, why do you need to keep your car if there's someone who'll drive you to drink!...


On a grimmer note, economists are not upbeat about 2013:


Finally, 2013 will still have its share of stories that tug at one's emotions. My fervent wish is that justice is served in the case of the brutally gang-raped victim who died, and in the case of Debangana, below:


Sunday, December 30, 2012

These annoying words will make you jump off the fiscal cliff...

Most annoying words in 2012

Some pollster says that these words above (as well as "like") are among this year's most annoying words:

Reader's Digest came up with a list it called 10 of the Most Irritating Phrases in the English Language, but this was compiled in 2009:

So what is my most-annoying-word/phrase candidate for 2012? FISCAL CLIFF!!

This Sunday Times (Dec 30) article below gives the lowdown on the origin of this phrase:


Here's Brady, practising for Sentosa's luge race track...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The wonder of Halong Bay...

I'll wrap up on my holiday cruise with these pics of Vietnam's beautiful Halong Bay which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was featured in the James Bond movie "Tomorrow Never Dies" starring Pierce Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh.

You can see more professionally taken stunning photos (and videos) of Halong Bay from this site:

"Halong Bay is located in Quáng Ninh province, Vietnam. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes. The bay has a 120 km long coastline and is approximately 1,553 sq km in size with 1,969 islets. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves, other support floating villages of fishermen, who ply the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks. Another specific feature of Halong Bay is the abundance of lakes inside the limestone islands, for example, Dau Be island has six enclosed lakes."


Okay, here's my more modest attempt (on a misty early morning) to capture the awesomeness of Halong Bay and one of its grottos/caves which we visited:



Last three such pics from this trip, one from Thailand (royal summer palace, near Ayutthaya) and two from Vietnam (souvenir stall in Hoi-An and marble factory near Danang):

Friday, December 28, 2012

Here comes the sun... (sort of) on a cloud-covered day.

I bought a cheapo Olympus VR-350 to take along on my holiday cruise. But I thought it did a decent job with the sunset snaps I took, albeit on a day with a blanket of clouds on the horizon...

And then, all at once, the sun went down.

I'll like to wrap up with this nostalgic old song, "Red Sails in the Sunset" (Paul Anka's rather upbeat cover version)...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I spy with my little eye (Part 2)...

Some shipboard signs seem to suggest that there are strange creatures lurking about, like this one:

I think this one is the serpentis extinguisha (common name: hoser eel). Watch out for what spouts out from its tail.

 I can't figure this one out. It obviously arose from the sea and it is either a creature with lots of teeth all round or many eyes (hence the sun-glasses).

This must be an animal with a bird-like face and a giraffe-like neck picking at an exotic marine fruit. Look, it's already made a tent-like hole!

I know this one... it's a jellyfishy incandensa. Its protrusion lights up in the dark.

There are also signs indicating the presence of humungous clothes-pegs. Maybe they are for hanging out to dry the elusive exotic creatures -- if they can be caught.

I can't make this one out too. Poor man; it does not look like a pretty picture. Meanwhile, after the ship ended its cruise in Hong Kong, we spent three days there. I could not resist looking out for traffic signs like those in these two pics...

Is that the way to hail a cab, Hong Kong-style? And lorries are driven backwards, guided by pedestrians? No wonder there are two people watching it all.

This way to get to Snake Mountain?

Walking around Hong Kong is actually quite easy, with a good map. We also went on guided day tours. One of the coaches we took had this sign:

Indeed, Hong Kong and Singapore share at least one common feature: the proliferation of "Do Not.../No..." signs:

Hmmm, just what is "destructive fishing"? Does it mean robbing fish of their fish-hood, as in this picture below?...

Finally, Singaporeans will be familiar with this... Yes! You can find Kopitiam stalls in some Hong Kong foodcourts (at least in this one that I found inside a mall)...