Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's the day where the Lunar calendar starts anew again

I know the title is long :P but I kinda like that instead 1st day of CNY. This is a day where you'll definitely wake up with a good mood, happy for sure. The Chinese believe that if you want to have a pleasant year you should start this day positively therefore no arguments, no breaking things and also no sweeping (that's because we believe you'll sweep away your good luck). Every year I wake up, get dress, snap photos with my parents giving the red packet/'ang pau' to my sister and I. After that we head over to my grandmother's place. This year we wake up, get dress and go downstairs and everyone is there.

Although this year my sister and I woke up later than usual, overslept because of sleeping late the previous night. My grandparents have already given out ang paus to my cousins and I'm late. But still we followed our tradition of taking pictures of the ceremony by reacting the part of giving ang paus. All the elders "gave" the youngsters (people who are single) their blessing in a red packet and snap snap.

After that we just spend time playing with my cute baby cousin brother, he is born on the year of the Ox which was 2009, and I'm 2 Ox cycles before him, that's a big gap >.<". He is so cute and adorable and after lunch he normally takes a nap so this is the time to play with him and bond a bit. For a baby he's already quite smart as he knows how to eject DVDs from the player and insert what he wants to watch. Other than that, he also knows how to play a bit on the Ipad. He knows how to get out of an app and return to the main screen. He even used my finger to press it for him, so so intelligent.

After lunch, some visitors came and it was my grandmother's sisters. My grandaunts have been staying in SG for a long time and occasionally during CNY they will travel back to KL visit all their sisters which includes my grandmother. So this year they need not travel to KL to visit my grandmother but of course they still will to visit other sisters. The elders all chit chatted and the so called youngsters all spend their time playing Monopoly. It was kinda a messy game as all transactions involved a credit card. It's not a real card, just  a plastic card that has dots at different spots to identify the players. Basically there is a machine that keeps track all the credit you have in the card, so you insert the card to deduct/add credits and the memory in the gadget will be updated. It's messy because all the children want to take turns clicking the thing.

After our guest leave, I manage to nap awhile before we head out to Sentosa Resort World for dinner and a circus show. When we reached our destination there was so many people queuing up to take the bus or taxi to leave the place. It was really crowded since there's a casino and I guess most go and try their luck. We had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe and the pricing if not converted it's cheaper than Msia's I think. The food price range from 20+ to 30+. The sodas are all refillable but only the mocktails and cocktails cost more. I find that it's reasonable because in Chili's those type of drinks normally cost a lot anyway.

As for the circus show, the act was called "Voyage de la vie" which is a production done by Sentosa resort world. It consists many circus acts chained into a story. It was funny, exciting, and scary at the same time. In every circus act you'll normally have the "clown" which is the magician for this show. He is the funny man that makes people laugh. Then there are other acts such as the acrobatics up in the air, rope and cloud swing acts, I was worried for the performers themselves as they were so high up in the air without any netting at the bottom. It was a 1 and 1/2 hour show and we all went home happy and tired. Everyone went to sleep after a long day and looking forward to the next.

Below are some photos of my "adventurous" day  =P.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I was absent because.....

I noticed I didn't blog anything this month, it looks like I've been lazy and not keeping my promise of one post a week. The reason was it's the festive season, New Lunar Year or some may say Chinese New Year. Being Chinese this festive is very important to me and my family. Every year I would spend the eve and the first day with my grandma and then travel back to my mom's hometown from the second onwards. What we do is we visit my mom's brothers,uncles and aunties. What the youngsters do is we collect "Ang Paus" (red envelopes with blessings/money) and eat lots of cookies :P.

This is different, my grandparents moved to Singapore with my uncle and family, therefore my family spent our first CNY there. My aunt and my cousin brother also went together, we took a plane there instead of a bus this time to avoid traffic congestion on the highways. Unfortunately we didn't visit my mom's home so I didn't see that side of the family this year. I heard spending CNY in SG is much more quiet than KL and it was quite true. We touchdown in SG on the eve of CNY, ate lunch and my uncle took the day off and brought us to Ion Orchard and 80% of the food courts are closed.

We just walked around and enjoy the breeze as there weren't many people around unlike when my sis and I came nearing Xmas. We went home and got ready for dinner. CNY eve dinner is very important as it's called the reunion dinner. In the olden days children of a family often work elsewhere and didn't visit their family often, the reunion dinner is where all the children come back and sit together for dinner. It's a good tradition to me for eating together with family is fun. 

In KL when it was nearing 12am, you can hear fireworks and in SG there wasn't any, and that I missed. I'll continue my story for the next day on a new post. Below are some pictures taken on the eve of CNY.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Magicians


Quentin, James and Julia walked together in the cold. James and Julia held hands and it has always been this way. As Quentin felt sorry for himself James asked what's his strategy for his interview to Princeton to change the mood. As they near the destination of interview, Julia says goodbye and good luck to the boys.  Quentin rang the bell of the old building and they waited, 5 minutes later he knocked and pushed lightly and the door opened with a crack. The house was dark and he slowly made his way to the den. He looked around and saw a big cabinet with lots of liquor and then he saw a dead body lying on the floor.

15 minutes later the paramedics came and a woman confirm he was dead. She slipped him an envelope and after they have left the scene, James went to meet up with Julia leaving Quentin all alone. While walking he opened it, there was a notebook inside and on the first page handwritten in red ink: The Magicians - Book six of Fillory and Further. As far as Quentin knows he has not heard of this book at all in the series. He turned the page and there a piece a white notepaper and the paper slipped off with the wind. He chased after the paper and ended up in a place where the green lawn is perfectly leveled. The sky was blinding blue  and in the distance stood a house. Fifty feet away there a thin teenager leaning on a tree smoking and Quentin called out to him. He asked whether is he in Fillory and the young man answered no, it was upstate new york.

And so the journey of magic begins for Quentin, he was tested whether he was qualified to enter Brakebills College to learn magic and stay there. Of course he passed and got in. He asked to stay there until the new semester started and spend most of his days hanging with Eliot the boy he met at the tree. In his journey he met interesting people, had a dangerous experience in class where a monster showed up. He also joined a certain specialty on his third year there where there is a clubhouse located for them. It doesn't end just in college, it carried on till he graduated where his friends and he found out a secret which leads them to the most dangerous journey they have taken.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman is a combination of Harry Potter and Narnia but in a much more darker side where magic is very dangerous. The "Harry Potter" part of the book is during Quentin's college days but not much details in term of schooling as in Harry Potter books is one book per school year. Everything is cramped up and sped through. Of course it's hard to compare the two where Harry Potter purposely written in a way where the whole school year is detailed. The Magicians is a book more concerned on the main character's interaction with his friends in school. What kind of people his friends are. There are some interesting parts in the middle of the book and towards the end. Towards the end of the book, it is more related to the dark side of Narnia where he is not as pleasant as Narnia was and the world was more damaged and corrupted.

I picked up this book  because of the title and the reviews that were printed on the book. Surprisingly it's not what you expect but sadly not that exited to me. I merely sped through when there was not much conversations and it was all descriptions. When it was interesting it was really interesting and when it's bland it was boring. In my opinion it's not a well balanced book kinda like a movie having climaxes all of a sudden and then when it's subtle it bores you. It's a good exposure for me because I usually stick to certain authors when it comes to fantasy books and this is a different type for me. It's the kind of fantasy that incorporates reality at the same time and powerful magic is not always rainbows and it comes with consequences. The way magic is done in this book is definitely different where a lot more studying is required and a lot of logical thinking.

Overall I rate the book as a one time read book, not something that I would pick of the shelf in 2-3 years time to read again. It's just interesting to explore the darker side of Narnia and magic but not interesting enough to get me hooked on for long.

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