Archive for November, 2012

Zen’s birthday

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Zen’s birthday happened while he was in Beijing (he left for the trip on November 6th early morning, his birthday was November 7th, he came back on November 13th). The school bought a nice birthday cake for him (and one other boy who was celebrating his birthday during the trip, but on a different day) and they had a little party for the two boys while in Beijing. Naoko and I passed a card to his teacher for her to give to Zen on his birthday, so that was how we recognized the day this year. We also provided a blank card for the other kids on the trip to sign, the teachers were very kind and organised that for us. I think that Zen really enjoyed this.

When he came back, Naoko made the meal for him that he had wished for, lasagna, and we gave him presents from ourself and from his grandparents – he got a big Lego Star Wars set, as well as a DVD set of season 4 of his favorite TV series – Star Wars The Clone Wars.

Birthday cake!

Birthday cake!

Birthday cake!

Birthday cake!

Birthday cake!

Birthday cake!

Birthday cake!

Birthday cake!

Birthday cake!

Birthday cake!

Presents!

Presents!

Zen in China

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Zen went to Beijing from November 6th (early morning departure) until November 13th (midnight arrival), and he went to see a bunch of great stuff. He took his camera and took some great pictures.

Zen also learned how to play Chinese chess, and today he taught me! I learned how to play it (kinda) nearly 20 years ago in Taiwan, now it’s cool to have my son teach it to me. I won the first game we played together, but maybe he’ll win the next one!

Peter and Naoko see Zen off at the airport

Peter and Naoko see Zen off at the airport

Zen's travel group at Changi Airport departure area

Zen's travel group at Changi Airport departure area

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Zen at the Summer Palace

Zen at the Summer Palace

Zen at the Summer Palace

Zen at the Summer Palace

Zen at the Summer Palace

Zen at the Summer Palace

Zen at the Temple of Heaven

Zen at the Temple of Heaven

Zen at the Temple of Heaven

Zen at the Temple of Heaven

the Temple of Heaven

the Temple of Heaven

Zen at the Temple of Heaven

Zen at the Temple of Heaven

Zen and teracotta warrior

Zen and teracotta warrior

Zen in a Chinese school

Zen in a Chinese school

Zen in the Forbidden City

Zen in the Forbidden City

the Forbidden City tourist crowd

the Forbidden City tourist crowd

the Forbidden City

the Forbidden City

Beijing in the rain

Beijing in the rain

Panda!!!

Panda!!!

before dinner

before dinner

Zen and the Great Wall of China

Zen and the Great Wall of China

the Great Wall of China

the Great Wall of China

Hello

Hello

Zen at a local school

Zen at a local school

at a local school

at a local school

Mountains

Mountains

Zen on the bus

Zen on the bus

bus sunset

bus sunset

bus sunset

bus sunset

Panda hat Zen

Panda hat Zen

Zen's hotel in Beijing

Zen's hotel in Beijing

the Great Wall of China

the Great Wall of China

Group photo at the Great Wall of China

Group photo at the Great Wall of China

Funky photo...

Funky photo...

Zen at the Great Wall of China

Zen at the Great Wall of China

the Great Wall of China

the Great Wall of China

movie set at the Great Wall of China

movie set at the Great Wall of China

Zen at the Great Wall of China

Zen at the Great Wall of China

Going home - there was an A380 in Beijing!

Going home - there was an A380 in Beijing!

Zen’s class went to China last year and they performed Gangnam Style on the Great Wall of China. I think this is pretty cool, actually…

Chili crab! White pepper crab!! Light show!!!

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Naoko and I had a nice Saturday. We went to eat chili crab at No Signboard in Geylang. Before that we had to see the first evening light show at Marina Bay Sands. Both were good fun!

No Signboard is an old school place, but it wasn’t packed when we went and we easily got a good table. We ordered our two crabs, a very nice shrimp soup (with eight fat shrimp in it), some nice vegetables, and a gorgeous dessert! The waitress made a mistake with the bill – there was $100 missing from the bill!! We told her about it, though, I think that she was happy… it felt nice being honest and not getting the waitress in trouble.

Naoko at Marina Bay Sands waterfront at sunset - lovely!

Naoko at Marina Bay Sands waterfront at sunset - lovely!

Beautiful Singpore

Beautiful Singpore

Funky view of the Shoppes At Marina Bay

Funky view of the Shoppes At Marina Bay

Chili crab at No Signboard! Nice bib, babe...

Chili crab at No Signboard! Nice bib, babe...

White pepper crab at No Signboard - also yummy!

White pepper crab at No Signboard - also yummy!

Cheers!!!

Cheers!!!

Afterwards... this was all that was left of those two crabs...

Afterwards... this was all that was left of those two crabs...

No Signboard - nice place!!!

No Signboard - nice place!!!

Marina Bay developments

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Today I went to a showroom that gives a model of what the Marina Bay area is going to look like in a decade or so. It’s pretty different from what it looks like now (of course – this is Singapore). My office tower, Asia Square, is at the southern “edge” of development and has an unobstructed view of the Marina Bay lands and the waterways beyond, but if the full plan is completed we’ll have about 12 buildings between us and the water. In the pictures of the models below, the cream-coloured structures are yet-to-be-completed.

My current building is illuminated in the foreground; everything beyond it is unbuilt.

My current building is illuminated in the foreground; everything beyond it is unbuilt.

My current building is illuminated in the background; everything in front of it it is unbuilt.

My current building is illuminated in the background; everything in front of it it is unbuilt.

We're all wondering how long this view is going to last...

We're all wondering how long this view is going to last...

But I do wonder how much of this is fantasy – I’m not sure there’s enough land to build all of the structures that they’ve created on this model.

Headline news! Rebranding!! Scurrying in silence!!!

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Here’s a sample of some fine journalism from the otherwise-significant news daily. The headline, of course, is non-news and reads like a press release. Even the second headline is questionable – how does a company “scurry in silence”?

One company rebrands, another scurries

One company rebrands, another scurries

Zen’s off to Beijing

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

This morning we got up at 4:30 AM so that we could go with Zen to the airport for his first overseas school excursion – to Beijing! There was a good mood at the airport, I hope the kids have fun!!

Zen got a certificate and two awards for Chinese!

Zen got a certificate and two awards for Chinese!

Zen at the airport - going to Beijing!

Zen at the airport - going to Beijing!

Zen's class at the airport - going to Beijing!

Zen's class at the airport - going to Beijing!

Naoko and Zen in Legoland

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Naoko and Zen went to Legoland on Friday, kicking off Zen’s big November Asia tour – November 2nd he went to Malaysia, November 6th-13th he will be in China on a school trip, and from the 20th onward he will be in Japan. Four countries in one month, way to go Zen!

Legoland turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for everyone who went – Naoko and Zen found the place poorly-organised (compared to, say, Universal Studios in Singapore and elsewhere), and the park itself was quite geared towards kindergarten-age kids. But at least now they know what it is like.

Little Zen in Legoland

Little Zen in Legoland

Having fun in Legoland

Having fun in Legoland

mini Lego Taj Mahal

mini Lego Taj Mahal

mini Lego Forbidden City

mini Lego Forbidden City

mini Lego Angkor Wat

mini Lego Angkor Wat

mini Lego Petronas Towers

mini Lego Petronas Towers

Naoko at the "observation deck" of the mini Lego airport

Naoko at the "observation deck" of the mini Lego airport

Zen with his cool "cycling tiger" t-shirt

Zen with his cool "cycling tiger" t-shirt

Zen pranked Naoko on this pic by secretly setting the timer on her

Zen pranked Naoko on this pic by secretly setting the timer on her

Zen and Naoko in front of the Legoland gates

Zen and Naoko in front of the Legoland gates