Archive for July, 2008


Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Nice week

Wow, very busy recently at work, balancing putting the finishing touches on my book (which will be out at the end of July) and also working on two new issues of the magazine (which will also be out in July!). Whew!! Last weekend was totally consumed with book stuff, but that petered off throughout the week and I put the last change in on Thursday. So this was the first real weekend we had to chill out. On Saturday we hung out trying to convince Zen to do his homework. There was a misfire at 10:00 when Zen was resistant. So we called it off and did something Zen wanted to do – rebuild his Lego jet. I said I’d help him, but then I was resistant myself and showed him what it’s like to see someone be lazy, resistant, and sneaky about commitments. I think he got the picture, and from 1:00 to 2:00 he tried hard and got through a lot of homework. Afterwards he was so happy and he got to do lots of fun things: after his Japanese lessons downtown we took him out to eat (we wanted to anyway, to celebrate the finalizing of the book), he got to watch a DVD for the first time in ages, and I also read him a comic book on the computer. Finally, we let him fall asleep in our bed. These are all things he can’t get when he doesn’t try to do his homework, and I think he understands this now. Downtown I went into the Apple shop to see if they’ll sell iPhones that I can slip my prepaid card into. Seems like they won’t, which means that the local phone providers will just get new iPhone owners onto their ripoff schemes, so I think I’ll just get a new phone and pop my chip into that and continue to be a prepaid phone user. Bought some nice clothes form Massimo Dutti as well. The dinner was nice and chilled out – Zen had his favourite fish ‘n’ chips, Naoko and I ate Indian food. Not bad. Sunday we woke up after a long sleep – nine hours for me – and I helped Zen build a great new train set. At 11:00 he got down to studying and has been doing very well. After the study, we lunched on the new loaf of white bread that Naoko had baked. Yummy!!! It was a bit doughy, probably because she had not had enough time to let it rise properly, but still really tasty to eat something warm and yummy. Here is a picture of the feast:

bread 2
bread 1

After that, we went by cab to the Japanese Primary School in Clementi where Zen has just started playing softball. They have a kids team, and although he hasn’t really joined yet it seems like he probably will. We got there… but there was no one to be seen. What the…?!? Naoko called a Japanese lady whose kids go, and it seems like there is a big sports day for kids at the Japan Association that they were all at, and assumed we’d be at too, so that was a disappointment. Instead we went to West Coast Park, had coffee and ice cream at McDonalds there, and Zen and I jumped and ran around and played on the jungle gym-like things that they have there. Then we went back, I took Zen to his swimming lesson, and hung out and swam. After that, Zen and Naoko went to an ex-colleague’s place for dinner and I got down to some work.

west coast park

Zen singing Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”

Zen singing his Singapore school song

Zen singing his Japan and Singapore school songs

Zen gives the Fledge

Movie review

Kung Fu Panda – Nice film. I took Zen to see this last weekend. The film is charming, especially in terms of the facial expressions of Po, the Panda, and Shifu, the squirrel-like kung fu master. Po is voiced by Jack Black, and Shifu by Dustin Hoffman, they both do a good job. Other characters – tigress, monkey, mantis, crane and viper – are not used much. There you see Hollywood names like Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogan, David Cross and Lucy Liu. The kung fu is really great – fluid, easy to follow, and graceful even. Tai Lung, the villain, is quite impressive as a bad guy. Po’s emergence as a kung fu warrior is a bit like Neo becoming “the One”, but whatever. Funniest moment is between Po and his father, Mr Ping. It’s stupid to think that no-one questions how a duck can be the natural father of a panda, but the astounding naivete gives rise to one of the funniest lines in the movie (and, I suppose, could provide the foundation for the inevitable sequel).