Tuesday, April 29, 2008

au revoir.

sniffing my way to paris, will be back next monday. in the meantime, stay blessed! =)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

roses have no place in holland.

one of the biggest reasons why i chose the netherlands for exchange is because... i want to see the tulips in bloom. heh! coming on exchange during the spring term means i get to see the famous tulips of holland in their fully glory! indeed, trees have started turning green and everywhere we turn, flowers are blooming and bursting with a myraid of colours along the streets.

we had a capture-one-of-the-ten-million-bees contest

it's a very happifying sight to see random tulips and other flowers proudly showing off their stuff as we go about our daily routines. so imagine putting millions (around 7 million in fact) of flowers together, arranging them in shapes and patterns, all in a huge garden, and you'll get keukenhof.

clogs & flowers = holland

keukenhof is also known as the garden of europe and according to wiki, is the world's largest flower garden. it's only opened for a very short period of time every year, from the last week of march to mid may. it was a beautiful sight, and the whole garden smelled really sweet because of all the scent given off by the flowers.

taking time to smell the roses, i mean tulips

the garden was so large we didn't even have time to explore the whole place, and along the way to the garden itself we passed by tulip fields stretching far beyond what our eyes could see. hopefully, i'll be back there again in future, making sure to stop at the fields for some photos, and perhaps finish exploring keukenhof. i swear, those tulips we always see in the florists? the ones here are like 3 times the size. as we walked around, we kept exclaiming, "wrong! this is wrong! how can flowers grow so big?!?" not that we're complaining, because they were oh so gorgeous.

i heart tulips

click here for favourites of keukenhof.
click here for more photos!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22... to be continued.
happy birthday chiara chong! =)

Monday, April 21, 2008


a 4.5 hours train ride from barcelona brought us to valencia, a coastal area in spain. along the way, there were times when the train was just travelling right beside the ocean, and the view was breathtaking. too bad alvin and jingyi were sound asleep, until the kindness in me decided to wake them up to enjoy the sight. =)

valencia museum - hotspot and only spot for wedding photos

valencia is totally different from barcelona. it's much more spacious, quieter and less populated too. i kind of like the serenity of the place. the main attractions in valencia was the bull ring (which was closed when i was there), some church with the supposed holy grail approved by the vatican (which was totally like cordoned off 5m away and almost too small to be seen), a state-of-the-art science museum and the valencia beach. of course i liked the beach best. it was a beautiful beach, not too crowded as the weather was still a little chilly. apparently in summer it's a different story, oh and it's a nudist beach. ;)

valencia beach

we were put up by our gracious host ili, who's on exchange in valencia. so thanks babe, here's a photo for you. =)

click here for more photos of valencia!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

hola hola barcelona!

spent the mid term break in spain, with lots of great food and company! barcelona was my first stop in spain, followed by valencia. something weird happened, i didn't feel like taking photos! my kanon ended up snuggling in my crumpler bag half the time i was in spain. furthermore, since mr alvin bought himself a 400d too, i ended up being too lazy to take photos and enjoyed being photographed instead, hence explaining the sudden influx of the chiany in so many shots!


other than the amazing architecture by Antoni Gaudi, i'd say just skip all the tourist attractions and head straight down to the city centre for a major chill out session. that's what barcelona represents - great food, great shopping and great streetlife.

after a hard day's work

just imagine walking along the main street, la rambla, with a different basker every 10 steps you take, 3 zara stores within a 100m range, or just sitting out in the cool spring weather with some tapas and sangria in your hand. perfecto.

smiling for 2 pictures

the weather was wonderful, a good break from the cold of the netherlands. it was around 15 - 20 deg. celcius, warm enough to tuck away the jackets, yet cool enough to not perspire. barcelona was more developed than i'd expected. it's quite cool because it looked as if they took the positive characteristics of various countries and pieced them together to develop the city. for example, some of the houses look vaguely like the hdb flats of singapore in the 80s and the metro system looks like a replica of the london underground. a panoramic view of barcelona also showed the city built in the form of huge grid boxes, exactly like a chess board.

barcelona metro

i also had wonderful company, with lovely host jingyi and the ungrateful-alvin-who-complains-about-the-host's house, and enjoyed myself thoroughly. we walked a damn lot, and boy these two people can sure walk. we'd start walking at 11am, and we'll keep walking and walking until we reached home, which was around 7pm. i swear i'd lost about 5kg walking, if not for the tons of food we also stuffed into our stomachs, that is.


oh and it was really nice meeting up with the guys exchanging in switzerland too. familiar faces in a foreign land always warms one's heart. =)

laughing luyi

more next time, adios!

click here for favourite shots of barcelona.
click here if you miss me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

did you know...

...that in spain, the official dinner time is around 9pm? restuarants only open at around 8.30pm, is that late or what?

...that in spain, most shops close from 2-4pm for siesta, otherwise known as an afternoon nap!

chian's adventure in barcelona

been swamped with a sudden influx of work and presentation since school started on monday, will update soon for more on barcelona and valencia! =)

photo courtesy of alvin.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

i'll be back soon.

bitching aside, i'll be flying off to barcelona tomorrow to spend a few days with jingyi who's currently on exchange there and alvin who's already done with school and touring the whole of europe. will be back sunday, till then!

p.s. still feeling dui about today's lousy papers. pui! =/


i just finished 2 exam papers today. one for gender in economics, the other for systems analysis and design.

they provided us with the past term's exam paper just in case we wanted to practice for today's exam. being the ever diligent singaporean, of course we would try the papers. so for my gender course i discussed the paper with lionel.. and guess what? today's paper, out of 3 questions, 2 were exactly the same as the sample paper's. yup, you heard me right, every single word, comma and full stop was exactly the same. i'd be screaming for joy except that i only brainstormed those questions, though i really hope it helped.

then comes the systems paper. i practiced the sample paper they gave and it was pretty easy. today's paper turned out to be much more difficult than i expected and i really squeezed my brain juices doing it. then when i got home and started packing my notes, i took a look at another sample paper which was sitting in a file of notes passed to me by neil's friend (she'd taken the course a few terms back), i almost fainted and cried. the WHOLE sample exam paper she had was the EXACT EXAM PAPER WHICH I DID TODAY. i'd wanted to try it before the exam but i didn't have time and forgot about it.

i'm totally speechless, except:


what's with this school?!?!

Friday, April 4, 2008

do with it as you will.

A little boy of thirteen
was on his way to school
He heard a crowd of people laughing
and he went to take a look

Thousands were listening
to the stories of one man
He spoke with such wisdom,
even the kids could understand

The hours passed so quickly
the day turned into night
Everyone was hungry
but there was no food in sight

The boy looked in his lunchbox
at the little that he had
He wasn't sure what good it'd do
there were thousands to be fed

But he saw the twinkling eyes of Jesus
the kindness in His smile
and the boy cried out
with the trust of a child
he said:

"Take my five loaves and two fishes
Do with it as you will
I surrender

Take my fears, my inhibitions
All my burdens, my ambitions
You can use it all
to feed them all

I often think about that boy
when I'm feeling small
and I worry that the work I do
means nothing at all

But every single tear I cry
is a diamond in His hands
and every door that slams in my face
I will offer up in prayer

So I'll give you every breath that I have
Oh Lord, you can work miracles
All that you need is my "Amen"

Take my five loaves and two fishes
Do with it as you will
I surrender

Take my fears, my inhibitions
All my burdens, my ambitions
You can use it all
I hope it's not too small

I trust in you
I trust in you

So take my five loaves and two fishes
Do with it as you will
I surrender

Take my fears, my inhibitions
All my burdens, my ambitions
You can use it all
No gift is too small
5 loaves and 2 fishes - corrinne may

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

a marketer falling prey to marketing.

packaging is one of the many ways to increase product sales, and being a marketing student, i would definitely know better. that said, it was like an unstoppable force was over me the moment i stepped into london's mega-supermarket, sainsbury's.

there are a few supermarket chains in london - sainsbury's, waitrose (which i forgot to visit!) and marks & spencer to name a few. marks & sparks and waitrose belong to the more atas category, whilst sainbury's is equivalent to ntuc supermarket in singapore... well, just about 10x bigger.

ok today's topic is not about comparing supermarket statistics but about british marketing and branding. i was absolutely fascinated by the variety of food and beverage brands on sale in sainbury's, and what amazed me the most was the way the products were being packaged. think i'll name it the triple 's' - seductively sweet & simple. =)

" there are 89 cranberries in every bottle of this water and 13 raspberries too"

walking into the store, just browsing through the first aisle, a row of bottled juices caught my eye. called this water, it sells juice drinks in cutely designed bottles. heck, it even has a website! selling at ~1.90 pounds a bottle (420ml), it's defnitely not the cheapest choice around, but i gladly paid for it just to bring one home. oh man... i stood at the aisle for a good whole 10 mins trying to decide which one to buy! if only money grew on trees, i'd get a carton of each design. heh!

mouth-watering designs (courtesy of the website)

we all know that housebrands are usually cheaper and at times cheaper equals lousier too. admit it, living in consumerism singapore, how many times have you reached out for the ntuc branded potato chips or toilet paper? sainsbury's also has its own housebrand, the sainsbury's basic range and a slightly more expensive version, sainbury's taste the difference. even so, the packaging for its housebrand products is simple yet elegant, and more importantly, extremely tempting!

doesn't just look good, it tastes delicious too!

two more things i've noticed about grocery shopping in london:

1) the emphasis on stating the product's nutritional content

sainsbury's taste the difference range
if you look at the top right hand corner of a sainsbury's branded product, you'll be able to spot a colourful circle stating explicitly how many calories, fats, saturated fats, sugar and salt is in each serving. it's a useful way to educate shoppers exactly what they're buying and feeding their body, and hopefully we'll see more of this soon in singapore.

2) the support of various charities

just like how anita roddick founded the body shop supporting causes like fair trade and anti animal testing, many products produced in the uk also emphasize a great deal on where their ingredients came from. for example, a bottle of this water will have these words imprinted, "by drinking this water, you are supporting wateraid's work helping people in ethiopia gain access to safe clean water." there has been debate on whether a real sense of corporate social responsibility exists or is it purely a marketing gimmick, but i'd like to think that it's a good start!

these caught my eyes at marks & spencer

used my last pennies at the airport buying potato chips

no fanciful or elaborated designs, keeping things to simple colours, bold lines sometimes a sense of humour is what makes the british way of marketing click - well at least for me, because you'd never want to know how much food i brought back from london.