Thursday, January 21, 2010

Shag Ah!

Who knew sitting down and listening to a trainer talk the whole day can be this tiring? Am enjoying my first week at my new job though. When you are surrounded by some of the prettiest girls in the nation, it's hard not to like the job.

More updates during the weekend. Time to hit the deck.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

You've Got Mail!

Email reply from my dear friend Matt. :p

Dear Bryan,

Happy New Year! Just came back from Cardiff, Wales this evening. Thanks for the new year's greetings it is so good to hear from you.
Attached are some photos of my latest interest. Cooking! I do most of the cooking for myself now. It's cheaper and I thought would be a good skill to have.
Everything you see is real no CGI involved. Got some recipes online and whala!

The temperature has been dropping further these few days. My friends tell me it has never dropped to these levels since 1963. It's -7 degrees outside now. Honestly anything below 2 degrees feels exactly the same to me. Just cold. I got really excited the first day it started snowing. It's me first lah so jumped right in and started a snow fight with some of my friends. One Chinese, one Korean, one Hong Konger. There was this group of Ang Mos walking past and they were giving us strange looks as they walked by. But I just knew they looked suspicious. Then suddenly they turned around and lobbed 2 balls at me. But revenge was sweet.

Hey thanks for sharing about your new course. You have started training already I guess? The only thought I have now is that you try to make time for the exams. Not just to attend the papers but to work hard for them. The degree may come in handy even for future career prospects within _____. ____ is currently with ____, maybe you could call her up. Wendy should still have her contact number. Think the number I got is outdated. Do keep me updated about your experience in ______.

Take care dude!

warmest wishes,

Matthew Lim fanclub members, you know what to do. Go brush up on your culinary skills and pay Snow City a visit. :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

This Space Has Been Revived!

If the world wide web had digital dust, I am very sure that my blog will be covered in them. It has been almost half a year since my last entry. Yeah, I got lazy to blog about my adventures in Europe, as you can see. LOL. But you can always view the photos on my Facebook. :p

The reason why I am reviving this blog is because I realise that as I grow older, my memory seems to be failing me. I need to keep a record of things I do, I said, I felt, I experienced etc. before I forget them all one day.

Another reason is that I have finally quit Citibank! :) I was so sick of a boring desk-bound job and the opportunity arose for me to join a fantastic company in a very unconventional position. My mum flipped when I told her, and it took a lot of convincing, assurances and promises before she reluctantly agreed. "Two years", she said, will be the maximum time I will spend in my new job.

I have heard horror stories about how the first few months as a new hire is hell, but hey, what's the most they can do to me?

*Dons red beret on head and suddenly feels invincible*

LOL. But now I have to serve my notice, and I really just can't wait to leave, another three more weeks!

It's still the Christmas season (12 days, remember?), and I am thinking of getting myself a nice present. I saw this Mont Blanc passport holder that costs $200, and I know I will surely be using it almost as often as my wallet. I really don't like deliberating about making major purchases. I know I do spend quite a bit, but it is mostly on FMCG or services like taxis and petrol. My last major purchase was my iPhone 3G, and that was August 2008!

Okay, I shall discipline myself to post regularly here from now on. I'm sure the coming months will be fun, not to mention the upcoming New Year's Eve countdown.

Happy Holidays! :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince World Premiere

So the second day of school was my first day of class, which in SG terms is tutorial. My class is at 10-11am everyday, and lectures from 2pm to 5pm. The class is conducted by an ex-hedge fund manager, and he crunch numbers and formulas on excel so fast no one can really catch what he is doing.

He reads the question, types some stuff and in two seconds a percentage or number appears. After one week, I'm still like, huh? Anyway, after school, we wanted to explore London in the evening a bit. It started pouring cats & dogs as we left school, and the tube station, Holborn, was so jammed-pack with people seeking shelter that the station staff started shouting at everyone not taking the tube to get out.

We were deciding between Covent Garden and Leceister Square (again), and since Covent Garden is mostly open air, we decided to take the underground to Leceister Square and maybe catch a play or musical.

When we arrived there, we were just aimlessly walking around, looking at the half-priced tickets on offer, but decided against watching any as it would end quite late and everyone has studying or homework to do. What happened next totally blew us away.

There was this huge, huge crowd of people gathering outside the Odeon (or was it the Empire) Theatre, and a makeshift overhead bridge from the centre of the square to the cinema entrance. Everywhere was drabbed in Griffyndor colours and Harry Potter posters. We spotted the words 'World Premiere' and just couldn't believe our luck.

There were interviews conducted live which was beamed on two giant LCD screens, and each time a star walked over the bridge to the theatre the crowd just started screaming. Crazy English girls.

Ron Weasley seemed to be the most popular cast member, getting the largest screams. Dunno is it he recently recovered from H1N1 and the girls were especially sympathetic, or because he was caught scratching his backside and revealed the pink boxers he was wearing.

Pictures time. :p

The evil Slytherin is actually a crowd favourite, and he took the time to paused and pose for the cameras

No idea who is this.. Luna Lovegood??

Professor Severus Snape!

Crowded it was, but very orderly and no pushing or smelly armpits in yer face

Fan favourite Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley

Harry Potter!!!

Every guy's favourite...

Emma Watson!!

Blowing kisses to the crowd

Photos credit Yang Ge with his powerpack Nikon DSLR! :)

Harry Potter opens 15 July!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

First Day Of School at the LSE

The world renown London School of Economics & Political Science. For three weeks, I get to be a full-fledged student, swipe card access to every building of this esteemed institution, my own library account, my own LSE email address, and a chance to sample a truly world-class education.

I am not a full-time LSE student for obvious reasons. One, I am not smart enough to get in. People here seemingly possess a more powerful processor chip in their brain. Secondly, London is so damn blardy expensive! More on that in a bit.

So, my first day of school was really good. I have made some new friends from the world over who stay in the same hostel. And peer pressure even amongst new friends is quite a powerful tool. I wanted to take the bus to school everyday but this group INSIST on walking. It is a 25 minutes walk everyday, but given the excellent summer weather, sun shining and cool temperature of approx 15 celsius, it is not bad.

We had to attend a welcome session by the Director of the LSE, Sir Howard Davies at the Peacock Theatre, and following his 2 minute address of the summer school students, there were some other professors who briefed us and the usual do's and dont's, what is expected of us, how to behave bla bla bla.

The welcome session ended around 10.30am, and my class are from 2pm to 5pm everyday! With so much time to spare, and with no material to study, given I haven't gone to class yet, I decided to just explore High Holborn. I walked to and from the Holborn underground station at least 3 times, just looking for a 3 Network SIM card.

The UK has 6 major telcos, and 3 Network specializes in 3G technology. They offer free 3-to-3 calls, and if your phone is a smart phone, you can make free Skype calls using their 3G network as well! I finally managed to buy two SIM cards, and since Skype also had a promotion that offered free calls to Singapore mobile phones and land lines for July, as long as I am in a wireless zone, i.e. school or hostel, I make free calls back home!

I am now an expert in overseas phone calls, given my disaster in Brunei haha. It started pouring really heavily and I cursed myself for not bringing my Gortex or an umbrella with me. The weather here can be really unpredictable.

The first lesson was very interesting. My lecturer is Greek, and he is really humourous.

Basically, I am doing an advanced undergraduate level course in alternative investments. As the name suggests, it refers to alternative assets that not many people are familiar with e.g. hedge funds, private equities, commodities, managed futures, art, some real estate, and more exotic investments like football clubs. Pretty interesting topic, but we have a one hour morning tutorial everyday where we crunch numbers on Excel.

I really regret not paying more attention during my ICT class in poly. It was so useful, now I struggle to do regression, find covariance, R-squared and all these terms which still sound so foreign to me!

My textbook cost £60, which times 2.4, is roughly S$150. I actually shared the cost with another girl from Singapore, Jasmine, but she just informed me this morning that she cannot take it and has changed course. Now I owe her 30 quid.

After school, me, Jasmine (SG), her bf Tommy (SG), Aisyah (SG), Chen Ye (USA), Tim (China), Xinxin (UK), and Michael (USA) went in search of food. We just walked aimlessly and ended up at the National Gallery and in front of it, Trafalgar Square. After some photo taking, we walked up further to Leicester Square, home to some of the most famous theatres in the West End, and Chinatown.

It took us one hour to decide on a restaurant to eat, going to every individual restaurant to check the menu and price. When we finished eating, the sky was still bright but it was 9pm!

So the first day of school was interesting, the school library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science, is second to none. 1000 PCs available for use, nice Victorian-style exterior, very modern interior. I am enjoying every bit of my time here in London. After 1 year in SIM, I know 0 new persons. In 2 days here, I have shaked no less than 50 hands and EVERYONE was friendly.

Pictures for now, next post will be on the world premiere of Harry Potter!

The New Academic Building, opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II last year. Kingsway entrance

NAB main entrance

16th century building still standing in the middle of the LSE campus

The Old Curiosity Shop is a novel written by Charles Dickens

Trafalgar Square

The National Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

Very Chinese group, one ang moh only haha

(L-R)Tommy, Jasmine, Aisyah, Xinxin, Tim, Chen Ye, Michael

Monday, July 6, 2009


I'm in London!!! I have been here for almost 18 hours and I have not spotted even ONE air-con here. The reason is, there is natural air con. I took the Heathrow Connect express train from the airport (by mistake and ended up £7.40 poorer) to Paddington station. Was too kan chiong on finding my way to my accommodation that I did not took out my camera to snap a picture. Paddington station is such a marvelous and grand old railway station.

I realized it is only when you go overseas that you appreciate what you have at home. In SG, the trains operate rain or shine 24/7, any maintenance work is carried out in the wee hours. In London, most maintenance works are carried out on the weekends, and they have no qualms about shutting down stations or even entire lines.

I had to make a big detour to navigate around the London Underground to get to my accommodation. It was quite a distance to walk, but with the air so fresh and temperatures at 11 degrees C, it was enjoyable just taking in the sights and sound.

I met two Hong Kong undergrads at the reception, Michelle and another guy whose name I cannot (or can't be bothered) to remember. The moment I got my room, I unpacked my stuff and hit the deck immediately. I was almost late for my orientation in school. Now the LSE has hostels all over central London, and my hall, Rosebery Ave, was in the district of Islington, an area well known for the Sadler Wells theatre and nice restaurants and bars.

I was waiting for a bus when I saw this very blur looking Chinese girl, Chen Ye (who is actually Chinese-American from Boston, Massachusetts) who approached me and asked me how to get to LSE. I told her I was going there too and we promptly took the wrong bus together. Thanks to my exceptional urban 'topo' skills, we arrived at LSE just about on time.

Again I was too busy looking for the correct queue that I did not snap a nice picture of the famed LSE logo. But I'll have 3 weeks to do that , no problem. After collecting my LSE student ID, I went for a short tour around the school. Cobbled streets, central location in London, dream school!

I was randomly snapping pictures of the campus when I bumped into Chen Ye and another new found friend, Laura from Barcelona who moved to Madrid six months ago (the things you find out about new friends haha). We were all famished, and wanted lunch badly. We anyhow anyhow walked, and stumbled across the famous Theatreland and Covent Garden!

Lunch was an overpriced pasta for £10 after tips where I counted approximately 20 penne pasta on my plate. Really expensive place. After lunch, we walked around Covent Garden market, bypassed the London Transport Museum, visited St Paul's Church, and finally Laura went back to hall first to find (unsuccessful) for an international adaptor. Good thing SG and London same plug, don't need adaptor.

There was a welcome reception at the hall in the evening, but the food and drinks ran out very fast. In the end, a big group of us new friends went out and explore Islington in search of food. We only had dinner at 10pm, and the sky was still bright!!

Will talk about my first day of school in LSE in the next post. London is awesome! :)

Blardy heavy backpack. I regretted not bringing a trolley bag..

Portugal Street, buildings surrounding it are part of the LSE

Covent Garden on a sunday

Theatreland, next to Covent Garden

Large crowd gathering around a street performer, lots of them in Covent Garden

One of King Arthur's knight

Plastic bottle man

Erm... I dunno what is this haha

St Paul's Church

Not Singapore Flyer la, the London Eye

Beautiful London summer sky

I was awestruck when after taking picture with the London Eye, I turned around and saw this...

Big Ben!!!

The Houses of Parliament

Updates real soon!!! :p