Monday, December 31, 2012

Year-end roundup 2012

In Japan, one of the traditions on New Year's Day is to send out a little postcard to friends and relatives and people you know. Not too sure what they write on them, but for one family I know, they use it as an opportunity to let others know what the family has been up to.

I really enjoyed hearing from them, but I was only reminded of it recently (a few hours ago really), so given the lack of time and the relative dearth of creative talent I possess, I have been unable to do up a proper postcard. So instead of a proper one, here's my 年賀状 for this year's end (I'll try to make a proper one next year), with some of the important things that happened this year!

  1.  I got into a spot of trouble with the Customs authorities in Singapore because I overstayed, and for a few days at least, temporarily became an 'illegal immigrant'. Long story, but the end of it was that I was let off with a warning. (Maybe I will blog about this some day)
  2. I got into my first car accident. Well, not so much an accident as a few scratches, but I damaged the car while making a tight turn around a corner that was much tighter than I realised. Nope, no one was injured and nothing was really badly damaged. Unless you count my ego. 
  3. I got to go to Japan for a trip again! Got to see some of the places I wanted to see, got to meet many of the people I wanted to meet, got to eat quite a bit of the food I wanted to eat (which tended towards rather pedestrian tastes most of the time, like Matsuya/Sukiya/Yoshinoya/Manshuu, onigiri and conbini-bentos, much to Marie's distaste).
  4. I joined a new CG. They had a reshuffle across the young adults' ministry in church, so we were all moved around and stuff, and now I've got a new group. Still trying to get it into a cohesive group at the moment, but things are fairly ok.
  5. I started cycling regularly, since I finally learnt how to do it in Japan. First it was cycling every Saturday morning with Dad, and then since work started, I cycle to work every now and then.
  6. In case you didn't pick it up in the previous paragraph, I finally found a job. It's with The Straits Times, the local dominant English news daily. Most of my colleagues are nice people.
  7. Grandma passed away. I still miss her sometimes :(
  8. I got to be involved in a close friend's wedding as one of his groomsmen. Fortunately for us, his wife's friends were rather nice people, and didn't make us go through a lot. 
  9. I missed another month in blogging, just the second time in my blog's existence that I missed putting up a post in a month, which is why there is no October 2012 in the drop-down list on the left.
  10. The world didn't end on 21/12/12.
Ok, that's really about all the major incidents that I can really think of at the moment.

Anyway, Happy New Year everyone! Please stay safe and warm (if you're in a temperate or arctic zone) and don't drink if you're driving!

God bless!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


About a month ago, one of my really good friends from St. Andrew's School (no, we don't have the word 'secondary' in our school name) got married. Alvin was the only guy I was classmates with for all four years there, either through chance or misfortune. But whatever it was, while we didn't always hang out together all the time back then (something to do with the fact that he was a prefect, I believe), we struck it off really well in Sec 1, and remained close friends till now. 

Alvin is the one on the left. Coincidentally, this was taken almost a year before that, when the other Alvin (2nd from right, also known as Fuzzy) was about to get married. And even more coincidentally, both are married to girls called Amanda. The dude in blue is Joel, Fuzzy's best man.

A couple of weeks later, another of my secondary school mates tied the knot. Unlike Alvin, Sam was my classmate for only a year in Sec 2, but we were mates for all four years and then some, as both of us were in the Boys' Brigade. When you suffer together (since the 7th Singapore Company was an old school unit that believed in the value of corporal punishment to instill discipline), you do form some pretty close bonds.

Sam Tan is the dude in white with the biggest smile on his face, as befitting his happy day. In Sec 2, myself, he and Gerald (with bowtie) formed a little clique that came up with rather... embarrassing names for each other. Shaun is the fellow in front, and incidentally, there's another Sam, in the black polo.

Two weeks after that, another of the old BB boys from my cohort got hitched. Marcus was always ready for a joke, and I have to admit, he still hadn't changed at all much since we graduated more than 10 years ago.

BB 7th Singapore Company Charlie Batch ('97), plus Marcus's bride and his father. Marcus is the guy to the right of the only lady in the picture, Darius, is the one all the way on the left, and in front, next to Shaun, are Kelvin (in white) and Jiancheng. I'm pretty sure you can therefore figure out who the father and the bride are.

It's always fun to be able to meet up with old friends, to find out how they are doing, to see how their lives are like. And over the years, I have made many friends (hopefully not so many enemies). But one thing that always stands out whenever I meet some of my secondary school friends, either one or both of the Alvins or a group from the BB, is that no matter how long the interim, or under what circumstances the meeting, it's like time has never passed. We all slip so easily back into the bantering as if we were once again carefree youths, old enough to have some independence, but still young enough to not have to deal with too much of the responsibilities of life that invariably weighs us down.

I have to admit, of all my time I spent in school, I have always had the fondest memories of secondary school. And I do believe, part of that is due to the people I met there that I'm proud to call my friends.