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Hello, I blog!

I write with no particular theme in mind, because I am random like that.

Jun
13 2009

Australia Part I: Why we make excellent psychos.

Oh hello, this is part one of the series of entries pertaining to the 2-week long vacation to Perth. Today’s entry will be purely text, but photos and illustrations will soon follow. So, stay tuned.

When it comes to the art of psyching people, no one can do it better than the three of us – G, D and yours’ truly.

Although I daresay that I am still the champion. Why? Read on.

Of course, I am not going to start the entry by bragging about how excellent I am in psyching people. Since the trip involved three individuals – it’s best if I started off talking about us collectively, and how our attempts at psyching people ended up saving us from the multiple cock-ups we faced during the trip.

The biggest issue that cropped up while in Perth? Not being able to drive.

Our original plan was to rent a car – with D and G rotating shifts as the drivers with yours’ truly as the navigator. (Because I am excellent at reading maps, with a keen sense of direction … or so I claim, affirmed by D. While I can’t drive to save my life.)

Readers might remember that we weren’t staying alone – but under the wing of a host family, which comprised G’s relatives. (Although one particular woman, whom we affectionately referred to as ‘Auntie’, called most of the shots there.)

Somehow, ‘Auntie’ discovered our plans to drive and phoned G’s mother, who in turn phoned G to deliver an earful. To cut a long story short, we weren’t allowed to drive – which I found absolutely absurd because nothing is nearby in Australia and we really needed a car to get around. (The rail/bus network linking Perth to the suburbs was just absolutely crap.)

The following day, we had to again – contend with another earful. This time, from ‘Auntie’ who delivered a loooong lecture of “Why it is so dangerous to drive in Australia” during the drive from our place all the way to Perth City (which lasted a grand total of 30 minutes – what a feat!) while we sat in stony silence.

It was during this time where the psyching took place.

‘Auntie’ must have realized our annoyance at the recent happenings. (It was actually pretty darn obvious – considering how the three of us basically refused to talk to her throughout the entire car ride, while I could practically see the negative vibes emanating from D who was in the front seat.) As a result, she later offered to drive us everywhere, knowing how we were stuck in a rut considering the less than developed transport network.

Of course, we eagerly accepted the offer – and promised ourselves that we’d give her a bigger ang bao (red packet) to thank her at the end of the trip.

Attempt at psyching … successful!

For my dear readers who’d like to know what the number one danger of Australian roads is, it’s … kangaroos. Unlike us intelligent human beings, kangaroos do not know how to look left and right before crossing the bloody roads. As such, more than 100 kangaroos get struck by cars across Australia every single day, especially before sunrise and after sunset.

Additionally, you can’t swerve to avoid the kangaroos – because the roads are elevated from the rest of the surroundings. As such, it is either to knock down the kangaroo (which will usually at most, leave some damages to your car but leave you unharmed) or swerve (which will usually lead to your car overturning and your potential death while the silly, reckless kangaroo gets away scot-free). Your call.

I shall now reserve the last bit of this entry to describe why I am still the champion of psyching.

This took place in a souvenir shop. (Warning: If you’re in the midst of the meal, or if you’re about to take a meal, or if you’ve just finished a heavy meal – I’d suggest not to continue.)

Me: I’m going to fart.
(G immediately backs away.)
G: Um, okay.

A few seconds later …
G: Okay, Bren. I think I just smelled your fart.

I found it pretty funny because in reality, I hadn’t released any gas bomb. I was as usual, trying to mess around with people’s minds. (Hehehe. Sorry, G!)

First place still goes to me! *Puts on crown.*

Apr
30 2009

Farewell, little cousin.

I’ve been busy recently, working on a farewell gift for one of my favourite cousins – David.

This young fella’ would be heading to Vancouver for the next two years or so to pursue his Junior College education. (Singapore’s Education System has once again, proven to be too much of a struggle.)

It was a rather sudden, I must say. He only made his decision slightly more than a month ago and he’s leaving in … three days.

I’d feel really odd without David around – the cousin I practically grew up with. Those little gossip sessions and heart-to-heart talks in my grandmother’s house, all those times going crazy in public, our families having dinner, lunch or shopping sessions together, how he’d always drop me a message or ask how I am (about my health) and of course, our thrice-annually overseas trips together.

He’s my little buddy. How can I cope for two years without him? :(

Ah well, no time to grovel about it. I wish him the best of luck, to work hard and play hard at the same time. Also, I wish a pretty Canadian girlfriend upon him. (Oh, and I’ve asked him to find me a cute Canadian girl too. ;))

Anyway, back to the gift I’ve prepared for him.

Basically, it comprises two posters – which I’m going to demand he displays on the wall of his new room – one comprising photographs depicting our past happenings together with the family and extended family, and the other comprising messages from various family members and friends (bordered with even more photos).

At least in a way, he’d be taking all of us with him to Canada.

Thus, BEHOLD!

David's farewell gift
David’s farewell gift bundle.

It took several pieces of coloured paper, two black plastic boards, three tubes of glue, several photos, scissors and a very tired pair of hands to create this.

It was made with love, David dear. I hope you like it.

The first board.
Board 1 – Photographic memories.

This is the first board I’ve mentioned about, supposedly depicting David’s life with his family here in Singapore, all thanks to my vast collection of photos from family outings and travels throughout the years. Not to mention some rather err … unglam pictures of David himself too.

Now, presenting the other board.

The second board.
Board 2 – Sweet farewell messages.

I’ve started soliciting messages from family and friends (and those who know David) via Facebook slightly more than a week ago. It wasn’t easy, since some rarely log into Facebook (and I have no other means to contact them), so it was a crazy waiting game until I’ve more or less received all the messages I needed.

The messages were nicely formatted on Microsoft Powerpoint, printed and cut into little speech or thought bubbles (or plain ol’ squares) for the board.

I’m quite pleased with the overall outcome.

Continue reading for more in-depth pictures of the farewell gift bundle.
WARNING: Image intensive!

Dec
04 2008

The woes of budget airline travel

Never did realize that making bookings for budget airline travel can be like … dabbling in the stock market.

The prices fluctuate like woah.

Recently, I witnessed first hand how a friend was practically on the edge of his seat as he constantly made calls to the airline’s hotline – and reporting how the airfare for the same particular flight was leaping by tens every twenty minutes or so.

He made a booking for a flight to Kuala Lumpur in the afternoon at the cost of only … about $40-50 SGD.

This evening, he proceeded to check the price again (supposedly to add me into the original booking) and discovered that the price was now a whooping $137 SGD.

He called later again and the price was in the $140s.

Grace and I were pretty worried that the same thing could happen to us because we were intending to book flights for our trip to Hong Kong next month, from the same airline.

I recall checking the prices for our flight sometime last weekend – and it was standing at $359 SGD.

This evening, we looked up the price again, and were delighted to find that the total price had fallen to $299 SGD all inclusive. (With our return flight only costing $43 SGD (excluding surcharges and taxes).

But we held back the booking for a while – because we still had some final arrangements to make.

Four hours ago, I logged into the airline’s website to double-check the prices … and did a double take because the price for our original return flight had more than doubled … from $43 SGD to $200+ SGD – excluding surcharges and taxes. That’s practically costing an arm and a leg in comparison to the prices we saw earlier.

That was when I texted Grace in panic – and we decided to book right then on the spot, lest the prices surged further.

The later return flight (an alternative to our original intended flight) was comparatively cheaper ($119 SGD excluding surcharges and taxes), leading to a total cost of $375 SGD all inclusive per person.

That was the price we were supposed to get while I made my booking.

Or so I thought.

After filling in all our personal details and credit card information, I clicked on ‘confirm’. That was when I looked at receipt, and did a double take.

W.T.F?!

Why was I charged $762 for two people?!

Did a re-check on the price. Apparently, the price per person had been bumped up by a further $6 SGD while I was busily filling in the reservation form.

Grarrr!

Sidenote: The additional $12 ($6 per person x 2) is not due to the facilitation fee as seen in the screenshot above. Everything was inclusive in the quotation I received earlier.

Blame my slow typing skills or whatsoever. (Although I generally type pretty fast, albeit not fast enough to beat this c*cked up system.)

Ah well, too bad.

Air tickets have already been paid for. No point harping on it, aye? Just sit back and bask in the happiness that our trip to Hong Kong has now already been booked.

Four hours later (20 minutes ago) …

I decided to re-access the airline booking system to check out the prices again. (My main motive was to hope that the prices would have risen further so that I can laugh at how I had managed to secure our air tickets before the further price escalations.)

I was in for a shock.

Apparently, the prices for our original intended return flight had dropped all over again … from the earlier $200 odd SGD back to $43 SGD!

$43?!

Can someone just say, ARGHHHHHH?!

I don’t know why this is happening – but my guess is that the airline presumed no nutcase out there will be making flight bookings at 4 A.M. and thus reduced the price to match the lower demand. (For the record, I made my booking at midnight.)

Counting all the possible surcharges and taxes, the total flight cost per person would have been …

$299 SGD

-BIGFATSIGH-

Heartache. We practically overpaid by $80 SGD.

And Grace dear – I don’t know whether you’d be laughing or fuming at this point in time. But … I think we’ve just been successfully manipulated (and screwed over) by Jetstar’s online booking system.

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