Monday, May 19, 2008

5 loaves and some cookies...bags and coffee

The Assisi hospice charity fun day was a great way to spend the Sunday. So the kakis rounded up some used stuff such as bags, books and clothes to sell at the fun fair. We had ensured that the stuff coming in from friends and all were of good quality stuff so quite a few things were branded actually. And I had "let go" of some of my books as well that would have just collected dust on my shelf anyway.. They were nice books.. Like my Aung Sang Su Kyi book which I bought for 47 bucks and went for about $5 or was it $2? Well that depended on our mood. At the end of the day, Ivan was giving free collectibles or bags with each book sold.

Here's Ivan demonstrating the read the book and then when people are around just tell them "5 for 1 dollar" move. it worked! Such business acumen!

Besides that, we baked cookies and Amy and Thomas made their homemade bread for the kaya toast section. I woke up at 6.30 to make some coffee (Sumatra Mandheing) to support the kaya toast sale.


Su Yin on the left sorting out clothes with Ivan. Clothes were hard to sell but the Polo Ralph Laurens, AIX and Timberland shirts from Charles disappeared soon enough from the displays.

Peck Wai and Oi Yee would have added to the already fun atmosphere but the stuff they parted with were valuable. Not to mention Oi Yee's Gucci bags! Ah material things!

The day before we had gone to drop off stuff at the stall and realised that we didn't have decor and a name... but as Ivan pointed out, that won't really matter to the crowd who would mill around and have more fun sifting through the mess. Which is true as I found out when they rummaged through the boxes of bags which we had planned to arrange nicely on the table; so we dumped the bags into a big box and left it on the floor.... soon, women came and were busily going through the items..amazing.


Books were another great performer... it was nice to see people going through the books and we had our Rambling Librarian to artfully arrange the books. I was impressed at how he had done it in about 20 mins... He had a personable way with people and they took to him... it must be his height ..ha!


Otterman checking out the books


Otherman - a satisfied customer and fellow stall organiser blogs about the day

It was a busy day ferrying the family to the stall and back. But luckily the rest were manning the stations busily so I could bring the kids and wife to the stall. Jen had donated quite a few books and quite a lot of her own bags and helped me organise collections the past month.

What's a funfair without the candy floss.


My sis, Natalie looking rather pooped out after spending 830 to 5 pm on the opposite end of the retail therapy.

Pix of the day goes to the lovely couple of Thomas and Amy who with much resilience and hard selling, got all the cookies and Kaya toast sold off.


This lady has the honor of being the first ever person to buy the Seastars album. She got her photo taken with us and also another free album to distribute. What a great person! 2 more came to buy our album so Ivan and I may be seriously thinking about launching our commercial album....


At the end of the day... a job well enjoyed and done with a couple of books, bags and clothes left.

Well, the hospice managed to raise over $550,000 according to the CNA news. So I guess our little stall added to that. Well done kakis!

Last year, the hospice saw over 1,000 patients – an increase of nearly 200 from 2006. This year, it expects to spend over S$6 million on improving its programmes.

A third of that amount will be covered by government grants and revenue, but the remainder of S$4 million will have to be met through donations

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Biophilia Programme


One fieldtrip left and a seminar series at the science centre before the Biophilia programme draws to a close for the year. Hopefully we can run it again next year. The idea is to arouse biophilia in students, who otherwise would not have an authentic experience of nature here in Urban Singapore. But its more than that. Besides the place-based learning, the students come up with their projects here and all we do as part of that process is socratic questioning. Its a bit frustrating for students and its not easy to come up with a scientific question. But we've been to the fieldsite for about 5 times already and each time we spend about 3 hours there (what a blessing to have enthusiastic and supportive colleagues taking turns or even coming regular for this). We've seen some "ecological literacy" developing so that's a nice development.


Here's a pair of anemone shrimps. We found 2 pairs on two different anemones. They are delightful creatures to watch and they are, as we found out through the weeks on the Biophilia programme, almost always there when there is a submerged carpet anemone. They are known to wait out in a nearby pool if the anemone is totally exposed during the low tide, and return again.

This is the second time I have seen it in the flesh/carapace, and they provide a nice source of distraction from the world. The seem to potter about busily around the tentacles of the anemone and its been recorded that they fend off any outsider (be it a fish) that comes close to the anemone. So the pair's highly territorial. Their almost transparent body makes them hard to spot but once you know there's a high chance of spotting them beside the nice obvious bloom of the anemone, their movements give them away. The smaller one of the pair is the guy.

For much better pictures and a sciency account go to the Annotated Budak post


Nat Low and I were debating over this row of eggs. I had roughly remembered it to be some mollusc that would lay such eggs. She, being more cephalopod-biased, suggested it was too big for small snails... well not too big for the spiral melongena I guess.

Here's a nice picture of the spiral melongena from Dai Jiao's photostream in Flickr.

Because the tide was low, we decided to hope over to another stretch of rocky beach on the southern most point of Singapore and saw this pair of horseshoe crab doing their thing. What an interesting sight for students who have not even seen the creature before, seeing the mating ritual of the horseshoe crab. I am sure they, like me before, find it interesting to know that the horseshoe crab has blue blood, as unlike us, they have copper instead of iron as the prosthetic group to carry oxygen. The blue blood is very valuable as it has anti-bacterial properties that scientists have been studying. See the youtube video here.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Burma - UN halts Burma aid in seizure row

Gee, this is unbelievable....

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | UN halts Burma aid in seizure row

Hundreds of thousands of people have no food, water or shelter. International aid agencies on the ground say seven tonnes of high-energy biscuits have been distributed in the delta region, but they have reached only 10% of those that need help.

Despite this, Burma's foreign ministry issued a statement on Friday saying it was not ready to allow foreign aid workers to enter the country.

The junta said it was happy to accept aid, but insisted it would control the distribution itself.

'Murdering own people'

WFP spokesman Paul Risley said two flights of "critically-needed food aid" - including 38 tonnes of high-energy biscuits - arrived in Burma on Friday but was confiscated.


Thursday, May 08, 2008




Sunday, May 04, 2008

Beginning Astronomy

introducing the Celestron Firstscope 80.....