Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tagore for the soul

This is a book I have been reading from here and there, once every few nights just before I sleep... Tagore's writing is a soporific to the wakeful and disquiet soul.

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Tagore was great with words and he weaved them masterfully into the most metaphorically beautiful phrases that one can savour with a deep-hearted delight. The one below describes how he is swamped post Nobel Prize in 1913.

"My destiny is furiously amusing herself showering upon me dry leaves of correspondence thick and fast - and when, hidden among them, come down by a chance a few stray flowers of friendship, I have very little breath left to receive them with any show of welcome."

I am inspired to write about Tagore thanks to a friend I made during my MBTI course last week. We recited Tagore's poems to each other during the breaks. I have met a kindred spirit.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Moments from the Bike Rally

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This was a nice part of the ride along Lim Chu Kang Road. A bit surreal riding on an open road with open fields around. Fantastic.

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Aaron trying to resuscitate his tyre with the handpump, which we then christened the pump virus, it deflates the tyres with unapprenticed use and when others see you having a pump in hand they will ask for it and deflate their own tyres as well.

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A nice clear and sunny day... that began to cloud and darken.

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Lady bug leading

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Waiting out the downpour at Serangoon stadium. We finally decided to cycle to East Coast Park after the rain subsided a little.

The most sucky part was when the bike rack with KX's and Ladybugs bike fell off the road, luckily the cars were far off behind and stopped in time for us to retrieve the bikes and gingerly drive off to HV...

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Favourite moment - MacDonald's breakfast at West Coast - we told the marshalls we needed to go for a toilet break... half an hour later we came out and the marshall (NTU undergrad) remarked jokingly "Wah toilet break so long one ah?!"

Hat tips -
I was tweeting updates and apparently Jen was following Otterman's tweets in facebook to get updated on our progress.

My loving wife stayed home with the 3 monsters to let me cycle round Singapore.

NTU organising body was really on top of their jobs ferrying bikes and participants who were stranded in the rain. They road marshalls were in good spirits despite being in the hot sun and then being pelted with heavy rain. There were enough snacks and drinks to keep everyone well nourished. Only gripe were the beating of traffic lights by some undergrads.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Paper Airplane Guy is here

The Science Centre is a regular place we visit with the kids - but today, there was a special treat; we got to see the Paper Airplane Guy - John Collin showing us how to make various paper airplanes that left the audience mesmerised with a craft that was both clever in terms of the science of flight and artful incorporation of Origami into the making of paper airplanes... This must rank as one of the most entertaining demonstrations I have been to.

See what I mean here







Almost all the airplanes are folded from a single sheet of US letter sized paper. My favorite are the planes built from phonebook pages which stay in flight when he walks with cardboard to create a draft below the craft and the bat plane, which flaps like a bat.

Catch him at the Singapore Science Centre (2 more days left) - see below

Singapore Science Centre: Events|The Paper Airplane Guy Show

Josh and Matt waiting for the autographed paper airplane book by John.

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[He inspires a new category - "wow" in this blog]

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Charity Fun day meet-up

Today a couple of us met up to bring stuff to my place for the next Assisi Hospice Charity Fun day 2009. Its also a good excuse to get together. So Mei Fun, Thomas and Jen Kee were the first to come over. Cynth came over with the largest haul and requested manpower to bring stuff up.. I almost broke into cold sweat when I saw a lorry with large boxes and two workers ready to get going. Luckily that wasn't her load (with Cynthia though, it would have been possible) ; behind the lorry was her suv with the bags full of good stuff to be sold for the Charity Fun day.

Otterman was at home waiting for a replacement M1 card which never came today so we thought we plug him in on the action through skype video....

skype_bryani.png on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

sometime later... the dude is here (pic shows satiation by bryani)

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I guess you can't video-conference a packet of bryani.

The objective of the meeting was met; the first batch of goods to be sold at the fun day has been collected

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- see the foilowing post for what the charity fun day is about -
http://otterman.wordpress.com/2008/05/18/assisi-hospice-charity-fun-day/
http://lekowala.wordpress.com/2008/05/19/5-loaves-and-some-cookiesbags-and-coffee/

Its good to do something meaningful with kakis.

If you want to contribute to our pile let me know.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Plant Viruses

Got activated by Siva yesterday to think about how to identify plant viruses for his Plant Virus pract. Fancy the zoologist doing a botany fieldtrip! But I understand he is helping out Prof Wong Sek Man. I don't mind helping such a great prof out anyway.

Always one to seize such opportune and useful displacement activity, I scoured the net for search images of plant viruses and here are some useful links that I "delicioused" under the tag plant_virus. I put together a document that Otterman and I could use as a rough guide to spot plants that have been infected.

Siva lost his phone so by the time I had finished my meeting and made my way to the Bot Garden, it was hard to locate him and the students, so after 15 mins, I gave up and decided to do my own thing. My first aim was to locate the Canna hybrids which apparently are notoriously susceptible to the Yellow Streak Virus which cuases the pale streaks running parallel to the leaf veins; a closer look would show lots of speckles.

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Another surprise I had was how many plant species showed the tell-tale signs of virus infection - chlorotic spots and ring spots with yellowing and vein clearing. The two pictures below were of leaves from Heliconia psittacorum

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I decided to check out palm valley and lo and behold quite a few species were also infected. Here's the majestic Corypha umbracaulifera (Talipot palm) clearly down with a bug.

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Anyway, too bad I missed the group of students but the learning journey at the Bot Gdns was a welcome break. Here are some beautiful scenes; gosh how I miss the plants.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Changi ride

Its always nice to ride to Changi with the Zendogs. This time I was catching Otterman and Ladybug who were on their way to PedalUbin. I also could test out my new ride, a second-hand racer which isn't too shabby. I had tested out the clips for the pedal as well as shoes the night before as I have heard some of my friend falling off at road junctions. The ride was great and managed to catch up with them along Elias road from Sengkang. A pity they had to rush off at the jetty.

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The Changi rides are the most enjoyable. Here's the bike taking a rest while I had my Jwee Kueh which was a good carbo fix before the half hour ride back to Sengkang.

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