Monday, March 27, 2006

M for Mad Maximuzz

Maximuzz has engaged me to alliterate for here's my attempt....

M : Maximuzz Mager! Master of military miniatures manning malicious Molokoff mocktail misfires, the muse of a-many Mad Magazine mish-mash. Even mortal men are miffed by mere mention of murderous mercenaries that mould the motion of marginalised minds. A mockery of Man-kind! Monstrous! Married to Merciless, markedly a muse, an amusing mermaid mulling at a muddy mangrove. Or M I misinformed and misimagining? Be mindful, marriage is not a match made in Mars to a money-and-material-minded millionairess, a modest massage-manouvering mistress, miserable meat-market-models nor a menage-a-trois of meeni, myni, mo; mere myths, more so meaningless madness. Maybe Madonna, Marilyn Manson, or a Midsummer's Made-believe Mountain Man will move me? Makes moi morally misty in minutes! Mention milk-maid, moochi, mee-soto, mutton, minced-meat mee (most mourned-for mee-pok-ta), Mongolian-steamboat, mango-pudding and a multitude of M&M munchies, and Maximuzz is majorly moved. Meekly the Mister mutters, I mirror Miss Merciless and she mimics me! It's a merry-go-round. On a Monday in March, this Mister marvels at the magnificence of "M".

After reading this, Maximuzz reMarks, "I'm mummified"! :P

Westerrrrrrrrrrrrnnnn Ozland Roadtrip

Gooday mate! Today, we be headingz westward in the Land Downunder (actually, Upandabove Perth) on a 4-day roadtrip with 'em mate named Glenn from Active Safari who drove us over a gazillion miles on a special edition Monkey Mia Tour! Well, that Ozzie Glenn also kinda drove us crazy!
Temp outside : 56.6 deg cel. / Temp inside (in aircon bus) : 49.9 deg cel.'s getting hot in here, so take off all your........

Maximuzz showing off a penicle....

Maximuzz kicks up a storm as he takes on the dunes of Geralton during Sandboarding 101!

Mr Pelican introduces you to the hidden secrets of Monkey Mia Resort...

Desperately waiting in line to be "the hand that feeds the dolphins"...

Our first living cousins on earth.... (no, it's not a bunch of rocks)....

Team Japan dons black from head to toe as a carcinogenic UV light preventative measure while they stroll along a 100% sea-shell-covered seashore...

Check out what lurks in the deep Indian Ocean waters off Shark Bay....

Wana find out more? CLICK ME!

More photos of Tour de Perth coming up soon to a blog near you....

V, the flavour of the month!

V: Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is it vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished, as the once vital voice of the verisimilitude now venerates what they once vilified. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose vis-à-vis an introduction, and so it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.

If you are a hero in need of customised alliteration, look no further! Log onto Vocabulary of Alliteration and whip up your very own "x"-flavoured alliteration that defines you and your work.

Now, would that be "L" for Ling....or "M" for Merciless? :P

Thursday, March 23, 2006

LEN me your ears!

Friends, Musicians, Singapore Idol-fans, lend me your ears!

If I'd have to vote for a Singapore Idol, it'd go to the singer / songwriter / guitarist / pianist / bassist / occasional producer, LEONARD NG. Too bad he's way over the age limit! Hee hee!

For the record, he didn't pay me to do this.

(photo below extracted from LEN's webpage / Profile )

Back in lawschool, our class was touted to be one of the most talented....we had singer - Rosita Ng, dancer - June Tan, director - Lau Joon Nie, and a host of other talents. I was voted as the Law 4 Concert Chairwoman (hmmm...wonder why?) to work with all these talents, and I'm proud to say after unintentionally picking a big fight with the schoolmasters over copyright issues in producing the intended "Grease" musical, we miraculously produced a great show entitled "Back to School", which opened with a double-bill play (with play written by our very own Wee Teck) and ended with a big boom of rock-and-roll "Grease' song and dance that showcased the brilliance of our classmates! I'll always remember the remarks of a discipline master, "Those are Grease steps. Get rid of them....NOW"! Those were the good ol' days!

Our juniors lamented that they had big shoes to fill when it came to their Year 4 concert, but I beg to differ, and I was right! Their class was equally talented, if not more, with musicians who have left the legal profession in search of a more holistic way of life.

Leonard was a year my junior, definitely a budding young talent to look out for. When I heard him play the piano, drums, guitar, sing etc. etc., I was like "who the frickin' hell is he? Life just ain't fair!" :P

He used to be a member of local band, Peculiar Remedies me thinks (bandmates I know : Don Bosco, Pamela Oei), and recently came back from London (where he works) to perform @ the Substation with his partner in crime (and ex-classmate), Rani Singham. Rani's another runaway lawyer who's left the cushy life of a DPP to become one of Singapore's favourite jazz singers.

What is it with lawyers and the performing arts?

Anywayz, Len's released 2 LPs, and I'm the proud owner of both of them!

In fact, I've become such a fan that a lot of his songs are featured in me short videos...

My short film : Somewhere Over the Long White Cloud
Stars replace the sun til dawn

Whaleshark trilogy - Goodwill Hunting
and several more from his Peculiar Remedies album.

Go check out his music on his webpage.

"Might sit comfortably amongst Keane and Coldplayin the CD racks" - Future Music magazine, Nov 2004

Monday, March 20, 2006

Downhillin' Babes!

3 broken ribs, broken collar bones, arms, knee tendons, ankle ligaments, dislocated neck....all before the age of 25! If that doesn't spell hard-core, I don't know what does!

Read on for more info of this "Surfer Girl of the Month"!

Risa Suseanty's Profile
Multiple Discipline Athlete, XC, DH, 4X, BMX, Road
at age 24, she ranked UCI World Downhiller #41 in 2005
won several Seagames Gold medals

And her personal webpage.

Last Saturday, Risa and Hong Chun helped me set up the MTB trail for Sunday's race, and on race day, she received her first SACA Ladies Open medal for this year - like she's done so many times fact, all the times that she's raced locally for the MTB race series.

Singaporean lady bikers have quite a lot of work even trying to smell the trace left behind by this super duper lady who has once clocked 90 km /hr on a downhill race! It was great to have her back racing in the local circuit! We have a lot to learn from this young lass!

I was in awe of her prowess when I started watching the local MTB races many years back. Chandra was back then (and is still) the coach of the Indonesian national riders. Risa would tell me horror stories about the torture she was put through just to get into tip top racing condition. Puts me to shame to think about how easily some of us Singaporeans winge just from a little bitta pain and suffering! :P

I saw Risa bombing down a hill during the Asian MTB Championship 2003 held in Aomori , Japan! It was actually not really a hill, but a bloody mountain where the peak can only be reached via ski chairlifts! These Asian championships are selection races to select Asia's best athletes to represent the Asian contingent at the Olympics! China won 2 tickets and Japan, 1!

More photos from the Asian Championships 2004 : Album 1, Album 2, Album 3, Album 4, Album 5, Album 6, Album 7, Album 8.

This was my first non-local MTB / DH race and brush with Asian Mountain biking celebrities! It opened my eyes to the amount of biking talent just in Asia alone! I was introduced to Mio Suemasa, former Junior World Champion downhiller! She was originally a successful bike trial rider who eventually switched to Downhill and 4Cross. At 21, Mio is the youngest member of the UCI top ten and second youngest in the top 20! Below, Me o Mio in Aomori! :)

Found an interesting interview of Mio on the Descent-World website. Also came across an article about a Japanese lady downhiller who bit the dust a few months before the Aomori Championships in 2003! Yikes! And this happened during a practice run (wasn't sure whether it was a downhill or mountain bike race)!!! Reminded me of our experience with Swee Haw, how things happen when you least expect it!

This article about Haruko Fujinaka's death was published in the website....and the poor 33 year old was on her honeymoon! How tragic can it be. The author interviewed several other competitors in order to learn from a tragic event by reflecting on how and why bikers ride, givne the big risks associated with the sport. Mio, a good friend and competitor of Haruko's, says "I don't want to waste her death."

The article ended with a cv listing out impressive injuries suffered by some of these riders for the love of their sport. I was totally amazed by Mio's response :-

Mio Suemasa:
Age: 20
Racing experience: 6 years
"I haven't been injured."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Another world in your fingernail?

How many of us receive - day in day out - heaps of junk and spam mail, virus attachments, hoaxes, myths, urban legends, sex and penis enlarger adverts - press "delete", "delete", "delete", "delete", KILL THEM ALL!

Once in a while tho, you do get something wonderful that really makes your day.....videos that make you chuckle, a joke that leaves you rolling in stitches, breathtaking photos that make your jaw drop, a sad story that jerks that tear outta ya eye, or even an inspirational story that makes you wana finish that assignment at work (err...don't think I've come across the last one)...

The sequence of pictures below is one of the most memorable things that has graced my inbox! Too bad I don't know who the artist is as I sure would love to give credit where credit is most certainly due - if only I knew who he/she/it was!



Don't know why, but when I see these photos, I immediately think of ...

Lord of the Rings : Galadriel's advice to Frodo, "Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."

Men in Black : A member of the "bug" alien race comes to Earth to steal an amulet which contains a source of power. A dying alien says that the galaxy is located in Orion's belt. Agent J tells this to Zed (the man in charge of the organization) and Zed replies, "Here's Orion [displaying a map of the sky]. It's a grouping of the brightest stars of the northern sky- and here's Orion's belt. The belt is just these three stars. Galaxies are huge; they're made up of billions of stars. You heard wrong." And of course we all knew that the galaxy in question a tiny galaxy trapped in an amulet that hung from a cat's collar, and the cat's name was Orion. :P

So, the next time you cut your fingernails, just think that there could be another world living inside your fingernail......or....we could be living in someone else's armpit!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

If you snooze, you lose!

An account of my last dive trip to the Anambas Islands from 10 - 14 October 2002, authored by my favourite German superwoman diver, Rosy Low. It was at this dive trip that I managed to capture footage of the baby whaleshark that was featured in "Goodwill Hunting".

"On October 10, 2002 another group of divers left for their annual pilgrimage to Anambas. People assembled between 1800 - 1900h at Simon's Dive School inside the Big Splash complex. Quite punctually, around 1900 hrs, the transfer of miscellaneous dive gear, dive bags, scooters, etc. to the shore began and everyone helped with the task.

The MV Seri Delima (photo below) was a short distance off shore and soon her dinghy started to take on gear items and people and transfer both to the SD. Shortly past 1900 hrs we were able to set sail.

The divers were a motley crew put together from Simon's friends and students and a small contingent from Davy's side, Steven Seow and I. The chemistry within the group was rather good with no bickering or disagreements throughout the entire trip. This was so much so, that these few days saw the entire group sharing roaring belly laughs until tears flowed and stomachs hurt, some enterprising females raiding the galley not in pursuit of more food, but to prepare a large plastic tub full of vegetable sticks and another tub full of a cream cheese dip with the rest of the gang carefully watching the proceedings and occasionally snitching a stick of carrot or cucumber.

Captain Tan Yu Seng again cooked as if he had a bunch of pot-bellied, starving children from Biafra on board. We ate until we could eat no more. There were dishes of fish cooked various ways, vegetable dishes, curry chicken, spaghetti, goreng pisang sizzling hot straight out of the frying pan, salted eggs, fried slices of bread dipped in egg batter which we ate with a thin topping of Nutella, these went off the platter with lightning speed and no left overs. Then, of course, there were the snacks that came out of personal bags at night like various types of cookies and crackers, nuts and dorito chips with salsa, there was even red wine and serious gin tonics with real lime slices floating in them. It was just a great surprise that we didn't have more severe buoyancy problems with all that high calory food intake.

Among the divers we saw UW-photographers, an UW-videographer, one person on twin-tanks, at least one person with stage bottles, one diver using a KISS rebreather and two divers using scooters. The lady videographer experienced problems with her VCR as she tested the unit before the diving began in earnest. The darn thing could not be switched on once inside the housing. No matter what she tried, the camera remained uncooperative. Her face fell and her mood dropped, visibly! After all the anticipation that was built up for this trip with possible whaleshark and manta encounters this expensive piece of Hi Tech equipment refused to work.

Ling - that's her name - was devastated. After much fiddling and trying and being just that far
away from giving up, she took the camera out, switched it on, then placed it inside the housing again. Ling took it down on the next dive, hoping for the best. The VCR ran continuously since the SHOOT function could not be turned off. The smile was back on Ling's face. Some serious editing however will have to be done since the VCR ran continuously from the moment it was
placed inside the housing and until the tape ran out.

Ling's smile became even wider when the whalesharks (no kidding!!!) and the mantas really did turn up. We did get to see these beautiful animals on the SEVEN SKIES wreck, where after a long period of disappearance our old friend "Batman" showed up again. Batman came up from the blue depth towards us and gracefully swerved off to the side. It was just one pass, but a pass that was highly appreciated by all who saw it.

Our next stop at Damar Island presented us with an underwater vista of healthy corals of all kinds, the number of fish present, however, was a bit disappointing. Two divers went off to examine the fish population further down under the ledge, where bigger fish are known to hang out. But here, too, the fish were hiding on this day.

During the night the SD steamed to the Udang 'B' oilrig, which was reached the next morning. Here the real fun began. Here Ling's smile became so wide that her face began to resemble a radar dish. This was due to the ad hoc appearance of a young female whale shark, perhaps 5 m long. A special mark of identification was the right fin. While scootering alongside the animal,
Davy noticed that the fin was only about one third as long as the left fin (see photo of Davy scootering alongside the little baby taken by Merciless).

Back on board the SD, we speculated on the possible reason for this and came to the conclusion that this is very likely a propeller injury. The shortened fin seemed to be well healed and not a recent event and the whalesharkappeared otherwise perfectly alright.

When the first few divers hit the water and swam the short distance towards the oil rig, the whale shark was first spotted close to the surface. Divers still on the boat heard Davy's shout : "Whale Shark, Whale Shark". Ling promptly jumped queue and hustled her way to the stern. Other divers helped to kit her up and she was in the water with her camera in record speed. (ok, I jumped queue, but that was so I could capture the magnificence of this creature for the greater good of this species! ;)

The animal apparently went up close to every diver to check them all out. Some people actually got close enough to experience the texture of the whale shark's skin. We saw that a rebreather combined with a scooter makes an awfully good combination for whaleshark pursuit.

All that action took place right outside the oilrig. Nobody bothered to swim under the oilrig. With so much excitement outside, the structure suddenly offered little in the way of diving appeal.

There were quite a few people who never had a chance thus far for a whale shark or a manta encounter. So this trip probably left a very lasting impression on these guys. This is not to say that the others with whaleshark experience were not touched by the encounter, on the contrary.
Everybody was charmed by the grace and harmony with which this huge gentleanimal moved among the divers.

The best was, that the whale shark girlcame back on our second dive and people were in for a second helping of whaleshark fun. Nobody was disappointed in as far as I could tell.

We are all hopeful, that our happy videographer Ling will let us all have a look at the edited version, once it's ready. (yeah, photo of me following in the fin-steps of the little beauty)

Our last stopover on the way back was Damar Island one more time. Two dives were done there and some people came back after the first dive and reported having seen a baby manta that was mostly white in colour. The excitement among the divers was stirred again.

For the second dive I went with Davy, both being with scooters. We decided on a bit of long distance scootering in the direction where the manta was seen. The current had picked up a bit after the first dive and the scooters proved to be a big help in making headway. We scootered for quite some distance, perhaps 15 minutes or so, without seeing anything spectacular. We stopped then and just hung around and observed. I kept my eyes peeled for anything on the surface and continued doing 360' turns, you never know .....

As we were about to turn back and had begun to move, the white (well, almost) manta came out of the blue. Davy saw it first. It is not actually a baby, but a young adult with a wing span of perhaps 1.5 - 2m across. The manta just inspected us, then flew off into the deep blue expanse, but not without being captured by Davy's camera. Well, you have got to have proof for such things ...

After the last divers were picked up and safely back on board, the SD swiftly pulled anchor and began her journey back home to Singapore. On the way out to Anambas we found that the SD was accompanied by 7 dolphins which rode the bow wave in front of the ship. People were hanging over the railing and craning their necks. On the way back there were also some dolphins. These however did not stay as long as the other group.

The day came to an end with people rinsing their gear and getting their packing started. It was a long night with the remainder of the snacks being brought out and the events of the last few days being discussed, logbook entries were done and we had quick reviews of the footage taken by the VCR and what was captured by Davy's camera. Eventually, everyone called it a day and people retired to their chosen sleeping spots one by one. It was a short night as we arrived in Singapore very early in the morning on 14/10/2002.

I believe that everyone was grateful for having made the decision to come, despite possible time clashes with work concerns, family commitments or financial constraints. The trip was well worth it.

For those who could or would not come, Davy had this to say : "If you snooze, you lose".

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


"The Anambas Islands"? Where's that? My friend couldn't stop raving about her experience diving an oil-rig. "Hmmm....wonder what it's like to explore under a manmade structure?" I've only covered reefs and I'd like to try diving what is touted as diving an underwater cathedral.

And so I embarked on my maiden voyage on a liveonboard to the Anambas Islands in 1998 on board the Jonassis. Was a fresh start, but my first trip ended tragically with the death of 2 divers (will blog about this incident later).

A friend who was on the 270 and also on that fateful trip has hung up his fins ever since. I have been back several times thereafter and on the brighter side of things, I can safely say that some of the dive sites there are like nothing I've ever done before! Frickin awesome stuff!

First thing - Orientation! Above, a map of the possible divesites the liveonboard operators will hit on any given Anambas trip! With so many hours to kill getting to our destinations, what else can one do but produce a portfolio of sketches of dive sites - the ones included in my Anambas itinerary.

Above :
Seven Skies Wreck, apparently one of the worlds first real supertankers. This 90000 ton, 262 meter long Swedish-built supertanker in 1969 suffered an explosion and sank east of Tioman Island, not far from Anambas Islands (Indonesia).

- Rests in 64 meters of water with entire superstructure intact
- Top of the funnel @ 18-20 meters
- Bridge and superstructure @ 30 meters
- Various decks and structures @ main deck level @ 45 meters

For more info, go to Asia Divesite.

Above : Malang Biru, an island with the characteric lighthouse and surrounded by hard coral. What stood out to me then was the vast healthy colony of bracket corals. Click here for a photo of the lighthouse. Not sure about the condition of the corals now.

Above : Beta Oil Rig is one of two oil rigs which seem to be in pretty good shape after having been abandoned for sometime. Rumour has it that these rigs have been recomissioned but I have yet to verify the truth. The 2 rigs are actually named Udang A and Udang B. I can't quite recall why I named it the "Beta" oil rig since it's been years since I drew the pix, but I think this is synonymous with Udang B, the rig much larger than its counterpart. According to Vincent's Dive Website, the official names of the rigs are not named on any Hydrographic Navigational charts.

It was not recommended that we board the rigs as the landings are indeed rusty, but I don't recall this advice being heeded! :P

Above : Udang Bravo Oil Rig. Underneath this monstrosity are legs that stretch all the way down to 300 feet (100 m)! The visibility is unbelievable; if you strain your eyes a little, you could almost certainly touch the bottom in a glance. Looking up, it's true that one can feel like you're floating un an underwater cathedral with pillars adorned with all sorts of rainbow coloured flora! And it's almost a spiritual experience when out of the blue comes a whaleshark gliding into this picture-perfect I in heaven? No doubt about it!

Report by Rosy Low coming up soon...