November 28, 2007

Amsterdam side trips (Part 1a) – Zaanse Schans

The windmills so characteristic of Netherlands first appeared in the 13th century, transforming the rotation of their sails into mechanical energy via a system of cogs and gears, providing plenty of free power. Of the many thousands that once stood in towns and villages, and in rows on the dikes, less than a thousand working examples survive today.

Beautiful countryside scenery on the way to Zaanse Schans

Windmills can be seen at their best along the stretch of the River Zaan, where the winds powered an early industrial centre of worldwide significance. They were employed to grind wheat, barley, and oats; crush seeds to create mustard and vegetable oil; crushing pigments for paint; hull rice and peppercorns; and power sawmills and other industrial machinery. Most important of all, windmills kept the fertile polder land dry by pumping away surplus water and draining it into the rivers by way of a network of stepped canals. At its height, the Netherlands had about 10,000 windmills, 1,000 of which were located in the Zaan region.

On the northern edge of the Zaanstreek, on the east bank of the Zaan, is the picturesque windmill village of Zaanse Schans. It is a replica 17th- to 18th-century village made up of distinctive green-painted timber houses, windmills, and workshops that were moved to this site when industrialization leveled their original locations. The aim is to re-create the way of life along the Zaan in the 17th century. Most of the buildings on the 8-hectare (20-acre) site are still inhabited by people.
The village is crisscrossed by canals and paths that cross the water on bridges. There are four different kinds of big industrial windmills here, lined up along the Zaan shore. From south to north from the boat dock, these are Mosterdmolen De Huisman, where the renowned Zaanse mustard is produced; a sawmill, Houtzaagmolen De Gekroonde Poelenburg; Werfmolen De Kat, specialized in producing paint; and two mills that produce vegetable oil, Oliemolen De Zoeker and Oliemolen De Bonte Hen. These are among the dozen out of more than 500 windmills by the end of the 17th centuty that have survived intact in the Zaanstreek.

(to be continued…)

November 27, 2007

Places of interests in Amsterdam – Part 3

Continue from here and here

An oasis of tranquility, Begijnhof is cluster of small homes around a garden courtyard. The Begijnhof was not a convent, but a cloister founded in 1346 for pious lay women, begijnen, who were involved in religious and charitable work. It was an option for women who lived the religious life without taking monastic vows. The last begijn died in 1971. The 47 homes are currently being occupied by senior citizens. At the garden's edge lies the Engelse Kerk (English Church). Despite its name, this church, built in 1607 and enlarged in 1665, was actually used by Scottish Presbyterians. Across the street is the Maagdenhuis, the University of Amsterdam's main downtown building.
The Begijnhof

From Begijnhof, walk through the Schuttersgalerij (Civic Guards Gallery), a narrow, two-story sky-lit passageway that leads to the Amsterdam Historisch Museum (Amsterdam History Museum). This walkway is bedecked with 15 enormous 17th-century paintings of the Amsterdam Civic Guards. The Amsterdam Historisch Museum is housed in the restored 17th-century former Burger Weeshuis (City Orphanage). Gallery by gallery, century by century, the history of how a small fishing village founded around 1200 became a major sea power and trading center is told. The focus is on the city's 17th-century Golden Age, when Amsterdam was the world's wealthiest city, and some of the most interesting exhibits are of the trades that made it rich.

Two of Amsterdam's most famous museums, the Rijksmuseum and the van Gogh Museum, are located around Museumplein, a big square just south of the old center. The country's premier museum, the Rijksmuseum, in a palatial 19th century building, contains the world's largest collection of paintings by Dutch artists from the 15th – 19th centuries, including the most famous of all, Rembrandt's The Night Watch. Other artists represented at the Rijksmuseum include Van Ruisdael, van Heemskerck, Frans Hals, Paulus Potter, Jan Steen, Vermeer, de Hooch, Terborch, and Gerard Dou. In addition, the museum exhibits fine pieces of antique Delftware and silver. Two rare furnished 17th-century dollhouses are also on display, bringing the Dutch Golden Age to life. The dollhouses' former owners commissioned craftsmen to copy objects and ornaments, and the contents are exactly as they were in those days, only in miniature. Tiny seashells occupy a display cabinet. The tapestry room walls are covered with silk, the ceiling and mantelpiece are painstakingly painted, and Italian marble paves the hall floor. Silver spoons rest on the dining table and the family initials are embroidered on the napkins. There are even pins stuck in pincushions.

Top left: The Rijkmuseum; top right: a model dollhouse; bottom: Van Gogh Museum

More than 200 paintings by Vincent van Gogh (1853-90), along with nearly every sketch, print, etching, and piece of correspondence the artist ever produced have been housed in the Van Gogh Museum since it opened in 1973. Van Gogh's sister-in-law and a namesake nephew presented the collection to Holland with the provision that the canvases not leave Vincent's native land. One can trace this great artist's artistic and psychological development - or decline – by viewing the paintings displayed in chronological order according to the seven distinct periods and places of residence that defined his short career.

He painted for only 10 years and was on the threshold of success when he committed suicide at age 37. Only one of van Gogh's paintings sold during his lifetime, but he did give others out to pay for food, drink, and lodgings. The Potato Eaters (1885) was van Gogh's anxious and sensitive first masterpiece. Dark and crudely painted, it depicts a group of Dutch peasants gathered around the table for their evening meal after a long day of manual labor, impressing upon the viewer a sense of the hard, rough conditions of their lives. One particularly splendid wall on the second floor has 18 paintings produced during a 2-year period in the south of France, generally considered to be his artistic high point. It's a symphony of colors and contrasts that includes the famous Sunflowers. The ominous Wheatfield with Crows, the vaguely threatening painting of black crows rising from a waving cornfield, was one of his last paintings and one can almost feel the mounting inner pain the artist was finally unable to bear.

Amsterdam has more than 50 outdoor markets every week. Some are permanent or semipermanent, and others just passing through. Two which I managed to visit are the floating Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market) and the Albert Cuyp Markt, Amsterdam's busiest and liveliest market with lots of multicultural food and general goods.

Cheap home mortgages

For the average aspiring home-owner, it is very common for us to take a home mortgage when purchasing a home. It is prudent that before we survey the available mortgages offered by different banks and financial institutions before commiting to a particular mortgage package. Due to the competitive environment in the banking sector, there are currently lots of cheap mortgages being offered so it's best that one do some home work in order to secure the package with the best rate.

For current home owners, sometimes, there may be a need to have some extra cash in hand, be it for emergency, to finance a child's education, or simply for investment purposes. In this instance, one can opt for  adverse credit remortgages by using the house as a collateral.

November 26, 2007

Places of interests in Amsterdam – Part 2

Continue from here

Standing in the middle of Dam Square is the National Monument, a 22-metre high obelisk with sculptured human figures that represent freedom of tyranny. Every year on May 4, Queen Beatrix and members of the government lay wreaths here during a ceremony to commemorate the Netherlands' war dead. Across the street from Dam Square is the Royal Palace, also known as Paleis op de Dam (Palace on the Dam). Dating back to 1655, it was originally built as a Stadhuis (Town Hall). It became a royal palace when, during the French occupation, Napoleon Bonaparte installed his younger brother Louis here as King. Today the monarch lives in The Hague but uses the palace for official functions and state celebrations, such as Queen Beatrix's inauguration reception. Across the Royal Palace is the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church). Since 1814, all the kings and queens of the Netherlands have been inaugurated at this national church. Built between the late 15th and mid-17th centuries in elaborate late-Gothic style, the church boasts a stately arched nave, an elaborately carved altar, a great pipe organ and several noteworthy stained-glass windows. It now often hosts temporary exhibits.

National Monument at Dam Square

The Royal Palace

Nieuwe Kerk

Renaissance-style Westerkerk (West Church) holds the remains of Rembrandt and his son, Titus. It's also where, in 1966, Princess (now Queen) Beatrix and Prince Claus said their marriage vows. The church was begun in 1620 and opened in 1631. The church's interior, light and spacious, has a fine organ.

Many houseboats are moored along the canals, on the river, and in the harbor, a lifestyle that is unique to Amsterdam. There are currently about 2,400 legally occupied houseboats floating on the city's waters. The cost of purchasing a houseboat is just slightly lower than the cost of a canal house. All houseboats are supplied with electricity and running water; house taxes are also collected. The Hendrika Maria, a former commercial sailing ship built in 1914, has been converted to a museum. At the Woonbootmuseum (Houseboat Museum), one can see the original deckhouse where the skipper and his family lived, the cupboard bed in which they slept, and the cargo hold, now a remarkably spacious and comfortable living quarter.

A short walk away is one of Amsterdam's biggest attractions, the Anne Frankhuis (Anne Frank House), on Prinsengracht (Prince Canal). It's a typical Amsterdam canal house, with very steep interior stairs where eight people from three separate families lived together in silence for more than 2 years during World War II. During the war, the building was an office and warehouse but at the back part of the house concealed behind a revolving bookcase was the hiding place Otto Frank found for his family, the van Pels family, and Fritz Pfeffer. Known as the Secret Annex, it kept them safe from July 1942 to August 1944. Tragically, it was raided by Nazi forces close to the end of the war and its occupants were deported to concentration camps. All but one, Otto Frank, Anne Frank's father survived. It was in this house that Anne, whose ambition was to be a writer, kept her famous diary as a way to deal with both the boredom and her youthful array of thoughts. It has since been translated into more than 60 languages. Nothing in the rooms has changed since the day Anne's father returned; except for the protective panels that now protect the wall on which Anne pinned up photos of her favorite actress, Deanna Durbin, and of the little English princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. A bronze sculpture of Anne stands on nearby Westermarkt.

On Westermarkt is the world's first-ever monument to the gays and lesbians killed during World War II and persecuted through the ages. The Homomonument consists of three pink triangular granite blocks (the color and shape of the badge the Nazis forced homosexuals to wear), that together form a larger triangular outline. One block, symbolizing the future, points to the Keizersgracht canal; a second, at ground level, points toward the nearby Anne Frank House; the third, a kind of plinth, points toward the offices of COC, a gay political organization.

(to be continued…)

November 24, 2007

Car porch

As any typical double storey link house in Kuala Lumpur, we have several feet space at the front of the house which acts as the car porch. The flooring of our car porch consists of interlocking tiles, in its original state from the developer. As much as we'd like to change the tiles while renovating the house, it would mean forking out several more thousand ringgit. As such, we decided to postpone the makeover of our garage flooring to a later date. At least the area is outside of the house and if we decide to re-lay the tiles, it won't really make a mess of the house. This tile combination looks quite nice, and it fits well with the overall scheme of our house too so it we eventually actually embark on the project, I'll likely opt for something like this.

Places of interests in Amsterdam – Part 1

It's been almost two months since I came back from Europe so the following posts on Europe are backdated posts.

I had been to Amsterdam in 2003 and covered most of the places of interest within the city. This round, as it was mainly a business trip and I didn't have many free days, I wanted to spend some time visiting places around Amsterdam (more on this in later posts). Nevertheless, as I had several customers with me, I was duty bound to make sure they are taken care of and that involved taking them to visit some of the sights in Amsterdam. So what follows is a recollection of all the places I've covered in both trips to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam has 160 canals with a combined length of 76km (47 miles) and spanned by 1,281 bridges. The first thing to do is take a canal ride on one of 70 tour boats. From the water level, one can appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of those gabled canal houses and picturesque bridges. Most of Amsterdam's buildings have gables, and are tall and narrow due to hefty property taxes and expensive canal front land. The hijsbalk, the hook on the many gables, are used with rope and pulley for hauling large, heavy items in and out of homes that have steep, narrow staircases. From the bridge over Reguliersgracht at Keizersgracht, one gets a view of seven parallel bridges.

Canal cruise. Photo at bottom left is the view of the seven parallel bridges

The Centraal Station, built between 1884 and 1889 on three artificial islands (supported on 30,000 pilings) in the IJ channel, is an attraction, partly for its extravagant Dutch neo-Renaissance facade, partly for the permanent liveliness that surrounds it. There's always the buzz that swirls around the station in a blur of people, backpacks, bikes, trams, buses, vendors, pickpockets, and junkies. Walk along Dam Straat in front of the Centraal Station, behind a faux-marble fa├žade is the Sexmuseum. This museum isn't as sleazy as you might expect, apart from one room covered with straight-up pornography. Otherwise, presentation tends toward the tongue-in-cheek. Exhibits include erotic prints and drawings, and trinkets like tobacco boxes decorated with naughty pictures.

Sint-Nicolaaskerk (St. Nicholas's Church), a short walk away from the Centraal Station, was opened in 1887. Restored in 2000, it is the city's main Catholic church. The neo-Baroque church has twin towers and a high domed cupola. At the heart of what was once the old harbor, it started out as a place of worship for seafarers (of whom St. Nicholas is the patron).

The city's first great Gothic church, the Oude Kerk, is Amsterdam's oldest monument, dating back to 1250. Of particular interest are the organ, the stained glass windows, the tomb of naval heroes and a floor paved with tombstones beneath which are 2,500 graves, including that of famous Dutch artist Rembrandt's wife, Saskia. Nowadays, the pretty gabled almshouses around the Oude Kerk feature red-fringed windows through which can be seen the scantily clad ladies of the Red Light District, a sex-for-sale zone which occupies a beautiful area of 16th-century canals and gabled houses.

The Oude Kerk

Red Light District

For more than two centuries after Amsterdam's 1578 Protestant Alteratie (Changeover), other Christian denominations were forbidden to worship openly. Clandestine places of worship sprang up around the city. The best known of these was the Catholic Our Lord in the Attic, now the Museum Amstelkring. The Catholic Church, also in the middle of the Red Light District, is in the attic of one of the oldest canal houses transformed in 1661-63 by wealthy Catholic merchant Jan Hartman to house a church. Worshipers entered by a door on a side street and climbed a narrow flight of stairs to the hidden third-floor church. After navigating the steep stairways into the attic, one is greeted by a large baroque altar, religious statuary, pews to seat 150, an 18th-century organ, and an upper gallery beautifully furnished with heavy oak furniture, Delft tiles, and period paintings.

Museum Amstelkring

RAI Congress Centre - the venue of the congress I attended

(to be continued…)

November 19, 2007

Language development

Mummy (walking into the bedroom and saw a spider the floor): What's that, Yiu Yiu?
Yiu Yiu: Spiderman!

Mummy and Yiu Yiu waiting for ma-ma to do her ultrasound scan in the hospital
Yiu Yiu (suddenly broke into a song): Wo ai ni, wo ai ni, wo ai ni (I love you, I love you, I love you)

Mummy: Going up/down the stairs with Yiu Yiu trailing behind
Yiu Yiu (in authoritative tone): Mummy, wait!

Yiu Yiu: Pretending to cough
Mummy: What happened?
Yiu Yiu: Yiu Yiu coughing ah…(spoken in the tone of "As if you don't know")

The babysitter's hubby (whom Yiu Yiu addresses as "Apek") calls her darling so here's a typical question we ask her (in Mandarin).
Mummy: Yiu Yiu she Apek de shen me?
Yiu Yiu (with an emphatic tone): Apek darling
Mummy: Yiu Yiu she mummy de shen me?
Yiu Yiu: Mummy honey
Mummy: Yiu Yiu she papa de shen me?
Yiu Yiu: Papa sweetheart

Mummy: Yiu Yiu come take bath
Yiu Yiu (taking off her shorts and put it into the laundry basket): Yiu Yiu so clever
Mummy (slaps forehead!): My perasan little girl

Mummy was sitting at the back of the car and playing with Yiu Yiu while papa is driving. Out of the blue she said, "Ng choi lei" (don't want to talk to you), hmmpphh!
Mummy was dumbstruck! Some more got hmmpphh at the end for effect!

November 13, 2007

24-month old

It's been 12 days since Yiu Yiu's 2nd birthday. This mummy, as usual, is late in updating her progress over the last month. I have not measured her height and weight since the last visit to the doctor but I've noticed her shirts/blouses and trousers are getting shorter. I hope she's at least 80cm now, coz her paediatrician said that multiplying her height at two is indicative of her adult height. I also have no idea what's her weight but I think it'll be less than 10kg, even though she seems to be a little rounder.

She is drinking a lot of milk these days. Previously, she sometimes can't even finish 4oz but she's now drinking 5 – 6oz each time, and more frequently at that. Her record was taking 10oz at one going which is a big deal for her. Oh, she's completely weaned off breastfeeding but will sometimes suck for a split second before she smiles and moves away. And since she now takes a bottle of milk before sleeping, she rarely wakes up in the middle of the night. So mummy finally regains her uninterrupted sleep.

She takes more solid food when she's at the babysitter's than when she's with me and hubby. When she's with us, she insists on eating on her own, and more often than not, won’t finish her food. At the babysitter's, surprisingly she allows the babysitter to feed her. As a result, she can finish ¾ bowl of rice with dishes at each meal.

She recently refuses to sit on baby chair. At home, sometimes she'll sit on the portable booster seat tied onto the dining chair, or she'll simply resort to kneeling on the chair. When dining outside, we'll just stack three regular chairs up for her.

Development wise, what amazes me most over the last month is her linguistic development. Almost every day, a new word of phrase spews out from her – sometimes it's in English, sometimes it's in Mandarin or Cantonese. She's beginning to be able to express herself better but most times, she'll have her phrases all in the wrong order. More of these in another post, hopefully it won't take too long. On the flip side, she's also picking up inappropriate words equally fast. Just the other day, the babysitter informed me that she called the older boy "stupid monkey". This happened when he was climbing from sofa to sofa and the babysitter's husband reprimanded him and said, "You little monkey". My smart alec little girl then chipped in and called him "stupid monkey". God knows where she picked that word from!

She's getting more stubborn by the day. But I noticed that she's the "sau yun ng sau ngang" type (using soft instead of hard methods for disciplining). If she does something wrong and is reprimanded, she'll simply sulk and refuse to say sorry. Only after she's spoken to nicely and explained what she did wrong would she apologize. She's also fearful when hubby and I get really mad at her. Whenever that happens, she'll cry and quickly come to us for hugs, and apologize. It's as if she's afraid that we no longer sayang her. Well at least there's still a way to "pau jai" (control) her.

Just like many toddler her age, she can be an angel one minute, and metamorphoses to devil the next minute. But she seems to know when not to behave badly – when we are in the company of friends outside of home. That's why all our friends only see the good side of her, and keep telling me how lucky I am to have such an obedient daughter. Little do they know that they haven't tasted the devilish side of her.

She still loves Barney but has started watching Pocoyo as well, a gift from Po-po for her recent birthday. She loves taking photos. Whenever the camera is in her sight, she'll give us this huge grin until her eyes disappear.

Her "keen nga ng keen ngan" (can see teeth cannot see eyes) pose

Making funny faces for the camera

November 12, 2007

Early Christmas present

Last Wednesday, just before the Deepavalli break, an email was sent by HR department to all employees who joined the company before April 1, 2004. That was the time the company implemented the change of incorporating the one month contractual bonus into the monthly base salary. That means the one month bonus was spread to be paid over a period of 12 months beginning April. In view of that, there is a 0.25 month (3/12) of outstanding contractual bonus which the company still has in leau to us. In the current practice, this outstanding amount is only paid to employees when they leave the organization.

For reasons of proper book keeping and administrative procedures, the management decided to pay this in leau amount to us in this month's payroll. The best thing is, this one-time payoff will be calculated using our current base salary. Whoa! That's a substantial difference of three years' worth of salary increment.

With this extra $$$, I can start thinking of shopping for Christmas presents for hubby and Yiu Yiu. Hubby has wanted to buy a pair of Timberland shoes but they are just so expensive in Malaysia. I tried looking for him in the many factory outlet stores when I was in USA early this year but couldn't find a suitable pair. With this extra cash in my pocket, I can buy him this pair of nice shoes and get 30% discount using Timberland coupons available from Coupon Chief, a one stop online resource for deals, discounts and promo codes.

For Yiu Yiu, I wanted to get her some books as there are some great BooksOnline deals. Unfortunately, these are meant for members only and to be a member, one must reside in the USA. Guess I'll have to look around for more books deals.

World Diabetes Day 2007

The theme of this year's World Diabetes Day campaign is Diabetes in Children and Adolescents. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. It can strike children at any age, including pre-school children and even toddlers. Yet diabetes in children is often diagnosed late, or it is misdiagnosed completely. In many parts of the world, insulin, the main life-saving medication that children with diabetes need to survive, is not available (or is available but remains inaccessible for reasons of economy, geography or constraints on supply). As a consequence, many children die of diabetes, particularly in low and middle-income countries. The World Diabetes Day 2007 and 2008 campaigns set out to challenge this and firmly establish the message that ‘no child should die of diabetes'.

Children are becoming part of the statistics of the global epidemic of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is growing by 3% per year in children and adolescents, and at an alarming 5% per year among pre-school children. It is estimated that 70,000 children under 15 develop type 1 diabetes each year (almost 200 children a day). Of the estimated 440,000 cases of type 1 diabetes in children worldwide, more than a quarter live in South-East Asia.

Type 2 diabetes, once seen as a disease of adults, is also growing at alarming rates in children and adolescents. In the US, it is estimated that type 2 diabetes represents between 8 and 45% of new-onset diabetes cases in children depending on geographic location. Nearer to home, in Japan, over a 20-year period, type 2 diabetes has doubled in children and it is now more common than type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes has a unique impact on children and their families. The daily life of children is disrupted by the need to monitor blood glucose levels, take medication, and balance the effect of activity and food. Diabetes can interfere with the normal developmental tasks of childhood and adolescence, which include succeeding in school and transitioning to adulthood. This year's campaign aims to raise awareness of the rising prevalence of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, as early diagnosis and early education are crucial to reducing complications and saving lives. Hop to the World Diabetes Day website for more information.

Information taken from World Diabetes Day website.

My travelogues

It's been more than three months since I came back from Siem Reap, and almost two months since I returned from the Netherlands, Belgium and France. I'm so embarrassed that I have yet to post my travel stories up. Most of the posts have been written and I've also sorted out most of the photos. So expect to see some of them appearing over the next few weeks.

The only part which I have not quite done yet is my France travel stories and why I chose the hotel I stayed in among so many choices of France accommodations. I'll try to finish them as soon as I can so my travel stories can be posted without interruptions.

World Diabetes Day

Did you notice the little sidebar (is that what it's called?) on World Diabetes Day I added recently? Well, this is not PPC advertisement or another money generating avenue. I'm just doing something to raise awareness on diabetes, a growing epidemic that continues to affect ever-increasing numbers of people around the world due to an extraordinary lack of awareness of the global scale of the diabetes threat. Recent data suggest that worldwide about 246 million people now live with diabetes. This estimate is expected to increase to some 380 million in 2025, the majority of which will be in the Asian region.

There are basically two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that results in the permanent destruction of insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin is the hormone that helps the body utilizes glucose as a source of energy. Type 1 diabetes is lethal unless treatment with exogenous insulin via injections replaces the missing hormone.

Type 2 diabetes on the other hand is a metabolic disorder that is primarily characterized by insulin resistance (body cells do not respond appropriately when insulin is present) and relative insulin deficiency. One of the major risk factor for type 2 diabetes is obesity, which is why it is increasing at an alarming rate in developing countries due to changes in traditional lifestyle.

Since 1991, World Diabetes Day is celebrated worldwide every year on 14 November by over 200 member associations of the International Diabetes Federation in more than 160 countries, as well as by other associations, organisations, healthcare professionals and individuals with an interest in diabetes. On December 2006, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a landmark Resolution recognizing diabetes as a chronic, debilitating and costly disease. The Resolution designates World Diabetes Day on November 14 as a United Nations Day to be observed every year starting in 2007.

So what's so special about World Diabetes Day 2007? Hop on to the World Diabetes Day website or watch this space for more information.

November 07, 2007

Product reviews

Many a time, when we want to buy something, particularly if the product is of high value, we will tend to ask opinion from people who've had experience with the product. People who have personal experience with a particular product are the best source of information as they have first hand knowledge and comments, instead of speculation or hearsay. This is probably the reason why more and more companies are including customer reviews in the marketing and promotional campaigns and materials.

Customers wanting to find out about other people's experience with a certain product can now look for such information online, as there are websites which compiles product reviews for the convenience of consumers. Those who are struggling with hair loss problem may want to nip the problem in the scalp (pardon the pun!) with Provillus, which has positive reviews all round from its satisfied users.

Besides reviews on tangible products, there are also reviews for people looking for providers of payday loans which give cash advance to people in need, to tide them over till the next pay check. One will be able to compare the pros and cons of different payday loans packages, and decide which package best suits their needs. All this information is available at the users' convenience, thus saving lots of time and efforts from having to make phone calls or personal visits.

November 06, 2007

Shooting of an infomercial

When I was in Chiang Mai, I received a phone call from my neighbour who works in an advertising firm. She asked if I'd be open to having her production team to shoot an infomercial for Astro in my house for a slimming machine. I didn't mind and as I was away, she made an appointment with hubby for her producer to view our house the following day. The producer liked our house, and so a date for shooting was set.

The infomercial is for a slimming machine that supposedly shakes away fat and helps tone the body. The production crew, together with two models and a host, came to our house last week. Hubby took the afternoon off to be home for them, and so had the opportunity to be up close and personal with these so-called celebrities. He said it was quite fun watching the shooting. The infomercial is due to be aired on November 18 so I'm looking forward to see how it turns out. Hubby took some photos with his camera phone but the resolution was not that good. Anyway, here's some snippets of the shooting process.

Edited November 7 - My sister informed me that eventhough those shots posted earlier are behind the scene shots, I may not have the rights to post them, especially those featuring the host. To avoid any potential complications, I'll just keep this "benign" shot.

November 01, 2007

Yiu Yiu is TWO

My dear, you turn two today. And on your birthday, mummy has a very simple wish for you. Mummy hopes that you'll grow up healthy and happy always.

Mummy had initially wanted to create a photobook of all your photos in time for your birthday celebration last Sunday but mummy was just too caught up with work. Mummy had downloaded the software but just didn't manage to find the time to sieve through all your photos. Mummy promise mummy will do it soon, OK.