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The Girl With Pink Hair

Not all that glitters is gold, not all who wander are lost

Month

December 2011

Say NO to shark fins this coming Chinese New Year

While many would think that there is no harm in eating that bowl of shark fins placed in front of you since the shark has already been killed for this, they are wrong. The impact may be small on its own, but they snowball into something bigger. The lesser bowls of shark fins eaten would portray a decrease in demand while the same or an increase in number of bowls eaten conveys a message of constant/increasing demand to the restaurant owners, companies and suppliers. If someone offers you a bowl of shark fins, say no. Take the opportunity to share with them about shark finning, even if it is just one sentence.

Shark fins are of no nutritious value and instead, contain high levels of mercury. Why are we paying so much to ingest mercury and at the same time support the illegal and cruel industry?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against killing for food, neither am I about to become a vegan. By all means, go ahead to kill for food and fill your tummy. Just not with such cruelty. Take the whole shark, not just the fins. Don’t cut off their fins and then throw them back helpless and bleeding to death. Imagine if someone cut off your limbs then leave you on the ground bleeding to death.

The turning point for me came when I watched a particular scene in Sharkwaters, when the camera captured the scene of a single shark, finned, and thrown back. I could practically see or perhaps imagine the helplessness in its eyes.

Because of the value we’ve placed on their fins, sharks are now being hunt to extinction. Not yet, but soon, if nothing is being done.

This was the original poster for the movie ‘Jaws’.

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This is a portrayal of reality.

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Both photos are taken off the internet.

There are so many reasons for us, humans to say no to shark fins. Let’s do our part this coming Chinese New Year and say NO to shark fins.

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Burning coals

No, in good sooth: the fire is dead with grief,
Being create for comfort, to be used
In undeserved extremes: see else yourself;
There is no malice in this burning coal;
The breath of heaven has blown his spirit out
And strew’d repentent ashes on his head.

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Actually I just wanted to post this photo which I think turned out really well. :P

The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam

Through Nick Kristof’s twitter and his blog, I got to know about Somaly Mam and the organization (AFESIP) she had started up which eventually led me to read her book, The Road of Lost Innocence: As a girl she was sold into sexual slavery, but now she rescues others. The true story of a Cambodian heroine. While the details and numbers were relatively disconcerting, I wasn’t as horrified as I assume I should have been. No, it didn’t break my heart nor did I tear, it was merely information to me. The story of an incredibly brave and strong woman, recounting her nightmarish life to bring awareness to others in the world, like me, whom are very much sheltered from the terrors happening out there. Driven by her own experience to help others who have encountered what she did and to prevent it from happening to others.

I saw many reviews by readers claiming that they could feel her pain and imagine the terror the victims felt when reading. Really? How? Did you compare the sufferings to that of yours in your sheltered world? The anguish of being sold by your parents against your parents refusing to buy you a LV bag? The terror of being abused daily against being cane for mischief? In all honesty, I can’t imagine the depths of what they’ve been through neither can I imagine the look in their eyes as described by Somaly. I understand that it was horrible but I cannot comprehend in the way that only the party involved can. Would you die of the pain you’ve imagined from a shark bite? Not for me. So no, my heart didn’t break when reading, even if it did, it would probably have been shallow based on my own experience of having my heart broken by some minor matters.

And because it is the norm to feel strongly reading about such happenings as majority would, I guess, something is wrong with me since I don’t feel much at all.

Anyway, utmost respect to Somaly for being able to face her past and turn her pain into determination to help others. In my eyes, you have succeeded from the very first girl you had saved.

On a side note, how is that we all came from Adam and Eve, moved on to inhibit different ends of the world and end up with massively varying cultures and behaviors? If we’re influenced by the external environment, by the people surrounding us, how did the world end up with such great discrepancies? Unless we were influenced by the characteristics of animals during the time of Adam and Eve, humans are not born ‘blank’. It appears that certain characteristics are inborn rather than nurtured from our external environment.

Next up, Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi. Such books create awareness and offer a tiny glimpse of the pain and suffering we know not of, out in the huge world we belong to. It also acts as a reminder for us to count our blessings, complain less and live life fully.

=)

Thailand – Riding around Phuket

Extended our stay in Phuket for 2 nights after our LOB at Similan without making any plans as no one was that keen on snorkeling or island hopping and we had expected to be able to find sufficient entertainment there.

Took a really slow ride (40km/h) to Karon Beach the first day there, Pam had to keep reminding KS to slow down to wait for me. Well.. better safe than sorry, the last time I rode was years ago plus the terrain was very much different from the flat roads in Singapore. =P

That night, Long and I made a successful ‘trial’ trip to and fro Patong beach from our hotel much to Tam’s surprise given that we were both horrible at directions and she had a hard time explaining the route to us.

Woke up at 6am the next day (I can’t believe I agreed to that) to start our ride as we were planning to return our bikes by 10am.

Loved our morning ride up north from Patong Beach, weather was great, traffic was sparse and the view was amazing.

Armed with a map some what like this which we got from the airport.

The morning rays along the way. It rhymes! =P

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At some town further up Patong Beach enroute to FantaSea.

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The view as we rode uphill.

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Our goal was to reach FantaSea and we did! Way faster than expected.

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Stopped by some random stalls to get breakfast. Awesome banana fried fritters with Thai milk tea. Coffee wasn’t available.

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Love the roads in Phuket with lotsa ups, downs and turns. With minimal traffic lights except in towns.

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One of the beaches we passed on our way back where we stopped for coffee by the roadside and to pick a couple of seashells, not a very pretty one actually.

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More food.

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Made it back to our guesthouse before 10am but was reluctant to spend the day at Jungcylon yet again. And so, we abandoned our friends and left to ride the for the rest of the day before our flight that night.

This time, we decided to ride up to Karon Beach for this awesome thai ice coffee we had the day before. Rode along the beach, till we reached the end at Katanoi Club, passing loads of signs on actions to be taken if a tsunami occurs.

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Parked our bikes randomly in between vehicles as there weren’t any designated parking.

The beautiful beach at Katanoi. Way prettier than Patong. Kinda cool how the same sea looks so different along the same stretch.

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Hung out on the beach chairs for 20 mins before some guy came to inform us that we had to pay 200baht for the use of the chairs, so we left.

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It was still early at the point so we decided to deviate from the road along the beach to explore the place a little, saw road signs leading to Wat Chalong so we decided to head there.

Parking as the locals do.

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Wat Chalong.

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Saw the Great Buddha, some what like the one in Hong Kong, from the second floor of the temple and decided that was gonna be our next destination despite the lack of road signs to the place.

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After circling round a few times and on the verge of giving up with excuses to ourselves like perhaps its only for the locals, its not open to public yet, we saw a handwritten sign in red 6 lanes across from where we were leading through a deserted road uphill.

The tough part, was really cutting across 6 lanes to reach the winding road uphill to the Great Buddha. From there, getting to the Great Buddha was pretty straightforward.

From Google:

The road leading up to the Big Buddha is off Chao Fa Road East near Chalong. There are many red-and-white signs indicating where it is. Turn down Soi Yodsane and simply follow the indications for the next six kilometres up the hill. You can’t miss it.

I didn’t realize, till today, that it was a 6km ride up. That, and riding since 6am kinda justifies how tired I got from riding =P

On our way up.

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Prayer bells attached to a tree.

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Phra Puttamingongkol Akenakkiri Buddha, from the top, still under construction then.

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Stopped by this Santorini like cafe on our way down for lunch and more coffee, to stay awake for the ride back.

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It was a nightmare once we reached the bottom and on to the main road, traffic was at its peak with huge vehicles on the road, construction being done on a very narrow road, being honked at constantly and getting into a very minor accident at a crossroad. It took every ounce of effort to keep riding till we reached our guesthouse.

That aside, that day’s ride, 9 hours straight, ended the trip on an awesome note, making it one of the best trips I had ever.

Best decision ever, to abandon our friends and to explore Phuket on our bikes. It took us half a day to cover almost half of Phuket, pity we didn’t start our road trip the day before, would love to visit Chalong Bay.

And so, I’m finally blogging about it after a year.

Germany – Dresden

How I wish we were backpacking so that we would then, be able to check out all the quaint little towns and amazing scenery we saw from the bus as we were traveling along the way.

Always torn between reading, looking at the scenery and napping. Hurhur.

Nothing beats having bacon, eggs and coffee for breakfast. =D

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Traveling from Berlin to Dresden. Foggy morning.

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Amazing landscapes alike paintings.

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Can only imagine how peaceful it would be like living there, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

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At one of the stops selling over priced stuff. Apparently there is a regulation in Europe which requires bus drivers to rest for 20 minutes for every 2 hours of driving which is being monitored by recordings on a CD/thumbdrive.

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Swings seem to be disappearing from the Singapore scene in the past few years. I miss the playground at my old estate, the one made of cement, connected by a wooden bridge in a huge sandbox. Unlike the playgrounds of today which #sucks. Hello, no danger no fun. Miss the days of hanging out at the playground, having HTHs lying on slides and swinging as high as we could till the chains start creaking. Too old/heavy for that now.

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The exterior of SemperOper.

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The Zwinger, baroque style. Mom’s idea of a group photo, as long as the group is in the photo. Hurhur.

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Along the streets.

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The trio started playing Singapore’s national anthem as we walked by,  catching our attention which led to a display of generosity in return. Kudos to them for coming up with such a gimmick. Was it that obvious that we were Singaporeans?

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The Frauenkirche, Church of Our Lady which was reconstructed using the actual remains of the building, destroyed during WW2. The darken portions are the fragments of the original building. Pretty cool, using technology to piece the fragments together.

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The remaining pieces of the ‘puzzle’ they could not place, left outside the church.

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One of the highlights was a pork knuckle lunch which really didn’t appeal to me. Plus it was braised instead of the usual roasted crispy pork knuckle commonly found in German restaurants in Singapore.

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Totally regretted being a cheapo and not getting the CD. Wish I had asked for that amazing music that guy was playing at that moment. Can’t seem to find it. =(

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Alternative to lunch before we continued our long bus journey to Prague =)

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