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The Girl With Pink Hair

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

Month

March 2012

Auschwitz Concentration Camp

Sunset at Auschwitz concentration camp.

Just beyond the sunset
Someone waits for me
Just beyond the sunset
Lies my destiny

The Auschwitz concentration camp, set up by the Nazis during world war two, where up to 3 million people breathed their last. Mostly Jews.

Entrance to Auschwitz I and the infamous motto: Arbeit macht frei, work makes free.

Its hard to imagine the horrors that once took place in this serene and beautiful shot.

Public execution ground, as a warning to others.

Common execution ground where prisoners where forced to kneel facing the wall as there were shot from behind.

Surrounded by barb wires.

The tracks leading up to Auschwitz.

The main entrance to the extermination camp.

Prayers for the dead.

On a side note, those who’ve not watched The Boy in Striped Pajamas, please do. It is not an accurate depiction of the actual horrors yet it tells a story on its own, from the view point of a child. It is one of those rare movies made from books which ends up being better than the book itself.

And since this story is not a history book, it does deviates greatly from the actual situation.

I liked the ending of the movie more than the ending in the book. Since ignorance is bliss, I preferred that Bruno’s parents knew how they had indirectly caused the death of their child.

Another movie to watch is The Schindler’s List. Hope for humanity even in the darkest times.

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Prague Castle and the Golden Lane

Prague looked amazing in photos. Mysterious shots of Charles bridge half covered in fog. Cobbled streets with beautiful medieval settings with an air of abandonment. None of which I experienced. Seems like its magical streets have been overtaken by hoards of tourists (ironically, like myself) and it feels like yet another tourist attraction. The buildings are still pretty, the bridge still exists but something is missing.

Traveling isn’t just about visiting the places of interests. The best experiences comes from wandering about, a surprise find when you’re lost and the unknown. This is also why I dislike tour packages which basically bring you from attraction to attraction without giving you a chance to sit around, observe and experience the country’s culture.

Meanwhile, I’m getting a headache from planning my upcoming trip to France which helps me to understand why many still choose tour packages. The tickets to travel within France itself are damn expensive and the places I would really love to go are not exactly accessible through public transport and I don’t really comfortable driving there. Much easier if I were to visit major cities.

Anyway, some shots taken of/in Prague Castle, in Prague (duh) capital of Czech Republic, on a sunny day.

Prague Castle in the background against the sun, the largest medieval castle complex in Europe and the ancient seat of Czech kings throughout the ages.

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St Vitus Cathedral, part of the the Prague Castle complex.

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The interiors with intricate details and displays filling every corner and every wall.

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Stained glass. Common of every cathedral in Europe.

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A quick walk through the Golden Lane. A row of brightly painted miniature houses which would be suitable for short people (me). Checking out the display of dresses from the medieval era.

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The Daliborka Tower, a famous prison named after its first inmate, Dalibor from Kozojedy.20120124-000146.jpg

And now, back to figuring out the transportation for my trip to France.

The Iron Lady – An inspiration and a reminder

“One of the great problems of our age is that we’re governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas” Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.

 

Yes. What is it about feelings? Feelings that does not translate into required actions that would make our society a better place. Are we better off today than we were 50 years ago? Honestly, I don’t think so. All that crap about public welfare and humanity. Did Steve Jobs bother about others’ feelings when he closed down the many projects to focus on a few? And if he did, would he then have done it and in return create such amazing products bringing Apple on track? I highly doubt so.

Being in HR, I’ve seen for myself how managers are unable to manage their people due to their feelings. That is especially apparent during the yearly performance appraisals when they refuse to grade poor performers down. I can only assume that they fear hurting the feelings of others or the need to maintain their popularity as a ‘good’ manager. Regardless, in my eyes, these managers are purely incompetent.

Why would you see grading down a performer as negative? Perhaps, it would instead motivate him/her to try even harder. Especially if this was brought up during the appraisal, you could then take the opportunity to come up with specific goals for your subordinate to achieve and guide him/her to achieving it. No, instead, you are guided by your feelings to give an average grading. Is this fair to the performers then? Are you motivating the performers?

I’ve drifted again. Point is, do the right thing. Life is not a popularity contest. Doing the right thing may not be easy, you may not get the approval of majority but if you’re sure it is the right thing, do it.

 

“Watch your thoughts for they become words.Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think we become.”

Margaret Thatcher

What I love about Japan

How is it that we’re able to forge such strong friendships when we were younger, able to accept each others’ flaws and agree to disagree? It seems like the older I get, the harder it is for me to make true friends. My definition of true friends, people whom I will turn to when I need them. Acquaintances are a penny too many. Okay there’s no such saying, a penny too many, but it does sound nice. =P

To conclude, growing up has made me too skeptical with too much expectations. Grateful for the handful of people who have stuck with me through the years. Yeap, you. Thank you.

Moving on, what I love about Japan! FOOD! Glorious food. Can’t recall a meal which wasn’t at worse, above average. Oh I do, the Macdonald’s there was’t that fantastic (surprise surprise) especially the chocolate pie which tasted like… nothing. It was tasteless.

Starting of with the best ramen ever! Chawanmushi Ramen at Osaka. Cosy little traditional shop, eccentric chef, GG signs and the best ramen ever. Both the bf and I could see the effort the chef took to prepare our meal, not the usual style in Singapore where the ‘chefs’ would basically heat up all the ingredient together and call it a day. It was so good we finished it all up despite feeling full, well, and also cause we were afraid that the eccentric chef might scold us if we didn’t. Hahaha.

No mobiles allow. Just like at Luke’s (Gilmore Girls =P)

Loved that food and drinks were allowed on trains. Despite that, the trains remained clean with no weird odors or wrappers stuffed in between seats.

Super yummy beef rice ball with half an egg, the kind where the yolk isn’t fully cooked. YUM.

Breakfast from a convenience stall at the train station. Simple but nice!

Being typical Singaporeans, we queue when we see one. The BF joining the queue.

What we queued for.

Snacks we got mainly from convenience stores.

Awesome giant macaron from 7-11.

Snacks from Starbucks, damn nice. WHY are they not available in Singapore!!

Freshly baked Japanese crackers!

Tako balls tasting unlike any from Singapore.

Random shop selling only plain udon where you get to choose your add ons, in my case, a prawn tempura. NICE!

From some train station. Tastes as good as it looks.

Again, crazy queue at a crepes stall we found in Shinsaibashi so we joined in and it was damn awesome! So awesome we queued again. Perhaps it was the additional sanitizer they had rubbed on their hands before each preparation of a new order? Hahaha.

Way too many photos of the awesome food we had so I’m gonna end this post with a (very cute) shot of the bf and our expensive bubbletea! The only store we found selling bubbletea, costed us about SGD6.50 for a tiny cup.

With the flight prices relatively low for Tokyo, I’m so tempted to plan another trip there just for the food!

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