"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

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View from apartment window

On Sunday I was wondering why it was so cold, and when I looked out the window it looked like it was snowing. However, the precipitate was falling too quickly to be snow, and snow wasn't building up on the ground, so I stuck my hand out to catch some of the particles on my coated arm, and saw that what was falling from the sky was really small chips of ice, like what you get in ice kachang. Damn sleet.

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What is outside my back door


Being from backward Third World countries, those of us not from the EU, EEA, US, Canada, Japan, Israel or similar countries have to go for a tuberculosis test to apply for a residence permit, required to reside in the Netherlands for more than 3 months. Luckily the test was free, so we weren't fleeced yet again (the visa already cost me €250 and the residence permit will cost another €188).

The hot drinks machine in the clinic was amazing to behold, charging €0.50 as it did for, of all things, hot water.

The sex field in the computer the nurse registered me in had "M", "F" and "O" as options. You gotta love these progressive Europeans. [Someone: probably because of chernobyl. thats why have all these other sexes come out.]

The changing room in the TB test place was interesting. From my limited experience of chest x-rays, what usually happens is that you enter a changing room, change into a gown, come out, put your belongings into a locker and then enter the X-ray room. This place was different: I entered the changing room, locked the door behind me, placed my bag on the ground and removed my upper clothing. The nurse then opened the door on the other side of the changing room (there was no handle on my side), giving me access to the X-ray area. When I was done I entered the changing room again and she closed the door on her side. I didn't need to bother with a gown or a locker.

Though I'd touched the lock in the changing room to lock the door, when I touched it again to unlock it after my X-ray, I got zapped. I wonder what the machine pelted me with besides X-rays.


I called my mother after the TB test (I was waiting for someone who'd gone back to get his passport) and for a 4 minute 24 second call I paid €6.88. Damn, I should've put down earlier.

One of my housemates says we can save at least €100 a month getting a comparable room (in the city to boot) not from the housing agency: if one understands Dutch (she does, a bit, since she's been here for more than a year) one can look for housing in the classifieds. I'll only be here till June, so I'm not sure, given the transaction costs and the possibility of a screwup.

Classes here seem to require more group project work and individual study than in NUS. I need to read 3 chapters of my textbook per week for one of my modules. Gah.

This must be the first time ever I've had a room to myself, with no one telling me how to keep it. It feels great.

I bought 2 apples last week to protect myself from scurvy, but on reflection, potatoes nowadays are probably enriched with Vitamin C, like how salt is dosed with iodine, so a daily dose of patat frites should keep me healthy (hurr hurr).

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Vla - vanilla and chocolate

One thing I like about the Netherlands is Vla. It's a sort of dairy pudding, except that it flows quite readily, with a viscosity similar to custard. It's mild-tasting, not too rich and only slightly sweet. A certain someone used to bring a few cartons home in her luggage when flying home from the Netherlands.

The korean housemate was complaining, after less than a week, that he was sick of bread. I've had it thrice since I came, but I think I'm perfectly capable of living without rice till end July.

I did a maiden stir-fry of some pork with soy sauce, paprika and garlic powder. It went well except that I spurted soy sauce onto the wall twice because I tilted the bottle too soon. !@#$

Hopefully Avenue Q will come to London before end July, then I can go over to eat Krispy Kreme as well!

Seen in Toko Central, the Asian food store: Yeo's "Singapore Hot curry sauce" and "Malaysian Mild curry sauce". How cunning, sneaking a calculated insult to our neighbors here, where they thought no one would notice it. Luckily I'm vigilant. They also had 'kwee lapis' (actually the rainbow kueh - I'm sure there's a Malay name for it), 'onde onde' (actually sesame balls) and red packets.


Quotes:

chee'curn (chicken)

This fish has a lot of spines. (bones)

Sometimes I do something for you students when it is not in my interests. What is in my interests? To stay at home watching TV and drinking a beer. Why [do I not do this]? I have no idea.

banner'vor'learn (benevolent)

bar'bay'rious (barbarous)
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