..:: Kellog ::..


Friday, July 30, 2004

For Travelers Only

I really like what this guy has to say. Check out his other posts too.
kellykelly, 7/30/2004 11:35:00 pm | link | 10 comments |

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Singapore Netflix

Ok, so I'm supposed to be writing something more substantial like my first couple of days at work. Nothing much to say except that I like the people in the company so far (big bonus) and it feels like going back to school (cos we're on a training program). I'm eager to learn new stuff. Though I feel extremely "incorporated". After they took my picture for the name tag (which I try not to hang around my neck like a dog-tag), I felt my soul leaving me. I struggle to find a way to be motivated solely by making money and helping rich people get richer, because that's the sole bottom-line of a bank. My Berkeley leftist education has poisoned me. I really shouldn't be complaining. I'm happy with my company, I like the benefits, and the career prospects seem bright and I have a job. I just have to find a means of justifying how in some indirect way I benefit my society.

But anyway, ahhhh!! I found a Singapore netflix! There's apparently Hollywoodclicks and Moviemaster, both of which seem to be rip-offs of Netflix (aren't there copyright issues??). In any case, I'm excited cos I loved Netflix. They both look the same; I wonder which to choose. I lean towards Moviemaster with the sole fact that they actually have categories "Independent" and "Documentaries"...although the Singapore censorship board would probably severely limit the scope. Any users of either out there before I subscribe to Moviemaster?
kellykelly, 7/27/2004 08:25:00 pm | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, July 25, 2004

End Begin

As Wee Keong told me as we landed in Singapore a week ago, welcome to the rest of your life.  I start work officially tomorrow morning at 9am. Welcome! Welcome!
kellykelly, 7/25/2004 09:50:00 pm | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Booga Card

I'm back in Singapore. The past few days have been a frenzy of settling down. I'll have more thoughts later, especially since I go into work for interviews tomorrow. For now, it suffices to say that I'm (curiously?) thoroughly happy to be back. I'm falling in love with Singapore all over again.

But the main point of this post is to show one of the best cards I've ever received. It was given to me a week ago before I left, but only found time to put it up now. Some background required: these pictures were taken at Halloween last year(refer to Halloween post, Nov 14 2003) where Patrick dressed up as an Asian girl (with a red bra) and I as a man. I was crowned by Natalie's "SuperWasted" hat upon taking my first shot of Jaeger. "Ooga Booga" is the nickname we give Amin, the creative creator of this card. He is the dark ape in the 2nd picture, with a traffic police cone on his head. And his wife, Rachel, who signs this card too, really likes frogs. Go figure. Oh and this is also in reference to Patrick's moving to Singapore in a couple of months.

It's pretty cool to have love here (S'pore) and there (SF).

kellykelly, 7/20/2004 11:49:00 pm | link | 0 comments |

Monday, July 19, 2004


I'm in love with all things Seoul, despite the fact that there was pounding rain the entire time. Imagine what it would have been if it wasn't rainy.
I had the greatest experience yesterday. We went to a traditional korean sauna. It was not only a spa, but an entire entertainment complex actually. It was amazing. When you enter, you are given a locker. Then you shower. I walked into a room bigger than a basketball courts, with 3 hot (one warm, one hot, one super hot) tubs in the middle, 2 with a big "tea-bag" in them (herbal tubs).At the end of the room were 2 cold (one cold, one freezing) pools with a 'massage waterfall' and mist sprays. One each side were 4 sauna rooms, each with its own 'theme': one jade room with a herbal mist spray, one really dry "mud room", one more humid one and a steam room. Lining the sides of the walls were short showers with stools in front, and of course dozens of completely naked Korean women, young and old....but more about that later.
Soo (my friend who raised the bar for what it means to be the hostess with the mostess) and I took a quick shower before heading out first. We were hungry. We were given a set of T-shirt and shorts given at the front desk. Then we came out to the unisex area (dressed of course) and went downstairs to a huge hall filled with people, families, couples, just hanging out on mats, watching TV, talking, reading. You could get a massage, a manicure, a haircut, get yourself waxed, have a facial...you name it. And then, there's another section where its a restaurant.Grab a meal, a dessert or a pint (they had 32 ouncers). Everyone walks around barefoot. The atmosphere was like visiting someone's house, only with a lot more people around. We had our lunch sitting on the floor. Then we proceeded to the sauna area.
We usually think of a sauna as just a small wooden room where you sweat.This took it to the next dimension of 'sauna'. It was a massive space, maybe the size of 3 basketball courts. In the middle, there was 2 cauldron looking chambers, each a different type of saunas. lining the place were different sauna rooms, ranging from 70 degrees celcius (about 160F...phew! your nostrils start to burn) to an airconditioned room (about 18 celcius, 65F). There were sleeping rooms with comfortable temperatures. You walk into the room, and there's 10-15 people snoring side by side. We rotated, sweated at different levels of sweat, chilled in the air-conditioned room, then went out to have a traditional Korean drink (forgot the name, but it was all gingery, sweet, with rice in it) with crushed ice. YUM!
Then, back to the showers as I described earlier. This was Harbin Hot Springs multiplied by 20. It's funny how, as Soo told me, most of these women would -never- dream of wearing a 2 piece bathing suit outdoors, but in the showers, everyone has no qualms about walking around in their birthday suits. La-dee-dah. I love it. Korean women don't like to tan much. They are all the same shade of ivory. In fact, they hardly like to exercise/work out at all. I was told that they'd rather starve than to exercise. It's a society consumed with thinness. And, according to Soo, with "wellbeingness". Everything is marketed to how to preserve health. Thankfully, this bleeds into more postive social externalities: Koreans are leading proponents of environmentalism. Their toothpicks are made of a kind of starch that dissolves!
After we spent an hour sweating in the hot rooms then splashing in the ice cold water then soaking like a tea-bag in the teabag tub, we proceeded to sit on the stools and start scrubbing. So you see, we have this entire layer of black dead skins cells that I never know I had. We each had a small loofah cloth. Everyone around us was scrubbing scrubbing scrubbing themselves. You see women scrubbing their daughters. Soo told me is a tradition for moms to bath their daughters this way, and many childless women yearn to do that. It's a thing of envy to have a daughter to scrub. What a beautiful thing. We are all so self-conscious about our bodies in normal contexts. What a great way to bond just letting it all hang out.  And friends do that for each other too. Soo scrubbed my back, and all this disgusting dead skin cells start rubbing off! It's like an eraser. It was such a great bonding period (dispel dirty thoughts, nerds) between us.  
We spent pretty much a good 4 hours in the sauna...and I felt like we were rushing to go already. The social aspect of this place was amazing. You can't help but bond spending the day chatting, sweating, bathing and scrubbing together. I left the sauna in a dreamy state, wishing I could do this 3 times a week as Soo does with her mom. I loved that it was not a lah-dee-dah upper-middle class trendy hippie place like Western spas tend to be. And no tourists (only me)! And it cost only US$6 for entry per day!
We rushed home to change for clubbing. We met up with a bunch of Soo's friends at Hongdae, near an art university, famous for its youth culture. The streets were filled with stores with beautiful handmade jewelry. Remember what I said about horrible dressing sense? Didn't apply here, at least not too much. It was refreshing to see some kids dress differently. There were about 6 of us, chilling (i.e. filling up with cheaper alcohol...the Koreans drink aLOT) at the bar before heading to the club that one of her friends knew. I was actually bracing myself for a horrid experience. I was told that in many Korean cluibs, girls and guys go in their individual groups, and the waiters would apparently pull girls to a guys' table and the girl is expected to have a drink with them. She can stay if she wants. Leave if she didn't. I was plotting ways to get out of that.
Outside the club, there was a big sign "No minors. No G.I.s" I asked what GIs were. They were American military soldiers. Apparently, American soldiers are banned not only from the club but from the entire Hongdae district because they were known to cause violent trouble there. There is, I have been told by a few Koreans, quite a strong sense of anti-Americanism here, especially with the younger generation, despite the youth driven boom to learn English (aren't we all victims of contradictions.Given that all our cultures have been kissed by American culture, how could it be otherwise?). The older generation associate Americans as benign soldiers giving them candy when Korea was stuck in poverty back in the day. The younger generation blame America/the West for their tough IMF policies they imposed on them, on being dependent on America for their defence, etc, and now, on the Iraq war. Soo, who has lived in America since she was 7, believes that they have very dangerous one-sided views. but how could it be otherwise, if most of them don't know English enough to read anything other than what their Korean media feeds them? Soo thinks most of them can't differentiate between being anti-bush and anti-American. The onus is on respectful Americans that travel to their country to prove them otherwise then.
So we go downstairs, and I was more than pleasantly surprised. It's called MWG (Myungwolgwan). It was probably one of the better clubs I've been to in some time. It's a small intimate club, kinda reminding me of Sileo in NYC. There was a great vibe with the crowd, no BS, peope there just to dance. It started off with soul house, and later progressed to harder progressive house. A cafe latte and 2 shots of tequila (ya can't be !) I was raving on the dance floor. I met a Canadian and an Australian, both of whom were English teachers ("98% of white people you see here are either military men or English teachers" one of them told me), the latter was also the floor manager of the club who works there in the weekends. It was great chatting with both the Korean locals and the expats about Seoul.
Spas, nudists, health freaks, environmentalism, great clubs...sounds kinda like California....not really. 
kellykelly, 7/19/2004 01:15:00 am | link | 2 comments |
It's a Seoul Thing

written 17 July 2004

I'm currently here in Seoul, South Korea right now, just a 3 day stopover before heading home to Singapore. We're in what they call a PC Bar (internet cafe). Just some random thoughts to share:
Glory to us, it's the rainiest month of the year here...bleh.
The flight was awesome. I slept throughout the entire flight except to get up for 20 minutes twice to eat. Sleeping pills are magical.
Although it's pretty disorientating I must say, to spend a jetlag haze in a country whose language we don't understand. It was very Lost-In-Translation. The sense of alientation is palpable. Even though people do mistake me for being Korean and start yakking away in Korean while I give them a look of confusion. In general, the population is really homogenous. There really is no variety of races or looks here. Everyone has "half-moon" eyes (as Kelly does) haha. We only saw other races (tourists) at Itaewon, the tourist trap district where they had Outback steakhouse.
The subway is like a cobweb. We stood for a good 15 minutes at the train station trying to differentiate Myeongil from Myeongmok from Meokgol. What? Add to that more people people people streaming in every direction pushing you from all sides never giving way to anyone coming in and out of the trains more people...Welcome to Asia! I felt like that ant in Antz("be the ball!"). It's kinda hard to feel like an individual in a community with so many people people people that all look like each other.
Definitely is weird for 2 yellow skinned Chinese Singaporeans to feel so much more lost in an Asian city than we ever did in Paris, NYC, San Francisco or Madrid. The fashion sense here amongst the general population (from what I saw in a day in 3 shopping areas and many train rides) is pretty...eck, on the clothes rack of stalls and on the girls. But beauty is in the eyes of the beholder for sure. I've just never seen so many mismatched pastel colors before. We went to a famous shopping district Dongdaemun but they had many shopping malls with floors and floors of...the same stuff. It was like a twilight zone.  
We saw many cute novelties yesterday. In a bathroom stall, they have an "etiquette bell". When you press it, you get 20 seconds of flushing noise, to mask the sounds of your tinkling, pooping and farting, I assume. Pretty cool. They had super high-tech arcades, huge rooms with huge kick-ass screens, all the new computer games, kids dancing to those games you dance to. We came across a breakdance performance at the mall. Girls were screaming their face off at these 5 young Korean boys. Gotta say that they were pretty good.
People sell random stuff everywhere. You have an old lady selling cakes on one corner and someone else selling ladies' stockings on the other. I get the selling of food (we all had random cravings) but I wondered who'd go, "oh, that's right, I do need stockings!" and pick one up?
We went to the bookstore and asked where the English books was and was directed to a section -filled- with TOEFL (English as a Foreign Language test that people take to go to Western universities) books...it took up a 1/4 of the mega bookstore. Today, I met up with my friend I knew from Berkeley and she works in Seoul now. She tells me that there is a current boom in Korea to learn English. To get a job teaching English here is a piece of cake, she says...she's constantly been bombarded with job offers that offers her US$5000 a month and pays her rent just to teach English even though she's a fresh graduate. It is certainily nice to experience the alienation on our first day here then have someone explain it to us the next day.
I'm starting to like kimchi! Food here is not as cheap as we thought, though. I'm liking Korean food so far. We had traditional Korean porriage today that had a consistency and texture like I've never tasted before and it was amazing. And they are so merticulous with presentation, always insisting on arranging everything on your tray (even your simple cup of coffee at a cafe) nicely, parralel-y and perpendicularly. It's nice to be in a culture where food is prided upon. And they have little piece of gardens, all beautifully manicured, peppered around the city. Very pretty.
We were gonna see the old palaces here before we got pounded by rain, hence our hiding here in the PC Bar. We'll be experiencing a traditional Korean sauna today. I'm definitely looking forward to that! Apparently people spend hours and hours in the bathhouse, chilling out, watching TV, socializing, etc so it's not just about the sauna. I could do that!
Despite the rain (which I defnitely am NOT a fan of), I'm a slave to novelties, and the novelty of this foreign place is exciting as hell. More stuff to be discovered, hurrah!
kellykelly, 7/19/2004 01:14:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

All Good To Go

With about 12 hours to go before leaving for the airport, and about 48 hours into PMS, I am one sniveling mess.

It finally hit me. I'm sad. And happy to be sad. Should I be ecstatic or indifferent upon leaving, I'd not have lived it up to the fullest in my time here, and indeedidy-do, I did.

Thank god I'm not leaving my heart in San Francisco. He'll be with me in Singapore in 6 weeks.
kellykelly, 7/14/2004 12:01:00 am | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, July 11, 2004

"It's See Ya Later, Not Goodbye"

Oh boy, it was awesome seeing everyone at the party today. It went splendidly. Great music and great company. Noon-sunset never went by so quickly.

Oh boy, I'm beginning to feel hints of sadness.
kellykelly, 7/11/2004 01:40:00 pm | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, July 10, 2004

How Do You Define Friendship?

A close friend of mine with whom I met up to say "see you later" (I refuse to say any goodbyes) on Wednesday sent me a gorgeous email. I shared his view of friendship, our friendship, with another close friend with whom I felt these words applied to as well. She agreed. And thought I should share it with others as well. So here you are. I only hope the writer would not mind.

"I think this move is going to be a blast. I'm glad that you are ready to move, and that you have a balanced picture of it. And it means a lot to me that we still communicate, be it email or whatever. I don't think friendship is built on knowing every single detail of a person's life, or seeing each other every day, though some friendships may have more face time than others. I get all that I could desire out of our friendship, beause, as I tried to explain above, I feel like I make progress in my understanding of myself and the world, when we get together after a period of time. The way I view it, there are many days in a year, and a lot of things that happen to us aren't meant to be shared with every one of our friends; the spiritual, emotional, physical and otherwise progress that we make day-to-day accumulates over time, and I venture to say that a friend is someone in whom, even after a somewhat prolonged period of time like a year or two or five (which, in terms of a life-time from 0 to 70 or 80 is a relatively short time) you can still glimpse the underlying qualities that make that person who he/she is, reestablish or reaffirm a connection, and learn something about yourself, your friend, and the world together. On the other hand ...little things do matter, so let me extend my metaphorical hand and say that if I can be of help in any way at any time, let me know....I'll do my best to serve my friend Kelly."
kellykelly, 7/10/2004 07:21:00 am | link | 0 comments |
From Partier to Party-Planner for the Parter

5 more days in SF before flying off to Asia.

We are throwing a going away party for me-slash-birthday party for Natalie (it's her birthday todayyyy!!whoooo yeeeeahhh!!) tomorrow afternoon. I have always hated being a party-planner. I hate being responsible for how people spend their time. I just like to attend parties. But I thought, oh well, I'm just about to part with this city, why not have a face-your-fear 'project', a last hurrah. And there are a bunch of people I would like to get together before I leave. What's the worst that could happen?

So I reserved a huge picnic area in McLaren Park, applied for a sound permit, borrowed speakers/turntables/mixer from friends, found out about renting a generator, got some friends to DJ, and voila, we are throwing a noon-sunset party tomorrow with an expected 40-50 people in attendance.

That's a nice start for the amatuer party-planner...

I'll keep my fingers crossed.
kellykelly, 7/10/2004 12:29:00 am | link | 0 comments |
Indepen-dance Weekend

We raved to Sasha on Friday night, got down to Los Padres National Forest (near Santa Barbara) and skinny dipped in the Caliente Hot Springs Saturday night, rock-climbed a 90 foot rock (Gilbraltar Rock) on Sunday, crashed a July 4th party by the beach, fireworks and all, camped next to the Pacific Ocean (Kirk Creek Campgrounds), lunched by Montery Bay on Tuesday.

Gotta say it was a great weekend...another one.

That's me after reaching the top of Gilbraltar Rock. What a thrill.
kellykelly, 7/10/2004 12:18:00 am | link | 0 comments |