Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pictures from Bali

Last July we went to Bali for 1 week to attend my friend Arania's wedding. Here are some photos from our sightseeing.

Leo and I went for a walk through the rice paddies near Ubud. We fortunately ran into Wayan, a local river guide, out for a walk. Without him we would have gotten completely lost.

A local politician and member of the Ubud royal family had died just before we came to Bali. The whole town and all surrounding villages were involved in preparing for the cremation. These men are decorating an enormous pyramid that the dead man's body would be burned in.

These ladies are wearing traditional Balinese clothes and taking offerings to the temple for the cremation ceremony.

We took a cooking class too. This is me pounding herbs, spices and chillies together. When we got back to Singapore, Leo bought a smaller version of these grinding stones. The grinding is a lot of work so when he makes the paste, we have Balinese food for several days.

Leo being a monkey in the shrine in Monkey Forest.

Leo's job interview

Last Saturday, Leo went for a interview with a local company. It is one of two companies that actively coach in schools. For the interview, he had to give a lesson to 6 teenagers while the boss coached another group nearby. Leo impressed the boss with his ability to handle a group and he was offered a position. It's a good opportunity for him because he'll also be able to be part of the Singapore Sports Council Youth program and coach junior level players. You can see more at

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Singapore field trip

Leo and I and some friends went on a food excursion to Joo Chiat Street, which has been known for its great cafes for a long time and recently for its art galleries. Here are some pictures I took that afternoon.

From a shop making gifts for the dead like this house for the dead. They are burned during Hungry Ghost month

One of the art galleries we visited

Weird sign but suits Singapore's food scene

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Uh, not exactly

At the conventions both presidential candidates tried to define themselves and explain how they will change America for the better. Unfortunately, they don't always get the facts straight. Here's a summary from Check out the website for the full analysis

He made some flubs in accepting the nomination.

Factcheck checked the accuracy of McCain’s speech accepting the Republican nomination and noted the following:

  • McCain claimed that Obama’s health care plan would "force small businesses to cut jobs" and would put "a bureaucrat ... between you and your doctor." In fact, the plan exempts small businesses, and those who have insurance now could keep the coverage they have.
  • McCain attacked Obama for voting for "corporate welfare" for oil companies. In fact, the bill Obama voted for raised taxes on oil companies by $300 million over 11 years while providing $5.8 billion in subsidies for renewable energy, energy efficiency and alternative fuels.
  • McCain said oil imports send "$700 billion a year to countries that don't like us very much." But the U.S. is on track to import a total of only $536 billion worth of oil at current prices, and close to a third of that comes from Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
    He promised to increase use of "wind, tide [and] solar" energy, though his actual energy plan contains no new money for renewable energy. He has said elsewhere that renewable sources won’t produce as much as people think.
  • He called for "reducing government spending and getting rid of failed programs," but as in the past failed to cite a single program that he would eliminate or reduce.
    He said Obama would "close" markets to trade. In fact, Obama, though he once said he wanted to "renegotiate" the North American Free Trade Agreement, now says he simply wants to try to strengthen environmental and labor provisions in it.
Palin trips up on her facts

Sarah Palin’s much-awaited speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night may have shown she could play the role of attack dog, but it also showed her to be short on facts when it came to touting her own record and going after Obama’s.

  • Palin may have said “Thanks, but no thanks” on the Bridge to Nowhere, though not until Congress had pretty much killed it already. But that was a sharp turnaround from the position she took during her gubernatorial campaign, and the town where she was mayor received lots of earmarks during her tenure.
  • Palin’s accusation that Obama hasn’t authored “a single major law or even a reform” in the U.S. Senate or the Illinois Senate is simply not a fair assessment. Obama has helped push through major ethics reforms in both bodies.
  • The Alaska governor avoided some of McCain’s false claims about Obama’s tax program – but her attacks still failed to give the whole story.

Obama fared better than either McCain or Palin although Obama was not entirely on the straight and narrow. Factcheck found that "He stuck to the facts, except when he stretched them."