Thursday, October 02, 2008


Don't know what's the fuss about facebook but finally decided to create one on a boring afternoon at work. Not many enquiries coming in that's why.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lego in Hamburg

Hamburg SMM 2008

Finland - Tukur slideshow

Back from Hamburg

I can't believe that I went to Hamburg the 2nd time within half a year gap for another exhibition. I would not go (or have the opportunity to go) if it was not sponsored by our cable supplier. Overall, out of the 10 halls featured, we felt that it's only 1 hall worth of related products related to our marine supply industry. The rest are either shipbuilding, motors, valves, high technology communications, marine paint, etc.

This time round, we took the initiative to talk to the suppliers and checking out if there is any business opportunities. Overall, the goods ones either have a stable agent in Singapore (which is our competitor) or we're already representing them. I can say it's not that fantastic but still an eye opener to see so many different countries come together to showcase their products.

During the evenings, we ventured round hamburg by foot and I took alot of pictures (can see from the subsequent slideshows). Thank God I survived the 12 hour flight back to Singapore!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Greetings from Tukur, Finland

It's been ages since i last blogged. I didn't get to post my thoughts on the awesome church camp and great fellowship i had in June. The recent hectic schedule of working from 8-6pm and concurrently being a chairman (for thanksgiving) who has to hold meeting and motivate everyone for the event. I also have to liase with hotel coordinators to see the wedding packages and arrange a time to meet them with my fiance. Having a weekly cell group and fortnightly L-cell group definitely tested my time management. But I feel nothing beats my fiance's schedule in NIE which is inhuman (probably you can cross over to her blog to read it, or did you cross over from her blog to mine. haha). I understand that's why I would avail myself to her needs whenever I can (eg, durian feast, going to toa payoh to buy shampoo, or be at each other place's just to be there).

I think a few post back, i was talking about my trip in Germany and here I am now in Finland. Time difference is 5hours and Singapore is ahead. My purpose here is not to find santa claus (but i have yet to taste reindeer meat) nor buy the latest nokia phone but for business negotiation on the future partnership between our company and our cable supplier. By being in the actual ground, i get to see the manufacturing process of the cables and the amount of effort from raw materials to the final product.

I reached Tukur on Saturday and as it's an European country, life is pretty boring during the weekends. Furthermore Tukur is considered an industrial town, you wouldn't get to see many people or shopping malls. Temperature was hovering between 0degC early in the morning to 10degC in the afternoon. Thank God i was more prepared in this trip. Bought a zero degC coat and leather gloves to fight the cold. After we checked in, we went to a restaurant in a hotel to have dinner. As I wanted something exotic, i choose the rabbit meat (wrong choice, it taste like chicken but is much drier and there a smell which is not nice). I wanted reindeer meat but it wasn't available in that hotel. shucks.

On Sunday which was yesterday, i thought it was going to be a very boring day but it turned out to be very good. Our supplier brought us to this countryside whereby hunters gather to practice their shooting. He managed to arrange one of the hunters to show us and let us practice at the shooting range. It didn't took us long to have the actual hands on after the briefing. The "instructor" lead us through position by position. The shooting range has 2 little houses at the sides. That is where the flying saucers (made of clay) are ejected. Imagine being in a ready position and anticipating where it will fly from (of coz we would know in advance whether the object would be flying from the left or from the right) and getting the target is no easy feat. We were using shotgun which can put 2 big cartridges and every cartridge contain small leads about 2mm in dia. When a shot is made, it covers an area of 1mtr by 1mtr for a range of 70mtr. Out of the 25shots that we made, the instructor got 22, our supplier 3, gary 1 and i got 5!!!!

Next up, we were brought to another country side up to a hill. We were told that we are going to ride on an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) but while we were waiting for the instructor to come, we had a finnish lunch that was specially prepared by the people. (it's more like a resort out in the countryside). Though there was no rice, the bread was very good and the salmon and salad were fresh. We also ate blueberry and red berry that were grown in the forest, they tasted blend because the season is almost over thus the quality is not as good (same principle to durians nowadays in Singapore. Hee).

After a nice meal, we were up and ready for the task. The instructed briefed on how to get the ATV running and we were to follow in one line to go through the route. Initially we were breezing through the grass patch and I was thinking "man, it's so easy. life is a breeze). When the instructor saw that everyone was comfortable and got the hang of the vehicle, he upped a nodge. We began to manover past elavated terrains, rocky terrains and the real task came when we were told to go up an elavated rocky hill one by one. He first demonstrated how he rode up and he stood up there waiting for us with his camera. Richard didn't want to take the challenge as he felt not comfortable. I was thinking "how am i going to go up this hilly terrain!? It's about 50-60deg elavation and with the rocks and one wheel above the air most of the time, I would go tumbling down the hill if i'm not careful." The instructed added that no matter what, stay onto the vehicle even though you may THINK that you're falling. The ATV is more sturdier that you think. With that thought and a prayer, I conquered the hill!

Suddenly, I felt that God spoke to me that just like the hill, many times we face situations that we think are impossible and thus do not want to give it a try, but it takes faith to believe and you will overcome it with God. It takes faith to believe in the ATV and the instructor's word that one can ride up the hill according to the way he did.

After that challenge, we went through the finnish forest and i felt really close to nature. When we reached back to "base camp", the supplier prepared a natural hot sauna for us. (it cost about 200Euro). This natural suana is different from the usual ones because it would take 5hours to prepare beforehand. They would burn the hot stones with wood and let it heated up for 5hours. There isn't a chimney and thus inside was charcoal black. Of coz, the smoke would be let out before one was to go inside and have the sauna. Now out in the countryside, only 4 guys in a small cottage. Our supplier asked anyone of us wants to into the sauna and have a try. But one needs to strip naked to really experience the heat. Gary and Richard didn't want but looking at the supplier's face and the effort he put in to make all these happen (200Euros for the sauna!! that's about 400SGD), I took up the challenge. Yes, we were both naked in the sauna but as i said that it was pitch black, one couldn't see much of each other except the face. (nobody in the right mind would want to look anywhere else of the body). We were in the sauna for about 15minutes. Really made my day. SOmething which i wasn't expecting when i came to Finland.

In 4hours time, I would be setting off for Hamburg Germany to proceed to 2nd part of the trip. To visit the Marinetime fair. The biggest one in the world for this year. =)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Finally, a break from all the busy-ness

I know that I should upload my pics on the last few days of my Germany trip. In fact, i've done so just that i have problem putting them up in blogger from photobucket. Thus, it shall be postponed. Hee.

Today, i mean yesterday morning was really hectic. My colleague went to Taiwan with his family and thus his customers and end users have been calling me non-stop in the mornings. Imagine from 830am till 1130am I have been either on my office phone or mobile one. Thank God, He brought me through the day although time really flew past. I managed to do quite a lot of work and of coz with the encouragement of my dear dear online. =)

Before I left office, I took about half an hour to delegate whatever work i have to my fellow colleagues so that they can help me out. I can't imagine on Monday and Tuesday whereby both my customer and my colleague's will be calling and sending enquiries (urgent ones) to be quoted and for orders to be delivered. I really pray for favour and unity in the company during those 2 days. Wednesday my colleague would be back in office and I'll be back in office on Friday.

In the evening before I went for cell, Doris ran out of the house when my dad opened the gate for me to drive the car out. I was "sian 1/2" coz it's not easy to catch her since now she is very active and strong. The last time she ran away, I took Doby to lure her back. Somehow dogs can communicate and signal the other dog to come back or something coz that time she ran back to us when she saw us near the dou huay shop. This time I wasn't so lucky. I walked the same route with Doby (the one where I bring them out for walk) for 3 rounds and no sight of Doris! My parents told me to leave Doby in the house and go for my gathering. My parents went for their weekly Tai Ji.

In my mind, i was telling God, it always have to have something happen when I'm going for God encountering camps. Does that mean I have to leave Singapore without knowing Doris's whereabouts? How about I don't go for cell and continue to search for Doris and probably I may find her and can then leave for church camp in peace? However, during that moment my dear dear called me and said that "no matter what I do, if Doris blur blur walk till lost, there's no way I can find her in this huge neighbourhood." I told God that during my last round of walk, if I can't find Doris, I shall honour You and go for cell and not let this situation hinder me from knowing You. I believe that You will even bless me back and I will find Doris when I go back from cell to search for her later on.

Guess what, just when cell ended, my dad called me and said that he found Doris at heartland mall outside. He carried her all the way back home. First thing that came to my mind, I was thanking God that indeed He is good! I believe my dad saw her before he went for his Tai Ji which should be around the time whereby I told God that I would go for cell and honour Him. He is really fast in replying my prayer! ;p After the good news set in, it dawned upon me that it should have been very tiring to carry her from heartland mall back home. My dad didn't bring the leash along and it would make matters worse if she struggled. How great is the fatherly love. My dad knew that I would not leave Singapore and have fun totally if Doris is out. Thus even though it would be really exhausting and definitely he'll get body pain carrying Doris the next day, he made sure he carried Doris all the way back home safely. I'm deeply touched by both my earthly and heavenly father's love. Thank you.

In 3 hours time, I will be leaving for bangkok to have my retreat. 2 days of shopping and eating at bangkok followed by 4 days of camp in Cha-am. I really hope that God will meet me in a special way and rejuvenate my body, my spirit and my passion there! Bangkok, here I come!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Germany Day 9 pics

Germany Day 8 pics

Germany Day 7 - part 3 pics

Germany Day 7 - part 2 pics

Germany Day 7 - part 1 pics

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Germany Day 7-11

It's more than 2 weeks since I last updated where I left off. Haha. A bit lost of the memory already there. Actually I had more fond memories during the first half of the trip. Oops.

On Day 7, we had a city tour at Schwelm. It's a small town (about the size of toa payoh I think) and it has an overhanging rail train. It is more than 100years old and is the one and only structure built in this manner in the world! As you can see from the pictures, it's a very small town and it took us 30min of the ride to 1 round of the circumference of the city. We also went to sit in a "sky chair" that took us up the hill to a "rebuilt castle". The castle was 70% destroyed during WWII and during the past 20-30years it was rebuilt to his former glory. We had some nice spitzel and cakes for lunch. At night, we went to some brewery to have dinner. Sian, it was only cold bread with cheese / ham plus beer. I had plain water and cold bread with cheese/ham for dinner. Yucks, lousy dinner. The koreans had the same sentiments but no choice, when we got back to hotel, there wasn't any eatery in sight to fill our disatisfaction.

Day 8, we went to a coal mining museum. The goverment decided to preserve this fairly new factory (about 30years of mining) because they feel that it's part of the heritage. By the time the tour ended, it was around 3pm and we were told that we have our own R&R. By the way, there are no shopping centres open at all on a sunday, thus we are left with looking around for nice restaurants to eat. The koreans and us decided to team up to visit a chinese restuarant. It was a good choice as it reminded us of home cooked food and to spur us on for another 2 days.

Day 9, we were "tricked" to go to a packaging exhibition as our supplier said that due to overwhelming requests, he decided to bring everyone of us there to take a look. We have to pay our own tickets (55 EURO PER TICKET!!!!) as our supplier do not have a booth and they are too "stingy" to pay for us. That's like S$120 per ticket. What was worse is that the whole exhibition was not our forte. We are mostly doing marine industry and not packaging. Paying S$120 to look at something only about 5% related is totally CMI. We had the time from 10am to 4pm. Gary and I walked around till 1pm to have our lunch. After that we found a cosy corner and slept till 330pm. Haha. At night, we went to another brewery. This time round, the building was refurbished from an indoor swimming pool. If you look at the pictures carefully, the central bar counter is actually where the pool was resided previously. The upper floors were the changing rooms. That was why the whole building is very "swimming pool" themed.

Day 10, we finally got a chance to visit our supplier's office & factory. Most of their items are outsourced from elsewhere and they do the assembly in house. Due to sensitive reasons, we are not allowed to take pictures of factories and machinery. We also had our technical training from morning 10am to 430pm where we also had our own country's sales report presentation. Man, this would be the first and last time I would want to do such presentation. Stress....

Day 11, we were still quite bitter over the 55Euro ticket and still have to find our way to take train from Schwelm to frankfurt airport. Another amazing race thingy. Thank God the supplier has a meeting a frankfurt that morning and offered to fetch us there early in the morning! Though we had to wait for 3hrs+, it was worth it! I would rather wait in the airport then to miss any transit while changing trains again.

That sums up my Germany experience 2008. Enjoy the pics! =)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Germany D6 slideshow

Germany Day 6 - Lost in Transition

All good things must come to an end (for part 1) and our fellow Asean counterparts were kind enough to give us a farewell lunch (Thai food) and see us off at the train station. The Thai food was really good (probably it has been quite a while since we had rice and spicy soup) and it gave us the morale booster for another week in Germany!

As Gary and I were carrying our luggages, we didn't take much pictures for the day. No spare hands! However, I still managed to take some pictures of a flower shop, countryside view from from the train.

One incident happened that will leave a mark in our Germany trip. That is the ICE train trip from Hamburg to Schwelm. We had to change train from Hamburg main station to Hannover main station. From there, we need to find out the platform that we are supposed to take. We had only 10minutes to do so. Imagine we were carrying our luggages at that time! It's worst then the amazing race.

When the train reached Hannover main station, you can see swarms of people rushing out to try to go to their respective platforms. For those who do not know (like me), we had to go down to the counter and look at the screen to see which platform our train was located. It's like a mini airport just that you substitute it as a train. Thank God, we managed to get onto the platform and into the train in the nick of time.

From Hannover main station, we need to make another transit to Hagen train station. That is when things went wrong. First, there was a technical fault with the train and the train conductor announced the fault and there would be a replacement train for those who are rushing for time. However, all these were spoken in German which I do not understand at all! After the announcement, I saw many people standing up and leaving. However, I also saw quite a number of people who remained in their seats. I approached a few of the people but none understand English. When I finally managed to speak to an American and understand what was going on, the "replacement" train had left. It's ok, we waited for the fault to be rectified and proceeded with the journey. When we were reaching Hagen main station, Gary and I stood at the door waiting for it to come to a stop. Guess what, when the train stopped, the door didn't open. We thought it may be some technical error or something but when we saw other people exiting from other doors, we realised something is wrong. We read the instructions by the side of the door and realised that we had to press the button and pull the handle to manually open the door! When we tried to do that, it was too late. The train had started on it's next journey! It was heading towards Wuppertal Main Station.

This was something unexpected and we told ourselves to get out of the train at the next stop no matter what. When we reached Wuppertal Main Station, we were deciding between taking a cab from Wuppertal to Schwelm or take a train back there. Taking a cab would cost us around 30Euros for half an hour ride. Take a train would cost us less than 10 Euros in total. I bought 2 train tickets from Wuppertal to Schwelm. You would have guessed that this would be the end of the episode right? NO!!!

Gary and I waited at the platform for the train to arrive. When the train came, Gary wanted to play safe and went to approach a couple to ask whether the train that has stopped is going to Schwelm. At that time, I was already in the train because I was quite sure that it was going there. It took a while for the couple to understand what Gary tried to ask and when they understood and told him that the train is heading to Schwelm, the door closed. Man, now we're seperated.

I called Gary up on his mobile and told him of the next train that is heading to Schwelm and also the platform and we would meet at the entrance of the Schwelm train station. Finally, we met up at the Schwelm train station after 2hours behind our scheduled time. We then proceeded to taking a cab to our hotel which is less than 5min drive. It cost us about 8Euro. Cabs are expensive! After a whole day saga, we met up with our other supplier and the asia delegates (India, Malaysia, Korea) and had dinner at the hotel. That sums up day 6 of Germany trip.