Posts Tagged ‘ brisbane ’

There’s Something in the Water

Hey.

How you all doing?

I’ve been a little preoccupied lately with a certain event that has been dominating my mind over the past few days, and it truly is one of epic proportions. People have been, and will continue to be affected by it.

What am I talking about?

My 18th Birthday.

Oh yes, the big ‘One-Eight’. The day where a young boy becomes a young man. The day that usually includes copious amounts of alcohol and/or gambling, and perhaps a celebratory smoke on a cigarette or a cigar. The day that you and your rambunctious friends might decide to spend in a bar getting intoxicated on beer, or maybe a foray into the dancing scene in a nightclub with a hundred other jam-packed bodies swaying and moshing to “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. The day that, in the case of my brother, resulted in a late night ambush by his friends, attacking him with eggs, flour, and spoilt milk in a lighthearted way of showing affection.

And I would be soon be eighteen.

I’ve heard many stories about being eighteen – now that you become 18, you’re legally entitled to do whatever you want. You can drink, you can drive (not after the first, though), you can gamble, you can enter nightclubs, and you can play paintball or airsoft without a protective vest.

Rambo was so tough, he played paintball without a protective vest AND used real bullets.

I’ve been so excited over this monumentous event that I even compiled a list of presents that I wanted my family, friends, well-wishes and random hobos from Hoboken to give to me. Among others, they include:

  1. My pick of Apple products. Because only Apple makes them cool.
  2. The new Justin Bieber CD. For mad stompin’ on fun!
  3. A pet iguana. Because how many people do you know can honestly say that they have a pet iguana?
  4. Platters of meat products.
  5. Lotion. Or various lotions. That’s why my skin stays so soft.
  6. A whacking stick. For all my whacking needs.
  7. Cigars…and a pussycat. They go in great with my supervillian costume I’ve been dying to try.
  8. An ‘I’m with Stupid’ T-Shirt. For emergencies, in case I ever run into Justin Bieber.
  9. The entire Star Wars collection. Never seen it, would like to. But someone already spoilt it for me – Darth Vader? Really Luke’s father.
  10. A jetski. Do I even need to explain?

The list goes on, but you get the idea.

A few days ago, my mind was rudely jolted out of its party-anticipating stupor by horrific news: Australia had been hit by flash floods of near-biblical proportions. Most of Brisbane, Gatton, Withcott, Toowoomba (west of Brisbane), and other Queensland towns had been devastated, and most of the area was literally under water. At last count, there were fifteen dead and many more missing.

What really brought it home to me is that I used to stay in Toowoomba. I had called the sleepy town home till two years ago, when I moved to Brisbane for university. I went to school there for 9 years, attended a church in the CBD for the same amount of time, hung out with friends at one of the three big shopping centres there. I knew many of the nooks and crannies, the side streets that crisscrossed the small houses, heck, the people that used to stay in those houses. Brisbane, or at least where I lived, was similar. I had only stayed there a year, but I was already familiar with the area around my house and the university. My family and I had made many friends, and I loved that place.

And but for the grace of God, who put me where I am now in Singapore, I would have been, literally, in the muddy soup.

Now, safe in Singapore, I shudder to think of the fear and turmoil that the residents of the affected areas must be going through. The evacuations, escaping the rising tides, or alternatively, sandbagging the house to protect the residents who have nowhere to go. Not only that, but they have to deal with the snakes and crocodiles who have taken it to wage a war on humanity. It’s enough to make many give up in sorrowful defeat.

And yet.

And yet.

And yet the flood waters did not reach the expected peaks, saving many lives and property. And yet the flood waters have already started to receed, allowing the residents in Toowoomba and other rural towns, at least, to start the cleanup. And yet aid in the form of volunteers and international aid have started to pour in to the affect areas. And yet many residents and churches and offered their houses as evactuation centres. And yet places that were affected were not totally destroyed, and are slowly starting to get back up on their feet.

And yet it could have been so much worse.

So, as the days pass, and the flooding continue, let us remember the ones who need our thoughts most – the flood victims of Queensland who are struggling to get back on their feet. Instead of buying that Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, why not use get some McNuggets and send the money to the flood victims. Instead of throwing out that sweater that your mother-in-law made for you, why not donate it to the residents of Toowoomba. Instead of buying me the jetski, why not send it to the people who need it more than I do.

In the words of Queensland Premier Anna Bligh:

What we have here in Queensland tonight is a very grim and desperate situation. There are many Queenslanders tonight in critical and dire circumstances; emergency workers out facing risky situations and many people facing a very terrifying night. I think we can all say that our thoughts are with them over the coming hours and we pray and hope they’ll be safe when first light comes… [SOURCE]

I fully concur.

To donate to or volunteer for the Flood Relief, please visit http://myhillsong.com/ausfloods for more information.

Advertisements

Why Brothers Bother, Haircuts Take Time, and Cameras Hurt

Well, another day has went by, and my exciting life just seems to go on. Despite the lack of anything actually news-worthy (like the healthcare bill – who cares?), there are a few interesting happenings that have…..err….happened. So, let’s see……

I woke up raring to go – I had to be at Hillsong Brisbane by 10.30, as I’m in the Production Team (I know, cool, right?). So, as previously arranged, I would catch a lift with my brother. Sounds nice? Not really. I was ready to go by 9.50 ( Yes, yes, eager beaver) – But my brother wasn’t. And he was determined to make me wait.

Sluggishly, he took his shower, got dressed, and so on. Then, he made breakfast. Nope, it wasn’t his usual choice (yogurt….or nothing…), but he decided to make a grilled cheese sandwich. And while it simmered and grilled, he drank some juice, just taking in the beauty of the kitchen. While he cooked and ate, I was trying to get him to go, or I would be late. But being the older (and stronger) brother, he took his time and enjoyed the cheese. “We’ll be there on time!” he said, munching on wholemeal.

Was making a grilled cheese sandwich really worth jeopardising my punctuality? Though, that sandwich DOES look good…..

There is one thing about my brother, he’s always right. No matter what the scenario, he always turns out right. Ever since he successfully predicted the way the ball would go from the penalty spot in Xbox Soccer (for the record, he has about 189 straight victories against me), and then predict that Australia would beat Uruguay in the 2006 Wold Cup Qualifier (I lost $4 in a bet because of that), my brother has continued to remain correct in all respects. And when we arrived at Hillsong at 10.30 exactly, he turned out right again. Annoying.

Moving on, I walked into the video team office, only to discover that I was on Camera 3 today. Now, Camera 3 was a roving camera; one that was situated on stage and had to be carried around for shots. When I heard the news, I nearly had a heart attack, for 2 reasons:

  1. I had never done Camera 3 before, and I had no idea what to do.
  2. Did I mention that I had never done Camera 3 before, and had no idea what to do?

Camera 3 required a lot of creativity in shot taking, invisibility in roving, and toughness in carrying the heavy camera around on your shoulder. Now, while I can be inconspicuous, the fact that I was on stage didn’t really help. Neither did my white sneakers – they would show up like a signal flare. Creativity is also another big zero for me, as anyone should know just my reading my blog. And as for toughness, forget it. I could barely carry the weight of my emotions, let alone a camera.

But surprisingly, it didn’t turn out too badly. I was able to pretend that I had some talent and take “oh-so-cool” shots of the keyboard, the electric guitar, and the choir. Keyboard, Guitar, Choir. Whoever said creativity was needed had to be joking – no one noticed that I barely moved from my spot, and got the same three shots over and over again.

Though my shoulder still hurts now. Ouch.

So THAT’S why South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Craig Wing’s shoulder hurt – he carried around a camera all day!

After THAT, I went for a common torture usually devised for little kids – the haircut. Yes, I went willingly to lop off my locks and fringe. While I personally didn’t think that my hair was long, my mum insisted otherwise. I think it was the fact that I started wearing animal skins and carrying a spear decided it for her.

Yep, that’s me. Cool, huh?

Haircuts are like doctor’s appointments. You have to wait for ages in a designated area with weird people and screaming children, and then you have a horrific experience that makes you swear never to go back. In fact, it’s almost exactly the same. Except for the lollipop at the end.

My haircut was slightly different. I had it in Sunnybank, an area where there is a lot of Chinese-speaking people. Thus, the hairdresser was Chinese. Unfortunately, my command of Chinese is about as good as that of my friend’s command of grammar and spelling when on MSN – almost non-existent. Ever tried to ask for a haircut and its style, and then do small talk, in broken Chinese? One word: Awkward.

That was where my brother came in. While his Chinese is only slightly better than mine, his Chinese IS still better than mine. And, he knows fashion. That guy can wake up ready for a fashion shoot. So, I let him tell the hairdresser how short to cut it. And boy, it was short. I was almost afraid people would need a magnifying glass to see it. But after applying hair gel and spray, it looked good.

So, what have we learned today?

  1. My brother is always right. Always. It’s really annoying, I know. But sometimes, the combination of three years more experience, intelligence, and “oh-so-suave” style can actually be quite helpful, and it can bring a fresh outlook on the world. Though when he says that he has a bridge to sell me in Sydney……
  2. Doing Roving Cameras on stage is very, very difficult. I have much more respect to those who did it at Toowoomba’s Australian Gospel Music Festival (AGMF; now Easterfest). And little cable-pullers that run away – watch out for them!
  3. Haircuts are awkward, especially if you can’t speak Chinese. The forced laughs, the confused looks…..man, I don’t want to go through that experience again. At least, until my hair grows out again. Hopefully, that won’t be for a long time.

So, all in all, not a bad Sunday. I might go for a grilled cheese sandwich now…..though, as my shoulder hurts so much, I might grill the camera instead…..

How did you spend YOUR day? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

The Random Musings of an Attention-Seeking Author – 08/03/2010 to 14/03/10

I do apologise for not writing much…but unfortunately, there IS nothing to write about. Life has been unbelievably routine, and amidst the rush of lectures and homework, the dullness left is pure drudgery. However, there HAS been some interesting bits and pieces of random events that have provided some relief:

  1. I have been slightly sick the past few days. Actually, more than slightly – I’m starting to think I could be one of the patients in an episode of HOUSE M.D. Now, you guys might think that being sick is all doom and gloom – I can’t get much rest, I cough my lungs out, and I’m behind on my schoolwork. (The latter is also partly due to procrastination, but let’s not dwell on stuff that is actually my fault). However, being sick has ONE silver lining: I don’t have to exercise. Small price to pay, hmm?
  2. I met a guy at church today who resembles the actor Joshua Jackson, who plays Peter Bishop in FRINGE. Not kidding. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of him, but here’s a picture of Joshua Jackson:

    Now, imagine him a little fatter, and with more hair…..he could be an alternate version of Joshua Jackson / Peter Bishop! Which kinda ties in well with FRINGE’s whole “alternate universe” theory……

  3. As part of my Critical Legal Thinking course, I had to learn about “faulty arguments”. One of them was the argument of Correlation and Causation, where two statements appear to correlate, but may not actually do so. The example I read was hilarious:
      • An overall decrease in the number of pirates over the last century corresponds with an increase in global warming over the same time period.
      • Therefore, global warming is caused by a lack of pirates.

    Huh? Huh? You can’t make this stuff up. And people say lawyers have no sense of humour…

  4. Now, if you have read the previous article about the Brisbane Bus Service, you would have noticed that I said that I wore shorts to uni. That was a truly rare occasion, as I prefer jeans….and I look waaaay better in them. However, a few days ago, a school bus from a girl’s school rolled up to uni. The one day I dressed down, a busload of schoolgirls came trucking into the campus. I just can’t win.

Alright guys, that’s it from me. I have to try to get some work done tonight….or just procrastinate again. I mean, at least that’s better than seeing me in shorts, right?

Do YOU have a fashion disaster you would like to share? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Oh, Where is the Bus Driver? Or Even the Bus?

Alright, let me kick things off by saying that yes, it is an extremely hot day here in Brisbane. Very, very hot. It was so hot, I wore shorts instead of my usual jeans. Yes, it was THAT hot. But I digress.

If people were to describe me in one word, they would probably say stuff like antisocial, weird, outcast, loner…….you get the idea. But one word that probably would also come to mind would be afraid to try new things. Well, that’s not one word, but work with me here. I feel most comfortable at home, and dislike coming out of my comfort zone. Just ask my friends the lengths they went to to get me to go to a RAVE party. They practically had to pry my hands off the doorframe. But that’s another story.

(Blindingly bright strobe lights, ear-shatteringly loud music, rowdy teenagers – I mean, who WOULDN’T want to go to a RAVE?)

So, it was a pretty big thing for me to be taking….wait for it….Australian Public Transport. Yes, that’s right – after hours of endless wheedling and threatening by my family, I finally agreed (albeit reluctantly) to take the bus to Uni this morning. Oh joy of joys. And boy, did I do my homework. Google search, route planning…..etc, etc. I was ready.

I woke up at 8.30am this morning (and surprisingly, did NOT feel like P Diddy) as I had a tutorial at 10am. I had planned it down to the wire – the bus was to come at 9.27, and arrive at uni 9.50. Perfect.

With the confidence of a seasoned veteran, I strode off to the bus stop to wait for the bus with my dad. With the naivety of a child, I deliberately arrived early, at 9.10am.I was perfectly content to wait for my bus (no. 432) for the seventeen minutes. And that’s what I did. I waited.

(“Perhaps if I wait here a little while longer, the bus will come!”)

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited. And waited. And waited……

You get the idea. By the time 9.30 rolled around, my bus still hadn’t arrived. 9.35, and I was annoyed. Since it takes around 20 minutes to get to uni, and about 15 minutes to find my classroom (hey, I’m new!), I was worried. It didn’t help that plenty of buses drove by in quick succession, all NOT the bus I wanted. 412, 444, 433….it was almost like the bus drivers wanted to make me annoyed.

Thankfully, my dad was still there, and together with my mum, they drove me to uni, and I arrived with 5 minutes to spare. Cars: 1, Buses: 0.

So kids, what have we learnt today?

  1. Taking the bus in Australia is like taking the Underground in London, and it’s also like taking any form of transport in Malaysia. Don’t.
  2. When the bus timetable says “…account for buses arriving slightly late…”, add about 14 years to the late side.
  3. Bus services have it out for students who are running late. The right bus won’t come, and other, incorrect buses will pass by just to make him get his hopes up.
  4. Parents are extremely important for driving you around, especially if you don’t have your  license. Mum, Dad, I love you guys.

The last point is really true. Without them, I would have had to run all the way to uni. And you know how horrible I look when I run in shorts….

[UPDATE]: I tried to take the bus the next day – and this time, it came so early, I nearly missed it. And the ride was so bumpy, I nearly got sick. Plus, it took forever.

But then again, that’s nothing compared to how bad the Malaysian bus service is….

Do YOU have a scary bus story? Tell us right here by leaving a comment!

University: First Impressions

Hey guys. Short post today, because uni really took it out on me. It was akin to being ambushed and beaten up in a back alley – my brain feels like mush.

I had two Lectures today at the University of Queensland, a Criminology Lecture, and a Law of Torts lecture. Some comments:

  1. Criminology wasn’t bad, though the lecturer (I keep wanting to say “teacher”; force of habit from my high school days…) talked quite fast. It was slow enough for us to hear, but fast enough that when you started writing notes, you looked back up and thought “What did she say?”
  2. Since Criminology technically is an Arts subject, there were plenty of people who where doing psychology. I happened to sit in the very spot where all around me were Hong Kong psychology students. Hmmm…..conspiracy, methinks?
  3. Law of Torts lecture was immense. So much information….if that’s what’s on the first week, what will the rest of the year be like??
  4. Apparently Criminology textbooks like to play hide-and-seek. Went to two different faculty libraries trying to find the elusive textbook……and couldn’t. I had to settle for an earlier edition. But rest assured, I will find it! (Or buy it)
  5. It was drizzling all day. And it was really humid. So, wet on the outside (rain) and wet on the inside (sweat). That’s Brisbane for you. I’m just happy I don’t live in Melbourne.

And I’ll have to do it all again tomorrow. Sigh….

Do you have any tips on how to beat the University blues? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Escape from CLEM7 – When Tunnel Vision Becomes Too Much

In case you didn’t realise, I’m known as “the complaining” type. You know, the type of person that refuses to go anywhere but where he wants to go, and if forced to go somewhere else, will constantly kick up a fuss, whine, and basically make everyone else miserable until he goes home. Yep, that’s me! But in this case, I’m totally justified.

Today, against my better judgement, I was dragged along with my friends to the Grand Opening of the CLEM7 Tunnel – a supposedly revolutionary tunnel that cuts down congestion and travel time in Brisbane. Named after a Former Lord Mayor, it will be the largest road tunnel in the country……until the planned 6.7 km Airport Link tunnel is complete. Whoop-de-doo.

What was so special about today, however, was that the tunnel was going to be open for the public to walk through for one time only. Walking through approximately 5 km of tunnel? Yay. My heart skipped a beat and I dashed forward eagerly. Or rather, I didn’t.

I had a bad feeling about this; I mean, who wants to walk through a hot tunnel with about 10^34 other people there, for hours on end just to say “I did it”? Would you want to sit your grandkids down and say “Kids, I walked through that freaking big tunnel over there.”? They would give you a quizzical look and say “Dad, unless that tunnel was built as an escape from Auschwitz in 1942, you wasted your time.”

I’m going to list my general impressions as I went through the whole charade of being interested for my friends:

  1. Arrived at 1.15pm. Huge area with stalls selling stuff and publicising the event, with many, many, many, many (you get the idea) people. Bought a hotdog; chicken sausage inside was nice. So far, so good.
  2. Passed by several odd roadside buskers doing their thing (an outback music group, a Jamaican trio, etc), as well as an overly-cheerful-she-has-to-be-on-meds MC talking through her microphone, broadcasting to the world.

Now, it turns out that the woman wasn’t crazy after all, because she was repeating three things. The first was “Welcome to CLEM7” which was nice, but not at all helpful. The second was that the end of the bridge was closed and that buses would take people back to the entrance, which was good to know as well. The third was that pedestrians needed to take water inside the walk. It turned out that the last one was the most important of all.

So, we entered the tunnel. At first, it wasn’t so bad. There were huge fans that cooled us down, we were out of the sun, and it was pretty easy going. I started to doubt my earlier trepidation and begun to relax, enjoying myself.

Bad choice. There’s an old saying among the canny: When you let your guard down, life takes the opportunity to kick your ass.

Soon, I started to tire. It got pretty warm, and stupid me, I wore all black clothes (from church). Worse, my friend kept stopping to take photos. I mean, it’s just a bridge! It’s not the 8th wonder of the world…

Looking at my watch, I saw that one hour had gone by. I was sure that we were nearly at the end. Then I saw a sign….1 km gone. WHAT?????

And that was the way for the next 500 metres. Thankfully, we turned around after 1.5km, at the “You are now 60m below the Brisbane River” mark. Still it left 1.5km to walk back, and with the fatigue, the dust blown in our eyes, the uphill struggle….not something I want to remember.

So kids, what have we learnt today?

  1. When your friends drag you along to something and it turns out to be a total waste of time, you have the right to hit them. Hard. Repeatedly. Until they learn their lesson.
  2. Tunnel walking……not a good idea.
  3. Never wear a black T-Shirt and black skinny jeans to a Tunnel Walk. You will get hot, sweaty, sticky…..and if you sit on a concrete slab, you’ll get white dust all over it. Trust me.

By the time we emerged, all the stall-owners had left. Which was what we should have done 3 hours ago. Lesson learnt. We finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel….but we should never had entered in the first place.

Did you ever have a bad experience due to your friends? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

    The Battle to End all Battles: When Worms Attack!

    My family and I have just been through the most epic battle in the history of mankind. It was akin to Muhammad Ali’s Rumble in the Jungle or the Battle of Gallipoli – One solidified a legend forever while the other ended with much loss of life. That battle was like both those fights – it ended in huge casualties, and people will remember this day in history forever.

    It was just the four of us against the enemy. It wasn’t any ordinary enemy, it wasn’t Jemaah Islamiah, or even the Australian Taxation Office. Rather, it was worms. Lots and lots of them!!

    (At least, I THINK it was those worms. For those of you who went to Christian Outreach College Toowoomba, it was those little black fuzzy worms that often came around – what were those?)

    Anyway, the trouble started around 4 days ago, when we opened our doors and saw them. THEY – WERE – EVERYWHERE!! Not just a single one, or “just-a-freaking-few”. There could easily have been several hundred worms spread out all over our entranceway and steps – crawling all over and on the walls, and basically making themselves at home. Well, after our original disgust, my family did the brave and right thing – we declared war.

    And thus the war begun. Originally, we used a Mortein Fly Spray on them (we didn’t have any worm spray) and swept them away. That’ll show them, we thought. Oh, how wrong we were.

    We grossly underestimated them. When we woke up the next morning, the worms were back. It was like a freaking “Left 4 Dead” moment – the worms were like zombies coming for us, and they wouldn’t die! That scared me half to death!!

    So, we may have lost the first battle, but the war wasn’t over yet. Using the spray again, as well as the hose to get the worms off our wall, we swept them away again, this time even taking the time to crush some of their resistance (squash them underfoot…..literally). We went to bed, thinking we had won. Not even close.

    Again, the nasty little buggers came back. They were swarming everywhere – and i swear, some had magic powers: they managed to infiltrate our house THROUGH a locked door. No matter what we did, they kept coming back.

    And so, we caved and did the very thing that we loathed: We called the Brisbane Council for help. They came and provided us with an amazing…..Mortein Cockroach Spray!! And amazingly, it worked. We routed the worms and sent them to worm hell, wriggling in their death throes of agony.

    We defeated the worms, and victory had never felt so sweet. Nothing like killing fuzzy worms to get the adrenaline running, eh?

    So, a few things were learnt today:

    1. Worms are like zombies. Just when you think you’ve killed them all, they’ll come back and invade again.
    2. Worms have superpowers. They can go through locked doors and are fly spray resistant. And they will come get you!
    3. Council workers can actually be useful sometimes. Who knew?

    Do you have any tips to keep the worms at bay? Leave a comment here and tell us about it!