November 26, 2009

Feud at Prata Shop - Again

I went to that prata shop - again. The same guy waited me. I hope he'd not make mistake again. This time, I was careful. I used fingers (to show the number of items I wanted) when I said "A Prata" and, after a long pause, "An egg prata and black coffee." 

What did you expect ? He came back with two slices of egg prata but there was no coffee for me. What's wrong with him ? Huh ?

November 25, 2009

Smell Sometimes Does Not Imply Good Taste

Today, one of my lab-mates was having rice and mutton curry from the middle-eastern stall (yes, in the air-conditioned lab). It smelled so good that I decided to have the same.

When I got to canteen, the thing he was eating cannot be found easily (it was in a hideous container). Fortunately, the one who queued before me knew its name and ordered it. Therefore, I just point-n-eat.

Alas ! The meat and rice was so hard that I can't swallow. What an unlucky day.

More unlucky, I was sat in the lounge waiting for the experiment to end up in this afternoon. We were watching the news, and it said Tamiflu no longer is effective against some H1N1 case. So sad !

November 24, 2009

Halon Gas

Today, I went to the library - which is in memorial of a famous person here in Singapore - to code in quiet environment. I noticed the hazard warning sign that showcase the furniture that that famous person had used. It read something like "Halon Gas Protected". What was that I wondered.

Halon Gas is, wikipedia says, commonly used as second or third level fire suppressing agent in important facilities. As it can be harmful to human beings, it is advised as once the alarm sounds and the light starts to flash, everyone in that room need to vacate the room immediately and seal the door tight shut. Scary !

My lunch was Hor Fun. I wanted to have Mei Fun but my mouth just pronounced "Hor Fun". Anyway, it is a good dish.

November 23, 2009

Travis Barker Remix Hip-Hop

Travis Barker is the drummer of Blink-182. However, he's also into hip-hop. This is his remix of a popular hip-hop track. Enjoy.
My lunch today is canned Sardine from my roommate and fried cabbage with carrot by me. Umm, with rice of course.

November 22, 2009

Breakfast Was Shan Noodle

Today's breakfast was Shan noodle. I gave them my Shan noodle pack - thus they didn't have to buy for themselves. It was the kid's birthday (not an annual one).

The way they cooked Shan noodle is like how my mom did - except they also use dried soy bean in the curry. It tasted so good. I felt like I was back home.

Lunch was fried rice with Char Siew and mixed vegetables. If I didn't make fried rice, those rice leftover would be thrown away in vain. 

November 21, 2009

Char Siew Fried Rice

Today's lunch was Char Siew fried rice - supplemented by mixed vegetables. First, I fried Char Siew in sunflower oil. Then the vegetables and, at last, rice (from last night :P) mixed with salt. When it was nearly done, I poured some hint of black pepper. So so so yummy !

November 20, 2009

An Egg = Egg Egg, Funny

I was sitting in that famous Clementi prata house for my lunch. A Chinese guy - yes, a Chinese waiter in Indian food restaurant - came and took my order. I said, "Gimme an egg prata and a plain prata and black coffee." 

After a short while, he came back with a plate on which there were two egg pratas and a plain prata. How come ? When I complained, he didn't even talk with me patiently. He called his manager.

It turned out that he though "An Egg Prata" as "Egg Egg Prata". Is there any sane person that would say "Egg Egg Prata" when he wants two slices of egg prata ? May be he'd say "Egg Prata, Egg Prata" but not "Egg Egg Prata". The manager offered me to just eat and pay for what I have ordered. But I am no Suzaka ("Suzaka" is the name of the villain in one of the Buddhist literature scripts. He ate a lot and die of choke.) 

I asked them to pack the extra one and paid full. 

What a wield experience. 

November 19, 2009

PhD Conference

We had a PhD Conference today :P

This afternoon, I felt like working in Science or Science Library, I headed to Science clusters - where I used to work when I started my master here almost three years ago. Hence my lunch - Char Siew Rice with lots of vegetables - was at the Frontier.

When queuing for the fruit drinks, I saw D* - no, not that D* who is working with the robots, but that D* who is working on probability models, the French guy. We had our lunch together and talked a lot. We talked about our researches, about our supervisors, about one of the research students going round the world, meeting his supervisor only twice a year and finished his PhD within two years. Yes, since he's a French, our conversation also included about the girls.

Our lunch was, later, joined by another PhD students - freshly graduated from Cambridge I guess - one is local (Singaporean) and another is a Caucasian (I can't tell his ethnic group). Once he knew I am from that notorious country - Burma (you know, Nargis, the nobel prize winner etc) - he asked a lot (yes, a lot) of questions. What a curious guy. He is working in physics - a theoretical one. 

He told me that quantum theory - the maths involved in quantum theory - can be applied in Finance. They named it quantum finance and the researchers involved in those researches - despite pure mathematicians - earn a lot. 

I must make sure my research has something to do with business :P

We called it - as it is a talk among four PhD students - PhD conference.

November 18, 2009

Chili Fever

I would never forget today in my life - the chili fever is on !

I will explain. Today's lunch is rice with, well, smashed chili. Smashed chili is a famous Burmese dish with regional dialects - Innlay, Rakhine etc. 

I underestimate the smashed chili that the Auntie made and mixed it very well with my rice. Wow !!! It is 3 x hotter than I expected - I ended up adding salt, more rice and a huge amount of sugar into my plate.

Yes, it was super hot.

November 17, 2009

Jumbo Tank - What's That Mean ?

Today's lunch was Jumbo Tank - it contains an egg (fried I guess), two slices of garlic breads, some peas, some salami and, most important of all, a large cheese pork sausage. 

I don't know how the meal got its name. There is a dialect called Full tank featuring a smaller sausage.

I wondered if it is derived from the fact that it is army issued breakfast for those who operate the tanks. But if that's the case, there should be some meals called, "Jet", " Jeep or "Pounder". If all the soldiers got the same ration, then it should have called something like G.I or whatever.

However, it was a good meal

November 16, 2009

"Only After I've Got Married Do I ... ," Said He.

"Only after I've got married, do I eat omelet and fried garlic noodle," my new land-lord (the husband of my new land-lady) told me, when I offered him some of my lunch.

My lunch today was fried garlic noodle since it is easy to cook. This time, I follow the easier way - boiling the meat up with light soy sauce. I used minced meat, too to save time of cutting things up.

Yes, I was extra busy with my research.

November 15, 2009

Fried Kang Kong


How to Make Fried Kang Kong

Today's lunch is rice with fried Kang Kong and fried soy bean paste. It is vegetarian meal !!! Sometimes, it is good to be vegetarian - it would bring good complexion, good health etc.
Kang Kong is one of the cheapest dish in Burma. It is remarked, in contemporary literature, as main dish of the Poor. It has been a cheap food to go with alcohol too. There has been a song about fried Kang Kong. It went like : "When I become vegetarian temporarily (some Burmese Buddhists do that), when I have no money and when I consume alcohol, Kang Kong plain (fried Kang Kong without any meat) was a very good friend."
Now how to make fried Kang Kong. Please note that this Kang Kong is the Chinese dialect (not the way of cooking, but the species of the leave itself). Let's start with ingredients :
Oil - 3 - 5 table spoon
Kang Kong - a pack (in Burmese packs, 2-4 packs)
Garlic - a couple of clovers.
Salt - half a tea spoon
Oyster Sauce - half a tea spoon.
Wash your Kang Kong and cut 1.5 inches. Don't take those roots - throw them away. Peal the garlic clovers and chop them into tiny peices.

Now heat the oil for 2-5 minutes. When the oil is quite hot (not so hot), put the tiny pieces of garlic in the pan and stir for a while.

Then put your Kang Kong, put the salt in it too. Stir. Now it is turn for the oyster sauce. If you like oyster sauce, you can put up to a full table spoon. However, notice that it tastes so salty and it smells aweful. Put oyster sauce and stir for next 2 minutes sharp. Then it is ready.
Don't forget to place it in the pan for a while. In that way, the remaining heat of the pan would soften your Kang Kong.
Ok, may your Kang be Kong (Kang Kong - in direct translation - in Burmese - means good luck.)

November 14, 2009

Brilliant Lunch at Home

Just before heading to school, my roommate and the auntie at home invited me to lunch. Today's menu - Indian style vegetable soup containing potato, egg plants and drum-sticks and fried prawn/chili. I helped (a little) in preparing prawns.

As it has been a long time that I never have Indian style vegetable soup, it was super-delicious. The prawn and chili ratio is correct too - making it a perfect meal.

After that, I left for school.

November 13, 2009

Friday the Thirteenth

Today's Friday and today's the Thirteenth - Friday the Thirteenth.

Many people think it as unlucky, frightening or spooky. For me, nothing scare me :P

My lunch, today, was instant noodle at home. I was not going to school but worked at home.

November 12, 2009

Doctoral Seminar Was Scary

This morning, I attended a fellow research student's doctoral seminar. It is also called PhD thesis proposal. He is working in a field that is closely related with my research area. (Moreover, his supervisor was my GRP examiner.)

His work was quite good. Not so many professors (please read examiners) and some research students (two from multimedia lab and myself :P) attended his seminar. The question shot were scary - mainly to aim at making the candidate lose his ground. (That's why PhD defense is named that way :P) Since he doesn't have firm application area, that's his blow. I decided to have many mock thesis proposal and defense with my lab-mates.

I couldn't stay there until he's finished since I had an appointment with my supervisor. The lunch was a rush one - at Chinese cooked food stall. 

My lunch was fish in lemon sauce, lady finger and egg plant. Not so yummy.

November 11, 2009

Vegetables Are Healthy

Today, I have got big trouble in the morning duty (an idiom :P).

The remedy is vegetables - lots of vegetables. I had Yong Tau Fu with lots of vegetables - I added rice noodle too. 

For dessert, I took papaya :D

November 10, 2009

Jerk Fruit - Best as Soup

Today's lunch was rice with Jerk Fruit Soup.

Yes, I really mean it. Jerk Fruit (the one which is quite similar to Durian but the spikes are less dominant) can be made soup. It went very very x 1, 000, 000 well with fried dried fish (dried fish are boiled a little, pounded and fried).

Unfortunately, in Singapore, we don't have the dried fish nor time to prepare that one so I had Jerk Fruit soup with rice along with fried soy bean paste.

In fact, I don't have time for cooking these days. The Auntie at my new place made that soup for me. So yummy !!! Thanks !

November 09, 2009

Fried Rice with Both Tumeric and Soy Sauce

For me, fried rice means either Burmese fried rice or Chinese fried rice. Burmese version is with turmeric (and possibly onions). Chinese version is with soy sauce. I have never saw a version with both turmeric powder and soy sauce.

Today, my roommate made fried rice with both turmeric powder and soy sauce for breakfast. It also featured my mixed vegetables and fried egg. Since many were left at lunch time, I had fried rice and fried eggs as lunch. It was really tasty. Unbelievable !

November 08, 2009

Sweeten Chinese Choy Soup

Back in Rangoon, we used to eat sweeten Chinese Choy salad. First, chinese choy is processed (a little bit boiled, I think), then mixed together with Gula Malacca paste and some fried garlic (many Burmese and Shan dishes use fried garlic). The result is so yummy salad dish.

However, when I got to Singapore, I met many people making another version of that dish using pork ribs, guala malacca (or sugar) and Chinese Choy. The taste is similar but this version is soup.

Today's lunch is such soup (Sweeten Chinese Choy Soup) and rice. The auntie (my land lord's mother in law) made that for her family and I got a jackpot. So yummy !

November 07, 2009

Chilled Noodle Was So Spicy

Today, in an attempt to reduce cost, I had my lunch at home. My lunch was rice with fried soy been paste. I didn't have time to prepare other dishes as I needed to work in my lab.

However, my lunch - lack of vegetable and oil - make me hungry again at 1600 hour.

I ended up having chilled noodle from Si Chuan outlet. It was so spicy !

November 06, 2009

The Spoon Crisis

Today's lunch was rice with pig leg and vegetables from Beijing outlet. 

There are two (no, three) troublesome Chinese-Language-Only outlets in NUS. They are the clay-pot from the Deck, Si Chuan from the Deck and the Beijing outlet from the Terrace. 

To make the matter worse, Beijing outlet doesn't feature any fork and spoons yet use flat plate to serve rice (clay-pot outlet uses bowls for rice so that using chopsticks for rice is somewhat Ok. Si Chuan outlet, after I get this problem in one of the surveys that OSA or Estate office conducted, featured forks and spoon). 

I ended up using forks and spoons of their neighbor (and rival) outlets.

So far so good until today, when they caught me do this. I simply told them I couldn't use chopsticks (which is half-true as I can't use chopsticks to eat rice on a flat plate). They let me use the forks and spoons in the end.

NUS authority should have done something for this matter.

In the afternoon, I took a bus back school (from the bank) and the bus driver was saying "Good afternoon." to all those who was boarding. May be a customer service quality control officer was on board or he's a new guy.

I replied him, "Good afternoon." :P

November 05, 2009

Google Wave, Here I Come

Today's lunch was chicken rice. The way they chopped and sliced the chicken was remarkable. It was only a small piece of chicken but it could cover the whole rice bowl.

In the evening, an old friend from "Program Analysis" class, WT, invited me to use Google's latest collaboration tool, Google Wave.

I accepted the invitation but I was too busy to learn what it is. Here is a youtube video about it.

November 04, 2009

Frogs and Eel

Today's lunch is what remained of today's breakfast. Again, today's breakfast is a modification of what remained of yesterday dinner - fried rice. 

At first, I fried the egg. When the oil was at sufficient temperature, I crack and put the egg in it and stir hard. That gives me a whitish yellow egg fry. When doing the stir, I put the mixed vegetables. When they are half-done, rice (mixed well with light soy sauce and salt) is poured in.

My roommate offered me fried frog and eels. They were yummy too.

November 02, 2009

Pork Stomach or Pig Ear ?

In Burma, we eat all parts of the pig - ears, tongue, organs and even the eyes and the tail. In Singapore, I couldn't find any tongue or ears. I used to find something that looks like ears but whenever I asked, they say "Pig stomach".

I have never seen pig stomach before. So I don't know if it is true or not. What I know is they look the same and they taste the same. May be Singaporeans hate to eat ears so they lie (that's my conclusion)

Today's lunch is so-called rice with pig stomach with a vegetable (in Burmese, we call it "Juu Phuu"). 

New Home - Tons of Things to Work out

Good Morning West-Coast ! I greeted. I am now in West-Coast area (according to the post office, it is the same as Clementi). The good thing is it is within working distance to my lab. The bad thing ? Yeah, there was a lot of things to unpack.

Knowing I have nothing to eat in the morning, before she went back, my Onee Chan bought me a pack of bread containing four loafs. The breads are spread with some meat floss (chicken I guess) and sugar coated. Those breads became my breakfast and lunch.

I realized I shouldn't buy many things - like shoes, furniture and cloths etc. I packed up half of my cloths (both new and PJs) into my luggage. Yet, I still have lots of cloths to iron (and wear). I decided I won't buy new cloths until someone gives me a coin - mistaking me as a begger. :P

Around 1630 hour, after shopping for grocery, I located the roasted pork resturant - where various parts of pig is available. I regarded it as my linner (lunch + dinner)

November 01, 2009

Unstable at New Place

I am still unstable at my new place. Lots of things - including cloths to iron - to do.

Today's lunch is rice with fried soy paste and vegetable. Mixed vegetable packs are economy and easy choice. Just unpack them (no need to de-froze) and fry or steam or microwave them. It's ready to serve. Today's vegetable was fried with light soy sauce and some salt in garlic seasoned oil. 

October 31, 2009

The D-Day

Today is D-Day. Almost all perishable food that is consumed. My Onee Chan came to my rescue by bringing home-cooked lunch box. It was filled with rice, char siew and fried small fish (my favorite). I also asked her to buy some Hokkien Mee at the stall down there so that we can have it together with rice.

It was really enjoyable lunch although the items are simple. 

In the afternoon, it was so tiresome. We sweat a lot :P

October 30, 2009

The Best Bag

I am moving home - tomorrow. Tomorrow is D-Day ! :P

The first thing I'd do in moving home is eating everything I have (as much as I can). The best bag in moving home is the bag my mom gave - my stomach. I put every food I have in my cache into that bag. When it is time to move, the bag is not so heavy to carry after all.

I have a piece of cauliflower. I fried it and had it as lunch, together with Chili/Beef fries. It was a dull but enjoyable lunch.

October 29, 2009

Britain's Britain

Everybody would notice that British are a little ... so exaggerated. Yes. Since I am moving home this Saturday, I was trying to get some advices from the net. There I found this : Moving Checklist

They have, in Britain, Insurance for your items during your operation: moving home, professional cleaners to clean your new places, pre-operation briefing on the mover team on which item goes where using color-coded boxes etc.

So ... something !

Today's lunch was rice with prawns in egg fries plus lady finger. The prawns were so yummy. 

October 28, 2009

Chicken Rice, again !!!

Today's chicken rice - again - with fried cabbage. I don't like Chicken Rice that much. But why ? The canteen was so crowded.

It was 1400 hours, I was hungry to the point where I was starting to get angry. Middle Eastern stall has a wonderful queue - they never had that long queue. Pasta guy, too, has his usual long long queue. Chinese stalls are also with longest queue in their life.

The only answer left - Chicken rice.

In fact, I had some problem going to the toilet this morning. Chicken rice alone would :P kill me. That's why there was fried cabbage.

October 27, 2009

Onee Taking Entrance Test

Today's lunch was rice with fried cauliflower and cooked bean curd from Beijing outlet. When I nearly finished my lunch, I'd got an incoming call from my Onee Chan. She's coming here for her Master Entrance test.

She asked me to help with her preparation - yet, most of the works I had done is calming her down. It was a very bad habit of her that she used to panic most of the critical time. She needs to drop this bad habit in order to advance in her life.

It turned out that she passed the entrance test. She's going to have an interview coming Wednesday.

October 25, 2009

Pau before Lunch with Onee

Today, my Onee E* visited my home to get prepared for her master entrance test - it is just an in-house GRE combined with some IT knowledge. Since she's already well-rounded IT professional, she may not have any difficulty passing the entrance test - the only problem : she ought to worry so much.

She brought one of my favorite foods : Pau. I have them before lunch (like my dad, I also like Pau, Prata and Fried Noodle). She also brought fried small fish and fried sour leaves (Kim Poon Chin). It was a yummy lunch. I felt a little bit sorry for I didn't prepare any food for her. :P

Fried small fish is one of my favorites. When I was young, I was thin and not so healthy. To have enough protein (since I didn't consume rice as much as half of I am now), my mom used to made fried chicken and fired small fish as my snacks. I miss my mom whenever I see/consume fried chicken, fired small fish, sweet potato (which I don't like) and Milo. 

I love you mom !!! (and Aun' Mee of course)

October 24, 2009

My Aunt Was Robbed in the Lift

Last night, I heard a terrible news - my aunt was robbed in the lift at her apartment. It was fortunate that she was not harmed, the robber only took her hand phone. She reported to the police. Hearing that I was shocked so much. Combined with other social problems (no, no, not about girlfriends) make me stressed out and couldn't sleep last night.

I am supposed to go to school to collect the data today. Instead, I didn't. My lunch was rice with fish curry (left from the other day) and fried beaf and chili. It was a good meal.

I need to move now. I have an appointment with my friends - my former roommate and his sisters - in the city, after which I have to fetch my Onee at air-port. Bye

October 23, 2009

Waiting Coraline

The movie I waited long "Coraline" - based on a famous children fairy tales - would be out soon. 

I am waiting for it - to watch it in 3D.

Today's lunch is rice with pig organ and vegetables (Juu Phuu). I first thought it was chicken curry but turned out that they are pig intestines etc. I should have asked them what it is (since I never eat pig intestine etc) but they don't understand English if I asked them in English and I won't understand their answer if I asked them in Chinese. However, it really is tasty. They put some peanut in it to create a unique taste.

Curving Tree No Longer Curve

Today's lunch was rice with pig leg and cauliflower - from Beijing outlet. It has been a long time since I had my last pig leg meal. It was so wonderful.

On my way to the library, I noticed that the tree that was featured in Curve no longer bend over. It is properly propped and straight now.

October 22, 2009

R* Secured a Job

Good news folks, R* got a job. He rang me the good news and asked me some help. I met him at Peninsular Plaza and gave him the help he wanted. We settled at Loi Nai for our lunch.

My lunch is Shan rice noodle with tofu paste spread over. I ordered the vegetarian version since I don't like meat in my warm tofu paste. That food is a very unique food. Although Japanese, Chinese and some Thai also consume tofu, I never saw an equivalent of warm tofu paste on noodle. I like it very much. Our dessert is coconut jelly.

I also got a hair-cut today as he insisted I needed one. It was cheap - just $10.00 for cut, wash and treatment - probably because the stylist was a friend of R*. But I don't appreciate the resulting style - a little crude.

October 21, 2009

Clearing the Fridge

Today, I met with my supervisor again. He wanted to know which scenarios the other algorithm is not working. He commanded me to make that algorithm work by introducing some changes. Eek ! More works.

Today's lunch was from Beijing outlet, rice with pork intestine and vegetables. That Beijing outlet has a good cook - at least the food tastes good for me. I hope they (Beijing and Si Chuan outlets' workers) speak more English well. Right now, the situation is Point-N-Eat dining. :P

I am moving out end of this month to my new place. To make the moving out process easy, I am clearing my food as much as I can. I came back home early today (partly because I felt so sleepy) and cooked fish in Indian style using some tamarind. The dinner was yummy !

Regret for My Lunch

Just before I left for school, I checked the bus arrival time using my phone. The bus will be at the bus-stop next 3 minutes and, since it takes around 6-8 minutes to walk to bus-stop from my home, I decided to have my lunch at the food-court at the ground floor of my apartment first. That was a gross decision, which I regret.

I had rice with vegetable curry (vegetables in curry paste like you would cook chicken etc), tofu and fried vegetables. vegetable curry is very funny and taste awful. Tofu is not bad but they put dried fish in fried vegetables. I hate dried seafood. I decided never to have meal at that stall.

October 19, 2009

Short-sighted People Became Fighter Pilots

The heat is still intense. But wait ! why am I waiting for the heat to be less intense in Singapore ? I lost my appetite - partly due to the heat, partly due to the stress and partly due to repeating food. My lunch, therefore, is at somewhere with air-con, some non-boring - and, yes - it means Burger King.

Last night, I had a very strange dream. The WWII is still on. And Shwe Paw - one of my close friends who can't see anything unless he wears his spectacles - and me were fighter pilots. Aha, so strange ! Normally, to be a pilot, one must have a very good eye-sights. Yet, we were fighter pilots, in my dream. But it was a wonderful experience.

I spent my afternoon at the library maintaining my codes. 

October 18, 2009

Belated Happy Birthday Friend

One of my dearest friends' birthday was on October 16th. I only remembered today. I sent a belated birthday wish using G-talk off line message. He was one of the five of us who have the same word (meaning "Victory" or "Victorious" in Burmese) in our names. We were attending same mathematics tuition in our university days. Happy Birthday M* M* !!!

Today's Sunday, therefore, before I set off to school, I had KFC fried chicken (2 pieces) with coleslaw and root beer as my lunch. I've got some KFC discount coupon (through postage) thus, enjoying the discount. Root beer is a non-alcoholic beverage - which tastes a little bit bitter due to some Caffeine elements just like coffee - similar to ginger beer. At first, I don't like it but later on, its taste is, to me, becomes coffee and chocolate and I started to like it.

If you haven't tried root beer before, you really should try it. It's very famous in the States (at least the sellers claim).

Deepavali Day

Today's Deepavali (Diwali) day - a holiday. I woke up quite late. I didn't know it was Deepavali until I got to school - I went there to return a book. Getting off at the bus stop, I noticed that the area was clear. Then I noticed that the canteen was close. I remembered, "Opps, Deepavali!".

That means no lunch for me at school ! I was quite relieved there was Subway. However, even at Subway, there was no bread left. I had to eat the wrap (a food that is similar to Indian Charpati). However, it is good.

This evening, I joined my aunt and uncle at their birthday party at a cool Chinese restaurant. Since they reserved the seat using my aunt's name, which starts with Yu (in Burmese, it sounds something like shorten "You"). "Yu" however, sounds "Ywee" in Pin Yin. There was an awkward moment.

Opps, what am I writing about ? This is a lunch blog, not dinner blog. I must stop. Bye !

October 16, 2009

"WE Are Stuck", He Said

Today would be one of the most memorable days in my life. My supervisor replied me that I could see him in the afternoon. After explaining all the mixed results I had got last night, he remarked, "WE are stuck." (note it is not "YOU are stuck") How nice ?  No doubt he's a successful professor here. He is very good in motivation.

In the course of discussion, probably to cheer me up, he told me that there is some kind of dataset - and application - in existence that my algorithm - with some modification - would fit in. I was thinking my current problem as a sort of dead-end. It's clearly not. Although I can't describe the detailed nature of that dataset here, I could say, it is a large spatial-temporal dataset related to genetic/bio research. 

Cheered up, I went on to canteen to enjoy my vegetarian lunch from Beijing outlet. Today's rice was rice with cauliflower and sliced and dried bean curd. It was really tasty. 

In the afternoon, I figured out that the complex algorithm that existed to solve a dialect of my problem is giving incomplete result in at least two special - yet practical - conditions. I promptly sent an e-mail to my professor. 

Now, aja aja fighting !!! (a quote from Korean dramas).


Eeee ! I don't even have enough strength to blog. But a tiny voice in my head kept saying "Law Shay, duty is duty. Plus, blogging would relieve your suffering." Therefore, I am writing this. Is it something they call a depression ?

I stayed late last night. To counter my dizziness, I decided to take the soup-based meal again. In the canteen - which is quite close to school's clinic - I found "Wine Chicken Noodle". It contains some vegetables - probably cabbage, chicken soaked in wine and noodle in a clear delicious but smelly soup. In some restaurants, I found it is named "Drunken Chicken Noodle" or alike and charged much. However, school canteen is just school canteen and it was just $2.00.

Umm ? The wine ? No, not that expensive wine. It was cooking wine just $3.00 a bottle. :P

It may be due to prolonged sleeplessness - I prone to fall sick if I am sleepless - the stress built-up. This evening, the experiments gave me mixed results. My new work is a hybrid of a simple one and a complex one and, like many hybrid works, its performance is in the middle to those two. Now, I am very afraid - not afraid about being scolded (my supervisor would never do that) but about having wasted nearly a year working on this good-for-nothing algorithm.

I wanna cry but tears won't come out. I noticed that I have some stress fatigue as well as some depression. It was a good thing that I noticed - rather than going unnoticed. I rang two of my Onee Chans to talk out. Luckily, R* - remember who's some problem with the loan sharks - rang me too. I spoke out and felt a little relieve. I decided to keep talking out - hence writing this post. 

After this, I'd e-mail my findings (the mixed results) to my supervisor and go to bed. I am quite ok now. (Sorry, my reader, for unloading my stress onto you)

October 14, 2009

What a Heavy Rain

Today's lunch was Hokkien Mee downstairs. I really like to eat it these days. I feel like, this is some hawkers' food (Indeed, it is). In Burma, Rangoon, near 30th St Clinic, we have a big restaurant selling a very similar food. That noodle is named "Flying noodle" as the (original) chef used to throw the noodle into the air and catch it back (today, the chefs no longer do that). It was quite famous.

It rained so heavy that I decided not to go to school - hence the noodle from the food stall nearby. I gave notice to my land-lady. It has been quite a while that I lived alone here - my roommate moved out two weeks ago after being given notice a month in advance. I was helping her find new roommates but the affords was in vain (probably due to her price was a little bit high). 

I felt like staying here would only hinder new guys coming in as they may feel unpleasant to stay with a total stranger. Moreover, some - couples, friends, the Rich etc - may want the whole room. My land lady seemed to know that although she didn't say anything. I felt I should make the initiative and made the first move. The problem : I also need to look for a new place.

Talking about my experiments, I found that an internal parameters has given the pruning power more powerful than complex algorithm can give. As, in reality, that parameter choice would not be that lucky, therefore, my problems are half-solved. 

October 13, 2009

Coding Done - Running Experiments

Today's a long day. I had two visitors at school. 

The first one is my new - sworn - younger sister. She's really like a child - yet she's just 3 years younger than me. She asked me if it is possible to visit me during my work-hour. I don't want to resist this poor kid. However, I can't help but ask her sit (and read some magazines) at the lobby while I was sweating in my lab. She obeyed ! How cute !

I bought her some special rice from middle-eastern outlet. It is so similar to so-called "butter-rice" from Burma (but the Burmese version has dried grapes, many nuts etc). It went very well with vegetable salad and chicken curry. So yummy - except you feel a little bit sleepy after consuming it. After another hour of sitting in the lobby, she started to complain about being so bored and she went back home.

Another guest was R* (it is not his real name in his passport). He's a genuine friend of mine - and a good friend of my brother. It has been like at least 20 months since I had met him last time. He's now in big trouble - with losing jobs again and again consecutively in last year. He's also dealt with some loan sharks - Singapore loan sharks are terrible people if you owe them money. He has to hide at his friend's place for the sake of his life - here, I had to censor his story a little bit as well as conceal his hiding place etc.

I felt bad for him yet I am just a student who's always struggling to meet ends. Good luck my friend.

Finally, the new episode of coding - re-write - has eventually done. Now, it is time to see when - under which circumstances - the performance of my proposed algorithm is better than previously developed two.

I am also wishing my program good luck !

October 12, 2009

A New Episode of Coding

I woke up early today - probably due to stress - and got to school early. My lunch is from Beijing outlet - rice with cauliflower, pork salad and the vegetables I can't name in English (it is called "Juu Phuu" in Burmese). It was delicious but oily - I think - for I didn't feel hungry until late at night.

Today, I did a lot of coding - re-write actually - to cater a special but realistic condition. It is not finished yet. I am afraid my supervisor would mad at me for taking so long. Anyway, I'd try my best. 

Not Finish Yet

My experiments showed very very bad results. I hate to go to school in weekends but I must. Staying late at school is also costly. I thought sleeping in the lounge would save the taxi fares back home (after midnight, taxis fares is 150% eeek ! ).

Since I stayed very late at school, I woke up quite late. I know there would be only Mc Donald's, so I bought a pack of Hokkien Mee from the food court near my apartment. It was good but I need more jobs to be done.

In the afternoon, the procrastination was so strong that I couldn't resist it. I surfed to Mystery Zillion and saw a quiz asking to find a 9-digit number whose leftmore n digit must divisible by n (i.e. the number itself is divisible by 9; if you remove the unit digit, it must be divisible by 8; if you remove the unit digit again, it must be divisible by 7 and so on.) It inspired me so much that, instead of doing my own coding, I was writing codes to figure that number out.

I've got the answer (381 654 729) and I wrote about it in my Burmese blog. The results, my things aren't done yet. :(

October 11, 2009

More Experiments Needed

Today's (Yesterday's) lunch was Hor Fun at school. There ain't not much to choose from. This or that ! That's why I hate to go to school in weekends.

My algorithm seemingly outperform the nearest competitor in certain condition (I am going vague here because one of my friends and my senior warn me not to write too much about my research, here). In other words, I need to do coding again ! I need to alter the programs in order to cope with that "certain condition". Now, I hate C/C++ (but I'll love her again, for sure.)

Wish me good luck pals.

October 09, 2009

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Today's lunch was instant noodle with sausage and egg. In fact, I planned to cook fish (see my post on how to cook Burmese Fish Curry). However, I became very hungry while cooking thus, I decided to have instant noodle instead for lunch.

Sitting in front of the TV, I saw Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Wow ! He's history. I also saw Burmese opposition leader - also a Nobel Peace Prize winner - Aung San Suu Kyi talking with an American (a re-broadcast of our state TV - MRTV). Wow (yes, again) ! What's happening in the world ? 

If Burma can prosper, I am glad. 

October 08, 2009

Cheese Burger from MOS

Today's lunch was late - because my breakfast was also late - at 1630 hour. I had cheese burger from MOS. MOS is probably a Japanese franchise (I haven't checked yet). Its taste is better than burger king. I can't think of why people invent a fried burger - a burger with fried meat in it. It tastes funny and bad compared to well grilled burgers.

After lunch, I headed to school. Graduate Student Society (GSS) conducts a series of social nights where a dance instructor comes to campus to teach us how to dance (at a rate of $5.00 per hour). With around 30 students, he could earn a lot, oh my ! Whatever, we learned tango today.

Basic Tango is not so hard (compared to Hip-Hop dance flavors) in my opinion. The main problem is tango is a fairly fast musics - with average BPM being around 120 - 140 where the fastest hip-hops run along 80 - 90 rate. Therefore, although not so difficult, the speed dictates precise practices. 

Tango dance is composed of 2 bars units (1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4). Every 4 is a pause. I think that pause is probably to synchronize between the dancers (the couple). Forgive me if I am wrong but as a computer scientist, I always think like one. :P

October 07, 2009

A Heated but a Successful Discussion

Today's the birthday of one of my best friends - TTN. I rang his home - since I don't know his hand phone number. His sister told me he's out of town - going to a special training. She gave me his number and asked me to ring after 2030 Burmese standard time. But not sure I can stay away around that time.

Last night, I was struggling with my experiments in the lab till 0330. I sent an e-mail complaining all the problems I encountered (in fact, the programs encountered) to my supervisor. This morning, I woke up at around 1030. My eyes are red. My head felt like it is bigger. My supervisor asked me, after some more e-mails sent back and forth, to meet him around 1330. The meeting was, unexpectedly, heated up and lengthy. But it was successful I think.

When I finally touch my lunch, it was 1500. I had Mei Fun today.

October 06, 2009

Yong Tau Fu

Yong Tau Fu is in fact a Chinese dish. It is more about a special bean curd. In special occasions like preparing dinner for special guests, the bean curd is often accompanied by meat balls, fries etc. However, in Singapore, the bean curd is long gone and Yong Tau Fu means boiling all the meat balls, fast food, sausages etc together with noodle of your choice.

I had Yong Tau Fu (with flat rice noodle) from the nearest canteen to my lab. Still busy with my codes.

October 05, 2009

Brunch at 1130

Yesterday, the problem took longer than I expected to solve. I got back home by taxi very very late last night (or should I say very very early this morning.) I got up at around 1000 and my lunch is fused with my breakfast - becoming brunch.

My brunch was rice with fried chicken and some vegetables. After that, I headed down to my lab.

October 04, 2009

In the Lab in Sunday Evening

I was at my father's friends place and, again, Mont Hin Gar ! Today's Mont Hin Gar was a little bit more salty and Aunt Y* told me the maid has put too much fish sauce. Since yesterday was Thadingyut festival, I pay homage to those couple offering them some food and health-care accessories. Though the offerings are not so expensive, the essence is not forgetting to tribute the Elders. 

When I left their place at around 1315, uncle asked me if I am going to school on Sunday. Yes, sadly, I was now in school. I found out that my new algorithm needs more fixes. I thought I'd get back home late tonight.

October 03, 2009

Real Italian Food

Many of my meals at school is, well, Pasta with this and Pasta with that. But today, I had really Italian food - Beef Lazania at PastaMania. 

It has been quite a long gap since I met my little sister. Today, I need to kill some times before I visit my aunt - for Tadingyut celebrations. She asked me if I wanted a lunch together and I was at Bugis, having Italian food with her.

After lunch, I bought a new brown belt. I have a two-colored switchable belt but it is not a good idea, while dressing up every morning, to do the plier  job. Thus, I bought a new two-colored belt set to brown. (Mine is set to black.)

My aunt had a super busy schedule and I didn't see her today. 

Those cheese-rich meal made me sleepy all day and made me postpone my dinner until quite late.

October 02, 2009

Hor Fun and Mei Fun

Hor Fun and Mei Fun are Singapore food. In Burma, there is no Hor Fun equivalence but there is Mei Fun equivalence. Mei Fun, in Burmese, is called "Hta Min Paung" (Steamed Rice). If you go to a Burmese Chinese restaurant, ask thoroughly before you order the dish named Steamed Rice as it can be a plain rice or rice prepared as Mei Fun.

"Fun" in those dish names, in Chinese, means "Meal". Hor Fun is a meal prepared from thick rice noodle with either beef or seafood and vegetables. Soy sauce is a must as well as some thick glue-like paste will be spread in excess manner. It is one of my favorites in Singapore. Mei Fun is in the same fashion but it has rice in the place of rice noodle. It is also my favorite too. 

Today's lunch is seafood Hor Fun. I found that the closer competitor for my algorithm was performing worse than mine - Bingo ! Now only those tasks such as running more with larger inputs, drawing some graphs and technical write-up left. Hopefully, my supervisor would like it and I can submit a paper to a conference.

Wish me luck !

October 01, 2009

Thrill Ride @ Experiment Park

Today's is full of thrill ! My new algorithm implementation is almost bug-free (except for a careless mistake - a condition check - and an endless loop - which I caught when I notice the program hasn't stopped). After a short debugging I had my lunch.

My lunch was Indian food today, rice with lady finger, eggplants and peas. It is expensive compared to Chinese food but yummy but - there is a fault - too spicy (too much pepper). 

Arriving back from lunch, I run my code on some data generated several months ago and found it to be superior than my implementations of existing works. Shortly after the experiments finished did I receive an e-mail from my supervisor asking to meet him. It has been nearly a month since I last met him on 3rd of September - although we have e-mail conversations. I told him the new algorithm is working and superior than existing works.

Now, it is time to ensure how superior it is over current works. I have to re-implement those two existing schemes with my newest indexing scheme (for those who are not computer science literates, in any database application, there are several parts including query algorithm, indexing scheme and many others. To prove a given algorithm is superior, it is only fair if they are given the same environment - same or better indexing schemes).

Tomorrow is the eve of Burmese Lantern Festival. I need to visit my seniors and my relatives tomorrow and on Saturday. I must finish re-implementation tomorrow morning and present some graph to my supervisor. Right now, I am so tired, going to bed.

September 30, 2009

Point N Awkward Dining

Point N Eat Meals

Today, I saw a European girl in big trouble at my favorite Si Chuan - Point N Eat Outlet. :D She wanted to know which meal is not spicy (many Europeans cannot take very hot and spicy food). The operator's response is just smiling. How awkward ! Finally, she just made her decisions based on the pictures. Opps !

Today's lunch was Pork Belly Rice. It is yummy but there was too much oil in it. In Singapore, everything is extreme ! No middle, normal way. Foods are either half-a-drop-of-oil-contained or too much oily. Foods are either no-salt-so-sorry or too salty (like preserved vegetables). I just want some middle way, please.

September 29, 2009

A Trick Question

Today's lunch is Chinese meal - beaf and potato, curry vegetables and bean sprout. The heat is still on (yes, in Singapore, everyday is hot) and I have much stress for my experiments. It damage my appetite. 

I saw a trick question (trick in language) in one of the Burmese forums. It goes as follow :

Two groups of birds met. One of them asked how many members the other group have. The answer is "All of us together, half of us and a quarter of us plus you is 100." 

When trying to solve this problem using ordinary mathematics, it gives a non-integer answer - which is impossible as in bird-count. The trick is "All of us together". That "All of us together" means "us + you". The answer, I guess, is 56. 

September 28, 2009

Nothing to Eat in Singapore

Today's lunch is Chicken Rice. It tasted awful. 

Now I found myself with nothing to eat in Singapore. All Chicken Rice taste the same; Nasi Lemak makes me sleepy; items from all economical rice taste similar; European food makes me fat; Prata - and Indian food - is banned by Onee Chan as they would make me fat. What the hell should I eat ?

The root of the problem is oil-phobia that Singapore Chinese girls have. That prompt the food outlet to use less and less oil - to the point where all dishes have "I put some oil, I swear" amount of oil. The use of salt is also sparse because they want their dishes - one size fit all. Those who want salty food can take the fish paste. For me, fish paste is a bad choice so ... I AM EATING NO SALT FOR DAYS !!!

Riot Police Are Riot Police

Today's (yesterday's) lunch is Malay noodle (Burmese version) at my aunt's place. It is good - for it is cater to our taste bud in contrast to authentic Malay's. :P The whole afternoon afterwards is coding and coding. Nothing interesting, let's pass this part.

Take a look at it :

It is in America - the United States of America ! There was a G20 summit around September 25th and there was demonstration. The D.A (I think he/she is the one who's responsible in such cases) decided to use force (read riot police). The riot police was trying to crack down the mass. You know, riot polices worldwide are similar. They don't make decision and it is unwise to reason with them, argue with them or try to win a favor from them (by doing whatever you want).

My advice (actually my dad's) is when you see some trace of riot police, leave that area immediately. They don't make decision. Thus, never ever try to talk with them. If you must do/talk something, D.A or the Judge in charge (it varies from country to country) is the one you want to talk. 

In short, riot police are always deaf - no matter what you do (even if you pay them homage as if they are your religious symbol).

September 27, 2009

Visual Studio 2008 Sucks !

Today's (sorry) Yesterday's lunch was Hokkien Mee at 1630 hour. So late. It is all because of that damn Visual Studio 2008. 

I installed VS2008 - as my Mr. Microsoft-Attorney roommate told me its Intellisense is way much improved - into my Vista powered laptop only to find I can neither debug my applications nor the Project Properties came up. I had to remove it and re-install my good old VS 2005 which took my whole afternoon. (I also had to patch VS 2005 for Vista, geez)

That's why my lunch was at 1630 hour. 

I learn that $3.00 Hokkien Mee is with chicken while $4.00 Hokkien Mee is with seafood. I thought the noodle amount is different but it turns out to be false (yet, the shape of the plate is different - round for $3.00 and oval for $4.00). Since I can get food-poisoning when I consumed seafood, $3.00 Hokkien Mee is both economical and healthier choice for me. Yummy !

September 25, 2009

My Father's Favorite

Lunch, today, is Roasted Pork rice + some vegetable I don't know how to call in English (in Burmese, it is called Ju Phuu). In Rangoon, it is hard to purchase fresh and green Ju Phuu and only when someone visited us from Taunggyi could we have Ju Phuu. Right here, in Singapore you can have Ju Phuu 24 hours provided that you have money. That's why they call her "First World".

Roasted Pork is essentially fried pork - all pieces are with skin, fat and meat. In Rangoon, we call it "A Khout Kin" (BBQ pork skin) - one of my father's favorite. Wait, my grandpa also likes it, I heard. We all like it.

I miss the time when TTN (the Bear), TAA (the Monkey) and me went to Bo Ta Htaung and had all "A Khout Kin" and steamed rice (plus many other pork related dishes) near the Bear's home. It was like - 8 years or more. SKB, I love you all !

September 24, 2009

Nasi Lemak - Long Time No See

Today's lunch was Nasi Lemak - rice prepared with coconut juice. Burmese also have a similar meal, which we call "Coconut Rice". However, Nasi Lemak - the Malaysian version - is less sleepy than Burmese version obviously because Malays uses coconut milk (sometimes green coconut milk) sparingly while Burmese uses coconut milk in excess with all kinds of Indian spices you can name.

It has been a long time since I had my last dose of Nasi Lemak, may be more than a year ago. After that, I avoided it because I was too busy to be sleepy. Nasi Lemak brought me some memory. It was the first meal I bought in Singapore (but second meal I had in Singapore with some Muslin noodle my Sensai bought in the evening of 10th December 2006 being my first meal). It was also my first breakfast in Singapore. It was S$2.00, I recalled.

Today's Nasi Lemak is S$2.50 - a sign of rising living expense in Singapore. It taste not so good as the coconut milk is thicker than I had expected. Now, I am officially sleepy.

September 23, 2009

Winter Officially Begin

Today's September 23 - that means the Sun's path is slightly to the South from the Equator. In other words, Winter for Northern hemisphere begin !

However, the heat is still intense in Singapore. Lunch was in air-conditioned room - yes, the Burger King. 

September 22, 2009

Sleepy Day

I stayed late last night - first trying to translate an English Sci-Fi, then moved on to face-book and finally, staying awake for no reason in bed. I felt sleepy the whole day. My lunch was the leftover of rice and pork rib soup yesterday. Nothing special today.

September 21, 2009

Young Man Soup - Again !

My land lady was joking me for my easy recipe - the young man's version of pork rib soup. I couldn't help but laughed as I am super busy with my convoy problem. I even name the project title "Final Convoy". (However, if my algorithm to be famous, I'd accept the same fate "Final Fantasy" met. :P) Therefore, today's lunch was young man's Yong Tau Foo - thanks for naming it my land lady - with rice along with some fried dry fish!

September 20, 2009

Burmese Rice Mixture

Today's lunch is at my aunt's (read "my father's friends couple's") place. They prepared Burmese style rice mixture - with heavy dry prawn flavor. However, I used to have Shan rice mixture - with more soy bean paste. Here, I'll describe a sketch of Burmese rice mixture (I am not so free these days so detailed account of how-to with photos will be in the future.)

First, place rice enough for one person in a bowl. Place some boiled potato (meshed potato is better) into the bowl and mesh it. Put some fried onion along with some oil (a spoon or two) too. (Put half spoon of fish sauce and dry prawns if you like salty taste or put soy bean paste if you like the taste). Boil tomatoes and mix tamarind paste with hot water too. Put the hot water from tamarind paste and boiled tomatoes into your rice bowl. Don't forget the salt and mix well.

Spread some parsley, done !

September 19, 2009

Hinduism = Buddhist ? Oh, No

Today's lunch is pork-rib noodle - a young man's style :P. In Burma, there is a chicken dish named "Young Man's Chicken". It is named that way because it is cooked as if the cook is a group of young men who don't know how to cook but steal each piece of the dish - oil, garlic, squash, chicken etc - and boil them together in order to eat while drinking (alcohol). My pork-rib is also young man's style - just boiled pork rib, fish ball, carrot, cauliflower and noodle all together (with salt and black pepper). It is so delicious.

Having my lunch, I chatted with my senior - I asked her when would the Hindi holiday would be. It turned out to be Muslin's holiday and tomorrow. She claimed I should know it is not Hindi as I am a Hindi. When I protested her by saying I am a Buddhist, she told me Buddhists and Hindi are the same. Her reasoning is - in Database term - classification-based one.

She hashed (if you are not so much into computer science, it means pair) Christian to church, Muslins to mosque and both Buddhism and Hinduism to temple (what about monastery and pagoda :P). Paying homage to various images with candle, flower and other offerings, talking about cycle of rebirth etc and being (sometimes) vegetarians are characteristics of both Hinduism and Buddhism so many people confused them frequently.

The main difference between Hindi and Buddhism is the existence of soul and not. Hindi believe a soul is moving from one body to another until it is cleansed and re-unite with The Soul. However, in Buddhism, there is no such thing as soul. It is only cause and effect and there is no single soul moving around. Whatever you do - good or bad - is Karma and that Karma create new body and events etc (This explanation is an over-simplification one).

In short, Buddhism and Hinduism are totally different.

September 18, 2009

LTNS Subway

It has been a couple of months that I was away from Subway - the last one being my little sister's strange appetite for one before this very blog. Ok, I had Oregano with Italian B.M.T. The main essence of all sandwich (and Burgers) is the cheese, vegetables and its sauce. My favorite was honey mustard. Today's lunch was uneventful except it is two parted - the second part being eaten at the bank (Onee Chan E* and I opened a disciplined saving account in order to donate money for monastery lease renewal; we'd donate a square feet a month if everything go as planned).

September 17, 2009

Idea on Burmese Chicken Rice

Today's lunch is Lemon Chicken Rice with salted egg. There are a lot flavors of Chicken Rice here in Singapore, Roasted Chicken Rice (which seemed to be the original), Steamed Chicken Rice (the healthy version I guess) and Lemon Chicken Rice. In Malacca, I have found Chicken Rice Ball - which replace the rice part of Chicken Rice with processed rice ball - finer than Shan Rice Ball. Lemon Chicken Rice is in fact, Fried Chicken - just like KFC - spread with Lemon Juice. It is yummy given the hot weather here.

Having my lunch, I was thinking if I can make Burmese Fried Chicken and rice mixed with oil used for it - it is so delicious and healthy choice (especially for those weak recovering patients) - a signature dish. Normal chicken rice makes the rice sticky with the fat from the chicken and hence, is hard to digest. In Burmese version, the chicken would be fried until it is dry so the fat will not be in the Chicken. Instead, the fat will get into the oil. However, the resulting oil that we used to mix with the rice won't be as thick (we will use healthy vegetable oil). Bingo !

It is possible to make a signature dish I think, how do you think ? Huh ? 

September 16, 2009

So Hot in Singapore.

Take a look at this. On September 22, it will be the half-way of the Sun's journey to northern to southern hemisphere. Guess what ? We are, in Singapore, which is a little bit north of Equator, damn hot here like hell ! I lost some appetite. 

Today's lunch is rice, black pepper chicken with mushroom, fried cabbage and some vegetables. The taste is not as good as usual. May be it is because of the bad weather.

Update : it rained in the evening. What a relief !

September 15, 2009

Escaped Sequence in URL

Today's lunch is Whopper Jr. with French fries and Coke. Since the time I left home is a quarter to 12, I needed to re-route my bus route in order to avoid a long wait - after I missed a bus full of passengers. Arriving school, the canteen was full-house and the weather was damn hot. I chose Burger King as it is less crowded - more expensive - and with air conditioning.

Half-way into my Whopper, my Onee Chan rang me asking how to encode '&' in url string. I asked her to google with keywords "escape character in url". After a while she replied she got around the problem by using '%' followed by the ASCII code. I just noted that.

Update : The next day, I googled myself and found that URL encoder function in java libraries can be used for this purposes as URL are not always encoded in ASCII, UTF-8 or any coding standard. For different locales, URL encoder functions work persistently.

September 14, 2009

Hamsters Bred

Today's lunch was rice with pork, fried cabbage with small fish - I don't like - and pumpkin. Having my lunch, I miss home. Aunt Mee (my aunt's name is not noodle, it sound like the word "me") can cook golden pumpkin with pork rib very well. Her recipe is one in the world and I am not bragging about it. Apart from the fact that she added some sugar, even I don't know the recipe.

After lunch, my land lady told me - showed me - her hamsters bred. Those hamsters were so cute - and so something. When browsing the net for advice, I found that those hamsters must not be disturbed or the mother would neglect the newly bred kids. If you touch them, the mother would sense the human scant and eat them in order to protect herself - a wild instinct. It is the same if she is disturbed too.

So cute, they are.

September 13, 2009

Clubbing Experiences

Today, I dropped my breakfast (I had my breakfast before I went to bed at 0430 in the morning). Why ? I were at the club. 

Singapore is a wonderful country if you are talking about nightlife and food. The red-light industry is cleanly distinguished from the entertainment industry, i.e. clubs, as they were located very far away from each other. In short, clubbing in Singapore is both safe and fun. Many students and executives can go clubbing either alone or with their group as they wish - without ruining their reputation. Even groups of girls are common ! I made some more friends - Singaporeans. 

Today's lunch was three slices of prata with a cup of Milo. Prata was prepared by my roommate. 

September 12, 2009

All about Post-Production in Photography

In many arts - especially film and musics - post-production (or post processing) is an essential part. It is as important as pre-production and production. For example, for nowadays movies, average production span from 2-6 months while pre-production and post-production took quite long - as long as up to 2 years. In musics, pre-production includes writing the song, rough sequencing and arrangement etc, production is actual recording and post-production means mixing down the whole song with fine tuning the knobs. In short, post-production distinguish a lousy art from a state of the art production.
However, in photography, it becomes a controversial topic. Many traditional and conservative photographers - especially those who had much experience with film cameras - see post production as a mere error correction process. In my opinion, post-production is not about correcting the mistakes but enhancing and achieving what we can't achieve in real-life - may it be due to financial situation or technical limitation.
In many of my photos I posted in my photo blog (, I performed post-production. The purpose is clearly not to correct my mistakes (made at the time of shooting) but to overcome technical limitations, to get something we can't get in reality and to make it more economical (for someone amateur like me). For example, take a look at this :

I was using a semi-pro digital camera (Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd). Therefore, it is clear that it cannot work as an old film camera where you can take multiple shots in one slot of film. To get this kind of images, post-production is a must. I couldn't also attach color filter to my camera so to make originally green apartments appear blueish, therefore, the apartments on the left is also a post-production effect. Apart from that, all, including the light lines (slow shutter-effects), were made during actual production. I thought I played quite fair as I am just an artist who demonstrate my vision using all the tools (camera + computer) I have.
In contrast, I had some photos, which used purely a camera effect (my camera was capable of this slow-shutter effect) without any post-production work (except the watermark of my name in Burmese). This one took me more than half an hour to grab this photo (running across the scene multiple time) :

However, sometimes, you can't manipulate the scene to match your vision. During my trip in Lake Inn Lay, I had a vision about cheap-painting-like effect of the fishermen. There was no way you manipulate the scene (the whole lake) and the participants (the fishermen). Hence, I had no choice but post-production. Take a look at my fishermen :

Another example, and the last one, would be the following photo :

Originally, the model was wearing a pair of black shoes (take a look at this documentary for confirmation). The black shoes were not color-matched with her cloths. Since she's not a professional model and we were just amateur photographers, we couldn't afford a new pair just for this (I was talking in economic point-of-view). In other words, the situation was "Take it or leave it".
Many can sense the essence of this photo is the umbrella and the vibrant girl with colorful cloths (including a pair of colorful shoes). Post-production color-changes was the only answer or the black shoes will catch the viewer's eyes straight away. I also had to admit that the sun was pretty shining and the background was yellowish-greener than I wanted - I ended up with some more post-production color settings.
In short, post-production is not ruining the art of photography. It just enable the Impossible to be possible, difficult-to-achieve vision into reality and help financially challenged amateurs to produce high-quality artworks. On the other hand, I believe that relying too much on post-production is not an art. An artist should at least be careful about his/her white-balance etc.
Opps, I almost forget to tell you about my lunch. Today's lunch was roasted chicken with pasta and coleslaw. That was the only thing left in my usual pasta-stall. I hate Saturdays.

September 11, 2009

Burmese Fried Chicken

Today's lunch is (Burmese style) fried chicken, Pork Rib/Yong Tau Foo soup and rice. Burmese style fried chicken is a tasty, easy and nutritious dish. It is also suitable for weak patients (just after a flu) and/or stomach flu victims as well as diarherra. Here's the list of ingredients :
  • Chicken Thigh x 2
  • Turmeric powder - just a tip of a teaspoon 
  • Salt - half teaspoon
  • Oil - 2 cup
First of all, cut the chicken thigh (you can also use chicken breast too) into 2-3 pieces each and marinade them with salt and turmeric powder. Put the oil into a deep frying pan and heat it up. After a while (that means 3-5 minutes), put the chicken into the deep frying pan and fry until their color become yellowish brown. Don't let the oil temperature too high. Shut the flame off occasionally.

Here's the healthy short-cut. After putting them in the oil for 5 minutes or so, put them into a microwave-safe container (without the lid) and heat them at HIGH for 2-3 minutes until they are quite dry (and yellowish brown). Yummy!

Fried Chicken on Foodista

September 10, 2009

More about DBS

Today's lunch is Chinese food - rice with fried chicken, tofu and vegetables (I couldn't name it again). Having my lunch I was thinking about the ATM and cash deposit machine.

Yesterday, my land lady told me about her experience in DBS - she couldn't open an account using her driver licenses. I remembered that I used to withdraw my money from KBZ bank (in Myanamr) using driver licenses, student card and all other identity cards with/without photos you can name. At least DBS should be more flexible in depositing the money - anyway, it's no harm as they are given the money.

The cash deposit machines too (also OCBC). You need to be their card holder to deposit money into one of their accounts. Let's say, I have a son who has an account with DBS and I'd like to give pocket money to him. If I don't have my ATM card, I can't deposit money into his account as all deposit machine need the user to enter his/her card and PIN before any transaction. This is partly to protect the customers but the bank should give some liberty and responsibility to the users sometimes. 

Again, NUTS.

September 09, 2009

A Strange Dream

Today's lunch is at a fine restaurant in compass together with one of my lab-mates. I had Chicken Chop with Fries while she only took some kind of cookie. The bill turned out to be S$239.00 for my not-so-good chicken. And yes, that's the starting point of my strange dream.
After that super-expensive lunch, I thought I must write about that lunch in my blog as usual - hence here it is. I saw small, cute and lovely houses, which turned out to be for professors. I tried to seek my supervisor's home but I ended up with another professor -prof Chua - I know. After that, I saw a robbery and woke up.

My lunch was BBQ Chicken and green beans with rice. I prepared the green beans myself. Yummy.

September 08, 2009

Sandwich with Horseradish Sauce

Today's lunch is Sandwich - a home made one. I made it myself using ham, a cheese slice, three slices of bread, ketchup and horseradish sauce. Horseradish sauce is introduced to me by my land lady. You should try it. It's a hint of wasabe but not so strong and pungent. Here's how you make one.

You may need:

  • Three slices of bread
  • A slice of ham
  • A slice of cheese
  • Some ketchup and
  • Horseradish sauce

First, spread the horseradish sauce and tomato ketchup onto the breads - Horseradish sauce to the outer two slices and ketchup to the inner slice. Then put the cheese facing the ketchup. Heat the bread and cheese using low microwave for 40 - 60 seconds. This will make the cheese melt and go into the bread.

Bake the ham using some oven - or fry it using water. Put the ham between the breads and heat the bread up (using oven) for 3 minutes. This will make the bread super crispy.

There you go ! Delicious sandwich !

September 07, 2009

Everyone Has Everything

Lunch was Hokkien Mee from the food court below my apartment. I was thinking that nowadays, everyone is producing everything. Google is working on OS - not one but two - Android and Chrome. Microsoft has game consoles - X-box. Sony has computer, camera, game console, DVD players, Blue Ray players and all you-name-the-gadget. Apple, too.

Now, Acer has phones. In response, Dell will have phones shortly. Nokia will produce netbooks (small computers). Intel is also coming up with a phone. LG is combining the watch with phone. How wield.

September 06, 2009

G-Force's Villain Should Go to Arkham Asylum

Onee E* offered desserts for monks in Burmese Buddhist Temple and I was there. There is also a lunch sponsor for monks. They invited us to join the lunch afterwards, but we leave to visit Juncti8n Shopping Center. Lunch as glutinous rice with pork and mushroom. The rice is not well-cooked. My dessert was the coconut jelly that my Onee made. 

After lunch, we watched G-Force - a new feature from Walt Disney. We asked the staff if there is 3D version available there but luck was not on our side. It was a good movie except some flaws and the shadow of Disney itself.

The characterization and introduction is neatly done in a action-pack stealth operation scene within first 10 minutes right after an icy cold opening. If I were the producer/director, I'd make the opening warmer by slicing it and putting it as flashbacks in the opening sequence. I feel disappointed for that straight-to-the-point opening.

Apart from that, the whole movie is fun, comedic, action-packed and well-paced. The villain turned out to be someone who you might encounter in Batman franchise - a little psychotic. The twist is also beautiful. We also have a transformer-like robot there (sorry for the spoiler) but this one is way too less budget/artistic value than that Michael Bay's prodigious kid.

Despite those good values, the movie was too "Disney" with a capital D - that means no one is killed, no one is shown in big trouble, no blood shed and no bad scenes/dirty jokes. Even in a scene of a major catastrophic (villain is winning and causing trouble), no one is seen killed. That's too much.

8 out of 10 !

September 05, 2009

Shoot Till Flat

Early morning today, I accompanied my little sister to her shooting scenes. We have a bunch of amateur photographers including a blogger (see his photo blog). No, my little sister is not a professional model either. She's just helping her friends. Yet, I managed to shoot some human portraits of her and her friend.
 Surveying the Shooting Site
This is the first time I managed to shoot till my memory card (2GB) was flat. It was either because I used continuous mode to shoot portraits (this way is better with human models since they tend to move, their eyes tend to close and we ought to capture a moving moment - like walking etc) and shooting some movie for archiving purpoess (may be going to facebook :P). In the end, my memory was flat and I, from dehydration and sunlight exposure, was flat too.

At first, I had the sandwiches I made using ham, cheese slides, horseradish sauce (containing wasabe - try it) and tomatoe ketchup. I had to share my sandwiches with all friends (most of them are new friends) and we ended up going to chicken rice stall. I also had roasted duck rice there. It seemed yummy but not so much - probably because I am flat and tired.

Today, I have some sketch proof on my theory - high heels can make any girl sexy, pretty and good-looking whether they are slim, fat or short. Take a look at the two photo below - taken with normal shoes and high-heeled shoes in the same post by the same girl. Since I didn't get the model's permission yet, her face is covered.

Without High Heels - So-so Model
With High Heels - Pretty Model

September 04, 2009

DBS, Starhub and Cilvil Service : an Unfair Comparison

Today's lunch was all vegetable - green beans, bean sprout and a vegetable I can't name in English ("Gar Ra Khar Thee" or "Sukar Thee" in Burmese; both of which term refer/relate to Sikh ethnics but I don't know why). Then I got to rush to meet my supervisor. The meeting went smoothly.
Going back home, I went to the bank (the Clementi DBS branch) as the ATM nearby is crowded but the bank is clear. The counter staff denied my request to withdraw some money as I don't have my passport with me. In fact, I have my student pass with me with my photo on it. She told me that since anyone could rob my cards (the Master Card and the student pass) and memorize my secret PIN (and my signature), she must see my passport. What a ridiculous explanation in the sense that that same robber could also rob my passport :P
However, even if the robber rob my card and my secret PIN somehow, he/she can easily get money from the ATM (he/she must fool the camera by use of flu-mask too). What is the meaning of this ? In this logic, the bank's policy allow the robber to get money from ATM (up to $2,000) but it prevent him/her from getting the money from counter staff. Anyway, the money can still be stolen!
The truth is the bank policy was outdated - being set up before the time of ATM machines. The staff need to verify its customer using their other important document (NRIC or passport with photo) in order to reduce the chance of fraud and protect the customer. It worked well at that time (at the cost of introducing inconvenience to the customers whose other important document is lost etc) but nowadays, with the help of wonderful ATM, the customer is no longer protected. If the robber somehow get the card and secret PIN, the robber gets money.
The result - the customers who don't bring along their photo ID cards still can't get service but the robbers can cheat the bank/customer up to $2,000 (for those customers who lifted that limit it is $5,000). In other words, the protection scheme can no longer protect the bank/customer yet incurring a cost in POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE.
Starhub, also have this kind of problems (See my another post on Starhub Goes NUTS). When I complained using their web-based interface, I received e-mails and phone calls saying they would review their policies to improve their service. But I don't know whether they did or not. :P
For me, I got my money through the very ATM that is in the sight of that staff. So ridiculous. It is NUTS (No U-Turn Syndrome).
When I left the ATM for my shopping, a man was sick and fell down (he was still conscious though). One of the ladies around there made a call to 995 (the department in Civil Service for such case, 999 calls the cops). I noted the time as I'd like to know their response time. It may depend on the location but in this case, the ambulance was there no more than 4-5 minutes later. These civil service staff came with a foldable chair with their equipments. I admit I sincerely praise them.
They were assisting the man on the ground.
Then they raised him up.

Off they went to the medical center.
Think about it, civil service can be said to be the monopoly in their market. If you fell sick or need help, either you call them or you die. They won't get a salary raise nor profit and they won't lose their job even if their service were poor. Yet, they tried very hard. In contrast, DBS and Starhub were in competitive markets (banking and telecommunication industries respectively). However, they were shooing away their customers by their outdated policies and a legion of NUTS staffs. How pity they are.
In 2006, I was admitted to a postgraduate degree in a local government owned and famous university. Both DBS and OCBC were giving tuition loans to the students like me. I went to DBS first (since I already had a saving account with them), to apply my loan. The staff asked me if I have my admission letter (the latter addressed to me saying "I am admitted to which course and the classes will starts on which day and such such things). Since I have already completed my registration formalities, either the university retained the original copy or I lost it (I couldn't remember), I only have my student card. They denied my application for incomplete documents. Isn't it ridiculous (again) ? Which school (especially government owned university) would issue a student card to those not admitted ?
In the end, OCBC won my business. So long DBS !

September 03, 2009

The Truth Is I Don't Like Japanese Food

Today's lunch is, with J.M, Japanese food at the only Japanese cafe on campus. I had Kutsu Curry (Chicken cutlet is given a Japanese name Kutsu). It is a fusion dish with Malay curry paste. But the soup, the rice etc are purely Japanese. I feel upset while having the meal. The truth is "I Hate Japanese Food ! "

That Japanese Stall implement a new style of self-service dining, in which you need to tick the order form and present it to the cashier whom print you a receipt by which you can redeem your food a little bit later from the queue. The advantage of this system is many people can see the menu and make their decisions simultaneously. In older system, the diners need to queue wasting some time.

However, I decided never to take Japanese food again. It's simply not my type. I regret every time I have it, yet I tried on and on. I only like wasabe - but it is not essential for me.

September 02, 2009

Funny Idea on Names of the Dishes

I have a meeting with my supervisor tomorrow. Therefore, I stayed at home today to do the house works. My lunch was Rice mixed with fried fish oil, fried fish and fried French beans. I made some fried fish a couple of days ago (see the entry of the day that I make fried fish). I fried some garlic before the French beans to get a good smell. French beans are quick to cook. Only a handful of minutes - then Ta Da ! Done ! 

That turmeric fish oil, when mixed with rice and some salt, is so yummy. It made me miss home - and mom. When I was young, I tend to get upset stomach. Every time I get bloating stomach, my mom would fry either fish or chicken with turmeric powder, mix the oil with salt and rice for me. It was really delicious. Like a cup of hot Milo, it is the symbol of my mom to me. :(

We - my land lady and I - were talking about the name of the Chinese dishes. All Chinese dishes are named like "Lucky", "Fortunate", "Stream", "Good", "Healthy" etc. When I told her, one of Shan dishes is actually named like "Fish in a Big Trouble" (Ngar Dote Kha), she was amazed. I was thinking to set up a restaurant whose signature dishes are all bad things - "Fish in Big Trouble" for that Shan fish, "A Pack of Shit" for chive dumpling (I wrote about it here) and many other bad names :D.

How do you think ?

September 01, 2009

Up compared to the fourth installment of Indiana Jones

Today's lunch is with Dan*, again, and that reminds me that I haven't visited his lab. When I was about to go to canteen, he came up in G-talk saying "Wanna eat (together) ? ". I said "sure". This time, we had a good time at the Deck (the Arts canteen) since I want a different canteen than my everyday Terrace (he too might have wanted something different from his everyday Techno Edge).

Heading to the canteen, I noticed it was raining heavily. Luckily, I didn't wash and hang my cloths. At first, I was about to do the laundry for it had been raining for two days and today seemed to be clear. What a close shave !

We had India food this time. He had Nan with vegetables while I had rice with chicken curry and bean sprouts. It was delicious - yet a little bit more expensive. After lunch, we even had some soft-drinks too.

Our conversation today includes his trip back to Malaysia, how packed up my lab is, seasons in our home countries and movies. He missed "Escape from Hong Kong Island" previous Sunday night for he's back in Malaysia. It was a dark comedy and good. His favorite movies include Toy Story and Up. I am glad that he too is a movie lover and we can go to theater together in the future - probably "Toy Story 3".

Talking about "Up", I love that movie. The montage sequence at the beginning of the movie - the series of events showing how the old man lived his life with his wife during 1960s - 70s - made me cry. So artistics ! It may be partly due to the fact that I am fond of those 1960-70 era but it surely has artistic value. The movie is a slow-paced one but it features many exciting moments - just like "Jones" did in earlier installments.

In fact, "Up" is more "Jones" than the "Crystal Skull" spin-off of Speilberg/Lucas. If I could do anything I wish, I'd re-arrange it to "Indiana Jones and the Bird of the Paradise Fall". The plot device of last Jones - I mean the "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" - is not a religious matter like its previous installments but rather aliens. I don't hate aliens, but Jones, in my mind, has nothing to do with those aliens.

I am glad that "Terminator Salvation" is not so bad and "Die Hard or Live Free" is good in contrast to "Crystal Skull", "John Rambo (vs Burmese Army)" and "King Kong (Peter Jackson's remake)" driving me insane. I wish "Toy Story 3" won't be killed by its own hype, too. Good luck Disney/Pixer !

August 31, 2009

Getting a More Generic Problem

Today's lunch is layered bean curd, spicy pork and that "Hin Nu Nwe" with rice. That pork (I think it is pork but it can also be beef; the color is pale) was so cool but spicy - with pepper and chili. However, that bean curd has some smell - Singapore food stall are usually bad in handling the smelly items.

My lunch was with my seniors and an intern from China. The intern was working on a sub-problem of RKNN query in document space - in which the distance metric is a weighted function of Euclidean distance of some dimensions and Cosine distance of some other dimensions (for those who are not computer scientists, I am talking about the internals of document retrieving systems like wikipedia and google). Since her problem is so similar to one of the sub-problems in my project, I had frequent chat with her these days. She had the pork noodle from Beijing stall.

I told her that I know the Shan variant of that noodle - namely "Shan Noodle". However, her noodle, talking about the noodle itself, was more into "Mee Shay". However, meat-cooking-wise, it is essentially "Shan Noodle" + cucumber. It also contains some peanut and sesame. It also was not fail to include the fried chili although it was not as much as we'd add.

After lunch, I could think of a more generic problem of the problem I was working on. Not only its feature and behaviors are more interesting and more applicable (and more practical), but also it seems to be easy to implement. My senior suggested me not to throw away my old problem though. No, I won't. :D

Today was a very good day.

August 30, 2009

A Good Plot Device

Today's lunch is fried fish fillet with bread plus water. The fish were in the fridge for a long time, so I fried them all to keep them today using tumeric poweder and salt only. I ate some of them with bread (what a very bad combination; don't try). I was supposed to cook rice but a good plot device for a budget movie consumed my mind the whole afternoon.

It was about sins, death and cute girls. It only needs two characters. I now have the plot device, the twist, the ending but still short of the story elements. At first, I'd make it a short story with poem fillers - not in TAH universe. However, I, somehow, was able to fit that in the TAH timeline with the help of a special kind of narrative. Then, I thought, if Sai Sai found that, he'd make it a video. Then I thought how economical if I make it into a short film. I contacted my film enthusiastic friends and my brother.

I was thinking of producing it myself, let one of my friends produce it, let my brother produce it or let NUS film group produce it. I couldn't make up my mind. Wish me good luck. 

The temporary title that is in my mind is "An Interview with Lord of Death".

August 29, 2009

Are You Kidding, Mr. Burger Staff ?

Today's lunch is two part, a bowl of instant noodle with chicken ham at home, before my shower, and KFC fillet burger meal on my way to my senior's home. My instant noodle is curry flavor and I decided not to buy curry flavor anymore as I choked once eating the noodle.

In Singapore, the hosts asked "Are you kidding ?" after seeing our meal. The ratio of our curry/rice consumption is way too low for them as we have lots of rice with a small amount of curry. We, Burmese, also would like to ask "Are you kidding ?" to those Burger outlets as the standard burger size here is way too small - just four bites and it's gone!

I believe burgers should be large - large enough for at least 6-7 bites - and it should contain cucumber, tomatoes and mayonnaise. Here, burgers are buns with some meat in it. You are way too lucky if you have some sause in it. So ridiculous. I really miss Rangoon Burgers.

Since today's Michael Jackson's birthday, radio DJs played his songs as a tribute. Tonight, we'll have a TV broadcast of his show and a film length performance in cinemas. R.I.P MJ!

August 28, 2009

No Meat Today

My lunch is semi-vegetarian again - no mood for meat. I had fried cabbage, fried vegetables - which I can't name in English (in Burmese it is called "Hin Nu Nwe") - and tofu in sour soy sause. That tofu is so good, so yummy. 

Finishing my lunch, I met Vam* on my way back to my lab. He seems to make a visit to canteen and, since I'd like to talk with him, I asked him to walk along to the canteen and talk. However, it turned up that he also had had his lunch. We ended up with a soft-drink each. Mine was papaya juice mixed with lime (Onee E*'s and Hn*'s favorite).

He has some problem in debugging his current work - some modification of Postgre SQL. We talked about some of the research problems we encountered. I may need to talk with him more in near future, I noted.

A lots of vegetables and papaya juice ended up as a visit to the toilet shortly.

August 27, 2009

Algebra Afternoon

Today's is Thursday - my turn to clean the apartment. After sweeping and mopping the floor, I did the bathroom. I need to warn my roommate to do the bathroom. He's like skipping his turn for two consecutive turns I feel it.

Lunch was Si Chuan Bean Curd that my land lady gave me, the fried fish I made this morning and the pan cakes I bought yesterday - spread across all afternoon. Si Chuan Bean Curd is so wonderful, emerged in the chili oil, no preservative is required.

The whole afternoon, I read the old articles on elementary Algebra I have written and polished that up into three blog posts (in my Burmese blog) I found some hasty conclusions in some proofs in those and surf the web to learn in depth of those things and correct them. Wow ! A long day !

August 26, 2009

Bio-clock Re-shifted

Last night, I was finishing up my write-up on the algorithms I was working with for my supervisor. I burnt the midnight oil and woke up so late this morning. Up to lunch-time, I was feeling dizzy - bio-clock shifted again :( after all those efforts to set it right. I decided to choose a soup-based meal to relieve my dizziness.

I had chive dumpling noodle soup. In clear soup, there is chive dumpling, noodle (big one, bingo !) and some cabbage. It sure is delicious. 

In Burma, we have the same word "Phat Htote" for dumpling and wonton. Burmese called dumpling or chive dumpling as steamed "Phat Htote" as dumpling done in other cooking method is not available widely. For wonton, we call it fried garlic "Phat Htote" (if it is prepared like Fried Garlic Noodle with wonton in the place of noodle) or fried "Phat Htote" (if it is fried of course) or boiled "Phat Htote" (if it is in some clear soup). 

I remember my uncle (my aunt's husband) used to buy satay together with dumplings (at the edge of the satay stick). I liked the taste of that dumpling so much that I asked him what it is (I didn't know the name at that time). He replied "A pack of shit" to tease me. So long my uncle !

Guess Count

Since August 1st, 2009, Law Shay had enjoyed his lunch together with friends.