Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch

South Korea disqualified from the 3000m relay finals and China still manages to get the gold with a Olympic record?!! UTTERLY, ABSURBLY RIDICULOUS!!

Olympic Fever!

My thoughts are becoming more and more random these days, and this is being exemplified with mental exhaustion that has pretty much put me in a very sullen mood this past week. Combined with the never-ending stream of coursework to deal with, I find myself slowly devolving into a one-man party, having conversations with myself and sometimes not just inside my head.

So earlier this week I was waiting for the 210 bus at Finsbury Park, and at the terminus there was a parked 210 with the doors shut and light off, but with the driver still inside. Outside the bus gathered 15 or 20 people, myself included, in the cold and patiently waiting for the bus to start running. Interestingly, the driver was inside at his seat sipping at a cup of hot coffee waiting for his next shift.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I didn't expect myself to be let into the bus before it started running just so I could get out of the cold. Bus drivers all have a timetable to adhere and stick to, though a fair number of them just simply couldn't be bothered. What I was bemused at, however, so the driver's strong yet perverted sense of resolve, where he had the courage to sip coffee within the warm interiors of his bus in front of dozens of waiting passengers. Positive or not? Admirable in a way? I can't really decide.

Almost my entire past week has been mostly preoccupied with continuous watching of the Winter Olympics. I guess part of the reason is because I'm catching up on all the ones I missed previously -- Singapore never ever had TV coverage of the Winter Olympics, up till 2006 as far as I know. I guess we can't be bothered with keeping up with an international sports meet in which we know we will never win in a hundred lifetimes. Then again, watching something as exciting as the Olympics wouldn't make a lot of sense if you didn't have one or two teams to root for, so I've been paying particular interest to Team GB's progress especially in curling and the sliding events.

Still, nothing beats the exhilaration from watching the South Korean team on the short track -- it's hard not to root for them indeed. Apart from their obvious blazing speed, their style, race strategy and signature tactic of skating from behind in the last few laps make it even more exciting. On the other hand, the US team for short track has been quite rubbish to watch, to be honest. A lot of pushing and shoving from J R Celski and Katherine Reutter, with Apollo Anton Ohno taking the cake for being rough on and off the track. Who can forget the unpleasant verbal comments he had for the South Korean team after winning through lucky circumstances in the 1,500m finals!

I was just watching the 500m qualifying races earlier just now and the commentators were just talking about how Simon Cho, representing the US, could be from Korea "given his name". He placed second behind South Korea (of course) for that particular race, and I couldn't help but think of how Singapore is doing the same -- "poaching" Chinese table tennis players then fielding them against China under the Singapore flag, only for them to lose to their former fellow countrymen and women. This is most recently exemplified in Beijing two years ago. Must be quite the lousy feeling!

I've becoming quite a fan of curling as well, and have been tracking Team GB's progress quite closely. The men's team just crashed out just shy of the semifinals, which is a shame. And of course, Eve Muirhead skipping the women's team was quite the feat, given the fact 19-year-old's debut at the Olympics has been wrought with heaps of pressure. Very good effort! In the meantime, it's the women's bobsleigh that's under way as I'm typing this, and Great Britain 1 just crashed at the notorious (but admittedly very exciting) track at Whistler Sliding Centre. Those who've been watching the sliding events will remember how Dan Money and John Jackson crashed at the infamous corner 13 last week. Tonight two teams have already crashed at corner 11, and not all teams have finished their fourth run in the heats, with Great Britain 1 being one of them.

Well, it's only a couple days left for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and I must say I'm going to miss it -- and eagerly anticipate the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi! Then again, I should stop staying up till 3am everyday watching the Olympics...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

All About 14-02

14 February just passed, and it was a day shared between Lunar New Year (that means Chinese New Year, Korean New Year, Mongolian New Year, Tibetan New Year and Vietnamese New Year) and Valentine's Day. Now, having never being much of a fan of the latter, I was anxious to make sure that I could keep myself occupied with Lunar New Year celebrations so I wouldn't feel too dismal, especially with Min-joo away in Korea.

Last year's Chinese New Year left a very bad taste in my mouth for me, I'm sure some of you might have heard. Nonetheless, this year definitely made up for the last -- I had an amazing reunion dinner of sorts this time round with Jinn, Robyn, Jinn's sister Hsu Mei and her hubby Peter. Dinner was at Hsu Mei and Peter's place in Blackheath, and they practically played model hosts with a fantastic dinner, amazing wine and a very comfortable duvet for myself.

Chinese New Year evening itself was spent with Gordon and his folks who were visiting him in London. How sweet is that! We went for dinner at Four Seasons in Chinatown before Gordon and me headed over to GAMA (for obvious reasons known to Gordon, of course) and we had a bit of soju to round off the Chinese New Year festivities. Not that the celebration has to end though, this Sunday there will be massive Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown, complete with lion dances and firecrackers before topping it all off with fireworks in Trafalgar Square. Nice!

Sun nin fai lok to all, and gung hei fatt choi! And yes, happy Valentine's Day to you, if you insist.