A year in two posts — Part 1

Since I haven’t blogged properly in forever, I’m going to do a summary of events (or non-events) in the last year or so, just to keep the blog up to date, in a manner of speaking.

It’s going to be mostly photos, so brace yourself for a storm of randomness.


March 2012 — Oxford

I first visited Oxford University (where Harry Potter was filmed) in July 2011 and was awed by the sight of this.


Oxford in summer


Then, I went back again in March 2012 and it looked like this.


Oxford in spring


The colour tone is a bit different because the first photo was taken by a Lumix and the second, an iPhone 4. But I was delighted to note the differences in the sky and the foliage.

I love how things and places can look very different with the changing of the seasons.

And Oxford, by the way, is enchanting.


April 2012 — Montessori

Four months into our course, we each had to prepare a group lesson based on the theme “Spring” and present it to our classmates (who pretended to be little children).

I decided to do an interactive lesson on how the change from winter to spring affects an apple tree.

I drew a bare tree on an A2 (four times the size of A4) mounting board, then drew and cut out paper leaves, blossoms, birds, insects and a nest and eggs.

During the lesson, as I explained how leaves and blossoms grew, attracting birds and insects, I allowed my “children” to stick each individual element on the canvas with Blu-Tack.


An apple tree in spring


It was very educational for me also because I had no clue as to the growth cycle of trees.

In Singapore, trees never do anything but drop worms on your head. I had to spend quite a lot of time Googling and reading just to make sure I knew the subject well because I had to expect children to ask precocious questions. (“Can I have the eggs for lunch?”)


May 2012 — Cute Children

I did my first teaching placement and fell in love with all the children, who say and do the most precious things. Well, not all the time. Sometimes they make you want to cry and other times they give you diseases.

During my year of training at the nursery, I picked up chicken pox and impetigo, and got the flu nearly every month.

Here’s one of a bunch of cartoons I drew for my teaching journal. This conversation really happened.


The precious things children say.


June 2012 — Garden Party

Piers’ parents hosted their annual themed garden party and the theme was the Queen’s Jubilee (the Queen celebrated her 60th year on the throne last year).

It was a really good party with extravagant costumes, food, wine and laughter.


Jubilee Party.


Jubilee Party.


Not really a costume.


I was too stressed with school at that time to prepare a costume so I just wore what I thought looked like a 50s-style dress.


July 2012 — My birthday

Piers took me to a nice restaurant at Poole Harbour (one of the world’s largest natural harbours) and then to Christchurch for a bit of romantic boating. It was a bright, sunny day, the favourite weather of the English, but not really for me, which explains the umbrella.


Piers the boatman.


Being a wimp.


August 2012 — Farm

We visited Longdown Activity Farm in New Forest. It’s kind of a children’s thing but what the heck, why can’t adults enjoy children’s activities?

On the way to the farm, we encountered horses blocking the road. That’s a common occurence in New Forest, which “includes one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the heavily-populated south east of England” (Wikipedia).

We had to stop and create a car pile up behind us, and then a woman came out from one of the cars and gently led the horses off the road one by one.




Then we got to the farm and I had such a great time, but Piers was very self-conscious because we were the only adults there without children in tow.

They have the usual farm animals to look at but the attraction is really all the activities you can do with animals, such as feeding and playing with them.






More hungry!


September 2012 — Wedding

Piers’ sister got married. It was a lovely wedding, first at the church, then to her parents’ for a garden reception, dinner and dance.


Church wedding


Church wedding


Church wedding


Garden wedding


Garden wedding


Garden wedding


And that concludes Part 1.

My life was relatively uneventful in 2012 because of college. I was stressed out most of the time trying to complete assignments that never stopped coming. They only told us after we graduated that it was originally a two-year course that they crammed into a year to make it more attractive to foreign students.



Alright then, more photos and randomness coming up in Part 2!

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your togas

I wonder how many bedsheets were sacrificed in the making of this party.

But part of the fun of a costume party is preparing the costume.

While Piers was reluctant to prepare any costume at all, stating his preference to turn up in jeans and tee to his parents’ annual themed garden party, he kindly took me shopping at two costume shops and one craft shop so I could sort out his costume while he made pained faces at me.

My costume was easy. Women’s fashion boasts all kinds of funny dresses inspired by every culture and sub-culture under the sun, so all I had to do was order a dress and some accessories online.


Piers and Sheylara in Roman costumes


We couldn’t find the look I wanted for Piers in fancy dress costume shops so we had to make his outfit.

The theme of the party was Up Pompeii, inspired by a 1970s British sitcom (and movies) of the same name. The show is set in ancient Pompeii, the famous Roman city that was swallowed by a massive volcano eruption almost 2,000 years ago.

(The show is set before the catastrophe, of course.)

Wiki Pompeii if you want to read about the city that disappeared in a flash and then got accidentally rediscovered hundreds of years later. It’s very interesting.


Up Pompeii movie poster


So, anyway, I wanted Piers to go as Nausius, one of the main characters in the show. He’s the pure, virginal son of a senator. Every episode, he has a crush on a different woman and writes very bad poetry for them.

Nausius’ tunic is very short but Piers simply refused to wear a mini skirt, resolutely resisting my usually compelling power of persuasion, so I had to make it longer.


Nausius in Up Pompeii


Turned out to be a good idea because, as it was, Piers had a lot of trouble maintaining his modesty while seated, having had no prior experience at wearing a skirt.

His tunic is made by cutting up a bedsheet and sewing up the sides. His cape is a piece of red cloth safety-pinned to the shoulders. His circlet is hard gold foil wrapped around an aluminium strip and his sandals are bought from the costume shop. I didn’t have enough time to make wrist cuffs for him.


Piers on makeshift throne


In the picture above, you can see Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that ate the city. Haha.

Piers’ parents host a themed garden party every summer for all the neighbours on the street. (Last year’s theme was ‘Allo ‘Allo!) A bunch of neighbours would come help decorate the place and everyone would attend the party dressed according to theme.

I had looked forward to attending this year’s party since I found out about it in February. But I didn’t realise they made such efforts to dress up the scenery. I was flabbergasted when I arrived and saw what they had done to the garden, which usually has nothing in it but grass.


Pompeii themed garden


Sheylara in Pompeii themed garden


Pompeii themed garden


The party started in the patio at the back of the house. We could see it happening as we drove up to the house and parked on the road outside the driveway.

We were only about 10 minutes late but there were already loads of people gathered around the patio enjoying drinks and chats.


Up Pompeii party


We received a very grand reception. I loved it!


Up Pompeii party


Piers’ sisters, Lisa and Charlotte, were dressed as Vestal Virgins, with Charlotte being the renegade virgin because she was obviously pregnant.


Charlotte and Ringo
Charlotte with her puppy Ringo on a leash.


Peter and Lisa
Lisa with dad, Peter.


Everyone had such amazing costumes I felt like I was on a movie set and the actors were gathered around having a break.


Piper with friend
Piper (Piers’ mum) on the right.


Humfrey and Charlotte
Lovely couple Humfrey and Charlotte.


Sheylara and Piers
Me and Piers.


After an hour or so, the party proceded to the garden for more Roman revelling.


Up Pompeii party


Bread, cheese, grapes and wine had been prepared and people were welcome to sit anywhere they liked to eat, drink and make merry.

The garden looked amazing when it was populated by all the Roman revellers.


Up Pompeii party


Up Pompeii party


Up Pompeii party


Up Pompeii party


Up Pompeii party


Up Pompeii party


Up Pompeii party


Up Pompeii party


Up Pompeii party


Up Pompeii party


Up Pompeii party


After enough of revelling, we were all entertained by a play performed by a motley group that included Piers’ parents.

It was hilarious. The script was written by one of the neighbours and none of the actors had seen it. They were briefed on their parts just 10 minutes before the play and they had to read off the only script held by the writer, who was playing the key role of Lurcio the slave.

It was performed at the patio between the garden and the house, where Mount Vesuvius was. At the end of it, Vesuvius erupted and we saw baby fireworks shooting out of it.

Unfortunately, I haven’t got any photos of the performance because I was videotaping the whole thing. I won’t upload that video because it’s like half an hour in length.

However, here’s a short video of Piers’ sisters making an entrance as the party’s official Vestal Virgins.


(In case the video embedding is not working, please click here to watch the video.)


After the show, it was time for games.

There was hardly a dull moment at the party.

There weren’t many children, about six or seven, but there were enough volunteers for an egg race and a sack race. It was so cute!


Children's egg race


Children's sack race


Children's sack race


I thought that was the end of it but then the call came for adult volunteers.

There were going to be several adult races, including a sack race, water race and relay race.

Piers ran off to hide while volunteers were being gathered.

I ran off to look for him. Without success.

But I came back out shortly after to take photographs. I think I’m generally more useful as a photographer than a sack race contestant.


Adult race


Adult race


Adult race


Adult race


In the midst of crazy partying, a few neighbours separately took me aside to assure me that English people are not normally that barmy.

Not that they needed to do that. They didn’t know that Insanity is my middle name.

Okay, not really. But I do enjoy the occasional insane activity. The party was unquestionably fun and spontaneous and that’s always good.

I still can’t believe they do this every year. It’s such a lot of hard work organising a party like that, not to mention the cleaning up afterwards. And it’s so amazing that people are sporting enough to dress up in costumes.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s party! I hear they’re considering Fawlty Towers (also a British sitcom) as the theme.

I’ll have to hatch up a new scheme to put Piers in another costume.

Okay, a few more photos before I scram.




Sheylara and Piers


Girl and dog


Girl and dog


Girl and dog


Girls and dog


There you go.

I shall now quote Lurcio in Up Pompeii, who claims that Cleopatra said these last words to Mark Anthony:

“If you liked it, tell your friends!”


Auditioning for a feature film — Part 2

The audition grind continues (see Part 1)…

The callback audition was a lot easier because I was given a script to learn and it wasn’t a monologue.

Again, I had to wear 70s fashion, so I went and bought myself another dress. I decided not to wear that first dress again because I think I look atrocious in it.

Here’s my new dress:

It costs about $50 or so. Can’t remember exactly. I think it looks a lot better than the first one, although I’m not sure if it’s any more “correct” than the first.

I felt very self-conscious wearing it to the audition and then going home in it. It feels more like a costume than something a normal woman would wear out.

Then again, I’m always wearing “costumes” so what am I talking about?


The film I auditioned for is called More Than Words or Qian Yan Wan Yu in Mandarin. (The title is a tribute to Teresa Teng, the famous singing diva in that era.)

The second audition was fun. I got to act opposite Louis Wu (a SuperHost finalist and sometime actor in MediaCorp Channel 8 dramas, currently an AI Films artiste). He’s very friendly and humourous in person.

Louis Wu

Director Kelvin Sng chatted with me for a bit, then I did my scene with Louis.

When we were done, we both received some directions to modify the flavour of the scene and then we played it once more.

And that was it. I wish there could have been more because I was having fun, but then there were many people waiting for their turn.

We chatted a bit more, with Kelvin giving me some encouraging words but being very non-commital, and then it was the end.

It’s been almost a month now and there’s still no news from the production team, so I’m thinking it’s probably gone to dust.

I didn’t have very high hopes in the first place because the competition is really fierce, but it’s a job I would really like to have gotten because the role sounds like so much fun, and the crew seems very professional and passionate about the film and I have a deep hunger to work with professional, passionate people because we don’t get enough of them in Singapore.

Anyway, I’m glad that I’m now making a living doing something I really enjoy (blogging and playing games), so I can relax a little on the audition grind. I’m still going to the occasional audition, but very selected ones, so the frustration is still manageable.

If I may say it again, auditions are evil.

GGF#32: Crazy, hilarious, fun, awesome vids

[Gamer Girl Friday]

I made quite a number of incriminating videos recently, effectively destroying all my friends’ reputations. I think it’s pretty neat of them not to have already sent me lawyer letters. That’s why I love them, ay?

So I thought I’d make GGF today a video issue. I have a great selection of vids here. Take your time to watch ’em. You’ve got the whole weekend! And I hope you have a happy one! :)


Table of Contents

  1. Battle of the Lips
  2. Destroying good songs with SingStar
  3. Cosplaying Rock Band
  4. Who can sing worse than him?
  5. Sheylara the Alien Queen
  6. Cutest gamer girl ever
  7. Musical genius plays Wind Waker
  8. Result of last week’s contest


Battle of the Lips

I posted this in my recent Star Blog but I know some of you don’t like to go there so here’s the video for your benefit! It’s a video montage of our wild gaming session of Lips during Christmas. (Different from the ones I posted last week.)

By the way, Lips will be launching together with Scene It? in Singapore next weekend! Head over to Xbox Xperience Zones on Jan 10 and 11, 2009 (11 am to 5 pm) to enjoy the launch activities or take part in the Top Idol or Movie Guru competitions!

Just walk in on those days to sign up!

XXZs are located at Challenger, Funan and Best Denki, VivoCity.

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Destroying good songs with SingStar

After our Lips party, my friends got into a singing craze and one of them bought SingStar Vol. 2.

Unfortunately, they didn’t know many of the songs in there. And the rules of the game took a bit getting used to.

Watch how they butchered the songs and argued with each other. (I had to download a censor beep for this video. Haha!)

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Cosplaying Rock Band

Remember the Nuffnang Christmas party I just attended? We went back to play Rock Band 2 after the party, still in our costumes!

The music in this video is Uno by Muse but that’s not a Rock Band song. I just happen to love that song so wanted to use it for something. Heh.

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Who can sing worse than him?


It’s of my friend Morte singing really badly and making everyone go crazy with laughter.

Listen to the conversations cos they’re funny and watch till the end for the punchline!

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Sheylara the Alien Queen

Here’s another movie trailer made from You’re in the Movies on the Xbox 360, featuring me as an evil alien invader.

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Cutest gamer girl ever

This isn’t one of my videos, but reader terboo shared this with me recently and I simply must share it with everyone else.

This is the most awesomest little girl in the whole wide world! She amazes me! She’s so cute I want to kidnap her home!

Little bit of background, from the video description in YouTube. Her name is Melodie and she’s one year old. It only took a few days for her parents to go through the cards with her and she remembers them all!

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Musical genius plays Wind Waker

My bro (not real) Swordplay sent me this vid.

It’s not exactly a game thing but the guy is playing a soundtrack from a popular game (Legend of Zelda) so it’s kinda relevant.

He is really amazing. I wish I had that kind of talent And he looks pretty cute, too! ;)

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Result of last week’s contest

Technically, the contest was two weeks ago cos I didn’t have a contest last week. So, anyway, I’ve got a winner!!

Three people got all correct answers so I had to put them into the random roll.

The toughest question was, of course, how many games there are in this pile:

The answer is 17!!

And the winner is neghxanys!!! Hooray! Please e-mail me to claim your prize!

(Sorry, I know I still owe prizes to people from the last few contests. I will mail them out soon, I promise!)

neghxanys wins a 3-month Xbox LIVE Gold subscription card! WOW!

Incidentally, I also love his answer to this question:

Q: How will you use the Xbox 360 to save the world?

A: Drop it on a cheerleader’s stalker’s head. Save the cheerleader, Save the world. :D

Made me laugh! Way to go, pal!

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And now… for my 2009 resolution.

This is the very first resolution I’m making since I was, like, 14 or something. (I don’t believe in resolutions as a rule.)


I hope you will all share this resolution with me.

Happy 2009! =)

Gamer Girl Friday signing out.

[Gamer Girl Friday]

Not made to measure

I kinda dread receiving phone calls from stylists.

It usually means only one thing: that the production I’m going to be acting in has little or no wardrobe budget and would need me to wear my own clothes, at least for some of the scenes, because they don’t have enough to dress me up for the entire shoot.

I don’t know if that only happens in Singapore, but I think it’s a sad state of affairs when actors have to wear their own clothes in productions. Then wouldn’t the actors be themselves and not being someone else as they’re supposed to be?

I just got an offer for a teacher role in a 13-episode MediaCorp children’s drama serial (in which I will appear in 11 episodes).

So, last night, the stylist rang me and the conversation went something like this:

Stylist: Hello, can I speak to Qiaoyun, please?

Qiaoyun: Speaking!

Stylist: I’m the stylist for [show title] and preparing the wardrobe. Can I know what size clothes do you wear?

Qiaoyun: XS to S.

Stylist: XS to S?

Qiaoyun: Yup.

Stylist: What size top you wear?

Qiaoyun: XS to S.

Stylist: What size bottom?

Qiaoyun: XS to S.

Stylist: *nervous laugh* So petite?

Qiaoyun: Yeah. :(

Stylist: Hmm… a bit hard to get such small size. How about you wear your own clothes?

Qiaoyun: Um…. I don’t have any teacher-like clothes…

Stylist: Oh. Actually just something simple will do. Do you have basic skirts?

Qiaoyun: I only have one.

Stylist: Oh. Like that…

Qiaoyun: My clothes are all very youngish, not very suitable for teachers.

Stylist: Er… may I know how old you are?

Qiaoyun: [censored], but I look younger than that, so I don’t wear clothes that age.

Stylist: Oh. Hahaha. In that case, I’ll try to find something for you. We’re trying to get sponsers but it’s not happening yet. For now, we’re just trying to settle the pilot episode first.

Qiaoyun: I see.

Stylist: What’s your shoulder measurement?

Qiaoyun: Um… can you wait a while? I measure myself now.

Stylist: Sure.

For the next 5 minutes, I fumbled with a measuring tape while the stylist made me measure myself all over. It’s hard because I’ve never really had to measure myself. We usually get measured by stylists, and they would write little numbers in their little books and they don’t exactly give us copies of those. And I think it’s rude to peek into their books while they’re writing, so I never know my measurements.

Every time I measure myself, I end up getting different numbers because I’m not sure if I’m measuring myself correctly. Like, how do you measure your shoulder length? Exactly from which point to which point? You could be off like two inches if you don’t get the points exactly right.

Anyway, that traumatising phone call kinda dampened my glee of getting the role. I think it’s quite a good role, but I’ll talk more about it later when everything is more firmed up.