The Incredible Live Journal of Mr Tang

Now how the hell did this happen?
I've been really busy with work for the last month and working some pretty late hours. As a result I haven't been able to go to the gym or swimming for about two months. Couple this with my unhealthy eating habits, and I think I've put on probably 2 or 3 kilos. I can see it in my double chin, everyone can see it with my giant gut. So I guess I need to start watching what I eat, and start doing some push ups?

Whoa they're making a Scott Pilgrim video game!

Date me!

Is this month's issue of Time Out Singapore they're running their annual "Date my friend" feature. Anyway I put my hand up for it, answered a couple questions and got my photo taken. I know I look kind of weird, but I was kind of going for smoldering. Did I succeed? You decide!

My friend Estelle is also in it and I'm pretty sure she is going to get 1000x more dates than me. Wish me luck!

"Well, I'm a man... you're a woman..."

We usually use models or celebrities for cover shoots but when it comes to minor stories (or when we run out of budget) we often get staff to pose and at the beginning of the year I got the chance to do so. The story was published in the February/March 2009 issue of Jetstar Asia Magazine and was about nice places to propose (to tie into Valentine's Day). We spent about 40 minutes getting various shots, with different backdrops and poses -  if you ever get the chance to propose on bended knee, I highly recommend bringing a pillow for your knee since it freaking hurts. In order to the get the entire panoramic background the photographer used a wide angle lens - and because I was standing on the side I look a little fatter than in real life. Also, the girl I'm proposing to (who works in sales) is REALLY short, I'm probably at least 20cm taller than her - so I had to stand a little bit further back otherwise the perspective would really emphasise the height difference.

You can't tell from the picture but there's actually no ring. The store we borrowed the box from wouldn't lend us a ring. So instead all there is a Singapore 50 cent coin on it's side. Classy!

Muscle March (Japanese Wiiware)
This looks like an insanely fun game!

Tokyo Holiday day 1: Delicious ramen and getting thrown in prison
A couple weeks ago I went to Tokyo for a holiday. It was awesome!

Day 1 (Wednesday 29 April)
The flight over was a pretty smooth 7 hours but for some reason I ended up feeling pretty airsick by the time we landed. I watched umm, High School Musical 3 (ok) onboard as well as The Wrestler (really good).

From the airport I took the Narita Express to Tokyo station which ended up taking longer (an hour) and being more expensive (about 3400Yen - just under $50SGD!) than I remembered. But after the long flight I was like eh, whatever. (Plus at that point I hadn't quite worked out the exchange rate yet.)

I finally met up with Steve (a good friend from uni who I was staying with). Since I was still pretty jetlagged (I'd only got about 3 hours sleep the previous night), I didn't want to do anything too draining. So we decided to visit the nearby Tokyo Dome (a sports stadium that they use for amongst other things, baseball games and Mariah Carey concerts), and we visited the nearby Jump store. It was a cool little store, with various souvenirs for manga fans but even then we walked out without buying anything.

Afterwards we went to the ramen place I'd been dreaming about for the two years since I'd last been to Tokyo. And it was... GOOOOOD!!!! (sic) It was just as good as I remembered, the textures, the flavours oh man!

We capped the night off by walking around Akihabara, and stumbling upon the famed LOCK UP prison themed cafe! Even living in Tokyo for 6 years Steve had never been, so we excitedly went up. When you enter, you have to go through a dark passageway like in a haunted house at a theme park - which we were sure something was going to jump out at us. Thankfully nothing did, on the contrary once we walked through a cute waitress dressed in a latex prison guard outfit handcuffed herself to Steve as she led us to our table. Boo!! I'm the tourist cute Japanese prison guard, handcuff me!

Each table was situated inside a cell, and they made it look like it was old and run down. It was a pretty cool experience and according to Steve much better than Alcatraz (the haunted hospital theme restaurant - tacky with disgusting food) and the ninja one (fun but VERY expensive). Since we just came from dinner all we did was order desserts and drinks, but the drinks came in these little awesome beaker things. There were other ones on the menu which were even better presented (one came in the form of a drink in a test tube, with an eyeball inside). The food was pretty good (and reasonably priced) with Steve saying that he would definitely take overseas visitors here next time.

Happy Meal.
I went out to Maccas for a midnight snack earlier tonight. Sitting opposite me was a cute girl working on a university assignment. As I sat making eyes at her, I accidentally spilled Coke onto my chair. And since their chairs declined, the Coke dripped down to my ass. So I remain seated for 15 minutes even after finishing my meal, as I had to wait for my wet patch to dry.

LOST season 5 finale

Now that is how you do a cliffhanger. Awesome, awesome 2 hours of television - more proof of why LOST remains my favourite show on television after all these years. The characters, the mysteries, the stories, the crazy ass twists... here's hoping season 6 (the final season) continues the standard. Speaking of which, how the hell is season 6 going to work? If what happened actually happened (sorry trying to avoid spoilers here) - then it's going to be pretty crazy. And the painful thing is having to wait 8 months to find out...

If you've never seen LOST or fell out of it somewhere along the way, definitely definitely go back and get the season 1 dvd box set. You won't be disappointed.

Ain't no mountain high enough...
Back in January Michelle and I climbed Mount Kinabalu - the 4th tallest mountain in South-east Asia. We'd done some research a month before so we knew what we were getting ourselves into. It sounded like a tough climb, but with the two of us still being in our 20s, we should be able to manage. Just to be sure though, We trained in the weeks leading up to it. I went swimming a couple times - although upon reflection it may have been better if I hopped on the stairmaster. Ah well, "ce'st la vie", or whatever it is the Germans like to say.

Before starting out we chatted to our guide Fred who assured us that we didn't need to rush. As long as we kept a steady pace we would make it up to Laban Rata lodge in 4-5 hours. The plan being that we would climb the 6kms up to Laban Rata lodge, have dinner and go to bed early. At 2:30AM people would then wake up and make the remaining 3km(?) hike up to the summit in time for the sunrise. They would then return to the lodge for breakfast before making our way back to headquarters. So all up over the two days there would be 18kms of walking up and down the mountain.

So with walking sticks in hand (available for 8RM at base camp), we set out, it didn't take long before my heart rate picked up. Michelle started to struggle with her backpack, and Fred offered to carry a bag for us for 40RM. We were barely an hour into the hike and already struggling so we decided to take him up on the offer. (You can hire porters at the bottom of the mountain who carry bags for you; they charge by the kilogram. Highly recommended if you do this climb unless you're super hardcore.)

It wasn't an IMPOSSIBLE climb, but it definitely wasn't a walk in the park either (ha!). Every 500m or so there was a shelter to refill your water bottle and a place where you could choose to rest or keep going. We usually opted to stop. But after a while an alarming trend started to surface. A group of about seven Japanese women in their 60s kept catching up to us at each rest stop. This started to bother me, and every time we saw them, I urged Michelle to start walking again.

At about 4kms in my knees started to give. Now I'm not what you would call the most athletic person in the world, but I'm not exactly overweight either. In fact my Wii Fit age is 26! But apparently my knees were telling a different story. As we walked each step was agony and it didn't help that Michelle started getting altitude sickness. It was getting harder for her to breathe. If we weren't stopping because of my old-man joints, we were stopping for her to catch her breath. Each step became an accomplishment.

Climbing the mountain was like experiencing four seasons. At one point in the clouds there was light rain making things slippery. A little later the sun beat down on us and we were glad we were wearing shorts. 500 metres down and it was like we were walking through rainforest - it was incredible.

It was around this point that a couple young blokes passed us on their way down. Apparently they'd started their climb from basecamp THAT morning, reached the summit and was now on their way down. They didn't need no walking sticks... in fact, they had the audacity to sip from their cans of soft drink, as they casually skipped down! I mean come on guys! Show a little sensitivity...

But as someone smart once said, " ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winnin’ is done." Thanks Rocky Balboa, thanks.

So like trucks we kept uhhh... trucking. Each signpost we passed was a blessing, each a step closer to the promised land. Inevitably the group of elderly Japanese women caught up - and passed us. But we didn't care. I had left my pride kilometers earlier, at this point we just wanted to get to the damn lodge.

Somehow, we made it to the lodge. It took us almost 6 and a half freaking hours, but we made it. I rubbed deep heat on my legs like it was Labour Day.

The view was amazing, we were literally above the clouds. And when the sun set - it was almost worth the 6 hour trek. Almost.

We went to bed at about 7:00 that night, not sure if we would be able to finish the climb to the summit.

When the alarm went off for 2:00, my knees were still aching. There was no way I was going to make the 3km climb to the summit, the 3km back down to Laban Rata lodge, and then the further 6km down the headquarters. Especially seeing as how the trip down is supposed to be tougher than the climb up - especially on the knees. (Picture yourself a day after a 10km run, how sore you are and much much harder it is to go down the stairs than up.) But Michelle still wanted to go, she seemed to have acclimatised to the altitude. So up she went with Fred, as I went back to sleep.

A couple hours later I am woken by a knock at the door. It's Michelle. She explains how they climbed up the mountain, but after an hour or so Fred disclosed that at that slow pace they wouldn't be able to make it by sunrise. So they decided to turn back. Ain't no shame in it, apparently not everyone makes it to the summit in time. At least she tried.

We woke up proper several hours later and ate our buffet breakfast (gotta carbo load!). We looked around and aside from a couple people almost everyone had at least attempted the summit. There must've been 80 or 90 people staying at the lodge. I started to feel maybe despite the pain, I should have powered on.

The descent was relatively uneventful. Aside from a couple groups of eager beavers passing us, we didn't see many people. We did come across numerous porters though, ferrying goods up and down the mountain. Some of the loads were probably 40 or 50kg on their backs, they were sweating like crazy. A couple guys were carrying large 2 metre long metal rods as they hopped from rock to rock. It made our struggle seem not so bad. And aside from the last two kms when my knees started to give out again and my legs started to wobble, it wasn't as bad as we expected.

Would I ever do the climb again? Probably not. It's not something I would describe as being "fun", it's more that it gives you a huge sense of achievement. And the view is pretty damn special. Even though we didn't make it all the way, I am still pretty proud that we of the fact made the 6kms to the lodge.

Whoever said "It's not the destination, it's the journey" has obviously never climbed Mount Kinabalu before. Jerks.

Mt Kinabalu: 1
David Tang: 0

I sorted my taxes for 2008 today, just managing to get it in (2 days before deadline). I went to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)  office in Novena, lined up and got my password. The girl at the counted asked if I wanted assistance with submitting my details. Since I'd never done it before I said yes. I took a number, waited a little while before I was called up. Another girl helped me enter my details and... that was it! All up the process took less than half an hour. The best part? For the year of 2008, the amount of tax I had to pay was less than $350. SHIT BRO! Granted, I didn't work the full year (since I only started in March) but still, SHIT BRO!

Singapore rocks.


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