Sunday, July 3, 2011

Karma's Luck

Fun Fact: Did you know that a symbol on the Singapore dollar glows neon while under a blacklight?

I found out this interesting fact while taking out some money while at a "Glow In the Dark" store, that's something I didn't expect. Singapore has an interesting relationship with money, whether it be through anti-forging measures (their money is not paper, but plastic) or even traditions on good karma and wealth. I found this tidbit out when one of my coworkers from Spain found a S$5 bill on the ground while heading in for work, thus leading to a deep conversation on the ethics of money. My Singaporean grad student supervisor all asked us this simple question after hearing about his discovery, "If you found money on the ground, what would you do with it?" I had to answer with, "It depends on the amount of money," because a small amount of money found and kept isn't hurting anybody, right? Now imagine yourself stumbling on $5 or maybe even $20 0r $100, how would this scenario play out with you? Personally, a small amount is no big deal. Now if it was a large amount, I would report it missing. BUT interestingly enough, even if it's a coin found on the ground, the most reasonable thing that my grad student would donate it. Every effort would be made to find the owner of the missing money because it is actually bad luck for you, the finder, to keep the financial gain. Why? Because you are actually passing bad luck to yourself! In essence, you used up your good luck in place of someone elses bad luck--and bad karma will kick in as a result. I might take that moral to heart and donate dropped money in the future because it is with good reason.

My 21st birthday update! WOW I have never had so much fun on my birthday weekend in my life. My birthday (June 17) landed on a friday, so I worked for most of the day with a really cool morning birthday surprise crafted by Devinn, then I visited Asia Beerfest, which was epic. I have never seen so many beers in one place in my life, but I only sampled a Kronenberg lager and decided that was enough to last me the whole night. I then met my co-workers at Zam Zam Singapore Indian restaurant, but I was too late to eat anything! So we went for desserts on Arab Street, a beautiful Arabian District with mosques on almost every corner, and street venders selling really good (and spicy) food and elegant sari's and pashmina scarves. It was soo pretty so I will be making another visit on a different date, but for dessert, I had to try out a homemade wine sherbert. We followed up with yet another excursion for really interesting Singaporean desserts--I bought beancurd and You Tiao, which is a delish pastry (pics below). That sums up Friday night fun!

Saturday, one of my co-workers invited me to a picnic on Sentosa beach, a really popular beach in Southern Singapore. We followed it up with good food, great desserts (Ias Kacang!), and wonderful company. The topper of the night was seaside fireworks! I can honestly say that this was the best birthday I have ever had, and these memories stick with me forever.

It's really pleasant to have a good relationship with my co-workers as most of them are around my age (ranging from19 to 24 yrs old). But when we are all in the lab, we know there is work to be done! I can't give too much information on my exact experiments (company policy, and if that is strict for ya, you should see the armed soldier with a barking german shepard that I have to pass at the gates to get to work, plus the metal detector scanning with biometric card and fingerprinting). What I can say is that I am running experiments on increasing glycerol production in algae by modifying its environment. Currently, I am testing the total carbon that composes the algae to determine the percent carbon dedication to glycerol synthesis. It's really fun stuff and I cannot wait to see the results!

As a side note, I have had really interesting luck with meeting and making friends with Singaporean people. The weekend after my birthday, I decided to go to Chinese Gardens at 10pm (mind you, the gardens close at 11 pm, I don't know what possesed me to go up there so late anyway) and I was walking around Fragrance Garden enjoying the floral air until I seen bright lights on a fancy Chinese pagoda. So I was curious and walked over to the lights and guess what I saw... a film crew! A large group of people were actually filming a scene from a movie "True Love" that they expect to enter into Indie movie festivals. The movie is about a husband and wife who have to make a decision on who they really love in life due to a series of unfortunate events. The husband made a bad decision with a gangster loan shark and must now decide on taking the life of his wife or another man affiliated with the loan, but things get heated when he finds that his wife is in love with someone else...another woman.

It was the coolest thing EVER, but I forgot my camera!! I got to see two scenes being filmed, one being the choking and death scene but I can't tell you who the husband chose! And another where the woman ended the relationship with the wife. I also met the actor and actresses that were in the scenes along with the makeup artist, movie photographer, and the movie director! The movie should be finished soon si I will be sure to post updates. Shocklingly, everyone was around my age, with the director being at the ripe age of 24, so we swapped facebook accounts (oh, facebook) and one of the actresses gave me her phone number, that was unreal! Most of the crew was Singaporean with the remaining few from San Francisco, CA. I actually HAD to get to know the film crew after a while because the garden ranger came over to us and was yelling at us for being at the gardens for so long (this was 10:55pm, technically my cue to leave but I couldn't resist!). A little over a half hour later (11:30pm, past garden closing time) the guard returns and starts shouting swear words at the director in both English and Malay language! Everyone told me that the guard would only do the same to me if I left now so I had to stay with them until the end, which ended up being 12:00am. They actually had one more scene to shoot but I had had enough action for one night. Then, a few weeks later, the actress called me and invited me to a Ladies Night Out, which I was more than happy to attend (pics below with the director crashing in on our ladies night!). It was soo much fun, I can't contain it! If only words could describe! I can't even catch a film crew in the US! I still have more adventures to share, including our 4th of July, Singapore-style! That is all for now and good luck on your adventures!


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