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The 1st month of 2004 had zipped by as quickly as it came. It was nice to end it with the Hari Raya Haji break and some well deserved rest.
Just some bits of pieces of the year thus far…

1) January was all about food glorious food, as we end 15 days of the Lunar New Year celebrations. In some ways, I’m very thankful that ‘Yu Seng’ is most eaten only during this period.

2) The Avian Influenza (or Bird Flu) is erupting to a very concerning state. The current strain, H5N1; when contracted is 70% death. 11 countries, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, South Korea, Laos, Pakistan, Japan and Taiwan, have reported outbreaks in birds in recent weeks. 50 million birds culled and 19 people died. Somehow the effect and seriousness hasn’t really hit home as hard, unlike SARS. Flu jabs have increased in a 40% jump, but the biggest question these days surrounds how safe it is to eat chicken!

3) The 1st movie of 2004 was Edward Zwick’s “The Last Samurai”. For some reason, there seems to be a sudden surge of Samurai, Kurusawa and Geisha materials. The ½ “Dances with Wolves” ½ “Braveheart” and “The Last of the Mohicans” epic felt long. The redeeming factor was largely cinematographer, John Toll’s (`Legends of the Fall') beautiful pictures; transforming New Zealand landscapes as Japan. Tom Cruise is still looking good at 42.

4) I’ve completed the 4 part “Battlestar Galactica” Mini Series. I’ve never caught the late 1970s version of this Sci-Fi flick, so I had little comments for many who complained that the plot and characters didn’t gel with the original. Sci-Fi channel had bought 6 additional episodes to be filmed. Worth checking it out.

5) Attended a NUS Medicine Charity Premiere of Tim Burton’s “Big Fish”. Love Tim Burton’s works… but “Big Fish” lacked the boldness and shivery feel. The story is very Roald Dahl. The film was bright and wholesome! An unusual take and experience.

6) I'm already looking forward to St. Valentine’s Day. Getting ready to be ripped off by expensive V-Day dinner menus and flowers! I’m a sucker anyway…

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