Sunday, June 05, 2005

13 days: X'mas came early this year

In a utter fluke of luck Corydora from Flickr has given me a Flickr Pro account - absolutely free-of-charge!

And just as everyone knows, in my world (or the Singaporean world) of simple joys - getting free stuff ranks.. right up there with excellent bak chor mee.

Was very frustrated because I had not realised that Flickr would have limited me to only 3 sets... and it's always such a hassle to pay for something online (irony: noted) but I always eyed the Pro account.. figured something I'd buy for myself in the future. Flickr really does have some excellent stuff... too much digital if you ask me, but interesting topics and themes such as this one called "The Last Person On Earth".. very Vanilla Sky.. I like.

So now when you view my stuff on Flickr, i got this little icon that calls me a "Pro". Cheap cheap thrills.


Astrid Stort from the land of legal happiness has arrived. It's really quite a kick ass way to end the trip, because Astrid has got to be one of the best sources of inspiration I've EVER met.

She's not a photographer per se, she works for the UNHCR. She's lived in Africa, Balkans, China, Middle East, speaks 8 languages including French, German, Italian, Latin Mandarin, Arabic and others. She studied in Amsterdam intending to be a journalist, but just happened to have an interest in languages which led her to a year-long exchange in China which led her to be an excellent candidate for a junior officer post in UNHCR which just happened to want people in China... to cut a long story short, she's been everywhere, almost every major crisis region in recent years, and she doesn't even look her age (which is 38).

And it's just so unbelievable to meet someone who have such a fairytale life... Seriously.. working with the people, seeing your efforts in real life, not just making calls from some office in Geneva, getting to write about what you experience and take photos.. I thought it was only in the movies because I don't think it gets any better.

Don't believe how kewl she is? Just Google her name Astrid van Genderen Stort. I got her in Jordon, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Iraq and Liberia on the first hit page. And she's stayed in all those places, not touch and go, shake hand give speech hello byebye kind of trip.. but real work.

And she's nice too. Down-to-earth and completely normal. Sillier than I am with Kitty, and prone to breaking out into songs as and when she fees like it. Not one of those super over achievers who got scholarships and went to the best universities... just completely normal. And yet after 10 years in the business, still as enthusiastic as ever in chatting about her work to me. I mean, how frustrating must it be to talk to someone young who doesn't know shit about what you do.. having to explain all the basic stuff? She seems fine with it though.

I am very relieved to meet people like that, because they are living proof that my dreams are not out of reach. And ya you know me, I always need proof.


Feline update:

Peter has agreed to take kitty with him to his village. Initial plans to smuggle her back illegally has been scrapped because I'm very afraid i'll overdose it on Valium and kill it. And erm.. I'm really not kidding leh.

I had a very long post that was lost yesterday about how much I love kitty and all the cute things that it did, but now I don't want to talk about kitty anymore.