Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Car Accident in Jeju Island [South Korea] & What Should Have Been Done.

The original intention was to write a day-by-day itinerary of my just-concluded South Korean trip but i think the above subject shall take precedence given the impact it has on me and my family.

I had a car accident in Jeju Island. 

In a nutshell, i dozed off and the next thing i heard was my sister exclaiming where the heck i was going. *BANG* the car went up the kerb and hit a signpost. Airbags exploded out of the steering wheel (and the dashboard) and the car came to an abrupt stop!

Shocked doesn't quite describe my emotion then. 

I was more worried for both my sisters! Joyce appeared to be fine and Louise, seated at the back, was in a daze and asked what happened. Another Hyundai, 66구 6173, stopped in front of us and three ladies (a mother with her two daughters) dashed out to check if we are alright. So nice right?!?!?

As i was about to say "we are fine", one of the daughters pointed to my sister and gave a muffled scream. I turned to see Louise literally dripping blood! No picture as i absolutely think it is inappropriate; the safety and well being of my sister shall come first!! 

An ambulance came swiftly (everything happened so fast and i didn't really time; i was in a daze and honestly unprepared on what to do next) and all three of us were brought to the nearby Seogwipo Medical Centre. Darn, i didn't even mange to express my gratefulness to the three ladies!! 

Louise was found to have a laceration near her eyelid that eventually required eight stitches but just to play safe, the attending doctor (a Dr Cho who thankfully could speak English) recommended a CT-scan which we agreed. Everything was cleared and i heaved a sigh of relief! 

Condition of my sister's injury as of 19 October 2014; currently, there are some bruises around her eye which would likely subside in the next few days. 

Deservingly, i also had some injuries; second degree burns on my right arm, bruises on my well hidden fat tummy and abrasions on my neck and left arm. 

I wasn't too concerned about myself and chose to seek medical treatment after Louise; I am filled with endless guilt as i couldn't shrink away from my responsibility as the driver as well as the culprit for this accident! :(

The patch of skin was gone and even though it didn't look too bad at that point; raw pinkness has set in and it kind of reminded me of the pink middle of a medium-rare steak. 

Wrapped arm as seen on the second day of the accident. The dressing was a pain in the ass since it deters me from washing myself efficiently! Even the supposedly waterproof opsite dressing failed miserably. 

Total medical bills came up to be ₩664,670 (roughly S$800). No police report was made as we didn't hit any other vehicle / person. That's another big relief. 

Sidetracked a little, i totally love the way the medications were being dispensed in the hospital! Each sachet (printed with my name) has all the medications i would require in one sitting; hence, it is just a matter of tearing it up, dumping the pills into my mouth and swallowing them with a mug of water!  Convenient right!? 

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Given this unfortunate experience, i think it would be good to share some afterthoughts. First and foremost, never tire yourself out! If you know you are sleepy, park the car at the car park and take a snooze! 

Second, note the emergency number!! In South Korea, the ambulance number is 119. From what i remember (not sure how true that is), emergency numbers would work even if you have no roaming services! In case i am wrong, always opt for roaming when you are overseas.

Lastly, the major issue i faced in Korea was the language barrier. In my honest opinion, i have heard better Mandarin than English from some of the Koreans. Therefore, note the number for voluntary interpretation service.

For the ladies of vehicle 66구 6173, i am really, really indebted to your help and assistance. Without the three of you to calm us down and follow up with contacting the ambulance and car rental company, we would definitely be in a nervous fix! 

Thank you, thank you and thank you! p.s. i would try to contact the car rental company to check if i could have their contacts but in case anyone can help, i would be most grateful too! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Out of Singapore - to South Korea!

As some of you are aware, the lack of update in this blog is not because of my waning interest; I have actually flown to South Korea last Wednesday and in fact could not wait to tell all of you about the experience I have! 

Anyway, i shall be back on Wednesday (yes, this is a short trip) and will have a post that would surely catch the attention of my family and friends. Look out for it!

Till then, annyeong! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Giant Panda Forest - Saying Hi to Kai Kai & Jia Jia @ River Safari [Singapore]

A visit to River Safari is never complete without saying "ni hao" to Kai Kai & Jia Jia, the giant pandas from China that are currently on a ten-year loan to Singapore! 

It would not be my first time seeing a giant panda though; i had the fortune of catching them in action in my recent trip to Taiwan and a few years ago in Beijing

There was a preview session costing S$5 a person when they first arrived, mainly because River Safari was still in the midst of completion. Back then, i really don't see the point of paying that kind of money just to see two pandas! In Beijing, i could see a dozen for only one Singapore dollar! 

Anyway, here's a photograph of dad with the two chubby pandas. Guess this is the nearest we can go unless there are plans to tour Sichuan (a province in China) where you can have a photo opportunity right next to a live giant panda.

Two other animals are housed within this large S$8.6 million enclosure since this area is also promoted as the Yangtze River zone; one of which is the Golden Pheasant.

Like their peacock cousins, the males are the ones with a brightly coloured plumage. The very first time i heard of this bird, it was through a drama known as Journey to the West; the golden pheasant in the show was a demon that has been training for thousands of years to attain human-form! 

The other animal shares one half the name of a Giant Panda yet not really closely related to it; the cat like red panda which has a closer scientific relationship with raccoon. 

Looked very huggable right?! Not when the nails appeared to be super sharp! 

Despite having a carnivorous gut, the giant panda's diet is almost exclusively bamboo. In captivity, they would however be supplemented by food other than just bamboo. There is also the occasional steamed snack known as Wua Tou. 

Entering the realm of Kai Kai! 

View from another angle. Kai Kai was born in 14 September 2007 at Woolong Giant Panda Research Centre and was transferred to another research facility in Ya'an after the devastating 2008 earthquake, 

Lazy ass was sleeping!!!

Okay, he woke up! Not sure if you noticed but his nose seemed discoloured. From the many displays of the pandas for River Safari, the nose was totally black!

Didn't realise he had such long eye lashes! 

I went back to his enclosure after my lunch and this time, he was seated in a position that was so Po in the animation movie; Kungfu Panda! 

Another photo.

He was panting in this picture. I am not a vet or an animal behaviorist but in dogs, this is often said to be an expression of nervousness or stressful. I would be if i am caged up for life. 

As i was exiting, there came a flurry of excitement; inactive Kai Kai has climbed up a tree! 

A classic "Po" posture! 

Hm..... in the movie, i don't remember seeing something sticking out in between the legs. It could be a tail for all that matters! 

Well, i might be wrong judging from Kai Kai's happy expression. Maybe it would not be long before we hear of a new birth in the Giant Panda Forest. 

Before stepping into the world of Jia Jia, the female giant panda, you have to walk through the information filled section. We had a group of young kids with us who were participating in a Giant Panda activity. 

It's amazing how something so small at birth can grow into something that humongous when fully grown! Anyway, don't you think a newborn panda looks like a baby rat? 

Dad again! When i was young, he would be the one asking me to pose for his camera. Roles reversal now since i am the one requesting him to do it for my DSLR! 

About to enter! 

Do note the "don'ts"! No flash photography is a well-known rule but you are supposed to keep quiet too given how shy and timid the giant pandas are. 

Where is Jia Jia?!?!? 

Searching for jia jia can wait; a customary photo of dad shall take precedence. 

I noticed an access point to the great outdoors (meaning hot and humid) and wondered if the pandas have ever attempted to go out of their fully air-conditioned enclosure. 

Wide walkway to accommodate the visitors; during the S$5 a person time, viewing was limited to only 15-minute block with a maximum of 150 persons! 

Awwwwwww, there's our beauty! 

Date of birth - 03 September 2008 at Ya'an base of China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda; the same one that Kai Kai went to after the earthquake! 

Shy in nature, some of my friends who have been to River Safari told me they didn't manage to see Jia Jia except for a CCTV screen showing her in a separate private room behind the open enclosure. 

Guess we were fortunate then although she was just walking around in circles. Quite sad actually; that's the dilemma of animal lovers. We would like to see animals walking free yet we could not resist having a closer look at them in a safer environment. 

The photogenic Jia Jia.

How come the butt so dirty!?!?! 

Three types of reptiles were also on display even though most visitors' eyes would be drawn to the television screen right on top.

'Private den' of Jia Jia! Frankly, it looked more like a jailhouse to me! Might help to have some 'toys' for her; for example, a yoga ball!

As expected, the last section of the Giant Panda Forest would be a retail shop selling everything and anything related to the cute cuddly black and white giants! 

A video of Jia Jia to end this post! 

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Location
Giant Panda Forest within River Safari.
[Admission ticket to River Safari applies]

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