Thursday, September 30, 2004

Driven to distraction

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Mamma Mia - ABBA - The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
For once, I read something on other blogs about work and I liked the way something was said. So and so was 'distracted by work'. I like that. I have been distracted by work the past couple of days and have been increasingly tired of people saying 'busy is good', and 'you must be raking in the cash'. Luvvies, the only thing I am raking is the ton of paperwork on my desk and on my computer, and the only compelling reason I am on the blog right now is because I want to plug my friend's fabulous one-man show again. And we're more or less keeping things within family and friends: A friend is the announcer, my brother's the photographer, a classmate is the scriptwriter, and I'm the plugger. My best friend's one-man show. It is good. Go watch it. Mrs Goh Chok Tong watched it last night, and enjoyed Hossan's song about her husband's career. You should too.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Sure as a snake along the river

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Loving a Hurricane - John Hiatt - Perfectly Good Guitar
Some days, life's the pits. While I wouldn't say today was one of those days, I still feel that some days, life's the pits. Get my drift?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Mother of all headaches

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Little Head - John Hiatt - Little Head
I have the mother of all headaches. Distorted vision. Cock-eyed. Oh Lordy help me

Monday, September 27, 2004

Crabby Sunday

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Porgy and Bess, opera: Orchestral suite - George Gershwin - Gershwin: Rhapsody; Porgy and Bess
Landlubbers! It was a miserably grey Sunday. By miserable, I mean the Singapore sort of miserable. Overcast, hot and still very humid from the morning's thunderstorm. I had intended to set out to Pasir Ris Park to see about renting a kayak, and after a good half hour's drive, I got there only to discover that the kayak shop where I used to rent kayaks from was no more. There was however, a People's Association Sea Sports Centre Club thing, and that looked promising. So I went in and asked about renting a kayak. Are you a member? No. We rent to members only. And even if you joined today we need to see certification of your kayak proficiency. What the deuce?! I am a Kayaking God, for crying out loud! I said. I've been kayaking the open seas since you were in nappies, I said some more. I've kayaked to Tioman, met sharks, sea turtles, braved the biggest storms and been so sunburnt my mother didn't recognise me when I came home, I went on. After I mentally shouted at the Sea Spock Crub guy like that, I then spent about three minutes mentally giving him several one-twos with my imaginary paddle. No, Kayaking God, Nooooooooo.... OK, OK we give you kayak. You can kayak all you want for free! Any time. Our crub is your crub! Good. I want a monthly ceremony where you pick a nubile young female kayaker as a human sacrifice to honour me. And she has to be a cutie. So, after I put my errant subjects in their place, I walked around the park for something else to do. There was nothing. Unless I wanted to pay $1 to enter this miserable petting zoo at the Fisherman's Village where you could pay $1 to enter and pet such cuddly creatures as fish, chickens and ducks. I left Pasir Ris feeling really crabby. Speaking of crabs, she had some recently, and recently my friend's boyfriend was tasked to make bookings for a holiday in Krabi, and so he went online and googled, yahood, msn'd and dogpiled 'Crabby', then complained he couldn't find much information on Crabby, Thailand. Don't fence me in | listen here

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Stealing time

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Uncommon Connection - John Hiatt & The Goners - Beneath This Gruff Exterior Bonus Disc
I was just sitting here waiting for things to pass and something to blog about when a work related email came in and I had to get on it right away. Bloggus Interruptus. Earlier in the evening I shelved plans to hit some balls at the range; go for dinner with the boys; go for tea with the one true love; go for coffee with LMD (actually she shelved this one - drank too much liao); go for a movie by my lonesome. Too much go. I stayed in instead and put on a DVD I bought a month earlier but haven't had the chance to watch. It's called 'A Japanese Story'. After watching it, I still can't decide if it was a good idea to watch it or not. I can't quite put a finger on it. I liked it but I don't like liking it at the moment. I don't know how best to explain this. I'm just slightly overwhelmed by the deluge of emotions the story engenders. Perhaps if you read this review or if you got the DVD to watch it for yourself, you might get a better idea. I've been running around like a headless chook lately, sleeping late, waking late, going to work groggy. But I have this Sunday, today, work-free, I hope. I am thinking of turning off the mobile and really stopping to smell the flowers for a change. Something different from stealing bits of sunshine and fresh air every few hours. I reckon I deserve a real stretch of down time, I do.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Quiet beers

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto - Takako Nishizaki - Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto [UK]
Last night my good friend the rabbit owner came up with the best suggestion I've heard in yonks. She said 'Let's go to a coffee shop and have beer'. Radical for a Friday night I reckon. So we went, had a coupla those big 600ml (or so) bottles (at $6 each, cheap!), chewed the fat, let the rabbit roam free for awhile, cleaned up rabbit pellets, and then went home. But not before I received one of them Friday night DRTMs: "I am so pissed. Been drinking so much beer. My waist line!". Why pay more at pubs and clubs? Party at your neigbourhood Coffee Shop!

Friday, September 24, 2004

Ants in my Army pants too

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Things Have Changed - Bob Dylan - Wonder Boys [Soundtrack]
The chatter has begun. Me and my Reservist (I still use that term even though they've called us NSmen for the past ten years) platoon have a Yahoo! Group where we keep each other posted on rumours of what the powers that be have in store for us during in-camp. We also use our Yahoo! Group to announce important things, such as weddings and births and when we can meet up for drinks. It's roughly two months out from this year's ICT, and we're a little nervous. Apparently there won't be any nights out in the second week, and weekends will be spent in-camp. The 'good' news is that very soon after this ICT, there'll be another in 2005, which will be in Australia! Woohoo! There, we will revise how to fight in the desert or something. Very useful. The fact that I am so looking forward to reservist is testament to my needing a holiday very, very badly. Next month's trip to HK is not considered one. I am going there for the ex's wedding. Yes, I am feeling antsy, just like most everyone else. And if this gets any worse, I'll want to cut someone. Or something. Today's coffee break, brought to you by Grand Hyatt Singapore

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Whetting appetites

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Short People - Randy Newman - The Best of Randy Newman
Because we are Fresh Air Fiends, we were seated in the tiny outdoor section of this restaurant, located off the Club Street carpark. It was like our very own balcony. My headhunter friend and my best friend had summoned me to lunch today, saying it would be a quick bite. And I had believed my headhunter friend because he’'s one of those corporate drone types, rushing from meetings to meetings, every single day. What I had forgotten was that it'’s been a year since I’'ve had a quick bite with him and he'’s since risen up the corporate drone ladder, and is now queen drone or something. My first reaction on arriving at the restaurant was ‘'Mein Gott, it looks expensive, and I just had Da Paolo’'s last night'’. READ MORE AT LIQUIDBLADE'S GASTRONOMY BLOG

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Sunny Day

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Days Like This - Van Morrison - Days Like This
Did y'all see how blue the sky was today? Very. It was so sunny at 8.55 am this morning, when the one true love called and woke me up, that I resolved to move very slowly, lest I broke into unnecessary sweat. It was a day for the beach, and not work, but unfortunately, you know ler. Still, I couldn't let it all go to waste, and thanks to the one true love, I had brekkie under an umbie under the clear blue sky. The rest of daytime was terribly nondescript, as it tends to be with work days, but thanks to good ol' understanding ol' loving ol' wifey, a fabulous dinner was taken at the village. Just as well too, because all I had for lunch and brekkie was a bagel because it was too hot to want to eat. In case you missed it

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Hupp, hupp, and (h)away

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Song to the Moon {from Rusalka} {from Driving Miss Daisy} - Lesley Garrett - Diva
I have a friend whose sister plays the Hupp, she says. She will be performing in a solo concert called 'A Harp Affair'. The concert will showcase her immense talent with the instrument, and showcases evergreen favourites such as 'Claire de Lune', which you might hear in elevators around the world, and in some cafes. While I cannot say I like listening to the Hupp, I find myself impressed by my friend's sister. She seems the quintessential high achiever, and won the University Medal at UNSW in Architecture before she embarked on her music studies in the U.S. And as with a lot of talented people residing in Singapore, she is not Singaporean. This Seremban girl lives here to take full advantage of the government's throwing of much money into what they call the Arts. Singapore is her Hupp Hub. There are very few pieces which feature the harp and which I like. Like 'Song to the Moon' (listen here). Unfortunately my friend's sister doesn't play them. So, if you are inclined towards chamber music (chamber, therefore can be played in elevator), go watch her and perhaps be as impressed as I was when I watched her. If not, my best friend's show opens next week. Go get your tickets, because apparently the show'll sell out real fast, or so he's told me to tell youse. There's him playing the piano and singing on the show too. But he won't be playing the Hupp or singing 'Song to the Moon'. (Thank goodness). See? So many things to see, hear and do. Why stay home and read other people's blogs and then blog about them? But if you really, really want to do that, you could do worse than to read this post and its comments. I say. What resolve. What determination. What don't-care-if-people-think-I-am-gormless-ness. Compelling stuff. So, don't let people you blog about make you doubt what you blog when you blog. Tell people to sod off.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Chased by the sun

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Black the Sun - Alex Lloyd - Live at the Wireless
At lunch today at Spinelli's, I spied an attractive young woman at the next table, doing homework. She had spread her work across the table meant for four. Her work consisted of sketches and drawings and clippings from a dozen fashion magazines she had stacked on the table as well. As she frowned over her work, the sun peeked through the grey skies, the glass roof and the skinny trees and onto her. She changed seats. The sun followed. She changed seats again. And again, till she ended up full circle back to where she started. Today in blogdom, there was discontent aplenty. People were bored and appalled that their own blogging had perhaps turned into a panacea for ills that they did not quite understand. One actually thought her blogging so much meant she was lacking ambition. Another thought of taking a break from blogging. Others were bored, and frustrated by the futility of their work, and of their existence. So how, like that? A friend drew a very long bow, suggesting a reason as to why it's all out of our hands anyway. Well, whatever it is, the reasons are out of our hands whaaat. Someone said that the seemingly endless succession of dramatic moments in some people's lives is merely a substitute for true purpose in life, but it is a powerful substitute. Especially useful when you really don't have or can't figure out a real purpose in life. I say don't waste time trying to figure it out. Unless, along the way, you have excellent adventures which turn into excellent stories for to tell the whole world. Why? Because the rest of us enjoy it if you tell them well. It got a bit hot to sit there after a while

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Lazy Sunday

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: I Still Call Australia Home - Peter Allen - Singer-Songwriter: The Anthology
I'm baaack.
To my right was a table of youngish looking expat looking women, one of whom had a lovely Labrador leashed to her chair, sleeping on its side. An hour later, another attractive expat looking woman came by with her Labrador, asked for a table outside and was dragged by the dog to the table on my left. Cute women with cute doggies. Mmmm
Read more here at Liquidblade's Gastronomy Blog.

Hold my cock and count three times

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Goldberg Variation (aria) - Alexis Wesseinberg - A chance of sunshine
Posted on Days Were The Those
I last met 'Red Underwear' Ang Teck Hock last year during In-Camp Training. It was the first time we had met since I ROD'd in 1991. I walked up to that familiar but slightly more wizened figure, and said 'Encik, Ho Boh?', and was surprised, shocked even, that firstly, he remembered who I was, and second, he spoke in English! Eh, Buddha, how are you? You having ICT? I saw Tat Kai and Foong last year, he said, smiling.
Read full post here

Saturday, September 18, 2004


iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Crazy Love - Aaron Neville, Robbie Robertson - Phenomenon [Original Soundtrack]
I am having one of those days. You know, the 'life is a series of disjointed and unrelated events' days, where those said events are connected by fate only if you imagine them to be? Well, yeah. So. I went shopping yesterday for women's things with a sweetie who's about to land herself a job and so has the perfect reason (I didn't say excuse) to buy herself a nice outfit, a bag, and a sensible pair of shoes. Now, you know when you find a sweetie likeable enough that you don't want to embarrass yourself too much revealing too much of yourself and your funky little habits and neuroses, you tend to be a little bit aloof and reserved. And likewise, I try to remain a little distant and aloof, and not reveal too much of myself and my ditziness. However, when it comes to shopping, and I don't mean buying stuff, I cannot help but gush about the nice shirt I saw, the sexy shoes on the shelf, and the tray of cufflinks at Raoul. Now, that sweetie was supposed to have bought stuff for herself, but we ended up buying a shirt for me and looking through the tray of cufflinks at Raoul. Worse was to come. I couldn't help but display my knack of scanning a rack of women's clothes and picking out the exact, perfect combo for her to try. Guaranteed 100% success rate. I am not boasting or anything. In fact, I am embarrassed. Years of being dragged by my mother shopping has programmed me. When I was a child, I found that the best way to expedite the end of a shopping excursion with mother was to make sure I concentrated on picking out the right clothes for her. Faster buy. Faster go home. Unfortunately for the Sweetie, the sizes were one too big for her, and there was nuffin the salespeople could do abourrit. As if that weren't enough to make people cast aspersions on my masculinity, I actually like talking about shopping for women's clothes. And after shopping, I spoke non-stop to the Sweetie's best friend about the lovely shirt I saw that unfortunately wouldn't fit. At the best of times, her best friend would've had large enough eyes, but they bulged a little more in amazement when I answered her question of 'shirt for who?' with 'for her lah!'. Then after work today I had dinner with E and because I hadn't been spending all that much time with her lately, we had a lot to catch up on. We spoke at length about her boyfriend and how silly he was leaving their holiday plans to the last minute so that they had trouble getting a flight back to Singapore, and how she had screwed up her schedule as a result. Then we spoke about my shopping problem. Then we spoke about my trip to HK and how I would react to seeing the ex get married. Then we spoke about her getting married eventually, when her boyfriend finally at the last minute decides to marry her, and how, as a result of my shopping problem, I'd be the perfect candidate to help her pick out a wedding dress. As we were talking, one of the ex's Singaporean friends (the ex is an alien) rocked up and said hi, saying she didn't recognize me for I had lost so much weight since the last time she saw me, and that she only recognized my voice because my voice was so distinctive. So I spoke with her a little about staying at the ex's apartment at Causeway Bay over the weekend before her wedding and how I'd react to seeing her get married. The night before, the Sweetie, her best friend and me had rocked up to our usual tea and supper place at Spize, where the Sweetie bumped into her ex's mates, who know who I am as well. Those mates tell me I've lost a lot of weight since the last time they saw me.

Friday, September 17, 2004


iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Freda (With The Naturally Curly Hair) - Vince Guaraldi Trio - Jazz Impressions Of A Boy Named Charlie Brown
There's this friend of mine who plays pool as poorly as I do. Our philosophy behind our game (or lack of) is 'the path of least resistance'. We can make the cue ball miss every damn thing except the pockets. We can make a coin-operated pool game last half an hour if we played each other. But he has a theory. He believes that the game of pool (and possibly, snooker) is the domain of Bengs and their molls. The better you are at it, the Benger you are. Or Lianer, for that matter. He goes further: If you are good at pool, you are likely to be: 1) Homophobic, or don't have any gay friends 2) Good with cars, or at least think that a great car is one that cannot clear a speed bump 3) Not very well read 4) A soccer fan 5) An avid gambler 6) Really fast at SMSing 7) Prone to putting emphasis on the wrong syllable when saying 'Lavender Street'. My friend said a coupla things more, but I think he's just jealous he can't really play pool. 'Cos the wife, who plays a reasonably mean game at times, isn't much of a Lian, really. And neither is the sweetie who whipped mine and the boys' arses at pool last night, though she does drive good. "...for those viewers with black and white televisions, the blue ball is behind the pink one..."

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Nosso good work day

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: La Danse de Mardi Gras - Balfa Brothers - Original Soundtrack - Passion Fish
No money, never mind, sponge off friends for a bit. They don't mind very much, especially as you provide such scintillating company as I do. And I do. Me and the boys went to our local for the first time in yonks and had our usual beer, hot dogs and chips. (ok, wedges). Then we went to Pot Black underneath the Hard Rock Cafe and played several games of pool, damaging the ceiling with the cue at one point. Other than that, nothing else happened apart from work. And I don't like to talk about work. Talk about work and people ask where you work, and you don't really wanna tell, 'cos you don't want your work to be related to your funky little neuroses you put up on your blog. Talking about work also bores some people to tears, no matter how sordid the affair you're having with your boss may be. It is a workplace affair and only shows how little you really get out. It's only ever OK for me to talk about work if I've just gotten a new job, or if I've just been sacked, or if my business is making a million bucks a day and I don't have to give a flying fish about people making the connection between my work and my funky little neuroses. It's also alright I guess if I worked in a hospital and it was the middle of a SARS outbreak or somesuch and I was quarantined with my laptop and internet connection. But otherwise, no. Yes, my work day wasn't so good, and there wasn't much I could do about it. All I can say is that my business partners have a sore shoulder, a screwy leg, a skin infection; and I am nursing a bung knee. It is quite a severe sick list. But at least there were friends with enough money to buy me a beer, a hotdog, some chips and a few games of pool.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Bee Hoon

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Grand Mamou - John Delafose & the Eunice Playboys - Original Soundtrack - Passion Fish
At the substantial risk of putting another tune in her head, here's one that's stuck in mine. Sharing the love: Skidamarink a dink a dink, Skidamarink a doo, Bee Hoon too. Bee Hoon in the morning and in the afternoon. Bee Hoon in the evening and underneath the moon. Oh, Skidamarink a dink, a dink, Skidamarink a doo, Bee Hoon too. ~The Skidamarink a Dink a Dink Song (adapted) I've had Bee Hoon for breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner at one of those ubiquitous Bee Hoon + Luncheon Meat + Fried Egg + Ngor Hiang stalls at hawker centres around the island, except now there's no fried egg to be had. Anywhere. Except where LMD lunches. She gets eggs. Anyway, the Bee Hoon's cheap, though the pricing varies. I usually have a slice of Luncheon Meat and an Egg or Ngor Hiang, but prices vary from $1.80 to $2.30 depending on which part of the island you dine at. So far, it's $1.80 at Jurong East, $2.30 at Bukit Purmei and $2.00 flat at Holland Village. And man, the bulk of the Bee Hoon fills you up real good. Great for times when you're skint. Like now. So skint. I'm gonna have to siphon petrol out of my mother's car soon. This Bee Hoon diet's not quite low-carb though, so if you're on some Atkins Diet type diet, you can forget it. Then again, if you're as skint as I, you don't need an Atkins Diet. The wife gave me a coin bank she got from some Campbell's Soup promo, and I've been putting coins in them for a month or so now. Good thing too, because when you're skint, they come in handy at the hawker centres for the Bee Hoon and Kopi. Only thing is, it's a bit weird carrying a Campbell's Soup Can Coin Bank, so I leave that in the car and take out a handful of coins to put in my pocket every time I have to go buy food. And because I've been skint, I haven't been in the mood to swipe out my camera to take pictures of my food and a part of my dining companion, as has become my custom. But I promise, once I'm rich, fine and dandy again, I'll start annoying people with the camera at meals once more. It's not all gloom and doom though, when you're skint. There are so many things you appreciate more, so many creative ways to enjoy what there is to enjoy. I take more walks, drive less, buy less, sit outside That CD Shop at Pacific Plaza and listen to whatever chill-out Buddha Bar modern music they're playing on their fabulous sound system. I enjoy going out with my equally skint friends, who, likewise, enjoy simple pleasures such as taking their pet rabbit out walkies (hoppies) in a straw bag. The bunny's so cute I think we're gonna start a one-animal petting zoo and make some spare change. Failing that, we're thinking of making the rabbit pick 4-D numbers, you know, rabbit's foot and all that? I also go to the driving range and sure enough, there's always an absent-minded golf-ball hitter who's left his stored value golf ball card on the golf ball dispenser: If there're credits left, free game; No credits left, go to the pro shop and get a $6 refund. Enough for two Bee Hoon meals and a couple of coffees.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Ash Monday

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Let Me Light Your Fire - Jimi Hendrix - The Singles Album Volume 1
I had lunch and dinner al fresco today. Big mistake. I forgot we have a festival enjoyed by the superstitious, the supernatural and the superstitious arsonists. I've been asked several times today, is it the last day of the Hungry Ghost Festival? It might've been, given the number of people burning paper money, joss-sticks and other flammable items* today as if it were the last day of the Hungry Ghost Festival. I also saw banquet tables full of almost dehydrated Chinese dishes laid out in front of altars, for the benefit of ghosts, right after the President's Star Charity. We are such a caring society. We should burn effigies of Tay Ping Hui and Jamie Yeo so they can go do stunts for the dead as well. I mean, if we're progressing as a nation, we'd better revamp the remittance service industry to make it more efficient. All this burning of cash is a waste of resources and contributing to greenhouse gas emission aggregates. Burn one cash card. Heck, one credit card. No, wait, cannot, the interest rates will kill them (hur hur!) How about burning a paper ATM machine? A whole paper bank? I had ash in my hair, ash in my food, ash in my drink. I didn't even enjoy smoking after my meals. It was that bad. And now I'm at home, and I don't dare go out because the ghosts might ask me where I kept their spare change. *And there wasn't a single fire extinguisher in sight! Burn a whole paper hotel while you're at it. Else the ghosts have no place to stay, have to come knocking at your door, then you know.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Fresh from the chicken's bottom

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: The Red Rooster - Howlin' Wolf - Moanin' At Midnight - 20 Blues Classics
Pssst. I have pirated eggs. You want? Sell you cheap. As good as the real thing. The egg rationing crisis is more severe than I thought. Firstly because it featured in work conversation during a business meeting (yes, I work Sundays, but outdoors and at a nice location by the sea), then at dinner conversation at home. My brother-in-law says he tried the wet markets in the vicinity of Holland Village and came back empty handed, and decided to head to Upper Thomson, where he found a grocer's that had eggs on trays. He asked to buy them, but the grocer said those were reserved for 'long-time customers and residents in the area', and asked him for his I.C.! Brother-in-law was pretty miffed about it. But then he's easily miffed about things. One of my colleagues says he went to NTUC where he had to purchase at least $20 worth of groceries before you were allowed to buy eggs. Same deal at Cold Storage, only you have to stack your trolley with $50 worth of goods. At restaurants, there were no eggs to be had. Actually, got lah, but a little egg spread over a lot of rice or something. My dad says, 'you know, they have those liquified eggs they use?'. And I say, 'yeah, scrambled eggs can lah, but cannot use for mata lembu (sunny side up) leh. Then my brother says, 'yeah, you know, you can make a lot of money as a trainer/motivational speaker if you can make the chickens lay more eggs. Seng Choon Farms will pay you a lot'. How not to humour him? So I ask him how he'd motivate chickens to lay more eggs if he were a trainer/motivational speaker trained in motivating chickens to lay more eggs. 'You feed them a lot, then you scare them. Sure lay eggs one.' Then he thinks about it for a bit, and says, 'but then the eggs come out all wrong size wrong shape'. Then I think about it for a bit, but ask him, 'eh, you got badminton racquet I can borrow?' 'Got. But you better don't break it. Badminton racquets not like last time $10 one'.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Griping about griping

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding - Joe Louis Walker - Labour Of Love - The Music of Nick Lowe
A friend from KL is in the process of setting up a modelling/acting/entertainment agency, and she called again today to ask for expert advice. Seeing as Mr Miyagi knows all, and is kind and generous, I gave advice. Little things on how she should talk to clients, how she should procure talent, how she should hold auditions, et cetera. Pretty run of the mill stuff. But what really struck me was when she said she missed Singapore and how safe she felt when walking down the street from her serviced apartment at night to go to an entertainment industry bash, and walking back to the apartment later, without as much as being hassled by a street urchin, much less a mugger or worse, a rapist. Apparently, according to her, people live in fear in KL. You don't park your car in even the newest of car parks, because people lurk around. Singapore, she says, has no lurkers. Singaporeans complain too much about little things, she says. You don't know how lucky you guys are, she adds. I tell her I know how lucky I am. Seriously. I think we should say something nice about living here. We complain too much. Heck, I'm even complaining about people complaining too much. See lah! Let's talk about how nice it is to be able to commute to work without being hijacked or robbed. Talk about the low taxes, the rebates and the grants and how they're helping; how you have community clubs in every suburb, with cheap facilities and activities. Talk about the public health system, and how cheap it is to go to a polyclinic. And talk about the best public housing scheme in the world. And if not for this country, I wouldn't be able to set up business in an environment which actually is quite forgiving. Were I in China or HK or anywhere else for that matter, I'd be one of the lurkers in the newest of car parks. I have half a dozen grants to choose from before I decide which to apply for; half a dozen government agencies to conduct joint ventures with; several more government owned and heavily subsidised facilities to conduct them in. And for those who aren't self-employed, and are constantly griping about idiot colleagues, know this: You have a goddamned job, for goodness' sake. You have a protected savings plan that pays more interest than a bank. You have laws that protect your employment. And depending on which company you work for, you may even have benefits that we self-employed have to fork out for ourselves. Say something nice about your company, your colleagues, or your bosses. Don't have to suck up to them, but find something nice to say about them for a change. Please. OK, I'm frothing at the mouth now.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


iTunes' party shuffle is playing: As long as we beat the english - Stereophonics -
There was this wonderful post about being on the losingest sporting team ever, and I suggested that my own experience would top that. I'll show her I'm the bigger loser with this here post! For starters, hers was a summer sport, mine's played in the dead of winter. I've previously written about my all-time favourite sport as both a participant and spectator, so I won't go into details about the hows and whys and ins and outs. Season 2000, my club, UWS Macarthur (now known as UWS Bankstown) RFC was sitting at the bottom of the 6th Division table in the NSW Suburban Rugby Union, known as the 'Subbies', a sub-union of the NSWRU. The 6th Division is the bottom division, where new clubs start out, or where clubs that don't win many matches end up. I had previously played half a season in 1998 with the 4th grade team at another club, Lane Cove RUFC, in the 3rd Division before my ankle ligaments were snapped by two of my own teammates. Once I recovered, I contemplated returning to the Covies, but felt that the culture there didn't quite suit my temperament. After all, they had a team song titled 'Perverts of the Universe', and which went something like this: 'We are the perverts of the universe We rape young boys and steal their toys We're the Lane Cove RFC!' So, after my one year injury-forced hiatus from the sport, I joined another mate at UWS, because he said it was in the 6th Division, struggling, and I was sure to get a starting spot. No matter that their home ground was a good hour's drive on the other side of Sydney. Rugby is life, and everything else is periphery. I made the run-on team but as a winger because the incumbent halfback was heaps bigger and faster than me, and also because the mate that introduced me to the club had broken his nose the previous week. While I felt bad for my mate, I was proud of being handed the No. 14 jersey. Right Winger. Only thing was that all jerseys were the same size. XXL. I'm an M at best, even at my bulkiest playing weight of 70kg. They jersey was so big the cuffs of the 'short' sleeves ended at my wrists, and when I tucked the jersey into my shorts, bits of it came out from the bottom. My new teammates couldn't help but start with the jibes. Mate, you look like a kite flapping in the wind. We lost every single match of the season after I joined, though my teammates told me it had nothing to do with me. The first win was a fluke, they said. Our losing streak didn't faze any of the players, but the coach, Frank, was livid. He had staked his reputation by forming the club the previous year, and this was the first time they were in a formal competition. Frank tried everything. Tactics, training methods, doubling training sessions, training with the girls' team, alcohol ban, girlfriend ban. Nothing worked. The lowest point was when he got the team together before a game and before the captain's talk, and tried to hypnotize us. Something he read from a new age coaching book, he said. It didn't work either. We lost that game by 145 points. Captains' pep talks don't usually work either. Especially not with this team. Coach Frank told the players before one game, 'Alright, all youse fellas, go out there and listen to Boof. Any questions?' 'Yes. Who's Boof?' 'Yer captain, ya stupid bastard!' So, we had a captain called Boof. Boof also gave me the nickname Mr Miyagi. And nicknames* were compulsory in any Aussie sporting team. We had a 'Donut' because he was slow and had a donut-like ring of fat round his waist. A 'Looney' because his name was Choon. The only players not to have nicknames were our fearsome Samoan and Tongan teammates Lione, Sione, Lino and Steve. Mostly because their response to being called anything other than their names was, 'You call me dat one more time, I'm a gonna break you into half, ok, bro?' Even with the fearsome foursome, we didn't win any games. Probably because all Lione, Sione, Lino and Steve liked doing was 'breaking people into half'. The other reason was probably the fact that the team had new players every other week, and these players were what you would call, colourful characters. Often, a player wouldn't show for a game, and another player would explain 'oh, he got arrested last night for assaulting a cop'. Every match at half time, Coach Frank and Boof would reassess our objectives, and say something to the effect of 'alright, you lot, youse gotta get to their half and score some points'. Some days we did, some days we didn't, every day we lost. But as I checked out the NSWSRU website tonight, I saw that UWS Bankstown won three games this season, and that's a three fold improvement on my season with the club. Well done, boys. Drink the bar dry for me. *There was another club whose coach was nicknamed 'Sunset' because his pre-match speeches were littered with 'At the end of the day...'.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Don't Cry For Me Argentina - Various Artists - Evita (Music From The Motion Picture)
I've been doing too much reminiscing lately. But what the heck, this is a blog. And it is nice to think fondly of people and things and events which, at the time of occurrence, did not look as rosy. At my Kensington flat in Sydney where I lived with the Bungalee See Futt flatmate, I had a neighbour on the ground floor who was a drag queen, and apparently still is one. The Black Eena (his stage name) used to perform at a drag club on Oxford Street, where he'd belt out tunes while playing the keyboard. I used to be the guest of honour (straight gay-friendly neighbour mah) on nights he'd perform, and I'd get a front row seat and a bouncer who'd protect me from obviously unwanted advances. By day, the Black Eena was a researcher at the Australian Film Commission, a boring job by the way he'd take a dozen sickies a month and come home early every day. Every time I came home from work or uni and walk up the steps to the building, he'd be in the kitchen either doing the dishes or peering out the window. Once he saw me, he'd wave, rush to his door and ask if I'd want a cup of tea. It was always a welcome treat, coming home tired and being made a cuppa and having a darn good conversation about life in general. From our conversations, I learnt he had lost his best friend to AIDS, and was recovering from the long journey that friends of AIDS victims usually face. At that time, I was hitting a seriously unfunny patch in life, and I suppose it showed on my face. One particularly difficult day, I sheltered at home, and there was a knock on the door which I ignored at first, but which was very insistent. Before I could open the door fully, The Black Eena and The Bodyguard, in full drag regalia, burst into the flat, scaring the bejeezus outta me, and then scaring me some more by grabbing me by the arms, saying, 'Quick, darling, we have to go to your balcony and do an Evita!'. My Kensington flat was on the top floor, and the back balcony was almost directly above the green on the 9th hole of the Australian Golf Club, where the Australian Open was being played that year. I think Greg Norman won and Tiger Woods was still on the ascendancy and on his first trip to Australia, but the gallery at every hole was packed nonetheless. So, The Black Eena, The Bodyguard and me stood on the balcony and belted 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina', out, palms facing inwards and all, at our audience. Oh, and he had brought a wig for me to wear too, which I sportingly did. Back in the flat and over a pot of tea, The Black Eena said he and the Bodyguard were wondering why I hadn't ventured out of the flat, and figured they'd take a chance by cheering me up. The Black Eena and Her Friends were also the funnest party animals, and once I received something in the mailbox addressed to all the building's occupants, saying 'We're sorry for the noise we'll be making this weekend, but please forgive me as I only turn 40 once. You can't beat us, so please feel free to join us'. The parties were a blur, and we also enjoyed terrorising the neigbours in the flat next to mine just because they were bible-bashing students. The balcony was a common one shared by two adjacent flats, which meant that sometimes, my neigbours would be out enjoying the sun shining on God's Own Country and reading the bible at the same time. Until me, The Black Eena and sometimes Her Friends, would hold drag tea parties and Mardi Gras auditions on the same balcony. "It won't be easy you'll think it strange.... you won't believe me.... all you will see is a girl you once knew (as a man)... all dressed up to the nines, at sixes and sevens with you.... Don't cry for me all you girlfriends, the truth is I'm just a drag queen, all through my wild days, my mad existence, I may be pretty, but from a distance...." Glenn Osborne, if you are reading this, thank you very much for bringing 'Disney on Acid' to those dark days.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Who is Big Bertha?

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Nutbush City Limits - Ike & Tina Turner - Nutbush City Limits

Tay Ping Hui! It's Mediacorp! It's Singapore the meritocracy! Not Mediocrity! See lah! You go play golf with Tiger Woods then he become No. 2. How, like that? You suck! You are the regional hub for incompetence! It's all your fault! I am not a golf fanatic. And I think golf on telly ranks with billiards, Formula One and darts as the most boring things to watch on the planet.

Formula One commentary: And they're off, and they're going round, and round, and round, and round, and round, and round, and oh, pit stop. My friends had thought I was a recent convert to golf until I responded excitedly to news of 'Veejay' Singh being number one by asking, 'you mean Utt is no longer at MTV?' But golf is a difficult game. For me at least. I tried my hand (and arm and back and neck) at it last year, going to the range several times with borrowed clubs and hitting 300 balls at one go, before a concerned friend said I was crazy to hit 300 balls at one go. I had previously thought, hey how hard could it be? The damned ball isn't moving, it's just sitting there waiting for me to hit it. What a stupidly simple game. There's no one throwing the ball at me, or hitting it back, or taking a swing at me with a nine-iron, or worse, with his biggest Bertha. Where is the biffo? Where is the gladiatorial contest? Where is Happy Gilmore? Actually, I did try my hand at the game a while back. When I was ten I think. My dad took the family to the driving range and let us loose with our full sized clubs. I remember myself lying on the ground bleeding because I had stood behind my sister while she took a back swing. I ate the seven iron, and it was very painful. Last year I brought danger to the driving range again. When hitting my 249th ball (or so), the five-iron flew out of my hands, hit the ceiling, richocheted back to the floor, bounced to the front and landed on the drain covers. The noise was tremendous, as was the ensuing silence from the rest of the golf-ball hitters at the range. The guy in the next lane was still in a crouching position when I retrieved the club and apologized meekly to anyone who appeared to be staring in my direction, and there were many. I think I still like going to the driving range. They haven't banned me yet. And the driving range I like going to is a public one, not one of the stuffy country clubs where they force you to wear de rigeuer golf outfits (collared shirts and proper shoes). You can go there in a singlet and no one bats an eyelid until you let your club fly into the ceiling. So, there is a pretty little place called Green Fairways. And to get there, you drive down that leafy avenue called Eng Neo Avenue (yes, I like green leafy avenues), heading northward till you reach a gate that has a sign that says Green Fairways golf driving range or something. As you drive down the winding road, you'll see some pretty greenery. You will see a yellow signboard that warns you about 'Dead Slow Horses Crossing'. Spooky, but not as inconvenient as on Cluny Road, where there is a sign telling you about 'Slow Children Playing' outside a kindergarten. Anyway, once you're past the danger of the Dead Slow Horses and their horsemen, you'll come to a carpark and you'll see the driving range. If you're up for it, take out your clubs and find a lane, turn on the fan and go buy your basket of balls. If not, there's a coffee shop that sells decent kopi and nasi lemak. It is quite a pretty place to be at, once you've paused for a breather at say, your 248th ball (because at your 249th, your grip might weaken and you might fling the club to the ceiling). There is also a proper 9-hole golf course adjacent to the range, if you're so inclined. But for mine, the water hazard in front of the tee off on the first is enough to discourage me and make me stick to the range. I just like hitting the damned balls that aren't moving, and I don't really care where they go except if the little caged buggy comes by to pick up the balls. I like aiming for the moving buggy. Now, that's sport. Fairways Drive (off Eng Neo Avenue) Singapore 289631 Tel: (65) 468 7233 Fax: (65) 468 7047 Course: 9 holes, 1887m, Par 32

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Mrs Malaprop says the green is grassier

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Oh, Kay!, musical: Overture - George Gershwin - Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
Me and my friends grew up mangling words and phrases and enjoyed it. It is as if we needed to so we'd own the language(s) we spoke and wrote. After all, English is a foreign language. As is Mandarin. (I might be Chinese, but my forefathers spoke no Mandarin because they were Hokkien and Hainanese.) At school, it was the cool thing to do to prove one's linguistic dexterity. Malapropisms and spoonerisms add colour to language. It doesn't have to be intentional (Mrs Malaprop never meant to say what she said, nor did the Rev. Spooner), as demonstrated by some friends who exploit their scatterbrainedness for a living. And then tonight, as I was asking Scrabble Girl what she would be up to in the wee small hours (because the Scrabble set was on loan to another friend), she said she'd "watch some program, probably 'Sands of Our Time', ya know, the silly soap opera?" The funniest malapropisms and turns of phrase tend to be unintentional bloopers. My friend Ryan, for instance, has a penchant for overcomplicating everything, his own sentences included. He once wanted to give me a piece of advice about how my well-meaning actions would yield disastrous consequences, but couldn't think of the proper idiom. What came out was, "Dude, you are standing on the pavement on the highway to hell even though you think you are doing good things". Another hilariously convoluted but memorable idiom from Ryan is "You cannot consume all the cake in the world even though you have it". Come to think of it, Ryan exploits his convoluted muddleheadedness for a living too. He's a lawyer. Then there was the hairstylist friend who excitedly declared his new wallet 'bisexual' because both men and women could carry it. In that same conversation, he also mentioned something about sitting on the bus next to this guy who had very bad Ph.D, so smelly he said, he almost fainted. As you can imagine, me and my friends enjoy jokes about dyslexia, but of course, we know it's bad, it's mean and we'll burn in hell and all that. But you know, as long as we're aware of that, I'll throw some in here for good measure: How did the dyslexic devil worshipper end up working at the North Pole? He sold his soul to Santa. What did the dyslexic, agnostic insomniac do? Stayed up all night wondering if there's a dog. and my favourite slogan: Dyslexic Sisters of the World Untie! At my former school, if you made a mistake speaking, you weren't allowed to live it down. Twenty years after one such blooper, every time we need a taxi, my friend goes, "Hey look, a flag, quick, cab the flag, cab the flag!" Days were the those, the green is always grassier on the other side, where yonder lies the father of my castle.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

I am reminded

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Keep on Growing - Sheryl Crow - If It Makes You Happy (Single)
Today a shiny black BMW pulled up alongside my car at a traffic junction. On the passenger's window and door was a huge glob of birdshit. Shit-brown and so huge the bird must surely have had a nasty curry. It looked like an upturned saucer of curry, the sort that accompanies your prata, with conspicuous granuly bits made of cardamon and other sundry spices. And it made me wonder whether a bird, taking a dump mid-flight as substantial as that on that BMW, would suffer a catastrophic loss of flight control due to a sudden decrease in flying weight. Would it suddenly fly higher? Would it spiral out of control, much like an Imperial Tie-Fighter after being hit by an X-Wing's laser cannons? And why do birds suddenly appear, every time, I park here? Just like me, the weather was a little on the grey side today. My brand-spanking-new sunnies remained brand-spanking-new, apart from a brief interlude of sunshine that lasted all of five minutes. Work today entailed driving coast to coast, cross country, pan island, rapid transit. But good that it did, because on the way to one of my work stops, I drove down this leafy avenue that looked very out of place in Singapore. If the weather had been 10 degrees cooler, I might have believed I was either in Paris or Shanghai or Sydney or Melbourne. Anywhere but here. Not that here is bad. I mean, we have one leafy avenue that looks out of place here. I rolled down the windows and drove as slowly as I could without being slower than the lorries that were carrying granite and dirt, presumably to the coast, presumably to reclaim more land so that we can eventually wade knee deep across to Bintan. A weak sun peeked through the browning leaves, and more wet brown leaves littered the two-laned road. You could almost fall in love with the whole thing. Wet leaves, smell of rain, sound of tyres on wet road. As I go walkin' my ribbon of highway, I see all around me my blue blue skyway, Everywhere around me the wind keeps a-whistlin', This land is made for you and me.. Then I met one of my workmates for work, and she gave me a tupperware box that smelled of freshly baked biscuits. Inside, she said, were freshly baked chocolate chip and toffee cookies. They looked ugly, smelled great and tasted better. At coffee break tonight, I saw two cats by the road, one of them batting an invisible prey, jumping skittishly, all four legs airborne, while the other cat watched. A young couple who were friends of my coffee mate (hur hur, coffee mate) were discussing plans for their wedding, scheduled for December 2005. Something about Sentosa, Beaufort, small patch of grass and 200 guests. While ferrying a friend's friend, I was asked 'if it was difficult to find a man who had no issues', and whether I had issues. I answered yes to both questions. Walking back to my car after another work stint, it rained again, and it was nice feeling the rain fall on the back of my hands. A friend told me once, 'when it rains, you can either run, or get wet'. That friend also likes the mantra I think I live by, the one I lifted off a song lyric, the one at the bottom of this blog, the one I am especially reminded of today: "There's only two things in life, but I forget what they are".

Monday, September 06, 2004

All creatures great and small

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day) - KD Lang/Tony Bennett - A Wonderful World
I made it a point to spend Sunday out after doing some work at home during what was left of the morning (about 25 minutes). Otherwise, I might have had lunch, gone back to bed and awoke a few hours later to rue a wasted weekend. After ruing, I might have gone online and browsed some blogs and then some nonsense sites, like, where, as the tagline goes, is ' A place — in cyberspace — where Dull Men can share thoughts and experiences, free from pressures to be "in and trendy," free instead to enjoy the simple, ordinary things of everyday life'. Exclamation marks are banned from this site because they're deemed too exciting. Check it out. Don't expect anything remotely interesting, though. And so I drove out in the arvo, all by my lonesome, went to eat at Zion Road Food Centre, dashed across the road to Great World City and bought a pair of sunnies, then dashed back across the road to my car and drove home because the duck rice (the Hallelujah Charismatic Char Kuay Teow stall was closed) wasn't behaving in my tummy. Later in the evening, I booked a table at Halia, at the Botanic Gardens, but in keeping with the way some things are going these few days, I eventually had to cancel the booking to accommodate other well-laid plans. These other plans turned out more pleasant than expected, and I tucked into a hearty meal of cold soba noodles, unagi, miso soup, a soft-shell crab handroll and a bottle of cold sake, while my dinner companions, who usually eat like birds, ate like birds and pecked at an assortment of sushi. Other than a hearty meal, I got to play with a bunny grabbit that is the cutest thing on the planet, even when he shits little pellets every five minutes or so. Made my whole weekend, the little bugger. Now I look forward to a new work week. I hope it's sunny tomorrow so I can wear my sunnies out and look so cool.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Treading fine lines

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: Crazy 'Bout An Automobile (Every Woman I Know) - Ry Cooder - Borderline
When you've got a face that looks perpetually inebriated, it is wise not to make another friend drive, or worse, drink a little and drive. The eagle-eyed cops can spot a drunk-looking front seat passenger from 45m out, and beckon your friend who drives to pull over, make you take out your IDs, car insurance and then ask if you both have drunk any. Being the dumb fuck that you are, you answer assertively and put your driver friend in deep peril, yes we had a beer each. How long ago was that? Oh, say about an hour or so ago? At this point, you hope to God and his mates that the copper will say, ok, that's good, you can go now. But of course, he mumbles something about whether your friend is confident of taking a breathalyser test. You go har? Because at this point, your heart is pounding so loudly you can't hear a word he's saying. The copper smirks, goes to his cop car and takes out the dreaded gadget and instructs your driver friend to take a deep breath and exhale long and hard into the tube. I have a friend who once inhaled long and hard from the tube, and it was funny, but this is hardly the time and place to bring it up, is it? My driver friend was fortunate enough to suffer an affliction that causes her breath to become weak and shallow at certain times, such as during a random breath testing police road block at 3am on a Saturday morning. She tried her darndest, huffed and puffed her lungs out, but could not activate the gadget, much less register any reading even after several attempts. The frustrated copper then let us go with a very stern warning. Something about if he catches us drink driving on this road again he will not hesitate to dunnowhat. For the record, we really only had one beer each, and if my friend's lungs were more powerful, she'd have passed the test with flying colours. But really, one really, really shouldn't drink and drive, or even drink and let someone else drive. Especially if one has a deep-seated, and some say irrational, fear about random police road blocks. It is not funny trying to look normal when you're trembling. OK, it may be funny, but this is hardly the time and place to bring it up, is it?

Friday, September 03, 2004

Eat to death XVII

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: It's Just Not Cricket - The 12th Man - The 12th Man
Have you ever been so full you couldn't blog if you tried? This comes close. I am now waiting for the second burn. Me, my colleague, my ex-colleague and a friend went to eat at Hajah Maimunah's on Jalan Pisang again. And ate ourselves to death again. It was a good end to a working week, even if I have to work tomorrow morning. At lunch break, LMD met me at my usual sandwich and coffee joint and we ate, drank coffee and talked 27.5 to the dozen about the idiots in our lives and how we continue to suffer them. All in a record time of 25 minutes. Such busy entrepreneurs we are, catching up at dizzying speeds, then rushing back to make sure our ship is sailing in the right direction, because unlike uninspired salarymen, we have things to worry about, and we can't sit around whinging and waiting for handouts. Hor? LMD, hor? (No lah, salarymen, I'm not taking a dig at your lives. I'm just jealous because, honestly, I couldn't get employed if I tried right now. So don't get offending ok can? All youse engineers and inwestment wankers! I love youse all!)

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Visit Pet Shop Year 2004

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: What's Going On - Marvin Gaye - The Very Best of Marvin Gaye
Just what is going on? I went to a pet shop today. She went to a pet shop yesterday. She too, went to a pet shop. Apart from a Persian that looked like the movie version of Garfield, I didn't see anything I liked, so I came home, went online and I've my heart set on this cutie now. "He'll bite your head clean off!" "It's a vicious rabbit with large, sharp, pointy teeth!" (Refresh to see 'Vicious Attacking Action")

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Clouds in my coffee is not good news with housemates like these

iTunes' party shuffle is playing: The Beast in Me - Nick Lowe - The Doings Disc 3
Flatmates can have very disturbing habits. When I lived with two in Sydney, their exploits made up most of my letters and emails to my friends and family. I'm still alive today mostly because my flatties were never as sinister as the flattie in this real-life scare-o-drama, or as the freaky flatmate in Single White Female. The two of them were more like the characters you'd find in He Died With A Felafel In His Hand. They were unlikely flatties, my flatties, because I had always been picky about who I'd be able to live with. Good friends are usually out of the question. My friend H wanted to flat with me when he was supposed to come to Sydney to study, but we agreed he'd never get round to studying, 'cos we'd spend all our time going to Ikea and decorating the flat. My kayaking buddy was also out as a candidate, cos he'd probably convince me to build a boat in the courtyard, and we'd be in the harbour every other day, dodging ferries and fighting seagulls. Even my brother, who was in Sydney round the same time I was, moved out because he couldn't live with me, and the feeling was mutual. So, after me and the girlfriend broke up, I lived alone for a bit, before I decided it was getting expensive paying rent for a two bedder. It was easy getting a flattie, since there were always tons of uni students looking for accommodation. Of course, I hoped for a chickie flattie. Of course, chickie uni flattie no like living with smoking, drinking, cussing and occasional drug taking flattie. What I got was a shy first year student from Malacca whose English wouldn't pass muster even if he tried ordering a plate of chips. Quiet type, I thought. Good, I thought. Won't disturb me, I thought. Wrong of course. He had footsteps louder than a hoard of dinosaurs, and I had wooden floorboards. He liked playing computer games at full volume, roaring every time he lost. And I mean roar. My friends called him Jurassic Park vs Jumanji, or JPJ for short. Being his first year in Sydney, he'd receive many phone calls from home and from friends, and his conversations usually went like this: "Hallo? Who ijit? Ah Keow ah? Ah Neow ah? Ah Keow or Ah Neow? Bungalee See Futt (a Bengali's posterior?) lah!" And he'd trail off, loudly, in Malaccan Hokkien or Mandarin. My friends, who were sometimes unfortunate to have JPJ pick up the phone when they called me, used to report that it was impossible to leave a message for me: "Hi, can I speak to...." "He not in". *click* And when my friends tried to reach me again, "Do you know where he is?" "No". *click* JPJ was more hospitable with strangers, as I found out one day while coming home from work. I saw him seated awkwardly on the sofa with two young men whom I assumed to be his classmates. So I said hi and went about doing my things. It took me half an hour before I realised it was strange none of them were talking very much. I snuck a peek at the living room and saw bibles and churchie brochures on the coffee table. JPJ had opened the door for the two door-to-door evangelists, thinking they were my friends, and had sat there silently with them for a good hour before I came home. Personal hygiene wasn't high on JPJ's priority either. Not that he stunk up the whole place badly, but there was once while I was brushing my teeth I found pubic hair in the bathroom sink. I always lived on the quieter streets in the quieter suburbs, and it is especially quiet at night. Your ears start ringing if you don't have the radio or telly on. But thanks to JPJ, the peace was often broken by his bizzare appearances in the hallway. Some nights, he'd burst out of his room roaring and running into the kitchen, with a tin of biscuits in his hand. First time it happened, he explained he had fallen asleep while eating bikkies, and that a trail of ants had started crawling all over him. Yes. I am paraphrasing. Another time, during the annual bogong moth migration, he had roared out of his room because the clothes he had put out to dry for a week had started to host a colony of cocoons. "Bungalee See Futt Butterfry!", I remember him exclaiming. The following year, we had to move flats because the old building we lived in was to be torn down. The only other flat I liked was a three bedroom converted house on a very quiet street near the beach. This meant getting another flattie. Enter Augustus Tay, the flaming queen first year architecture student from sunny Singapore, complete with Caesar haircut! It took a whole month before JPJ asked me, "Eh, that Ah Goostus is he a gay?" It's funny how things turned out, as I had expected JPJ to be homophobic, especially when 'Ah Goostus' was one of the most flamboyant gay men you'd meet. He had a job as an aerobics instructor as well, and would be prancing around the kitchen choreographing new class routines while wearing his fluffy slippers and red g-string. I wish I had a camera during one very kodak moment: JPJ and Ah Goostus, dressed as he usually was, sitting on the sofa, watching telly together, and Ah Goostus asking JPJ why the picture was 'wah lao wei she me kan bu dao dong xi de?', and JPJ grunting his reply, 'how I know?', like a grumpy old husband. As for letting strangers into the house, Ah Goostus topped JPJ because he'd have at least one man a week staying the night. Some mornings I'd wake up to make brekkie and bump into a half-naked stranger and not know whether to say g'day or clobber him with my mug. To say Ah Goostus was highly sexed was an understatement. He'd buy sex toys and gay porn and leave them all over the house. And I mean things like a double headed dildo lying on the coffee table. Once I had a friend over for tea and we stumbled upon him jerking off watching a porn video in the living room. He was startled enough to vault over behind the sofa but not in time to turn the VCR off. With the awful sounds of the gay porn video as backdrop, he protested, 'wah lao, next time you are coming home early must tell me ok? Can you pass me a towel?' As you can imagine, Ah Goostus' social circle stretched far and wide in Sydney, and I was stumped to one day come home and recognize one of the city's most prominent barristers dining with him on a meal, the recipe of which I had supplied earlier that afternoon. It was one of the few times I had ever been starstruck and shocked simultaneously. This week, after reading about the goodie bag goodies the new PM has given the populace, I was toying with the idea of moving out, and getting a flat. And it made me think fondly of JPJ and Ah Goostus. Birthday Celebrations, Meymotte Flats, 1998