Monday, February 28, 2005
The weather was supposed to be predictable. So I was very much peeved when I called off touch footy on account of a Category One storm brewing (because one does not recover from a lightning strike quickly enough for work on Monday), only for the clouds to clear and the rain to stop. But it was a good Sunday otherwise, because I had a good break, two decent cups of coffee and the best Sunday company I could wish for. Sometimes, it takes that sort of company to change the meaning of the things around you: the heat, the rain, the traffic noise, the rude salespeople, the clueless waiting staff and the good cups of coffee. (Or it could be that Ireland beat England at rugby) Only the best for me and my kakis
Surf stop: Wurh.com (Yeah, I know, Surf stopped twice before. But she's a cutie. What to do?)
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Laws of our land: Part I
Being the kaypoh that I am, I got myself caught up in the furore that was unfolding on FF's last couple of posts, in which she described how outraged she was at a dinner companion's photographing her cleavage/bosom/chest/blouse. So, I looked up the Penal Code to see if, at law, what the dirty bastard did was a punishable offence, here in our country vaunted for our protective justice system. If you've been here long enough, you'd have heard the term 'outrage of modesty' being bandied about: How some women have their modesties outraged in the lift, on the bus, in the mrt and at the supermarket checkout queue. So, I thought maybe the first port of call might be Section 354 of the Penal Code. But as far as I see (pretty near), the law does not define how one's modesty is outraged, and if anyone knows where I can find the definition, set in stone, please leave a trail in the comments. Some other interesting things I found from our Penal Code today:
- If you (a male) entice a woman with the false belief that she is married to you in order to make her your flatmate or to have sex with her, you're a criminal: s493.
- If you entice a married woman away from her husband, you're also a criminal: s498
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Let's fold scarves
Me and Mr Brown, we're going to our secondary school reunion dinner next week. It'll be the first time either of us has attended such a thing. Not that it's that important to maintain old school ties, but this one's a big one. It is twenty years since we took our 'O' Levels. Naturally, a little anxiety has set in. We don't know what to wear. Maybe we could design our own outfits.
Surf stop: Hailey Xie
Friday, February 25, 2005
Blessings from between heaven and earth
I had a break in work yesterday morning and so I drove myself and my business partner to breakfast. In the car, he noticed three large blotches of birdshit on the windscreen, and laughed his head off. Totally understandable, because the blotches were so big they looked like upturned tubs of chutney (without the tubs). Maybe because it was a slow morning and there wasn't much else to laugh about, the business partner kept laughing about the birdshit, which was stubborn enough to resist several squirts from the windscreen wash thing (what is that thing called?). He laughed halfway through breakfast until he was stopped by a quite audible plop. He'd been shat on by what must have been a really, really big bird. The blotch on his shoulder was so big it looked like an upturned tub of cucumber raita (without the tub). After helping him clean his shirt and our hands, we settled down to resume breakfast, but we were interrupted by the coffee shop auntie who asked, 'Niao da bian ah? (did a bird just defecate on you, you poor dear ah?)'. Auntie exhorted us to buy 4D, using the unit number of her shop, saying the last time someone got shat on, he struck big time and bought her a meal. We said ok, just so she'd leave us alone with our meepok breakfast. But this morning, she came by again and told us we owed her a meal because the unit number turned out last night to be one of the starter prizes. Fucking birds. Big tree give us shade. Big tree also give us birds perched and primed to unload: Novena coffee shop
Surf stop: women will get sterile just looking at you
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Our (shared) secret history: Reader email
...I agree about the pace of change and what with this whole ST interactive crap, it just accelerates the feeling that we have lost some of our identity and 'anchor' to the Singapore that we grew up. Too much change with shiny, plasticky, contrived 'entertainment' offerings are de riguer in Singapore and just about every developed country nowadays. I'm Antipodean-Singaporean :) I spent most of my life growing up in Singapore and now live in Sydney. I loved my childhood, 'that' Singapore that I knew. I remember at primary school, recess was a treasured time because being a sickly child, I was prohibited from having anything remotely fried, fatty, salty and sweet. In other words, anything that was tasty. Recess then, was my freedom. I would go the whole hog with chocolate (20c), kachang puteh (20c), char kway teow, King's ice cream, sweet cordial (10c). A kid could gorge himself on $1 a day. And as if that wasn't enough, after school, we (my brother and I) would cross the pedestrian bridge over Jalan Toa Payoh and wait for mum/grandad to pick us up. Inevitably, there would be the ice-cream man, you know, the guy on a motorbike with a sidecar full of Meadow Gold/Magnolia/Walls ice creams waiting for us. And of course I would stuff my face. If mum picked us up, we wouldn't dare for fear of catching hell for ruining our appetite. But if it was Grandad, man oh man, nothing like a grandfather's love to stuff ourselves full of ice cream :) Grandad's gone now and so's the school. Only the building is left (I'll give you a hint, it's pink and it's got scales. Oh yeah and we used to whup anyone's ass in the A/B/C div rugby comps in the 80s..... :) But every time I'm in Singapore, invariably I would pass the building, the bridge and the memories will come back. (Darn this speck in my eye! ;) A part of me will always be there, as a kid of 10, having that Choc Fudge bar (TWO ice cream sticks in one. Whoa). Thanks for the great blog and the points you raised.....I'm trying to dredge more from the depths of my memory (not so young leh, 'cos I can still remember the first McDonald's that ever opened in Singapore......maybe a story for another time) Cheers, DamianThe first McDonalds opened on 27th October 1979 at Liat Towers (where Zara is now) and I used to keep the styrofoam Big Mac boxes to use as lunchboxes for school. Singapore International Airport
Our secret history
I've used this quote before. And I'm doing it again because I don't have anything else at hand that describes better what I feel right now. I was quite pleased to find out last night that a letter I wrote to someone I fell in love with ages ago was still being kept. Why keep all your old love letters? Because. See above quote. And read this. Same reason why we should document, narrate and journalise other things. There is an especially desperate need to do this in Singapore, because our past is being erased so efficiently (try getting 8 day old Straits Times articles online), and I've been thinking that maybe that's why there are so many of us who feel so alienated in our own country. I think there are very few people around my age who can say the house/flat they lived in for the first three years of their lives is still standing. The other thing that precipitated this warm-fuzzy-serious sentiment was another conversation I had where I remembered I didn't speak English for the first five years of my life, stayed in a house on Pasir Panjang Road, across from a beach that had a jetty, and where fishing boats would come in daily and unload their catch for fishmongers who set up shop down the road. I've kept notes on and off:
'A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that that patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.' -Jorge Luis Borges, Afterword, El Hacedor
The shophouses on the corner of Pasir Panjang and Clementi Road are still there, but the beach is now part of the PSA, stretching beyond the West Coast Highway and how many kilometres before you can even smell the sea. The same sea which my father threatened to throw me into when I had a fight with Grandma. (And he really looked like he was gonna do it when he put me in a wicker basket and carried me across the road to the beach.) The car park at Cold Storage Orchard Road, where Centrepoint is now. There was a Milk Bar out front, where we'd pester my mother to buy us milkshakes after grocery shopping. We'd drink our shakes and then throw up in the car after, because the the road back home was a winding two-lane deal, from Orchard, to Napier to Holland to Clementi to Pasir Panjang Road. The grand old airport at Paya Lebar. Where the departures and arrivals were two separate buildings, and where they had signboards telling male visitors to keep their haircuts neat and short. And where I fell off the airplane steps boarding my first airplane journey and where I bumped my head as a result.There are more notes but there are also many of us who can make a much more coherent history of all the things around them. And many of you are blogging. I'd like for you to keep doing it and get around this contemptible policy of denying us easy access to our history. Now, read that quote again.
Surf stop: The Singapore Commentator
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
The suicidal feeling after you've come back from a really nice holiday
Today I met up with a friend who's just returned from an almost-all expense paid diving holiday in Sabah, and she seemed a little down because things aren't the same as they are in Sabah, because in Sabah, she met many nice and hospitable people. Simple folk with simple lives but big hearts, kids without Nintendos, but with expressions of kindness, compassion et cetera. It was easy to understand why she was upset about coming home to cold (no lor!), heartless, concrete Singapore. My heart went out to her. Then my heart came back. Because she spent the next half hour talking about the diving. I know I'd like diving if I tried, but I do not like diving stories told by occasional divers. They are full of fish. And underwater group photos. And of this huge garoupa that was very scary and this huge clam that had no pearl. How the clownfish behaved like clownfish in Finding Nemo, and how the turtles behaved like turtles in Finding Nemo, and how the Dory, was it a Dory, behaved like Dory in Finding Nemo. I know when I finally dive (and survive), I will also tell stories in this manner to non-divers. But in the meantime, yes I am envious of these underwater divers and their words which speak a thousand words with the help of some pictures. ...then we saw the elusive manta-hippo and it kept blowing bubbles at us through its arse!
Surf stop: HOTEL
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
I am on a roll, after feeling good about taking pictures and blogging about them, I checked and found a comment made on a blog post I made during Christmas, when I wrote about a friend who saw something in the car park at Thumper. I'd have thought it'd be good for business to have things like that happening, but the manager at Thumper, she's muy concerned:
Hmm.. why is it that, we at Thumper were not aware of such an explicit incident that had happened at our door steps? so the next time, you spot on something like that again, do come by the recep and ask for me. I'll buy you a drink or 2 on behalf of the club.I'm not sure if the offer applies to me only, or any Tom and Harry Dick who happens to happen upon people pucking in the car fark. Not just wonderful
Surf stop: zeenie's bean bag
Monday, February 21, 2005
Getting Monday fixed
Here's a little recipe I want to share with youse all, which works well when you're in a sorta deep blue funk about things. When you're in a sorta deep blue funk, focus on other things you normally don't pay attention to. Some people call it escapism, but that's too big a word for me. I call it focussing on things you don't normally pay attention to. And so, I made sure I had my camera handy (as opposed to having it in my bag, because I'd still be too lazy to actually take it out of the bag), and when I had a break in work, I looked around me and took pictures of the most striking things among the mundane things around me. Here are the things I saw on Monday: The importance of using the correct tense: Hook on Steamboat, you can attach it to your pants so you can walk around the beach on East Coast Park with dinner for the family following you. When you grow taller, you can reach for the mug Flame of the
forest HDB estate: You can see the red 10 football fields away.
Elixir of the gods: Iced coffee shop coffee in a Tiger mug
I heart rubbish
Why the coffee shop cat is fat, and what happens to the chicken from the chicken rice stall when they can't sell enough: Two pressing questions answered.
Beer lights up my day (and night)
Surf stop: War Against Sexy Space Sluts
Sunday night, Monday morning blues
It's Monday. And maybe that's why things that were supposed to have affected me a while ago are only doing so now. My family and I haven't had a very pleasant Chinese New Year. First up, on the eve, I drove my mother and a bag of oranges and CNY cookies to my Granduncle's. I reminded my mother to call ahead to make sure they were home even though she kept saying 'they sure home one lah'. So she called ahead, and an aunt answered, and said Granduncle passed away that morning. Bummer. U-Turn go home. Then my mother hosted a dinner on the second day of new year's, and had received a phone call from a family friend a few days before that, saying he wouldn't be able to make it because he was in hospital. He passed away on New Year's Eve as well. Or maybe it's just too darn hot.
Now I've heard there was a secret chord That David played, and it pleased the Lord But you don't really care for music, do you? It goes like this The fourth, the fifth The minor fall, the major lift The baffled king composing Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen
Surf stop: rawjak.com
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Don't say I never take you to dine at fancy places
It has been such a tiring week but I still managed to go out do a coupla things to unwind. I went and helped car selling, then I went and helped car shopping. Great help I was. I sat and watched while my friend, emboldened by my very presence, extracted free fog lamps (it's been hazy lately), leather upholstery and MP3 CD-R Disc Changer from the car dealer. Then dinner was taken at that very swanky establishment on River Valley Road, Boon Tong Kee Little Gourmet, where al-fresco dining is available on the five-foot way, on dressed tables and chairs covered with black faux leather. As if the additional ambience provided by the stifling heat and lingering smell of bushfires isn't enough, there are candles in big square jars with rooster motifs. After you've contemplated the menu (chicken rice for two, breast meat please), the waitress with the perpetually quizzical expression and Johorean Mandarin brings you your cutlery wrapped in pandan-leaf green A4 paper folded and pleated to look like pandan leaves. Or very raw otak. For it is traditional way to eating Hainanese Chicken Rice with fork and spoon sticky with raw otak. And because there's the stifling heat and the lingering smell of bushfires, you need a drink. And the de rigeuer fixer upper at such an establishment would be the house pour barley water, served from a mini sized jug into shot glasses. Die, die, must try. There isn't much time to chew the fat and shoot the breeze, because your waitress brings serves your order pretty quickly. You are overwhelmed by the results of their culinary dexterity when you see your dinner. The chicken breast, chopped Boon Tong Kee style, isn't very much out of the ordinary, but the rice. The rice! It comes on a square plate! It's piled into a pyramid. A Pyramid! Egypt! Ramses! Chicken Rice! Tutankhamen! Ramses II! We had to mummify our laughter, I tell you. Until the bill came. Nabeh, not cheap. For to wet your whistle with Year of the Cock commemorative candle Egypt!
Surf stop: SMLXL
Friday, February 18, 2005
How can a poor man stand such times and live?
The economy is doing fine without me. I have not been contributing to it very much lately because I'm skint (again). I should be like everyone else and listen carefully to the Budget Spitch, so I can be more aware of stuff and be less skint. But this year's one ('live' at 3.45pm) promises some surprises. Some taxes will go down, some will go up. Smokers will be even more out of pocket than out of breath, people who rushed to buy cars last year will rue their haste. What a spitch it will be. Meantime, the rest of us keep trying to find ways to make a living, spitch or no spitch, and sometimes maybe get a little envious of those who do it with too much ease. I had tea with Cowboy Caleb the other night, and we discussed, among other things, how else we could make money aside from our day jobs. We spend a lot of time online and blogging, he said. There are people who get paid six-figure sums to do what we do, he said. Six-figure sum, you know?, he emphasised. Yes, that is a lot of money in dollars, I said. But we couldn't think of any good reason for people to pay us to do what we do, so we drank our tea and discussed how to make his next Almost Daily Interview a hit. Then I came home and saw that someone had beaten us into the heady world of sponsorships and endorsements. I give you Xiaxue and the t-shirts she appears in: Mr Brown, Mr Miyagi et al are also featured. As mere hyperlinks. Somewhere in the bowels of the site.
Surf stop: LOCALBRAND
Just cos I went out last night doesn't mean things at work got good. This morning, at the school we teach at, some kid missed the toilet bowl entirely. Hazardous Materials standard. The stench of humanity was so strong it brought tears to our eyes. The kid that missed missed so badly it must have been such that he didn't make it to the cubicle and decided, what da heow, not gonna make it, might as well unload everything in the one place and make things easier for the chemical warfare crew. That one takes the cake (that's it, cannot eat cake liao), on top of the ERP lights coming on just two seconds before my car went under the gantry, on top of a bird deciding to lau sai on my freshly washed car a couple of seconds before I drove under the ERP gantry. Something is not right about this new year. But what about that short rainshower today eh? Cool or what? But what about that halo around the half-moon tonight? Cool or what? But what about the haze hanging in the air? Cool or what?
Lim Chu Kang resident M K Wong said, "The first fire engine came fast yes, but there was only one engine; they should come more one shot, because this is the bush fire, all over the place, all lallang, they'll spread like wildfire." From Channel NewsasiaProbably caused by the 2,500 bushfires around the island. Cannot blame Sumatran fires already. Might as well say 'hey, quite cool hor?'
Surf stop: being jennifer garrett
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Mr Miyagi goes undercover
...And joins a meeting of a car enthusiast club. Armed with a vial of anti eye-glazing formula (SKIII Turbo) and an open mind, I was again invited to an evening of 'investigative journalism'. This time, a friend asked for my esteemed company so that she could meet up with the members of the Mini Drivers Club (a car club, not that actress' fan club) without feeling out of place. This friend, like me, is a motor moron, though she's slightly better because she drives a manual car. The Mini club had a members' drive tonight, and we were told they picked all the nice winding roads in Singapore and drove for one and a half hours before they met us at the Adam Road Food Centre, where they stopped for tea, discussed the drive, and then went outside to the carpark to admire each other's cars. Each car is different, even though each one is a Mini. Got different colour, different upholstery and dials and lights and accessories. Being a motor moron and hence being apprehensive about all things automotive, I was guarded about being amongst these people, especially after having read stories about how these motor clubs gather at midnight and race illegally and kidnap children and sell their toys. But it turned out to be a most civilised gathering. Nothing illegal about this assembly, even though there were more than six people and a permit wasn't applied for. On top of that, they were nice people. (I mentioned I used to own a Mercedes Benz, and none of them choked or coughed or got up and walked off). My friend got the advice she was looking for (she's looking to sell her Mini, so needed information about all the acronymmie things like COE, PARF, ARF & BOWWOWWOW). So, it was an enjoyably informative evening (Mini got no power-steering one), and further proof that there are things to do in Singapore. Don't complain bored ok? If bored, join this club, the people are nice, they go for long drives together, and they're very helpful. Alls you need is a Mini. Did I mention my friend was selling hers? Cheap cheap. $35K with 6.5 years COE. Parf, arf I dunno. She owns a cat. This is the car for sale. Lovely, isn't she? And she's proof that you can buy style and character
Surf stop: The Singapore Commentator
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
This post is about work stress, not the rash
Ever had one of those days where work stress got so bad you started getting a rash round your elbows and on your neck? I'm sure you have. I had one today. I'm still having one. One of those days. And the rash. I am a one-man Itchy & Scratchy Show. Fight fight fight fight fight fight. The Itchy & Scratchy Showwwwww!
Surf stop: Observations
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Speechless, gobsmacked, stumped
Agagooga gets all these search engine referrals with keywords that are a bit strange. But in the last 24 hours I got four from someone (or some people) yahooing the term 'witty comeback'. Damn jia lat, must be Chinese New Year go visiting, kenah suan until nothing to say. Then go home angry, go online, and search! Ingterneck is wonderful, no? A lot of CNY leftovers left. But no more bak kwa.
Surf stop: syntaxfree
Monday, February 14, 2005
Valentines Day hot enough for ya?
It is so hot there've been bushfires. My Dad tells me, 'eh, bushfire you know! Better don't go out', because he knows his son is stupid enough to go out and walk right into a bushfire. In the city. On a traffic island. (But I took him to the Botanic Gardens for lunch in any case). Work has restarted good and proper, Valentines Day or not. No bushfires here, because got water.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Night time in the city (or nearby)
Last Saturday (as in before Chinese New Year), I received an SMS from my friend Dilbert who is a journo. Dilbert works for a paper that loves showcasing foreign talent of the sleazy kind, and so it is hard work for him, having to trawl the underbelly of Singapore at night. This time, big story, he said, asking me and another friend of his to join him at pub/ktvlounge-hopping in the Joo Chiat area. Our sources told us that if you can't pull chicks in the Joo Chiat area, you are damn loser one, man! So, we went to our first pub where there was bartop dancing done very nicely by a very nice young lady in a bikini top and leather skirt. We wouldn't have minded if we pulled her. But of course, we didn't, and there weren't enough chicks in the pub to go around. There weren't enough chicks in the other pubs to go around either. Plus, the USS Abraham "Mission Accomplished" Lincoln was in port that night, spilling out her 6000+ Ang Moh sailors and airmen onto our streets, such that we damn loser one lor! Apart from the sailors and airmen, Joo Chiat was pretty quiet, and not the cowboy town our sources told us it would be. Sure there were many women of different Asian nationalities patronizing the many establishments, as well as several eateries catering to these nationalities. But it was almost eerily quiet for a street where nearby residents have been complaining about noise, about undesirable women, about drunks, and whose complaints have gained enough momentum for them to start a 'Save Joo Chiat Campaign'. Nutters! There's nothing undesirable about those women! Especially the one dancing on the bartop. And some more, if you drink too much to drive, you can check yourself into one of the many Hotel 81s along the street to sleep off the alcohol. How convenient is that? Speaking of which, there are a lot of convenience stores on the street too, if you need to buy toiletries for your stay. I think all that the residents nearby are doing (like on Everitt Road) will just make lawyers earn more! Save Joo Chiat my foot! Speaking of which, there are lots of 'Foot Reflexologist' shops on that strip too! Take away all that is Joo Chiat now, and you might as well have a sign that reads 'Welcome to Dulltown, this is what death feels like, but the weather is quite nice, and we have no foreigners here from whom you can buy sexual favours'. Wait for it (Click, like, now, cos article 'expires' real soon). Still need practice as a roving photojournalist
Surf stop: gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover
OK, back to work
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Help some kids with their homework!
So I get an email from a group of NTU students. At least they bothered to email. I think Adri got one in her comments system.
...We are a group of five people doing Mass Comm in NTU and currently working on a project on Blogging. More specifically, our project focuses on how blogging impacts friendships, e.g. sub-topics like "In what way does blogging strengthen or weaken friendships?" and "Is the intended message of the blog accurately comprehended?". We would like very much to interview you and hope you are free this sat/sun or early next week? This interview will last about half an hour to an hour and will be tape-recorded (hope you dun mind... ^_^) We'll probably hold it at a coffee club xpress or Starbucks etc, and treat you to something. Also, because this project is on the impact of blogging on friendships, could you please bring a friend (who is also a blogger)? We'll be interviewing both of you separately. Hope it's ok with you. Looking forward to meeting you! Sincerely,...I'm gonna be really busy in the next couple of weeks, so I can't meet up with them, much less bring a friend who is a blogger. So if anyone wants to help them, leave a comment here, and I'm sure they'll be trawling this space and others for more specimens. Or you could email one of them who's left her email address at Adri's: Gracia. Free Starbucks/Coffee Club Xpress leh! Do the kids a favour, help them with their homework a bit. Don't matter if the question/assignment set for them is damn cock! There's also another survey which someone's doing, and this is an online thing:
Hi, I am an undergraduate from the School of Communications and Information, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore). My fellow course-mates and I are conducting an online survey to study the practices and attitudes of bloggers on ethics and blogging as part of our honours thesis. We hope you can help us by taking part in our survey. We have retrieved your e-mail address from your weblog. Your weblog was, in turn, randomly selected using weblog generating services freely available on the Internet. Your participation in this survey is voluntary and should take no longer than 20 minutes to complete. All information will be kept confidential. We really appreciate if you can take some time off to participate in our survey.Nabeh, random simi random? My blog damned famous one ok? But that aside, damned busy, these NTU kids, not like NUS whole day go seminar talk to LKY.
Surf stop: zeenie's bean bag
Friday, February 11, 2005
Gotta work later today! What da heow? I've just helped clean the house of debris from the night's big dinner thing. Very tiring, making small talk, and then cleaning up. And now, I've to try to sleep early because THERE'S WORK IN THE MORNING! Actually, the last two days haven't been all bad. I made a coupla bucks in angpow monies, and only had to answer the 'when are you getting married' question twice. So much for my long list of prepared answers. When is your turn? My daughter already in university you know? That's cos you got married when you were in uni. You want your daughter to do the same? Caaaaan. That was one of my prepared answers, but I didn't use it, lah. Chinese New Year, cannot be so rude. Can't blame them for not being attentive. Everyone else has a two-day break. We had some non-traditional desserts after dinner. Can only eat so much kueh friggits. Bak Kwa also finished already. 'Cos this li'l bugger ate all of it.
Surf stop: Kellog (not the cereal, not the college. One 'g' only.)
Thursday, February 10, 2005
The finest china
Every Chinese New Year, my mother takes out the best chinaware and cutlery in the house for us to use. The food's not bad either.
Surf stop: MinJungKim.com Braindump v 5.0
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
The Xinglong Overseas Chinese Farm: Hainan, Part Three
This is the third of the Hainan posts (Read Parts One & Two) There is a village on the south east of the island which has been, like most other villages on Hainan, converted into a tourist attraction. It was about the only place my cousins and I thought interesting (whereas my uncle was stoked by everything he saw everywhere, buying all manner of coconut-related rubbish), and were especially tickled to see signboards in what my cousin called 'P. Ramlee Malay'. The interesting thing about this village is that it showcased customs and cuisines the Hainanese returned emigres brought back with them from Southeast Asia. Called Xinglong Overseas Chinese Farm, near Wanning town in Wanning County, it was a model village built by the Communists, and where Zhou Enlai had urged 'Nanyang' Chinese to resettle back in the 1950s and 60s. So when the tour van spilled us out into the village, my uncle, Datuk Uncle Y. Y. Lee, took it upon his goodself to inspect the little stalls making kaya and coffee powder, since it was well known that he made the best coffee and kaya and various types of confectionery in the whole state of Negri Sembilan in Malaysia. He stabbed at every stall (and sometimes stallholder) with his walking stick, asking the stallholders how long they fried/roasted the beans, how much sugar they put in the kaya, and how come they didn't put pandan leaves in it. Then he gave, yes gave freely, his secret to making the greatest tasting coffee-shop coffee in the universe (Seremban), whispering almost, that you had to fry the beans with sugar, margarine, pineapple husks and peanut shells. Not that the stallholders (employees of the State-owned Xinglong Farm) were in the least interested. Worse, me and the cousins had to prevent a near violent altercation when the Datuk took offence that one of the stallholders did not know how to speak Hainanese, and therefore had no right to be anywhere on the island. (What dialect group are you? What dialect group are you?, he inquired while at the same time poking the stallholder with his walking stick.) After being treated to a Javanese-Hainanese dance and trying to prevent the Datuk from accumulating more coconut paraphernalia, we were taken to a rather nice looking resort-style hotel called the Kangle Garden Resort. Only it only looked nice, and we spent the night being eaten alive by mosquitoes while we planned how to get to our ancestral village. My cousin made a call to a relative in the village, (yes, we never learn to call ahead earlier) who, like everyone else on the island, said the town (Kachek) our village was close to was close to where we were. Double checking the two very different maps I had, I found otherwise. But still, at least we knew roughly where to head, and decided to pay the tourbusvan driver to abandon the other tourists and take us to Kachek the next morning. He agreed. [...to be continued...] Xinglong Overseas Chinese Farm Botanical Gardens: The Datuk takes a break from clearing the island of barbaric mainlanders
Surf stop: nimrodel.net
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
For dreary Chinese New Year's afternoons
For mine, the CNY holidays are usually a series of long waits between visitors and visiting. I'd finish a whole novel (read or write) if I could. In one afternoon. For two days. So, if you're sitting pretty at home in your New Year's new clothes, swatting mosquitos (Pah Bung) and preventing flies from settling on the bak kwa, here's something a little more challenging: Mr Miyagi's Catch Flies With Chopsticks Flash Game. Ignore this post if youse got those nifty XBoxes and shite.
Surf stop: _words
Monday, February 07, 2005
Stuck, in a moment
I cannot blog about anything, because a day out from Chinese New Year and I've already eaten one tub of Kueh Bankit, half of Kueh Whatsit and several pieces of Kueh Simi. I am so gonna get a sore throat. I already have had several tummy aches. This is not good. I cannot blog. I want to climb walls like Spider-Man. I have had too much sugar already and I haven't even touched the Bak Kwa. Can die lor, so hot.
Surf stop: moody meanderings
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Together the people: Hainan, Part Two
This is a continuation of my blog post about Hainan Island. 'Short the distance, together the people' is Hainan Airlines' tagline (while you're there, check out their subsidiary Deer Jet and their flashy website), and Hainanese Chicken Rice doesn't come from Hainan. Over the next two days of the tour, we were taken to one ethnic village after another and conned into parting with our RMB to watch insipid dances by 'ethnic minorities' who strangely spoke Mandarin instead of their native languages. The Lees (Datuk Y.Y. Lee, M M Lee, Miyagi Lee and S K Lee) after watching one of the Miao (I think) ethnic dances outside the
Miao Village Li tribe tourist village.
On the third day, I decided to ask my cousins (who organised the trip) how we were planning to go visit our ancestral village. I had assumed that everyone on the bus came from (or descended from) the same village, and the village must have been some tourist attraction as well, complete with my relatives doing insipid dances and asking us for money.
It's fun being wrong, especially when you're on a trip to some place you're hardly familiar with. My cousins were just as clueless as I was, and had no idea where the village was, only that it was half an hour out from this city called Kachek in Hainanese, and we had no idea what the Mandarin name for the place was.
I was marginally more prepared. Dad had given me several photographs of Kachek, including one of a four storey building in Kachek he had donated money to build. It had several distinguishing features, one of which was the name of the building, named for one of my long deceased relatives. Armed with that and what Dad helpfully told me: 'Our village is near where that American spy plane crash landed', I felt I'd be the one to lead me, my cousins and Dad's brother on the mission.
We spoke to the tour guide, who was still talking about herself when we asked her where Kachek was. After spending two whole days with her incessant chatter, we didn't think it was too rude to just walk away mid-spiel and try talking to the bus driver instead. He turned out to be our first real lead. He was Hainanese, and he knew Kachek, and that it was called Jiaji in Mandarin, and that it was located in Qionghai County, which my father and his brother both had referred to as Khkhkhkhkhenghhhhhaii in Hainanese with a lot of phlegm.
[...to be continued...]
Surf stop: Cupcake Queen
Music for the eyes
What's a guy to do on the weekend when there's not much on besides soccer on the telly, crowds on the streets (made worse by the grandstand built for the ChinGay parade) and expensive drinks? Trawl the ingterneck! From my referrer roll, I clicked on this weird looking link and it happened to be the site which I filched (sorry) the Chinese New Year dancing lion picture from. From there, I clicked two or three times more, and now, laddies and jennermen, I give you three very purdy Korean chicks who play classical music: The Ahn Trio: Angella, Maria & Lucia Ahn I'm a-gonna hunt down their cd at Borders and HMV. So purdy. OK, one more time: Angella, Maria, Lucia
Surf stop: Singapore can Romance itself
Saturday, February 05, 2005
Absolute torch and twang
I was very very tired last night and I went and watched k.d. lang thinking I was about to waste $138 because I was going to be too tired to enjoy anything, especially after battling traffic to get to Our Esplanade. But let me tell you this now. Never, ever doubt k.d. lang and her ability to send your spirits soaring. k.d. is a goddess, even if her innuendo-laden quips are a bit on the lame side (but then Singapore audiences are easy to please). k.d. is the queen of the torch song. The rest of the year's program at Our Esplanade and Our Indoor Stadium is starting to look mighty pedestrian. Norah Jones and Diana Krall are going to sound like elevator music. Not bad for having just a small band and Our Own Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra to back her up. And I had some stuff stuck in my eyes when k.d. sang Roy Orbison's 'Crying'. It was that good. I've been meaning to watch you sing since 1992!
Surf stop: Ministry of Truth
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Another day another interview
In return for allowing the best photograph of myself on his blog, I am now digging through my Adventures in Hong Kong archives for sordid details and pictures of Cowboy Caleb's Pre-Marital Adventures in Wanchai and I remember this totally useless (until now) phone conversation I had with him:
Eh, Miyagi, come join us. I am so high. Where the fugayou? In a bar. I am so high. Where lah, cheebye? Somewhere in Wanchai, there's a chick dancing on the table. I am so high. Where in Wanchai? I dunno man, I am so high. Who are you with? I am sooooo hiiiigghhh.I agreed to Caleb's request for an interview tonight because it's been a while since I've been interviewed, and you know what a media slut I am. I'd pose for FHM if I could. So being put on the spot with pointed questions about my sexual orientation (orientation? orientation? taupok or taukwa or taunee?) is nuffin! But anyway, I'm really looking forward to the coming interviews in Caleb's series. Completely unedited. Completely rool life. Not like Chennai News Asia. Never tell a blogger anything about yourself unless you want it known to the whole wired world. Now go read the first instalment of Cowboy Caleb's Almost Daily Interview. Caleb on one of his 'I hate my job' days.
Surf stop: technicolor.org: in stereoscopic vision
I'm-a half-asleep because I've just been woken up by a work emergency. But still, I haven't been this tickled (not by the work emergency) since the letter 'G' blew out on the neon sign of Stuart Anderson's Black Angus Steakhouse. It's about yesterday's post, the subject of which I filched off Mr Brown's extensive coverage of the 'Despot' comment. Several well-meaning comments on both his blog and here (finally, some action) makes it not so much an interesting exchange, but an exchange, for that is the whole point. And I'm tickled because of this Generation Gap that seems to be appearing and getting bigger by the day. Hallo?! What da heow? I write very simply leh! Must publish paraphrased summaries of what I really mean meh? Aunty Lily's favourite book
Surf stop: Vantan.org
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Slipped through the net, this one
Jamie Han Li Chou, are you mad? Brave? Foolish? Drunk? Have you no concern for your family? Mum and Dad must be shitting bricks reading the news. What do you think this is? A western liberal democracy? Where are your Asian values? So near Chinese New Year some more! Organise yourself! Or else just write blogs like the rest of us! (If you don't know how to, MM Lee has a friend who can help you set one up) It's easy! Like so: Heard this joke once, and I laughed then:
Drunk man to police officer: Offffffissser! Police Officer: Yes? How can I help you? Drunk man: Issit a crime to think? Police Officer: Of course not. Drunk man: Wellll then... I THINK you're a fucking cunt!The Revolution WILL be televised!
Surf stop: Hit the JaG Spot!
Our hearts are not in it
Chinese New Year being so close to Valentines Day is a double whammy. The relatives will be at it, the well-meaning friends will be at it. The perpetually single and desperate will be at it. The Vietnamese/Kalimantanese bride agencies will be at it. Some among us singulars will be feeling mighty lonely, and for some of us, denial sets in hard and fast. So far, I've only read women who've voiced anxiety about the next fortnight. The boyz? Boh Chup! From IdleThink: LMD:
My friends are at it again. I have to give them credit for persistence.From Panicky Pussy:
...Jesus Christ, can't a girl have any peace?! After work, I just want to go home and relax. I don't want to go out, I don't want to make conversation while I'm working, I don't want you to SMS me to have sweet dreams and I sure as hell don't want you to whisper sweet nothings into my ear over the phone... ...Vday is coming up dammit.From Ma vie en direct:
...Anyway, mom just pulled that on me again when she asked if I was tired from getting home so late tonight. Stupidly, I said that I did feel a smidge worn, and she retorted that I needed to get married. If I got married then I wouldn't be so tired...From ppBlogz:
...I've always envied mums with lots of kids to take care of (with a little help from the maids, of coz) but geeze housewives have alot of problems too! I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence hehehe. It's good to be single and freeeeeee.... for now.Wanna buy termites? I have lobang!
Surf stop: Surf stop? Surf stop? Give you five chick blogs you still want Surf stop? Wah lao eh!
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Even fewer reasons not to own a Mac
Damn you, Apple! Now must readjust budget again: As one of many Mac fans that don't actually own a Mac (though I did between 1984 and 1997), I'm stoked to see falling prices and new and exciting features. Like the 'Sudden Motion Sensor'. If I had a Powerbook, I could walk and surf, commute and compute, without fear of losing any data were I to be as careless as to drop the Powerbook.
Surf stop: Fat Eye for the Skinny Guy
Run left, run right on manic Monday
As Mr Brown said the other day, it's a good time to be a blogger. Even better to be a blogger who runs out of things to write but gets inspired by what other bloggers are doing. Today, Cheeky does a pretty good job of adapting Jimmy's Liao's Turn Left Turn Right (neh, the one made into a movie starring Gigi Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro, and produced by Raintree, thereby destroying it's chances of being a decent movie, neh, that one?):
Like 2 MRT trains running on parallel tracks, They ran past each other countless of time but never once langga. He always turned left, Because the dustbin was on the left. She always turned right, Because the toilet was on the right. Taking escalator at the same time, He always went up (can see upskirt), She always went down (ZARA and MANGO located on the ground floor). Taking the bus at the same time, One always boarded the bus, While the other always alighted from the bus (EZ Link no money left).When I say inspired, I mean inspired enough to cut and paste and attribute it to the author, not inspired enough to come up with sumfin to call me own. And if you've got lotsa other stuff you ought to be doing, blogging or reading other people's blogs seldom helps. So, prease, chewren, faster finish your homework then come back and read. The blog and it's archives will stew be here. Don't tell your lecturer your assignment is overdue because Mr Miyagi make you read his blog. Your marder farder cancel your ingterneck then you know. In other matters, only (good) bloggers can make touch footy sound like an extreme sport. For goonisssakes, fellas, we wuz running in slow motion! Well, at least, I was! The other casualty of yesterday's Rumble in the Puddle was a previously pristine white tank-top stained pink/purple by hair-dye that ran. Well, gurl, at least your hair colour ran more than you did! Whassat you say? Brings it on? Come lah! WHO SCARED WHO? (Today's Sports Section is brought to you by "Concerned Spectators' Fund for a Sports Bra for LMD") Mr Miyagi in his heyday
Surf stop: Wanko's kitchen garden ! !