Motor Morons’ Motoring Weekend

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Being With You – Smokey Robinson – Billboard Top Hits: 1981, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

No, I didn’t go watch the rugby or the wakeboarding this weekend, because every time I looked out the window, it looked like it was gonna rain chubby rain.

What I did instead was a spot of retail therapy with a friend who’s looking to buy a car. Because this was the first time either of us were looking at showroom cars (as opposed to caryard ones), we were very excited. We collected half a dozen brochures before we mustered enough courage to ask for a test drive. Yes, me and my friend are what you would call Motor Morons.

Very tiring weekend, but here’s our Motor Moron Motor Review:

Chevrolet Aveo:

Not a good feel at all. Horrible interior with plastic trimmings that look like Airfix parts. (In fact, the drinks-holder fell apart because the airfix glue never glue properly). The doors were tinny-sounding when you closed them.

Two thumbs down.

Mitsubishi Lancer:

Looked pretty alright from the outside, though a bit ‘Beng/Lian’. The inside was a bit outdated, with the instrument cluster looking like something from the early 90s. The ride was pretty smooth, and we didn’t bang anything or what, even if it was our first time driving it. We even went into a road hump pretty hard, and the car still stayed together like a dream. Not a peep from the salesman either.

In the lobby of the showroom was a ‘Ralliart’ version of the Lancer. My brother (who’s not a Motor Moron, but likes to make fun of Motor Morons) says I should get it, so I look like I have a sports car, though it won’t drive like one. Apparently there’s something called the Evil Eight or something version of the Lancer that the Bengs and their molls can’t get enough of. Now, that’s a sports car, says my brother.

My brother also says Mitsubishi is coming up with a ‘new shape’ for the Lancer, so don’t buy a Lancer now.

But the Lancer comes with a Sony or Kenwood car stereo that plays MP3 discs leh.

One thumb up, one thumb down.

Toyota Vios:

We didn’t get to test drive this car because the showroom was chockers with people looking to buy cars, and the salesman said ‘How to test drive, see how crowded it is?’. Minus 20,000 points. But the Vios is pretty neat, with the instrument cluster in the middle of the dashboard, tilted towards the driver so the driver can still see how fast he or she is going. But there’s still too much of that fake wood veneer panelling thing going on, and that makes it look a little dated. The doors shut pretty nicely though.

One thumb up, one thumb down (for impatient salesman).

Mazda 3:

We already liked the look of the Mazda 3, and we were attended to by a woman called Rosie, and she could tell at once that we were Motor Morons. (There was that glint in her eye while we had that glaze in ours). Rosie was pretty good at convincing us that the Mazda 3 was the best car in its class, even if it was $10-15K more expensive than other compact sedans. It was pretty crowded at the showroom too, but Rosie managed to get us a yellow Mazda 3 to play around with.

The ride was pretty good, and we weren’t at all distracted by Rosie talking non-stop while we negotiated the weekend afternoon traffic. The car’s interior is very stylo-mylo, and it has one of those nifty steering wheel controlled stereo systems.

And when we were done with our test drive, we closed the doors and there was a very satisfying ‘clump’ sound as they shut. Mmmm. Not tinny.

Rosie carried on talking about which model we should buy, as if we were already set on buying one.

‘Don’t buy the RS! What for? Sports package make the car very heavy! $5,000 more to make the car drink more petrol! No point lah!’, she said.

Two thumbs up.

Next week: Test driving cars I cannot afford.

Chopsticks Olympics

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Working Class Hero – John Lennon – Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

I’ve had a string of bad days work and otherwise. There were hours where I couldn’t make heads or tails of what I was supposed to be doing. But there were breaks, thankfully, and one of the breaks was spent having lunch with my father.

Good thing my father’s the quiet sort, and to most other observers, inscrutably so. You can almost hear his brain ticking, but ticking about what, you don’t know.

I reckon the ticking these days is mostly about trying to figure out how to control his fine motor movements. I was mesmerised again by his determined use of chopsticks to pick up peanuts from a plate while we lunched at a Chinese restaurant near the office we share. He zig-zagged the chopsticks towards the plate, hovering over the plate for about half a minute before catching a peanut. Then he shuffled the other peanuts on the plate while trying to get the chopsticks to grip the one peanut. After another half minute, the payload secured, he zig-zagged the chopsticks and peanut towards himself, and juuuuust as the peanut was about to get to his mouth, his grip loosened and the peanut dropped onto the floor. And then he started all over again.

Thankfully, the food we ordered arrived soon after, so he only had two attempts at the peanut picking chopsticks Olympics.

This Sporting Life*

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Prelude To A Kiss – Duke Ellington – This Is Jazz (Volume 7), of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

This weekend promises to be a sporting weekend. There are three major events on this our little island. There’s the 57th Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby Sevens at the Padang, the Wakeboarding World Cup at Bedok Reservoir, and the Corporate Triathlon at wherever it is they hold triathlons.

I want to watch the SCC Sevens because I haven’t watched one in ages. It’s a palatable rugby carnival for non-rugby nuts, given the simplified 7-a-side format (as opposed to 15s), with a picnic atmosphere. It used to be an even more picnicky event, with the old Satay Club across the road from the Padang. This year, as with previous years, rugby clubs from around the world will compete in games lasting a maximum of twenty minutes, so spectators would be able to watch a dozen games in a day. I remember playing for college in the schools section (Sithawalla & John Clarke trophies) of the competition, and waiting behind the goal posts for the opposing team to kick one of their many conversions, and hearing my stomach growl when I smelled the satay from across the street. Then when the opposing team’s player kicked the conversion, one of us would have to run across the road, dodging traffic, to pick up the ball from the Satay Club. Once a while, an unfortunate Vespa rider would get knocked off his scooter by the ball.

Oh, and there’ll be lots of beer, and lots of female spectators accompanying those banking industry type blokes who are happy to have them accompany the beer, even if they keep asking a lot of dumb questions like why the referee stops the game when the ball is dropped forward by one of the players.

Rugby nuts (like myself) like to repeat the silly slogan that Rugby is the Game They Play In Heaven, and rugby at the Padang comes close. All sporting events should be like that, in the midst of the bustle of the city, as if to show that life doesn’t have to stop for sport, because sport is part of life. It’s a pity they’ve not played the National Schools Rugby Championships at the Padang for a decade now. It used to be so grand with City Hall and the Supreme Court across from the main field, and St Andrews Cathedral down the road a little. We’d get stage fright just taking the field. There’d be office workers and other passers by stopping to watch for a bit, sometimes staying the whole game. There’d be people in double decker buses pointing and sometimes cheering. So distracting, so exciting.

What’s even better about this year’s SCC Sevens is that my favourite rugby club in the whole wide world, Randwick, is competing for the first time in several years. Randwick is the suburb I lived in in Sydney, and the club’s home ground is just as unassuming – one block, one patch of grass next to McDonald’s Coogee Beach. No fences, no stadium, and no lights. I used to walk from my apartment to watch them play Saturdays (until I had to play for my own club on Saturdays), their first-grade team bristling with players who represented Australia as well, and you were so close to the field could almost touch them.

***

The Wakeboarding World Cup will also be watched by banking industry blokes accompanied by female spectators asking silly questions, and I might join them in asking silly questions. I’ve not watched wakeboarding before, much less participated as a wakeboarder. I hear so much about wakeboarding from my friends who remain surprised I don’t wakeboard. Before that, I always thought being dragged around behind a boat only happened in accidents. I might just pop by to take a look, and then decide whether to get some of my chio gerfrens to teach me to wakeboard, much the same way they taught me to play pool.

***

Triathlon? Fun to watch meh? Stand in one place and everyone either cycles, runs or swims past you, depending on where you’re standing.

***

I think there’s only enough of the weekend to catch two out of three, and you know which two I’ll be going to watch.

*This Sporting Life stars Richard Harris, who in real life played rugby for Munster before a severe bout of TB halted his sporting life and he took up acting. Harris resumed his playing career in 2002.

The death penalty’s got nothing to do with soccer

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Flame trees – Jimmy Barnes – Flesh and Wood, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

I went and bought The New Paper today at the petrol station because I had already read the Straits Times this morning. There were 64 pages in today’s edition, 10 of which were soccer-related. The rest were ring-tone or chatroom ads. The 5 or so pages of news covered some international events (Thai Death Trucks) and some local ones (Hougang housewife finds 20 parangs outside flat – woo hoo. windfall; He finds sex scenes in Jurong library video – score!).

Since people who buy and read the New Paper regularly almost always watch the English Premier League and already know what’s happened the previous night in soccer, they must sometimes read the news and find some things actually newsworthy, even if the items are sensationalised to the point of being offensive. Actually, no, I think they must keep reading because it’s been sensationalised to the point of being offensive. We all are quite like that sometimes. Things can be so bad they become compelling.

So, if New Paper journalists can dig up stories like the Hougang Housewife (My word! What drama! Imagine what the parangs were stashed away for!), surely they would want to dig up some other obscure story, for to titillate the masses.

My suggestion today for an obscure, but nonetheless titillating story, would be headlined: Death penalty, a warden’s story

The warden would then describe to the journalist what he usually sees at a prison execution by hanging:


When the trap springs the prisoner dangles at the end of the rope. There are times when the neck has not been broken and the prisoner strangles to death. His eyes pop almost out of his head, his tongue swells and protrudes from his mouth, his neck may be broken, and the rope many times takes large portions of skin and flesh from the side of the face that the noose is on. He urinates, he defecates, and droppings fall to the floor while witnesses look on… A prison guard stands at the feet of the hanged person and holds the body steady, because during the last few minutes there is usually considerable struggling in an effort to breathe.*


Sensational, no? Goes well with the Straits Times and other media outlets carrying campaigns to make the public more understanding so former prisoners can be employed and be given a second chance, no? Even better if they get the New Paper’s artist to sketch pictures of the condemned prisoner shitting himself, just as they sketched pictures of people suffocating in the ‘Thai Death Trucks’ in today’s edition.

Get to it, you New Paper reporters! Sensational scoop! State-sanctioned horrible death!

*p87, The Justice Game, Geoffrey Robertson QC, 1999 Vintage Books


Photo by Brad Michael Moore

Mr Miyagi’s Merchandise

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Piki Mai – Kiri Te Kanawa – Maori Songs, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

In light of recent media attention, I’ve been asked many questions, pressing questions, to which I don’t yet have answers.

Why do you blog? must rate as one of the frequently unanswered ones, as I have no freaking idea. And the hastily scripted ‘is there a social conscience purpose to your blog’ question made me think real hard about whether I have any social conscience apart from saying yes when the local vagrant calls me Uncle and asks me whether he can have one of my cigarettes. I’ve been marked by him. He stakes out the coffeeshop looking for me to arrive, then comes out from behind the pillar puts two fingers to his lips and says, Uncle, Hoon Kee.

Call me Uncle and I will kill you slowly by giving you cigarettes.

‘Do you get paid because you’re getting quite popular?’, asks a particularly money-minded (in a good way) friend.

‘Dude, you should make some money outta this’, says Cowboy Caleb. ‘It’s not selling out, it’s selling in’, he adds.

To heck with social conscience! I will sell in! Scroll down the sidebar and see the first three items in Mr Miyagi’s merchandise catalogue! Quality stuff, guaranteed.

More stuff coming soon: Miyagi Mug for Orange Mocha Frappucino, small miyagi cup for Double Macchiato, Ultra-portable Miyagi Catch Fly Personal Chopsticks for Bee Hoon…..


Adidas Miyagi

Vartever it is, it’s werry good

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Even Better Than The Real Thing – U2 – The Best & The B-Sides Of 1990-2000 (Disc 1: The Best Of), of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

One of the things Diana Ser asked me which didn’t make the final cut of the Get Rea! interview was ‘where do you get your cues or topics to blog about?’, and I answered, ‘dunno, reading and watching the news’. She then pounced with a well anticipated ‘Ah hah! So! The new media still has to take its cues from traditional media!’

Yeah vartever!

But I do read and watch the news, trawl blogs, site counters and search engines, and on occasion, google my own blog for interesting references that turn up once a while (but only on occasion, because there’s only so much you want to know about Pat Morita). And this morning was no different.

From this blog, I read with much mirth the opening paragraph to this one entry from another:


…blame third world education for my terrible english (it seems like an idea for a bad sitcom: let’s throw in a bunch of brown kids, and have a brown teacher who has learnt english from ANOTHER brown teacher, teach all these li’l brownies some english. i mean really, it’s like a gora trying to teach another gora some urdu. do you know that we were never taught how to pronounce V or W? it was always wan and wery and vhere and VHAT?! i just got it right a couple of years back but i still trip over wanessa villiams – bitch came up with a name like that just to make life difficult for us brownies).

Hee hee! Let’s go to Welwet! Let’s drive a Wolwo!

In other news, Karen Cheng is preggers with baby #2! Congratulations! If ever you move to Singapore, free lessons for your kids!

Orange Mocha Frappucino?

Vaguely gay recluse

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Bonde – Ali Farka Toure with Ry Cooder – Talking Timbuktu, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

Some angry young woman thinks I look vaguely gay on TV, and I wasn’t even having a double mac or an Orange Mocha Frappucino.


3) The only Blogger who claimed to address social issue [sic] looked suspiciously like a recluse.
4) Not only that, he looked vaguely gay.


In the post immediately prior, she’s just watched that Get Rea! episode and she’s very riled up by what she sees and hears, much like how other angry young women get very, very riled up when they watch Singapore Idol because the judges are so stupid and gay and the contestants so untalented how dare they even audition for the show et cetera ad nauseum.


···Yes, blogging in Singapura is a disappointment. Even the more well-known blogs here are nothing but a big fat flop. All they do is ramble about their personal lives, which to me, is all wrong. Nobody wants to hear the brain-numbing details. Sometimes, I’m tempted to simply take down my photo log because it dangerously adds personality to this blog. It makes it more human. Wouldn’t it be better overall if I was blogging without a face? If I had no human personality attached to me? I would be nothing but a voice. Somehow, I suspect that putting up my pictures attracts trolls. They’re able to attach a face to a voice, and face it, trolls are usually so stupid they can’t identify a voice without a face.


Luvvie, it’s a teevee show, and it’s called Get Rea! They shoulda interviewed you instead, because you have more of an agenda than anything I’d ever be able to muster. But what to do? I mingle with the glitterati and Diana Ser has my mobile number.


···Another Blogger told us that the quality of blogging here is seriously bad. Tell me something I don’t know, mister. And why didn’t he share his blog address? I’m curious to see how hot shot a social commentator he is.


Be curious no more, for I am not a commentator of any sort. And I tried my darndest to ‘share my blog address’, but it just so happened that the show had people called producers to edit the one hour interview and left the important bit out. For social commentary, go to Mr Brown’s. He’s well-known, big and a little fat (my age liao mah), but definitely no flop by any measure.

Still, thank you. Better to look vaguely gay than vaguely straight. Orange Mocha Frappucino for everyone!

(Nabeh… simi recluse? I have lotsa friends ok?)

2047

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: I Can’t Wait – John Hiatt – Walk On, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

You go on a trip thinking it will recharge your batteries, and that you’ll come back refreshed and ready for work. No lor. I am crabby as hell. I’ve not figured out which is the right side of the bed to wake up on in the last three days, and judging by the way things are, I’m not likely to be as chirpy as a Valuair cabin crew member any time soon.

Unfortunately, the number of profanities I’ve been churning out in long sentences has increased dramatically as well. Especially when driving. Just now, I honked at a taxi and cursed him and three generations of his descendants, that they’d fucking end up fucking driving fucking taxis for the fucking rest of their fucking lives. [Translated and paraphrased from the Hokkien/Cantonese by Mr Miyagi’s long-suffering muse/secretary]. By the time I finished the rant, I had driven from Orchard Boulevard to Holland Village, where another taxi cut into my lane and caused me to brake hard and curse long again.

Feeling just as crabby was my friend whose pile of university assessment markings was finally toppling over. She sent me an SMS asking if I knew what one student meant by a ‘splittering [sic] and drastic sound’. I replied, pronto, ‘that is the sound your grandmother makes when she falls down the stairs’.


‘There is one thing that I cannot lend….’

Reviews of 2046:
Cowboy Caleb
So Oddly Dreamlike
Evie

Declining magic carpet rides

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Song Sung Blue – Neil Diamond – Stones/Moods, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

Double Mac by Illy CoffeeA double macchiato and a club sandwich, not toasted, please.

A double Mac and a club sandwich. To have here?

Yes please.

Then I collect my food and beverage and plonk myself at one of the tiny round tables (known as a tablet) at Starbucks at the World Trade Centre Shopping Mall in Causeway Bay. I’ve got a couple of hours between the ex’s tea ceremony and the marriage solemnisation at Cotton Tree Drive, and I need to fire off work emails on my notebook.

This slowpoke notebook takes ages to start up, and even longer to log on to the PCCW wireless hotspot service. And when I’m finally logged in, someone is peering over my shoulder and asking me,

You’re not local, are you?

Erm, no. How can you tell? (While thought bubble is saying, ‘That’s cos I’m bloody speaking Engrish’).

‘Cos you’re different. Locals are not like that.

OK.

Where are you from? London?

Erm, no. Singapore.

Business?

No, Economy.

Hahaha.

Hahaha.

Thought bubble: Wah lao. Gaydar redline already still can make joke! Stop it! Later go toilet kenah molest!

The Starbucks barista could possibly just have been trying to be friendly, and maybe I was a little tired. Tiredness makes me a little paranoid. So maybe he wasn’t trying to chat me up, and the old gaydar could have done with a little fine-tuning.

Growing up in the company of gay men, and being generally gay-friendly still doesn’t make me comfortable with being approached by gay men. But I have to admit to being flattered when I am actually propositioned. (Being propositioned by either gender, however, doesn’t happen very often, you see.) Most approaches can be handled managed by a simple, ‘Dude you are barking up the wrong tree’. More aggressive approaches, however, require a more defensive stance. Especially when the approacher says something stupid like, ‘you sure you never been curious’?

There was however, one incident in a gay club (that is no more) in Singapore, where a very attractive woman approached me, announced she was a lesbian, and whispered in my ear that she always fantasized about having sex with a gay man, and asked if I was available.

All I remember was that my brain short-circuited, and it was possibly the only moment in my life where I contemplated selling out my fierce heterosexuality, even if it was just so I could get some straight sex.

Meanwhile, back at Starbucks:

Doing work?

Yeap.

OK, I’ll leave you and your double Mac alone.

Thought bubble: Jia lat! Is a Double Macchiato a gay beverage? But I like Double Macs. Fuck! Must change drink liao. Orange Mocha Frappucino. Hee Hee Hee!

Causeway Bay
It’s so crowded, you accidentally turn gay also you dunno.

Causeway Bay

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing: Feels like home – Bonnie Raitt – Michael: Music from the Motion Picture

I feel like the guy in Lost in Translation. I feel like the guy in The Notebook. I feel like the guy in In The Mood For Love. I feel like the guy in 2046.

There was a point during my stay in Hong Kong that I wondered if I would feel like myself, or some semblance of what I thought I was. Then I thought, wah lao, damn cock lah! And I went out of the Wong Kar Wai flat, took the lift downstairs and shopped, ate, walked around, and mostly felt un-lost around Causeway Bay, Admiralty, Central and Lan Kwai Fong.

There were things to do: Helping the ex buy her accessories for her wedding costumes.

There were things to eat: An aunt in Hong Kong took me to dinner, and it was one of those eat to death hotpot places.

There were people to meet: Cowboy Caleb was in town also, so we went and tried to drink Lan Kwai Fong dry, but the bugger cannot drink and neither can I; and there was Lucy my friend the bored housewife who doesn’t mind a drink or two.

Then there was the grandest, most beautiful wedding I have ever attended, and appropriately so.

Then in the cab on the way back to the ex’s apartment in Causeway Bay, everything looked like something from Chungking Express.

Rear Window
View from the shoebox apartment, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. The ex held the lease for two more months so I could stay for six days last week and save money on a hotel room.