An epiphany from doing nothing

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
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?)
iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: She – Elvis Costello – Notting Hill, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. If you entice a married woman away from her husband, you’re also a criminal: s498

What gives? The women of our land are as thick as trees? Would a woman not know whether she’s married to the guy she’s about to give her body to (or sign a co-tenancy agreement with)?

But honey, we’re married. Come to bed leh!

Is it? Since when we were married?

Neh, last month, you were unconscious, but I took you to the ROM and made you sign everything by propping you up and holding the pen in your hand? Remember or not?

But back to the issue at hand. The boy who used his phone cam to take pictures of FF’s ample (she said it herself) cleavage, I think, could be guilty of an offence under Section 509.

If not, she might wanna do something really nasty to him, but then she could as a result, find herself guilty under Section 508: Act caused by inducing a person to believe that he will be rendered an object of divine displeasure.

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Force Of Nature – John Mayall – Archives To Eighties, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

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
iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: My Funny Valentine – Chet Baker – A chance of sunshine, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

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.

Novena Coffee Shop
Big tree give us shade. Big tree also give us birds perched and primed to unload: Novena coffee shop

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,

Damian

The 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

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Ojos Negros – Stephane Grappelli – 85 And Still Swinging, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

Our secret history


‘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

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:

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.

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Something – The Beatles – 1967-1970 Disc 2, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

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
iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: The Ballad of John and Yoko – The Beatles – 1967-1970 Disc 2, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

Humper

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
Not just wonderful

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles – 1967-1970 Disc 1, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

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:

Use the correct tense
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 a mug
When you grow taller, you can reach for the mug

Flame of the forest
Flame of the forest HDB estate: You can see the red 10 football fields away.

Half the tiger in my tank
Elixir of the gods: Iced coffee shop coffee in a Tiger mug

I heart rubbish
I heart rubbish

Fat cat
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
Beer lights up my day (and night)

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Fallen – k.d. lang – Hymns Of The 49th Parallel, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.

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

Multimedia message

Surf stop: rawjak.com
iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Hallelujah – k.d. lang – Hymns Of The 49th Parallel, of which I have the original CD and therefore didn’t steal music.