Bless the squire and his relations

Elvis is aliveOnce, when I was in junior college, the discipline master reprimanded a schoolmate for having his shirt tucked out while school was still in session. He said to the errant boy, “How dare you walk around with your shirt tucked out like that? What do you think this is? Your grandfather’s school?”

My schoolmate thought for a bit, then decided to say it. He said, “As a matter of fact, yes, it is”, as he pointed to the plaque at the college’s foyer, which informed all and sundry that the college was built thanks in no small part to the very generous donations of his grandfather, one of the pioneers of Singapore’s banking industry.

Of course, that schoolmate was punished to a few days’ worth of detention, but if I remember correctly, he also said, “damn, that was worth it – how often do you get to say that?”

So insensitive, this boy, for keeping the discipline master in his proper station.

But apart from the occasional derisive, “eh, your friend government school one ah?”, we got along fine at this institution, where we schooled with the likes of the Tans, the Shaws, the Tangs, the Wees and the Liens. (Other families went to a less fun college).

P.S. photo has nothing to do with this post, so don’t read anything into it. I couldn’t.

iTunes is playing an illegal copy of The Ground Beneath Her Feet from the album “The Million Dollar Hotel” by U2 & Daniel Lanois of which I have the original CD.

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Kids say the darndest things

On one of the obscure TODAY articles I wrote about blogging in the classroom, there was a comment left today referring to the Wee Shu Min debacle, which alerted me to the Wee Shu Min debacle, which would have gone completely unnoticed because I am such a blurblock when it comes to matters of national importance.

All I can say is, who do you think you are, Wee Shu Min? Xiaxue?

But good job, girl, for getting yours and your father’s name into Technorati’s top 5 search terms this past week.

Comic strip by Insane Polygons

iTunes is playing an illegal copy of Walking In Your Footsteps from the album “Synchronicity” by Police of which I have the original CD.

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Thanks to lifts, my face is planted

What else is in Fiona Xie's handbag?Maybe, just maybe, Clarins Singapore‘s marketing people have gotten it wrong by getting Fiona Xie to be their new face.

A friend of ours was shopping for facial products, and Clarins was on of the options she was considering before she stepped out to shop, but when she saw the new face of Clarins adorning their kiosks at Robinsons, she said something to the effect of ‘I was going to buy Clarins stuff, but now got Fiona Xie, yee’.

I’d agree if I were a woman wanting to buy women’s facial products because I wouldn’t want to be Fiona Xie.

But maybe the strategy is in getting men to buy Clarins products for women because the men want women to look like Fiona Xie.

If that were so, then it’d be a brilliant marketing strategy, because I know of countless men who have bought their female acquaintances Osim uZaps and Marigold fruit drinks.

But I’m sure Clarins has a tried and trusted range of products that don’t require a large poster of Fiona Xie with the tagline, ‘thanks to plants, my face is lifted’. You just have to look past the glossy posters and just trust the stuff. Just like SKII (‘thanks to chromium and neodymium, my face will stay this way forever”).

iTunes is playing an illegal copy of Funny Face from the album “Menuhin & Grappelli Play Gershwin” by Yehudi Menuhin & Stephane Grappelli of which I have the original CD.

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Hearty Halloween

Junk food HalloweenThere are many Singaporeans who cannot pronounce the word ‘pumpkin’. But Naomi and I love a good pumpkin soup, and there are several restaurants here that serve a really good bowl, even if the waiting staff repeats your order, telling you that you’ve ordered two ‘Pungkim Shoop’

Picture via Bits and Pieces

iTunes is playing an illegal copy of Time I took a holiday from the album “Dig My Mood” by Nick Lowe of which I have the original CD.

Surf stop: Somewhere where they don’t call it Pungkim Shoop

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Dawn of realisation

Al fresco at the Imperial CafeFor more than four years, I’ve been buying my takeaway coffees from the Imperial Cafe & Pub on McCallum Street, and it’s only just now that I realised why the tables and chairs are placed so that patrons who dine in get to face McCallum Street and the silver-grey office block across it.

When a traffic police patrol bike comes along, as one did this afternoon, ridden by the shortest traffic policeman on motorcycle I have ever seen – his boots could only touch the ground one at a time when he was on the bike – the patrons are alerted by the proprietor of the Imperial, who simply mumbles ‘lai liao, lai liao’.

There’s a mad dash across McCallum Street by about half a dozen courier riders and deliverymen who run off to move their vehicles which are illegally parked on the street as well as on the side lane.

No one gets booked this afternoon, as the policeman seems like a nice enough fella, standing around till all the illegally parked vehicles have cleared the area before getting back on his bike and riding off.

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Viva Vivo City

I have seen the future of retail in Singapore and it is big. And looks like any other mall in the U.S. or Australia. Or Malaysia. Or Taiwan. Or Thailand. Or every other country in the world I’ve been to.

But no, just because it’s big doesn’t mean Vivo City is soulless. It’s got a Gap. And my colleague tells me there’s a man-made beach on the roof, where you can pretend you’re not several storeys off the ground kicking sand into the kid’s face next to you. I wouldn’t know. I didn’t get to the top floor. And even if I did, I wouldn’t have found the feature without a GPS.

That's not encouragingIf you drive, there’s the cavernous car park to negotiate. No, wait. There’s the driveway to the car park where you wait an eternity before you see the electronic signboard telling you that there’s one car lot left, then none, then one, then two, then none again.

About a week later, you get out of your car and make your way to a lift lobby, labeled ‘Q’. This gives you an indication of how big the place is going to be, because you can’t see where lobbies A to P are.

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As regards the mrbrown show

DigitalLifeTo Terry, Kormmandos, Annibrow, James and everyone else who’ve noticed and emailed me lately asking why I haven’t been heard on the mrbrown show. Thanks for asking.

Well, I haven’t been on the mrbrown show for a few weeks now because it’s time to move on to other things.

But it’s been a great year and a half writing and performing the silly skits that have made the show popular, and I’ve really enjoyed my time collaborating with mr brown and some of our guests (as well as being the hapless customer in the Zhng My Car series, and the hapless ‘customer’ in the Bak Chor Mee skit).

I have to thank Kin Mun for coming up with the crazy idea of having a podcast in the first place, and remember, we started out with an iPod and one of those plug-in mics you buy from the iShop or Apple Centre. Nothing stopped the occasional recording, and I remember a serious bout of flu keeping Kin Mun at home, necessitating the complex set-up of Skype and other software which allowed us to remotely ‘host’ a thirty minute show talking about such important national issues as ‘what is toilet paper called in Mandarin’?

The answer I offered (that we used to call toilet paper ‘shit paper’ in Mandarin) made Kin Mun laugh so hard he coughed himself off the chair, knocking out cables and having to set up the setup again. At least that was what he told me. I couldn’t see for sure, and had to take his word for it.

As for the very popular character ‘Johnny’, played inimitably by Kin Mun, credit is due to our friend Daryl Sng, who, on a pub outing with us, said, ‘eh, you know it would be very funny to have a Singaporean version of MTV’s Pimp My Ride, called ‘Zhng My Car”, or something. I paraphrase, but you know what I mean lah.

ZaobaoWorking on the podcast also made me realise that people take nonsense seriously, and it was both stressful and humbling to have guests ask to appear on the show. To date, we’ve had radio djs, film-makers, actors, singers, bands, writers, fellow bloggers, and according to Kin Mun, we’ve also stashed away recordings of taxi drivers, colleagues and the laksa auntie downstairs of the mrbrown show studio in Katong.

I’ve had friends who’ve made jokes, laughed at their own jokes, and then paused to ask me, ‘eh, is that going to be on the podcast?’ Nothing was sacrosanct, except things deemed sacrosanct at common law and acts of parliament.

I’m now looking forward to doing my own stuff again, and that includes writing (hint: if you’ve got writing gigs, let me know), and I’d like to thank every listener who has been supporting the show all this while. Youse rocks!

Mr Miyagi’s last mrbrown show podcast: the mrbrown show 25 Oct 2006: robo-beng

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In case of emergency, break glass, take key, unlock cabinet, take out fire extinguisher, and, hey, where da fire go?

In case of emergency, break glass, take key, unlock glass cabinet, take out extinguisher, and hey, where da fire go?Because our friendly bank tells us to look out for, among other things, suspicious objects attached to the card slot of their ATMs which may be used to ‘skim’ your ATM card details, me and my wife noticed this cabinet attached (or merely adjacent) to the ATM I was withdrawing our dinner money from.

Above the locked glass paneled cabinet containing a fire extinguisher was a smaller one containing a key.

I suspect the same system is in place in many Indonesian fire departments, so you might want to wait out the Haze a bit more while they muster their resources to battle the forest fires.

iTunes is playing an illegal copy of I’m on Fire from the album “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen of which I have the original CD.

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