For Better And For Worse And For Granted

Yesterday, Naomi and I celebrated our 6th anniversary with a dinner to remember -which is the whole point of anniversaries, I think – to do (or eat) something memorable. We are still crying tears of joy remembering the food.

I can’t believe how lucky I am to have spent the last six years with Naomi, stumbling through thick and thin, for better and worse, and more importantly, taken turns to take each other for granted.

The Twitter Singapore Pledge Moment

It started a month ago, when I asked Tan Chuan-Jin over Twitter what his favourite part of the Pledge was.

We then had a few conversations off Twitter about ideas for getting Singaporeans to participate in the Pledge over the National Day period. After that, mrbrown, myself and a few friends thought it’d be great if the Minister for Manpower could lead the Pledge on Twitter.

Then, since he was on board, we asked (persistently) our classmate to ask his boss, the Prime Minister of Singapore, if he’d participate. As you can see in the selected updates below – PM Lee tweeted just once. Still, we are thrilled to have helped orchestrate this whole thing.

Follow the #PledgeSG hashtag
Follow the #iamsingaporean hashtag

Don’t forget to share your thoughts at Pledge.SG

How I Majulah Singapura

My reflections on this year’s National Day, first published on YouSayISayWhoConfirm.SG as a joint post with mrbrown’s National Day Song.

I used to think that I was Singaporean because of the way I spoke and how I could code-switch from standard English to Singlish even within a sentence. I used to think it was because I could understand why people would use packets of tissue, newspapers and umbrellas to “chope” seats at hawker centres when all it takes is a rule where you’re not allowed to sit at a table if you don’t have a tray of food with you.

But the fabric of society is changing. Close to 40% of the country’s population is non-Singaporean, and I think a sizeable chunk of Singapore citizens are made up of new migrants. You know those “emerging fault lines” the PM keeps talking about? They’re here, and they’re pretty disruptive.

Suddenly we have many Singaporeans we don’t feel the bond of kinship with. More than once I read on Twitter and Facebook that people or their parents didn’t feel proud that a “China-born” table-tennis player won another medal for Singapore. I’ve seen young people tweet things like “Argh! This bus is full of Pinoys!” without stopping to think for once whether what they were saying was racist.

Read more at YouSayISayWhoConfirm.SG

Three More Interesting Facts About Singapore

1. Singapore is home to 3,971 species of vascular plants, 364 species of birds, 295 species of butterflies, 98 species of reptiles, 52 species of mammals, 28 species of amphibians, and 255 species of hard corals.

2. A two-part episode of Hawaii Five-O was filmed in Singapore, featuring a thrilling scene on the Sentosa Cable Car.

3. Including Tan Howe Liang, every Singaporean Olympic medal winner was born in China.

If you haven’t already, do read the other 44 facts about Singapore I wrote three years ago.

But Singapore Doesn’t Have A Mouth

With the impeccable logic of a three year old, Kai questioned me over my explanation of National Day. I had said that National Day was Singapore’s birthday, and so everyone in Singapore got to celebrate.

He said, “Papa, but Singapore doesn’t have a mouth”.

Took a while before I said, “But everyone in Singapore has, so we all get to eat cake, if that’s what you’re trying to get at”.

It was. Then he made me buy two plastic Singapore flags from Prologue so we could both become what I used to laugh at – a flag waving patriot.

For All Singaporean Taxi Drivers: A Special Warning

Chris Reed, who has “25 years of senior marketing experience on both the client and agency side in the UK and now in Asia Pacific” published a badly written rant about our country’s taxi drivers and tried to disguise it as an opinion piece on the website Singapore Business Review.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but there is no need to be such a douchebag – check out his condescending responses to comments – and wank over everyone.

In support of our taxi drivers against such douchebaggism, some friends have made this animated gif for you to pass on to taxi drivers you meet today (or have their contact details handy). Please pass it on.

My Sec One Classmates

From my Secondary One class (1982): I’m kinda known as a writer of nonsense, my classmate Chuan-Jin is now Senior Minister of State for National Development and Acting Manpower Minister, and one other classmate became known as VR Man.

I guess you could say we took home different lessons from our teachers.

A Zaobao article featuring mrbrown and me, way back in 2005. We’re still figuring out the translation.
Then Colonel Tan Chuan-Jin (L) in Jan 2005, leading rescue operations in post-tsunami Aceh province, Indonesia.
VR-Man figuring out clues, circa 1998.

Fungal Infusions

Once I found out I was suffering from hypertension, I wasted no time and went to Funan to buy a blood pressure monitor dock that works with iOS. Mais well, right?

So it turns out that without hypertension medication (I’m only on two types of statins), my BP has come down from 157/90 to 129/90. I’d like to think my diet has something to do with it, but my mother-in-law will attest that it is her insistence that I drink this yucky infusion of black fungus and goji berries, boiled and chopped into bits that stick to your teeth, every morning, that has something to do with it.

Anyone else has other BP-lowering foods your families swear by?