Month: October 2012

Grandmother’s Tales

My paternal grandmother passed away 13 years ago at the age of 100. I was blessed to have spent a fair bit of my childhood in her company, where she’d regale me with fabulous tales of China, my grandfather whom I never met, of how my father was when he was a child like me, and how all that mattered was that you were Hainanese because every other dialect/ethnic group in China were barbarians. When she visited us from Seremban in the 70s, she’d take me (her favourite grandchild) on trishaw rides to across town, which in those days were divided by the Singapore River into what the Chinese called “Big ‘Pore” and “Small ‘Pore” – with Big ‘Pore on the west of the river, and Small ‘Pore on the east. Much to my mother’s chagrin, because she was the most ‘western educated’ of anyone in our family, Ah Por would buy me treats from Hainanese streetside vendors and get me Chinese bowl haircuts from Hainanese streetside barbers. I later learned that these were in Little …

Fool For A Cigarette

I keep saying that people don’t make a big enough deal about how much of an addiction smoking really is. Calling it a “habit” is really understating it, unless you were talking about a heroin “habit” or a cocaine “habit”. And while I’m sure there are people who’ve used weaning methods like nicotine gums, patches and e-cigarettes (smokeless, tar-less vaporisers) and succeeded in kicking the “habit”, the fact that you need to use a chemical to replace your dependence on the same chemical says a lot about how nasty this smoking business is. I tried nicotine gums and patches once – at the same time. It felt so intense I decided I needed a cigarette to calm me down. I’m pretty sure I damaged some synapses or something with that episode. When I was in the Army my priorities for field training were in this order: 1. pack enough cigarettes to last the training, 2. make sure they are in waterproof bag, 3. pack field pack”. I know of smokers who’d walk through blizzards and …