Your clothes, give them to me now

photo by kandyjaxx

Taking an enforced break from working on a script because Mac needs to go to the toilet at least twice a day, I went downstairs past midnight, and walked through the basement carpark where a faulty flourescent light was flickering.

For a brief minute, I was spooked, because you know how in many movies, when flourescent or neon lights flickr and make that buzzing noise, something bad’s gonna happen?

Gotta tell the building maintenance people. Can’t take chances, man.

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Did the earth move for you?

“Richter Scale of Love” photo by ___Q___

Over the past year there’ve been more tremors felt in Singapore than I remember in the last decade. And there might be an explanation for this, according to a member of the Israeli Knesset.

Shlomo Benizri MK, a member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, claims that earthquakes are caused by homosexual activity.

I haven’t heard something like this since Sunday School and Bible Knowledge (‘O’ Levels) classes, where I learned about the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorra because their inhabitants were all sexually deviant homosexuals and that’s where the English terms Sodomy and Gonorrhea come from and we should never ever try it or even look at it because Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt which is not really useful because you can’t build anything permanent with it.

I’m guessing it was with this knowledge that this particular Right Honorable Member of Knesset asked his government a couple of days ago to stop “passing legislation on how to encourage homosexual activity in the state of Israel, which anyway brings about earthquakes”.

Good thing we stopped this Repeal 377A nonsense, else we’d suffer really, really big earthquakes, and that wouldn’t be nice, especially with rising prices and all.

So the next time there’s a tremor that rattles your chandeliers and topples your collectibles from your display cabinets, shake your fist and yell, “damn you faggots, stop it already! I’m really scared!”

The upside to this Shlomo shemozzle though, is that gay euphemisms and pick up lines will now include “seismic activity”, and “would you like to see my Richter scale?”

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Super-seize me

Willard Scott as the first Ronald McDonald

In Japan, Ronald McDonald is known as Donald McDonald. Name and other variations aside, he’s probably the most famous clown on the planet.

While doing research (yeah right) on a job we were doing, we came across several bits of trivia which were quite funny. Like the time in 1996 when a television commercial was shot and for some reason the actor playing the clown lost it (who wouldn’t?) and threw a plate at the director, who had probably earned the actor’s ire by calling him Bozo or something.

In response, the director attacked a life-sized cut out of Ronald McDonald, thinking it was the actor.

Life-sized statues of the clown have always been targets of pranksters, and at uni, freshies were always tasked to ‘kidnap’ Ronald from the neighbourhood McDonalds and placed in various other locations, the most popular of which was the taxi stand outside campus. It was fun watching cabs slow down, thinking a big haired man in baggy clothes was flagging down a ride. This happened so often (but the cabs still stop) we never recalled the Maccers’ staff calling the cops, because Ronald was always returned to his rightful residence after Orientation Week.

Apparently, after the Super-Size Me controversy, the company has decided to revamp its marketing, and Ronald’s friends The Hamburglar, Grimace and Birdie are going to be killed off as they eliminate marketing at children under 12. Ronald himself will be made an ambassador for healthy living, and was recently named “Chief Happiness Officer”, which is probably what the Japanese had in mind with their campaign:

You’ll want to eat her burger

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And China will rise some more


Never in my thirty something years of being Chinese have I experienced such a surge in everything Chinese. On the 2nd day of the New Year, Naomi and I went and visited her Mum, as is decreed by the Keepers of Chinese Custom (on the First Day, you visit with the husband’s family, on the second, with the wife’s), and then went out for dinner at The Cathay, at a Chinese noodle restaurant called Mian Mian Ju Dao (map), which means “All Kinds Of Noodles Also Have” in Singlish.

The waitresses all sported Northern Chinese accents, and a friend of Naomi’s Mum’s from Tsingtao (Qingdao) managed to impress us with her ability to pick out from which part of Northern China some of the waitresses were from. So clever, these Northern Chinese. And skilled too.

Being brought up in a Singaporean-Chinese-Anglo-Protestant (SCAP) family, I’ve only ever known Chinese tea as the stuff you drink without milk and sugar, but this year, I was treated to a gentrified ceremony of tea imbibing for an entire afternoon, accompanied by such usual New Year’s delicacies as pineapple tarts and melon seeds.

IMG_1868It was the eating of the melon seeds that made me sit up and realise that we were riding the great yellow tide: we used a made in China melon seed sheller to shell the melon seeds when we’d have previously just used our front teeth to crack the damn things to varying degrees of success. I know they’ve sent a man to space and have had millions of toys and food products recalled, but a melon seed sheller is a sure sign we’re in the epoch of a great Chinese empire.

That evening at Mian Mian Ju Dao, the waiter asked what type of noodles we’d like served with the noodle dish we each ordered. Just like in a pasta restaurant, I thought. But pasta restaurants don’t do noodles in one great unbroken strand, known as Yitiaomian, or One F***ing Long Noodle in Singlish. This one unbroken strand was skillfully coaxed out of a lump of dough by a noodle maker and into the tub of boiling soup stock, under the watchful eyes of a master noodle maker, who was also the master dumpling maker.

Mian Mian Ju DaoThere was also a type of noodle called Maoerduo (Cats’ Ears), which are essentially little pieces of dough pinched out by the noodle-maker’s fingers (and jagged fingernails, judging from the grooves on the noodles), and the usual La Mian (pulled noodle) and another I forget the name of, but which consists of noodle pieces sliced from a lump of dough held at about shoulder height and aimed at the pot of boiling stock like a shoulder launched anti-tank weapon.

As I gobbled my Xinjiang Noodle with bits of chili and lamb in a thick sauce, I remembered reading somewhere about there being 56 different Chinese nationalities, of which ours (Han), with our 20 over dialects and languages, is only one. Or was that the number of flavours of Baskin Robbins ice cream? Or Heinz baked beans?

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Malaysia Can

Something tells us this dude was responsible for the flooding
An “Oh Shit” Moment, KL, Malaysia

As we were walking the 8 minutes (as stated precisely in our hotel’s information pamphlet) back from Suria KLCC, we saw a motorcycle make a U-turn simply by going over the divider. Naomi, who gets stressed by anything moving on the roads, simply sighed and said “Wah, Malaysia really Boleh, man”.

On the way up to KL on the Plus, we had the radio on, with Naomi busying herself switching frequencies as we passed from one FM coverage area to another. On one station, there were periodic traffic reports in an articulate female voice (as opposed to inarticulate typical radio jock types) which were really informative – “southbound on the KL-Seremban highway at kilometre 123.4” – as well as funny – “there’s an overturned truck on the shoulder, it has spilled cans and bottles, please, do not stop for happy hour”.

Hotel Maya atriumSome of the more bizarre things heard on the radio made for a more interesting drive into KL proper, especially since 1/3 of the driving time was spent within KL’s traffic itself. There was something about internet connection rollout on the news which stumped us. Maybe it was because we’re from such a connected (ingternecktitedly) city-state that we we appalled that we thought we heard the newsreader say that internet rollout in rural and undeserved areas was to be reconsidered. We were appalled enough to ask a KL friend of mine, who said he wouldn’t be surprised that it was exactly as we heard.

It was a good thing that the hotel we were staying at wasn’t an undeserved area. We had patchy but free broadband access for the 3 days and 2 nights we were there. And before I forget, there has to be a big, big shout out to Arun, the guest relations person who attended to us when we checked in. Dude, you are the most accommodating hotel staff person fella we’ve ever met in Malaysia. The Hotel Maya is very lucky to have you. If only they had more luck with the rest of the hotel, though.

The Brasserie, Hotel MayaIt’s not that the Hotel Maya is a bad place. The special rates were a good deal, as were the designer interiors. It’s just that when you look closer, it all seems a little howyousayit, salah. Faucets wobbled, polished wooden floorboards warped at the edges, and the pillowcases were torn. We had the one meal at the hotel’s brasserie, and um, the less said the better.

Still, it’s necessary to mention the attitude of the staff again. Maybe it’s because we haven’t been out of Singapore for awhile, and are pleasantly surprised by any a) sense of irony, b) sense of humour, and c) sense of initiative.

We did some homework on hotel accommodation before booking at the last minute, and learnt that a room at the Hotel Maya has either a Twin Tower view (KLCC) or a KL Tower View, only that the KL Tower View also includes a Jalan Ampang Cemetary view. So when we asked a reservation staff member about it, she laughed and said, yes, but we prefer to call it the KL Tower View. I’m not a gambling man, but I’d bet a few bucks that a Singaporean hotel staff member wouldn’t even give a hint of a giggle if put in the same position. Plus, we were allowed a late late late late checkout when our bookshop spree took longer than expected and we only managed to trundle back to our room to pack up at around 10pm.

Aside from being able to spend a small fortune on books at Kino, like we did on our last trip there, it was very good to meet up with my uni mates, and for Naomi to put faces to the funny stories I’ve told her about my uni mates, and for the faces to retell the funny stories for as many more times as time would allow. This is the guy who laughed till he had an asthma attack during Contracts; this is the girl who took ten minutes to parallel park and then went up the wrong flat for study group. Things that were funny back when but not quite now.

Boo Seng's weddingOh, and yes, we were there for a my uni mate Boo Seng’s wedding, and I don’t have to mention that I’ve written about Boo Seng and his many exploits in this blog, and that you shouldn’t bother about searching for those posts because I’ve changed his name in those blog posts except this one, let’s get back to talking about the wedding dinner.

It wouldn’t have been a typical Boo Seng event if everyone could find their way to the venue without trouble. Nestled somewhere in the back back streets of the suburb of Petaling Jaya, the restaurant provided the perfect semi-rustic location for my friend Boo Seng’s wedding, for as another classmate put it, you can take the Boo Seng out of Batu Gajah, but you can’t take the you know the rest. It was al fresco, complete with rain and rain contingency seating shuffles, and for everything else the wedding turned out to be, it was a very enjoyable reunion for a bunch of friends who’ve known each other for over 15 years.

It seems like just yesterday we were teaching ourselves cricket in the park with a couple of bats, a tennis ball and rubbish bins provided by the Randwick City Council.

Congratulations Liz, for bowling our Boo for a golden duck, though he’s survived many maidens*.

*it’s just a cricket term, don’t read too much into it. 🙂

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