We are one

Picture 11.pngFunny how the Channel Newsasia text version of the interview manages to mash up quotes from mr brown and myself, then attribute them only to me. (Yes, we are doing a lot of things together, but we’re just friends, ok? Not even a Brokeback Hill here.)

We also spoke about podcasting and how much fun we’re having with it, so they put that into another text article on their site.

Not that anyone’s interested in this matter right now, now that there’s that Nanyang Polytechnic Sex Scandal thing going on. Blardy hell, now no-one will download our podcasts!

Video Podcast: the mrbrown show (video) 19 Feb 2006: Show 2, CNA interview

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‘I like Singapore. It’s very beautiful. We see it from the boat’

As she was ladling the rest of the stock into my bowl of Pho, Mrs Nguyen said, ‘I like Singapore. It’s very beautiful. We see it from the boat’.

I was at my first dinner over at Julie’s parents’ in the south-western suburb of Lakemba, where from then on, I was always guaranteed a bowl of the best MSG-free Pho in Sydney because Julie herself hated the stuff. As far as possible, Jules would sneak out for a sandwich or felafel or anything, as long as it wasn’t Vietnamese. Jules and I became friends at law school only because I loved Vietnamese food and she hated it, and she had brought me home that first time so I could finish everything her mother cooked.

It’s no surprise I was 10kg heavier than I am now when I hung out with Jules. Her mum cooked the tastiest Vietnamese food I’ve ever eaten. Apart from that, Jules was really fun to be with, especially when she was with her best friend, Nu, and the two of them would often put on Spice Girls skits on the train to Uni. But it was Jules’ hilarious ignorance of all matters Vietnamese that made it even more fun.

Once, when it was reported that one of the members of the notorious 5T Gang had been killed, she had said very innocently, ‘Now, they have to call themselves the 4T Gang’.

Things only got a little closer to home for Jules when Nu’s brother was arrested in connection with the murder of a NSW State MP. At that point, I felt that it was the first time either Jules or Nu had to confront anything Vietnamese. But Jules simply said, ‘Crime’s just crime and it’s got nothing to do with whether you’re Vietnamese or Lebanese’.

Of course, the popular sentiment at that time was that ‘ethnic groups’ caused crime, and children of ‘non-english-speaking-background’ were industrious and scored the best places at the best universities. Such that one of the jokes bandied about at that time (and bandied about by a stand-up comedian of Vietnamese origin called ‘Hung’) went:

How do you know when your house has been burgled by a Vietnamese?

Your dog is gone and your kids’ homework’s done.

It was at another, later Pho binge at Jules’ parents’ that Mrs Nguyen again said, ‘I like Singapore. Very beautiful. We see it from the boat.’, and I had looked up (from placing my face directly over the bowl) and asked what turned out to be the question that opened the can, ‘Oh, how long did you stay in Singapore?’

‘We did not go to Singapore. We only see from boat’.

‘Why not?’, I ventured further, realising only at the end of my question that she had meant seeing Singapore from their refugee-filled boat.

‘They did not allow us. They give us oil (fuel), give us food, give us water, then they pull the boat away from Singapore. Julie will not remember. She was only 18 months old’.

Further conversations with Jules’ brother and father revealed that their boat had been towed out to international waters, where they were picked up by Malaysian coastal police boats, and the refugees were placed in a camp somewhere on the east coast of Malaysia. The Nguyens were later accepted under an Australian resettlement initiative, and have been living in Sydney since 1977.

The last time I spoke with Jules, she had just quit her job as a tax lawyer and had taken on what she felt was a more fulfilling job as a family lawyer in a smaller firm. Over the phone, I could hear her mother interrupting her now and again, and she had shouted back in her typically Australian-accented Vietnamese. I wanted to ask her how her mum’s Pho master stock was doing, and whether she was still making Pho feasts from it, but I figured Jules wouldn’t have cared the least for it, and she’d have talked more about how the damned Starbucks and Borders outlets were taking over Sydney.

Jules, Sydney 1997
Jules eating Tom Yam soup because it’s Thai and not Vietnamese. Sydney 1997.

iTunes’ party shuffle is playing a copy of: Traum durch die Dammerung – Nai-Yuan Hu\Nelson Padgett – A chance of sunshine, 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.