Sunday, July 31, 2005

Nation Buildings.

We had a talk on Tuesday by a representative from the URA...and I was riled beyond the usual by the bald faced bureaucrating that usually occurs in events like this. (Common enough in schools but irritating nonetheless) The added irritation was the fact that it was the URA...bonetopickmuch?


"Why specifically the URA?", one may ask. Well, it's the one section of the government that clearly illustrates the hypocrisy that is inherent in the system, as well as the idiocy. On the one hand, there's the government that says that Singaporeans need to be rooted to Singapore and be proud of its history. Then there's the URA that tears down said history despite the protests of Singaporeans that have gotten attached to said history. What, pray tell, are we supposed to be proud of? The empty space where our National Library building used to stand? Glinting new buildings where old shophouses used to stand? Art Nouveau structures that stand where we used to play as kids? Paved storefronts where Singaporeans used to fly kites?


Now, I don't have a single problem with "urban redevelopment". I'm happy that we're probably the one nation with the highest number of clean toilets per capita in South-East Asia. I'm glad that almost every building on Orchard Road is air-conditioned to a comfortable temperature (i.e. 20 degrees) and I'm happy that I'm not walking down streets lined with buildings that are crumbling to their foundations. I like clean, nay, clinical Singapore despite the antiseptic feel of it. It's comfortable and it's nice. So what exactly is the problem?

The conflicting messages that we're getting from the PA...oops. I meant government. Life's too short to listen to people who haven't quite made up their minds yet I say. They tell us to plant our roots here...then they go ahead and rip up the topsoil. Shyeah. Great way to show us how to stay here. I barely recognise the Singapore that I'm supposed to love. It's like a wife (or husband) who's gone for so much cosmetic surgery that they end up looking like a cross between Pam Anderson and Rupaul. Ugh. See, what I figure is that our dear government has taught us precisely the opposite (i.e. rootless). But what they expect us to do is to stay rooted. It's a perfect example of "do as I say, not as I do". When we follow the example, we're labelled quitters.

Now, as far as I'm concerned, I'm happy with it one way or the other. If we are to be rootless, let's excel in that. Let's be the people who can pack up and go on a whim, unfettered by sentimentality or cultural infatuations. Our "multiracial society" has taught us to blend in in any culture that we should find ourselves in. Cultural sensitivity and all that jazz...
If we are to be rooted, I don't mind either. Singapore's home. It's a great place to live and it's a nice place to grow old in. (Just as long as you have enough CPF and a sound investment scheme.)
Just one request, please do not ask us to be both. It's confusing and pointless. It's almost like a democracy when there are no other viable alternatives than the one. Or spending $400,000 to feel a little better about a name that you picked a long time ago.

I'll just leave you all with something that we've been learning in logic class:

Let M = Familiar buildings with fond memories for all parties involved.
Let P = Cultural memory.
Let Q = Love for country.

If M then P.
If P then Q.
> M then Q.

If not M then not P.
If not P then not Q.
> Not M then not Q.

Get the picture?

*By the way...if anyone is interested, the official stand for the demolition of ye olde National Library Building was that it "lacked any architectural merit".

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Elections Training.

Went for elections training today. The upside is that I actually finished the last 250 pages of Potter 6 while they were droning on about being transparent and objective.

Funniest thing that was said was by some guy from the elections department (which I was convinced had to be drunk).

"If there's a woman who's clad in a full body veil, bring her to the side, out of public view in order to satisfy yourself. Preferably bring a female colleague to help you satisfy yourself."

You have to imagine all this said slurred.

Unfortunately, I wasn't sitting anywhere near anyone I knew so I had to bottle all the snarky comments and snickering up so I decided to keep it in till I got home to blog about it.

Two thoughts:
  1. It's always easier to satisfy yourself in the presence of a female colleague.
  2. I'm not sure which is worse, unveiling a veiled muslim woman in public or satisfying yourself in front of her.
I'm pretty sure that the first is sexual harrassment and the second...well...the less said, the better. Talk about religious harmony. That was the one bright spark in my day of training. (Aside from finishing HP&THBP...Definite two thumbs up for the book)

That's what love is for...

Sometimes, we make it harder than it is
We'll take a perfect night
And fill it up with words we don't mean
Dark sides best unseen
And we wonder why we're feeling this way

Sometimes, I wonder if we really feel the same
Why we can be unkind
Questioning the strongest of hearts
That's when we must start
Believing in the one thing
That has gotten us this far

That's what love is for
To help us through it
That's what love is for
Nothing else can do it
Melt our defenses
Bring us back to our senses
Give us strength to try once more
Baby, that's what love is for

Sometimes, I see you, and you don't know I am there
And I'm washed away
By emotions I hold deep down inside
Getting stronger with time
It's living through the fire
And holding on we find
That's what love is for
To help us through it
That's what love is for
Nothing else can do it
Melt our defenses
Bring us back to our senses
Give us strength to try once more
Baby, that's what love is for

That's what love is for
That's what love is for
Melt our defenses
Bring us back to our senses
Give us strength to try once more
Baby, that's what love is for

~ Amy Grant

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Goth Girl alert.

Thought that I'd never see one of those in Singapore, much less a commercial institution like McDonalds but there you go...

Black, oversized, artistically torn t-shirt (only at the sleeves of course) - Check.
Knee high black boots - Check.
Black rebonded hair - Check.
Torn black stockings that look like spider webs - Check.
Washed (drugged) out complexion - Half check. (marred by bad complexion and not nearly enough makeup.)

Nearly cool but the large McDonalds cup really spoils the image.

O well...back to work.

For the wages of sin are...

...2 free movie passes to catch any movie (as long as it's not a "no free list" movie, not a midnight movie, not a movie marathon and does not screen after 5pm on Saturdays). My golden (village) tickets arrived in the mail today. I have absolutely no integrity left.


I'm blogging from McDonalds! King Albert McDs to be exact. The wireless network's called Skynet. Any negative connotations that anyone can think about? Perhaps reference a movie that starred a certain Californian governer? Anyone?
Well...Sitting in the McDs listening to the chatter coming off the plasma screen TV is quite a lesson in overkill. I mean, there's only so many times you can listen to a Mcdonalds ad (ba da da da da...I'm lovin' it) before your brains dribble out of your ears or you lurch toward the counter to order a burger (would you like som fries with that?). That and the fact that in a show of patriotism, McDonalds is screening the NDP Reach Out for the Skies video every other about ad nauseam. (Hur hur, the groans may begin now...) Then again, just saw a rather cute McDonalds ad where a boy is dancing around on his feet while waiting for the bathroom door to open. The tagline's drink 8 glasses of water a day...Hur hur...funny. No. Really. Funny.

The Mandarin version of Reach Out for the Skies is considerably lacking in the Y-chromosomed singer category...Guess Sylvester wasn't free to do this.

Now to actually get some work done.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005


O well.

It's the 19th of July and, according to the nice couple who were trying in vain to get Tym and Terz into the National Day mood, National Day has come early. And in the tradition of all my National Days since I returned to Singapore, let the snarking begin!

The aforementioned T's, Ondine and I were having dinner at Yum Yum Yong Tau Foo (An experience that was good [for the food] but incompetent [with the service], Ask Ondine) when we headed over to Siglap center to raid cold storage for snack foods and yoghurt drinks. (More about that in a later post)

Well, we headed up to McD's for O's signature drink (No prizes for guessing but you can try anyway...) and spent the rest of the night laughing at this year's National Day song video. It's not the song. It's not even the fact that it's Taufik looking all of 12.

It's the dance that they created for it. Reminiscent of the great Singapore workout, it is officially called, and I kid you not, Dance No. 40 (which comes with it's own instructional video). So much mocking to do, so little time/bandwidth.

Firstly: Dance no. 40? Is it a tribute to Mambo No. 5? And here we are trying to teach our kids to be more creative when all along the organisers of NDP 2005 (and yes, that is a Wikipedia link) had so much creativity under their hats that it dribbled completely out of their ears.

Secondly: Instructional video...There is NO amount of mocking on earth that could make this any funnier so those with sufficient bandwidth/speed, PLEASE download the video...I just viewed the first second of it (stupid streaming...) and I almost LMAO. (Laughed My @$$ Off for those who are unaccustomed to 1337$p34k)

Thirdly: I think there's something in the dance that involves moving your hands like a fish. Tym suggested that it was a tribute to the time when we were but a small fishing village. My theory is that it's the singers' way of sending out the message that this video stinks.

Fourthly: Taufik unfortunately, while looking at his feet toward the end of the video looks like he's checking out Rui En's butt. Tragically, upon watching the video again, it looks like he's constantly trying to keep his eyes from wavering to somewhere inappropriate.

Yes ladies and gents. It's National Day again. A time when a nation stands together to shed a proud tear for our nation's achievements and a small group of unpatriotic pundits stand by and mock the whole thing. This year's celebration has provided more than an armoury's worth of ammunition and it's time to start snarking.

Happy Hunting.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Aspiring to Greatness.

A girl that I knew (of) from church in Melbourne came to school yesterday. She's got 2 (gospel) albums out and she was the Australian National Gospel Award winner (New Gospel Artist) in 2003. It was surreal because there were these posters heralding her concerts in Singapore and here I was thinking that she looked really familiar...Then I remembered that she used to sing backup in church. The face hasn't changed, neither has her dress sense (I think) but she's on a poster...and flyers. She still speaks like an Aussie (strong accented BTW) and she's not great with the public speaking (especially to a Singaporean audience of kids who have no idea what she's saying) but she's got a great voice. And now she's touring the world...

Made me wonder about my own dreams of greatness. I guess it's hard to reach for them when you're so caught up in the bureaucracy of it all...and the procrastination too, which is something that's symptomatic of all Singaporeans. It's built into a system that grinds you down into paste, quashing creativity and ending dreams. Forcing you to leave all aspirations at the door and just allowing you to slowly expire instead.

The Chefinator.

Apologies. Forgot to put up the link to the Chefinator.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

All for the love of Pot(ter) ...

...And other geeky posts...

1) We woke up at 6 am today (read: Ondine and I, not me and Molly) and dragged ourselves out of bed on a Saturday morning. Why? It's 16th of July and we had to make it down to Borders before 7:01am. If you're not too sure why, you obviously haven't read the paper, nor have you been paying attention this last week. For those who have been in a coma, the raison d'etre for dusting off ye olde reading glasses and shutting off the idiot box for a week has arrived. It is yet again time for the masses to pretend that they actually read a whole lot (if at all) while actually showcasing the herd mentality of "avid readers" and latching on to the whole Dan Rowling literary bandwagon. Yes, avid readers, Potter 6 was released at said time in bookstores today. And Borders seemed like the place to be. There was a sleepover for the kiddies (for which there was a queue) with a movie marathon and jellybean counting contests. It was almost like Australia, without the cute little robes.

We arrived late of course and we basically had a fun time lining up outside while we heard screams of elation from the happy people who got their hands on the book. No, not 6 year olds, they were more in their 20s or so. (Who says we Singaporeans are unemotional and repressed?) There was a bunch of kids (read: teenagers) that actually dressed up as denizens of Hogwarts and not only as the good guys. (Ondine overheard a boy proudly proclaiming that he was Draco Malfoy...and he certainly looked arrogant enough to pull it off.) Wow...Fanboy/girl enthusiasm. Haven't seen that in a while.

45 minutes later, we left with book in bag and headed over to TC for breakfast. I am currently waiting for Ondine to finish the book before I get to start. :I

Weirdest sighting: 2 wizards in tudungs.

2) conference. DXO. I had tuition so I showed up late. It's a weird feeling being in the same room as a whole bunch of people whose lives you've shared digitally, but have never met face to face. I split my time (and attention) looking out for people and listening to the speakers while looking at the hilarious IRC conversations going on on the 3 screens positioned above the speakers. (Next bloggers convention, bring Clover...participate in IRC chat)

Sat a few seats down from Xiaxue. She's even shorter in person than my impression of her from her photos. (No mean feat...she looks quite tiny in her photos) Mr Miyagi looks like a young Pat Morita. (Hence the namesake? "Before you can blog Daniel-san, you musta wax on, wax off...") Mr Brown. Pretty spot on. Agagooga came as a rather large surprise. I bought a t-shirt off him. Missed Li'l Miss Drinkalot though...She was someone that I was actually looking forward to putting a face to.

There was a lady who was sitting beside me sketching out a cat. I caught some glimpses of her artwork as she flipped through her sketchbook. If you're reading this, Lady in a black top with the funky handbag, I was very impressed.

Overall an interesting experience. Next year, come hell or high water, I'm staying for the after party. Geekness not satisfied yet.

3) Finally, a postscript from the GV blow up. GV has written back to me apologising for the horrible experience and has offered me 2 free tickets. Like a $2 whore looking for a quick fix, I crawled back to them and handed them my dignity for my 30 pieces of silver...Bah. Sadly, I have my principles* but they just keep getting in the way of free stuff.

Sometimes I just loathe myself...

(*They wrote back asking for my address to send the tickets to and I caved...If they send a pair of hitmen called Tony and Vince instead, I will definitely send a letter of complaint...)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Some things are just funny in Chef...

Tu: Neshunel Keedney Fuoondeshun Seengepure-a

Zee CEO ooff zee Neshunel Keedney Fuoondeshun Seengepure-a (NKFS), T.T. Dooreee, hes breeched zee troost ooff zee peuple-a ooff Seengepure-a und ell oozeers vhu dunete-a tu heem. He-a hes drevn a tutel selery ooff ebuoot S$1.8 meelliun oofer zee lest 3 yeers, vheech efereges oooot tu S$600000 per yeer und thees muney cumes frum zee duneshuns ooff peuple-a, muny ooff vhum du nut ifee iern thet emuoont in 5 oor ifee 10 yeers. In eddeeshun, he-a hes beee less thun troothffool veet zee poobleec, lyeeng teeme-a und egeeen in cuoort beffure-a veethdreving hees stetements.
Zee NKF hes elsu pleyed gemes tu keep zee troot frum zee poobleec, veet cheurmun Reecherd Yung telleeng zee poobleec thet seneeur ixecooteefes fly booseeness cless fur lung-hool fleeghts. Hooefer, Dooreee tuld zee cuoort thet he-a indeed floo furst-cless.

Zee ebufe-a ere-a oonly tvu ixemples ooff hoo zee NKF hes nut deelt respunseebly veet zee poobleec. Ve-a, zee underseegned, peteeshun thet zee CEO ooff NKFS be-a remufed frum hees puseeshun. Elsu, zee NKFS moost be-a mede-a mure-a eccuoonteble-a tu zee poobleec, elveys shooeeng hoo it ects in poobleec interest, und poobleeshing inffurmeshun thet veell elloo zee poobleec tu see-a ixectly hoo mooch ooff zeeur muney gues tu zee needy und hoo mooch inds up beeeng spent oon ixpenses. Coorrently, ixpenses shoon incloode-a zee selery cust under 4 deefffferent cetegureees, Durect Chereeteble-a Ixpenses, Oopereteeng/Edmeenistreshun Ixpenses, Foondreeesing ecteefities und Poobleec Releshuns. Thees is merely heeding zee troot frum zee poobleec vhu deserfes tu knoo. Unteel zee NKFS shoos thet it is veelling tu be-a mure-a respunseeble-a, ve-a zee underseegned sooggest thet putenteeel dunurs theenk tveece-a und dunete-a tu mure-a deserfeeng oorguneezeshuns sooch es zee KDF, zee Cummooneety Chest und zee Selfeshun Ermy.

Fur mure-a inffurmeshun, un erteecle-a frum zee Streeets Teemes cun be-a fuoond here-a.


Zee Underseegned

Then again, sometimes, they're not.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Sin City.

After two days, I'm ready for a review.

What can I say about Sin City? In a nutshell? It was fantastic. Three stories based in Frank Miller's fictional Basin City linked by one theme: Violence against bad men. And, I kid you not, the violence comes fast and furious. And it's graphic and it's unapologetic. And in a way, cathartic. In 'Sin City there is hardly any grey, it's mainly stark, unapologetic black and white. And this is reflected in the frame by frame recreation of Miller's comic book...(and I've got to say, it's almost perfect. [At least for the Hard Goodbye]) The bad guys are just plain bad. The good guys stand in the shadows but shine with their hearts of gold. The dames are sexually charged and morally ambiguous. It's noir at it's best. And it's really good.

Mickey Rourke is perfect as Marv. Almost too perfect. It was slightly disconcerting watching a character from a Frank Miller story come to life but there he was. Alive on screen. Bruce Willis, though differing form the comic book Hartigan, played the "Old Man" well, effectively (almost) erasing the "Bruce Willis" star image off the film. Rosario Dawson played a competent Gail beside Clive Owen's interesting (Yet yawnworthy [when compared beside Rourke and Willis]) portrayal of Dwight. Benicio Del Toro was hilarious as Jack. The one actress that stood out like a sore thumb in the movie had to be Alexis "Rory" Bledel who played Becky. It's just disturbing to see Bizarro Rory as a prostitute, especially since she keeps mentioning her mom. (Hands up all who could picture Lauren Graham on the other line when Becky calls her mom)

The stories are classic Miller. There's not too much more to say about them, except that they're just that good. (The less said about Robocops 2 & 3, the better) Now that I have viewed it on the silver screen, I will be looking to get my hands on the 3 disc DVD set (Release date yet to be announced...the release in August is the barebones movie disc) which contains the full versions of all 3 stories.

My final words on the movie: Love it. Go watch it. (If you're 21 and above) It's about time that we've got a truly faithful translation of a comic book...and it's heartening to hear that there will be more. (Johnny Depp possibly in a role...Too cool) That said, it's not for everyone. After getting Ondine to sit in for this show, I'll have to watch about 2 chick flicks (of Kate and Leopold proportions) to make it up to her. As far as I'm concerned, totally worth it.

It Wasn't Me.

I've always wanted to comment on this song by Shaggy that got played on the radio quite a bit some time ago but I never got around to it till today. (I was actually reminded of it last night when I heard it playing over the radio.)

It starts with a conversation that goes something like this:

(Yo man) Yo
(Open up man) What do you want man?
(My girl just caught me)
You let her catch you?
(I don't know how I let this happen)
With who?
(The girl next door, you know?) Man...
(I don't know what to do) Say it wasn't you

One would assume that the two are close friends and the one in brackets just got kicked out of the house for sleeping with his next door neighbour.

Honey came in and she caught me red-handed
Creeping with the girl next door
Picture this we were both butt-naked
banging on the bathroom floor
How could I forget
That I had given her an extra key
All this time she was standing there
She never took her eyes off me

Seems like his girlfriend caught him sleeping with his next door neighbour. Let's just ignore the fact that the bathroom floor's one of the most uncomfortable places to actually have sex...

How you can grant the woman access to your villa
Trespasser and a witness while you cling on your pillow
You better watch your back before she turn into a killer
Best for you and the situation not to call the beaner
To be a true player you have to know how to play
If she say you're not, convince her say you're gay
Never admit to a word when she say makes a claim
And you tell her baby no way

Shaggy, of course, gives advice like only Shaggy can...

But she caught me on the counter
(It wasn't me)
Saw me banging on the sofa
(It wasn't me)
I even had her in the shower
(It wasn't me)
She even caught me on camera
(It wasn't me)
She saw the marks on my shoulder
(It wasn't me)
Heard the words that I told her
(It wasn't me)
Heard the screams getting louder
(It wasn't me)
She stayed until it was over

This part of course actually made me give the song a whole lot more thought than I should've. Interestingly enough, said wronged party stayed on for the whole marathon sex session. I mean...basically, this dude was caught with his pants down in the kitchen, sofa and the bathroom. Not only that, said girlfriend filmed the whole thing. Uhm...Leads one to believe that we're talking about one heck of a voyeuristic significant other here. So the issue that these guys may be talking about might not be his philanderin' ways but his girlfriend's voreuristic tendencies?

...Hmmm...Random thoughts running through my head when I'm listening to the car radio...makes one wonder how I actually got my driver's license.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Three Strikes.

1) Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
Air Con turns off 2 hours in the movie, leaving us stifling in the still air for about an hour.

2) War of the Worlds.
Curtain is not extended to the fullest...edges of the movie cut off.

3) Sin City.
First five minutes of the movie are hyperextended, like a 4:3 TV programme played on a 16:9 widescreen TV. Actors and actresses pulled wide. Film is unwatchable until they fix the problem.

Anyone without no problem with bad language may highlight the space below.


Dear Golden Village. You are a movie theater chain. i.e. your sole purpose for existance is to screen movies for the movie-going public. Kindly do your bloody job right!

Why not avoid the theater chain? Friends. They like GV. (Considering that my own choice of theater chain, Shaw, burned the film for one of the Lord of the Rings films) My own act of protest will be the buckets of Shaw popcorn left at GV theaters after every screening that I go to. (Thanks to some foolish door managers at GV grand who figured that if they allowed me in with my own popcorn, other moviegoers would follow suit and GV's cash cow of movie theater snacks would go bust...shyeah...where's the logic in that?) I may even bring a bleeding picnic the next time.

Meanwhile, here's a big FUCK YOU! to Golden Village for ruining a movie that I was totally looking forward to.


Friday, July 08, 2005

For my wife...

Who kept me from falling off the edge during this very intensive (and hopefully unrepeated har har...) period of marking. (Which explains why I haven't been blogging.) Thank you for standing by me and helping me stand when I'm the hardest person to stand around when I'm that stressed.

Every time I look at you the world just melts away
All my troubles all my fears dissolve in your affections
You've seen me at my weakest but you take me as I am
And when I fall you offer me a softer place to land

You stay the course you hold the line you keep it all together
You're the one true thing I know I can believe in
You're all the things that I desire, you save me, you complete me
You're the one true thing I know I can believe

I get mad so easy but you give me room to breathe
No matter what I say or do 'cause you're to good to fight about it
Even when I have to push just to see how far you'll go
You wont stoop down to battle but you never turn to go

Your love is just the antidote when nothing else will cure me
There are times I cant decide when I cant tell up from down
You make me feel less crazy when otherwise I'd drown
But you pick me up and brush me off and tell me I'm OK
Sometimes thats just what we need to get us through the day

~Sarah Mclachlan, Afterglow

Monday, July 04, 2005

Post haste.

It's 1:06am.

3 things to blog about. In the words of the Black Eyed Peas, let's get it started.

1) Weird picture of the day. Found in the Guardian at Marina. It just caught my eye and I knew that it was blog-worthy.


Now, this may be tea that you share with the Aussie bloke after a game of footie while the shrimp's on the barbie eh? Either that or you just brewed your best friend for a couple of hours. First thought that I had while looking at it, though, was that it made you suddenly ridiculously attractive to the opposite sex. Pre/post coital beverage anyone?

2) Carl's Jr. We finally made our pilgrimmage there. I was a bit torn at that point in time. [Despite Tym's review of the burgers] I felt like I really wanted to just sit down and make my way through the menu or have a heart attack. Or both. (Since the former would inevitably lead to the latter) The chili burger especially looked wicked-good. Then again, Carl's Jr's not exactly cheap. Counterpoint to that was that it was impossible to eat the Super-star burger neatly, which has got to be one of the criteria for good burger. Droool.

3) Golden Village HATES movies.

Firstly, their popcorn sucks eggs. Stale and stingy. (Then again, the lack of popcorn just means you don't have to eat more of the crap that you buy...) Popcorn: Staple food for the movie-goer. Do NOT screw around with that. Their small buckets (if you can call them that...more like cups) are barely enough to sit through 1 hour of a movie.

Secondly. Sitting through the film company titles of War of the Worlds suddenly made me realise that the curtains were not opened to their fullest. Hello? It's a M-O-V-I-E. Movies are shot in widescreen. If we wanted the fullscreen version we would watch the damn thing on T-E-L-E-V-I-S-I-O-N! As a result, the entire film was barely watchable. The shots were all weird because they were cut off so the eye was thrown because the frames were not viewed in their entirety. WTF?! If I was running the theater and an employee failed to realise that the curtains were not drawn back properly, there'd be a firin'.

If you're not in touch with the customer and really are not doing the job that you're supposed to be doing properly, then really, what's the point?

Anyways, that's it for tonight. Gotta love the long weekends. It means that I have more time to...uhm...mark...