Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Brought To You By The Letter "M"

'M' is for Mission completed - Master Assignment

I can finally heaved a sigh of relief and show the sign of victory when I am typing this blog ( Sorry got to wipe off the silly grin on the face) After a couple of months (actually effectively about 3 intense weeks) of serious trepidation, perpiration and constipation, my "master"piece is finally ready. It is high time actually. Got to rush it before the deadline of 1 July 2004 to Sheffield. Thank God for email and the DHL!

A colleague once told me about his experience ( make a guess who he is? *grin*) He made a scathing attack on pseudo academics like me and claim that writing an essay is just copying from one book to another and of course adding references, no big deal about it. When I sought his professional advice, he shared a "painful' experience where he wrote an essay on "Jazz Music" which he claimed without using any reference and all "in his own words", he got a D. I laughed so loudly that I almost fell off the chair, though I have to save my work before I actually do that. Anyway it is quite a relief, now I will just have to wait for my next study school in september to start... and then the whole thing starts again argh....

'M' is for Maths

The holidays assignments was a huge disappointment.. only a handful from the classes handed in completed work. It is upsetting to say the least that there were some who can give me all sorts of excuses for not doing them. I must say that so far the girls had been dong their work and I hope my benevolence in giving them an extension will ensure that the assignments will be handed up.

Much of the following article was written some months back and was relegated to the deepest darkest recesses of my hard disk. It complained, it cried and it howled as it dragged its ball and chain. Actually I forgot all about it until I had the chance to relate this story to some people I know. Looks like the story isn't the only thing that has been gathering the proverbial dust... Expect a proverbial ending.

'M' is for Money and Madness

If you haven't already noticed, the world has gone mad. Why would you pay a lot of money to sip a tiny cup of coffee that takes forever to prepare (ironically called an espresso, you know, as in express-o), take it out of a perfectly good air-con environment only to sit in the humid heat of Singapore and get an overdose of cigarette smoke ?

You could get the coffee (by some other but no less colourful names) at a local kopi tiam! The coffee would be so black that it would sneer at the text on this page. It would be so strong that it would walk across the table and slap you on the face before jumping back into the glass! There would be more in the glass at a fraction of the cost and you could do things in a kopi tiam you wouldn't be caught dead doing elsewhere, e.g. pouring the coffee into a saucer and hitching your leg up on the seat. If you had a white singlet on, you could roll it up above your belly. And it's al fresco some more!

I am also reminded of a billboard outside an eatery along Orchard Road that offered a healthy lunch of salad for $20 al fresco. Hmm, charge a lot for very little and prevent you from sitting in the restaurant... a very good idea indeed. Speaking of good ideas, some "clown" had a good one recently.

'M' is for Mrrors on Reflection

As a teacher, I had the opportunity to interact with colleagues and students, and to share with them the highs and lows that life had to offer. Although as a result of me writng my essay for my master, I am literally facing the computer every day and night. With computers you generally don't get the fickleness that is life but they do have a way of being "human". They can ignore you (hang), get sick (virus infection) or put you on a guilt trip like a woman (error messages you don't understand and make you feel that you have done something wrong). Now that I have the attention of both sexes, allow me to lead you back to the main story...

I think being "away" from people for the last few days (my mind was on my essay anyway... it is another person u see in class teaching the students :P ) has made me more aware of the way people behave. (Either that or I am misanthropic and just critical of people in general.) It may seem strange but look at it this way: you often have to walk away from a problem to gain a new perspective on it. This is akin to the way the proverbial guru sits atop a mountain so as to gain pearls of wisdom even though he is miles away from the sea of humanity. You don't have to be part of something to be able to identify with it. This may seem contradictory but that is the logic behind why Roman Catholic priests can counsel married couples on relationship problems and also why we need not smoke/take drugs to know that they are filthy habits. I consider myself an interested observer of humanity and while some of what I see saddens or frightens me, there are things that amuse and intrigue me. What follows is a bittersweet episode.

I was on a bus enroute to Orchard Road from my home to the National Institute of Education ( Now at the unearthy place near the tip of tuas!). I ventured to the back of the bus in an effort to exorcise the "ghost" that lives there. Apparently the other passengers thought I was not an effective talisman and stayed away. However, there were two youngsters seated below me (I was standing) who were oblivious to the "ghost", to me and to the rest of the world. The girl sat by the window while the guy was right underneath my nose. Speaking as loud as he did, it was difficult not to hear what he said even though I was plugged in to my favourite MD player. The guy was telling the girl about a relationship he had in his "younger days" (:P I imagined him hitting on the pink bundle in the next crib at Kadang Kerbau Hospital!). He had the annoying habit of starting every other sentence with "And then, after that, after that...". You might think I am exaggerating but I actually took note that he did! It was my way of amusing myself on an otherwise uneventful journey. Or so I thought.

I forgot about him after a while despite his Jackie-Collins-meets-Days-of-Our-Lives type narration but he was not to be ignored. He decided to comb his dyed-brown hair with floppy centre-parting (a la Leonardo diCaprio). He lovingly stroked and combed his hair while continuing with his story. And he did so while using the backside of an audio CD as a mirror! When he finally put the CD away, he turned to his companion and asked her if she had a real mirror. When she asked him why his CD wouldn't do, he replied that it wasn't shiny enough! She offered him a tiny mirror in a lipstick case. So out came the orange comb again and he began moving the mirror this way and that as the bus swayed to and fro. In my opinion, his hair didn't look any better or worse for the treatment. But it must have been comforting for him. It was comforting for me when he finally stopped. It was even more comforting when he did not proceed to carry out other forms of personal grooming in public.

So what's the deal here? What meal am I going to make out of Mr/Ms "Annoy-mous" simply leaving not-so-flattering remarks on the tagboard? Force them to watch "William Hung in action" on vcd with their eyes wide open until they screamed for mercy? To be continued... check back soon. [cue: cheesy music)

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Get it off your chest (or Episode One-The Little Menace)

A lady doctor back home in Singapore who tried to breastfeed her baby at the Esplanade was caught red faced. According to the letter to the Straits Times Forum, the lady covered herself up in order to keep everyone happy. But a security guard told her to leave! In fact this is not the first time that a similar issue happens. If you have been reading the paper or started reading the paper in the year 1999, there was also a similar incident when A lady was been told by an employee of the Orchard Road Coffee Bean outlet not to breast-feed because it was considered obscene. In solidarity, a dozen or so breast-feeding mothers staged a sit-in at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at Forum Galleria 3 weeks later to make the point that mothers should be able to nurse their babies in public.

Anyway let's be upfront about this, have you noticed the signs in fast food joints or other makan places that declare that food from other establishments are not allowed in their premises?Heck, even the cinema have a similar situation. (Which means cheepos can't make their own popcorns and bring it into the theatres) Or in some places, no food or drink allowed ( YEs the MRT is one of them) The place in question really took this seriously, didn't they?

Hey a baby's got to eat! Everyone else was eating so why not junior? If mummy asked baby "Coffee, tea or me?" what answer would you expect? So what if the packaging and utensils were a little different? It's only natural. About as natural as the need to produce solid, liquid and gas i.e. defecate, urinate or flatulate (translated: poop, pee or poot). If there is one thing I have learnt in life it's that when nature calls, you jolly well answer, "Yes, ma'am!"

There are some who might say that the mother could have been more discreet or at least aware of our social mores. Others might suggest she could have retreated to a public toilet. But would you like to munch your lunch in a public loo with the accompanying sights, sounds and best of all, smells?

How about our social obligation to provide more nursing areas in public places? There will be times when a baby needs to eat and a woman cannot possibly balance baby, two other kids, NTUC plastic bags and open umbrella (for cover) in public. A baby's gotta do what a baby's gotta do. So does momma. While I agree that some people are not used to the sight of a baby having really fresh milk, I think that others are hypocrites. One woman cannot breast-feed her hungry child but another can barely wear a top and get away with it.

In less developed countries, women breast-feeding their children is common sight. Are we then a more complex society? If we have evolved to a stage were a woman cannot breast-feed in public while others can strut on a cat/sidewalk with necklines aspiring to be hemlines, then I say that evolution has gone wrong. Something as natural and beautiful as a mother tending to her child is "weird" while something fleeting and flippant like fashion is "normal"?

On a side note, have you seen a parent and a child with pants down to the ankles (of the kid, not the parent for crying out loud!) and the former encouraging the latter with "shh-shh-shh" sounds in public? I have been "privileged" to see this for myself outside a departmental store and over a sink in a public loo! Somehow I get the impression that this is not frowned upon as much as breast-feeding in public. This is the quirkiness that is Singapore.

But then again, that's my 2.10 cents worth.

P.S I have decided to continue to put the so called "offensive" picture on my blog. Then again it is MY blog and I should be the one deciding what I want or don't want. :) (Make sense??)

Friday, June 25, 2004

Hair today, Gone Tomorrow

It comes around about once a month. I feel terribly uncomfortable as the date draws near. I cannot wait for it to be over. Once it is, I am full of relief. If I miss one, I fret.

I am talking, of course, about a haircut. I cannot live with hair touching my ears. It is so irritating! But I digress.

I was at my regular barber when I overheard a conversation between a grandfatherly customer and a newly recruited barber. Most men at Ah Pek's age, if they still had hair, would use the remnants to "camouflage" their highly reflective domes. (This is like an elephant trying to hide behind a lamp post.) So I was surprised to hear him ask for a "crew cut".

As the barber cut the old man's hair, the latter talked to the former almost non-stop. In between snips, I caught something about the quantity versus the quality of hair. Then this exchange took place.

Ah Pek: "Do you know what a bald patch in front means?"
Barber: "No." [snip-snip-snip]
AP: "It means the man is sexy."
B: "Oh." [snip]
AP: "How about a bald patch in the back?"
B: "Dunno?" [snip-snip]
AP: "It means he's a thinker."

At this point the barber took the bait.

B: "So what if the man is botak (bald)?
AP: "Then the man thinks he's sexy!

It was an old joke but the old man laughed as only old men can.

I tried not to laugh. After all my barber had a blade in his hand. I didn't want to end up with a Tyson souvenir. Without my ears, I can't see. (I wear glasses, doofus!) But then again having to wear contact lenses is also quite ok, not that I am vain

Well, that's it. I know it's not great literary work. (What do you expect for two cents?) If you have got something to say, get it off your chest
But if you have nothing to say, then I would like to bring your attention to one courageous girl who tagged my board with the following message
“hi mr ng,chanced by your blog..and i think u shld take down tt picture,cos i think tt guy in e photo spoils the entire image of it..it will do detriment to your readers eyes.please do us all a favour. “

For me It is
1) gratifying to know that my blog actually had a viewership of ex students
2) heartening to know that I have made an impact, alas negative one in this student life
3) funny that you don’t even recognize that the man is me?
4) funnier to say the least that all the students I taught turn out to be as rude as I am?

Maybe I should really accumulate more positive karma and then be a good man? So that I won’t get all this nasty remarks? But then again what is the fun when there is no nasty remarks? :P

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Damn Driving Test

Words can't really express how I felt. I would remember this day, 22nd of June 2004. Full of even numbers. For those who is really interested to know what happen in history today, you can check out this website. which will give you an update on what actually happen a couple of years, a couple of centuries or even a couple of decades back.

I find it ominious to check these stuff before I take a test. In this day, at Chicago's Comiskey Park, Joe Louis wins the world heavyweight boxing title when he defeats American Jim Braddock in an eighth-round knockout. Louis was the first African American heavyweight champ since Jack Johnson.
And for the history girls, do you know that in 1941 this day Germany launches Operation Barbarossa--the invasion of Russia. On this day in 1941, over 3 million German troops invade Russia in three parallel offensives, in what is the most powerful invasion force in history. Nineteen panzer divisions, 3,000 tanks, 2,500 aircraft, and 7,000 artillery pieces pour across a thousand-mile front as Hitler goes to war on a second front.
With these historical victories in mind, I booked today's test. And I declare that today is the day......


Actually I was kinda of lucky, managed to clear it by the skin of my teeth and also that of the tester's when I did a la-schumacher along certain turns which have him hanging to his dear seat. He gave such a solemn look hat I really must practise it to scare the IJ girls when I returned from the semestral break. He look at the score sheet and tend clear his throat as if there were thousands of ants crawling in his throat. With his red pen (yes it was red) he made some crosses on the sheet and look at me again. I could feel my heart sinking, it would have dropped to the ground into a million pieces if not for my underwear supporting it. We have an interesting exchange (not phone numbers )

He: Is this your first test?
Me: No...
He: Then should have drive better what? You didn't practise enough is it?
Me: No...
He: Panic is it?
Me (trying very hard to be confident) No..
He: So should I fail you? Hm...
Me: No...
He: You almost fail do you know?
Me: No....
He: Anyway just correct some of those minor mistakes, you should be ok. Any questions?
Me: No...

Me: YES!!!!

I guess the whole of the SSDC can hear me!

Great! Now i can start relying on the website to tell me when it will be a good time to do this or that and maybe when to have a kid. And just don't try to choose the following dates: April 28, April 20, December 21. Let see if any discerning students can find out whose birthday is it? As for a good day, 1st of October , according to academics, soothsayers and fortune tellers, this is the best, kids born on this date, would be smart, intelligent, good looking and of course with a wicked sense of humor. Guess who then?

As the smart, intelligent, good looking and of course wickedly humorous sign off his two cents worth. If you still don't get it, you need to stay away from one girl in 3/4 2004.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Becoming a better Man

Some say that everyone has a special skill, an ability to do something exceptionally without effort I guess for this holidays , my unique facility is procrastination. If it was taught in university, I'd have my PhD by now, and won't be thinking of getting my Masters. I can spend countless hours on unproductive activity, convinced that it is important, certain that it is actually work. I can't stand dumb movies and havingto watch like Jackie Chan's Police Story III for the last twenty times, but right now, because I have to write my Master article, it suddenly seems entertaining and alluring. Let face it, even writing on my blog seems more enriching :(

Sadly procrastination is not a skill that has a lot of demand in this world, and after realising that I have made one too many excuses for being late, I have suddenly come to the realisation that it is time to do something about it. I need a set of rules, 6 golden rules that will make me a man rather than a boy with excuses.

Rule No. 1 No more internet access
Like Pavlov's dog, I get all excited when I see the connection to the WWW activated with the speed of 3.4 Mbps. My broadband had connected me with the rest of the world! By the time the Singnet homepage appears, I am ready for anything. I may only be connecting to check my email or to see my share portfolio sinking even lower, but I spend my time visiting websites that had suspiciously nothing to do with what I am doing or what I am interested in. How will one see my peculiar habit of visiting the online IKEA catalogue or the soccernet website when all these statistics and information have nothing to do with me? I may not have save myself time, not to talk about the online shopping that I am doing for countless hours and the online window shopping on eBay! well it made me a better shopper, I have also wasted valuable time and electricity! This however, has led to the next rule.

Rule No. 2 Less Internet Access
Forget bout rule no. 1, I know it is almost impossible to cut off my connection with the world (since I am such a well-connected person) and yes I admit that I am an internet addict. First I got introduced to it in university, I experimented with it and even convince myself that it can be useful; it can make me more creative and more connect. Then years later, I looked back at all the time wasted in a cyber stupor and wonder what have happen to my life. The need to repent had made me gone to the "Community of help for Internet Junkies" (OR CHIJ for short.. now you know why you are here huh! :P) Of course for internet usage, cold turkey is out of the question, so a mere reduction will do.

Rule No. 3 Be early
Theorectically easier than the first 2 rules but harder than it is because it actually required the success of the first 2. When dealing with deadlines, my normal practice is to work out the bare minimal amount of time to get the work done. Of course things always takes longer than you estimate them to be, so my work never get delivered on time. My miraculous and innovative theory suggests that if ou were to actually do the work first, you would finish early, get the work submitted on time, be stress-free and have time for a relaxing caffeine break before doing more work

Rule no. 4 Go to bed earlier, get up earlier
Forgive my wonky logic, for I believe that if I am more awake I will procrastinate less.And when I mean by early, I dont mean the weehours in the morning like 2 or 5am The Euro 2004 gamnes had me up to 5am in the next morning. I wake up half past 12 most of the time. And I would not be given any trophy or medals for staying up so late to watch the game!

Rule no. 5 Eat more vegetables and fruits
Now I am really sounding like my wife and mother! This rule has nothing to do with procrastination, but it is now time to stop procrastinating on taking care of one's body but to really eat well. Note to self: A 250g family block of Cadbury's fruits and Nuts Chocolate and a pack of family size potato chips do not constitute to one serving of fruit nor vegetable!

Rule no. 6
I haven't thought about it yet, Still procrastinating as I watch my Master Essay going into my 3rd redraft!! Sigh. Hey time for lunch!

And that's my 2 cents worth for the sanity of my readers!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Euro Fever and I am getting the heat

Have you been out on the streets these few nights? I mean around 7 to 9 in the evening?

It is desserted opps deserted! Other than some juvenile girls and some lovey dovey couples and some lovey oldie couples, there is only a whiff of masculinity, (and it is just like a short fart). I was leaving Suntec City at around 8.30 pm yesterday and the usual bustling and jostling among the crowds was a mere memory. What could that be? Must have been the Euro Championships 2004, the event that occurs once in every four years.

Men (most of them, other than those who are suspicously metrosexual) would swear by 2 things, football and beer. Well as for the third thing, human copulation, it only come when either one is absent and the other is in excess. (:P) I am not a big fan of beer so my two most important things are...

For the past few days, I have been living the life of that of an owl. I wake up late in the morning, start typing my Masters assignment and then I stay awake to read and read and write and write. When I am bored with stuff, I amuse myself ( dont get the wrong idea) by watching DVDs - I watched T3 - Rise of the Machines, not for Arnie but the babelicious TX, and of course Stephen Chow movies. I think i still have about 7 DVDs which I had bought but still in sealed condition. Soemtimes I go for a short walk, just to refresh myself after facing the computer for too long. Which is why I was wandering on the streets at 8 plus in the evening. Where most men would bring their work wearily bodies back home, have a quick shower, a quick bite and then a nap before they again wake up at unearthly hours to watch the game.

Just to assure those who are concerned about my sanity after hours of facing the computer screen in the day and the TV screen in the nights/early mornings, let me set your minds at ease by announcing that I am still intact in one piece.

Anyway I got this xiao neighbour who sweared every time an important episode of the soccer game, and mind you this is in the middle of the night or early in the morning., Not that I have any complaint on the free lessons on the hokkien* lexicon of expletives. But really after a day , it was kinda of endearing but after 2 or 3 nights of that, it kinda of get on your nerves. And mind you, it is not just a missed chance or a goal or an own goal, this fellow, basically sweared at every possible situation, such a goal kick, a foul or even the fans waving to the camera. I think it is his own peculiar way of keeping himself away in this unearthly hour, although I won't mind asking him to join me, kinda of lonely watching it myself, on a big screen TV, though the thought of a saliva pelting singlet clad ah beng is not really my ideal couch partner. As for my better half, she is blissfully asleep and thus was spared from this undesirable education. I am just wondering if these words would have a negative effect on her sub conscious. By the way do you know that your subconscious has a power 30000 times more than your conscious? Which mean that if you get a tape to put in all the formulae of maths or even definitions of physics or chemistry terms, and played it throughout the night, you can actually memorise it without any effort. And I kid you not. You can also "programme" yourself to be the type of person you want such as " I am the most hardworking person in this world". Well that is indeed a lazy person way of getting studious. But no harm trying right. Just don't input the wrong thing as your sub conscious cannot distinguish what is right or wrong, so if you give him/her/it the wrong information it will take it as it is. Talk about being guillible.

*It seems that Hokkien is one of the most uncouth dialects. It did not help when many gangsters are usually hokkien and litter their sentences with regards to the male and female anatomies and even "undue concern" to each other parents

Went for my driving lesson just now. Really have no mood for it. Nearly gone into an accident, but guess what I am still alive to tell the tale! Guess I have something of higher priority, like writing my 6000 word essay. Sorry if I am getting abit on your nerves on this, I guess this is the only thing that I have in my mind now, other than s** (opps) Ha ha gotcha!!

I think I am really getting a bit boliao (Yes just getting boliao). I have been listening to this oldie, kinda of, called "Hands in Heaven". Heard it before/ It is a great song, something worth listening over and over again (sic!) Nothing really spectacular. Maybe just a bit lonely facing the computer for the whole day. You would too, if you have a 6000 word essay to write. Into my first draft now, and I am (word count on Microsoft word Word XP) urgh!! 2353 words. Still got 7 books and 10 articles to read. God! Help me!!

Will end this post with the song by Breathe "Hands to Heavens". To my girls who is facing stress in your work or even in your relationships. Hope that the song will soothe the soul and the blog will tickle that. If you like the lyrics, and would like to get a copy of the song, just come and ask me for it, and I guarantee, it will not be more than 2 cents worth...

Breathe "Hands to Heaven"

As I watch you move, across the moonlit room
There's so much tenderness in your loving
Tomorrow I must leave, the dawn knows no reprieve
God give me strength when I am leaving

So raise your hands to heaven and pray
That we'll be back together someday
Tonight, I need your sweet caress
Hold me in the darkness
Tonight, you calm my restlessness
You relieve my sadness

As we move to embrace, tears run down your face
I whisper words of love, so softly
I can't believe this pain, it's driving me insane
Without your touch, life will be lonely


Morning has come, another day
I must pack my bags and say goodbye, goodbye


Sunday, June 13, 2004

Sri Lanka Travels

I had been rather lackadasical when it come to uploading my blog. Just came back from Sri Lanka a couple of days back and was busy getting into the frenzy of Euro fever 2004. It has been a busy week indeed. England lost yesterday, I was trying my best to keep awake. Damn the French for leaving it so late to win the game, not that I have anything against them.

I haven't had the time to talk to my wife since I come back from my trip. At least 300 of my shots were in Mr Bernard Chan's laptop, which accounted to the fact why I have not tried to upload it into any online diary. He had gone to Hong Kong for a short getaway and will only be back later in the week. Guess I will have to do without the photos for now.

In the meantime, just to update some of the itinerary for the Sri Lanka trip. I know lots of girls had said so much about it.

We assembled at Changi Airport Terminal 1 and prepared for departure to Sri Lanka on Emirates. It was quite a mess, everyone was trying to say goodbye to each other. Anxious parents, boyfriends, aunties uncles etc. I was all alone and for once I actually feel left out as a result of this. Watch "Starsky and Hutch" on the flight, great movie! When we arrive at Sri Lanka Bandaranaike International Airport, it was two in the morning (or 4am Singapore Time) The weather was chilly and everyone was sleepy. We meet up with our guide and also some Singaporeans who were there. They presented us with small garlands. Welcome to Sri Lanka!

The morning view was exhiliarating. We were beside the Indian Ocean and it was exciting seeing the waves at such close proximity where we are having breakfast. The Hotel Galle Face Hotel was a colonial government building, and was curiously vintage.
We visited the city and a school before retiring back to the hotel.

Day 2 We started the day with a tour around the captial of Sri Lanka Colombo and visit to the elephant orphanage and take part in feeding baby elephants. IN the afternoon we visit the Dambulla famous Cave Temples after a traditional Sri Lanka Lunch
We attempted an amazing feat by climbing 2000 plus steps up the 8th wonder of the world, Sigiriya Rock. The dinner was great. Had a couple of beer with Mr Chan. We were bushed! Need to have a good night sleep

Day 3 was jam-packed with activities. We visit the spice gardens where I got some stuff for my wife, some natural healing creams and products.We got up close and personal with nature and the Royal Botanical Gardens. We also visit the gem lapidary where I beleive all of us got a good understanding of the different gems in Sri Lanka. We attended the Cultural show at a dilapidated Hall which had a leaking \roof. But I guess it did not dampen the spirits (Sorry for the pun) of the students. The highlight was of course the visit to the Temple of Tooth Relic. It would be better to look at the pictures once I put it on the online photo album.

Day 4 was really a travelling day. We had to make the journey back to Negombo so as to catch our flight tomorrow morning. On the way, we had a small Kandy City Tour. But the most memeorable of all is the trip to Nuwara Eliya where en-route we saw waterfalls & went to the Tea Factory to learn the tea making process. We reached the hotel at almost 10 pm after about 12 hours on the road. The funny part is to see the girls running to the loos and queuing up for the ladies. Thank God I am a man!

The next morning after breakfast at the hotel we checked out and transferred to the International Airport and bid farewell to the wonderful land of Sri Lanka for our flight back to Singapore.

It was a memorable trip and one that is too short. Will definitely find the opportunity to go there with my wife. Next year perhaps?

Friday, June 11, 2004

I am back!

To my ardent readers, I am back. Just finished a swift packing of my stuff, a hefty 3 kg worth of smelly laundry and gifts ( tried to separate them into differnt compartments, hope the stench can be contained)Most importantly, I left behind my prejudices and misconceptions and brought back tons of wonderful memories.

Having a bit of a jet lag now.. even though Sri Lanka is only about 2 hours ahead of us. Well I guess anyone will if you have a group of IJ hyenas who laugh at every possible thing and of course star struck girls who were clamouring to get a shot of Fandi Ahmad and his gang of disgraced Singapore footballers ( I just read that they were thrashed 7-0 by Oman and I thought it was a rugby score)

Need to get the photos updated soon. Will put it online to share with all those who did not join us for the trip.

Peace out!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (contd)

If I have a penchant to write dark things ( in black OHT markers and black or blue whiteboard markers) it could be due to my experiences with "horrific" girls.

Are you scratching your head, or any part of your body about the post I had yesterday? Why did the novelist in me show so prominently in the last post. It was a day of great significance to me. It was the day I got married 2 years ago. A day i could still remember vividly, but I shall not divulge too much details.

After surrendering my freedom to my love, I must say that so far our relationship have been wonderful! It helps when the two of us shared common interests. Actually *sheepishly* we are quite opposites. My wife is a more outgoing type but who can be extremely quiet and reserved. I am more the indoor/introvert (aka nerdy) type who can fill up an empty room all by myself ( not in size). She is into canoeing before , like trekking, camping and anything outdoor; I love the fine art, enjoy a cuppa, with a good book in hand and fear thrill rides. I guess this is what people mean by opposities attracts! We got together purely by "accident". (Not that type of accident) She used to sport shoulder length hair and with her bookwormish specs, she look extremely demure. To cut the long story short, I guess it was love at first sight. After a couple of months of courtship, we got together and in less than 2 years we are happily married.

Yesterday was such a nice, homely day for us. We didn't want to go to the cinema as it was jam packed with people, tennagers, elderly and kids. (please read my post on Show Business). We decided to go out for a nice dinner at the Esplanade hoping for anice comfy dinner with some peace and quiet, but there was a huge crowd watching an outdoor performance. We rush back to spend the rest of the evening at home, watching Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets on DVD. Nothing really eventful but it was simple and romantic.

Really need to spend some time with my wife before I go on my Sri Lanka fieldtrip.

My Master thesis is settling down well, meaning it is starting to gather dust. Got to start working on it before I go for the trip.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Two years ago, this day.
It was a sunny morning. I remember.
The sky was dark, it was in the wee hours of the morning, an unearthy hour
Men cladded in black, in sombre colours. Awakened by only a motive in mind
With an offering in hand, a huge procession followed. It was important, an event of much importance.
It was an event of no return. There was no way that the protagonist can back out.
Was the beads of perspiration, the trepidation an indication of the turmoil going through his mind.
It was never easy, everyone murmured... It is sealed for life, the skeptics shook their heads in disbelief.
Amidst the chaos, the protagonist steeled his resolve
It was a path he must take
The protagonist was me...

To be continued...
Will our protagonist aka me continue to stupefy the minds, occupy the bandwidth and fill the evil thirst for gossips of a IJ population born to criticise?

Will the author face a defamation suit?

Will you come back to read the next "exciting" half of...
"My 2.10 cents worth (with GST)"?

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Show business

Don't ask me what the title mean, I have absolutely no idea myself!

I recently caught the show "Shrek 2" at my favourite cinema with my favourite movie kakis. It has been a long time since I watched a movie in a cinema (where have I been recently??)There was lots to see and hear, not all of it on-screen. Cinemas and the audiences here have received much flak from the press, Usenet and other media. I have decided to consolidate some of my amusing and not so pleasant experiences over the few years of movie watching into this interesting blg ( I hope it is interesting) This is my salvo. Ready, aim...

Firstly, I think the cinema operators were very concerned for our safety. In event of a fire, earthquake, hailstorm or worse, the uncontrollable urge to fart, the emergency exit was located on the left or right, in the front of the hall. How did I know? They put a bright 'Exit' sign on top of the door. Heck, they made it so bright that patrons noticed it more than the screen. As our attention drifted from subtitle to subtitle, what we see is " Are you sure this is the case EXIT", "Let's go EXIT", "I want to make you mine EXIT" But then again who are we to complain? It's for our safety, what!

Everyone has their seat of choice. Mine are those in the very centre. (That way I don't look like I'm peering over my shoulder after I leave the cinema.) I had this wonderful experience of sitting right at the back of the cinema, and witnessed a more than exciting "copulation" between a teenage couple. Not that I have anything to complain about, but I really didn't get my money worth especially with regards to the movie. Although I caught an RA show in the making, what the heck, I still have to watch the movie (the one actually showing on the big screen) another time, and this time I had to make absolutely sure that I am sitting right in front of the bloody screen so that I will not be tempted by earthy desires. (My Father! I had sinned!!)

There was also the unfortunate incident that happens to my movie kaki. She is vertically challenged ( short you dork!) and the fellow seating right in front of her, although as vertically challenged as her, decided to accentuate his height by giving himself an outrageous hairstyle, one that looks like it was held by at least 2 cans of Brycreem! And watching the movie was difficult when there was a "bush" swaying from side to side.

Anyway back to the seating arrangement, whoever prepared the floor plan on the computer booking system had a serious case of parallax error. While somethimes the seats we chose were close to the centre (on-screen), once in the hall we found we were practically facing the emergency exit! There were instance when the movie operator assure you that the first row is quite ok and you realise the fallacy of his/her argment when you literally "lost" the character when he or she move fromone end of the screen to the other. I shall avoid that hall from now on.

Practically when the movie starts, all the cinema Bozos decided it was open ring day at the circus. In the front row, having a combined weight of 360 kg, the Soft-Spined Sixsome armed with snacks and handphones. Usually these are young bengish boys who find security in numbers. These are skinny boys with singlets and beach shorts and of course the very essential accessories, the slippers. Oh yes, these slippers that were proudly displayed atop the seats in front. In the left corner was Willowy Wallpaper Woman armed with Horridly Harmonic Handphone and noisy jacket, with handphone in luminous colours, playing to the polyphonic tune of some chinese 5566 songs. This man was so keen on giving the commentary of the movie that one wondered how much his handphone bill was:

"Yah I am watching a movie... I call u back can... what movie hah... don't know lah, some cartoon my girlfriend want to watch... say it is quite good.. no no no haven't start yet, now commercials, yah.. ok no problem, the show should end by 6 plus.... at Orchard Cineleisure... want to meet for dinner? Sure why not? .... tell you what, we meet around at 7 lah, ok at Lips.. which lips? the one at Orchard Cineleisure... ya ya the one Ah Seng meet Julie... the waitress quite chio one.. you know hah.... ok, any thing I sms you... ok... you call me later, can? Ok ok, the movie started about 10 minutes ago.. talk to you later........." ARGH!!!!

There was a type of person known as Mr Skeptic. His reason for coming to the movie was obviously different from others. He fell asleep midway and decided to let everyone know by snoring with a resonance that would make an elephant turn pink with embarrassment. Another type, known as the Mr Commentator who said the obvious (and obviously wrong) in English and (horrors!) Hokkien while his missus twittered with every word or sentence that left the mouth of the heartthrob. (E.g. HT: "Yes." She: "Hee-hee-hee." HT: "Thank you." She: "Hee-hee-hee".) Aiyah, leave your hubby and buy a poster, lah!

Handphones rang, tinkled, sang and did anything other than vibrate. For goodness sake, don't you people understand the fancy introduction which the cinema operators create just to remind you gently to keep the bloody phones in silent mode! Didn't you tell mommy dearest where you were? I would love to see the day when all handphones must be left at the door. They could use those airport metal detector bridges or scanners. Better still, train dogs to sniff them out! (Hey, it's not impossible. We are the same country that banned chewing gum, remember? Wonder if any MPs watch movies at cineplexes...) Most of the time I needed all the concentration I could muster to watch the show. I must have looked constipated. Good thing it was dark. (Stop flashing the handphone around!)

All this pales in comparison with one incident. In one show I had watched, a character (I shan't spill the beans/guts) got hit by not one but two cars! It was very realistic and a terrible shock. The greater shock I got was when most of the audience laughed! I think these were the same people who laughed when they watched 'Saving Private Ryan'. These people should be shot. Or run down. Or both. I volunteer to administer the coup de grace.

In case you didn't notice, they forbid you to bring your own tidbits to the cinemas, instead charging you twice as much for a pack of popcorn, sweet or salted. The amount of money one spend on a movie for two is enough to feed a kid from a third world country 3 meals a day !!! If they think people would be ripped off, then they are damn right. Have you seen people carrying popcorns, drinks and hotdogs, with kids in tow into the cinema. It was just like a circus! In fact what can be most annoying is when these people to add additonal sound effects with their chips munching, and the noisy slurping of their corn soups (yes! that's true)

Which is why I invested a cool 5K on a sound and entertainment system at home, so that I can watch the movie in peace and pause appropriately for my overworked bladder to go for a well deserved toilet break!

If you have got something to say, get it off your chest (but keep your shirt on guys and especially the girls), do email me or tag my board. If you were one of the clowns in the cinema, go honk yourself!