Tuesday, February 28, 2006


After a 50-minute jog around my neighborhood, I came home to guzzle a liter-bottle worth of H20. As I fermented and chatted with my friends in the next two hours, I felt my stomach gradually began to growl in hunger.

I pondered if I should have supper to replenish my lost energy. Looking at the clock ticking close to an ungodly 3 a.m., I decided against it, finally taking my bath and going to bed.

Alas, a good sleep was not to be. Mister Toto kept whining throughout the night with his bouts of diarrhoea once more. I suffered disrupted sleep, waking up to his whines and staggering out of the house to let him relieve himself. When the alarm finally rang, I groggily slammed it shut to permit myself any shred of more slumber.

I woke up in fright, realizing I was late for a meeting at 1030 in the morning. I hurriedly washed up, threw on some clothes and headed for school. Without any breakfast.

When I reached my supervisor's office, the undergraduate student due for the meeting was not present. In fact, she was late by 20 minutes. By then, I was duly pissed, having no food for the past 15 hours, no rest and still having to wait for a student when I have my own bloody workload to attend to.

Anyway, during the meeting, my stomach growled intermittently in protest against the lack of food for compensating the usage of energy the night before. When the meeting finally ended, I went to the canteen to buy the biggest serving of pasta for takeaway. But guess what?

I ate like a third of it and lost my appetite somehow.

Man, it seems like my body is fucked.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Freaking Pained and Pissed

Yesterday morning, I began playing tennis at 10am. I continued, non-stop, duelling with different opponents until I felt my fingers stung. I looked at them and saw the skin peeling. They were raw and blistered. Ouch, I thought and waved them a little, as if a draft would offer some pain-killing comfort.

Time-out, I signalled. But the opponent requested "Shall we finished with these balls before stopping?" and I was too polite to decline. So I persisted, but it was kind of hard to grab the racquet properly with those blasted fingers. By the end of it all, I realized I have been playing non-stop for three hours. My skin felt scorched by the hot sun, and my head groggy with the blinding heat.

As I tried to nurse my headache with an afternoon nap, Minghua called to arrange a movie outing. I dragged my exhausted ass to town, only to realize they were catching Final Destination 3 instead of Munich. GRRR!

Man, did the movie suck. The plot was exactly identical to Final Destination 1. The way each of them die is just way too exaggerated and well, graphical just for the sake of shock. Bah. We made our way to Timbre after the movie for some live band music and drinks.

Anyhoo, right now, I am freaking pissed because all the HYP students are freakingly reliant on me. One of them kept sms-ing me for help in her flash web sites. I mean, I know she is still a beginner in the software. But still, it is YOUR PROJECT, shouldn't you try to learn? I am just your advisor, for CHRIST'S SAKE! Oh well, I can't seem to tell them off very well. So, I am just taking the easy route out and doing the work for them. But I can't help feeling freaking pissed.

GRR. Keep away, if you know better.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Fortuitous Post

After sending my parents to Harborfront, I drove downtown to run some errands and unfortunately got lured into shops for a quick browse. I ended up with a bag and a tube top. Hur. Retail therapy. Yum yum.

Later in the evening, Isabelle sms-ed me to go shopping on Saturday. Doh. I would have much love to go, but I have to restrain my spending after these unnecessary expenditure. Isabelle! You should have told me earlier and I wouldn't have taken a peek at those shops myself at the first place! Now, I have to subscribe to the "See no evil, buy no evil" mantra. I'm sorry, babe.

For a moment just now, I was in the ultimate doldrums because my ipod mini failed to function. I was whining to anybody who would listen, or rather, read (msn mah) until my brother came home. Miraculously, he dabbled around and tweaked stuff, and my mini was suddenly working again. Hooray.

Hokay, Mister Toto is moping around because my parents are away. So, I am off to bed to console the poor little darling.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday = Errand Day

Every Friday is the day when my mum goes to market and stocks up on rations as if there is to be an impending war. Today, it is the usual. On the drive back...

Mum: Eh, at the supermarket, this guy gave me 2 discount coupons.
Me: *Nods* Good, good.
Mum: I told him. Use it lah. But he says he doesn't stay around here.
Me: *Nods* Good, good.
Mum: So I said it's ok! Can use in other branches also.
Me: *Nods* Good, good.
Mum: But he insisted I take them leh. Don't know why.
Me: Mmm.
Mum: Maybe it is because I am cute? HEE HEE HEE!
Me: .....

I almost swerved my car into oncoming traffic.

DO NOT, and I repeat, do not say such things to ambush a driver while he/she is driving. It can be potentially fatal. I bit my lips and made a face as my mum went "HEE HEE HEE!" the whole journey back home. Fortunately, it was only a 5-minute drive from Ghim Moh Market.

Perhaps my dear mummy is hyperactive for her bimonthly cruise later this evening. Ah, I have to be their chaffeur this evening again. Let's hope my mum stop spouting these damnest things.

Weird Sport

The other day, I was drinking my pseudo root-beer as I channel-surfed when I stopped at the Winter Olympics Channel. There was a weird sport going on and the participants were seemingly middle aged ladies.

So, apparently, one of the lady would slide this round UFO-looking thingy down a sheet of ice and there will be 2-3 other teammates shuffling madly beside the UFO as it made its way to the bullseye at the end of the lane. And get this....

the teammates all have brooms, where they madly sweep the path in front of the UFO.

My neighbor soon joined in, and was similarly amused.

Neighbor: WHAT THE HELL is this man?
Me: Winter Olympics lah.
Neighbor: HUH. Why the hell are they sweeping the floor?
Me: Wahahahahaa. I have no idea.
Neighbor: I think my office cleaning auntie will win this man.

Wahahaha, so hilarious. So apparently, wide awake at the bewitching hour of 330 a.m., I suddenly remembered the sport while chatting with a friend and went to do some research. There you go, the winter sport is called curling.

Very warped. For once, I am positive this is one sport my mum can beat me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Farm Dinner & Pseudo Root Beer Float

Last night's dinner was at a farm, which was quite hidden from civilization with the canopy of trees, shrubs and whatsnot. With the abrupt swerve into is compound (off Maju Camp), it was as if the world has transformed instantly from a hustling-bustling crowded metropolitan city into a lazy kampung village, complete with shrieking poultry.

Ah, yes. Shrieking poultry. I find it wildly disturbing to hear, feel or see my food alive before consuming it. I am the sort who loses my appetite should I see the entire carrion served before me, especially so if the head is intact. So, if the roast chicken/duck or suckling pig is presented as a whole, don't mind me if I politely decline the dish.

The whole time I was there, there were birds shrieking. As the place is famous for its Zi Bao Ji (Paper-wrapped chicken), I could not help but imagine those shrieks were actually yells of "THAT IS MY BROTHER YOU ARE EATING, YOU BITCH!" as I unwrapped the oily paper concealing the pieces of chicken. Of course, my friend assured me that the source of the screeches were from their pet parrot. But you have to be there to comprehend how mildly disturbing it can be. I wonder how the other patrons continued their meals with nonchalance.

Nevertheless, it is again, a nice welcome from overcrowded restaurants in our little overcrowded city and the farm is surprisingly well-known among people. Except for me, as usual, the little frog in the well. Apparently, my neighbor in Singapore has been there. So did my (ex-) neighbor in Berkeley. Thus, if you are looking for a rural eating experience, you can head over to this place. It is quite a stone's throw away from the main road, leading towards Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Dessert was a pseudo root beer float. The last time I had the real thing was in A&W's in the Bay Area after skydiving. I think A&W is somewhat near extinction in Singapore. Or is it already extinct? It serves the best Root Beer Float, don't you think?

Anyway, my neighbor had his friend and me over at his place for a while and he mixed us Bailey's with Coke and Ice Cream (which tasted like Root Beer Float). Ah, the pleasure of having good neighbors. I used to wish Sandy would stay just opposite or beside my house so I could crawl to her room via the windows. Hmm, oh well, I don't think the nice Peranankan family next-door nor the Hairy Ang Moh and his SPG across are going to move out anytime soon, though.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


*Phone Rings*

Me: Hello?
Mike (Back from SF): Hello.
Me: What's up?
Mike: Hang on.

(Shuffling sounds with monotonous female voice in background.)

HT: Hello?
Me: Hello.
HT: Hi.
Me: What?
HT: Don't know.
HT: Mike passed me the phone one.
Me: Excuse me, both your ages add up to .. 70?! Still behaving like small kids.
HT: I don't know! Mike passed me the phone one.
Me: ...
HT: Where are you?
HT: Go for dinner later with us.
Me: I got dinner appointment already.
Me: ... it is a date with a friend...

*Phone somehow gets passed to Mike*
Me: no.. it's dinner with a friend...
Mike: Your friend cute a not?
Me: ...
Mike: Girl or Guy?
Me: Guy.
Me: ... (I cannot believe I am talking to a 33 year-old)
Mike: I want to ask you to eat ice cream at Serene Center one lor. Too bad.
Me: ...

That reminds me of my preference for solitude.


I do not like throwing a temper. I try to be polite. I try to be nice. Sometimes, people take advantage of it. They do not take you seriously, until you throw them an ultimatum. Is there a need for it?

So, 2 weeks ago, I emailed Anglo-French Travels for something as simple as an airfare quotation. I could have easily go to any other travel agents but this is one company endorsed by NUS, unfortunately. See, this is what I call - taking things for granted. The NUS branch of the travel agency probably knows there are limited competitors regarding this aspect, and therefore are not competent in their service.

5 days after receiving no response to my email, I called them to ask.

A guy responded,"Oh, you have to give us some time to clear the email, you know. We will get back to you as soon as possible." Hmm, I felt a little guilty. These people are so busy. I should give them a break. "All right then," I replied.

Few days later, I called again. This time I spoke to a lady named Vera, whom was very pleasant. She expressed a little shock at the one-week non-response to my email. "I will deal with it. Send the email to me," she offered. I felt my confidence returned and did so dutifully.

Subsequently, I called up every day because my conference registration deadline inched closer. Each time, Vera apologetically replied she will get back to me at the end of the day. Each time, she disappointed! For Christ's sake, it is only an AIRFARE QUOTATION!

The thing about me is I try my best to keep my temper down. But there is really so much I can take. When you boil me up badly, I will turn really nasty. Oh, and I can be unforgiving.

Anyway, maybe I do have some kind of "病猫" face because I often get cocked-up orders.

Just yesterday, the Japanese stall auntie served my soba in the eat-in utensils instead of takeaway as I instructed. Today, at the pasta store:

Me: Pan fried chicken with penne, CREAM SAUCE please.
Auntie: Oh, sure.

Auntie smiled and moved her hands from the plates she was reaching. She scooped pasta, forked the chicken and proceeded to.....

...dollop a gunk of tomato gravy.


Me: This is not cream sauce.
Auntie: Yah, this is tomato sauce.
Me: ...
Auntie: Oh, you want cream sauce??

Giving a sheepish smile, she proceeded to spoon cream sauce onto my pasta without any warning.

Auntie: There you go.
Me: ...

So right now, I am eating my weird concoction of cream-sauce-tomato-gravy pasta. If I get diarrhoea, you know why.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Grr...No Meatballs

I am so freaking pissed! My stupid unstable wireless connection keeps switching to my neighboring networks despite my specified exclusions of the latter. Now that I am trying to download my student's flash file to work on, but the connection keeps resetting, just when the file is downloaded near 90%!!!


Luckily, I had a little retail therapy just now. In the evening, Hua-ge msned me.

Hua-ge: Wah, how come still here?
Me: I am waiting for the crowds to clear so I can take a bus to Queensway.
Hua-ge: Alone?
Me: Yah, why cannot ah?
Hua-ge: Why never ask anybody to go with you?
Me: Why cannot go alone?

Weird. Seemingly, people here do not understand solitude very well.

Anyway, I made my way to Queensway to re-wrap the handle of my tennis racquet. Browsing the maze of shops randomly, I managed to purchase a cap and some earrings. I craved for some Ikea Meatballs because the last time I had it was when I was in Emeryville with otterboy. In fact, we love the meatballs so much we each bought a bag of meatballs and a jar of ligonberry jam. I finished my jam within a week! Ahh, the fond memories of Berkeley.

So, to Ikea I headed. Man, was the restaurant crowded! I abhor crowds so I wondered around Ikea, looking at furniture and fighting the supreme urges to buy. Suddenly, I felt that I desperately need tupperware. Oo, and maybe some pretty wrapping paper. Oh, look, such pretty curtains.

Of course, the rational side of me fortunately surfaced and pushed the little demons back into the Pandora's box. I went back up to Ikea Cafe to find a seat and was exasperated that the place was steaming with people as ever! Ugh!

Somewhat angrily, I stormed to the Ikea's store and bought 1 jar of Ligonberry jam to appease myself. Then I walked across the bridge to the first eatery I came upon, which was, unfortunately, Kentucky Fried Chicken. Bleah.

Oh well. No meatballs. Bah.

Now, I am wearing my new cap (to season it lah), despite my mum's sarcasm ("Where got sun now?), looking incredulously at the crawling 45% download speed of the god-damned file. Please don't switch networks until it hits 100%...

Soba again

Guess what I had for lunch?

SOBA again.

I think I had soba 5-6 times since last Thursday. The only way for me to get over a food craving is to overdose on it.

Tough luck, Men

My mum started the morning lamenting about a certain uncle's wife who called up to borrow a sum of money. The sum of money was not large, thus causing my raise of eyebrows at their lack of ability to cough up that amount themselves. The family always has monetary issues although I do believe they earn a reasonable amount. How they maintain new car, purchase new clothes and go for holidays is beyond me, particularly when they see the need to borrow that miniscule amount.

My uncle's children, a 19 year-old girl and a 15 year-old boy grew up with me when I was living with my grandmother. In away, they are akin to my own siblings, although I am very much closer to the girl. She works part-time for her pocket money, and sometimes, I do my sisterly part by topping up her EZ-link, taking her out to meals or buying her stuff she wants. If both the parents are not sparing a cent for their children, I am really amazed where their money vaporized to.

And that is why, my readers, one shouldn't have children until he/she is financially and morally responsible. Until you are ready to give up your own luxuries to have one, don't.

Anyhoo, my mum's morning grouses continued about my brother's overrated profession - he is an architect. Apparently, his company is executing a wide-scale paycut and my brother's pay is already miserly, as compared to the amount he invested in pursuing the architecture degree. Each time he is quizzed about marriage, he has a convenient excuse "No money lah."

Poor thing lah, my brother.

Therefore, although my mother let on this morning that the amount my brother contributes to the household is only one-fifth of mine, I was nonchalant. Men have it tough, I guess. They pay for dinners. They save for the engagement ring. They take the midnight cab home after sending their girlfriends.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Putting My Foot in My Mouth

Supervisor: So, I will want the data to be collected in this format...

Me: Yes, yes.

Supervisor: I already selected two students and I will send them to you.

Me: Yes, yes.

Supervisor: You tell them what to do and how to collect the data.

Me: Yes, yes.

Supervisor: So I am holding you responsible.

Me: Yes, yes.

Supervisor: Anyway, I think Singaporeans are too rich.

Me: Mmm?

Supervisor: I posted on bbs regarding the job and only Vietnamese and 1 Chinese replied.

Me: Ooo! I like Vietnamese. (Except when they start talking in Vietnamese which provoke instant headache with their fast-speed spouting)

Supervisor: Why?

Me: Vietnamese.. good. Hardworking.

Supervisor: Mmm?

Me: Singaporeans.. no good. They will go out and play.

Supervisor: JUST LIKE YOU Lah! You are talking about yourself, right?

Me: HAHAHAHA! Eh, so clever! No wonder you are a professor.

Pardon me while I try to disengage my foot from my mouth.

Mundane Mondays

A while ago, as my neighbor gave me a lift to school, he quizzed me on the choice of public transportation. I had earlier surrendered the rein of the car to my dad, rationalizing that he should utilized his office season parking more often. Other factors include the irritability of searching for carpark lots (unless you are the Dean of the department, you do not get a reserved slot), silly bottlenecks caused by the incompetent image-detecting barrier, etc.

What I did not mention is the fact that I do enjoy taking buses to school (Note: not from school). The bus service that serves my neighborhood is rather exclusive, ensuring me of a comfortable seat to plop in and watch the world go by. I rather enjoy watching the blank expressions of passengers at the bus stops, trying to mentally speculate their destinations. Of course, interesting images are abundant - a resigned-looking grandfather allowing his grandchild to climb on his shoulder, over his head, much to the latter's unbridled joy; a frail old lady dragging numerous bags of groceries, with strength probably derived from the knowledge that her effort goes to feeding her beloved family; immaculately dressed ladies with expensive tote bags that probably cost 10 years of bus rides.

Bus rides to school are good for reflection. Bus rides from school is an entirely different matter, especially in peak hours because the men (or rather, boys) in Singapore has the civic consciousness the size of a pea. I think Singaporean men have developed a superb ability in cutting queues, clambering gingerly on board the bus while making sure to avoid exasperated stares and tut-tuts from their overtaken victims. In fact, some even utilize their backpacks as a sort of bulldozer to wipe out any potential obstructions in their quest to embark the bus. It is beyond me, really. I find it inside me naturally to sometimes give way to the older generation of uncles and aunties, or even to girls, while going up the buses, as a mark of respect or courtesy. Although these are thankless gestures, I do feel better about myself.

Ah, all these ramblings. Now for some Monday grouses about aging:

Mum: Cousin so-and-so getting married, you know.
Me: Mm-hmm. (Not looking up from my Sunday papers)
Mum: Aiyah, its no surprise.
Me: Mm-hmm. (Still not looking up...)
Mum: It's about time. She is quite old already, you know.

Cousin so-and-so is the same age as me.

Bouncer (to Wanling): I want to see your ID.
Wanling: Oh. (Absent-mindedly handed over the Phuture Passes)
Bouncer: ID?
Wanling: Huh. (Incredulous)
Bouncer: ID!
Wanling: I don't have! (Because she is 29.)

Bouncer smiled in resignation and waved her off. He allowed Reuben and me in without ID verification. Reuben noted this discrimination and quizzed,"Eh, how come he didn't stop you?"

I am 3 years younger than her.



Sunday, February 19, 2006

I am a Wuss

I must be quite a wuss because I cried buckets into my pillow, reading the last few chapters of Marley and me. It got quite bad as I couldn't even bear to read the details of how he was finally put to sleep.

Oh, Mister Toto. How I will absolute abhor to see you go. I am sure my heart will be so wrecked it will never recover.

Too... Much ... Alcohol

On Friday afternoon, Reuben proffered a free entry pass to Phuture on Saturday night because his friend's friend was spinning.

Me: Okay, I'll go if I can grab a friend.
Reuben: I have only one pass! Your friend might have to pay.
Me: Mmm. All right. I may go after my ah gong's birthday lah.
Reuben: Make sure you reach before 11pm.
Me: Otherwise ...
Me: Your friend spinning might turn into a pumpkin?
Reuben: Yah.

Since Friday's night of exploring Villa Bali wasn't fulfilled (one group of them decided to watch a movie and my brother took a bath so long, I fell asleep and decided to back out when he called, much to his utter disgust), I decided to go ahead with Reuben's offer.

Slightly before eleven, I met Reuben and his friend, Wanling. Apparently, it is her friend who was spinning and the people around were sort of from the Law sector. Wondering if I have made the right choice in turning up, I pondered upon accepting my brother's offer to fetch me to join him at Dbl-O.

However, it got better. It was 11pm and the start of the one-for-one promotion. Reuben ordered 2 jugs of vodka rebull and 2 glasses of apricot brandy ("What kind of sissy-ass shite is this?!" he exclaimed indignantly) We chatted as I finished 1 glass of apricot brandy and 2/3 jug of vodka redbull. This, plus a few sips of red wine at my grandpa's birthday earlier, started to provoke a little bit of inebriation.

Ian arrived and he, too, ordered 2 jugs of...

Me: Apricot Brandy!
Ian: Wow, this tastes really good!
Me: Of course. It's for girls. Girls like sweet stuff.

Reuben and friend appeared with a tray of 24 shots of ...

Me: What's this?
Reuben: Illusion.
Me: Wow, another sweet drink!
Me: Seems to me you all are buying sweet drinks that are used to trick xiao mei meis...
All: Wahaha.

I downed about 4-5 shots of Illusion and we made our way to Zouk Members area where I sat with people whom I don't even remember their names.

Ian: Who are these people?
Me: I have no idea.

It was weird, but fortunately, I had Ian to yak to about Berkeley since he graduated from there. I had a sip of Whisky water which tasted like shite too. In fact, anything with whisky tastes like poison.

Soon, we made our way to the dancefloor for a while before heading back to Phuture. Reuben decided he needed Whisky Crystal desperately and it is only sold at Zouk Members. Back, we went again. Four of us shared the jug of jellied concoction while blabbering incoherently. Occasionally, Wanling will point out a "hunk"...

Wanling: Eh, check that guy out.
Me: Where?
Wanling: That one with the specs.
Me: Huh...
Wanling: Wow, I love geeks.
Me: It's so dark, how do you even tell.

And that reminds me how ridiculous it is for people to want to hook up in clubs where you cannot even view a person's features clearly because (1) the lighting is bad (2) you are probably too intoxicated that even Barney (the dinosaur) looks attractive. Besides, the music is so loud you probably cannot tell if the other party's personality is as flat as a bulldozed-something. So there.

Wanling decided to buy a round of Sex By the Beach. 2 more shots added to suffer my poor overworked liver. Out of nowhere, Reuben the joker grabbed a bottle of Johnny Walker from the bartop and commenced to coerce innocent people into drinking the vile contents. Unsteadily, we made our way back to Phuture.

It was almost 330am then. I decided I should return a favor and buy them a round too. I asked the bartender for recommendation and he whipped up a round of tasty Apple Shooters. Nice way to end the night. We finished the 24 shots and made our way home.

How Wanling and Reuben managed to drive home after so much alcohol remains a mystery.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Soba Sogood

Two days ago, I had an intense craving for cold japanese soba. It was so dire I decided to make a lone trip to the Arts Canteen to appease my gastric juices. This is extremely abnormal on my part because I completely detest embarking the shuttle buses which I suspect have zilch suspension systems at all. Of course, unless I have a dear friend at any other faculties I have to meet; otherwise, the boring fare at the Science Canteen and NUH Canteen will suffice.

To my utter despair (and some might add, shuayness), as I arrived before the Japanese stall (I actually believe I hopped right up) to gleefully order "One Cha Soba please!", the auntie gave me a sympathetic cock of head before replying that the dish was sold out.


At 130pm, which is hardly after lunch hour. Sigh. Momentarily, I lost my bearings and strolled distractedly amidst the lunch crowd at the Arts Canteen. Purchasing a take-away box of potato salad, I trekked back to a bus stop to wait for the dreaded shuttle bus.

It was a bloody hot day. Just by standing and not moving a single inch of muscle, I could feel perspiration ooze out of my pores at the strangest places. Like my knee, for instance. Yes, it is weird but I was suddenly acutely aware of a trickle of sweat from behind my knee. It felt like sauna as I watched at least five crowded shuttle buses creaked away before I finally could embark on one.

All these shite for NO SOBA. I was an angry girl so I came back to my office and lambasted my poor Berkeley neighbor with gripes. Ha ha. Poor guy, eh?

Yesterday, I went for lunch with two professors. Genki Sushi?, my supervisor inquired. Sure, I replied nonchalantly, hiding the fact that my brain was actually going into a wicked bout of guffaws - HA! HA! SOBA! HA! HA!

I patiently ordered my soba and interestingly, my supervisor thought that was not sufficient and ordered sushi that I like. Isn't he the greatest? He actually remembers what sushi I like to eat, just on the basis of the past few times we have been to sushi places. Ah, I love my boss.

Right. So I was a happy soba-filled girl. Or so... I thought.

Later in the evening, as I travelled to Suntec City to meet Kailing and Cynthia, the latter called and queried, Japanese Food? I rubbed my tummy and replied, Right on.

So, I went for my second round of soba! Twice the happiness in a day! I was delirious. I kept yakking the entire meal and before I knew it, it was 10pm! We had stayed in the sushi deli for three hours.

Me: Opps! Sorry! It's 10pm! You told me you wanted to watch your show at ten.
Cyn: It's ok. HAHAHA.
Me: Sorry. Sorry.
Cyn: No, no, you are more entertaining than the serial. HAHAHA.
Me: Doh.

Oh, not to forget, silly otterboy in Berkeley called me while I was at work and slurred "Do you know who I am a not?" Now, if that isn't the most irritating greeting anybody could get on the phone. And he repeated it thrice! Tsk. Otter, if you cut that three sentences out of your conversations, you might realize you might have acheive greater utility out of your calling card by uttering more useful sentences to me, like "Bring me cans of abalone when you come here!" (which will never happen now because you wasted your time asking me to guess who you are.) Oh, and don't call me when I am working my ass off (overstatement, really) to tell me "Ay, I am in bed now, under my sheets, so I decided to call a random person..." because I may get so mad I decide to deliberately forget your birthday. Muhaha.

It's Friday. Yay!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Reading Marley

Yesterday, I started on a book I have just received, i.e. Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog. Before commencing on the read, I reminded myself to go slow so as to prolong the pleasure of it.

Apparently and not surprisingly, the notion got thrown out of the window and by the end of the night, I have finished more than half of the book. Grrr. It was a refreshing switch from James Frey's hatred-filled autobiography which caused me to stop reading several instances because his description was too disturbing.

The story of Marley, on the other hand, was very close to my heart because the dog has very similar characteristics as Mister Toto. At some parts I was laughing aloud, some parts I was nodding in agreement, and at others, my heart ached.

There was this instance where Marley (who was portrayed as a dumb but happy dog) did something rather clever. Apparently, his mistress had just miscarried and was grieved beyond consolation. His master decided to purchase a bouquet of spring flowers to surprise his wife, whilst on his way home. When he reached home, he opened the back door of his car. Marley leapt out and he (master) noticed that the bouquet of flowers had some broken stems, presumbly chewed off by the dog. Prying Marley's jaws opened, he saw the remains of red colored carnations petals. Only the carnations were chewed off, the rest of the flowers remained intact. It could be a strange force of coincidence, but yet, Marley had just destroyed any reminder to his mistress the distress of her miscarriage. Carnations are for mothers, aren't they? I am not sure if the author knew that. He certainly didn't mention it except for the fact that his wife started laughing at the absurdity of Marley eating flowers.

Anyway, I forced myself to close the book before reaching beneath my bed and cuddle the furry fat creature sleeping in bliss.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Foodie Post

I made an awful mistake of surfing onto this site. Looking at all the pictures of the delectable dishes is sufficient to make my stomach growl despite the fact that I gobbled an egg (sunny-side-up), a bowl of Maple Pecan Crunch and downed a glass of milk this morning.

Argh. I should check out at least one new place a week. Right. Loof and Timbre last week.

Next up. PS Cafe at Harding Road.

We started throwing out a list of places to explore
  1. Rochester Park
  2. Breeze (Scarlet Hotel)
  3. Little Bali

How exciting. I am kinda thrilled to be as far from the maddening crowd as possible and it is a good thing that these are places which are as remote as you can possibly get in Singapore.

More on the list to come...

Ouch ouch ouch.

Changed into my jogging attire and stepping into the lab, I heard my handphone ring.

Hello, I answered.

In the very noisy background, a Malay-sounding voice piped,"ARE YOU MISS L** Y** L**?"

Yes, I replied. How can I help you?

"I'VE GOT A..." *Click and line goes dead.*

Hmm, I thought as I stared at the phone, contemplating if I should call back. Deciding against the idea, rationalizing the joker would call back if it were to be urgent, I left for my run at the NUS tracks.

The NUS tracks was visibly quieter than usual. My body felt really lethargic and it seemed reluctant to be dragged into torture. Nevertheless, I set my iPod on the running tunes and began.

After 2 laps, a group of gung-ho looking girls began their 2.4km run, with their leader timing them. It sort of constructed a pace for me to follow, with the leader shouting their times as we passed through the line. As they finished their last lap, I was at my 8th, thinking miserably to myself that I have another 8 laps to cover. That was still twice the distance, which was kind of depressing.

By then, I was also suffering acute pain from the ramming of toenails against my shoes. My muscles were also tightening. Ouch, ouch, ouch. There was a terrible urge to stop. So the mind battled with the weak spirit as I proceeded to finish my 16 laps. At the end, I semi-hopped to the grandstand in pain and had a good mind to remove my shoes and throw them into the horizon.

Anyway, pain is good. (Don't I sound almost sadistic?) For a moment, it takes away any emotional and mental stress and provides a brief respite.

For this Valentine, I received a card that bestowed guilt. I received an extremely thoughtful gift(s) from a friend. I received a basket of sad-looking white roses from Anonymous.

I am in pain, but in a strange way, slightly bemused.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Careful now...

Sigh. I conclude I have hit a bleak plateau in my research work. Unmotivated and randomly surfing for inspirations, I was easily distracted by the blinking orange msn boxes from friends and family.

Yes, my xiaoyi was online and to deter her from probing anything about my love life, I bugged her for the long-overdue Christmas Lunch photos.

Xiaoyi: How to send?
Me: Click 'SEND FILES" on top.
Xiaoyi: Where got?
Me: ...
Xiaoyi: Don't have.
Me: Okay never mind. You click and drag the file into this box.

(5-minute pause)

Xiaoyi: Ai. Cannot.
Me: ...
Xiaoyi: When I click the file in the folder, I can't see this chatbox.
Me: ... (Thinks: Don't know how to minimize one meh?)
Me: You open both chatbox and folder...
Me: You drag file, don't let go of mouse button...
Me: Slow.. and steady, drag across lah!

(5 minutes passes.)

Xiaoyi: Ai. Cannot.
Me: ... (Repress...urge...to...be...sarcastic...)
Me: Right, right-click on the file. Copy
Me: Come to this chatbox. Clt-V to paste.

I whooped with joy as I saw the first incoming image file. Gosh. It can be quite exasperating communicating instructions, ain't it?

Anyway, xiaoyi continued a slew of family gossips which included my 4th auntie's domestic helper who revealed recently that she is a lesbian. She is in love with another maid and has displayed all the love letters for my 4th auntie to see. (But I bet she doesn't understand a word of Bahasa.) My 4th aunt is worried because she sees her as a threat to her little daughters.

Someone need to tell my 4th auntie the difference between a lesbian and a paedophile.

Tut tut, xiaoyi says. I shouldn't be making fun of such a serious issue. But come on! If I like men, it doesn't mean I will go for 3 year old boys!

Love is in the air at NUS

Emily snucked me a SMS this morning to request my visit to her salsa booth at a Valentine Carnival at the Arts Forum. I always enjoy her company because of her tinkling laughter and our talks on the most absurd stuff. I agreed to look for her and da bao lunch.

The whole morning was effectively wasted away chatting on MSN with my lovelorn guy friends who were pouring out their love woes. A few minutes after noon, I weaved my way through a crowd of excited-looking pubescents. The girls were decked in better-than-norm attires, looking uncomfortable and self-conscious. Boys were running around, holding stalks of roses and bouquets of flowers. Love tunes were crooned and silly-looking wings-wearing people were hopping around, ambushing any unfortunate couples, coercing a confession of love of some sorts. I chuckled.

I soon found Emily and we trekked our way through the temptations of stalls to purchase our lunch of chicken chop, laksa and cha soba. Ah, lunch away from the Science Canteen is refreshing indeed. We traded gossips and she let on that she will be having a romantic picnic at some park tonight. Aww.

After bantering for an hour plus, I decided to drag my reluctant butt back to my office.

Back. To. Work. Bah.

Happy Valentine!

Last evening, I was kind of frustrated with my work stuff. When I reached home, something I received in the mail disturbed me quite badly. I was in a foul mood. However, I put on a happy facade because my parents were going on a Valentine's date. I mulled over some matters in bed for a while before assuming my mum's duty to bring Mister Toto out for his nightly strolls.

The walk emptied my brain a little and I proceeded to finish the James Frey book.

Darn, I thought. I have nothing to read now. Thus, I went on a prowl in the house for something to read. I spotted something new on my brother's bed and since he is in the midst of it, he wouldn't lend it to me. Bah.

I flopped around the house absent-mindedly until my phone rang with an sms. My brother was bugging for his long-overdue birthday treat.

We made our way to Wala's, ordered finger food, beer and a chocolate martini. I listened to his tales of his two-timing ways, he analyzed the stuff I bitched to him very comically. We toasted to his birthday and shook hands when the clock struck twelve to annouce the arrival of Valentine's day.

Passing a florist, I pestered him to buy a stalk of rose for his girl. Which girl? he pondered.


Haha, and yet people pondered upon my skeptism in the male gender.

Monday, February 13, 2006

My Parents' Early Valentine

As early as Saturday, my mum was talking about Valentine's day at dinner. At first, she was telling me about a pair of shoes she adored at Robinson's. Then she turned to my Dad abruptly.

Mum: Why don't you buy me a Valentine's Present?
Dad: Har? (Continues to (pretend to) concentrate on his food)
Mum: Valentine's Day coming. I like that shoes. Buy for me lah.
Dad: When did we ever celebrate Valentine?
Mum: That's why. 30 years never celebrate. Now must start.
Dad: Huh.
Mum: 30 years ah... how often you bring me watch movie....
Dad: ....

I usurped my dinner hurriedly and nimbly escaped upstairs before the conversation turned to include me. What's up with my mum and Valentine's Day? Must be because she stopped working lah.

This evening, I returned home to my mum's happy announcement that Dad and she are going for a movie date tonight, one day earlier than Valentine's. That is a cue for me to switch on my computer, do the booking of tickets and collect the tickets from the nearest AXS machine later for them because my Dad has totally lost his skills of courtship.

Men. They just don't do anything much after marriage, do they?

Right. Off to AXS.

It's Monday!

Half-awake and trawling through the morning papers at the dining table, my mum suddenly popped her head by the window behind me from her gardening chores.

Mum: Eh, tomorrow Valentine's Day, you know?
Me: So?
Mum: You go where to romantic?
Me: Go school lor.
Mum: School?
Me: No need to work meh? Valentine's Day also not holiday.
Mum: I meant after that lah, at night you know?
Me: Work lah.
Mum: So much work meh?
Me: Hannor. What to do?

Heh. Looks like my mum has nothing to attack further when I utilized work as an excuse. So, I proceeded to devour breakfast, silently smirking at my ability to defend against her ambush, dressed up and strolled up to the bus stop with my dog in tow.

When the bus arrived, Lina cajoled Mister Toto home and I embarked the bus.

Bus Driver: Is that your pet?
Me: Yup.
Bus Driver: Oh, he is so cute! He looks up the bus to see if your mum is on it.
Me: Yeah, because we always bring him to the bus stop to wait for my mum.
Bus Driver: Yah, yah! (Excitedly) He's so clever!

Muhaha. People say my dog clever leh. I always get a kick out of that. It is like my own child is being praised, eh? Forget my complaints about the lousy neighborhood sbs bus service that stops at 8pm. I realized that this is one of the rare SBS service where the drivers recognize me and bother to wait for me, drop me off at non-bus-stop areas when it is raining and even stop the bus to chat with me.

Anyway, I continued my journey to school, reaching in time for a meeting with another student. She was just back from China celebrating the new year and after a short discussion, she took out a packet of sweetmeat she brought from her hometown to thank me for all the assistance I have rendered. Aww. Ain't she sweet? Previously, a student I supervised last year presented me with a gift from Yunnan where he visited. Hmm, it is always nice to be appreciated.

Ah. If that isn't a start of a cheery morning, I don't know what is. :)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Aches and more aches

I swung my tennis racquet for the first time after a half-year hiatus. The 2 hour-plus session was enjoyable, despite the glare of the merciless sun. Shortly after the game, I began to feel lightheaded from sunburn. Sneaky aches began to seep into my right shoulder. My toes hurt immensely because I have a silly knack of ramming them against my shoes. (Mental note to self: Buy new shoes and change the grip of tennis racquet.)

Feeling lethargic, I decided to skip any suggested activities by friends, ranging from clubbing at MOS to a free dinner (because someone suffered a dismal loss at literati, haha!) to coming over to my house to bai nian, opting to laze and rest my exhausted muscles. If anyone would to suggest a foot reflexlogy or massage session then, you bet I would be up and out of the house in no time.

Anyhoo, I armed myself with my book and iPod, holing under the sheets for the night. At some point of time, I fell into slumber. This morning, I woke up achier than ever! Shoulders, back, arms, hamstrings! Drats.

The sign of aging.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Loof

Deciding where to chill out on a damp Friday night, Sandy and I decided on The Loof, a place where both my brother and her sister mentioned before. Since my brother is an architect and has deemed the bar to be an interesting concept, I figured it should be good enough for us to check the place out.

I started the late evening by brashly meandering my way into the mazes of Choa Chu Kang (Believe me when I say places which ends with Kang are never easy to navigate) to pick Sandy up from her friend's grandma's wake. By the time we reached The Loof, it was almost 1030 at night.

Since there hasn't been more publicity regarding the place, we were surprised by the crowd that gathered at the entrance. The crowd seems more sophisticated and well-dressed, as compared to the usual crowd one spot in the mainstream places. The decor was impressive, with large panel of glasses to reveal the outside view, and a interesting round table that seemingly suspend above nothingness. Glass panels on the floor can occasionally give even the most sober person a slight anxiety attack, providing the illusion that one is stepping on nothing. Very nice. I like! :)

After touring the area slightly, we order drinks and a pizza. The place was packed so we had to stand by the counter to consume our food. Soon, the rest of our party, comprising of Shuling, Lewis, Eugene and Minghua joined us. We had our round of drinks and yakked randomly. Ah, friends. What do we do without them?

In our 2nd touring around, we found a huge bed compartment. Gleefully, we leapt onto it and there we stayed on for the rest of the nights, playing silly finger guessing games, finger tapping games and whatsnot. It must be one of the most comfortable pubbing nights ever. I love big beds. :)

Oh I have discriminating photos of them doing forfeits. Let me ponder if I should post them up. Heh heh.

The Loof! I guess I might be back.

Friday, February 10, 2006

There's Something About...

My Asian-American pal, Rebecca once had a conversation with me where we were relating our personal tales of scaling Yosemite's Half Dome. We both agreed the trek was an arduous one. In fact, my 12-hour trek was fraught with hamstring pulls, ankle sprains and jammed-up toes. It was nothing but pain and sheer exhaustion. (The reminder of the suffering lies here.) She mentioned a mutual friend, Alex, who gave up less than halfway along the trek. Although I did not know him very well, my impression of such a guy dipped a few notches.


Somehow, there is something about a guy like that I find extremely unattractive. He does not have the mental stamina or perseverance to endure pain and hardship, need I say more about a long-term committment? Perhaps, this comprises as a factor why I do not find a person who is less fit than me captivating. If I were to be able to experience and comprehend the agony of physical and mental tests, I cannot help but disdain a member of the supposedly physically superior population who cannot do the same.

As such, when my supervisor, who is rather young, uttered his surprise during dinner yesterday when he learnt that I had run 15 rounds on the NUS track the day before, muttering about only being able to complete 4... I can't help but view him in a lesser light. There is something remotely alluring about a person with mental strength, don't you think?


That aside, I began the start of my day with an Honors Year Student springing a surprise visit on me for a consultation despite my countless reminders to "MAKE APPOINTMENTS". Apparently, my words are not worthy of remembering. Is it that hard to type an email to arrange for an appointment?

Sigh. I have 4 Honors Students under me, doing my projects. I am very meticulous about my projects and I want to see them done well. The students are earnest and hardworking, except for one who has disappeared without a trace. But they are so reliant on me, expecting me to attend to each and every detail. I feel spent, really. I had to constantly remind myself to keep my cool while keeping at check my exasperation in the very trivial questions he asked.

It's Friday, though. I shouldn't be griping.

Oh look, it's 10th Feburary.

It is a special day for 2 of my friends. Happy Birthday, my dear Berkeley Neighbor. Happy Birthday, Ga. Getting ancient, eh?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Girl From Ipanema Goes Walking...

"Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, each one she passes goes - ahh
When she walks, she’s like a samba
That swings so cool and sways so gentle
That when she passes, each one she passes goes - ooh"

I adore my ipod aplenty. When the earphones are snug in my ears, all that exist within my senses are sweet music, and all the people passing me by are imagined to be acting in some MTV.

After 15 laps around the tracks of NUS, I played my favorite song of the moment and might have been so unconscious to the outside world I could have been doing a little jig, oblivious to my surroundings. I looked up slightly and noticed a caucasian girl smiling at me.

Me? I looked behind. There was nobody.

Did I say she was smiling? I think she was trying not to laugh.

Anyhoo, I reminded myself to be more attentive to my surroundings, carefully switching to a mental jig instead and continued my way back to my lab.

Oh, I love the campus grounds much much much more in such peaceful evenings.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hollow. Empty. Vacant. Void

Yesterday, a friend was lamenting to me how crummy he was feeling because:

  1. The weekend is approaching and he has no plans.
  2. The every-single-and-available's person nightmare is impending - Valentine's Day.

I could not empathize with (1) because I am someone who is able to amuse myself easily, or keep myself occupied doing nothing, really. I can dream of thousand and one ways to while my time away, a skill I have keenly acquired in the period of living overseas, away from family and friends. I could read a book, tinkle on my piano, walk my dog, jog, doodle on my drawing pad, sleep or just trawl the streets on my own for the weekend. As such, I could not, for the life of me, imagine how someone could have no plans for the weekends.

Valentine's day - a time when all couples are reminded to romance one another. So, a young neighbor of mine was also griping to me yesterday, albeit of a totally disparate matter. He, on the other hand, is bugged by 2 girls to spend Valentine's day with them. He doesn't know who to choose and is exhausted by his choices. That lucky bastard.

Humans are warped. No plans, they fret. Too many plans, they fret too. Aren't they simply hard to please?

Anyway, I told my neighbor that I would probably be jogging around the neighborhood, purposefully striding past lovey-dovey couples and ensuring I flick my perspiration to disrupt their amorous conversations on that fateful day. Muahaha. The bemused neighbor decided he might just do the same thing, adding that he would want to flick his hair vigorously to provide more sweat ammunition. Ah, the evilness of us all.

"How are you feeling today?"
"I'm fine, thank you."
(Except for this inexplicable hollowness within. It is neither terrible nor sad, just an empty feeling, rendering my incapacity to savor and feel.)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Reality Check - Home Again

Ah, I am back from my favorite getaway - Bangkok, thrown back into the never-ending onslaught of stress and work. The trip was short, but good while it lasted. It was a break that I needed.

Bangkok is filled with pretty people. Three-fifths of the pretty people are gorgeous females with shiny eyeshadows, mascaras and lush lipglosses. The remaining two-fifths are gorgeous males with shiny eyeshadows, mascaras, lush lipglosses and shampoo-ad-worthy tresses. If you were to be a normal male, you will probably enjoy a heyday over there, feasting upon loads and loads of pretty girls and boys. Not only will you have girls fawning over you, you will probably have boys doing the same thing. The thing the city seriously lacks is masculinity.

Interestingly, I think the Thai culture breds the feminine nature, judging from the gentle way they speak and gyrate to their body language, their soft shy mannerisms, etc. I am also consistently amazed by the way the city reaches a comfortable self-balancing equilibrium despite the lack of rules and regulations on the roads. I enjoy walking down the streets filled with a juxtaposition of aromas and odors that seemed vaguely familiar, like a memory from my childhood. Hmm, it is akin to going back into the past, eh? Ah, how I love the city.

Anyhoo, the trip was also peppered with random amusing events. Mostly, they stemmed from the girly men trying to communicate with us in broken English. Candice, armed with her bargaining powers, tried to slash the price by half, inducing one ladyman at Chatchuchak to burst into moans and sighs, dramatically gesturing to his(?) heart. Nooo, Nooo... my heart stop and drop....

One cab driver who looked barely above 13 years old kept trying to egg us into paying him a higher fare. We took turns teasing the poor boy, asking him to guess our age, confounding him amidst our endless giggles. "Actually, she is only 17. Same age as you." "No lah, I am 120. I am a ghost." "No lah, I am only 10 years old." Hilarious shite. We willingly gave him 120 baht for his entertaining antics.

Oh yes, and I think it is actually dangerous to answer a phone call during Thai Massage. When my joker friend announced he was in Bangkok on an impromptu trip, I swore my masseuse was alarmed by my shriek of surprise. Luckily, she was not attemping any difficult Thai body swings or I could have just died from spinal fracture.

Friday, February 03, 2006

No More Marley

Hmm, so I went down to Borders and Books Kino and the book was sold out, much to my exasperation. So, Singaporeans do read! I'm glad, yet despaired.

Oh well, so I scoffed through all the chick-flick reads before deciding to purchase James Frey's A Million Little Pieces instead. Okay, so there was a controversy regarding the truthfulness of the book. Ah well, whatever. Something to read on the plane.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Book Buying Binge

Each time I embark on a plane journey, I feel an insane desire to purchase huge number of books to read on the flight. So, instead of reading my papers in my lab as I am supposed to, I am gleefully surfing through a selection of books eligible for my reading. I have narrowed my choices to:

Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog


Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Well, I forsee the first option might fuel the tear glands, thereby unnecessarily terrifying my travel mate. The second option seems safe enough. Decisions Decisions.

Right. Maybe I will hop down to town to grab the books before the airport tomorrow. See! I am spending even before I reach Bangkok. That is NOT a good sign.

When the Moon hits your eye like a Big Pizza Pie

Hmm! The past days of grumps were thankfully tided over with a bout of jazz music, smuggled from some of my generous f(r)iends. I would play my collection of jazz, snuggle in bed with a book and imagine I am in some deserted island, on a snug little hammock, swaying to a salty burst of sea breeze. Ahh.

Anyway, the funny thing about the jazz music I listen to is that although they can be soothing to the ears, reading the lyrics can be almost likened to choking yourself on an overdosage of cheese or guffawing to death at the absurdity of them all. So for instance, as suggested by the title "When the Moon hits your eye like a Big Pizza Pie...", I do not understand how that can be remotely romantic nor sung amorously without erupting into tears of incredulosity.

That aside, I am in no mood for work! I am going to Bangkok tomorrow for a weekend getaway. Wheee........ Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait!

Bells will ring ting-a-ling-aling...........

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year.

The time when three-quarters of the Singapore population are decked out in loud ang pow red colors, when the words "When are you getting married?" are uttered the most number of times simultaneously across the island, when people gathered around tables to toss shreds of overstocked vegetables and limp pieces of fish...

Ahh. How lovely.

I miss the childhood times when I looked forward to Chinese New Year, the new clothes and festive goodies it promises, and of course, the potential windfall from ang pows. The magical touch of the festival slowly evaporates as I headed towards adulthood, especially so when I started earning my own income. Receiving those little red packets seem like a very dreaded job to endure now. Yes, it becomes a job. Given autonomy, I will very much opt to escape my relatives' never-ending quest into my love life.

The job is a pleasure when the love life is all good. You bring a partner back, you laugh, you tease, you get your ang pows. But we all know the course of true love never did run smooth. I am mentally, emotionally exhausted from the break-up and the last thing I need is an avalanche of interrogations ranging from my grandmother's lament of how heart-broken she is, to my maternal aunties (I have 5 of them) questions of "What exactly did he do wrong?", on learning the update of my (lack-of) love life.


How can I articulate the times when I was despondent, when I was disappointed? I don't care to share the ugly side of my partner with my family, because I know they will worry needlessly. Instead, very often, I choose to direct my sadness and anger in other ways. Like running. Like whacking tennis balls. Things i do to exhaust myself physically so much, I have not the energy to brood nor weep.

Yet, I digress.

Ah, back to the odious festival of Chinese New Year.

For this once, I very much preferred my paternal side of the family because we are not close sufficiently to delve into each other's love lives. So instead of love life, I realized all the aunties (paternal or friends), upon learning I am completing my PhD, enjoy questioning me about their children's studies. Uh, I am like a walking MOE customer hotline when I have not the slightest idea what is the latest count of junior colleges in Singapore.

There you go, I will be minding my own business on my laptop, and there will be one auntie asking me about which university her daughter should enrol in, what faculty will make the most money (mercenary, eh?), etc. Like a queue number system, one auntie after the next, ranging from secondary school right up to PSLE. Should my son go to the NUS HIGH SCHOOL or what?

Like the freak I know! I don't even know what is happening in the Singapore School systems anymore. It is far too complex. I prefer own childhood when things are well, straightforward and frankly, more enjoyable.

Even when I resorted to bringing my dog for a walk to escape from the inquisitive MOE-like questions, one distant cousin insisted on bringing her 3-year-old daughter along, peppering me with more discussion on Singapore schools.


Chinese New Year. Those ang pows ain't worth it.