Friday, February 27, 2009

A Curious Plane Incident

Three hours into my flight to London, I sauntered down to the lavatory allocated to my particular aisle. I stood outside and patiently waited - for a good 15 minutes. I was even able to remove my contact lenses, put on my flight socks and do some stretching exercises.

As I was wondering if the occupant of the lavatory was suffering from a serious bout of diarrhoea (I might want to refrain from entering, you see) or has lost consciousness somewhat, I saw the sign "Occupied" flipped to "Vacant".

Ah, the guy is not unconscious afterall!

Curiously, the occupant did not emerge. There were some sounds within, so I boldly decided to push the door open.

A 70 plus year old Caucasian man stood, quivering. He looked like he had exerted much effort getting out of the bathroom and was unable to talk much. You can go in now, he mumbled. But he barely moved enough for me to slip in.

A little exasperated, I offered him assistance back to his seat. He was surprisingly amenable to the idea and grabbed my hands immediately.

We started hobbling one step at the time, in the quest to look for his seat, him walking forward and me, facing backwards.

Old Man: Okay, I am going to go "Left, Right". You just follow my steps.
Me: (thinks) Wah lao. Is he from the military or what?

His grip was very strong and he was actually steering me. At some point, he leaned to look if it was his seat and I felt as if I could not support his weight. Everyone around was staring in curiosity.

Old Man: Don't worry about me. I'm not going to fall..
Me: Uh.

We reached the only empty aisle seat.

Me: Is this your seat?
Old Man: I'm not sure....
Me: (thinks) Great! Now he can't remember where his seat is?

I grabbed a bag on the seat with my left hand while supporting his weight and showed it to him.

Me: Is this your bag?
Old Man: YES! YES! I think so!
Me: *relieved* Great! Please sit down and I will get your sandals you left in the bathroom.

He was rather grateful and thanked me when I return with his sandals. I looked for a steward and informed him to assist the old man in any of his trips to the lavatory.

I watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona (which was quite funny by the way) and fell asleep midway through Transformers. When I woke up, there was a commotion at the lavatory area behind. I heard the same old man approached a lady behind me for assistance.

Old Man: Can you take me back to my seat?
Lady: Oh your seat is just a few steps ahead, go on.

This dialouge continued with the old man, now indignant that the lady is not helpful. The lady seemed experienced in handling elderly and was seemingly under the impression that the elderly man just wanted attention. She did not waver in her decision.

The old man walked slowly a few seats forward and now spoke to someone else. Eventually, a steward and stewardess approached him to help him get back to the seat. For some reason, he refused. Then, it escalated to some kind of scuffle.

The stewardess boomed,"SIR! We will have to restrain you if you do not return to your seat. We need to protect other passengers!"

Another stewardess came with an oxygen mask and tank. The old man grabbed the mask, shouting "NO! I WILL NOT PUT IT ON!" The stewardess screamed,"You're going to break it!"

It was a dramatic scene. Three persons (man)handling an old man, who is quite strong for his age.

Subsequently, they managed to restrain him with a rope around the chair. The old man yelled and howled. He rejected offers of water, medicine and oxygen. After an hour or so, he calmed down a little when a different stewardess cajoled and sweet-talked. It makes me wonder if some elderly men really have such an insane streak of stubborness. He reminded me of my paternal grandpa. It also makes me wonder if all these would have happened if the lady initially offered her assistance. Afterall, he didn't make such a huge fuss when I interacted with him.

We landed uneventfully, the old man still restrained on his seat. We were not allowed to disembark because the paramedics and police were called in. Even then, when they approached him, the old man yelled "I WANT TO SEE YOUR IDENTIFICATION!" repeatedly.

The air stewardess, after much delays, decided to re-direct another exit route for us.

Welcome to London, me.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Grandmother's Story

My Grandma brought me up during my childhood and Teo Chew was the first language I spoke growing up. She was an incredibly resilient and strong lady, single-handedly bringing up 9 children. It is just amazing how at 83 years old this year, she is still feistily making her way around Singapore with public transport.

After WWII, Grandma was a young girl surviving on the ruins the Japanese left behind. Everyday, she would nibble on tapioca grown in the garden for sustanence. Eventually, someone from Singapore came over to her town in search of suitable wives for men who had migrated from that particular hometown.

Apparently, Grandpa was from quite an affluent family in Singapore who has several pig farms. Grandma liked what she saw on the photograph and subsequently embarked on a 7-day boat ride to the foreign land of Singapore.

She told me of the immense seasickness she suffered on the boat. Even after reaching land, she had to be quarantined for 2 days before she could see her potential husband. The saddest thing, she shared, was that she did not return to China or saw her mum until 30 years later.

(30 years! I am not even 30 years old!)

Grandma gave birth to my mum when she was 20 years old. After bearing 3 kids, my Grandpa suffered from cholera and passed away, leaving her to fend for her 3 children - the youngest being 6 months old. She has held various jobs from servants to wealthy caucasian families to school bus driver.

Years later, she remarried and gave birth to 5 more children, even adopting one because she felt sorry for the latter. My step-grandfather left her and she had to once again, take care of all her children.

Hearing her story humbles me. My Grandma - woah.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I'm not one who are good with farewells. I get pensive, melancholic and try to mask it weakly by making unfunny jokes.

Today is the consummation of my current job and it has been a wonderful experience, especially when I was working with my previous boss (not so much with the current one - but that story of endless rants on my side will take forever). Here, I have made friends and learnt from many mentors, and I hope these friendships will come to last a lifetime.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Lazy Gourmet

My dad's boss owns the Les Amis Group and distributed some samples of a new foray.

Lazy Gourmet

I tried the mushroom soup this afternoon when I was feeling nibbly. Mmmm, rich with mouthful of flavorful fungi. Now, I am hungry again. Argh.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Kha @ HortPark

I can't believe it is already February 2009. Happy New Year, everyone and 新年快乐 too!

To start the first post of 2009, I shall introduce you to a pleasant dining experience I had last Saturday night at Kha.

Kha is located at HortPark, one of my favorite locations in Singapore. Toto's favorite park - Kent Ridge Park - is located a 10 minutes walk away from HortPark. I conveniently stumbled upon this hidden beauty while walking Toto at Kent Ridge Park last year.

Yes, walking Mr Toto does lead to hidden treasures!

Since I love HortPark and Kent Ridge Park so much, I recommended it as a wedding shoot venue for my friends. Michelle apparently loves Mr Toto so much she wanted him in her wedding shoot. (I do think it is because Mr Toto looks much more handsome than the groom, too! *sniggers*)

Toto, the ultimate Wedding Accessory

While being a nanny to the Wedding Accessory star few weeks ago, I chanced upon Kha at dusk. The scene was really pretty and I sought for an opportunity to dine there. Since my parents had wanted to sample some Thai cuisine, I wasted no time in making a reservation at the restaurant, despite the dismal reviews it received at HungryGoWhere foodie portal.

Although the alfresco dining was fully booked, the waiter patiently looked for an alternative at my request. He informed me that I would have to arrive at 630pm for dinner and complete my meal by 815pm for the next booking. We could, however, move over to the lounge area for desserts.

My parents were quite annoyed when I told them about the early reservation. "I'm not even hungry!" my mother grumbled.

All this annoyance dissipated once we arrived at Kha.

Behold! A picture of serenity and beauty.

I have earlier chosen the Chinese New Year Set Menu out of sheer laziness to pick dishes the ala-carte way. I am immensely pleased with my choice.

Complimentary Thai appetizer

Our next dish was the legendary Singapore's very own dish - Yu Sheng, served ironically by an ethnic India (I think). He was not very well-versed in English but we were impressed by his enthusiasm in describing what each ingredient represented.

In fact, my Dad was so impressed, he thanked the waiter with a gift of an ang pow.


I think their version of the Yu Sheng was a refreshing change from all the Yu Shengs I had so far.

Next on the Chinese New Year's set menu was a platter of Thai Appetizers. If I remembered correctly, they comprised of Crab cakes with Mango Salad, Salmon Paste wrapped around Leeks, Chicken kebabs and Prawns with Basil Leaves.

Daddy and Mummy show the appetizers some love.

We just can't wait to devour them all.

The Fish Maw Soup that came next was pretty delectable. The soup was suitably tangy with tom-yum flavour and I finished the whole bowl even as I declared to the table that my belly was bursting.

Subsequently, the main courses materialized.

There were an assortment of 5 dishes - Steamed Sea Bass in Lemongrass, Soft Shell Crab Curry, Stir-fried Chicken, Sweet Potato Leaves and Chili Prawns. All were wonderful! Mmm-mmm! Maybe I am just easy to please.

We adjourned to the lounge area to be served our dessert platter.

The evening breeze was soothing and again, I must reiterate the beauty of the dusk scene above the lush canopies.

Being all filled up by the excellent dining experience, we proceeded to take a stroll amidst the various gardening landscapes at HortPark, towards the scenic Canopy Walk at Kent Ridge Park.

'Tis was an enjoyable evening.