Friday, September 10, 2010

Hong Kong = Singapore?

am in Hong Kong and picked up the Time Out magazine with the headline on the cover asking - Boom Town: Is Singapore the New Hong Kong?

i think it is very different still. people make a nation. and the people in HK are quite different from Singapore. Ruling the people of a nation makes politics. and politics determined what kind of people we grow up to become. Politics is difficult. But what does a nation that disallows any kind of politics means? Perhaps a lot of suppression and self-censorship. Culturally, artistically, socially - we suppress ourselves in order not to be penalised and to fit in. To ensure that a country has no politics - i'm not even sure if it is good or bad - we have stability but we live with boredom too. Do i have complaints? not really. But am i inspired? Neither. Maybe it just makes us mild. Have we become the people that the government wants us to be to a point we don't even know? and we might just live happily ever after.

meantime, i'll enjoy the little messiness here in HK for a bit before i head back to home sweet home.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

could be a life-changing moment at the kopi tiam

every morning, i swing by this coffee-shop near my place to get my coffee and breakfast before heading to work. one morning last week, the auntie at the stall asked me if i wanted to join some bible study class at her church. and she suggested i could go with her son. i asked her how old her son is, and she said, " about your age - 25."

that was a suggestion of 2 conversions in a split second at the kopi tiam - both are potentially life changing, not exactly the kind of place i expect such meaning of life to happen. 5 frozen seconds of life in the most unexpected place, we both heard Beethoven's 5th Symphony in the air which stopped when i said, "no thanks." the buzz of the kopi tiam came back on, life goes on, though i savoured the 25-years-of age bit for a good few days.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

stand up for Singapore talents

watched 2 re-runs in a day - YOG and National Day Parade - a bit moving becos of mixed feelings - feel proud but really sometimes quite painful to be Singaporean, or live in Singapore ( can sell chewing already or not..? Please pay local talents as much as foreign ones also please...) We stand up for Singapore but also have to fight so hard all the time.. very tiring to keep standing and wait for daylight. Hopefully our next generation will inherit a nation that can be truly supportive and be proud of their own talents, a nation that doesn't short-changed its own talents any more. We already have a full-functioning country, now it is time to develop its arts and culture which have been neglected for so long - Bravo to Ivan Heng, Randy Chan, FARM, Malek and all the creative people who have worked months and months for these 2 landmark events of Singapore and made us so proud that Singaporean talents rock!

running a small design studio, it is scary that in the papers, they kept saying how much the economy has grown and that employers should increase salary for employees, but in truth, small employers (at least speaking for myself) are not earning that much more, as the papers (or the government) are raving about. i remember that when i graduated from architectural degree in the early 90s, an honours degree grad like myself was paid 2.5K, today, it seems like that had remained constant. The pay has not increased because clients are not paying more. And in fact, if you get a government job, they try to squeeze you left right centre, how am i going to pay my staff more?

Today, I have a dynamic studio of young grads who are focused on doing good jobs, they are happy and they are with me, but tomorrow, they will get married, have kids and need more money. But the fees that we are getting as design consultants seemed to have remained stagnant for the past 15 years, as far as i am in this industry. Not only it is stagnant, sometimes even we get less.

A developed nation should start to treasure its own talents, and not focused on cutting our fees? Whcih part of the system went wrong? Why are local designers still treated as inferior to multi-national design conglomerates?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

aging and betterinng

each time i met someone - friend or otherwise - who hasn't seen me for a while, they either say (in amazement "you have lost weight!" or "you look better!" i figured that i probably started out very bad - like fat, or not gd looking, so anything from there can only be better.

Strange friends.. maybe they got a little heftier, so by comparison, they thought i still look Primary 6 in size.

but then again, i guess, if anything, i do make an effort to maintain my weight for practical reasons, because i'm just paranoid about not being able to fit in my clothes, and i hate shopping.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

just suddenly remember this blog that i started with 2 friends as a collective of spinsters once upon a time in our lives. So much memories. 

love is like a cigarette

it is bad for your health and it burns out in the end anyway.
it's easy to get tempted and it's hard to stop.

i just quit smoking.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

leap and fall

someone once said to me, trusting someone takes a leap of faith.

but when u leap too high, you fall damn hard.

a word a day

Annus Mirabalis is not some vulgar words as u might think, nor is it some unfortunate foreign-language name, this rather bad-looking word actually means something nice - "Wonderful Year" in Latin.

this adds on to the only 2 other Latin phrases i know, my school mottos..
Filiae Melioris Aevi
Auspicium Melioris Aevi

in no time, i'll be speaking Latin. it's good not to be understood. Things that people do not understand are usually deemed to be good and best of all, it intimidates.

Monday, June 14, 2010

anti social blogger

i am one of those bloggers who blog because i think nobody will read it anyway.
so i hope not too many people read my blog. i turn to blogging because i kept losing my notebook. so it's sort of a source to vent out and scribble thoughts.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

On quitting the cigarettes

For a long while, I thought I will never quit smoking.

I have not touch a cigarette for exactly one month and 14 days now. I have been smoking for more than 2 decades, quitting smoking is a bit like quitting some kind of drugs, but easier. Both takes extreme determination, but with smoking, you do not suffer any physical discomfort at all, as opposed to drugs, in fact, you actually feel physically and mentally better.

In the last 45 days, whenever things go wrong, there is something automatic in my body that will trigger the "need cigarette" button, that is why i failed in my previous attempts to quit, because i would tell myself "it has been such a shitty day, i shouldn't deprive myself of just a few cigarettes." so i never quit. because things go wrong every other 2 days, being a designer faced with mostly difficult clients.. which client is ever easy anyway? they all have their agenda, sometimes good ones so your suffering is more worth it, but sometimes bad ones, so it is truly suffering.

for close friends who know me all these years, they are obviously amazed/shocked/in complete disbelief that i actually quit. i told them the time is right and didnt want to say too much because i am afraid that i will be back at it.

Tonight, i really felt like a cigarette, and it is as painful to resist as hell. thank god i am home and all cigarettes have long been thrown away, so i just have to bite a slipper. 

For those friends who wondered why, just to ease the urge now, maybe i should remind myself publicly finally my reason for quitting so you can now all scorn at me in case i do pick up a cig -
my mum went for a major surgery recently and after that, she, as someone who can usually take much more physical pain that my dad, told us how unbearable the surgery was, and for reasons, this surgery can only administer localised anesthesia, so she is made aware of the surgery which lasted 2 hours and whether it is psychological or it is physical, she described to us the pain and it really breaks my heart and makes me cry. 

my mum has never ask of me anything. the only thing she constantly nagged at me over the years is to quit smoking. i was irritated all these years, i am not any more. it is such a small thing to do for her, if she could just be healthy for a long, long time.

this is a sort of a personal oath that i took.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

World Expo-ed - part1

The world expo is like an architecture wonderland, and it's actually very festive and fun!
i actually quite enjoyed myself. more pictures will follow..

i'm a winner!

i couldn't believe myself - one whole successful month of no smoking - BYE BYE CIGARETTES!!!
And thank god - no i did not put on an extra ounce. It is not true that you put on weight after you quit, all that crap about how your body increases its metabolism rate because of cigarettes and when you quit, your body sort of gets retarded and doesn't digest as fast and hence you become fat. Crap! 

I actually feel very happy with myself :)

and now if you will excuse me, i'm going to run in the green open fields with the sun behind me and scream - I'm a win-nnnaaaaaaa!! 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Diggerboy & 22 smoke-free days!

I just officially completed 22 smoke-free days. it's really, really, really hard to quit but i guess when u find a really good reason to do so, and when you are mentally ready, it is possible, but not easy. Some days i crave for a smoke so badly i feel like hitting someone on the head, when i should be biting a rubber slipper or i'll bite someone's head off. someone please chain me up when i have these thoughts.


my mum is recovering well from her surgery, it always breaks my heart to see her suffering. i hope she recovers soon. she is completely addicted to the taiwanese drama on weekend nights. still homebound, that is sort of the highlight of the week now. i've never seen her so addicted to a TV series. I watch 100 episodes of stupid Japanese drama almost non-stop once when i was in the hospital for weeks.


my nephew's latest craze is to dig for treasure and collect stamps. he wants to be called Diggerboy and pesters me for stamps whenever he is not being Diggerboy. Last few weeks, he is obsessed with pretending that i am his taxi, he will dial for me and i have to carry him around. his destinations revolve around BathroomLand, PillowLand, TVLand. I finally understand why my dad was kind of upset when i grew up. My nephew is so damn cute.


the most inefficient place in Spore

21st May 2010 11am

I had to renew my passport and while I’m often appreciative of Singapore/Singaporean’s efficiency in many things, I finally discovered the most inefficient place in Singapore. Thank god I only have to come here once every 10 years – the ICA. After you filled up a form, wrote a cheque, got your picture taken, you imagine that you could just stroll in at the ICA and pick up your passport in a matter of seconds. Firstly, my photo got rejected because about 0.5cm of my eyebrows was “covered” by my fringe. Mind you, I did take extra care in gluing my fringe to the side when I took the photo, knowing that the all the facial features should be “fully revealed”. Anyway, I had to retake my photo, send it down personally and wait for my turn to get the passport fixed. After waiting for an hour, which I was told, I was still about 100 person behind in Q-number. I came back the next day and I had to take another Q-number which puts me at about 300 persons behind the current Q-number. The waiting hall is filled with bored people who are resigned at having to spend the whole afternoon staring at the electronic Q-number board (wondering if they have a name for that). So thank god I have my laptop, as I am writing here and after having spent an hour sitting and waiting, I am still about 100 persons behind – just to pick up my passport!! I feel more like an immigrant waiting for an interview or something. Couldn’t they make the collection more efficient? More counters? More manpower? Better computer system? Surely there is something they can do about this right?

My friend from Malaysia, who once had to go back to JB to renew her passport, reached there, and walked into a dim room with few people, at first thrilled thinking she doesn’t have to Q-up, she went up to the Q-less counter and the girl behind said, “no electricity.” As she needed to travel soon, and really wanted to get her passport fixed, she asked the girl what could she do. “Go KL.” Desperate, she drove up to KL from JB and she Q-ed for hours waiting for her turn, and finally when it was her, she happily went up to the counter and explained the urgency of her passport and the girl behind the counter replied, ”Passport out of stock.”

Maybe I am in a more fortunate position, but still, right now, I am about 70 persons behind. Sigh.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

there's no time limit on your dreams

just watched a Susan Boyle documentary, and like the 1st time i watched her sang "I dream a dream", she makes me cry. it takes so much guts for someone like her to go up the stage to do an audition that is broadcasted worldwide. People are often unforgiving of fat, frumpy, old, not so good-looking people in general, and to stand on a stage to sing..  gosh it takes so much courage and determination.

i'm happy that her dream came true and as one of her fans said in the documentary "Susan showed us that there's no time limit on your dreams." you just have to stop whining and get out there and do the things you want to do, even if it is going to break you. But if you believe in it enough, or put in enough hard work, it's more likely to make you, like Susan.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

meantime in bricklane

i was having a beer on bricklane in London, and there is this completely sleazy guy, obviously trying to pick up a girl half his age.. and he said, amongst many hair-standing things.. i don't feel old, when i am in my shorts and T-shirt, i feel like a boy again! He, with his huge beer belly, looks about 55 to me and the girl, about 25. Likening himself to being a boy is quite a stretch. and that idea of him being in shorts - yikes, yikes, yikes.

as my gay friend would say, "Shine the Mirror, shine the mirror at look at you!"

The reward for love is the experience of loving

so the last of my inner circle friends have gotten married and i attended the wedding in London. as with all solemnisation, when the couple said their vows, i just cried like a tap. maybe bcos that left me to be the last spinster standing, damn it. anyway, i am a romantic that way. Just to listen to two people (in love) telling each other into one another's eyes how they want to spend the rest of their lives taking care of each other and loving each other, til death do they part - never fails to move me. perhaps because i have never made a vow as such. and i know if i ever should, it will be for real. i take my vows very seriously and if i should make one, it has to mean it. so whenever i believe people are taking it the same serious way, it is truly one of the most romantic thing you can ever say to another person. and the groom, Mark, in his speech, said to my dear friend Klara, one of the toughest and funniest person i know , that, "every time i looked at this woman, working next to me (they work together), i have no doubt that this is the woman i want to spend the rest of my life with." i just cried like a baby. gosh, we're hardly near Notting Hill. Too much romantic comedies!!!

im thankful for friends, as always, who in their strange ways make their silent vows of being with you forever. and today i was, as usual, hanging out with my very pregnant best friend Joce, who has been thru a hell lot of a live, in consolation for me or in jest of herself, told me about this man she is marrying. When they broke up, she literally chased him out of the house to stay in Hotel 81 (hahaha) when they broke up (he is a foreigner here so no family home to go back to), for 3 years they figured out their lives, and they are married today. and yes, they actually used to live in Notting Hill. Romantic Comedies do happen, and i am so glad it happened for my dear dear friend. it's an amazing story, and it made me cry again. Argh.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The highest state of celibacy

i was on the plane to HK today and after i was seated comfortably, as usual hoping the next 2 seats beside me will be empty. when you are cramped in the coach, that is the biggest luxury, like striking 4D. Just when i thought it was my lucky day, what looked like a father and a daughter came and sat themselves next to me. Bummer. No luck. The girl was extremely jovial, speaking in a mix of Mandarin, English and very bad Cantonese, even by my Teochew standards.

The 3 and a half hours turned out to be a complete torture of feeling like a spare tyre (yes, 3rd wheel) even though i don't even know them. But that kind of cramped situation, even with my headphones, inflight movies and little inflight snacks, made me a reluctant voyeur (with little pleasure). The schmutzy mushy hair-standing meaningless lovers' talk coupled with the touchy-feely hum sup action going on, I am not sure if i was on a flight or in Tian An Men. It was completely lusty with no sense of romance, and when the girl started to do her in-flight shopping spree while her hum sup man eagerly whipped out his credit card completed the story.  I took pain to be subtle and observed a ring on the 4th finger on the left hand of the man and nothing on the girl's except gory manicure. 

That girl gosh she looked like 21 and that man damn he looked 55. Every time he rubbed her exposed thighs and she reacted with rubbing his balding head - i cringed with the intensity akin to watching a butcher kill a pig. the cold stale inflight air with that action going on made me feel like i was being contaminated. I feel dirty just sitting next to them and in my mind, i was pouring a whole bottle of dettol over this undesirable couple, as if it would cleanse away some of their sins and some of the dirtiness they made me tolerate. and that girl, torturing the old man with some childish orders of random commands of making him smile and frown, like 20 times, in very rare moments of devastation, i hope the plane will crash. it was that intolerable.

someone once told me, taking a flight pumps up her adrenaline and somewhat makes her high in a sexual way. In this case, the unfortunate mind of mine takes a dive into what happens in some dodgy hotel between this old man and young girl, and that makes whatever little food there was in my stomach wants to charge out of my mouth, which would propel me to the highest state of celibacy.