When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, January 04, 2003

Today, Jianwen (who claims he hasn't been out for a long time - hah!) introduced me to the Kahlua Mudpie at NYDC. I've always been skeptical of non-cooked food with alcohol in it, because the alcohol won't evaporate and the horrible taste of it will stay in the food. However, the Kahlua was toe-curlingly good, so.

After he'd run off to meet his mother, Andrew and I wandered to Borders. I saw Zhixiang walking forlornly looking for books on architecture so I crept up behind him and stalked him for a while, revealing myself only when I got bored. We talked for a while, and then Xiaoshi strolled by with what looked like small stones strung on 2 strands of her hair. It was only towards the end, when she had to run off, that I realised that the 2 things hanging there were her earrings. Serendipitous coincidences indeed. (And Andrew agrees with me that Wang Yi's appraisal was very wrong indeed :) )

I saw a man riding pillon behind a woman on a motorcycle today. Ooo.

The Body Shop is evil, despite preaching its mantra of Corporate Social Responsibility. They have no price tags on most of their merchandise, so you have to ask the staff for the prices (or find out at the cashier and be embarassed and buy something that is overpriced). Almost as bad, there is no fine print written on their "Weekly Special" sign, so you don't know that, to get the product at $5, you need to buy something else. I was really tempted to ask them what the cheapest product in the store was. And as I was browsing, the saleswoman tried to convince me to get the $44.90 1 litre "family pack" of bath gel. Bah.

Bought in Borders today:
Fast Food Nation
The Nanny Diaries
Why Do People Hate America?

I'll probably get down to reading them in a few months. This is why I don't go to the library often - I usually leave the books lying around for the longest time before starting on them.

No Good, Clean Fun for Birthday Boy

No Good, Clean Fun for Birthday Boy

[Ed: Link to article added, image fixed]

For his seventh birthday, Michael Wong-Sasso got down and dirty, totally trashed--well, you know.

The grade schooler is passionately interested in garbage trucks, compost and recycling -- and dreams of being a trash hauler when he grows up. So he convinced his parents to bypass the usual kiddie venues and toss him a party on Saturday at a real dump.

Landfill operator Browning-Ferris Industries agreed to the unusual plan, and set about preparing an odor- and trash-free spot on the edge of the Sunshine Canyon Landfill in suburban Los Angeles, wheeling in piles of fresh dirt to accommodate 82 little feet.

Michael and 40 of his friends were so happy as they scampered over mounds of dirt, pushing a variety of toy back hoes, bulldozers and dump trucks. The kids also made animals from homemade clay and recycled materials, and got an up-close tour of the landfill, Sophia Wong, Michael's mother said.

"In addition to that we had a ranger bring live animals native to the landfill. He brought ... a black widow spider, a python, a stuffed rattler, a falcon, a dwarf rabbit. He brought pine cones and showed where some had been eaten. "

Wong and Sasso are restaurant owners and never had a special interest in trash until Michael, at age two, began showing an unusual interest in trailing garbage trucks through the neighborhood, his mother said, noting that "trash" and "truck" were among his first words.

"As a 4-year-old he wrote a book about our local trash collector, Gilbert Gregory, and what he does during his daily route," she said.
One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people can be. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son,

"How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad."

"Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked.

"Oh Yeah" said the son.

"So what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered,

"I saw that we have one dog and they had four. Our dog's a pedigree and his coat's shining and free from lice and ticks. He goes to the veterinarian for a checkup every half a year and his gut is free of worms. He's going to live a long and healthy life. Their dogs are all mongrels, 2 are lame and the other 2 are blind - the family was too poor to remove the cataracts from their eyes. They're so full of parasites that you can see the ticks jumping up and down from a metre away. Eeek!

We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden. It is clean and crystal clear and we swim in it every weekend. They have a creek that has no end - it's muddy and stinks like someone tipped the entire contents of an outhouse into it. I think I saw a dead rabbit floating on it, and I hear the last guy who tried swimming in it got dysentry and died a horrific death!

We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. However, we can always go out to the park and enjoy a nice evening, while their landscape is horrific to behold, having suffered the depredations of farming. I remember my history - parts of their lands look like the Dust Bowl of the 1920s.

Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. I really pity the master of the house. He must have a whole lot of gardening and weeding to do. However, I saw the landlords coming to collect the rent, and they can't pay, so I think they're going to be evicted soon. The farmer may have to sell his family into neverending slavery and work for the rest of his life trying to pay off his debts. This is all due to the law that Congress just passed in favour of all the rich farmers, which leaves the poorer ones struggling to stay afloat. Luckily, we are rich and politically connected, belonging to several lobbies so never will we be so hit.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. However, our home is manicured and furnished, while their fields are overgrown. And I don't think I'd want to spend a night outdoors there. They have wolves out there: ferocious, slathering beasts.

We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. Their hourly wage hardly compensates for their time, and their masters bully and cuss at them.

We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We get Black Sea Caviar to eat, enjoy pasteurised chocolate milk and have sweet juicy corn, but they have only bitter rye bread to eat everyday, with a slice of rancid cheese a week sometimes if they're lucky.

We have walls around our property to protect us, but wolves and burglars can terrorise them at anytime, while their friends are in farms tens of kilometres away.

"With this the boy's father was proud. Then his son added, "Thanks dad for showing me how lucky we are."

Too many times we read inspirational tracts and forget the reality of the situation. What is one person's worthless object is another's prize possession. The grass is always greener on the other side, until you GET to the other side and truly experience all the horrors attendant.

NB: If the farmer was so poor, how come he has so much land?

--- Adapted from a post I made in a forum after being disgusted by all those disingenuous inspirational stories
Yes, but notice how many of them are inactives. *furrows eyebrows*
Hello! I announce my existence.
I had no idea there were so many people on this blog!
My trip - Part 3 of X

After Dover Castle, we went to a spot with a supposedly good view of the White Cliffs of Dover, run by the National Trust. It was rather disappointing. Perhaps it was the weather, or perhaps the images of the dazzling white cliffs that you always see are doctored or maybe the best view of the shimmering cliffs is when you take a ferry from Calais, but the cliffs looked dull, even greyish at parts, to me. The National Trust scones with clotted cream and preserve were nice, though, as was their ice cream :) Now I know how they can survive without government money (even maintaining mostly houses and gardens is somewhat expensive).

After that was Canterbury, a short drive away. For some reason, it closed ridiculously early, at 2:30pm or so, and when we arrived, the last visitor - a Japanese, had just entered. Luckily, my sister, having guided there in the past, knew some side entrances, so we sneaked in ever so quietly, and she gave me a mini-tour of the place. At certain areas, medieval grafitti is covered with glass panels to preserve it. Pretty ironic - yesterday's nuisance is today's historical evidence. I wonder if modern grafitti will be, 200 years from now, preserved under synthetic-fibre panes too.

There was much less stained glass inside Canterbury Cathedral than I thought there would be, it being expensive to make, and it doesn't help that much was smashed during the Reformation. Where the tomb of St Thomas Becket used to lie, only a candle remains, its single flame the sole reminder of the erstwhile tomb. Smashed during the Reformation too!

After that I went to St Augustine's Abbey, which had very slippery surfaces. As usual, English Heritage provided excellent audioguides, though I didn't manage (or bother) to listen to all of the recordings.

Wandering through all of the places that I've been yearning to visit since Primary School really makes me aware of how much of my touch I've lost *frown*

Last for the day was this former church, converted into a place where the Canterbury Tales are retold with the aid of Animatronics. Well, 5 of the tales anyway - probably the more amusing ones. And at the end you get to vote for which tale should have won. I must get down to reading the rest of the Canterbury Tales someday. The book is actually lying somewhere in my sister's room, and I've tried reading it before, but I got put off by the irritating rhyme scheme - AABBCCDDEE ad nauseum.

We had some fish and chips, and I a Chocolate Orange McFlurry (I think) before heading home. Through the trip, we didn't eat out much, as my sister likes to cook (and it is cheaper to eat in). Also, she was showcasing all the nice prepared food available there (Yorkshire Pudding! Though the reason why it is called Pudding when it is savoury eludes me. Probably the same reason why Mincemeat Pies are sweet. Weird English).

Saturday was a glorious sunny day. We went first to Avebury. The town is built right smack in the middle of the henge. It must be rather spooky living in the town of Avebury, with all the stones and menhirs around you - some extremely close to your house. And from a distance (and in suitably photographed postcards), it can be seen just how nicely the village fits into the stone circles - the old ditch marking the border of the henge can be seen, so. My sister and brother in law were very pleased with Avebury, not having been there before, and they remarked that it was better than Stonehenge (something I doubted and vigorously denied after seeing the latter later) since you could actually go up to, and touch, the stones.

On the way to Stonehenge, we went hunting for White Horses. Reading a 70p pamphlet that I had bought, I was disappointed to find out the the oldest White Horse dated from the 18th Century (AD, naturally). I'd always been under the impression that the Celts had carved them out of the soil (well, there was -one- White Horse made by them, but some idiot thought it didn't look like a horse and dug a new one - the oldest extant one today - to replace it). After some searching, we found one hidden under the shadow of a hill rather far from the road - the Pewsey White Horse. I suppose it would have been glaringly obvious if the sun had been shining on it, but as it is, we almost missed if, if it hadn't been for my eagle eyed searching.

Stonehenge was impressive, being the only major structure in the locality. Pity that there was a rope cordon, but I suppose it's necessary so idiots don't go and write "Tom was here" on the altar stone, or hack some chips off one of the lintel stones for keeps. The audioguide was magnificent, even by English Heritage standards, and this time I listened to everything they had to say, though I did know more than half of it already (Yeh, I haven't deteriorated that much yet).

Further down the road was Salisbury. Old Sarum, being on the outskirts of Salisbury, was the first stop. While my sister and brother in law went to play with a cat, I trudged across the bridge, with the 40 foot deep chasm (the defensive rampart) yawning below me, into the grounds of the keep. It's a pity that the castle is in ruins. It must have been magnificent in its heyday.

Later, we went down to the town of Salisbury itself. Leaving my sister and brother in law to her shopping, I went to Salisbury Cathedral. In theory, you don't need to pay an admission fee to enter, but the way they arranged the cordons and entrances, you have to pass by what looks suspiciously like a ticket booth, with a list of "suggested" donation amounts for Adults, Students and Children. Bah. Despite their efforts, I was one of the few I saw who donated there. At the door, anyway.

Salisbury Cathedral was built in only 38 years. Of course, this is probably largely due to the fact that they plundered a lot of stone from the cathedral that used to stand on the site of Old Sarum, but nonetheless 38 years is quite remarkable, and it meant that the cathedral was actually built in 1 style - Early English Gothic, and wasn't a mish-mash of architectural styles. When I entered, a marriage was taking place, so I had to wait a while before going to look at the pews and the organs. In the chapter house of the cathedral, I finally saw one of the four extant copies of the Magna Carta, and the most readable of the 4 too. Despite it being almost 800 years old, it is remarkably well preserved and wonderfully legible.

While waiting for my sister to go to Evensong, I was browsing in the local Past Times. I bought a Oscar Wilde Quote T-Shirt (I've nothing to declare but my genius - New York Customs, 1882) for someone :)

Later I attended an Evensong service, which I believe is unique to the Anglican church. My brother in law has been dragged along by my sister. I pity him sometimes, being dragged along by her to so many things he is not interested in. I dare say that he has forced himself to take an interest in some of them, just so he will not be bored out of his wits :)

On the 29th, my sister didn't feel like coming along, so it was just my brother in law and me. The first stop was Lullingstone Roman Villa. We sort of got lost on the way there due to poor signage, but we eventually made it there without significant delay. The ruins of the villa are rather well preserved, and as usual there was the informative EH audioguide, but as the villa had been promoted on the merits of its mosaics, I was expecting something rather spectacular. In the end, I saw rather intact, but slightly dull mosaics of 'Rape of Europa by Jupiter' and 'Bellerophon riding Pegasus killing the Chimaera' (or Chimera, as I prefer to spell it).

It's such a pity that we don't have Fanta in Singapore anymore. It isn't quite as rich as Root Beer, nor does it have as much character. In fact, sometimes it's rather too acerbic, but it's welcome anyway.

The classic McFlurry flavour, Oreos, isn't available in Britain. Pity!

My brother in law always drives my sister around, and she always scolds him when he misses a turning or gets lost, so I asked her why she didn't take over the wheel. She replied that she'd crash the car. So one can't navigate, and one can't drive. A perfect combination :)


This gate will be locked at 4pm prompt (sharp)

Heron Quays is now re-open (re-opened)

Brother in law:
[On a Friji fresh thick chocolate flavoured milkshake] This tastes really vile... give me some more

[On the National Trust ice cream] Too bad Battle Abbey is English Heritage, or we can try another ice cream.

And that was about 2/9 of the remainder of what I have scribbled :)
Anyone wants YACCS on their blogs?

I've 3 spare YACCS accounts if anyone wants them. YACCS is closed to new signups so this is the only way I know of that you can use it.
Yeh long weekends leave me free to waste my time.

Being a perfectionist in certain areas, I went to debug the mystery of the wrapping on Balderdash.

After a short while, I'd pinned the problem down to this block of text, hammered out by He Who Must Not Be Named (naturally):

"It also occurred to me lately that I only blog when in narcisstic,play-with-locks-of-hair-while-self-mutilating -and-watching-lazy-cigarette-smoke-trails-as-mind-locks-into-depressive-brooding- anti-heroic-moments-of-darkest-despair-when-the-light-of-the-world-seems-crushed-by- onslaught-of-stupidity-and-misunderstanding-by-unwashed-philistines-unable-to-appreciate- my-greatness-or-the-profound-depths-of-my-suffering-soul kind of moods. That might explain the rather unbalanced portrayal of my mental states through these entries. I'm depressed, really a very happy chappie. Really."

Apparently essay length chains of hyphenated words do not go down well with Mozilla. Ahem.

This is bug 95067 - very long words in table cells do not wrap (such as hyphens).
My trip - Part 2 of X

Most of the trip, I enjoyed balmy October weather, so I happily walked around with 2 layers on top and one below. I've always been more sensitive to heat than to cold - which is why I delight in visiting temperate countries when it's a season other than summer.

I wonder how people in temperate countries survive during summer. The whole infrastructure and mindset in those countries is geared towards defeating the Cold, so in summer, it must be terribly sweltering without air conditioning ; yet another reason why I prefer not to visit temperate countries in summer.

I'm still very much a sucker for those people who go around asking you for money to buy something to eat (and who, in all probability, go and buy drugs or alcohol). While I was waiting forlornly for my Sulyn and Kheng Hwa to pick me from Paddington Station - almost all public transport being closed on Christmas Day - this man of African descent approached me to ask for money to eat, and me, not having the heart to refuse, gave him a pound. I think I shall carry around excess field rations the next time I go to places where the likelihood of bumping into this sort of people is high and when they ask for money to buy something to eat, I'll just give them the big packet of "Pineapple Rice With Chicken". Hah!

When I entered my sister and brother in law's flat, I was struck by the relative neatness of the living room - it only looked like a "pigsty" (mother's descriptive term). However, when I stepped into their bedroom, I was confronted with a "warzone" (another of my mother's descriptive terms) - even more ravaged than what their bedroom in Singapore had been like. Apparently the living room had been okay only because they'd spent a night cleaning up before I arrived, so. The ultimate proof of the disarray that their room was in - they refused to let me take a photograph of it!

My mother has wonderful communication skills. Before I left, I'd been appalled at the amount of baking/cooking material that she alleged that my sister wanted me to bring to London, but my mother claimed that my sister wanted all of it. On seeing all the rubbish I'd brought, my sister declaimed that she had not asked for at least half of the stuff. My mother had just made me take to London the remainder of the cooking materials that my sister had left behind!

On closer inspection, one packet was of some Italian walnut bread (or something), which had come in a hamper (ie not my sister's) and was EXPIRED. But the one that topped the lot was a packet of Cajun Chicken and Potato Wedge seasoning/sprinkle which my sister had bought in... you guessed it - England. My mother also told my sister that I didn't like the crisps that she was shipping me, and that she shouldn't ship anymore - totally untrue ; I love them, I just have a lot here already. She must be hallucinating.

On Boxing Day, many places were still closed ; I don't really blame them - compared to Singapore, they have much fewer public holidays, so I suppose even the blue collar workers want a 1-2 day break over Christmas. Anyhow, in the morning I visited a wonderful Aztec exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, a "once in a lifetime opportunity" (bah). The Aztec feather art was really magnificent, as were the statues - I still remember the one of the skeletal figure with his liver hanging outside his abdominal cavity - and the audio tours were quite fun too - I experienced most of both the "Family Tour" (Read: Tailored for Kids, with excerpts from the cassette tape journals of some guy who putatively visited the Aztec Empire in 1521), which was quite fun and self-ironic really, and the "Adult Tour".

After that I went to torture my legs by doing one of the London Walks. As with the last one, this Walk was fun and informative. Oddly, the guide for the walk was American :) We were told the story of the Statue of a Lion, made of Coade stone, that stands as Westminster bridge. Apparently the stone is well nigh indestructible and its formula not been duplicated since the original was lost when the woman who cooked it up died. Apparently, this tidbit is de rigueur among London tour guides and interestingly, a book my sister has, Eccentric London by Benedict le Vay, rubbishes this. But I digress horribly.

Another tidbit that was dropped to us: In 2000, all the Japanese tourists who visited London somehow got it into their heads that the statue of Boadicea that stands near the Houses of Parliament was of Margaret Thatcher. On hearing that, we all burst into uproarious laughter. This anecdote is so strange, it might even be true!

Intelligent me hadn't brought my camera, and before the walk started, I tried to go all the way to Canary Wharf to get my camera, but gave up a while after running out of the station because I knew I wouldn't be able to make it. Anyway, in the end there wasn't anything that I'd have snapped a photo of, me having taken pictures of the general Westminster area except for the back-street saloons in 2001. Or maybe it was just an unconscious separation of my photo-taking urges, so I wouldn't feel so bad about not being to take any.

Aside: Most of my photos are scattered, anyhow, and I rarely look at them. In my life, I might *just* feel the urge to smile forlornly at them once or twice, so taking photographs shouldn't be *too* important to me. Furthermore, compulsive photo taking disorder disgusts me, so I tend to gravitate to the other extreme. Really memorable scenes will forever be imprinted in our minds, so what's the point of photographic records, really?

I'm rambling horribly.

The origins of the white round-coloured splotches continue to puzzle me. The most plausible explanation is that the splotches are actually ossified gum - but do Londoners really chew that much gum? And are so many of them so inconsiderate as to just spit it on the pavements?

It's so nice to just walk into big supermarkets - a Tesco, Sainsburys or even Asda, and be overwhelmed by the range of produce and products available. You can get by without cooking at all, with all the prepared meals that they have for sale. Too bad they don't sell Root Beer (though I *did* see one brand of it hidden somewhere on one shelf).

Apparently Disgusting Chick (perhaps better known to laymen as 'Groovy Chick') her not only a line of stationery, but a range of food products too. Wonderful. And she has friends - Disco Diva, Cool Dude and others. ARGH.

On the 27th, I visited Dover Castle. I would have had to pay for admission, but the man at the ticket booth claimed that since my sister and brother in law were life members of English Heritage (which they aren't), I could go in free. He was so confident that we didn't want to argue with him, so :)

Dover Castle is really quite splendid. Having been useful to its occupants through to the 1980s, it is not in the state of disrepair that many other castles are in. The place was advertised as having a "Saxon Church", but when I reached the church I found that most of it wasn't Saxon in origin. So much for seeing splendidly preserved Saxon architecture. Twas from Dover, too, that Dunkirk was planned, and we got a rather thorough tour of the World War II tunnels. The view of the English Channel from the crest of the hill on top of which the castle is perched was rather stunning, though it was rather spoiled by the town of Dover far below and its port (with breakwaters that extended far beyond the shore).

This is just a tenth of what was left scribbled on my little piece of paper when I started this post. Scary, ain't it? :0

Friday, January 03, 2003

Word of the Day: "simper"

I had a hair cut today in camp at my unit barber. ARGH. He mustn't have been feeling very jolly today. My hair, and the hair of others who visited him, looks horrible (like someone put a bowl on my head and then shaved what the bowl didn't cover). Not that I care very much, but I paid for the haircut, dammit. It was actually okay the last time. Maybe he had a bad day.

I also found out that the 46 SAR barber practices 3rd degree Price Discrimination. Gasp.


"Her mother, Madam Kintan Beyo, 35, added: 'My child has reached puberty, I instructed her to put on the tudung. That is my decision.

'Even if she doesn't want to wear the tudung, I will force her to wear the tudung forever.'"

Sigh. That's so repellant. I agree with the government's stand, actually (See? Who says I'm anti-establishment just for the sake of it) - if you want to be enrolled in a public school with rules, you have to follow them. Especially if you don't have to pay school fees. Though the Singh exemption is still a glaringly unjustified omission - the government tends to go along with colonial inertia when it suits them.


Busts to get a boost through dance

BANGKOK - Thailand's Health Ministry will launch a troupe of specially trained bosom-enhancing dancers on Valentine's Day to show women how to boost their bustlines without resorting to ill-fitting and often expensive bras.

Ms Pennapa Subcharoen, deputy director-general of the ministry's department of traditional medicine, said Thai women had been bombarded with images of big-busted women via the media and many felt they were inadequate.

'Many women are not aware that wearing an appropriate size of bra and regularly taking bosom-firming dance can make their wish come true,' she said.

'So we are training 12 pairs of instructors to teach women how to take care of their breasts and we plan to launch (lessons) on Valentine's Day.' --Reuters

Also: All classrooms in the new PJC campus will have names which must start with the letter P. Some suggestions: "pernicious", "paganostic", "pathalogical", "petophobic", "phoneisa", "plonk", "polio", "procrastination", "promiscuity", "puritan", "phenology", "petard", "poppycock".

Amusing sounding book: Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K. Jerome

2 reviews of a book Ban Xiong borrowed - "Darwin's Black Box (The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution) by Michael J. Behe ©1996 The Free Press, New York" : Praise and a Rebuttal

Somehow I find the latter more convincing :)


[On my haircut at 42 SAR's barber on a bad day] I don't know. [You] remind me of some cartoon character from Dragonball.

I just love the year end Economist issues. The Christmas specials are always so delectable.

What's more, they're putting all of them online for free too. Whee! Those I -especially- favour have an asterisk beside them.

Christmas Specials

*The post-communist Karl Marx
*Barbie: a life in plastic
The future is Texas
*The fight for God
Trucking in Africa
*That's what they want you to believe
Who killed JFK?
Eating out in Vietnam
Nomadism in Mongolia
It's a dog's life
Learning from the Republicans and the Tories
The champagne industry
The earliest ambassadors
Pilotless planes
*In praise of clutter
Car designers
*The cult of the gym
Fast food in the dock
Are we getting enough sleep?
African narratives
The English language across frontiers


SAJC is damn fast in posting their Orientation pictures - they go up on the day they're taken.

The J1s all look nonchalent at the prospect of being strangled by the striped tie for a year and 8 months.

In fact, they have high quality photos of so many of their school functions. So much more on the ball than the RJ Photographic Society :) (Though they don't include any pictures of their new campus under construction)

Thursday, January 02, 2003

My trip - Part 1 of X

At the rate I'm going, I don't forsee myself finishing this post anytime soon

Going into the departure area at Changi when I left, I saw a policewoman with long hair. Apparently my source is wrong about hair requirements.

The outbound flight was gloriously empty - no one was behind my row, nor to my side, so I had 3 seats to myself. No one wants to fly to London on Christmas Day (and with good reason too - there's almost no transport available). I believe the last time I flew in an aircraft this empty, it was around the time of the Gulf War, on a flight to Tokyo.

Ma-laysia Airlines really keeps improving. It gets (sorta) better each time I take it, and it's still cheaper, flying via KLIA, than many other airlines. The only thing is the Halal food and the announcements in Malay that usually more than 90% of the passengers don't understand. At least they don't court death by reciting the "Trouble Prayer" before every flight, as does Gulfair. I wonder if they're still losing money.

I was quite surprised to get a letter, before I left, from my parents. Well, I suspect it was mostly from my mother, and my father affixed his name to it, but it's a nice thought nonetheless, especially coming from their often reticent and distant (at least compared to non-Asian) facades. It was quite forthright and had the usual parently advice, but I'm surprised and dismayed that they *still* think that the purpose of "Improve Your English" is to get back at people I don't like. There were also some allusions to certain unpleasant matters. Sometimes I wonder if they know more than they're letting on.

Perhaps I am under a spell. I swear that I adjusted my watch back 7 hours when I was flying to Heathrow, and adjusted it forward 8 hours when I was returning to Kuala Lumpur. Weird.

I usually do not send cards or gifts to people.

Contrary to popular belief, this is not only because I'm lazy. The twin perils of sending out solid evidence of your tidings are that you will have to make a list, but will inevitably leave people out and feel bad and/or offend them, and that you feel obliged to give things to people you don't want to.

This time, I only got 4 people things. Maybe 3 people. I'll see if someone misbehaves :) Hee hee.

Ger tells me this Chinese High boy asked them where the toilet was, and he bowed to them before and after asking.

Heh communism!
In lieu of a proper post (not gotten down to typing it out yet):


H.M.S. Pinafore: Song No. 10 -- Act I

A British tar

A very imperialist and idealistic song, but nice to listen to anyway :) I'd have included the full lyrics, but the formatting wrecked my layout, so.


I'm an Ordinary Man

"I find the moment that a woman makes friends with me, she becomes jealous, exacting, suspicious, and a damned nuisance. And I find the moment that I make friends with a woman, I become selfish and tyrannical. So here I am, a confirmed old bachelor, and likely to remain so."

Well after all, Pickering, I'm an ordinary man,
Who desires nothing more than an ordinary chance,
to live exactly as he likes, and do precisely what he wants...
An average man am I, of no eccentric whim,
Who likes to live his life, free of strife,
doing whatever he thinks is best, for him,
Well... just an ordinary man...
BUT, Let a woman in your life and your serenity is through,
she'll redecorate your home, from the cellar to the dome,
and then go on to the enthralling fun of overhauling you...
Let a woman in your life, and you're up against a wall,
make a plan and you will find,
that she has something else in mind,
and so rather than do either you do something else
that neither likes at all
You want to talk of Keats and Milton,
she only wants to talk of love,
You go to see a play or ballet, and spend it searching
for her glove, Let a woman in your life
and you invite eternal strife,
Let them buy their wedding bands for those anxious little hands...
I'd be equally as willing for a dentist to be drilling
than to ever let a woman in my life, I'm a very gentle man,
even tempered and good natured
who you never hear complain,
Who has the milk of human kindness
by the quart in every vein,
A patient man am I, down to my fingertips,
the sort who never could, ever would,
let an insulting remark escape his lips
Very gentle man...
But, Let a woman in your life,
and patience hasn't got a chance,
she will beg you for advice, your reply will be concise,
and she will listen very nicely, and then go out
and do exactly what she wants!!!
You are a man of grace and polish,
who never spoke above a hush,
all at once you're using language that would make
a sailor blush, Let a woman in your life,
and you're plunging in a knife,
Let the others of my sex, tie the knot around their necks,
I prefer a new edition of the Spanish Inquisition
than to ever let a woman in my life I'm a quiet living man,
who prefers to spend the evening in the silence of his room,
who likes an atmosphere as restful as
an undiscovered tomb,
A pensive man am I, of philosophical joys,
who likes to meditate, contemplate,
far for humanities mad inhuman noise,
Quiet living man....
But, let a woman in your life, and your sabbatical is through,
in a line that never ends comes an army of her friends,
come to jabber and to chatter
and to tell her what the matter is with YOU!,
she'll have a booming boisterous family,
who will descend on you en mass,
she'll have a large wagnarian mother,
with a voice that shatters glass,
Let a woman in your life,
Let a woman in your life,
Let a woman in your life I shall never let a woman in my life.


A Hymn To Him

Women are irrational, that's all there is to that!
There heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags!
They're nothing but exasperating, irritating vacillating,
calculating, agitating, Maddening and infuriating hats!

Why can't a woman be more like a man?
Men are so honest, so thoroughly square;
Eternally noble, historic'ly fair;
Who, when you win, will always give your back a pat.
Why can't a woman be like that?

Why does ev'ryone do what the others do?
Can't a woman learn to use her head?
Why do they do ev'rything their mothers do?
Why don't they grow up like their father instead?
Why can't a woman take after a man?

Men are so pleasant, so easy to please;
Whenever you're with them, you're always at ease.
Would you be slighted if I didn't speak for hours?
Would you be livid if I had a drink or two?
Would you be wounded if I never sent you flowers?
Why can't a woman be like you?

One man in a million may shout a bit.
Now and then there's one with slight defects;
One, perhaps, whose truthfulness you doubt a bit.
But by and large we are a marvelous sex!

Why can't a woman behave like a man?
Men are so friendly, good natured and kind.
A better companion you never will find.
If I were hours late for dinner, would you bellow?
If I forgot your silly birthday, would you fuss?
Would you complain if I took out another fellow?
Why can't a woman be like us?

Why can't a woman be more like a man?
Men are so decent, such regular chaps.
Ready to help you through any mishaps.
Ready to buck you up whenever you are glum.
Why can't a woman be a chum?

Why is thinking something women never do?
Why is logic never even tried?
Straight'ning up their hair is all they ever do.
Why don't they straighten up the mess that's inside?
Why can't a woman be more like a man?

If I were a woman who'd been to a ball,
Been hailed as a princess by one and by all;
Would I start weeping like a bathtub over flowing?
And carry on as if my home were in a tree?
Would I run off and never tell me where I'm going?
Why can't a woman be like me?


No more:
- looking for someone's bloody head spiked on a gibbet, hanging from the Tower of London.
- trudging up interminable passages in the labyrinth that is the undergound
- getting drenched in the light, intermittent patter.
- striding cheerfully through the crisp, cool October-weather air
- snuggling, 3 people, in a Queen sized bed
- nice McFlurry flavours like Terry's Chocolate Orange and Crunchie
- using a 3rd Century BC Chinese Lodestone Compass to find a vaguely precise direction for south east, dancing wildly, thrusting my fist in the air and screaming, "You can't get me while I'm here. Hah!".

Back to the reality of the nightmare. Just under 17 months and 2 weeks more to go.


At least I look forward to seeing my dear colleagues again :)

More detailed blog about trip will follow in time.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Essentially, finished my packing just around the first minutes of 2003 here in London (and some people celebrated by firing fireworks at Greenwich).

Damn, I am loath to fly off and return to Singapore. And Sungei Gedong the night of the 2nd.

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Comments on search referrals:

"zaogeng" - The old stalwart. Singaporean males love this, don't they.

"free videos of males force shaving females heads" - Some people have weird fetishes. And I thought those involving shoes, stockings, pantyhose and toupees were weird enough.

"acjc girls" - Erm. Popular, aren't they? No one likes PJC girls, SRJC girls or the like. Try sggirls.com.

"alex yoong muslim" - Who in blazes is this Alex Yoong guy? Some Malaysian Chinese Muslim?

"playboy screensaver for handphone" - I didn't know they had this sorta thing. Maybe CCO's Porn Man will know more *g*

"buttercup the powerpuff girl hentai" - ARGH. The only thing worse than PPG is Powerpuff Girl HENTAI! Deliver us...

"artillery song ringtone" - I knew it. Every damn service has a song. Where's the clerks' song? Too bad Medics of the Field is not accessible on the MINDEF page anymore. Now *that* was funny.

""pes e" singapore" - I'm sorry. I don't know how you can downgrade. Not without inflicting permanent, irreversible damage to yourself. Sorry, move along.

"nanyang blogs" - I didn't know the School With the Most Indecent Uniform in Singapore Bar One was so popular.

"42 SAR Singapore Armour Regiment" - Yeh. Too bad, after *bleep*ing, whatever little information was available on 40SAR, 41SAR, 42SAR and 46SAR is gone. Maybe MINDEF can help you :)

"CHIJ St. Theresa's Convent Alumni" - Does it matter which branch of the Franchised School you come from? I thought there was a common old girls' association.

No 'lolita' or especially lurid hits this time, whew.


"nude pasir ris secondary school girls pictures" - wth. I don't think such specialised, erm, stuff can be found anywhere.

"lians naked" - Eee! Lians!

"erotic modules for neverwinter nights" - Maybe they can adapt one from The Sims nude packs/patches. Why would anyone explore a dungeon naked anyway?

"exercise plans obsese" - Sorry, I'm the last one who might be able to help you :)

"redoxon mail order Canada" - Yeech. It tastes vile.

"shnips" - ???

"lim guat ching" - !!! Everyone loves The Commander!!!

"konnyaku girls naked" - Erm. As far as I know, Konnyaku is a type of jelly. Jelly + naked girls. Erm.

"my brother uses my tampons and pads" - !!! Fetishes take a turn for the darker.

"AIBO hentai", "transformers yaoi pictures" - Eugh. Bestiality + Hentai + (homosexual) sex with machines?!

"girls magnamund 1999" - I assume this has nothing to do with Lone Wolf.

"acjc class skirt" - I've heard of class tops, but class bottoms?

""sengkang" and "cinema"" - Good luck finding any traces of civilisation there.
New Year's Eve.

In a tad morbid mood. I'm sure in a couple of days, I'll be firing off another huge rant about the various events of the week. But in the meantime, one peculiar liturgical thought is running through my head:

Do you reject the glamour of Evil, and refuse to be mastered by it?

A somewhat nonsensical thing to be thinking in these amoral times, I know. Nonetheless, there's this interesting saying: "God does not consult your past to determine your future."

Hopefully the next post will be the usual, cliched Adrian Mole-style list of New Year's resolutions.

Monday, December 30, 2002

Not much on the blogging front; thanks to recent moodswings, certain conversations, and a bit of actually doing things in real life. I'm sure I'll masturbatorily narrating soon enough, but in the meantime, here's some entertainment.


The Right to Make Money With Your Body

By John Stossel

March 8 � Dave Flood is angry, because he says his rights are being violated: "I'm a dwarf and I want to be tossed," he said.

Flood just wants to use his body to make money. "I'm capitalizing on what I have. If I was 7 feet tall, I'd get paid to put a basketball through a hoop. I'm not 7 feet tall. I'm 3-feet-2 and a dwarf, so I'm capitalizing on getting tossed."

Tossed? Well, yes, it's actually done around the world, often in bars. Men compete to see who can throw dwarves the farthest.
The whole thing repulses me, and maybe you, too. But do we get to decide for Flood?

He said he can make money being tossed. He's already a showman in Tampa, Fla., earning cash doing other seedy things like working as a referee in a strip bar, as women pretend to wrestle.

And he's a regular on a radio show that is fighting a Florida law banning dwarf-tossing.

Several years ago, Robert and Angela Van Ettan, members of a group called Little People of America, convinced Florida's legislators that dwarf-tossing should be illegal. The vote wasn't close. Dwarf-tossing is not a sport, they argued, and the dwarf is objectified."

It's not fair.

How come Shawn gets to diss people more often, more obviously and definitely meaning it all the time? And in one of his latest posts, a spiffy review of his ROC exercise, he gets to call a commissioned officer a part of the female anatomy and reveal his training programme too!

*muses* So lucky.

Wonderful review of an OCS Taiwan Exercise
-Almost- makes me feel like going along.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Gah. My sister keeps pulling the comforter to her side at night even though there's enough of it for all 3 of us, so I keep freezing.

Hope it doesn't rain at Hastings later.

Free e-books!

To those who show forbearance: Danke

To those who don't: Zha'hai'allav'a, Honors to your house
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