Friday, September 29, 2006

My 2nd Twenty-one

When I received my ElderShield letter from the CPF, it took me a while to realise how far I've aged come. That letter was a rude awakening. And when the message finally sank in that I've arrived at the "senior citizen" bracket, I've nothing but curse for the CPF. It's not a pleasant thought. That was two years ago.

There's just no running away from it - this thing called "age". We try to reclaim our youth - by spending our hard-earned money on plastic surgery to make us look good and beautiful like movies stars (I've always wanted to look like Tom Cruise, until he started jumping like a monkey in Oprah Winfrey's show); we dye what used to be our crowning glory black; we go for Botox injection to smoothen our wrinkled skins, but there's nothing we could do from the inside. We realise that something else is missing - stamina. A flight of stairs would leave us panting for breath. We no longer walk with a spring in our step; but found ourselves unable to keep up with the young people in front of us. In short, we become sluggish, and our movement just gets slower. And worse, some of us men found, much to our horror (and probably our wives' too) that we're no longer as firm and hard as we used to be. Now I know why they call it the "mid-life" crisis.

In ten days, I'll be 42, not exactly old or "senior citizen" material, I must add (CPF be damned). In fact, I've read somewhere that if you're between the age of 38-45, you're considered to be at your "prime". Women at this age exude womanly charm feeding the fantasy of most men. And the men would attract bees like nectars with their masculinity and manliness. I'm not sure if there's any truth in this. Whatever it is, save for the Slim Lady, I'm still waiting for the arrival of the bees. Sigh.

It's really not as depressing as I made it out to be. At least I had a free lunch today, courtesy of BAGUS. They are an incredible bunch of fellas, I must tell ya. And all, but one - cheers to that - is older than me, at either 50 or 51. They are a living example that life at the half-century mark needs not be that bad. In fact, it could be as exciting and fulfilling, if not better than some of the younger people I know. VT is a sports fanatic who jogs regularly. Jen is a mahjong enthusiast. That game has been proven to keep the mind alert and young, but young she is not, alert a definite yes! MJM who is three months younger than me, is the hyperactive one among us, very loud and articulate, and likes driving in an out of JB buying grocery for his family. Then of course, there is Victor, the wordsmith who's never short of wit and who celebrates life as much as he is a half celeb-blogger.

The lunch at Prima Revolving Tower was fantastic, not least because it was a birthday treat. The highlight for me was the Beijing Duck. Call me suaku, but this was the first time I ever sampled this dish, my mouth still drooling as I recall the crispy duck skin rolled on a small popiah skin with spring onions.

The Beijing DUCK was good, but we hope our LUCK would be just as good comes Saturday or Sunday. See, it's kinda weird but we kept seeing lots of figure 6 during the course of our lunch. MJM was issued a parking coupon bearing no. 000666 at the restaurant. He also happened to have lent Jen The Omen today. Those who had watched the movie would know the significance of 666 in that movie. What's more coincident was that on my way home from work today, a car in front of me bears the no. SGH 6666 on its number plate. And today's date 29, incidentally, also forms parts of my office telephone number. There are people who do not believe in buying 4-D, but there's just so much coincidence here that we just had to give our luck a try! So we unanimously picked the number 2966, 12 permutation, for the fun of it.

We wait with bated breath.... Huat Ah!!!

Category: Musings

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Many ways to skin a cat

I don't know whether to laugh :) or to cry :( My friend Victor actually stayed up till the wee hours of the morning just to write a post about me in his blog.... I'm more than happy to have provided some sort of light entertainment to his otherwise mundane life revolving around the office, his computer, his wife and two kids, not to mention his "healthy" obsession with Annabel Chong and all things sexy.

Yes, I'd admit I have little road sense, but that's because I'm not a veteran driver like him, having got my driving license a couple of years back. In terms of mileage, I'm no where near Victor, who's been driving like forever? And if you've been playing chauffeur to your wife and kids, you're really no different from a cab-driver who are expected to know the roads of Singapore like the back of your hand. And Victor, my dear pal, has already obtained his taxi-license as a possible life-line after he retires from being a consultant in my office. I like a man who thinks far ahead.

But let's come back to this "Lost and Astray Person". You have no idea how exasperating it was to follow a driver who has no hesitation whatsoever to cut lanes just to save a few minutes of his time. He was supposed to be directing me, but there he was, giving my all the wrong signals as he swerved in and out of the lanes.

It's not a big deal to lose our way here in Singapore. The car is at my disposal. If I'm lost, I simply make a U-turn. But there're drivers who are so complacent that they forget that in Singapore, there are actually signs that allow us to make U-turns. Besides, as Dr M, my favorite politician, has said - "In Singapore, there are roads but when shifting into fourth gear, you fall into the sea because it (the country) is not big". See? No problem at all because we are so "small". We'll never get lost in Singapore. Besides, my philosophy when comes to driving - always stick to the roads you know best even if it takes longer, than roads you're unfamiliar with.

Besides, Victor may want to know that there're many ways to skin a cat, as Chun See, a man given to reminiscing about his army days (who you calling topo king, sir?) pointed out to Victor an alternate road to get to my destination.

Did someone say something about "thinking out of the box"?? Victor, you reading?

Contrary to popular belief and Evan might want to take note of this, I don't always aim to win. In this instance, I declare Victor the winner. Just so I could amuse him.


Category: Musings

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The years(s) of living dangerously....

Chun See was spot on when he mentioned that "our kids are living in a more dangerous world; with more hidden minefields all around". I couldn't agree more. In the past, we parents only worried about our daughters falling prey to sex perverts and predators. But the reality has sunken in, at least to me, that our boys are equally susceptible to such risks.

According to a report in the ST today, more teens are getting Aids and STDs. Last year alone, four boys aged 17-19 tested positive for HIV. They had sex with men. I find this rather troubling, not least because I have two young sons. And it makes me wonder what kind of sex education is being taught to our kids in school. During my time, there was no sex education. My parents, like many others, did not tell us about the birds and the bees. This was probably due to our Asian culture. We were pretty much left to our own "devices" which, in my case comprised mainly books, sometimes trashy ones. Unfortunately, it did not help that these books tended to sensationalise when it came to the act of love. Surely, the situation should have improved by now, and our kids shouldn't be made to suffer the fate of their parents! Or so I thought.

These days, our kids are given education on sex in schools. But why is it so that the number of teens with STDs and Aids has shot up? It makes me wonder what exactly are being taught in schools. Whatever it is, it's clearly not effective. I also wonder, on top of topics like abstinence and various STDs, are our kids taught the existence of "homosexuality" and "lesbianism", topics still considered taboo by many strait-laced Singaporeans? And are the girls (and the boys) taught about the psychological and emotional scares left behind by abortions?

My view is that sex education should also be taught together with topics on the danger of chatting with strangers on-line. I wrote this because I'd read about a case in which a boy was tricked into believing that he was chatting with a girl who was really a middle-age man. He ended up having sex with the man who gave him Aids.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a homophobe. I've nothing against homosexuals who are basically people just like you and me with a basic need for love, emotionally and physically. But it's the man preying on young boys that got me worried for our kids.

I don't think we should leave the education of sex entirely to the schools. We parents ought to re-enforce the message. Needless to say, I've spoken to Senior Junior about the birds and the bees, the STDs and Aids, and yes, we've even discussed how some people are born with a certain sexual orientation. I guess most parents would feel awkward broaching these topics with their kids. But my sentiment is - better now than sorry later.

Of course, there are other problems facing our kids, who are becoming increasingly savvy in this ever-changing world, but not necessarily wiser. Social problems like the abuse of drug, hooliganism, and anti-social behaviour are real and they may befall our kids if we are not careful.

Category: Family

Friday, September 22, 2006

How evil are you??

This is some kind of a joke. A friend of mine directed me to this website which gauges how evil a man I am. What? Only 34%?? That's just me. My EVIL TWIN would have fared much better, as would Victor, I'm sure. Heh. It's amazing what inane stuff you could find in the internet... There's one that measures how "Malaysian" you are as Victor has shown in one of his posts. And I also came across one that tells you how "gay" you are. Totally insane. Go on, give it a shot if you think you're Evil enough. LOL

You Are 34% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Teenage Angst

At 14 years old, Senior Junior is already towering over his old man by almost a head. How fast he grew! He's become more attentive to his appearance, spending what seems look forever in the bathroom combing his hair every morning. Vain is the word. And I've to keep telling him to hurry up or I'd be late for work! And how rebellious he's become! He gets bored easily these days, and is always asking us permission to hang out with his friends after school. If we limit the movement on our kids and impose curfew on them, it's because we parents only have the best interet for our kids. They are at an age most susceptible to peer pressure, and we don't want them to be caught in a situation doing stuff they would regret later in life. I guess we parents in this part of the region tend to me more protective over our kids. And it's not necessary a good thing. Sooner or later, the storks will fly the nest. But I guess it's important to educate them about the danger of mixing with the wrong group of people, or bowing down to peer pressure. Yes, we can't control them, but we could educate them the best we can. There's only so much we could do. The rest is really up to them.

Tell me it's a passing phase. I've been young before (and I'm still YOUNG). But I've never given so much headache to my parents. Never.

Category: Family

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Did money grow on trees for these women???

"Move your arse! You lazy cow!"

Ooops... I didn't say that. But a dance instructor by the name of Mirko Saccani certainly did, to the face of a Monica Wong, a 61-year-old successful banker in Hong Kong. If you could recall the news, the latter has agreed to pay the man and his wife, a 15-times world Latin-dancing champion, a jaw-dropping HK$120 million for unlimited private lessons on salsa dancing from 2004 to 2012. She successfully sued the couple for the return of the HK$62 deposit she put down after the relationship with the couple turned sour. It happened when the dance bugger commanded her to "move her arse" and called her a "silly lazy cow" in full view of the public. Of course, he did this while laughing quietly and heartily to the bank. But alas, he foolishly slaughtered the goose that laid the golden eggs. What a silly cow bull.

Hot on the heels of this story is another one on another super-rich woman who has just become the first female ever to travel to space as a tourist. The woman, an engineer who made her fortune in the telecommunication sector, reportedly paid a cool US$25 million to fulfil her dream to travel to space.

Unbelievable. Stories like these never fail to amaze me, and I could only watched dumbfound with jealousy and envy at the incredulous ways the super-rich splurge their money. To me, it's almost obscene, considering the number of mouths these money could feed the hungry in the world. No, I'm not moralising. Of course, it's their money and their prerogatives. The grapes have never tasted so sour! Nope, it's not about the grapes either. I'm just moving kicking my arse for not having known these women earlier!

Category: Musings

Monday, September 18, 2006

The sad story of two bright men ...

Two men. One, a double degree-holder and an Asean scholar. The other, a third and final year student at NUS. Both are obviously intelligent and smart. Their stars were shining, and their future looked almost bright and certain. But both men chose to be on the wrong side of the law.

The former faces a life sentence for having pushed his girlfriend onto an oncoming MRT train. It appeared that the girlfriend, who survived the ordeal, had wanted to break off with him. The latter committed burglary after learning that his father had insufficient CPF money to sponsor his university education. His is a story that could have turned out quite differently and perhaps with a happy note. When he was 15, he got into bad company, became addicted to gambling and went on a burglary spree to feed his habit. Caught and sentenced to seven years jail, the boy took his "O" and "A" level while behind bars, but was released on good behaviour five years later. He got into the university, and life seemed to be doing fine until he realised that he may have to drop out of study because of his father's depleting CPF money.

It's really sad to see these men throwing away their future like that. While not condoning their actions, I feel that these two young men are obviously troubled, perhaps even depressed. The first chap was said to be depressed over relationship problems. With their intelligence, why didn't they seek professional help? I'm no psychologist, but I think people who are unhappy do exhibit some signs to suggest that they are depressed or feeling really down in life. I wonder if the people around them saw their cry for help? I can't help feeling really sorry for them .....

Category: Musings

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mum's Pumpkin Noodle

I've mentioned this dish several times in my blog, the last one on the meme that Evan tagged me. Yes, it's definitely something that I would like eat before I go. I learned how to cook it from my mum. In fact, it's mum's specialty. It's a no fuss dish, extremely easy to prepare and good enough to eat. It reminds me very much of the "Kan Chia Mee" used to be sold at China Street near Club Street where I grew up. Having said that, I'm not sure if we could get pumpkin noodle anywhere here in Singapore. The only pumpkin noodle I know and ever tasted was my mum's. And I usually eat at least two bowls! Here's how you prepare the noodle.

Ingredients (for a family of 4)

  • pumpkins (a least 4-6 pieces to make the soup thicker)
  • dried prawns (100g)
  • fish cake
  • chye-sim
  • cut chili (I prefer chili padi)
  • fried shallot
  • salts
  • msg (optional)
  • a big pot of water


  • Fry dried prawn till fragrant
  • Add pumpkins, stir fry. Dish out and place aside
  • Boil the pot of water
  • Throw in pumpkins, stir and let it boil
  • Add sprinkle of salts. Add msg (optional)

Once the soup is done, you could do either two things:
1. Throw in the noodle and cook it as a big pot. In this instance, the noodle has to be consumed fast, or it will become soggy.
2. My preference is to cook the noodle in individual bowl. Pour some of the soup into a sauce pan. Wait for it to boil, then throw in the noodle. Once it's boiled, add the chye-sim. After 30 seconds or so, it's done and then pour the noodle into a bowl. Garnish it with fish cake, fried shallot and cut chili, and the noodle is ready to be served.

I like the noodle with lots of chye-sim, fried shallot and chili padi. You should try this dish at home. The Slim Lady loves it, even the kids. Home-cooked Pumpkin Noodle that I couldn't get elsewhere in Singapore!

Category: Food

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A simple lunch

Several years ago, the Slim Lady got hold of a recipe for Chicken Stew from her doctor. It was pretty easy to cook, and both the boys and I love it.

Then we shifted house, and the Slim Lady lost the recipe. She also claimed that she couldn't recall how to cook it without the recipe, easy as it was.

Anyway, I'm feeling kinda adventurous today, so I googled and found some recipe for Chicken Stew. There was no better time to make guinea pigs out of my family. That's it! That would be today's lunch! The result? Well, not too bad really, but I still prefer the one from the Slim Lady's doctor though. I don't know what's missing.

Ingredients (for a family of 4)

  • 4 strips of carrots
  • 6-8 potatoes
  • 3 onions
  • garlics
  • 2 Knorr chicken cubes
  • oyster sauce (optional)


  • Fry onions and garlic till fragrant
  • Add carrots and potatoes
  • Add chicken
  • Add Knorr chicken cubes
  • Add oyster sauces and fry the mixture for about 3 minutes
  • Transfer mixture to slow cooker and let it simmer for at least 3 hours on high heat.
  • After 3 hours, turn the heat to low, and the dish is ready to be served

Easy to prepare, economical (only $4.20 for all ingredients!) and yummy. *slurp*.

Category: Food

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Army Daze. Si Beh Siong ahhh .....


Training in the BMT was tough - both mentally and physically. I was never a strong kid, in the physical sense. In school, I wasn't really into sports. And didn't bother to train up prior to my enlistment. In short, I was one of those physically unfit soldiers Chun See mentioned in his blog and whom he's resolved his son would never become.

And so it was I flunked my IPPT and the SOC test during my BMT. I managed only two chin-ups and failed my running. It was not a big deal. The weak ones were made to train doubly hard than the others. I didn't feel "humiliated" for having failed the physical test. When you are a recruit, you soon realise that dignity is hard to come by. And everyone got humiliated, one way or the other.

The SOC was really tough, and I was all worn out just trying to clear the first obstacle, the low wall. Then there was the bayonet fighting. It looks easy, but the thrusting and the shoving of the rifle soon wore many of us out.

I'm sure any soldier worths his salt would know the term extra-drill. This word is really a misnomer. We greenhorn recruits had thought it meant extended drill lessons. But we soon sensed something amiss when we noticed a medic on standby by the side of the parade square. In truth, extra-drill is drill executed in double quick time. We found it quite funny when we first performed the act. It made us look quite "cartoon". That made our OC to comment,"You can laugh. I see later you cry or laugh." True to his words, ten minutes into the extra-drill, some of my fellow recruits started to vomit and one of them even passed out.

Among all the training I had in BMT, I like log PT the best. See, this exercise entails the recruits in rows to manoeuvre a huge log at the command of the PTI. So if the PTI shouted, “Up”, we recruits would hold the log and lift it up over our heads in unison. The problem was, I was never able to reach for the log above me. I don't have to get into the specifics, but the PTI thought I was trying to “keng”! But to me, log PT was really effortless! Tall people like Victor, dig this!! Heh.

Well, if you're fit to be enlisted, you're fit no matter if you failed your IPPT. So, despite managing only two chin-ups, I was posted to SAFTI to take up a course on becoming a section leader.

This is where I had the best part of my NS life. I was posted to Echo company, and met some wonderful instructors. I was sort of the blue-eye boy to my RSM. He became my personal trainer of sort, making me got up earlier than the others, and helping me train in the gym to build up my strength and muscles. He was particular kind towards me, excusing me from fatigue duties, even offering me extra night snacks. Needless to say, I was the envy of the rest of my platoon mates. But such is life. Sometimes, you meet people that help you when you're at the "lowest ebb" of your life. No... no...… I wasn't getting suicidal. Life at SAFTI, as I said, was wonderful, and at the end of my SAFTI stint, I managed ten chin-ups and passed my IPPT with flying colours. I remember my platoon mates applauding for me when I did the chin-up!

SSG Chua should be so proud.

Category: Yesteryear

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I know what you did last summer

I don't mean to unnerve you. You may not realise it, but if you'd just pause and think for a minute, you'll realise that you've inadvertently revealed a lot of private information about yourself (and your family) to the world in your blog space.

You don't think so? Okay, let's play PI (Private Investigator) on fellow bloggers whom I've met in the Net. Let's start with Victor.


Okay, Victor is a good pal of mine, who happened to be a colleague sitting in the cubicle next to me in the office. Let's pretend we've never met. Victor may be surprised to learn that I know a fair bit of details about him, not through our daily interaction in the office, but from his blog.

For a start, Victor just crossed the half-century mark, which reveals his Chinese zodiac sign as a Monkey. He's a wordsmith, extremely witty in his play of words.

He worked as a bank clerk in a foreign bank in the 1970s, and according to comments left by Chris (yours truly) in Victor's blog, he is now a consultant in the Civil Service.

At a towering 6 ft tall, Victor exudes confidence and charm wherever he goes (that's according to Chris again). He's courteous and has very little tolerance for sales-people with poor service standard. He has no qualms writing to establishment such as SingNet to grouse about the contractual dispute he suffered at their hands.

Speaking of hands, Victor is quite good with his hands, showing off his hand-made kite and the Mech Sumo Robot in his blog.

He first car was a Mini Clubman he owned in the 70s. He now drives a Renault Scenic which he purchased in November 05.

He has two boys, the elder of whom is studying in RI. Very "silent" on his wife - suspected both at loggerheads :O

Victor is obsessed with the "vanishing scenes" of Singapore. He moans about the loss of our national heritage such as the National Library and the National Theatre. It is something he has in common with another fellow blogger he met in the Net, Lam Chun See (who's next on my PI list, followed by Evan and ....). He's also passionate about antiques, especially old office equipment such as the Adding Machine.

He was a cheeky boy who grew into a cheeko pek. Victor describes himself as a "sex liberal" and likes to blog about SEX, the figure 69 and the Condom. He wrote that these are his "healthy hobby".

Victor, did I just make you piss on your pants? Okay, easy now ... just calm down, there is no reason to be hysterical.... Let's turn our attention to our friend, Chun See.…

Lam Chun See

At age 54, which makes him a Dragon, Chun See is a self-made man (possibly a self-made millionaire), having started a firm in 1977 called Hoshin Consulting specialising in Japanese-style productivity techniques like 5S and suggestion scheme.

He lives in District 10 with his wife and three kids, whom he called his "three joys"....

Oh dear, did I just freak you guys out and set your alarm bells ringing? Okay, I've made my point, I think I'll just stop this nonsensical irritation. Trust me, these information were ripped off your blogs. And I've not doubt that you could come up with a profile for Chris.

The point I'm trying to make is that sometimes, we do get carried away in writing our blog and unknowingly ended up offering private and confidential information about our families in the net to total strangers.

I find this all rather unsettling and scary. Not too long ago, I read an article about the danger of uploading our kids’ photographs in the Internet, where pedophiles and perverts are known to be lurking. Photographs of our kids perhaps in their pajamas smiling happily at the camera, but we didn't realise that there was a landmark on the background of that photo....That gives the perverts an idea of where we're living... Then there's the fear of kidnapping if you're a millionaire or super rich or stay in district 10 ....

Be afraid. Be very afraid....

Category: Musings

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Ooouucccchhh !!!

I've got a toothache and it's due to a tooth decay on my left molar. The pain comes and goes when I least expected it. Each time, I numb the pain with pain killer. But tonight's been really awful. The pain has become more intense and the pain killer did not seem to work any more. I was almost moaning in pain. If you've been through a toothache, you would know that the pain has the potential to create havoc in your life - you can't concentrate on what you're doing, you get cranky and annoyed easily, barking and yelling at the kids (and sometimes the spouse) at the slightest irritation. You wear a perpetual frown on your face, and the only way to make you smile is to turn your face up-side down.

The Slim Lady tried to convince me that the only way to nip the problem in the bud (no pun intended) is to have the offending tooth extracted. Well, so did the dentist. This is an option that I've weighed several times, only to have lost my nerve at the 11th hour and opted for the pain killer instead. Yes, I'm afraid of going to the dentist! Go away!

But I guess I shan't procrastinate much longer. I do worry what would happen if the pain were to strike while I'm in the middle of an important meeting. Or when I'm overseas. Or what if I frown and bark at he Slim Lady at the wrong time? Oh... never underestimate the fury of a woman frowned.... Yes, a man's got to do what he's got to do. I'll book that appointment to see the dentist (yet again). Soon. I hope.

Category: Health

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Time to Mini Size Me .....

I love my office. It never fails to remind me just how fat (and ugly) and unhealthy I am. To promote healthy and clean (as in non-toxic) living to its staff (not that we drink and be merry all day in the office, mind you), my office devoted a week from 28 Aug - 1 Sep to what it called the "Body Wellness Week". A host of programmes were lined up to make us workers more aware of what healthy and clean living is all about.

To start off, there was the health-screening by NKF. The screening was pretty basic because it was free (the sales pitch would come later). But it's detailed enough to make me realise just how out of shape I was. Never mind that I've always thought I was in shape, like everyone else - just that my shape is round. But I've learned that I'm at least 5 kg overweight, my body has an excess of 9% fat, and the darnest of all, that my total cholesterol level was on the high side. Well, can't say that I'm really surprised, all thanks to the company of BAGUS, my love for oily and fried food and the lack of sexercise.

Then, there was a talk on SinCity Toxicity by the experts on factors contributing to the toxicity in our daily lives and ways of eliminating the toxins in our bodies. Sorry I was just too lethargic to attend this talk, probably due to the high toxin content in my body. But retail therapy is a different story all together, in the form of a Body Wellness Bazaar right at the glass atrium. Items on sales included organic wheat and barley grass powder, herbal tea and honey, and assortment of nuts that the shop claimed contained no sugar, oil and salt. What they didn't advertise was that they also tasted rather BLAND.

Then I catch the movie "Super Size Me" during lunch time at the auditorium, about a burger bugger who very foolishly decided to abuse his body by subjecting it to a McDonald's binge for a month - yes, nothing but 3 McDonald’s meals a day - just to prove that fast food is really the food from hell, and that when we patronise McDonald's, or any of the fast food chains for that matter, we don't just pay with our wallets, but with our health as well. The movie was sobering, entertaining and at times hilarious. But I don't quite agree with what the chap (his name is Morgan Spurlock - the actor, director and producer all rolled into one) was doing in the film. I mean anyone would get fat like him just gorging on hamburgers and fries all day. On the local context, I guess a 3-meal Char Kway Teow per day for a month would do the same "magic". Still, there's no deny what too much of a "good thing" would do to our health. Go rent the movie if you haven't seen it. Save your kids, and save yourself. It already saved mine! Time to detox and Mini Size Me. Serious.

Category: Health