Tuesday, February 27, 2007

When love dies

Someone close in the family is heading for a divorce. The couple refused to see a marriage counselor, both saying that the marriage is "beyond hope"..... What happened to love? Does more than 20 years of marriage mean nothing at all? Is it not worth, at the very least, a trip to see the love guru?

It was sweet when it started
We only had eyes
For each other

It's like life's long journey
A walk in the sunshine
Not without the occasional rain

There's just no more
What happened?
And what went wrong?

When it dies
Of resentments and hurt
It brings forth devastation, and broken lives

Not just yours
Or mine
The little ones', too
When love dies .....

Category: Family

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A top first world for Singapore? Not by a long shot

If you have read the ST today, you would have learned that Singapore, according to our beloved MM, could become a TOP First World nation in 10 to 20 years' time.

Really? Are we?

What's the definition of a First World nation? If I were to go by the "benchmark" set in the news article, being first world is about having a world class infrastructure - a vibrant city with lots of greenery, a cosmopolitan mix of arts and cultures; al fresco dining and restaurants that line our "bay". And, did I read correctly? A city with lokang (drains) and canals transformed into ponds and streams? And of course, no first world nation is worth its salt without a casino or Integrated Resorts, or whatever the gahmen want to call it. And I love the way our MM put it when he made reference to the IRs: With the 2 Integrated Resorts up by 2010, "coins will jingle in all pockets until they are no more". Hilarious.

However, to make a nation "first world" takes more than juz economic success. Personally, I feel that the "people element" is of crucial importance if we were to make Singapore a truly first world. And I'm not sure if we can achieve what our MM set out in 10-20 years' time.

We Singaporeans, I'm sure you'd agree, are quite a bunch. We have no social graces; we're kiasi and kiasu, we have to be first in everything, so we 冲,冲,冲 in order to 赢,赢,赢. (That partly explains the current triple-whammy we are experiencing from our close neigbhours). Our service standard is hardly world class, in fact, it moved down a few notches in the past years in a world ranking.

What's the use of having first world infrastructure in a city inhabited by crass and ill-mannered populace? A top first world for Singapore? Let's change our mindset first.....

Category: Policies

Monday, February 19, 2007

Five things I miss most about Chinese New Year

While Chun See reminisces and muses about the five things he would not miss about Chinese New Year (CNY), I thought the sentimental fool in me would do just the opposite. Here are the five things I miss most about the CNY of yesteryear.

  • My childhood home at Club Street.
    This is the Headquarters. All my relatives - uncles and aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews would gather at this "checkpoint" on the first day of the New Year. It was obvious why we called our home at Club Street the HQ - simply because the matriarch of our extended family, my paternal grandmother lived there. Everyone one, young and old, would come to pay her respect (and get angpow) on the first day of the New Year. She passed on in the late 80s, and for a while, there was no HQ for gathering. Subsequently, my first aunt's home at Holland Drive was assigned the new HQ. But she too passed on several years ago. Today, the new HQ is at one of my cousin's house at King's Road, also somewhere near Holland Drive.

  • My pajamas
    Call me silly, but when I was a young boy, I used to love wearing pajamas to bed (now no lah, juz a pair of shorts and bare-chested). On the eve of CNY, my mum would made us kids wear new pajamas she bought from the market. Oh, I'm sure you know those pajamas. It's those stripe-pattern pajamas with pull-strings pants normally worn by Ah Peks. But because we were kids, mum usually got us the elastic-band type. What's the significance of wearing new pajamas on the eve? I dun think kids these days, especially the boys, wear pajamas. My boys certainly don't.

  • Gambling
    Yes, believe it or not, we kids were allowed to gamble during CNY, not with peanuts or sweets, mind you. We gambled using real money from our angpow. But the stakes, in this instance, are really peanuts - each round only could bet no more than 10 cents. But we have supervision from our parents, who told us that we could only play the cards (another phrase for gambling, heheh) on CNY. They must have imparted us the right value lor. Why? None of us kids turned into gambling addicts, my 4-D and lottery "addiction" aside. Hehehehe...

  • Angpow
    Of course, children are the happiest creatures on earth comes CNY. They can indulge in all the cookies, sweets and soft-drink all day, and mums would not bat an eye-lid. What's more, they get lots and lots of angpow or red pockets. When I was a kid, the angpow my siblings and I collected could hit at least $200 each. We would compare and see which one of us got the highest amount. Now, I dun get angpow anymore, which is fine. But what is not so fine is that I now must GIVE angpow to every kid who crosses my path, even total strangers whom I meet at my relative's house. Not fair one. LOL.

  • Firecrackers
    When the gahmen banned firecrackers, somehow, much of the spirit of CNY also disappeared along with the ban. One of my aunts who stayed in the same building at Club Street hawked firecrackers, so I sort of have free "supply" of firecrackers to play with on CNY. One of the favorite pastimes of us kids then were to quietly sneaked up behind an unsuspecting neighborhood kid with a "rocket" fire-crackers, lit it up, and startled the kid out of his pants when the firecracker "erupted" with a loud bang, leaving some of them in tears. Yes, we were a bunch of sadists, but hey, we were juz kids... LOL
Well, so much for the CNY memories. Yesterday, the first day of CNY, was a flurry of visitations. One of our stops was at the Slim Lady's grandma's at Yishun where we stopped for lunch. I've noticed, year after year, that granny always indulges us with nothing but meat on her dinning table. Can someone tell me what's the significance of eating meat on CNY?

Oh, and here's a shot of my mum's popiah. Sorry if I'm beginning to sound like a broken record on my entries on popiah. I know I've blogged about my mum's popiah in a number of entries already - here, there and everywhere. But I'm really a sucker on this dish! Yum!

Victor, come my house lah. Doesn't the popiah look yummy? Dun say I neber invite you hor.


Category: Yesteryear

Saturday, February 17, 2007


One of the best things I like about Chinese New Year is the Reunion Dinner. It's a custom of family togetherness and rekindling of family ties. In my extended family, we have steamboat every year, at my parents'. Look at the spread we juz had, taken with my camera-phone, of course.

Each year during CNY, my mum would also cook popiah for all her visitors. Her popiah is simply the best! Can't wait to sample them tomorrow ....slurp...


Category: Family

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Club Street revisited

Ever since I became a proud owner of a camera-phone, lunch with my lunch kaki has taken on a new meaning. To put it simply, I've become quite trigger happy with my new found toy. And at times, perilously so (more about this in another post).

While having lunch with Victor and Moogee at Maxwell Market last week, I couldn't help but reach for my camera-phone to snap some shots of my favorite foodstall.

Of course, this is the famous 五香贯胀 of China Street, juz a stone's throw away from Club Stree where I grew up. I practically grew up eating these stuff back in the 70s and 80s. My Dad loves the ngor hiang and the guan chiang from this stall. And so do I. The variety sold here are very different from the "chunky" ones you find in foodstalls elsewhere, both in taste and in appearance. I love the egg slice here. It's second to none in Singapore.

Each time I'm at Maxwell Market, if I'm not having them for lunch, I would tapau them for dinner. And I've been there at least twice for lunch with Victor and Moogee the past two weeks. I never grow tired of eating these stuff!

One our way back to the office, I asked Victor if he could kindly detour to Club Street. The sentimental fool in me wanna take a look at the place where I grew up and to zap a photo or two of the building which has been preserved by the gahmen. Bless his soul, Victor very kindly obliged, but not before giving me an assignment by saying, "Take the photos already better blog about it!" See lah? There's no such thing as a free lunch. Victor never misses a chance to remind me that!

Anyway, before I knew it, we were at the carpark in front of what used to be my childhood playground - my childhood home which I've blogged about it sometime back! See how it has been transformed....

Club Street today

Club Street in the 70s/80s. The blue arrow is where my family used to stayed, while the 2nd floor and the ground floor were occupied by my granny, aunts and uncles

See what a camera-phone can do to you? It draws out the sentimental fool in me and put me in a nostalgic mood. I've got more photos in my phone waiting to be blogged!

Category: Yesteryear

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What Valentine's Day?

I've been called a Romeo, a dreamy Romeo. If only the Slim Lady is anything like Juliet.

Sorry to disappoint you buddies, but no, I'm no Romeo. Why? Because a man can only be called a Romeo if the centre of his affection knows how to reciprocate his gesture or expression of love.

You can say the Slim Lady is one HELL of a special lady. She has no time for Valentine's Day. She couldn't care less for chocolates, candy, teddy bears, diamond, nor candle-lit dinner. Valentine's Day, to her, is but a ploy by various commercial establishments to rip money out of us consumers and take us for fools. Why? For the sake of love, I'm willing to play the fool once a year. Cannot meh? Her notion of a Valentine's celebration is to stay at home, coaching Junior in his studies, and nothing more.

I picked up some flowers (from the florist, not roadside hor) today on my way home after work for my special lady. As I entered the house, I could hear her nagging at Junior for not doing his school work properly. I walked into the study room, surprised her with the flowers and blurted out, "Happy Valentine's Day, Dear!"

She looked up from the study desk and gave me the kind of look she would probably reserve for someone who has run loose from the Institue of Mental Health. "Why you go waste money like that! You nuts or what?" she actually raised her voice. "I told you already, dun spend this kind of money! Why dun you give me the money instead!"

Well, she used to say something like that each year on 14 Feb, but never so "vocal". Neither had she sounded so angry before when I gave her flowers all these years. What's with her? Did I catch her on the wrong time when she was lecturing Junior? Or, has the passion really faded, after 18 years of marriage?

My female colleagues are wrong - dead wrong. NOT ALL women love flowers. I'm convinced.

Valentine's Day? What Valentine's Day? To me, it has all the excitement of a morgue....

Juz go away. I'm on a women-banging bashing mood now.

Category: Family

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I don't care anymore. I've bought myself a camera phone. And nobody, not even the gods in the office, are gonna sway me.

See, for reasons I've no wish to dwell into, my office, like some private firms, has banned the use of camera phones. Awww... come on. In this time and age, only people living in the Stone Age carry phones that only function as, well, a phone. How could the IT-savvy me, as claimed by Victor, be seen carrying a basic phone? I have a reputation to uphold, you know.

I understand the rationale behind the ban. But dammit! I wanna a camera-phone! I want, I want!

Thankfully, the gods who banned camera phones are not beyond reasons. Perhaps it has finally dawned on them that technology is here to stay and that it's better to keep up with technology instead of forever living in the Stone Age.

No, the possession of the camera-phones in the office premises is still against regulations, and rightly so. But happily, security boxes (like the safe boxes found in commercial banks) have been erected at the office atrium. The onus is on officers with camera-phones to deposit their gadgets into the boxes before entering into their office. It’s an OMO operation and is absolutely hassle-free. You choose any of the available empty boxes, throw your stuff in, lock it and keep the key. You could draw the phone while out for lunch, deposit it back later and then collect the phone on your way out when you’re done for the day.

Of course, people who are IT-idiot find this a bother. Victor, for one, said he would see if I could keep up with this practice of depositing my phone at the atrium. I told him it's a small inconvenience to pay for the spontaneity I enjoy with my new camera-phone. The camera-phone makes blogging so much easier and more fun. If you spotted anything that catches your fancy or worth blogging, you juz reach for you camera-phone and simply snap! Of course, the picture resolution might not be as good as a normal camera, but if it's juz for blogging, a tech geek would tell you that a 2-megapixal camera-phone is more than sufficient to do a decent job. Here’s one shot with my new toy. Not too bad, huh?

Besides, I don't want to be seen lugging a camera around my neck like some goon, looking like a tourist in Singapore. No wonder he almost got beaten up by some madman at Mohamad Ali Lane.


Category: Musings

Friday, February 09, 2007

What does Ivy want? Really?

You'd remember attractive and wealthy Ms Ivy Lee.

Months ago, dating agencies reportedly shut their doors at her face. Reason? She was considered too old at 42. Men only have eyes for SYTs.

After her story was published in the Sunday Times, about 100 men reportedly wrote in and asked to meet her.

Happily for her, she got hooked up with a 46-year-old widower. But unhappily for her, they have since parted ways. She cited "personal reasons" for the breakup. When asked about the "database" of the over 100 suitors, Ms Lee reportedly said that she "did not have the time to go through each and every e-mail in detail".

Well, that juz about sums up Ivy's attitude in her quest for love. No time? Then why bother looking for a mate in the first place? Love, as we know, takes time. If you have no time to sieve out the man of your dream, one wonders if you'd have the time to nurture love at all.

Sorry Ivy honey, no, you can't have your cake, and eat it too.

Category: Musings

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Once there was a girl, the prettiest in the line ...

The girl needs no introduction, of course.

She was (still is) a nurse. I was a soldier.

She was the sister of a friend. And I was a friend of her sister.

She had her suitors who drove big cars, and who wooed her with flowers and brought her to posh and fancy restaurants. I had nothing and nobody; but was looking for love (in all the wrong places, as Johnny Lee would have sung).

As Cupid would have it, she only had eyes for me.

She asked me out for a movie. "I've bought the tickets," she called one day. I remember the name of the movie and the cinema - "Stand By Me". We planned to meet at the now defunct Orchard Theatre.

When I reached the Cinema, she was already waiting for me, her hands full with a McDonald's paper bag, stuffed with fries and McChicken.

She said the bespectacled me was kinda cute and she loved my loving nature. I thought she was demure, sweet as sugar and I liked it that she seemed to have "no-temper". We fell in love. And got married. I thought our marriage was made in heaven. The honeymoon was so sweet; but how soon it flew!

Of course, after almost 18 years of being "enslaved" to each other, we know better then believing in marriages made in heaven. She actually has quite a temper, which had been lying dormant. She tricked me! But our married life is typical of most couples - we love, we bicker, we scream at each other, kiss and make up. Couples who said they do not squabble are either not telling the truth, or they're simply not communicating.

She's a lovely wife (she does not fancy diamond or credit cards), and a good mom (she knows how to handle the kids to make them seen, and not heard). But no matter how hot and steamy a relationship is, passion does, unfortunately, fade with time (no?). There are times she made me darned mad with her unreasonable behavior (aren't most women like that?). I reminded her that I AM THE HEAD OF THE HOUSE. She added, "Well, then I'm the neck that controls the head!" How does a man respond to that? I was left speechless.

But I love her, I really do. But there are times when I juz feel like, you know, strangling her, making her see things from my point of view.

Truth is, nothing quite prepared us for what lied ahead when we took the plunge. When we registered our marriage at the ROM, we weren't given any instruction manual like "An Idiot's Guide to being a Perfect Spouse" nor "Parenthood Made Easy". Weren't most married couples like us? We simply dived into this institution called marriage, haplessly and without much clues as to what it takes to make a good husband or a good wife.

But hey, all is not lost. Maybe what I need is juz a little guidance from the love gurus on how to treat and love your woman better. (Darned! The only person whom I thought is an expert on love is currently in a men-bashing mood). But I spotted a book at Times, the bookshop the other day, that might juz do the trick! "The Five Love Languages - how to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Men’s Edition" by Gary Chapman seems juz like what I need to fix my wife make me more aware of what my wife really needs...

I flipped through the book. It does look promising with chapters like:

  • What Happens to Love After the Wedding?
  • Keeping the Love Tank Full
  • Love Language - Acts of Service

No, this entry is not a prelude to that V day much dreaded by us men. Lucky for me, the Slim Lady doesn't believe in Valentine's Day either. She used to say it's a total waste of money to buy flowers. My female friends told me that's crap. ALL women from age 2-92 luuurrrvve flowers.

Let's see what Mr Gary Chapman has to say about that .....

Category: Musings

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A brand new look

I thought I'd give my blog a brand new look. Victor would have said my "backside itchy" nothing better do, is it? Ya, I guess I am... on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Anyway, once in a while, I'd let my "creative juice" flow and juz fiddle with my blog... trying to give it a new "outfit". Anyway, the blog is mine, I do and write what I want. Nobody can argue with that.

But no, nobody has died... in case you're wondering why the dark and moody background. It's the best colour to hide the imperfection of the photo I took in Down Under and which has undergone some kinda artistic transformation with the aid of photoshop.

I juz can't seem to get the photo in line with the main body of the blog... The edges are a little crude, I think... But than again... it's my blog. Hahaha..

My new tag - 人生如戏,戏如人生。Sometimes, life is stranger then fiction, don't you agree?

And that song in the background - Shape of My Heart by Sting. I'm not really a fan of Sting, but I heard this song while watching "The Professional" on DVD and I juz fell in love with the Lolita song... So, I went out to buy the CD straight away! Movies made us men do the darnest things!

Category: Musings

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Man's three greatest fears

It's been said that a man has three great fears:

  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of presentation or public speaking
  • Fear of dying while giving the presentation

I chuckled alound when I first read this. But shucks, I've been told to give a presentation to the BIG boss scheduled for 27 Feb. Darned! Whatever mood I have for CNY is gone! This time kena arrowed and really a tokong one some more!

The thing is, I'm not even supposed to be the one giving this presentation. This should be the job for someone marked for promotion this year. I tried to tolak this assignment to someone else. But alas, the management seems to have more confidence in me.... never mind that I was recently promoted ....

Oh well, I suppose I should take this all positively, and should really see it as a compliment. Yeah, I should think of creative ways to CAPITALISE on such rare given opportunity hor? After all, how often do I get to interact with the BIG BOSS? I could rub shoulders with the big boss. Juz shoulders, and nothing more hor ..... and tell him what I REALLY think of the office (and him) .... hmmmm.... and why some people dislike CS so much.

But I still HATE giving presentation.


Category: Musings