terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Things I Learnt from Making a Movie

After eleven hours in the still sweltering heat of the late morning and afternoon, at the shoot of the movie I'm supposed to be documenting, here's what I've learnt:

1. Apparently I am to be treated as a fourth uncle thrice removed on the set. I arrive, no one briefs me and I'm left to my own devices. Most of the day I'm ignored and no one knows what I'm there for (or I'm ignored). Did I mention that I was largely ignored? Luckily, I was prepared for such eventualities (I chose, this time, not to aggravate the peevishly petty people I have to deal with on the set) and I brought along my cellphone, which happens to have a radio and I was able to entertain myself without resorting to the use of either hand.

At best, I've made contact with the gaffer, Zul. At worst, I'm left to lunch with X, who, fortunately, happens to work in the vicinity, and I have to buy drinks on my own. On a hot day.

Also, apparently, our role on the shoot is to be mind-readers as well, because I was told that I was supposed to bring the shots home, download them onto my computer and then burn a CD for them and then submit said CD to the liaison the next day. Yeah, right, because I know that I only need hand over the CD the next day, that's why I brought along my 4.3 kg PowerBook today to burn the images onto the CD on the spot and not hand the damned thing over to the liaison the next day.

Which is another challenge, because the schedule has changed so much, that, what was current only two weeks ago has gone the way of the dodo.

And tomorrow, I have a whole new schedule to play with.

Uh, right. If that's how you want it played. Sure.

What? I'm not happy doing this anymore? How can you tell?

2. While being bored out of my head on the set, I managed to calculate the following things (because of the need to close down the road for sound takes, traffic had to be shut down for a while, and it was during this time that I learnt):

- 90% of the drivers who horned impatiently happened to be taxi drivers. More interestingly, the remaining 10% of drivers were owners of Mercedes Benz Arse- (sorry, S-) series cars;

- 75% of the drivers who displayed various levels of irritability and restlessness had various religious symbols displayed prominently in or on their cars; and

- 100% of the drivers who failed to obey the helpful traffic hand signs from the crew were women.

How's that?

3. That having a sign on the back of your car that says "Baby On Board" isn't going to save said baby any more from the recklessness of other drivers than the stupidity of said baby's own parents who chose to have the baby in the front seat with the mother, and no seat belts.

Still Clueless

It's nice to see that the church is doing something about the parking situation mentioned in my blog entry a couple of days ago.

Unfortunately, even among the flock of the Shepherd, there exists black sheep:

"At about 5.30pm, the police were seen booking at least six cars belonging to parishioners. They were parked either too close to a junction, opposite a continuous white line, or in a way that would obstruct other motorists.

One of the car owners, who was fined $70 but not given demerit points, was livid. He said: 'I've been parking here for years, I may be a little close to the junction but I'm not in anyone's way.'"

I may be a little close? I may be a little close? What fuckin' score did you get for your Highway Code Basic Theory, may I ask? 5 metres away, says the Code.

"The man who wanted to be known only as Mr Pinto said he should have been given a warning instead of being fined."

Uh, wasn't the bad press from the disruption enough warning? The availability of extra lots? The urgings of the parish priest for people to park where they're supposed to? What other sign were you expecting? A plague of locusts up your butt? The Singapore River turning to blood? What?

Warning? Sheesh. Some people have no shame.

AUG 29, 2004
Church appeals for leniency for man who disrupted mass

Priests have visited man to apologise as church finds extra parking spaces in nearby school

By Tracy Quek

THE Catholic church at the centre of a parking row in Siglap has asked the police to be lenient to a resident who disrupted mass to complain about his driveway being blocked.

The churchgoer who reported the commotion to the police has also asked for the matter to be dropped.

Police would not say if it will do so, but the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (OLPS) in Siglap Hill is going all out to solve the parking problem.

It has found 50 extra parking spaces in nearby St Stephen's Primary and requested the police to patrol the neighbourhood on weekends.

Church wardens will now take photos, to be handed over to the police, of indiscriminately parked cars.

Yesterday, in a two-page letter to parishioners distributed during mass, the church said it 'empathised' with the resident 'over the frustrations he has had to experience due to indiscriminate parking by some inconsiderate parishioners'.

Still, some had persisted in parking where they should not.

At about 5.30pm, the police were seen booking at least six cars belonging to parishioners. They were parked either too close to a junction, opposite a continuous white line, or in a way that would obstruct other motorists.

One of the car owners, who was fined $70 but not given demerit points, was livid. He said: 'I've been parking here for years, I may be a little close to the junction but I'm not in anyone's way.'

The man who wanted to be known only as Mr Pinto said he should have been given a warning instead of being fined.

Overall, especially with the extra lots at St Stephen's, the parking situation yesterday was better than before. The roads were less congested, said parishioner Freddie Tan.

About 10 minutes before the 4.45pm mass started, all 160 lots in the church were taken up and wardens directed cars to the school.

A Land Transport Authority (LTA) officer and a church volunteer were seen taking down the licence plate numbers of cars indiscriminately parked along the roads.

At the start of the service, two licence plate numbers were flashed on screens in the church. The car owners were asked to move their vehicles.

During mass, Father Gregoire van Giang, the parish priest, told the congregation he was confident the measures taken will work.

He urged all church-goers at the end of mass to be considerate, noting that with the media reports over the last week 'all over Singapore, OLPS is very famous now'.

The resident who had disrupted the service on Aug 7 declined to be interviewed.

'It's just a problem between neighbours,' was all he would say.

Priests have visited him to apologise, after reading a report in The Sunday Times last week which said he could be jailed.

In a letter to residents, the church said it regretted the incident caused by a handful of 'recalcitrant parishioners' among its 9,000 members. It said it has done its best, over the years, to ease the congestion problem.

Residents, who meet LTA officials and church representatives today to see how the traffic situation could be further improved, said the letter showed the church was sincere in its efforts.

Madam Chow, a 31-year-old housewife who has lived in the area for 20 years, said: 'We understand the problem is caused by a few people, not everyone in the church.'

Sunday, August 29, 2004

All Buffet'd Out

OK, it's official: I can't eat at buffets anymore (well, technically, I can still eat at buffets; just that the amount I can chow down won't be value for money).

Tried my darndest this evening to keep up with the younger males at the table at Para Bem Brazil Restaurant, but stopped after I'd ingested only about 2 kg of meat of various kinds.

From now on, only small meals for me, followed by lots of drinks of the alcoholic persuasion.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Missing the Point

On the issue of the disrupted church service recently because someone finally went over the edge on the parking situation outside his home*, someone on the ST Interactive Forum today had this to say:

Let the law take its course or everyone wake up to reality and start doing his part. There is no way we can become a 'gentler, kinder society', regardless of the number of campaigns, if we refuse to compromise and consider the feelings of others.

Race and religion are two of the most sensitive issues for any government to handle, and if everyone who is angry starts disrupting religious gatherings, one can only imagine the consequences. The choice is ours.

This was in reponse to someone else posting earlier under the title, "Errant churchgoers also to blame for man's outburst" (ST, 24 August).

I don't think the point is about a more caring and more considerate society. If that were the case, I think there wouldn't have been a disruption at the mass in the first place: Idiots are parking outside your gate? You can't come out? Sure, call the police. Let them deal with it. Because, hey, where are you going to look for the pisshead?

But the man knew where to go to look for said errant driver(s). The Church. Can people wrap that thought round their heads? CHURCH. C-H-U-R-C-H. Place of worship. Place of God. People go there because of their piety. Faith. Agreeing with the tenets of the church/ faith. Ergo, people striving to be in the image of their creator.

Are these people parking illegally saying that breaking the laws of the land is preferable to breaking God's laws? Die, die, I must attend church. I claim my God-given right to park anywhere I want because I just have to be in church. Or else. Never mind if it disrupts other people's lives; just as long as I'm in church -- my salvation is assured. That way, if someone disrupts the service, then the fucker's going burn in hell. Not me. Not the one who started the ball of damnation rolling in the first place. I have just one word for that, and it begins with 'H'.

It has nothing to do with building a 'kinder, gentler society', it's about someone who's at the end of his tether. Who the fuck else ever has the balls to disrupt a (any!) religious do-hickey in Singapore?

In Singapore!

If not for a good reason. If not if he's had it with the whole thing.

Thankfully, this inconsiderate behaviour is limited to a handful of Singaporeans, who would respond, unfortunately, only to punitive measures.

A handful of Singaporeans. A handful of church-going Singaporeans. "Who would respond, unfortunately, only to punitive measures." Right.

Tell me what's wrong with this?

Let the law deal with errant churchgoers, don't disrupt service

I REFER to Madam Daisy Sum's letter, 'Errant churchgoers also to blame for man's outburst' (ST, Aug 24).

I am a parishioner of the church in the controversy, [church name deleted], and, in all fairness to the parish priests and wardens, I have to say that they have done more than their part to ensure good neighbourliness.

The problems faced by residents of Siglap Hill are also faced by other residents whose homes are near popular places of worship, and this is aggravated during weekends.

As most places of worship are staffed by volunteers, their authority is limited when it comes to policing public areas but it does seem like common sense - if not good manners - that one does not park in front of someone's gate unless one is visiting that particular resident.

Thankfully, this inconsiderate behaviour is limited to a handful of Singaporeans, who would respond, unfortunately, only to punitive measures.

So, what is the alternative? Let the law take its course or everyone wake up to reality and start doing his part. There is no way we can become a 'gentler, kinder society', regardless of the number of campaigns, if we refuse to compromise and consider the feelings of others.

Race and religion are two of the most sensitive issues for any government to handle, and if everyone who is angry starts disrupting religious gatherings, one can only imagine the consequences. The choice is ours.


* Basic background: Church service was disrupted because someone stormed into the church, just as service was about to begin, demanding that something be done with the parking situation in the area. The church, so far, had made arrangements for parishioners to park two streets away on Sunday, outside a school, which obviously, will not complain about the number of cars parked outside its premises on a weekend. But some people are too bloody lazy, as was the case that Sunday when the man found his driveway blocked and he couldn't drive his car out. Apparently, it's been a problem for a long time now, but nothing seems to have been done (apart from the aforementioned measures).

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Never-ending Story

Because calling it a saga would be giving it too much credit.

Anyway, got a message last night about an order I'd delivered last week; Thursday, to be exact. Apparently, "there's an error in the order."

On whose side, I wondered. After all, this was the same person who ignored, or didn't register, the announcements that have been made, specifically, 'to the class rep who took the wrong portion of the order form' for five weeks before realising that the orders for the rest of the college had been delivered. And then it takes him four days (Thursday to last night) to realise that there was something wrong with his order?

I checked my phone's SMS inbox and voila! There, in plain sight, the orders as I had delivered them. Problem not with me. Person's message then goes on to ask if he could have the missing orders?

Er, right. And who's paying me for that? Who's paying me for an error that's not mine?

So, I tell you what. I'll get you the missing orders, no additional charge (I don't see the logic of letting you keep the additional four pictures; otherwise you'd have paid for six, but gotten ten). But you return me the wrong orders and I deliver the photos when I have the time (which looks to be in about three weeks' time).

My terms. Take it or leave it.


So as retail therapy, I went out and bought myself a new cellphone.

It comes with a 7-day voucher to train at Planet Fitness for free.

I now know why: it's the first phone I've owned that requires its owner to train up just to remove the outer cover in order to insert the SIM card and battery.


But still, I'm a happy person.


On the cab ride back home, some radio station was playing Air Supply's "Two Less Lonely People in the World."

And, to my horror, I could sing along to the lyrics. All of them.


I blame this on too many unreciprocated crushes in the 1980s.

Monday, August 23, 2004


Was up at 5 am this morning in between bouts of awakeness and sleep when I received a message from someone from France who thought she knew me. Hence the title.

The state I was in, I wasn't sure if said person was the missus's cousin or someone who's a complete stranger to me. I decided to play it safe: "Sorry, non parlez Francaise."

"Ha, d'accord. I think maybe you're not my friend, Thierry..."

"Er, yes, I think it too."


Ah, the anonymity of the internet.


Although I suppose my name could be Thierry if I were French.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Who Says Money Can't Buy Happiness?

I just spent almost $200 on three photobooks (Richard Avedon, Joyce Tenneson, and a compilation) and I'm feeling positively peachy despite the lightness of my wallet.

A Good Day

Which was what yesterday, the 21st of August, was.

Nothing quite beats a photo shoot with beautiful people, several pints, free cigars, four Irishmen speaking to each other in Hokkien, 2 games of Scrabble and a reference to Roger Bannister:

"I'm Roger Bannister. Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I angry."

"What the fook (remember, Irish)? You're thinking David Banner."

"Roger Bannister. I'm the four-minute Hulk."

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Moron Part 2

So, was at Objectifs for Chris's show, Inspirations from Landmarks ABV2, when rude, idiot woman calls me on my cell. Again.

Fortunately I was sitting next to the hifi set. So, she got treated to about twenty seconds (twenty! And she didn't hang up) of head-pounding music (I hope her ears are still ringing this morning), before I said, "Wrong number" and hung up.

What is it with someone like that? First of all, you're rude to call someone on the wrong number and then just hang up. Then, you call the same number the very next day? Even dogs have a steeper learning curve than that and they don't have opposable thumbs.


Friday, August 20, 2004

Experimentation Begins

I got the filter.

I got the film (finally).

Now I'm ready to play around with IR photography.

And it starts today.

One roll to test them all. One roll to find my metering, one roll to shoot them all, and in the darkness load and unload them.

Updated at 14:24:

Well, as my [arsed] luck would have it, it begins storming (storming, that's right) moments before I step out the door... which doesn't matter much, but does change the way I'd be shooting if it were sunny instead.

Bloody weather.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Funny how things go...

Been reading the TWOP Forums.

Interesting how people liked Charla and Mirna before the race and as it went on, and the forums, being on page 154 now, fewer and fewer of them do.


On a separate point about assholes: why is that there are still people in Singapore who hang up without saying anything else once they learn that they've got the wrong number? What, no 'sorry'? Not even a 'I got the wrong number'? Just click?

How fucking rude is that?

So, idiot woman who uses the phone number 6552 0825, I have your number. In case you've forgotten: there is this little thing called Caller ID now? Wake up and smell the 21st Century. Expect tons of redirected pranks calls to your number.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Amazing Update #2


*Dances around the room*

Now maybe we'll be subject to less bitchiness on the show and people crowing about how wonderful Charla and Mirna are off it (we really need writers who don't all jump on the bloody bandwagon all the time).

What Do We Complain About? And How.

In today's ST Interactive Forum, someone complains about the 'hurtful' words used in trailers for upcoming episodes. Aren't you jumping the gun? What have you seen of the attitude of the Idol-wannabe in question to even guess at why the judges would react in this manner?

"Judges were shouting, 'Get out!' and telling contestants, 'You are nothing!' and 'I am beginning to hate you...' "

Er, you know, quoting like this is going to get you into trouble. The trailer just played on my TV, and boy did you leave out a lot of context: "You think you can do a lot, but now you know: you are nothing!"; and "You have to come across to people as a likeable person, but I am beginning to hate you...".

How the hell did you manage to so badly misquote someone and then have the gall to go on a tirade? And since when did trailers for episodes ever tell the whole story?

"How about 'I want you to leave right now!' said with eye contact? One can be firm without being rude."

Excuse me? Which part of La-La Land is that phrase used? I didn't recognise that accent. One should never underestimate the effectiveness of a simple "Get out!".

I used to do it with a simple throwing of a chair as well. Works well both ways.

I left the second article on Singapore Idol in there because the (Dr) ought to do better research and realise that Singapore Idol, or for the matter American Idol, is just a derivative of Pop Idol, a British invention. Get your facts straight, doc!

There are some mornings I wake up and wish that education wasn't available to everyone because not everyone can handle the additional responsibility that education brings.

AUG 18, 2004
Watch that hurtful Idol talk

IT IS disconcerting to watch Singapore Idol although I am a big fan of American Idol. I was taken aback by some of the judges' remarks, especially those in snippets showcasing upcoming episodes.

Judges were shouting, 'Get out!' and telling contestants, 'You are nothing!' and 'I am beginning to hate you...'.

The fact that the judges are celebrities means that the young see them as role models, whether they like it or not - especially on national television.

The remarks reflected poorly on the judges. Perhaps they were trying too hard to be Simon Cowell. If they were being themselves, the remarks reflect their crude and poor communication skills and deplorable manners.

Criticism and feedback can be given in a constructive and honest way. However, some remarks were uncalled for and destructive. Cowell's criticisms were usually very witty sarcasms. Criticisms from our judges were just plain rude and nothing more.

Remarks such as 'hating' the contestant are beyond comprehension. What could the contestant have done to evoke such 'hatred'? Are we sending a message that it is acceptable to 'hate' so easily?

This is a dangerous attitude to encourage in these uncertain times.

Telling a contestant 'you are nothing!' demolishes the person's self-worth. Being bad in singing does not justify such a destructive remark.

Saying something like 'give up your hope of ever singing' or 'that was horrible' would be a constructive comment. Somebody could be hopeless in singing and yet find his vocation elsewhere.

'You are nothing!' is an immature and arrogant way of putting down another human being. Constructive feedback pertains to actions - in this case, singing - and does not attack the person.

Shouting at a contestant to 'get out' is nothing but plain rudeness. Being a celebrity does not entitle one to be rude on national television. How about 'I want you to leave right now!', said with eye contact? One can be firm without being rude.

There are ways to get a message across while still maintaining the speaker's, as well as the listener's, dignity.

One may argue that our young are 'softies' and need some 'real-life' harshness to toughen them up. While this may be true, would airing such crude remarks by celebrities also teach them that this is the way to communicate feedback?

I am not advocating being soft on the young. Feedback is necessary for them to learn and grow. But feedback can certainly be given in a constructive manner.

If the judges were just trying very hard to provide 'entertainment', there is no need for that. There is enough entertainment with the bad singing by some of the brave contestants.

The judges could learn something about giving feedback from Mr Donald Trump in The Apprentice. That is what I would call honest, direct and constructive feedback, done with finesse.


ISN'T the whole thing contradictory? The judges are presumably out to spot creativity, and yet what we get from their own performance is a stylised act, an unconvincing imitation of Simon Cowell.

The programme is American and Americans are frank. But Americans would distinguish frankness from boorishness.

In Singapore, the judges' action undermines all that our media has tried to do in courtesy campaigns.


Monday, August 16, 2004

In the Spirit of the Games

Following the missus's attempt at the Gods and Monsters quiz, I decided to test my knowledge of Greek mythology and here's the result:

Gods and Monsters

You scored 9 out of a possible 10

Gold medal

Either you are the reincarnation of Pelops himself, or you're a eight-year-old who has just finished a project on Greece at school. Either way, you can expect a hero's reception when you step off the plane.

Oh well. Got question 4 wrong, so, I'd appreciate it if someone has the right answer for me.


And in response to the missus's displeasure at my lack of information from the guys' night out, I think, after lunch with TKDD and Kanga who managed to get at the reason through reverse engineering: now you know.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Field Report

Last night was interesting, but having imbibed only two and a half pints, it wasn't interesting enough.

Just about all the excitement happened on the cab ride to the rendezvous point:

1. Cabbie 'thought' I'd wanted to take the ECP, but decided I should take Nicoll Highway instead. Ex-squeeze me? The highway that's closed and won't be open for many, many months? Oh, he says, then we'll take North Bridge Road. Uh, right... that's the route that goes through Geylang? At 8 at night? Right. I don't know think so: Turn off at Tanjong Katong, use the ECP, says I.

2. Going down Tanjong Katong Road, a pair of idiot drivers made a right turn out of the lane to our left, at a snail's pace. Normal. Happens more often than we'd like to admit: morons who look one way but not the other, and then assuming the other way will remain clear while they're in transit. What does my cabbie do? Instead of slowing down and tooting to warn the morons, he speeds up, holds down the horn and narrowly misses the second vehicle.

3. Still on Tanjong Katong Road, my intrepid cabbie, irked by a trailer truck (without cargo), decides he'll pass it with about an inch to spare between the truck to our right and the pavement to our left. At about 70 kph.

4. On the ECP, nearing the Prince Edward Road exit ramp, he was still on the extreme right lane. With fifty metres to spare, we make the exit, cutting through 4 lanes of traffic at breakneck speed and running over the speed grooves on the painted island.

I think after that I haven't needed a drink more in my life.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Guys' Night Out

TKDD and I had a recce last night, so we're all set for the festivities tonight.

A report may follow.


Yesterday, cabbies in Singapore maintained a 98.24% error record for trips to a certain JC in Bedok South.

When told I wanted to go to said JC in Bedok South, yesterday's cabbie started me in the direction of the other similarly-monikered one, though a Polytechnic, at Bedok Reservoir.

See? This is what happens when we run out of names for our institutions. I hear there's an even worse one (result of much sucking up, I suspect) for a new Polytechnic or JC in the West.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Doorbells and Dumbbells

Why do people assume that doorbells are for them to ring over and over again? Just press the damned thing once. That's all I ask. We're in an HDB-built pigeon hole, they aren't that big.

So, the HDB contractors came by just a moment ago to check the rivets on our windows, so they can give us a goodwill discount to replace the rivets with what should have been used all those years ago. The verdict?

Neener, neener, we were already using stainless steel rivets.

So, HDB, thanks for the discount, but you know where you can put it.


The Amazing Update #2:

Just saw the highlights for the next episode, and all I can say is: "Nice jump, Colin."

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Amazing Update #1

"He's jealous of me," say Mirna.

Yeah, right. Colin's jealous because you get to molest Phil with impunity at the end of each leg while he doesn't.


But calling people names and spitting? That's a real class act.

Does anyone really question why I absolutely, completely, irrevocably loathe this team? Sorry Charla, but your choice of partner for this competition sucks.


On the other hand, hot on the gaffe of last week ("Jesus is the prodigal son, right?"), Colin goes, "What's a scarab? It's a sword, right?"

Obviously not a D&D player in his youth...

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Hung Over

Man, I have never been this out of it. Not for a long while. The last couple of days have been spent in some sort of a semi-zombie state and today's no different; in fact, I had to bail on a shoot this morning because I wasn't gonna be up to it (nothing unprofessional though, called earlier to make sure they had someone else to cover).

I blame this on the bunch of bengs from two units away at the resort I was at who partied from 3 am to about 5:20 am.

No, that's no typo: fuckers did start only at three in the morning. Morons. For two-and-a-half hours, the resort was treated (and I use this word with much sarcasm) with a selection of everything they thought was cool music. Bear in mind, please, that these are Malaysian bengs we're talking about, so if anything, their taste in music is somewhat worse than the run-of-the-mill Singapore beng. Way too LC to sleep through. Especially since the idiots were playing the music from their car stereos (!!). With loads of bass and very little else. I was mentally willing the cars' batteries to die out in the middle of the N-S highway somewhere on their way to the ratholes from whence they came.

Where was the resort management when this was happening, you ask? I haven't a fuckin' clue. Even the security people left the place by about midnight and the resort was pretty left to fend for itself (I've an inkling now how people can get kidnapped in this region). So, without redress, I had but to wait for the fuckers to run out of Ecstasy and whatever bull-piss they had for booze before settling back to sleep.

At 5:20 am.



On the other hand, the rest of the trip was awesome.

Great food, especially. Had a barbecue buffet dinner on Saturday and then a kick-ass seafood lunch on Sunday: lobsters like you wouldn't believe, heaped with garlic; bamboo clams; prawns in some herbal concoction; and beer to wash everything down.

Monday, August 09, 2004


Saw an ad last night in my semi-dazed state for the Global Entrepolis.

So, after Fusionpolis and Biopolis, we have another polis to add to our vocabulary.

No wonder people think we are a polis state.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Birthday Treats

Had dinner at a Medical Centre tonight.

I think the missus summed it up pretty nicely when she described the cabbie's reaction to her saying that she was having a dinner at Camden: "Huh!? Dinner? There? Where got?"


Whitebait and Kale. Pretty good food, and service as well. Saw and ate the whitebait, but not so much the kale. And after a couple of drinks, some of the other people there were looking like Jailbait and Tail.

Tonight, it's the turn of the second-last person in our cozy little group (NIE Crew, we used to go by) to hit the big three-oh. The next (and last) one won't be for another two-plus years (December baby), so I guess I got carried away with the eating tonight.

Absolutely stuffed.

Which is good, because tomorrow, well, technically today, I leave for my annual flee-the-country-on-National-Day trip to a resort in Desaru. X's picking my up at half-seven so I really ought to be sleeping. Only I figure I can sleep in the car while we're in the line for the immigration checkpoint in JB. Not going to be an off-road trip this time; just chilling on the beach with a BBQ and a brewski.

There's only so much saccharine-patriotic-goodness I can take before I have to have check-ups for diabetes.

Which means, unless - miracles of miracles - there's some sort of wireless network set up where we are going, this will be the last entry until after the hols. So, enjoy.

I know I will.


On a side note:

The folks are also heading north to M'sia this weekend, so YM and I got visitation rights to our erstwhile vehicle. Too bad I'm not going to be around to use it.

That sucks.

Friday, August 06, 2004


Ah, there's nothing like having your body clock reset to normal and then being up in time to watch two TV shows filmed in Vancouver (Seven Days and MacGyver) and catching familiar sights of my old stomping ground.

Weeeee Are the Champions

For this month anyway.

Attended our first pub quiz last night at my favourite watering hole and after five rounds of questions, we were tied for first at 38 correct answers. Believe it or not, in a team of 5 guys, our lowest scoring category happened to be Sports. Of course we didn't care for some of the questions in that category like, "Who came in SECOND in the recent Tour De France?" for which our answer was, "Frustrated dude with a bike." Or the clincher (for 5 bonus points): "Who plays Cardiff Football Club on Fridays and Welsh Rugby on Sundays?" - the blank stares from Dan, Mr B* and G told me we were screwed for that round. We did give it a shot though, said Catelonia.

Turns out it was the Salvation Army Band.

So we had a tiebreaker round. And ten questions and five more correct answers later (bringing our total to 43), our entry fees ($10 per team of 4) go to the RDA and we get a whole bottle of Absolut Blue. As a gesture of goodwill, we gave out shots to the rest of the pub.

Not a bad night, if I do say so myself. Can't wait for next month's quiz.

* Mr B will now also be known as Mr Chalky Norwegian, for thinking he knew the correct answers to two questions (they were) but keeping silent and going with our wrong answers of France (for "Which European country is mediating between the government and Tamil Tigers on Sri Lanka?") and Shell ("What does Crustaceous mean").

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Amazing Reality Series

The Amazing Race is just about the only one (reality TV series) I can stomach nowadays.

And come August 9, 2004, I'm taking cover from 'Singapore Idol'.

With just about half the season gone, I'm beginning to have some impression of the remaining racers:

Colin & Christie
OK, they're the least disliked of the remaining racers, so that's a good thing. They are also kick-ass at finding a better deal every chance they get:

"We have the earliest flight out of a country? sure, we'll take it. But find us an earlier flight anyway."

"Later bus, but arrives at the same time? Yep. Why not?"

They don't sit on their laurels like most other teams. The others find a flight and then hunker down and wait for it. Not these guys.

Chip & Kim
Happy racers. Always a good thing. That little thing with the hogging of the cab is a bit perplexing, but understandable, though it cost them some brownie points in my book.

Marshall & Lance
I've to remind myself that they are not the frat boys from the first episode. Those two were nicer and funnier. Sometimes these guys come off as racist or at least classist.

But yelling, "Bitch!" out the window? Classic.

Kami & Karli
Uh, twins. Not very smart. Not very topo-savvy. Seems to be still in the race because of dumb* luck more than anything else. And if one of them says that they are great for the race because they know what the other is thinking and feeling, I'll scream.

* Jumping into the lake and swimming to the Pit Stop instead of walking across? 'Nuff said!

Updated at 20:45 hours:

"We are clueless," says Karli/ Kami. Hey, you said it, sister!

Brandon & Nicole
Cute couple. Good together. Great chemistry between them (still early days). But let's face it, not the very best examples of 'committed' Christians. The king and queen of the temporary alliances and broken promises. Hyeah, because God rewards the devious and unfaithful. And so delightfully lacking in self-awareness.

Linda & Karen
Sqeeeeeee! That's all the impression I get of them. And happy to be racing. That counts. Would love to do something like this, but found out from the website that only Americans need apply.


Mirna & Charla
Where. Do. I. Begin?

“[T]o show the world what I can do and break all stereotypes about dwarfs!” says Charla, pre-race.

And. Every. Single. Fucking. Time. During. The. Race.

Yes, and to do so, every time they need to get a plane or bus ticket or to get bumped up the waiting list, what do they do? "I need a doctor! It's an emergency. Small woman, cannot do this, cannot do that."

Uh, right.

Does that mean your plan is to break the other stereotype of dwarves? The ones about them being independent and capable?

And Mirna? The less said of her the better. Suffice to say: not a pleasant person. And what's with the groping of Phil?

But of course, as that other reality TV series has shown, millionaires can be made of the most asinine, rude and the wrongest people.

Resolution # 13 for 2004

Just because I'm involved in a movie doesn't mean that I can't be working on my personal projects.

So, here's the resolution:

"I will complete five personal projects in and about Singapore by the end of this year."

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Who's Your Arse Monkey?

Well, if you're the six-month old kid eating at Thai Express tonight with your parents, your correct answer would be: My parents.

Seriously, the kid's got it better than Pavlov and his dogs. The parents were certainly well-trained. Every time the kid dropped something (chopsticks, toy truck, soup spoon), a parent would pick it up. And when they didn't, a clearly-pointing finger or a correctly-pitched wail solved everything.

And after he was done with dinner, he had walkies. Walkies, defined as being allowed to wander about the restaurant on his own. Walkies! I wasn't even allowed to leave the table at wedding dinners til I was about seven.

At six months! OK, maybe slightly more, he was already walking on his own -- so say nine months?


I see a BPC order in this kid's future.


Was also at a stationery shop this evening and saw someone buying a red pen. A single red pen. No prizes for guessing what her occupation is.

And then asked the shopowner for a plastic bag.


A plastic bag for one pen?


Was thinking about my comment at the end of that entry about the Ah Beng at Isetan.

"Made me wish I still had my warrant card."

Do I really?

Why must I have a warrant card before I feel I can do anything in Singapore? Why couldn't I have acted as a concerned citizen coming to the defence of someone who is being threatened? Why couldn't anyone in the line? All I saw were Isetan staff walking away from the incident (only the cashier was there to calm things down) and the other people in the queue looking every which way but at the incident.

It's not like it's a personal/ private thing being played out in front of their eyes like a lover's quarrel. It was an altercation between two strangers, one of whom had every right to be angry at the other person, and the other person having not right at all but making all the noise.

By not doing anything at all, we're just encouraging the morons like Noisy Ah Beng to do whatever they want to just because they are more threatening and aggressive than the rest of us. Can't we just stand up for someone just because it's the right thing to do?

On Saturday, a group of people lining up at the cashier's counter even walked away from the fracas to queue at another counter.



This is home surely.

Monday, August 02, 2004

For those who have waited long...

The Ghost In The Shell 2 trailer is here.


Sunday, August 01, 2004


So tonight, the missus got to witness first-hand the antics of the stupid woman from the coffee shop. Quite funny, actually, she made such a show of ignoring us.

Would have been more effective if we had been looking at her plaintively, hoping that in her infinite kindness and generosity, she'd deign to take an order from us.

But we weren't thirsty, so it was moot.

Once again, repeat after me: Stupid woman.

And How Could I Have Forgotten This?

Also witnessed last night: a good, old-fashioned standoff, with the requisite, "What are you looking at?", "What are you saying?" and "Let's discuss this behind."

(In Mandarin, of course - what self-respecting speaker of English would resort to playground threats like these?)*

How 1990s.

The two men were facing off at the cashier's counter in Isetan, Parkway Parade, because one of them (the louder one, I think - the other man was just doing the mute glare) cut queue. It was quite embarrasing to see something like this happening in 'sophisticated' Singapore. And quite embarrassing for the rest of the queue too, because the counter was in the middle of the Men's Underwear Section and everyone else was waiting to quickly pay for their, ahem, purchases and leave.

The louder man even hounded the quiet one when the latter had paid for his purchases and left the counter, forcing him to call the police on his cellphone. Only then did the belligerent one leave him alone, though he was still complaining loudly to the counter staff that the other man didn't need to threaten to call the police, and that he was the son of a CID officer himself.



Quite an exciting time.

Made me wish I still had my warrant card.

* Actually, I recall an incident from the Thanksgiving of 1994 or 1995 when something like this happened... but that's another story. Wonder where he is now.


At dinner last night:

"Next time, say, 'Excuse me!'"

From the guy who, despite being this particular about courtesy, was eating with his mouth open throughout his meal and making sucking noises to clear whatever gunk was stuck in his teeth.

Slurp... gag... tchsssk... "I tell you ah, waitresses here are so rude..." slurp... tscssk...


"Cannot lah! Everyday cannot eat raw food! Unhealthy!"

Yes, and the Japanese live to 120 because of the minerals in their water.


"I tell you, don't work so hard you know! Even when your boss tells you to, you must say that you're already busy and cannot already..."

And in the same breath to a passing waitress with several trays of food: "Eh, hurry up! We want to order."