terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Monday, August 21, 2006


So Ol' Reliable has decided, over the weekend, to give up the ghost. I was in the middle of a UBRS raid on WoW when everything locked up. Then six hours later, I managed to get it working again (using some rather unorthodox methods) enough to move most of my stuff over.

Going to the Apple Service Centre today, I learn that it's either the OS or the harddisk that's corrupted and diagnostics will take upwards of 4 working days. Which means: no work, no play. And possibly having to transfer all my important files to the external disks by tonight before I send the thing in.

Not happy.

Mostly with the boredom of idleness.

(And relying on the kindness of others for the use of their computers to get my digital fix.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Giving Way 1

Giving Way 2

Thank you. Thank you for proving once and for all, why it's fuckin' stressful to want to own a car and to drive oneself around in Singapore. Thank you for not giving way to someone trying to filter into your lane, even though with the light change everyone in the fucking line could have cleared the lights. Even though our signals were on and we were moving into a space not occupied at that moment by any vehicle, because you were stuck behind another asshole who decided to stop his vehicle where he's not supposed to, and only because the angle prevented us from getting into the lane completely, you decided to dare us by driving your piece of crap car right up to the bumper of the car in front of you and then giving us an eyeful (we hope you enjoyed the glares you got in return). Well, fortunately for you, we were hungry and didn't think that the time spent talking to you over an accident would be worth it. We also didn't want to share too much air with you in the vicinity.

Thank you.

If you ever lose your job, you know you can have a brilliant career as a cabbie.

Two Discussions

On Saturday, waiting for my pick-up to get down to the Mordor of Singapore - Buangkok:

"Aiyoh, my maid just took her one-month home leave. It's only been one week, the whole place is a mess already..."

"Then don't let her go lah!"

"How can? The place now, ah, so messy. Got clothes everywhere, plates not washed... And the kids also complain that the floor is sticky!"

Conversation took place in the lift lobby. Pretty good English-speakers by heartland standards. Two questions come to my mind as I eavesdropped on them (not hard to do given the volume at which they were speaking) - 1. Can't you clean up after yourselves? Dirty plates? Things all over the floor? C'mon!

2. Why are your kids complaining instead of helping out? How are you bringing them up in the first place?


Second one, yesterday, at Gyu-kaku at UE Square:

"My son's grades have dipped. He scored 70 out of 100 in his Chinese test. I don't know how he'll do for his PSLE at the end of this year..."

"Does he study?"

"Sometimes. But he's also very playful. Sometimes a bit hard to control."

"Do you use the cane on him?"

[Horrified gasp] "No! Of course not! I don't want to lose control of myself and go past the limit."


On that note, I would like, right now, to thank my parents who didn't spare the rod when I've been bad (really bad) and went over the line on several occasions. Because, as a result, all three of us learnt a valuable lesson about limits and about when to draw the line.

Afterwards there was another discussion about the rumours floating around a certain all-boys school in the Bukit Timah/Newton area, where kids don't really speak good Chinese, which I didn't pay attention to.

Now I know.

Monday, August 14, 2006



Been on the film set for the last two days, but even before that I've been stuck in between the pain of a writer's block and acute hypergraphia. But I'm glad to report that the movie is finally complete. (This season's worth of work, that is...) Episode 5 is up and running, by the way.

Last night at 1 a.m., to be specific, was when we wrapped. It was another two hours before I finished downloading the images, showered and went to bed.

Good to have one weight off my shoulders.


In other news:

Because I've stopped the rags that pass off as newspapers in this country, I missed the report on the morons who have jammed up the ECP in more ways than thought possible here.

Apparently there was a report on The New Paper last Friday about the throngs of Darwinistic clowns who clogged up the highway even more badly than they did on the first night.

Good to see that the reporters here are good for something after all.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


You know you're ready to quit the island when you come across this on a Saturday night: hundreds of morons stopped by the left side of the ECP, leading to the Rochor Road off-ramp, just to catch a glimpse of the fireworks. Get over it people. It's just bright lights in a darkened sky. Whack yourselves over the head with a two-by-four and you'll pretty much get the same thing. Which is probably what these drivers have been doing, I guess, biding their next time waiting for when they get to see the pretty colours, given their states of mind to even consider stopping on an expressway in a manner so inconsiderate and dangerous.

MP 001

Morons started near the Fort Road entrance already. Which is kinda strange, and stupid, because the view there is blocked by trees and the construction in the area.

MP 002

Idiot in the red car almost lost his door. He didn't even check before opening it on the side of the busy expressway.

MP 003

And this one... he'd probably not known what was going on until the first fireworks lit up the sky. Then he pulled over immediately at the end of the line of cars, to ogle.

(I kept wishing for a repeat of the Marine Corps Sand Diego incident, or to be closer to home, another accident involving that cement mixer and the poor lady whose car broke down in the shoulder - not cruel, just a firm believer in Darwinism: if you're too stupid to pass on your genes, your line should end with you.)

And then, the next morning, I have to go somewhere along Paya Lebar Road for the movie (we're shooting pickups) and what do I see? Three churches in a row, and the parking situation isn't that much different:

MP 004

Ah yes... I remember something about the laws of man and the laws of God. I guess the former doesn't apply here. Hey there's not enough parking in the church compound itself. And I can't miss the service! God would be very upset if I didn't do everything in my power not to miss the first part of the service. Park further down? I don't care about my suspension! God will reward me with a bigger car in Heaven! Traffic laws? Pfffft!

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Always an interesting sociological study when one is standing at an intersection, such as the missus and I were, waiting for a pick-up (or in last night's case, for a cab), and other people come up to the same corner, because they're assuming that we're also waiting to cross the road, and wait along with us. And even when the traffic's slowed down enough that they could have made it across unmolested (it is a two-lane road after all - and one of the lanes has already been rendered unusable by vehicles because of illegally-parked cars), they remain where they are because we haven't moved.

Can anyone say, "Baaa?"

Friday, August 04, 2006

I Do Not Smoke

Not in bed, not in a loo.
Not in parks, never in school.
Not when there are children,
Not even when they're very young.
Not when women are pregnant
And the elderly are present.
Not in cinemas, not in a park.
Not in stairwells, never on a lark.
Not in hospitals, not near sick people.
Not where people are exercising,
Not where there's someone cooking.
Not in a car, not on a train,
And certainly not on a plane.
Not where there are animals,
Not when I'm in a temple.
Not at petrol stations,
Not at litigations.
Not near dangerous chemicals,
And other Fundamentals.

Er, yeah, weak attempt at a Dr Suess.

Nutcracker got Tomorrow'd today and I guess it's time to put my thoughts on the ban on electronic media now - no more allusions to the whole thing.

Hey, I applaud the ban. I know some smokers are real assholes; smoking where they're not supposed to, when they're not supposed to and so on. So yeah, kudos on the ban in some areas.


A blanket ban? Why? Only because Singaporeans can't switch codes. That's why. It's like the nonsense with the Speak Good English campaign and native speaker teacher issue. My friends and I are perfectly capable of code-switching: using Singlish at less formal occasions, or prahper Queen's English when we need to. But that's just us.

I remember how often I had to resist the urge to tear up a student's English composition because the idiot decided to use SMS-speak in an essay. It's not easy. Especially when Channel 8 dramas are so popular and the best thing ever to come out of Mediacrap is a sitcom featuring a Singlish-spewing contractor in yellow boots. And look what happened to him after somebody with no sense of humour decided he must Speek Good English.

Back to smoking. A ban on the source of the problem is not possible, because the government loses the obscene amount of revenue from cigarette tariffs. But at least call a spade a spade. It's not about healthy living or about making the air clean, because otherwise we'd see similar measures taken in a lot of other aspects of living in Singapore - pollution from bigger and bigger cars, dust from construction sites, better medical subsidies and plans (heard the Minister for Health on the radio yesterday talk about more people choosing the higher-class wards now that the subsidies are higher and the economy is better because they can afford it... Could it be people don't think that the B2 and C wards are conducive for faster recovery?).

I started smoking after the tsunami when I had to go down to Meulaboh and deal with death and destruction and the smell in the air. That's about the only thing that's changed about my lifestyle. I still drink as much as I used to, I enjoy being in pubs and other nightspots and meeting friends and new people. I like my music and motorcycles loud. I accepted that I was going to smell like an ashtray the moment I go to the places where I can find these things to entertain me.

But now someone decides that non-smokers should be allowed more leverage into my comfort zone because smoking is unhealthy? What the fuck? My whole lifestyle is unhealthy. Getting drunk is unhealthy. Talking to complete strangers in a dimly-lit room is unhealthy. Staying out late is probably unhealthy. Fuck, even driving is unhealthy, especially here. If you're going to be letting the people who are so concerned about their health into a pub, what's the next step? Banning alcohol? Loud music? Rock 'n Roll? How about fried finger foods? That's pretty unhealthy too. While we're at it, let's also ban double-dipping.

It's not their lifestyle. They're the ones who'd go to Walas on a Thursday and then stare stupidly at the band playing and wonder why the people at the next table are moving to the beat. They're the ones who'd be talking loudly and rudely while there's a set. They're the ones who'd leave by ten because hey, it's too late.

You can't have the good without the bad, though that's what our leaders might be telling us. But you know, that's what's keeping me going back to all my hangouts. I take the good with the bad and if the ban means that I am inconvenienced, so be it. I can take it. Why can't others?

What gets me, though, are the comments on Nutcracker's entry. And as I've indicated in the comment I left there - what's more disturbing is that there seems to be a radically puritanical streak in most of the young people nowadays. Everything's black and white. Everything's hunky-dory if things are clean, white and pure. Anything that offends their narrow minds must be bad. It has to be. Otherwise their worlds come crashing down upon their minds and they implode. You'd think that it'd be the older people who'd feel this way - basing their view on years and years of experience, enough time to build up some sort of stubbornness. But it's the kids who're thinking like this.

And it scares me out of ever wanting to have kids. Or rather, to raise my kids here.

It does.

In regione caecorum rex est luscus.


Report Confirmation

And now to go through the CCTV videos in more detail before I get to nail you two to the nearest wall.

You thought I was shitting you?

Thursday, August 03, 2006



After 550 images and 18.26 GB on my laptop (after processing), the shoot from hell is finally over.

Not all a loss though. Got a new phone in the process, met some mighty cute talents on the shoot, got to go up to areas normally reserved for people in suits... Not all a waste. Just bleedin' frustrating.

Now to get pissed drunk.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The saga continues...

After the woefully inadequate time given for the recce and whatever else came as a result of it, today was supposed to be final day of shooting. But of course, this is also the time when everything, including the kitchen sink, hits the fan.

We had just three shots to complete today. The weather started out fine. 'Glorious' is the word I'd use if I were in a better mood now. Then as we were making our way to the third and final location, the sky started turning darker.

Of course it rained. Did anyone think it wouldn't?

So we waited two hours. In the meantime, the driver of the minivan I hired to transport my equipment and the people around is happily counting the money that's just fallen out of the sky for him. At my expense of course. Apparently there isn't enough any more in the client's budget to allow for rain delays.

When it stopped, we made our way back to the building only to be accosted by the security people. This, despite D having been there countless times for meetings and negotiations; despite having an appointment; and despite having a deadline that the client's aware of.

No, you can't pass because you haven't exchanged your ICs for the building pass.

It's lunch. There isn't anyone manning the security booth, we protest in vain.

Nope, gotta exchange those pesky passes.

Can't you do it?

Nope, not my job. (Mine's just to stand here and look self-important because this is about the only job I'll ever be qualified to hold.)

The client's waiting for us.


So we call the client who chooses this time, also, to remain incommunicado.


I'm going to have to go back there again tomorrow (or whenever the sun decides to be merciless). This should so end.

And quickly.


Been thinking a lot more about the whole theft incident and something that the client said yesterday had been festering in my mind, only to be given an airing today:

The client said something about someone else who works in the same area losing her phone as well. Said it as a matter of fact, and stated matter of factly. Which got me thinking: you have staff losing their things, but no one's done anything about it? No wonder one of the things I had to shoot was a class being conducted to teach staff how to 'up' their enthusiasm. Are we really that apathetic?

Can we say low morale?

Still trying to get used to my new phone. Keys are a little smaller than what I've been used to, the interface has changed slightly and I'm still trying to recompile my phone book (which reminds me, if you know me, please send me an email with your number).