Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Lady Grey tasting session #1

finally got to taste my Twinings Lady Grey. was activated for sailing etc etc...shan't elaborate.

Initial scent...all the citrus! just bursting's like a good riesling. perhaps not. but very citrusy. it's unlike earl grey with just the bergamot.

Steeping...the fragrance is wonderful. it's more like an infusion. can smell lemon, orange, perhaps a bit, very wee bit of lemongrass. which is not entirely pleasant because it can smell like toilet fresheners.

Tasting...a little disappointing. perhaps it's because i am missing some vital ingredient. like honey, additional twist of lemon, sugar perhaps? milk?

perhaps it's just a bit of getting used to.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sunday with V

It was a short and tiring weekend and Sunday was spent with V at various places. We started with lunch at n.y.d.c at Wheelock. Had the posh spice thing and earl grey elephancino. the earl grey was my third cup of the day. Had two cups of earl grey at home in the morning. With milk. And the third MUG (elephancinos are hugeass) was way too sweet. I shouldn't have added so much sugar syrup..

V had her Jedi Mudster which she didn't find entirely enjoyable. Perhaps it was the lousy corner seats we had.

We then strolled down towards Tanglin Mall and went into Jason's and guess what I found!

YES! I finally found what I wanted to taste. The one earl grey that I have heard of but never tasted.

It's almost midnight now and after a spicy dinner and drinking a mug of herbal drink prepared by my mum, I decided that I will drink The Lady Grey Tea tomorrow night.

Anyway, V and I had a short rest at Tanglin Mall food court with me wolfing down a bowl of beef noodles. Not very tasty. My conclusion is this: Lavender Food Court Beef Noodles are good. Bendemeer Food Centre Beef Noodles are good (not in the same way as the former)...the rest of Singapore's Beef Noodles are just ordinary. I am not talking about the Geylang stir fried variant. Amongst the franchises, only Hwa Heng can make it. Especially the Scotts Picnic Food Court branch...

Anyway, we decided it was too hot outside to continue anywhere...and stayed in the air-conditioned comfort of the mall..

The humdrum forced me outside again and I dragged V to the botanical gardens. The main Orchard Road gate was closed for renovation so we went further down to the Minden Gate along Holland Rd. Haven't been there for years! Mental note: must go there again and in more comfy clothes with camera in tow.

Saw a couple of squirrels and got bitten by twice the number of mozzies.

Dunno why but the botanical gardens seems to be in a state of being renovated. It was still very warm and both of us were itchy from the mozzie bites. finally got some respite from cafe les amis at the botanics.

We left in the cool of the setting sun...for dinner.

Must go botanical gardens again.

Class of 1991 (May Primary School)

My primary schoolmates had a chalet at Downtown East this weekend and it was tiring (I had sailing in the early part of the week and IPPT on friday) but plenty of fun.

It was suppose to start at 730pm but I got there only at 9pm or so. But I wasn't the latest. Stayed up all night (till 7am on Saturday) playing modified "murderer". Can't believe that at 26 years of age, we are still playing chalet games that we used to play when in our early teens.

Let me rattle off who was there:
There were the usual suspects - qinglin, shuyun, huihui, yvonne, ruoting, meiyi, guoliang, howard, junjie, weiwen.
ruiwen and lingling did their cameo as well.
Imran and Dinesh were there too!

Introducing.....the class of 1991 (May Primary School - we're a dying breed, the school is no more)
boys and girls

Now who weren't there: xinyi, huijiao, chengyi, xueying, weiyang (USA), yisheng (USA), satheesh (probably more.....)

The girls took a group picture:
girls only

The boys couldn't be outdone!
boys only

The girls had initial difficulty when it came to posing. I guess they wanted to look good for the picture. So while they were busy trying to decide who to sit where, I decided to take a photo of guoliang taking a picture of them. twice the candid-ness I'd say.
girls and guoliang

There was plenty of food:
Chicken Wings
Guoliang took this shot with my camera

Plenty more laughs:
junjie and guoliang
Up to this point, there wasn't alcohol involved. Honest!

Guoliang gave his best impression as the rebel youth:

Me? I was just happy to be there:
Shutter stutter
watch out for my "shadowless" fist!

It was still terrible to wait for an hour or so for a turn at the showers. But we managed.


  1. There will be one moderator. S/he will co-ordinate the game play.
  2. The number of cards will equal the number of players (less moderator).
  3. One of the cards will be a "Jack". Whoever gets this card is the murderer. Each player will see only his/her card.
  4. Everyone will close their eyes and look down when the moderator starts the "kill time".
  5. Whoever the murderer is will look up then "murders" his/her victim with the moderator as witness. Killing is done by the murderer pointing at his/her victim (if only it's equally easy in real life).
  6. Murderer looks down and moderator will announce the end of "kill time" and ask everyone to look up. Moderator then make known who the victim is.
  7. Everybody will start accusing/defending. This is the fun part, people argue, form alliance, collude...
  8. Moderator will ask for a vote to be conducted. The players are voting who the murderer is.
  9. The player with the most votes is declared the murderer. S/he then opens his/her card.
    1. If it is a "Jack". The murder mystery is solved!
    2. If it is not a "Jack", the poor sod is wrongly accused and dies anyway!
  10. Another "kill time" will be ordered by the moderator with everyone closing their eyes and looking down.
  11. This cycle is continued until either a) the murderer is found or b) only two players are left (ie. the murderer and one last player).
  12. The game can be played by having the previous "kill time" victim witnessing the murder for the next "kill time" or made more exciting by having only the moderator as the witness.
  13. In the event of a tie in number of votes, the victim of the said round of "kill time" will have veto power.
I think this version is far more interesting than the version whereby there is a "detective" and the "murderer" gotta kill be winking. Quite pointless after a while.

Please note that instead of a "Jack", the "Joker" can be used as well.....


Friday, August 26, 2005

The Observatory New Site

The Observatory's new website is finally up. Looks alot more pared down compared to the previous version which was kinda melancholic and whimsical at the same time.

The new one looks like a weblog.

They do have a weblog of their own though. Blank Walls

Go visit.



Get Set.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

If I am getting anything FRIVOLOUS this X'mas

Poofie was asking why am I writing about china, hate to admit, but, I don't know myself.

So I shall come up with something lame like "oh, I am looking to buy myself a Ronnefeldt Tilting tea pot. It's 28 sterling pounds online. So officially, it's cause I am in a mood for tea accessories. I don't normally drink tea bags at home but you can buy me tea caddies, especially fine bone china ones with hand-drawn flowers featuring English summery blooms. Not satisfied with a stainless steel loose tea grip cum diffuser I have that I got from Lakeland eons ago, why shouldn't anyone get me one of them beautiful looking Ronnefeldt tea pots?

Those who have been to BigO at Wheelock would have seen this pot.

Ronnefeldt This is where you put in the tea leaves. Pour boiling water into the same opening. Allow tea to diffuse.

Ronnefeldt As the tea darkens, stand to the next angle and continue to steep tea. (steep is such a perfect word for tea. wordsmiths take note: to steep is to soak in a liquid at a temperature under the boiling point - taken from

Ronnefeldt And finally as the tea is at the strength/colour/taste that you want, seat the tea pot upright and the built-in strainer will ensure the leaves stay on the top (easy cleaning) and Ronnefeldt perfect tea comes through the spout. Whatever that means. duh.

Photos taken from by Ayman Shamma

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

China - funny how the cracks don't seem to show

Josiah is a very important name in fine bone china. I mean the potteryware, not the country.

Josiah Spode was the potter who developed fine bone china otherwise known as porcelain.
Josiah Wedgwood is the very Wedgwood who started the world-renowned Wedgewood potteryware.

Josiah means "(G)od supports". Some biblical background blahs, King of Judah at age 8 blahs.......

The other China is of course the country. High quality porcelain is china and China happens to be the place that that alot of such high quality porcelain is from.



both meanings of this same word is found in one song by Tori Amos.

China all the way to New York
I can feel the distance getting close
You're right next to me
But I need an airplane
I can feel the distance as you breathe

Sometimes I think you want me to touch you
How can I when you build a great wall around you
In your eyes I saw a future together
You just look away in the distance

China decorates our table
Funny how the cracks don't seem to show
Pour the wine dear
You say we'll take a holiday
But we never can agree on where to go

China all the way to New York
Maybe you got lost in Mexico
You're right next to me
I think that you can hear me
Funny how the distance learns to grow

Sometimes I think you want me to touch you
How can I when you build a great wall around you

I can feel the distance
I can feel the distance getting close

Well, I found out the distance between Beijing, China and New York from this useful site (click here)

It's 10975.870605621849 kilometres or 6820.089804057957 statue miles or 6820.089804057957 nautical miles. THAT's pretty far.

And if you got lostand found yourself in Mexico along the way, it must have been due to some Coriolis effect or something.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Aural Pleasures

I have updated my ipod side bar. this is an actual playlist on my ipod. the title is music to take your life to.

How morbid. But we all like it better that way isn't it?

And She Closed Her Eyes by Stina Nordenstam
I've been growing older he thought
And he smiled and said
You've got the saddest face I've seen

If I Fall by Aqualung
Here and now seems I'm standing on the edge
Looking down
I can clearly see your face in the crowd
Makes me feel I'm not alone

How Do You Keep Love Alive by Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
What, what are the words
They use when they know it's over
"We need to talk," or
"I'm confused, maybe later you can come over"

Still Life by Suede
This still life is all I ever do

Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes by Beck
Change your heart, look around you
Change your heart, it will astound you

Run by Snow Patrol
And I can barely look at you
But every single time I do
I know we'll make it anywhere
Away from here

Please Do Not Let Me Go by Ryan Adams
I'm all alone now; and I feel just fine
I don't feel like doing much of anything
True love ain't that hard to find
Not that either one of us will ever know

Thoughts Of Mary Jane by Nick Drake

Who can know
What happens in her mind
Did she come from a strange world
And leave her mind behind

Sand River by Beth Gibbons & Rustin' Man
You'll get by
Move it on and let fate decide
And those water-coloured memories
Soft as a summer's breeze
You're as pretty as can be

I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine by Beth Orton
Every day is just like the day before,
All alone a million miles from shore,
All of my dreams I dreamed with you,
Now they will die and never come true,
And I keep crying, crying

Broken Heart by Spiritualised
And I'm wasting all the time
I got to drink you right off of my mind
I've been told that this will heal given time
But I have a broken heart

Into My Arms by Nick Cave
I don’t believe in an interventionist god
But I know, darling, that you do
But if I did I would kneel down and ask him
Not to intervene when it came to you
Oh, not to touch a hair on your head
Leave you as you are
If he felt he had to direct you
Then direct you into my arms

Hurt by Johnny Cash
I hurt myself today,
to see if I still feel,
I focus on the pain,
the only thing that's real

Blondie and Dagwood's 75th Wedding Anniversary!


Blondie and Dagwood are celebrating their wedding anniversary and have invited a number of comic guests (they are comic characters, not that they are comical, which they are by the way..erm...).

It is their 75th Wedding Anniversary and guests are already arriving as can be seen in the comic strip today. Wizard of ID made references to this event as well. Jon and Garfield led the way into their humble abode and are followed by Hagar the Horrible, Beetle Bailey and Popeye (without Olive Oyl) came in a taxi.

Such fun.


This Italian word doesn't roll off the tongue nicely. But it's perhaps one of those words that doesn't have an equivalent in English.

It means effortless grace. And commonly used to describe athletes or artistes who are so good at what they do they make it seem effortless. But of course we know there were lots of heart and soul put into each of their performances.

But do you know we can use it for common people like us too. Sometimes when you put in a lot of effort just to get that casual look. The buffed nails, the well-plucked brows, the matching of subtle prints with stripes, the carefully tousled hair, trimmed nostril hair, freshly scrubbed face, the well-pressed shirt, the half-windsor knot....

Can somebody please bring in Thomas Pink? I have got one measly shirt, a silk tie and silk cuff knots from them and I'm craving for more...FJ Benjamin, if you are reading this. Raoul has done alot of good for Singapore males but there is always room for more.

210530H AUG 05 - Sand River, I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine

At 5:30am on a Sunday morning, it is deadly quiet in the estate that I live in.

As I looked out of the kitchen window, the only thing indicating that although the estate seems moribund, something of significance is happening, is the pulsating light atop an ambulance that just pulled into the carpark below.

Got me thinking that however mundane a moment may seem to me, it is of significance to someone else.

I hope that whoever is getting into the ambulance will soon be healthy and well again.

I'm listening to Sand River by Beth Gibbons alot recently.... I began noticing Sand River because Vivian Wang from The Observatory did a cover at their live concert once.

Autumn leaves
Beauty's got a hold on me
Autumn leaves
Pretty as can be

Everybody knows this time
Shadows are drifting in silence
Where lost can't be found
Everybody knows this time

You'll get by
Move it on and
let fate decide

And those water-coloured memories
Soft as a summer's breeze
You're as pretty as can be

Knowing now you'll never fake it
Whether my oceans divide
I'll try to understand this
But everybody knows this time

Autumn leaves
Beauty's got a hold on me
Autumn leaves
Pretty as can be

Everyone can see
Everyone except me

I have been listening to I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine by Beth Orton alot recently too. They are both part of my music to take your life to ipod playlist.

Baby do you know what you did today?
Baby do you know what you took away?

You took the blue out of the sky
My whole life changed when you said goodbye
And I keep crying

Ooo baby, ooo.... baby
I wish I never saw the sunshine
I wish I never saw the sunshine
And if I never saw the sunshine baby
Then maybe
I wouldn't mind the rain

Everyday is just like the day before
All alone, a million miles from shore
All of my dreams
I dream with you
Now they will die and never come true
And I keep crying

Ooo baby, ooo... baby
I wish I never saw the sunshine
I wish I never saw the sunshine
And if I never saw the sunshine baby
Then maybe
I wouldn't mind the rain

This pain

And I know there would not be
This cloud that's over me
Everywhere I go

Ooo baby, ooo... baby
I wish I never saw the sunshine
I wish I never saw the sunshine
And if I never saw the sunshine baby
Then maybe
I wouldn't mind the rain

This pain

I wouldn't mind the rain
There wouldn't be this pain
I wouldn't mind the rain
Wouldn't mind the rain

So much more of the same....what if there was no music in my life?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

I can't learn to say "no"

Was reading Kenny Sia's blog on him wanting to go back to Perth.

It wasn't the strange coincidence of him wanting to go back to Perth and the Djinn's movie that I caught recently that made me write this.

It is actually a series of events that led to this.

V's cousin broke up recently. Recently in the real world but i suppose in the blogosphere and internet in general, it was long enough for accusations and slanders to be hurled around. A dying relationship is a very sorry sight. it is even more ugly when things thing sour. and when it happens between two immature adults, issues turn putrid faster than day-old milk left in the sun.
bk seats
which led me to tell v how guys in general do not know when to say "no". when to stop. when to admit defeat.

i'd better not use the pronoun "we" because it's not applicable to all guys.

maybe i speak from experience, maybe i speak from observations. in both cases, when a couple breaks up, the guy seems to be the half taking time to recover and continue with life.

we seem reluctant to give up on a relationship. as if it reflects in part, failure in certain aspects of our life. i'd like to think that perhaps in a way, it is only human nature to not want to change, however inevitable it may be.

and some will resort pressurising the other half to initiate instead. perhaps to feel less of the guilt involve for ending a rapidly declining emotional bond.

some guys are perverse in nature. not in the pornographic manner. but in their belief of the tortured romance in being out of love. some resort to different forms of self-destruction like drinking, smoking, self-multilation etc etc

there is nothing wrong in the valiant attempts to preserve something beautiful or even to revive a lost cause. but when it is in the way of moving forward, growing up, being happy, there should be a time when we decide to stop.

long distance relationships must be hard to maintain. it's not too hard to push a fragile long distance relationship over the precipice into a downward spiral of misplaced trust and blind faith.
relationships, "short distance" ones are the same. physical distance exerts a definite pressure but time does the same thing. how do you keep love burning like a candle and not suffer the fate of a firework, to explode in a colourful display of sound and light as the plume of smokey trail fades. I borrow loosely a quote from Ridley Scott's Blade Runner:

a candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long

i start remembering ryan adam's how do you keep love alive

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


this is what happened when I went and beng-ify my blog...

click on the title...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Perth and notions of freedom

Caught Perth at the Alliance Francaise. Haven't been there in a while. Since V stopped taking French. consequently, haven't been to Newton for dinner/supper in a while. Wasn't it suppose to be due for major renovation?

Had wanted to watch this from the time I saw it while checking out sites mentioning local film. And it was my source of joy when I finally got them tickets from the Art House.

Was almost late for the premiere because I left work later than expected and had to rush home to grab the 6 tickets then zipped down to Sarkies with only seconds to spare. Sigh...was there on time but being a premiere, there's got to be a certain "fashionable lateness" to the whole brouhaha. So I met up with V and mong and the rest (pin, wy and jeff) who were already there of course.

We got free movie posters! Wahey! Signed by Djinn (wahey hey). When the movie grows bigger, I'm gonna sell the movie poster on ebay. We exchanged our tickets to have seats allocated for us...

So where were the sponsors? the hall was like 3/4 filled. french dude said it was for the sponsors. sigh...

Mong was saying that she didn't realise the movie will get a commercial release 3 days later. Had she known, she would have watched it in town instead of coming down to Newton. She said it before french dude came up to introduce the cast and crew. I guess having Djinn, Lim Kay Tong, Liu Qiu Lian et. al. to go up and "say a few words" made the trip there somewhat, more worthwhile.

If you intend to watch the movie...try to stop reading here. *potential spoiler*

I shall move through the "bads" in the movie first.

The score!!! The minimalist piano bits worked brilliant for the first two, maybe three time. But there after, it's like watching some Korean drama (weepy) like Winter Sonata or something. IT was getting rather irritating.

Sound editing!!! Rather bad at times. Like when Harry Lee (GUFFAWS) starts throwing some stuff, they might have floated instead of landing on the ground cause like no sound leh.

Film editing!!! Rather bad at times. It was abrupt at times but not stylishly so.

The good:
The rest of the movie. So good somebody gave it a 8* rating on IMDB.

My take away from the movie.

It's about obsession. First and foremost-ly. While Harry complains about the "rest" of Singapore, especially youths, becoming materialistic, he sees it as some kind of a endless chase for things that are not important to him. He thinks that Singaporeans are obsessed with material goods and wants as exhibited in their relentless pursuit for wealth. And in order to generate wealth, hard work is no longer needed. Not according to him anyway. Education, and not values, give people the headstart. At the same time, he doesn't realise that he is equally as obsessed with two things as a typical Singaporean; firstly his dream of migrating to Perth (where the food is cheap, this is cheap, that is cheap and all his friends are there) and secondly, his past that was intertwined with some Cambodian chick. Harry and his perception of a typical Singaporean are similar. They are both trapped in their quest for their aims. While Harry thinks that we are no longer free when we pursue our mobile phones, country clubs membership, condominiums, he is trapped in his fixations as well. be it his alcoholism, his cambodian love baggage or his perth dream.

Freedom is a weird thing. Imagine the word. Try and describe it. Isn't it ironic that the concept of "freedom" has certain perceived notions? So I suppose Harry thinks that freedom (freedom from materialism, perhaps) can be found in going to perth. Therein lies the constraint. That he must got to Perth in order to achieve freedom. Shit. I am not expressing myself clearly enough. Next.

let's talk about loyalty. More straight forward here. He values it. Probably cause he was a former commando. hiak hiak... He thinks it is so important that the dog (should I call the dog a stray?) he "picked up" was named Faithful. He thinks his ex-wife doesn't have it. He might think his son doesn't have it. He probably thinks that he has it. But damn, he is leaving his own country behind. He argues that the Singapore he knew is no longer the Singapore he knows now but damn, he is leaving the country. So how loyal is that? And well, he thinks that by leaving Singapore for Perth, he is seeking an alternative but he doesn't think the same for Mai, the Vietnamese prostitute who left her debt-ridden family to work in Singapore. He doesn't think that her leaving her homeland and family was for the better. I suppose in a cruel way, they were both pursuing similar aims. To seek a better life for themselves (or family).

Selvam, who was brilliant, summarised how I feel elegantly. The ******(fill in any appropriate social institution) makes you think that you need certain things in life. It is like a trap because then you can never be free from these wants. It's like The Fight Club. You are not your job. You are not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car that you drive. You are not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.

I thought Angry Boy's lines were very natural. If he isn't a very experienced actor or not trained professionally as an actor, it is quite obvious. There were certain scenes when his timing was a little off and his body language a little weird. But he dominated each scene with his words and ways. And that cannot be taught in acting school.

Excerpt from movie:

Harry: I'm gonna give it all up and migrate to Perth!

Angry Boy: So you thinking of quitting?

The whole movie suddenly became the geylang corkscrew massacre. Quite a dramatic turn of events. But still very watchable. No point comparing it to any other movie (even with the Harry Lee mirror scene ala Travis in Taxi). Watch it as it is, the simple dream of a simple man and reflect on our puny (it rhymes with peony?) lives.

Saw a number of familiar sights in Balestier, Whampoa and Geylang area. Balestier Point was featured too! So was the coffee bean shop along Balestier and the old school baker off Balestier into Whampoa.
Burning question! How did the prostitute die facing downwards with her hair still wet? erotic-asphyxiation?

narbeh, now the whole world knows SAF don't take care of their military personnel once they get to their retirement age. mind you, warrant officers retire later than commissioned officers. so where should anyone go at 42 years of age, after spending all their working life in the armed forces? beats me...shit...did i just blab that out?? someone made me do it.

Some scenes were beautifully shot. the isolation and desolation (cheem but I mean it) that sometimes forms the essence of paintings by Edward Hopper was also found in certain scenes. There was this particular petrol kiosk scene. It was so Americana. I don't know why.

a number of other reviews...



kung fu cult cinema

site of interest...


damn, hiep thi le is Djinn's wife?

We try harder.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Kelly from Australia left a comment in one of my blog and I followed to her blog.

It was filled with gastronomic reviews. Fantastic.


One of the best meals we had there (excluding the wedding banquet, of course) was chilli crab at No Signboard Seafood (Stadium branch, for those of you who know Singapore).


Napola - Men Make History. We Make Men.

There is a new movie in the pipeline about Joy Division - the band that will become New Order. It is supposed that Jude Law will be playing Ian Curtis. Moby is suppose to help out as the musical adviser. Anton Corbijn (wow!) will be the director. The movie has a tentative working title Control and will be based on Deborah Curtis' memoir Touching From A Distance and the title of the memoir is a line taken from Joy Division song Transmission.

Listen to the silence, let it ring on
Eyes dark, relentless, frightened of the sun
We would have a fine time living in the night
Left a blind destruction,
Waiting for our sign

We would go on as though nothing was wrong
Hide from these days to remain all alone
Staying in the same place,
just staring at the tide
Touching from a distance, further all the time

Well I could call out
when the going gets tough
The things we've learned
are no longer enough
No language, just sound
is all we need know
To synchronise love to the beat
of the show
And we could dance
Why did I mention this on a blog entry that is titled Napola - which was a movie I watched last night?

Well, cause one of the male lead in Napola was Tom Schilling and he is going to be in a movie called Joy Division. Joy Division is the Jewish version of the Korean Comfort Women. I think Tom Schilling, who looks smack like a cross between Brian Molko of Placebo and Ian Curtis, could be a better lead for the Joy Division movie as Ian Curtis. Or Sean Harris, who acted as Ian Curtis in 24 Hour Party People.

But Jude Law's got the accent. So....

Back to the movie.

This was the most recent movie I watched after the dismal 7 Swords by Tsui Hark. And they are worlds apart. Like a good drama, character development was there. It wasn't fantastic but adequate nonetheless. Stereotypical I guess. Nondescript boy, Freidrich, categorised as nordic class 1B (according to the classification by hair colour, pupil colour, skin colour etc etc) with a talent for boxing was drafted into Hitler's Youth Wing - Napola, a training school for elite German youths, which is like OCS in SAFTI MI (ok, OCS cadets not that elite...). Then there was this Governor's son, Albrecht, who was deemed somewhat an underachiever by the power crazy dad, soon became great buddies with Freidrich. The historical background like dividing the youths from as young as 10 to as old as 18 into 8 columns were all accurately depicted. I suppose the settings were accurate, the plot was sheer genius in the way it unfolded.

Initially I thought it was a movie about Hitler's Youth Wing. But about halfway throught he movie, I figured that the movie was turning out better as well as different in content than I had expected. It was not about the Third Reich, not about Hitler's fanatics, not about Aryans reigning supreme over the Jews. All these were mentioned in the movie. But the over-riding impression I got was that of Responisibility. And in all sense of the word.

Freidrich forged his dad's signature to get into the school. Along the way we have this persistent bed-wetting youth, Siggi, who sacrificed his life to save 20 of his fellow mates when a grenade training session went awry, Albrecht's essay written in spite and with great passion against his father (very anti-Nazi, likening the Reich as the Evil he had wanted to purge since young when he imagined himself as a slayer of dragons and all things evil), how Friedrich stopped halfway into a boxing match he was about to win, only to be sacked by the Napola for being defiant.

There wasa great speech by Albrecht's father when Siggi died and his speech was about how our bodies were just tools for the greater good and that we were not responsible only to ourselves but also to the cause. Albrecht was more interested in being responsible to himself after a harrowing operation whereby he and a couple others killed some renegade soviet kids. Albrecht later drowned himself and Freidrich, who was his best mate in Napola, felt that he was partly responsible for his death because he did not support Albrecht in his time of need. The theme was recurring. But maybe it was because I only paid attention to this theme.

On a side note, there was this rank-less (hence private I suppose) army fellow in army greens seated next to me. It was rather weird....was he proving a point or just out from camp? Looking at this age and rank, he should be on ICT. But where got ICT private one?

When Albrecht was under the sheets of ice in the frozen lake, looks down into the darkness of the lake and sees a better life there, it was a very sobering.

To see a better choice in being dead.

Pulp Fiction #0908-1965 State Flag (completely baseless)

A short hello to readers. hello.
Today I am going to expound on the hows and whys that resulted in our stupendous State flag:

This is the State flag of Singapore.
Let me first give a brief description of the flag (ok, ok, I got it from the Singapore Infomap website):

The national flag is Singapore's most visible symbol of statehood, symbolising our sovereignty, pride and honour. It reflects the ideals, beliefs and values that we stand by as a nation amidst our rich and diverse make-up. It forms a crucial element of our national identity. As such, the national flag is to be treated with dignity and honour.

Its Origin
The national flag was unveiled on 3 December 1959, together with the state crest and the national anthem, at the installation of the new Head of State, the Yang di-Pertuan Negara - Yusof bin Ishak. It was created by a committee led by then Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Toh Chin Chye. It replaced the Union Jack, which had flown over Singapore for 140 years (1819-1959). Upon Singapore's independence in 1965, it was adopted as Singapore's national flag.

Its Meaning
The flag consists of two equal horizontal sections, red above white. In the upper left section are a white crescent moon, and five white stars forming a circle. Each feature of the flag has its own distinctive meaning and significance. Red symbolises universal brotherhood and equality of man. White signifies pervading and everlasting purity and virtue. The crescent moon represents a young nation on the ascendant. The five stars stand for the nation's ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.

Great Britain's flag is the Union Jack. USA's flag is the Stars and Stripes or the less used Old Glory. France's got Le drapeau tricolore. Indonesia has got merah dan putih. We can have our own ang kark pek (red and white in hokkien).

Anyway, what I wanted to do was to reveal the real meaning behind the State flag. By real I actually mean in my warped world it is real lah. I have engaged two local actors to partake in my attempt to shed light on how and why the State flag looks the way it looks.

Let's call them Stars and Moon. They were sitting at the corner kopi tiam. Stars was drinking his tiao hee (tea bag) and Moon was drinking his tak giu peng (iced milo). National Day was just round the corner so their conversation inadvertently led to discussions about how on 9th August, the garlermen will let off hundreds of thousands worth of fireworks in the already light-polluted night sky of Singapore, how dumb silliporeans continue to hang their flag wrong way wrong, how it will be okay if Indonesians did the same because it will still be the look like the Indonesian flag.....

However if they hang it upside down, they will become Polish. So Indonesia flags are resistant to low IQ silliporeans who hang Singapore flags wrongly. Also they couldn't understand how is it that when SAF vehicles move through the heartlands of the island state, it doesn't seem as communistic as when we see news clips of People Liberation Army's marching in Tiananmen Square?

Well, their banter led to Moon asking Stars if he knew how did our State flag came into being. Stars knew that it was back in 1959 when it was first flown. But how the design came about was something he had never put any serious thought into.

Moon: So you know what our flag looks like right?

Stars: Yah, red over white, one crescent and 5 stars.

Moon: So you know how it came about?

Stars: Not too sure man. But I know the red stands for universal brotherhood and white is pure and vaginal.

Moon: Virginal.

Stars: Yah. Virginal. And the crescent is new nation on the rise and five stars represent the five ideals: democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.

Moon: Wah, steady phoon pi pi, you remember everything by heart. If got patriotic quiz you sure win.

Stars: They drill it into us what. Back in primary school.

Moon: But they never told the truth.

Stars: Huh? Don't talk cock sing song leh.

Moon: I'm not. The official meaning of the symbols used in the flag was just a cover up for a flag that was meant to please everyone.

Stars: Please everyone?

Moon: Yes, everyone. Like Carrefour.

Stars: Like Carrefour?

Moon: Yah, you know how Carrefour overstock all sorts of goods so that father, mother, ah mah, ah gong, children, maids, bangla, ang moh, everybody will love it. So one shop stop to let everybody in the family be happy.

Stars: So our flag like Carrefour.

Moon: In a way.

Stars: Explain.

Moon: You must remember firstly that back in 1959, singapore was facing a number of threats and situations. The pending merger with Malaysia, trouble bubbling that will burst into the Konfrontasi, the rise of communism in the region, being the only predominantly chinese state in the whole of the malay peninsular and indonesian archipelago.

Stars: So?

Moon: So, when we had to design a flag for ourselves, we had to have a design that can align ourselves with as many of these elements as possible so as to appease everyone around us.

Stars: Where got?

Moon: It should be rather obvious that our flag looks like the Indonesian flag.

Stars: Ya, so does Poland's flag what.

Moon: That's in Europe. Anyway, there are elements from the Malaysian flag as well, the crescent and the stars.

Stars: Like this also can?

Moon: Of course! I mean, how can we use a symbol on our State flag to indicate that we are a young nation. What happens 100 years down the road? We still young nation? How do we know the crescent moon is waxing and hence ascendant and not waning, hence on the decline?

Stars: Why not?

Moon: It's just not right. Imagine Backstreet Boys or Boyzone. Thirty years down the road, they will still be called boys because they included them into their bands' name. They can't be boys forever right?

Stars: It does sound a little silly.

Moon: Similarly for the crescent. And we all know that crescents are muslim symbols.

Stars: So we are trying to tell people we are muslim state?

Moon: yes and no. because we are trying to tell people that we are communist as well.

Stars: Seow ding dong. where got.

Moon: How many countries you know got red background with stars?

Stars: China, Vietnam, Cuba, former Soviet Union...I am starting to scare myself.

Moon: You do see a pattern right?

Stars: Yah, they all don't like USA. But we like leh. USA is like our friend.

Moon: They are communist countries lah.

Stars: Oh.

Moon: So Singapore too has got stars on a red background and red has always traditionally been a communistic colour; little red book, red flag, red scarves...

Stars: But please who in Singapore?

Moon: At that time, there was a wide sphere of influence by the communist over this region, particularly the chinese who still saw China as the motherland.

Stars: Now Singaporeans see china differently liao leh.

Moon: Anyway, you see in our flag, we have managed to please Indonesians with the colour scheme, please our neighbours up north with a similar crescent moon on the left, stars on red background for the communists.

Stars: So the flag got no meaning besides wanting to please everyone?

Moon: Of course the meaning can be applied later lah.

Stars: You mean like abstract art? Like they dunno how to draw properly so they give their messing about some profound meaning?

Moon: I guess you can say that.

Stars: So the democracy,peace,progress,justice and peace all bluff one?

Moon: Not that they are bluff, but they are as they are suppose to be, ideals.

Stars: So?

Moon: Meaning we can never get there.

Stars: How come?

Moon: Imagine this, who is your ideal woman?

Stars: Scarlett Johansson + Natalie Portman + Fiona Xie

Moon: Is there such a woman?

Stars: No, of course not.

Moon: Exactly! Ideals are not real. They don't exist.

Stars: But Fiona Xie is close to ideal leh.

Moon: But she isn't right?

Stars: Yah, I think if she got Scarlett's height would be great. Or Natalie's brains. Wow, she macam like Bigfuck or as he is now known, Rambutan, I mean Rambo Tan. Got degree in Psychology from Havard and now still studying for her graduate studies at Hebrew University in Israel.

Moon: Who is big fuck and rambutan?

Stars: Some guy who blogs.

Moon: What is with this blogging thing anyway? Suddenly everybody like into blogging.

Stars: I also dunno. Eh, so Singapore got no democracy,peace, progress, justice and equality?

Moon: Have some of everything but in unequal amounts lah.

Stars: So which one we have more which one we have less?

Moon: It's not good to have too much of a good thing.

Stars: How come leh?

Moon: Imagine again your three separate women who will make up your ideal. If you mix the best parts of the three of them, do you really think the ideal woman will turn out perfect?

Stars: I dunno.

Moon: Exactly. Nobody knows. Anyway, got to go liao. Gonna hang my flag once I get home.

Stars: Huh? You also hang? What for, you say the flag got fake meaning what.

Moon: Aiyah, you believe everything I say meh? Wah lau, you don't hang, later the Gestapo people will note down your address one.

Stars: Is it? really? I better go home and hang also....

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Nothing on the State Flag

I just lost a chunk of blog because my ibook turn itself off. Powered down itself.

So sian....and somehow I can't recover it.

I will say a short hello to readers from tomorrow though. hello.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Singapore's 40th Birthday

I have made a couple of lists before. One was regarding Singapore Fashion Faux Pas and another on the type of freaks people you meet when clubbing.

In line with the date: 9th August 2005, I have decided that I should have something written in here since I am in such a celebratory mood. *rolls eyes*

I had wanted to create a list of things uniquely singapore. So I set out thinking about things that I look for as clues when I suspect an asian looking person to be from Singapore. One of the first, especially if the person is sleeveless is the BCG mark. It's actually against tuberculosis. I never knew....Or that most primary school children in the 80s and 90s (do they still do it now??) will remember having to brush their teeth, squatting next to a drain with the rest of his/her classmates? Or how about hearing the story of bukit merah, you know, swordfish, wreak havoc, smart boy, banana trunks, jealous king, murder, blood, stained hill....was it really a boy and not some girl???so much blood....

But I decided against it.

And came up with a list of Singapore Slang. Some rhyming, like the cockney rhyming slang, others, just...erm....don't rhyme. There are more certainly. but I try not to have too many of the army lingo stuff. I didn't want any that was in common hokkien or malay language. Cause our friends up north will know as well and it's not as localised anymore is it?
Here it is anyhow. The 10:

10. steady phoon pi pi
This is in common use isn't it? I am not sure if it is really local. I haven't been up to Malaysia much and never been to Borneo. So I won't know if they have this elsewhere. Anyway, it's used when you want to praise something or to confirm an appointment. Often used alone as a reply. Steady is english so it's understood. Phoon Pi Pi means to blow whistle. I figure it came about partly due to the similar sound steady has with pi pi.

9. panh chance
Ok, another of the english mixed with hokkien type of slang. it literally means to give chance but how it is often used is when asking for some leeway. like when faced with a stronger opponent, you hope the opponent can panh chance. "panh" by the way, is pronounced as "pun". I am not sure if our neighbours up north/southeast blah use this as well? This is because I have some malay friends and indians too, using this phrase.

8. chop chop kalipok
This sounds rather "army". I do know that chop chop is actually from the english. but to add a kalipok behind is purely colloquial. But i am not sure if it is 100% Singaporelian. I can imgaine a moustachioed englishman in a safari suit hurrying his local worker, "well, chop chop now, we can't be doing this the whole day. I will miss my afternoon tea!" How the kalipok comes in I will perhaps never know. Kalipok means curry puff. Like Old Chang Kee type.

7. pattern jueh kueh badminton
Help somebody. This gets stranger. It's like "steady phoon pi pi. Not much meaning just alot of rhyming. And that's what makes it more interesting actually. it's got a sllighty negative connotation though can be neutral as well. Most often used on people who has got more style than substance. Defnitely not with reference to badminton. Although it can be used to describe sports. Like when a particular footballer dazzles everyone with his fancy footwork but fails to score... "jueh kueh" means "more than". So I suppose in badminton, one can have alot of fancy footwork, smashes, drop shots etc it ended up with patterns? I don't know.

6. talk cock sing song
Ok, "talk cock" was made rather famous by one Ling How Doong. He mentioned this in a parliamentary session once...He later explained that it was a proper phrase and was referring to "cock and bull story". right....Now, there is this other guy, Charles Chong, who made a lewd funny remark on oral sex by saying he is not a "cunning linguist". He was never penalised. So the lesson here is that you can use dubious phrases/words in parliament but always in good dose of humour. Anyway, why talk cock and sing song? Does it rhyme? Not exactly. Do they sound nice together? Sorta. Was it first used here? I don't know.

5. seow ding dong
This is not related to Ling How Doong, however much it rhymes with his name. Now, this slang is a little clever. Because ding dong is a proper english slang by itself. But by adding a local word, "seow", which means crazy in hokkien, you get this hybrid of craziness that can only be reserved for...really crazy people! I wonder when the first person to use this phrase, did s/he consciously know that ding dong was a slang. and thus, fortifying (sounds nutritious) the craziness. it's like saying fucking fucker or crazy asshat or swinging swinger or ugly horse face etc etc... anyways...when people say this phrase, it can be further (!!!wow!!!) emphasised by rotating the index finger around the ear.

4. ponten
This is very old school. And I think it is still being used. I don't know the spelling. And I don't know where it came from. If it is from a malay word, can someone just tell me? It's pronounced as Pon-Ten. And it is a word used by kids of schooling age, from primary school through to university. When you ponten, you are playing truant. You are AWOL from class. And it is so damn fun.... By the way. Why is it that we are playing truant? Why play? Is ponten a lousy pronunciation of playing truant? If it is, it is a damn lousy mispronunciation.

3. sabo
Short for sabotage. Some people pronounce it as say-boh. some as sar-boh. Very army, like chop chop kalipok. people who sabo alot are called sabo king. when you get sabotaged, you are said to be sabo-ed. when you are committing sabotage, you are sabo-ing. it is not pronounced as saboing as in but more like sar-boh-ing. It has been spread across the causewau already i think but i wonder if sillypolians used it first.

2. tawn
This is a BBQ at East Coast Park word. When you want to stay out after a bbq at east coast and not go home till the next day, you are tawnning. So you have your friends asking you, "eh, you going to tawn or not?" Is it also a case of lousy pronunciaiton? That this is actually a mispronunciation of "dawn"? As in, if you wanted to stay till dawn? I don't know.

1. shak
Army. I almost didn't want to include this. Shak. As in shaquille o'neal. It means tired, which is how I feel now..

Ok, so I have finished with the top ten. And I am wondering which ones should be taken out. I had wanted to include "piss" cause i thought only singaporeans use piss as being in a state of drunkedness but it is not apparently. then i wanted to have "mug" in there as well because in US and UK, mugging and to mug is to rob someone. But apparently to "mug up" is to study intensively in english. So no "mug".

Alright. This has been a long entry. I was kept interested. Were you?
Oh and er...tomorrow, I will give an analysis of the design of our State Flag.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Things that keep me up at night (not the dripping tap)

"Frankly, I don't think they would be able to afford me," said Ms Lu Yumin, 23, an accounts executive who says she loves shopping and fucking travelling.

That was what I read in the papers today. About this rag & bone man who was gonna propose to a nursery child care centre principal. He's known as Mr Khiew. Khiew who?

"Were you agreed to help me to build a up our better, bright future." Mr Khiew.

That's his proposal written on a small strip of paper.

But ST cannot have bad grammar on their paper. they cannot have fu*ck but can have cheebye. Go figure.
So the above was corrected into: "Will you agree to help me build a better brighter future?"
I think Mr Khiew's orginal sounds more sincere. Cause it's by bloody him. Not some other editor....
Continuing the papers.......

Sylvester Sim looks like a social-drug junkie sans makeup. Maybe he was staying up at night too, like me, listening to the dripping tap. That filial son. He was probably concerned about his mum - Avigline, court case. He looks hungry too, judging from his sullen state, and that by taking his mum out for lunch, he was surely gonna order some food for himself.

Stem cell expert Hwang Woo Suk who cloned a dog, is a 'national asset' of South Korea. He works 7 days a week. Arriving at the lab by 6am and leaving at midnight. Sleeps 4 hours. And that four hours of sleep he equates to time spent with wife. He says that it is very difficult for her but she is very proud of his achievements. So I am guessing they talk to each other in their sleep. Damn, the Koreans are the new Japanese alright. Efficient even in their state of rest. Find me a Korean wife please. In fact, I can afford the time to have 2 Korean wives if I sleep the normal 8 hours. Presently I can afford the time for 1.5 Korean wives with my 6-hour sleep routine. But financially, I can't. So....Actually his story reminds me of a song by the Flaming Lips: Race For The Prize. Wayne Coyne is a lyrical genius.

Two scientists are racing
for the good of all mankind

Both of them, side by side

So determined

Locked in heated battle
for the cure that is the prize

but its so dangerous

but they're determined

Theirs is to win
if it kills them

But they're just human
with wives and children

Upwards to the vangaurd,
where the pressure is too high

under the microscope, hope against hope

Forging for the future
but to sacrifice their lives

both of them side by side, so determined

they're de
if it kills them

They're just human
with wives and children

Theirs is to win,
it will kill them

They're just humans
with wives and children

Lastly there is Jas Liew, a 19 year-old student who cheerleads, weigh 42kg and makes sense. She was featured on ST's hot bods column. She drinks a glass of unboiled tap water everyday as it detoxifies and cleanses her body. She avoids eating noodles because she thinks they go straight to her tummy. Ah.....the wonders of our NEWater. She might be right about the path that noodles take upoin entering our mouths. No wonder char kuay teow, fried hokkien mee and mee goreng are fattening. The noodles just slip right down.

I was checking out The Cabinet website. Well, anyway, Mr Lee Hsien Loong was clearly an over-achiever. He was a Brigadier-General when he was 32 years old. When I am 32, I should be so lucky and start calling myself Mr instead of some other military rank. At most it would be a Major. I am not wicked. But, what are the chances of another cable car incident? Touch wood.

*Touch wood* not like that. So naughty.

Mr George Yeo entered the Singapore Command and Staff College (SCSC - aka Some can come cannot) when he was 25. That is a very *wow* thing in military school where the average age of your peers should be thirtysomethings. SCSC prepares senior officers for very important jobs. And at 25, to graduate at the top of your class, says alot about him.

Now to start the day. Slept at 5am and woke at 930am. Funeral wake woke me up. Not funny. It's the 7th Lunar month by the way. Mind the things that go bump in the night.

Early Sunday mumblings

You don't remember what you set out to do. but when you end up having a good time. you know you have met your weekend objectives. was suppose to watch cleopatra wong tonight. but hey, i was sleeping.

soi sauntered down to jiak kim close to midnight. looks happening outside. met yve, mong, marc and jade in there. v was in the toilet. then aileen or eileen joined us. pin was doing the visuals for the launch of breakinasia. i thought the visuals were great. a lot more effort than the usual stuff you see on the screen. but how to keep up with the quality?

saw a number of friends and acquaintances there (Zouk/Phuture). the Liaison Officer for KD SRI INDERA SAKTI was there (Desmond Tan). Delvin Lee was there (Sec school class and school mate). Two ministers' sons were there.

Agnelli and Nelson gave a out and out trance set. Think it is real refereshing to listen to the lowest common denominator again after a long hiatus. Upstairs, reiki, tony and spoonky were trying to keep things intact. i think the steam was lost after 2am....

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Well, my Saturday sailing's over. Had an exercise with the RMN. No, not the Royal Manticoran Navy. Royal Malaysian Navy. Why is it that there are people, locals and foreigners alike, who still think that the "R" in RSN refers to some form of royalty? It's "R" as in Republic.

I am quite content to just sleep the rest of the day away. But there is something's 'abrewin' so I'll be heading down to Phuture in a while's time. But I really need dinner right now. Sleeping onboard is not good for restive deep sleep. You get woken up just before you drift into Zzz-land by the fire/flooding alarm. Then you wake up cause the ship's rolling is getting to you. Then the flurry of preparatory procedures begin. Then the guys start streaming in. Then you have to bloody wake.

Got to to eat.....

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tuesdays are just an extension of Mondays

Tuesdays are over-rated.
I think they no longer mean that we are one day closer to the weekend.
They are just an extension of dreary Mondays.
Wednesdays follow Tuesdays (I am beginning to sound like a pre-school teacher teaching days of a week). They are suppose to be the midweek hump. Get over this hump and you'll pick up speed towards the weekend. But if your Saturday is gonna be spent somewhere in the middle of South China Sea....Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are just like Mondays. And the Sunday after the Saturday sailing is gonna be a harbinger for the inevitable Monday that will follow.

It is unlikely that we will ever have days ending in "y" off. So dream on Mark. They will let that happen only if they officially change the spelling of [day] to [dei] hahaha.

So now we know how a week works and what it is made up of...

Today was also the first time in weeks that I managed to get out of base at a time that approximates close to the official knock off time. I have been putting in extra hours since the start of July and there hasn't been much of a breather...

But the reason why I could go off was because I was gonna visit one of my guy who was admitted into Changi Hospital. He was reacting to some painkillers he took and so the ambulance came into the wharf for the second time in as many months. And the other time in July, it was also for one of my guy whose finger got slammed between 12 6kg 57mm ammunition and the ammunition rack. That's 72kilos for those who are mathematically challenged. Plus acceleration of gravity blah blah my physics fail equals great pain.

Ambulances on the wharf is not a fun thing. It is not a common thing. But we seem to be seeing a pattern here.

I'm gonna watch Perth on 15 Aug. Got my tickets. Wahey!
I'm gonna check out The Observatory's new album launch as well. That's on 2 Sep. Can't wait for the ticks. =)