Posts

Showing posts from May, 2006

gazing into the future

Image
...with ears wide open? Samuraibunny got her ipod to tell her her future (what else more can the ipod do?), and she was curious what my dismal songlist will say about mine. So let's shuffle and go! How does the world see me? 就算全世界與我為敵 by Cheer Chen (trans: So what if the whole world thinks of me as their enemy?) ah, J always says I very kuai-lan Will I have a happy life? 時光机 by Mayday (trans: time machine) oh, any time! What do my friends think of me? 七里香- by Jay Chou (literal trans: fragrant for seven miles -I think it's the Chinese name for the Jasmine flower) Do people secretly lust after me? Faded - soundtrack of Clara Law's Autumn Moon ha, clearly not How can I make myself happy? Bilavisur - by Bjork er, by learning icelandic? What should I do with my life? Know-How - by Kings of Convenience Will I ever have children? 浪漫 的紅舞鞋- by Faye Wong (trans: romantic red dance shoes) I guess the answer is NO What is some good advice for me? 鏡子 - by San

not far from home

Image
To satisfy my wanderlust, J and I took a leisurely walk from our home in Toa Payoh to the Balestier/Whampoa area this Saturday. Here is our "travelogue" in pictures...ok, and some text - because I cannot resist the lure of words. (1) Though not known to be a "historic" district , Balestier has some pretty well conserved shophouses with that distinctive architectural mix of neo-classical, the baroque/rococo and peranakan, boasting a relief of monkeys, elephants, dragons, indian guards and cherubims! Other than this horrible stitch, the rest of the photos in this post are by J instead. (2) Not just the architecture, the massive banyan trees in the area must surely also count as heritage. (3) The reality is that Balestier is pretty "historic". Just behind the main road, along the quiet Ah Hood Road is 晩晴園 (literally, The Garden of a Clear Night?) or the Sun Yet San Memorial Hall . It houses an interesting exhibition on the early nationalist year

room with a view

Image
glowing temple - tonight a group of men were there loudly chanting "Prosper! Prosper!". Well, at least they acknowledge that their god is wealth. photo by J It's been almost 4 months since I've become a high-rise flat dweller, our flat perhaps one seventh the size of my parents' Phua Chu Kang-inspired house. Our flat has a total of 4 window panels (excluding 2 cut-outs in the bathroom), 2 face the north, and 2 face the south. The former gives me an immediate view of a school and Chiam's Potong Pasir sliver in Toa Payoh - and beyond, the concrete of more housing estates in Bishan, then Ang Mo Kio... The latter affords a more varied view. There is the neighbouring Taoist temple (always a neon-spectre of activity), more flats like ours, the city in the distance, and beyond - a dark grey line of indecipherable concrete or sea or refineries or pollutant... Night (Dusk) Day from the windows. photos by J I remember some time ago WW told me about her v

long live reading!

Image
click on image to get to the flickr page Which activity best describes what you do most? A. writing B. attempting to publish C. reading In a fit of optimism, I sent an edited version of this short story last week to the admirable Silverfish publishers in Malaysia who are in the midst of compiling their 6th anthology - completely misreading the deadline "31 Mar" as "31 May". Aiyah. Thank goodness there's still reading! Long live reading! As with last year's poster , today's poster is for you to download and spread the happy news. The government says it's good for you too .

sea view

Image
Walking by the East Coast park this evening, we found it packed with families, teenage BBQ/beer parties, snog fests, dogs and roller blades. My nose was runny, my head was groggy and my legs weak after a day of shooting for a friend's wedding... but it felt good to be by the sea - watching the bruised sky, and knowing that you're right at the edge of something. Thus inspired, ampulets give you here an album cover (sorry, sans downloadable music) that will hopefully move you to some Sunday loving!

playground for 1

Image
A playground for lonely children? J and I were discussing what a playground for lonely children would be like a couple of days ago. See-saws that still work for one. Merry-go-rounds with hands that hold on to you. Swings that give you an extra push. I'm only not so sure about slides though. My childhood memories are of having to rush to get to the top of a slide, only to be hurried down by an impatient somebody whose sandy shoes are on your backside. Maybe slides are better enjoyed alone - that long ride down. But once down - yes, maybe it would still be nice to have someone waiting for you at the end of the ride.

The Last Communist

Image
There's still time to catch The Last Communist by Malaysian director Amir Muhammad at the PictureHouse - it shows until Tuesday. A 90min documentary based loosely on the life of Malayan communist leader Chin Peng , the film traces the route Chin Peng took from birth (Perak, Malaysia) to exile (Thailand), highlighting in broad strokes the key moments in Chin Peng's journey. But if you wanted to know more about the man, it is better that you read his autobiography Alias Chin Peng: My Side of History . Because the film's true subjects are the Malaysians instead who continue to live in the towns that Chin Peng left - be it the tin mining, rubber tapping, pomelo-growing town of Ipoh or the "Peace Village" in Thailand where the exiled Malayan communists continue to reside. In candid interviews and surprisingly effective musical interludes (great lyrics, funny in their literal-ness), Amir Muhammad tells the story of Malaysia's small towns and their economic rea

gold's mine

Image
To celebrate Mothers' Day, J's family had a potluck dinner Friday night. And since everyone was around, and Ma J had missed our wedding 3 months ago, we did the traditional tea ceremony thing as well. After serving a token cup of tea to the weepy mother, she presented us with a heavy red packet. We found in it a thick gold chain that any rapper with self-respect would be proud to wear. Since neither of us reckon we will be in the mood for rapper couture any time in the near future, we figured the only use for the gold chain was for this: ampulets present this graphic/banner for all who wish to download it for mothers - just click here !

Bathos

Image
I am not sure how to translate this...literally = rare chance to be foolish Ma J has been home from the hospital for more than a month now. She is still largely immobile, though with someone to lean on she is able to stand and take a few steps. The doctors have just started her on anti-depressants. This exchange takes place in Mandarin and Hokkien. J : We don't have to worry about life... Ma J : [ eyes half closed, although she is sitting upright ] Yah...I know. J : God takes care of us all. Ma J : [ she lifts one eyelid, and the other follows ]Ummm, that's right. J : You look at the birds, no one bothers about them. But they are ok. They still find food, when it rains they have a place to go to, they don't worry about clothes or food - Ma J : [ nods in firm agreement ] Yes, that's right, there's no need to worry. Sometimes you see a bird - ppaah - it gets knocked dead by a car...So why worry? Though inappropriate, how I wanted to laugh, looking at J's s

border crossing

Image
NEW! Life-size "Upgraded Lift Gods", available now at your friendly Town Council office. "Un-upgraded Lift Gods" are out of stock. Yesterday, since we didn'tt get to vote, L&G, J and I, trooped across the border instead , across a narrow stretch of water to visit our Malaysian neighbour, Johor . It was perhaps apt, this short visit, on election day itself. It showed me at least 2 things: 1. We Singaporeans are a rude, impatient, ungracious lot - regardless of the "first/third-worldness" of our political scene. Stuck in a queue (or the semblance of one) for over 1 hour at the Checkpoint, we witnessed such poor behaviour from our queue-jumping/cutting, fist-waving, unruly countrymen. 2. There is nothing like leaving Singapore to appreciate its administrative efficiency. But over a dinner of assorted deepfried foods, we also talked about the importance of living away from Singapore to not only appreciate its comforts, but also to assess the altern

night of love

Image
吹哨子 - whistle courtesy of Jing's Rally Pack, image by J, workers-party blue T-shirt by yoshitomo nara! The field was packed. But Jing's placard, duct taped to a wooden pole and declaring his love for Sylvia Lim ("I heart Sylvia Lim" on the one side, "Perseverence" on the other), did the trick. The uncles and aunties at Ang Mo Kio St.51 smelled the raw enthusiasm and clapped, as if welcoming a soldier returning from some battlefront. They made way for this young man to move towards the front of the crowd. Of course I followed behind - as did others who saw the opportunity to get a closer look at the Workers Party stage. Ang Mo Kio is the destination of Workers Party's "kamikaze" attack on the incumbent Prime Minister. And I must admit that its young team, led by Yaw Shin Leong spoke confidently and with conviction. Yaw was also unabashedly passionate. Early in his speech, he too declared his love, not for Sylvia Lim lah, but for Singapore

Singapore Black Movies?

Image
Lu Hsiao Fen looked at her torturers - she did not hate them as much as she despised them. Even her long curly hair expressed her disgust. "You want to see my scar?" She spat, "Look! Look all you like - " and proceeded to rip her translucent white shirt apart. The men gasped. "Ha!" Her face in a sneer (the camera then pans from her barely covered bra-less chest down to the top of her trousers.) "There's another there if you want to see!" At this point of this clip from The Shanghai Society Files (1981?), the audience of the documentary Taiwan Black Movies burst out laughing. In the documentary a film critic tried to explain the explosion of a genre of "social realist" or rather "social sensationalist" films in Taiwan from 1978-1982. These films depicted gangs, convicts (reformed or not), lady avengers, murders, gang rapes, corrupted officials (in an imaginary communist state of course)and other assorted acts of vi

elections fever

Image
potong pasir poster boys watching us over breakfast - image by J Over dinner, Pa Y told us that his factory was broken in last friday. But all the burglar took were a stack of old and worthless printing plates... among them were 2 plates used to print some material for Singapore Democratic Alliance's Chiam See Tong. [ This conversation took place in mandarin ] Pa Y : It's not so simple. Y : Huh? What's so not simple about it? Pa Y : Why? Why did this person break in to take all these old plates? At most they can be recycled for a hundred dollars. So I ask you why? Why when they are so many more precious things in the factory? Bro Y : It was too dark. The burglars didn't dare switch on the lights lah. So they just took what they saw immediately. Pa Y : No, I tell you, don't be naive! I tell you, there's something fishy! [ responding to the laughter from around the table ] Hey, don't laugh, I was a civil servant once when I was very young.I tell you, last